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Rock and a Hard Place

Chapter 15

By and © Hans Schrieber

Special thanks to my editors, Flip, Smallfox, Lisa and Pablo for their valuable assistance in making this story so much better.

I breathed an immense sigh of relief and was immediately overtaken in guilty embarrassment as my father said "Ta-da" and tossed a deck of red, blue, yellow and green UNO cards on the table. I buried my face in my hands feeling the heat of the blood rushing to the capillaries through my sweaty palms.

"Kyle, what is with you?" my dad asked.

"N-N-Nothing. Let's play." I stammered.

"Oh no. Something is going on with you. What is it? I want the truth." There was an unusual sternness in my father's voice and I wouldn't have dared to lie. His gaze pierced the hands covering my face.

"Well, it's stupid, but when you were talking about playing UNO, I thought you said you wanted to play 'You Know', as in …" I imitated masturbation on my pointer finger just like Bodie had done to teach me how to do it so long ago. I was still hot in the face and horribly embarrassed by my misinterpretation. The look on my father's face was terrifying. It was a mixture of extreme hurt, exceptional disappointment, and bridled anger.

"You actually thought I wanted to engage in sexual activity with my own son?"

"Well, I couldn't hardly believe it, but with all the talk about doing the 'you know' as we were calling it ever since you caught me in my room, and with your story about doing it with your friends as a kid, and complimenting me about my hot naked body just now, I just kind of thought that was what you were talking about. Plus, what with mom cutting you off from sex for such a long time, I got to thinking how that could make you kind of crazy horny." The flash of anger at the mention of my mom cutting him off was terrifying to me and stifled any further comments from me. His face twisted into a tortured, zombie-like mask and he began to tremble.

"I think the nudity around the house is not a good idea after all. Go get some clothes on. In fact, just go to bed. I'll do the same. I'm really hurt that you could even think I was capable of that. How dare you suggest I would stoop to something so, so, so base and utterly inappropriate. Do you see what I mean about jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about people without all the facts? Shame on you, Kyle."

"Dad, I'm sorry. Don't be mad at me. It was just so confusing with everything that was going on and the way you said it and all. Please …"

"I said, 'Go to bed!' Good night. I don't even want to look at you right now."

The tears gushed forth. I was becoming such a damn crybaby lately. I couldn't believe I'd ruined everything that had happened so positive between my father and me. I was heartbroken and furious with myself. He stood there stoic with intense, painful hurt in his eyes - naked, wounded and trembling. He was rubbing his neck with his left hand and clenching and unclenching his right fist.

I stood and trudged from the kitchen. At the doorway, I stopped and turned around. Tears were flowing down my face. My heart was heavy and sadness overwhelmed me. "Daddy, please …" I began, but his look stopped me. I fell into the door sill and then turned and ran up the stairs into my room. I threw myself on the bed and slammed punches into my pillow until I was exhausted. In one last burst of angry energy, I kicked my wall and watched my foot disappear into the drywall. "Fucking great! There's one more thing for Dad to be pissed at me for. How could I be so stupid? But it seemed so obvious that mutual masturbation was what he was suggesting. Everything pointed to it. Anyone could have made that mistake," I thought.

The memory of the disappointment in his eyes haunted me. Anger I could deal with, but not disappointment. I didn't want to jack off with him; I mean, how gross would that actually be? I only agreed because it sounded like he was so excited to do it and I wanted to please him and it all just went to hell. Everything I do is wrong even when I intend to do good. "Fuck, fuck, fuck! I wish I could just die." For the first time in my life, I actually entertained the idea of suicide. I knew deep down, I could never really pull it off, but I allowed myself the pitiful contemplation of it while lying there on my bed. I decided if I ever did really do it, I'd go out the way I came in, naked. I imagined them finding me and the shock they would feel. Provided anyone cared.

"PLEASE, Dear God!" I plead. "I love my dad. Please don't let me lose my daddy again. Please." I knelt beside my bed and cried my heart out to the Lord, but I felt nothing. No warmth, no little voices in my head, no peace, nothing at all. In that instant, I felt more alone than ever before in my whole life. Even more alone than when I got locked in Gramp's old garden shed when I was six. It was dark and scary and cold until someone finally found me. Odd scary shapes surrounded me in the darkness, threatening to pounce. This was worse. Even God was mad at me. I'd been alone for so long. My dad was always at work saving lives and my mother was always gone saving whales or owls or turtles. The Screw Crew and the wrestling team had been my salvation in those times. I'd nearly lost wrestling from my stupid stunt to try and make weight and now the Screw Crew seemed to be falling apart. "Who's going to save me? WHO? Does anyone care about me?"

