by AZ Story Guy
Introduction and housekeeping information
Once again a story has pushed itself into my mind, forcing its attention upon me. "Never Forget" needed to be written. It has been haunting the recesses of my consciousness for a long time.
So here it is, OR what it is NOT: There is very little sex in this story so if that is a reader's priority then you should probably pass on by. It is not a story about an older guy and a young teen. Even though that's what it MIGHT seem like, as the story progresses the theme will become clearer.
"Never Forget" defied my attempts at classification. Although it has two high school teens as the main characters, it goes beyond that meme. It could also be classified as "historical" since much of it takes part in the 1960s.
Note: Every attempt has been made to "get it right" about the time period. It's always rather distracting to discover anachronisms that kill the imagery of a story (or television show or film!)
If the reader does not know the history of that era, then the story may be incomprehensible. To help with that dilemma, much background information is inserted as subtly as possible to make the tale understandable. It was a totally different (but not completely objectionable) time in our history.
In the end, and with no surprise, "Never Forget" ends up being classified under Science Fiction. As with my last work, it is a love story involving the fluidity of time.....
The story is written exclusively in the third person and mostly reflects the experiences of one character. Since there are only two principal characters there should be no problem following the storyline. Again, I have sacrificed proper grammatical form in numerous cases to hopefully make the story more enjoyable.
Through the read, there are significant changes in the story's setting. These are delineated by excessive paragraphs (line spaces) and/or the first few words of the new setting being SET ALL IN CAPS.
Oh yes: For literary critics.....Those aren't plot holes ..... the story has layers. Read it easy or read it critically and look for the hidden subtleties.
And I am a lousy proof reader and editor. So any errors are a free extra!
All rights reserved. No part of this story may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the Author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright 2015. This work is protected under The United States Copyright Laws © 17 USC§§ 101, 102(a), 302(a). All Rights Reserved. The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent.
THE MAN SAT on his front porch and surveyed the sight before him, slowly assessing his new surroundings.
It was a small, older tract home on a predominantly blue collar street filled with similar dwellings. Truth be told, all the houses looked alike. Built from the same basic floor plan with reversed elevations and minor cosmetic alterations to create the impression that each house was unique and different. Most of the houses on his street stood empty; either for sale or rent. A deteriorating American economy had been bad to the neighborhood.
"I guess it could be worse!" the man said under his breath.
At sixty two years, Eric Davis had threaded the needle of life with passable results. He had his health, standing at 5' 10" and 140 pounds with green eyes and a remarkably still full head of mostly brownish hair.
It could have been worse. He had seen many of his friends and coworkers fail playing that insidious and often cruel "Game of Life."
Now he was set. Ready for the so-called "golden years" of retirement. When his last employer eliminated his position after a decade, Davis said "Fuck it! I'll take early retirement Who the fuck wants to work for the assholes running things now anyway?"
"A small tract home in the far-out suburbs of Phoenix. Great! Fucking great! Well... It could be worse... Living in a cheap apartment or .... pan handling for money on the streets!" he mused.
Still.... He wondered.... What could he have done differently in his life to have provided for a little bit better of an outcome?
Davis mused on his life. It seems like only yesterday he was leaving high school, moving on to college, and then heading out into the world. That "only yesterday" had been over forty years ago...
Where had the time gone?
He quickly put those thoughts out of his head and started on his first "fixer upper" project. Repairing the rain gutters....
"In Phoenix?" he laughed, "These fuckers only get used about three times a year....!
Climbing up on the roof, Davis moved on to start the repairs.
The sun cooperated that day. High clouds and the advent of cooler October days made the chore bearable.
The man toiled for a couple of hours when a flurry of movement caught his eye; out of the corner of his vision.
A boy on a bicycle was speeding down his street. As the youth approached, Davis could discern that the "boy" was a teenager. How old? Who can tell anymore.... What caught Davis' eye was that this boy was looking right at him!
"Probably thinks I'm some kind of perv or something!" Davis laughed to himself, "I damned sure know he's not cruising ME!"
He knew his days of scoring with any younger boy... or even younger men.... were long a thing of the past.
Truth be told, in his youth and later, thanks to good genes, Davis had bedded down more "hotties" than most.... That good luck string had lasted even into so-called "middle age." But it had to end sometime. Father Time always wins the game he is playing....
That all seemed like so long ago.....
Eric snapped out of his daydreams when the boy.... the teen on the bike ....changed directions, crossed the street and headed directly towards his house!
Still looking directly at Davis, the youth failed to notice the large pothole looming before him.
Eric saw it, but before he could act the bike struck the obstruction and sent the rider flying over the handle bars.
The teen hit the pavement with a thud that Davis heard up on his roof top perch.
In a flash, the man scaled down the ladder and ran out to help the young boy.
Lying face down in the street, Eric slowly kneeled by the prostrate form.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
The boy rolled over and sat up.
"Whoa! Take it easy! You might have a concussion or something!" the man cautioned.
