Pig-Boy and the Insectorator

by Biff Spork

Chapter 24

A Mouthful of Nuts

David felt River stir in his arms. He leaned back to look at him. "You okay?"

"Yeah, that was fantastic."

They disengaged themselves and sat up, side by side on the bed.

River laughed. "Hey, look. I don't have a hard-on!"

"Is that a good thing?"

"For me, yes, especially when I'm around you."

Both boys eyed River's lap. He became erect instantly. "We shouldn't have talked about it."

"Yeah." David pointed to his own stiffening penis. "It's catching. Aren't penises great? I love penises!"

"Me too."

"Okay. Enough penises! Tell me what you saw."

River described the images he could remember.

David identified Kek and Lilili among the images River had seen. "You'll see them in person soon." He walked toward the window. Kek landed on the sill, and Lilili swooped past him and perched on the back of the desk chair. They both eyed River. He froze.

"Greetings are very important to animals." David preened Kek's head feathers. "Come here and greet Kek. He's flown a long way to see you."

"Like this?" River petted the crow's neck and back.

"Yeah, be kind and respectful. Remember, Kek is a person. He's a person like you or me, only with a different body."

"Is Kek like, all crows? Are all crows called Kek?"

"No. Kek is Kek. Just like you're River. He's got brothers and sisters. He's got things he likes to do and things he doesn't like. All the other crows have their own lives and families and friends, the same as us."

"Come and greet Lilili." The starling jumped from the desk chair to David's shoulder. River stroked the iridescent feathers while the bird leaned his head against David's cheek.

David concentrated on the birds for a few seconds. Both jumped over and stood on his desk. Lilili voided a small turd.

"They feel you're okay, River."

"Is that what the turd means?"

David chuckled. "No, the turd is a little gift in honor of your sidekick name!"

"You really know how to make a guy feel good."

"Just look at them and think 'thank you.' They didn't have to come here. They came here specially to meet you."

River stared at the two birds. Kek croaked, and Lilili gave a short chirp. Then they both winged out the window.

David nodded. "You're learning how to do it. I'm proud of you." He pulled River into an embrace and kissed his cheek.

When he spoke, River's voice was husky. "Jeeze, David."

"I mean it." David kissed the other cheek.

"Can I? I mean, can I kiss you like that?"

"I'd like that," said David.

River leaned forward and gently kissed David's cheek. "I love your freckles," he said.

A car door clunked shut in the driveway below.

"That'll be Mom. Let's put our shorts on, so we don't shock her. Are you gonna stay for supper again? Then we can go for a ride after we eat. There's a ton of stuff I need to tell you."

"Can I stay? Is it okay? I've been here a lot, lately."

"Riv! We like you. Especially my mom. I think she's got a thing for you. Let's go help her make supper."

The boys donned shorts and ran downstairs. Both of them hugged Doreen.

Celia leaned over Hector's shoulder. "If you can tear yourself away from your laptop for a few minutes, I've got some rice and a bean stew on the table. We should eat it right now."

"I'm happy we've moved our headquarters into this very nice apartment." He stood and followed Celia into her kitchen.


"Your internet connection is much better than the library wi-fi I've been using."


"Well, there is another reason, the main reason." He laughed. "It's you, of course. I really like spending time with you. I've been alone for a long time. Too long."

"Yeah. Living alone is great at first — that wonderful feeling of independence — but it's lonely, too. I'm enjoying what we're doing together, about Sol and the animal thing. It's also making me think about how I'm spending my life. Social work is not as satisfying as I thought it would be, and it can be dangerous." She handed him a plate of stew and rice.

"Dangerous? I've never thought of social work as dangerous."

"Just that it's easy to fall into thinking that you know more about life than your clients, because you're in a position to help them with their problems. So, you start to think you've got all the answers. Then you feel you don't need to examine your own life because you're the one who knows all the answers."

"Yeah, I see. Not so much physically dangerous as spiritually or psychologically dangerous."

"Yeah, then when someone like Sol comes along, and makes me realize how ignorant and selfish I am, it's hard to continue to do the work with the same enthusiasm and confidence. I know so much more than he does, but he knows stuff that comes from a different level, stuff I'm completely ignorant about. And what he knows is better, truer stuff."

"This comes from seeing those boys in the meadow, doesn't it?"

"Yeah, that just turned a lot of my ideas upside down. I don't understand why it seemed so beautiful, but it did, and I can't shake that feeling from my mind. Seeing those boys with each other and the animals like that made me feel like my life was a sham, that I'd somehow put it together following rules that were illusions."

