Endless Black Ribbon

by Rick Beck

Part 3

I respected Troy. That didn't mean I wouldn't take advantage of the shows he put on for me. These were limited to when we showered in the same room or peed on the side of the road. Standing beside the truck, facing the direction the shoulder was on, no one could see what we were doing.

A few times Troy said he'd be a minute, once I was done, and my West Coast passenger side mirror told me he was taking matters in hand. I should have felt guilty as he pounded away, but I didn't. He'd only take a few minutes and he didn't know I had a clear view.

Time was money and he didn't hold me up long. I wasn't able to tell him to take his time. I'd give myself away. A couple of times I joined in as I watched, hurrying to finish before he did.

He was pretty sharp. He'd catch on if he hadn't already figured it out.

We moved down to Marysville the next morning. It was easier to get loaded in that region. We were lucky enough to pick up a loaded trailer east of Sacramento later that day and we headed east. September was coming to a close. Fall was taking hold in the middle of the country, but we were still in mild weather, once we got passed the chill in the mountains, dropping into Nevada.

Troy had put on his long sleeve button up shirt when we stopped on Donner. As it heated up, the shirt hung open as he leaned against his door, looking out at the highway. His chest glistened with sweat. He was deep in thought or captured by the barren landscape. The yellow, reds, oranges, and browns were amazing to see, but it was mostly dirt and rock.

I kept the windows up for aerodynamics. I had an air conditioner, but that put a drag on the engine and was used in only dramatic heat.

Going east in the afternoon put the sun behind us. So it was a warm day as we crossed the desert. Troy had gone three days without a shave and the hair was barely showing on his face. His hair had been combed but it had taken on a less organized look as the day went on.

I saw him turn his head so he was looking straight at me as he leaned back and arranged his legs. A look of realization came over his face. I knew this by glancing into my West Coast mirror on his side.

He stopped looking at the highway and he was watching me. He was ready to speak, but he didn't. He organized his words before speaking. It's what I thought he might be doing.

" I had a blow job," he said, catching me by surprise.

" I've had several," I said, trying not to act like we were blazing new territory.

" I need to know about this why?" I said, playing along.

" I'd forgotten about this. You'll like it."

" This wasn't part of Bonnie's repertoire?" I asked.

" No, she wouldn't do it. She broke up with guys who insisted on having it done to them," he said, recalling her version.

" I suspect they broke up with her because she wouldn't furnish them with oral stimulation. I'll bet you didn't insist on it?"

" Hell no. I was happy to get what she'd give me. She did most of the insisting."

" Wrong approach. You need to be happy you satisfy a lover. You need to own your feelings and realize you're as important to your partner as your partner is to you. Takes two to tango, Troy."

" I'm not sure what that means," he said.

" You'll figure it out. So Bonnie is your one source of sex? The blow job fell on you one day?"

" Yeah, it did. I was at the home. This was maybe the month before Sheila, my sister, came to get me. I wrestled on the school team. We wrestled each other. No one wanted to wrestle the kids at the home. There were eight or nine of us. We worked out and wrestled for the supremacy of the state home. Big Whoops, huh?"

" It does explain your body. You're quite muscular. Not in an obscene way, but in a way that might come from athletics. I can see you as a wrestler," I said.

" I worked out all the time. Most guys worked out when we were scheduled to work out. I liked being alone and I'd go to the wrestling room to exercise. There was a mat and stuff. Nothing fancy.

" I just put on my short. No jock. I took my underwear off because I didn't want to get it smelly with sweat. I'd work out an our or more two or three times a week. I was on the mat stretching out my hamstrings and Lenny comes in. I was one fort-five. Lenny was one thirty-two. So here I'm doing exercises and my equipment is hanging out of my shorts, because I didn't wear my jock."

" Sounds like an invitation to me," I said. "I guess.

" He wanted to wrestle. We paired up a lot because most of the guys were bigger than we were. There was one guy, Farara. He was the smallest guy and then Lenny and then me.

