Tales from Bentonville
By David Lee
Copyright © 2005, 2016
Copyright © 2005, 2016
The incessant buzz of the alarm clock jolted Dane out of a deep sleep. He groped blindly for the button to shut it off. It was a rude awakening to what promised to be an even worse day. Dane toyed with the idea of going back to sleep, but his mother's voice from the foot of the stairs gave him the resolve to haul his reluctant butt out of bed. She had enough on her plate not to have to worry about his problems.
It was early October, and his first day of high school in a different school. The transition from middle school had been stressful enough, but now he was faced with doing it all over again in a place where he was pretty much a complete stranger. He hadn't had many close friends at home, but at least he had a lot of acquaintances through scouts and other activities. Here he was on his own.
Dane hated a lot of things this particular morning. He wasn't happy with his face. A couple of zits had broken out over the weekend. He wasn't happy with his body. His feet seemed too big. He was too thin. (Grandma called him "wiry", but he knew she was being kind.) No matter how much he ate, he couldn't gain an ounce. He longed to be the stud that his father was. At least he had his dad's green eyes and sandy blond hair.
Thinking of his father reminded him of other things that he hated. He didn't hate his father, but he didn't like the way his father seemed disappointed in him. Dane wasn't the rough and tumble boy that his sire had been. He didn't go out for football. He avoided confrontation. He was sensitive. Dane Johnson, Sr. was the opposite.
Then there was the war. Dane hated that more than anything else. Not only was it putting his father in jeopardy, but it was the reason that Dane was in this little town on this day in this 14th year of his life.
Because he had taken longer in the shower, breakfast was a hurried affair. Dane's dalliance had been brought on by a need to relieve his body of some its stress. The hot water cascading over him had helped. His well soaped-hand stroking his morning woody had also brought temporary relief.
Dane's mother handed him his lunch as she scooped up her keys from the counter. She would drop him at school on her way to her job at the courthouse, but couldn't go in with him. Well, at least Dane wouldn't have to start the new school with his mother accompanying him. She was going to have to rush to make it on time. Her boss was very much into punctuality.
Bentonville High was much smaller than the suburban Chicago school that Dane had entered in September. That could be good or bad. In a large school, a guy could be kind of anonymous. He could blend with the furniture if he kept a low profile.
In a small school situated in a small town, everyone knew everyone else. There were few secrets. And, if you hadn't grown up there, you might never be accepted by the locals. Dane wasn't looking forward to this experience at all.
With his schedule in hand, Dane was attempting to find the room for his first class of the day. Someone brushed by him yelling: "Get out of my way, queer!" Dane stiffened knowing that it was meant for him. He had suffered some of that treatment in middle school. Shit! Though no one here knew him yet, it was starting over again.
But, in this case, Dane had been mistaken. There was another boy about his size sprawled on the floor amid strewn books and papers. Dane knew that if he were going to make it in this school, he had better at least kick one of the kid's books as he went by. He really tried to put on a macho act and do it, but something inside wouldn't let him. He could empathize with the hurt look in the other kid's eyes. He knew how it felt.
So, instead of kicking the kid's belongings, Dane began to gather them up. He gave the other boy his hand to help him stand. The boy looked on the verge of tears as he whispered his thanks.
"Colton Crider is a jerk! We used to be friends," the boy said shakily.
"I'm Dane, Dane Johnson, and I'm new here. Maybe we can be friends," Dane suggested hopefully.
"If you hang with me, you may have to watch your back all the time," the other boy said sadly. "Oh, by the way, my name is Trent Thomas."
"Nice to meet you, Trent. Can you tell me where this class meets?"
Trent looked at the schedule in Dane's hand. Most of the classes on it were the same as his. Unfortunately, they were nearly the same as Colton's as well. In a small school, there isn't a lot of variance.
Trent promised to show Dane around. They shared the first-hour class, so they headed that way with Trent slightly in the lead.
No sooner had they entered the room, than Colton had to make some aside to Trent.
"Well, it looks like you've picked up a boyfriend already," he smirked.
Both boys stiffened. Colton's sneer grew larger seeing that his words were having their desired effect. Whatever he could do to make Trent's life miserable, he was bound to do.
His smirk deflated, when Trent bent down beside him and whispered.
"You're jealous; you think he's hot."
