A Run to Aurora

A Joe Buck Trucker's Tale

Truck speeding on highway

by Rick Beck

rickbeckwritersrealm@outlook.com

Copyright © OLYMPIA50 2023 all rights reserved

The day was nothing to write home about. It was overcast when I got up and drank my first cup at a fairly clean truck stop a few miles from the shipper's where I had an 11 o'clock loading time.

The forecast was for locally heavy rain by the afternoon. I hoped to be well down the road before the weather moved in.

Being an early bird and having plenty of time on my hands, I showered, did my laundry, and had a sit down breakfast. I filled both fuel tanks before shutting her down the night before and all there was left to do was drive to the shippers.

The parking lot was nearly empty when I left the truck stop to load. I rarely saw a truck stop parking lot in the daylight. I followed the instructions given to me over the phone. When I drove behind the warehouse there was an empty loading dock waiting for me. It was my lucky day.

After backing my trailed up to the dock, I shut the truck down and climbed down. I immediately looked into the sky. I was a half an hour early and the rain looked to be hours away.

I went inside to let them know I was there and ready to be loaded. When I go into a warehouse, I'm prepared for delays. I'm at the mercy of the people loading trailers. Some places are professional and they get right to work and I'm loaded in a couple of hours..

There are places where the loading crew has nothing better to do than dicking around the truck drivers. The angrier they can make a truck driver, the happier they are. Going to complain about the slow loading crew, and the pace will slow down remarkably.

The only thing I can do is wait for my trailer to be loaded. If they hold me up an extra hour or two, I'll kick my speed up a couple of miles an hour and make it up in a day or two. When I am assigned a load, I immediately have the schedule in my head. Realizing there will be snags, I'm prepared to make up lost time.

Letting a loading crew make me angry will only ruin my day. If I fret about lost time and I'm angry about what I don't control, I'm going to miss things. I'm going to be dangerous. I can't allow that. I'm going to be there until my trailer is loaded. My job is to wait.

If it takes an unreasonably long time, I have a very good memory. If my dispatcher asks me to take a load that takes me back to such a shipper, I turn it down and I tell them why.

I went into the door beside the six loading docks. I stepped into a buzzing of forklifts going in and of trailers. One of the six doors was closed. That's where my trailer waited.

It was a good sign. I can't count the number of warehouses where I stood for a half an hour before anyone acknowledge me.

An industrious forklift driver slid out of the saddle to open the door where I was docked. He walk straight toward me. He smiled.

“You my eleven o'clock?” the operator asked me.

“That's me,” I said.

“Break room is down to your right. The coffee isn't bad and there are vending machines if you need a snack. I'm Jeremy.”

“I'm Joe Buck. I'll watch in case you need me,” I said.

“Suit yourself. I already have your paperwork. Most drivers are early. I'll have you out of here in an hour or so, unless I'm pulled off by my foreman before I'm done.”

It was a fine start. At some warehouses they load a single pallet on your trailer five minutes after you arrive. They disappear. You get the second pallet two hours later. By putting a pallet on your trailer, they freeze you in place. You can't leave. You have their goods on your trailer. It's another reason I avoid a shipper.

That's why dealing with professional loading crews are a pleasure. Guys like Jeremy make my day. His attitude means I'd be there for an hour or two at most. That got my wheels turning sooner and I only make money when my wheels are turning. I appreciated being loaded like it mattered.

No matter who was loading my trailer, I was going to be there until I was loaded and had the bills of laden in my hand.

Jeremy was a professional. He was immediately bringing the pallets every few minutes. Another forklift operator came with a pallet from time to time. Twenty pallets were loaded up to the back doors in forty-five minutes.

I was all smiles. I might get out of there before the rains came.

“Here you go, Joe. Sign the top copy for me. The other copies are for you and the customer. What's Aurora like? You been there?”

“Yeah, I've been everywhere. Aurora is beside Denver. The Rockies tower over the region to the west. I'd have to say it's one of the more beautiful places I go to.”

“I'd like to see that. You like driving a truck?” Jeremy asked.

“I love it. It's in my blood. Can't wait to get on the road again,” I sang without sounding a bit like Willie.

“I might try it one day. Have a good trip,” Jeremy said.

“Here,” I said, handing Jeremy a five dollar bill. “Go get you and your buddy a soda and a snack. I appreciate the professional load.”

“I'm going to be here all day, Joe. My pleasure if I can get one of you drivers in and out in an hour,” Jeremy said. “Thanks.”

I stopped just outside the door to look into the drab sky. It was even more bleak when I came out. They predicted rain that afternoon, Maybe I could get west of it before it started.

I marked two hours at the shipper, which bought me a few more minutes of driving time.

I made sure my log agreed with where I was before starting the engine. New York mostly lets the truckers roll if you aren't driving like a fool. Being stopped wasn't a big risk. If I have all my driving time for the day ahead of me, I can set a moderate pace and get to where I'm going on time.

I wasn't a scofflaw in general but if I drove the way the Feds want me to drive, I'd go broke fast. The cops know this and they aren't going to bust you for having a log that doesn't quite agree with where you are. If you're driving like a fool and smokey gets on your tail, he's going to examine you right down to your boxer shorts, and then, that log better be right.

I know when I'm fit to be on the highway and when to pull over to get some sleep. Needless to say, all truckers aren't the same. I suppose a trucker somewhere can drive according to some bureaucrat's idea of a good way to drive. I can't.

I wanted my driving time ahead of me and the miles behind me. For the first day and a half, I stopped as few times as necessary. You never knew what was ahead of you. My operation was organized to deliver on time every time and that's what I did. Dispatchers appreciated my reliability and they gave me good loads,

If I stayed on schedule, I would sleep in Columbus, Ohio before midnight. I'd be up at three to get to the far side of Indianapolis before their morning rush hour got underway. It was good straight road into St. Louis. I'd be there before noon the next day. I”d sleep in western Kansas tomorrow night. It would leave three to four hours into Aurora for a delivery time of 1p.m. Wednesday.

The one thing I couldn't do anything about was the weather. It began to rain as I shifted up through the gears on the ramp to the Interstate. I was heading west. The rain was coming east. I didn't know how much rain there was or when I might run out of it.

I started losing time as the rain picked up. It was a typical spring rain storm. I adjusted my speed accordingly. I drove at fifty for ten or twelve miles, dropped to forty-five for a couple of miles, before dropping to forty. I didn't want to pull over. if it got worse, I'd get as far over on the shoulder as I dare go and wait it out. With my lights and flashers on, four-wheelers wouldn't have a problem seeing me.

The schedule I had in my head began to adapt to the time I was losing. The one adjustable calculation in the equation was my time in the bunk. I could adjust my speed upward a few miles an hour above my usual 62mph running speed. For now that would be the plan.

My log didn't consider weather related delays. As long as I kept moving, I would be OK. I wasn't in trouble yet and rain that slows me down by twenty miles-an-hour didn't last long.

As I moved west, the storm would be moving east. I'd run out of it in time. It didn't become stressful at this point. It was another day with different weather conditions from yesterday. There would be different weather conditions tomorrow. I was moving toward Aurora a bit slower than I'd planned.

An hour after I drove onto the super slab, my windshield wipers weren't keeping up with the rain. I strained to see ahead, I was on the verge of pulling off the highway. I'd lose way more time if I had an accident. The traffic was almost nonexistent but it only took one car to do something stupid that caused accidents.

It was then I saw a lone figure walking along the side of the road. He was walking. Before long he'd be doing the backstroke. I was looking for a reason to pull over. This seemed like it.

Putting on my flashers, I eased onto the shoulder. Looking in my right side mirror, I saw a medium size guy running toward the truck. It took a minutes or two before I felt him climbing onto the truck.