" Anyway he's on top of me and his hands, as I feared, ended up on my stuff. He didn't seem to notice he was feeling me up. He was slippery quick, and each time I maneuvered him off my stuff, he's got his hand between my legs again. It isn't that unusual in wrestling, but when I only had on shorts, which wasn't enough.

" I felt the problem rising. The longer his hand was there the stiffer I got. I'd get his hand to move he kept moving it back, until it was standing stiff and proud. That's when he did it," he said with alarm.

" He blew you."

" He put his mouth on it, sliding slowly down on me. What do you say when a guy has your dick in his mouth?"

" Watch the teeth?" I said.

" What?" he asked.

" What do you say...."

" Oh, yeah, I wasn't thinking. I told you i have this problem and about the time he'd got half way down on me, I shot off like a rocket. I may have grabbed the back of his head and forced him down on me."

" It's what I'd have done," I reassured him.

" He starts coughing and he says, "You did it in my mouth. Why'd you do that?"

" It's what happens when you put your mouth on someone's dick," I explained.

" Never did before," he said. "That's not nice. Why'd you do that?"

" It went like that a few minutes and he got up and left. Once he got his mouth on me, it was going off and there was nothing I could do."

" No, he did it all," I said.

" I'm stiff talking about it. I'm a mess. Anyway, a guy blew me once."

" I'll keep that in mind," I said, afraid to think I had a shot.

" I was sure he was going to tell someone. I don't know who, or why. I felt guilty about letting him do it and me going off so fast."

" Mostly about going off so fast," I said.

" Yeah, I did kick myself for not being able to hold off."

" He was the one that did the deed. He wasn't going to brag about it. We may be in a new enlightenment, Troy, but male to male sex is still a major threat to a lot of straight men, especially if they have a desire for men. Lenny wasn't telling anyone he liked to suck cock."

" I worry about stuff like that," Troy said. "I don't want people to think.... I don't know why I'm afraid of something I liked."

" It's not something you want everyone to know. I rarely tell anyone about my sex life. It's none of their business as far as far as I'm concerned, unless I'm having sex with them at the time."

" I've noticed that. I thought you might be a monk or something. You never talk about sex, even when I tell you things about me."

I laughed.

" You're a young man. I'm not so young any more. My sex life shrinks in comparison with yours, Troy."

" At the Texaco, it's all we talk about," Troy said.

" Why'd you let Lenny do it?" I asked. "Why didn't you stop him?"

" I wasn't busy at the time. It felt good. It was something to do."

" You liked it," I said.

" There was that," he admitted. "You can't imagine how miserable you are in a place like that, Joe. You're in a cold environment with no one who really gives a damn about you."

" It sounds pretty bad."

" I only had my mother and sister, and my mother was sick for a long time. Then I didn't have anyone. They came and got me. There were some nice people, but my life was over as a kid."

" I'm sorry, Troy. You made it out and you're doing pretty well."

" I was doing better when I thought Bonnie loved me."

He didn't say anything else.

He was looking at the highway again.

I was too, but I had to if I was going to keep the truck on the road.

The conversation was over for the moment, but he'd gone out of his way to tell me he got a bj from a dude. This was a pattern with other guys I'd had on the truck. It happened about the third week a lumper was on the truck. Most lumpers make it clear that they aren't straight, they're super straight. Three weeks in curiosity is getting the best of them. Being on the road limits the opportunities for sexual conquest, even for hot studs.

I'd lost two lumpers outright after the curiosity got them past their inhibitions to act on being horny. The farther they went, the more enjoyable they found it, the more likely they'd cut and run soon after.

There are things people learn about themselves, they aren't prepared to know. A lifetime of prejudice undone in a moment of abandon. It's surprising how flexible young men become when they are horny. Long held beliefs become so much clutter for the waste basket.

While they know what they know about themselves, it doesn't mean they can face someone else who knows the truth. Since I was part of the discovery team in these findings, they needed to leave me and the truck behind, so they can keep their secret. Even go back to condemning that which they've found out they like.

