This is a mobile proxy. It is intended to visit the IOMfAtS Story Shelf on devices that would otherwise not correctly display the site. Please direct all your feedback to the friendly guy over at IOMfAtS!

Are You Scared Yet?

by J J Janicki

Chapter 2

One thing I forgot to mention prior to my first chapter was the simple fact that it actually was the the first chapter.

Well, I did notice later on and I could have changed it, but I since liked the way the title worked with my disclaimer, I guessed for once I could dispense with a chapter number.

(I got mixed reviews on my creativity at St. Ag's as well.)

Beyond that, though, I don't think any more disclaiming is necessary. I disclaimed before the first chapter, and you're still here, so it must be all right.

Although before actually starting, maybe I should explain my "-"s and my "..."s. (Hopefully, this works out better than it did with Sister Mary Katherine.)

A sentence ending like this: (" well, I'm Nathaniel and um...") means that I've trailed off. I just wasn't sure how to finish. Although I will admit that occasionally a sentence might end with a "..." because I shouldn't have started it in the first place because there's no way of ending it gracefully, but at the same time, I don't feel like bothering with it any more.

If a "..." shows up in the middle of direct speech, it means the speaker is hesitant or can't quite believe what he's hearing, but if shows up in a sentence such as this, then it probably means that I've just thought of something else.

A sentence ending this way: "We're going right out into the damn highway, oh my Go-" means the speaker has been interrupted. In the example just given, I was interrupted by the realization that we actually were on the highway, but usually it's because one person is talking and someone else interrupts him.

A "-" appearing in the middle of a sentence is nothing more than a sneaky way of inserting a parenthetical statement. To me, "-" doesn't look as intrusive as "(". (But I do occasionally use parentheses.)

So now that we have that cleared up...

The first thing I noticed when I woke up was that Carlie was already up and about. So I was sorry I'd missed it, but there would be more opportunities. They didn't seem to be much on propriety, so I just needed to be patient, I'd get to see it in all its glory soon enough.

But speaking of patience, I needed to pee in the worst kind of way. I could hear the shower going down the hall, so... "Well, damn it, where are my clothes?"

Piled into a corner with all my other stuff that hadn't been sorted out and put away yet, but where ? I honestly didn't feel like I had time for a painstaking search right then. And besides, I was thinking about not being so formal or proper myself. Only, not right then, because I wasn't sure how John would react if he saw me running naked out of his son's room. Certainly not with my morning woody leading the way, because then he might jump to conclusions. Some would be wrong and some might not be, but...

I didn't want to deal with all that right then, I just needed to go.

So I jumped out of bed and started frantically throwing things around looking for something to wear. I really had to go! And because of that, I wasn't able to think straight, so it never occurred to me that I could grab something out of Carlie's dresser - no, finally it was, "Oh fuck!"and out into the hallway I went with my hands clutched tightly in front.

Only, the bathroom door was locked. "Huh? Since when did we start getting so formal around here?"

"Hey, Carlie, " I yelled frantically, "Let me in! I gotta pee! Now!"

"Just go round back, " yelled cousin John back, "I'll be out shortly."

"Round back? Where's that?"

"Right through the kitchen. Nothing else, Carlie can show you where to go."

I guess I could have just aimed it out the bedroom window, but hissing under my breath, I fled downstairs. If I tried to go too fast, I'd probably lose it. But if I didn't go fast enough..."Shit shit shit... oh man..." It definitely was touch and go.

So when I came hoppity-hopping into the kitchen, Carlie looked up at me, then with a mouthful of Pop Tart he blurted, "Well, we ain't quite that uncivil-"

"I gotta go! Now, damn it!"

Then he started laughing so hard he was spraying Pop Tart all over the kitchen table, but he managed, "Well, just go out on the back porch, then."

And so I did. I did take some furtive glances around, but it didn't look like anyone was likely to have seen me. Guess that's one advantage to living in Oxmar.

Once finished, I walked back inside a bit sheepishly and Carlie asked me, "Feel better now?"

"Oh, immensely!"

