The Odd One Out
Copyright © 2015
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
by Gary Conder
All Rights Reserved
It was Saturday night and the Cricket was over for the season. Eric Chambers had sprung a surprise drinking session onto Colt. He arrived shortly after tea with two slabs of beer and half a dozen packets of potato crisps, in the company of George Denman the cricket captain and Rob Stanton, Phil Straub and Rowan Matthews, other members of the team but no women.
Eric declared that women only got in the way of a good booze-up, besides there was the coming football season to discuss and in the illustrious words of Bob Kingsley, their football coach, women and football didn't mix but Coach Kingsley also believed that booze and football, as well as rich food and football were also bad mixers. In truth, his list of bad mixers and football was quite substantial, going mostly unheeded, especially when it came to alcohol. Kingsley also had a no sex before the game policy; in his opinion the act of sex leached away their strength for playing well. As with the partaking of alcohol, the team played lip service to his advice and continued their drinking and sexual life as normal.
Within half an hour the group was tipsy, another hour and most were plastered, even Colt, who, generally a light drinker, was feeling the effects and had tucked himself away in the corner of his couch, silently watching the antics of his team mates, while cuddled up to his empty beer can. The security being, while holding the empty can, no one would force another upon him as he had reached his self imposed limitation.
By eleven Denman called full time, he had been out most nights that week and his wife was threatening to lock him out if it happened again. Besides they were out of beer. Then as suddenly as they had arrived the party prepared to leave but not before their departure was interrupted by a call from the open front door.
"You've got a visitor." Eric called to Colt who was removing a box full of empty beer cans to the kitchen.
"Who?" Colt called back.
"How the fuck do I know, it's your door." Eric answered loudly. Turning towards the silhouette standing in the shadows of the doorway, Eric challenged the visitor. "Colt want's to know who the fuck are you?"
The visitor came into the light.
"Well I'll be buggered, it's Charlie Wise."
"Good evening Eric."
"It's the opposition, are you sleeping with the enemy?" Eric called back to the kitchen as Colt returned looking somewhat mystified.
"We're off Wysie, see ya next season, if you want a drink you're outa luck, we've drank the lot." Eric declared and joined the rest of the party, who were having a pissing competition from the verandah. Moments later there was the sound of revving motors and they were gone, leaving Colt and Charlie silently standing in the living room amongst the smell of spilt beer, cigarette ash and stale smoke.
"Charlie." Colt said sounding somewhat obvious. "I'd offer you a beer but that lot drank it all, what are you doing in town?"
Wyse seated himself without invitation on the mock leather Chesterfield, slowly looking around the room he answered. "I was giving a mate a lift and seeing you suggested I call in anytime I'm here, - nice house."
"It was my parents, it's good to see you, can I offer you coffee."
That would be great but I do have another reason for calling in." Wyse appeared fidgety. Looking down at his shoes he lifted his left runner up to his knee and picked at the lace.
"I'll get the coffee, do you take sugar?"
"Yes mate, two."
Colt returned with two steaming mugs of coffee. "There you go," He passed one of the mugs to Wyse before reclining into a chair close by his opposition bowler, while looking upon his handsome face without speaking. Wise accepted the coffee and gently sipped.
"As I was saying, I have another reason for my visit."
"And what would that be?"
"I have been offered a temporary position at your Bacon Factory and was wondering if you could rent me a room for a month or two, maybe six at the most."
"Do you smoke?"
"No – why do you ask?"
"I won't rent you a room." Colt answered forcefully, leaving Wyse lost for words. Colt continued.
"I won't rent you a room but you are welcome to stay rent free for as long as you like and once you are receiving wages, you can share the grocery bill. Is that alright?"
Charlie Wyse's expression progressed from disheartened to relief within an instant. "Thanks mate you are a life saver, there's nothing in town because of the reopening of the mine."
"When did you want to move in?" Colt asked as a cheeky shit eating grin spread across the bowler's handsome face.
"I have my stuff in the car, I start work tomorrow."
Colt shook his head in disbelief, "what if I had said no?"