The door swung open and a teenage boy dropped into the passenger seat. Water was dripping down his face. He used his hands to wipe it away.

I automatically began moving again. I was somewhat distracted by the passenger. Taking short glances while I shifted back up through the gears, merging back onto a nearly an empty western New York highway. Before I was back up to cruising speed, the rain stopped.

The day was immediately brighter in more ways than one.

There was going to be some awkwardness directly after I picked up a stranger. He'd want to see if I looked like a serial killer and I'd be looking for signs he could be trouble.

In general truckers are safe, in spite of the many assholes who claim to be truckers but are really only guys steering a rig. I've heard of a killer truck driver or two and there are killer hitchhikers out there. The odds I'd pick one up were one in a million. I didn't pick up people over their early twenties. By twenty-two or three, if a guy hadn't pointed himself into some kind of productive direction, he might look for an easy way to get where he was going.

Younger guys hadn't had time to become devils. It takes longer than that to crate a believable facade for evil people. Yes, I've known teenagers who could con you out of your only pair of shoes, but playing the odds, he's not likely to end up on my truck.

This kid had piercing blue eyes and black hair. At first blush i suspected he was exactly what he looked like he was. I usually had to break the ice. It was my world the guy entered and he'd probably wait for me to tell him where I was going. That opened the door for a hitchhiker to tell me how far he wanted to go.

There was nothing better than company when conditions were less than optimal. Someone to talk to and learn about could lower the stress. It took my mind off the weather and the time I was losing.

Once he hit the seat, I couldn't tell much about him.

I looked at him to get a clear view once I was at cruising speed. The rain had stopped. The pavement was wet. Traffic was light. I would stay at 55mph until the pavement dried a little.

“Oh, man, you don't know what a sight for sore eyes you are. I'm Roger.”

“I'm Joe Buck. I wouldn't have seen you in time to stop if I was petal to the metal,” I said. “Your lucky day.”

“No one else saw me in this mess,” he said. “Thanks for stopping. I was about to go down for the third time.”

He was all wet but he had a sense of humor. I liked that.

The water dripped from his black hair and ran down his face. He used his hands to interrupt the flow.

I reached behind me and took a towel out of the laundry I did that morning. Tossing the towel at him, it landed on his head.

He giggled.

I liked him already. I began to doubt he was going more than a few exits. He was too clean and too normal acting to be a vagabond.

I never knew how far a guy was going to go when I pulled over. Regardless of how far he went, it was a brief interlude in a long day.

“Thanks. You're a life saver. It wasn't raining when I got out there,” he said, using the towel to dry his face and hair.

“Put your jacket on the back of the seat. It'll dry there. Put whatever else you want to dry on the doghouse or on the dash. They'll dry in a few hours,” I said.

“Can you beat that,” Roger said. “It stopped raining.”

“I'm heading for Aurora, Colorado. I deliver there the day after tomorrow,” I said. “Where you heading, Roger.”

His happiness was short lived. Maybe he was going further than I thought. It wasn't a hard question if you had somewhere to go. It became problematic if a guy got out there not knowing where he could go, and then, It was a question without an answer.

I drove into an increasingly brighter day. The rain stopped and the clouds weren't hanging quite as low. There was no sign of any blue sky but my visibility was good. I pushed my speed up to 65 miles-per-hour. My usual cruising speed was 62. I would get back any time I lost in the rain by some time tomorrow.

I didn't persist with the question I asked. He heard me. I could wait for a reply. The longer it took for him to decide on an answer usually meant it would be better for me. Going a short distance took a short answer. Having no place to go took longer.

“Aurora is good for me. I always wanted a look at Colorado,” he said, saying a lot more than he intended to say.

When I looked over at him the next time, he was bare chested and using the towel to dry his shoulders and arms. His skin had a purple hue. It was an indication he was chilled. I turned up the heat.

“A doghouse,” he said. “Can I ask you what's a doghouse?”

I put my hand on the engine cover that separated the passenger seat from the driver's seat.

“The doghouse covers the engine. Because the engine generates heat, clothes will dry fast on the doghouse,” I said, watching him strip out of his blue jeans.

“What?” Roger said, when he looked to see if I was looking.

“Nothing. I've never seen so much of a hitchhiker so quickly before,” I said.

His underwear went to his ankles before he hung them on the dash beside his socks.

“What?” he said. “You said they'd dry in a few hours. You never seen a naked guy before?”

I was already looking. I saw no reason to look away until I saw what he was packing.

“Oh, my,” I managed to say, before looking back at the road.

Lifting up, he began to dry his private parts. Seeing him with a well-developed peripheral vision, my eyes left the road again.

“I don't care if you watch,” he said.

My interest in him getting dry told Roger plenty about me. I looked for longer than it would take most straight guys to check out another dude's equipment. He was a distraction at this point and I couldn't afford more than a few quick glances.

We sped up a process that usually took a couple of days to come out. I made sure a passenger knew that I was gay before we ended up in the bunk together. He could opt out and sleep in the front passenger seat. A few guys started out sleeping there. Most asked for a tour of the bunk by the second or third day.

The request came after they knew I was gay. Most said they weren't gay. They were horny and after giving it some thought, the idea of sleeping naked with another dude didn't seem that far out.

I don't allow clothes from outside the bunk on my clean sheets. The last thing I needed was to climb in my bunk after an eighteen hour day and feel like I was sleeping in a gravel pit. One of the greatest pleasures for a trucker was getting prone in his bunk after a day that seemed like it might never end.

There were days like that and yes, not allowing clothes in my bunk was a good way to get skin to skin with someone I fancied. I could just sleep with guys who say no to sex, but the most adamant no can change after we're together for a while.

Companionship can be an aphrodisiac. In a culture forbidding male to male sexual contact didn't bargain on truckers and hitchhikers hooking up to take care of their needs.

Human nature, being what it is, trumps the idea of forbidden fruit. There is always a way to get one's needs met in a pinch, regardless of how much effort is made to prevent it. Most guys, not all, end up in my bunk. The longer a guy stays on the truck, after they know I'm gay, the better the chance he'll climb into my bunk one night and every night after that.

The more comfortable a guy becomes on the truck, the better the chance he'll ponder how to solve the problem of being perpetually horny. Finding out what guys do together comes to mind. For some, it isn't the first time they've thought about it.

Our culture spends a lot of time keeping guys from forming close friendships. Back slaps in bars between drinks is fine. You can even swat a guy's butt on the athletic field. Just don't do it in the showers.

That's about as close as you dare become to men in your world. There is a fear of getting too close. If you appear to like another man too much, it could start gossip.

“Isn't he a bit too friendly?”

Man talk translation, “I think he might be queer.”

As kids growing up, we have our best boy friends before we turn twelve. Boys are always together at nine, ten, and eleven. By the time they turn twelve, girls enter the picture and guys who have been life long friends drift apart.

Boys miss their close friends. Girls aren't boys. Girls are from another planet. While we knew our boy friends as well as we knew ourselves, girls were and always would be mysterious.

Once the discussion turns to girls, boys are never as close again.

It's as natural as going through puberty and learning to pull back from your boy friends. Once you reached high school, you were expected to date and find a nice girl you like. Doing anything else might suggest some homosexual tendencies. Who could afford that?

Some guys stay close friends but the majority will have no close male friends once they join the work-a-day world. There is no time for anything but work and family. These were a man's obligation.

The culture I live in would say that I'm taking advantage of vulnerable boys. That makes me bad. I believe that boys who stand on the side of highways with their thumbs out have been betrayed. If I can offer them security, a feeling they're safe with me, and offer them some affection they desperately need, I'm going to do it, because I knew what it was like being on the outside looking in.

