While I was making the coffee, Pop disappeared for a minute, then returned to the kitchen where he placed five twenty-dollar bills on the table.
"No, Pop. I can't take that. I've hardly done any work today."
"You could've earned it working other jobs somewhere else."
"That's not the point. Anyway, I'd rather be here."
"It's your money. Take it."
"No. I didn't earn it."
"What do you mean you'd rather be here?"
"Just what I said." I poured a nip of brandy into Pop's coffee, then took the two cups to the table. "Do you ever look at nudie pics on the net?"
"Yeah, right," I laughed as I sat opposite the feral mop of white hair. "How come you're such a fucking hopeless liar? Anyway, have you noticed something about those models?"
"A distinct lack of clothing?"
"Not just that. The look on their faces. They're on a high. They get off on showing their boners and asses."
"You mean like that ancient Greek dude who looked at his reflection in a pool? He was looking at his face, not his dick."
"It seems to me that pornographic models…"
"You said you didn't look at those kinda pics."
"I vaguely remember having seen one or two… by accident."
"You're getting a Pinnochio nose, Pop. It's grown an inch already." Then I cracked totally when Pop instinctively lifted a hand to feel his nose. "Hey! You got the guilts, Pop?"
"I think those people are basically insecure. They need to have their self-esteem constantly reinforced."
"You think I'm insecure?"
"Not really. No more than anybody else."
"So how come I think it's totally rad when you gawk at me?"
"You like to shock me. If I weren't shocked, you wouldn't bother."
"Do you jack off thinking about me?"
"Do you really expect me to answer that question?"
"You're feeling your nose again," I laughed. "Anyway, what's the biggie? I jack off thinking about my buds… and I know that they jack off thinking about me."
"I'm not surprised."
"So you do jack off? Right?"
"Daniel, for some strange reason, dignity is not an issue when you're a teen. You can pretty much do what you like without feeling embarrassed. You can roll around in the mud, wrestle with your buds, have sex twenty four hours a day, piss wherever you wanna, browneye people… whatever."
"So what happens when you get older?"
"I don't know. Do you still behave as you did five or ten years ago?"
"Guess not. So you're saying that I'm not gonna be doing all these things in a few years?"
"If I did them, what would you think?"
"Yeah. I see what you mean. Ew!"
"Thanks very much. I'm no expert, but I tend to think that teens are naturally rebellious. Maybe it has something to do with being controlled by parents, teachers, and whoever for most of their lives. When they reach puberty, they feel a need to break free of those restrictions. It's as though they go from one extreme to the other. But it's just a phase. After a while, when their rebelliousness has been satisfied, they settle down."
"So when I'm like twenty or something, I'm gonna be boring?"
"I don't think you'll ever be boring, Daniel," he chuckled, "but you'll be different. Life is an evolutionary process. I don't think you'll improve on the coffee, though. It's delicious."
"I wish I could be a teen forever."
"You probably thought the same thing about being a boy forever when you were ten or eleven."
"Do you wanna stay the way you are?"
"Lemme put it this way. If I hadn't changed since I was your age, I would've been bored stiff. Can you imagine staying exactly the same for several decades? As they say, variety is the spice of life, and constant change is necessary to keep us interested in being alive. Do I wanna stay the way I am? I'm happy for the time being. And you've come into my life, which is a plus. A huge plus."
"So you don't wanna stay the way you are?"
"When you go to the movies, what do you see?"
"Moving pictures. Doh."
"Would you go to the cinema for two or three hours to look at one static image on the screen?"
"How come I can't talk to my mom the way I talk to you?"
"When was the last time you browneyed your mom?" Pop laughed.
"Yeah, right. If you were my dad, do you think we'd be talking like this?"
"I don't think so."
"I'm not sure. Perhaps it's because parents have different expectations of their kids, or of themselves as parents. I've never been a parent. I only know how to be a friend."
"Why can't parents be friends to their kids?"
"That's outa my league, Daniel. I don't know. Maybe it has something to do with the parent/child mentality. I'm the parent, you're the child, so friendship, as we know it, is impossible. Would you tell Paul to shower, or do his homework, or mow the lawn?"
"I'd tell him to blow me," I giggled. "How come you don't have a friend?"
"I mean your own age."
"Does he come around here much?"
"All the time."
"How come I haven't seen him?"
"I learned a long time ago, Daniel, that the best friend you can have is yourself. It may seem like a strange idea to you, but it's much more difficult to make a friend of yourself than it is to make a friend of another person. It's a bit like those porno models you were talking about. They crave attention from outside themselves, rather than give it to themselves from the inside. Do you understand?"
"I'm not sure I do, either. But I think if you can learn to appreciate yourself, instead of relying on others to appreciate you, you're streets ahead. And I'm not talking about ego here. I'm talking about a reasonable level of self-esteem. Dogs are wonderful examples of that. When you come home, they don't worry about having dirty paws, or putrid breath. They behave naturally, with an abundance of genuine affection, and we love them for it. Do you like yourself?"
"Yeah. I guess."
