Singletrack Mind: Chapter 1 part 2 image

At school on the next day I saw Dave a couple of times, but only from a distance while changing classes. However, there he was, after the last class, waiting at my locker, but talking with two of his friends. I hesitated, my avoidance mode kicking in automatically, but Dave spotted me, pushed off the locker and called my name. I heard the other two laughing, and telling him to have fun as they walked away, glancing in my direction.

I must have had a quizzical look on my face, as Dave explained, “I was just telling them about going out to your place. They know I’m crazy about tractors and stuff. They think I’m nuts, but hey.”  He continued chatting, while I opened my locker, dumped some stuff in, and put what I would need for the weekend into my backpack. “So how far is it to your place? We’ll have to go to my house first to pick up my bike. It’s not that far. I walk to school, and I have to let Mom know where I’m going, too.”

We went outside to the bike rack, and as I was unlocking the chain and coiling it up around the seat post, I saw Dave do a sort of double-take.

“Wait. What did you do to your bike? That’s a nice frame, but man, you’ve painted all over it and stuff!”

“I got tired of getting my bike stolen at my old school, so I made sure this was the ugliest one around. Haven’t had a problem since.” I got on the bike out of habit, but got right off again when I remembered we’d be walking to Dave’s house.

“So, where was your old school? You came here in the middle of last year, right?  You were in Mr. Grover’s class.”  Huh? He remembered that? I didn’t remember him from last year at all!

“I used to live in San Diego with my mom and my stupid sister. But then I came here to live with Dad.”

“You lived in California? That’s so cool!”

I didn’t think it was all that cool. Mom lives north of San Diego, actually. And it was a big housing
development just like anywhere else, only a lot hotter. At least where Mom lives there were hills and mountain bike trails I could get to on my own. I spent pretty much all my spare time there.

We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of life on the two sides of the North American continent while we walked. It turned out that Dave had never been very far away from home, apart from some visits to his grandparents in Florida, and to see Disney World several times. He pointed out the middle school he used to go to, and we cut across the playground next to it and crossed the street. The houses were bigger on that side, spaced out with more trees and lawn, some with fences. Dave turned into the driveway of one of these.

“You can leave your bike and stuff here,” he pointed to the wall as we walked through a breezeway between the house and the garage. He led me around to the back, where there was a pool and a rock garden with a little waterfall. I noticed the details because Dad had done one that was kinda like this last summer. There were a bunch of ‘For Sale’ signs leaning up against the wall near the patio doors. “Mom’s a real estate agent,” Dave said. “We’re not selling the house… at least, I don’t think so.”

His mom was just coming outside, in fact. “No dear, we’re not planning to sell the house,” she said, giving Dave a hug. “Who’s this?” looking at me.

“This is Chris, from school. We’re going to ride out to his place.”

“Hi, Chris,” smiling at me, then she turned back to Dave. “And where exactly is his place, then? And will you be here for dinner tonight? ‘Cause your dad and I were planning to go try the new Thai restaurant, in Newington.”

Dave looked at me. I said, “Our place is about three miles out on Post Road, just past the big greenhouses.”

She frowned and thought for a second, then said, “Are you Ben Packard’s son?”  I nodded. How did she know that? “Bill and I have been to a couple of Ben’s parties there.” Ah. That figured. Apparently this was enough to make it okay for Dave to continue to associate with me because she flashed a Dave-like smile at me and continued, “You won’t take the highway to get to Post Road, will you?”

“No, we’ll go the other way, on Worthington, then cut through the mall. I ride to school that way every day, and there’s no traffic.”

“And, what about dinner?” she looked at Dave again. Dave looked back at me and shrugged.

“I’m sure it’s okay if he eats at our place. I mean, there’s always tons of food, and Dad won’t mind.”

She nodded. “Hmm. Yes, your dad’s quite a cook! Well, okay then, but call me around six anyway,” she instructed Dave, who agreed, then grabbed my arm and led me to the stairs.

