Pig-Boy and the Insectorator

by Biff Spork

Chapter 17

River Changes Course and The Talk

At supper that evening, Pete described his and Sheriff Morgan's afternoon encounter with Sol Mundy. David was so fascinated by his story that he didn't notice the significant glances Doreen aimed at him.

David asked, "When the sheriff said, 'Are you threatening me?' was he angry?"

"Not really," said Pete, "and he laughed when the kid said, 'No, I'm warning you.'"


"Yeah. That kid's got the sheriff buffaloed — pretty well everyone else too. He's something else, for sure. Sheriff Morgan is a 'Take Charge' kind of guy. When he arrives on the scene, he usually gets on top of the situation right away, but today, it was that kid who was in control, and he handled it as if he knew that. He wasn't nervous or scared like any normal kid would be. It was as if he was above it all somehow." Pete stopped. He was a little embarrassed by his admiration of the boy. "But I don't know how long he'll be able to pull off these stunts before somebody does something to him. The sheriff's worried too."

"Worried about what?" asked David.

"I don't think the boy knows it, but he's tangling with some pretty big interests, like the Pork Producers Association. They're upset about the bad press they're getting. He's getting a lot of popular support on social media, and there's always crazies on the fringe who feel threatened by someone like him," said Pete.

While they cleaned up the kitchen, Pete tapped David on the shoulder. "We're pretty sure the kid's hangout is up on Jana Mountain. You keep your eyes open if you're up there. You see anything weird, you get outta there. I don't want you mixed up in this."

"Okay, Dad. Don't worry about me."

Pete told David and Doreen about the tragedy at the pig farm that led to the pigs' escape. David went upstairs to take his shower.

Pete and Doreen settled in front of their TV to watch the local news. The lead story was the accidental death at the Jameson Pork Production facility. The follow-up item was the naked pig-boy leading the escaped pigs away. Several of the motorists who had passed the pigs had taken videos of the cavalcade. Other local news followed. Finally, the weather-man came on with his forecast.

Doreen nudged Pete. "Have you figured out what you're going to say to David? You know, The Talk?"

Pete groaned. "Yeah, I think I've got it mapped out."

"Don't put it off, Pete. It's not going to get any easier."

"Okay, I'll do it now."

Aaron Jameson had a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken delivered for his and River's supper. They sat at the kitchen table. Their father was at the hospital with the surviving twin. He planned to stay there until he knew Nicky was out of danger.

"Fucking pigs!" said Aaron. "I hate those fucking pigs!"

"Yeah," said River. He'd been crying off and on since he'd heard about Ricky. Sometimes he found himself daydreaming about that twin doing something with him. He recalled when Ricky taught him to skateboard. Suddenly he remembered that he would never see Ricky again. Hot tears filled his eyes then, and he could hardly breathe.

Aaron opened the bucket and pointed at it. "Eat," he said. "You and me, we gotta stay strong. This is gonna wreck the old man."

River reached out and grabbed a drumstick, his favorite part of the chicken. When it was halfway to his mouth, he froze.

"What?" said Aaron.

"Nothing." River answered like he had just awakened from a deep sleep. He put the drumstick back into the bucket. "I just don't feel like chicken tonight." He hobbled over to the kitchen cabinets and looked into the canned foods cupboard. He saw the blue label he had hoped would be there. Heinz Beans. He read the list of ingredients carefully. There was no meat in the can. Fifteen minutes later, he spooned some hot beans onto his plate and added some fries from the bucket.

"God almighty," said Aaron. "Never thought I'd see the day you'd rather eat beans than chicken."

"They're good," said River. "There's still some in the pot, if you want."

Melissa was excited. As she rode home, she felt like she was floating in the eye of a hurricane. She knew she needed to sit down by herself and think, but as soon as she arrived home, there was a storm of messages and telephone calls. The pig-boy had rescued five hundred more pigs. There were several short videos online showing his march down the highway with the escaped pigs. The view-meter on her video continued to climb.

She answered the most urgent messages as well as she could. Then she closed her laptop and put her phone on airplane mode. She needed peace and quiet.

A half hour later, she wrote on the top of a blank page: Questions for Zhiv. Then she drew questions from the categories she had earlier defined. She planned to put down as many questions as possible. Tomorrow she would draw up a short list with David.

