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Chapter Two

By Paul Schroder

Jeremy is the one to continue our saga. After all, he is the one with the terrible secret to share with Michael. It's only right that he get to tell it in his own words. Michael has a tendency to 'twist' a story a bit to increase its literary value. Let's see if Jeremy contradicts anything we've heard from Michael. Anyway, the story continues...

Hi, I'm Jeremy. And Michael doesn't know I read that crap he wrote about me in his journal. The part about the Jones brothers is pretty much right on though. He puts these things in his Journal (it would be a Diary if he were a girl) and then doesn't even password protect it in his computer. Well of course I'm going to read it! What kind of a pal would I be if I didn't invade his secret-most thoughts? You know... his Mom can clean Michael's room and old Jeremy can clean the crap from Michael's synapses. For a brainiac he can be a total nerd sometimes. That's it, he's my Nerd/Geek boy.

Anyway, it's Saturday morning and Michael's taking his shower. I'm sitting at his desk reading the (little girl's) diary and he walks into his room. He sees what I'm doing and his eyes bug out.

"What'cha doing reading my journal, Jeremy, ya big snoop?"

"Well Michael" I tell him "I'm doing what I always do by reading the lying crap you continually ink about me in this slanderous diary of yours".

"Journal - Jeremy, it's a journal" he tells me while pulling a pair of jockey shorts on under his towel.

"My sister keeps a diary and I keep a JOURNAL" he espouses.

Michael is trying to pull the waistband up under the towel that's cinched to his waist. 'God he can be comical' I think to myself. 'Rather than let me see an inch of his butt crack he goes through all these gyrations to get his underwear completely on without removing that stupid towel.'

"Yes Michael. Your sister keeps a diary and you keep a bunch of slanderous lies. What's this remark about your sister calling me butt-ugly? She never said that. And she never called you a dream-boat either... and... and what's this crap about Mother Nature spanking me with an ugly-stick when I was born? I swear, Michael, you are just jealous about my superior looks and intellect".

"Snort" Michael says, loosening the towel wrapped around his waist.

"I'm keeping that journal for posterity, Jeremy. Someday my grandkids will read it and I'll want them to know what a truly remarkable fellow I was when I was their age. So, I exaggerate a bit! Tell me a writer that doesn't."

Now he finally has the towel loose and tosses it onto his bed. I burst out laughing while I point towards Michael's jockey shorts. The geek has them on backwards!

"Har, har. Michael, If yer grandkids could just see you now... you dimwit" I say, slapping my thigh. "You really are a truly remarkable fellow". Snicker.

He's glanced down at himself and turned a nice lavender color over his normally pasty white exterior. Then he walks into his closet, slams the door and proceeds to rectify his dressing faux pax. Ah yes. That's my Michael... shy, modest, childish, DUMB (for a nerd).

"Hey Michael" I shout, "it's dark in there. Aren't you afraid you might put them on backwards and inside out?"

"Har, har Jeremy" is his muffled retort from behind the door. The door swings open and he walks out, his fly correctly facing towards the front.

Now... I have a confession to make, not to Michael of course as that could prove disastrous. It's more of a confession to myself. The last four or five months I have been getting strange urges that either emanate from my 'groinal' area or at least end up there. My 'tally' seems to 'whacker' whenever I see Michael in some form of undress. Actually jockey shorts is the closest form of undress I have seen him in, but that's enough to make my trouser worm start wiggling. It is embarrassing, really, and I try my best to shift my eyes elsewhere... only to find the traitorous orbs shifting back to Michael again. Not only is it embarrassing, it is frightening as well. Am I turning into some kind of a perv... a homo? I have been refusing to entertain that thought but the evidence just seems to continue mounting; it mounts in my underwear. Hell, it isn't just Michael either; I've started popping boners right and left in gym class looking at naked chests and legs and asses and... 'God, stop it you perv!' My boner's full blown now!

"Why are your eyes dancing around the room Jeremy? You look like you're watching a game of ping-pong".

"My brain is just overloaded after reading your diary" I say, thinking quickly.

"Damn it. Journal...JOURNAL! It's - not - a - DIARY" he exclaims, hands on hips, not liking the sissy concept of diary.

Actually I knew he would react that way and shift the conversation away from my ping-pong eyes. And I was struggling mightily not to glance down at his crotch.

"All right Mic, don't get your panties bunched up. And speaking of panties, do you plan to go outside in your tidy whities or are you going to get dressed?"

"Now whose panties are bunched? Yea, just hold on while I find some shorts" and he sets about looking through drawers.

Since I'm wearing a pair of board shorts and a tee-shirt, I am sure he will be grabbing the same. Such a copy-cat. But, he surprises me and pulls out a pair of cutoff jeans and slips them on. These were jeans his legs had outgrown and so he had whacked them into shorts. The thing is, they tend to fit him real snug like and reveal a lot more leg than baggy board shorts. God, not fair, now I am going to have ping-pong eyes for the rest of the afternoon! He further complicates things by pulling on a tee-shirt that's too small for him. The damn thing snugs up to his torso like its painted on!

"What are you sighing about Jer? I'm dressing as fast as I can."

