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The following story is for adults and contains graphic descriptions of sexual contact between adolescent and adult males and the power imbalance of these relationships. Like so many of my stories, this is a voyage and return.

If you are a minor, then it is illegal for you to read this story. If you find the subject objectionable, then read no further. All the characters, events and settings are the product of my overactive imagination. I hope you like it and feel free to respond.

Fourteen runs through five progressions, with frequent interludes. If you would like to comment, contact me ail.

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Anton and Daniel 10

The Keck Bar, Hershey – Harrisburg PA

May 3-4, 2018, 1:15 a.m.

Keck is a millennial bar, really set up to cater to the nerds from Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the Harrisburg campus of Penn State, themed on the big telescope of the same name in Hawai”i. Lots of lasers and machinery rotating in its upper reaches are to make it feel like you might be inside the huge scope.

Working a second job, John had helped remodel one of the side rooms set up to look like an astronomical mirror floating in the midst of an unnamed nebula. That job is how he knows the place. He”d shown the crews how to assemble the mechanisms though he had to keep his mouth shut. They were ridiculous and wildly inaccurate designs; you could never hold even one of the hexagonal mirror segments of The Keck with something that flimsy. It would weigh, well, 298 tons divided up by 36 mirror segments…?

He shrugs. It was a lot of weight he was sure. Besides they have to float on a couple microns of oil don”t they? That he even had a notion about microns shows his extraordinary nature. Math has never been a strong point and his impressive natural mechanical skills, leaned on and often were let down by his not very rigorous first semester ninth grade education.

Daddy needed me in the auto shop and I wasn”t going anywhere else anyway.

John stood at the games room bar slowly downing a Bud Lite, instinctively assessing the crowd. It was good for the work at hand, though he thought gay bars were usually pretty shit. He”d actually had some fun at the pool table this time, and made some serious coin. Poor little college boys would have to call daddy for some more tomorrow; they”d been hustled but good.

The folding cash will come in handy if I can scare up some real cunt instead of these homos.

John is wrong. Keck has become a hangout for gay nerds, but it’s just an accepting bar, nerd equality, pretty much anyone was allowed to hang out on good behavior; it’s not a gay bar, and the regulars would be surprised if they could hear his thoughts.

For one thing those nerds have a lot more money than $189.

The layout of Keck is pretty simple, mostly it’s just two good sized rooms set at right angles to each other, joined at the ends to form a large “L”. One leg is the games room and the other the dance hall, whose floor is fitted with 36 illuminated hexagons simulating the Keck Mirror Array. Running along the inside of the legs are the bars and along the outside leg of the pool hall, six different astronomy-themed rooms like the one John worked on, each appropriate for more intimate discussions and fitted for multiplayer gaming, pinball, and other diversions.

At the far end of the game room L an industrial rollup door leads to the patio, which is dotted with telescopes for use by patrons and sometimes for informal classes on the nights set up for those interested in viewing. If there’s an interesting event in the night sky they’ll  do a viewing night. At the opposite end where the two rooms join are the bathrooms, two sets, one on the east the other on the west to handle the traffic.

Thus the Keck is named for the observatory, and the patio a geek draw, though lots of normal everyday folk like to sit out under the stars and down a beer or two. Tonight, early May, it’s just about warm enough, and there are nearly twenty people out using the scopes, they have all been removed from their protective covers in a store room for the seasonably warm night.

They must insulate the walls or have baffles or something plus those curtains to keep the noise down no other way to have the dance floor so close to the rest…

This place is big compared to what you usually see in a smallish town like Hershey. Well to be fair it’s half-ways toward Harrisburg, five miles out of center Hershey. Good location, low cost and still convenient for the college kids.

Maybe we should move over here closer to Harrisburg….Nah, we”d stand out too much.

The dance floor isn’t ever going to be his thing nor Patrick”s for that matter. Too much noise, too fruity. The noise makes it impossible to really get down to work, and they don’t want fruity queers, they want a different sort. Well mostly. A couple of the hapless stick-meisters might have qualified but none show the right sort of interest.

Patrick is working the hallway outside the East Men”s Room. His tall blonde masculine looks and tight body and young face are a good draw, he could pretty much pick any gay guy he wanted. He doesn’t want men though; Patrick”s fantasy life was pretty specific. He would tell you he’s no pedo, he doesn’t find boys attractive at all. Nor is he some queer.

But when it’s not women it has to be men and when it’s not men it…he needs young guys, ones that could pass for underage, the guys who give off the innocent vibe. It’s not about sex though. It’s about more.

Role playing is enough most of the time. He’s learned how to put the proposition, over the past four years, to be effective, he could close the deal especially if they”d had a few.

This evening he is working a young blonde, a kid who must have a fake ID; isn’t more than sixteen maybe younger. Lots of young kids come in to the dance hall and then get boozed up at the expense of the older fags; Patrick would roofie them if he could.

But I want them awake, eventually.

As John walks up Patrick gives him a quick wave-off so he goes past the pair into the men”s room.

“So if this happens, what time do you have to be home?”

“Oh, uh, no problem I can be out all night, nobody will miss me tonight— uh,” he fumbles, “I just have to let my roommate know…” Patrick thinks  that is a lie.

“Great. Because, you know, this kind of thing takes some time to do right, you don”t rush this kind of thing.” The kid nods as if he knows. Patrick’s voice drops, “If the toys come out they all come out, if they don”t none of them do… You want ropes or cuffs?”

