We pack our clothes, clean up the feathers, and ride to Kendall. I leave Mom a note, saying I’ll call her Sunday. The Watts think it’s cool that I get to go. Soon we are on I-95, heading north. Scott, Stu, and I sit in the back of the station wagon, playing cards and farting, just like last year when Tom came with me from Alaska. I ask if we’ll be seeing the Old South. Mr. Watt says we’ll see cotton fields in Georgia. Naturally I have to sing “dem ol’ cotton fields back home…”
Before it breaks into a ‘Workin’ on the Railroad’ sing-along, Scott and I go into our a Capella routine, which goes on for hours. Even Stu dozes off. I don’t feel tired, but soon we’re all asleep. Once I get a chance to use the phone where we stop to eat, I call Mom. She isn’t upset, just worries what Dad will say. She’ll be gone before I get back. Realizing she won’t be able to say farewell in person, I promise to call her in Iowa. She is too disoriented to respond. She promises to smooth things over with Dad. We say goodbye. Cool.
When I get back to the table, Scott gives me an inquiring look. I slap him five, and we laugh.
“Just calling my mom to make sure everything’s okay, Mrs. Watt.”
“You a bit homesick?” she asks.
“I’m fine. Thanks.”
Scott winks at me.
That night we stay in a motel, where Stu makes his usual fuss about sleeping arrangements. There are two double beds in the room, so we make him sleep alone. He ends up with Scott and me, right in between us. What a family.
We reach North Carolina by early afternoon. The Watts rent the same lakeside cabin every year, on Lake Norman in Denver NC. The lake is huge, but man-made. It’s isolated and uninhabited, while a nuclear-power plant is being built there. The woods came right down to the lake, and you can see trees under water from when they filled the lake. It’s intriguing, yet scary, like a horror film because it’s so isolated. The town has one general store, with locals hanging outside beside the soda machine. I’m looking for dueling banjos from ‘Deliverance.’ We have our bikes. As soon as we arrive and put the bags away, the three of us ride into town. Stu tries to get a soda from the machine, going, “excuse me, ‘scuse me, ‘scuse me.” The locals block him so he can’t quite get to it. Finally, he gives up, at which point the locals move away and indicate we can spend our money. Stu is angry now, especially at us for not helping him. I go up, drop in three quarters and get three sodas.
I turn around and say, “Howdy,” to the three locals.
They smile curiously, saying “Howdy,” back.
“Can I have one o’ dem pops?” the biggest one asks.
“Sure, if you got a quarter.” Realizing how glib I sound. I add, “I’ll share some with you, though,” And offer him mine.
“That’s okay. I got a quarter.”
His friends start to laugh at him, so I say, “That’s okay. Here, take a hit, anyway.”
“A hit?” the other two both exclaim.
“You know, a gulp.”
“Oh, we thought you had a joint.”
“Well, be sure you let us know when you’re sharing your weed.”
I walk back to Scott and Stu, handing them their sodas. They still look apprehensive, so I walk over to the locals.
“Is that what’s to do up here, smoke dope and chase girls?”
“Sometimes one, other times the other, and sometimes both.”
“We’re staying down the road for a couple of weeks, so if you’re going to do the other, we’re interested.”
“The other what?”
“Chasing girls, of course. My name’s Tim,” and I put out my hand. They look at it, but don’t shake. “And, that’s Scott and his little brother Stu.”
“Yeah, Stupid. We saw them last year.”
“He ain’t Stupid no more.”
“Good fer him.”
“So what do you guys do when there’s no tourists to pick on?”
The skinny one jumps in, “Well, there’s moonshine and the pot trade in the late summer. Then we go a’rabbit huntin’ in the fall, maybe get us a deer, then duck huntin’ all winter. When we’s bored, there’s always our sisters and female cousins.”
Everybody laughs. Scott and Stu come over. We share our sodas. Before we leave, the skinny one, called Floyd, tells us to meet them at the drive-in that night.
“We don’t have a car.”
“Nobody does. Just sneak in under the fence, right behind the screen. Meet us at the snack bar. You don’t need no car. And if you keep talkin’ so slick, one of the local girls’ll be sure to pick ya up. We’ll let y’all know which ones got big brothers who’ll whip yer ass or not.”
