Prairie Dogs, Pronghorns & Penis Sheaths

by Biff Spork

Chapter 4

Felled by a Super-Power

LONDON, 7 May, 2021 - Climate scientists warn that - unless the world acts to limit global heating - the Antarctic ice sheet could begin irreversible collapse. The ice on the Antarctic continent could raise global sea levels by more than 47 metres, higher than a ten-storey building, and enough to unleash catastrophic sea level rise. Global warming of just 3°C above the long-term average for most of human history would bring on a rise from south polar melting of at least 0.5cms a year from about 2060 onwards. Right now the world is on course for temperatures significantly above 3°C.


Marcus was treading water, and as I swam up from the bottom, I could see all of him but for his head. I swam over, took a good look and surfaced facing him. Before I could say or do anything, his hand was on my head. He pushed me under. For the next half hour, it was water war. We swam and dunked and splashed and grabbed and kicked and dived. And though we made lots of noise, I don't think any actual words were exchanged, just grunts, growls, shrieks, wordless threats and peals of laughter. The water was not cold but was cold enough so our organs were clenched like little fists at our groins.

Puffing and coughing, Marcus pulled himself up onto the shore and stretched out in the sunshine. I collapsed near him, and we lay in silence for a few minutes as the sun dried us and our breathing slowed.

"You ever do that before?" asked Marcus.


"Play in the water like that, with another boy."


"Neither did I," he said. "It was fun, even more fun than I imagined."

"Yeah," I said. I wanted to say, 'It's the most fun I ever had. I've never even dreamed anything so good. It was like a half-hour in heaven.' But I was afraid if he knew how much I loved being with him, he would run away.

Meanwhile, the hot sun on my crotch was causing an uprising. I could feel my penis swelling and I knew there was no way to hide it, to pretend it wasn't happening.

Marcus snickered. I looked over at him. He was lying on his side looking at me. I closed my eyes and hoped an intense desire could make me invisible.

"Wow," he said. "When you blush, you blush all over. That's amazing! I always thought people just blushed on their faces."

He laid his cool hand on my forehead, then on my stomach.

"And it's hot," he said. "I mean, temperature-wise." Then he laughed, "but it's hot-hot too."

By this time I could feel that my erection was pointing nearly straight up, as it was wont to do when particularly agitated.

I rolled onto my side facing him and looked at him. "Looks like you've got a bit of a blush going on too," I said, happy that he too had sprung a boner.

"Yeah," he said. "It's your fault. It's contagious, though I must confess that I have had boners before today. It's supposed to happen a lot when you're our age, and I suspect we're normal, at least as far as that's concerned."

We were silent then for a minute as we candidly examined each other.

Then he said, "I'm really happy you caught me letting your raccoon go. It's been lonely doing this stuff by myself. Thanks, Bumper."

My blush, which had gone down, immediately swept over me in a wave. Marcus laughed, but kindly, gently. Then he said, "Wow, I can make that happen just by talking to you. It's like a super-power!"

'Humph!" I said. My brain was silently clasping his words, that he was happy I caught him. He was happy I caught him! We lay back in silence until we were dry and, amazingly, soft.

I wondered what time it was and Marcus guessed it was going on five.

"Will I see you tonight?" I asked while we dressed.

"No," he said. "I don't need to liberate your raccoon tonight. Besides, I've been out the last four nights in a row and I want to spend a night or two in bed. Besides, I don't think it's smart to go out every night. Random times are better, to be unpredictable, to do different things at different times."

Marcus must have seen the disappointment in my face because he immediately said, "But I want you to see you here tomorrow, if you can come, and we can work on your cart. Get a good sleep tonight and come here tomorrow morning. Don't feel shy about coming here. This is my place and you'll always be welcome."

Then he said, "Now I'm going to try a little experiment. Are you listening?"

"Yes, an experiment?"

"Bumper Kelly," he said, "I like you. You're the first real friend I've ever had. I've only known you for two days but I would trust you with my life. I don't know why, but I do. And I don't know why it makes me happy to see your sweet, freckled face, but it does."

I could feel a massive blush spreading over me and Marcus started laughing, then bent over backward laughing and holding his belly. "I wanted to see if I could do it," he crowed. "And I can. I really can make you blush just by talking!"

I pushed him down, jumped on top of him and growled, "You're a monster, you know, an evil, bad, wicked person! A sociopath! A psychopath! A troglodyte!"