“Oh either one would be OK I guess. I”ve only done this sort of thing with my boyfriend when we were in high school just…messing around really but, you know, it”s pretty hot.” The boy licks his lips, then decides to add, “Like you are,” and offers what he thinks is a seductive smile.

Patrick laughs inside. This little faggot is in for a big surprise tonight.

“It”ll be intense. And hot.” Oh yes; intense; and hot it will be.

He doesn’t say that out loud.

“Look, if we do this, you have to commit to it, you know, it”s a bummer for everybody if you back out.”

“Well…I mean, I won”t, I”ve read about this and fantasize a lot, I”ll go with it as long as, I mean, nothing that…” the boy seems tongue-tied, “…I mean, no marks, you know, that won”t heal in a day or so, by Monday…” he looks questioningly into Pat”s baby blues and gets lost on a little haze of alcohol and lust.

“Oh don”t worry, I know how to do it. A little pain, a lot of pleasure, can”t say no marks but nothing that will last.”

“Yeah and I get a safe word, right? That”s how it works?”

 “Sure does.”

“OK. I mean, I”m so hard I can hardly stand still, Paul,” the young boy says. He is tipsy, swaying a little.

 “All right we got to wait for my cousin to get out of the john,” Patrick replies with nonchalance.

“Cousin…is he….I- I- I mean will he…”

“Yeah, Alan, it”s his place, and his toys, you know? It”s okay, Jerry”s a pretty hot guy and he”ll give us both a good time. You”re okay with that aren”t you?” Patrick moves a little closer, puts his hip against the boy”s, slides an arm over his shoulder seductively, then tweaks the tip of the mesmerized kid”s nipple. The boy melts into the attractive, tall, and very masculine man, who looks the part of a college student though he had not said that he was…

And John, almost on cue steps in front of young Alan, not smiling – but not scowling, looking serious and – a little dangerous. So…strong and rough looking, and very very sexy…and the deal is sealed.

“Let”s go, our place is the other side of Hershey, why don”t you two get acquainted in the back seat while I drive,” says Patrick.

Nicaraguan Coast

May 13, 2018

“Celestial navigation is not some esoteric process for sailing geeks…”

“But you are a sailing geek.” Fourteen points out.

Anton sighs heavily. “For sailing geeks that have too much time on their hands. The truth is, this skill is something that has true practical applications. Finding all your electronic navigation…”

Fourteen interrupts, “Finding all your electronic navigation equipment just got toasted or flooded out because Sirocco is a piece of shit.”

“Hey!“ Anton protests.

“Well, you’re always telling me she is going to let us down. I think she must be ready to fall apart.“ Fourteen points out with a grin.

“Actually,“ Daniel contributes, “This is pretty cool stuff. You need to learn math anyway, kid.“ The technicalities of a sextant intrigue Daniel. They are far more interesting than managing a sailboat.

“Find the dip again,” Anton directs.

Sirocco Is running level in a light to sea, so sighting through the scope at the pair of mirrors does not seem nearly as impossible as Fourteen imagined. He tries to sight the horizon.

The partial silvering of the horizontal mirror allows Fourteen to see the bobbing line between sea and sky. This is Fourteen’s eighth attempt to adjust the index mirror onto the sun. He fusses until the sun looks like it is on the horizon. Fourteen clamps it.

“Do you have it?“ Anton asks.

“Wait a second!“ Fourteen fiddles with the micrometre knob at the bottom. It is like adjusting grandpa Herb’s bird watching glasses.

“What’s the time?“

“There’s a sailboat out there.“ Fourteen points.

“Yes, yes, this is the coast of central America. There’s always a sailboat out there.“ Anton replies testily. “What’s the time?“

Daniel supplies the answer for Jeremy. Fourteen checks the elevation on the sextant. He’s not using the Vernier, which shows the fractions of a minute. He is still learning, so Anton makes no comment.

The next part fascinates Daniel. He takes Jeremy down to the map station so they can do the math. For all his adolescent grumbling, Fourteen takes it seriously. Anton watches them disappear. William Bligh navigated his eighteen loyal men four thousand miles to Timor. Not too shabby, Anton believes.

The sailboat Fourteen pointed out is off Sirocco’s starboard stays. Two miles? Anton guesses. Close to the Horizon where Fourteen was sighting the sun. She looks handy enough.

Anton sits at the helm and checks the automatic identification system. This system will do thirty miles, so there’s a fair bit of traffic off the Nicaraguan coast. VE7NXW, 6 knots, SE, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 29 feet; Gravity. She is a long way from home, Anton thinks. He reaches for the VHF.

“Kilo Echo Seven Quebec Oscar Delta ketch Sirocco calling Victor Echo Seven November X-ray Whiskey, sloop Gravity, Gravity come in.”

Fourteen returns to the cockpit with a slip of paper. He gives it to Anton, 11° 53’ north latitude. Anton looks at Fourteen’s answer. “That’s not right.“

“As if!“ Fourteen points to the GPS. He punches cebeci escort Anton on the arm.

Anton tries the sloop again. This time, there is a response.

“Sirocco, Kilo Echo Seven Quebec Oscar Delta, this is Gravity, Victor Echo Seven November X-ray Whiskey, I read you 5 by 5, how me, over?“

Anton looks off towards the sloop, Gravity. “Gravity, I read you 5 by. This is Anton Schroeder skipper of Sirocco. You are a long way from home Gravity, over.”