"Well, I found your clothes. They were under the seat, " and he tossed them to me. So as I was hurriedly pulling them on, (I was naked for almost nine and a half hours), he added, "after we stop at the bank this morning to open up your account, we're going on to Dickinson. Grocery shopping, Wal-Mart, stuff like that, but... well, you okay with Pop Tarts?"

So right then I guessed we had another thing in common. We both thought Pop Tarts and coffee was a perfectly good breakfast.

I finished eating, burped, then I went upstairs and took a quick shower. And I finally got to jerk off. I really needed that. Then I put on some good clothes and we were off to open my account. (Bannister is the nearest town with a bank.)

Being shipped off to Grandpa Halverson's was mostly my idea. Or to put it another way, since I didn't like my mom's parent's rules and expectations, maybe I'd find things more to my liking in North Dakota.

What I liked least was the fact that they were going to send me off to a military school somewhere in Virginia next fall: I didn't like that idea at all. Teaching me how to be a man and all that bullshit, but the thing was, now they were the ones saying how things were going to be, at least when it came to the important issues. So, when it was sarcastically mentioned that I might like it better at Grandpa Halverson's, I said, "You know, I think that's a good idea, " and the next thing I knew I was on a plane to Williston, North Dakota. I had to change planes twice, in DC and Denver. It's not that easy to get to Williston.

Only it didn't take me long to figure out what they meant when they said I'd be begging to come back soon enough. If not for being dumped off at my cousin's, I probably would have. (Then once in military school, I would've simply found a way of getting myself kicked out. What were they going to do, court-martial me?)

But North Dakota was also my mom's idea. I think she was feeling guilty about letting her parents take over like they were. At least a little, and I also have the feeling that she didn't know any more about what life on a farm was like than I did - she probably thought it was a dude ranch or something. The way she put it was: I could see how I liked it, and if after a week or so I wanted to stay, then she'd send them some money each month to take care of the extra expense of me being there. I mean, it wasn't like she was all at once penniless, not by any means, because her parents were wealthy. And her grandparents had been wealthier still. My mom just came from a very wealthy family, so while she was still emotionally devastated, she certainly hadn't been left destitute.

So when I called Sunday afternoon, I was telling her that I thought I was going to like it out there - even if later on I had some second thoughts - so she talked to John for awhile, then she talked to me some more, and when it was over, I found out she was going to be sending John $500 a month and she'd be sending me $200 a month for whatever. It didn't seem like very much on my end, but John seemed happy enough and it sure beat military school... so that explains why I was opening an account: it was just for practical reasons.

After the business at the bank was taken care of, I rode with Carlie in the back of the GMC all the way to Dickinson. With John driving, it was pretty cool. I was wearing gray cargo shorts and there were some interesting updrafts. Nothing major - like it might have been if I'd dressed the way Carlie had the day before, but still, not too bad.

Carlie had on a pair of faded jeans with some soccer shorts on underneath. He said he'd probably be getting more comfortable on our way back, though. (More about that later.) But for a little bit I was thinking that maybe we had more in common than liking Pop Tarts for breakfast and sleeping naked.

While I could take only so much on the plane, my laptop definitely went with me, and Carlie noticed it right away. So we were talking about it. He said his dad had been thinking about getting him one, but since I already had one, maybe if he could use it too, instead of getting his own computer he'd talk his dad into getting high speed Internet. It would have to be by satellite, but still, he'd heard that it was way better than dial-up.

So naturally I said, "Well, of course. I can't even imagine using dial-up!"

And then I was going on about YouTube and all, when he wondered, "So do you know how to get to any adult sites?"

That's when I started thinking that maybe we didn't have as much in common as I was hoping after all."Um, yeah, I think I might be able to find some, " I replied evasively, but right then I started having a sinking feeling. Raunchy naked ladies with humongous boobs! Fuck! Carlie getting hot and bothered over naked ladies wasn't something I was looking forward to.

But he did seem to be interested in music a lot, so at least we'd have that much in common, and I guessed I could always set things up so he had his own separate account and he wouldn't be able to see any of my stuff.

And besides, I couldn't imagine life without the Internet. So even if it probably wasn't going to be as great as I'd been hoping, I'd get used to it.

