Boy From the High Country

by Arthur Kent

Chapter 1

DISCLAIMER: This story depicts, in part, a sexual relationship between an underage boy and an adult male. This is unusual for this site, but it is not really what the story is about.

If you are offended by such material, or if it is illegal for you to read such stories in your state or country, consider this your warning. You are solely responsible for the consequences if you continue reading. This is a work of fiction. The narrator is a fictionalized version of the author. Everyone else is a complete fabrication, and the events in the story are entirely a product of the author's imagination. Even the road map of Wyoming is fictionalized. Distances are different from what events in the story would suggest. There is a rest area outside of Sheridan but it has many more amenities than the one in the story. This is a story, not a geography lesson. It is also not just an excuse for a series of steamy sex scenes. If you are looking for instant jack-off material, you won't want to bother with this story.

PROLOGUE: July, 2020

The greeting card in my morning mail came as a surprise. My parents were dead, I had no living siblings, and my daughter hadn't used the post office since the invention of email. There was no return address, but I could guess who it was from; there was only one person I could think of who might have sent it. As soon as I opened the flap and took out the card, I knew that I was right. It was a comic card, showing a dog leaving a spay and neuter clinic with his hind quarters bandaged. It said, "You changed my life." I laughed out loud. "Kelly, you devil," I said.

There was no pre-printed message on the inside, but there was a hand-written one. "Twenty years, and I still love you. Freddie loves you too. Thank you for a summer we will never forget." Kelly had scrawled his name underneath. Penmanship was never his forte, but this kind of thoughtfulness was pure Kelly. Only six months had passed since I last visited them, an adult couple whose commitment has remained strong now for twelve years. But when I thought of them, I still saw them as they were back in that summer of the year 2000.


In the high plateau country of Wyoming the nights can get very cold, even in midsummer. A sudden snowstorm can snarl traffic on I-90 in July. So when I saw the boy asleep on top of the picnic table in the rest area outside of Sheridan, I immediately wondered if he had a warm jacket. In my thirty years of high school teaching, I had learned that in some ways, adolescents are young adults; in other ways, they are old children. I always worry about them. I suppose that is why most of my closest friends are former students.

With the exception of my small motor home, the rest area was deserted. On a Monday afternoon in the heart of Wyoming there isn't much vehicle traffic on the highway. I needed to pee so badly it felt like my back teeth were floating, otherwise I would not have stopped. This was not one of those large rest areas with vending machines, telephones and flush toilets. At least it had a separate parking area for the big rigs, so I didn't have to breathe diesel fumes on my way to the outhouse. I use that word because each restroom was a wooden enclosure surrounding a one-piece molded fiberglass cubicle with a single stool above a holding tank. It smelled like a privy. Thank God for Wet Ones, because there was no sink.

I was just past the halfway point in my eight-week summer odyssey. Single again after my second wife got fed up with my grading papers late into the night and gave me my marching orders, I decided to take my fifty-five-year- old ass out and, in Paul Simon's words, "Look for America". I bought a used small Chinook motor home, and set out on the road as soon as school ended in June.

The Chinook resembled a camper that had been attached to a light pickup body, though it looked much nicer than that. Because it looked so much like a camper, that's what I called it. It was supposed to sleep four, but two of them would have to be kids because their bed would be a bunk that extended above the cab. There was a full-sized bed for me that broke down to make an eating area. The amenities included a small gas/electric refrigerator, a propane-fired heater, a two-burner gas stove, an AM/FM radio with a CD player, and a small sink that was supplied either from a small on- board water tank or from an outside hose if there was a faucet nearby. An earlier owner had retrofitted a small microwave oven, which was nice when the camper was plugged in to external power. And, wonder of wonders, there was a small cabinet that held a toilet, though it was the Porta Potty type, not one with a holding tank. At least I wouldn't have to worry about being seen while taking care of the necessities. I tried to use it as little as possible, however, because ventilation was not that great. There was no TV, which was fine with me, but there was room for all my clothes and enough books to tide me over in bad weather. I loved it.

