Thursday, November 19, 2020

Echoes of the Flute

 markwildyr.com, Post #139


Artist: Maria Fanning

As I indicated in my last post, JMS Books has contracted for the publication of Wastelakapi… Beloved, the fifth book in the Cut Hand Series. They have also indicate a willingness to publish the first four should I reclaim the rights to the books. So I have been working on re-editing those books. At the moment, I am working on the third book in the series called Echoes of the Flute. Thought I’d give you a sample of that one this week.

 The following scene takes place in the third chapter of the book. John Strobaw (War Eagle) has been lamenting the absence of his foster brother Matthew Brandt (Bear), when Matthew makes a surprise return and joins John as he swims in the Yanube River. Hope you enjoy the excerpt.

* * * * *

Echoes of the Flute

 “Rode in not half an hour back. After I got through saying hello, Ma told me to go put on some decent clothes.”

Ma didn’t permit breechclouts at the Mead. She considered them uncivilized.

“Rachel Ann told me you’d walked down the river, so I came here instead of putting on pants.”

“You back for good?”

He shrugged. His shoulders had filled out, but the part about being skinny was true. He’d lost weight, but he carried it well. He was leaner but harder. He probably looked more like a man than I did. Was that because of the year he had on me or what he’d been through while he was gone?

“Might stay a while,” he answered. “But who knows when I’ll have a hankering again and move on.”

“Good. One of the coach horses that pulled in Thursday’s still limping. You can doctor him.”

“That wasn’t the only place I was.” Something in his voice made me look at him. “I fought at the Rosebud with Crazy Horse. He’s a great man, Eagle. Never seen a man fight like him. We beat the War Chief Crook at Rosebud Creek.” He spoke as if remembering was reliving. “After riding all night to get there, we fought for six hours. Crazy Horse was everywhere. He talked to me—more than once. Said he was proud of me. We made the Americans turn back at Rosebud so they weren’t there to fight alongside Custer at Greasy Grass eight days later.”

Greasy Grass was what the warriors called Little Bighorn. I kept my tongue in my mouth, afraid of drawing him back from wherever he was.

“I was still with Crazy Horse in the Tongue River Valley in January of this year after what was left of Dull Knife’s band straggled in to join us. The soldiers had snuck up on Dull Knife’s village while everybody was asleep. They killed a lot of Cheyenne. Slit the throats of most of their horses and destroyed their supplies.

“After talking to Dull Knife, Crazy Horse decided to palaver with the Americans. But the Star Chief Miles’s Crow scouts murdered our delegation.” A shiver when through Matthew… Bear. “I was supposed to be one of them, but at the last minute, Crazy Horse said he wanted an older warrior to impress the Americans.”

Matthew looked at me, back in the present now. “Wolf Mountain wasn’t so good for us. Miles had artillery on the high ground and pounded us. When the weather turned bad, Crazy Horse withdrew. After that, some of the warriors started returning to the reservations to get allotments for their families.”

A frown tugged at the corners of his broad mouth. “That’s what the army’s doing now. Pushing the tribes onto reservations and hoping we’ll just lie down and die when we can’t roam free anymore.”

“Is that when you left?”

He shook his head. Leaning against the pressure of the current, Matthew told me he’d stayed with Crazy Horse until May. “Then the Shirt Wearer decided to take what was left of his people to Camp Robinson in Nebraska to surrender. He knew I had a home to go to, so he sent me away.”

“If that’s what the army is doing, it’s good you came back. The Mead’s a safe place for us. A good spirit home.”

He stared at my left earlobe and snorted. “It’s nothing but a little reservation.”

“Don’t look at it like that. We’re free to do whatever we want.”

“It’s better than some of the places they’re putting us. But we’re still Indians. You forget that sometimes, John. One of these days they’ll make you face up to it. Just wait and see.”

His words put an ache in my heart. “Can’t you see the warrior’s road is about gone. All of that’s come to an end.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Sitting Bull was called to the Sun Dance last year. While he was dancing, he saw things and predicted a great victory. And it happened too. We whipped the whites good at Greasy Grass.”

“Seems to me like you just made them mad. Got them all stirred up. I hear Sitting Bull’s gone to Canada.”

“To regroup. He’ll make medicine and plan things out. He and Crazy Horse will ride again, you’ll see.”

I swallowed hard and tried to think of something to say. What came out surprised even me. “I hear Crazy Horse has a win-tay wife.”

He met my eyes just like a white man. Uncomfortable, I turned away. He was on me instantly, wrestling like we did as kids. His arms gripped me from behind and pressed me to him. I managed to twist around to face him, intending to tumble us into the current. If he wanted horseplay, he’d get it. I froze. His lips were close to mine. His eyes looked deep down inside me.

“I thought about you,” His voice was a scratchy growl in his throat. His Adam’s apple bobbed. “I wondered if I’d live to see you again.”

Then he pressed his lips to mine. I froze, thinking of Timo and what he’d done and how I still didn’t know how to handle it. But now… now, I didn’t want to deny Bear. He was handsome and desirable and young and my friend.

His tongue pushed into my mouth. The heat of his kiss flowed down into my belly and my vitals. His yard rose and pressed between my legs.

Panicked, I shoved him away. “What are you doing?”

“What we both want.”

“You, maybe. But… but not me.”

He grabbed my thickening cock. “That’s not what this says.”

His touch was almost too much for me, but I squirmed from his grasp. “I’m not just a prick, you know. I have a mind and a heart.”

“Yes, but they tell the prick what to do. You want me, Eagle.”

Flummoxed, thoughtless words spewed out of my mouth. “Maybe I’ll give you my cock, but I won’t take yours. I won’t be your win-tay. You just want one because Crazy Horse has one.”

He stared at me for a long moment before wading to the shore where he wrung the water from his long, flowing mane. His manhood stood hard and proud, reaching for the sky, throbbing against his flat belly at times. It was big and strong and straight.

I wished to call back my words.

“So be it,” He reached for his loincloth draped over a tree limb.

I stepped forward, my legs feeling slow and leaden in the current of the river. “Wait!”

“Why? Have you changed your mind?”

I clamped my mouth shut, uncertain of what to say. Passages from Billy Strobaw’s journal raced through my mind.

“I thought not,” he said in Lakota. “Goodbye, brother.”

He turned and strode away, his manly form and easy grace robbing me of my wits. His high, hard buns dimpled as he walked, giving me an erection. I cried out in pain. “If you go, don’t ever come back!”

