It’s taken me a few years to figure out how to tell this story and who might be interested in reading it. It’s not something I’ve shared with anyone I know or love, and even now I’m not sure that it has any merit beyond the visceral and the pornographic – which is why I’ve ended up here on this site. Of course, one man’s porn is another’s truth. I guess the fact that this story visits me regularly in the wee small hours suggests there’s more to it than I’m claiming. I should have forgotten it by now; the sell-by date has long since expired. I’ve loved well and quite badly in the intervening years, more dramatic stories in an increasingly complicated life, yet this episode simply refuses to retire. Part of me must believe that I won’t be able to get on with things until I put it out there for public consumption, for someone who, seeing his story in mine, might bless me and set me free. Anonymously, of course. This story belongs with the secret stuff in files marked ELECTRICITY and SHAME. Though from what I’ve seen posted on the internet, the world doesn’t recognize shame as it once did, I still feel it like a scorpion scuttling inside my bones.
Anyway, let’s see what you guys make of it – if anything. I’ve changed a few details here and there, but for the most part, it is what it was. 20 years later I think I fear lying more than being outed by some reader who stumbles across my portrait of a lost summer and says, “Hey! I knew them once.” I’m afraid the story takes a while to unfold (it’s slower and more self-conscious than most that surround it), but I hope your persistence will be rewarded.
I’m writing this in English, but I lived it in Spanish. I don’t want to alienate prospective readers before they start, but some words and phrases don’t quite translate so I’ve kept them in the original. If the formatting sustains italics, tildes, and the like, you’ll be able to spot these shifts without too much difficulty, and if it doesn’t, I trust you can make it through without too much inconvenience.
My mother returned home to Castilla León in the summer of 1992. The plan was for her to relieve her brother and sister in caring for my ailing grandfather. She decided that I’d go with her, spend time with cousins I rarely saw, and practice my Spanish, not that I would ever be allowed to forget it. After all, I’d been christened with the improbable name of José Angel – Joey to my homeys back in NoCal, Pepe to blood relations. The kicker was that I’d be spending July at a sleep-away camp in the Sierra de Gredos, about two hours southwest of Valladolid, where my mother is from. I’d definitely be the odd boy out, the only American for miles. My mother considered this an amazing opportunity. Though I didn’t complain, I thought the whole idea sucked. Still, when they dropped me off at the Campamento Miraflores, I was too terrified to do anything but smile and wave goodbye.
I was 16 in 1992, a lanky boy late to puberty, a skittish mess of insecurities I masked with an inflated vocabulary and practiced cynicism. I was pretty, or so I was told by the women in my life– big green eyes with girlie lashes buttressed by Visigothic cheekbones under a shock of sandy-blond hair– but where I came from (and where I had arrived), this could hardly be construed as an asset. It wasn’t official that I was gay, but my subconscious had been delivering definite signals for some time. I was no churning urn of burning funk – it’s hard to be when your balls have only just dropped – but I’ve always been in touch with my feelings, and I’d already intuited that these particular ones might cause problems for me some day if I pursued them with any urgency. So I played it straight, as rough as I could given my delicate physiognomy and my contrarian urges. Still, the only weapon I brought with me to camp that summer, my only defense against this nubile truth, was a really big mouth. I suffered from a peculiar kind of ADHD, a bilingual Tourette’s that made quick friends and even quicker enemies. That nobody had yet beaten the crap out of me on either continent I can only attribute to a benign deity, or perhaps even then the Boys Who Hurt People thought it smart to keep their distance.
The first few days at camp were okay: lots of posturing and territorial maneuvers. I liked the monitores, twenty-something counselors who had their own cabin where they smoked weed and read cyberpunk novels late into the night. Most of the boys seemed as lost as I was, and my status as American gave me instant, if somewhat fragile cachet. “Pamela Anderson!” they cheered in unison (pronouncing her name Pa-Meh –La)! Joder macho, que tetona! And they’d brag about what they’d do with those big tits and I’d laugh about this girl in Berkeley who had a set that made Pa-meh-la’s look like mosquito bites. “Fucking pomelos,” I thought to myself – Pa-me-la’s pomelos. Except for the vast communal showers (only the older dudes got naked, so any libidinal accidents remained hidden under baggy swimsuits) and the smelly toilets, the place was really comfortable. I must have been making myself tired because not even the recycled jokes and the farts kept me awake at night. When I called my mom on the first Sunday, I told her things were going well, which to her must have sounded like a hallelujah and felt like absolution.