I had no firm itinerary, but I was visiting national parks and historic sites so that the trip could be tax-deductible for me as a history teacher. The Chinook had already taken me from my home in Oregon down into California, through Yosemite and Death Valley and on to Carlsbad Caverns. I had seen the Alamo, Dealey Plaza where JFK was shot, and the D-Day Museum in New Orleans. I had followed the mighty Mississippi northward to St. Louis, disappointed that I could almost never see the river because it flowed between high levees. I had started out to follow the Lewis and Clark trail westward, but after a while the displays became repetitive and I struck out toward Yellowstone by way of Mount Rushmore and Devil's Tower. I enjoyed the solitary journey. I had met some nice people in campgrounds and RV parks along the way, but there was no one to tie me down. Now here I was, peeing into a giant chamber pot in Wyoming, blissfully unaware that my life was about to take a dramatic turn.

The boy was still there when I came out of the fiberglass outhouse. I started to climb into the camper, then hesitated. Something was very wrong here. The boy did not belong in the midst of this desolate landscape. It was none of my business, of course, but I had made a life out of helping kids. I could not just drive away.

He lay on his left side, his legs bent at the knees, his head resting in the crook of his left arm. His right arm shielded his eyes from the harsh summer sun, so I could not see much of his face. He was wearing blue jeans, not the baggy low-riding cargo pants so much in favor with the boys in my school. His long-sleeved shirt was a nondescript light blue plaid. On his feet were a well- worn pair of Nike Airs. Altogether he looked more K-Mart than Abercrombie & Fitch. A dark green backpack lay in the crook at the back of his knees, but it was not a hiking pack. It was more like the type a schoolboy would carry to avoid going to his locker after every class. If the boy had a mother, and she was at all efficient, his name would be written with a laundry marker on the white maker's label on the inside of the main flap. I decided to take a look. The flap was not fastened, and sure enough, there was the name: Kelly G. I decided the time had come to make sure he was all right, but I didn't have time to wait for him to wake up. I reached out and lightly touched him on the shoulder.

The boy was quick, I have to say that. My arm was still outstretched when he leaped to his feet and crouched in a fighting position. He seemed to have traveled the distance from the tabletop to the ground without passing through the intervening space, like a subatomic particle making a quantum leap. The sun glinted off the knife in his right hand. "Touch me again, motherfucker, and I'll kill you," he snarled.

I had faced angry students before, though never one with a weapon. Never before had I faced a potential instrument of death, even when I was in the military, unless you count the time a foster son threatened me with a baseball bat. I knew better than to face him down, but if I broke and ran, I stood no chance of ever helping him. The heavy wooden picnic table was between us, creating a sort of no man's land. I dropped instinctively into my "nothing can phase me" mode, the same neutral listening stance I used when a student trusted me enough to tell me really bad news. Pregnancy, drugs, abuse, rape: I had heard them all and never once had I looked shocked or upset. Outwardly I was calm; no matter how much my stomach churned or my heart pounded, my face and body betrayed nothing.

I backed away two steps and raised my hands, palms outward, in a universal gesture of nonaggression. "Whoa, whoa!" I said. "I don't want your stuff. I just wanted to find your name. Kelly, is it?"

The boy held his attack position, but I could see hesitation in his eyes. He spoke a single word, one for which I had no immediate reply: "Why?"

In the brief silence that followed I took a quick inventory. I had seen a lot in my lifetime. I had seen baby-faced teenagers in uniform who calmly sliced the ears from a dead VC and pocketed them as trophies. I had seen fierce- looking boys dressed all in black and wearing spike-studded collars, weeping uncontrollably over the death of the family dog. I had been lied to by experts, flirted with by girls trying to use a sexuality they barely understood to get a higher grade or an extended deadline. What I saw now, or hoped I saw, was a boy driven by fear and desperation, not by evil. If I did not threaten him, he would not attack me.

