Circumstances by Cole Parker

Chapter 7

Sometimes things happen that you think you’ll never be able to live down.
But is that really true?

Note: Explicit language and graphic descriptions.

I went home later that afternoon.  Mom wasn’t home, so I could have stayed longer.  I wished I had.  Gary and I had continued talking.  I felt pretty sure he was as eager as I was to see what sex with another guy was all about.  It would have to wait till our next sleepover, which we’d already decided would be next weekend.

I was expecting my mom to be home, but the house was empty.  There was a note on the kitchen table saying she’d be home later that evening, and I could fix my own dinner.  Great!  Well, not really.

It pissed me off because I could have stayed at Gary’s house.  Could have eaten dinner there.  Maybe even could have spent the night again.  And that might have meant sex.  Probably would have meant sex.  Hell, stop quibbling!  It would have meant sex.

I didn’t have any schoolwork to do, and watching TV on a Saturday afternoon didn’t appeal to me at all.  I decided to go ride my bike, just to get out of the empty house, just for something to do.

I lived in a residential neighborhood.  There were always kids around, but I hardly knew them and rarely mixed with them.  They were all into sports, playing touch football in the street, shooting baskets in their driveways, wrestling together on their lawns.  I was smaller than most other kids my age and had no interest in anything athletic.

I was riding about two blocks from home when I saw a bunch of kids I sort of knew, four boys in my grade, also riding their bikes.  I decided it might be better to avoid them because I didn’t much like the guy who led them, so I turned around, hoping they hadn’t seen me.  I started riding in a different direction, then glanced over my shoulder.  They had seen me, and were pedaling faster now, coming after me.

I’m not sure why, but I began to panic.  It might have been the rough week I’d just had, maybe it was my natural cowardice, but I felt I needed to get away from them.  I started pumping my bike as fast as I could.  At the end of the block, I turned, turned so I’d be riding toward my house, and looked back behind me.  The four boys were much closer.

I was going as fast as I could.  It wasn’t fast enough.  They were all bigger and stronger and could pedal faster.  Before I reached my street, they had caught me. 

“Stop,” the one I didn’t like said.  His name was Tony.  I ignored him and kept pedaling. 

“Stop or I’ll knock you off your bike.”

So, I stopped.  They all formed their bikes around me.  Tony did the talking.

“I saw you up on the stage at school.  All that talk about jerking off on the bus.  You must like to do it in public.  You like an audience, huh?”

I didn’t say anything, and he poked me in the shoulder, hard.  “Huh?” he repeated, wanting an answer.

“No.”  I was panting, partly from riding fast, partly from my current state of panic.

“Oh yeah, you do.  Doing it on the bus, then running in the hall naked.  I think you like to show it to people.  Well, go ahead.  Show it to us.  Right, guys?”

He looked at his group, and they nodded and made comments agreeing with him.

“I’m not going to do that,” I said.  “None of what happened was my fault, and I didn’t want any of it to happen.  Now, let me go.  I’m late getting home and my mom will be looking for me.”

“Aw, he wants his mommy!  Sure, you can go.  Just pull down your pants first.  You know you want to.”

I was scared now, and couldn’t think of any way to get out of this.  I didn’t know what to say, so didn’t say anything.

Tony got off his bike.  “Well, if you aren’t going to do it, we’ll do it for you.”

He grabbed me and yanked me off my bike onto the closest lawn.  He pushed and I fell down.  Tony got down on his knees, one resting on each of my shoulders.  He weighted a lot more than I did.  One of his friends quickly grabbed my legs so I couldn’t wriggle.  Then Tony told another friend to pull down my pants.

I was struggling, but it didn’t do any good.  The only thing I could think to do was talk.  “Stop,” I yelled.  They didn’t stop.  “HELP!” I yelled, as loudly as I could.

“Do that again and I’ll slug you,” Tony threatened.

I only had one thing left.  “If you pull down my pants, I’m telling my mom and the school who all four of you guys are.”

The guy working on my belt, a kid named Richie, stopped then and glanced up at Tony.  Tony looked down at me and said, “If you do that, we’ll get you bad.”

“No you won’t.  You’ll be in juvie, waiting for your case to be heard.  You all will.”