One late afternoon during the second week I slipped away from the soccer pitch and headed to the main courtyard to smoke a cigarette. A boy I’d never seen before (not that unusual, given that 120 campers had been signed into eight separate cabins) was sitting on a bench staring at the flagstones with his hands clasped behind his head. I made a little noise to interrupt his reverie, and when he looked up I could see that his eyes were wet. I knew all about what Spaniards call la añoranza, and even at my most insensitive I wasn’t about to embarrass a kid simply for being homesick.
He stared. Said nothing. Kept staring. If privacy was what he wished for, he was making no discernible effort to get rid of me. On the contrary, he seemed to be willing me to stay exactly where I was. Most kids look away quickly when caught in a moment, afraid of anything that smacks of intimacy. This boy instead held me in my place at arms’ length with nothing more than those melancholy dark eyes. I felt exposed, for the first time in my life undressed in public, the object of fully-clothed desire. I had no vocabulary then for what was going down between us (and reading what I’ve just written I wonder if I’m not suddenly guilty of revisionism), but before long I would come to crave this feeling: the wordless kabuki of lust.
“You’re the American,” he finally said, without any particular wonder.
“Pepe,” I said, offering my hand.
He shook it without much enthusiasm. “Alberto. But they call me El Burro.”
Silence wrapped parentheses around the introduction. And as silence has never been much of a friend, I finally asked, “Do you like being called Donkey? Or should I stick with Alberto?” However clumsily, I was trying to be friendly, wondering if he wasn’t a bit slow or maybe autistic. If this nickname was the source of his malaise, then I had no urge to exploit it.
“It works.” His eyes never let go of me. “It works,” he repeated, smiling suddenly as if he knew something quite amusing that I didn’t. His eyes compelled me to hang around. I had no choice. I was being hypnotized without a watch. I ground out the cigarette – of all my silly poses, this was the least convincing – and tried to lay a little melody on this stark percussion.
“What cabin are you in?” I ventured.
“Oh. I’m in #12. With the Salmantinos. You’re not a day camper are you?”
“Not a camper at all. I live here. My Dad’s the Director. I sleep in my own bedroom.” He smiled again – more of a smirk, really – and pointed offhandedly at the two-story stone house near the camp’s entrance. It wasn’t homesickness, then.
“Well, I ought to get back to the game. My destiny awaits. Y luego la cena.”
“Of course. No te preocupes.”
“Nice to meet you, Burro.” As I backed away, I tried to look at him as he had been looking at me. He was probably my age, but he seemed so much older. He was dark in all the places I was sunny. His forearms were heavy, as if he worked out, and it appeared that he’d started to shave. I don’t think I saw any special beauty in his angular face, but at this point in my career I wasn’t much of a judge. What registered more than anything physical was his immediate power over me, how he made me nervous in unidentifiable ways. I felt like a specimen under glass, like some deadbeat in a jailhouse line-up. I should have slipped away when I said I was, but it was as if he were pressing me to the flagstone with invisible weights.
Then, languidly and without ceremony, the Donkey stood up, brushed his blue jeans, said, his eyes fixed on mine, “You’re really hot, you know,” and set off for his house.
Some years later at the University Library I caught the attention of a high school kid sitting across from me pretending to study, a sloe-eyed, androgynous sort with bee-stung lips and a lizard’s tongue. I did my best Donkey imitation, tried to pin him under my gaze, and walking nonchalantly past him, whispered those same incendiary words: you’re really hot, you know. Three minutes later we were in a bathroom stall. After trading kisses for a bit, he seized the initiative, went for my zipper, pulled out one of my industrial strength erections, and gave me an earnest, somewhat untidy blow-job. I came quickly in his mouth, and signaling a measure of respect, he swallowed. Apparently, reciprocation was never in the cards, for he bolted out of the bathroom before I had the chance to return the favor. That night, cleaning up, I discovered when I pulled back my foreskin that my dickhead was actually sparkling. The boy had worn glitter! This made me chuckle, and the silliness of this realization somehow helped me feel less sleazy.