I could not guess his age. I had seen eighth graders who looked older than some seniors, and one of my best friends had sung soprano in a boys' choir until he was sixteen. He might be fifteen, he might be twelve. He was not very tall, he obviously had never shaved, and his voice had changed, but not long ago. His light brown hair could use a trim, I thought; he would probably disagree. Girls would call him "cute." Hell, I would call him cute, but not to his face.

"I'm going to sit down over here," I said, "then maybe we can talk for a minute." I moved slowly to a large rock about six feet away and sat down. There was a brief pause; in my drama class I would call it a beat. "I'd feel a little better if you would put away the knife," I added.

The tension in his face lessened a bit and he returned the knife to a leather belt sheath. It was a hunting knife, something he never could have taken to school. Perhaps he had actually used it on hunting trips with his father. That would not be very unusual here in Wyoming, assuming that he was from Wyoming. He made no move to sit down. "Okay," he said. "Talk."

"Are you in trouble?" I asked. He said nothing, but I could see the wheels turning in his head as he tried to decide whether I was safe. But looking over his shoulder, I could see that this conversation was not going to continue. A Wyoming state police car had pulled off the freeway and was slowly approaching the parking area. I wondered if he was looking for Kelly.

"Try not to look behind you," I said. "That car you hear is a state cop. He's probably going to check the rest rooms, looking for signs of drug use I suppose, and then he'll want to check you out." His eyes went wide and I heard a sharp intake of breath. He looked close to panic, but he did not turn around. Smart kid, I thought.

"You're going to have to make a decision, Kelly," I said. The cop parked in the first available spot and got out of the car. He briefly glanced our way, then slowly approached the women's rest room. I mentally breathed a sigh of relief. He wasn't interested in Kelly, at least not yet. I plowed ahead. "You're obviously stranded here in the middle of nowhere, for some reason. There's no place to hide, and if you run, the cop will run faster. You're going to have to take a chance with somebody, and it has to be either me or the cop." What the hell was I thinking? This was a matter for the police, wasn't it? My instinctive desire to help kids was not serving me very well here. But somehow the words had come out, and I wasn't going to take them back.

"Unless you're wanted for a crime, the cop will want to help you. If that's the kind of help you need, if you're just lost or something, he'll do everything he can to get you back where you belong. If you don't have anybody, he'll probably call child protective services and put you into the foster care system or something like that. They're not bad people. They help a lot of people, and they'll try to help you."

A lost kid should look relieved at this point, but the mention of CPS seemed to alarm him, though he said nothing. "I'm going to stand up now," I said, "but I'm not going to come near you." I slowly rose and brushed my hands together to get rid of the dust I had collected from the rock. "If you don't want to go with the cop, I'm your only other choice." I stopped, waiting for some kind of reply. He looked over his shoulder this time, and saw the patrol car. He licked his lips, a nervous gesture. He seemed frozen in indecision. Behind him, the cop reappeared and moved towards the men's room.

"I'll tell you what," I said. "I'm going to go over to my camper and get in. The passenger side door is unlocked. I'll start it up and then let it warm up for a minute or two before I drive away. If you're in the passenger seat when I start driving, we'll pretend you belong there. If not, you can ask the cop for help." I turned and walked toward the RV. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the patrolman emerge from the men's room and start down the walkway toward the picnic table. I was climbing into the seat and was about to shut the door when I heard Kelly's voice.

"Hang on, Dad," he said. "I forgot my backpack." Very smart kid, I thought. He turned back toward the table, grabbed up the pack, and ran to the camper. As he climbed in, I started the engine. He slumped down into the seat, as if offering himself up to his fate. He made no other move.

"Seatbelt," I said. He jumped at little at the sound of my voice, but pulled out the belt and snapped the buckle. I popped the parking brake and backed the camper out into the traffic lane. The cop paid us no attention.

My God, I thought, what have I gotten into now?

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