“I want to grab some shorts and stuff,” he said, bounding up two steps at a time and down the hall into his room. I stopped cold at the door, just staring at the walls of his bedroom. I’d never seen anything like it!

“Heh. Yeah, pretty crazy, huh? I’ve been collecting them since forever.”

I advanced into the room, looking at shelves filled with dozens, probably over a hundred models of tractors, excavators, graders, bulldozers, all kinds of machines. There were Caterpillar and John Deere posters on the walls, the ceiling. He even had a Caterpillar blanket folded on the end of his bed!

Dave just shrugged and grinned. I grinned back. I’m not as obsessed with tractors as Dave apparently was, but I do love doing stuff with ‘em. It’s like being back in the sandbox with my Tonka toys, only now I don’t have to make the ‘brrrrmm’ sounds with my lips! I wondered if his cool-kid friends knew about this. Maybe even cool kids could be a little nerdy!

He zipped up his backpack and we headed downstairs and back outside. He yelled “Bye, Mom!”, but to an empty house. The ‘for sale’ signs were gone and I could hear a car was backing down the driveway. Dave went through a side door into the garage and came back out with a new-looking dual-suspension mountain bike.

“Whoa. Nice!” I said, checking it out. He held it out to me, and I lifted it, testing the weight. Hmm, maybe even a bit lighter than mine. And it looked like he used it, too. Disc brakes. SPD pedals. I glanced at his feet; yep, he’d changed into bike shoes. Maybe we had more in common than I thought.
Dave ducked back into the garage and came out with his bike helmet. Mine was bungeed to my backpack, and I put it on. We took off, heading for the edge of town. His house was closer than the school, so maybe four miles max out to my place. When we cut along the edge of the mall parking lot, Dave was jumping on and off of all the high curbs. Not wanting to jump with my ‘school’ bike, I did a couple of wheelies alongside. I’d only known him for two days, but somehow it felt like we’d been friends for much longer than that.

Rolling along Post Road, Dave was in front where I could admire the shape of his tight soccer player buns in his shorts. We were already rolling past the greenhouses next to our place, and I could see Theo was out mowing the turf grass. Dave was watching him, too.  There was no doubt that he was checking out the big gang mowing decks and balloon tires, like they use on golf courses. He was so intent on scoping out the tractor that he zipped right by the entrance to our property. I called him back and he did a U-turn, riding slowly up to me.

“This is your place?” he asked, looking around while heading for Theo’s little house.

“Um, nope. Well, yeah, Dad owns it, but we actually live back there.” I pointed to the main house and the group of other buildings down past the very wide expanse of several acres of freshly-cut grass.

“Whoa,” was all he said, as we continued on up our road, around the back, across the yard and over to the motorhome RV. He was scanning left and right as we went by the barn and equipment sheds. Gramps and Dad had amassed a pretty good collection of machinery of all kinds. Junk, my mother called it. Neither man could get rid of anything, apparently, but most of it was still in pretty good working order. I told him I was going to dump my backpack and stuff, and that I’d be right back out, but he’d already gravitated to the new backhoe, and I don’t think he even heard me.

I changed into shorts that I didn’t mind getting dirty, as I’d promised Dad that I’d look for that hydraulic leak. Going across to the ‘office’, as we called it, I entered the alarm code and went in to get the key for the tractor. I handed the key to Dave, and told him to climb up and start the engine. There are so many safety interlocks and electronic controls on these new models that I knew he couldn’t do any damage, but he looked like a deer caught in the headlights! For about 250 milliseconds! Then he smiled that glorious smile, got up into the
driver seat, looked around for the only place the key would fit, and turned it. The engine started right up, roughly for a couple of seconds then idling as smoothly as a turbocharged diesel motor can idle. I reached up and notched up the throttle a little bit to get the hydraulic oil flowing. Dave was scanning the dashboard, noting all the controls and reading the eleventy-three safety stickers that the lawyers insisted tractor makers put on nowadays.