“Bullshit,” Tony said.  “It’s our word against yours.  Go ahead, Richie.”

So Richie finished with my belt, and then yanked my shorts and briefs down around my knees. 

They looked at me, and no one said anything until Tony made a couple remarks.  I felt humiliated and got tears in my eyes.  I couldn’t help it.  Only Tony said anything.  It looked to me, through my blurry eyes, like one of the guys, the smallest of them, a kid named Darryl, looked embarrassed, or ashamed, or something.  He was looking into my face, seeing my reaction, while the other guys were looking at me somewhat lower down.  He hadn’t done anything other than stand there.  Maybe they weren’t all jerks.  But they sure all did what Tony wanted them to.

Finally, Tony got up, and all of them got on their bikes.  I just lay there, then started to struggle my pants back up.  They started to ride off, and I stood up and yelled at them, “You guys must all be queer.  You like looking at guys’ dicks!”

The other three looked at each other, but Tony got back off his bike, walked over to me and punched me in the stomach.

When my mom got home that night, I told her what had happened.  I never knew how she’d respond to me.  This time, I was hoping for a hug, or at least some sympathy.  What I got was a disgusted look and then, “Keith, you need to act like a man.  This acting like a little boy is getting tiresome.”

I was shocked, and then furious.  “Act like a man?  There were four of them!  Each one was bigger than I am.  How is getting pulverized trying to fight when I have no chance against them acting like a man?”

“You didn’t even try to fight back.”  She was yelling now, too.  “They might have stopped if you’d hit one of them!”

“Mom!  Look at me!”  She did, and the disgust was still there.  The look made me even angrier; I was now as mad as I could ever remember being.  I stared into her face, and then, I just did it.  I started taking off my clothes.  While doing so, I shouted at her, “These guys would have liked me to fight, Mom.  They like fighting.  They enjoy it.  Especially when it’s someone as small as I am.”

I don’t even know if she heard me.  Her disgust with me had changed to confusion.  “What are you doing?”

I kept undressing.  And I didn’t stop till I was done.  All done.  Completely done.

“Keith!” she said, embarrassed and confused.

“Mom!” I replied, sarcastically.  “Look at me.  LOOK!  Do I look like a man to you?  You want me to fight?  Me?  Look at my stomach.”  It was already starting to bruise.  “I just said something and I got hit.  You want me to fight them?  You want to have to come visit me in the hospital?”


∫  ∫  ∫

Mom turned away from me.  I should have been embarrassed, showing her my all, but I wasn’t.  I was furious.  I walked around so she’d see me again.  See my almost concave stomach, my visible ribs, my tube-like legs and arms.  Even my small appendage.  “Look at me,” I yelled, and she did.  “Yeah, that’s me.  Some man, huh?!” 

Then I picked up my clothes and went upstairs.  I slumped down on my bed and my emotions took over and I began crying.  Damn, I hate that.

Why couldn’t I have a mother like Gary had?

The next day, I didn’t wear a shirt to breakfast.  The bruise on my stomach looked worse now.  She probably saw what I was trying to do and left as soon as she could.  But, when she got home, I took the shirt off again and made a point of being around her.  I think she got the point.  Telling me to fight four guys, any one of whom could annihilate me, was crazy.  What I needed was her support, not her criticism or contempt.

I told her the names of three of the four kids, and got her to call the police.  They sent a woman officer to the house, and we filed a report.  I showed her the bruise, and she took a picture of it.  I decided it wouldn’t do any good to tell the school.  I’d have to tell Mr. Johnson, and he’d get a good chuckle out of it, then tell me it didn’t happen on school grounds so he was out of it.  Giving Mr. Johnson a good laugh wasn’t on my to-do list for the day.

Telling the police probably wouldn’t help either, as the boys would deny it.  But at least there’d be a record of the complaint.

I guess my mom got tired of seeing my body.  I was surprised when she went to the phone, looked up the names of the boys who’d attacked me, and called their parents.  I didn’t think she’d do that without my asking her to.

So I was feeling pretty good about having made a point to her about what I had to put up with, and getting her more on my side.  I thought I’d done a good job of getting her to give me just a little more respect until, on Monday morning, I found she’d forgotten to give me lunch money again.