"It's kinda the same for me too, Celia. What we saw affected me deeply. All the animal rights philosophy I believe suddenly became real to me, not just logical. It's not this idea or that idea. It's love."

They ate in silence for a few minutes. Then Celia looked up with a smile and said, "Tell me about the latest news from your feeds."


"It's spread to Europe?"

"Yeah. Reports are starting to come in now. Western Europe. It must have been spread by birds flying from the Americas. There are also many reports from South America. Loggers, prospectors, and road construction workers in particular have been attacked on the fringes of the Amazon and other threatened rain forest areas.

"Some of the South American incidents are particularly interesting. There are several reports from the Amazon of animal-human cooperation. A couple of isolated rain-forest tribes appear to have formed alliances with local animals. Nobody knows how they did this, although shamans are thought to be involved. But somehow, working together, they succeeded in driving loggers away. The natives were being murdered one by one as loggers found them, but since they joined forces with the animals, the loggers have been unable to defeat them. For the first time in many years, logging has ceased in some parts of the Amazon. Snakes, insects, birds, mammals, and human forest dwellers make a formidable enemy. You can't shoot a poisonous spider, especially if a venomous snake is biting you."

"Wow! I can see why you're glued to your laptop."

"One image that comes to mind is that of a naked rain forest native with a marmoset perched on his shoulder. There's a strong resemblance to Sol and David, and their friends."

"River, it's for you." Doreen held out the telephone. Then she went back to putting away the supper leftovers.

"It's my brother, Aaron. He says I should stay here tonight, if it's okay. He says our dad is angry drunk and shouting a lot."

"Of course it's okay," said Doreen.

Pete walked over to River. "Let me speak to him, please." He carried the phone into the living room. A few minutes later, he returned. "Yeah. You're welcome to stay the night, River. It sounds like your dad is having a hard time. Anybody dealing with such tragedies would have to break down from time to time. In his shoes, I'd probably be even worse."

"We'll put a cot in David's room," said Doreen.

"Oh, why bother?" laughed David. "My bed's big enough for both of us." He looked at River. "Is that okay with you, Riv? It'll make it easier for me to poke you when you snore."

"Yeah, easier for me to poke you too."

When they had cleaned up the kitchen, David said, "It's so hot tonight we thought we would ride out to the lake and have a swim. Is that okay?"

"Just be back before dark," said Pete.

"And don't drown!" said Doreen.

David laughed and said to River, "Isn't she great? She always gives me the best advice. And now, she's reminded us not to drown. Otherwise, we might just go out to the lake and drown, like silly boys."

Doreen dived towards David, and he yelled and raced out of the kitchen into the garage. Before the boys left the garage, David stuck his head through the kitchen doorway and shouted, "Mom! Be careful! Don't fall off the couch and break your neck!"

At the lake, David and River sat and talked until twilight. David told him about Zhiv, the mara and the animals' decision.

"You've probably got some questions."

"Yeah, a lot!"

"I don't wanna answer any of them. I hate talking. Right now, I just wanna take a quick dip in the lake, then ride like maniacs to get home before the sun sets. Is that okay, Riv? Please?"

"Whatever you want is okay with me. I really only got one question."

"Okay. One."

"Can I go with you tomorrow? Up the mountain? To meet Zhiv?"


They had another quick, cooling shower when they got back to the house. Then David threw a pair of pajama shorts to River. "Let's go down and spend a few minutes doing parental maintenance. They don't need much, but it's always good to make them feel useful and wanted."

Pete and Doreen were watching the late news broadcast. David pushed them apart and sat River down next to Doreen. He squeezed himself between River and Pete.

"You guys should have got me a brother, you know."

"Oh, really?" said Pete. "We figured one like you was enough."

"It would have meant an easier life for me, though. Being an only child is a bit of a burden. You have to meet the emotional needs of two adults twenty-four-seven. It's not easy."

"I know what I need!" Pete wrapped his arm in a hammerlock around David's neck. Then he raked his fingers over David's ribs and under his arm. "You get the other one, Doreen."

River echoed David's shrieks as Doreen discovered that he was ticklish in the same spots as her son. Soon, the boys had been reduced to gasping, quivering hulks, too weak to struggle. They rolled onto the carpet and crept on hands and knees towards the stairs.

In an aside, David said, "You see what I have to put up with!"

"River, there's spare toothbrush in David's bathroom cabinet," said Doreen.

