Boy From the High Country

by Arthur Kent

Chapter 6


My camper did not have blackout curtains, so the interior became increasingly bright. Something was weird, my fuzzy brain told me, and then I felt something poking into my side. I had a vague recollection of Kelly awakening in the chilly night of the unheated camper and then worming his way into my bed. Cold was no longer a problem, however. The sun was already bringing warmth to the camper, and Kelly's bare body was very warm under the down comforter. He was nestled in my arms, and I could feel his warm breath as he slept on. As was often the case I had awakened with a morning hardon, and so evidently had my 14-year-old traveling companion. I was sorely tempted to start caressing his back but the urge to pee was overriding any salacious thoughts I might have. I slowly extricated myself from his grasp and headed for the Porta Potty. I didn't think I could make it to the RV park bathroom, especially naked.

Wait. I was naked. Kelly was naked. Suddenly the only way I could pee was straight up, which would not work in this tiny cubicle. I quickly pulled on a tee shirt and a pair of sweats and stumbled my way out of the camper and down the slight embankment to the river. After doing a quick check to make sure there was no one in sight I pulled down the front of the sweats and let fly a graceful yellow arc. That problem solved, I made my way back into the camper, where I found Kelly sitting on the edge of the bed, still stark naked, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.

I turned my back and busied myself looking for my clothes for the day. "Come on, sport," I said, "get some clothes on so we can grab some breakfast. We have places to go, things to do."

Clearly, Kelly was not a morning person. I heard a mumbled "G'morning," and the rustling sounds as he pulled on the few bits of clothing he actually possessed. I slowly changed into my clothes for the day with my back to him, not worrying about Kelly's view of my bare butt, delaying as long as I could in deference to a sense of modesty I wasn't sure Kelly even had. When I finally turned around, he was ready to go, but still not talking. He did have his hand on his crotch, however, the way little boys do when they need to pee.

"Okay, off to the bathrooms before I have to clean up a puddle. Bring your toothbrush. Chop, chop. Let's go." My teeth were in need of brushing also. As I stood at the sink, I started thinking about the day ahead. The drive to Yellowstone could wait another day. I wanted today to be a day just for fun. No traveling, no deep conversations, no quizzing about his past, no speculating about the future, just a kid and an older friend - - an adopted uncle, if you will -- out on the town for the day. But first came breakfast - - pancakes and eggs at the little restaurant in the RV park.

Breakfast done and the bill paid, I said, "Come on, Kelly we're going for a walk."

He looked at me like I had lost my mind. "A walk? What do you mean, a walk?"

"Well, I don't go running any more. It's too hard on my knees. But I still try to walk at least two miles every day. You may not know it, but walking at a good pace is the best all-around exercise you can get. How do you think I've kept my girlish figure?"

A grin just barely started to light up his face, but he said, so quietly that I could barely make out the words, "There's nothing girlish about you, Uncle Art." And he actually blushed, as if he had said something naughty. Then he looked up and said, "OK, let's go. We'll see if you can keep up."

We were more evenly matched than I had anticipated. He was younger, of course, but he was also underfed and laboring under the weight of his traumatic home life. Nevertheless, he could walk at a good clip. At one point he moved a couple of steps ahead and said, "Come on, old man, keep up!" Suddenly his hand went to his mouth and he turned toward me, his eyes wide with fear, his face suddenly drained of color. I'm sure he was expecting a slap in the face, if not something worse. And this was when the best piece of advice I had ever gotten about being a teacher came into play. A veteran teacher had once said to me, "You have to know when to look out the window." Kelly's reaction was best ignored. I landed my fists onto my hips, elbows jutting out to my sides and said with a fake look of hurt on my face, "I an not old. I am mature." Slowly he walked up beside me and actually took my hand in his. "You're not too old for me," he said. He didn't let go of my hand until we spied a runner coming toward us.

I wasn't sure what he meant by saying I wasn't too old for him. But it did make me start wondering what I actually looked like to him. I was fifty-five years old, but looked more like forty. Apparently I had inherited some really good genes. When I started teaching at my current school in my mid-twenties, parents occasionally mistook me for a student. My daughter once said that I was a freak of nature. I didn't have the paunch that some male colleagues my age were developing. I was no weight lifter but I stayed active and I could go shirtless at a Thousand Trails swimming pool without feeling that I was totally spoiling the scenery. My face was unlined, and my hair and short beard were still the auburn color I had inherited from my mother, just starting to show some gray. I had never mentioned my real age to Kelly, and he was free to think whatever he wanted to.