I continued to entertain doleful thoughts of voluptuous naked ladies engaged in disgusting acts on my laptop while we were grocery shopping and while we were at the auto parts place. Then at Wal-Mart, for a minute or so it was looking even worse when some girl named Melissa came scurrying up and said, "Oh, hi, Carlie! Whatcha doing this summer?..." and all that. I mean, she pulled him aside and they talked for about a minute, then Carlie said, "Well, I guess I'll be seeing you around, " and at that point I wasn't feeling good about things at all!

Although I was still trying to be cool about it. But maybe I wasn't looking as unconcerned as I was trying to, because once we reached another aisle he shrugged and said, "Don't worry about it. She's wasting her time."

I wasn't sure what kind of message that was (or what message I'd sent), but at least I was feeling better, so I decided to buy two pairs of soccer shorts that were a couple of sizes too short. Just in case.

The biggest reason we were at Wal-Mart though, was to buy a TV for our room. I really liked John saying that."Our" room. That was way cool. But John - (and by the way, he said I could just call him John and forget the cousin part) - had a small TV in his room, which Carlie often borrowed. So that was his reason: he said that way we wouldn't always be running off with his so we could watch Carlie's movies.

See, Carlie had a cheap DVD player and a small collection of DVDs. Mostly action movies, but he did say he liked watching old movies, so I was going to ask my mom to ship my movies and DVD player as soon as she could. They were still boxed up in Orlando, but I have tons of movies, including almost every coming-of-age movie that's available on DVD anywhere in the world. (I have one of those all-region players. It's nice.) I liked movies, period..."Fargo", "Lord of the Rings", "Star Wars", "Casablanca", "Citizen Kane"... you name it, but I particularly liked coming-of-age movies. Especially if that movie happened to have some incidental or not-so-incidental brief nudity in it. If I was watching one of those with Carlie, I'd pretend to be perfectly blasé about the nude scenes, but... well, I'd just be playing it by ear, that's all.

But by the time we started back home with Carlie's new TV in the back I was once again feeling fairly hopeful and wasn't in a bad mood at all.

Then things started getting interesting again, even before we were out of Dickinson when Carlie announced, "I'm about to burn up, " and proceeded to take his jeans and shirt off, leaving him in just a pair of loose soccer shorts. We're still talking degrees because all three of us were up front, but after thinking about it, I decided it was at least hot enough to get rid of my shirt.

But once Dickinson was in our rear view mirror, things notched up a degree or so more when Carlie asked if it was all right for him to drive.

His dad replied, "I don't know about that, Carlie: I've seen a few Highway Patrolmen up this way."

"So? I won't get over sixty. So why would they want to pull me over?"

"Because you don't look even close to sixteen, that's why. You ain't even got any hair on your legs yet."

"So? I never saw anything about having hair on your legs on your license.... And you know what else? One time me and Earl passed one and he didn't pay us any attention at all."

"Well, if Earl was in his rabbit suit, it's a wonder he didn't think you two had just escaped from the funny farm."

"Yeah, well, he didn't even look at us."

John looked over at me."Nathaniel, does a thirteen-year-old who's all the time dressing up in a bunny rabbit suit sound normal?"

"Um... well..."

"And mind you, " he continued, "Coming from New York City, you've probably seen your share of weirdos, but tell me, just how far do you think a boy dressed up like a pink bunny rabbit would get?"

"I'm not sure. I haven't ever thought about it." I was trying to be diplomatic, but I was also having to stifle myself. "Pink bunny rabbit??"

"Yeah, well, when you've had a chance to digest it all..."

"Earl's okay once you get to know him, " Carlie cut in, "but I still don't see why I can't drive if I don't get over the speed limit. I'm a good driver, you know that, so-"

"Oh, all right! Boy, you could drive a person batty! But seeing as how you have to drive on in after you drop me off at Gustafson's place I guess now is as good a time as any. Me, I think I'll just get in back and take me a little siesta."

And with that, he pulled over to the side and after telling Carlie not to bounce him out -"Because remember, if I'm bouncing, so's your TV," - things started getting slightly more interesting than before.