I traced the hydraulic lines until I saw where some had dripped recently, and wiped the area clean with a rag. Waiting for a minute or two, I didn’t see any more oil seeping anywhere. But it probably wouldn’t until the backhoe was being used, so I decided to wait until after the ‘lesson’ to look any further for leakage.

Standing on the step to talk over the motor noise, I told Dave that we’d go out to the gravel pit, where he could dig holes to his heart’s content. For that, he’d have to move to the backhoe operator seat while I drove the tractor. We switched around, me in the driving seat and Dave in back. I raised the loader bucket, turned the tractor around and drove out of the yard, along the dirt road that led out back, and into the gravel pit. After backing up to a suitable spot, I dropped the loader bucket again and shut off the motor. Playtime!

I jumped down and explained the controls, although Dave seemed to already know what most of ‘em did. Then I started the motor again, raising the throttle to 1800 rpm. I told Dave to lower the two stabilizer arms, one at a time. He was a little startled when the whole machine tilted sideways a bit as the first one dug into the ground, but then he lowered the other arm and the tractor levelled out again, with all the weight now supported by the backhoe frame, and not by the wheels and axle bearings. It took him a couple of tries to release the transport locking mechanism, and once that was done I told him to try the joysticks, one direction at a time, to see what happened. It’s the only way to learn!

After only a few minutes of the usual newbie jerky spastic actions, Dave was getting the hang of it, and it was obvious he wasn’t going to damage anything. Fifteen minutes later, he was smoothly moving bucket-loads of gravel from point A to point B  and  then  back again.   I  was  sitting out  on  the fender and I could see the very wide grin on his face, his eyes intent on what the bucket was doing. Watching his hands on the controls, I kinda zoned out a bit, thinking about his fingers gently caressing the joysticks…

The sound of the hydraulic pump hitting maximum pressure brought me back! Dave just let go of the controls, as I had said to do if something got stuck. And it looked like the bucket was wedged and under a piece of bedrock ledge. Easy enough to wiggle it out if you know how, but not easy to explain, so I reached over to the joysticks, I had to kinda scrunch next to Dave to do it, and moving the boom and rocking the bucket at the same time, it popped back out. I realized that my arms were next to Dave’s arms, my cheek almost touching his, and froze there for a second, feeling my face blushing and hot. Dave didn’t move away, so maybe he didn’t notice. He took the controls again and carried on digging.

I signalled him to stop for a second, jumped down to the ground and walked around to get back into the driver’s seat. But as I went to climb up, I noticed that the leak in the oil line was steadily dripping now. I pointed it out to Dave, and told him that we’d have to go back and fix it. I showed him how to bring everything into locking position, and how to lock it, and then he raised the stabilizer arms. I shut off the motor and jumped down, explaining that I wanted to see exactly where the leak was coming from. He stayed up on top, looking around while he waited.

“Hey Chris! Is that a bike jump over there? At the edge of the trees? Wait. Looks like there’s a trail going way back, too.”

“Um, yeah, we put that jump there last fall. There are trails all over that hill back there.”

“Like, single-track? Is that on your Dad’s land? You have your own private single-track?? With jumps and everything? Jeez. Man, you’ve got a sweet setup out here! No wonder you never stick around after school!”

Huh. ? It sort of surprised me that anyone had actually noticed.

I found the fitting where the oil was leaking, and looked in the tractor’s toolbox, although I knew there wouldn’t be the metric wrenches I needed. So we got back on the tractor and I drove us back to the shed where there were tools. Hmm, the fitting was already as tight as I could get it, so it must have gotten damaged somehow, or else it was simply defective. Anyway, Dad would want to look at it. I told Dave that we probably shouldn’t risk using the backhoe until it was fixed. I thought he’d be disappointed, and he did look a little sad for like maybe half a second, but then he brightened up.

“Hey, let’s get our bikes and go ride your trails!”

