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Rock and a Hard Place

Chapter 5


By and © Hans Schrieber

I caught a glimpse of Dig and Rochelle snogging across the quad as I headed for my first period class. I tried to ignore it. It looks like Dig has progressed out of the shadows and into open exposure with her. Between that and the facebook posting of the flowers, she was willingly putting herself in a tough spot with him. Now she has the added pressure of looking good to her friends by keeping him as a boyfriend. Good move on Dig's part in getting to the finish line with her, I figured. I still felt bad for her being used like that. I hoped he wouldn't be tardy for first period or he wouldn't get to go to Jefferson High for wrestling. The bus was leaving in the middle of my English period.

At lunch time, since none of the wrestlers wanted to eat before weigh-in, we all met on the quad and played games of hacky-sack. It was a favorite time waster for us when we were at tournaments and had down time.

Dig was in my circle. "So I see you and Rochelle are an open item now."

"Yeah," he said grinning, "she's loving the cred with the other girls she's getting."

A group of popular girls had repositioned themselves closer to our circle. Whenever the hacky-sack would drop or get kicked out of the circle, Dig would take the opportunity to slip a hand under the hem of his team polo and lift it up rubbing his sculpted abs and flashing a bit of his boy tit popping off his bulging pecs. He's such a tease. There would be a rash of snickers and giggles and comments just loud enough to be heard. Once, to my surprise, a voice commented on my nice ass. I tried my best to determine which little hottie the voice belonged to. It was either Lisa or Carly, I was pretty sure. I realized I still hadn't been asked to girls choice, not to mention finding a date for the fall formal next month, and thought maybe I should wiggle my nice ass on over to where they were sitting and at least attempt to flirt a bit. I chickened out though, and just continued on playing hacky-sack. Dig actually went a step further the next time one of the guys chased after the errant bag of beans by slipping a hand down inside his boxers and adjusting his dick. I just shook my head slightly and returned his sly grin.

When the bell sounded, I moved over to Dig's side and we walked past the gaggle of girls and I smiled at Carly. I'd decided she must have been the one who thought I had a cute ass. I hoped so, at least, because she was about my height and I really liked her smile and green eyes. The others were taller but equally hot looking. I fell behind a bit and while catching up I noticed Dig's and a couple other wrestling teammates' asses. Wrestlers definitely do have nice asses I decided. No wonder girls liked to look, especially when we wear our singlets.

I paid little attention in English. I had gotten my assignment ahead of class starting and knew I didn't have any homework for last period in science already, so my mind was back on poor William. I'd thought about him off and on all day. I wondered how it was going and if he was gonna get to keep his nut. I offered a silent prayer for him. Even though I wasn't wrestling today, coach still put me on the "Athlete Absence Authorization" or AAA list as an alternate. I still needed to take my bag and gear along, but if something did happen to Kirk and I had to replace him, I'd be screwed trying to make weight. I didn't tell Coach I was overweight or he might have scratched me and I definitely wanted to go.

The bus ride to Jefferson was filled with the typical pre-meet nerves and raucous banter. Dirty jokes were being told in the back seat and the couple of guys who'd taken away spots from the regulars, like Goob, were mostly staring out the windows, nervous as hell. Kirk looked like he was going to throw up. That sort of pleased me in a sick sort of way. "Captain Banana Boy" and Dig were sitting up front with the coaches and talking strategy on some of the matchups. I tried to avoid looking at that.

When we arrived at Jefferson, we filed off the bus and into the gym. There was a sign and a team booster at the door of the girl's locker room. They had closed it down for our use since they didn't have a visitor locker room. I guess they'd had a fight break out after a meet last year and ever since they quit sharing locker rooms with opposing teams. Jefferson was in a sort of tough area and though the wrestlers were aggressive, they weren't very skilled. We were a clear favorite. I was a bit disappointed by the locker room situation actually. I was secretly hoping for a chance to see some fresh dicks, especially on some of the African Americans that wrestled here. We didn't have any Blacks on our team. I followed along when we went over to their dressing room for weigh-in. It was unusual for an alternate to do that but I didn't really consider myself an alternate and I wanted to make sure Kirk made weight. Our federation opted on using lightweight running shorts for weigh-ins, so it still made for a pretty good show. Some other federations went with full singlet weigh-ins and deducting a half pound for the suit. I did get to see two African American dicks from a distance, but they were not particularly remarkable except for one of them being uncut. I wondered if it was a myth that they had bigger dicks than white guys.