They brushed and peed and stood beside the bed.

"It's too hot for pajamas." David stepped out of his pajamas and climbed over to the far side of the bed. River doffed his too, and lay down beside him.

"Last one in has to close the door, turn on the fan, turn off the light, and pull the sheet over us."

"Now you tell me." River got up and followed instructions.

"Now please come over here and give me a nice, naked hug."

"I really like your mom and dad."

"Yeah, they're great. Hold me a little tighter. Yes, like that. Put your arm under my neck. Good! Isn't that nice?"

"Yeah. It's real nice. Sorry about my boner."

"Oh! And are you sorry about my boner, too?"

"No, your boner is great. It really feels good, lying beside mine like that."

"Don't ever apologize to me about your boner, River. It's a very nice boner, very friendly. It seems to be making friends with my boner down there. You're the only boy who's ever slept in my bed, and I'm happy you and your boner are here."

"David, I, well I, I've pretty much always liked you. I mean ever since I first saw you. I always thought I would like to be with you. Like this, I mean." River stopped, then blurted, "Oh David, I'm so sorry I got stupid with Jude. I still feel bad about that."

"Let's stop talking and just hug for a while. You and me. Then go to sleep. That's all I want. We've got to get up real early tomorrow. Okay?"

"I feel so good to be here with you like this."

"Me, too."

Outside the cave, Zhiv sat cross-legged on the rock where he and David liked to lie. It radiated a comfortable warmth it had stored from the day's sun. Countless stars studded the black velvet sky and shone with a steady light in the clear mountain air. He closed his eyes and drifted into the mara. He found David's mountain lake image. It was intertwined with that of a boy sitting at the base of a pine. Zhiv felt a burst of love, and he smiled. Love filled him and swept him up above a vast assembly of creatures. Tears rolled down his cheeks, tears of joy, tears of sorrow. Then there was only love — endless, infinite love.



"It's time to get up."

River became aware of a hundred warm places his and David's bodies touched. Sweet sensations passed back and forth. "Oh, God! This is so nice!"

David hugged him tightly, then disentangled himself and sat on the edge of the bed. "My bed is a much nicer place with you in it," he said.

Ten minutes later, they were at work in the kitchen, careful not to wake the adults. David laid out sandwich materials and directed River in their construction. He busied himself with making a hot tofu scramble to put in thermoses for their breakfast with Zhiv. A half hour later, bearing loaded packs, they sped away from the dark, silent house.

A hint of sunrise tinted the horizon as they climbed the mountain road. Against a pinkish sky, the rocky summit was black. When they maneuvered their bikes off the road into the forest, the dawn air was alive with birdsong. Erg and Berky were waiting in the trees.

"David! There's a cougar!"

"Oh, yes, and Berky's here too. Wonderful. We need to get out of our clothes real quick, or they'll get irritated."


"Yes, Asshole?"

"How about running away? Is that a good idea?"

"No, no. Just strip. Take off all your clothes and put them in your pack."

River tucked his socks into his shoes and put them away with his shorts and T-shirt. Then he stood beside David and pressed tightly up against his side.

"Don't be scared, Riv. They've come to greet us. They've come to guard us. We should greet them. Watch." David knelt and put his arms out towards Erg. The great cat moved forward into his embrace. "Now, you, Riv."

River imitated David, at first holding Erg in a loose hug.

Erg moved forward, laid his chin on River's shoulder, closed his large yellow eyes, and purred.

River tightened his hold around Erg's neck. "Oh, David. He's beautiful!"

"He is, and you're doing very well. The first time I saw him, I wet myself. I actually peed my pants. It just squirted out. I couldn't help it. You're doing much better. Now here's Berky." The bear came up and stood on his hind legs with his forelegs outspread. Both boys embraced the bear.

A few seconds later, Zhiv appeared. He embraced David, then turned to River and opened his arms in welcome.

"You must be River. I'm Zhiv." He wrapped his arms around River and pulled him close.

River's hands rested tentatively on Zhiv's sides then crept around to clasp his back. River buried his face in the tangled golden hair. Zhiv kissed his neck. They stood still for a minute.

David cleared his throat. Berky snorted.

Zhiv pulled back to look into River's face. "I'm very happy to meet you, River, but David's hungry! We'd better get a move on. How are your feet?"

"My feet?"

"Yes, those floppy things on the bottom of your legs. Here, in the forest, we usually call them 'feet.'"