I felt a soft, moist warmth press into the crack of my naked ass. Startled, I turned sharply in surprise to find my old dog, Sam, nuzzling me. Relaxing, I turned and sat on the floor leaning against the side of the bed. Sam stepped in toward me and laid his head knowingly across my chest. I bathed his head in my tears as I petted him. He wagged his tail slowly and occasionally licked at the salty tears trickling down my face. As my tears eventually dried up, I crawled into bed and fell into a fitful sleep.

I woke suddenly with a start. I blinked several times and felt the presence of a warm body in bed with me. It was Sam. He'd actually managed to jump up onto my bed just like the old days before his arthritis and snuggled against me. I petted him gently as he breathed in and out slow and irregular. I glanced at the green eyed monster and read the digits. It read 12:01. Sunday, with all its highs and lows had passed on and it was a new day. I wondered what fresh horrors Monday might hold. The message light on my phone was flashing. I picked it up and saw a message from William. "Brother Kyle. I was awakened by the Spirit. I felt a pressing urge to contact you. I appreciate you immensely. My supplication to the Lord was answered when you sought me out. I am grateful you will still accompany me to the Fall Formal. I dared not attend without your sustaining support. I love my new brother."

"Thanks, bro. I needed that more than you know. Love you too bro," I tapped out on my keyboard. A warm shiver ran up my spine. I crawled back in next to Sam, hugged him and cuddled up. "Hey Sam, how come William got his prayer answered but I didn't?" I asked. Old wise Sam just lifted his head and peered at me with one eye and lay back down.

"Yeah, I guess you're right old buddy, God probably does love him more than me." I drifted back to sleep, comforted by Sam's presence.

The alarm sounded and I stretched in bed. I felt miserable. I hadn't slept well or long enough. I thought it was good that Kirk was running with me now or I'd be tempted just to blow it off. Sam was still there on my bed lying against me. I reached out to nudge him over so I could get up, but something wasn't right about it. I reached down further and grabbed a paw and the awful realization dawned on me. From the depths of my soul a pathetic scream erupted. "NOOOOOOO!" Again and again I cried out begging for it not to be so.

My father rushed in wearing beige pajama bottoms and serious consternation on his face. "What is going on? Kyle, why are you screaming?"

"It's Sam. Oh daddy, I can't bear it. I just can't bear it." I was holding old Sam in my arms and rocking. My father wrapped his arms around me and held me while I clung to my old friend, Sam.

"He was such a great dog. He lived a good long life for a Labrador. We were lucky to have him in our life. It's good that he died peacefully, next to the one he loved most." Dad said trying to comfort me.

"I can't take any more losses, Dad. I lost mom, and last night I lost you again, and now I've lost Sam forever. It isn't fair. It just isn't fair."

"Oh son, no. You didn't lose me. I was upset and hurt last night, but I'm still your father. I'm still here for you. How could I ever be that angry at you to lose you over a stupid misunderstanding? I was hurt by your accusation, but I realized last night as I cried my own self to sleep that I was as much to for what you thought about me. I just needed a night to sleep on it and get things in perspective. Let's put that behind us now and take care of Sam. Come on, let go of poor Sam and go get cleaned up. I'll take care of his body and drop him off at the vet on the way to work. You don't have to deal with that part of it."

"No, dad. I don't want him taken to the vet and have him cremated. I want to bury him."

"Where? Son, I just don't know where we could legally do that."

"Fuck legal! I'm not letting him get burned up! I want to take him to my special spot by the creek. I want to bury him there where we ran together as pups. You can't make me let them burn him up, you can't!"

"All right son. Calm down, I'll help you. We'll bury him by the creek. Go get cleaned up and I'll find a suitable box."

I hugged old Sam one last time, kissed his fur and said, "Goodbye old friend. I love you. Thanks for always being there for me." I wandered sadly, head down, to the bathroom. I started the shower and stood under the spray staring blankly at the wall. When I finally emerged from the shower, I dried off and then dressed in the old work clothes my father had brought in for me. Dad already loaded Sam into the trunk of the car along with an old wagon. As a young boy, Sam had pulled me up and down the sidewalk in that wagon. It was a happy memory.

When we reached the trailhead, Dad opened the trunk of the car and set the wagon on the ground and placed a large box on it. Then, he hefted a large black plastic bag from the trunk and placed it into the box. I sucked in a breath and had to steady myself on the side of the Mercedes.

An image flashed in my mind of William's father holding the plastic bag. I shook my head, fought the urge to throw up. I couldn't get the image out of my mind. Finally in frustration, I grabbed the handle of the wagon and began pulling. Dad had to assist me over some rocks and branches along the way especially early on where the trail was very overgrown. He also carried a shovel and a pick.

Kirk called out to us just before we reached the creek. We stopped and allowed him to catch up. My father explained what it was we were doing since I couldn't do it without crying. Kirk pulled me into a swift hug and expressed his sympathy for me. He helped us cover the remaining distance to the special place.