When I had a good lumper, I didn't want to loose him. If the subject came up, and they announced they wanted to cross the Rubicon, I'd say, 'I don't diddle the help.'

Once someone knows you're gay, denying you'll have sex with them often brings on the, 'What's wrong with me syndrome.'

Popular entertainment will tell you a gay man will have sex with anyone at any time, and it may well be true of some gay men, but there are those of us aren't gay men. We are men who are gay. A tiny difference which means, probably most of us, are many things and sex isn't always the first thing on our minds.

Stereotypes are what is seen and believed, and so even a trucker who is trying to be good, can be cornered into a sexual liaison with someone they don't want to loose, but also don't want to insult. Gay men may well be easier when it comes to sex, but when you consider we are well into our teens and twenties before we can express affection, it's no surprise the desire for sex, touching, holding someone, is at first a compulsion, once we're free to express ourselves.

Add a good looking, muscular, young horny dude to the equation and compulsion becomes obsession. I was seriously attracted to Troy. He had everything I liked, but he was still young, finding his way through what he now knew was a cruel world.

I had no right or desire to complicate his life more than it had been complicated, but when he reached the Rubicon, I would be powerless to deny my feelings for him. That could damage both of us, but I couldn't say no to him.

So did these things make me the stereotypical gay man? Even when my life was about much more than who I slept with?

Now Troy had confessed his most notorious sexual escapade to me. He was thinking about sex with a dude. He was one of the best lumpers, and person, to come my way. As badly as I wanted to feel his body against mine, I didn't want to lose him to guilt over exploring his sexuality. Our society almost demanded guilt over our sexuality.

Trucking is like any profession, you learn as you go. You know what you should do, but life being what it is, you can't always do what you know you should.

The difficulty in being human is built into everything we do.

We delivered in St. Louis, picked up in a western suburb of Chicago, delivering into Atlanta. Loading in Atlanta, we unloaded in Los Angeles. We picked up in Ventura. We delivered in Phoenix the next day, picking up a loaded trailer waiting for us in Tempe just before dark. We were heading for Detroit.

We got to Flagstaff before the restaurant closed at Little America and ate. At least I think we ate. I was falling asleep and even three cups of coffee did nothing to keep me awake.

" We need to sleep here tonight. I'm beat," I told Troy.

" I've been beat since we delivered in Los Angeles. I wondered when you were going to stop long enough for a nights sleep."

" When the loads come one after the other, I need to take advantage of them. It'll get slow in a month or so. I want to have money in the bank for the winter when the freight slows down."

" A good nights sleep will get you a lot farther than if you keep pushing yourself. You look like shit."

" Thank you. Now I feel better," I said.

" Sorry. You need some rest, Joe."

" Glad we are in agreement, and now I'm going out and collapsing in my bunk."

" I'm going to get a shower and finish my dinner," Troy said, separating from me for the first time in two weeks.

Climbing into my bunk, I missed the sound of him in the front seat, but not enough to keep me from falling asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

" Hey! Hey! Wake up," someone was saying as he shook me.

" One of us better fucking be on fire," I growled. " Go a-way,"

"Joe, I'm freezing my ass off. Move over," Troy said as he moved into the bunk with me.

" Don't worry, I took my clothes off. I did laundry after I showered. It was warm when I fell asleep. Damn it's cold. This is comfortable. I don't know when I laid down last."

" Troy, it's called going to sleep. Shut up."

" Sorry!" he said, and I realized his naked body was up against mine.

It was suddenly very hot in my bunk.

" Joe?"

" Yes!"

" Can I have some of the covers?"

I lifted the blanket and he rolled up against my chest and when I lowered it my arm was around his beautiful chest. I wouldn't need to fall asleep. I was faint and my best part was quite aroused and against the crack of his butt. I wasn't the only one to notice.

" Don't even think about trying to fuck me. Do we understand?"

" The though never entered my mind," I said, fully awake now.

" Right!" he said. "I'm straight not stupid. This is a big step for me. Just keep that thing a safe distance from my asshole and we'll stay friends."