“Anton, I am Mary. AIS says you are out of Seattle, over.”

The two skippers begin talking. Mary is solo sailing the Pacific coast, after exploring the Caribbean and wintering with friends in the Vancouver area. In February, about the time Anton and Daniel left Seattle, Mary began retracing her path along the coast south.

“I did the inside passage two years ago. Right up to Skagway. Never went up to White Horse. Beautiful passage, over.“

Anton went with friends that trip because Beckett was not keen on sailing. Whales, bears, seabirds, and the never ending rain forest dripping from the mountains. It is a thing to sail it solo. Anton has a lot of respect for a skipper who will try that.

“Gravity is an easy boat. She has good eyes and ears. We spoiled the old thing quite a bit. Not like your ketch. My goodness, you could probably sail that boat with your smartphone from a couch, over.“

“Are you calling me lazy?” Anton laughed with delight. Usually, his ship to ship  conversations are about the weather ahead or sea conditions. There was too much to be done to chatter endlessly with every passing boat. Fourteen is still beside him listening. Anton turns to him in a conversation lull. “She probably has an electric Furler on her foresail, electric winch for the mainsail. It’s a thing to sail solo all the way from the North Atlantic to Alaska.“

“Where are you headed, Sirocco, over?“

“Pearl Islands, then transit through the canal. I want my partner to see the Windward Islands. Share Carnival in Jamaica maybe, over.”

The conversation continues back and forth. All that time, the faster sailboat has been gaining on the smaller. If it’s a slow race that Anton‘s boat will win. Mary has adjusted her course to draw closer to Sirocco. Fourteen can see Gravity’s skipper at the tiller. He waves at her from the cockpit. She waves back.

“Is that your son then, over?“

Anton blanches at this suggestion, then he gives way to the humour of it all. “My partner Daniel is below. This guppy is Fourteen. He is my crew this cruise. Fourteen is just his handle, his name is Jeremy, over.“

“Put Jeremy on, I’ve got nothing but time, over.“

Fourteen waves at Mary and turns back Anton. The conversations during passage between boats are rare. If he was master of Sirocco, he knows he would be pestering every ID on the AIS for 20 miles. Anton pulls the microphone from Fourteen’s grasping hand and stops his rush with a raised palm.

“Kilo Echo Seven Quebec Oscar Delta. “

“Victor Echo Seven November X-ray Whiskey.” Mary replies promptly.

“Every 10 minutes,” Anton tells Fourteen. The youth sponges up something new with a nod. “KE7 Queen of Diamonds at controls, non-ham on the mic, over.” Anton slips from the seat and gestures to Fourteen to take the helm. “Just hold the course.”

“Hey Mary, this is Jeremy! I’m First Mate on Sirocco, ‘cause Daniel sucks at sailing!” Then Fourteen remembers to add, “over.”

Before the woman can even answer, Fourteen adds, “Don’t you get lonely sailing all by yourself?”

Rings Kainga Square

Easter Island

1000 – May 12, 2018

Sophie was not really looking forward to this call, but hell, you gotta do it sometime she told herself, you might as well get it over with. Course you can do it, it’s a piece of piss, girl.

The call didn”t ring through when she tried so she left a VM.

“Hey Saffron it”s Sophie, gonna try to call you again later but if you can call me back, that”s good.”

But there was no call back, so a few hours later she dialed again, a tension tightening her body, defensive anger growing in her mind. She knows in one sense that it”s going to work against getting what she hopes for and on the other hand, she knows the odds are she”ll need some defense.  

“Yeah,” came the disinterested voice, “so it”s you is it…”

“Ah mum, don”t be so excited, it”s your only daughter I know, but slow down, Trev.”

“Right; the fuck you want?”

“Didn”t hear your voice in so long I thought you might be dead, wanted to figure the will.”

That actually drew a real laugh. Whatever Saffron”s legacy it surely will not be money.

“Anyway, how you doing, you get  that useless lump off your side yet?”

“Probably; what you think?”

“George last.”

“Ah yeah gave him a good rark up he”s pissed off, got a good one now. Name”s Tim, he”s a welder.”

“Jesus ma, steppin” up, you caught one with a job.”

Unbidden a scene flashes through her mind of 12-year-old Sophie running out of a broken down caravan to hide in the night to avoid a beating. Who was that one? What was his name?

“I got no money for you if that”s why you called.”

“You”re such a dag. If you had money I”d never. Anyhow…” she paused “I”m in South America, Easter Island innit. Something you ought to hear.”

“Where in hell is that? Oh the island with all the bunny statues? Big waste of time sounds. So what bad news have you got for me? I won”t give you money, don”t think you can talk me out of it.”

“When ever? You”ve not a pot to piss in anyhow.”

 Sophie is right, but she is delaying bringing up the real topic of the call. More unbidden images of boyfriends and of asking neighbors for odd jobs to earn a meal go through her head. It is always this way. Until she started to live aboard at 15 she never felt she had enough to eat.

“Get on with it girl, got places to be.”

“Tesco isn”t a place to be unless you”re gettin” pissed on cheap wine. Anyway, yeah, I suppose you wanna know this… it”s good news for a change.”

An impatient huff is her only response.

“Well, Saffron,  congrats, you”re gonna be a Nan.”