“Yeah!” That’s what I would’ve been doing anyway, and I was kinda looking forward to showing them off to someone who would appreciate them. I’d put a lot of hours and sweat into those trails! We put the tools away and the key back in the office. Dave grabbed his bike and started walking in the direction of the main house.

“This way, dude,” I called him back, going the other way, back to the motorhome.

“So how long is your trail? Are there more jumps and stuff? Did you build them yourself?  How long did it take? Does anyone else ride them?” He was full of questions, as we walked around behind the sheds. I told him that I’d show him an overlay for Google Earth I’d done, mapping out the trails with all the streams and stuff marked. As we came up to the motorhome, Dave just looked at it for a couple of seconds.

“Wait. THIS is where you live? So, who lives in the house back there?”

“Dad lives there; I live here. By myself,” I added, opening the door and stepping up inside.

“Holy crap. This thing is huge!” Dave stopped on the top step and looked around the inside of the RV. “My uncle has one, only not nearly as nice as this!” He flopped into the captain’s chair where the driver sits and grabbed the steering wheel. “Does it actually go on the road? Have you ever gone anywhere in it?”

“Well, my grandparents used to use it every winter, but they were killed in a plane crash when I was in grade three, then Dad just set it up on blocks and hooked everything up to regular power and water and stuff.”

“Huh. Your grandparents must have been loaded!” He was busy looking at everything. Good thing I hadn’t left any dirty underwear lying around!

“I guess. I never really thought about it. We only saw them maybe twice a year.” I was at the laptop, starting up Google Earth. Dave came over as I opened the overlay map and I showed him how the trails did a kind of figure eight with a big loop around it. I left him looking at the map and walked to the bathroom door. “I gotta take a pee.”

As I came out, I thought I saw the laptop screen switching back to the map from something else. Dave quickly turned away from the computer, he had a kind of puzzled frown. “So, do you have a girlfriend?”

Huh? What brought that on? “Um, no?”

“Did you have one back in California?”

“No, why d’you want to know that?”  Jeez. He was as bad as Janice. This was dangerous territory.

“No reason. Just wondering.”

I was lacing up my bike shoes. I picked up my helmet, filled a water bottle and headed for the door, and Dave followed me outside. I told him to put his backpack inside and get some water if he needed it, and went around the side to the little garden shed where my bikes live. I put my school bike in and pulled out the other one, poked the tires to see if they needed pumping, tested the brakes and walked back to where Dave was waiting. Now it was his turn to examine my bike.

“Nice! Yeah, I see why you don’t bring this one to school. It’d be gone in fifteen minutes!”

We were riding side-by-side on the dirt road that led out back past the gravel pit and through the field to the spot where all the trails converged. Dave was actually quiet for a few minutes. Then, out of nowhere, “So what was all that the other day with the construction guys giving you a hard time about a girlfriend?”

I looked over. He glanced at me then quickly looked away again. It took me a couple of seconds to realize what he was talking about. “Oh, you mean when I put all the rocks in the wrong pile?”  Then I remembered what I HAD been daydreaming about, and I felt my face blushing some. “I just wasn’t watching what I was doing, I guess. But I wasn’t thinking about any girlfriend! Um. Never had one, anyway.”

Dave suddenly accelerated as we neared the trailhead, calling back “Which way?”

“Go left!” I shouted, speeding to keep up. At first the track threaded through a large stand of pine trees, the ground covered with a carpet of reddish-brown needles. Then it dipped down to cross a stony brook and up the other side. The trees changed to mostly hardwood as we started to climb up the side of the hill, and here the trail got a little more technical, with roots and rocks. Dave wobbled a few times, not knowing the trail at all, but it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d ridden a mountain bike!  And I was enjoying the view from close behind him!

We had almost done the first half of the figure-eight, when we came to the clearing near the top of the hill. Dave skidded to a stop, and I pulled up beside him. He drank some water and looked out at the view for a few seconds.

