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A Shot of Bourbon - 5. Chapter 5


chapter 5:

: distilled by viv :

"You have to respect it," I whispered into Rusty's ear, adjusting his grip on the stock ever so slightly. "Don't pull it," I cautioned, thinking about taking the moment to graze my lips along the exposed nape of his neck. "Just squeeze your finger gently," I continued, watching as Rusty followed my direction and squeezed his index finger slightly, resulting in the thunderous disruption of the quiet the valley where we stood.

He stumbled backwards into me by the glory of the twelve gauge's recoil, his damp gritty back colliding with my equally damp and gritty chest. I steadied him, snaking my left arm around his chest as I grabbed the shotgun with my right, helping him keep the weapon aloft and out of the loose dirt.

"Whoa..." he panted, pulling the earmuffs fully off and willingly reclining into me as he stared out at the arrangement of beer bottles he had failed to obliterate. I knew how he was feeling though; I knew his trepidation on firing a weapon for the first time. I'd been there; I also knew the surge of power and adrenaline he was now riding after squeezing off his first shot.

"Come on," I said nudging him off me. "We've got twenty-four shells and six beer bottles to go."

Rusty was quick to oblige, aiming the barrel of the shotgun at the offending bottles and squeezing off another round. Again he missed, disrupting the dry earth some five feet ahead of our makeshift target. Undeterred, Rusty squeezed off another round in rapid succession as he became comfortable with the gun, its loud report shattering the still air. One final shot echoed through the valley, the breech locking open as a red shell tumbled to the ground.

Rusty looked disappointed with the final shot, even though it had knocked on of the bottles over. Well, sheered the branch the bottle was resting upside down on, causing it to fall to the ground with barely a thump.

"I suck," he sighed as he lowered the weapon, and as much as I wanted to agree with his statement, I also didn't want to discourage him from trying again.

"Here," I said motioning for the shotgun, reloading it with another five shells, four in the magazine one in the chamber. "Watch," I said, showing him how to space his feet and how to hold the butt of the gun to his shoulder, using my own body.

Lining up the little brass dot on the end of the barrel with one of the beer bottles I inhaled, holding the breath as I squeezed the trigger, shattering the bottle in my sights.

"Show off," Rusty muttered with a smile.

"Try again," I said shoving the firearm into his grasp, and taking a moment, I knelt to adjust his legs properly, leaving my hands to linger between his thighs, of course. He noticed and wiggled his rear in my face. Hint taken, I gave him a playful swat before standing and double checking the way he had the shotgun shouldered. "Line up the little brass nub with the center of the bottle."

Rusty gave a slight nod of his head as he kept his eye on the target and I moved behind him, resting my hands on his hips once again.

"Inhale," I whispered, feeling his body expand with the intake of air. "Squeeze."

Another shot rang out, shattering the bottle in the distance as the shell somersaulted to the ground, joining its spent brethren.

"See, told you, you could do it!" I grinned, kissing the nape of his neck before stepping away from him. "Go put the other bottle back up and we'll have some more fun."

I watched him as he walked off towards the target, carrying the shotgun tucked against his torso, the barrel jutting over his forearm, while I leaned down and began picking up the spent shells and throwing them in the bag we had carried the box of live ammunition over in.

I was happy he came along, took the chance to escape the Mad Cow. Alright, so I don't know that much about her, but what little I do know, the little I have been in her presence, made me feel small. It's not a feeling I relish, or wish upon my worst enemy, let alone the guy that I would give anything for. Don't get me wrong, my parents have the same innate ability, but then only use it when I'm being stupid about one thing or another. In Rusty's house, it seems to be a regular thing.

I'd like to rescue him from it all someday, get an apartment together, and argue about what to watch on TV. For now though, this trip would have to serve as a temporary escape from the madness that is his mother.

Eighty-eight hours of uninterrupted Rusty, the longest we've ever been together. Already I'm regretting the moment I'll have to watch his backside walking down my street as he heads home.


"Holy shit!" Rusty screamed, breaking my thoughts. He was scrambling upwards from a stoop, hastily aiming the shot gun at something in the brush.

He pulled the trigger and nothing happened, causing him to give a panicked look at the gun, figuring out he had the safety engaged, Rusty clicked it off and fired quickly as I was running over.

"What the hell?" I shouted, more worried about him than the crazy way he was handling the loaded gun.

"It's a fuckin' snake!" he hollered again keeping the business end of the shot gun trained on the ground in front of him.

"Did you hit it?" I asked running up beside him, looking down to see a small rattlesnake slithering in the opposite direction, away from the gunfire.

"Yes. No. I dunno," Rusty answered, the words tumbling out of his mouth in a rush.

"It's still moving," I observed with a smirk, finding how he could feel threatened by such a small snake funny, not to mention the fact that he'd completely missed it at point blank range.

"Should I shoot it again?" he asked, deadly serious as the gun trembled in the reptiles' direction.

"Negative, Killer, you've got him on the run," I answered grasping his shoulder and taking the proffered weight of the shotgun into my own hands. "Done shooting?"