“Oh Christ, what the hell! You finally knocked up? I suppose you was pissed as a chook. Surprised it didn”t happen years ago you little slag.”

“Are you happy mummy dearest?”

Actually she doesn”t know where she learned that phrase and certainly doesn”t know the  origin, but she does intuit the meaning. Defenses fully engaged now.

“Happy, by god what is there to be happy about. Don”t think you”re gonna drop the whelp on me, girl, that is not on, hear me? I ruined my life raising you, you”re not going to get a chance for a repeat now I can finally do what I want!”

Sophie didn”t really think that would happen, but it would be wrong to think she hadn”t had some hope her child might somehow work some magic, and turn her egg donor into a mum.

“Don”t suss about it, Saffron, whenever did you do anything you didn”t want? I wouldn”t lay that on the nipper. Raise her? I already know what kind of a mum you been. And probably worse as a Nan.”

“If you know who the father is ask him for the money. Unless he paid you.”

“That’s a crack up. I didn”t want your money you witch, not that you have any. As if. I just thought you should know.”

“Well now I know, and do you know who knocked you up?”

“It happens I do, which is more than you can say to me. Everything is good as gold. He”s all good a sweet lad he is, but he doesn”t know yet. It was choice; figured you should be the first, Nan.” Sophie expects she”s landed a blow.

“Right, don”t Nan me! I don”t know who your damned father is, but I know I”m better off not knowing. Damned is the word for him.  If you ever figure it out keep it yourself. And if you didn”t call this good “un first that says all don”t it? So you”ll have to get it stopped I reckon, especially if you want to keep your yatching up.” She does her best posh for yatching.

“Well it”s been a delight chatting you up mum, as ever, but now you know. So I”m off to Chile soon, I must be going. I”ll be sure you hear when the baby comes. No worries, I’ll suss it; she’ll be right.” Her voice is just a touch wistful, though she knows it”s silly sentiment, she knows the reality this call has confirmed. She knew before she made the call. But humans, they do have hope in the most hopeless situations.

“Yeah. I can hardly wait,” and the connection is broken.

Having a few moments of privacy, Sophie lets herself weep just a little. That was a total cock up, wasn’t it? But she”s not the sort to indulge in self-pity. In quick order she dries her tears and starts to make a plan now that the silly flight of fancy, the daydream of a family for herself and her baby is closed. That, she thinks, is the real reason I called. To get that chuff out of me system. You can handle the jandal, girl. And if she doesn”t know what she”ll do, no way she”s going to “get it stopped.” Bugger the witch!

Las Pampas, Nicaragua

May 15, 2018

A flock of sailboats congregate at the south end of the crescent bay near their marina-nest. She comes in on her motor, considering the best place to drop anchor. Mary Rule recognizes the friendly ketch from her previous day sailing. She likes neighbors who look out for each other, so Mary lets Gravity slide in between Anton’s long boat and a cabin cruiser. A woman in a floppy hat waves at her as she sets her anchors.

The tender off the ketch is missing. Anton’s boat seems abandoned at the moment. The men on the ketch have deployed a sun shade across the wrapped boom. It looks like Sirocco is staying in San Juan del Sur for a few days.

Mary begins her overnight port routine. “Had only ten, twelve cruising boats last time we were here, Kate. Sure is a mess of them now.” She surveys the Spartan cabin with a final glance toward Kate. It is as tidy as the day she left Victoria on Vancouver Island. Kate was the magpie and Mary lived life ship shape. You saw it in a glance when you stepped into their different classrooms. “Jesus,” Mary thought the first day she met Kate in 1984. The mess of things sliding off their piles. There across the hall was Mary’s not-a-speck geometry. Kate’s desk was so cluttered-dusty that you could not sweep the computer’s mouse.

“Mary’s rule,” Kate would say, surveying the order of Mary’s eighth grade home room. “Mary’s rule,” Kate teased her when the world finally caught up with their love. Mary and Kate moved in together at the Millennium. It was easier for Mary to leave the careful emptiness of her apartment, pack her boxes and move into Kate’s cluttered world. Kate’s casual chaos on shore and Mary’s tidy rule at sea.

Mary did not recognize the boy off the American ketch in the harbor. They were both in the market gathering fresh produce. The bronze boy shopped with purpose, showing little interest in the tourist-trinkets. Mary’s Spanish was next to nothing, but she could tell from the way English phrases sprinkled into his confident exchanges, that the teenager was not a local.

Perhaps the boy’s voice sounded familiar, or it was the Middle Years’ teacher in her primed for engagement. She watched him shop, moving his young manhood with the mindfulness of a dancer. He was one to catch the eye.

Mary made the connection later, while she was folding her bike on the beach. Taxis and buses are inexpensive, but a person needed to get about and move the muscles. “Mary, Gravity?” The boy points at her sloop. “I’m Fourteen.” He points at the smart ketch floating near her boat. “Your bike is so cool!”

“Jeremy, isn’t it?”

Mary drops the compact package of her folded bike beside her heavy bag of groceries into the small Zodiak. Fourteen, the nickname is unusual. Boys rarely lead with nicknames these days. She used to overhear them used amongst themselves. Numbers always meant sports. Sports in Dartmouth meant hockey.

Mary picked up the Brompton in Victoria after she put Gravity back into the water. Her friends thought she should have it after she gave çeşme escort away the winter’s mountain bike. The boy and her spoke on the beach for a bit, then Jeremy took his own bags back to his tender up the beach.