" Yes, sir. You warm."

" Oh, yeah. This is nice. Just why did you make me sleep up there?"

" Lack of imagination?" I asked.

"I like this arrangement way better. Am I crowding you."

" No. We're fine," I said, so overheated he didn't know how close he was to needing another shower.

It wasn't everything I ever wanted, but it was pretty damn close.

I could have fallen in love with Troy, but I didn't.

He wasn't as straight as he said, and i wasn't so horny that I had to make a move on him to satisfy my carnal desire.

Having Troy sleeping in my arms at night was like dying and going to heaven. From the night he crawled into my bunk in Flagstaff, that's how we slept. He held onto my arm so I couldn't stop holding him. I sensed as good as it made me feel, it made Troy feel even better.

I did not try to take any liberties. Holding him suited me just fine.

Each night his body molded to mind. He didn't usually move once he settled into my arms, and each night my erection stayed pressed against the crack of his ass.

If he woke up when I got up to move on down the road, I didn't sense it. The other benefit in sleeping in the bunk, he slept in until I hit the air brakes the first time, and the loud swoosh of air the brakes made was his wake up call.

That's when he rolled out of the bunk and was pulling on his jeans. Then he was out cleaning the windshield and get the trash out of the truck while we fueled, and then we'd eat or get takeout.

Being a healthy young man, he had his morning hard-on for me to admire. After the first few morning, he stopped trying to keep me from seeing his erection. Troy had it all and it made him nearly irresistible.

The quality of his work didn't slack off any, because he knew I was smitten with him. I do believe it relaxed him to know how much I cared about him, and yet he'd not had to give anything up. The truck was his port in the storm that almost wrecked his life.

He smiled a lot, watched me drive with his back up against the door. I don't know what he was seeing but he often sat watching me. The rest of the time he looked out at the highway, seeing what I was seeing. The road was ahead was clear and smooth.

He'd relaxed completely two months after coming on my truck. A week after he first climbed into my bunk with me, I woke up with Troy's face on my chest, his arms around me, mine around him. I was his employer, protector, and a safety valve who came for him at the darkest moment of his young manhood. I hoped our friendship would take hold and grow.

There had been over a dozen lumpers before Troy. Most stayed a few months some stayed most of a year. One called on his worst days to see if I needed a lumper. My truck was a refuge for boys like him.

Constant motion isn't for everyone. Sooner or later boys get bored with the endless black ribbon I drive and they need to stop moving.

Knowing the nature of the business I'm in, I am a cautious man. I can stop my feelings from developing beyond a certain point. Having experience means, not falling in love with a lumper. If I was going to fall in love with one, it would be Troy, an admitted straight man.

I knew better.

First Troy got in the bunk with me, which made for many sleepless nights; not unpleasant just sleepless. At some point in the weeks that followed, I woke up with Troy's arms around me.

It was a first for one of my lumpers. Even the ones who wanted to walk on the wild side, were reluctant to let affection enter into it. It made it difficult to maintain my distance. This was a snag I hadn't anticipated and with which I had no experience.

The good thing was that Troy slept soundly. When I got up to start driving, he stayed in the bunk and slept. This meant we didn't need to discuss what us hugging each other at night meant.

I didn't know how to have that conversation.

Being resourceful, and not having nearly the experience I had, Troy didn't need to deal with my inhibitions. He intended to have the conversation I was happy not having. In this case experience didn't win out.

" Is there something wrong with me, Joe?" Troy asked as we waited for dinner.

His voice told me that this was a serious concern for him.

" Nothing I can think of. You do your work. You're easy to be around. I thought everything was fine, Troy. Did I say something to offend you."

" How long have I been sleeping with you?" he said, disregarding the other patrons who were also there for dinner.

" You've been sleeping in the bunk for a few weeks," I said. "I didn't mark down the date. Maybe it's been a month."

" You haven't touched me. I mean, I thought you gay guys were all cock hounds and couldn't stop chasing dick. It's what I've always heard. There's something wrong with one of us."