I met Gary before lunch and he leant me another couple of dollars.  I was getting in the hole with him and would have to get some money from my mother to pay him back soon.  He never seemed to mind, however.  He actually seemed to like helping me. 

That week certainly was better than the previous one.  Kids were still staring at me but I wasn’t the center of everything.  A kid got caught in the bathroom jacking off.  Another kid got expelled for hitting a teacher.  A cheerleader split her panties at a pep rally and a lot of people saw what a polite girl never lets anyone see.  I was now old news.  I was just another kid something had happened to.  Things change pretty fast in high school.

I spent time after school with Gary every day.  I rode home on the bus with him, and his mother drove me home.  She even met my mother once when she’d come home early.  Spending time with Gary was great.  I guess friendships can grow pretty fast when you’re our age.  In less than two weeks, he was the best friend I’d ever had. 

I saw Mr. Johnson in the halls a couple of times.  He glared at me when he spotted me.  I had little doubt that if he could, he’d nail me to the wall.  I wasn’t too worried, though.  I wasn’t someone who got in trouble much.  Only if circumstances dictated it, and last week I’d had enough circumstances to last a lifetime.  Enough to tide me over for a while, that was for sure.

My mom forgot my lunch money again on Wednesday, and I had to borrow from Gary again.  That evening, I decided to face her down about it.

She was cross at dinner, which told me she’d had a hard day.  I usually steered clear of her when she was in a mood like that, but this time, I didn’t.

When the dishes were done and she was ready to go into her home office where she worked on papers she hadn’t finished during her regular job hours downtown, I stopped her.

“Mom, do you realize you forget to leave me lunch money at least a couple of times every week?  Do you realize I have to borrow money to eat those days?  Or that I often go without lunch?  I used to miss lunch a lot.”

She was immediately on the offensive.  “Are you saying it’s my fault if you don’t eat?  Nonsense!  Just get up a little earlier so you have time to make yourself a lunch if I forget.  Dammit, Keith, I’ve got a lot on my mind, and you’re old enough to figure this stuff out by yourself without whining to me about it!”

I knew I had to stay calm.  This was the way she’d always argued with Dad, putting him on the defensive.  He wasn’t around any more, and in my opinion she was mostly to blame for that.  I wasn’t going to play her game.  I wasn’t going to let every mistake she made become my fault.

“Mom, I’m sure there’s a name for an argument that changes the subject and isn’t on point.  I don’t know what that name is, but you’re doing it.  You’re supposed to leave me money.  You said you don’t trust me with a week’s lunch money, which is ridiculous as it’s only ten dollars.  But because of that, you don’t give it to me in advance, and then you forget it altogether, and now you’re trying to say it’s my problem to solve.  OK, I’m solving it.  I’m telling you to leave me the money every morning.  If you don’t, you’re not doing your job as a mother.  Do you want me to start taking my shirt off again so you can see how someone looks who doesn’t get enough to eat?”

Now she was mad.  She didn’t like not having the upper hand, or being blamed for anything.  Her voice was louder now, and her face redder.  “You’re not responsible enough to have the money in advance.”

“How do you know that?” I said back, speaking just as loudly as she was, even though I hated yelling.  “You just like being in control, and doling out money a little bit at a time is another way of controlling me.  A good mother would allow her son to grow up and show her how responsible he is.  If you give me the money in advance, and I lose it, then I can’t blame you if I don’t eat.  But this way, it’s your fault.”

“It’s not my fault!” she snapped.  “Just get up earlier!”

“Just give me the money in advance!  And how about an allowance, too?  Most kids my age get allowances, especially if they do chores like I do.  It’s not my fault you’re never home.”  I saw how mad she was, and decided to go for broke.  “Or don’t make enough money to give me an allowance.”

That got to her!  She opened her mouth to continue, but I could tell, she wasn’t used to having to defend herself and was caught badly off guard.  I jumped in again, taking the anger out of my voice and speaking practically.  “Just give me ten dollars every Sunday night.  That’s all you have to do.  And I won’t starve or have to borrow money two or three times a week.”