River giggled. "Uh, fine, I guess."

Zhiv went down on one knee. He lifted one of River's feet and felt the sole. "No, you're like David when he first came here. So, I'll carry your pack until your feet get toughened up."

Zhiv led the way. David wrapped his arm around River's waist.

River grinned. "You actually peed yourself?"

"Well, yes, but I was alone, with two ferocious animals. So, it was perfectly correct to be afraid."

Zhiv laughed. "I never saw anything like it! His shoes were full of pee. It wasn't just a few squirts. It was like the dam burst."

"Can we discuss something else?"

"But it didn't smell bad, or anything," said Zhiv. "Nothing to be ashamed of."

David rolled his eyes. "Riv, don't talk. Don't say anything. Just be with the forest and don't be afraid of anything. We have a thousand friends around us here."

"Our first stop is 'Bees R' Us,'" laughed Zhiv as they clambered up the mountainside. He stood and held his arms above his head. A cloud of honey-bees surrounded them. River shrank to David's side as the bees began to land on them.

"They won't sting you, Riv. Just be careful of them. They're very nice little people, but they are delicate. Move slowly."

They stood until they were coated with bees.

David enjoyed their vibrating hum for a minute, and then croaked, "Breakfast, please!"

When the bees had departed, Zhiv said to River, "You see what he's like if you don't feed him regularly? We've got to get some food into him quickly, or he'll become unruly."

"Less talking and more walking! C'mon, you guys!"

Celia came into the kitchen and wrapped her arms around Hector's neck. "I'm really happy to see you sitting here in my kitchen."

"I'm happy to be here. There's fresh coffee. It took me a while to figure out how to work your coffee maker, but I managed."

"Mmmmh." She got herself a cup and sat down opposite him.

Hector looked up from his laptop. "Africa! And Asia! Overnight it's spread to the remaining two continents."

"What's up for today?"

"There's too much data now for me to analyze, and this little laptop is not capable of the kinds of analysis I need to do. I've got two grad students who've been looking for summer work. They'll be happy to sort and enter all these reports into the university mainframe. I need to design a database we can use to figure out what's happening, something that will enable us to do statistical analysis and give us the big picture."

"What can I do?"

"I was hoping you could sort and categorize these reports. Think about questions I can ask Sol when I interview him tomorrow for the video. I'm meeting Melissa this afternoon to talk about that too. I also have a meeting scheduled with Pete for later today."

"There's something else I'd like to do this morning," said Celia. "I don't know if you've noticed, but it's hot. Every day it's hotter than the day before. I've never found the heat so uncomfortable. I want to go to the mall and pick up a couple of fans, so we can be a little cooler when we're working here."

Pete pushed aside the stacks of reports that had accumulated on his desk overnight. Then he made a list of people he needed to contact for the State Task Force on Animal Attacks. When the sheriff arrived, he asked Pete into his office to brief him on the latest developments.

Pete summarized. "Okay, there's still a pattern of events radiating out from Jana Mountain, but these animal attack incidents are generally becoming more widespread. It may have started from Jana Mountain, but after that, it seems to have spread with its own momentum."

The sheriff sighed. "You know the conspiracy theorists have got a hold of this now. It's being touted as part of the Illuminati plan for conquest of the globe. Others are arguing that it's just another false flag event that will soon blow over. China and Russia are also assumed to have caused it — some kind of virus that was generated in a lab and escaped. Or it's something our enemies released it into the environment. PETA and the shadow government are colluding with a cult of vegan pedophiles…"

"No aliens from Mars?" laughed Pete.

"Not yet," said the sheriff. "What about the task force? The Governor said not to worry about funding. We're authorized to spend whatever we need, within reason, to get a handle on this thing. He's got his people working on it too, and they'll probably be in touch with you soon."

"Okay. I talked to Hector Sanchez. He's willing to head a task force, and he's got the credentials to do it. He's ready to contact other experts and get them on board. He's put out feelers, and as soon as I let him know funding has been secured, he'll pull a team together. He's given me a list of government departments that should be involved."

"Give me a rundown."

"Okay, The Department of the Interior – reps from Fish and Wildlife and the Environmental Protection Agency. Reps from the Departments of Agriculture and Homeland Security, especially FEMA. We also want to have the local animal control officer present. I'm gonna try talk to all these people this morning and set up a meeting as soon as possible."

"It all sounds good. I'd like to sit in on any meeting you convene. I'm gonna detail another deputy to help you with this. Any ideas?"

