Never Forget

by AZ Story Guy

Chapter 4

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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.

ERIC FLEW UP IN HIS BED AND screamed...

"NOOOOOOO!!!! This isn't fucking right!"

The man looked around his bedroom. He was home. In Phoenix. In his crappy tract house. Just like he should be...

But it had all seemed SO real! Then Eric noticed; besides being drenched in sweat (while the air conditioning was whirring away at a comfortable seventy degree setting), he had cum spontaneously. A lot. His jism was everywhere. That had not happened to him in a long, long time.

Looking at the clock, he saw that it was almost 6:00AM.

"No point in trying to go back to sleep now!" he grumbled.

Rising, he moved into the kitchen. The thoughts of his dream played over and over in his mind. It all seemed so real. Marky ... the bluff... the River... Just like so long ago. Except the two boys had never been intimate. Both were too terrified to take that first big step.....

"I don't know what the fuck is going on with this kid!" Eric groused, thinking about his recurrent visitor over the past two days, "But it's all going to end NOW!"

Then Eric stopped. Cold. In his tracks. Lying on the kitchen counter was a blue paisley neckerchief. Not any neckerchief but THE one he had seen worn by his mystery visitor.

Creeping towards the object like it was a rattlesnake, he gingerly picked it up. The cloth was very, very old. It had an odor. Not of dirt or being unwashed. But the odor of a young teenage boy. The fabric itself was faded and threadbare in spots.

He started to tear up again. Eric retrieved his only picture of Marky. The one taken that cold December day. And he compared...... They were the same! They looked identical! The neckerchief in the picture WAS exactly the same as the one lying on his kitchen counter.

"Somebody is fucking with my brain!" Eric beefed, "It has to be!"

Why, exactly, he had no idea. He knew no one from his high school past. Those contacts had long ago faded away.

"Why would anyone go to the trouble to mess around with a sixty two year old loser living in Phoenix?" he mused.

"Except whoever it is ..... Got it wrong! It was a pretty good show up until now.... But Marky and I never did.....!" he sighed.

"Oh how I wish! Why was I such a fucking coward?" he moaned.

Eric knew the answer. He had only been a sixteen year old boy then. In 1969. Not in 2015. If things had played out now like they had then, everything would have been different....

"Kids today.... are so lucky!" he thought.

"Doesn't matter. This can't go on.... Or I'm going to go nuts!" he thought, "Just wait till that kid shows up again!"

Eric did manage to doze off, not waking until around ten. Sunlight filled the kitchen as he made a quick breakfast. After time for a shower, he was ready to resume work on his walkway project.

The mid morning air felt invigorating as Eric labored on placing the paving stones. Next would come the grout and then it would be finished!

"Maybe I can keep my sanity by working on this place forever!" he laughed to himself, "As long as my Home Depot credit card keeps working!"

Any thoughts of preserving his sanity quickly vanished as he turned around for another load of stones.

There he was.....

The kid..... Dressed the same way. A heavy, old brown corduroy coat, slim fitting jeans, button down shirt but no neckerchief.

Eric stopped in mid stride. He KNEW he had locked all the doors. He had no idea how this kid kept getting inside his house or yard but it had happened again!

"Hello!" the boy chirped.

His voiced sounded as melodic and sweet as.....

Eric pushed the thought - the MEMORY - out of his brain.

"Didn't you forgot something!" he said sarcastically, "It's inside.. I'll get it for you!"

"You mean this?" the boy said. He pulled the neckerchief out of his coat pocket!

"What do you do... Buy them by the dozen at Goodwill?" Eric said caustically.

His remark seemed to puzzle the teen.

"No... I didn't forget it... I left it for you!" the boy replied.

"Why?" Eric asked.

"To convince you!" he said.

"Convince me? Of what? That I am going crazy?" Eric responded.

"No.... Of who I am!" the boy answered.

Eric stopped and stood up straight.

"That is an impossibility" he answered.

"Who do you think I am?" the boy asked.

"It doesn't matter who you want me to think you are!" Eric shot back.

"Please answer my question!" the boy said.

Eric could sense a pleading tone in the boy's voice.

"If I even said it, I would have to have myself committed!" Eric replied.

