A man of few words, Joe is a hard-working farmhand who likes his simple, uncomplicated life. Ed is satisfied with his existence as an auto mechanic, but thrilled when an unexpected development in his life allows him to help Joe realize a dream.
It forces them, however, to reevaluate the casual, undefined nature of their relationship. They’re too macho to speak of love, and neither would acknowledge he doesn’t really mind when it’s his turn to bottom. When life throws them a curve ball, and the rules of their game get old, Ed tries to take every aspect of their relationship up a notch. Can Joe adapt to the open sentimentality Ed’s injecting into their relationship, let alone the new spice in their bedroom activities?
NOTE: This is a previously published story that has been rewritten, expanded, and re-edited.
He pulled the truck to the side of the gravel road when he was three quarters of a mile from home. Weird how quickly he was already starting to think of the farm as “home.”
Home is where the heart is.
He pushed the cliché from his mind, or tried to, anyway. But, an image of Joe’s smiling face agreeing that yes, they were solid -- were partners -- refused to be driven away. There was no denying Ed’s heart was involved. He closed his eyes and took a deep, calming breath. Was Joe’s?
When he stepped out of the truck, his gaze was drawn first to the torn up and matted path veering off to the right. Wind and rain had not yet restored it to match the undamaged sections on either side. He tracked backward from that unsettling trail, but didn’t see anything obvious to have caused the accident. Although, there was a circular portion of gravel that appeared fresher than what was around it. A recently filled pothole, perhaps? Nothing like a fatal accident to get a little roadwork prioritized.
Presumably, his father had traveled this road frequently. Had he used the motorcycle often? Often enough to be familiar with the terrain from that perspective -- to be aware of things that might not stand out when driving a large pickup truck? How big would a hole need to be to cause a motorcycle to wipe out? Hell, there could have been any number of factors. Distracted by a cat, a dog, a rabbit -- whatever. He could have been daydreaming rather than paying as close attention as he should have done. There didn’t necessarily need to have been a hole at all.
The wind blew through Ed’s hair and rippled his shirt. His shoulders drooped as he slowly pivoted in place. This was where his father -- a man he’d never met, but who’d apparently cared for him on some level -- had taken his last breath. He’d died instantly. That’s what the reports said. His neck had been broken in the crash. How truly immediate was “instantly?” Was the word overused? Had there been a moment of two of fade-to-black, knowing he was dying? No doubt he’d had a few seconds leading up to that where he’d known he was likely to be injured, at the very least.
What thoughts had flashed through his mind during those final ticks of his life? Happy memories? Regrets? He’d probably thought of Bill. Had he spared a flash of an instant to think of the son he’d never met?
Ed’s chin trembled, and he felt chilled despite the sun beating down. He sniffed, and turned back to the truck.