He had set some boys and a girl to watching his Zodiak. He paid them for their attention with some bills, or a pick up game of soccer on the beach. She watched as she headed back to Gravity. Just a kind heart giving time to the young ones on the recess playground. The little ones dribbled circles around the American until he had the younger ones beneath his arms and the older one climbing his back. They all staggered into the surf and fell into a heap.

Jeremy came on deck after supper. Mary watched him from beside the stern arch where she was wiping off the solar panels. He waves to her.

“He reminds me of your Tyler Wakeham, Kate.” Has that freshness. ‘Magine why he is crewing so far away from home, Love.” Everyone has come-from-away when they go live-aboard, Mary knows. Usually, the young ones are tagging along with their parents’ dream-life. Other boys (girls) like Jeremy are coasting locals. Money or a lark; Life is poverty-family hard or too damn settled for the young. Tyler Wakeham rolled a car when he was seventeen. That near ended Kate for the sheer waste of it all. Kate never stopped seeing the bright-eyed twelve-year-old at his desk.

The boy on the ketch launches his adolescence into the high tide with a graceful dive. He has an instinct for the current. “Company is coming, Kate.”

Fourteen treads the warm water of Gravity’s stern. “Permission to come aboard?”

“Oh, go on with you!”

Fourteen grins at the grey-haired woman. There is something about Mary. Perhaps it is the Sophie-Wright-crop of sensible hair or the Levi-Fisher old-young way she carries herself. Fourteen likes the suffer-no-fools bluntness of her speech. He climbs the ladder under the wide solar array.

“Come for bed lunch?”

“What?” Fourteen has to flash a grin. There is another thing to link the woman to Sophie. A man needs a translator.

“Do you want a snack?” Fourteen accepts this as a matter of course. Mary likes the way Fourteen asked to come aboard and she likes the way he waits to be invited below. She thinks he must be fifteen.

“Sirocco is shy of 53 feet, 15 foot beam.” This is the teen’s way of saying, You have a small boat. Then he exclaims, “This is fire. Smol, but I like the vibe.” He is referring to the order he sees all about. “Very Levi,” Fourteen adds-praises without explanation.

Fourteen’s trim-firm engine snaps the snack with the politeness of youth in an elder’s presence. His shorts hang wet about his hips, so he is more comfortable sitting in Mary’s cockpit. He waves toward the Super Maramu and starts, “Anton and Daniel went to Moyogalpa so they could walk around the volcano. It is this island in the middle of a big lake? So I’m on my own.”

Forty years of teaching, the first twelve years were high school. You never forget what it is like to talk with older adolescents. The lunch-time teacher assistants avoided bullying or feeling friendless, they came to Mary. The tangerine boys like Jeremy breezed past to some young jock’s classroom. But there had been a few that visited her through the years. They would find some awkward reason to visit after school. Mary would bask in the intensity of their citrus focus.

Four decades and Mary recognized a Tyler Wakeham growing toward a car roll. She was not sure about Jeremy-live-aboard, crew-for-men. He had the confidence of a well-cared-for child. He was the type who accidentally called you mom because, truth was, they lived their lives under trusted eyes.

Jeremy was the type to want the cotton-ball snowman pinned to the fridge, not tossed in the trash as he leaves the classroom. This is so obvious as he shares his proud sailcraft with her. There’s a mom wanting to know this boy’s day, Mary tells Kate. Mary nods and lets her questions nourish him.

God loves her for a fool, Kate doted on dogs. The partners kept a pair when they bought the house in 1997. Shared the evening walks around Oat Hill Lake Park, talking about their school days. Jones and Walsh, Kate’s beagles, attracted strays. After Kate passed on and the beagles were gone, Mary walked alone. The strays kept coming to greet Mary anyway.

Some came directly, tail-wagging to you. Others made you work for a pat on the shoulder. Some simply snapped their nervousness each time they crossed your path. That was adolescence for you. Jeremy tail-wagged pretty hard.

Mary pushed a little, but Jeremy’s story started in San Diego and ended in San Juan del Sur. He slid away from the before and smoothly pivoted their conversation into her travels. Not bitter-angry about before, just the prickly-making part of who he was. He kept it in the now like a student chatting about the day’s class, avoiding the after; or not. Times were, the boys and girls who came to talk just sang songs in their happy now. Mary tried to read them as well as Kate could.

“Anton sailed to Liverpool when he was sixteen.  I’m fifteen.” As if to say he still had time to duplicate this feat. “Did you see the Gulf of California? I hiked up a volcano! My friend Sophie wants to circumnavigate the world. She is on Easter Island right now. Have you been there?”

Mary planned to circumnavigate North America with Kate. Definitely Mary’s ambition. Kate let her plan. Up the coast of Labrador, then a headlong sprint through the arctic archipelago in the last half of August. Four weeks, they say, and hope the ice floes let you slip through. Just a dream, Gravity was too small, too frail.

She tells the boy how she had sailed Gravity north of sixty on both coasts: Iqaluit on the east, Skagway on the west. Mary could see that Jeremy had the sailing bug. She could see it in his lively eyes.

Mary thought to leave Kate in Alaska, but she realized there was only one place Kate wanted to be scattered. So she turned south for Panama and the long way back to their pretty house on Lorne Avenue in Dartmouth. She had to take Kate back to the lake where she could be amidst her damn dogs and the grown children who had passed, never-forgotten, through her impossibly messy classroom.