Thankfully, Dane was busy talking to the teacher and didn't hear those comments.
"I'm gonna get you for that, Trent," Colton hissed.
Colton planned to get even with Trent for making that remark. Yet, he couldn't help but notice that the new kid was nice-looking. Sure, he was thin, but that wasn't a bad thing. He also seemed to be a kind person. Colton had noticed how Dane had helped Trent with his scattered school things. Well, Colton would have to teach this new kid who was boss.
Colton wasn't even sure of his own motives sometimes. He seemed to be pissed off a lot lately. He knew that he had to maintain a certain reputation to get by in this small community. It was especially true after Trent's brother, Trevor, was thrown out by their parents for being caught in bed with Colton's cousin Marc. Colton had known immediately that he would be labeled a fag if he hung around with Trent. Trent was too cute and had too many mannerisms that could be taken for homosexual ones. Colton didn't want to think about the torment that he would suffer if he got labeled. It wouldn't stop with school. His dad would probably beat the shit out of him. His dad had thought that Marc's dad should have done that instead of just throwing Marc out.
For Dane, the first day of his freshman year in the new high school went better than he had feared. Being in class with Trent for most periods had helped. He felt like he had made a real friend. He wondered how close they would become.
There was one incident in math class when the teacher, Ms. Bruggink, had written his name on the whiteboard. In her sloppy handwriting, it had looked like "Dame" Johnson. Some of the kids had snickered about it, but no one made really fun of Dane.
The day wasn't even marred that much by the presence of Colton in many of Dane's classes. At least Colton wasn't in gym class with the other two boys. That helped. Somehow, Dane would have felt more vulnerable if he had to undress in front of Colton.
In the classes that all three shared, Colton glowered at Trent most of the time and at Dane some of the time, but he didn't seem like that big a threat; more like a big fake. The black-haired kid wasn't quite as tall as Dane and he didn't out-weigh Dane by more than five or ten pounds. Dane was beginning to feel that the would-be bully was going to be more of a pest than anything else. Too bad the kid had an attitude. He was kind of cute in a sullen sort of way.
When Dane got home that afternoon, he bounded up the stairs to the room that used to be his uncle's. He wasn't sure why he had chosen that one instead of the one that had been his father's. It wasn't because he was close to his uncle. In fact, he couldn't even remember meeting him. Uncle Wade had never been to Dane's house. Dane's father never spoke of him. There seemed to be some sort of wall between them.
Maybe he didn't choose the room that had been his father's because of the sports trophies and memorabilia that Grandma still kept there. There was a football autographed by some of the University of Iowa players and the bat that DJ had used to make the homerun that won the state title for Bentonville. Too many things reminded Dane that he was not the jock that his father was.
The upstairs of grandma's 1½ story house contained the two bedrooms and a bath. There was lots of storage space in the lower parts of the gables where they tapered down toward the eaves. It was a very nice, private place for a boy to live. When the elder Johnson's had built the place, they had planned to live in it all of their lives. There were two bedrooms, a full bath, as well as a powder room on main floor. The laundry was on that level too. They had figured that in their later years, when stairs became a challenge for aging bones, they could close off the upper level most of the time. In those days, they had never envisioned having a daughter-in-law and grandson living in the place.
Dane's mother and father had lived up there for a few months after their hurried marriage until Dane, Sr. left for basic training. After he went to OCS, and became a second lieutenant, they moved to military housing. Dane remembered seeing a baby picture of himself in a crib in this very bedroom. Perhaps that is why he had chosen this room now.
Thousands of miles away, Dane Sr., known to his friends as: DJ was checking his email. It was very late and he was beat, but news from home was more important than sleep at the moment. He found part of what he was hoping for. There were two messages from Ellen, but none from Dane. Ellen had been faithful to write at least a little something every day. It cheered him to hear about the mundane things happening at home. Dane didn't write as much. Well, he was a guy after all even if he wasn't exactly like his father. Neither Johnson male liked to write, but DJ did it now to stay in touch with his sanity.
Ellen was always upbeat. She didn't complain about having to sell the big house in the suburbs. She seemed content to be living with her mother-in-law. Of course, they had gotten along well from the beginning. DJ's mother had always treated Ellen like the daughter that she never had. He remembered how his mother had stood by them when, at 18, they had confessed to her that they were going to be parents. Ellen's parents disowned her at first, but made up later. Unfortunately, they had both been killed in a car crash nearly 10 years ago.
