Things finally seem to be working out for gifted highschooler Ryan Miyashi. He came out to his friends and family earlier in the year and they’re okay with it. In the fall, he’ll be starting at Cal State Berkeley at the tender age of sixteen, and he’ll be starting graduatelevel summer classes at Cal in another week or so. Best of all, he’s settling into his first relationship. Tanner Cruz’ outsized ego and cowboy personality used to turn off Ryan, but now that he knows Tanner’s secret and seen the kindness the big lug is capable of, their love has started to blossom. As they get to know each other and their families, Ryan and Tanner really start to connect—until Tanner’s hidden past and Ryan’s inability to deal with the fallout threaten to pull them apart.
Tanner produced a trash bag from out of his back pack and we collected up the remnants of our targets and the spent shell casings.
“What about all the other shells?” I asked.
“What are you, some kind of Boy Scout?”
“Well, no, but I just thought…”
“Look around! We’d be here for two days,” Tanner said. “We’re already doing more than most people.”
“I see your point.”
We took our refuse and returned to the truck. Tanner tossed the trash bag in the back of the truck and then stowed the guns. We were about to leave when Tanner said “uhoh,” pulled me close to him and started exploring the inside of my mouth with his tongue. While slightly stunned by this sudden show of passion, I decided that there was no point in resisting. That’s when I heard the other vehicle pull up.
I opened my eye to see mintgreen Forest Service truck pull up in front of us with a disgustedlooking expression on the face of the driver that was kind of like what you’d expect to see on a teenager accidently walking in on his parents fucking like bunnies.
Nonetheless, the ranger got out of his truck, walked over and tapped on Tanner’s window. Tanner broke our liplock, turned around and made a big show of being surprised. He rolled down the window and smiled broadly.
“Howdy, sheriff!” he said brightly. “Shore is beautiful out here, isn’t it?”
“I’m with the Forest Service, sir,” he said. “I’m not the sheriff.”
Tanner did his best Gomer Pyle. He looked over at the green truck with the Forest Service emblem and his eyes got wide.
“Why, you must be a forest ranger!” he said with just the right tinge of awe in his voice. I was trying to sink through the floor of the truck.
“Yes, sir,” the ranger said. If Tanner was Gomer Pyle, the ranger was now Joe Friday. “May I ask what you gentlemen are doing?”
Tanner looked down at the floor bashfully, but his smile never waned. “Shucks,” he said. “We were just lookin’ for a little privacy. We were comin’ back from the shootin’ range, and it was such a beautiful day, we thought we’d take the scenic route.” Tanner took my hand and turned toward me. “Shootin’ irons always make me a little… frisky.”
I wanted to die. Tanner leaned in toward the ranger conspiratorially.
“Don’t worry officer—we were just parking. We weren’t gonna go… all the way.”
Tanner winked at the officer, and I think I briefly lost consciousness.
“It’s ranger sir. I need to remind you that you need a recreational day pass for any activity within the national forest.” He looked over at me. “Any activity.”
“Oh, gosh,” Tanner said. “We musta missed a sign or something! We’d better get moving…”
“And I’d like to remind you that the discharge of firearms within the national forest is strictly prohibited.”
“Perish the thought!” Tanner said earnestly. “You won’t find one single shell out there that belongs to us.” I was sure we were headed for jail. Again.
Instead, the ranger stared at us for a couple of seconds before he spoke again.
“You gentlemen should probably move along,” he said.
“Oh, yes officer!” Tanner said heartily as he started the truck.
Tanner put the truck in gear and carefully pulled away and back down the gravel track to the road. He signaled, looked both ways extracarefully and started back down the hill. I sat stock still until we were safely out of reach of law enforcement
“You shithead!” I erupted, and started wailing in Tanner with my fists. “Idiot! Jackass! Moron!” I emphasized each epithet with one of the blows that Tanner taught me.
“Hey, Watch it!” The truck weaved back and forth across the yellow line as Tanner expertly fended off my attack. I got in a couple of good licks before he reached over and pinned me against the seat with one of his gorilla arms.
“You wanna get us killed?” he asked as he straightened out the truck on the winding road.
“Why didn’t you tell me what we were doing was against the law,” I seethed.
“Well, then you wouldn’t have come. Duh!”