I'm already hated. I endured a childhood that was no childhood. As seriously flawed as my parents were, my culture is no better. Feeling guilty for doing what I can to help guys who are having the same difficulties I had is what I'm able to do.

My truck can be a port in the storm. That was never more true than when Roger came on board. He was different. He was naked and not a bit bashful. He knew what my many glances his way meant.

So far, nothing else had been revealed, if you didn't count his nice body, thick athletic thighs, nice uncut penis, willing smile, vivid blue eyes and amazingly black hair that had started to dry.

“You looked fairly young at first. I now see how mature you are,” I said, wanting my looks to sound more polite than they were.

“My shoes are really wet. Can I put them on the doghouse?”

“Sure,” I said, glancing at him again.

Roger moved his underwear to the dashboard next to his socks. His shoes went next to his jeans. He felt around for the warmest spot on the doghouse, his shoes went there as he rearranged his gear.

I reached into the clothes basket to feel for one of my flannel shirts. This time I aimed for his head and scored a direct hit. It was my way of lightening the mood.

Roger giggled again.

Sitting next to a nice looking naked guy was a distraction. I couldn't afford to become distracted. My peripheral vision, along with a few well-timed glances, gave me the big picture. Any more than that would quickly become a hazard. I wouldn't allow that.

Roger was smiling when he Pulled the shirt off his head, he laid it across his lap while looking out at the highway ahead.

“You can wear that if you're cold,” I said. “It will be this evening before the clothes dry. The shoes won't be dry before tomorrow. I don't have an extra pair of shoes.”

“I'm fine,” he said. “Long way to Colorado,” he said.

He was fine. We were already in agreement on one thing.

Once his hair dried, he used his fingers to fluff it, he could have used a trim but his clear blue eyes created a rather nice look. His chest wasn't well developed. He had two perky quarter size nipples. My shirt covered his groin but not his black pubes. He was maybe five ten. I doubt he weighed more than one fifty.

He had muscular thighs. My passenger was a runner and his legs proved it. I managed my quick glances with care. Going went in rural New York, traffic thinned. Approaching the many small towns along the highway, traffic picked up before thinning again.

He caught my glances about half the time. He took the flannel shirt off his lap and put it on, leaving me a lovely view of his lap.

“Turn up the heat?” I asked.

I was plenty warm by then.

He knew I was watching him. Why try to hide the obvious. It was hard not to look at a good looking guy. I'd long ago given up being bashful and he smiled the next time I glanced at him.

“You don't think I look OK?” he asked.

“I think you look fine. I'm not accustomed to riding next to a good looking naked boy,” I said.

“You can look at me. You don't need to act like you aren't. I been around. I know the score,” he said, not sounding like he'd been all that far.

He knew it worked better for him when guys liked him. That wasn't exactly a well kept secret.

“I'm a little busy at the moment. You've shown me plenty. You're attractive. As if I need to tell you that. I know a good looking dude when I see one. You're a sexy dude.

“Do you do it with dudes?” he asked, after I told him I did with looks and words.

“There's only one reason one guy asks another guy that,” I said.

“Do you?” he persisted, knowing exactly what he just told me.

Roger wanted to go all the way but it remained to be seen how far he might go on my truck. We jumped ahead of the pace I was accustomed to after picking up a hitchhiker.

As fast as he sounded like he might be, there was a lot of ground to cover before we'd end up in the bunk together. I got no bad vibes from him but I didn't know a thing about him. I felt far better about a boy after we'd been talking for a day or two. Once I knew something about a boy, I could relax with him in the passenger seat.

“Do you?” he persisted, looking at my face as he asked. “You can say you don't. Your eyes don't say no,” he said, looking away from my face onto the road ahead of us.

“I like good company. You seem like you'd be good company even with your clothes on. Yes, I do guys. It's my policy not to do a guy the first day. It takes time to get use to each other.”

Roger smiled to himself while watching the road ahead. We'd discussed the most ticklish aspect of a new dude getting on the truck a day or two earlier than the subject usually came up.

When I pick up a nice looking dude, I know if we'll take a roll in the hay within a day or two. I can go either way with guys I like. A good way to run a new guy off, make him think he's got to sleep with me to ride along. It wasn't the case. Good company is worth more to me than bad sex. I prefer no sex to bad sex.”

The road is a funny place. You'll find the things on the road you find in any town or city. Whatever you're looking for, it's out there. I was always looking for love and companionship,

Guys who stand on the side of the road with their thumbs out are often looking for more than a ride. They aren't situated in a place where they want to be, so they are moving on. Boys who are on the move are usually more flexible than boys who are situated in a place they like. While a few guys bolted as quick as I said, 'I'm gay,' most don't. Most think about the implications and even if they've never done it with a guy, they'll consider it rather than say, 'Let me out.'

When I pick up a guy, it's unclear where he'll fit on the scale of sexual proclivities. Most guys tell me they haven't done it with a dude. Some say, 'I've thought about it.' I don't read a lot into that, but even straight guys admit they've given it some thought.

It doesn't mean a thing but that admission surprises me. When I grow up, being queer was the worst thing. The idea of homosexuality may not be quite as bad as it once was, most of what's said is negative thanks to preachers and politicians.

They profiteer in fear of the other. Hatred is what keeps their followers behind them. Having all their rights, they spend a lot of time seeking to deny the rights they have to others. That in itself tells me how dangerous preachers and politicians can be.

What I knew would qualify as anecdotal information gathered from guys who I pick up on the sides of the nations highways. It might not be consistent with the majority of guys in our culture, but I don't know that for certain. If you are seeking real life information, dudes who get on my truck qualify. Since I'm on my truck, I qualify.

A guy like Roger had a story to tell and until I began hearing it, I wouldn't know what I wanted to do. Accepting him at face value with the little bit I knew wasn't wise. Roger was looking for something.

It was easy for me to get attached to guys who stayed a while. Some wanted some intimacy and liked the motion of a big rig. Becoming attached to a dude didn't mean he was attached to me. Not attached enough to stay for more than two or three months.

That was the average stay for most hitchhikers. I could usually see the end coming. It was never easy to say goodbye. I gave them a number to call if they needed me. If they hit another rough patch, they had someone to call and some did call.

Roger read the situation accurately. Getting naked is a sure way to get a gay guy's attention. There was nothing not to like about him. We would ride and get acquainted for now. There was a long way to go before I slept.

“You hungry,” I asked.

I'd had the waitress make me two roast beef sandwiches, onion and mustard, while I was eating breakfast. On a normal run, I wouldn't stop again that day for food.

Roger didn't answer right away. He was busy looking at my face. I realized that guys who get on my truck were as curious about me as I was about them. They'd likely never been on a big rig before.

“I could eat,” he finally said.

“Behind you on the bunk is a cooler. On top are two roast beef sandwiches. I had them fixed with mustard and onion. It's the way I like them. Take the sandwiches out and down in the ice are Cokes. It's what I drink,” I said.

“Mustard and onion is good. I drink Coke too,” he said, letting the flannel shirt slide behind him,

He knelt in the seat to reach back into the cooler on the bunk behind him.

I got a good look at Roger's body before I was looking at his top ten butt. It went with his legs and the idea he was athletic.

Roger had my attention again. I was hungry for the sandwich but my appetite was in tune with whatever Roger wanted to do. He looked over his shoulder one time to be sure I hadn't missed his ass.

I noticed he was uncircumcised. His dick was a tan color, except with half an erection, a purplish head peaked out from under the tan skin. By the time he finished rubbing it against the back of the seat, he was erect. Roger was a keeper. I was enjoying his audition.

Was he trying a bit too hard?

It could have been part of a plan or just what happened while he was naked and getting our lunch together. He made no attempt to hide his erection. I reminded myself that I was driving a big rig.

