In this next chapter of the backwoods novella BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Ben finally gets permission to stay after school with Danny for a basketball game, but he’s got to come right home to Piney Hill afterwards to help in the café with the game crowd.
To read BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 7. ANNIE OVER, right click here and select “Open,” or to download as a free pdf file to read at your leisure whenever, select “Save Target (or Link) As.” You can access the previous 6 chapters for reading or download from the list on the book page .
BAT IN A WHIRLWIND
Excerpt from Chapter 7. – Annie Over
After school, I tossed my annual and play script in my locker for tomorrow and left with Danny, walking down the shady street beside him. I was so happy to be with my buddy instead of on the Ben Lomond bus. At the corner of Main Street while we waited for the light, Danny gave me a pitiful look and mumbled sadly, “Shit, I’m so horny I can’t see straight.”
I tried to comfort him and took his arm. “Here, I’ll help you across the street.” He laughed and gave me an affectionate poke.
In Phillips’ Drugstore where Danny worked on Saturdays, he made us a couple chocolate sodas, and we sat together leaning on the cool marble of the counter top. Danny whispered, “Do Catholics really truly believe it’s a sin to jack off?” Excited to spread the Truth of the Church, I assured him we do and then wondered for a moment if I still did. He shrugged and asked, “You don’t never play on the skin flute?”
Without looking at him, after a chuckle and a slurp of soda, I admitted, “Only when I simply can’t resist the temptation.”
Danny slurped his own soda and laughed, “I can resist anything but temptation.” Seeing another opportunity, I talked about keeping our souls free from mortal sin so as not to go to hell when we die. With a serious expression, Danny broke in, “But all you gotta do is take Jesus for your savior.” I argued that we’re still responsible for our own personal sins. Danny snorted, “Including tooting off. Well, I’m sure glad I’m no Catholic and wish you wasn’t neither.”
I was so shocked all I could do was stare. This wasn’t at all where I wanted our conversation to go. Besides, I was getting less and less confident about arguing the sinfulness of doing those things, and I still wasn’t at all clear on what sex had to do with God. The best thing was to drop the subject and get back to being best buddies.
It was only five blocks to Danny’s house, which was all quiet since his Mama didn’t get home from work at the Sheriff’s Office till five, and his Pop was on the evening shift, three to eleven, over at the paper mill. In the yard we were greeted by a bounding puppy named Nina, almost as overjoyed to see her master as I was to be with him.
Danny found his basketball lying by the steps and suggested we play Annie Over. So we wound up on either side of their long brown house pitching the ball back and forth over the roof to each other. To let the other know you were throwing, you had to shout, “Annie Over!” I always hollered, “Danny Over!” Nina got super excited, running around and around the house each time we’d throw the ball.
Most of Danny’s throws kept coming down in the big legustrum bushes, and after a half dozen more tosses, I got bored. Besides, I really didn’t like not being able to see my buddy. Catching his next throw, I raced around the house with the ball. He was looking expectantly up at the roof when I hollered, and the ball whopped him upside the head.
“You rat-fink!” Danny yelled and chased me hooting and growling off across the yard. A tackle sent us crashing into the tall bushes at the back of the house. “Gotcha!” he shouted triumphantly as we fell through the crunching branches.
He landed smack on top of me, face down on the ground, and was pretty heavy. I wiggled to try and roll him off and suddenly felt him hard against my behind. He started rubbing and panting in my ear. Again all I could do was laugh, especially since Nina was jumping all over us, and try to pull his arms loose. Finally he let go and moaned piteously.
Struggling to stand up, I scolded, “Bad puppy dog!” Danny sat on the ground looking ashamed, and I patted him on the head like a good dog. He grabbed me with a growl and pulled me down to the ground, humping my leg with great fervor, and Nina again joined the fray. We both collapsed in laughter. Crawling out of the bushes, he grinned at me and blushed. Wrestling with him like that had somehow caused me to get hard too, so I’m sure I also blushed.
With Danny dribbling the basketball and Nina nipping at my heels, we strolled out to the front yard and found his mother pulling into the driveway in a blue Buick. Ethel was a sweet-looking heavy woman with one of those beehive hairdos. Danny quickly explained about inviting me to supper to go to the basketball game.
Opening the back car door, she said, “You’re that smart kid he’s been talking about? Ben? Well, I just been to the grocery and got a bunch of pork chops.” She looked hard at us. “You two been rassling?” We nodded and let her pick grass out of our hair.
“Look what you done, buster,” Ethel chided Danny. “You done tore Ben’s shirt.” She pointed out a small rip in the side under my arm. I assured her it was there already, my old red plaid shirt. As we climbed the porch steps with the grocery bags, behind us Ethel said, “Dirt all over you boys! Into the tub with you two. Supper be ready in a half hour. Get cracking!”