“Hey! I can see my house from here! It didn’t look that high from down at the bottom but from up here… man, you are so lucky, dude! You can ride anytime you want. We have to ask Andy’s dad to take us in his truck. Andy and Chuck and me. We always go to Burton, or Mount Manville. But we can only go on weekends.”

“You could ride here instead. Maybe you could help me build some more trails, too!” There was that other brain’s voice again, taking over and inviting people to share my carefully guarded private places. I found myself agreeing, because I continued, “I’d really like it if you came over again, anytime.”

Dave turned and looked at me, his eyes bore into mine. I think some internal circuit breakers must have flipped because I couldn’t look away. It seemed like forever, but after a few seconds Dave looked down and said, quietly, “I’d like that, too.”

Suddenly we were off again! There was a short uphill section then the trail flattens out and goes around to the other side of the hill. It’s a little wider there; wide enough that I was able to pass Dave, then he would pass me, shouting insults at each other as we went by. He was ahead at the point where the trail dipped back downhill again. There were a couple of sweet switchbacks where you could pick a line well in advance and follow it through. Then there was the first downhill jump. We both cleared it with no problem, yelling at the top of our lungs. I tried to warn Dave that the next one had was tricky because you had to turn as soon as you landed to avoid a muddy area that was always wet. I hit the brakes when I saw that he wasn’t going to make it. He landed okay but then his back wheel skidded out, and he went one way and the bike went another. Dave slid into the mud, arms and legs flailing.

When I saw that he wasn’t hurt or anything, I started to laugh. Couldn’t help it!! Dave sat up, his front covered in mud, wiping his eyes and frowning. I rolled past the jump, laid down my bike and, still laughing helplessly, went over and offered my hand to help him up. Dave was now laughing too, but instead of taking my hand he grabbed my ankles and dragged me down into the mud bath. I pushed him away but he pushed back, and we were kinda play wrestling, getting covered in mud! And I realized that I was starting to get hard! And I know he noticed too, because I could feel his leg press against it at one point, when suddenly he got up, retrieved his bike and tried to clip his muddy shoe into the pedal. Then, without saying anything, he rode off, fast, down the trail.

I thought, “Oh jeezus, now you’ve done it!” I had a quick flash of him coming back with his friends and pounding me into the dirt. Why did I think he would want to be friends with someone like me? The first time I let my guard down, and I screw it up completely! Damn!  I wiped my hand on my shirt, wiped the tears away from my eyes, as I picked up my bike and rode down the remaining trail to the bottom, fully expecting that Dave would be gone and on his way back home by now.

But there he was, leaning on his bike, waiting for me with that huge smile on his face! “Hey, slowpoke! What took you so long?! I’ve been waiting here for, like, an hour!”

“You asshole!” I was so relieved! “We’ll see who’s the slowpoke!” I took off as fast as I could, back up the road to the house. Dave jumped on his bike and raced up behind me. I zoomed past the RV, around the sheds, spewing gravel as I made the last corner to where the hose was. Dave came skidding up beside me, both of us out of breath, hearts pounding.

“Awesome, dude!” Dave held up his hand for a high five.

“Hehehe,” was all I could manage, as we did the complicated high-five, fist bump, hand pulling sequence that was currently thought to be cool.

We were covered in mud, as were the bikes. And as we chatted away, reliving how perfectly we had finessed each turn and obstacle of the trails, I pulled the hose off the reel and brought out the bucket and brushes and cleaning stuff. I filled the bucket with water and squirted in some eco bike cleaning suds, grabbed the brush and set to work on my bike. Dave picked up the other brush and started in on his.

“You need this more than the bike does,” Dave said, flicking a brushful of soapy water at me. “You’re covered in mud!”

“Yeah, well so are you!” I flicked some suds back at him.

We kept that up while we worked on the bikes, getting mud out of the chains, the gears, the spokes, everywhere. It didn’t take long to get them cleaned up, but now we were both pretty wet.