 * * * * *

Now John’s done it. He’s rejected Matthew’s advances out of panic because he doesn’t yet know his own mind. How will he correct what he immediately recognizes is a huge mistake?

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 

New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Wastelakapi… Beloved

markwildyr.com, Post #138


 Photo: Courtesy of Pinterest

NEWS FLASH: JMS Books has contracted with me for the publication of Wastelakapi… Beloved. At long last, the fifth book in the Cut Hand Series will be published. Tentative issue date is January, 2021. The publisher has also shown interest in republishing the first four books in the series should I be successful in reclaiming the rights.

Ergo, it’s not surprising that my post this week comes from that manuscript. I guest-posted on Don Travis’ website (dontravis.com) excerpts from the Epilogue, Chapter1, and Chapter 2 on September 24 and October 1, so I’ve selected a scene from the beginning of Chapter 3 for this post. John (Medicine Hair) is talking to his brother-in-law Captain Gideon Haleworthy. Let’s see what happens.

* * * * *

WASTELAKAPI… Beloved

 According to Gideon, a murder trial was about to begin in Federal Court in Sioux Falls up on the Missouri River. The defendant was familiar to me. I had fought at Drexel Mission alongside a Brulé named Tasunka or Sanika-Wakan-Ota and remembered him as a pleasant-faced young man with a somewhat awkward manner. His white man’s name was Plenty Horses.

As Gideon told the story, Plenty Horses had been sent by the government to the Carlisle Boarding School in Pennsylvania for five years. He returned home just in time to witness the Wounded Knee massacre. Ironically, Carlisle was the same school I falsely claimed to have attended to explain away both my obvious education and why no one knew me at Pine Ridge. After the battle at Drexel Mission, I returned home with the body of my beloved while Plenty Horses rode for Stronghold Table in the badlands of Pine Ridge. The Brulé rose after the massacre and repaired to this natural fortress to protect themselves against an attack by the very soldiers who had murdered their kinsmen at Wounded Knee.

On the seventh of January of this year, Lt. Casey rode into the stronghold with two Cheyenne scouts. He claimed to have come to determine if the uprising could be settled peacefully. The chiefs refused to talk to him because they planned to meet with General Nelson Miles on the following day. As Lt. Casey turned his mount to leave, Plenty Horses raised a Winchester hidden in his blanket and fired into the back of the officer’s head. The young Lakota was arrested and taken to Fort Meade near Sturgis, South Dakota to be tried for murder.

Landreth’s question about whether Bird and I acknowledged the “war” was over–asked in such a strident tone–fell neatly into place when Gideon said the Brulé’s pro bono lawyers planned to defend him with the claim the parties were at war. The thinking was that the slaying of one combatant by another was not murder.

With that understanding came another answer. The sheriff’s hostility toward Bear and me, and now Winter Bird, was motivated at least in part by fear. He likely considered Indians as mindless, no-account savages who didn’t have the backbone to stand like a man alone, but who instantly became sly and treacherous when there were two or more of them. He wasn’t singular in that opinion.

This both empowered and alarmed me. I glanced at Bird. He’d paid close attention to Gideon’s telling, but was his grasp of English sufficient to follow my brother-in-law’s rapid Yankee speech? My friend’s eyes let me know he’d followed enough of it. That increased my wariness. When a man knows someone fears him, he may pursue the matter too vigorously. Besides, this raised another question. Did Landreth consider the war over?

Gideon must have missed our reaction to his revelation because he moved on to other things. Timo Bowers, the Yanube City blacksmith, was still going strong although he must be in his sixties by now. Most men would have retired to the grave well before that age, but his profession kept him in better shape than most. During my eighteenth summer, he had been the first man to bring me to ejaculation.

Caleb Brown still ran Brown’s Emporium, established by his uncle, the original Caleb. He remained a steadfast friend during all the troubles. He and Timo and Andre were the reason why it was impossible to hate all white men.

Then Gideon brought my attention back to him. “John, how are you really doing?”

I waved away his question. “I’m functioning. That’s about all I can expect. Matthew… Matthew was a great loss.”

He nodded. A blond curl fell over his forehead, making him look younger than his thirty-two years. We were of an age. “I understand, you know,” he said.

I looked him straight in his blue eyes just like a white man. “You understand what?”

“I understand what your relationship was. And I saw for myself the depth of the feeling… uh, the love you shared. I can’t imagine violence taking Rachel Ann away from me like that.”

The hair on my neck bristled, but I took a breath and relaxed. While Gideon and I did not view things through the same eyes, he was a decent man capable of more understanding than most of his kind. “How long have you known?”

“Quite some time now. You weren’t obvious about your relationship, but I have some insight into the Strobaw family that most people don’t, so I figured it out. I also know the family secret,” he said.

I raised an eyebrow.

“I know you and Rachel Ann and your siblings are half-breeds, not quarter bloods.”

“I wondered when Rachel Ann would share that with you.”

“Only recently, and she revealed the reason for the deception. To make it easier for Cuthan to inherit the Mead. But she never revealed your and Matthew’s secret.”

The European part of my brain prompted me to ask a question. “Do you think less of me now that you know I loved a man?”

He shook his head. “No one who truly knows you could ever think of you as anything but a man. A good man.”

“You realize, of course, that’s what got Otter and James murdered.” I referred to my spiritual grandfather and his mate, retired Major James Morrow.

He hesitated before nodding mutely.

“And the same thing could happen to me.”

“If it does, it won’t be because of me. I respect you too much to decry you to anyone.”

“I wasn’t sure. We’ve crossed swords before,” I reminded him.

“We look at things from different perspectives, that’s true. I don’t know about you, but I’ve learned from that.”

“You gave me my name and my reputation, you know.”

He pursed his lips. “I did?”

“Back in ’83, I repeated what you told me about those unusual sunsets and blue moons and lavender suns caused by the eruption of Krakatoa over on the other side of the world. The tribesmen I was talking to instantly named me Medicine Hair and declared me a shaman.” I laughed with a trace of irony. “I told them I learned those things from the army’s telegraph, but they decided I had medicine, anyway.”

“Be damned. Didn’t know. Hope you don’t blame me for…?”

I held up a hand. “It wasn’t you who sent Matthew and me to Pine Ridge. It was that shóta, that snake, Raven. He’s the one who ambushed an army patrol in my front yard. By the way, I know you came with the rest of the family to rebuild this place. I appreciate that.”