When we reached my special place, I picked out a grassy spot on the other side of my log and we dug the grave. Kirk pitched in taking turns with the pick and then the shovel. "Why did you put him in a plastic bag?" I asked my father.

"I want to prevent his odor from attracting any wild animals that might try to dig him up. I don't want him to be disturbed."

"Thanks," I said. A thought distilled into my mind on how we were not burying Sam, only his body. Just like when Grams died, it wasn't her in the casket. It was only her physical remains. Her spirit had left and gone on to wherever it is we go, as had Sam's. I hoped Grams was petting him right now as he happily wagged his tail.

We dug in silence until the hole was adequately deep. We closed the box and placed it into the hole and then covered it up. I was unnerved by the sound of the dirt and rocks hitting the cardboard and was glad when it was covered enough not to make any more sound. I piled some rocks from the stream at the head of the grave as a marker. My father stood with his arm around one shoulder and Kirk held me from the other side as I said my last goodbye to the one creature on earth who had always accepted me for who I was and never ever turned me away. No words were spoken until we reached Kirk's home. He got out and said, "Kyle, I'm really sorry for you. That totally sucks."

"I know. Thanks for helping."

"Sure. No problem. See ya later."

"Yeah, see ya."

The drive to our house was silent. When Dad parked in the garage and turned the car off, I asked, "What about school and work?"

"I'll call in and tell the school you won't be coming in today. I told them a close family friend passed away."

"Thanks. I don't think I could handle going."

"I know. I'll need to go in to the hospital later today. There are some things I just have to get done. Will you be okay home alone?"

"Yeah, I'll be okay. Thanks for helping me with Sam."

"Thanks for helping me do the right thing by him," Dad said, "You're a good hearted person, Kyle. Better than I deserve for a son."

"No I'm not. I really screwed up with you last night just like I keep doing over and over. I screwed up and yelled at mom and then she left us. If I'd been the kind of son she wanted and not been so stubborn about refusing to go to the dumb private school or taking dance classes, she might have stayed with us. I screwed up and let William down and almost messed things up with him. And last night, I screwed up big time by jumping to conclusions like you said, and I almost ruined things between us. I'm just messed up. If you knew what I'm really like, you wouldn't …" I stopped myself. I wasn't ready to reveal any more. Not yet. Not now. Not even to myself, let alone to him. I couldn't risk the outcome. I couldn't risk any more loss. My father began to ask, but then perceptibly stopped and let it be. I was grateful he did.

Instead, he reached over and put his hand on my thigh and squeezed. "Kyle, don't ever blame yourself for your mother's leaving. It was her bad decision and hers alone. You are not at fault. You showed great courage and fixed things up with William and I'm proud of you for it. I can't bring your mother or Sam back to you, but I can promise you that I will always be here for you no matter what."

I looked him in the eye and asked, "Really? No matter what?" He affirmed it with a slow nod and reassuring smile. I wished I dared believe it.

I went to my room and sat on my bed. I placed Sam's collar on my nightstand next to the green eyed monster and opened up the large Bible. "Direct me," I prayed silently. I flipped through the pages and stopped in the New Testament at Matthew, chapter 10. When I read verses 29 to 31, I was forced to stop and ponder. I read, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows."

"Every hair of my head is numbered?" I wondered to myself. "How is that possible?" "With God, all things are possible." William's words filtered into my mind. I remembered him saying something like that when he was preparing for his operation. "But if God is even mindful of all the sparrows, then for sure God is mindful of old Sam. If all humans treated each other like dogs treat us, this life would be perfect." The thought comforted me as the now familiar warm feeling spread through my soul. Sam had loved me unconditionally. William seemingly loved me unconditionally and now my father professed to love me unconditionally. The question was whether I dared trust it. I flipped through the pages again and came across a scripture I had actually heard a few times but never given any deep thought to. One word in John, chapter 15, seemed to jump off the page at me in a life changing realization: "As the Father hath lovedme, so have I lovedyou: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, that ye loveone another, as I have lovedyou. Greater lovehath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

I closed the book and knelt down. I threaded my fingers together and rested my head on the bed. "Dear God," I began, "do you love me?" An immediate warm glow filled my soul, stronger than ever before. The entire room seemed full of light and peace. Small tears of joy pushed past my eyelids. "No matter what? Even if … even if I'm gay?"

"I am He who came into this world to save the world. I am He who died that you might live. I am your brother and I have taught you of the Father who sent me. As the Father hath loved me unconditionally, so I love you. No matter what. Trust in your Father's love, Kyle. Trust in your own capacity to love, but love honestly. Be true to thy self." The thought was as clear as though it had been spoken aloud to me.

