Oliver of the Adirondacks

by Dashiell Walraven

Chapter 30

The summer Neal and I spent at the lake, sticks with me for many reasons. Going on 14 years of age, standing on the brink of adulthood; it scared and thrilled me at the same time. I could not be described as anything but madly in love. I craved to be close to Neal at every turn, I didn't care whether we were out adventuring, exploring woods and hiking trails, hanging out with the kids at the state campground, helping out with the Saturday night cookouts on the beach or participating games with the kids from the other cabins. It was as carefree an existence as you can imagine for two boys, barely into their teens, discovering true friendship and love.

During the week after Independence Day, Neal and I climbed to the abandoned fire tower once more, had lunch and meandered our way down the mountain, stopping by the old Indian cave for a quick, naked romp. Afterwards, while soaking up the warm afternoon sun, I found myself feeling strange, sort of disconnected from the world. The sounds of nature around me seem oddly amplified and resonant. When I turned my head to look around, it seemed like it took my vision a moment to catch up. A wave of nausea overtook me, and I suddenly found myself barfing over the edge of the rock ledge.

"Holy shit, dude!" Neal cried out, "Are you alright?"

"I think so," I said, spitting the remaining vomit from my mouth. Neal bent over me, his hand on my back felt comforting. Neal felt my sweat-slicked forehead.

"Did you get overheated or something?" he inquired gently, "Maybe the mayonnaise went bad in your sandwich?"

"Don't think so," I said, dragging my arm across my lips, "it came on so suddenly, like all at once." I slowly stood on quaky legs and felt very unsteady. Neal pulled his shorts and T-Shirt on in a flash, and helped me dress. Together, we made our way down the trail and by the time we got to the base of the mountain, I felt much better. The bike ride back home proved uneventful, and for the most part, I forgot about the whole thing.

About a week after that is when things started to go really jinkey. My mom, dad, Neal and I were eating dinner around the table. Neal chattered on about our day's adventure tangling with a huge snapping turtle. Sometime between the main course and dessert, I heard a strange tinkling sound, almost like bells, but more distant and muted. I couldn't quite place it, so I started moving my head around, listening for where it might be coming from. The sound seemed to be coming from wherever I looked. I shook my head, and wiggled a finger in one of my ears, and then the other.

I wrinkled my nose at an unpleasant smell which suddenly invaded my nostrils. I thought, at first, maybe Neal or my dad had farted or something, but it didn't exactly smell like that. More of an acrid odor, like something burning, it started to become intolerable so I pushed my chair back from the table to get up and flee. My feet felt like they were tangled up in themselves and I stood only briefly, falling back into the chair at an odd angle. Looking around the table, I saw everyone staring at me with concerned faces.

"Oliver?" I saw my mom's mouth move, "What's the matter?" Her voice sounded far off and kind like she was underwater, or as if I were underwater; I felt extremely disoriented. The last thing I remember is everybody standing up abruptly from the table, looking very upset.

A shimmery cloud of silvery sparkles lifted slowly from my eyes as a sharp, keening whistling sound faded from my ears. A bright light shone in one eye, then the other; a thin sounding voice from overhead said, "Paging Dr. Samuelson, ER stat." I felt very nauseated, my head throbbed, my limbs felt leaden and I felt a cold dampness in my pants.

"Well hello there Oliver," a familiar voice hovered over me, "welcome back to the living." I squinted towards the voice, trying to place it. Trying to move my hand to wipe my brow, I found myself bound by a blanket. Blinking away the clouds from my vision, I focused on the face of the person talking to me.

"What's going on?"

"You've got something going on with you, Oliver," he said, calmly, "We just have to figure out what it is." I felt warm fingers at my neck, and then on the top of my head. "Feeling any better?"

"No," I moaned, "I feel terrible." An understatement, to say the very least.

"I bet you do," he chuckled warmly.

"Who are you?" I asked, still very unsure of what was going on, "Where are we?"

"This is Dr. Malinowski, do you remember me?" A distant memory of visits to my family doctor's office flickered in my mind, I nodded, now aware of the pillow behind my head. Tears came unbidden to my eyes and I let out a howl of discomfort as a needle deftly skewered a vein in my arm.

"Shhh, shhh, darling," my Mom's voice soothed from above my head, I felt her hand caress my cheek.

"Mom?" I croaked, my lips felt parched and dry, "what happened?"

"Hush now sweetie," she cooed in my ear, "let the doctor help you."

"I think I peed my pants," I sniffled.

After a perfunctory examination, the doctor scribbled on a clipboard and ushered my family out of the painfully bright room. I gradually became aware of the bustling going on around me. A friendly-faced orderly who looked like he couldn't be much older than Garrett, gently sat me up and lifted my shirt over my head. He guided me back down to the bed, untied my sneakers, stuck my socks into them and gingerly pulled off my sodden shorts, along with my underwear, and put them into a bag. As I lay there on the gurney, I was aware of my nakedness, but feeling too miserable to be embarrassed. He then pulled a soothingly cool sheet over me. Outside of the door, I heard the doctor speaking to my parents in a quiet voice.

Figuring out that I was in the Emergency room at a hospital somewhere, came slowly to me. The bright lights, the sharp, loud sounds, all conspired to keep me disoriented. So much so, that when one of the nurses came in and demanded a urine sample, I simply could not fathom what it was she was saying or asking me to do. Finally, exasperated, she lifted the sheet and parked a urinal between my legs and asked me to pee. When I couldn't, she threw up her hands and acted as if I was being stubborn; she gave up and walked out of the room. Or so I thought.