"I suppose I would either commute from Mt. Oakey daily or live in the car until someone said yes." Charlie paused, "what if I said I did smoke?"
"Than you would have two choices, give up or find somewhere else. My dad smoked like a chimney and I hate the habit."
"I agree." Charlie concurred.
"Come on I'll show you around the house, you can have the back room with your own ensuite, but best you keep the door closed as the dog often sleeps on that bed."
"That's alright my dog used to as well."
"Yea but Max snores and farts."
"Sounds like Rex but he's gone now." A moment of sadness crossed the bowler's face in memory of the mutt but quickly passed.
The first week of Wyse's tenure as boarder was somewhat uncomfortable for Colt. He had become accustomed to his own company and Charlie was a little untidy, although he tried hard to fit into Colt's minimalistic routine. Also Charlie had been used to his mother picking up after him, washing his clothes and having his meal on the table at the appropriate time.
Charlie Wyse had difficulty boiling water, which greatly amused Colt who had to do for himself from a young age, or go hungry. He remembered days when Jillian and Stan were in theatrical mood there would be nothing prepared in the kitchen, unless to do so was part of one of their farces. On such days Colt would prepare his own meal, often that of his parents as well, while the tempest blew about the house.
Occasionally it may be a love scene, with Romeo and Juliet making passionate suggestions to each other and to a small lad somewhat explicit. Although to give them some credit for decorum they never actually performed the act of penetration in his presence but if they weren't talking in tongues, they had tongues deep into each other's throats.
Other times his mother would be Kate while Stan was Baptista, the Shrew's father and so convincing were his parents in their Shakespearian rolls, they often scared the daylights out of the lad. Eventually he became accustomed to their acting, even finding humour in it but was much too embarrassed to speak of it outside the house or at school.
A habit that fascinated Colt was Charlie's way of wearing nothing but the skimpiest pair of underwear around the house, often to the breakfast table. He would seat himself, his well developed abdominal muscles proudly displayed, his youthful chest with pronounced man-nipples bare, also a gentle bulge beneath a minuscule layer of teddy bears, from where a light tracking of curly blond hair travelled upwards to meet his bellybutton.
Charlie had many pairs of teddy bear underwear in various colours. Again his mother's humour, although he did threaten to replace the lot with his first pay packet.
Often Colt would steal a glance, sometimes more often than he should and for longer that etiquette allowed. Charlie's near nakedness troubled Colt, stirring in him such emotions he had suppressed for so long. Now they were to the front of his limbic system and flashing warning like neon lights.
Once again Colt's dream of the opposing team naked on the cricket pitch returned and Charlie Wyse was the most naked of them all, as he wrapped his strong arms around Colt's torso, forcing the sexual sap in his youthful body to rise.
"What's the matter?" Charlie asked after noticing one of Colt's extended glances.
"Nothing why?" Colt answered from his tense state of being discovered.
Charlie was standing at the kitchen sink rinsing his breakfast mug, again in only underwear, while smiling teddy bears disappeared up the muscular valley between his buttocks. The view was captivating and Colt, captured. Charlie turned sharply from the sink and Colt was discovered.
"Are you unhappy with me in my jocks?" He asked bluntly leaving Colt little room to manoeuvre.
"No not at all." Colt lied and commenced to clear the breakfast table to break his situation.
"I'll go and put on a trackie if you like. I didn't think of it as at home I usually get around like this." Charlie commenced to leave for the bedroom but was waylaid.
"No it's alright, really but what does your mother think." Colt asked.
"It never came up, I have done it since I was a kid and it just continued on; dad's a bit grumpy about it."
Colt gave an ironic laugh.
"Now what?" Charlie questioned.
"Before you arrived I often wore nothing around the house, not even undies."
"Don't let me stop you." Charlie added, "I've seen your dick before but it's a wonder it doesn't get caught up in everything." They both laughed and for the moment the near naked ice was broken, yet Colt refrained from being naked when Charlie was home as the mere sight of those little teddy bears caused a drain of blood to rush to his crotch.