“I think it is awesome, just living on a boat, going where and when you want. There are so many things to see. The people, you, and the sea.” Fourteen finishes the snack Mary gave him. “It is so simple. The shore is so complicated.” Mary thinks that might be the first real hint that Jeremy’s ways are not always sunny.

“You need to remember, I taught for forty years.”

“You’re a teacher?”

“Does that disappoint you?” Mary smiles. Fourteen shrugs. “It costs to run a boat.” She continues. “We worked a lifetime, so we could buy and fix this boat. It’s nearly forty years old, you know. Every port and breakdown costs me something. That is Anton’s boat?”

“Oh yes,” Fourteen nods.

“That hull cost a pretty penny, mark my words.”

“I guess. He owns a company. Daniel says it is construction, real estate, maybe both.” Fourteen knows Anton is not free of that. He also knows Anton’s mother is even richer.

“Freedom is never cheap, unless you find a place and live with nothing.”

Fourteen thinks of Angela and Roman Montreal. They lived in their dirt-bag beehive. Having nothing, needing little. Samuel Faulkner had his stash of drugs and everyone seemed to mooch off Malcolm King’s veteran’s pension. Patrick Hunter and John Cannon drifted like live-aboards in their rusty Bronco, never settling anywhere. Levi Fisher was a retired surgeon.

“The sailing is fine Jeremy, but eventually you have to find a place on shore. My family lived off the sea for generations. The things on the shore stick to you, boyo.”

“So what did you change on your boat?” She takes pleasure in showing him around. The electric motor excites the boy. Mary has to explain everything about it. Reluctantly, Fourteen says, “Guess I should swim back to my boat.”

Mary offers to carry him back in her tender. It is already on the davits. He declines her offer. Secure in his immortality, he dives off Gravity and swims the distance like Mary did at twelve. See you at home, dad! Then over the side of the trawler she went.

Fourteen steps into the aft head to look at himself in the mirror. The white guayabera shirt from Puerto Vallarta could use a press. He screws the clasp of his silver Vietnamese necklace around his neck, considering the result with a pouty lip bite. Should have kept Kale Euler’s fake ID, he reminds himself. Anton Schroeder made him pitch that overboard.

The condoms are beside the stateroom bed. Fourteen fingers two packages together, then tosses one back before slipping the other in the pocket of his slacks. A discreet bottle of lubricant joins the protection in his pocket. It is a habit to slip the Galaxy into his other pocket. The men in Moyogalpa might message him.

The outboard on the Zodiak is loud. Fourteen looks toward the small sailboat where he spent the evening with Mary Rule. Her cabin lights are on, but the small cockpit is empty. There is a before sensation of stepping out the front door in Chillicothe and looking back from the sidewalk at the warm glow of family assurance spread across the summer lawn. Jeremy Gates, stepping out.

Three hours later, Fourteen is back on the beach where he left Sirocco’s tender. The regatta floats on an indifferent sea. A hundred lights prick the darkness and two constellations are Gravity and Sirocco. The yacht just the other side of Mary Rule’s Dufour is busy with the late-early party of the middle-aged couple. The sleep-stealing sound of Super Junior washes over Gravity and joins the elemental composition of surf at Fourteen’s feet.

“Hola dormilón, ¿qué haces aquí en mi bote? ¿No tienes lugares para estar, gente esperándote?” The older of the children playing on the beach is sleeping in his Zodiak. Diego? Fourteen thinks the boy is ten. He squats beside the inflated tender and shakes the boy’s shoulder gently. Diego wakes with a start. “Hey crazy boy, what are you doing? It’s late.”

“Just watching your boat for you.” Diego sits up with a shy smile.

“Thank you, friend.” Fourteen tells him, very serious. “You have a place to go, right?” Diego grins at Fourteen like it is a silly question. “Come back tomorrow morning and we can hang out.”

“No man, I’ve got school tomorrow.” Well, Fourteen should know this, Diego implies with his tone.

“Oh friend, of course you do.” Fourteen agrees. He shakes his head at his mistake. “Okay, so maybe sometime.” They are standing now. Fourteen takes Diego’s hand and they bump shoulders together. “Go get some sleep little man, and many thanks.” Diego stumbles up the beach a way, he spins once to sketch a wave at Fourteen, then goes his way.

Back on Sirocco, Fourteen strips down to his underwear. The sounds of a boat at night are different. The sounds are the same as those in daylight, yet somehow the night magnifies and sharpens the creaks and the hiss and thump of water sliding sleek against the whole. Sirocco is at rest, barely tugging against her anchors in the tide.

Fourteen recalls night watches where he has the cockpit to himself. The curl of water falling away, and the thump of a wave sheared into bright slices of whiteness by the ketch’s bow. Fourteen likes the perfect purposefulness of a boat at night as it follows its path across an empty planet. He likes the secretiveness of a boat in the blackness, when the only thing to dislike is the prospect of dawn or the changing of the watch, which seems like a disappointment. At night, in a boat under sail, Fourteen is free.

The burner lies on the pilot berth where he left it. He takes it back to the cockpit where he can feel the night air and listen to the steady stream of Kpop and Musica negra serenading the regatta. He hopes Mary Rule can sleep through it. Fourteen turns the burner phone on.