When things went south on a big rig, they went south in a hurry. I got my attention back where it belonged.

“Hand me the sandwich,” I said without looking at him. “Open the Coke and put it in the holder on my side of the doghouse.”

I took the sandwich from him and placed it on the bulge in my jeans. When he put the Coke in the holder, His hand touched my arm.

I looked. He picked up my sandwich and unwrap the paper off of one half. As he set it back down, his hand was on my bulge. Giving it a quick squeeze, he put the sandwich back from where he got it.

“Yes, I am. Yes, I do,” Roger said, sitting back on his side of the truck. “I feel responsible for doing that to you? I didn't plan to get caught out in the rain.”

“Roger, are you always this forward with a guy you don't know?”

“Never!” he said too quickly.

He reconsidered his words.

“Almost never. Once. I was hitchhiking near my house. This guys stopped. Nice car. Baby seat in the back. Nice looking guy, maybe twenty-two or three. He begins telling me how horny he is. His wife is pregnant with their second child. He hasn't had pussy in a month of Sundays. He's feeling the bulge in his jeans,” he said.

“I don't think I look gay. Maybe I do,” he said. “Anyway, maybe he just needed a guy to talk to. He was in a bad way. 'I can help you with that if you'd like me to. I said to him.'”

“He looks at me with his mouth open. Like he hadn't thought of that as a solution before. He didn't hesitate. He unzipped his fly and is trying to work his dick out of his pants. I figured he'd say, 'I'm straight. I got a wife and kid.' He didn't. I moved his hand to fish his overheated flesh out of his pants. He breathed heavy, expectant like. He gasped once I went down on him. He needed to pull over,” he said.

“I'm not believing I'm even doing this. I gave no thought to not doing it. He's a nice size. Smells really sexy. His hand is on the back of my head. He's lifting up to get more of my mouth down on him. He sounded like he was running a marathon. I was ready to explode. It's the hottest thing I ever did. I do a guy I've known since forever. We get together a couple of times a week,” Roger said. “Jay's big. Hard to get beyond his head. This dude is a good mouth full. I've never sucked a harder dick. I mean he was so hard he couldn't stand it. His hand is on the back of my head pushing me down on him as he's lifts off the seat. He had it in my throat. I was so hot I didn't care,” he said.

“There was no warning at all. No, oh by the way, I'm ready to blast off in three, two, one, lift off,” Roger said. “I hadn't swallowed before that. It was OK. He let me off him to get some air once he calmed down a little. I made a mess in my pants before he finished. It ended way too quick. I felt no guilt. I wanted to go again. I knew guys have limitations,” he said. “And this guy's straight.”

“He didn't say anything. His dick laid across his thigh. It never got soft. It was plump and pink. I figured he was feeling guilty about doing it with a dude.”

“Your friend Jay is gay?” I asked.

“No. He's always with a girl. We been doing stuff since he started puberty. We just never stopped. Jay isn't like the guy I told you about. I hope I didn't disappoint you.”

“No,” he said, “We can drive around for a few minutes, I'll let you do it again if you want to,” he said. “I'll take you anywhere you want to go if you do that again. I really need it bad.”

“Sure,” I said. “I don't mind.”

“Did you do him again?” I asked.

“Sure. He was nothing like Jay. I was afraid to give him my phone number and tell him to call if he needed help with it. He was hot to trot. Took him five minutes to say I could do it again. He found a nice dark spot where we weren't as exposed. This time he lasted a while longer. He wasn't as rough. I stayed down on him after he finished. He rested his hand on the side of my face as he recovered his equilibrium,” Roger said softly as if he was experiencing it again. “His hand was soft.”

Roger's voice tailed off.

“I've never told anyone that story before. Do you think I'm a slut, Joe? I thought about him a lot. I liked him.”

“Hardly. Sounds like you're a healthy, horny, young man. He was every bit as horny as you were,” I said.

“He was,” Roger said with a smile.

The imagery didn't do anything for my condition. He didn't say anything for a while.

“I was only doing it with Jay last year,” he said. “I don't hitchhike much. Haven't had any guys picking me up and ask me to do it. I guess, he didn't really ask but I knew what he wanted.”

“Did you ask him his name?” I asked.

“He wouldn't have told me. He was straight,” he said. “He'd have been worried I'd go looking for him.”

Removing the paper off the sandwich, he took a major bite, swigging from the Coke while a

he chewed.

He watched me watch the highway ahead. We were going through a small town in southwestern New York. The traffic thinned out almost as soon as it picked up as I maintained 65mph. “It was good to feel someone else is hard,” he said. “That's the one time I did someone I didn't know. Like I said, I been doing Jay next to forever. He's not gay but he's always horny. That's good for me. Too risky trying to get with other guys at school. That's a lesson I was almost sure I'd learned.”

“I don't know what to say,” I said.

“I been around,” he confirmed for me.

Roger chewed and drank. He took short glances at me now.

“I admit, being naked is liberating. You picked me up. You let me get dry. Gave me your shirt. Now you're feeding me. When I noticed your bulge, I decided I'd do something for you. It seemed like the thing to do at the time.”

I laughed and lifted my hand so he could see it hadn't changed.

“Testimony to how nice you look,” I said.

It was his turn to laugh. I could see he was relaxing. There's usually an edge to a dude for some miles before he begins feeling comfortable. The further they get from whatever they left behind them, the more relaxed they become.

I wasn't sure what Roger left behind him. I was sure he was a lucky find for me. I wanted him to feel at home on the truck. I'd do my best to help him if he'd let me.

For now we ate lunch while watching the highway ahead.

“What are you doing out there on a day like this?” I asked. “Nice boy like you should be in school. Going home to mommy and daddy.”

He chewed his roast beef carefully and then he drank Coke for another minute.

“There's plenty of Coke. Drink what you like,” I said, and he looked at his half full bottle.

I didn't press him. I kept my eyes straight ahead, as we went through another tiny town along the Interstate. It's where four-wheelers darted on and off without the benefit of signals or even checking to see if some other vehicle might already be using the space they intend to use.

I understood the drivers of four-wheelers had places to go and they were in a hurry to get there. A trucker needs to drive his truck and the cars around him if he wants everyone to arrive safely at his destination. Ramps on and off the Interstate were often a hazard if you didn't stay alert. You wanted to see trouble coming. Once it arrived, it was too late to be careful.

The day was brighter and the further west I went the more dry the pavement became. Silence took over as Roger yawned. We'd said hello and learned a bit about each other.

Not talking was kewl, especially when one of the two people had a lot to think about. A new guy on the truck meant processing the environment while deciding how far to go. A guy who says he'll go all the way is unusual on the first day. A guy on the side of the highway might not have anywhere to go when I stop for him.

Guys hitchhiking usually start with a plan to leave where they are. Being somewhere else is the plan. I'd wait for Roger to feel like talking. Some guys don't talk about why they're out there. As the miles tick off, thoughts of where they might go become more clear.

Roger laid his head on his jeans. The monotony of the road lulled him to sleep. He was wearing the flannel shirt and his head and body hid his nether regions, which was good. I could keep my mind on the road as the miles ticked off.

I needed to be a thousand miles from Utica by this time tomorrow afternoon. That meant keeping the wheels rolling and staying out of the rack, no matter how hot to trot my passenger is.

A soft breathing sound came from Roger as he slept. I was told that anyone who could sleep while someone else drove him meant, you trusted the driver. I thought his sleep was more from exhaustion than trust. He was young and if I could help him over this pothole in his road of life, I'd feel good about that.