Back at camp, however, I knew nothing except that it was game on for my libido. The Donkey had said it and I had heard it, the first shot across the bow, the observation that, looking back, defined me for eternity as I needed to be defined. I knew nothing except that I’d be spending time with a boy they called Donkey, that he’d dictate the terms, and that more than likely we’d be doing stuff together that until this point it had never occurred to me I might do. Ropes courses, zip lines, diving off granite cliffs into an old mine quarry under the blue Spanish sky: all in the brochure. Camp stuff. Kid stuff. But The Donkey had said I was hot, and damned if those weren’t the coolest words I’d ever heard.
I didn’t see him again for a couple of days after that, and then it was only from a distance when I strayed far enough from the cabins and close enough to the Director’s house to spy him chatting with a pretty older girl at a table on the patio. If he recognized me, he wasn’t about to reveal this to his companion. I had a testicle-shrinking instant of doubt: what if I had made it all up, that it had been a fever dream or sun poisoning? Worse, what if the boy had been punking me, setting me up for some terrible public humiliation? I know so much now about the dance. I’ve slept with so many of the dancers. But at that moment I was on stage in a play without a script or any idea what the director had in store for me.
It got tougher each subsequent day to be a little boy. I had fun, I guess, as I almost always did when there were kids around and playthings, but all the familiar rituals seemed suddenly meaningless, like grace before supper. My dreams were really messed up, sometimes childlike (chasing lizards around my grandad’s ranch outside Sacramento) and sometimes seriously kinky: unattached penises spewing jizz at close range upon my pretty-boy face; passing naked through a gauntlet of campers, each one blessing my outrageous and unfamiliar boner. Oddly, I didn’t touch myself at all the whole time, didn’t masturbate myself into oblivion as I might have done in a more comfortable bed. It was like I was saving up for something, a virgin lost in the woods waiting for the goat-man to deflower her. A boy waiting for his donkey.
One hot and cloudless Sunday during la comida, El Burro walked into the dining hall. A few of the younger campers whispered when they saw him, sharing a joke. Alberto dropped off a package with one of the monitores, then saluted a few of the oldest boys, but made no attempt to converse with either. I followed him everywhere with my eyes, willing him to at least notice me noticing him, to give me some kind of sign that we had actually met and talked and that I had heard exactly what he said.
“Jilipollas, macho, donde coño estás? What the fuck? Carlos with braces had asked me a question and it hadn’t even registered. I told him that I wasn’t myself, that the chorizo was bad. Dionisio, the chubby Madrileño, made a crack about chlorine in the American gene pool. It was banter, for God’s sake, my ace in the hole, and I couldn’t deal. The Donkey shows up and I’m transported to a galaxy far away.
He left the building without acknowledging anything more than the door. No meaningful glances. No wink. No nod. No Glory Hallelujah. No puto maricón, stop fucking with my head. I was distraught, solito, abandonado, y perdido.
Sulking my way back to the cabin, I was stopped in my tracks by a little boy from the dormitory (the under-tens slept in a big central building).
Guiri, te traigo un mensaje de parte del Burro, he chirped. Did he wink? I swear he winked.
Dímelo, chico. “Spit it!” I commanded. “What’s the message?” The little fucker was laughing at me. Was I hallucinating, or could the boy read my mind?
“5:00. At the gates. The Donkey says to be there.” He turned before I could say anything.
“What have I got myself into?” I asked in English. The little boy turned back, wondering what I had said, and it occurred to me that I couldn’t have answered in any language.
I arrived empty-handed at the big gate to the camp grounds at exactly 5:00 – feeling incredibly foolish. I stood with my hands in my pockets for a few minutes, then took shade under one of the leafy robles that line the road leading into the camp grounds. I kept imagining that I was going to be ambushed, that I had been led into a trap that would ruin in an instant all the hard work I had put into building credibility during the first couple of weeks of camp. I hadn’t done anything, nothing bad ever, yet I was practically puking with guilt.
I didn’t feel much better when Alberto appeared like a hologram from behind a grove of cypresses flanking the driveway. I wondered if he’d been watching me all along. He was wearing khaki cargo shorts with a plethora of bulging pockets. A small duffel bag was slung over his shoulder. I smiled thinking that we were going on a picnic, momentarily relieved by the prospect of something far more innocent than what my imagination had been cooking up for days.
“Hey Pepe,” he said, as if we were longtime buddies walking to school together. I quickly got in step.
“Hey,” I replied. “I got your message. What’s up, anyway?”
“Thought I’d show you something. I know places.”
“I brought some stuff.” He might have been talking about bocadillos or sun-tan lotion, but he had a way of making the most mundane remarks sound dangerous.