⚫️

why did you run away? 😿

🟤

👍🏾 this place is a dump! I wish I had cim cif yapan escort the guts to leave like you did. Fucking jail here. Fuck it all, right?

🟡

I just wanted you to know that we are thinking about you. Are you okay? You haven’t answered anyone’s messages on Instagram. When you come back, maybe we can talk?

💝

Fourteen scrolls past the messages to his dad’s unstated plea for him to come home.

🟢

Had PI check SD person you named

🟢

located he passed away after house fire, died smoke inhalation. Was known drug dealer. Had been shot. Best info police have bullet but cannot find weapon. No witnesses police seeking white Blazer

🟢

no witnesses

Reading his messages over and over did not help. He begins deleting them all except the ones from his parents. Fourteen switches to Facebook. “Hey, why don”t you call ME? I”m supposed to be your bestie. Or am I?” Shane’s first angry message to him. There are solitary moments like this when Fourteen is convinced he should just pitch the final burner phone into the water like he did the first one in San Diego. What good does it do to keep the connection alive?

It does a great deal of good. All those months travelling with Levi, the bitter time in Arizona, Fourteen held onto the hope that he could just go home. No witnesses, his dad messaged him. Always, there is too much time to think. After hiking up Cosiguina above Potosi, Fourteen remembered (fucking) Cordell. The police might not know what happened in San Diego, but (fucking) Cordell did. Who knew how far those drug dealing, tattoo stamping bastards would go to get even with Jeremy Gates?

John Cannon never threatened Fourteen before he sold his ass to Levi Fisher. Four days they kept him with a Saturday-Night-Special promise. Sitting in Sirocco’s cockpit looking at the other boats, Fourteen wonders. They were in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Fuck, that’s six hours from home. John and Patrick could easily leave Jeremy Gates’ body face down on the banks of the Scioto River where some kid like Diego or Keon would discover him. John would do it. Fourteen knew it as surely as the morning after the two men raped him. Fourteen was damn sure he never wanted to be that helpless again.

The whole vegetarian-gay in a carnivore-conventional world idea that Fourteen shared with Rafael. The message from somebody suggesting they could hook up (maybe), or just an ally. Not because Jeremy Gates was gay (not that there”s anything wrong with that), but maybe just because he was a victim molested by perverts. Jeremy Gates, back in Chillicothe with his tail between his legs. Patrick Hunter’s bitch boy everyone looks at as he walks down the hallway to the next class. People tapped that poor bastard’s ass.

Fourteen wants to come back (face the music) as someone his parents do not have to protect. Nobody in Chillicothe has seen Jeremy Gates scale an icy cliff in Arizona. Nobody has watched him fight a gale on the pitching deck of a fifty-foot ketch or climb to the top of a sixty foot mast. On Sirocco, Jeremy Gates is his own man. In Anton’s bed too, Fourteen acknowledges.

His mom and dad want him to lean on them. They will make it alright, protect Jeremy Gates from the Broncos and the Blazers. Fourteen makes as if he will chuck the link to Chillicothe into the Pacific. He does not, though. It is a formless adolescent paradox-truth. He needs to rely on them like he trusts Sirocco in the turbulent ocean. The faith Jeremy Gates has in the two people in Chillicothe will not change.

Fourteen looked to John, then Levi, then (fucking) Cordell, now Anton and Daniel. I can”t be leaning anymore. Time comes, I”m by myself. I”ve got to stop them from putting me in a Bronco, fucking me over. Mom and dad think I can”t take care of myself. My friends will wonder too. I’ll prove them wrong. Nobody puts Jeremy in the corner.

🔴

I wish I could tell you where I am right now. It is so beautiful. The dark is full of lights. I can hear sounds I want to tell you about. There is crazy different music and you would love it here.

🔴

I wish you would trust me. I’m okay. I miss you, but I’m happy. I’m taking care of myself and I don’t want you to worry. Tell everyone I am thinking of them and nobody has to worry.

Jeremy Gates sends the messages and then disables the burner phone again. There is Sophie in Easter Island, or has she left? Sophie would like Mary Rule. Fourteen looks across the water at the small sailboat. It is a compact version of Anton’s ketch. Fourteen envies Mary the way he envied Levi just a little. They were through the hard choices. Fourteen feels all his hard choices still lie ahead.

Keystone Gardens Apartments, Hershey, PA

May 17, 2018, 11:15 p.m.

John is done with Pat for the third time tonight. He likes to call him Patty when they do this. It happens, Patrick loves-hates it for the humiliation.

Fact is, this is starting to bother John because he knows it means the time is approaching when Patrick will erase these encounters, overwrite them, cancel them out. And this is the thing John dislikes. Ever since that first damned kid in San Diego, fuck what a panic it was when he started screaming for help and he had had to…

This means that soon Patrick must go hunting again, Patrick needs a new boy.

It has been a long time. Longer than usual. Eight months.

And when Pat does then John will have to clean up after.

He finishes his fourth, John is sated, at least for the moment; he starts smoking a joint and lets Pat fall asleep next to him. Once more maybe and Pat will go to his own bed in his own room for whatever is left of the night. Five is sort of a magic number for Patrick. John relaxes a little.

I do this for Patrick, not because I like sex with guys. I just want Pat to feel good and safe.