A mile out and a mile back took less then an hour, and neither one of us had worked up much of a sweat. I pulled out a banana for each of use -- a trainer during on of my occasional stints with a gym membership had said it was a good idea to get some potassium after exercising -- and then it was off to Walmart to exchange my empty propane tank for a full one, and to get some decent underwear and clothes for Kelly. My teacher's salary had never given me a fat bank account, but this was only a drop in the bucket compared with the total cost of my long summer sojourn.

Cody, Wyoming, is not exactly a big city. Fewer than ten thousand people live there. But there is no shortage of things to do, thanks to the fact that Cody is on a main route to Yellowstone, and the fact that the town was founded by Buffalo Bill Cody. For tourists like Kelly and me, a day in Cody did not have to be boring.

By 9 AM we were aboard the Cody Trolley Tour, an hour-long trip past most of the attractions in town. Unlike most city tours run by big companies, this one is owned by a local couple and their six adult daughters, who kept us entertained the whole time. Once off the trolley we went back to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West. I let Kelly decide what parts of the museum to spend time on, and still it took us an hour, by which time we were ready for lunch at Annie's Soda Saloon, which had started out many decades earlier as a saloon with a much more adult bill of fare.

Then it was off for a really new adventure for Kelly -- Cedar Mountain Trail Rides. Kelly had never been close to a horse, much less ridden one, but the folks at Cedar Mountain took that all in stride. We didn't even need a reservation. We just showed up, they matched us up with horses (gentle ones for new riders), and we joined with a group leaving at 1 PM. Wearing new cheap cowboy hats and slathered with sunscreen we wandered at a slow pace through the sagebrush-covered hills west of Cody. About half an hour into the ride Kelly had lost his nervousness and was starting to enjoy being on horseback, though he felt the strain in his thigh muscles when we finally dismounted. Part of the experience was being shown how to brush down a horse after the ride, followed by a tour of the place. We learned a lot about caring for horses, knowledge we would never have a chance to practice. A steak dinner at the Cody Cattle Company finished in time for the final event of the day, a two-hour nighttime rodeo.

Tired, a bit dusty, and smelling vaguely of horses, we finally pulled the camper back into our slot at the RV park and hooked up the power and water. We gathered up towels and toiletries and headed for the showers. It was late and almost everyone else was already in bed, so we were alone. Kelly insisted that I come into the cubicle with him. As soon as I pulled the curtain to the changing area Kelly, with no thought for modesty, quickly stripped, stepped into the shower stall and turned on the water. While he was waiting for the water to turn warm, I had a few minutes during which I finally allowed myself to openly do what up to this point I had been trying to do secretly. I took a good look at a naked Kelly.

Even though he was too thin, he still showed the beginning signs of muscle definition. As I had noted earlier, he was still in the early stages of puberty. His uncircumcised penis was not much longer or thicker than my thumb, and it rested over a hairless scrotum. He did not yet have the full bush of pubic hair that an older teen would have, but what he did have matched the color of the hair on his head. As he turned to face the shower head, I could still see the fading welts and bruises on his back, the marks of the belt his stepfather had used on that fateful day. Once again my heart went out to his mistreated boy.

"Uncle Art?"

It took me a moment to tear my eyes away from his developing body as I realized Kelly was speaking to me. I'm sure I blushed a bit at being caught staring.

"Uncle Art, will you wash me? I'm too tired to do it myself."

I had said yes once before. How could I say no this time? For the sake of clear thinking, I probably should have used a washcloth, but for better or for worse I decided he needed direct human touch. I moved the shower head so that Kelly's back was out of the direct spray. I began at his shoulders, my soapy hands sliding effortlessly over his smooth skin. I gently kneaded the cords of muscle that extended from his neck to his shoulders, then did the same thing to the muscles at the back of his neck, combining the washing of his back with the little I knew of massage. Kelly leaned his head back and closed his eyes, letting out a loud "Aah," almost a groan of satisfaction. He rotated his shoulders in slow forward circles as I massaged his back, clearly reveling in the unaccustomed sensations.