Guys end up on the side of the road for a lot of reasons. Few are in trouble but most run from trouble. I'd probably heard most of the reasons why guys run. Growing up was no picnic at my house. I planned to run at fifteen. I packed my knapsack but I lacked the courage to run. I gutted it out until I grew up.

What I knew about Roger, he got naked faster than any boy I'd known and he was sleeping soundly after he got dry, warm, and fed. I read that as an indication that he was comfortable for now. Walking away from your life couldn't be easy.

Stepping off into the unknown was risky business. There is evil and good driving the highways. When you stand with your thumb out, most cars you get into, you can get out of, but anything you find in and around where you live, you'll find on the highways. You can find kindness. You can find danger. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to sense that you've gotten into the wrong car or truck.

 

. I knew what I knew from the boys who got on my truck. I knew what I knew from my own life. Attractive or not, gay or not, we were from the same place. We were unacceptable, the outcasts. We didn't belong and we were told that we weren't welcome here, because we refused to conform. We refused to fit into the neat little social slots we are assigned.

Growing up was made tougher by a one size fits all society who wants you to work for the sake of working. It was OK to hate your job and object to pay that didn't pay the bills each month. You were contributing to making the rich richer. You were allowing the elite to gain more wealth and trickle it down on you. It's a bogus bargain I could live without.

Most teens get themselves sliced and diced into neat little boxes. They're organized, and regimented into neat acceptable categories. You're in. you're out. No provisions for those of us that can't fit into those categories deemed acceptable.

Some of us simply don't fit. Those were the boys who ended up on my truck. A lot of those boys were a lot like me. If they lasted three days, they'd be with me a while. Three days was the time it took for a guy to decide he liked moving. In three days he knew enough about me to decide if he wanted to stay.

I found where I belonged by doing what I loved. After getting my learner's permit and sat behind the wheel, I was at home. This is what I was meant to do. I wanted to drive and keep on driving.

I like company. I like the spontaneous helpful guys. The very thing that put them in conflict with the life they left was the reason they fit on a truck that had no real destination. The one thing they knew after three days, they'd be moving tomorrow and the day after.

By watching me they knew what needed doing. The best guys would immediately get out when I got out to fuel, and they'd clean my windshield. Go get us cold drinks and put out the trash. At each stop they saved me time and that earned them points and I gave them cash once they decided to leave. I'd feed them and accept their company while they sat in the passenger's seat.

I didn't need to ask them to help. They didn't need to be asked. I wasn't sure of the meaning of it all. Each guy taught me something. Each guy was different. Most were good company. If given the choice of having someone in the right seat or not, I'd go for someone being in it .

Some guys aren't the best company or great conversationalists, but their presence makes the road easier on me.

Roger wanted to see Colorado. He didn't have a bag, which meant he only had the clothes he wore. I hadn't missed that. Did he make a sudden departure? Was he in some kind of trouble?

No, I was sure he didn't run away from trouble. Roger was clean as a whistle. He had no deep dark secrets to hide. He might have a clean white secret he doesn't want revealed. As I relived the squeeze he gave me, I let my right hand come to rest on the back of his rich thick black mane.

He sighed but didn't move. Being touched didn't threaten him.

The day turned lighter the further we went. There was no sun and the clouds didn't give up so much as a scintilla of blue sky. There would be no more rain. Traffic was light to moderate and the sounds the truck made were as familiar as could be. Any variation in the sounds could be the first sign of trouble. I had routine maintenance done while I was at the house. Because of it, trouble wasn't likely.

I drove I-81 through Scranton, Pennsylvania. It was usually a three hour run from Utica to Scranton. It took me almost four hours.

I'd fallen behind because of the rain. Once I fell behind, I ended up in scranton's rush hour traffic, and I lost more time.

After negotiating the Scranton traffic, I turned west toward Pittsburgh. The traffic grew lighter and I kicked my speed to 65mph. I wasn't worried about a ticket. The four-wheelers were all doing 75mph. Like New York, Pennsylvania didn't hassle truckers if you weren't driving erratic.

I planned on being in Columbus, Ohio around 10 o'clock. There was a big mall on the western side of Columbus. I parked there to get some sleep. I'd be up before three and make a dash for Indianapolis. I'd get through town before their morning rush hour started, and I'd cruise into St. Louis before noon if nothing slowed me down.

I'd make sure I was driving on a good log when I left Indiana and entered Illinois. Northern Illinois, around Chicago, was one of the worst places truckers drove through. If I was going to be pulled over, I'd be pulled over in either Illinois or Missouri. I wanted everything looking good while going across Illinois.

I'd be on I-70 all day, after passing St. Louis. I'd stop for dinner and fuel at about 8 o'clock the next day. I might or might not sleep then. I would be close enough to Colorado to get a full nights sleep and be in Aurora hours before my 1 o'clock delivery time in two days.

Being five hours into the run, it was surprising how accurate my estimates were. After years of driving the highways and byways of the country, I instinctively knew when I'd be where. I didn't need to give it a lot of thought. I'd been that way a dozen times before.

Roger slept until we reached the far side of Scranton. He sat up like something chased him out of his dream. I suspected whatever had him standing on the side of the road was responsible. He had demons on his tail and he wasn't certain he could outrun them.

I wasn't attracted to all boys. I had my type but Roger fit comfortably within the range of boys I did like. It wasn't a good idea to get too close to one. I'd had guys ride along and seeming perfectly content, and then one day they say, “Let me out at the next ramp.

If a guy stays on my truck a few days, and wasn't sure how far he'd go, those words came as a surprise. To me, a guy and a truck go together. Not everyone likes being on the move all the time and one day they've had enough.

Losing a companion was never a good day for me, but I'd been on the highways long enough to know that tomorrow, the day after, or the day after that, I'd round the bend and the next guy would enter my world.

Today it was Roger. There wasn't the question of how far he was going or how far he'd go. Circumstances being what they were, most of Roger's secrets were quickly exposed. I wasn't going to pretend he wasn't attractive or that I wasn't attracted to him.

Those were easy to establish. What put Roger on the side of the road was another question. Some guys don't want to talk about why they are out there. The truck was better than standing in the pouring rain. How much better remained to be seen.

He pulled the flannel shirt tight around himself and sat with his hands between naked thighs. He stared straight out the windshield.

His thoughts were invisible as the day passed us by. We'd moved another twenty miles south before he had something to say.

“Where are we?” Roger asked.

“We left Scranton a ways back. We'll be in Pittsburgh between seven and eight. I hope to be on the far side of Columbus before I get some sleep. Once we leave Columbus, and I'll need to get started between two and three in the morning. We'll be able to be on the far side of Indianapolis by the time rush hour begins. It's an easy drive to St. Louis from there if we don't hit a snag. That's if I maintain 65 miles-per-hour.”

“Isn't 65 over the speed limit for trucks?” he asked.

“My cruising speed is 62. I lost time in the rain so I'll hold it on 65 until I'm back on schedule some time tomorrow.”

“What's in Pittsburgh? I mean why Pittsburgh?”

“I-70 takes us close to Pittsburgh. I'll take I-70 all the way to Aurora and I'll deliver at one in the afternoon the day after tomorrow. “I haven't seen you look at a map. How do you know all that?”

“Second nature. I've been everywhere there is to go in the country. I use an atlas and plan my route if I have any doubts about where I'm heading. This run is easy. Utica to Aurora is a straight shot and all good Interstate highway. I know where to stop for the cheapest fuel and the best food.”

“We haven't stopped,” he observed.

“No more than necessary on the first day. I run flat out to get the miles behind me. I lost a little time in the rain. There'll be plenty of time to stop tomorrow,” I said.

“Smart,” Roger thought out loud.

“What's that?”

“Getting the miles behind you. If you run into trouble, you have time to get out of trouble and still be OK on time,” he said.