Gideon shrugged. “Wasn’t anything.”

I laughed. A genuine one this time. “I imagine not. You merely had to find time during the middle of an Indian war to come help your Indian in-laws rebuild a farm your own command had burned to the ground.”

He was silent for a long moment. “I was there, you know.”

“Where?”

“Wounded Knee.”

My jaw dropped. Something moved in my belly. Had I fired on Rachel Ann’s husband like those families ripped apart in the American’s Civil War?

“Not at the… uh, battle,” he said. “But they called in reinforcements when some of the tribes rose afterward.”

“There was no battle, Gideon.” My voice turned bitter. Chill bumps rippled my back. “It was a massacre pure and simple. A rifle went off. No one will ever know whose, and the soldiers on the hill opened on us with everything they had. They even shot some of their own troops who’d come down to disarm us.” I paused, but he made no response. “Were you at Drexel Mission, too?”

He shook his head. “We remained at Wounded Knee Creek. I looked for you, John. None of the bodies had been buried by the time we arrived, and I walked the whole area afraid that with the next step, I’d find you or Matthew. I didn’t learn about Matthew until later.”

Rachel Ann interrupted that awkward moment and put both of us to work shifting the furniture in the little house so everything was the way she wanted. Bird had disappeared into the blacksmith shop at some point during my talk with Gideon. I was teaching my Lakota friend the foundry trade and discovered him an apt pupil. He took pride in learning to become a mazkape, as the Lakota called a blacksmith. He did not emerge from the building again until after Gideon had taken his leave for the fort. Doubtless, the sight of that blue uniform bothered him beyond tolerating.

* * * * *

 The state is now set. We’ll learn more when the book is released this coming January. Thanks for reading.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time. 

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Runt – Part Three of Three Parts

 

markwildyr.com, Post #137


 
Well, Runt better get busy and land the deal because this is the last episode of his story. Will he accomplish his goal or not? Let’s find out.

 

* * * * *

RUNT

 For the final week before school started, Park took me on as a personal challenge. We got up early and ran. I surprised us both by showing some stamina, thanks to the swimming pool, probably. We hit the rope every day, and I was climbing here quarters of the way up it before the week was out.

We spent some time on the basketball court and pitched baseballs, softballs, footballs. For the first time I learned what was expected of me in those sports even though I could rarely deliver. I wasn’t a jock and never would be, but at least I knew the basics.  Even more, Park overcame his obvious reluctance to address the issue and showed me how to stop throwing and running like a girl. Suddenly, PhysEd didn’t seem the horror it had been before. Even a bent, vindictive old man like Coach Barson couldn’t fault my classroom work. Still he wouldn’t give me anything better than a C. So I devastated his jocks in the other classes. I worked so hard and put in extra time so the grading curve was unusually high by the time the first tests came around.

I was still picked last for teams, but nobody tried to give me to the other side as a freebie anymore. I got a few hits off the pitcher at softball, even scored a couple of goals in soccer, but mostly just came closer to carrying my own weight as a team player. Except in swimming. I confounded Barson and everyone else by being the best at the butterfly in the whole class.

“Hey, Dan,” a familiar voice hailed me in the parking lot after last period one day. “How’s it going?” My knees did their “weak” thing when his hand clapped me on the shoulder briefly.

“Hi, Park. Thought you’d be at practice,” the words were rendered stupid when I saw him on a pair of crutches with a bandaged right foot.

“Twisted my ankle pretty bad. I’m out for a few days. Hear you’re doing okay in gym.”

“Almost holding my own,” I said with a grin. “Thanks, Park. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

“Glad to help. Hate to see somebody taken advantage of. It’s not sportsmanlike.”

“Where you headed?”

“Home, I guess. I get bored watching the team practice. You headed to work?”

“My day off. Trying to decide whether to go swimming or go home and chill out. Can you swim with that thing?” I asked hopefully.

“Can’t do anything. Fucker’s cramping my style!” he added bitterly. “Well, my boat’s a couple of rows over. See you later.”

As he turned, one crutch caught in the wheel well of the car beside mine. Park went down with a crash. Immediately, I knelt beside him, acutely conscious that I cradled his shoulders in my arms.

“You okay?”

He let out a groan and pulled his knee to his chest. “Shit! Wrenched my knee. Dammit!” He grimaced. “Now my leg’s cramping.

I literally dragged him to his feet and dumped him in the front seat of my car as he clutched at his injured leg. He cussed a couple of times and then lay back across the seat, his arm over his eyes, obviously in pain.

Without waiting to be asked, I pulled up his pant leg and started massaging his calf. The rough bandage supporting his ankle got in the way, so I unwound it and soon rubbed his bare flesh. It seemed to give him some relief.

I spent the next fifteen minutes trying to ignore a monstrous erection and having the time of my life while seeming to do him some good. He planted a bare foot against my chest while I played with his leg from ankle to knee. I kneaded, I squeezed, I slid my palm up his calf, I drew my hands down the length of his leg. To me, it was sensuous as hell! To him, it was relief. He began to relax.

“How about the knee?” I asked through a dry throat. “You want me to work on it?”

“Yeah,” he sort of panted. “And the thigh.”

I eased up over the knee but was little help to him there. He groaned when my hands gripped him on the upper leg, so I started acting like I was massaging. Hell, maybe I was. If it helped, then that’s what it was. For me it was one free, gigantic grope. He said nothing as my hands moved higher and higher. My eyes fixed on his groin. Spread out on the seat like he was, I saw it move.

At first I thought I was mistaken, but it happened again. I sneaked a quick look at him, but his arm still covered his eyes. I gently massaged higher on his leg until I could clearly feel his shorts beneath the denim of his jeans. His groing was fuller now.

With an audible swallow, I gently placed one palm over his fly and pressed. Except for a reaction there, Park didn’t move a muscle. Emboldened, I fumbled with his belt. He came up like a shot.

“Not here!” he said.

“Where?” I managed to gasp.

“I don’t know. Drive somewhere.”

I threw his crutches in the back seat, helped him settle his injured foot on the floorboard, and raced for the park at the edge of the mountains, all the while afraid he’d change his mind. Partially by design, I pulled into the turnout where I’d watched him and Terry Milkstone last summer.

He didn’t change his mind. Leaning on my shoulder, he shucked his trousers and then flopped on the blanket I’d spread on the ground. Still in some obvious distress, he settled his leg gingerly.