I could see she wanted to argue more; she didn’t like losing, but I again interrupted her before she could start.  “You’re not going to win this.  You’re in the wrong, and I’m in the right, and you know it.  So, give me four dollars tonight for tomorrow and Friday, and then Sunday give me ten dollars.  Oh, and another eight that I owe my friends, who think we must be awfully poor since I don’t have lunch money so frequently.  Just give me a twenty, if you don’t have the right change.”

She was steaming, but when I was in my room, later, she came in, dropped four dollars on my desk, and walked out again without saying a word.

Victory!  Well, maybe.  I’d see if I had to remind her Sunday.


∫  ∫  ∫

When I got home from school the next night, Mom surprised me, giving me the twenty we’d discussed.  She told me it was for lunch and to pay off what I owed, and to remind her if she forgot the ten for the following week.  Wow!  Maybe she really had listened to what I’d said to her about missing lunch, or maybe her seeing me walking around the house undressed, seeing how bony I was, had made an impression.  I wasn’t going to worry about it, whatever the motive was.  I was going to use that money!

I owed Gary eight dollars.  He’d paid for my lunch four times.  He didn’t seem to care if I ever paid him back or not, but I cared.  It mattered to me.  Why is it people without any money are so aware when they owe someone something, and so often, people who have money, if they borrow some, don’t seem to worry about paying it back?  It’s odd.  Anyway, now I could repay him, and it was a relief to be able to do so.

What I decided to do was give him eight one-dollar bills.  It would be more significant that way, showing him how many times he’d made sure I had something to eat at lunchtime.  My mom didn’t have change, so I told her I’d be right back and then walked to the convenience store on the corner a couple of blocks away.  I didn’t go there much.  The people who worked there weren’t real friendly to kids, and I didn’t ever have any money anyway.

There were no customers there but me.  I looked around the store.  I needed to buy something that was cheap so I could get a lot of change.  I finally settled on a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  I took it up to the lady at the counter and put it on the counter.

She scanned it and said, “One twenty-eight.”

I handed her the twenty.  She opened the cash drawer and I said, “Could I please have eighteen ones?”

She stopped what she was doing, looked at me again, a pissed off look on her face, and I again dropped my eyes.  Damn, I wish I wouldn’t do that.

There was a pause, and then she said, “Eighteen?  Your change is $8.72.”  And she laid that amount on the counter.

I looked at it, then up at her.  She was staring at me with no expression at all on her face.

“Uh, I gave you a twenty,” I said.

“No, you gave me a ten.  There’s your change.”  She gestured toward the counter.

I wasn’t good at arguing with adults.  But I wasn’t going to back down on this.  I needed that money, and fair’s fair, and she’d made a mistake, although I was pretty sure it was no mistake.

“I gave you a twenty.  My mom gave it to me, I brought it in here and gave it to you.  I didn’t have a ten to pay with.  Only the twenty.  That’s what I gave you.  Please, you made a mistake, and I need those additional ten ones.”

She stared at me without answering for a moment, then said, “There’s your change, kid.  Take it and beat it.”

I was getting angry and I raised my voice, something I rarely do, and never with adults.  “What’s going on here?” I asked.  “You’re stealing ten dollars from me!  I need that money.  In fact, why don’t you just give me my twenty back?  You can keep your candy bar.  I only bought it to get the change.  Give me my twenty and I’ll leave.”

“Get out of here, kid.  And don’t come back.”  She was staring at me with small, ugly looking eyes.  I had a quick thought, wondering how many times she’d gotten away with this with other kids. Instead of being intimidated, the look she gave me just made me madder.  I yelled this time, “Give me my money!  You’ve got my money!”

She’d been sitting on a stool, but now stood up.  She was a lot bigger than I was, taller and much heavier.  And she looked mad.

“I told you to beat it,” she said, and her voice was raised now, too.

“You stole my money!” I yelled.

She started toward the opening in the counter that led to where I was.  I gulped.  But I didn’t run.

She’d stepped through the opening and was walking toward me when another lady, an older one, came out of the back of the store.  “What’s all this noise out here about?” she asked.

Before the cashier could say anything, I shouted to the older woman, “She’s trying to steal my money.  I gave her a twenty and she gave me change for a ten and won’t give me the rest of what she owes me.”

The cashier stopped where she was, and when the lady from the back looked at her, she said, “The kid gave me a ten.  I gave him the right change.  He’s one of the neighborhood punks who’re always trying to get away with something.  He’s trying to scam us.  I was just going to chase him out of here.”

