Copyright © 2003, 2015 by D'Artagnon
Kyle the Coon
Kyle sat in the car and stared angrily out the window as his father drove them back home. He had decided not to take a shower with the other guys and just go home after the early AM practice session. He was still very much aware of the talk in the locker room, though. Every time Kyle's dad took the coach's ear, the rumors started flying. And in the bold world of PeeWee hockey, the rumors were boldly spoken, no matter who was in front of the speakers, even the rumor's victim. Just another aspect of New England society, some would say; Honesty some times so brutal that you always knew where you stood.
"Looks like Coonie's getting one step closer to the NHL, fellas," Davey Burton said in the locker room as Kyle grabbed his gear bag up, slinging it as he headed out. "Might as well line up next to Coach now so we mere mortals can all kiss his ass."
"Can you sign my jock strap, Coonie?" another kid asked, jokingly. "That way it'll be like my cup and the Stanley Cup will both have your name on 'em."
"Yeah, but at least the Stanley Cup holds more than yours does, Brewster!" The mocking laughter forced Kyle to stop a moment, almost look back. He shifted his bag higher on his narrow shoulder and pushed through the locker room door. He'd give his right arm to have that kind of friendship, that sort of camaraderie with his teammates. But as it was, he was just not destined for that kind of alliance. He wasn't one of them. He was just on the team. His dream was rapidly becoming a nightmare.
Kyle was good. More than good; he had what the old timers in town referred to as "jump" when he skated. In his three years playing for the city PeeWee league, he'd scored more goals and assists than the next top four scorers in the rest of the Merrimack Valley league combined. It was a gift. He'd get his stick on the puck and he could just out skate everyone around him, find the right seam in the opponent's defense, break free and score.
But apparently it wasn't good enough for some people. Kyle's father included. A hockey dad, and all which that implies, from the word go, Kyle's father hounded coaches, constantly made inroads with sports journalists, even berated other parent's who's kids didn't necessarily get their fair amount of ice time, because Kyle was so good he was always a threat to score whenever he was on the ice. "Don't put him in! Put Kyle Dakoon in, you moron!"
Kyle himself knew it was unfair. Other kids deserved the chance to play. The league wasn't set up just for the superstars, but for all those that wanted to play. He didn't want any special treatment. He only wanted to play. Wanted it for himself, for love of the game, and not for his father's dreams of vicarious glory. There was nothing more stirring for his soul than the feel of cold ice spray, the echoes around the rink, the feel of his heart and lungs pounding in his chest, the rush of air as he tilted the ice towards the goal. He was quicker and more agile than the other boys, and exploited his advantage as best he could.
Oh sure, he was a target during games with rival teams. More than once he had been dumped hard by bigger boys who saw an opportunity and decked him hard. He'd had plenty of cheep shots and pokes between his skates, and trips and bashings into the walls when he chased a puck off the dasher. He'd taken his lumps knowing it was part of the game. But he also knew he was unstoppable in the open. His feet were too fast, he could turn on a dime, stop so suddenly that others would sail past with their mouths open in surprise. And his shots were so fast and on-target that he frightened many goalies just by skating up ice with the puck.
Yet all of his natural ability didn't stop his father from turning into a virtual beast. Other hockey parents were in fear of him. Fans knew Kyle's dad by sight and hated him. He was often quoted in the town newspaper, making outrageous claims that Kyle was expected to back up on the ice. Hockey became less a joy for Kyle, and more a burden. He still tried his hardest, not wanting to let down his team. Yet somewhere along the way, he stopped being one of the guys. He had become an outcast; too valuable to cut from the team, too dangerous to get close to, to befriend. Kyle's father made sure that everyone thought Kyle was a fierce competitor, the only person on the team worth even putting the uniform on.
So as Kyle sat watching the early sun glinting through the fall colors, he felt depressed. Angry. Ostracized. Lost.
"You're gonna cream them Tewksbury pansies tomorrow night, Kyle," his father was saying as they turned onto North Broadway, heading back towards the downtown condo where Kyle and his father lived. "Best scorer they got's that Johanson kid. And he don't got nuthin' but a short wrist shot. Keep yer eyes open and you'll be able to see him tee it up. Just be close enough to deflect the shot and pick up the rebound. You'll cream 'em, boy. Just lay them out, wicked!"
Kyle just grunted in reply. He knew the strategy better than his father. He had the talent to pull it all off after all. He was the one with the skill. He was the one paying for his brilliance with his solitude. Despite the heat in the car, Kyle pulled up his sweatshirt's hood, laying shadows down over his eyes.
When he got home, Kyle stowed his gear back in the downstairs closet and walked up the steps to his room. He stripped off his wet practice clothes, making sure that it all ended up in the hamper. He pulled out a set of clothes for the day and walked across the hall, naked, to the bathroom. It didn't matter to him that he was shivering in the wan warmth of his home. His father had been laid off at the factory for missing too much work, always showing up at Kyle's games. So they had to economize, and the heat had been the first under the axe. The house was kept just warm enough to take the chill off, prevent the pipes from freezing.
He set his clothing over the radiator near the shower, placing them so that he could easily get dressed and so that his socks would be at least a little warmer. He got into the shower stall and let the water flow. It was cold at first, but soon heated to a barely tolerable lukewarm. He idly passed his hands through his hair, going through the motions of his shower routine. He just wanted the stink of his own sweat off his body, out of his hair, just a long enough shower to get the feel of eyes off him a little while.
