A Boy Named James,

by Jolyon Lewes

Chapter 2

Summer 1962

In early 1962 I turned sixteen and my time was mostly spent working hard for O Level examinations. During the Summer Term I liked watching the Under 15 cricketers at play. They played in white shorts of extraordinary brevity, which naturally proved very popular with spectators. With the exams out of the way I enjoyed what remained of the term, able to spend longer watching the Under 15s and thanks to my portable radio, to follow the England-Pakistan Test series.

Then came the summer holidays. One of the short-trousered grey suits I'd had to wear at my previous school was still in my wardrobe at home. It had been my Sunday suit and in better nick than the weekday suit which had had longer shorts and was no longer in my possession. My mother said the Sunday suit was in reserve and got me to see if it still fitted. In reserve for what, I asked myself. There was no way I was ever again going to wear it in public!

In the privacy of my bedroom I put it on for the first time in well over a year. As I pulled on the shorts I found myself tingling with nerves. The inside leg length was barely two inches. I hadn't grown broader in that time and the suit fitted comfortably but the shorts seemed shorter than ever because I'd grown a bit taller. Looking in the mirror I thought of Martin in his French shorts. Tall and slim, he seemed to have about a yard of bare thigh. To see him in in his tiny grey shorts for another year or more would give me many gladdening sights and plenty of inspiration for more glorious wanks.

Compared to Martin, I was rather short so had less bare thigh visible as I stood in my bedroom but my Sunday shorts were nevertheless shockingly brief. I sat on my chair to see how far the Sunday shorts rode up my thighs. It was a long way and I put a hand on my right thigh just as I'd done to Martin's on that freezing afternoon watching the hockey. I was yet to grow any hairs on my legs and I stroked my thigh in the region of a prominent mole. That mole is about a third of the way down my right thigh and my weekday shorts used to cover it when I was seated but the Sunday shorts weren't long enough to do that and now, two years later, the mole was three inches clear of the hem.

All of a sudden I had a crazy idea; I would emulate Martin! Come the winter I'd put on the Sunday suit in secret and go out in the cold to see what it felt like. And if it snowed, even better - I'd sit down and see if any snowflakes landing on my bare thighs refused to melt!

By now I had a hard-on. Was I thinking of Martin or was I thinking of me? I think it was a bit of both.

September 1962

The holidays over I returned to boarding school and joined the Lower Sixth Form. We wore white shirts to indicate our superiority over more junior boys in their itchy, grey shirts and I now had a dark-grey suit to complement the light-grey ones I'd worn for the past two years. I settled into the regime of lessons, tutorials, periods of private study and a little less in the way of compulsory sports.

Even Sixth Formers, however, were required to turn out for sports on Saturday afternoons. The cross-country runners indulged in their wet and muddy occupation, the rugby fanatics their even muddier and potentially much more painful occupation and the rest of us had to play soccer. The better players competed to be in the First or Second Elevens, or the Colts if they were younger, the average players were put in minor teams that played each other and the poor players, like me, were allocated to a squad of fellow no-hopers and had to play over an hour of soccer in whatever weather came our way with no prospect of encouragement, let alone prizes.

At my first boarding school I'd been used to being always the last to be picked for any sporting team, however lowly the team. Perhaps to spare the shame of always being picked last, I was now subject to a different system. You were allocated to a team and you had to look at a list at lunchtime on Saturday to see in which team you'd be playing that afternoon. I often found myself playing with boys one or two forms below me. I think whoever composed these lists thought that a hopeless Sixth Former would be of similar standard to a moderately skilled Fourth Former, which is ludicrous.

One miserable Saturday in late November I found that I and a couple of Fifth Formers were to play with a bunch of juniors. What little dignity I possessed vanished in an instant. Tingling with nerves I went to the changing room and got unhappily into my football kit. The last thing I wanted was for my incompetence at football to be observed by a bunch of boys of about thirteen. We older ones would be conspicuous because we wore blue football shorts while Third-Formers and below wore white PE shorts for football and rugby.

Onto the field I went, to be told by the child-captain I was to be left-half. I honestly tried to do my best but my total lack of skill quickly became evident and I had to spend the game being sworn at, jeered or just sullenly ignored. It was wretched.

There was, however, a tiny glimmer of sunshine. I've always had an eye for a good pair of male legs and one of the Third Formers was exceptional in that regard. I'd never seen such a fine pair of legs. At first I thought he was wearing not white PE shorts but underpants, so bare were his thighs. After a couple of minutes I realised they were indeed PE shorts but too small even to cover his bottom. When I got the chance I studied his face and very comely it was.

Or it would have been had he not spent the whole match scowling at everyone and sneering at me, making rude and sarcastic remarks about my uselessness. His voice had broken, which I found surprising in one so young. A few times I saw him trying to pull his shorts down far enough to cover his bottom but it was a hopeless task and I wondered why he spent so much time being vitriolic instead of making himself decent with slightly longer shorts.

I noticed he kept ingratiating himself with a couple of his teammates who were ugly as sin and looked like thugs. He looked too delicate - too pretty even - to want to be friends with the likes of them but seemed determined to make himself antisocial and thoroughly unpleasant. It was horrible having to mix with the sort of boy who goes out of his way to scorn a boy like me who doesn't happen to be any good at football. I was only a few months short of my seventeenth birthday, old enough then to have a driving licence and show these kids who was really in charge. After the game I slunk off, refusing to join the other boys in that horrific communal bath and get laughed at by those kids for my physical inadequacies. At sixteen I'd be expected to have more in the way of body hair than I actually had at that stage in my somewhat lengthy adolescence.