Carlie pulled back onto the highway and I looked over at him and asked, "Who's Earl?"

"Oh, you'll meet him soon enough. He's all right, though.... Least, once you get to know him, he is."

"Oh.... And you say he dresses up like a bunny rabbit?"

"He says it's performance art. But you got that in New York too, right? You know, like mimes and stuff?"

"Yeah, and most of them are pretty weird too."

"Yeah well..." (snicker) -"he's different, I admit that much.... But aren't you about to burn up in those shorts? I mean, they almost come down to your knees!"

Looking straight ahead, I managed, "Oh, I'm all right. At least until we get back, I guess I am."

"Well, you got your boxers on, don't you?... I can see that you do."

I quickly glanced over at him and then down at his lap. Aha!

Carlie grinned, but didn't say anything for a minute or so. But finally - after glancing back to see if his dad really was asleep - and he was, because he could sleep almost anywhere - Carlie cleared his throat and said, "I dare you, " and almost immediately my hopes in regard to where things might eventually end up at started to rise again. And of course that wasn't all that started rising. Gone were my visions of naked ladies, gone were my doleful thoughts, gone were my...

Well, not my inhibitions, so my shorts stayed on."What?" I asked, "You want me to be riding around in my underwear with your dad in back?... I don't think so."

"Why not? He's asleep. And it's not like anybody can see inside, you know. You think they got X-ray vision or something?... And besides, those boxers look almost the same as my shorts, so what's the big deal?"

"Because they're not shorts, that's why. It's my underwear, and your dad-"

"Long as I don't bounce him too high - and I'm not, because like he said, that could mess up the TV - he's not going to wake up until we get to Gustafson's place. Promise."

So I was sitting there trying to figure out things, but I wasn't making much progress. Except for wondering if maybe his thing was just trying to embarrass me to death and if that was the case, well...

"Chicken!" Then he started making clucking sounds.

And I know it's irresponsible to allow yourself to be goaded into something because your cousin is calling you a chicken - that's juvenile, you know?

Only I am a juvenile, and at times highly irresponsible. Everybody always said so, so I said, "Okay, fine. Right after we drop your dad off, I will, then."

"Okay, I'm going to hold you to that, then, " and that's all there was to it. Really, then we started talking about movies. It was a fairly animated discussion we were having - all about movies, not pending exhibitionism - so I was becoming very optimistic indeed.

See, a shared love of movies was one of the things Stephan and I had in common. Although I have to draw the line on Fellini. I never could get into his movies all that much. All one of them. (That we watched all the way through.) But really, we were into it totally!Well, it seemed like Carlie - demon boy racer or not - was into it as well. And apparently, so was this mysterious Earl because Carlie mentioned several movies they'd watched together.

Then something else lurking in the back of my mind while we were talking, was: The first time me and Stephan messed around any was right after we'd finished watching "Le Souffle au Couer". ("Murmur of the Heart"). It's an acclaimed coming-of-age movie in which after numerous failed attempts, the boy finally manages to lose his virginity. Although that happened off-camera, which was just as well, because he ended up doing his step-mother and a girl friend. Not both at the same time, but he did. There were quite a few scenes that were off camera and left to the imagination - I mean, Laurent (the boy in the movie) definitely had a one-track mind - but still, there was some brief incidental nudity. And when the scene came up, we both tried to act blasé.

But, that's when it started. We were discussing how it must have felt to be naked in front of the camera, especially if you take into consideration the fact that the movie was going to be shown world-wide."It would like riding the Medusa naked! When you're just hanging there and everybody in the park can see everything!" (The Medusa is another Six Flags coaster, only this one's floorless.)

But we were also wondering what might have happened between Laurent and the boy about our age in the tent they were sharing right after they acted out their play at that summer camp, and before long we were acting out one of the possibilities that occurred to us. Unfortunately, that was only feeling each other off. Not that us feeling each other off was such an unfortunate event - I thought it was awesome, but I was looking forward to even better things, only as it turned out we never had the chance, because the next week was when the feds showed up.