“Thanks, that sounds exciting.”
“Where you boys from?”
“Florida,” omitting the Miami part.
“We thought you might be good ol’ boys when you said you come ‘up’ here. Yankees always say ‘down’ here.”
“Well, up here, we can be the ones that be down.”
“You talk like a negro, boy.”
“Nothing wrong with bein’ friendly.”
We ride back to the cabin, without talking. Finally Scott breaks the silence.
“We’ve never socialized with the locals before.”
“I doubt they call it socializing. I guess I get carried away with my southern accent.”
“Now, yer doin’ it.”
“I guess,” and we all laugh.
“Well, are we going to meet them at the drive-in?” I ask.
“You got to be kidding?”
“Hell, they don’t look like they are going to beat us up, after they fucked with Stu.”
“That’s what you think. You just walk up to them, calm as can be.”
“They’re no different from us, just different interests.”
“Like pot, and hunting, liquor and girls.”
“See, we share all those same interests.”
“Yeah, you do, not me.”
“Well, we could chase girls with them.”
“Sure, sit there and spit tobacco juice at ‘em.”
“Com’n Scott, it’ll be fun.”
“We always sit on the porch and play cards at night.”
“Well, let’s do that tomorrow night.” I put my arm around his shoulder. “I know you want to do this.”
“Okay, but just this one night. It’s Saturday.”
Stu wants to come, of course, but relents because we were going to chase girls. Mr. and Mrs. Watt are unsure of the concept, but allow us to go to the drive-in. It’s the part about going to the drive-in without a car that confuses them. We describe Floyd and his buddies as upstanding members of the community. After convincing his parents, Scott is more enthusiastic about our adventure. When we get ready in the bathroom, he slicks down his hair and puts on aftershave.
“Man, you’re goin’ t’attract all the mosquiters in all four counties with that stuff.”
“Where did you learn all these country expressions? Four counties?”
“Well,” I say real slowly, “Y’all don’t understand. I’s a country boy at heart.”
Scott grabs me in a hug.
“You sure you want to be chasing girls?”
“Well, I thought you could have Floyd and I’ll take the big guy.”
“Yeah, we’re going to chase girls. The way you fuck, you’re going to make some girl very happy tonight.”
“You think I fuck good?”
We are still hugging, so I kiss him and can feel his dick start to harden against my leg.
“Hold on, Leroy. I think we need a little of the opposite sex for you. You’re a great fuck, but not right now.”
I push him away just before Stu barges in.
“What’s going on?” he asks.
“What do you care?”
“I have to put up with that perfume, and look,” he points, “Scott’s got a boner.”
Pouncing on him, I push him out of the bathroom.
“Can I sleep in here tonight with you guys?”
“So we can tell you about the girls?’
“Yuck. Come on. We’ll get up early and go fishing on the dock. I’ll sleep in the spare bed.” He just accepts that we’ll be together in the other bed.
“What’s wrong with hanging out with the folks for once?”
Stu looks hurt.
“Okay. Okay. You can do what you want. Just don’t be a pest,” his brother relents.
Mrs. Watt starts quizzing us over dinner about the movie. We don’t even know what’s playing, which worries her.
“Mom, it’s okay,” Scott defends us. “We’re just going out with the local kids and do what they do on Saturday night.”
“Well, what if what they do involves drinking and driving?”
“They don’t have cars. We’re going to sneak in the drive-in and hang out at the snack bar.”
“You’re not paying?” Scott has a lot to learn about allaying parental fears.
“You can’t pay if you don’t have a car. It’s what they do, okay?”
“Maybe you should have Dad drive?”
We both look really pained.
“He won’t want to hang out with a bunch of hillbillies. Ma, We sure-fire ain’t gonna git us in trouble.”
I can’t believe what he said, or how he said it. Everybody just stares. So, he gets up.
“Right. So it’s okay. Let’s go.”
He puts his arm around my shoulder. We walk out. By the time we get the bikes, we can’t stop laughing.