The youth ignored Eric's warning.
"I'm fine. Really!" he replied, "But LOOK at my bike!"
Eric turned and saw what distressed the teen: the front rim was bent and the tire was flat as a proverbial pancake.
His mind failed to register - until much later - one very significant detail. The boy was riding a Schwinn Typhoon. A very old model that, as he would later realize, was similar to the one he had when he was..... fourteen years old!
"Shit!" the boy exclaimed.
Eric laughed, "At least you're not hurt!"
He offered a hand to help the youth up. As soon as the boy took his grasp, Eric felt something flow from the teen into him..... Like a current of electricity..... Not a dangerous feeling; more like a jolt that sent his glance to the teen's face.
Eric's mind did a double take.
He stared at the young eyes looking back at him.
Davis didn't even notice the gash on the boy's forehead.
He was mesmerized by....
"No!" his mind screamed, "It isn't.... It can't be!"
A face from a long time ago.....
IT WAS OCTOBER 1969.
Eric Davis was on top of his game. A Junior in a small Missouri high school.... Everything was starting this year off just right. His friends were all back for another year of Hell raising. He had an awesome class schedule... And over the summer he had obtained his Driver's License! No more riding the crappy city busses or depending on the charity of adults. Better yet, he had his own wheels!
Well... Sort of.... His Mom worked downtown from eight to five. She agreed to let him have use of her car, a cool 1966 Pontiac Tempest, with the sole proviso that Eric be there to pick her up every day after work.
Davis dialed the combination lock on locker number 1130. The same one he had last year.... And started pulling out books....
"Hey dummie!" a familiar voice greeted him.....
With a tap on his shoulder......
Eric was smart enough to know that routine by now....
He spun left even though the tap had been on his right side... And there was Bob Mayer.
Nerdy Bob.... Complete with a close cropped crew cut, dress slacks and black rimmed glasses with lenses thick enough to serve as portholes in a diving bell....
Eric had met Bob in his Freshman year.... It had been a new school for Eric.... He had come to realize that his Father had a singular inability to hold a job for very long. As a result, their "nuclear family" (A very "Sixties" concept), moved a lot. Things seemed to be holding this time... The Davis Family had been at one location, one city, one school for Eric, for a whopping three years.
Bob and Eric became fast friends when they discovered their mutual love of broadcasting. As in radio. "Old school" AM radio that ruled the airwaves in 1969. Fast talking Top 40 DJs. That's what both Bob and Eric aspired to be...
Their friendship was a natural. Even if the two boys were polar opposites.... Eric was a mop headed rebel and troublemaker while Bob was a good little clean cut boy from a conservative Baptist Family.
Truth be told, Bob was rather titillated by Eric's rebel streak. Bob's Mother loathed Eric as a potentially "bad influence" on her pristine son. However, she tolerated Eric's presence because the two boys hit it off so well....
"Hey fly nuts!" Eric greeted his friend.
This day was different. Eric's attention was immediately distracted by a thin, similarly mop haired boy standing next to Mayer....
"I want you to meet someone...!" Bob said, "This is Mark Greene.... He's a sophomore and just moved here from.....!
Bob's voice trailed off as he tried to remember the detail....
"Springfield!" Mark chimed in.
Mark's voice sounded like that of an angel. Eric tried not to stare into the boy's deep brown eyes as he shook Mark's hand.
"Hey!" he croaked out, "Springfield? Well you just moved from nowhere to noplace!"
All three boys laughed.
Eric tried to remain cool and calm as he chatted with Bob and his new acquaintance. It was hard for him not to stare at Mark. The boy stood just about 5' 8" or so, and sported a head of wildly untamed brown hair to match his equally intensely brown eyes. Cut in a bowl style, Mark's hair followed the fashion trend set by the Beatles and other rock groups of the day. Almost petite in his shape, Mark wore form fitting paisley "hip huggers" (as they were called then) pants, a deep blue shirt and a paisley neckerchief that complimented his jeans.
Obviously Mark was completely into the fashion of youth in the late 1960s, which was something not often seen in a small Missouri town. His attire was more befitting of a much larger, more sophisticated locale, like Los Angeles or Chicago....
Meeting Mark triggered something deep inside sixteen year old Eric Davis.
It was simple, actually....
Eric had a secret. A deeply hidden secret that was not discussed in the light of day. Certainly not in a small town in Missouri in 1969....
That secret was something Eric tried not to think about but it kept resurfacing. He liked boys. Try as he might, the feeling could not be suppressed. His hormones raged; there were cute boys everywhere. Yet he knew if anyone found out, it could be the kiss of death.
The word "gay" was not part of the common lexicon of the day. The Stonewall riots had only occurred earlier in June. "Gays" were not called that at all. The commonly used words were disparaging slang.
One has to remember that homosexuality wasn't in the closet in the 1960s. It was in the dungeon. Locked away and seldom spoken about, and then only with derision. Famous actors like Raymond Burr and Rock Hudson hid their sexuality for decades. For a high school teenager like Eric, being labeled as a "homosexual," a "fag," or a "queer," would bring forth nothing positive.