Only now I was starting to see some possibilities in regard to Carlie as well. (Then, just as we were about to get to some truly interesting acting-out... KA-RASH!! )

But, oh well, he was a good driver and right then he was driving safe as could be. Once we started talking about movies, his tent disappeared. I mostly remained in a state of being at least slightly aroused, but that was because of where our shared interest in movies could possibly end up. Just because Stephan and I were interested in those other activities didn't necessarily mean Carlie was, but I was still hopeful, because he sure seemed interested in getting me out of my clothes.

We were dropping his dad off because Fred Gustafson had an out-of-commission truck, only he was too cheap to have it towed in. So John agreed to stop by and see what he could do. Once finished, Fred would drive him home.

So before long we were on the dirt road leading back to his place, a mile or so off the highway, which was time enough for me to start getting nervous again. It was a cross between being a little scared and something else that was giving me a full-blown erection.

And sure enough, after dropping his dad off, soon as we were about a hundred yards away, Carlie said, "Okay, now. Get 'em off.... You said you would, remember?... But really, it feels nice. You'll like it."

So I took a deep breath and quickly looked around, just to make sure, then made sure my dick wasn't poking out, and... I did it. Then I shrugged and, tent or no tent, I placed my shorts on the seat beside me. It didn't seem like having an erection mattered because I could see Carlie's was rising up again as well.

He glanced over at me and said, "Cool.... This feels nice, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, I guess."

"Yeah..." Then he giggled, and nothing more was said for awhile. Only, he was sort of whistling under his breath.

Then we hit the highway. I was still trying to act like it was normal, but I was also trying to think of something else to say. And so finally, "So... I stay like this for how long?... I mean, you still got shorts on, but now I'm in my underwear, so that makes a difference, you know?"

"Yeah, I know, " he replied. He seemed to be deep in thought.

But after two or three minutes of pregnant silence, he said, "Okay, then, " and with that, he pulled off to the side of the highway, unsnapped his seat harness and... (and all at once, kinkyness was in the air) and...

He asked me, "So you want to have a contest?"

Right then, I knew. Pulled over on the side of highway 85, we were... he wanted us to... "He can't be serious!... Can he?" But finally I managed, "What kind of contest?"

He looked at me slyly."Guess."

"No way."

"You guessed right!" and with that, he hunched up a little and sure as the world, he was stark naked.

So that was interesting. My first close look at his boner and I thought it was fascinating. I could just barely see his glans peeking out, mostly it was still covered by his foreskin. (Normally, it looks like he has a nipple at the end.) It was a little on the skinny side - almost there, but not quite - but I would have put it at past five and a half inches. It curved slightly to his right. So it was sort of pointed in my direction and it seemed to be quivering ever so slightly and...

"So you gonna, or not?" (Carlie.)

"But we can't just be pulled over on the side of the road like this because-"

"So who said anything about us sitting here? Soon as you get 'em off, we'll just keep on driving, all right?"


"Nobody's gonna see us. I'll keep my eyes on the road.... Most of the time.... Or at least one eye. So..."

"So we're going to drive back home naked."

"No, once we reach the next mile marker, we're going to have a race, okay?"

My voice hitched up an octave. In fact, I believe I squeaked."A race?"

"Yeah. Then soon as we're done, we just pull over again and after we get cleaned up, we get our shorts back on, all right?... Because, look, there's hardly any traffic at all. Just like always."

I knew what he was saying, but I still couldn't believe it."You mean..."

"We just have a race to see who can shoot off first, all right?"

It still seemed to be quivering. Slightly. So I took another deep breath, gulped, and almost like I was in a dream, all at once I was naked too."I have lost my mind."

Although I guess I still had some bits and pieces, because once back on the highway I quavered, "So have you thought ahead to the part where we do it?... I mean, we're in your dad's pickup... and it might end up a being a little messy, you know?"

"Just catch it in your hand and then we'll use your boxers to wipe everything off and soon as we get home, we'll throw 'em in the washer. Okay? So on your mark, get set, go!"

Just like that.

But I still thought it was fascinating. His seemed to be looser. It was so exciting, I can't think of an adequate way of describing it. Us doing ourselves as we traveled sedately down highway 85. He kept glancing over at me and I kept looking at his. Thing was, though, while I was really pounding on mine, he seemed almost leisurely about it. Just a slow steady rhythm.

