Thursday, December 21, 2023

An Army Brat and a White-Vined Park Bench (Part 1 of 2 Parts), Post #255

Image Courtesy of Amazon:


Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to one and all. Please enjoy the holiday season but be careful, there are a lot of crazies out there.

 During this busy time of year, I’d intended to publish a repost for this week. But Layton and the white-vined park bench he’d stumbled onto in last post prompted so many memories from yore, I couldn’t let it go. Hope you enjoy the second story.

 * * * *


My name’s Layton Dunelton, and I’m one confused son of a gun. An army brat, I had traveled blamed near all over the world by the time I reached age eighteen. But I’d never seen anything like what I saw when I arrived at Harthbrow Academy for my senior year in high school. It started off last Monday after school was over for the day. I’m a hiker—and a loner, by the way—and went to this park near my house after I’d seen some graffiti in the boy’s room about a white park bench.

Don’t know if I was looking for that bench or not, but I spotted it in a little secluded glen screened from the rest of the park by some trees. All the message said was, “Meet you at the white vine tonight at eight.” Anyway, my curiosity got the better of me, and I sat at another bench not far away. Dunno why, wasn’t anywhere close to eight o’clock. Heck, it was the middle of the afternoon. And I didn’t even know when the note was put on the wall.

But I figured things out right fast when a guy sat down on the white bench and got picked up by another guy. Looked like college students. They moved back in the trees and started making out. Guess they were too involved in what they were doing to notice me, but I sure got an eyeful when one dropped his britches. They left before things got too heated up, heading for somewhere more private, I guess. But as they left, one of them, a really handsome guy with dark, curly hair noticed me and gave me a grin and a thumbs-up behind his buddy’s back.

What was even stranger was I’d never even thought about fooling around with guys, but what I’d seen about set me on fire. I even went back at eight that night to see if anyone answered the note, but nobody showed, and I felt creepy sitting in the dark watching that empty, white-vined park bench.

I tried not to give the park much thought the rest of the week, but the following Monday afternoon, I went to the head and saw that graffiti again. Somebody’d added the word “Wow!” below it. That’s all it took to start my imagination racing again, so I left school after last class and headed straight for the park.

Once I got there, I wondered what the hell I was doing. There were some kids playing a ball game way down the green, but nobody was at the path running in front of the white bench. Or on the other bench farther back in the trees where I’d watched last Monday.

On impulse, I sat down on the white bench and spread my legs like I’d seen the guy do the other day. But as soon as I saw someone approaching, I closed them like I needed to protect my manhood or something.

After a few uncomfortable minutes, I decided sitting on this hookup bench and spreading my legs to bait a trap wasn’t for me. I stood to leave, but froze when I saw that same dark-headed college kid striding this way on long, athletic legs. Panicked, I didn’t know whether to sit down or run away. And I had to do one or the other because my knees went weak.

When I saw him turn his head to look at two girls walking down the path on the other side of the green, I whipped around the bench and took refuge on the other seat deeper in the trees. Maybe he wouldn’t notice me. Like last time.

I sat still as a marble statue as he approached the white bench. Was he going to sit down? Was he meeting his friend again? Would I see them move deeper in the trees and drop their trousers? Would….

Upon reaching the white bench, he stretched languidly, hiking his short shirt up and giving me a flash of brown midriff. Wow, he was built. Athletic, I mean. Not like a wrestler; more like a runner or a swimmer. Long, hard muscles.

I saw the instant he spotted me. He paused, flashed a smile… and headed my way. My insides shriveled. God! Would he recognize me as the peeping Tom kid? Before I had time to react, he stood in front of me.

“Hello. Wondered if I’d see you again.”

Oh, crap! He recognized me.

“I came back a couple of times last week hoping I’d see you,” he went on.

He wanted to see me?

He indicated the bench. “Mind if I join you?”

“Y-yeah, sure.” Crap, I probably sounded like a ten-year-old.

He sat beside me on the small bench with our thighs touching… scorching my flesh.

He offered a hand. “My name’s Ken.”

“Uh….” I verbally stumbled as I accepted his firm grip. Seemed like there was heat in that touch too. “Layton.”

“Good to meet you, Layton.”

“W-why did you want to see me?” Gee, he must think I stuttered.

“Wanted to get your take on what you saw Monday.”



Uh-oh, is the college guy fishing around to see what Layton saw a week ago? Should Layton confess he’d gotten an eyeful or play dumb? Would Ken be pissed if he’d seen too much? College boy had been dogged about finding Layton again. What did he want? To make sure the kid kept his mouth shut? Or maybe something else. Let’s see next post.

 JMSBooks has contracted with me for another short story anthology for publication in February of next year. This one is a series of related stories about Curt Huntinghawk and his running buddy Grover Whitedeer. It’s called Huntinghawk, An Anthology. Let you know when I get a firm publication date.

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

Website and blog:



X: @markwildyr

Now my mantra: Keep on reading. Keep on writing. You have something to say, so say it! (Don Travis keeps reminding me I stole it from him, but he didn’t copyright it. His bad.)

 See you later.



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

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