Surprisingly, there was no bullying in Eric's high school. Occasional fights and disagreements, but overall, the student body was well disciplined. Part of that behavior was due to the social mores of the day. Strong Midwestern parental involvement and for many a nominally influential Protestant or Catholic religious upbringing guaranteed order! Needless to say, there were no "out" students in Eric's school. He tried discreetly to ascertain who might "be like him," but to no avail.
Eric's parents were nominal Protestants. He would soon discover that Mark was Catholic. What kept Eric in line was not religion; his inquiring mind was fully rooted in science, a subject now pushed by the public schools after being "AWOL" from educational curriculums for over half a century. The "Red Menace of the Soviet Union and that Empire's launch of Sputnik had refueled an interest in science and math studies.
To him, religion made no sense. Burning bushes, talking snakes, a flat Earth that was only 6,000 years old all sounded like fairy tales spun by long ago dead (and very ignorant) men....
No.... What kept Eric Davis in line was his Father. A tyrant of a man, Eric was happiest when he saw his Father the least. Which, as it turned out, was almost the norm. Eric's Father was always too busy with work. That suited Eric just fine. As long as he hauled home all "A" grades, everything in the Davis household was quiet.
Eric thought he was an island to himself. There was no internet, no Facebook, no Tumblr, no sources of social intercourse except for school. The town had two AM radio stations, one of which signed off at night. Country music filled the airwaves. There were no local FM stations, only two television stations and no cable TV. Eric and his friends were righteously pissed because the local NBC television station wouldn't even air "Star Trek." The show was deemed "too radical" for the local market! The 24/7 economy was decades away. Small towns like Eric's closed up at 5:00PM every day.
The nightly routine for Eric was the same as many other boys his age. Yes, there was the ritual and much needed jacking off ("Fapping" was an unknown term in that era), but Eric also spent many hours under the covers with his flashlight and transistor radio while listening to scratchy, distant Top 40 stations. He heard sounds and voices from remote places that seemed almost impossible for a small town boy to conceive: Chicago, New York City, Dayton, Cincinnati, Kansas City and St. Louis. Although less than 150 miles away, even those latter two cities seemed like something existing in another world.
All of this narrative might seem superfluous in a story like this, but it is necessary to understand the cultural isolation felt by Eric. And, most certainly, thousands of boys just like him all across the country.
Nevertheless, Eric managed to ascertain a few things. He was afforded the time-old chance of comparing his "junk" to that of other boys in gym class. During those ritual and required showers... He had a pretty good idea how he "ranked" against other boys. Not that he ever saw another guy's "boner." That would be a kiss of death in 1969.... He figured his "stuff" was average, which he reasoned was better than being BELOW average.
His furtive comparisons failed to discern that he a large pair of what today are called "low hangars," and those two orbs had no problem pumping out massive sprays of teen juice. Eric wouldn't come to appreciate that nice feature of his physiology until later in life....
That day in 1969, Eric made a move outside his norm....
"Hey!" he said to Mark.
The boy snapped to the sound of Eric's voice.
"You wanna catch a ride with me after school? Maybe get a burger or something?" he said.
Mark's eyes sparkled with the intensity of a star.
"Sure!" he smiled.
Perfect, white teeth shone like a bank of spotlights.
Eric's body was doing flip flops inside.
Bob begged off from the conversation and headed toward study hall.
"So what's your next class?" Eric asked.
"Algebra" Mark replied.
"Cool! I can show you the way!" Eric offered.
He knew it was going to be obvious to Mark pretty soon... but he couldn't help staring at the beauty of this young boy standing at his side.
"Is everything okay?" Mark brought Eric out of his trance.
Eric was, as they say today, "Busted!"
"I mean... Do I have a booger on my nose or something?" Mark giggled.
Eric thought fast. Faster than ever in his life.
"No... I .... Uh.... It's just.....!" his brain raced for a quick "out."
"You... kinda remind me of someone....!" he started to explain.
"Who?" he asked.
A knowing look, like the younger teen had heard this line before....
"Uh.... Stevie Wright!" Eric replied.
Mark's eyes blinked.
(Ed note: Readers better know their 60's rock groups for this to make any sense!)
"No shit? I thought... Everyone always says 'Davy Jones!'" he replied.
"No fucking way! You don't look anything like him!" he countered, "But Stevie... You do know who....?"
"Friday On My Mind!" Mark blurted out, "The Easybeats!"
"Yeah! I saw them on American Bandstand twice!" he finished, "No one ever guessed that before... But you know.... You are sooooo right!"
(Ed note: As of this writing, Stevie Wright is still alive, although the years have not treated him with kindness. Although born in Great Britain, today he remains a pop icon in his adopted country, Australia).
The two boys smiled and headed off....
....On to class, and the beginning of their new friendship.
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