“Good, because I didn’t.” I laughed conspiratorially, though I had no clue what kind of conspiracy I was part of.
“Have you been out to the caldera?” he asked.
“What’s that?” We were walking along the road. The Donkey was the Pied Piper and I, his flute-charmed child, skipped along behind.
“It’s about two kilometers from here. I don’t think they like the campers to know about it. It’s pretty amazing, really. You’ll see.”
We left the road and hiked for twenty minutes without saying anything. Alberto was a good whistler, and as we started to climb into the foothills, I could feel myself relaxing. A worn path took us through meadows full of wildflowers. Soon it started switchbacking, and we climbed pretty steadily up into the Sierra. Alberto knew the way. That much was clear.
We scrambled over some granite outcroppings, then slalomed down again. The dry brush scratched my shins. Up and over we went, several times, distancing ourselves from the known world. Looking back I could see that we had climbed several hundred meters. I knew with utter certainty that if the Donkey wanted to, he could leave me here, an American breakfast for the wolves. The path had disappeared, and we were, as I feared and deeply desired, alone.
“See it?” Alberto pointed to a tree-shrouded bowl about a hundred meters below us. “That’s the caldera. It’s like a pool fed by spring water. It’s really cold. You’ll see.”
The caldera welcomed us like an open mouth. The silence was profound, as if the woods around us had suddenly been muted. I went to the edge, stuck a tentative hand into the icy water, and gave a little yelp. “Joder!”
“We could swim if you like,” the Donkey laughed.
“Not me, macho. I’d die of shock.”
“I guess. My dick would shrink so much I might as well be a girl.”
There, I said it. Something with portent. However uncalculated, it was an obvious overture. I looked at Alberto, who looked at me with those beguiling dark eyes, and I could sense that in an instant he was optioning the gambit. As if on cue, he pulled a cotton blanket from the duffel and spread it over the soft grass on the bank of the caldera. Out came the sun-tan lotion and a liter of Fanta. It was picnic time, after all. Then he sat down, pulled his knees into his chest, and started mumbling to himself. It sounded strangely like a novena, though I think he was praying for forgiveness, not indulgence. I thought to myself that this was a strange place to build a church.
I don’t want to interrupt myself here, don’t want to lose momentum, but describing the next hour of my life is really hard. Like so many things, it exists only in my imagination with its retro-fitted filters and firewalls. I fear I’m going to get it wrong, that in the relocation from memory to the page I will either bruise it or, worse, anaesthetize it, for it was both incalculably painful and immeasurably sweet, a wild concerto for nerve endings, a splendor in the grass and glory in the flower that would have left old Wordsworth gasping. So I’ll ask you again to bear with the storyteller. Don’t hate him for his flirtations with the metaphysical and the grandiose. Think of it as foreplay, not stalling.
I sat beside Alberto on the blanket, leaning into him without nuzzling. My heart was pounding and my ears were ringing. I didn’t want to make the first move, didn’t want to fuck things up in any way.
“It’s nice here,” the Donkey said. “I wish I owned it. I’d sleep well.”
“You don’t sleep well?” was all I could think to say.
“No. Never have.” He looked over my shoulder at the horizon. “The guys will tell you. I’m a mess. Estropeado.”
“Hey, I’m a mess, too. I mean, I guess I sleep pretty well, but I think about weird stuff all the time.”
“You just batted your eyelashes, Pepe.” Alberto was chuckling. “Girls do that, you know.”
“Sorry. I mean, I didn’t know I was doing it.”
“Shut up, jilipollas. It was a compliment.” The Donkey smacked me pretty hard on the cheek, but he was smiling, not angry. He abruptly grabbed my shoulders and shook me. “You don’t know a goddamn thing, do you?” A dark cloud passed overhead and the temperature dropped fifteen degrees.
“About me. Coño. About what I did. Lo que hice y lo que hago. What I do all the time. Who I am.”
If I was scared by this intense but still vague revelation, I was also undeniably excited. “You can tell me. I…I…can keep a secret. Shit, I’ve got a bunch of them.”