It had been more then a month since Charlie Wyse arrived and Colt was growing fond of his company, while Charlie appeared to be settling into his routine, even washing his own clothes, instead of taking laundry home at weekends for his mother to perform. He had also learned some culinary skills, He could a least fry an egg and make toast and after boiling water could add it to the tea pot or coffee cup without instructions.
Charlie continued to wander around the house in his teddy bears, while on the occasion totally naked and Colt still refrained from creating a nudist colony, as well it was as Eric's unannounced arrival on a number of occasions caught the bowler in his underwear.
"What's the go with your mate?" Eric questioned on his first visit after Charlie's arrival. Colt shrugged the question away, declaring it was just his way and made humour of the teddy bears. Eric appeared to accept Colt's answer and on other occasions refrained from further questioning but Charlie's teddy bear underpants, thanks to Eric spreading the word, did become topic at the cricket club. So much so, they became an icon and although he had threatened to exchange them for a different design, he continued wearing them.
It was a quiet week at the Bacon Factory leading to some of the workers being temporarily laid off. Seeing Wyse was last to arrive it was his turn to miss a number of day's work and had slept in past his normal time to shower and breakfast.
Colt as usual was up at sparrow's fart, a saying he had inherited from his father and as custom knocked on Charlie's door at precisely six, then again at ten past declaring he would be late for work.
"Sorry mate, I forgot to tell you, no work today," Charlie answered his voice rough and sleepy.
"I've made the coffee." Another of Colt's rituals was the preparation of breakfast and the smell of frying bacon already permeated through the house, even into Charlie's room.
"Thanks I'll be with you in a mo, come in."
No sooner had Colt opened the door, Max pushed past and with a scurry of legs was onto Charlie's bed, sending the light bedding to the floor, exposing Charlie in all possible nakedness and displaying a morning glory as hard as nature could supply.
"Piss fat," Charlie explained before quickly disappearing into his ensuite. Moments later he returned wearing his track pants, still displaying protrusion at the front. "Sorry about that." He humbly apologised, collecting his bedding from the floor.
"Out Max!" Colt demanded. Max obeyed in dog time, with a slow head down walk towards the door.
"No teddy bears," Colt asked feeling he should say something but on uttering the words cursed himself for his familiarity.
"Not to bed, I find clothing restricting."
"How come you're not going to work?"
Charlie explained the situation and pulling on a tee shirt followed Colt to the kitchen.
"You can sleep in if you want; I've only just started breakfast, I can put it off until latter." Colt suggested.
"No it's alright, I was awake, had to get up for a piss anyway."
Breakfast was the first Charlie had not sat at the table wearing his teddy bears in quite some time and Colt felt somewhat awkward. He had crossed that thin line of voyeurism to longing and he wanted to hold his friend's nakedness close to his own. It was as if opening Charlie's bedroom door and viewing his privacy had brought his deep centred craving from bud to bloom and his desire was beginning to hurt.
"How long are you off work?" Colt asked as the hurt subsided and the vision of Charlie's nakedness was once again pushed deep down into his subconscious.
"Go back on Monday,"
"Are you going home for the weekend?"
"No the Olds are going camping to the coast for a few days."
"Can you ride a horse?" Colt asked. Charlie said he could but the buggers scared him, as he once fell off.
"Now I remember you once told me you had an uncle with horses."
"That was some years back. One day I may tell you about Uncle Donnie. He was my father's younger brother."
"I'm going down for a swim later, do you want to come?"
"I don't have the gear."
"You have your teddy bears," Colt laughed, "besides it's my own private part of the river, no one goes there."
"What's it like not having to work?" Charlie asked while clearing the breakfast table. Seeing Colt did the meal preparation, Charlie had taken on the task of dish washing and since his arrival had become quite house proud.
"Don't rightly know, I do have a job of sorts, keeping the farm running and there are the horses." Colt answered then laughed, "as well as tidying after you."
"Yea I know that but not having to get out of bed at six in the morning and get ready for a job you don't really enjoy." Charlie paused, sighed and continued; "alright you do get up at six and you do work around the place but you don't have to and it's done at your time, not someone else's time." Charlie appeared frustrated with his lot.