But before too much longer, I was getting close, I could feel it coming, my breath was getting ragged - and Carlie was picking his pace up as well - when all at once, he yelled, "Oh shit!"

So startled, I looked up, and there he was, in a police cruiser sitting at the intersection up ahead, just waiting for us. So I let go of myself and frantically started looking for my pants, but then I squirted. At least as much as I could manage, but it really did seem to be more than a dribble, it seemed like a squirt for sure!

Then I heard Carlie go, "Oh yes! Yes! Yes!" He is insane! Because he was spurting like crazy. "And we just passed a cop! Jesus!"

But he was still sitting there. Although he was probably radioing up ahead, I thought. But maybe not. Maybe he hadn't seen what we were up to.

Only once Carlie caught his breath he said, "Well, I guess we might as well go back and give ourselves up."

Then he carefully pulled to the side of the highway, made a U-turn and I was looking at him like, "What are you doing ?" He hadn't even pulled his shorts back on!

Well, it definitely was a police cruiser. Only as it turned out, that little fly-speck town couldn't afford a police officer, so they had a mannequin behind the wheel. A lady mannequin, but still, uniform, police hat, sunglasses and everything, and Carlie was laughing his butt off. He'd planned the whole thing out. And it sure worked, I mean that scared the...

I'll be a son of a bitch. He'd just scared the spunk out of me. Of course it wouldn't have happened if I hadn't been pulling on it, but still...

I could hardly wait to see what he was going to come up with next.

We managed to get ourselves home without being arrested, and then, after we'd got cleaned up and devoured a large pizza, we hooked his new TV up and watched some movies.

I mean, for quite awhile we didn't watch any one movie, we watched car chases. Some Iknew about, like for instance, "Bullitt", (and the chase through the streets of San Francisco was awesome)... but it's also a good movie. (And it also has Steve McQueen in it.) I was familiar with "The French Connection" (and for sure, it has an intense chase scene) and I'd seen "Ronin". (The movie is a bit murky, but it definitely has a great chase.) "The Sugarland Express" has a chase involving a '56 Buick that's barely running. And it's not a bad movie, either."The Bourne Identity" has a super-cool chase scene... and so on and so on... because after close to an hour of him fast-forwarding to yet another chase, my head was starting to swim.

He admitted that all those chase scenes one after another was a bit much, though. And he also made some good comments, like how some scenes didn't seem to serve any purpose plot-wise, or that some of the special effects were anywhere from hard to swallow to ridiculous, but that's when the light bulbs first started going off in my head. Details not provided - although I would like to point out that we're talking about movies I'd bought and paid for - but I can do all sorts of things. So I had some prior experience when it came to putting together "compilations". Including some from various coming-of-age movies, of course.

But I just liked messing around with movies period, putting together various funny or cool scenes, and as it turned out Carlie was thinking almost the same thing. Although in his case, at first it was, "I wish we could, " and that's when I informed him that I could.

You can't have a never-ending car chase, one right after another, you need to break things up a little, so right in the middle you pop in something that's a total change of pace. It could be anything. Charlie Chaplin. Lucy Ricardo. Indiana Jones... The possibilities are almost endless!

Something else I haven't mentioned until now: at times I can get a bit manic and you had best believe I'd just shifted into that mode, because here was something we could work on together, and this time, I was the expert.

So I'd just mentioned the wheelchair race from "Planta 4a" when I saw a light bulb go off in Carlie's head too. Really, I could almost see it happening.

He said, "Oh, I've got a... well, okay. This is something I shot with a camcorder I borrowed from school for a project. Only this wasn't included.... But if you want a change of pace, this ought to do it and then some. So you want to see it?"

It started like this: An old man was chugging down the middle of the highway on a riding lawn mower. Two cars passed him. One went by and the driver just waved. Only he wasn't paying him any mind. The second went by blowing his horn. So this driver looked upset."What are you doing out in the middle of the highway on a lawnmower, you dumb..." that sort of look. But the old man didn't pay him any attention either. He looked very determined.