She mulled over plans for another video, one that would top her first one by far.

Pete climbed the stairs and walked down the hall to David's bedroom. He knocked on the open bedroom door.

"Hi Dad. C'mon in."

David's hair was still damp from his shower. He was wearing only short pajama bottoms and was barefoot.

Pete sat down on his son's bed. "You're really getting a tan. You must be spending a lot of time in the sun."

"Yeah. Usually, I don't bother with a shirt when I'm up the mountain," said David. He turned sideways from his desk so he could talk to Pete.

"You're getting to be a pretty big boy now," said Pete.

"Yeah," agreed David. "It's either that, or my clothes are getting smaller all the time."

"Well, at your age, you're not just getting bigger. Your body is starting to go through changes in other ways as well. You might have noticed…"

"You mean, like puberty?"


"Dad, they do all that at school now."

"I know, but your mother and I thought you might have some questions or maybe you got some bad information. It's an important part of life, so why don't I just lay it out for you like we see it? Then, if you have some questions for me, I'll try to answer them. Okay?"

"Sure, Dad, shoot!"

Pete looked at David's earnest face and felt more comfortable. First, he talked about erections, wet dreams, and masturbation. The look of trust on David's face made it easier than he had imagined. He went on to foreplay, vaginas, and the mechanics of copulation and conception. He followed that with a discussion of contraception and safe sex, and closed with some words about love and the emotional aspects of sex. He felt he'd covered the ground pretty well.

"Well, that about wraps it up," said Pete. He put his hands on his knees.

"Yeah. That was great, Dad. I didn't know about that clitoris thing, like exactly where it is. And what you said about treating girls with respect, and how sex with them should always be from love. That feels right."

"Yeah," said Pete. "Just don't rush it. When you meet the right girl, you'll know. Then after awhile, when you get to know her better, when you fall in love, you might want to have sex with her."

"I think you covered everything, Dad, but there's one thing you didn't talk about."

"Ask, that's what I'm here for," said Pete.

"What if it's a boy?" asked David.

"A boy," said Pete.

"Yeah, I mean, boys don't have clitorises or vaginas and only little tiny nipples, so what do you do with a boy? I mean, for sex. Does it go up the bum? Is that okay? Or what?"

"Uhhh," said Pete. He couldn't think. He looked at David's open face. He knew his jaw had dropped open. Pete closed his mouth. Then he opened it and said, "I don't know, David." He stood up. "How about if I get back to you on that one?"

"Sure, Dad. That's fine. Thanks for all the information. I feel a lot better now. I really was kinda confused."

Pete bent over David and kissed the top of his head. "You're welcome, son. Good night."

"Good night, Dad."

Jude felt gloomy ever since he'd had that talk with David's father. Before that, he'd been starting to feel okay. The wasp stings still bothered him but not so much. Then that deputy came and got him all upset. Those McAdams were a real pain in the ass. Why did that guy have to come and talk to him like that? If he wasn't going to do anything, why did he have to say something? Why did he have to rub it in like that? The problem was that no matter how much Jude thought about it, he still felt gloomy. It was like David's father had injected something inside him, and it was festering in there.

After he had undressed down to his boxers, Jude did something he hadn't done for years. He knelt beside his bed. "Dear God," he prayed. "I been a bad boy. I'm sorry. I'll try to do better. Just stop leaning on me, for Christ's sake! Okay?"

Jude remained kneeling and waited. Nothing happened. He still felt uneasy. He gave it a few minutes. Still nothing. He got into bed and pulled the duvet over himself. From habit, his right hand went down to his penis. He had a good hard-on, and he hadn't had a come since Saturday morning. He shucked his boxers and started with some nice, slow strokes. This was the answer to his problems. God was useless. His boner was his most faithful friend. It was always there when he needed it.

Before dawn, David prepared to meet Zhiv. After he had made them some food, he finished dressing and put his pack on his back. Then he paused and took the pack off, opened it, and removed his phone. He left the phone in his desk drawer and put his travel alarm clock in the pack.

Temporary barriers blocked the logging road where it joined the highway. There were signs reading, "No Entry" and "Road Closed," but no police officers. David wheeled his bike around the barriers and continued upwards.