I felt the weight of the deeply buried burden I'd carried all my life lifted off my shoulders. Fear was plucked from my heart and soul. Life was all about learning to love, not just any love, but pure and honest love, like Christ's love for us. I had witnessed that kind of love in Scotty's parents' kiss and the way they looked at each other. It was all about being honest with oneself and with God. Truth is not always easy, though. Sometimes truth has consequences. Look where it got Christ. Already, I began to fear the ramifications of this new knowledge and with fear came weakness.

I walked downstairs and into the library. I found the photo books from when I was younger and opened the one from when we first got old Sam. I also fired up the computer in the library where we all dumped our camera cards into picture files. I flipped through the photo book until I found some of him as a new pup. I smiled as I saw myself as a young child. Many pictures were of me playing with Sam and my parents at our old house. I loved that place. It was small but it was cozy and full of love. I wished I could go back to being five again and experience those wonderful times all over. There was a picture of my dad on all fours giving me a horsey ride and Sam jumping about and nipping at us. My favorite one that totally cracked me up was Sam playing peek-a-boo with me by hiding in the ice plant and poking his nose out to make me laugh. There was a great shot of him with just his muzzle poking out of the ice plant. It appeared he had a smile on his snout.

I found so many wonderful happy memories within the album pages and in the electronic files on the computer. After several hours, when my dad asked me if I wanted to go get some lunch, I declined but then reconsidered. "Can we go by the mall and get those shoes for William? Then maybe we could go by Hadfield's Nursery so I could buy some ice plant."

"What do you want with ice plant?" he asked.

"It's a surprise," I responded with a small wink.

We had a nice, simple lunch at the food court and chatted again as if nothing had happened the prior night between us. I was so, so relieved that it didn't even come up. "Do you believe in heaven?" I asked.

"Of course I do. I believe in God, so I, by definition, have to believe in heaven as the abode of God."

"Do you think animals go to heaven?"

Dad smiled at me kindly and said, "I'm sure animals have a much better shot at it than many humans."

"I think so too." I speared my last cherry tomato in my salad and squished it between my molars. We dumped our trays and headed for the shoe store.

I searched the boxes and was seriously disappointed that they didn't have the same color, style and size I needed to replace the shoes. I picked up a close alternative and told my dad I'd just have to settle for them. He shook his head. "It won't do. You need to take him one matching shoe to replace the lost one."

"But it's not like the other one can really be replaced, it got burned up. He can just toss the other one and have these matching replacements from me," I explained.

My father shook his head, "You don't understand what I'm saying, Kyle. William has attached significant meaning to that gift. He doesn't care about any other shoes. He realizes he lost one shoe and can't get it back. He already lost one of a pair of something else that he can't ever get back. It's about holding on to what he has left that matters, not getting two replacements. Someday, he'll get an artificial testicle to fill the empty sac, just like you can give him a replacement shoe for the lost one, but you can't replace the value of the one he has left. It signifies a means of holding onto your friendship."

The depth of wisdom my father exhibited amazed me. I wondered if I could ever develop that kind of understanding for people. I wanted to. Seriously, I vowed to try and be like him in that regard. "I get it. That's amazing you could decipher that. But what can I do then?"

"We'll keep looking or we'll order one. Put those back and let's go." I did.

Dad went to the counter and asked if there were any other stores in town that might have that style and size. The clerk was bored since it was middle of the day and kids were in school instead of in his store, so he seemed willing to help us find a pair. He called all the other chain stores in town that carried Vans and finally he found one for us near the hospital. My dad took me there and I was thrilled when the clerk pulled the box from behind the counter and it was the exact same size, style and color. "Great!" I exclaimed.

The salesman smiled at my reaction. He looked down at my feet and said, "These are obviously not for either of you. Are they a present for someone special or something?"

"Yes sir, someone very special who's actually in the hospital down the street right now, come to think of it." I turned to Dad and asked, "Do you think if William is at the doctor's office getting his stitches out, we could meet up and I could give him this?"

"Sure. I could do some work while you two catch up. I'm sure he would like to know about Sam also." I pulled my phone from my pocket and shot off a text. In no time at all, William sent back his exact location, complete with turn by turn directions from the parking structure to the office he was waiting in.

I practically skipped my way from the car to the waiting room. When I opened the door, William immediately lit up and rose to greet me. His smile was infectious. He reached out to shake my hand and I grabbed it and pulled him into a hug. He was self conscious over it, but I didn't care. I felt like hugging him. I shook Mrs. Thames' hand and sat next to William.

"Why are you not attending school?" William asked.

"Oh, something really sad happened today, so I stayed home. My old dog I've had forever died this morning." Mrs. Thames showered me with sympathy and condolences. William's reaction was oddly different.

"Dogs die every day. It's natural. How many years did you have him?" William asked.

"Ten and a half," I answered. "That's short for a Labrador. They normally live over twelve but he had arthritis and couldn't stay very active." I was taken aback by William's seeming coldness toward my loss of Sam.

"Did you love him?" William asked unemotionally.