“Sure fire? Ain’t? Who taught you those?”
“You did. At least you said to get an accent.”
“I’m gonna buy you some chew.”
“You know, chewing tobacco.”
“Now you know how your mother feels about you right now.”
It’s still light out. We ride to the store and get directions to the drive-in. Scott’s slicked hair and aftershave are history by the time we get there. We ditch the bikes near the fence and wait for it to get dark. We sit there sucking on grass stalks acting country…’a little bit country, a little bit rock n roll.’
It isn’t long until we hear Floyd and company coming our way. We wait until they start over the fence, then yell at them.
“Hey, you. Stop.”
They don’t even look back, jumping the fence and running toward the back rows of the drive-in. We amble directly to the snack bar, waiting for them as they furtively come up.
“Hey, you. Stop,” I repeat.
They look at us in surprise, then break up.
“It was you boys. You motha fuckas.”
“Now who sounds like a negro?”
Floyd walks up, putting his arms around each of us.
“Now you boys wouldn’t be tryin’ to put us local folk down?”
“Now you boys wasn’t tryin’ to sneak into this here movie without payin’, was ya?”
“Every Saturday night.”
“Well, Saturday night’s alright.”
There were five of them, all our age. Floyd makes the introductions.
“This here’s them Florida boys we met today.”
“Yeah, I’m Tim. This here’s Scott.”
“Well, these two here are Wayne and Jesse, and you met Seth and Big Joe at the store. Just didn’t get their names.”
“You boys bring some weed?”
”We don’t do that,” Scott speaks for the first time.
“Well, what do you do?”
“Just chase girls, like we said today.”
“Well, this here’s prime pussy country. But us local yokels don’t cotton to seeing our sisters being abused by outsiders.”
“When I do it, it’s never been called abuse.”
“Maybe you’ll git lucky tonight. How lucky will that girl feel when y’all’s gone?”
“Serious deep questions, man. Let’s just hope there’s pussy left over fer y’all when we’s gone.”
Scott stands right behind me. Floyd’s friend Seth backs him up while we verbally spar. Floyd looks at his friends, then motions them to come over.
“Y’all come sit over here with these boys. I think they might just have the right attitude.”
After that, we’re one big group, sitting at a picnic table, yucking and yacking. We ignore the movie that plays that night. Anyone who walks by is subject to catcalls and comments. The few girls going to the snack bar walk out of their way to avoid us, making our comments more derisive. Floyd is a talker, mostly the longtime local gossip about everyone, their cheating ways and out-of-wedlock births. It seemed unlikely we’ll even meet any local girls. I remember hanging out with my South Beach friends, how they checked me out without seeming to do so. It’s fun being there. The accent thing soon becomes natural. They have pot and whiskey but aren’t upset when we abstain. Finally, Floyd corners Scott, making him take a swig off the whiskey pint. He almost gags, but then takes another swig and passes it to me. I take one mighty shot. My mouth and throat burn. It hits us simultaneously. I tell Floyd to watch out for Scott, “’cause he gits crazed.”
“Yup. Them quiet ones is always the worst.”
Just then a pickup, filled with older teenagers, roars by, jeering and hooting at us as much as we had been harassing the snack bar patrons. We hoot back, even Scott. Right behind comes a pickup with a shell over the bed, driven by two girls.
“Them girls by theirselves?” I ask Floyd.
“That’s Cheryl Ann and her sister, Lee Ann. They’s seldom by theirselves.”
We watch as they park along the side, far from anyone else.
“Whatcha think, Floyd. Those fine young ladies good potential?”
“Potential? Hell, boy, there ain’t a boy in town that don’t know somethin’ ‘bout Cheryl Ann’s booty. Her sister just moved to town. I hear she’s a slice of the same cherry pie.”
“Ya think a coupla lonely visitors like ourselves might find a welcome spot in their hearts and other anatomy?”
“There ain’t no one stoppin’ ya from tryin.’”
“Com’n Scott. We got ourselves some potential.”
He looked dubious, but is game to follow my lead. We walk straight over to the pickup and proceed to pick up.