Rusty nodded, looking both very sure of his decision and somewhat sorry that this whole shooting thing was no longer any fun for him. I didn't like the look, I mean if he's done, no problem, but he doesn't have to think he needs to keep doing something just because I'm having a good time with it.

"Something wrong?" I asked, wanting to get to the bottom of his look.

"I don't like snakes," he admitted as he stepped around me, making his way back to camp.

"Hold up," I called after him before turning in the opposite direction and emptying the gun of its last three shells. Catching up with him I knocked my shoulder into his, "Wanna talk about it?" I asked.

"Nothing much to talk about, really," Rusty admitted, kicking a rock and watching it skid along the earth. "I have this cousin who used to be crazy into snakes. He used to torment me with them."

I took his silence as an opening to respond so I did, asking just how he was tormented with them. As we walked, he relayed the story of his cousin Ralph, who is now married, and has a few kids of his own. Anyhow, when Rusty was around eight, his cousin was fourteen, and had a few pet snakes, nothing too impressive, a few Gardner snakes and a small Rosie boa. Rusty hadn't been fond of the things then, and Ralph holding him down and letting the snake slither its way up the leg of his shorts only cemented his fear of the serpents.


And I thought Jeff could be a lot to deal with at times, at least he never forcefully held me down while one of his pets snuck its way into my drawers. I can pretty much guarantee, if I experienced the same thing as a kid, I would have had little appreciation for the things, too.

"They're more deadly when they are small," Rusty said out of nowhere. I guess he took a clue in the absent look on my face. "Snakes, the smaller they are, the more potent their venom is."

I nodded, accepting his rationalization. The statement sounded familiar, like I had heard it before in natural science or on the discovery channel or something.

"It makes me a wimp, I know," Rusty muttered.


Hold up, stop right there...

How could having one fear, a fear with good basis, mind you, make you a wimp? Everyone has fears, fears of driving, commitment, heights. There are tons of things people fear, and some of them have such fears for no good reason whatsoever.


"My dad doesn't like spiders," I offered, attempting to make him feel better. "One day he was in the garage, and there were a whole bunch of baby ones scurrying about. He panicked and grabbed a can of starter fluid and started spraying them down."

Rusty chuckled, probably envisioning my dad hopping around and spraying any little dark speck, whether it was moving, or not. In all honesty, and he'll get mad if he knows you know this, but such a vision wasn't exactly far from the truth, only add in him shouting for my mother to 'grab the damn bug spray'.

"And," I continued, filling him in on some of the phobias my family has, "Jeff has definite clown issues, which he kept from my aunt and uncle until he was twelve and they took him and Deacon to the circus. Pissed himself as they kept climbing out of the little car."

His laughter sent a whitetail scurrying from the brush, hopping over little ruts before disappearing into a different stand of trees. Rusty was still laughing as we wandered into camp, and both Jeff and Deacon found curiosity in the inspiration for his fit of giggles.


"What's so funny?" Jeff asked around a mouthful of chips as I put the shotgun away, offering us some chips as he did.

"Nothing," I smiled as Rusty giggled more.

"What?" his eyes narrowed, and I could tell by the look on his face he had a sinking suspicion it involved him somehow, not that Rusty even glancing at him and busting into even more giggles mattered.

I was about to answer nothing again when Rusty went and hummed the hook to 'Thunder and Blazes', the crazy little march they always play at the circus when the clowns burst onto the scene for the first time.


Yes, I had to look the name up.


Deacon howled with laughter, as did my Dad and Uncle Rich, who weren't so far off that they didn't hear the little exchange. Jeff's face paled as he turned away from his tormentor and fixed his sick-looking gaze on me.

"You're dead," he said flatly, after swallowing something that had caught in his throat.

"Kill him after we collect the firewood," my Dad hollered from behind me, offering no protection, or support, or anything constructive

Now if sitting around the pit at night and bullshitting is my favorite thing about camping, collecting the firewood to fuel a pit that is six feet wide, and five feet deep, would definitely be my least favorite 'chore' out here. It takes a lot of wood to keep the pit going for eight hours, and previous trips out have pretty much cleared the ground of dead wood. Now we were onto harvesting the dead standing wood, mostly taller trees that had been struck by lightning at one point or another during our absence.

Getting those trees was a battle that involved chainsaws that were probably too small for the job, one of the trucks, and a tow chain. Simple task really, that takes a lot of work, cut a notch on the end you want the tree to fall towards, and then start attacking the opposite side. For the larger pieces, that's where the truck and tow chain come in handy.

Beyond actually getting the wood down, there is the actual hauling it back to camp. Trailers make the process somewhat more efficient, but you still are stabbed and scraped up, whether it be dumping the branches into the trailer or hauling them out into the piles by the pit.

"Bourb," Jeff said motioning me over as I was about to help Rusty with a branch. "Grab the end of this will you?" he said motioning to a rather large log that was about five feet long and two feet thick.

Giving Rusty a slight shrug, I moved off towards Jeff and looked for the best hand hold on the fallen tree. As I was looking over the one end, Rusty stepped up to the middle of the log and squatted grasping a broken limb, ready to help us move the log.

"We've got this one," Jeff said bluntly; something about the look he was issuing Rusty, challenged him to object. "I think D could use some help though," he told Rusty nodding his head in Deacon's direction.