"Don't rightly know mate, I've always done things my way, even as a kid I just did, besides I've been my own boss since I can remember. My parents just let go the reins and I bolted and made my own way."
Colt was puzzled by his friend's complaint. He could not understand the restraints society placed on every day life, nor could he appreciate having to work for the money to sustain life and life style. If Colt needed anything he simply purchased it and his parent's savings and investments were strong and ongoing. If he wished to travel he could do so, if he preferred to remain home, or in bed or go to the pub he did and all without question or guilt.
The world of Charlie Wyse was one of being told that the sweat of labour was all a man had to offer. His father was hard working and honest but poor: His mother a loving wife who doted on her husband and son. Throughout his nineteen years of life Charlie had been told that hard work made the man and honesty created character. Unfortunately Charlie may have agreed with his parent's philosophy but didn't enjoy manual labour.
"Sometimes I would love not to have to work." Charlie declared.
"What would you do, sit around the house all day reading comics?"
"Maybe I would just do that." Charlie smiled, lost it, smiled again and sighed loudly.
"What about your cricket, you're more than an average bowler?" Colt asked.
"I like cricket but don't much like travel. I don't think I could live in the city or travel with a lot of sweaty blokes halfway around the world, dreaming, breathing nothing but how to swing a cricket ball." Charlie paused, "what about yourself, you've had offers to play district?"
"Na I don't much like cricket, I only play for the company."
"I thought you didn't like company?" Charlie suggested.
"I like company but I'm not that good at it." Colt answered honestly.
"For someone who doesn't like cricket you're a bloody good batsman and for one who doesn't like company you sure socialise a lot."
"Maybe so but you don't know how I feel on the inside. It could be all show."
"Well if so you're a good actor."
"Have to be Charlie – Have to be."
If Charlie Wyse had settled into Colt's lifestyle, it was as equally true that Colt had circum to the bowler's presence, even as far as developing a growing attachment to him and a need to view those joyful teddy bears around the house while wishing for more.
Colt's attraction for Charlie was akin to Greek music, building and building, still building, building some more; then nothing. No grand finale no crescendo nothing but a fizzle until the next instalment. He would need to do something about it or embarrass himself. No amount of trips to the toilet, no number of secret walks would alleviate his problem and he believed his desire was becoming obvious to Charlie.
The late autumn's sun was directly overhead, the air still and dusty. There was the scent of rain in the air and clouds were building heavy on the Cumberland Hills, hanging like cotton wool on some distant Christmas tree.
Crows gathered at the side of the main road feasting on a dead kangaroo, knocked down by a semitrailer the previous night, their loud squabbling drifted through the scrub and across the river to where Colt and Charlie stood contemplating who should be the first to strip.
"Going in?" Colt impatiently asked as Charlie stood, his hands resting on hips, while gazing vacantly into the water.
Colt removed his top and threw it to the ground. "Well?"
Charlie as if in slow motion followed his actions, going further until once again those joyful teddy bears became visible.
"I'm not wearing undies." Colt admitted and without further hesitation was naked and in to the water up to his neck. Charlie was less courageous, placing a toe into the water, he protested it was cold.
"Just jump in; once you're wet all over it feels quite warm." Colt exclaimed impatiently and sent a volley of cold water splashing across the short distance between them, soaking the teddy bears to the skin.
Charlie did and surfaced missing his teddy bears, which commenced to float away with the slow moving current. Colt retrieved them and holding the underwear above his head offered them back.
"Don't worry, throw them on the bank."
A few dives and frolics, the grabbing of ankles and splashing of water, followed by an inactive conversation, arms wrapped across chests shoulder to shoulder, before the lack of movement chilled the flesh.
"I'm getting out." Charlie announced and waded to the bank where he lay face up in the warming sun to dry. Colt followed and lay at his side.
Being naked beside Charlie seemed natural to Colt. He couldn't do so with Eric or any other of the cricket club. He often wished to with Eric but would not, even if his cricketing friend was to suggest nude swimming, besides Eric was much too cautious to be naked around his mates. The club shower was different but here in Colt's territory, naked and alone, it would instantly bring on his mannish cringe. It would be swimming shorts, waist to knee and talk of sex and tits and who was rooting who. Eric's attitude was somewhat akin to a puppy constantly searching for a leg to hump.