The lady looked at her, then at me, and finally said to me, “I guess it’s one person’s word against another’s, and Mary’s been a cashier here for over a year.  I trust her.  You probably just made a mistake.”

The lady seemed reasonable, not like the cashier.  She seemed sympathetic, so I didn’t give up.  “Look, ma’am, I didn’t make a mistake.  I only had a twenty.  ‘Mary’”—and I said the name with some sarcasm in my voice, the residue of the anger I felt—“either made a mistake or saw a way to make an easy ten dollars.  I must have looked like easy pickings.  It makes me wonder how many times she’s done this before, to other kids.”

The lady was listening to me, and took a quick glance at Mary, who returned her glance impassively.  I started thinking.  We were at an impasse, and without anything to support what I was saying, I wasn’t going to win here.  I needed to think of something fast.

The lady finally said, “Well, without any evidence. . .”  and let her voice fade off.

So I said, “Don’t these stores have security cameras?  And don’t they have one pointing at the register?  I’ll bet if you review the tape of the last five minutes, you’ll see that I gave her a twenty, and that she put it in the cash register and pocketed a ten for herself.”

The lady wrinkled her brow, then looked at Mary.  Then back at me.  I asked her, “Have there been any other complaints from kids saying they got shortchanged?”

That had an immediate effect.  She looked surprised, then said in a firm voice, “I’ll check the tape.”

Mary spoke up then.  “You’d do that?  You’d believe him, and not me, and I’ve been working my ass off here for all this time for minimum wage?  I don’t have to put up with that.  I quit.  Pay me what you owe me and I’m out of here.”  She stood up real tall and scowled, making herself look fierce.  The older lady was much smaller than Mary, but she didn’t seem to notice the posturing.  She said, “Come back tomorrow and you’ll get your pay.  I’m going to review the past few days of tapes, first.”

“No.  Pay me now!”

The lady looked at Mary, paused, then said to her, “Just what am I going to see on that tape?”

The two women had a silent but intense staring match, and then Mary stormed out of the store.

“Can I have my ten dollars?”  I asked.  “In ones?”

She smiled at me and said, “Sure, hon,” and stepped behind the counter.


∫  ∫  ∫

It was Friday, and I was going to stay over at Gary’s.  It was the first time I’d be doing that since we’d decided we both would like to see what sex with another person was all about.  We both knew how to do it alone.  I’d become pretty good at it, actually. 

We’d grinned and I’d been embarrassed and pretended I wasn’t, when we both admitted we did that.  He was the first person I’d ever told that particular secret to, and I was surprised I could say it.  Of course, he went first saying he did it.  If he was embarrassed, he hid it well.  To him, life was just life, and he seemed able to cope with the ticklish parts of it better than I did.

To say I was excited would be understating it just a little.  I was way excited, and had been all day, even having problems concentrating in class.  On the bus, I kept looking at him, and even blushed once or twice.  I hoped no one was watching us.  I couldn’t sit still.

Gary was excited too, and it must have been obvious because at dinner, I noticed Mrs. Jenks watching us closer than usual, looking back and forth between us.  She didn’t say anything, but I could see her mind working.

I hoped she had no idea what we were thinking about.  How could she?

We went upstairs as soon as we could after dinner.  Gary closed the door, and turned to look at me.  I was looking back at him.  His eyes were full of excitement and adventure and promise, and I imagine mine were too.  I couldn’t help myself.  I reached out and touched him.  Just that made my whole body come alive, and my anticipation moved up another three notches.

He said, “I’m glad the first time I’m doing anything is with you.”

Wow!  That was such a neat thing to say to me!

I didn’t know what to do, how to start; I didn’t know anything.  Well, I did know I was so awfully happy to be there right then my head seemed to be swimming.

Gary toed off his sneakers and went over and sat on the bed, then watched me do the same.  I sat next to him and he asked, his voice soft and scratchy, “What do you want to do?”