"Yeah, of course. It was impossible not to love him the way he loved me. He was my best friend for as long as I can remember."

"Death is the penalty for life." William said. His mother scowled at him and gripped his arm. "But love is life's reward." Then he turned and smiled at me with sincere kindness in his eyes. I smiled back with gratitude in mine. "What's in your parcel?" he asked.

"Oh, I nearly forgot." I pulled the box from the bag and lifted the lid. I had taken the duplicate shoe out and left it in my dad's car. I tilted it toward him and his eyes lit up.

"For me?!?!" He cried out. The other patients stopped their conversations and stared at him. Normally, such attention would have freaked him out, but he was so focused on the shoe that he blocked everyone else out. He carefully removed the shoe from the box and looked at me for confirmation. I nodded that, yes, it was for him. Immediately he ripped the dress shoe from his foot and slipped into the new black Vans to match the one on the other foot. He held up both feet and wiggled them, knocking the toes together. He turned in his chair and gave me an unexpected and uncomfortably tight hug.

His mother was smiling as she reached over and retrieved the dress shoe. She placed it in the empty box and put it back into the sack. When William released my neck, the nurse stepped out and called, "William Thames."

"Present," William called back raising his hand. A couple of grade school boys snickered.

"We're ready for you." She walked over and whispered, "Would you like your mother to come in or wait here?"

"It is her preference. She has previously witnessed my exposed penis, so I am indifferent on the matter." The two apparent fourth graders buried their faces in their activity books and giggled with youthful embarrassment. Their mother just looked away with her hand over her mouth. William's mother and I were unaffected because of our experience with William. The nurse turned, dumbfounded, toward William's mother who informed her that she planned to accompany her son.

"Good luck. I'll be here waiting for you." I said.

"Nurse, may my brother, Kyle, attend the procedure? I would very much appreciate his presence."

She shrugged and said, "It's your party. I guess if you want your brother there it's up to you." Then, she gave me a look as the others walked toward the entry that was blatantly obvious.

"I know," I said. "We had different fathers." She smiled and gave an understanding nod. After leaving the waiting room, I leaned toward the nurse and said in a hushed tone, "Mine was the landlord. His was the mailman." She shot me a "too much information" look and quickened her pace to catch up to Mrs. Thames. I stopped to get control of myself by biting the inside of my cheek. I took a deep breath and caught up to them.

William was instructed to remove his clothing and place the paper robe over himself before sitting on the exam table. "May I retain my shoes?" he asked.

"Your shoes?" she clarified.

"Yes, please. My brother gave me this one and I like to keep them on."

The nurse smiled and asked, "He only gave you one? Did he make you buy the other one yourself?"

"Oh, no ma'am. He bought me this one first and then he gave me this one second."

She was struggling to not appear impolite and said, "Well I guess you can only put one on at a time so that works out."

William looked at her as if he didn't understand and said. "Yes. One at a time. May I retain them?"

"I don't see why that would hurt. Just remove everything else." William smiled and went straight to work stripping off his clothes. I helped him get the legs of his slacks over the soles of the Vans. He unabashedly pulled his clean, white briefs off and laid them on the extra chair. I chose to stand up in the corner near Mrs. Thames. His penis and ball looked much improved. William unbuttoned his shirt and carefully draped it over the chair back and then hopped onto the exam table naked.

"You forgot the paper robe," I said.

"It is fruitless to don it. The physician will dispense with it immediately upon entering."

"Okay. It's your party like the nurse said." His mom and I looked at each other and shared a knowing smile.

The sight of his lithe nakedness and the sprouting replacement pubes above his youthful looking dick and dangling ball caused a little stirring in my loins. I wasn't sexually charged up by the sight as much as just the whole oddness of the situation. I couldn't imagine sitting naked on the table like that in front of my mother. I knew that she never would have come in with me in the first place, however. I gave William's mom kudos for supporting him even if it was uncomfortable for a boy his age and also probably for her. I could tell he appreciated our support in being in there with him.

The physician flitted in and paused only a moment to take in the unexpected attendees. He promptly acknowledged us and turned his attention to the patient. "How are you doing, William?" he asked.

"Grandiose, Doctor!" William beamed.

"That's good. Can I have a look at my handiwork down here?" He placed a hand on William's shoulder and laid him back. The doctor placed rubber gloves on and began lifting, palpating and scrutinizing William's privates. The doctor's "hmm's" and "ahem's" all had an upbeat tone to them, sounding positive. He inquired if William had any pain or discomfort as he pulled and prodded. William confirmed that he did not. Then he asked, "Have you achieved an erection recently?"

"Yes sir." William answered.

"How recently was it?"

"This morning, sir."

"And, did you have any pain from it?"

"No sir, I did not. It was actually most pleasurable."

The doctor grinned and scratched at his temple. He leaned in and asked, "Did you engage in masturbation and produce ejaculate?"