Charlie was different masculine but soft. Gentle with his words, yet not slow in dropping a swear word into the conversation where it appeared appropriate to do so but when he did, his swearing would appear humorous, delivered with a grin, an apologetic smile, as if to say 'sorry for the bad language but it was necessary.'
With Eric, every second word was fuck and third was cunt and all but his friends were cunts, or fucking cunts, while to Charlie they were fellows and blokes.
"Do you want to go the cricket club for a few drinks tonight?" Colt asked, shading his eyes with his arm from the sun glair.
"I'm a little short of cash. I have to pay my dad back what I own him." Charlie answered.
"No worries, my shout."
"I wouldn't mind."
"So that's settled, may as well have a meal there." Colt suggested.
"Your team - there not a bad bunch and if I'm still in town next season, I may play for them." Charlie lifted onto an elbow and with a long straw of grass, tickled Colt's scrotum, watching as the impressive orbs shrunk away from his touch. Colt thinking it was an insect flicked at the straw. Charlie laughed and dropped back from his elbow.
"Cheeky bugger," Colt protested.
For some time neither spoke, with Charlie watching as the afternoon's sun caused Colt's scrotum to expand and contract as if it was a separate living entity, brought to life with the warmth.
"Colt," Charlie broke the silence, bring his friend from dozing.
There was a pause.
"Aw doesn't matter."
Colt rose to an elbow "It must matter otherwise you wouldn't have made comment." He retorted; his voice low, displaying displeasure for half asked questions, especially those delivered with an apologetic tone even before necessity was apparent.
Charlie remained silent building courage to continue. Eventually he did so.
"Are you gay?"
Colt's breathing froze in his chest as his face prickled with dread.
"Why are you?" Colt snapped quickly his voice laced with anger.
"I don't know." Charlie answered honestly after some delay.
"What makes you ask a question like that?" Colt demanded bringing himself to a sitting position, his arms folded around his knees. His anger subsided but not his dread for being asked such a question.
"Have you ever had a woman?" Charlie asked.
"Sort of," Colt laughed and narrated his episode with Maddy Ferguson while he was at school.
"I haven't even got that far. Have you been with one of your mates?" Charlie boldly put forward.
"Only if you call having my dick sucked by the school's coach." Colt replied before he had time to censer his answer.
Charlie laughed, "I had an uncle like that."
"Was that your Uncle Donnie?"
"It was, when I stayed at his place he would sneak into my room after dark." Charlie explained without displaying culpability.
"And you let him?"
"You didn't answer my question." Charlie reiterated without deliberating on his Uncle.
"What if I'm gay?"
"That was the one,"
Colt took a deep breath, held it, released it loudly and gimmicked. Eventually he answered.
"Like you I don't know." Colt heard the words escape but they sounded as if they were coming from a third person, as if there was a force within him controlling his speech and part of his psyche.
Nothing more was said on the matter, the two dressed and walked back to the house, with Colt changing the conversation to his horses and his wish to take Charlie riding.
Once inside they continued as if their conversation on the river bank hadn't occurred, yet it was obvious the discussion hung over both like some dark storm cloud waiting to burst but too afraid to do so. With Charlie regretting he had spoken and Colt self incriminating for being candid yet covertly pleased he had been, as possibly he could at last shake off his frustration.
The following morning Charlie came to the breakfast table fully dressed.
"What's the idea of the clothes?" Colt asked.
"I thought you may be put off by yesterday's conversation."
"Shit mate, they were only words."
Before Charlie could blink Colt removed his gear and marched up to the sink with his dick swinging like a policeman's truncheon. Moments later Charlie was seated at the breakfast table as naked as he was born. They both burst into uncontrollable laughter.
"I don't know where all this will lead." Charlie commented.
"Nor do I but I guess it will lead somewhere eventually."
"Do you want it to?" Charlie asked.
"I think I do."
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