I shook my head.  “I don’t know.”  I was almost whispering, without meaning to.  It just came out that way.  “This’s all new to me.  I think you’re supposed to start with kissing, but I’ve read that some guys don’t like that, they just like the sex parts.  Especially if they’re straight but doing it with another guy, and, well, you’re straight.  I’d like to kiss you.  Just to see what it feels like.”  I blinked and said, surprising myself that I was timid even now, “I’ve never kissed anyone.”

“OK,” he said, and grinned.  He wasn’t as fazed as I was.  But then, this was just sex to him.  OK, neither of us had done anything sexual with anyone before, and I’m sure he was excited, as excited as I was, but this was bordering on the transcendent for me.  For him, it was something less than that.  I knew that, I accepted that, and it really didn’t diminish the moment for me at all.

I grinned back.

We were sitting next to each other, so we both turned our upper bodies.  I reached my arms out, he did the same, and then we were holding each other’s shoulders, and I very gently kissed him on the lips.

I suppose it was what the books call a chaste kiss.  It only lasted a couple of seconds.  We both pulled back.  He frowned at me, a slight frown, and said, “It has to be more exciting than that, doesn’t it?”

“It wasn’t bad,” I said, “for a first effort.  I liked it, at least.  I liked holding you like that, and you holding me.  It felt good.  The books don’t say much about how it’s supposed to feel.  Have you ever kissed a girl?”

“Yeah, a couple of them.  They sort of started it.”

“Well, you’re used to this then.  I’m not.  Can we try it again and I’ll see if I can make it more exciting for you.”  I grinned at him, and his eyes sparkled.  We reached for each other again, both of us eager.  OK, maybe he was feeling more than he’d let on.

This time, I wet my lips first, and when our lips were touching, I moved mine around gently, slightly opening and closing them as I did.  That must have had some effect because he started moving his around too.  It was starting to feel really good, and suddenly my dick got into the act.  I hadn’t known just kissing would have as much of an effect as it did, but, wow!

OK, I have to pause here a moment.  I just said my dick got in the act.  That suggests it finally woke up, as if it’d been taking a Rip Van Winkle sort of nap up till then.  That’s not the case.  I’d been hard, off and on, all day, just thinking of this evening.  At the dinner table I’d sat as close to the table as I could, and was careful when I stood up after the meal—careful no one was looking at me.  Then, in Gary’s room, I’d been experiencing what I guess you could call almost terminal tumescence.  (Hey, I said I read a lot!)  So saying my dick finally got into the act is misleading.  It suggests it hadn’t been paying attention all along.  Well, it had.  But that kiss woke it up even more, and the difference was noticeable.  I’m not going to explain it any more than that.  If you’re a guy, you know what I mean.  If you’re not, well, I’m sorry.

Without my realizing it, Gary was slowly lying back on the bed, and since we were holding each other, I was going with him.  My attention was on our lips, and my dick, and when I realized he had moved it was because I was suddenly lying on top of him.  Well, sort of.  I was at lying at about a 45-degree angle to him with just my chest across his.

I pulled my lips away, and he took a deep breath, then said, “Yeah, uh, that was much better.”  His voice was raspy.

“These girls you kissed, did you French kiss either of them?”  Just the thought of that had my dick twitching.

“No.  But I’m willing if you are.”

I didn’t bother answering.  I just went back to his lips and started kissing him, then opened my mouth.  He did the same, and then I felt his tongue licking my lips.  I shuddered.

He licked my lips, and I felt his teeth nibble my lower one, and then he pushed his tongue into my mouth, where it hit mine.  He began stroking my tongue with his, and it was the most amazing, most sensuous feeling I’d ever experienced.  Without realizing I was doing it, I began moving my hips, pressing my dick into the bed, in time with his licks across my tongue.  His tongue against mine was driving my dick crazy!

He finally pulled back, and I knew it was my turn.  I repeated what he had done, and it felt sooooo good.  I really got into it, licking his lips, his tongue, his teeth, the insides of his cheeks.  I was moving my mouth on his, and we were both covered in saliva, and I was in heaven.

We had to come up for air, and did, and then I rolled off of him, rolled onto my back next to him, worried I might be cramping his breathing.  We were both panting.  I looked down, and his pants were as tented as mine were.

“Man!” I heard him gasp.

I laughed.  “Me too,” I said.

“Let’s get undressed,” he croaked.

I wasn’t about to argue with that.

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