I never again had to play football with that sneering boy with the fantastic legs, nor indeed with any bunch of boys three years my junior. After Christmas there'd be the option to do cross-country running instead of football and I always took that option as it meant you weren't part of a team so couldn't let any team-mates down and get scorned for your incompetence.

I saw the sneering boy in sports kit a few more times before the Christmas holidays began and each time he was in shorts too short to cover the whole of his bottom. I wondered if he knew he was making an exhibition of himself. Once I saw him standing in the changing room wearing a cricket sweater over his PE kit. There was no sign at all of any shorts, not even when he bent to tie his laces. The sight of part of his bare bottom gave me an instant hard-on.

Another time he was standing near his ugly mates, the bunch of kids who liked to be known as the 'hard boys' because they chose not to wear pyjama jackets in winter and rebelled in a number of other minor ways. They were pointing at the back of sneering boy's thighs and making comments. Intrigued, I manoeuvred myself to get a look. At the very top of his thighs, right on the crease where his bottom began, were two horizontal, parallel marks. They were unmistakeably the marks of a cane. I'd no idea what he'd done to earn a caning but his mates seemed impressed. He might have deliberately got himself caught doing something that warranted a caning just in order to impress the 'hard boys.' The feeling of Schadenfreude came back as I considered the sneering boy in pain. As far as I was concerned, it was well-deserved, even though I'd no idea what he'd done wrong. He should take better care of those scrumptious legs of his. I had yet another hard-on.

I thought about him over the Christmas holidays. Would he be spending time at home in shorts of such eye-watering brevity? Was he, underneath, a nice boy like me? I'd no idea where he lived, I didn't even know his name.

I was also pondering my plan to emulate Martin by wearing my old Sunday suit. I pictured him in his French shorts braving the icy weather with his thighs totally bare. If he could do it and survive so could I!

So I decided that the sixteen-year-old me would dress in my old Sunday suit and venture forth as a boy of fourteen. I dared myself to do it. Obviously, it would have to be in secret. Physically, I still looked only fourteen and if I kept quiet my deep voice wouldn't give me away. Should I take a train ride and pretend I was making one of those solo journeys back to my old boarding school? No, that wouldn't work. What if I was forced into conversation with another passenger? What if that passenger took an unhealthy interest in my bare legs? No - I'd been there before far too many times and had no intention of repeating it.

The answer was simple: a long bike ride in the countryside, setting off in ordinary clothes and once safely out of town changing into the Sunday suit. I'd look at maps to find a suitable route as far away as possible from built-up areas. I decided to do it on the Sunday after Christmas. My family were off to some pantomime so I had the whole afternoon to myself and thought I could pretend to be one of the choristers in the cathedral choir, pedalling off to Choral Evensong in his short-trousered prep school uniform.

So I did it. The weather was suitably bitter. Blizzards were sweeping across the west of the country, heralding the coldest English winter in my lifetime. In our part of the country it hadn't actually begun to snow and the roads weren't too slippery. I felt terrified putting on the Sunday shorts and then my long trousers over them. Imagine how I felt when in a suitably remote spot I took off the long trousers, swapped my windcheater for my grey jacket and pedalled off, looking a bit like I imagined Martin would look like on a bike.

I was tingling all over and it wasn't from the cold. I knew I was blushing because the back of my neck felt hot. I set off along a minor road. My legs didn't feel cold but they were working quite hard, especially on the uphill bits. In no time the only parts of me that felt really cold were my ears and my hands. I should have brought gloves but I'd forgotten them.

I pedalled on, not taking in the view but wondering what the hell I was doing. Traffic was light but cars and lorries did pass from time to time. I hoped no-one would stop to ask me where I was going. On stretches where I could freewheel I looked down at my thighs, pink and very, very bare..

A car overtook me, going only a little faster than me. A bit further on it stopped but no-one got out and when I passed it I saw the driver, a man, watching me as I pedalled past. Then he restarted his engine and followed me as I sped down a hill, overtaking me again when I reached the level. Then he stopped again and watched me as I passed him for the second time. He must have been interested and it made me a bit nervous. Thoughts of discretion and valour tossed about in my head and when the man had overtaken me yet again I decided to turn round and head back towards home.

I saw other cyclists but they were in long trousers with cycle clips. A couple of them gave me a friendly wave. My feeling of nerves had gone and now I felt quite exhilarated. I'd done my dare and no harm had come my way. I pulled on my long trousers and made it home long before the family returned. I can't explain how I felt but it was a good feeling. I'd have to do this again, preferably in similarly cold weather.

I'd had this feeling of Schadenfreude watching Martin suffering in the cold and I wanted other people to have the same feeling for me. I wanted them to see a poor little schoolboy in the bitter cold, a boy with no gloves and in shorts that were far too short and I wanted them to smile. The thought gave me a quite severe hard-on and I turned my thoughts to the sneering boy.

I wondered if he realised he made an exhibition of himself every time he wore shorts and then it struck me that I'd just been doing exactly that on my bike, but intentionally. My Sunday shorts were very short but not nearly as indecent as sneering boy's PE shorts. My legs weren't exactly hideous but his were simply fantastic. Had he been cycling with me any wolf-whistles would have been aimed at him. At school he wore long trousers and I wondered if at home he had a short-trousered grey suit to wear for church and so on, like my Sunday suit. He'd certainly look very nice, so long as he wasn't sneering.

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