“Clever lad. That's exactly the reason. I'm caught up on sleep and my truck just came out of the shop for routine maintenance. Those are all things I can control and I do. If something unpredictable comes up, I've got most of the miles behind me so I deliver on time.”

“That's important,” Roger said.

“That makes the difference. When a dispatch gives me a load, he doesn't need to worry if it will be there on time. He knows it will. I've only delivered late one time. That was to Boston. I broke a drive shaft coming over the mountains into eastern Massachusetts. I was hauling mudflaps. No one was standing on the dock waiting to get more mudflaps. My only breakdown in a half million miles,” I bragged.

“That's lucky,” Roger said.

“I have a damn good mechanic and when I leave my truck for him to go over, I know he'll do it right and not rip me off. I imagine he's saved me many thousands of dollars because he is a good mechanic,” I said.

Roger went back to looking out ahead of us.

“I can crank up the heat,” I said.

“No, your shirt is warm,” he said, hugging it around him. “Smells good.”

“A little big on you but it keeps me warm on the worst days.”

“You don't wear a coat?” he asked.

“I have one if I'm going to be out in the weather for a while. To fuel, go in and out of truck stops, I wear a flannel shirt on colder days. I don't feel the cold or the heat that much any longer,” I said.

“On some days I start a run in Florida. It's maybe 80 degrees. I might end the day in western North Carolina or in the Ozarks. Might be 40 or 50 degrees colder than when i started. I might switch from a short sleeve shirt to a long sleeve, but I don't need a coat most days. The truck is plenty warm and I'm not outside for long.”

“You like it?” Roger asked, looking at me now.

“Like what?”

“Driving a truck. Doesn't it get boring?” he asked. “I don't drive.”

“Actually, I love driving a truck. I thought I might like being a trucker when I was ten. I love the country. I love that it's different each day. When I leave the house, I put Willie Nelson in my tape player. On The Road Again, plays after I start the engine and before I put her in gear,” I said. “That song says it all. On the road again, I can't wait to be on the road again,” I sang.

Roger laughed at the picture I painted for him.

“Where's home?”

“Maryland,” I said.

We drove in silence for the next half hour. Feeling his underwear, he lifted up to pull them over his but. His black pubes and uncut penis remained in the air long enough for me to get the full picture.

“Do you think my dick's ugly?” he asked, holding the elastic band out so he could see his penis.

“No, I don't,” I said. “Why would you ask that?”

“I think it's ugly. It's got the skin covering the head. My friends are all circumcised. When they get hard they're all pink and pretty. When I get hard, it's purple on the head and my dick is brown. It's ugly,” he said, letting go of the elastic with a snap.

“I don't remember having a conversation about a boy's dick before. Especially not after a few hours on the truck,” I said.

“You pick up a lot of guys?” he asked.

“If he looks OK and he's standing with his thumb out, I pick him up. If I get bad vibes, I drop him off at a the first truck stop.”

“My back was turned. How'd you know I looked OK,” he asked.

“You were lucky. The weather had me running slower than usual. Under those conditions, I'd have picked up a guy in the rain no matter how he looked. Like I said, I can drop him off at the next truck stop.”

“You going to drop me off?”

“Your wearing my flannel. I gave you one of my roast beef sandwiches, which means I've got to make a food stop I hadn't planned on making. You're as cute as hell and your dick is beautiful.”

“You're just horny,” he said with a coy smile.

“My being horny isn't unusual. I think it's the bounce of the truck that does it.”

“That's what it is. The bounce of the truck,” Roger said as if he'd made a new discovery.

He laughed.

“But you end up in bed with most of them?” he asked.

“Most, not all. Some guys aren't built that way. Guys on the road are usually looking for something and they'll give it a try once they find out I'm gay. It is a solution to being horny no matter which way your proclivities lean, and most guys are terminally horny,” I said. “Doing something about it is usually better than doing nothing.”

“Ain't that the truth,” Roger said, sitting back and watching out the front window.

“We going to sleep together?” Roger asked.

“That's your call. I wouldn't kick you out of my bed,” I said.

Roger laughed.

“I've never heard that before. I will because you're nice. This morning I thought I'd never sleep with anyone again,” he said. “Boys are such major assholes. They want it, until they get it, and then they blame you for giving it to them. Assholes.”

I let that lay where it landed. There were miles to go before I slept and Roger was a talker as well as a looker. I'd picked up boys like him before. They're a mixture of feelings and emotions. Teenage boys have a tough road to go down. You're damned when you do it and there's the guilt trip that's laid on you after you did it. I knew it was better on both of us if I didn't ask questions.

The first boy I picked up after becoming a big time trucker, was running from something. He didn't want to talk about it. Like every adult he knew, I gave him the third degree. I was curious.

He didn't get out at the next exit. He got out at the first truck stop after I stopped. After I bought him lunch, and it was time to leave, He said, “I'm staying here. You ask too many questions. If I wanted to be questioned, I'd have stayed home.”

I realized that I had no right to any information a guy hitchhiking didn't want to give me. If he wanted to talk, he'd talk. We went a lot further together if I let him decide when he was ready to talk.

I learned I wasn't a big time trucker at all. I thought I was. I had a truck and I was driving it. Every day was a struggle. I worked eighteen hour days to get everything done. I was perpetually exhausted. I needed to consider everything I did, so i wouldn't fuck something up and cost myself more time.

One morning I got out of my bunk, slid into my boots and jeans, and I cranked my truck up. Everything was clear to me. I knew how to do everything I needed to do. I no longer had to think it over before doing it. After three months, I became a big time trucker.

I learned to be a trucker and I was learning about hitchhikers.

Roger seemed natural and the doghouse didn't separate us. Roger appeared to be comfortable in the seat beside me. He didn't allow the doghouse to become an obstacle between us. He relaxed by the time he was wide awake. The motion of the truck became part of him faster than it did for most.

He didn't mind talking and I enjoyed listening to him. As time passed his story began to come out.

“I play soccer,” he said casually enough.

“Explains those thighs. You're athletic without being too muscular,” I said.

“I like my thighs,” he said, feeling one and then the other.

I knew there was more. This is where the story begins. I waited as we moved down the highway. There was a Burger King along the highway with truck parking behind the store. It only took five minutes to get parked and go in to order burgers, fries, and more Coke.

I left the truck running and the exit from Burger King was directly across from the I-70 west bound ramp. I put my fries in the slot beside the doghouse. The Coke went into the holder on the door. The burger rested between my thighs, warming my crotch.

Ten minutes after driving into the truck parking, I was on the ramp shifting back up through the gears.

“I like Whoppers. Got all the junk on it to make a meal,” Roger said, unwrapping enough of the burger to take a good size bite.

“Um,” he said. “This is so nice. Thank you, Joe.”

“They aren't always this hot. I want everything on my burgers and Pizza,” I explained. “Pizza takes too long while I”m on a run.” Once we were clear of the small town's traffic, I unwrapped mine and savored the hot food. The burger easily rested between my thighs. I alternately drank Coke and munched fries. In fifteen minutes there was enough Coke left to mingle nicely with the melting ice.

We were passing Pittsburgh an hour later. It was not quite 7 o'clock. I'd easily make Columbus by 10 o'clock.

At 3 o'clock I'd slide into my jeans and cowboy boots. I'd make tracks for Indianapolis and be in St. Louis before noon. I was making up time and I'd stick to the schedule I kept in my mind.

I was negotiating the last of Pittsburgh's traffic. Roger had a hot meal and was relaxing. An hour before he put on his jeans. His shirt, shoes and socks remained on the doghouse. He was becoming accustomed to the rhythm of a truck. He alternately looked out ahead of the truck, checked the West Coast mirror on his side, and he watched me handle the biggest vehicle he'd ever ridden in.