“Shut up, cariño.” This, he whispered. Cariño is a word for grandmothers, a word that bespeaks tenderness, a word never uttered by shadowboxing adolescents if they can help it. Then he grabbed my face, pulled me into him, and kissed me. I’d like to remember that it was magnificent, that I had an instant aptitude for loving, but Truth reminds me that it was really kind of clumsy. I’d kissed a couple of girls, so I had a paint-by-numbers sense of what I was supposed to do, but even unformed habits die hard: I was a boy; he was a boy. Who made the bigger move? I suppose it took me a while to relinquish my socialized erotic destiny to the Donkey, to let him be the boy and to allow myself to be the girl. But that is what happened. Before long, I’d given my tongue to him, and he worked it over like a pro, coming up for air every now and again, alternately growling and cooing, a wolf and a dove as well as a Donkey. Before long he had me pinned beneath him.
“Shit,” I said, when we finally shifted positions.
“No shit,” he said. “You’re too beautiful, majete. So beautiful. More beautiful than any girl, by far. You could be my girl, Pepe. That’s pretty fucked-up, isn’t it?
“Shit, Alberto.” What are we doing? I wanted to ask. I felt a surge of tears – my older brother had once said I was “built close to the water” – and I didn’t want to add crying to my list of feminine traits.
“I’m trouble, Pepe. You need to know that. I fuck people up. It’s what I do. That’s why they sent me away last year.” If there was menace in this confession, I didn’t hear it.
“That was last year. I don’t care. I don’t care. You won’t fuck me up, I know you won’t.”
“No, Pepe. I never mean anything like that. I never want to do it, but it happens. It starts out nice and then somebody just goes and kills it. Then I go crazy, and then they send me away, Then I talk to the doctors, and I want to throttle myself, and – oh, fuck…let’s go back, Pepe. I’ll stay away from you, I promise. You can come back here if you want.” He didn’t know what he was saying. I didn’t know what I was feeling.
He stood up, turned away from me, trying in his own way to pull the plug on the afternoon.. I just sat there, boned up beyond belief and deeply confused.
“Burro,” I pleaded. “I’m not afraid of you. I want you.”
“Oh my God,” he said. “You don’t know. You just don’t know.”
I’d like to say it got hazy here, that everything was a blur, but that would be the biggest lie ever. I was utterly aware and deeply complicit. Once I knew I was going there, once I determined that if I was going to be fucked up, it would be the Donkey who would be my undoing, once I took off my clothes and stood there in Paradise like Adam after the Fall, I knew as well that I would never forget a single detail.
For thirty seconds – an eternity in the heat of desire – Alberto just stared at me. He must have known that I had never been naked before anyone as I was now, hands on hips, my nipples hard as pebbles on my browning chest, my dick pointing up to the heavens, my balls snuggling back into the inguinal canal, a wood-sprite escaped from a Grecian urn. Though I was sixteen and had the papers to prove it, I must have looked like a little boy who had stumbled into the wrong party.
He grabbed me and pulled me into him, enveloping my nakedness. I could feel the heat emanating from within him and I could sense even though I had no words for it, that the beast was wrestling with the child, a struggle for dominion that had very little to do with the pitiful spectacle of me. He nibbled my earlobe, tweaked my nipples, and crushed my erection against his shorts. We were the same height, I noted. Our bodies somehow fit. There wasn’t symmetry, exactly, not parity, but there was (oh God, I can’t believe I’m writing this) magic.
Alberto dropped to his knees. He cupped my package in his plowman’s hands, blew on my penis ever so gently, then with his tongue traced a ring around the still-hooded corona. A little pre-cum bubbled up, and he plucked it up with a flick of the tongue. Then he went to work in earnest, pulling back my foreskin and sucking in my inflamed dickhead. I held on for dear life, ready but not wanting to cum. I’m big enough I guess, bigger than many I’ve known, but he handled my dick as if it were a baby’s finger. If this was cruelty, I wanted to be sentenced to a lifetime of it.
He continued. I thought maybe he was happy to be doing exactly what he was doing. Eventually, perhaps with a lover’s wisdom, he sensed that it was time. He bobbed frantically, slobbering on my glans, now redder than a maraschino cherry, letting his teeth graze the tender spot where the frenulum meets the prepuce. And what the fuck, I erupted. I shot buckets into his open mouth, at least ten thick pearls. He swallowed without hesitation. A surprise aftershock squirted a last jet onto the tip of his nose, and he flicked that prodigious and talented tongue up to catch it.
“Wow,” I said.
“Wow,” he said, laughing. “I wasn’t expecting quite that much.”
“Is it good?” I asked, more sure of myself now that I’d finished what I’d only dreamed of before.
“Better than chicken, Pepe. Better than chicken.” He pulled into himself again. His momentary delight disappeared into the shadows that went with him everywhere. This time, I kept quiet.
