In this next chapter of the backwoods novella BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Ben’s cousin Lew visits to work in the nearby peach orchard. Ben gets a day off from working in the café to pick peaches with Lew, and afterwards they go skinny-dipping in the river.
To read BAT IN A WHIRLWIND, Chapter 11. THE RACE, 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 10 chapters for reading or download from the chapter list on the book page.
BAT IN A WHIRLWIND
Excerpt from Chapter 11. – The Race
Lew drove the jalopy out the gravel road to McKellar’s Crossing, a ford across the shallows in the Cossatot. A rutted track wandered off across the field beyond. If you walked a ways downstream, you came out of the bushes at the swimming hole. There were no rocks or stobs anywhere in the broad pool about fifteen feet deep in most parts, and a great rope swing hung from the branch of a sycamore on the bank. Lew jumped out of his clothes before I even had my shoes off and dived into the water.
Even as good a swimmer as I was, I had to admit that Lew was better, a lot stronger. I lost some quick races back and forth, and then we just splashed and horsed around for a good while with many cannonballs from the rope swing. I felt so happy having this companionship in my prison, even if for only the next week and some. Then we climbed out on the bank and lay down by a towering hickory tree to dry off. Lew’s prick looked maybe bigger than mine, more like Danny’s, and circumcised, of course.
The late afternoon sun slanted through the treetops across the river, their shadows lengthening across the water. A cicada began its loud, whirring song down the stream. Not a ripple disturbed the bright reflection of a few clouds on the still surface of the swimming hole. Lew broke the silence with, “I guess it can get awful lonesome, huh?”
I grunted, “Not many girlfriends in this neck of the woods.”
Lew laughed and said, “Why not? You’re so sexy with all this hair.” He petted the hair on my chest. “Why don’t you date one of these cute chicks you know?”
Wondering why he’d even ask that, I said, “You know, Lew… Catholics aren’t supposed to get involved with non-Catholics.”
Lew guffawed. “Benny, that’s so old-fashioned! Nobody thinks that anymore. I mean, Joannie’s even a Lutheran.”
I lay there on the riverbank like an astounded fish out of water. Had my whole life been because of a mistake? I protested, “But Father Jordan said we…”
“That was just him,” Lew consoled. “You gotta watch out for the Jesuits.” Boy, I was so confused by now—and outraged—that I couldn’t speak. Lew patted my hairs again and said, “Too bad you thought that, Cuz. Some of those girls at the café got the hots for you, sexy guy.”
That just made it worse. I didn’t even know… Of course, Lew was the sexy one with his smooth, tanned chest. I couldn’t keep from looking at his prick, so much like mine, lolling there on his thigh. I asked, “Have you ever screwed a girl?”
“Plenty of times,” Lew replied emphatically. “Joannie’s not even my first. Back in tenth I went sparking with a girl named Sherry and fucked her like crazy.”
Impressed, I still had to wonder how many times was plenty. Since my worldly cousin would definitely know, I asked, “What’s it feel like?”
“There’s nothing like it!”
That wasn’t very helpful at all, and I seriously suspected it wouldn’t actually be all that much different from me making love with Danny. At that thought I got anxious again if my buddy had called me yet. Trying not to think about it, I asked Lew, “How do you get a girl to let you stick it in her?”
Lew laughed out loud and said, “Let you? Benny, if a girl wants it, she’ll even help you. You just better be ready.” What he meant was clear enough, but I wondered how you’d manage to be ready right on time. Then Lew pulled his watch out of his pants pocket and exclaimed, “Uh-oh! Uncle Lee said for us to be back by six thirty. We only got five minutes.”
Being late always drove Daddy wild. Scarcely into our pants, we piled into the Ford and splashed across the river, bouncing along the old track, a shortcut I knew to the old highway. It bounced so bad I banged my head on the roof. The track came out on the gravel road behind the Barkers’ store, and we roared away raising a plume of dust behind us. I sure hoped Daddy wouldn’t throw a fit. Maybe he wouldn’t slug me, not in front of Lew.
It was only a couple minutes late when we got home. As we rolled over the lip of the Hill, Lew remarked again on how beautiful our place was, the buildings with red roofs and white fences and the tall clustering pines. We pulled up in front of the house, and I worried because the Desoto was gone. Surely Mom wasn’t still working after all day long.
We ran straight across the road and found Melvin leaning on the register with only two parties, both eating happily. He sighed dramatically, “Two more to feed.”
I nervously asked where Daddy was. Melvin chuckled, “Your dad was all antsy about you getting back, so I tell him I’ll mind the store. He’s just gone over to Lefty’s for a haircut.”
I asked if there was a phone call for me from Danny, but not that Melvin knew of. We sat in number four, and he took our orders like customers, a barbecue plate for me with ice tea, and three cheeseburgers and a chocolate shake for Lew. Then I went and checked for any note maybe by the register, only to be disappointed.
While we ate, Melvin sat on the stool across the way and said, “I hear you boys going on a hayride.” I told him we were going with Iris and Pam. Melvin said, “Well, I’m proud to hear you got yourself a date. ‘Bout time. I been telling your dad you young bucks need to go out and have some fun. Looks like maybe he heard what I’m talking.”