Flustered now that my dreams seemed about to come true, I didn’t know what to do next, so I began working on his injury again. He made no protest as I slowly worked my way up his limb to the shorts covering his manhood. Nor did he object when I drew them off him and unbuttoned his shirt. He was exposed to me now in all his magnificence.

“Well, Runt,” he said with a frown on his face. “Isn’t this what you wanted?”

“How… how did you know?” I whispered, laying a hand on his broad chest and fingering his nipples.

“Shit, kid. You get a hard-on every time I come around. What else could it mean? Am I wrong?”

“No,” I said, boldly leaning down and suckling one of the little brown things.

Park gasped in surprise. “Damn, is that what the girls have to put up with all the time?”

I moved to his navel. One hand found his cock, which revived impressively, the other played over his chest.

Taking a boy’ in my mouth was nothing like I’d imagined. There was no unpleasantness, no reluctance, no hesitancy. His big shaft slid down my throat like they were made for one another. Beneath the soft, silky skin there was an exciting hardness. Strength and power and potency!

When I tried to take too much, the human reaction set in. I gagged and coughed. Sheepishly, I came up and met his gaze. “Sorry. I’ve never done this before. I’m learning. But I’ll do the best I can for you, Park. I promise.”

His visage had been stern, uncertain. Immediately, it cleared. “I know you will, Runt. I’ll tell you what feels good and what doesn’t, okay?”

I nodded and bent to do his bidding. True to his word, he told me what felt good and what felt better. And I gloried in every second of it.

“I’m co—“ he started to warn me, but it was too late. His musky, milky semen flowed. Park’s seed! Park’s essence! The private, personal part of Park that he shared with very few. No matter that seconds later I would just be a queer to him, at this very moment I was his partner, his mate, his receptacle.

As he lay panting on the blanket, I rose to a sitting position to study him, hoping to preserve his male beauty on my retina forever. Instead of grabbing for his clothing, he surprised me.

“Don’t you want to get it off?” he asked.

“Y…yes,” I whispered.

“Strip,” he ordered.

I did so reluctantly. Nothing I had could favorably compare with any part of him. When I was naked, he looked me over frankly.

“Yeah, Runt. You’ve filled out a lot. You’re a good-looking fucker, you know that?”

“M-me?”

“Yeah, you.” He reached up and touched me, leaving me reaching for the stars and beating a rhythm in the air. I about fainted at his touch. “Lie down,” he ordered.

I could not believe the next ten minutes. Naked, my paragon sat beside me on the blanket and explored me in ways I had never imagined. Finally, when I could stand it no longer, I came without a word, without a groan, without a sound, almost as if surprised by the climax. I was surprised by the intensity.

Park let out a shout, but he continued to stroke as I shot my seed in the air. He pumped, and I spewed.

“Kid!” he half-laughed. “Are you ever going to stop?”

“It’s… over,” I gasped, clutching his forearm with both hands. “It… it was beautiful, Park! Like… like….”

“Crap, you never did this with anyone before, did you?”

“No,” I admitted. “Nobody.”

“Well, just so you’ll know, I never did it with a guy before. But I was curious, and you seemed to be willing. And safe,” he added.

“Safe?”

“You know. You’re quiet. Not going to blab to everyone. And I’m not going to catch a disease from you.”

“What…what did you think about it? About me?” I had the temerity to ask.

He considered for a second. “It was okay. You know, better than doing it to yourself. And you? I like you. You’re okay. I knew you wanted to do something with me, but you didn’t push it.” He shrugged. “I knew you were available, but you didn’t make it obvious, I guess. Hell, I’m not saying it right.”

“Are we going to do it again?”

“Do you want to?”

I nodded emphatically. “Yes. I’d like to do it again. See if I can’t do it better.”

He laughed as he reached for his trousers. “You do it any better, and it might be better than a piece of tail.”

“I’ll do it better,” I said emphatically.

Later in the car as we drove home, I screwed up the courage to talk about it again.

“Park?”

“Yeah.”

“You ever think about doing the other?”

“The other? What-- Oh. No, never thought about anything like that. Why? You willing to let me screw you?”

“Park, I’d let you do anything!”

The car was quiet until we got to the edge of town.

“I’ll give it some thought,” Park said with a sly grin. “Maybe we’ll try that the next time.” He paused a moment. “Okay, I thought it over. How about tomorrow?”

 * * * * *

 How about that! Don’t know about you, but it looks to me like Park made the first move. Now that Runt got what he wanted, he has tomorrow to look forward to… a brand new adventure. But you’ll just have to imagine that one.

 Now that the story has ended, I’ll revert to my normal schedule of posting on the first and third Thursday of each month.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.

 Mark

 New posts the first and third Thursday of the month at 6:00 a.m., US Mountain time.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Runt – Part Two of Three Parts

 

markwildyr.com, Post #136


 
Last week our shy hero fell in love with a jock but found himself totally incapable of doing anything about it. Will he do any be better this week? Let’s see.

 * * * * *

RUNT

 That night, I lay in bed as the relevance of the day finally hit home. My God! I was queer!

The initial shock was followed by a host of feelings and sensations. Was it really true? After all, I didn’t go around lusting after all the boys I knew. But I sure did Park! No denying that. If he were here in bed with me, I’d do anything he asked me to do. Was that homosexuality or idolization?

The discomfort in my groin told me I wanted him physically, sexually. I wanted to be queer with him. And I wanted him to want me! Homosexuality? Definitely!

Testing the waters, I thought of some of the other boys at school. Nothing. Well, not quite nothing, but it was more like curiosity. Rumor had it that Chuck Rycyczk had the biggest one in school, but that didn’t stir me a bit.

Hard on these thoughts came one that made me chuckle at the same time I cringed. Poor Pop! His greatest fears had been realized. With sudden insight, I realized that sports and hunting and man-things had been a reaction to his fear that his only son was too much of a mama’s boy. I’m not certain he thought I was gay, but he sure was afraid of something.

Well, congratulations, Pop! Moral? Be careful of what you fear. I paused for a moment to examine my strange relationship with my father. I loved him like sons are supposed to, but there was another element too. I was afraid of him. The admission brought a little shock of its own. Yeah, I was afraid of him. Afraid he’d push me into some physical situation I couldn’t handle; some sport where I’d be embarrassed by ineptitude and disinterest and active dislike.