I explain away my horny sigh by saying " you spend as much time dressing as Suzzane. (That's Michael's sister.) How long will it take you to put on the make-up"?

"Don't give up your day job, comedian" he responds. "Since we are going to Potter's field to collect specimens, I am putting on stuff I don't mind getting dirty. Unlike this fashion plate sitting at my desk who is wearing his best pair of board shorts."

Oh shit. I had forgotten our day's plans when I'd dressed this morning. And he was right. My Mom would kill me if I screwed up these pants. Oh well, can't be helped. I'll just have to try and be careful.

He finished dressing by pulling on an old pair of sneakers and asked me if I had remembered to bring some specimen jars.

"No" I reply. "You know I'm not much of a morning person. I was lucky to leave the house with clothes on."

"Ha" he snorts. My sister would say your not much of a person at all... morning or afternoon!"

He was right about that. While I am sure his sister never called me butt-ugly, I'm equally certain she never said anything nice about me either. Two years older than Michael, Suzzane never had anything nice to say about any lower classmen... her brother and I included. She thinks she is such a diva, and her conversation perpetually revolves around cute boys and rock stars. Her second favorite topic is about what geeks Michael and I are. But she is just jealous. She is just about smart enough to strike a match without reading the directions... as if she could read.

"OK," Michael says. "I have some jars in the basement. They still have cotton in them so all we need to do is pour in some formaldehyde."

We head downstairs to the living room, cut through the kitchen and descend the basement stairway. I'm adjusting my tented trousers on the way. Cheeze.

I guess I should mention something about Michael's and my passion for entomology. (The study of bugs). We have played with them and collected them since we were little kids. Perhaps what got us started was Suzzane's extreme distaste for insects of any sort. So, quite a few got deposited in her drawers, on her clothing, in her hair, etc. Then we just got fascinated in their life cycles (the bugs, not Suzzane) and researched our finds in the library. We learned how to mount them and display them in shadow boxes. These boxes are just essentially glassed over picture frames with deep boxes that allow room for the insects, and the pins impaling them. We both have our bedroom walls covered with shadow boxes with examples of all the insects we have collected over the years. The most beautiful, of course, being butterflies and moths. (Notice I am not whipping a bunch of scientific names on you, cuz I'm not Michael & don't need to show off).

Well, we add a little formaldehyde to the cotton in each jar so when we drop a specimen into the jar it just goes to sleep. Except, of course, for the more gross looking specimens that come back live for the benefit of Suzzane. The only insect I won't put into a killing jar, and won't have mounted, is the Praying Mantis. Those guys just look so human to me that it would feel like murder. I've taken them home and trained them to eat bugs from my fingers! Just take a large one and set it next to a Black Widow spider's nest and watch it gather the webbing into itself and capture the spider. Fascinating! How can you not love an insect that devours poisonous spiders? Oh, it also scares the shit out of Michael's sister... two counts in its favor.

Michael prepares two jars and places them in a small day pack. I grab the insect net sitting by the remaining jars then we head upstairs to the kitchen. He makes two peanut butter and jam sandwiches for us to take with us. I am busy sticking potato chips in my sandwich - don't knock it till you try it - while he rustles up a couple of Cokes. Everything goes into the day pack which Michael swings over one shoulder.

"We're off to Potters field Mom" he hollers.

"All right kids" she answers from the laundry room.

Mrs. Wist (That's his Mom) once asked us if we knew why the wooded section close to our houses was called Potter's field. We said we didn't know and had just heard the name passed on by other kids. Actually we do know, and no, it isn't a Bible reference. Older kids occasionally go over there to smoke their pot. It was the potheads that originally named the place, I guess. No sense telling Mrs. W cuz she might put the skids on our going over there. Potheads aren't dangerous anyway. They're just space zombies. They haven't quite graduated to Emo status yet.

Now this wooded area separates our subdivision from the foothills and the farm land beyond that. They are a few miles thick, have a number of streams and ponds and lots of wild life. It is like our most favorite place in the world to go. It's big enough that you hardly ever see anyone else there and we can let our imaginations run wild. Michael mentioned that we weren't exactly hero material... brave that is. (Well, come on! We're short and scrawny.) But over the years Potter's field has enabled us to pretend to be all sorts of brave, heroic figures. Not so much anymore though cuz we're getting to be a bit old to have sword fights with sticks. We have graduated to playing war with paintball guns. Sometimes Michael's Dad plays with us. Mostly we just tend to explore the area, find specimens, spot wildlife, shoot the bull and generally joke around. You can probably understand now why the field (woods actually) is kind of magical to us. Has been forever. We know the woods behind Potters field like the backs of our hands. No one has explored that area like Michael and I.

We followed one branch of a small creek for about three quarters of a mile through the woods and emerged in a pretty little meadow. The meadow is about a quarter acre in size and surrounded by trees and brush. There are some huge, flat rocks towards the center where we usually sit to eat our lunch. I reached the rocks first and climbed onto the largest one. As Michael reached me I had started stripping off my tee-shirt. While he set down the day pack I tossed my shirt onto the rock, slipped my glasses back on, and started undoing my board shorts. Mic's eyebrows went up like question marks and he said...