Then Carlie stopped it and explained, "That's Earl's grandpa. He's lived here most of his life. Worked hard, built his own house. Did a good job, too. But about ten years ago, his wife died. Then things started coming apart. So now he's almost ninety and he's got Alzheimer's. It's getting worse all the time. So since he's by himself, they'd have to put him in a nursing home, that's all. Only Abe - that's his name - isn't about to be put in a nursing home, he can take care of himself. That's what he says, just like he says he can still drive. Even if they took his license two years ago. Really, it's sad... but it's also funny. He was trying to parallel park up in Dickinson. So you know how you go about doing that, right?"

"Um... I think you're supposed to pull up and then back in between the two cars, right?"

"Exactly. Or at least pretty exactly. So you get two points. Only, he tried to take a more direct approach."

"I'm not sure if I follow."

"Sheesh, Nathaniel... what's the opposite of backing in?"

"Going in front ways?"



"So? So?... What do they teach you in New York?"

"Well, it sure isn't how to drive when I just turned thirteen..."

"But still, you ought to know you can't parallel park by just going straight in!"

"Yeah, well, I just let the driver worry about that."

..."Shit, Nathaniel, you just messed up the punch line, you know that?"

"Well, sorry.... But try again. So Abe is trying to go directly into his parking space, without passing Go, and..."

"He was trying to do it going twenty-five miles an hour."

"Oh.... Boom?"

"BOOM !!! So that's when the state decided he didn't need to have a license."

..."Did anybody get hurt?"

"Nah. Least not bad, but the thing is, he really can't take care of himself. He's got a pacemaker and he can barely get around, but he still thinks he can do all sorts of things.... And one thing he's always doing is picking up scrap metal. Or anything he thinks he can sell. It doesn't matter if it's on somebody else's property or not: the way he looks at it, if they're going to throw it away, he'll take it. Even if it hasn't exactly been thrown away yet. Like one time he spotted the Johnson kid's toy wagon out in the front yard turned over - you know how kids are, they just leave things wherever, but he saw it and figured they were going to throw it away, so he took off with it."


"Don't know if you've noticed, but Oxmar is pretty small, so everybody knows everybody else, so no, he didn't get to keep his little red wagon.... But everybody understands, you know? But... well, let's go to the next scene."

And that's when Earl first entered the picture, and he looked very determined as well. That, and mega-pissed. He was about my height, but not as skinny. He was furiously pedaling a bicycle, only it was a little kid's bike. And he was in that rabbit suit. Only I wasn't able to take in everything on the first pass, so putting on my best "I do not believe what I am seeing" act, I asked Carlie if he could run that by again. "And let's see how this looks in slow-mo. See if we can read his lips this time."

So you can safely surmise that I didn't find him to be physically unappealing, dressed up like a rabbit or not. He had a cute face, in spite of a fairly obvious overbite. Somewhere between Beaver Cleaver's and Bugs Bunny's, I guess. But he looked sort of sad (and mega-pissed), he had a small straight nose and big soulful dark eyes. So he almost had to have dark hair, even if I couldn't see it because of his stupid bunny rabbit head.

But while we definitely could read his lips - he was going right down the list, ("God damn it!" "Shit!" " Fuck!") - and so on, that wasn't the reason I wanted to take another look, no, things were moving around down below in a very interesting manner. Obviously, he wasn't wearing anything underneath his bunny suit either, so there wasn't much left to the imagination. It looked like he was further along than I was. How much further, I wasn't sure, but it was interesting.

Only, now I had so many questions, I didn't even know where to start. And one thing about not knowing where to start is, sometimes when you do, you start out from the wrong place.

But after a few moments Carlie started trying to explain again."Thing you have to understand is that his grandpa is the only family he has. He's been living with him for about three years. So even though everybody knows Abe ought to be in a nursing home, Earl's still trying to take care of him. He knows it can't go on this way much longer, but he just wants to hang on at least for the rest of this summer."

"So... if... well, when they put him in the nursing home, then what? What happens to Earl?"