Then came another surprising thought. He was afraid of me, as well. My big, manly daddy was afraid of his runty son. Afraid I’d shame him. Yeah, that was right, but there was more. I grappled a little longer before I got it. He was afraid of me because I was smarter than he was. He was physical; I was cerebral. He didn’t understand my scholastic ability any better than I fathomed his obsession with a ball.

When I woke the next morning, my world had changed. I faced Pop at the breakfast table with an aplomb never before seen or felt. He realized something had shifted but couldn’t quite put his finger on it. Mother just served the pancakes with a puzzled frown on her face.

At the pool later that morning, my newly discovered confidence evaporated like dew in the sunlight. Fortunately I was already in the water when Park walked out on the pool deck because my stomach dropped and my knees went weak with the secret knowledge I’d seen him naked and rampant and doing it with a girl. He waved at me and headed for a couple of his jock buddies at the other end of the pool. Twenty laps left me gasping and holding to the edge of the pool without any thought of Park Fogelson or anything else in my mind. I’d never done twenty continuous laps before.

“Atta way to go, Dan!” his voice startled me. I turned to see him treading water behind me, the fine muscles of his shoulders moving seductively. I snapped my eyes away from his brawny torso and found his steel-gray eyes just as provocative. I went dumb as part of me began to strain against my swimsuit. A sudden frown twisted Park’s features. “Something wrong?”

I shook my head violently but had to draw a couple more breaths before speaking. “W-winded.”

He laughed. “Yeah, but you’re doing better. A hell of a lot better. Coach Barson better watch out.”

“Don’t… tell him,” I panted.

“Hell, no. Let him find out for himself.”

“Still… don’t know about… climbing rope.” I tried to keep talking so he’d tarry here with me. Man, if he knew what I really wanted, he’d probably slug me right here in front of everybody.

“You’ll make it, Danny boy,” he said, and it took a minute to realize he meant I’d climb the rope. “Hell, bet you can get halfway up right now. Have you tried it?”

“N…no,” I said around a lump in my throat.

The frown returned. “I make you nervous or something? I’ll back off if I do.”

“No!” I practically yelled. “I’m not very good with people,” I apologized. “Loner, mostly. But I…I like to talk to you. You help me,” I crabbed along, afraid I’d say something wrong. “Nobody ever did that before.”

He smiled so broadly, I almost sank beneath the water and drowned from happiness. “No big deal. Doesn’t cost me anything. And I like you, Runt,” he gave me the gym class name, but it had no sting. I sort of liked it.

“I like you, too Park. And I never said that to a jock before.”

He laughed aloud. “The jock and the runt,” he mused. “We make quite a pair.”

Fortunately, he went back to his friends or I’d have made a fool of myself trying to make something out of that remark. I stayed in the pool another thirty minutes before getting out without embarrassing myself.

That evening, I got something of a shock. It was getting along toward closing time at the store when the door opened and Park Fogelson walked in.

“Hi, Runt. What time you get off?”

“I close up in five minutes,” I said, too surprised to even stammer.

“Good. There’s a big teacher’s confab at school. They’re plotting the opening of the term, I guess. Anyway. The building’s open. Let’s go over and try the rope, okay?”

“S-sure,” I said, recovering enough to stutter.

That Quick-Fix store got closed up faster than it ever had. Park loaded me in his Chevy, saying we’d pick up my car later.

The euphoria of actually being in his presence in a social situation slowly gave way to something akin to panic as I realized I’d soon be demonstrating my weakness and ineptitude. I was actually shaking by the time he parked in the lot. Personally, I would have sneaked into the school, figuring we weren’t supposed to be there. Not Park. He strode boldly through the front double-doors and marched straight down the hallway to the gymnasium. Flipping on the lights, he walked to the corner. And there it was…the dreaded rope.

Park turned and beckoned me forward. “First thing, you gotta get over being afraid of it. Psych yourself up, man. It’s just a damned rope. An inanimate piece of hemp hanging from the rafter, totally helpless. You can piss on it, burn it, or climb it…do anything you want to it.”

I smiled in spite of my terror. He was pretty good at psyching. Nonetheless, my anxiety eased only slightly.

“Chalk your hands,” he instructed, grabbing a chalk bag and dusting his own liberally. “Then take a firm hold at a point on the rope where you’re comfortable. Then just pull.”

He hand-walked up that rope in nothing flat, his legs horizontal to the floor, his body in a handsome L. I went weak in the knees as I watched. Once at the top, he effortlessly hand-walked back down and gently lowered his feet to the ground.

“You won’t do it quite like that the first time, but you’ll get the hang of it soon. Try it. See if you can make it to there,” he said, pointing to a red mark inked into the rope fifteen feet off the floor.

Grasping that rope was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. Not because I would fail, but because while I was struggling, he’d see how puny and pitiful my body really was. Nonetheless, I gave it a try. To my surprise, my feet left the ground. I reached the red marker and struggled with all my might to grab one more handhold beyond that.

“Great!” Park enthused. “You did it! Now just work your way on down.”

It wasn’t much easier on the way back, especially, when I felt his hands briefly on my shoulders as my feet touched the ground.

“Man, you’ve filled out, you know that? All those weights and that swimming are really showing.” My knees wouldn’t hold me. “Whoa!” he said, grabbing me beneath the arms. He probably didn’t notice his hands on my nipples, but I sure did. They went hard and knobby at his touch. “You okay?”

“Y-yeah,” I panted, not certain that was true. I swayed against him for support. The length of his body pressed against me for a moment. The swell of his groin set my butt afire.

“Just rest a sec. You wanna sit down?”

“No!” I never wanted to move, but I couldn’t let him know that. “Just give me a minute. I’ll be okay.” I milked the situation for another thirty seconds, and then leaned away from him. My chest felt cold after he removed his hands.

“You did good, Dan. You come in every day and give it a try. Before Coach gets around to his rope climbing test, you’ll have it whipped.”

“Did… did you mean it?” I managed to ask.

“Mean what?”

“Have I filled out some?”

“Oh, yeah! Haven’t you noticed? You used to be shaped like a tube of toothpaste, you know. Now you’ve got pecs,” he reached out and touched my chest. “And lats,” he moved to my ribs. Your arms are bigger and your shoulders are wider. You’ve had a growing streak this summer. Not going to be able to call you runt much longer.”

“Thanks to you,” I blurted.

