The next afternoon after school, I saw Kyle in his backyard so I jumped the fence. "Hey, bro! I've been thinking all day about that huge surf, and I told Brian all about it -- 'cept for the crying bit -- and he thought it was wicked!"
"Did you gild the lily?"
"Kinda massage the truth a bit."
"Yeah, well I had to make it exciting, didn't I? Besides, he thinks I'm some kinda hero."
"Lemme tell you something, Wingnut. The best kinda hero is a live hero. When I'm out there in big surf, and I'm not sure whether to catch a wave or not, I check to see what the other dudes are doing. If they don't go, I don't go."
"Maybe the other guys are just chicken."
"When was the last time you had chicken for dinner."
"We're having it tonight."
"Is it dead?"
"Of course it's fucking dead! Oh… yeah… I see what you mean."
"Sometimes, I get stupid and decide to go anyway. When that happens, the thing to keep in your head is that you're likely to get drilled by more water than you've ever seen in your life, so you've gotta be prepared for it."
Without being asked, I grabbed the shovel and began to pick up the dog crap. When I'd tipped the last of the shit into the incinerator, I leaned the shovel against the fence. "Hey, Kyle, can I show you something?"
"Check this out!" I dropped my shorts and watched Kyle's hazel eyes focus on my crotch. I could've sworn that the bulge in his trackpants was getting bigger.
"OK, so you've got a few more curlies."
"No! Check out my balls!" My nads had begun to drop, and weren't so tight up against my crotch anymore. I figured it was a pretty rad event, and cool enough to show my bro.
"OK? Is that it? Huh? Just OK? Hey, does it mean that my voice is gonna go deeper?" Then I noticed the corners of Kyle's mouth begin to turn up a little. "Hey? What's so fucking funny? You're not laughing but I know that you're trying not to!"
"Sorry, Wingnut. Anyway, yeah, it will eventually. Why?"
"Well, there's this one dude in my class and his voice is like totally screwed -- he talks in squeaks. And he said it's 'cause his nuts had dropped and he's going through puberty. He's almost thirteen, though."
"It doesn't always happen. My voice just sorta changed without going through the squeaky bit."
"How come there's a tent in your trackpants?"
"Wingnut! Check yourself out! You're standing there with your fucking shorts around your ankles and you're getting a boner!"
"Oh, yeah," I said, looking down at my crotch. "So I am. I guess it happens so fucking often that I forget."
After that, we went to Kyle's room where he studied while I flipped through some of his surfing mags and listened to music. It was kinda cool to watch Kyle do his homework. He had a serious expression on his face which kinda contradicted his spiky, black hair and trackpants. In a lotta ways, he didn't look like a student -- more like a rebel. Sometimes I'd see him in his school uniform and it was like looking at a totally different guy to the one in the wetsuit riding his stick.
"I'd better jet," I announced as I rolled off the bed. "Got homework to do. Bleh."
"Have you remembered Steve's birthday?"
"Yeah. I made him a card… did it myself. What are you gonna give him?"
"I bought him a Quicksilver keyring."
"I wish I had money to buy him something."
"Hey, Wingnut," he said as he raised his head from his books, "you made the card yourself, and that's important. Don't underestimate the value of something you've created with your own hands. OK?"
"OK. By the way, have you heard from Steph?"
"Yeah, she phoned. I told her about Long Beach and the big surf."
"I guess she thinks I'm a wuss, huh?"
"Nope. She said she'd like to go out with me until you're a bit older, then switch," he laughed.
"Yeah, right. Pull my other leg."
"That's what she said."
"Maybe she wants to wait until my voice breaks properly."
"Yeah, that's probably it."
For some reason, the surf was totally lamo the next afternoon. We'd all figured that the storms would've caused some wicked waves, but no. It was just slush. I'd already checked out the beach conditions by the time I'd arrived at Kyle's house but he hadn't gotten home from school yet, so I used the time to pick up the dog crap. When he did arrive, I told him about the surf. "It sucks big time."
"Don't worry about that now. Steve's coming over. You got his card?"
"I'll go get it!" When I returned, I showed it to Kyle in his room. "You think he'll like it?"
"It's really neat, Wingnut. I mean that. I'm sure he'll love it."
I'd traced a pic of a surfer doing an air, then wrote in like bubble letters on the front. "Happy Birthday to a surfer buddy." Inside the card, I wrote: "Thanx for not treating me like a grommet and for being a friend. Have a super-rad-awesome birthday. From Wingnut." Then I wrote the date on the back of the card.
After Steve had arrived, Kyle was first to give him his present. Steve was helluva chuffed with the ring -- silver with a turquoise shell center, and the Quicksilver logo in silver on the shell. Then it was my turn. I was pretty certain that my card would be totally fucking lamo compared to Kyle's gift. "It's not much," I said as I handed the card to the blonde-haired surfer.
"Thanks, Wingnut." He flicked his long hair outa his face and read the front of the card, then opened it. "Hey, dude, you did all this yourself."
"Yeah," I shrugged. "It's nothing much, though."
"Is to me, dude. Thanks a stack, buddy. You're a cool guy, and this is a way cool card."