"It shows, Daniel. The confidence you have in yourself is wonderfully appealing. It's magnetic. It draws people to you. You're outrageous. You take risks. You lead."
"Yeah. And my coffee's cold. Shouldn't you be going?"
"Do I have to?"
"No. You wanna get me a beer from the fridge? You can have one, too, if you want."
"What do you mean by lead?" I asked as I placed two cans of chilled beer on the table, then popped the ring-pulls.
"You show the way. You don't wait for things to happen. You make them happen. You have courage."
"Courage? Gimme a break, Pop. I just do what I do."
"For some people, that takes courage."
"You mean like when I browneye you, or piss in your sink?" I cracked. "Jeez, Pop! That's not about fucking courage!"
"Well, maybe in your case it's not about courage. You enjoy shocking people. Nevertheless, people are attracted to your lack of inhibition. You don't have the same hangups that most other people have, and they find that totally refreshing. At least, I do."
"But all my buds are the same. Well, most of them."
"Maybe I come from a different era."
"Maybe guys like me were around then, but you just didn’t meet them."
"Maybe I didn't look. No, that's not right. Maybe I didn't know what to look for. Or maybe I was afraid to look."
"You didn't look for me."
"Yes I did. Well, not consciously. I guess somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd always known that somebody like you existed. I write stories about guys like you, but I never thought I'd actually meet you. Then I saw the Muscle Teen flyer, and…"
Pop took a long swig of beer before answering. "Well… I guess I thought you'd improve the view around here. And you have… substantially. Whoa! But I still didn't expect… well, anything like you."
"Likewise. Hey, you know something? It's kinda weird how I see myself now. I mean, I think I'm pretty cool and shit like that, but I'm not some kinda superman or whatever. Y'know? I'm like one of the guys. Nobody special. Then I meet somebody like you and I see myself through your eyes, and I'm like a totally different person according to you. It's weird."
"And how do I look through your eyes?"
"Like Elmer Fudd," I laughed. "Hey, it's not how you look, Pop. It's how you are. You're cool."
"You know what, Daniel? There's something very special about the word 'cool'. You use it describe things you approve of, and…"
"Something in my eye."
"You're not gonna get all fucking mushy on me. Are you?"
"You want me to get you a tissue?"
I grabbed a couple from a box on the kitchen bench, and handed them to Pop, whose watery eyes were instantly riveted to my semi. Even while be blew his nose, his gaze didn't leave my dick, which began to slowly rise.
"Hey, Pop, how come guys get boners when nothing's happening?"
"When you're a teen, there's a helluva lot happening. It's the 'go forth and multiply thing'. Hyperactive hormones, with minds of their own. When I was your age, I had a permanent erection for about five years."
"Is that what makes them interesting?"
"How do you mean?"
"You're gawking again."
"I am? Yes, uh, so I am. Sorry. You'd better sit down."
"You haven't answered my question yet."
"I'll answer it when you sit down."
"Answer it now." By then, my dick was as hard as a rock, extended to its full, thick, pulsating, seven inches, and pointed straight at Pop's face.
"I don't know what it is about dicks that makes them so... mesmerizing. They just are. Oh, my God." Pop took another swig of beer, then resumed his gawking. "It's the shape or something. I'm not sure. And they make you wanna… do stuff."
"Stuff." Pop took another quick sip of beer, and pretended to study the beer can as if he'd just discovered a rare antique . "You'd better sit down."
"What kinda stuff?"
"Daniel, you already know the answer. You're just teasing me, 'cause you love to see me flustered."
"Do you think it's natural to wanna suck a cock? I mean like did nature intend it to be that way?"
"Everything that happens is natural. The concept of the devil was invented by mankind to explain things that were contrary to his beliefs. The devil doesn't exist. Everything is natural. The whole of creation has only one source. It wasn't a committee decision."
"You mean like God?"
"Do you believe in God?"
"I'm not sure. Do you?"
"So how do you explain how everything happened?"
"Why should I need to? Would you ask a leaf to explain the tree from which it came? Would you ask a drop of rain to explain the oceans? Would you ask a grain of sand to explain a thousand miles of coastline? Isn't it possible that the answers to certain mysteries are beyond our comprehension? Does your dog ask you how his dinner got inside the can?"
"So what do you believe in?"
"Yes, you. You're a miracle. A wonderful, wonderful miracle that I can see with my own eyes, and hear with my own ears, and touch… well, hug… kinda... sometimes."
"But what about everything else? The moon, the stars, the universe?"
"They're all a very, very long way away, Daniel. And you're here. Right here... in this room."
"What are you saying, Pop?"
"I'm saying that you represent everything that's wonderful about the whole of creation. I guess what I'm saying is that I'd rather paint a picture of a tree than paint a whole forest."
"My dick's gone down 'cause you're talking serious."
"I'm sure it's not broke," Pop chuckled.
"I guess I'd better jet. It's getting late."
"I wish you lived with us. It'd be so fucking cool to have a Pop like you."
"It's better this way. You can visit when you like, but we can remain independent. Sometimes being too close creates friction."
"You wanna put my boots on for me?"
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Diary Part 167