Like Dust in the Wind

by Jack Lynch

Chapter 7

Moments Like This.


"Ste-e-e-rike Three!"

The umpire pointed his left arm forward and ripped his right arm back like he was starting a chainsaw. Batter out.

Antoine held his throwing motion for a moment before standing straight up and making a small fist bump. Just twelve pitches to get three batters out in the bottom of the ninth. Game over.

His rise in the Little League ranks had been nothing short of meteoric.

Antoine's frustrations with his 13-year-old life only increased after the brief encounter with Carey and his subsequent rejection. Relief came only through violently throwing tennis balls against the cement block wall of the old warehouse near his house.

Fag. Prawn. Pussy. Fruit. Names other kids called him. The word had gotten out, in spite of everything. He repeated those words to himself when he threw. The angrier he felt, the harder he threw.

Just for fun, he used a thick magic marker to trace around the mortar of one of the cement blocks. Walking off 45 feet, he used a weathered board he found nearby for a rubber so he had a spot to throw from. A few times a week, more often when he felt like it, he threw against the wall. Hard. And then harder. There was some small satisfaction looking at the dirt marks left on the wall by the tennis balls.

"Whattaya doin'?" One of the neighborhood kids asked when he stopped to watch.

"What does it look like?" Antoine responded with a grimace. He barely paused before he threw the next ball.

The kid watched him for a few minutes before leaving. He returned a while later with his dad. They stood together watching Antoine heave tennis balls against the wall.

"You ever play ball?" The dad asked as he rubbed his chin.

A few days later, Antoine was given a try out for one of the local Little League teams. A brief throwing session and he was assigned to the bull pen. Practice was fun, the transition from tennis ball to baseball easier than he thought. The pitching coach, Mr. Smithers, spent most of his time with the older more experienced pitchers but he got his fair share of pointers, too.

Antoine thought he was going to die from fright the first time he was called into pitch. It was only the second game of the season. Middle innings, one out. Men on first and second.

He was so nervous he actually felt dizzy. Somehow, he got the ball out of his hand. It hit the dirt more than three feet in front of the batter. The second throw, high over everyone's heads, batter, catcher, and umpire all ducking or dodging. The ball flew straight to the back stop. The runners advanced to second and third.

As he turned to look at a distant point over the top of the center field fence, he heard it. A kissing sound coming from the opposing team's dugout. Taunting wasn't allowed in youth baseball. But, this was pretty subtle. Antoine knew what they meant.

He thought of the pain and frustration he felt being gay and Black in a world that didn't readily accept either. Hundreds and thousands of balls thrown at that damn wall. He glanced down at the threads of the baseball in his hand. One look at the batter and he threw the ball as hard as he could. Strike one!

He retired the next two batters just like that. Neither one came even close to making contact with the ball as they fruitlessly slashed away at it. Two more innings followed, both repeats of his first inning of pitching.

"Son, that was an impressive debut," the team's manager told him when he informed Antoine that he was bringing in another pitcher for the final innings.

That was two years ago. Now 15 years old. His scrawny boy shape mostly gone but still pretty thin. 5'8," around 145 pounds. Weight lifting and pitching drills with the other pitchers helped him develop a nice set of strong shoulders. His waist looked smaller, his hips bigger. Buzz cut, round eyes, and full lips.

He was alternately his team's ace starting pitcher or their deadly closer. Along the way, Coach Smithers had taught him how to throw a split finger fastball.

"Your hands are big enough and your fingers long enough," he told Antoine as he spread them across the ball. "Spread your fingers even further apart and you can make the pitch filthy."

Antoine's favorite pitch was still the fastball but it was fun to mix the splitter in from time to time. It was almost hilarious to watch hitters flail around. If they got the bat on the ball at all, they usually just clipped part of it. The result was a weakly hit ball to the short stop or the second baseman. Frequently, the ball just bounced back to the mound for an easy out.