As I leaned down to reach his lower back, an old back injury began to give me some pain, so I knelt for comfort. As I did so I lost my grip on the bar of soap and it squirted out of my hand, caromed around the shower stall base, and came to rest in the corner farthest from me. Kelly bent over to pick up the soap, and the cheeks of his butt parted, placing his brown pucker directly in front of my eyes. The view closed almost as quickly as it opened, but it had lasted long enough for me to notice something else. His little anus was surrounded by a brownish-red ring more than an inch wide, a band of bruising that proved he was not a virgin, at least not back there. I had seen no sign of tenderness or tearing at the opening itself, but there was no way to know for sure whether the penetration had been painful or damaging, or how recent it had been.

I worked my hands around to his chest, stroking across his nipples a little more gently, a little more teasingly, than I would have done had I been interested only in getting him clean. I washed down the outsides of his arms, then back up to his hairless arm pits. Without being asked he raised his arms one at a time to give me better access. I continued to wash down to his lower belly, deliberately avoiding the pubic mound where evidence of his developing sexuality was on display.

I moved next to his feet. As I raised his left foot so I could soap the sole of his foot and the sensitive spots between his toes, he balanced himself by leaning his left hand on my shoulder and rotating his body slightly toward me. This left me facing his youthful penis directly from a distance of not more than six inches. I wanted to stop washing and just look. Kelly showed no signs of arousal, but I was stiff as a board. I began to fear that my erection might brush against his leg, and he would notice and panic, so I tried to hold my body away from his. As I washed my way up his legs, I noticed that they were completely hairless. Perhaps I was wrong about the Mediterranean heritage. Could be Native American, or even southeast Asian. If someone put a gun to my head and made me guess, I'd say Cherokee, Oklahoma being so close by.

When I reached his upper thigh, I shifted my attention to his right foot. Kelly changed arms and shifted his weight. I tried to rebalance myself on my right knee while still keeping my boner away from his legs. The whole procedure left me so off kilter that I went into a barely-controlled fall, rolling down onto my side and around onto my back. Kelly stepped over me to keep from being bowled over, and I found myself flat on my back with the shower head spraying my chest and upper abdomen while Kelly stood astride me like a conquering hero, and I stared up at him.

It was a stimulating view. I was staring directly at the juncture of his thighs. I could see the seam where his body had stitched itself together while he was still in the womb, a seam that ran from the tip of his foreskin, along the shaft of his penis, around the sac that held his testicles, and along the perineum until it disappeared into the cleft of his ass. If the genetic programming had determined that the fetus would become a girl, the seam would have remained open below the pubic arch, creating the vulva that would conceal the canal into the interior of the body.

I felt like a beetle turned on its back. The image struck me has wildly funny and I began to laugh, long and hard enough that tears came to my eyes. Kelly began to laugh as well. We were both just getting ourselves under control when Kelly looked down at me and noted clinically, "You're hard."

"As a broomstick," I said.


Now there was a question I wasn't sure I wanted to answer. But I had started down this road by telling Kelly nothing but the truth, if not always the whole truth. There was no good reason to stop now. Since my erection was no longer a secret I got up onto my knees, picked up the soap, pulled myself close to Kelly and reached around to soap up his firm little butt. "Kelly, have you ever had to walk out of class with your books in front of you?"

"Yeah. It's embarrassing when you get a boner in class."

"When that happens, do you ever know why?"

"Sometimes. Usually there isn't any good reason. It just happens."

"Right, it just happens. Now I'm not going to lie to you and tell you there isn't a reason why I'm hard right now. But I wanted to remind you that we can't control our erections. When our dicks want to get hard, they get hard. But when we do get hard, we can decide what to do about it."

"What do you mean?"

"When you get in hard in class, what do you do?"

"I just kind of hide it and walk to the next class and if I don't think about it too much, it goes away."

"Is there anything else you could do about it?"

"Well, if I had time, maybe I could go into the bathroom and... you know... I could..."

"Why don't you tell me what you call it, Kelly?"

"I could beat off, okay?"

"Okay. Now we both know what we're talking about. We both know that you know about masturbation, so we don't have to avoid that topic." I did notice, however, that for the first time Kelly's little member was becoming not so little. "I can tell you why I got hard," I continued. "I got hard because it's exciting to look at you naked. It's probably wrong, but I can't help it. You are so beau... you are so good looking."