There was a silence between the man and the boy. Eric looked into the teen's deep brown eyes. He felt himself shiver at their intensity.

"Okay! Whatever! I'll play your silly reindeer game!" Eric said in exasperation.

"For some reason.... And you must have gone to a lot of trouble to figure all this out... You think you are Mark Greene. A boy I went to school with over forty-five years ago!" he said.

The boy smiled.

"Mark. My name IS Mark. But you.... And ONLY you..... called me 'Marky!'" the boy replied.

Eric was dumbfounded. The boy was spot-on correct.

He recalled when his friends had used the name "Marky" or "Marky-boy" for Mark. Eric had come unglued. And no one ever did it again.....

"You did your research pretty well!" Eric tried to laugh, "But you fucked up in a couple of places!"

The boy sat silently.

"First, I don't know how you're doing it... But if you really ARE Mark Greene, then you'd know we never.....!" he stopped and stammered, trying to think of the right way to finish his sentence.

"Made love?" The teen replied.

That choice of words hit Eric cold.

He tried to move on....

"And you're forgetting something else. Something very big.... Very important.... That knocks you out of whatever charade this is!" Eric said.

"And that is?" the boy asked.

"You... You......!" Eric started to cry, "Why the fuck do you want me to say it?"

Tears flowed out and down his face.

The boy looked solemnly at the older man as he spoke.

"I died. In 1974. August 28th to be exact. I dressed up just like I am now, took a garden hose and attached it to the exhaust pipe on my Mom's car.... And sat there in the driver's seat....!" the boy said softly.

"Stop It!!!! Shut the Fuck Up!!!! Please!!!!! God Damn It!!!!! Why????? Why the Fuck Are You Doing This To Me??????? Why Are You Making Me Relive My Worst Personal Nightmare?????" Eric cried.

The boy stood and moved next to Eric.

"Feel my forehead!" the boy commanded.

Eric was terrified.

"Go ahead. There's no surprise coming!" the boy explained.

"No surprise? I'm talking to a dead fifteen year old, a boy who died when he was nineteen, in 1974... and it's now 2015 ...and you say there's 'no surprise coming?'" Eric choked out the words.

Nevertheless, he reached out and touched the boy's forehead. It felt soft and warm. Like a living human being.

"This can't be. What the fuck are you? A ghost? A spirit? A doppelgänger?" he yelped.

"No. I am exactly who I appear to be!" the boy replied, "If a take this knife....."

The boy reached for a sharp knife on the counter top...

"And slice it down my arm like so....!" He started to draw the blade down his arm.

"NOOOOOOO!!!!!" Eric screamed.

He yanked the blade out of the boy's hand.

"I get it, Okay? But.....pardon me if .... that just isn't possible by any laws of science! You CAN'T be who you claim to be!" Eric shot back, "And even if it were true, why are you here now with me?"

The boy seemed to freeze in time for a moment before answering.

"I don't have a lot of time left. This is the last of three visits I can make to you!" he explained.

Eric remembered the boy mentioning time before.

"Why? What do you want?" Eric asked.

"I have been given another chance!" the boy replied, "Another chance at life. At finishing my life. But I have to do it with someone who......!"

He stopped in mid-sentence...

"....Who cares about me. Who remembers me!" he said softly.

The boy's inflection and intonation hit Eric like a sledgehammer. Memories flooded back into his brain. It sounded.... HE sounded just like Marky......

"What about your brothers and sister?" Eric asked.

He knew Marky had two brothers and one sister.

"One of them is dead, the other has long spurned me as has my Sister. She has her own life now and I am not welcome in it!" boy said softly.

Eric cried again. How could anyone ever forget such a beautiful boy.

"You never asked my why!" the boy stated, "Why I.....!"

"It's hard enough... Was hard enough to find out.. To realize that you were gone forever..... That I wasn't there to stand by your side!" Eric cried.

"I ..... It was because..... My parents found out about you and me... After you left.... It .... Nothing was the same... Your friends tried to help me. To be my friend too.... But... I missed you so much... Your friends were not YOU!!! Then my parents found out.... I almost dropped out of school," the boy sobbed, "When I turned eighteen I had to leave home because they were going to kick me out. My Dad didn't want a 'queer' son living around my brothers... So I had to leave....!"