"If Bill Frankl has recovered from the skunk attack, he'd be good. He's actually experienced both pig-boy events personally."

"Yeah, he's back," laughed the sheriff, "and he hardly smells at all."

When the boys had downed the last mouthful of tofu scramble, Zhiv sat back on his haunches. He crossed his arms over his knees. "Excellent breakfast, David. Thank you."

"You're most welcome. How do you feel, Riv? Are you okay with everything? You getting used to living naked?"

"Yeah. The food was great, and I like naked. I like being naked, and I like you guys naked." He looked down. "And I love being able to get a boner without having to hide it."

"Great!" Zhiv stood and stretched. "David and I like to hang out up on the plateau, beyond the tree line. There's a nice playing field, and a lake we can swim in. You can meet more of our friends and spend a little more time in the mara. Let's go."

They reached the edge of the meadow a half-hour later. The grass, so green a week before, had begun to yellow as it went to seed under the relentless sun. Goats and sheep grazed over the meadow, but several cows and deer had retired to lie in the shade and chew their cuds. A dozen pigs lolled and snoozed under the trees that lined the meadow. They oinked when they saw the boys appear and ran over to greet them. The last one to join them nosed the ball over the grass.

The boys knelt to exchange caresses and hugs with the pigs. River stretched out his arms. The pigs ignored him.

"They don't like me," said River.

"Oh, we'll just start to play with them, and they'll be fine," said David.

Zhiv stood up. "No. They say they won't play with River. They remember him from the pig barn. They hate him."

The pigs separated themselves from the boys and stood in a group.

River looked up. "Is there anything I can do?"

David put his hand on River's shoulder and motioned him to silence. Zhiv focused on the pigs, mostly males who had been castrated. They oinked and bumped against each other. Then one screeched a wild, savage shriek filled with anger and sorrow. All the pigs looked at River. He moved behind David.

Zhiv turned to River. "You want to fix this?"

"If I can."

"This is serious, River. It's not gonna be easy to get them to forgive you."

"Zhiv, just tell me what I need to do to make it right."

"Get down on your hands and knees and crawl over to them. Let them do whatever they want to you. In your mind, beg them to forgive you."

"Is it gonna be okay?" River's fear was audible in his voice.

Zhiv looked uncertain. "Probably. You have to trust them."

River got down and crawled over to the pigs. They surrounded him and nudged him with their noses. River began whimpering, and then he sobbed. The pigs poked him more vigorously. They pushed him over onto his back, and nosed and pawed him until his legs and arms were spread out. River sobbed but lay limp and inert.

David glanced at Zhiv.

Zhiv pulled him close and whispered, "Don't worry. He, and the pigs, too — they need to do this."

The pig who had squealed so fiercely a few minutes earlier walked between River's legs. He put his snout under the boy's scrotum. He nudged the scrotum, so River's testicles were astride his snout. River's flaccid penis lay off to one side. The pig raised his head further and opened his mouth, so River's penis and testicles fell inside his lower jaw. He dandled the testicles with his tongue and rolled them over his bottom teeth.

River openly wept. "Please, oh, please."

The pig lowered his head and pulled gently away. River's scrotum dropped out of his mouth, damp but intact. The pig raised his head to the sky and again squealed savagely. Then he shuffled backward until his head was near one of River's bare feet. He sniffed the foot. Then he licked the sole and the toes, and grunted.

All the pigs oinked and muttered in what sounded like good humor. They closed in on River then, and licked him all over until he started to laugh. They squealed in delight. A dozen tongues bathed him, baptized him. The more he laughed, the more they licked him. Pigs trotted out of the nearby forest and joined in. They rolled him over repeatedly. Soon they had licked every inch of his body, concentrating on intimate and ticklish areas.

One pig nosed the ball away and ran with it out into the meadow. The rest of the pigs followed. River crawled over to where Zhiv and David squatted.

"You can get up now. They've forgiven you." Zhiv laughed. "Oh, it was a near thing. I thought you were gonna lose your whole package, for sure."

"Me, too."

"Let's get on with the game," David said. "Riv, the rules are simple. You can't use your hands, only your feet. The object is to get control of the ball and keep it for as long as possible. There are no teams and no goals. Just get the ball, run like crazy, and look out for that big billy goat."

"And the rabbit," added Zhiv as they ran out into the field. "That big buck jackrabbit has the sneakiest fakes I've ever seen."

When the boys joined the melee, the billy goat had already stolen the ball from the pigs.

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