"No sir. I have not masturbated. You instructed I should refrain from doing so. I awoke this morning having had a nocturnal emission and was still erect from the experience." William didn't make any attempt to whisper or prevent his mom or me from hearing.

"Very good," the doctor said. "And tell me, was the quantity of semen you produced significant?"

William shrugged. "I have no basis for comparison. I believe the stain's diameter approximated that of emissions prior to my surgery."

"Very good then. Let's get those stitches out." William watched nervously as the physician clipped the sutures and slipped them from his penis with tweezers. William clenched his butt cheeks and cocked his head each time the doctor extracted a string of the black nylon thread.

"A most extraordinary sensation," William said as the last one pulled free.

"I imagine it is." The doctor placed the extracted material in the hazardous container and de-gloved. He gave instructions to refrain from vigorous masturbation for a while but suggested that occasional, gentle massage of the penis into an erection was actually a good therapy at this stage. "Most boys are going to do it anyway, so I just warn them to be careful about it."

William just stared intently at the doctor who clearly expected some sort of reaction to that statement being made in front of a mother, but he got nothing besides William's indiscriminating stare. "If any redness or bleeding develops, call me right away. Continue to take your growth stimulating drugs and we'll have you come back in two weeks to see how you're progressing on that front."

William sat up and said, "Thank you, Doctor for transforming me into a normal boy and saving one of my testicles. I didn't like being a freak." The doctor who looked ready to bolt for his next patient, stopped dead in his tracks. He was clearly overcome by the sincerity and magnitude of William's gratitude. He brushed a tear from the corner of his eye and gently placed a hand on William's shoulder.

"You're most welcome, son. It's rewarding to actually help someone and have them recognize it. God bless you." Then he quickly disappeared and William pulled his clothes back on. He was just tugging the second leg of his pants over the Vans when the nurse came in. She gave a printed list of instructions to William's mom, shot me an odd glance and left.

Back in the waiting room, I congratulated William on the success of his appointment and said I'd see him in school. He thanked me, as did his mom, for coming and for the shoe. We hugged and William actually hugged back. Just as I pulled my phone to call my dad, it vibrated. It was Scotty.

"Hey dude, it's Scotty. I got permission from coach to call you. Kirk told us all about your dog dying. Dude, I'm so sorry. I feel really bad for you. How are you doing?"

"I'm doing okay now," I answered, "I was a mess this morning, though."

"I bet. I would be too. Tell me about him, or was it a her?"

I told him all about old Sam and how I got him when I was only five. I shared some of the favorite memories I gleaned from my trip down memory lane earlier that morning. Scotty listened politely and patiently, acting sincerely interested. Then he asked if there was anything he could do for me.

"Actually, yes," I responded. "I know it's a school night and all, but I really don't want to sleep in my bed where he died all by myself tonight. Do you think you could come over and spend the night with me? We could get up and all go running together in the morning; you and I could meet up with Kirk."

"I'll ask. Normally, I wouldn't even bother asking that, but in this kind of circumstance, I think my parents might say okay."

"Hey thanks."

"No problem dude. You'd be there for me if it was the other way around." I wondered if that was true. I hoped it was. I realized the pure love Scotty's parents shared with each other was rubbing off on their children. Scotty was a kind, genuinely great person."

Just as I was about to text my dad to come get me or tell me where he was at, William reappeared. "Did you forget something?" I asked.

"Yes. We forgot you," he joked. "We are going for an ice cream treat. Would you like to join us?"

"Thanks, but I can't eat that stuff right now. I have to make weight in a couple of days and I sort of splurged this weekend. Thanks for the invitation, though." William's disappointment was evident, so I added, "But I wouldn't mind tagging along for the company, if that's all right." He perked back up and waved for me to follow him down the stairs. I sent my dad a text explaining that I was going home with William's mom.

"Great! Glad u r. Have tons still 2 do here. CU l8tr" I was amused by my father's attempt at sounding cool when he sends texts. All of it is really old school abbreve's, but he gets points for trying. I followed up with another text asking permission to have Scotty spend the night and why. He approved, if it was okay with Scotty's parents. I was hopeful.

The ice cream outing was pleasant. William's mom was actually very charming and engaging. I had seriously misjudged her on first impressions. We chatted about debate mostly and William was incredibly excited to go back to school. I wished I could share some of his enthusiasm for that. I was actually glad to have missed the first day of school since the bonfire and hoped that whatever gossip and chatter there was would have died down by the next day. After ice cream, we travelled over to William's trailer. They offered to take me home, but William really wanted me to hang out with him a while so I agreed to. I didn't really have any need to be at home, and I was worried the empty house without Sam in it would be kind of depressing.