The meet progressed from the lower weight divisions to the upper ones. They had two mats for varsity and two for JV going, so it moved along pretty quickly. Big Dick Willie won his match with a pin. We continued taking each succeeding match by either pin or decision until Kirk. When he took the ring, he was pitted against a Hispanic kid with a big scar across his face. Kirk honestly looked sick to his stomach. He was nearly pinned in the first round, but managed an escape. Kirk lost the toss and started in the bottom referee's position for the second round. Kirk was down on his hands and knees in a crawling position and the Hispanic kid from Jefferson knelt beside him on the mat with one hand around his waist and the other just above Kirk's left elbow. On the whistle, Kirk spun and attempted to sit down and pull free from his opponent's grasp, but the scar-faced kid pulled Kirk's elbow and arm behind him and forced him down and backward and within a few short seconds had Kirk pinned. The referee slammed the mat to confirm it. The local crowd cheered. I inwardly smiled but felt guilty about it. Nothing against Kirk personally, but I didn't want him to shine after getting my spot.

Dig actually had to go into the third round where he could select the superior position to start from. He was actually behind in points after two rounds. Dig took his place over the top of the well muscled black kid he was wrestling. I noticed the black kid had a large bulge in his crotch and thought I'd be interested to see what he had going on in there. On the ref's whistle, Dig quickly reached with his right hand under the kid's body and grabbed the left wrist, pulling it out from under him. His opponent collapsed onto the mat under Dig's weight and Dig rode him across the mat trying to get a grip he could use to turn him over onto his back with. The Jefferson wrestler's muscles strained and bulged against Dig's efforts. Dig's legs split the black kid's legs and his crotch was pressed against the massive, solid ass of the Jefferson kid. They bumped and squirmed their way clear out of the circle. The referee whistled them out of bounds and he awarded Dig the superior position again since he had been in control when they left the ring. Both were sweating heavily and looked equally fatigued. I swear I saw a glimpse of doubt and worry on Dig's face, which I don't ever remember seeing before. Dig made the same move for the left wrist and missed. He had to wrap both arms around the black kid's middle to control him. The Jefferson wrestler twisted at the hips and began a walking motion with his feet until he could get to a sitting position and pried Dig's hands free of his middle and escaped for additional point advantage. I was getting nervous now.

The crowd was into it and cheers and jeers were being shouted out. This was the most competitive match so far. I wondered aloud how come this kid was on their JV squad and a parent behind me said he was a transfer student and so he couldn't wrestle varsity for the first year of his transfer. The two faced each other in a neutral position. The black kid took a defensive approach hoping to use up precious time. Dig pursued aggressively and dove under him seeking a leg hold. The black kid jumped backward and fell heavily on Dig's back. He spun, quick as lightning, and put Dig in a cradle. I saw Dig gasping for breath as he resisted the attempts to flip him. Finally, with seconds to go in the final round, Dig seemed to give up and allowed himself to be flipped. Then, using a move Coach had taught us just last Tuesday, Dig let the momentum and surprise allow him to send the black kid onto his back and Dig straddled over the top of the kid like he was doing a back bend. He pressed with all his might into the chest of the surprised opponent and the referee slammed the mat with just seconds left for a pin.

Coach Dean, one of the assistant coaches, and Captain "Banana Boy" Scotty were ringside. Banana Boy was on deck on that mat, being two classes above Dig. From look of things, he wasn't boned for a change. Both had been shouting instructions from the sidelines that were seemingly going unnoticed or ignored by Dig. Coach Tyler was ignoring the varsity round he was coaching and was shouting from across the gym as well. What wasn't possible to ignore was Dig's father in the stands booming out in his familiar voice, "Dig, Dig, Dig!"

When the referee slapped the mat for Dig's last second pin, a number of groans went through the Jefferson crowd. Wrestling doesn't draw much of a crowd, mostly horny girls and gay guys besides the parents, but the small crowd is usually very vocal when there's a close match. I was relieved Dig won, but I was hoping he could have done it a little more convincingly. Some of the elation I felt at Kirk losing disappeared since I knew I had to move up to that weight class and didn't want Coach to be worried about me taking the spot. Dig was still heaving for breath when the referee lifted his arm as the winner. But then I heard a sound that shocked and startled me. "Way to go Cody!" my father shouted. I turned around to see him next to Dig's father clapping wildly. I blinked and stared in amazement.