“Me? I didn’t do anything. It was you, man.”

“I won’t be able to play the games any better than before.” It took a second to realized I’d blurted the thought aloud.

“You’ll learn those too. You can hold your own swimming. Maybe you oughta take up some running. Coach holds races for part of the class. The whole point is not to be last.” He laughed aloud. “Gonna be some guys get a shock when they realize they can’t rely on the runt to come in last anymore.”

 * * * * *

 Well, Runt’s doing a good job at building up his strength and his body… but is he building his courage, as well? We’ll see next week.

 

As usual, I will post weekly until the story ends, and then revert to my normal schedule of posting on the first and third Thursday of each month.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next week.

 Mark

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Runt – Part One of Three Parts

 

markwildyr.com, Post #135

Courtesy of worldopenfoodfacts.org



Sure hope everyone got a kick out of the excerpt from The Victor and the Vanquished I posted last week. I enjoyed writing that book.

 Over the next three weeks, I want to give you a story I wrote sometime back that’s a little less intense than the last few posts.

 Let me know how you like it.

* * * * *

RUNT

             How to tell you about myself? To my mother, I’m a tall, slender, handsome, intelligent, well-behaved young man. My father in an honest moment? A sickly disappointment who can’t toss a ball or score a hoop. My best friend? I don’t have one. My girl? Sorry, struck out there too.

If you asked me, I’d acknowledge elements of truth to both of my parents’ claims. I’ve got the brains to stay at the top of my class, and I admit to being a goody-two-shoes. I’m slender enough, but tall and handsome? At five-eight, I’m tall only if you consider five-six as the norm. As for handsome, that can go either way depending upon my mood.

In a way, the situation with my dad is not my fault. I was sickly as a kid, and by the time I got any weight or strength, everyone else had found his niche in the world of kid’s sports. So I tossed aside athletics to become the terror of the classroom, diagramming complex sentences, solving mathematical equations, and comprehending deep passages of Shakespeare that stumped most of my peers. Pretty much everyone came to hate me for setting the grading curve so high.

But to be honest, they paid me back in PhysEd, laughing and howling when I couldn’t climb a rope or do chin-ups or sit-ups or anything else. Runt, they called me, picking me last for a team activity, most often one side trying to give me to the other as a freebie.

The coach took revenge for his jocks by failing me. It would have been embarrassing except that no one ever flunked PE, so it was obvious to the whole school that Old Man Barson was extracting his pound of flesh. Nonetheless, it meant taking the course again my senior year.

Realizing that particular brand of hell loomed before me again, I took part of my summer earnings from clerking in a Quick Fix neighborhood convenience store and bought some hand and leg weights. I used the former in moments of idleness and wore the latter most of the time, even on the job.

Park Fogelson caught me working a hand weight when he came in for a six-pack of cola one day. Flustered, I put it out of sight behind the counter. Park was one of the few jocks I respected because he had brains enough to hold his own. Moreover, he was so sculpted and handsome that he inspired adoration.

He indicated the discarded weights and gave a smile that seemed genuine. “Hey, good idea! Heard what Coach Barson did to you. Low blow, man.”

“Th-thanks, I stammered, surprised out of my socks at the sympathy.

“One thing though. You might want to turn your palm down in some of the sets. Works the contrary muscles, you know. You always want to work both sides.”

“Okay,” I responded, having no idea of what he was talking about. “I’ll remember that.”

“You oughta jog some to work on the aerobics. Swimming’s good, too.”

“Makes sense.” I babbled, immediately fixing on the pool. I hated swimming much less than I did running.

“Well, good luck.”

Kind words sometimes carry unintended consequences. Long content to be a dedicated loner, I was abruptly snared in the glow of instant friendship or camaraderie or whatever the hell it was as his six-foot muscled frame strode out the door. Hell, I couldn’t remember a pleasant word from any member of the football squad in my life, especially one that handsome and popular. I’d heard more than one girl speculate on his hidden dimensions. One thing about being Dan Drew—that’s me by the way—I’m damned near invisible and consequently hear all sorts of interesting things.

I joined the Y, telling myself that I liked their pool better than the municipal, but in truth it was because that’s where Park went. He occasionally stopped by to say hello or give pointers on my swimming technique, such as it was. We probably spoke on an average of twenty minutes a week, and in my world, that was virtual intimacy.

Over that summer, William Parker Fogelson became my standard, my ideal. The sight of him stirred something within me. His tapered, almost naked body at the pool impressed me to the point that at night I’d stand in front of a full-length mirror and critically examine my slight frame, looking for biceps and triceps and lats that bore any similarity to his. I found none.

One day my car sort of automatically dropped right in behind his as he pulled out of the local drive-in, and just like that, I became a stalker. For some reason it was important to see who was in the front seat beside him. When Park drove out of town, I either regained my senses or grew more devious because I dropped back, putting a lot of distance between my Nissan and his Chevy.

It soon became clear he was headed for the park at the edge of the nearby mountains. My heart took a leap as I realized that I had my bathing trunks in my gym bag. If he went swimming in the river, I could join him. Man, that would be great!

However, once in the park, he didn’t take the turnoff that led to the river. Instead, the Chevy turned north toward some remote picnic areas. I was forced to fade back even farther on this deserted stretch of road, and his car was nowhere in sight when I got to the turnaround at the end. Puzzled, I headed back the way I’d come, watching the sides of the road more carefully. In the late-afternoon light, I caught a glimpse of red. Park’s Chevy was red. Not daring to think about what I was doing, I parked in the next turnoff and quietly got out of the car to make my way by foot through the thick pine forest toward the Chevy.

Even my measly hundred-thirty pounds break pine needles, and I’m not anything remotely like a woodsman. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising when I heard a female voice ask if he’d heard something.

Park’s reply sent a thrill down my back.” Most likely a wolf.” As he’d probably intended, that brought a semi-frightened squeal. His throaty laugh raised the hair on my arms.

More slowly now, I eased in the direction of the voices, keeping to the high ground until I came to the edge of a ten-foot bluff. I looked down and stifled a gasp. They were on a blanket below me.

Now I know that eighteen-year-old boys do things to eighteen-year-old girls whenever the opportunity presents itself, but the sight still shocked me. Park was between her legs, thrusting, plunging, and plowing I almost protested aloud when she wrapped her legs around him, partially blocking my view of the rippling muscles. Man, he even had muscles in his buns. Me? I couldn’t move a tic until he finished in an explosion of thrusts and a long groan.