William's father was in his usual front row seat watching the professional wrestlers engaging in their choreographed drama for idiots. The beer in his hand was half full, or better said, half empty. He glared at me and then said to his wife, "We're out of beer. Be a good wifey and run get me some more." He waved some cash in her direction. William dragged me quickly away into his room and shut the door. He pulled up the latest research he had performed on the debate topic and we reviewed it. I praised his good work. The trailer door opened and closed and shortly afterward, William's door flew open. The barnacle filled the doorway.

"Why are you here?" he interrogated me.

"I was invited by William and his mother," I said firmly.

I expected a fight but got none. Instead he turned to William and asked surprisingly, "So how did it go at the doctors?"

"Excellently, sir. All is healing satisfactorily." William seemed as surprised as I was, and a little bit pleased, that his father actually asked about his condition.

"Good. Let's see it."

William looked completely shocked at that request, but stood and complied. He dropped his pants and his underwear and stood stiffly as his old man knelt in front of him. His father used one finger to lift and move William's penis from side to side. "That's a hell of a stitching job; you can barely see any scarring." He dropped the tiny penis back against the drooping ball and ordered, "Get an erection."

"No father, please," William plead. "I don't wish to."

"I don't give a damn what you wish. Do it!" William looked at me and then back at the floor and shook his head in refusal.

"I gave you an order boy. I'm your father and you have to respect and honor my orders, right?"

William glanced at me again. I jumped to William's rescue and boldly said, "He said no. Leave him alone."

"You've got no voice here. You're the reason he won't obey me. Get out!" the old barnacle barked.

"No!" William cried out. "Stay." Turning to his father, he said, "If you leave, I will manipulate an erection and call you when it is achieved."

"Oh. I get it. You want your little gay friend here to do it for you. Whatever the fuck you're into. I really don't give a damn if you're gay or straight or purple or green as long as you do what I need done." He spun and left us.

"You don't have to do this William. You can refuse. Does he make you do things for him? Sexual things, I mean."

William shook his head, no. "Will you kindly assist me? I fear that if I fail to comply, he will perform it roughly after you depart and may reinjure me. I know you will be gentle as per the physician's instruction. You are more experienced than I am at this procedure."

I started to argue, but really saw the logic behind what he said and held my tongue. He was so unemotional and logical sometimes. He lay on the bed and I pulled his shirt up past his small, dark brown nipples. I took his tiny dick in my fingers and began rubbing it. "Hold on," I said. Do you have any lotion?" He directed me to the bathroom by the sink and I returned with it. I was liberal with its application and that made me feel better not having to pull the recently repaired skin up and down. I could now glide smoothly over the body and glans of his dick with my fingers and thumb and in a moment, he lifted his head to watch. His mouth dropped slightly open and his expression became serious as the first pulsations of blood expanded his small unit. I added lotion and continued my gentle stroking along his shaft and head. He pressed his lips together and then dropped his jaw again, hauling in steady deep breaths causing his skinny chest to visibly rise and fall.

My own dick was aroused from touching his little one, and though not fully erect, it was pressing out the fabric in my jeans. William was starting to tense up and clench his butt muscles as he reached full erection. I was intrigued that the area where the stitches had just been removed was slightly redder than the surrounding folds of skin. I released his dick and said, "Mr. Thames, it's ready."

He lumbered in and leered at me. He rubbed his finger along William's lubricated dick and then grabbed my right hand for a look. "I thought so," he spat out. The barnacle glanced an my crotch and I slid my left hand over the bulge. "From freak to faggot!" he mocked. Then, he leaned in and closely examined William's dick from all angles. "Excellent. That's going to work out perfectly. In a couple of weeks, you'll never know without a close inspection that any cutting was ever done on it. Hell of a fine job. This is going to work out perfectly." He had an insidious smile as he retreated. In the doorway, he stopped and said, "You better cover it up before your mother gets home. There's no sense letting her know her precious little angel is a fucking faggot; that would crush her."

I looked sympathetically at William. "Are you sure he's never abused you? Like anything?" William just shook his head, no. "So what do you want to do now?"


"You mean, finish masturbating?"


I smiled and chuckled. "I knew you'd come around once it quit hurting." I applied a fresh glob of pink lotion and wished him luck. Keep it lotioned up real good and you won't have any problem with it. I'll hit the head and give you some privacy."

He swallowed hard, grinned, his eyes widened, and he gave the slightest little moan as he took the tender reed into his own grasp and began sliding up and down its length almost experimentally. I couldn't resist watching for a minute before retreating to the small bathroom next door, closing William's door behind me.