As we approached the Ohio state line, Roger began to talk.

“We won our big game against Ithaca. It's our biggest game in the spring. The team stayed at the Holiday Inn overnight. Ajax and Roy got the beer shortly after the coaches left and we partied.”

“Ajax?” I said. “Lofty company you keep. I think Ajax the Greater was only a little less highly regarded in Greek mythology than Achilles, I do believe,” I said.

“In a game our junior year, Jay is the guys real name, took the ball straight down the field. Two defenders moved into a position to block him. He split the difference, knocking one guy off his feet to the right and the other to the left. He ended up kicking the ball past the goalie for the winning goal that day. We won 3-2. The coach, a history teacher, said, 'Jay, from now on, you're Ajax. He was a greats in Greek Mythology Maybe he could have pulled off that shot, but I've never seen a more beautiful set of moves on a soccer pitch.”

“I've known Jay since elementary school. He lives two blocks over from my house. He was always the biggest and most athletic kid. If you were picking sides, Jay was picked first. We always ended up on the same side and we were always playing together. It's just the way it was,” he told me.

I waited. This wasn't the story. He was leading up to the story. I recognized the pattern. He saw his life as he explained it to me.

“When we became seniors, Jay was the captain. Someone else might have had his name mentioned, but Jay was going to be the captain of the school's soccer team his senior year. He scored as many goals the year before as anyone in our conference.”

“You can get a Coke to pour over the ice you have left,” I said.

“You want one?” he asked.

“Yes. I'd like one too,” I said.

I was sipping my refreshed Coke by the time he was talking again.

“In elementary school, when we played, 'show me yours and I'll show you mine,' Jay was the first to show off his dick. One day he told me, 'Guys give me a quarter to see my dick. I let them feel on it for a buck,' He was the first in our circle to go through puberty and he was always bigger than anyone else. I gave him my quarter and he laughed. When I gave him a buck, he guided my hand onto him. We've been doing it ever since.”

Roger drank more Coke and stared into the distance to see what he was going to say next..

“He's good looking and he always has a girlfriend or two, but guys hang around him. Especially at practice and after school. I knew I was attracted to him and he spent more time with me than with anyone. I really liked Jay,” Roger said.

“One night after a game, this was way back when, his folks took us out for pizza. He said I should stay over and sleep in his bed. I could have slept in the guest room but Jay said, 'Sleep with me. My bed is plenty big enough.' Big enough for what I wasn't clear on until he wanted to play hide the sausage. I ended up on the receiving end. It was confusing for about a minute and a half and then we went at it for the next few hours. I knew I was gay before I knew I was in love with Jay” he said. “We've been doing it ever since that first night. After games, especially when he scores the winning goal, he's really horny and it's hard to hide it but his parents are kewl about it.”

“They know you're having sex together?” I asked.

“From the things they say, yeah, they know their little boy is screwing me. His parents are like old hippies. Live and let live types. I sleep over his house two nights a week so we can be together. Life has never been better,” he said.

“Roy's a soccer player too. He came along in our sophomore year. I always thought Roy and Jay were doing it. I didn't know when they found time but Jay and I had gotten together at school a few times. He knew places where we could have privacy. By then Jay was always going with a girl or two,” Roger explained.

Roger paused as we drove into the night. He'd already told me more about his sex life than most guys I picked up. Most guys didn't talk about what they'd done before. Most guys Roger's age weren't absolutely sure of which way they swung.

I didn't want to interrupt his story and I drove in silence for what seemed like a long time. I was almost certain that whatever came next would match up to the reason why he was out on the highway.

“We won the big game and we stayed over in Ithaca. Ajax and I usually shared a room when we did. He'd always be super excited when we won, and if he scored the winning goal, which he did from time to time, he was super horny those nights and he couldn't wait to ditch everyone so we could link up,” Roger said.

“After the Ithaca game Saturday night, Jay said he told Roy he could stay in our room if he liked. That's not how he usually arranged things, so we could be alone and do the do,” Roger said.

“Jay leaves no doubt he's hot to trot and on his way to bliss Saturday night, he left no doubt the was building up a head of steam. With Roy in the next bed, Jay seemed to be putting on a show. When Roy ended up standing naked beside the bed, doing his best to get my mouth on this erection, the picture came into crystal clarity. Jay set it up for his own reasons. He'd brought someone else into share our sex games,” Roger said, sipping Coke.

“I should have bit him. I didn't. It was too hot to put the kibosh on the hottest experience I'd ever had. I wasn't all that keen on Roy but he was handy and I was ready to give it a go,” he confessed.

“Nothing was said after our night of lust. Jay was unexpectedly quiet and Roy wouldn't look at me. Didn't hurt my feelings. When I got to school this morning. Is it still today or is it tomorrow yet?”

“It's after eight,” I said. “It's still today.”

“I got to school this morning and everyone is like staring at me. A guy I knew from drama club comes to me and guides me away from the quad. I go with him because school doesn't start for a while.

“As we get around the side of the building we stop. 'It's all over school. You tried to blow Roy after the game. One of his little boyfriends was spreading that around when I got here. I've been hoping to catch you. I'd take today off. It's all anyone is talking about,' he told me. Can you beat that. He tries to force his dick down my throat and he says I'm asking him for it.

“My father works for the school system. He knows my teachers. This story gets back to him, he'll kill me. As homophobes go, my father is number one. I had to get out of there. I walked off campus.

I got a ride to the Interstate. I started hitchhiking. It started pouring..., and you came along. My life was absolutely over and you picked me up and I no longer feel so bad. Why did Roy do that? I wasn't that bad. I didn't bite him. I should have bit it off.”

“He told someone. Obviously someone he can tell a story like that too. Probably someone with feelings for Roy. Probably a guy that envied your positioning.”

Roger looked at me while I spoke. He looked out the windshield. The taillights of cars in the distance was all there was to see. Traffic was heavy around Pittsburgh but the further we put Pittsburgh behind us, the lighter traffic became.

I heard his story. What could I say?

“The world is full of people who are more than happy to cause someone else trouble. The sad truth is, being gay can still ruin your life. People think they should have all their rights, denying the right to be free to others. It's nothing new, Roger.”

Roger went into listening mode. He heard what I'd said but my thoughts weren't very far from his own. I wasn't sending him any news flashes about the world he lived in.

Roger was gay. It was a tough row to hoe. That row led him to the Interstate where I found him.

“You don't want to put me out because I'm so lame?”

“If I wasn't driving a big rig, I'd give you a hug, Roger. You didn't do anything wrong. You're a victim of a mean society that enjoys ruining the lives of anyone who dares to go against their rules.”

His eyes were filled with tears the next time I looked at him.

“You can stay with me as long as you want. You'll be on my truck until you decide to get off, Roger. Stop worrying about where to go. I'll see to it you have everything you need,” and I meant it.

“Everything?” Roger asked with his eyes on me.

“Everything. I'll even buy you a flannel shirt that fits,” I said.

Roger laughed. He wiped away tears.

“I kind of like this one,” he said.

“Consider it yours,” I said. “I say nothing I don't mean, Roger.”

He pulled the flannel shirt tightly around him.

“My life was over this morning, Joe,” he said, looking out the windshield at the taillights ahead. “I thought about stepping out in front of a big truck when you stopped for me. Now, I've got this nice shirt and I'm sitting on top of the world.”

That described it better than I could. Handling a big rig while sitting in a seat eight feet off the highway felt a bit like sitting on top of the world.

“Joe, I didn't intend to tell you all that. It just came out,” he said.

“Feel better?” I asked.

“I do. I have no idea what I'm going to do but telling someone makes it feel a bit better. I feel so dirty,” he said. “It was all so nice Saturday night and now this.”