In high school, DJ had been a stud with a reputation. It was well deserved. As a good-looking guy and the captain of the football team, he had had his share of girls. Every one of them wanted to be his. But, only one had captured his heart. He was lucky that it was she who had also conceived his son. He shuddered to think of how things might have turned out. It was ironic that Ellen had never been able to conceive again despite their trying to have a bigger family. DJ sometimes wondered if it was God's judgment for his screwing around as a kid.
Ellen got home ahead of Greta Johnson. The courthouse closed before the duties of an elementary principal were finished for the day. Ellen had stopped to buy some ground beef for hamburgers. She could grill pretty well and she knew that her mother-in-law would appreciate having dinner started even if it was a quick, casual affair.
Ellen also wanted to make sure that she kept up her end of things. It must be hard for Greta to have two extra people living with her after living alone for several years. Ellen wished that she were still in her own home, but the drastic cut in income brought about by DJ's reserve unit being called to active duty was the last straw. They had already been living on the edge financially. If they hadn't sold the house when they did, they might have lost it and all the equity they had in it.
Greta didn't make them feel like she was extending charity. She allowed Ellen to pay a small amount of rent which made Ellen feel better. Little did she know that Greta was putting it all in an account for Dane's college education.
When Dane came home after school that day, Ellen was relieved to see that he appeared to be happy. That fact made Ellen relax a lot. She had known that he was not looking forward to the change. He had tried to hide it from her, but mothers can sense those things.
Greta was indeed pleased that Ellen had started dinner. It was nice not to come home to an empty house. The place had seemed so cold and empty after Wade and Walter had gone.
Wade had been driven out by Walter, his father. Greta had not been able to stand Walter's intolerance. Shortly after Wade had left, Greta had filed for divorce. She didn't like living alone, but she couldn't have lived another moment with the man who had turned against his younger son.
After dinner, the phone rang. Dane was very surprised that the call was for him. It was Trent calling to talk about the homecoming dance.
"I'm going to work up the nerve to ask Sara Meyer. She is really pretty and kind of shy. I like her a lot," Trent confessed. "She has a friend named Carrie Banes who I know would go with you if you asked her. I overheard her telling Sara in the hall that she thinks you're a fox."
Dane blushed at the other end of the line. He had never had too much interest in girls; they tended to scare him a little. They were either too shy to talk to or too bold and pushy. He didn't want anyone latching onto him and expecting him to do things that he was not yet ready to do. This especially applied to making out!
"I d-don't know," he stammered. "It might be too soon for me to ask someone that I don't really know."
"Come on, man, we can double. That would make us all feel more comfortable. It's not like we're going to marry them," Trent giggled.
The sound of Trent's laughter was like music. Yeah, maybe it would be fun to double date with him.
"I'm still not sure," Dane replied.
"Look, besides having fun, it wouldn't hurt your reputation at school to be going out with a girl. No one will believe Colton when he calls us "fags" if we are seen with dates."
"Oh, is that the reason you want to go with Sara?"
"No, I really, really like her. I'm not ready to do IT with her right now, but I can dream, can't I?"
"Yeah, and it will probably be a WET one." Dane smirked.
Then, he wondered how Trent would take his suggestive talk. He really didn't know Trent that well. Why was he feeling like he could use sexual innuendo? Why did he feel so horny?
Trent's laugh let Dane know how the remark had been received.
"You know that you don't have to stain the sheets if you spank the monkey once in a while."
It was Dane's turn to giggle. Trent was a lot more open about this stuff than he had suspected. Dane hadn't had many friends in his old home that he trusted enough to talk about things like jacking off.
After discussing some details, it was decided that the boys would ask the girls at lunch the following day. Dane worried about being driven around by their parents, but Trent said that his dad knew a guy who had an old limo. Trent's dad had told him that if he went on dates with girls before he could drive that Dad would hire the car.
Trent knew that part of the encouragement for dating was that his old man didn't want another gay son on his hands. Dad never said so, but Trent could sense that his father blamed himself for Trevor's orientation. Maybe if he had played baseball with him more often or taken him hunting...