After the final match, we'd been victorious on 11 of the 15 matches for JV and our varsity had done even better. Coaches were pleased and there was a lot of high fiving and cheerful banter amongst our team. The home team filed into their locker room mostly subdued and looking surly. I saw the wisdom in putting us up in the women's locker room. It was odd though, when I went to the bathroom and there were no urinals. Also, the tampon dispenser was a unique feature. Several guys bought some and put them in their gear bags. I was pretty sure they'd find their way into the drinking fountains on Monday with a little ketchup for effect. Not needing to change, I made my way up the bleachers to see my dad when my team headed for the lockers.

"Hello sir. How are you?" I said to Dig's father, extending a hand.

"Good. Why weren't you out there today? You injured?"

"No, I missed weight," I sadly admitted. Dig's father didn't respond. I knew what he was thinking, though. He was assuming I hadn't worked hard enough at it. It would never have been acceptable for Dig to miss weight if he had to starve himself to death to achieve it.

To fill the empty airwaves, I turned to my dad and asked, "How come you're here?"

"I came to see my son wrestle. Why didn't you tell me you weren't on the roster?"

"I didn't know you were coming; I mean, you never do," I answered honestly, worried a bit I was making him look bad in front of Dig's dad, who never missed a meet.

"Well, I guess that's a well deserved shot," my dad said. "Do you have to ride back on the team bus or can you go with me?"

I wasn't sure how to answer. I knew I could get permission to leave with my father, and I knew Dig would leave with his dad, so it would be obvious. I just wasn't sure if I wanted to endure the awkward conversations. "Yeah," I answered, "I can go with you. I'll go let Coach know and grab my bag."

As I was leaving, Dig's father started asking about the bonfire at Bodie's and if he thought it was a safe situation for his son to be in. I was out of earshot before I heard my father's reply.

I tossed my bag in the back seat and climbed into the front of dad's grey S-Class. We were awkwardly silent while dad backed out of the parking stall and navigated his way to the street. "Do you know how William's surgeries went?" I asked. I'd been thinking and wondering all day about him.

Dad smiled at me and said, "The correction to his penis was very successful. He should have no more issues with it, if it heals well."

"What about his smashed nut?"

"His injured testicle was less successful. The surgeon removed it."

The weight of that news hit me hard. My own nuts drew instinctively upward in my sac at the thought of it. "Wow. That really sucks. How's he handling it, do you know?"

"I haven't had a chance to speak to him, sorry. He should be out of recovery now and in a room if you'd like to go visit him."

I perked up, "Yeah, definitely. Thanks."

After more silence, he asked me, "How did you miss weight? Your mother reports that you hardly eat anything and that's also my observation."

"I'm sorry you left work to come see me sit on the bench. I would've warned you if I knew."

"Never mind that. Why did you miss weight?" My diversion hadn't worked.

"Well, I was killing myself to stay under weight but I fell under the legal 7% body fat requirement because of it. I talked to Coach already and he's going to move me and Dig up a class so I can eat more sensibly and still make weight," I lied. I was no way going to tell him about using the hydrogen peroxide to induce vomiting. He would have pulled me from wrestling right then and there because of the health risk. He wasn't a big fan of the diet program as it was.

"I see. Good decision by you, as usual. You are a very sensible and bright young man," dad said, turning onto the highway toward the hospital.

Whoa. I thought I heard a compliment coming from my old man. Could it really be? Even if it wasn't deserved, for which I was already heaping on the guilt, it was nice to hear. "So, what did make you decide to come to the wrestling meet today?"

"I realized after your angry display the other night, that we hadn't been very good parents lately and you were mostly, not completely, but mostly justified in your indignance."

I smiled in spite of myself. I was bursting with joy. I felt hope for salvaging our relationship. Maybe, I could have my dad back after all. "But, what about all your patients?"

He glanced at me and our eyes met. His were moist. "If I save every single cancer patient on the planet, which is ridiculous to even consider, and lose my only son in the process, then I still will have truly failed in life."

I felt it again. The warmth spread from my breast to my gut and up down my spine until I was radiating in the peaceful joy of God's love. The word William had used the other night for it was less than perfect but it was the best I could come up with. It was rapture. Tears formed in my eyes and I smiled appreciatively before he turned his attention back to his driving and swerved back into his lane. I couldn't speak. I just wiped my eyes on my sleeves until dad offered me a travel pack of tissues, which I gratefully accepted.

"Dad, do you believe in God?" I asked.


"How come we never went to church or never really talk about God?"

"God is personal for all of us. I've seen things in my medical career, however, that leave me little option but to believe in a higher power. Whether it is God, Christ, Allah or the Force, I cannot say. I only know it exists. The few churches I have attended left me lacking, so I just personalized my faith. I suppose I have been neglectful toward you in discussing such matters. I need to rectify a great deal with you. Do you believe in God, Kyle?"