"Do we have to do this here? Right now?" I said, looking at the diners who were becoming aware of us.

The conversation I didn't want to have? Now I wished we'd had it, and somewhere besides in public. I was not ready for this.

"Don't try to put this off any longer. I want to know why you won't touch me? You know, touch me, touch me?" saying the second touch me in a low sultry voice.

"Troy, whatever you've heard. I can guarantee, it has nothing to do with me. What you said is insulting and you happen to be straight, or have you forgotten?"

"Whatever you've heard about that isn't me. D id I think I'd need to be here asking you for... you know what I'm asking for."

" I work for a living. I keep pretty busy in case you haven't noticed. Besides, I recall the words, 'I'm straight, not stupid.' I won't have you saying I ran you off, Troy. I promised I'd take care of you," I said.

"You aren't taking care of me," he sang. "That's the problem. Do you only fuck? That comment was about you fucking me."

People at the next table coughed in unison.

" Troy, this isn't the place to discuss this. Can't it wait?" I said softly.

" No, it can't. When I got into your bunk, I expected certain things would happen. I didn't want your dick in my ass. That may be a leap too far," he said in a whisper, leaning toward me as he did.

The people at the next table leaned to hear what we were saying.

" Joe, what I'm saying.... ...I'm saying I'm horny. I told you about Lenny. Didn't you wonder why? Are you sure you're gay?"

"You being horny is no secret. Your telling me a story about what happened to you at that home isn't exactly inviting."

"When nothing happened, I started sleeping with you. I sleep naked. You sleep naked. So, what's wrong with me? I want to know."

" Troy, I like you a lot. You're a big help to me. I don't want to take a chance of losing you. I don't want you leaving any sooner than necessary."

"I got nowhere to go . I'm not asking to have your children."

I laughed at the idea.

" That's a relief," I said.

" I'm tired of jacking off. I've gone from more sex than I knew how to handle to no sex to handle."

" You say yes, yes, now, because you're horny. When you aren't horny, the guilt sets in. I've seen it, Troy. I'm not going there with you."

" I'm always horny. Everything I do you can say it's because I'm horny at the time. By getting into the bunk with you, I thought you'd get the hint. Boy was I wrong."

" I don't want to complicate things. I like how it is. How we get along."

"Well, if you want to keep getting along, w e'll meet in the bunk tonight. We're going to start getting along even better."

I laughed again. Speaking of an offer you can't refuse.

" What? Riding makes me horny."

" Troy, you're always horny," I said. " You are a mess."

" You telling me. When did I start thinking about doing it with a dude?"

" I don't know," I said. "But if we do this, and you leave me, I'll...."

" I've got no where to go. I live with you. We live on your truck. I'm where I want to be doing what I want to do."

His look told me he was serious. His clear blue eyes never left mine.

" I never had a male friend before I met you," he said.

" John?" I asked.

" Do you remember everything?" he asked.

" Things I consider important, I remember."

He thought about this.

" John was another kid. We liked some of the same things. He was someone to hang with. If he were my friend he wouldn't be sleeping with my girlfriend."

" Can't argue with that. You need to decide what those things mean to you. I don't know anything but what you tell me. Words convey meaning and that's all I have to go on."

" You getting tired of me?" he asked, and he watched my face.

" Do I act like I'm tired of you? I'm afraid I'll lose you."

" I don't know anything but what you tell me," he said, smiling. "I like you. It would be easier if you just grabbed it and I let you do what you wanted to do, but I can see that isn't the way to go for you."

" What do I want to do?"

" Blow me," he said loud enough for everyone to hear.

There was more coughing at the next table.

" I think you'd like to swallow my dick," he said seductively. "I'd like it."

" Swallow would be ambitious," I whispered. "You need me to make the move so you don't need to face what it means if you make the first move."

" Now you're a shrink?" he asked.

" Believe me when I say, if every boy who got a blow job from another guy were gay, half the men would be gay. It means nothing. It's something men like but don't like to admit. If it feels good, do it."