It felt good being naked in the sun. I wanted to sing, wanted the whole world to lay witness. It was more Sound of Music than Body Heat, but whatever it was, I liked it. My dick was still distended, ready for more, but I felt normal again, relieved, natural, the same child of light I’d always been. Still, I knew that the afternoon wasn’t over, and that there was more to passion than getting off.
Alberto sat there admiring my silly naked ballet, his hands clasped behind his head, an artist admiring a just-finished tableau. He spoke: “I could watch you all day. You’re so pretty it kills me.”
“You think so? You’re the first person since my grandmother to say that, and she’s 80. Feels better when you tell me, though. You know, I think I’m ready to, ready to, I don’t know, make you feel pretty, too.”
“Fuck you. I’m not going there.”
But I was. I lay down beside him and started tugging at his shirt. He said, “no, Pepe, no,” but I ignored him, my tongue a crazy hummingbird flitting into whatever orifice it could find. Abruptly, he stood up and let out a yowl. “No! Pepe. It cannot happen!”
“Sure it can,” I whimpered. “I want to be with you…in that way. I can make you happy.” That’s exactly what I said. I can make you happy. It seemed like the purpose of all this, like a better reason for being than any I had ever heard. Sex was about making people happy. That must be why people risk everything to be with someone, even if that someone is a strange, damaged boy who has already told you he’s bad news. “Please, Alberto. Get naked. We’ll be fine. Happy, you know.”
He turned around and took a few steps towards the woods – an unexpected show of modesty considering I’d been standing in all my glory for a quarter hour --and pulled his shirt over his head. He stepped out of his shorts. He slid down a pair of red bikini underpants (I’d been a boxer boy since I was 12, an American convention I’d discovered that hadn’t yet crossed the ocean). His butt cheeks were fish white; he had no perceptible tan line; his thighs were deeply muscled and taut. Despite everything, my sweet invitation and his sorrowful rejection, I could sense the kinetic cruelty of Alberto’s body at five paces.
Then he turned around and faced me, his arms folded across his chest. And in that instant, I understood how he had acquired his nickname. His penis was thick and unfathomably long, arcing out like an eel on a fishhook from a dense black pubic bush. I have no idea what it measured in centimeters or inches, but looking down at my own still swollen dick – I’ve grown to love it in all its incarnations, but it looked like an earthworm next to his – I knew right away that I’d never again see the likes of it. I am not a size queen, never thought all that much about the dicks that have arrived with my lovers, but that first image of the Burro’s magnificent appendage would be burned onto my retinas forever, and every boy I’ve been with since, every strutting faggot whose dick I’ve sucked or who fucked me silly simply couldn’t compete. Yet when I looked up at Alberto I saw pain, not pride. The big guys in the pornos – it was 1992, pre-internet, and my resources were limited – always looked self-satisfied, as if nature, having given them faces only a mother could love, had provided a measure of compensation. In this moment I realized again that the Donkey was a boy like any other and deeply embarrassed by his dick. It probably sounds odd, but I recall keeping my eyes on his brooding face, trying to project a calm I didn’t feel, hoping that he wouldn’t see that I had no idea what to do with him.
“Now you know. Okay.” he whispered. “Joke’s over. Let’s get dressed and head back.” He was trembling, whether from rage or fear or just the cool breeze blowing into the valley, I didn’t know.
“No, Alberto. Me toca a mi – it’s my turn.”And with that assertion I pulled him close, trying with every fiber to send a message of love. Not that I loved him – I didn’t know anything at all about love and you can’t actually love someone you’ve been with for exactly an hour – but I needed him to feel that what I was about to do came from the best part of me and was done willingly, and that what he was about to share with me was something I really, really wanted.
He resisted a bit. When I brushed up against his penis, I could sense him pulling back, but I wouldn’t let him. I kissed him hard, drove my tongue like a lunar probe into his gullet. I pulled him down to the ground with me, flipped him on his back, and straddled him. He could have snapped my neck at any time, I suppose, but sudden intuition told me that he needed for once in his life to be the one pursued, the one desired, the one captured – the One. Of course I didn’t know it then (if I’ve infected this account with hyperconsciousness, then blame it on the man I am and not the boy I was), but I have never been more relentless than when I’ve gone after tenderness. I go hard after the soft spot; I stop at nothing in my search for the vulnerabilities that every lover has. At this moment, Alberto the Donkey was overmatched. I was the gentle master.