The walls were very thin with no insulation and I strained to listen in to his small gasps of pleasure rising steadily to a crescendo. I dropped my pants and Hanes and then parked my ass on the toilet seat. I pulled my t-shirt front up over my head and tucked it behind, exposing my chest and abs. I grabbed a fistful of my own erection and began pumping in rhythm to William's sounds of self discovery. I imagined his reaction as the little pleasure gasps grew louder and more rapid. I could see in my mind's eye, his body going stiff and his toes curled. When the sounds stopped, I knew it was the moment of climax. I pulled the skin of my dick down tight to force the onslaught of my own eruption and Little Rock complied nicely. I let out my own deep gasp as hot, white cum spewed across my chest. I projected the glowing chills of the after party I was feeling onto William and hoped he enjoyed his experience as much as I just enjoyed my own.

I wiped up, flushed and returned to his room. When I opened his door, he was still lying there, hands to the side and breathing heavily. There was a satisfied look on his face as though he'd eaten his first Snicker's bar. His first post surgical, pain free orgasm was now behind him. "Oh, sorry," I said backing out of the door. "I thought you were finished."

"I have completed the task at hand. You may freely enter. I am not ashamed for my brother to witness me so exposed," he stated plainly. "In fact, your return is most opportune. I was just contemplating the most efficient method of cleaning up."

I quickly pulled some tissues from a box and wiped his belly clean then dabbed carefully at his now limp dick. I pulled his briefs up and over his midsection for him. I helped also with his slacks and he sat up. He smiled at me said, "Do you think children's test scores can be directly correlated to the amount of funding per pupil?"

I started to laugh and he had no idea why. His mom came home just then and asked if I could stay for dinner. I reflected on an image of the cat licking dried food off pans stacked in the sink, and I imagined hurting her feelings if I couldn't eat whatever fattening fare she might whip up knowing I had to make weight. I politely declined the offer saying I needed to be getting home. William rode with to deliver me and we all chatted freely and pleasantly again. I asked Mrs. Thames if she would do me a favor by stopping at Hatfield's Nursery along the way home where I purchased a container of ice plant. I congratulated William on his successful surgery and we bumped knuckles. I thanked Mrs. Thames for the ride and she offered her condolences for Sam.

I walked in to find an empty home. I sent dad a text asking when he would be home. "Late" was the curt reply. "No problem. I'm fine. Love you." I supposed he was into something thorny that involved someone's living or dying. I was a little sensitive to that need at the moment, so I held no grudge. I started to go to my room, but then didn't want to, being alone in the house. Instead, I stripped naked in the library and did a couple hundred sit-ups and fifty pushups. Afterward, I grabbed a yogurt and a banana and plopped in front of the TV and started surfing the channels. I settled on Animal Planet.

My phone finally buzzed. I'd checked it during every commercial in hopes Scotty would call. "Hey!" I said with excited anticipation.

"Hey is for horses, you prefer upside down bananas, I've heard," he shot back.

"Shut-up! Are you coming over?"

"Yeah in about a half hour. I have to finish my math."

"Cool! Hey, I really appreciate this. Thanks."

"No problem. I'm glad to help. See you soon."

"K. Later. Oh, wait; write down the code to get in." I gave him the code and explained which house would be mine after they entered the gate.

I took my clothes upstairs and put them in the laundry basket. I pulled on a pair of shorts but no underwear. I glanced at my unmade bed and scurried back to the family room. It seemed like hours before the doorbell sounded. I met Scotty and his mother at the door. Scotty was wearing a t-shirt and shorts and flip flops even though it was already getting cool at night and he looked underdressed. "Are you certain this is okay with your father?" she asked.

"Yes, Mrs. Simons, here check out his text. I popped open my phone and navigated to the saved message. "He's hung up with a bad medical problem and may be home real late. He's glad I have someone with me and so am I."

"I see. All right then." She pulled me into a hug and pressed me into her large, soft breasts. She patted my back and told me how sorry she felt for me losing such a dear friend in Sam. It was so nice to feel a mother's love and sympathy. I fought hard to control my overactive tear ducts. "Be good," she admonished Scotty, who rolled his eyes and shooed her out the door.

"Dude, thanks for coming. I didn't want to be here alone tonight, and I immediately thought about you," I said. "Especially, sleeping by myself in the bed he died in." Tears threatened to emerge again and I felt myself trembling slightly.

Scotty dropped his gear bag and stepped over to me. Without speaking, he pulled me into a hug. I cried softly but not for sadness this time. I cried in appreciation at his tender concern. I twisted my head and wiped my trickling tears on his t-shirt. Scotty slipped his hands from my bare back and slid them out from under my arms and up to my face. He rubbed the remainder of the tears from my cheeks with his thumbs and stared compassionately into my eyes.

"I'm sorry for being a crybaby," I said embarrassed.

"Dude, it's okay to cry at times like these. You're not a crybaby. I've seen you endure serious pain in wrestling without tears. I'd cry too if I lost my dog. You're supposed to." Then it happened.

I hope you have enjoyed this chapter, in spite of its sad parts. Kyle has undergone significant events that shape his future. If you're wondering what it is that happened, keep checking for chapter 16 and find out.

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