Rusty looked confused as his gaze passed from Jeff, to me, and finally over to Deacon, who was pissing around gathering up twigs. Seeing Deacon being as useless as any sixteen year-old can be when doing something they'd rather not only added to Rusty's confusion as he looked back at me. Maybe Jeff's earlier threat registered, or maybe he just didn't want to be relegated to the kiddy table as it were, but he had a definite look of uncertainty darkening his dirt smudged cheeks.

I knew little more about the situation then he did. We could defiantly use his help walking this chunk of tree back to the campsite, and Deacon looked as if he wasn't doing much of anything anyway, but the way Jeff was watching him, waiting for him to leave, clearly said he didn't want Rusty around. If I didn't know Jeff so well, and know that his earlier threat was just that; a good-natured retaliatory threat, I would have been somewhat scared, too. In the end, all I could do was give Rusty a slight shrug.

"Uhh..." Rusty stammered over the snaps and pops of Deacon breaking branches apart.

Rusty was looking at me, while I was looking at him I could also see Jeff and the very clear, if faint, tilt of his head urging, no, telling me to get rid of him.


That's shit; let me tell you, making a guy choose between family and the person he had been doing 'things' with less then twelve hours previous. Why do that? I usually wouldn't bitch; you know whatever, right? But this wouldn't be the first time I was expected to choose blood over the other person, and it's been just as aggravating every time.


"We've got it," I tried, giving Rusty a weak smile and not liking the way his shoulder slumped a little with my certainty.

"Okay," Rusty shrugged, backing a step before he turned around and shuffled over to Deacon.

"We going to do this?" I asked narrowing my eyes at Jeff. I know they narrowed; I could feel the snarl on my lips as I bent down and grasped the log, never looking away from him. Jeff didn't answer, he just bent down and grasped his end of the log and hoisted it up with relative ease. Well as easily as two guys can lift the awkwardly shaped piece of unbalanced wood that was wanting to tilt to the left.

I don't know about you, but having a clumsy hold on an even clumsier shaped object that's leaving you hunched over as you try to shuffle backwards through soft loose dirt isn't the easiest of tasks in the world. To compound the situation, it felt like Jeff was dragging his feet and just not moving as fast as I was, only to give an inadvertent thrust every fifteen feet or so as he compensated for our of kilter pace.

The whole situation was just eating at my temper; the way he wasn't looking at me was only making this that much worse. He was too busy keeping a visual on Rusty and Deacon, who as luck would have it, were moving at a much quicker pace then we were with this log.

Satisfied that both Rusty and Deacon were far enough away, and that our fathers were off in the distance wielding chainsaws on some deserving tree, Jeff abruptly dropped his end of the log. The effect was instant as the logs weight shifted in my grasp, a gnarled branch scraping my wrist as its bulk tore free from my fingers sending me staggering back and almost falling on my ass.

"Jesus, fuck!" I burst, barely saving my self from crashing with the ground. "What the fuck is your problem?" I shouted, fed up.

Jeff looked at me as if I was crazy. "Chill the fuck out," he hissed.

"Fuck that," I countered, amazed four people hadn't come running in our direction, "And what the fuck was that back there," I shouted, throwing my arm in the direction from which we came.

Jeff crossed his meaty arms, seemingly content with letting my anger run its course. He wouldn't look so damn impressive standing there staring me down with his clenched jaw if I ran at him and threw my shoulder into his gut. Only problem with that method was the damn five feet of twisted wood that separated us.

"I said chill out you little shit," he said raising an eyebrow, as if he was reading my thoughts and daring me to try it.


I'm no push over; I can hold my own, but I was never a linebacker on a junior college football team. So in the interest of self preservation, I pushed aside any thoughts of knocking him on his ass and teaching him a little respect for other people with my fist.


Sensing after a few moments that I wasn't going to do anything incredibly stupid, Jeff dropped his arms from his defensive posture. The words that fell out of his mouth as we stood there alone in the chaparral growth, a set of chainsaws buzzing in the distance, knocked any fight in me away.

"I like him," he said simply, factually as the sides of his mouth curved into a self satisfied smile.

'I like him'. Is he serious? Like him how? Okay I admit I was probably overreacting but you don't just 'out of the blue' go and say 'I like him', and not even offer to explain yourself.

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked, no longer yelling, afraid of the answer he might give, no matter how far out of left field it may be.

It was Jeff's turn to look perturbed, maybe even dumbfounded, as what I was getting at dawned on him. And there it was, that damn devious sparkle, complimented with a thin lopsided grin as he made a play at adjusting his junk.

"He's got a purdy mouth," Jeff observed.

He's not supposed to say that! One, he's my cousin, and two; he's just not supposed to say that! He's supposed to ogle breasts or something. Okay, I on occasion ogle breasts, but he's not allowed to look at another guy and observe a set of pouty, pale red lips and imagine what they would feel like...



"Yeah," I admitted quietly, looking away, blushing fiercely I'm sure, as his comment got me thinking about Rusty's mouth, and when I got to thinking about any part of Rusty, I usually thought of other parts as well, and yeah, blushing fiercely.