I was still gaping until he glanced up as he pulled off a condom and tossed it aside. Afraid I’d been spotted, I shrank back from the edge of the precipice and froze. I stayed that way until I heard the Chevy roar off down the road.

Not exactly certain why, I made my way down the small bluff and stood where they had made love. The torn foil of the condom package sent my eyes scurrying around until I found the rubber where it had been tossed at the edge of the weeds.

At that moment, my powerful attraction for Park Fogelson focused into something definitive. Sudden understanding rocked me to my toes. I’d never been very sexually oriented, mentally scratching my head at the power it held over my peers. At times it seemed they thought with the wrong end of their bodies and got led around by the same organs. But now—for the first time—I understood. I understood it all, including the discovery of my pitiful perversion.

As I stood at the edge of the forest with the used condom holding Park’s cum, I realized that the girl had held no interest for me. My entire concentration, my core, my consciousness had zeroed in on the tall, lithe figure of another male. I drew a shaky breath and admitted it aloud. I wanted Park. I didn’t want a girl. I wanted him!

 * * * * *

 I’ve often been asked why so many of my characters have to discover who they really are and wade through the negative ramifications of being identified as gay. Simple. I’m a product of my time and place. I grew up in the Bible Belt part of Oklahoma where being identified as “queer” would earn you shunning at the best and physical violence as the worst… and possibly both. I realize that some moderns consider this to be offensive, but it’s the way things were. And everyone I know tells me I’m a man of the last century, not this one.

 At any rate, enjoy the story without taking offense.

 As usual, I will post weekly until the story ends, and then revert to my normal schedule of posting on the first and third Thursday of each month. And before you ask… I have no idea of what comes next.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next week.

 Mark

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Excerpt from the Novel The Victor and the Vanquished

 

markwildyr.com, Post #134


 
Hope everyone enjoyed the Curt Huntinghawk story that ended last week.

 I’ve recently done a couple of guest posts for fellow okie Don Travis (dontravis.com), and it got me to thinking about some o the older books I’ve done. Some of you know I wrote a series of books I call the Strobaw Family Series, starting with Cut Hand, and followed by three others that take place in the late 1800s. My guest posts were of an unpublished fifth in that series called Wastelakapi… Beloved.

 But I’ve also published some cultural tales not connected with that series. One of them is The Victor and the Vanquished, about a young Native American who grew up in an alcohol-abusive family setting and pulled himself out of it by applying his ability to whittle small figures and turning it into a successful career as a sculptor… despite coming to grips with the fact that he was gay. The following is part of the first chapter of the book.

 * * * * *

THE VICTOR AND THE VANQUISHED 

Chapter 1

 The Native American Settlement of Rolling Hills


“Wilam!” Matthew called from the sidelines.

I waved him off and got set as the pitcher whipped a fastball over the plate. Hitchcock, a chubbo whose belly moved slower than his hips, whipped thin air—with the bat and the belly. I rolled my shoulders and pounded the glove with a fist to loosen up, hoping my brother would go away. I didn’t get a chance to play ball with the other guys very often, and I didn’t want to be pulled off the field. Besides, I’d really come down to the tribal rec center to find James, but he wasn’t around. I planned to go looking for him pretty soon.

“William Greyhorse!” Matthew yelled. “Hey, man, you need to get your butt home.”

“Not now.”

“Okay. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. The old man’s on a rip-snorter, and he sent me to get you.”

I spotted the kid whose glove I’d borrowed and motioned him over. Then I ran to catch up with my brother and fell into step beside him, which wasn’t easy. Matthew’d turned twenty-one this summer. All that meant to him was he could get into the bars over in Mapleton without sneaking around, but it also meant he stood six-one, and had legs to match. They ate up the ground a lot faster than mine. I was a little better than five-nine but considerably short of five-ten. I’d already accepted the fact I was the runt of the family. My dad was an even six feet. Something I’d never match.

“What’s going on?” I was panting because he hadn’t shortened his stride for me like he usually did. A bad sign.

“We’re leaving.”

“What do you mean?” I asked between gasps.

“Just that. We’re leaving. Got almost everything packed. We’re pulling out soon’s we get home.”

“Why? What happened?” I asked the question from long experience. This wouldn’t be the first time my dad—or my mom, for that matter—got drunk and pulled something so bad we had to pick up and leave. We’d already moved half a dozen times, always ending up back on the reservation after a period of exile. That’s why I was eighteen and still had another year to go in high school. Or that’s what I told myself, anyway. But I think it was probably true.

“Old man got in a fight last night…or maybe it was this morning. Cut up Brewster Whitetail pretty bad.”

“Drunk?”

Matthew’s laugh was almost a snarl. “Both of them.”

“Kill him?”

“No. But he’s cut up pretty bad.”

“Where’d it happen?”

“Not on the rez, thank God. Else the FBI’d chase us all over hell and gone.”

“How come the cops didn’t pick him up?”

“Him and his buddies were partying out in the boondocks somewhere. He hightailed it home while the others took Brewster to the hospital. The cops’ll be along soon enough. That’s why he’s in a hurry.”

“Where’re we going?”

“Dunno. He got some money from Uncle Dulce. Said something about New Mexico.”

Our place was a rundown affair sitting right at the eastern edge of the little settlement of Rolling Hills. The big barn behind it was usually empty except for junk. Now, our twenty-year-old pickup was hidden in the middle of it, half loaded with our belongings. The truck had been black once, but the Bondo smeared all over it rendered the vehicle two-toned. Black and gray usually looked pretty good together, but not on a beat-up Dodge half-ton. The barn already smelled of rubber, gasoline, and burned motor oil.

Dad lurched out of the back door loaded down with his hunting rifle and fishing tackle. He was sweaty and wild-eyed from his drinking, but he didn’t seem drunk. Cutting up a man must have sobered him some.

“Where the hell you been?”

“Rec center.”

“Well, get your ass in gear. We’re out of here in ten minutes.”

I headed for the room I shared with my sisters, Nola and little Junie. There wasn’t much I wanted to salvage except for my carving knives—and my clothes, for all they were worth. Mostly Matthew’s hand-me-downs cut to size.

But my knives were something else. Because I never knew when Mom would pass out for the day or when Dad would come home mad dog drunk, I was practically house bound all summer on account of the girls. And during the school year, I’d rush home as soon as class was over. So I whittled to keep busy. Got pretty good at it, too. I made all the toys the girls ever had, including their dolls.