When the alarm went off the following morning, Dane got out of bed immediately. He had slept pretty well despite his worry about asking a girl out on a date. It was kind of scary, but if Trent were there, it would turn out okay. Dane was sure of that.
He showered quickly so that he could spend more time picking out his clothes. He supposed that he would have to look good if he was going to "pick up a chick." He grinned at his reflection in the mirror. The goofy boy who smiled back didn't look quite as awkward as he had the day before.
Ellen was pleased to see her son smiling at breakfast. This move might work out after all. He seemed livelier and even better looking than he had. Of course, she thought that her little boy was handsome. She was, after all, his mother.
At lunch that day, Trent and Dane carried their trays over to where Sara and Carrie were sitting. In the course of conversation, the boys talked to the girls about homecoming. There was lots of giggling going on. The girls were thrilled to be going to the big dance with a couple of guys that they thought were cute. The boys found that it wasn't that difficult to ask a girl out. It was a win-win situation all around.
Across the cafeteria, Colton glared toward the table where Dane and Trent were sitting with the girls. Things weren't going as he had planned. Last year he had been a major pain in Trent's butt. It didn't look like high school was going to go that way. Without Trent, he felt lost somehow. They were still in scouts together, but avoided each other like the plague. Colton wished that things could be like they were before. When he was a little kid, life was easier, less confusing. Colton was not a happy young man.
That night, Dane did write to his father. He had something interesting to say for a change. He knew that DJ would love to hear that he was going out on his first date. Even if father and son were opposites in many ways, the son still wanted his father's approval. Dane was sure that dating would get him points with Dad.
Sleep didn't come easily. Dane tossed and turned. His boxers go bunched up and pinched his 'nads. Finally, he pulled them off. He figured that since he was growing up and staying upstairs by himself that he could sleep naked if he wanted to. It felt kind of freeing. It also made him horny (well, hornier). He couldn't keep his hands off of his equipment.
His cock roused and began to inflate. It was pumping up to its full size. When Dane wasn't embarrassed by its popping up unexpectedly, he would have to admit that he was proud of it. It was bigger than the average six-incher and it was uncut. Even soft, it hung longer than most of the ones he'd seen in locker rooms.
In his childhood, Dane had felt strange about being different from most of his peers. Other little boys had asked him why his "pee-pee" looked like that. When his Cub Scout den went swimming, he tried not to change in front of other kids so they wouldn't notice his size or his prepuce.
Now, he smiled in the dark as he recalled what had happened on his first campout. The Cub Scouts had been invited on an overnight hike with the older boys. It was a new experience to be sleeping in a tent on a chilly spring night. His buddy, Jamie was shivering and couldn't get warm. The boys decided to crawl into one sleeping bag and put the other one over them. It was close, but worked out well for the most part.
Sometime toward morning, Jamie had wet the bed. He was mortified. Dane was embarrassed as well. He smelled like piss! So, the scout leader quietly sent the boys off to the other part of the camp where there were some primitive showers.
When they got to the showers, there were older scouts using them. The older boys made way for the young ones. No one said anything about the aroma of urine. A couple of them had had the same problem as little ones, so they understood.
As they were soaping up naked with big boys around them, Dane popped a woody. Even back then, it was larger than most of the kids his age. The older boys snickered and began to call him: "Big Johnson." He wasn't sure why. When he asked his father about it later, DJ explained that it was a euphemism for an impressive cock. Then DJ had smiled and said: "like father, like son."
Dane wasn't sure that he wanted to be known for his big dick, but his dad said that it was cool and someday he would appreciate it. Tonight was one of those "somedays." His "Big Johnson" felt nice in his hand. As he stroked it, he tried to conjure up what Carrie would look like naked. That wasn't helping. His mind flashed with images of guys in the shower after gym class. He could see bubble-butts and low-hanging balls. His cock erupted before he expected it.
Cleaning up, he felt a sense of emptiness and guilt. It had felt great, but he wasn't supposed to be thinking of guys. A couple of unbidden tears rolled down his cheeks. He had to change. He just had to. He would pray about it. Surely God wanted him to be like other boys.
The contentment that followed his orgasm soon carried him into dreamland. Some of those dreams were disturbing. In the one that he remembered in the morning, Colton was kissing his dick.
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