When he first came up to bat, Antoine had to take a moment. He rubbed his hands around the ball vigorously as he circled the mound. Standing in the batter's box was this beautiful creature. Tall, spindly legs, narrow hips. Milk chocolate skin, much lighter than Antoine's. Wide spread doe shaped eyes that seemed to wrap around the side of his head. A broad flat nose. Tight long braids that fell around his face and into his eyes.

A kind of half smile, almost mocking him. Antoine should have felt pissed off, his rage giving him the fuel he needed to rifle that first pitch in. Instead, he felt disarmed. He tried to concentrate on the catcher's mitt when he threw the ball. It was a total whiff. The batter promptly blasted the ball into deep left for a triple. Hands on his hips, Antoine turned to watch him run around the bases.

Acres was the name printed on the back of his jersey. Pure hate bubbled up in Antoine's throat. Still distracted, he served up a nice fat pitch to the next batter. A stand up double sending the kid at third skipping into home plate. He jumped up, playfully hip checking one of his teammates and receiving high fives from the rest of them.

He never faced him again during that game. Sitting in the dugout, Antoine couldn't keep his eyes off of him. He checked the roster. Moses Acres. They were the same age. 6'1," 160 pounds. A crazy .350 batting average. When he was on the field playing shortstop, he had an athletic self-assured way of carrying himself. The next time he came to bat, he watched two pitches go by before he blasted another long hit for a double.

Untouchable. Antoine thought, I might as well hate him. I can never just have him. Someone like Moses Acres most certainly had his hands full fending off chicks. More likely, he probably didn't give a rip about girls anyway, let alone other guys. Like him.

It seemed like Moses Acres bubbled up in Antoine's mind more often than not. Like now. Wrapped tightly in his comforter, he lay on his bed, shorts pulled down to his ankles. One hand around his engorged cock, the other tickling the sensitive skin between his balls and his asshole. A vision of Moses's smooth inner thighs, narrow hips, and his silky chest. What he must smell like, taste like. The spunk poured out of him in wave after wave.

"There have been countless legends about bad-intentioned, many-tentacled creatures roaming the depths, but none have ever made it onto land. Until now."

That's what the sign said next to The Monster. Antoine stood watching the carnival ride at the County Fair. A warm mid-summer evening. Screams and laughter, music blaring, it's 24 twirling cars extending from six tentacles.

Antoine smiled. Looked scary, but fun. He tried to decide if he was brave enough. Suddenly, a presence. Someone standing next to him.

His eyes widened when he glanced to his right.

"That's dope!" Moses said as he looked up at the ride spinning almost over their heads.

Antoine was literally speechless. Tank with deep armholes, basketball shorts, high top athletic shoes, no socks. Without a baseball cap on, his braids fell haphazardly over his face and around the sides of his head. Way cute. Way hot. He had that same kind of half smile on his face that Antoine had seen before.

"How ya doin' bruh?" The second the words came tumbling out of his mouth, Antoine thought they sounded incredibly stupid. What was it with "bruh?" He never used that word.

Moses just looked at him and smirked. Same half smile.

"I'm Mo."

"I know."

"You're Antoine."

"I know."

They both laughed. God! That was stupid, he thought. He felt himself blush deeply. At least, it broke some of the tension.

"Wanna go with me?" Mo glanced up at The Monster.

They sat next to each other in one of the cars as the ride attendants off-loaded and on-loaded others.

"You hit the crap out of one of my pitches."

Laughing easily, "I got really lucky, man."

"I dunno. Better than luck. You read me. I could tell."

"How could you tell?"

"By the look on your face."

"That's the look I get when I'm scared shitless."

It was Antoine's turn to laugh.

The ride took off, both of them gripping the handle bars with all of their might. As the twirling arms picked up speed, Mo was slowly pushed into Antoine's hip. They were eventually crushed together, the centrifugal force pushing them all the way to one side of the car. It felt glorious, Antoine thought. Mo smelled good, too. A natural odor, partially sweat, but sweet and wonderful.