He casually passed his hand and the face cloth over his genitals. How long had it been since he had been touched there? Since he felt safe and alive and free. Years now, he guessed. He had been 11 the last time he had been touched, playing around with Johnny Rodgers from across town. So it had been over three years since then, almost four years. He started cleaning his right leg, washing around his knee where the straps of his leg guards sometimes chaffed, remembering.
They had been friends at summer camp, were even on the same Y league team for junior roller hockey. Best buddies. And like all kids of that age, highly curious about themselves and each other. They played around, even did naked stuff together, but that was it. Just learning and having fun. But for Kyle, it had been an awakening, and it meant so much more to him. He had intended on trying to talk to Johnny about it, even though he was scared to, that he was virtually terrified to be that honest about his feelings. If Johnny felt the same way, oh god, that would have been it. Kyle would have been satisfied, happy for life.
The last time they had been together had been Super Bowl Sunday. Kyle's parents had thrown a party for the game, doing the whole nine yards. Ordering Chinese food, having tons of snacks available. Drinks of all kinds, and not all of them soft drinks, stuck in a barrel of ice water on the front porch, where the smokers could hang out. The game had just gotten over and everyone was either sitting around half drunk downstairs, filling face again, or standing on the front porch for a smoke. The women were playing cards and chatting away. The men were in a spirited debate, laughing at each others jokes and snide remarks. Kyle and Johnny, the only kids at the party, were upstairs in his bedroom, giggling away, touching each other, enjoying each others gentle hands on their little peckers.
Then the door slammed open. Kyle's dad caught them, hands on each other, standing with their pants down around their ankles, smiling. Kyle had been getting close when his dad burst into the room. He thought that Johnny had been close as well, knowing the signs well by now. But they both immediately lost their erections as Kyle's dad thundered into the room.
That was the last Kyle had seen of Johnny, ever. The boys had been forbidden from seeing each other and later that year, Johnny's family moved to upper New Hampshire, miles and miles from Kyle. But that punishment hadn't been enough. No. Kyle had to have the evil knocked from him. So his mostly drunk father had beat the tar out of him. Kyle had been hit by his father before. Bad report cards, mouthing off to his mother, the usually things that get a kid whacked on the ass for poor behavior.
Never before had Kyle been punched in the face by his father's closed fist.
That, and then whipped with the belt across his bare ass and legs, Kyle howling like a tortured dog the whole time, whimpering and crying and begging and screaming in pain. It had been the last beating his father ever gave Kyle. He had learned his lesson well. You don't cross the old man. And you do exactly as he said.
Kyle had to confess to a priest that he had been doing evil things with Johnny. As a devout catholic, Kyle's father had insisted on it. He was forbidden from explaining how he had gotten both his eyes blacked. He had been forbidden from telling the priest his real feelings for Johnny, just that he had been wicked with another boy, that he had sinned against God.
And for that, the priest invited Kyle into the booth to have Kyle show him exactly what he had done with Johnny. It didn't take Kyle long to figure out that the priest was doing something wrong, was touching him not to understand, but for his own pleasure. Kyle felt sick and ran, pulling up his pants as he left the church. He had never believed in anything the priests said again. Between his father and the priest, his faith in himself, God, love and family had all evaporated. He was just putting in time until he could break free, could leave his house and the repressive air in it.
He realized that he was crying in the shower, and realized that he had just stood there and let the water run. He turned off the faucets, not wanting to get stuck with the water turning cold on him, and stepped out, grabbing a towel.
The kiss of cold air against his wet flesh brought him to shiver and he stepped back into the shower, pulling the curtain tight. He began to dry himself in the warmer, moist air of the shower stall, calming himself. That was all a long time ago. It wouldn't be long now and he could get a scholarship to college, play hockey for himself instead of for his father and find someone to touch again.
He thought about Johnny, and how they had been so gentle with each other, so relaxed, so free. His hand unconsciously sought his penis as he wiped the towel down one leg. He felt himself stirring, remembering how good it was to have a boy touch him with such tenderness and affection. Remembering how very long it had been since he had touched another boy in the same way. How long it had been since he even touched himself that way. Almost four years. Four fucking years! he thought, his anger beginning to build, almost a match for his loneliness. He stopped touching himself and stepped out of the shower stall. If dad saw him doing that, he'd get another beating.
He stared himself down in the mirror, his shoulders hunched together, head hung low as he leaned against the vanity. His cold blue eyes stared back, almost taunting him. You know what you want, his reflection seemed to be saying. You know what you need more than anything. He doesn't have to know.
"Kyle? Hurry your ass up, Boy. We got work to do"
"Okay," Kyle called back, sighing heavily. His reflection seemed to nod sadly at him as Kyle got dressed. His reflection understood. There wasn't anything Kyle could do about his situation now other than go with it and avoid angering the old man. He was trapped on his father's train to fame, but the light at the end of the tunnel was getting bigger, closer, nearer. Reluctantly, Kyle passed a comb through his hair and went downstairs to meet his father. They had lots of wood to cut today if they wanted to eat next week, and the morning was already hours old.
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