Zhiv was waiting for him. They climbed towards the cave, and Zhiv described his encounter with the pigs and the sheriff. By the time they reached the cave, the sun had warmed them and the rock where they liked to sit overlooking the valley.

"I made some hot breakfast for us today," said David. He pulled a large, wide-mouth thermos from his pack and opened it. A few wisps of steam rose from it, carrying the delicious aroma of tofu scramble mixed with fried potatoes and veggie sausages. "I put ketchup on it already — I hope you like ketchup."

"I love ketchup!" Zhiv licked his lips and said, "When we're old guys, we'll live in a little log cabin in the mountains. We'll have two rocking chairs and sit on the porch. You can do all the cooking, and I'll just sit and eat. I'd like about five meals every day."

David looked into Zhiv's laughing brown eyes and said, "So I'm to be the cook? And what are you gonna be doing?"

"Hugging. Between meals, I plan to be hugging you, pretty well all the time. A lot of kissing, too."

When they had spooned up the last of the scramble, they pushed the thermos aside and fell into each other's arms. Zhiv touched his lips against David's.

"That sounds like paradise to me," said David. "I mean the cabin in the woods. I love to feed you."

"And I love to eat you," said Zhiv and chewed David's ear lobe.

David described his meeting with the Earth-Girl, Melissa. Then he said, "Just before I went to bed last night, my dad came up and had a talk with me — about sex."

"So, what did he say?"

"He told me all about how to do it with girls."


"When he finished, he asked me if I had any questions. So, I asked him how to have sex with a boy."


David snickered. "It was like I had hit him on the head with a mallet. He said he'd get back to me on that."

"I guess he didn't expect that."

"Yeah, he was pretty shocked, but not angry or anything; just completely surprised that I would ask a question like that. My dad's okay. He's a good guy, and I love him."

"You're so lucky," said Zhiv.

"I am. I wish you could meet my mom and dad. They're terrific. Did you see the guy in the car with the sheriff yesterday?"

"Just a bit, not enough to recognize him."

"That was my dad. He's a sheriff's deputy. He told my mom and me about you and the pigs on the highway. He thought you were great."

"That sheriff was okay. He didn't get mad or try to do anything stupid."

"After my dad gave me the talk, I looked for some information online about boy sex. I found a lot of stuff, but I don't want to do any of it, not yet, anyway. I really like the hugging and kissing we do and drifting in the mara together. I'm so happy when I'm with you — that's all I want to do right now. What do you think?"

"Let's run up to the lake, have a swim and then lie in the sun with lots of hugging and kissing, until lunch. No thinking, no talking. Okay?"

"But we can laugh," said David.

"Yeah," said Zhiv. He dug his fingertips into David's underarms. "Laughing's okay."

David shrieked.

Kek watched from a nearby tree as the boys scampered into the forest. He said, "Caw!"

When River woke up, his legs felt good, almost as good as normal. When he remembered Ricky though, tears welled up, although it wasn't so bad as the previous day. He made his way downstairs, glad he could walk without pain though his legs still felt heavy and stiff. There was a note from Aaron. It told him his dad was at the hospital with Nicky. Evan and Willie were taking care of the remaining pigs, and he was going to pick up some supplies they needed in Dryden.

River poured himself a glass of orange juice. He dumped a can of beans onto a couple of slices of bread. It was good, but he knew he was already getting tired of canned beans. A half hour later, he took some money from the house expenses jar in the kitchen and got on his bike.

When he arrived at the health food store, River put on his COVID mask. He talked to a hippie-looking girl who worked there. She was about his height, but everything about her was long — she had long brown hair, wore a colorful skirt down to her ankles and had long strings of beads around her neck. River explained that he had just decided to be a vegan, and he didn't know what to eat. She said she was vegan too, and guided him around the store. She helped him shop for things he could cook without a lot of trouble, and for snacks. He paid for his groceries.

It was lunchtime when he finished shopping, and the girl asked him to sit down in the little deli in the store. She said he could take off his COVID mask in the deli, brought him a bowl of soup, and followed it up with a sandwich and a piece of chocolate cake. It all tasted good, and River began to think he could do this vegan thing without suffering too much. When he had finished eating, he went to pay, but the girl refused his money. She told him it made her so happy that there was a new vegan, he didn't need to pay for lunch.