"But Bumper," he gasped, "I meant every word I said." Then he reached up and pulled me into a tight hug. I melted into him and hugged him back. I took advantage of our closeness to take a deep sniff behind his ear, a nostril-full of him I hoped to enjoy later.

Back at the workshop, Marcus scanned both of my palms into the security program. Then we walked together to the door in the wall. I wheeled my bike up to it and pressed my palm against the plastic square. The door hissed open.

"Don't worry about lunch tomorrow," said Marcus. "We can find something to eat here. Okay?"

I agreed and the door slid shut.

Supper that evening was more pleasant than usual. My father was glad that the driveway was devoid of garbage and the raccoon had been relocated. My mother, who had worried about my diet since I'd become vegan, seemed for once satisfied that I was eating enough.

"You seem to be in a good mood tonight," said my father. "What happened? Some big oil company went broke?"

"No," I said. "I'm just happy that our raccoon is now enjoying a more natural life in the forest around Jefferson Lake."

"Well," said my mother. "Isn't that nice."

Here, I was torn between something I didn't like to talk about and something I wanted to talk about. The something I didn't want to talk about was that I had never had any friends. I knew that worried my parents. I didn't understand why I didn't have any friends. I seemed like a normal person to me and sometimes I hung out with other kids. But nothing ever clicked. Nobody understood my jokes and I couldn't understand how they could enjoy the sarcastic remarks they chafed each other with. I didn't fight with other kids. But we only drifted beside each other for a while, then drifted apart, like logs floating down a river with nothing holding them together.

The something I did want to talk about, though most of it was unmentionable, was Marcus. I knew he was my friend. Finally I had a friend. And it was wonderful. I wanted to dance on the table. I wanted to kiss my mother, a big smacking kiss, on both cheeks, and hug my father, despite his reactionary, retrogressive ideas.

"Oh," I said. "And I rode out to Jefferson Lake with a kid I met and we've been hanging out a bit."

"A school friend?" asked my mother.

"No. We just seem to have some common interests."

"Boy or girl?" probed my father.

I was sorely tempted to say, 'Yes', but decided to keep it friendly. "He's a boy, about my age. I'd like you to meet him," I said to my father.

To my mother, I said, "Maybe he can come to supper with us sometime?"

"That would be nice," said my mother. "What's his name?"


"Well, bring him along any time. We'll be happy to meet him," said my father.

"He's also vegan," I said.

"No problem," said my father. "If your mother can cook for one vegan I sure she can cook for two."

"I'm meeting him tomorrow. I'll ask him. Mom, if he can come, is tomorrow night okay?"

"I'd like that," she said. "Just let me know a couple of hours in advance so I can make sure we have something nice to eat."

Later in my bedroom, I worried that I had mentioned Marcus. It seemed that as long as it was just him and me, everything would be okay, but as soon as we were around other people, things might go wrong. When it was just us two, I never had to think about what to say or do—I was just me and whatever I did seemed right. I was afraid that when other people saw how I was with him, they would see how much I loved him and get upset.

But the worries fled when I turned out the light, got into bed and began to re-play the day. So many beautiful images of Marcus filled my mind, I was consumed with naked lust, and abused myself with immense satisfaction twice before sleep overcame me.

In the morning, I set out for Marcus' place as soon as I finished breakfast. I was so eager to see him again, I pedaled faster and faster as if I were in the Tour de France . Though the bike trail was crowded with commuting cyclists, I made it to the door in the wall in a half hour. I stood there for a minute feeling like a kid in a movie who discovers a portal to another world. Then I pressed my palm to the translucent square and the door slid open. When I got to the workshop door I stopped, unsure whether I should knock or just barge in. I knocked. The door opened and Marcus said "Bumper," pulled me inside and hugged me.

" You don't need to knock," he said. Then he put his arm around my shoulders and walked me over to the table with all the cart parts. "C'mon, I've already started."

While we assembled the cart, he explained all the parts. I was awestruck by how much he knew about mechanical things.

"I've been home-schooled since I was little," he said. "Granddad always found somebody to teach me when I was interested in something. But he knew a lot about mechanical things and taught me himself too. He had friends who were still in the car parts business and once he knew what I wanted, he had them help me with the design and getting the parts made and machined. The cart is nearly all made with titanium steel, machined to within a micron of specifications. It's all custom-built. You can't buy one like this. It's very light, very fast, and practically indestructible."

"Being home-schooled must be great," I said.