"In other words, I should be responsible for what I want and feel? What if I have no idea what I feel? Except for feeling horny."

" You'd belong to a very big club. Men aren't encouraged to feel. Horny may well be another word for being lonely."

We did need to get some miles behind us after dinner. The discussion about what happened once we stopped for the night had ended. Troy got my thermos filled before we left, and I was good to go.

Four hours later I eased into a rest area just outside of Nashville. I had run out of steam. As I began to undress, Troy did likewise. When he got his jeans down to his knees, his cock stood stiff and proud.

" Don't trip over that thing if you stand up."

Grabbing it suggestively he said, " Takes two hands to handle a whopper."

" You do like to show off," I said. "Nice when you've got the equipment to do it."

" I think it's grown because of the drought. It's looking for relief," he said.

" You sure you're ready for to do this? You can still change you're mind," I said.

" Nice try, Joe. You aren't getting off that easy. You've still got work to do. The night isn't over yet."

Work wouldn't be what I'd call it. Troy was a handful in more ways than one. He didn't wear out easy. At first he was sedate, living up to his description of being fast on the draw as soon as my mouth made contact. It wasn't instantaneous reaction, but it didn't take long.

For a few seconds he held my head and then moved his hands. His chest was heaving and I don't know if he was disappointed at how it felt or disappointed it was over so fast.

" Don't," he said, when my mouth came off.

" You OK?"

" I'll be ready to go in a couple of minutes if you put your mouth back."

I did. He was. After two starts and two stops, it got more serious and he became more animated. He rearranged me a couple of times and positioned himself to do more of the work himself.

It was a labor of love and I didn't want it to stop. I had nothing to compare it with as Troy was one of a kind. Nothing had changed but the barrier between Troy and my deepest feelings was cracking.

" You OK?" I asked as he laid flat on his back.

" Just thinking," he said.

" We don't have to do it again, Troy. You're straight. You tried it and no one is going to pressure you for more. I was pretty damn glad to be that close to you."

"You talk too much. You also take my breath away. You better pressure me. If you don't, I'll be pressuring you ," he said as he regained his composure. "I've got this to say about that, Wow!"

"I'll take that as an endorsement of my oral capabilities," I said. "I only know what you tell me. I'll take that as approval ," I said. "You know what you like."

" I was afraid of how I'd feel after you did that," he said, "I do know what I like. I like you, Joe. I like being with you."

" I'm glad you feel that way. You'll get no argument form me."

" You still horny?" I asked,

" What time is it. I've been horny since we left Iowa City. I'll be horny when we leave here, and I don't know where here is. I'm a twenty year old guy who has horny down pretty good."

I laughed as I looked across his beautiful chest down to his semi-erect penis. I put my hand on it before feeling his balls. He didn't flinch, but his eyes were on my hand. There was no expression on his face.

The thing I noticed, now that we moved into the realm of desire, he had pure white skin. There wasn't any sign of pores as I studied his skin. It was silky smooth. His nipples were dark pink. The red hair in the middle of his chest was fine and sparse.

When flaccid, his penis was golden brown. As he became aroused, the color darkened to a dark yellow with an orange tint. When it turned that color, he was filled with lustful intention.

Once he got to that point in his arousal, Troy intended to stay for a while. If I'd lost sleep during the hours I held him close to me, once we crossed into the arena of lust and desire, sleep was limited to the hours Troy was worn out. I did my best in that pursuit.

Luckily, as October became November, the freight slowed and I was able to extend the number of ours I wasn't behind the wheel.

One night, climbing into the bunk after me, Troy immediately wrapped his arms around me and squeezed. This usually came after we were done and ready for sleep. He held onto me every night.

" You're a nice guy, Joe," he said. "Is what we do good for you. I mean I get my rocks off and fall asleep. until I fall asleep. I don't know if that's cool. I don't do anything for you."

" Oh, brother, are you ever wrong. You light my fire. I'm fine."

" Are you sure?"

" As long as you're OK with it, I'm fine. Quit worrying. We're cool."

I didn't answer the question. I wasn't going there until he took us.