Jeff chuckled as he closed the distance between us, and throwing his arm over my shoulder, crushing me into his side. My unwillingness to look him the eyes being paid back in full by a face full of moist, musty smelling flesh with just a lingering hint of baby-wipe.

"Like I was saying, before you interrupted me," Jeff said crushing me into his side, "I like him; he's a good fit for you."

I smiled, loving every syllable of what he was saying. I loved it so much I even stopped trying to escape his clutch and just listened, taking the opportunity to soak in his words.

"He's a good guy," Jeff continued, shoving me away playfully.

"Why did you want me alone to say that?" I asked, still a little annoyed with the brush off he had given Rusty.

Now if I were in Jeff's shoes, I would have looked away with that question. He didn't, he met it head on and didn't even flinch. Whether it be because he is more of a man than I am, or the fact that he didn't realize his actions were all that bad, I dunno, but I'm willing to bet he didn't think he did anything wrong.

"I didn't want him to feel like I was judging him or anything," Jeff responded with an easy shrug, walking back to his end of the log.

"Not that you basically telling him to get lost wouldn't do that, too," I mentioned as I leaned down preparing to pick up my end.

"I didn't," Jeff attempted.

"You know, he'd prolly like to hear you think he's good for me," I said, grasping the log as he did. "Ready?" I asked, as I lifted my end with him following suit. With the log between us, we again started stumbling towards the campsite, while Jeff apparently thought about what I said.


With three large tangled mounds of branches and logs, there was enough wood to keep the pit going all night and well in the dark early hours of morning. With that, job done, and Uncle Rich claiming an afternoon nap sounded good, I figured a good bike ride was in order. Not only that the collecting of wood had left me feeling gritty and grimy, but I knew just the place to take care of it.

With everyone pretty much schlepping around the campsite and relaxing, I snuck off to mine and Rusty's tent, where I dug out a pair of red and black riding pants. The next anyone saw of me I was sitting on the popped airbed with my legs sticking out the doorway of our tent, pulling on my riding boots.

Rusty was the first to notice, and made quick work of scurrying round the back of the dome tent to the other door. Jeff and Deacon were a little slow on the uptake, only moving when I mounted the beast and begged it to life with a jump on the kick start.

It didn't take Deacon long to climb into the odyssey, I really have to talk to Rich about getting the kid onto a two wheeler; Jeff was more cool with his swagger over to his CR500. I don't know how I decided that Saturday was official pick on Jeff day, maybe I just felt overly confident in his presence now. Whatever it was, as I looked in his direction I decided to let Rusty in on our little recent conversation.

"I think Jeff wanted to talk to you," I said baiting Rusty. "Something about your lips," grinning all the while.

"What?" Rusty asked, disbelieving that Jeff would say anything about his lips.

"Seriously," I said, releasing the clutch on the Beast, listening to its fury die as I watched Rusty make his decision with a slight shrug.

"Umm," he hummed. "Okay," he decided before turning and walking the few feet that separated him and Jeff. I, meanwhile, maneuvered my bike in a good escape direction and prepared by placing my foot on the kick start again after I grabbed my helmet.

"Umm... Bourbon said you wanted to tell me something," Rusty said catching Jeff off guard, not really knowing what he was talking about. I sat on my bike trying not to laugh but it was getting painful. "Something about my lips?" Rusty continued, looking more than uncomfortable.

I guess I'm a bad guy, offering up Rusty like that, but it was well worth it to see the color drain from Jeff's face as his gape moved slowly from Rusty, to me, and back to Rusty. I guess he had underestimated my ability to be just as much a low hitter as he was at times.

"You're SO DEAD Bourbon!" Jeff hollered deciding to settle his vengeance in my direction.

That's was my cue, down went my foot on the kick start. The Beast, like the true champ it is, started without fail. Left hand released the clutch, right hand twisted back on the throttle, spitting up a cloud of loose dirt as my rear tire fought to bite into the soft soil. Traction found, the torque of the Beast's engine lifted the front tire as I tore out of the campsite, shooting past Deacon who had become impatient and was busy puttering around in the four-wheeled odyssey.

As I found out later, in my absence, and in a hurry to explain himself, Jeff babbled, "I may have said something about you having purdy lips." Rusty just stared in shock at Jeff, his gloved fingers hiding his mouth. "Well you do... for a guy..." Jeff continued, pulling his helmet on and mounting his own bike. "Fucking DEAD!" he yelled again in frustration.

"So dead," Rusty echoed, racing for his own bike as Jeff tore out of the campsite after me.

Objective achieved, even if I did have to idle under a tree and wait for the slow pokes to catch up. They did in short enough order, not knowing where I had disappeared to when I raced up to them from behind, catching some sweet, sweet air over a small berm.

That part was too fun, so I doubled back and jumped the berm again, followed in quick succession by Jeff and Rusty. We screwed around there for a minute before I continued leading the way to the secret I had found on one of the last camping trips out here. Okay so it isn't that big a secret, Rich knows about it, even if it doesn't sit on his property. It's not like we are trespassing or anything, the forty acres the spring fed pond sits on belongs to his father-in-law, and it's not like the guy comes out to visit all that often.