"What the hell you stripping for Jer? It's getting late in the year to splash around in the creek."

"I know that Michael. But as you pointed out, I am wearing school clothes that I don't dare to get dirty."

I'm down to just my jockeys and shoes now and Michaels trying not to look at me. He is such a shy boy. If he had his way we would have to put clothing on animals.

"Couldn't you know, be careful of your clothes or something" he asks.

"That's exactly what I'm doing Mic, that's why I'm taking them off." (Duh!) "Besides," I say, wiggling my body seductively, "I want to get you all hot and bothered by staring at my muscular physique". Then, striking a Superman pose I quote... "Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, able to... "

"Able to kiss his own butt" Michael completes my sentence.

"Anyway Jeremy," he continues, "what if someone comes along and you're just in your underwear?"

"Oh my God Michael, your right. I hadn't thought of that" and I quickly strip off my underwear.

"What the hell you DOING?" he shrieks, looking around like he expects the Mormon Tabernacle choir to come sauntering by.

"Well, Michael... " I say, laughing at his paranoia, "I would be terribly embarrassed to be caught out here in just my underwear... har, har, har."

Then I start dancing around, waving my underwear and yelling "someone save me. Michael stripped me and he's going to do unimaginable things to my ANUS." And I wiggle my butt at him, giggling.

Michael has colored up quite nicely now and he's dancing around with me. But he's doing a dance of panic... trying to decide which direction to run in order to escape the naked maniac on the rock.

"Oh... oh... OOhh" he squeaks, and he grabs the insect net and day pack and tears off towards the creek. His little feet are tearing up the sod like weedwackers.

Oh my God. This is so funny. As funny as the Jones brothers... funnier. I have to admit, I do have a twisted sense of humor. And Michael is so easy because he is so damn body conscious. Michael is at the creek bank now, looking back towards me. I can practically see the steam rising from his sneakers.

"Look Michael, LOOK... " I yell, "can you still see my peepee?" I jump up and down to make it wave at him. His head is swiveling around to see if anyone between here and hell knows that he is here with me. His face is a fine shade of violet.

"Just stay on your damn rock you psychopathic perv" he yells back. "And no... I can't see your peepee... because I'm standing more than three feet away!"

Ouch... that hurt. OK, funs over. I put my underwear and shorts back on and wander over to my buddy. Michael is pretending to be absorbed at looking under rocks for specimens. But I can tell he's still peeved (the little clouds of steam give him away) and probably trying to think of a way to get even.

"What'cha doing over here Jer... " he asks "aren't you afraid I might play with your PEEPEE?" he pouts.

"I'd like to play with your peepee Michael!"

'Oh my God. Oh... my... God. Did I just say that out loud?' That is the sort of reply I might make in my mind but I think it actually came out of my mouth!

I know I got a shocked expression on my face as soon as I said it. But, it was like looking into a mirror because it just copied the shocked look on Michael's face. God... the look on his face says it all. I didn't just think it... I did say it out loud!

'Oh Jesus. Oh Jesus and Mary and Joseph.' I feel myself panicking. I'm trying to think of something to joke my way out of this, but I'm just standing there, rooted to one spot, brain dead.

Michael's been waiting for me to say something too. He's waiting for the joke that he feels certain to follow my "I'd like to play with your peepee " remark. I had just finished teasing the crap out of him on the rock and he was probably waiting for another shoe to drop. But, the longer I stood there, without saying anything else, the less likely it seemed that I was joking with him.

I knew all this. It all ran through my mind. But I was in full panic mode now. I had waited too long for a snappy comeback. Anything I said now would just sound phony.

Michael's shocked expression slowly changed. But, his eyebrows still stayed up as if they were saying "what the fuck?" His face was pure question mark now. Then, the realization of what my remark meant seemed to penetrate his brain.

"Oh... my... " Michael said.

'OH MY?' I thought, 'Oh my... What? Oh my... GOD. Jesus and Joseph, my secret's truly out now!'

I just pivoted around on one foot and faced the opposite direction. I couldn't think of anything to say and I couldn't face him anymore. I know my panic and embarrassment could have been seen by a blind man. I was breathing through my mouth now, big hulking gulps of air. I guess I was trying to decide on fight or flight. I could hear Michael rustling around behind me but couldn't guess at what he was doing. I put my hands up to my temples and closed my eyes, then I let out a big sigh. 'Fuck it' I thought, 'I'll just start walking home.'

"JERREMY... " Michael barked.

I slowly turned around. Michael was still standing in the same spot, only now he wasn't wearing any pants or underwear! My shy, retiring buddy was standing there in just a tee-shirt and socks! Shocked, (because this is so totally un-Michael like behavior), I just stared, open mouthed. Suddenly Michael was jumping around, waving his underwear over his head.

"Somebody help me" he yelled, "Jeremy just stripped me and he is going to do unspeakable things to my ANUS", and he wiggled his butt at me, laughing.

Hmm... Jeremy has just let the big, ugly, tomcat right out of the bag! Is this Michael's way of saying "I want you too" or is he just paying Jeremy back for the teasing? Is he doing both?
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