I still felt very cloudy when the handsome orderly returned, pushing a covered cart in front of him. He spoke in soothing tones, but I really didn't comprehend what he was doing. I didn't even flinch when he threw back the sheet covering me, and started swabbing my penis with a very cold liquid. Curious, I lifted my head up and saw he was painting my dick with a dark brown liquid that smelled of antiseptic. My face split into a drunken smile when he wrapped his warm, gloved hand around my penis and I laid my head back down on the pillow. It's very hazy to me, but I must have been thinking, in my disordered state, how nice it was for the handsome fellow to take me "in hand", as it were. Perhaps he was trying to make me feel better? Who knows what I was thinking, but moments later, when the catheter stung and slithered it's way down my urethra, I understood enough to recognize it as a physical assault.

My screams brought in a rush of people in white coats and starched caps. To be truthful, I don't remember it hurting that badly, but it was uncomfortable to say the least. I blubbered to whoever would listen, and begged them to take it out. I fingered the nurse who bothered me earlier as the one who snitched me out for not being able to pee; she seemed to be perversely satisfied and intimated it was my own fault for not being cooperative. To that point, she was correct, for I ceased to be cooperative from that point on. I don't remember much more from that night, other than a sharp pain in my arm and a numbing cold as my consciousness slipped its corporal bonds.

The week at the hospital is mostly blurred in my brain. I have distinct memories of certain things, laying quietly on a bed with myriad wires glued to my skull, flashing lights and humming machinery. There were numerous tests and by the time of discharge, I was fairly sick of being poked and prodded. My mother and father, noting my distress, became more demanding of either a diagnosis or release. In the end, they let me go home with a prescription for headache pain, no actual diagnosis and a referral to a pediatric neurologist in Albany.

Of course, the day I got home, both Neal and Garrett greeted me enthusiastically. I still felt out of sorts, awkwardly accepting their hugs before letting them lead me to bed. There, I slept a goodly twenty-four hours, getting up only to pee, and at one point, sip at a bowl of warm soup before going back to bed. When I finally awoke the next day and felt more like myself again, Neal was curled up against me.

I turned over slowly to gaze at his face. His skin glowed in the pale light coming through the window, his atramentous brush of lustrous hair glinted as his chest moved in sleep-slowed breaths; he looked angelic to me. With the tip of my index finger, I traced one of his generously tufted eyebrows, his hand came up to brush me away; I chuckled. A smile flickered across his face as he took my wrist and lifted my finger from his forehead.

"Hey Oliver," he breathed, his voice still husky with slumber, "I missed you."

"Me too," I said softly, "I was so upset when I woke up and you weren't there." Neal's eyes welled up and glistened suddenly.

"Dude!" he whispered urgently, "They wouldn't let me come see you, and it scared me so bad!" He sat up and looked down at me, his hand petting my face and arms. Tears were falling freely from his face and he made a quiet whimper that tore at my heart. It occurred to me that this was the first time I had really seen Neal actually cry, about anything. I sat up and took him up in a fierce embrace. "I thought you were gonna die," he croaked into my shoulder, his voice cracking. We held each other tightly while he sobbed, I wasn't quite sure what else to do. My mother must have heard because she came into my room and sat down on the bed next to us.

"Hey, hey there boys," she wrapped both of us up in her arms, "What's going on with you two?"

Neal loosened his grip on me and turned to hug my mother, who let him spend the rest of his tears on her shoulder while she patted and rubbed his back. She understood, in that all-knowing way of all mothers. Mom reached over and brushed her fingers against my brow. "Everything okay with you, Ollie?" she asked in a whisper. I nodded and she turned her full attention back to Neal, rocking him gently in her arms a bit while whispering soothing things into his ear. When he finally sat back on his heels, he looked bewildered and embarrassed. Mom put her hands behind our necks and drew us in together until we gently touched foreheads with her.

"Boy, aren't you two a couple of soppy messes?" she smiled conspiratorially, we both grinned back at her. "Come on you guys, go splash some cold water on your faces and make yourselves presentable for the dinner table." In kitchen downstairs, the phone rang, so Mom jumped up and dashed for it, calling behind her, "dinner in a few minutes boys, don't dawdle!"

We sat there looking dumbly at one another, Neal and me, only to find ourselves inexplicably giggling. With no provocation whatsoever, Neal leaned over and planted a kiss on me even as I laughed. His teeth actually clicked with mine but it didn't matter, I instantly seized his face with my hands and started hungrily devouring his lips. Our chests heaved as we lurched against one another, blood surged into my penis, making it immediately, painfully hard. Neal's dick tented out his shorts obscenely, and my vision grew narrow with intense lust. Without saying anything to coordinate our efforts, we laid down, head-to-foot, desperately clawing at our shorts and pulling down our waistbands before gobbling down each other's rampant peckers.

"Ungh!" I moaned deeply, burying his rod in my mouth to stifle myself. He did much the same and in moments, we both were shooting into each other's mouths. It was over as quickly as it began, and we lay there, tangled in a panting, sighing pile of boyhood.

"Boys!" called my mother from the kitchen, "Dinner's gonna get cold!" We both smiled, stuffed our deflating penises back into our shorts, tucked in our shirts and stole one last kiss before we ran for the dining room.

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