We crossed over the fence line, or the row of weathered, split logs that served as the fence line. Jeff and Deacon veered to the left, following the dry stream bed to the south, probably looking for some more natural jumps to have fun with. I wasn't heading south, and it took Rusty a moment to realize this as he looked over his shoulder and saw me sitting, my bike idling, waiting for him to clue into the fact that I wasn't there.

Riding in dry creek beds usually isn't that interesting, as long as the area they cut through is relatively flat. Both of the men's land had their flat spots, but for the most part, were rather hilly, which made the ride upstream difficult as Rusty and I had to ride over and around a series of shale dry waterfalls. Some weren't bad, others were a good three foot high and we had to double back to find a way out of the bed to go around.

It was definitely worth it though; revving the Beast, I dug the rear tire into the dirt, creating a make-shift stand for the bike. Rusty followed suit, pulling up as I was pulling my helmet off and sliding it on the handlebars. Jeff's four-stroke 500 sounded in the distance, as well as the less throaty wail of the odyssey. My intentions were, however, on the water, clear and inviting, even though I knew from experience once we were in it wouldn't stay that way for long, as feet would stir up the undisturbed silt that coated the bottom.

Rusty gave me a questioning look that I just made out through the helmet and goggles he was wearing, as he sat astride the idling bike. It didn't take him long to clue in to my intentions as I stripped off the riding jersey I was wearing and tossed it at him. Next was the button on my pants, followed by the zip, revealing that I probably should have worn boxers, but I had planned a little swim so I didn't. Before I could pull the pants off, I had to take off the boots, so that's what I set about doing next, unabashedly taking glimpses of Rusty and his bare torso as he was stripping.

He was watching me as I fought with my boots, still watching, as free of them, I slid the riding pants down and stepped out of them one leg at a time, leaving me nude in the middle of the Arizonan wilderness. Rusty was half way there, paused in his chore, his pants splayed open revealing his pin stripped boxers to anyone who would care to look, and I was definitely looking.

"What?" he asked self consciously, tugging his fly further open.

"Nothing," I smiled, not wanting to admit that I enjoyed watching him strip. It's a rare occurrence actually; standing back and watching him take his clothes off. Usually we're all over each other with more pressing things at hand, than stepping away and appreciating the form of each other's bodies.

"Liar," he smiled, watching my eyes as I watched his hand curl rudely into his pants following his inner thigh, pushing some things into prominent view as shrouded as they were.

I gulped as he continued to shuck his pants, as terribly slowly as he did, trying unsuccessfully to rid my mouth of the desert like feeling that had take over, almost as if I had opened my mouth and swallowed a load of roost from the rider in front of me.

If I didn't get in the water, and soon, two things were going to happen in quick succession; first off, the chubby I was sporting would go full on, secondly I was going to jump him a put said predicament to good use. Not that, that was a bad outcome by any means, it's just I was coated with enough dirt to make such a situation, somewhat uncomfortable...

So before he even had his boxers down I was under the water, luxuriating in the feel of thirty-six hours worth of dirt melting off. While the feeling of the cool water was excellent, the warm arms that wrapped around me from behind were, in a word... awesome, especially as his fingertips tickled a trail over my hip bone and across the barren flesh of my lower abdomen.

I could have groaned as I leaned back onto his chest, instead I focused on the noise of the sloppy kisses Rusty planted along my shoulder and neck, that and the sound of sloshing water lapping at our midsections. A groan did rumble my chest as Rusty's hand circled me.

"Tighter," I pleaded, feeling the welcome comfort of his loose grip, fighting the urge to thrust my hips forward.

Rusty obliged, tightening his grip but not before raking his teeth across my shoulders, sending chills racing down my spine and my toes curling into the soft silt under my feet.

There I was, standing waist deep in cool water; crushed between Rusty and his delirious grip, a slight warm breeze swirling around us carrying the electric song of cicadas somewhere off in the brush. Sweating with the heat of his chest pressed hard into my back, sweating with the throb of his heart beat thrusting snugly along the cleft of my ass, his hand dragging slowly upward. I wasn't looking for a repeat of last night, but as I pushed my hips back into him, I decided I could do with a round two.

Not willing to let him have all the fun, I squirmed around until I was looking into his lazy, heavy-hooded eyes, just as molten as I had ever remembered seeing them as I nipped at the pale red lips Jeff so admired.

"You were being greedy," I admonished playfully before kissing him again.

"Yeah," he answered around my lips, his voice husky as he grasped both of us in his grip, smashing our cocks together.

My stomach trembled with the sensation of him pressed so firmly onto me, his hips rocking in time with the deliberate stroke of his hand. He'd pull his hand up and pull back, only to reverse the process and slowly push forward. Nature being what nature is, it didn't take long for me to mimic his rhythm, letting my lips fall to his collarbone, tasting a mix of him and the fresh water on his skin.

The nature of things meant it wouldn't, couldn't, last long, too perfect or too spontaneous. Maybe even a tad dangerous in the sunshine with the sound of two compact engines drowning out the buzz of insects, but the blush erupting on his chest and the strengthening of his grip told me he was just as close as I was.