John does not care for sex with boys, either, he says. Well he never talks about that with anyone, not even Patrick. But he would tell you, he doesn’t like boys. He does men in the right situation but really, he is just filling up the hole assholes burned into-through Patrick. Never can get filled, that hole. Like in juvie, John does it, but it isn’t his thing. Not no fag and definitely not a boy lover – you don”t want that jacket in prison.

They did the bar guys. John likes that because it is definitely hot; stuff you couldn”t hardly do with women, and hell they practically begged for it, the goddam homos. Just had to have a place where they could scream, you could work them over all night.

But most of all, John did it because it kept Patrick from doing something dangerous. Staves it off.

The kids, he understands what Pat gets out of it. He just doesn’t like it for himself. He knows Pat isn”t really a kiddy fucker either. He isn”t picking them for those adolescent bodies. What he is resurrecting though, that has to happen with a boy. They have to find someone innocent-before to make it work… besides John figures boys, not little boys, adolescent boys, they are all ready for sex and it is just a question of who gets to do what. He grins to himself, remembering how smooth and tight Fourteen”s little round buns had been.  Not a kiddy fucker, but hey a little chicken is good when you can get it.

Fourteen, he liked what we gave him, but then we didn”t really get rough with him. The way he was always hard gave the after-humiliation Pat looks for; needs. After four days of fucking he was pretty sore, though.

And in juvie, well there weren”t alternatives, were there? You wanted sex, you took it from the weak boys. Just how it is.

It’s that thing Patrick needs that worries him.

No judgments! Pat doesn”t want sex, he wants to make up for what happened to him in the Terminator.

Just, well, you can”t let them go after that can you?

Some of them were bound to talk. And that puts us both in danger.

John, well, he doesn’t give a fuck, but then he didn’t want the little teens; wouldn’t have been doing them. He”d be doing women if Pat didn”t need something else. He likes doing Patrick, it makes Pat happy and it’s easy enough.

The one they picked up in Keck last month, he was soft and smooth, almost a child, a girl. Hardly eighteen, looked about fourteen. Pretty average, not cute like Fourteen, now that kid had been a looker…what was his name, Jeremy something?

Well, Fourteen he was different from all those other boys, thought John, probably why I let Patrick talk me into selling him.

That loose end has had John sweating for months. On the news all the time, the kid”s face was out there to be seen. Stupid to have let him go, but he hadn”t talked, maybe the old faggot that bought him offed him after all…shit the old fucker is dead. Damn that was national news all of that…

Bar Boy thought he”d struck the lottery with Pat”s pretty face and hard body… He probably figured adding me in was a bonus at the time…well, cum-drunk little fags, they don”t think straight do they?

John laughs at his pun.

We showed him. By the time we untied him and sent him on his way he was raw, bleeding, beat up, crying and couldn”t wait to get out the door. But we didn”t lie, no permanent marks, they probably healed in less than a week. And Pat didn”t lie, it was only a little pain, the pansy just couldn”t handle being degraded and that was all Pat really wanted.

To see his before innocence break, that is Pat”s thing, to show him what it had been like in the Terminator now. Get him ready for his faggot after life, John supposes.

 Bar Boy wasn”t happy when his “safety” word didn”t work. And the $300 he had in his wallet was a nice surprise. But he won”t rat us out. We got him scared enough. He thought we were going to kill him I reckon. Peed himself. That reminds me of those twins…. Oh and those twins…shame about them. Too bad they hadn”t been girls, they”d have been real keepers. Pretty little things… Bet that little homo hasn”t been out of his house much less in the gay scene in a month… well a life lesson well-taught Pat would say…

John isn”t gay, just his sex life includes a lot of odd encounters as he sees it. It is just a thing you do when you don”t have a woman, or …. when Patrick needs it. He only really does it for Patrick. And those young boys, they are not his thing at all. He only fucks them to make Pat happy, to humiliate the kids for Pat because Pat likes that, he needs that. It’s only two of them, hardly makes it gang-rape or anything.

John has to spend a lot of energy telling himself these things. So he does it; but he shies away, the cleanup isn”t nice. He”s deliberately lost count but he knows if he lets himself go there he”ll be able to remember every single one, including where he”d buri – left them …

Of course they might get a woman together again, that usually makes Pat feel better pretty quick. Usually they”ll do them in turns, tag team style, but once in a while they”ll be in her at the same time, and that to be honest, that gets both of them off…one up the ass or the mouth and one in her cunt.

So hot feeling Pat”s hard cock moving against his through her insides…got him so hard he could barely keep pumping…and the times they both managed to get in one hole at the same time! Of course they tried that with the bar boys, most of ’em screamed and bled too much, but one had definitely liked it and the rest if they could manage it they didn”t make a lot of noise.

We need to stay put for a change. Maybe settle in a bit. Make some buddies, get some regular girls. That might get this shit out of Pat”s head…I”ll still bone him if he needs it, but we should try just women for a while anyway.

He reaches to the nightstand to feel the reassurance of the loaded revolver. He shuts off the images of cleaning and reloading so many times before. Discarding spent cartridges a hundred miles from where he”d fired them off…

It won”t be long now. Better clean it tomorrow after work.

Brief, Anonymous Survey:

Readers are often too busy or reluctant to reach out to authors. I appreciate hearing from you all. Please take my Fourteen Survey (Again). It is a quick Google Form where you can comment on this next section Jeremy Gates’ time with Anton and Daniel.

I have written a variety of short stories and novellas. You can follow this safe link to my Body of Work.

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