"It has been, for me," said Marcus. "But I kinda missed not mixing with other kids. Now when I meet other kids, usually nothing happens. I feel like I'm from Mars or something. And I know there are big gaps in what I learned because I mostly just studied what I was interested in, and that didn't include a lot of math or social studies or history."


He looked over at me and I plunged ahead, "What about your mom and dad?"

"They died in a plane crash when I was little. My dad liked to fly his own plane and he and my mom got caught in a bad storm over the mountains. Both were killed and granddad pretty well brought me up from then on."

As soon as I said it I knew it sounded stupid but I was in too deep to stop. "So who takes care of you now?"

"I don't know as anybody 'takes care of me'," he said. "My uncle used to stay at the house but he mostly just took care of himself. Granddad's will makes me pretty independent. It's complicated. And there's Jason and Anna who run the house and are like parents to me. Officially they're my guardians. They've been taking care of me since I was born and they're really good to me."

I was afraid I had got too personal and touched on some topics that made him sad. Then he looked up with a smile and said, "Now, that's your two questions for today. And I've got four questions now, two I didn't ask you yesterday and two I have for today. Right?"

"Ask away," I said.

"At lunch," he said. "For now, let's get the wheels on this baby."

As the morning passed, I saw that Marcus did have a super-power compared to most people. When he was concentrated on something, he was completely immersed in it and seemed immune to normal sensations, like hunger. I kept wondering when we were going to break for lunch, but it was after one o'clock before he stood back from the table and said, "There, that's enough for today. All we have to do now is install the motor and batteries and link it all together. Let's have some lunch."

I remembered then that I wanted him to come to my place for supper that night. When I asked him, it made him happy and he said he would like that, to meet my mother and father.

We walked over to the kitchen area and while he busied himself there with a couple of bowls, I phoned my mother and let her know Marcus would be coming for supper. Ten minutes later, he produced two bowls of ramen with chunks of tofu and green peas. I was so hungry I could've eaten the empty bowl with satisfaction, and the only sounds for the next quarter hour were slurping noises and then our sighs as we sat back in front of the empty bowls. He then unloaded some vegan burritos from the microwave. We topped those off with glasses of tart, ice-cold kombucha.

While we sipped, he reminded me that he had a few questions, then asked me how old I was, where I went to school and what my favorite subjects were. There was only a month between us. He had turned thirteen a month before me so he was the elder. I discovered another advantage of homeschooling when I told him that I was going into ninth grade in autumn. He remarked that he planned on taking his final high school exams in spring the following year.

As for my favorite subject, it was English Literature. I was always happy if I had a good book in my hand, but I found all my school subjects interesting. That was probably why I got good grades even though I didn't study much. I liked a lot of other kinds of knowledge as well. I loved the way I could wallow in information about all sorts of things on the internet and follow threads of ideas through links to discover new things.

"Like the other night I discovered these things called kotekas ," I said.

"What's a koteka ?"

"Well," I said, " kotekas are these little gourds, sort of long and thin, that the men in Papua New Guinea wear."

"Really? On their heads?" he asked.

"Well, no, actually they wear them on their, um, things," I muttered.

"On their 'things' or is it on their 'umthings'?"

"On their um…penises."

"Really! They wear gourds on their penises? But don't they just fall off?" he asked.

"Well, they have a little string that goes around underneath…."


"The string goes around under their…balls, and they tie it snug so that the gourd is pulled onto their penis. Then another string goes from the tip of the gourd around the waist so the koteka stands straight up."

"And that's like under a loin-cloth or something?" he said.

"No, that's all they wear. That's it." I pulled up some photos of men wearing kotekas on Google and handed him my phone. "Here's some photos."

"That's amazing!" he said.

"Yeah. What I like about it is that you could walk around all day with a boner and nobody would know."

"Kind of like a disguise," he chuckled then laughed. "Like, there you are, completely naked except for the long, pointy thing poking out of your crotch, and you're walking around thinking, 'Heh, heh, nobody knows I've got a boner, heh heh' because," he gasped, "because you're wearing this enormous fake boner." His shrieks echoed from the high ceiling in the workshop and set me off and we both collapsed in gales of laughter.

When the storm passed he sat up holding his belly. "Bumper Kelly, I've never laughed so hard in all my life. I think I broke something. What are those things called?"


"Spell it."

I spelled it out for him.

"Right!" he said and jumped up. "Let's go have a swim."

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