"Really? You think I'm good looking?"

"You are so good looking I would call you beautiful if you wouldn't think that meant I was treating you like a girl. You are also kind, you are funny, and you are fun to be with."

In spite of my little speech about how we can decide what to do about a hardon, I was letting my libido decide for me. My hand was sliding down the cleft of his ass, and I decided to find out whether he was experiencing any rectal discomfort. At least that's what I told myself I was trying to find out, and in my own mind "rectal discomfort" is what I called it. Very cold. Very clinical. But since I was not studying to be a proctologist, there was nothing clinical about what my hand was doing. My soapy finger slid down across his tight pucker, then up and across it again. Finally I placed the tip of my finger directly over his sphincter and began to press forward gently.

"Do you have any pain there?"

He sucked in a breath of air sharply, so that he hissed like the air brakes releasing on a city bus. "No," he said, "it doesn't hurt. It feels... it's okay." God forbid he should say it feels good.

A little more pressure and my finger slipped through the modest resistance of his anal ring and entered a region of moisture and heat greater than that of the shower. As old as I was, I had never before done this, so I didn't know quite what to expect. I could tell, though, that my finger was still lubricated by the soap between his butt cheeks, so I continued to press slowly forward. Kelly rose up on his toes and threw his head back with a little moan of pleasure. My finger was inside him past my second knuckle before I felt some soft resistance. I realized just what it was that I had no doubt encountered, and the thought discouraged me from any further adventuring. "Still no pain?"

"No," he said, in a choked kind of voice. It was a relief to know that he did not seem to be injured, even though I was shamelessly molesting him now with the feeble excuse of discovering important information. He was completely hard, and erect he was almost as large as me, which says something about my very modest equipment. His engorged penis was sliding against my chest as he rose up on his toes and settled back down in time with my plundering finger. Not wanting him to think I was disgusted or was rejecting him, I began to move my finger slowly in short back-and-forth strokes, gradually pulling back toward his opening. Kelly continued to give a little grunt with each forward motion. Finally I stopped and slowly withdrew. I left my finger in contact with the outside of his pucker for a few moments, almost as if it were saying goodbye. I soaped my hands again and washed them without looking to see why. I placed my hands on his hips and turned him around so that his butt cheeks were pressed against my chest.

From the other side of the wall, I could hear the washing machines go into their final spin cycle. "Give me a couple of minutes, Kelly," I said, "I need to take care of the laundry." I stepped out of the shower dripping wet and quickly donned my shorts. We were alone, so I didn't worry about showing off my arousal. I picked up my stash of quarters and dashed around to put the laundry into the dryers. This interruption would give Kelly a chance to end this, to finish his shower and grab his towel and go on toward a more or less normal evening. But when I returned to the bathroom end of the building, I heard the shower still running. There was a metal folding chair at the end of the changing room bench. Evidently some earlier user had felt the bench was not quite long enough. I made my decision. I collapsed the chair and leaned it against the exterior door so that the clatter would warn us if someone came in. So much for any pretense that I didn't know what I was doing.

When I re-entered the shower stall, Kelly was still standing in the same place, waiting. I knelt behind him again, soaped my hands and reached around to the region of his belly button, then stopped. "Kelly, when I was in college, I knew a girl who was training to be a nurse," I began. "She told me about bathing male patients who couldn't get out of bed. The last thing she would do was to hand the patient the washcloth and say, 'I've washed you as high as possible, and I've washed you as low as possible, now you do the possible.' So that's what I'm asking you, don't you think you should wash the possible?" I slid my fingers quickly and lightly across his jutting penis so he could not mistake my meaning.

"No," he said. "You."

That could not be more clear. Kelly knew exactly what he was asking for. As I moved slowly down toward his proud boyhood, I reflected that I could call this consent, but in my heart I knew better. Kelly was in no position to give mature consent to sexual activity with me. Even though I did not know the details, had not in fact heard anything about his sexual experience from his own lips, I knew beyond doubt that he had been coerced into sex, that he had been sexualized beyond the bounds of normal development, that issues of love and sex and affection and attention were hopelessly confused in his emotional experience, then complicated still further by the onset of puberty and the relentless drive of his raging hormones. My only consolation was knowing that once things had gone this far, what I did next, so long as it was done with tenderness and love, would not damage him any further, could in fact eventually become an opportunity for me to talk with him about the difference between sex and love. Or so I hoped, or deluded myself.