" When I first started sleeping in the bunk, you were always hard."

" You were in the bunk," I explained.

" You know why I like that?"

" Why?" I asked, wanting to know.

" I feel safe with you. Do you know the first time in my life I felt safe?"

" No," I said, not sure where we were going.

" The first time I knew I was safe and wasn't going hungry, homeless, or getting my ass kicked, was when I got on the truck with you, Joe. That's why I'm not going anywhere. I feel safe with you."

The tears filled his eyes. He held me tight, squeezing as he cried.

I wiped my own eyes. It was the nicest thing anyone had ever told me. The barrier I kept around my feelings for Troy was gone.

I was in love.

During the heat of summer, in the afternoon, a cleansing thunderstorm can roll past, leaving the air fresh and cool. The birds sing and the day feels perfect.

That's how the next day was to me. We had to be up early and we delivered before noon. We wouldn't be on another load until the following day. We turned into the Petro truck stop next to the Interstate. We fueled, cleaned the truck, did our laundry, took a slow two man shower before dressing for dinner.

I spotted a three foot tall teddy bear in the trucker's store. Once we'd ordered dinner, I got up and said I'd be right back. I bought the teddy bear and sat it beside Troy when I came back to the table.

"What is this?" he asked, unable to hide his delight.

"I figured you never had one of those. Now when I get up to drive in the morning, you can hug Lit'l Joe.

Troy laughed and laughed, sitting the bear on his lap. He smoothed the fur and straightened the ribbon around it's neck. Then he looked at me.

"You're something, Joe Buck."

" I wouldn't have it any other way. You are safe with me, Troy. I care about you. I wouldn't let anything happen to you."

" I know," he said.

We took our time with dinner and played some video games and watched part of a bad movie before going back to the truck. Nothing was said as we got ready for bed.

I climbed into the bunk and Troy climbed in, his back to me this time, and moving his back close up against me.

" You got off having your dick against my ass, didn't you?"

"I wouldn't say got off , but yes, that's a good position for me, but don't we have some business before we assume his posture?"

When his hand found my erection, I did jump, not expecting it.

" Sorry. Did I do something wrong?"

" No. You surprised me is all."

"Didn't mean to do that, but I didn't know how to say I was about to grab you dick," he said.

" No apologies necessary," I said, not knowing where this was going.

" Yours tapers, he said, feeling from the head down the shaft. "Mine is thicker but the head isn't like yours. My head is the same thickness as my shaft. It's more blunt but yours tapers down from a big head. It might not hurt that much."

" I'm circumcised. The skin that covers your gland, the head, folds up around the head. It's all about functionality. You get hard, the skin folds up to fill the space between the shaft and head when you've got an erection. All that's been cut off of me. That's why it's tapered."

"I'd like mine to look like yours. Bonnie said something about me getting circumcised. "

" No! Don't even think it, Troy. It's mutilation. They do it to defenseless boys before their old enough to kick their ass. They cut off part of my penis. Do you understand that? Supposedly in our culture that is one of the most private and secretive parts of a human body, and they take it upon themselves to cut parts of it off."

" When you put it that way. Why do they do it?"

" In case you haven't figured it out, people don't need a reason for being stupid. They do what they want come hell or high water. They are especially good at it with defenseless people, like babies."

Troy laughed.

" I take it I can't get circumcised?"

" No!"

" Aren't you being like them. Telling me what to do?"

" I'm trying to help you. They're trying to be idiots. They're good at it."

" OK. I won't ask you to circumcise me."

" Someone with the equipment you have, being circumcised would probably kill you. You are stitched up where they cut parts off. If you get an erection for a week or ten days after the operation, the stitches are ripped out."

" Oh, no thank you. You talked me out of it. No erection for a week to ten days. Maybe ten minutes."

" I'm waiting for some kid to sue their parents and their doctor for mutilating them. I'd like that."

" You'd rather be like me?" he asked.

I laughed.

" It would take more than undoing an operation for me to be like you," I said.

" Why's that?"