“Rinse time!” yelled Dave, grabbing the hose and spraying me all over with water. “I think you need a shower!”

Water Fight image

I tried to wrestle the nozzle from his hand, but he wouldn’t let go, so I grabbed the bucket and sloshed what was left of that water all over him. We were both soaking wet now, and it felt good after the ride, in the late afternoon sun. Dave was now spraying himself, trying to get the mud off of his shirt and shorts, with a goofy look on his face.  Then he turned the hose on me again. The sight of Dave in his almost see-through tee shirt and shorts was turning me on. I mean, I could see his nipples through his shirt and there was a definitely growing bulge in his shorts.

Dave released the nozzle, stopping the water, and dropped the hose on the ground. He just stood there for a bit, looking at me, while I looked at him, both obviously fully aroused; there was no hiding it with our shorts plastered to our bodies. He gave a nervous little laugh, looked down and grabbed the bottom of his wet, muddy shirt with both hands and wrung out some water. Then he moved closer to me, grabbed my shirt and did the same thing, but held on with one hand. Even though I had dreamed about something like this happening one day, researched it, planned it, and choreographed it over and over in my head, now that it seemed to be happening for real I was frozen to the spot.

Something nudged me a little closer to Dave. Maybe it was just a breeze, or his tractor beam, or the Earth’s axis tilting in his direction or SOMETHING, but there he was, now only inches from me. I think we both leaned in together, closing the gap, our lips touching for a brief moment.

Dave pulled away a little, but my other brain took over and I tugged at his shirt to bring him closer. It was now or never. I tried to remember all of the things – ANY of the things – I had ever planned on doing in this situation! Our lips met again, firmly this time. I tried running the tip of my tongue along his lips, gently pushing my way in. His tongue met mine and someone gave a low moan. Hugging tightly, we were two wet bodies charged with hormones under pressure. Our tongues now fully engaged, Dave shifted position slightly and pressed against my groin. My erection was already harder than it had ever been before, but the feeling of him slowly grinding against me made it feel like it might burst. I moved my hands down his back to his ass, holding him tight against me, our cocks moving alongside each other. Nothing else existed in the world but me and Dave and the incredible, wonderful feeling that filled every part of me.

Dave put his head back and made groaning noises, thrusting faster now. I could feel his body stiffen as a fireball of intense feeling welled up from my toes, taking over my whole body. We clung tightly to each other while wave after wave of orgasms finally took over. Panting, as the feeling subsided, we sank to the ground and sat leaning against the shed wall, recovering our breath.

After a minute of my brain trying to sort out what had happened, Dave said simply, “That was so awesome.”

I turned my head to look at him. “Oh man, yeah.”

“I’ve dreamed about doing that, like, forever.” Dave had his eyes closed, a happy smile on his face.

“Me, too.”

“I thought… I hoped you were maybe… Umm, I kinda looked at your bookmarks.” He opened his eyes and turned towards me. “You’re really cool, Chris. Of all the kids in school, you were about the last person I ever imagined I’d be doing that with. I mean, nobody really knows you, y’know? And I probably wouldn’t have ever even spoken to you if I hadn’t seen you working.” He paused, looking deep into my eyes, with a slightly worried frown. “I hope you’re cool with…”

“Oh, yeah, I’m cool,” I was quick to reassure him. “I never thought there was anyone around here like me…”

I could hear a truck coming up the long driveway from the main road. “Oh shit, Dad’s home!” We looked at each other, panic in our eyes. We jumped up and ran for the motorhome, turning the corner at the shed just as Dad’s pickup swung into the yard. Dave crashed into me at the door, laughing and nearly knocking me over. I got the door open and we jumped up the two steps and stood there giggling and looking at each other, wet and sticky clothes dripping water the floor. I grabbed his hand.

“C’mon. Let’s see if the shower can fit both of us.”

Published September 2, 2011

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