Eric was furious that any parent could be such an asshole...

"I tried... I got a job at the Revlon plant... and tried..... to forget about us... But it didn't work. I tried drugs to forget. And I drank. A lot!" he sobbed.

"But... Fuck! You were only eighteen!" Eric cried.

Marky continued, "I know.... I couldn't leave town 'cause I had nowhere to go... After graduation, all my friends from school moved on and I was left behind!" the boy explained, "So....I saw only one way out....!"

"I tried to make you remember me... Us... and how it could have been!" the boy explained, "If only we hadn't been so scared!"

"So that explains the dream I had last night?" Eric asked, "How did you control my thoughts like that?"

"Because we are in each other's minds forever. You especially. Your thoughts... memories of me have never faded. And they are SO strong! I have to try... I have only one chance. And I am running out of time." the boy replied.

"Don't be too hard on yourself. We were.... It was 1969... 1970.... It was nothing like today!" Eric said softly.

"Only you remembered me. No one else!" the boy said softly.

"I never forgot you!" Eric cried.

He thought back. To that horrible day in 1974.....

The Davis Family had left at the end of Eric's Junior year in high school. Eric remembered watching Marky wave goodbye as he drove away for the last time. Eric cried all the way home, slammed the door to his bedroom and did not speak with his Father for days.

They moved to Texas. Marshall, Texas. A wide spot in the road, in a state living firmly in the 1800s.....!!!!

His Father lost that job in just two months. Then they moved to Oklahoma City. Then to Tulsa. All in Eric's Senior year.

Eric couldn't wait to get out of high school and away from his Father. They never spoke, and seldom even saw each other. Eric tried to stay in contact with Marky (as well as others from his old school) but time and life had a way of corroding those long distance communications. It was the early 1970s. No cell phones. No internet. No social media. Long distance phone calls were expensive. That left regular old U.S. mail..... Knowing now what he did, Eric wondered if the letters he had sent to Marky ever got to the boy. Or had Marky's parents intercepted them?

As soon as he graduated, Eric moved out and away from his Father. He knew his parents were going through the throes of the end of their marriage. Eric wanted to be free and away from that drama.

That all ended one night when his Mother called him, crying that his Father had beat her up and was home drunk.

Eric flew at light speed to his parents house. A drunken Father answered the door. Eric let loose on his Father with a savagery usually only seen in prison fights. He literally beat the man into a senseless pulp. Throwing him and his belongings out in the driveway, Eric warned his Father that if he ever came back to this house, he would kill him.

Twenty one years of putting up with his Father's bullshit was too much. It all came out that one night.

Eric never saw his Father again. He moved back in with his Mom to help her out with the divorce. And to keep an eye out for his Dad..... Just in case.....

One night after working late, Eric was sitting in the kitchen. His Mom was whipping up some chocolate chip pancakes (something Eric had found at IHOP and was crazy over) when the telephone rang.

It was almost midnight.... Eric answered.... It was Bob. Bob Mayer. From his old school! That was a surprise!

Immediately Eric could sense that something was wrong.

"Eric....!" Bob said softly, "I.... just.... Oh crap I don't know how to say it.... But Mark Greene committed suicide two days ago!"

Time stopped. The world around him seemed to freeze in place. Eric didn't remember much of the conversation after that. It was like someone had stabbed him through the heart.

He finished the call with Bob and ran to him room crying. Later he finally managed to tell his Mother what had happened.

"That was the boy you used to hang out with all the time!" she recalled.

"Yes!" Eric croaked.

Parents back then could be so clueless! Even though Eric and his Mom were fairly close, and even though Eric and Marky were always hanging out together, she had no clue about the true nature of her son's friendship. The thought, the very idea, never occurred to her; It would have been unthinkable to a woman living in the 1960s!!!!

The years went by, turning into decades. To say that Mark's death ended Eric's life would be an overstatement. The human spirit is strong and resilient. But Mark's death did impact Eric's life.

Eric never again fell in love. He never again even came close to falling in love. But that wasn't the end of it. There was no implication there that Eric turned to a life of celibacy. Far from it.

After his Mother remarried, Eric quit school and headed West. Something about being a "free spirit." He ended up in Los Angeles, with stints in Phoenix, Albuquerque and San Diego, before again returning to Phoenix - his current and probably final destination.