" You're fishing for compliments. Your body is perfect. Your cute as hell, and your hung better than some ponies I know. I couldn't be like you on my best day."

He laughed.

"I love you too, Joe, " he said.

I couldn't see his face but it got quiet fast. We listened to each other breath. I held him close and it felt a little like heaven.

After a few minutes, he rolled around and held my dick on his hole.

" Stop," I said, realizing what he was about to try.

" Hey, you just got lucky, sailor. You want me to stop?"

" I do not have a condom handy. You don't do this without a condom."

" Fuck!" he said. "I had to get my nerve up to dare try it."

" No fuck," I said. "Hey, don't you know about AIDS. I know you don't have unsafe sex."

" I've heard of AIDS. I'm not gay. It's a gay disease," he said.

" If you had a brain, you'd be dangerous. A disease isn't gay. If it's in the blood and semen, it can be in anyone's blood and semen. There are precautions and ways to be sure you won't catch it."

" Joe, do you have AIDS?"

" No!"

" There you go. Fuck me," he said with determination.

"No. We need lube. You don't just stick a dick up your ass."

"Glad to hear there's a lube for this kind of thing."

"There are more kinds of lube for fucking than for cars," I said.

" You might be turning down the only time I've got enough nerve to let you try this," he said with a sigh.

" I'll take my chances. I'm not going anywhere and if I'm lucky, you aren't going any where, and one day you might want to try it again."

" Probably. I been thinking about it since I started sleeping back here. I bet you've fucked guys without a condom or lube before."

" Yep! I confess. I have had unsafe sex."

" But you won't do it with me?"

" Nope. If we do it, we'll do it the way that teaches you how to be safe. In case when you get old and feeble, you leave me, you'll know how to be safe."

" If I'm old and feeble, I won't care if I'm safe or not," he said, kissing me on the lips. "You're a keeper, Joe. Don't try to get rid of me."

" I'd get rid of the truck first."


In my travels I've met many young men on the road who were happy to take a job as my lumper. Troy was the best of these. He had the usual prejudices fostered by an unenlightened society, who still believes sex is something dirty, except when they do it.

Troy could learn. It wasn't that he couldn't feel. He learned not to feel. It was safer. Many men refuse to feel. It's less risky. I've learned before I take a lumper with me, I tell him I'm gay. This was the point when they all said, 'As long as you leave me alone, we're fine.'

When the wheels begin to turn, they're sure of the facts and know where they stand. In time they sense living without feeling isn't cool, once they decide to feel, they discover a truth about themselves they hadn't known. The inevitable question, 'Why haven't you...?" comes up. They think about what they've been taught, and what they know, and it doesn't add up.

All lumpers don't get to this phase before leaving the truck.

I was surprised how little men know about sexuality and how little they allow themselves to feel. Sex education comes from the usual sources. Short on facts and long on, 'Just say no,' and magically pink ponies and purple unicorns fly out of their arse when they fart.

These are the boys I find on the side of America's highways.

Because what they've been taught doesn't match up with their feelings, they shut down rather than risk a major embarrassment.

Lumpers like Troy knew they got the truth from me. They knew I did what I said I'd do. No longer vulnerable, some lumpers stay longer than others. Some have more experience with life, and they are on the truck to take a break from the road.

I was never happier than when I had a lumper beside me. My saddest moments came when a lumper said, 'I'll get off at this exit.'

The last thing I saw of these boys, the last thing they saw of me, were the eyes. They'd stand where they got out, watching, listening to me shift through the gears, easing back onto the super slab.

My eyes would be on them. Their eyes would be locked on my right hand West Coast mirror. They'd watch my eyes grow smaller as our lives became separated by the miles we traveled.

Well, time to get rolling. See you the next time I'm out this way. Troy's been on the truck two years this week. I'm taking a load of waiting area furniture to McCarran Airport, Las Vegas.

After we deliver, we'll spend three days at the Pyramid, where we intend to eat, drink, and be merry.

Keep the shiny side up and the rubber side down.

Joe Buck

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