“Howdy. My name’s Tim and my buddy’s Scott. We’s visitin’ town fer a coupla weeks and wanna meet some pretty girls.’
They giggle, then get out of the truck and sit on the tailgate, while we stand and talk. We tell them about ourselves, where we’re from, what we do, how old we are. Then we sing the Beach Boys ‘Barbara Ann,’ in our doo wop style…”ba, ba,ba,baba a ran…ba,ba,ba,baba ran…oh, Barbara Ann, oh, take my hand…ba,ba,ba baba a ran..”
Lyrics © EMI Music Publishing, COUSINS MUSIC
I do the falsetto and Scott the baritone. It cracks them up. I see in the corner of my eye that Floyd and the boys are going ape shit. The girls invite us to sit with them.
“How’d y’all know our mama’s name is Barbara Ann?
“Just a lucky guess.”
“Y’all have a car?”
“Naw, We just snuck in with Floyd.”
“How can you stand that boy?”
“We just met him today, but he’s okay. Kinda a gossip.”
“You ain’t justa whistlin’ Dixie.”
At which, Scott and I both whistle ‘Dixie.’
I know to get Scott to stand up, ‘cause it’s the local national anthem.
“You boys are a scream. You wanna blow this drive-in?”
We jump into the pickup. With Lee Ann on Scott’s lap and me in the middle, we roar off in front of Floyd’s gang. “Bye boys,” we all yell out. I see Seth giving us the middle finger.
Cheryl Ann drives down a dirt road through the woods until we reach an overlook. The valley and lake below are dark with only an occasional light. The pickup’s cab is suddenly too crowded. Cheryl Ann grabs a blanket from the back. She leads me down a path, about one hundred yards away.
I turn to her and smile, “This is about the time the monster comes and eats everyone in the horror movie.”
“Don’t be scary,” she complains, pulling me closer to her on the blanket. I put my arms around her, rubbing up and down her back as we kiss. She arches like a purring cat from my massage. She runs her fingers under my tee-shirt, finally pushing it over my head.
“Y’all Denver girls don’t mess around. Ain’t I ‘sposed to be doin’ the undressin’?”
“I’m just revving your engine, Chief,” as she sticks her fingers under the top of my jeans. I pop open her shorts, pulling them and her panties halfway down her legs. She undoes each of my Levi’s buttons, with cool assurance, until my hardening dick flops out.
“Ah, you’re bigger than expected. This will be heaven,” as she lays back.
We go at it long enough for her to orgasm twice. I’m not ready and have to fake my orgasm as she reaches another climax. As she calms down from the shivers and shakes, I whimper like a puppy. She strokes my forehead with kisses and whispers. We lay there panting, letting our breathing return to normal. From the distance, above the cricket and cicada noise, I hear Scott doing his cowboy yells that indicate he’s riding his own bronco mare. We laugh.
“Scott’s as loud as you are.”
“Well, maybe I’ll try him next.”
“So you think we’re done, huh?” as I give her a little thrust.
“Y’all ready again?”
“Is Superman faster than a speeding bullet?” I let go of the concentration that is holding me back. Our bodies are in a dance, in syncopation with each other. Faster and faster we fuck. My mind is singing the Doors’ ‘Love her Madly,’ my head thrown back, and no thoughts interfering.
We reach a climax, with her orgasm ten seconds before mine. Once we both finish, I kneel beside her and stroke her wet hair. I hear Scott and Lee Ann still going at it. His yelling changes from the wahoos of a cowboy to the grunts of a worker moving heavy equipment. Some serious fucking going on in these woods. We laugh about them.
“You’re really only fifteen?”
“Why would I lie? I wish I’s older.”
“No. Y’all’s perfect. I kinda thought you’d be in, out, and done, ‘cause that’s more the norm around here.”
“Well, if yer other boyfriends need lessons…”
“Oh, I don’t have boyfriends.”
I realize I might have said something wrong, so I shut up. Finally.
“You must’ve cum four or five times. I know you liked it.”
She turns away quickly.
“Now, what’d I say?”
“It’s just harder for me than you know.”
“Well, how old are you?”
“Twenty-one,” she looks at me tentatively.