"I never gave it any thought until William came along. He believes it strongly. He asked me to pray for him last night and … " I wondered how I was about to sound. Regardless, I continued on, "When I prayed, I felt something. Something wonderful and peaceful, but not made up; whatever I felt was definitely real. I think it was God answering my prayer." I looked for his reaction.

"That's nice son. Whatever drives us to be better people is positive."

We arrived at the hospital and my dad got William's room number. I followed dad to the room and he suggested I go in alone for a while and he went to check on some of his patients.

"Hey," I called as I pulled the curtain aside and peeked in.

"Hello, Kyle." He brightened and smiled.

"How are you doing, man?"

"I lack adequate superlatives to describe my status," he said cracking a smile.

"Hah. If I didn't know you better, I'd think you just actually tried to crack a joke," I chuckled with him and then asked the stupidest hospital visitor question ever, "Does it hurt?"

"The pain is steadily intensifying."

"Can I do anything for you?"

"You could donate a testicle." He smiled again.

"Umm, anything else?" I smiled and protectively grabbed my crotch with both hands.

"Some ice chips would be greatly appreciated. My mouth is desperately parched."

I took the styrofoam cup to the nurse's station and got a refill. Then I spoon fed him the ice, which he savored as if it were Ben and Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream.

"So what all happened?" I asked.

"The surgeon successfully straightened my penis and extracted a degree of scarred tissue. The prognosis is quite positive."

"So how long before you're all better?"

"For the penis, six weeks to be mostly healed, four months to be fully recovered to whatever degree that occurs. For the testicle, never," he said. "The damages exceeded reparability, and my testicle was severed. I am forever dispossessed of my manhood. I fear now that no woman will covet me for a suitable mate." He looked away from me toward the window and heaved a heavy sigh. I couldn't think of anything to say.

"I'm sure God has a plan," I said foolishly. I barely had any belief in God. As far as I could see, God had just let down the most believing person I'd ever met. It didn't seem right.

"I suppose," said William without much conviction.

"Is it pretty nasty looking?"

William didn't answer, but he reached down and pushed the sheet away. I took it and slid it down further. The sheet was being supported up and away from his bandaged penis by two pillows on either side of his hips. Surprisingly, his penis was erect and wrapped in blood soaked gauze around the entire circumference of it. It looked, in spite of being the ugliest sight I had ever seen, perfectly straight from what I could tell. The little amount of pubic hair he'd had was shaven and gone. He looked impossibly young and vulnerable. To the side of his dick was a stitched incision where the testicle had been pushed up and out of for inspection and removal. They didn't cut his sac open like I'd assumed they'd do.

"Oh man, that hurts just to look at. I'm so sorry, William. This is my fault." Guilt mixed with pity overwhelmed me and I started to cry, so I turned away.

"No. Don't chasten yourself. You held no ill intent. It was a random mishap. God's hand must be involved. The purpose of which, however, remains a mystery unto me at present. Whenever I have felt morose today, I've rubbed the mood ring and reflected upon your extraordinary kindness toward me. I could not have endured this trial without your friendship."

"When do you get out of here?"

"Sans complications, tomorrow."

"I'll come visit you every day at home. I promise. I can bring you your homework and we can strategize for debate, or we can just chat."

"NO!" exclaimed William adamantly.

"Why not?"

"Do not press me on this matter. You shouldn't visit my domicile," he insisted.

"Well, okay, but maybe you could come recuperate at my house then. Especially since your mom works during the day it would be a lot better anyway," I suggested.

He perked up at that idea. "That would be highly desirable if it can be arranged and if your mother is amicably disposed."

"I don't know why not. She did it to you after all and it's not like she has anything important going on ever."

My dad pulled the curtain aside and walked in. "Hello William, inspecting the damages are you?"

"Yes sir."

"May I examine it?"

"Yes sir, please. I cherish your expertise."

My father peered closely at the dressing and the stitches on the lower abdomen. He walked out and returned with a nurse to change the dressing on the penis. I watched over her shoulder as she carefully removed the blood soaked gauze. She had to dampen it because the dried blood was sticking to the wound. When she successfully removed the last wrapping of gauze, I gasped in spite of myself. It looked like something out of a Frankenstein movie. His dick was purple and had a yellow disinfectant painted on it. It looked small and shriveled and had stitches all the way around it just below where the skin bunches up from being circumcised. Dried blood was everywhere. I had to look away. The nurse cleaned it, added disinfectant and then wrapped fresh gauze around it.