Pete pulled his cruiser into the yard of the Jameson Pork barn. He had come to collect details of Ricky's death. Inside, he found Evan and Willie filling the feeders for each of the pens. He and Evan went outside to talk.

"It was the gas," said Evan. "When I went inside the shed yesterday, it was so thick you could cut it with a knife, and that was after Art had turned the fans on, maybe fifteen minutes earlier. The problem was that two of the fans weren't working. There's four altogether."

"So, what do you think happened?" asked Pete.

"I figure the boys turned off all the fans, so they could fix the two that had stopped. They're all on one circuit. Then they got down beside the pit and got involved with the fan repairs, and the gas sneaked up on them.

"You don't notice it at first, and then suddenly you're dizzy. I figure Ricky got dizzy and fell into the pit. Then Nicky tried to help him, but realized he was close to passing out himself and made it up the ladder. He probably tried then to get out for some fresh air and passed out as soon as he got outside. That's how the door got left open."

"So, the pigs just waltzed out?"

"Naw," said Evan. "They're penned, but with the fans off, the gas was real bad. They started to suffocate, panicked, and tried to climb over the bars. Some of them passed out trying, and the others used their bodies like steps to climb over the bars and get out. Pigs are smart."

"How's Art taking it?" asked Pete.

"I haven't seen him since yesterday," said Evan, "but he was pretty broke up when he went in the ambulance with Nicky." Evan paused then. "You know what happened to the pigs that got away? Art said we should try to round them up."

"Last we saw of them, they were riding off into the sunset with that pig-boy on a horse. I suspect they're somewhere in Jana Mountain Park. He took them up that logging road that goes up behind the park."

"You saw that boy?" asked Evan.

"Yeah, we even talked to him a little," said Pete.

"You know, that boy lived with us for about six months. He was a real nice boy, a good boy — quiet, and no trouble, though we had to be careful what we fed him. He wouldn't eat anything that came from an animal, but he and Marie worked it out, and I think he was getting to be happy with us. He was sad a lot of the time — the social worker warned us about that — but when we were able to make him happy sometimes, even just for a few minutes, it made it all worthwhile. We thought we'd like to adopt him, my wife and me. Then he came down to this shed with me one day, and the next day he was gone."

"This is Sol, Sol Mundy you're talking about?"

"Yeah, that was his name. We were fostering him."

"So, what happened that he run off?"

Evan described how the boy had become hysterical after entering the pig shed. "He just cried, and cried, and cried. There was nothing we could do to make him feel better, even when he was back at the house."

Evan shook his head. "If you see him again, tell him I'm sorry I took him to the pig shed. I didn't know how much it would hurt him. If I had known, I wouldn't have done that to him. I'll never forgive myself. Tell him Evan and Marie miss him. If he wants to come back and stay with us, we'd like it. Tell him I'll never do anything like that to him again. Okay?"

"I'll do that," said Pete. The story touched him. It felt familiar, as though he'd heard it before.

As he drove past the Jameson house, Pete saw River entering the driveway on his bicycle. He braked and backed up. River looked around. Pete gestured that he should come over to the car. He rolled down the passenger window.

"Hi River," said Pete. "I've got a few things to say to you. Just hop in and we'll have a little talk."

"Yessir," said River. As soon as he had closed the car door, he said, "Sir, I lied to you about that boy in the gravel pit."

"Uh huh," said Pete.

"Yes sir. I knew who it was. It was David, your David. Me and Jude made him go there with us. He didn't want to go, but we made him. We waited for him. When he come down off the mountain, we grabbed him and made him go into the gravel pit with us. Then we made him take his clothes off. We were gonna do things to him. Then the birds came and started pecking us. The wasps came too, and the rattlers." River looked up at Pete and tears spilled out of his eyes.

"I'm glad you told me," said Pete. "What happened then?"

"David musta seen the rattlers before us, because he said, 'Look out' and then ran over to where his clothes were. One of the snakes bit me in the leg and Jude ran to his bike and rode away. While I was trying to get rid of the first snake another one came up and bit me on my other leg."

"And?" prompted Pete.

"Next thing I knew, David was beside me and the snakes stopped biting me. One went and coiled up on a rock, still rattling and buzzing. I wanted to run away, but David said I should just lie still, that everything was gonna be okay. Then he got his phone and called for the ambulance.