Teetering on the edge with me, he let go as the wail of engines grew impossibly loud, snuffing everything we didn't care to know about. His lips on mine, his tongue in my mouth, he violated the water first, clutching me tightly, freezing in place. I wasn't that far behind him, adding my own white strands to water between us as I firmly grasped his ass, breathing in the air he was exhaling.

Lost in the comfort that I always found after, or more importantly in Rusty's eyes, and the smile he wore as evidenced by puffy cheeks, I failed to hear the utter silence of the desert around us. Even the sound of two sets of heavy footsteps crunching gravel escaped my attention as my forehead lulled on Rusty's, matter of fact it wasn't until Jeff's booming voice split the air did we even realize he and Deacon were there.


"Snake!" the bastard shouted out of nowhere, and Rusty, who had relaxed into my arms instantly stiffened before he pulled away and, hunched over, rushed to the bank, stopping short of actually running out as he noticed the laughter from Jeff and Deacon filling the air.

Okay, so maybe the whole clown thing was mean-spirited on my part, I'll even throw in telling Rusty that Jeff thought he had a purdy mouth for good measure, but that shit right there was just wrong, . It's not like Rusty walked up to him and screamed 'Clown!' at any point.

It all happened too fast, Jeff stripping quickly down to his boxers, intent on joining us or something, Rusty watching him in mild shock, Deacon looking at the heap of clothes on top of Rusty's bike noticing the pair of boxers lying on top.

"Jeff," Deacon tried, sounding unsure of joining us now.

Jeff ignored, him, too busy talking about the look on Rusty's face as he rushed to get out, ignoring the fact that if he looked at the right angle Rusty's ass was clearly visible over the water line.

"Jeff," Deacon began again, "I think we should give them a few minutes..."

Jeff spun around looking at Deacon, "What?" he asked irritated that Deacon was trying to steal his triumph.

"We should give them a few minutes," Deacon repeated, his cheeks flushing red as he angled his head down at the pair of boxers lying on top of Rusty's bike.

"Dude, did you see his face when I said snake?" he asked, grasping at his minor victory with both hands as he tried to talk Deacon out of giving us a few minutes.

Next thing you know, there was another rustle of water, Rusty's bare ass leaping into a very surprised Jeff's arms as he spun around with the sound of the noise. Jeff reacting out of instinct wrapped his arms around Rusty, in effort to support his weight as Rusty wrapped his legs around Jeff's waist.

"Christ," Jeff almost yelled, "I was only kidding!" he said, his arms sliding down Rusty's slick back as his weight shifted. "Now you've got me all wet!"

"I know," Rusty beamed, "I just had to get my lips on ya," he continued, planting a big kiss on Jeff's cheek.

It could have been the slickness of Rusty's back, or the fact that Jeff hadn't realized Rusty was as naked as he obviously was; but the moment Rusty lip's touched Jeff's cheek, his left hand slid further down and curled around my boyfriends very bare right ass cheek. Both his hands flew up in an instant, like Rusty's flesh had burned him.

Rusty, laughed as he released his grip on Jeff's neck and hopped down before scampering gleefully back into the water.

"Was he naked?" Jeff asked, not wanting to look in our direction as he kept his eyes focused on Deacon, who was busy stripping down as well.

"Good catch, Captain Obvious," Deacon snickered, his fingers curling in the waist band of his own boxers and snapping the elastic as he summoned the balls to do what he wanted too.

"You're not, are you?" Jeff asked, a little incredulous of the situation.

Deacon looked thoughtful for a moment before answering, "Big hint; thin white boxers and swimming don't equal modest, Bro."

Rusty laughed, and so did I. It was true, perhaps Jeff hadn't thought everything through completely when he pulled his pants off, but the current state of his soaked boxers did little to conceal the identity of lil' Jeff. His hand immediately covered his crotch, which had me laughing harder. It's not like the three of us hadn't seen each other naked plenty of times in the past, the only new addition to the equation was Rusty, and well Jeff should get the hint that he was more than okay with swimming nude.

Defeated by logic, and the fact that Deacon had just bared all and jumped in, oblivious to Rusty, Jeff quickly followed suit, shucking his sopping boxers as Deacon complained the water was going to stunt his growth.

"Fat chance," Jeff called out as he got in the water, leaving whatever modesty he had shortly possessed on the shore with his clothes, "Impossible to make that snail any smaller... Watch out boys, anaconda in the water!"

"In Arizona?" Rusty fired back quickly.

"Want me to prove it?" Jeff asked jokingly as he made to rise up on his toes.

"Hey you're a grower not a shower," Rusty rebuffed holding his hands up in defeat. "Nothing to be ashamed about... really."

"You little shit," Jeff laughed, rushing forward and grabbing Rusty in a headlock.


That's pretty much how the rest of the little swimming adventure went. A group of guys harassing and giving each other shit, coupled with several miserable attempts at dunking one another. Had the water been deeper such attempts would have been successful, but at just over four feet in the deepest part no one was going under unless they wanted to.