I had at it. Like the crazy motherfucking boy I was at the core. And honestly, it all seemed pretty natural, part of the gay gene I was surely born with; still, nobody expects that the first dick he sucks will be the biggest one on the planet. I can say without dishonoring the truth that it wouldn’t have mattered at that moment if Alberto had had a mini-pecker like the ten-year olds in the Big Building, but the reality was that I was confronted with a daunting physical challenge that only chemistry and imagination could possibly resolve. So I did a lot of licking at first; I ran my tongue up and down the pendulous shaft, one fist wrapped around the base. I kissed the heavy hooded plum at the end (I noticed that his foreskin wouldn’t retract as mine did, but I wouldn’t say that this detail deterred me), then pulled it and several inches of the shaft into my suddenly elastic mouth. . I was ever so careful not to bite or scrape. Before long, I found a little rhythm, sucking and licking and teasing, moaning and groaning and making mad love sounds, and wouldn’t you know it, as I drifted farther and farther away from the ground I was lying on into the mindlessness that is sex, Alberto was giving in.
He started bucking, arching his back like an epileptic alley-cat. I pumped his dick with both hands, then returned what I could of it to my labial ministrations. I could sense that he wanted to let go, wanted to share with me what I had earlier shared with him, but I could also tell that he wanted it to last forever. When my beautiful mother died a couple of years ago I sat at her bedside and willed her to hang on just a little longer. Then told her in the next breath to let go. That was the paradox of dying – I was right in both cases, because love is never wrong. This was the confusion of ecstasy, and I couldn’t imagine what either one of us would do once it was over except do it again.
And so it went for a minute or two, first a yes, then a no, then a maybe. We were bathed in sweat, as shiny as newborns out of the womb. I had a thought. Okay, so it wasn’t actually a thought so much as a sensation, a tingle in my nether regions. I worked two cum-slick fingers into my asshole and stretched it a bit; I blindly grabbed the tube of Ban de Soleil and slathered my whole hand; I found the prostate (no, that word was not yet part of my working vocabulary), and massaged for all I was worth as I continued working over Alberto’s dick, a big ol’ fish-thing flopping in the sunlight.
I rolled over on my back. I pulled my legs over my head. I showed Alberto the glistening O-ring of desire and said, “please, majete, come on now, put it in a bit.” I saw him shake his head, momentarily reunited with reason. “I mewled, “please, just a bit. If it hurts too much I’ll tell you.”
I’ll give him credit. He took care of my wishes without killing me. I felt the first assault, wondered if there might be blood. Marveled at how accommodating my sphincter was, how when I pushed out, he came in. Knew in the seconds before I screamed that I’d do this again someday, do it with relish and abandon, but that this would have to be it for now.
And before he could say or do anything, I was back at my original task, worshipping him with my tongue, sucking for all I was worth until I heard him moan, until I felt the rumble in his seminal vesicles and the surge in his urethra, and I positioned myself like a hungry calf to receive whatever milk he had to give me. I swallowed a bit, choked a bit, and smeared my face with the rest. I turned to Alberto, my beautiful donkey, and laughed: it doesn’t taste a bit like chicken, I said.
There was more. After all, we were young and had long before abandoned reason in favor of something far more compelling. When I fucked Alberto there wasn’t much drama, just sweet ineptitude. I tried to be gentle, but it probably hurt for him, too. When at last we were spent, Alberto massaged me with the icy water from the caldera, gently daubing at my bruised rectum, whispering apologies all the while, apologies he didn’t need to make. The sun was starting to fall behind the peaks of the Sierra, and it was quickly getting cool. We lay down, familiar now with each other’s nakedness. Alberto pulled the blanket over us. I guessed that this was intimacy, and though it troubles me to say this, I don’t think I’ve ever felt it quite as deeply – this marvelous interconnectedness, this joy beyond words.
Alberto and I talked for another 20 minutes. I held on to his super-sized penis like a security blanket while he recounted some of the bad stuff that had happened to him in recent years – and it really was pretty awful. It felt like the world’s most delicate exorcism, performed at close range by two naked boys under a blanket in the gathering dusk. Alberto confessed to crimes that didn’t sound criminal, to sins that any priest worth his cassock would absolve. He told me that when he got angry it was like his head was full of snakes. I drew out as many of these demons as I could and prayed silently that when they left him, angels would replace them. In the end, no heads spun, though he cried a bit and as for me, I just knew as I’ve always known that God loves all children, even the fuck-ups, and He will never let them down.
