markwildyr.com, Post #118
|Courtesy of PickPik|
Received some comments from readers on “Secluded Sand.” Apparently it struck a chord with some people. Appreciate the kind comments.
I was tempted to give in to some requests and return to Hawk, but instead decided to do a short piece I called “Babe.” (Titles can’t be copyrighted or else I might be in trouble.) At any rate, I hope you enjoy the two-part story.
Here we go.
“Hey, Babe, what’er you doing?”
You can always count on Hal Weymeister to call me Babe. Not Richard, not Dick, not Dickie, not Rick, not Richie, but Babe. It started in the tenth grade because I was slow developing and still had the rosy cheeks and cherry lips like the girls did back then. And now, three years later, he’s still at it.
But I’m not a girl, I’m a guy. I might be gay—although he didn’t know it—but I’m not swishy gay. I’m regular gay. Whatever that is. Heck, I played sports and held my own, especially in soccer. Hal and I were on the team here at Sandia U, and I was as good as he was. Maybe even better.
Nonetheless, I’m always Babe. I got in a tussle with him a couple of years ago, but it didn’t matter. He kept it up, even with a fat lip. Regardless of what I tried, he wouldn’t quit.
In fact, I guess he trained me pretty well, because when I heard those words, I halted in front of him. He and our goalie, a kid named Gordon Loesser—but universally hailed as Gordie—were sitting in the stands at the empty soccer field. Gordie intrigued me because he’d traveled all the way from some place in Virginia to go to college in New Mexico. Why? I couldn’t even dream up an answer. Even though we were on the same team, I kinda kept my distance because he was so handsome and hunky I was afraid I’d give myself away.
What struck me when I turned toward them was the look on Gordie’s face as he studied Hal. He shook his head before speaking. What are you Weymeister, gay?”
Hal looked like he’d been whacked across the head with a two-by-four. “What? No! Why’d you ask me that?”
Gordie looked at him sideways. “You called him Babe. Called another man Babe. Don’t think a straight guy would do that?”
Hal did some stuttering and sputtering before he managed to get out a rational answer. “Started calling him that back in our sophomore year because he looked more like a gal than a guy. You know, like a babe.”
Gordie cocked an eyebrow and gave me the once over. “Looks like a guy to me. Good shoulders.” He flicked a hand at my deck pants. “Hair on his legs. Yeah, he’s a guy.”
Hal blinked a couple of times like a dude who’s in the wrong place at the wrong time. “He’s done some changing in the last coupla years. Anyway, I gotta go hit the library. Candy and I are supposed to study this afternoon.” He got up and dusted off the seat of his pants. “Catch you guys later.”
Gordie inclined his head and glanced at Hal’s retreating back. “You think he had a date with Candy, or was he feeling the need to mention a girlfriend because of what I said?”
I laughed. “Could be either one. But I’m pretty sure he’s straight.”
“Me too. But that oughta do the job.”
“What job?” I asked.
“Make him cut out that ‘Babe’ crap.”
I met his gray-eyed stare. Man, he was really dishy when you took a good gander at him. “How did you know it bothers me?”
“Could see it in your face every time he said it. You’re not hard to read, Stinson. Or do you prefer Richard or….”
“Most people call me Rick.”
“Rick it is.” He nodded toward the soccer field. “You handle the ball pretty good out there. Good instincts too.”
“Thanks. You’re the best goalie I’ve ever played with.”
“Aha, a mutual admiration society. So what have you got on this afternoon, Rick?”
“Nothing. I got my studying done. Just have to figure out what to do with the rest of the weekend.”
“I’m gonna drive over to the lake. You wanna go?”
“The lake’s two hours away. You staying the night?”
“Naw. I’ll just go over, soak up the atmosphere for a couple of hours and boogey on back.”
“Well, sure. If you don’t mind.”
“Welcome the company.”
As I followed him to his ’98 Ford Explorer, I couldn’t help but notice his shoulders. Wow. Made mine look puny. Trim waist, nice hips. To keep from having a reaction to his graceful swagger, I put on some speed and caught up with him. “Do I need to bring anything? You know, like water or snacks?”
“I’m not much into snacks. They have fountains at the lake. Just enough money for a burger and fries on the way back.”
“Okay, I’m good.”
“Figured you would be.”
I stumbled over that comment.
He turned to me and smiled. That’s the moment my mind stopped dilly-dallying and admitted I wanted him. “What I meant was,” he said, “you’re usually pretty cool and collected.”
“Oh. Uh, thanks.”
The drive to the lake was nothing to talk about. I mean, it was okay, but we didn’t yak much. Just enough to find out his father was a doctor and his mother worked in some governmental agency in Washington. Oh, and that the place he came from in Virginia was Alexandria.
He learned my father was a rancher, that I grew up on a spread outside Deming.
“How do you know Heymeister then?”
“Went to a consolidated high school. Met him there.”
“Aw, forget him. We’re out for a nice afternoon.”
I settled more comfortably in the seat. “That we are.”
My heart went crazy as I imagined what I’d consider a nice afternoon. Then it slowed as I considered what he likely thought was a nice one. They weren’t compatible. Not at all.
Young soccer players, locker rooms, a lake. What could possibly lie ahead? Check back on the first Thursday in June to find out. June? Good lord, the yearis moving on despite being sheltered at home.
Tell your friends to order a copy of Cut Hand and Johnny Two-Guns from Dreamspinner Press. I’d like to convince them to publish the rest of the Cut Hand Series, including the unpublished manuscript Wastelakapi… Beloved, It’ll take some help from readers to get Dreamspinner interested.
My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:
Website and blog: markwildyr.com
The following are buy links for CUT HAND:
DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b
And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!
Until next time.
New posts at 6:00 a.m. on the first and third Thursday of each month.