“Why, y’all’s just getting started in life. I’m still a kid. You shouldn’t worry too much in this life.”
She moves over and kisses me.
“Let’s go see what those perverts are doin’ makin’ so much a’hullabaloo.”
We get the blanket and walk back to the pickup. They’re obviously in the back, from the motion and commotion going on. We sit on the grass and watch for a minute.
Finally, I yell out, “It’s gonna fall off if y’all take too long.”
They stop. Scott’s head pops out the rear window.
“Hey, what’s happening?” I ask.
“You guys ready to go?”
“We are, but don’t let that stop you.”
“I can do this all night.”
A groan is heard from inside the truck.
“But, maybe, I better finish up, okay?”
We laugh and wave him away. Soon the commotion is an ocean as the truck rocks and rolls.
“Now, he’s actin’s like he’s fifteen.”
“It’s ‘cause it’s his first time.”
“Oh. My gawd. He won’t pull out like y’all did, will he?”
“I doubt it.”
I yell at the truck, “Scott, pull out, pull out!” We run over and bang on its sides. The motion just gets stronger and Scott’s cowboy yells reach a high pitch. The pickup shudders and is still.
“Scott, did you pull out.”
“What,” he answers groggily.
We collapse in laughter. He sticks his head out again.
“What are you yellin’?”
“Did you remember to pull out before you came?”
“So Lee Ann don’t git pregnant.”
“Oh, I guess I fergot.”
Cheryl Ann brushes his hair back.
“It’s okay. You’re pretty young. It’s not likely to happen.”
They both stumble out of the back of the pickup, he pulls up his jeans, she looks much the worse for wear. We pile in front. Scott can’t contain himself, starting to giggle and chortle. Soon we’re a pickup of idiots, laughing all the way back to the drive-in. I ask for their phone number, but they just shine us on. Off they ride in a cloud of hot dust, leaving us stranded in the road.
Out of the bushes pops Floyd. “Well?”
“Thanks man, Y’all steered us right.”
“So tell me what happened?”
Scott is ready to tell all, but I nudge him in the ribs to hold back.
“They’s the nicest girls. We all sat around and talked almost all night. Thanks fer pointin’ us in the right di-rec-tion.”
“Y’all’s tellin’ me y’all went off with Cheryl Ann and her sister and y’all did nothin’ but talk? Y’all think I’m some kinda fool?”
“No, man, y’all’s some kinda friend.”
He laughs. We’re off the hook.
“See ya ‘round.”
“Yeah, see y’all.”
“You waited all this time for us to come back?”
“Sure did. We needed to know if you boys was up to the standards of our local girls. Y’all want another swig of whiskey?”
We both take swigs, which taste horrid. He keeps after us to tell him what happened. We maintain our innocence. They all finally leave, saying we should go to the drag races on Sunday. We agree to meet them at the store.
We ride our bikes home, with Scott riding all over the road, more from exuberance than from the whiskey.
“You’re a drunken rider,” I say.
“Drunk from love.” He rides up to me. “Help me stay straight,” as he puts his hand on my shoulder as we ride side by side. “Why did you lie to them about what happened?”
I give him Joey’s ‘no kiss and tell’ lecture, elaborating on why we don’t want the locals involving us in their gossip more than necessary.
“I have to tell the world, ‘I got laid.’”
“A virgin no more.”
“I stopped being a virgin two nights ago.”
“Is that how you see it? I think you’re a virgin ‘til you get a girl.”
“Whatever. But I ain’t no virgin now,” and he leans over, kisses me on the lips, then pushes off, careening across the road.
When we got to the cabin, we make sandwiches and take them down to the dock. It’s three o’clock, so we keep our voices low, while we eat and analyze our night’s performance.
“What’s wrong with kissing and telling?” Scott asks.
“It’ll always come back to haunt you. And it’s the biggest disrespect you can do to a girl. You don’t feel like telling about me and you?”
“But can’t we talk about it, just you and me?”
“Sure, ‘cause I’m not going to tell anyone like that Floyd guy will.”
He leans against a piling and wraps his legs around my waist.