Along the way, Eric led a wide and promiscuous life style. He stopped counting in his diary after he had scored with at least 2000 guys. Probably more. He didn't care. The 1970s and 1980s were a turbulent time for the emergence of gay men. Freed from decades of oppression, their liberation brought casual, easy sex as the order of the day. For Eric it was all about hedonistic thrills. No more attempts at love. No more falling for anyone. No closeness. No hurt.....

Through the years and decades however, Eric never forgot Mark Green. He kept the one old picture of the first and only boy he had ever loved.... as a treasure... of something that might have been...

"That's why I am here!" the boy said softly.

Eric roused from his tear filled trauma to look at the boy sitting in his kitchen.

"But last night... We never....!" Eric said.

"That was.... Like... part of... the last of three visits to you. I used a lot... most of the time I have left here.... to try and convince you... To help you see what might have been or could be!" the boy explained.

"Like the three visits in Dickens' "Christmas Carol?' So you're like 'Tiny Tim' in the story? A future that might be?" Eric shook his head in disbelief.

The boy nodded affirmatively.

"It could be. Can be. Us!" he said.

Eric stifled another round of crying.

"You're overlooking one big thing!' he said, "I'm not like you. I don't know why or how YOU are like you were when we met, but look at me! A fucking dog-ugly old man. A sixty-two year old loser that....!"

"Stop It!!!!" the boy commanded.

That was the first time Eric ever saw the teen assert himself.

"Obviously you don't understand. You would be there with me. Another chance. To do it all over. You would be just like you were when we met. We'd both get to do it all over again. To try and make what didn't happen real......!" the boy explained.

"A sixteen year old version of me with the memories of my sixty-plus years of life?" Eric said slowly, "How would that work?"

The boy looked exasperated.

"NO!" He laughed, "You would be.... YOU at sixteen again! Like you were then. All of this around you now. It would disappear forever. Because it hasn't happened, or wouldn't have happened, yet."

Eric's brain was trying to wrap itself around what the boy had said. Going BACK to when he was sixteen? A clean slate to try again... with Marky? Things like that just don't happen.....

"So it would be like traveling back in time and trying again?" Eric asked.

The boy smiled, "Yes.... If you agree, we'll be back like we were before... I'm not sure when... but all our memories would be intact only up to that point. All of what is now would be gone!" he said.

"Because it would not have happened yet!" Eric blurted out, "And you'd be alive and we could....!"

The boy stopped and looked pensive.

"There's one catch!" he said.

"Ha! I knew it!' Eric snorted.

"No... It's just that.... if the time line tries to repeat itself, then......!" the boy started to explain.

"Then if my Family moves away, everything would end up repeating itself again!" Eric interrupted.

"And since you'll have no trace memories of what is about to happen, you might very well end up right back where you are now!" The boy said.

"And then you.... Would end up......!" Eric choked out.

"Dead! For real this time. Because I wouldn't get another chance ever..... I would end up forgotten and....!" the boy sniffled.

"NO!" Eric cried, "I won't let that happen! I promise!"

"But how would you.... Stop it?" the boy asked.

"I don't know but I will... Marky....!!!! Oh sweet fucking Marky!!!!!" Eric hugged the boy, "I promise not to fuck up this time!"

Eric noticed that the boy seemed cooler.

"Are you all right? You seem...!" he started to say.

"Colder. My time is ending. I am going to have to leave and I can't come back again!" the boy said in a mournful tone.

"NO! Stop it! Make it wait!" Eric screamed.

"I can't!" the boy cried, "I only get a limited time to try and....!"

Eric looked around his house. Everything seemed so surreal. Was this true or a dream? Was he sane or bat shit crazy? One thing for sure was the boy he was touching was growing colder by the minute. Like death creeping into a once-alive body.

"Fuck this shit! What do I have to lose? Sixty-two and alone with no one. Nothing. No tenderness. No love in my life. Ever.....!" he thought.

Eric grabbed the boy. Marky Greene. He held him tightly.

"Yes! I'll go! It's a deal! With you... Marky... Oh sweet fucking Jesus! You were my first and only boy... I ever crushed on... And loved!" Eric cried.

Marky smiled as the two embraced....................

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