I soaped his groin, gently stroking the wrinkled skin of his hairless scrotum, aware of the tenderness of the firm ovals contained within. Larger than the jellybeans of childhood, not yet so large as they would be in adulthood, his balls were a source of exquisite pleasure for Kelly as I softly rolled them between my fingers. My hand moved higher and lightly grasped his cock. Both of us were uncut, so I had been dealing with a foreskin all my life and knew how to handle his. Gently I drew the foreskin back, exposing the glans, then I deliberately and firmly drew my thumb around the corona, soaping away any secretions that might have collected there in the moist darkness. Kelly's pelvis jutted forward as he tried to drive his erection into my hand. He uttered a protracted moan, a sound befitting a sensation somewhere between pleasure and pain, an exclamation that I began to fear might be heard from outside. I decided to be more careful. The tens of thousands of nerve endings in the head of his penis were more sensitive than those of a circumcised male, having always been covered by the soft glove of his foreskin.

Now I grasped the youthful phallus in earnest, slowly and deliberately pulling the foreskin down and away, then pushing it forward so that he first had the sensation of the foreskin moving to cover his exposed glans, followed by the feeling of my fingers sliding over the corona, cushioned by the foreskin. This double stimulation, the feather touch of the foreskin followed by the firmer pressure of the fingers, then the same one- two sequence in reverse, is something that can only be experienced by a man who has not been cut. They say an uncircumcised man can recreate the feeling for a circumcised partner through "docking," but I wouldn't know about that from experience.

When I was Kelly's age, I had what is known as a hair trigger. It never took me very long to achieve orgasm, and a good thing too because there was no lock on our bathroom door, and you never knew when someone might walk in. It was safer to beat off in the barn, witnessed only by a few chickens, a cow and the family dog, who I always suspected looked a little too interested. Furthermore, I was focused entirely on the literally mind-blowing experience of orgasm. The stroking motions of masturbation were for me only a brief prelude to the main event. It was probably the same way with Kelly. As time went on however, and my dating life continued to consist of buying wrist corsages for my right hand, I began to appreciate the pleasures of a more protracted session. Kelly was not too young to learn. Since I was here, and might never be in this position again, I fully intended to give him the climax of his young life.

I continued my relentless slow stroking, even when Kelly began to thrust his hips forward in the hope of speeding me up. Soon he was softly grunting in time with my strokes. Then he began to plead, a single word, or at most two, uttered at the down side of each stroke, interspersed with more grunting sounds. "Please... Unh... Unh... O God... Unh... Stop... Unh... No... Don't stop... Please... Unh... Let me... I want... to cum..." And when at last I felt a stiffening beneath my fingers as his cock tried to get even harder, when at last the voice of his grunts and pleadings took on a ragged edge, I suddenly switched to a rapid stroking, a trick that had always worked for me. He gave a great gasp, and his last grunt became a protracted wail of ecstasy and release. A small jets of milky-white semen leapt from his pulsating penis, nearly reaching his chin, followed by an agonizingly long pause during which his entire body seemed to tense inward upon itself, coiling like a great spring, and finally an explosive burst of three or four more pulses that sapped his strength. His knees gave way and he collapsed against me. I lowered him slowly to the floor of the shower stall and watched as the flowing water sluiced away most of the evidence of his recent climax. His head was resting against my shoulder. "That was *bad*," he said, meaning, of course, that it was better than he knew how to say.

Kelly finally noticed that my own penis, trapped between our bodies, was still hard. "You didn't cum," he said.

"That's okay, Kelly. It's late, and I'm not as desperate for it as I was at your age." I helped him rise to his feet, and gave him a light slap on his bare rear end. "Besides," I said, "maybe I want to save something for later." That was by far the most openly suggestive thing I had said to him, and I instantly regretted it. The last thing Kelly needed right now was any pressure, any feeling that he had to meet the sexual expectations of any other person. I was sure he had experienced enough of that in his past. The truth was that I had created a little fiction for myself. As long as I only did what pleasured him, as long I as I only did what he clearly wanted, and he did nothing to pleasure me, then I was not really sexually involved with him. How easily we believe our own little lies.