“I knew it would be great once we had sex.”
“You mean with girls?”
“No, butthead. You and me. I love you, Tim.”
I move around to face him. We hug. Then we put our legs over the dock’s edge and lay on our backs, looking up at the stars. It’s so dark there; you can see so many more stars than in the city. Looking at Scott in the dark, his skin seems almost black with a sheen that glows like ebony. We’ve been inseparable for six weeks, but it seems much longer. His having sex with me, then with a girl, is exactly how it happened for me last summer. Maybe Joey was a good teacher, or at least, I’d followed his example with Scott. We’re the same age, going through the same things together. I know he needs to talk about tonight, so I set him free.
“How did it get started with you and Lee Ann?”
He sits up. From his look, I know he has a flood of things to say.
“Once you guys left us, I felt awkward at first. Then we heard you two going at it. We just laughed and started ourselves.”
“You heard us?”
“We heard Cheryl Ann’s screams and moans. It was pretty graphic.”
“She can scream. We just spread out the blanket and went at it. We stopped for a while and heard your yells. She said you sound like a cowboy. I’d hate to have to listen to you and Cheryl Ann doing it.”
“Do you think she’ll do it with me?”
“What a horny little bastard you are.”
“That’s normal for us recent ex-virgins.”
“You think we’ll see them again? She wouldn’t give me her phone number.”
“Wouldn’t it be great to do this every night we’re here?”
I assume that was a rhetorical question.
“I figured you’d be jumping me every night.”
“Not with my folks around.”
”It didn’t stop us at my house.”
“Your mom never checks on us. My family’s different.”
“That’s for sure. I kinda wish my mom would care more.”
Then I think how I’ve abandoned her to be with Scott. He checks me with a caring look. A tear wells up when I think how alone I’d be without his family. I wipe it away.
“Man, why am I feeling sorry for myself, after such a great night? No need to worry.”
“You can be so serious, then get just as crazy. I can’t believe we sang for those girls. The Beach Boys? Floyd and them must’ve been dyin’.”
“Yeah, but it don’t look like they got laid tonight, does it.”
From behind us in the shadows, comes Stu’s voice.
“You guys got laid?”
We jump up. There he is in his PJs, listening to us. We tower over him.
“Tryin’ to spy, huh?”
“No, guys. I woke up and heard you down here. I just came down.”
“To spy, and now you’re going to snitch to Mom?” Scott accuses him.
“No. I promise, but did you get laid, Scott?
That does it. We pick him up, drag him to the end of the dock, and throw him into the water. He comes up yelling, so we dive in and hold his mouth shut.
“Shut up, Stu. You’re going to wake up Mom and Dad.”
But it’s too late. Mr. Watt yells from their upstairs window, “You boys go to bed. It’s four o’clock in the morning. You’ll wake the neighbors.”
“What neighbors, Dad,” Scott yells from the water.
“Well. You woke us up. That’s worse.”
“Okay. Sorry.” Then to Stu, “You little rat. If you tell, I’ll kill you.”
“Then you did get laid?”
“Yes, but you don’t need to know.”
“Oh, wow. You gotta tell me. Was she cute?”
“Look at the little eleven-year old horn dog,” I note. “He’s going to be worse than you, Scott.”
“I’m not saying anything to you, Stu. You got to learn not to kiss and tell.”
I laugh, then pull Stu into my arms. “Listen, little bro. We love you to death and want you to have a good time, too. If you spy on us and tell, it’s worse than kissing and telling.”
He looks up at me with big eyes, which water up while his mouth grins ear to ear.
“Gosh, Tim. You know I love you as much as I love Scott.”
“Yeah, just one big family,” and I smile too. Brotherly love.
We walk back to the house and eat more snacks, while we dry off. When we get to the room, Stu takes over my bed. I just get in with Scott.
Stu looks up, “Did you get laid, too, Tim?”
“Shut up, Stu,” Scott whispers sharply. “You’re not even supposed to know about these things.”
“You both got lucky. You guys are cool.”
I turn off the light and slide next to Scott. It’s a single bed, nowhere near as comfortable as my double bed in Miami. We fit together just right.