"I started to get scared again and threw up. David cleaned me up and made me be quiet. He was real kind. He was good to me and kept me from freakin' out. He put his hand on my forehead and said I should just close my eyes and think about his hand. I did what he said and started to feel better. I mean, it still hurt bad, but I felt like it was gonna be okay soon."

There was silence in the car, except for River's sniffling. "Everyone says David saved my life, sir, and I know it's true. When I think about how we were treating him, I feel real bad, like I want to die, or kill myself."

"I'm glad you told me," said Pete. "It sounds like you've learned a lesson. What do you think I should do?"

"I guess, maybe arrest me, or beat me up. I dunno. I'm sorry we did that to David. He's a real good kid."

"River, I'm not gonna arrest you or beat you up, although I wanted to when I found out what you boys did to David, but David asked me not to do anything. He didn't want you to get the punishment you deserve. He's not afraid of you. I want you to understand that the only reason you're not gonna get punished, is David. If it wasn't for him, you'd be going to juvie for sure."

"Yessir," said River. "I'm gonna try to make up for what we did to him, somehow."

"That's between you and him," said Pete. "My final word on this is that I don't want ever to hear of you doing anything like this again, to anyone."

"No, sir. I won't."

Pete patted River on the shoulder. "Okay, that's all I wanted to talk about. I think you're gonna be okay. Don't ever think about killing yourself. You've got the makings of a good kid. You just have to work at it a little."

"Thank you, sir."



"I was real sorry to hear about Ricky. Is there any news about Nicky?"

"No, sir. Last time our dad called, he said Nicky was still in a coma."

Pete squeezed River's shoulder. "You guys are having a tough time lately. I hope things get better for you soon."

When River got out of the car, he was surprised he felt better. He had figured that once he told the truth, he was going to be in trouble up to his ears. Instead, he felt lighter, as if he'd got out from under a heavy weight.

The gray horse galloped up to Zhiv and David as they left the copse of aspen that ringed the lake. The boys embraced him, and a black stallion trotted up. The boys greeted him too.

"Can you ride?" said Zhiv.

"I've never been on a horse," said David. "I'm surprised you ride that horse. It's one of the ways humans have been mean to animals."

"I didn't want to," said Zhiv. "But the mara decided that sometimes I need to go places fast, faster than we humans can run. So, they asked the horses if they would carry me. When we knew the pigs in the river were in trouble, this horse came and offered to let me ride him so I could get there in time."

"They're beautiful." David stroked the black's neck while he whickered.

"The black says you can ride him," said Zhiv, "if you want to."

The stallion brushed his nose against David's chest.

"Don't worry," said Zhiv. "He knows you're afraid of falling off. He won't buck or anything."

Both horses knelt, so the boys could mount easily.

"You don't have to sit up," said Zhiv. "You can lie down and hold on to the neck with your arms. I'll give you a hint. Lie down and close your eyes. Push your dick down between your legs, so you're not lying on it. Then let him take you where he wants to go. Lie lightly. He knows exactly where you are, and he'll work to stay under you. Let him be the boss."

First, the black walked until David felt used to the gentle rocking motion. Then he whinnied and broke into a canter. David held on with his knees, ankles, and his arms around the horse's neck. They cantered until David relaxed into the rhythm and let the horse carry him. He felt he was in the arms of a loving friend. He saw the black's face in his mind and heard his name. "Whem," he said and the black nickered in reply. Then, with immense gentleness, the stallion began to gallop. David felt the air rushing past his face. It was like he was flying. He began to laugh, and the wind forced tears from his eyes.

The horses made a circuit of the meadow before slowing and halting at its lower edge.

Zhiv slid off his mount.

David opened his eyes and looked at him. "I don't want to get off." He hugged the horse's neck. "I love riding. It's fantastic. I love this horse. I know his name. Whem."

"Yeah, riding's great. The mara asked him to let you ride him if you need to. He's happy to carry you. He thinks you're beautiful. You've got the same color hair as he does, that black that almost looks blue sometimes. You must be related."

Whem knelt and David stepped off. Then he embraced the horse's head and opened his mind to the love there.

"Hey," said Zhiv. "I think you're beautiful too. Don't I get a hug?"

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