Laughing and gasping, at some point, Antoine couldn't really tell when, Mo moved his hand over on the handle bar and put it on top of his. What could be more amazing, he thought?

When the ride slowed down and they eventually stopped, they remained silent for a couple of minutes, both still tightly crushed together. Antoine ever so slightly adjusted his hip.

"Oh, sorry." Moses said with a nervous chuckle. He nudged over.

"That's ok." They looked at each other for a moment. "Really."

An awkward moment as they walked away from the ride.

Antoine followed along when Mo hooked up with a bunch of other guys, some of whom he immediately recognized as players on Mo's team. He was immediately swept into the group. Lots of backslaps and knuckle kisses. They all apparently remembered him as the pitcher who had creamed them during that game. Well, he'd creamed most of them. They mostly wandered around, played a couple of carnival games, ogled girls while whispering lewd comments about them to each other.

Mo and Antoine started to hang back, leaving some space between themselves and the other guys. Stopping in the middle of the midway's main pathway. Moses turned to Antoine and shook the braids out of his eyes.

"Wanna go somewhere?" A serious look on his face.

What was he supposed to say? Antoine was immediately confused and scared, too. What did he mean by that? Why didn't he ask, do you wanna hang out? That's what most guys would say. Where was somewhere? What should he say?

Finally, in a soft voice, "Ok."

Again, silence. Moses uncomfortably shifted his weight from one hip to the other.

"I mean, um, well, I don't have anywhere to take you. I mean for us to go." Embarrassingly awkward.

Antoine just drew a blank. His mind tried to catch up to his raging feelings.

"I could take you home," he finally said.

Moses just looked at him.

"I mean to my house." A plan quickly formulated in Antoine's mind.

His dad was in the living room watching the end of the ball game. His mother, in the den, collapsed on the sofa, already snoozing, an open book across her stomach.

"' Night." Antoine breezed through the living room.

"How was the fair?"

"Good." He was already closing the door to his room.

Outside, Moses had set up a short step ladder next to the window to Antoine's bedroom.

With only a small lamp lit next to his twin sized bed, Antoine climbed onto it and opened the window. Moses was waiting outside. A boost and a pull and he somewhat clumsily fell through the open window onto the bed.

They just lay there on their backs, staring up at the ceiling.

"Are those stars?" Mo asked with a giggle.

"Ya. From when I was little."

"What are they for?"

"For dreaming."

Mo turned on his side to face Antoine.

"What kinds of dreams?"

"For dreaming about moments like this."

Mo reached over with his hand, running his fingers along the side of Antoine's face. He nudged over and placed a small kiss on the side of Antoine's face.

He was paralyzed at first. Afraid to breathe. Afraid to even blink his eyes. Then, with a whimper, Antoine turned his head, pulled Mo toward him, and crushed their mouths together.

Intense at first, then more slowly, tender. They explored each other's bodies with their tongues, noses, fingers. If I could only just eat him up like a plate of his Nana's meatloaf, Antoine thought.

On his back, his knees up and out, he grimaced as Mo entered him with that lovely cock of his. Even bigger than his. Mo slowly and steadily nudged his cock into him, knowing that every inch of it was excruciatingly painful. He had to be experienced, Antoine thought. And then, he was immediately jealous.

Mo gasped over and over when he orgasmed. Flopping onto the bed next to Antoine, he closed his eyes, his breathing returning to normal. Antoine pulled himself up on his elbows and looked at him. How can someone be so beautiful?

Mo jerked his eyes open. He must have heard Antoine thinking. In one motion, he pushed Antoine onto his back, slid down, and swallowed his cock. Antoine gripped Mo's wrists, hanging on for dear life, feelings pulsing through his cock, his entire body.

When it was over, they lay entwined in each other's arms.

"When did you know?" Antoine whispered.

"The very first second I saw you."

"That's sic. How?"

Mo shrugged.

"I dunno. I just did."

"Are you…"

Mo giggled.

"Ya mutha fucka. I'm gay, too.

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