It was a nice escape from the dirt and dust that permeated everything... The very same offending crap that wound up stuck to our bodies once again as we rounded out the afternoon screwing around on the bikes, jumping, and racing each other, and what not.

It was dusk before we headed into camp for good. We headed in about two hours earlier to grab more gas and a quick bite, and then we were right back at it. With the sun gone, and the Beast being a dirt-bike as opposed to a trail-bike, it had no headlights. I don't care who you are or how well you think you know the trail, riding around blind is just dumb.

Rusty and I stowed the bikes in the trailer while the others prepared dinner or were just all around useless. Okay not all that useless; Deacon was doing an alright job at maintaining the signal fire, cause we really did want to land a 737 out here. There was some talk of riding the next morning, the same that always happened on a Saturday night, and just as in trips past, we never would.

In truth, the second night of camping was a quiet affair as compared with the first. We'd eat sit around the pit and recall the good times had, and pine for a warm shower and bar of soap. There was always talk of missed wives and missed girlfriends, luckily I didn't have to weigh in on that part of the chat, I couldn't miss what was sitting right next to me.

And... yes Jeff did point out more than once that he was damn jealous of that fact.

There was talk of jobs that had to be returned to on Monday, and fantasies of the bike shop Rich and my Dad planned to go in halves on. A good fantasy if you ask me, even with the possible locations Rich had printed out from the internet. Then, as always, there was talk about the future. Jeff was in college and was always prodding me, wondering if I was going to go, and in trips past, he tried enticing me with stories of coeds stripping at parties. That wasn't his tactic tonight however.

"You can't ride a bike forever."

You cant ride a bike forever... it spilled off his tongue sounding spiteful, even though to anyone else it would have sounded like a sincere comment made in passing. Who says I can't ride a bike forever? Sure, if you step back and look at the odds, they are rather slim, but it's something I love, and to be completely honest, I've given little thought to college. What university would have me? Definitely not Ivy League material, and if I was, I don't think I could stomach those chino wearing ass-hats for too long, much less four plus years.

He must have read the look on my face, saw something of my dislike of his statement in the firelight.

"It's not that Bourbon, hell, ride all you like," Jeff stammered trying to recover.

"I know," I conceded, not at all kidding Jeff.

"So why don't you go?" he asked, pushing, backing me into a corner I didn't want to be in.

"I wouldn't know what to study," I shrugged, which is right. I do okay at math, but who wants to go to college and major in math? Or accounting?

"Dude, it doesn't matter, all that matters is the paper saying you went to school," Jeff assured. "Companies don't care what you major in, you can float through philosophy and they don't mind."

"I could just go to a trade school," I countered, thinking about the fabrication school that I'd heard ads for on the radio.

Jeff shrugged, turning is attention back to the fire, "Or, you know, you could study mechanical engineering and actually help design the things."

There in the dancing firelight, Rich and Dad discussing financing options, Rusty joking with Deacon as the pair looked suspiciously at the inferno, Jeff struck something and caused a spark in my mind. I'd never even considered helping in the design and development of bikes. I had always been singularly focused on racing, winning, and all the small fame that came with it.

"I could still race on weekends, and between terms," I submitted.

Jeff didn't answer, he just grinned in triumph as he slapped down on my bare shoulder.

It was about that time when something flew into the pit, landing with a dull thump on the glowing coals at the bottom. Neither Jeff nor I paid much attention to the object; after all, we were all used to throwing bottles and cans into the inferno leaving them to melt down by the intense heat at the bottom.

We should have been suspicious though, in the way both Deacon and Rusty backed their camp chairs away from the fire, but we were involved in our own conversation and little expected the sound of a can exploding. The sound to be honest wasn't all that assuming. It was a loud crack or anything, just a muted thud that billowed ash and hot beans into the air. In fact, if it weren't for four or five of said heated beans pelting me in the chest I would have barely reacted.

As it was the sudden sting of heat surprised me, and it was my unfortunate turn to tip the camp chair backwards as I tried unsuccessfully to escape the sting of heat. There was laughing, Deacon's was the loudest amidst Jeff's scream as to just what in the hell that was.

"A... can... of..." Deacon gasped between heavy laughter, "Chili."

I had half the mind to scream 'what the fuck', but honestly, the thought of canned goods as explosive devices somehow seemed funny at that point so I was chuckling as well, as Rusty held out his arm to help me up as I flicked the beans of my chest.

"You're a fucker, know that?" I asked Deacon, using his discarded shirt to wipe what remained from my chest.

"It was funny though," he beamed like so much the little shit he was being just then, in the end I wound up laughing with him.

The night continued its slow pace, thankfully with only one repeat performance of the 'chili can incident' , though this time everyone back far enough away to avoid the fall out. Not long after the second thud, Dad and Rich begged off to bed, oddly enough followed in rather rapid succession by Jeff and Deacon leaving only Rusty and I to watch the dying fire.

"Thanks," Rusty whispered standing up from the camp chair and stretching. "Thanks for bringing me," he continued, straddling my lap before he leaned in and kissed me ever so softly.

"You had fun?" I asked as his hands slithered up my sides, his fingers dancing magically on the flesh he encountered. He only nodded his response as he rested his head against mine.

"The best," he sighed, tweaking my nipple.

