Never Forget

by AZ Story Guy

Chapter 2

There are significant changes in this story's setting. These are delineated by excessive paragraphs (line spaces) and the first few words of the new setting is SET IN ALL CAPS.

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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.

"HEY MISTER!" THE YOUNG voice crackled.

Eric snapped out of his trance. It wasn't 1969. It was 2015. And the reality of his life was facing him....

"Oh! Sorry!" Eric mumbled, "You wanna come inside... Maybe get a drink or something and I can put a bandage on that cut!"

Eric carried the boy's bike to his house. He kept trying NOT to stare at his new acquaintance. A boy who was a dead ringer for.....

His mind blocked out that thought.

The two entered Eric's house.

"Nice place!' the boy chirped.

"It's okay!" Eric replied.

"You live alone?" the boy asked.

Eric replied affirmatively and asked if his new friend would like a soda or water.

"Water's fine!" the boy replied, "Were you ever married? Any kids?"

Eric started feeling like the teen was interviewing him for a job! Yet he didn't mind. Except that his answers might reveal the emptiness of his life.

He tried a different approach. If the boy was going to ask so many questions... Well then.. Turn about is fair play.....

"Where do you go to school?" Eric asked.

The boy was distracted; He seemed mesmerized by a huge wall mounted TV.

Eric's mind was still trying to process just what he was seeing. The young boy's heavy coat drew his attention. Something about it looked so....familiar.... but from a long time ago. The man's mind was busily blocking, denying access to a faded reality.

Make yourself comfortable!" Eric intoned, "You are kind of overdressed for the weather!"

The boy smiled. He proceeded to remove his brown corduroy coat, a sweater underneath and then....

"It's very cold where I come from.....!" the boy replied casually.

A chill wracked through Eric's mind. As the youth removed his outer garments, there it was..... A paisley neckerchief and shirt.

Paisley? That fashion style hadn't been popular since......

"No! It can't be!" he kept telling himself.... "The boy is a dead ringer for........"

The teen stood there in his button down shirt and form fitting cord jeans... It was too much deja vu for Eric. He had to clear his mind.... People can..... There are possibilities....

If the circumstances had been different, Eric would have been trying to find a way to get the young teen into his bedroom. But not now. His mind failed to notice how well the teen's jeans clung to his lithe, supple frame.

Too many things didn't make sense.

"So I should take a look at that cut!" Eric offered, "And your clothes... They kinda got dirty from your spill... I could wash them.....!"

The boy smiled. Showing luminous, sparking white teeth..

"Thanks!" he replied. "But it's not necessary... But could I take a quick shower? Maybe wash the dirt off?"

Eric nodded and showed the boy to the bathroom. He knew he was getting old now... A stunningly hot young boy was going to be standing naked in his shower and.... Eric was too paralyzed to act.

Yet the paralysis that haunted the man wasn't caused by fear of rejection or the age difference between them. Other factors were flooding... SCREAMING at his subconscious.

As the water ran, Eric's mind raced. Then the model of the boy's bicycle hit him... He went out to the front porch to check it out....

"A Schwinn Typhoon! I haven't seen one of these .... Holy Fuck! Since I was like..... Fourteen!" he mused.

The bike showed signs of age. Rust and wear had taken its toll. And the front rim and wheel were toast. Eric didn't know anything about bicycles anymore; he hadn't ridden one in over forty- eight years...

"Can it even be fixed?" he wondered.

He knew he had a bigger problem. The boy was going to need a ride home. It was a certainty that the bike's traveling days were - at least - temporarily over.

Going back inside, he tried to collect his thoughts while the shower continued.

A fan of long hot showers himself, Eric paid it no mind as he tried to process what he had seen and experienced so far.

"It just has to be a coincidence!" he laughed to himself, "Lots of boys... Hell.... They do look alike sometimes. At least to me... But what the fuck do I know... Even the music today all sounds the same....!"

More laughter as he moved into the kitchen.

"Maybe he would like something to eat before I try and take him home!" he thought.

Then Eric realized he didn't even know the boy's name.....

He noticed the shower was still running. It had been on for over fifteen minutes.

"That's kind of overkill!" he thought.

Maybe....

Eric smiled. He recalled what he used to do in the shower when he was the boy's age....

"Still.... It's a long....!" he thought.

Davis moved to the bathroom door.

"You okay in there?" he called out.

Eric started to curse himself.

"What if he fainted or something? Maybe the hit on his head was worse than we both realized?" the man thought.

He had shown the boy the lock on the door and made sure it was latched before the shower started... He didn't want the kid getting any ideas about him being a perv or something...

Panic struck him....

Eric tried the door.

It opened...

Steam filled the bathroom.