The grin of appreciation on Steve's face was a total fucking relief! He really liked my gift! Woohoo! Then, feeling pretty damn pleased with myself, I sat on the side of Kyle's bed and decided to give my buds a bit of cheek. "So, now I have two old fogeys for friends." In a split second, both guys were on top of me, tickling me and causing me to giggle like crazy. I was conscious of the fact that I was getting a boner despite all the fun… and I wasn't the only one. Soon, it was obvious that Kyle and Steve had major hardons, too.
"Dad? Can I ask you about erections?"
My father peered over the top of his reading glasses and lowered his newspaper. He looked kinda nervous. "What about them?"
"Like, are you only supposed to get them when… I mean, during sexual intercourse or whatever?"
It wasn't often that I'd seen my dad laugh so damn heartily. He used the back of his hand to wipe the tears from his eyes, then composed himself. "I take it that you're having a problem."
"Well, it's like it gets hard for no damn reason."
"Oh, there's a reason alright. Penises don't graduate from university and get a degree in acceptable behaviour. They tend to rely on basic instinct."
"But what about… well, y'know, like when you're wrestling and stuff?"
"At your age, son, any kind of physical stimulus, such as close body contact where there's a lot of… well, activity that simulates… that is… anyway, it sends messages to your penis that are probably a little confusing. I suppose you could say that its learning to differentiate between innocent play and serious… uh, whatever."
"So it's normal."
What I really wanted to ask my dad was this: was it supposed to feel good when you were rubbing your boner against another person even though you weren't having sex… like in wrestling. When Steve, Kyle and I were razzling around on the bed, it felt fucking wicked every time my woody rubbed against their bods, or theirs rubbed against mine. If we'd wrestled for long enough, would we have blown our loads? And how come those were the kinda questions I couldn't ask my dad? "One more question."
"When you were a kid, did you ask your dad a lotta stuff about sex?"
"Nope." He adjusted his glasses and swallowed as though my question had made him feel uncomfortable. "Sex wasn't the kind of thing my parents and I talked about freely. It was considered a taboo subject."
"So who did you ask?"
"Not even your buds?"
"I didn't have to," he smiled. "They volunteered information freely, as I'm sure yours do. But there's not much you can learn from somebody who knows as little or less than you do."
I didn't mention anything about Kyle, but I was sure that Kyle knew a whole stack about sex. He was a whole five years older than I was so he must've known pretty much everything. And he was my best bud, which was a lot different to being my dad. Dads and best buds weren't the same kinda thing. For one thing, you couldn't tell secrets to your dad 'cause he'd only tell your mom. What kinda bud would that be?
Anyway, the next afternoon, Kyle was busy with a heap of chores and I wasn't sure if I should hop the fence. Eventually, though, I couldn't resist. "Hiya, Kyle."
He looked at me and must've recognized that I was in a kinda serious mood. "What's bugging you?"
"Nothing. It's just that I've got a question."
"Lemme guess… about sex?"
"Yeah, but it's serious."
"Isn't it always?"
"Do you think I'm good looking? I mean, like… well, you know what I mean."
He threw a heap of weeds and grass into the compost bin. "Why?" he asked without looking at me.
"There are these girls at school and like they're having this competition -- so I wanna know what they're seeing."
"Well, you're fucking ugly so it must be that bulge in your shorts they're after."
Was Kyle serious? I wasn't quite sure. Anyway, I looked down at my crotch and rubbed my hand over the lump. "It's pretty impressive, huh?"
"So you think that's it?"
"Hey, buddy," he smiled as he turned to face me, "you've gotta lighten up. I was taking the mickey outa you. You're fucking good looking for a little guy, and you've got a hot bod, and the girls must be wetting their panties trying to get you to go out with them."
I could feel the grin spreading across my face. "Really?"
"Yeah. And I'm a guy, right? So you can just imagine what the girls must think. By the way, do you think about girls when you jack off now?"
Jeez, what the fuck was he getting at? "Stuff."
Damn! I hated being pressured into answers that I wasn't prepared for. I wished I'd never started this fucking convo. "It's stupid."
"Yeah, well, if you can't tell your friends stupid stuff, then who the fuck can you tell?"
"It's really stupid. I mean, really, really stupid."
"OK," he shrugged as he raked another load of grass clippings into a neat pile.
A moment passed while I summoned the courage to answer him honestly. "I think about me and you when we jack each other." I steeled myself for the onslaught of insane laughter, but instead ...
"So what's stupid about that?" He stopped raking and leaned on the handle. "I do, too, sometimes."
"You do? Really?" Damn, that made me feel so fucking wicked. "Hey, Kyle, tell me something. Do you think I'll look like you when I'm older? And be honest."
"Like me? You must be desperate," he laughed. "I think you're gonna be much better looking."
"Just wondering, 'cause you've got Steph who thinks you're a hunk."
"She told me."
Kyle stooped to gather a heap of grass clippings, then stood and faced me. "She told you?"
"Yeah. I said to her: do you like Kyle? And then she told me that she thinks you're a hunk." Well, I didn't need to be fucking Einstein to see that I'd given his ego a boost. He grinned at me for a while, then went back to his chores. Later, he showed me the Springbok Nude Girls CD that Mark had lent him, and we listened to the music in his room. Being with Kyle was just so damn cool. Nobody could've had a better bud than Kyle. He fucking ruled.
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