“We live in a culture that says no one should talk about sex. Then they tell the horniest people on the planet to just say no. The sex drive is more powerful than any drive but the desire to survive. Is it no wonder people are neurotic when it comes to sex. I relate it to people who can't swim. You don't throw them into the deep end of the pool and wish them luck. You teach them to swim and let them decide what end of the pool they're comfortable going into,” I said.

“I don't get it,” Roger said. “Every one has sex. We'd all got the equipment we use when we do, but no one can talk about it?” he said.

“You reach puberty and you have all these hormones making you crazy. Teachers aren't allowed to explain what you are feeling. Your sexuality is coming alive and you're told, 'Just say no.' It can't be explained because a teacher would be fired for discussing the details of sex and sexuality with teenage kids. Where do you go to find out about sex in a healthy way?” he asked.

“I never had no trouble finding guys who did stuff. Lots of guys fooled around. We didn't go much beyond touching and feeling but that's because we didn't know what we were doing. We made it up as we went along. As we got older we found more stuff to do,” Roger explained. “Were they gay?” I asked.

“I don't know. They were horny. I was horny and we got together to do something about it. We dealt with it. Touching another guy was new. Touching was kewl. That's where Jay and I started. He was popular.”

“Is he gay?” I asked. “Jay?”

“I honestly don't know. He's horny. He does guys and girls. I guess he does girls. Maybe he dates girls and fucks guys. It doesn't matter as long as he does it with me. It didn't matter. It does now.””

“He's sexual,” I said.

“You can say that again. I don't he knows what he likes best.”

I chuckled.

I thought how similar he was to Cassidy Lane. He ended up on my truck and stayed until college started the next semester. People were spreading lies about him and he felt like it had gotten out of control. He recovered his balance while we were on the road together. He was doing well over a year after returning to his life. I'd let Roger talk to Cassidy the next time I called him. Cassidy was always asking me who was on the truck with me. He'd approve of Roger.

“I've found you never know how a day will end until you get to the end. I've had days when everything went wrong. I know I need to deal with it. I have way more good days than I do bad days. I know my luck is going to change. It's only a matter of time.”

“Time heals all wounds,” Roger said softly.

“Sometimes I'm having a bad day and it ends up with me having a really cute guy sitting next to me. Even on the bad days, Roger, I can't wait to see what comes next.”

Roger laughed.

“How long before we get some sleep?” he asked.

“You can climb back there. Cooler goes on the floor and the laundry basket goes on top. You need to undress before you get under the blanket. I don't allow any dirt in my bunk. I don't want to get in a bunk with dirty sheets.”

“You just want me to get naked in your bed,” he said.

“That too, but when I've been in this seat all day, what I really need when I hit the bunk is sleep. I don't want to slide my naked butt into a bed with dirt in it.”

“I didn't ask if I could go to bed. I asked when we were going to get some sleep. I've been thinking about sleeping naked.”

I didn't grab onto any of that. I was still erect from when he first got naked. He was half dressed and my condition hadn't changed. The idea of his body pressing against mine did nothing to change it.

“How do you know so much, Joe? You seem to have some idea what I'm going through.”

] “It isn't my first time at the rodeo,” I said. “I don't know what you're feeling, Roger. I know you're in pain and that kind of pain relates to similar pain I've had. I listen and try to help. It's all I got.”

“You sleep with a lot of guys, Joe?”

“A lot is relative. More than I'd like to think about. A guy stays for an average of two or three months, if he decides to stay at all. Four out of five guys want to stay on the truck. When I pick them up, they're in between here and there. The truck is a romantic idea to guys. You are the second guy who has been on my truck this year. I lost the last one a little over a week ago. I picked him up in January.”

“Do you play safe, Joe?” Roger asked.

“I do. I can't afford to get sick. I don't want to make anyone sick. The guys I'm with most of the time aren't exactly having great success with their love life. I've never picked up a guy who was leaving his main squeeze behind.”

“I left Jay,” he said. “The son-of-a-bitch set me up.”

“That qualifies as a first. I picked a kid up in Iowa City. He had a girlfriend. He thought they were going to get married. She told him that evening, 'I'm marrying, Jonathan.' That was his best friend.”

“Ouch!” Roger said. “His best friend?”

“Can you imagine it. You lose the girl your going to marry and your best friend in one sentence. That was rough. He cried a lot.”

“Did you sleep with him?”

“He slept in the front seat for two or three nights. He was hot but mostly he stared straight ahead. On the third day he asked, 'What's wrong with me. You said you're gay and you haven't even looked at me twice. You don't like me or what?”

“You just got jilted by the girl you were going to marry. The last thing I want to do is give you something else to fret about,” I said.

“You talking about sex? I'm a farm boy. There's nothing about sex I don't know. I birthed calves and colts and about a million piglets. I also fucked Jonathan since as far back as my memory goes. My girlfriend is marrying a guy who likes taking it up the ass. Nothing to fret about. For my teen years, as soon as I saw him coming across the field, I took off for the loft in the barn. We had a secret spot where we could get together.”

“Struck me as funny. I laughed my ass off. He smiled. That broke the ice. He was kewl after that. One of the few guys I'd pull over in the middle of a run to have a go in the bunk for an hour or two.”

Roger was listening but he had nothing else to say. Maybe he didn't approve.

We were making good time. Weather was clear and traffic was light. We'd reach the mall outside of Columbus before 10 o'clock. Roger had little to say as we approached Columbus. It had been a much longer day for him than it had been for me. I was turning in early compared to most days, but my plan called for sleep now and driving all day tomorrow.

I let the engine run after stopping the rig. I undressed and let the engine cool down before shutting her down. It was fifteen minutes to ten.

I slipped out of my boots and sat on the back of my seat to take off my shirt and jeans. Roger kept his eyes on me as my pecker pointed straight out as my naked flesh appeared. Once I backed into the bunk and onto the cool sheets, I had to wait to stop moving. This would take five to ten minutes.

Roger put the cooler on the floor and the clothes basket on top. He moved into the buck with me. His smooth warm skin pressed against mine.

“Oh, man,” I said, moving back to give him some room.

“You're OK,” he said, not moving away.

I let my arm fall around his chest and he backed up closer to me.

“You OK, Roger?” I asked.

“I'm fine,” he said.

I would second that emotion. Roger was very very nice.

As my eyes became heavy, Roger reminded me he was there.

“Joe?”

“Yes, Roger?”

“You're soft,” he said, resting his right arm on top of my arm.

“You're obviously in bed with another cowboy,” I corrected.

“Your skin is soft, not your dick. You're always hard?”

“I've heard that before,” I said, trying to calm down.

Roger giggled.

“Joe?”

“Yes, Roger.”

“Do you think I'm cute?”

“I'll refer you back to the idea I'm soft,” I said.

“You said you're hard all the time, Joe.”

“There's hard and then there's hard. What you are feeling is hard hard,” I said.

“Do you like me, Joe? I mean compared to the other boys who have ridden with you.”

“You compare just fine, Roger,” I said.

“Roger?”

“Yes, Joe?”

“I've got to get some sleep. Three o'clock comes pretty early.”

“Joe?”

“Yes, Roger.”

“No one has ever held me before.”

I held him closer and kissed the back of his neck.

“I'd hold you forever if I could, Roger. I'd hold you so you'd know you're safe.”

“Joe?”

“Yes, Roger.”

“I believe you would.”

“Roger?”

“Yes, Joe.”

“Good night.”

“Good night, Joe.”

THE END

All you four-wheelers out there, keep the shiny side up and the dirty side down.
I'll see you on the flip flop. JB

A Rick Beck Story

quillswritersrealm@yahoo.com