The last couple of Christmases I’d even sold a few carvings. I put the little money I made right back into better knives. Mom said it was a waste of good money buying up different carving knives, but if it was, it was the only wasting I ever did. I never bought candy or soda pop like the other guys. But sometimes I stood sweets for Nola and little Junie with money I made from doing quick chores around town or selling a carving.

I liked to whittle animals mostly, but I did a head of Nola once that looked pretty much like her. Or at least the way she looked when I carved it a couple of years back. Never been able to capture little Junie, though. It always came out bland like a baby’s face. Nola said that's because Junie had a bland baby’s face, even if she was walking around and jabbering hard enough to raise a dust devil.

I passed Mom in the living room. She was folding some sheets and towels and looked sober. Tired but sober. Her cheeks were sorta mashed in—you know, sunken. She’d been over at Uncle Dulce’s and Aunt Aurora’s last night, and she usually didn’t drink around her youngest sister’s family. They were born-again people. That was why I’d been able to get away for a ball game down at the rec center this morning.

Nola, thirteen and big enough to know what was going on, seemed scared. Little Junie wasn’t yet three, and she just looked excited. Of course, every day was an adventure to her. She was a happy baby except when my dad was in the house raising hell.

“Wilam!” she yelled when I came through the door. She called me that because she couldn’t pronounce William when she first started talking. The rest of the family fell into the habit of using that label, and pretty soon I was Wilam to the whole reservation. I patted Junie on the head and gave her a kiss on the cheek before rushing to our room and slinging my things into plastic grocery bags.

We abandoned all of the furniture; it was mostly junk, anyway. That left enough room in the bed of the pickup for the girls and me. Matthew kicked over the motor and made straight for the Mini-Mart at the south end of the reservation for gas and food to take on the road. Dad and Mom went inside while he filled the gas tank and a couple of Jerry cans. I bailed out of the bed of the pickup when I spotted James walking down the road on those long legs of his. I knew he’d seen me, but he veered off around behind the store. I found him sitting at a little picnic table they put back there for customers.

“I heard,” he said.

“Yeah, looks like the Greyhorse family’s off and running again. Man, I get tired of it. I wish we would just settle down somewhere.”

He didn’t have an answer for my wishes, so we went quiet. The loblolly pines flooded the clearing with the sharp smell of resin. Somewhere a woodpecker tapped out a message only he understood. It got a little awkward after a minute. I put it down to the way our leaving.

I sat down on the table across from him and waited. Finally, he said something I didn’t catch.

“What?” I looked over at him. He had on his usual blue jeans, gray muscle shirt, and home-stitched buckskin moccasins. He’d worn those moccasins ever since his feet quit growing. He looked good. That thought was off and running before I could grab hold and pull it back.

“Wish I could figure out an easy way?”

“To do what?” I asked.

“Letting you know how I feel. About you.”

“I know how you feel. We’re friends. We’re about the only friends each other has.”

“Yeah. I guess.” His fingertip traced a set of initials carved into the rough oak table. “We’re both loners.”

“Just a couple of oddballs.” Why the hell did I say that?

“You’re just different because you act like the man of the family and take care of your sisters” There was bitterness in his voice. “Me, I’m a certified oddball.”

“That’s trash talk, James.”

“Okay, here’s some more. I’ve been wanting to do it with you for a long time, but I was scared to let you know.” His voice faltered. “Every…every other guy on the rez who don’t have a girl for the night comes knocking, and I do whatever they want. I do it even when I don’t like them. But you never came around like that. So I just kept my mouth shut, afraid of chasing off my best friend.”

I sat there with my cheeks flaming.

He fixed me with dark, haunted eyes. “Go ahead, say it.”

“S-say what?” I stuttered.

“Whatever you’re thinking. Call me a queer or a faggot. Tell me you don’t want anything to do with me anymore. Or tell me it’s okay, and we’re still friends. Or tell me you’ve been wanting us to do it too.”

“Why’re you saying this to me?” I swatted at a wasp buzzing around my head.

He shrugged and glanced off into the trees over my shoulder. “Because...because I like you. And I thought you liked me.”

My face felt hot. “I do, you know that. But…but….”

“But not like that.”

“I don’t know. Maybe I do. Or could. But we’re leaving. Going away. Probably forever.”

“No, you’ll comeback someday. But I know you’re leaving for right now. Else I wouldn’t of got up the nerve to tell you.” He looked at me again. “You’re taking off in a few minutes, so I can’t chase you away. I can say anything I want.”

“Okay. Now that’s out of the way, is there anything else?” Where’d that stupid question come from?

“Just that you’re the best-looking guy around. That your’re fun and a good friend. And that I want to touch you and do things with you.” He shut up for a moment while he studied those initials enshrined in the picnic table. “That’s all there is, except….” He swallowed hard. “Well, except to say I’ll wait for you if you ask me to. I won’t get with no one else as long as I know you’re coming back for me someday. I can do it. I know I can.”

A shiver went down my back, and my thing started to get stiff in my pants. I couldn’t get my voice past my throat.

His puppy dog look changed to one of anguish. He dropped his gaze to the table again. “That’s okay, I understand. But I gotta let you know something. No matter what happens, I gotta say it.” He lifted his head and met my eyes. “I love you, Wilam.”

I’d have said something to that, all right, but I don’t know what because right then Matthew poked his head around the building. My brother’s glance swept James and then fixed on me.

“Come on, Pissant. The old man’s ready to go.”

 

* * * * *

 Hope that makes you hungry for more. I might even read the book again to see how I handled things back in the day.

 I will now revert to my usual schedule of posting on the first and third Thursday of each month. And before you ask… I have no idea of what comes next.

 My contact information is provided below in case anyone wants to drop me a line:

Website and blog: markwildyr.com

Email: markwildyr@aol.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mark.wildyr

Twitter: @markwildyr

 The following are buy links for CUT HAND:

 DSP Publications: https://www.dsppublications.com/books/cut-hand-by-mark-wildyr-420-b

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Cut-Hand-Mark-Wildyr-ebook/dp/B073D86RWV

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/book/cut-hand/id1256084273

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/cut-hand-2

 And now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it!

 Until next time.

 

Mark

 New posts at 6:00 a.m. UA Mountain time every first and third Thursday of the month.