Tenderly I toweled him dry, avoiding any further stimulation of his now-limp penis. Then, to my surprise, he began to do the same for me. We dressed, brushed our teeth and returned to the camper. Kelly helped me remake the dinette as my bed for the night, then I helped him up into his bunk above the cab. He had not asked for a pillow, and I didn't have an extra one, but I improvised one from a wool sweater stuffed into an extra pillowcase. I settled Kelly in under the thin blanket, confident that now the furnace would keep out the nighttime cold. I gave him my portable CD player and my case of forty discs, and showed him where to plug in the headset. "Good luck finding something you like," I said. My taste ran entirely to classical music and jazz. "I'll be back soon with the laundry."

It only took a few minutes to fold the dry clothing. Kelly's Y-front briefs had clearly seen too much wear, so out they went. All the new purchases from Walmart were now free of the factory sizing (that's what my mom had called the coating they used to make the cloth slide more easily while it was being sewn). I was glad I had gotten a few pairs of socks because Kelly's old supply was exactly seven socks. Had one sock never had a mate, or had the dryer eaten it? Nothing of his was very new, but some items were worth keeping. His two shirts were both long-sleeved, so I was glad I had picked up some short-sleeved shirts and some shorts.

Back at the camper, I wanted to see how Kelly was getting along, so I took a peek through the outside window. His eyes were closed, and his head was nodding in time to some music. The blanket had slid off his body and he had shed the running shorts. He was gently playing with his penis. He wasn't masturbating. He wasn't even hard. He was just slowly pushing it this way and that with his fingertip, enjoying the way his foreskin slipped and slid over the sensitive head. I wondered whether a circumcised boy would be able to engage in this kind of low-key sensuality.

He didn't even try to conceal himself when I opened the door. He grinned shyly, but his hand did not move away from his crotch. I put his clothing back into his pack, and my own into the under-bunk storage. Then I turned to Kelly and spread open the headset so he could hear me. "Did you find something to listen to?"

"Yeah, listen." He put the headset over my ears. The Dukes of Dixieland were in the middle of "Muskrat Ramble." I sat down in the small space that was available.

"You like that, Kel?" This was the first time I had shortened his name. He didn't bat an eye.

"Yeah. My dad had some of this stuff, on those old black plastic records. I still have some of them, but The Bitch won't let me touch them."

I wanted to find out more about The Bitch, but it was too late for this Conversation. "Good night, Kel. I'm going to shut off the light. Don't worry about wearing out the batteries, I have plenty. It will shut off when you get to the end of the CD. See you in the morning." I replaced the headset on his ears and started to turn away, but he put one hand on each of my cheeks, so I stopped. He leaned forward and brushed his lips against mine. It could hardly even be called a kiss, but it was so heartfelt, so freely given, and from such a wonderful boy, that it was one of the most erotic kisses I had ever received.

I shut off the overhead light and dropped my shorts. I liked to sleep in a T-shirt and nothing else. I lay on my back staring into the darkness, not quite knowing how do process the events of this most peculiar day. The only light came from a waning moon. The only sound was the water running over the rocks in the riverbed, plus the occasional chirp from a frog on the riverbank.

"Uncle Art?" His voice sounded tentative and far away.

"After what we did tonight, Kel, maybe you could just call me Art."

"But I like calling you uncle, it makes me feel... I dunno, I like it."

"Okay, Uncle Art it is. What can I do for you?"

"Can I get in with you again?"

What was I going to say? I had masturbated him in the shower, I couldn't very well say he had to stay in his own bed. "Sure, come on down."

He was there in a flash, crawling under the covers and snuggling up against me. I could feel the warmth of his bare skin against mine. He threw his arm over my chest and crooked his leg up over my body so that his penis, now soft and pliable, was pressed against my hip, while mine was cradled at the back of his knee. He nuzzled against my neck, and breathed a deep sign.

"I knew you would come," he said. "I knew that someday you would come." Evidently what I had heard the night before was real, not a dream. Together, we drifted into the darkness of the night and sleep.

[I have fudged the calendar here for the sake of the story. The real Cody Trolley Company didn't start operation until 2001, and the daughters were still young girls. Annie's Soda Saloon was even farther in the future. But I wanted to give Art and Kelly a good long day in Cody, so a bit of literary time traveling was called for.]

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