"Don't know.... I mean, he's smart - really smart - but sometimes he doesn't seem to have much common sense.... But I guess you've already figured that out, right?"

"Well... he did look unusual, so your dad's right about one thing, he'd stand out in New York even.... I mean, I'm not being judgmental or anything, but..."

"But you'd like to know what that was all about, right? The scene we just watched?"

"I sure would."

"Abe gets notions. There was supposed to be some scrap metal. I don't know if there was or not, but it doesn't matter, because he thought there was and he wanted to load his truck up with it. 'Course he'd forgotten that he didn't have a truck any more. So Earl reminded him of that. So end of discussion, right?"

"That's how it would seem."

"Well, you don't know Abe. He said they'd just go ask George up the road a piece if they could borrow his truck. Only George wasn't about to let them borrow his truck. But it's hard to argue with Abe when he gets a notion because he's not going to listen, especially not if you're talking about scrap metal. And it might or might not have been where he thought it was in the first place. It's hard to tell.

"But anyway, Earl finallymanaged to convince him that nobody was going to let them borrow their truck when he didn't even have a license, so he's thinking how glad he is that's over, only then he heard the riding lawn mower start up and there went Abe."

"So... how much did he figure he could load on it?"

"As much as he could, I guess.... But see, up until a few months ago one of Abe's daughters was staying with them helping out, but she finally had more than she could take, so that just left Earl. He couldn't just drop out of school, but he could get himself suspended, which he did when he went to school one day dressed up like a... want to take a guess?"

"Like a wabbit?"

"Right.... So, that's the way it is now."

"How do they live? I mean, food and all?"

"Well, they got a garden and Abe's Social Security. It's not much, but at least they get by."

"But Earl has to stay with him all the time?"

"Daytime, a lot. But at least Abe always goes to bed by nine and sleeps till almost six, so... well, that's the way it is."

"So Earl's a creature of the night then."

Carlie snickered."Yeah, sometimes he is."

"Is he always in that rabbit costume?"

"More often than not. He says he just does it to wind people up, but... well, lots of times when he's working in their garden... flannel gets hot, you know?... He always keeps the head on, though. Except when he's sleeping or takes a bath or something."


"It's an interesting sight."

"Yeah, I can imagine."

Carlie giggled."Yeah, it is.... But what I was thinking was, if you want to, we could help him out tomorrow.... Except you probably never worked in a garden before."

I shrugged."Well, unless it involves shoveling cow shit, I guess I can learn, right?"

"Sure. And if you're working with someone else, it's not that bad."

"Probably not. But-"

"You'll be all right, so don't worry about it.... But now, let's just watch a movie all the way through. 'Jurassic Park' okay?"

I really wanted to know more about us working in Earl's garden, but I guessed I'd find out soon enough, and believe it or not, it wasn't long until I was thinking more about sticking that tyrannosaurus rex somewhere in our upcoming car chase movie. I thought it would make an excellent change of pace.

Sister Mary Katherine once had this to say about a composition I turned in. Well, actually, she had a lot to say, but at least she thought I started it off fairly well and I had a good ending. But the problem was: she had no idea how I got from where I was at the start to where I was at the finish. She often had a tendency to over-react like that, but I finally had to admit that I didn't know exactly how I got from where I was at the start to where I was at the end either.

It's all about connecting the dots in between. That's what a lot of this chapter was about: details, and sometimes they're not very exciting.

So I hope this chapter was at least tolerable, but...

It's about to get more exciting.

Talk about this story on our forum

Authors deserve your feedback. It's the only payment they get. If you go to the top of the page you will find the author's name. Click that and you can email the author easily.* Please take a few moments, if you liked the story, to say so.

[For those who use webmail, or whose regular email client opens when they want to use webmail instead: Please right click the author's name. A menu will open in which you can copy the email address (it goes directly to your clipboard without having the courtesy of mentioning that to you) to paste into your webmail system (Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo etc). Each browser is subtly different, each Webmail system is different, or we'd give fuller instructions here. We trust you to know how to use your own system. Note: If the email address pastes or arrives with %40 in the middle, replace that weird set of characters with an @ sign.]

* Some browsers may require a right click instead