“That’s what happened, Pepe,” he whispered, though there was nobody within two miles. “Everything I touch turns to shit.”
“Do I look like shit to you?” I said, feigning indignation.
“No. I guess I got a little lucky.” Again, I was struck by his reluctance to accept that there was delight in the world available to him and that he could actually be happy, if only here and there.
“You know, Alberto, I think maybe you need to put your foot down. You need to kill the Donkey thing quick. It hurts.”
“Yeah, right. It’s strange, you know, like one of those self-fulfilling prophecies. I did some things I shouldn’t have. Word got out. Word always gets out, and before you know it, that word got out. I saw their looks. I saw them whispering. Allí va el Burro! Sabeis lo que hizo con aquella? Joder, madre! La tiene como un elefante. Como un burro!
He drew a deep breath, as if he had just sprinted up a mountain. He had a sweet voice, now that I think about it, a boy’s voice. There wasn’t much of the child in his confession, however.
“They were scared of me, I could tell. They spread shit about my dick. It was only rumor, but I guess at least some of it was true. The name stuck and I started to like the power it gave me. They keep their distance, you know. Everywhere I go at camp. It’s like they expect me to tear them up, so I have to keep looking like that’s what I’m gonna do. I can’t believe I’m telling you all this, Pepe. I never said this to any of my therapists, but then I again I’ve never been naked with them either.”
“Hey, I like your dick, Alberto. I really do, not that I’m going to tell the world or anything. It’s fucking awesome. You’re going to have to be careful with it, though, keep it close if you know what I mean” – and with this I gave it a few tugs and plumped it up in my palm. I giggled a bit, then turned grave. “I came here with you, Alberto. With a boy I hardly knew. You’re so much more than you think you are. I’d think you were great if you had a dick like that fat kid from Zaragoza, Javi.”
“Shut up. You are such a faggot, Pepe! I mean I’m one, too, but how you talk!” He kissed me again – to shut me up no doubt. He pulled the blanket off and stood over me. “God, boy, you are really hot, you know.”
His dick started to come to life again, swaying before him like a gatling gun. My own little fella, already thrice-drained, struggled valiantly out of hiding, swelling, if not rising to the challenge.
“We could do it again,” I said.
“We could, we could – but we might not have the strength to get back to camp. I don’t want them sending out a rescue party. I’m going to have a hard enough time accounting for my absence.”
I stood beside him. I think the picture we made, two naked boys holding hands, silhouetted by the dying sun, would have been the stuff of fantasy, and I know that if I had it with me now, I would pull it out and weep for everything that might have been.
I’m looking back through this piece. Writer’s remorse, I guess. I can see where I’ve got it exactly right, where I’ve come through on my original promises. These are the parts that make me happy, that justify the time I took to put this together for an audience that won’t likely fill a Starbuck’s. Porn is porn, I kept telling myself when it came time to undress Eros. Give the people want they want! Though I felt more than a little sketchy using my younger self as the prototype, at least I know what sex feels like – for me. A kiss is just a kiss and a dick is just a dick (unless it is the Donkey’s). This part was actually the easiest to put into words.
I can also see where I’ve come up short. Some of this is simply time passing. The years blocking the sunlight. Or in the case of Alberto, the maelstrom. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t quite pull the trigger when it came to execute his peculiar demons. So I opted instead for a happy ending, a celebration of the Dionysian, instead of slipping headlong into the muck. I’ve always run from danger, and I’m afraid I’ve had a lot of practice.
Alberto would fuck up again. Really soon. This time I was caught in the backwash, in the post mortem, and though I wasn’t implicated and never had to do penance of any kind, I did have a chance to make things better for him, and failed. This would have meant a testimonial to that splendid hour at the caldera, and I wasn’t ready to try to save him if it meant facing up to what we did and who I’ve become.
Juventud, divino tesoro,
¡ya te vas para no volver!
Cuando quiero llorar, no lloro...
y a veces lloro sin querer...
Ruben Darío (Cancion de Otoño en Primavera)
You read accounts on the internet of “first times.” The story you’ve read is about mine. If you enjoyed or if you were moved – or even if you found it a waste of time – take a few minutes to let me know. No guy likes pissing into the wind. Pissing into the Void is even worse. email@example.com