"Trip?" I asked giggling from his touch.

"You," he corrected.

I swear my ass cheeks were even blushing at that moment.

"Ready to go home tomorrow?" I asked sliding my hands up his jean covered legs and resting them comfortably on his sturdy hip bones.

He seemed to think about the answer for a moment before he responded. "No," he answered, unconvincingly.

"No?" I questioned, playfully tickling his sides, causing him to writhe in my lap.

"We could stay out here," he answered tracing small circles on my chest, brushing the barbells in my nipples every third swipe. "Go all, Lord of the Flies..."

I groaned; a combination of his playful fingers and the mental images his suggestion presented in my mind. "As much I like the thought of you in nothing but a tattered pair of underwear... a hot shower is running neck and neck with that."

The circles stopped, his hands froze on my flesh as he sighed in regret. "She's there; I don't want to go back there."

My heart dropped, I could put the Mad Cow out of mind; I was the fortunate one of the two of us. Somehow, I thought he did the same thing, out of sight, out of mind. There by the campfire, I realized she was always there stalking off in the recesses of his thoughts, feeding off the few insecurities he had, maybe even amplifying them to the point they seemed overbearing.

I did all I could do, slid my arms around him, completing the half hug I had on him as I pulled him to me.

"What's nine months?" I asked. "In nine months you'll be out, we can get an apartment together." I said. "Hell, one of the shops Dad and Rich are looking at has a rental unit above it, we could live there."

Rusty smiled, and hollow attempt to pacify me as it appeared he held no bright assumptions about the future.

"What?" I asked, confused, even a little scared that he wasn't more happy about the idea.

"Nine months is a long time Bourb," he commented but made no move to escape my grasp.

"Yeah, and we've been doing this for a year, what's another nine months?" I challenged trying to feel out the situation we were in.

"She doesn't know I'm here," he answered, "She said I couldn't come..."

That was stupid; I wanted to tell him it was stupid. I couldn't tell him it was a stupid, stupid thing to do. I couldn't yell and say that what he did put my Dad in danger, Uncle Rich, and Jeff as well. None of that mattered then, and it should have. It would all matter tomorrow, and later. Tonight, he was scared and as vulnerable as the Mad Cow had shaped him to be, and he was in my arms.

"Let's go to bed," I whispered, breaking the hug to tug at his chin so I could kiss him sweetly. "Deal with the rest of it as it comes, but tonight just bed."

There were no arguments on his part as he climbed off my lap, leaving the absence of his weight a loss to my thighs. As we crawled into the tent and undressed before lying on the deflated air mattress, I thought about what he had said before, about the Mad Cow not noticing his absence. Maybe that was the case, after all, no state troopers had busted in on us and arrested us all on federal kidnapping charges.

I chased those thoughts away though as I slid up behind him, pulling his body closer to mine, inhaling the smoky, sweaty scent that was him, reveling in the tickle of his fingertips as they grazed my wrist.


Dawn found us eager to break camp and head out. The future looked uncertain, I didn't know what to expect. I was envisioning cops with lights flashing and what not. The prospect had me more than a little jittery. Dad noticed, but didn't say anything, not even as I climbed into the backseat of the Sierra with Rusty instead of the front seat.

My nerves settled some as we traveled back into cell range. There were no urgent frantic messages from Mom. Even the customary call to her went with little hint at what Rusty had confessed to. Our outlook was bolstered, as we crossed the Colorado River back into California. There were no highway patrol cars lying in wait to pull us over and arrest us. So much so, that we were both actually able to fall asleep for the majority of the ride down Highway 40 and into Bakersfield.

I was still nervous though as we pulled onto our street, still expecting to see a parade of cop cars with their lights flashing. There was no such spectacle though, just the normal quiet street we had left behind so early on Friday morning.

"Call me later?" I asked, stretching as I did, relieved to be free of the moving vehicle.

"Count on it," Rusty said smiling, clearly glad that there was no sign of trouble. He cast a glance around the street before leaning in to kiss me. "Seeya' later," he said his eyes sparkling with a hint of mischief as he backed away before turning around and heading off home.

I watched him for awhile, not wanting to take my eyes off him and help unload the trailer.

"Nine months," I said to myself, a promise, more than that, a vow. In nine months he would be mine every night, damn what anyone would say about it.


NOTICE: The following story is a work of fiction. All characters, places, and plot-lines are fictional. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. A Shot of Bourbon and its characters, remain the property of the author. The story and/or characters may not be reproduced or republished elsewhere without the strict written consent of the author.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Hey, that was great. Not too overdone, or overwrougt, and two main characters to really like without all sorts of drama. Excellent. Thank you.

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yes, i heartily concur - finished nowhere so is unfinished really - but good what's there, so please get going and finish with a follow up to this so we can see what happened to Rusty and whether he escaped the Mad Cow Disease or not!

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I liked it but I agree introducing and then hightening the tension on what seems to be one of the biggest conflicts of the story just before you end the story leaves a bad taste. A few more lines aleaving some of that tension would have been great or dropping all the hype in the last chapter about the Mad Cow. Or just write a sequel ;) Keep up the good work.

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