"Dad, we were thinking that it would be better if William could come to our house to recuperate. Don't you agree?"

"If both mothers are agreeable, that would be fine," he agreed. "We should go now and let William rest and you need to get to bed as well. You have a debate meet tomorrow, right?"

"Oh yeah, guess what, William?"


"My substitute partner for tomorrow's debate is none other than Brenda."

He forced a smile and lamented, "I'd hoped to accompany her to the fall formal."

"You still can. It's not for like five weeks."

"I doubt I could muster sufficient courage to ask," he said with a heavy sigh.

"You want me to drop a hint?" I offered. He looked pleasantly surprised by my offer but didn't answer.

"We need to go," dad said pulling at my arm slightly.

"Mr. Davis, may I capture a brief moment alone with Kyle prior to your departure?" William asked.

"Sure, I'll be in the car. Don't be long though."

When my father had clearly left earshot, William motioned me close. He whispered, "The other thing that sustained me throughout this ordeal, besides the mood ring, is reflecting on the service you performed for me this morning. I presume, since I misjudged your inclinations, it was highly uncomfortable for you to perform such an act on a fellow male. Such an overwhelming act of kindness is stirring. I assure you that I greatly appreciate the service you rendered. I was severely fearful of the possibility of never in my life experiencing an orgasm by means of manual stimulation, should the surgery have failed. I read that in some rare cases all ability to achieve sexual arousal could be lost. I feel assured from the surgeon's report, however, that my full sexual function should be achievable, and without pain, after recuperation. I just needed to say thank you again before you left." He was sincere and serious. It had clearly been weighing on him and the speech sounded well practiced.

"Yeah, well. You're welcome, dude. It's what friends do for each other when they're in need." That made him smile even broader. I made a fist and we bumped knuckles. "See ya."

"Will you kindly restore the sheet and blanket before you depart? I'm a little frigid."

"You really are frigid sometimes," I thought. "Frigid and confusing." I left the room strangely melancholy. A strange mixture of emotion coursed through my mind. Had he really thought I was gay? How could that be? What all was he saying in that little speech of his? What did it mean to me? What did it mean for our new friendship we had forged? How did my newfound discovery of God fit in? I climbed into my dad's car, buckled up, and thanked my dad for bringing me to see him. My mind continued to race as we slowly crept from the parking structure in comfortable silence. Dad sensed my need for quiet contemplation.

After a while, I asked my dad, "What do you make of William? Why do you think he talks and acts the way he does?"

"I highly suspect he has a highly functioning form of autism. I think it may be Aspergers syndrome. He shows signs. His social awkwardness, his clumsiness, his fascination and intense focus on tangents are all signs. His obsession with vocabulary and speaking style also points to it. I am so impressed with your kindness toward him, though. I didn't realize how tender hearted and kind you really are."

When we entered the cloak room from the garage, I kicked off my shoes and set my backpack and gear bag on a chair. "Dad," I began unsure how to word what I wanted to say, "thanks for coming to my meet, even if I didn't wrestle. It means a lot. I'm sorry for the way I acted the other night. I didn't mean a lot of it. I really do love you and I've missed having you around much." I was tearing up again but struggling not to.

My father didn't speak, but took me in his arms and embraced me for a long time. Finally, he released me and said simply, "I love you too, son. I always will." I left smiling. I found mom in the kitchen experimenting with a new recipe for chocolate mousse.

"Mom, we just saw William. They were able to fix his bent penis, but they had to amputate his injured nut," I reported.

"It's not my fault!" she said angrily, spinning around and shaking her spatula at me. "You instigated the fight and I simply came to try and settle you down and the accident happened. It's your fault!"

"Hey, chill. No one's blaming you; I was just letting you know what happened."

She spun back to her culinary experiment in a huff.

I wasn't sure if it was a good idea to continue, but William was getting released tomorrow. "So anyway since his mom works and I'm not sure what's up with his old man, but I sense it's not good, how about if he comes over here to recuperate?"

"I don't have time to care for your little freaky friend. I'm heavily involved in three different important charitable events this month. His family will just have to take care of him as best they can." She responded coldly.

"He's not a freak and none of that pretend charity bullshit that you do matters anyway. This is a chance to really do something meaningful for someone and it's at least partially your fault."

"I said NO. Leave me alone now."

"You are a miserable, selfish bitch!" I spat the words out with venom.

She spun back around and shook her spatula at me. "I'm telling your father you said that."

"No need," I said as I walked out, "he already knows you're a miserable bitch, believe me!"

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