"Hey! Are you okay? I was just checking!" he called out.

No answer.

Taking a deep breath, he entered the bathroom.

The shower had a glass door; the sight took his breath away.

There was no one in the bathroom. It was empty. No boy. No dirty clothes. No nothing.

Shutting off the water, Eric ran to the front porch.

What he saw next made him fall to the floor in shock.

The bicycle was gone.

It was all like.... It had never happened.

Eric started to cry.

"I must be going fucking crazy!" he cried.

Standing up, Eric headed back inside. He knew...!!! The glass...!!!! The boy had been drinking a glass of water.....

The man stopped in stunned silence. There was no glass of water on the counter. In the kitchen, On the dining table. Anywhere..... Just his own glass of soda. Eric opened the cabinet and counted all the glasses. Minus his, they were all in place.

Now it was becoming clear. It had to be: He WAS losing his mind......

The question in his brain was already answered. Yet he had to confirm his thought. Why? He knew he was correct. He NEVER had forgotten..... It didn't matter. Rifling through yet unpacked boxes in a spare bedroom, Eric found the object of his search. Many old photos. Hundreds of them. All from a pre-digital era. His hands shook as he opened a small red case. One particular worn, yellowed photo fell out.

The discolored picture confirmed what the man already knew! It WAS him.....

Mark Greene. Dressed in a brown corduroy coat - like the one worn by his mystery boy visitor - with a blue paisley neckerchief and blue shirt.... Eric remembered taking the photo on a cold, dreary December day in a Kmart parking lot.... in the year 1969!!!!

It couldn't be possible but there it was in full color.

"All right... So this kid looks like Mark.... that's a given. There are plenty of "lookalikes" - Hell there are even celebrity lookalike contests!" he laughed, "So this kid LOOKS like Mark... It's just a coincidence!"

Eric wanted to believe that was the explanation and then be done with it.

For about a thousandth of a second, he had talked himself into accepting his rationalization.

Then reality hit...

"What about the clothes, asshole?" Eric chided himself, "And that rusty old bike?"

He shook his head.

"I need to find something to do... To keep me busy!" the man thought to himself.

No matter what Eric did for the rest of the day, it didn't work. His mind was distracted by what had happened that otherwise normal fall day.

That evening sleep came with great difficulty. Ambien finally claimed a very mentally exhausted man way past midnight; dreams followed him into a deep slumber.


"WHERE DO YOU THINK THEY'RE going?" Mark asked Eric.

The two boys were somewhat precariously perched on a bluff overlooking the muddy Missouri River. A tugboat was laboring pushing a string of barges down the channel.

Eric had discovered this secretive outlook after his family first moved to town. At that time their rental house was not too far from the river. The Missouri River was a magnet to many young boys. It was like a highway to otherworldly places. St. Louis. Memphis. New Orleans. The Gulf of Mexico and the Carribean.... To a boy living in "backwater USA," all those places seemed as remote as the far side of the Moon....

"I bet New Orleans! Those flat containers probably are full of grain or something!" Eric replied.

Ever since Bob had introduced the two boys, Eric and Mark had become best friends. "Best buds" "Best friends forever" if the phrase had been in use at the time. They were inseparable. Every day after school, Eric and Mark hung out together. The weekends saw them likewise goofing off, going to movies at one of the town's two single screen theaters, or just cruising around in "Eric's" car.

Any reasonably knowledgeable person in the year 2015 would have known exactly what was going on between the two boys. They were courting each other. Their chemistry was a perfect "fit." They were quickly discovering each other's likes, dislikes and behaviors. They never argued. They never fought. In the rare cases where there were conflicts about where to go or what movie to watch (hardly an issue with only two choices!), they easily reconciled. They were equally submissive to each other.

In those many times when Eric and his friends (all of whom were Juniors) went cruising on a Friday or Saturday night (A long held tradition in most American towns and cities of the era), Mark was always there. Riding with the upperclassmen. One time - the only time - when one of his friends questioned why the 'runt sophomore" was invited along for the evening's fun, Eric responded with a protective ferocity that assured no one would ever raise the subject again.

Again; anyone from a later era... Say 2015... when people were much more sophisticated and aware... would have known what was going on. Eric and Mark, or "Marky" as Eric called him, were indeed falling in love.

Yet there was no sexual contact. No holding hands. No kissing. No outward signs of affection. Both Eric and Mark's upbringing, coupled with the social mores of the time, would not allow it.

Eric knew deep down inside that he wanted to..... What? Have sex? "Make love?" His cock, his entire sexual being was screaming for him to make a move. Do something! But he was too afraid. Too timid. Too shy to try anything. To take that next step.

Being the older boy, he figured it was his role. But.... He had no clue how to proceed.....

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