The Seventeenth Summer (Ch 10)
A time for sun, surf and self-discovery . . .
After Sergeant Bailey had left, the boys helped Jake straighten out his campsite and clean up the mess of broken glass and plastic from the shattered lights and tail lights, before they all sat down beneath the canvas shelter.
‘So, are you going to tell us now what actually happened?’ Danny asked. ‘And why you wouldn’t tell the Sarge everything?’
‘I promised you I would,’ Jake replied. ‘But you might not like the answers.’
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’ asked Nate.
Jake gathered his thoughts for a few moments, going over things in his mind before deciding to reply.
‘It means that the details aren’t exactly what most people would want to hear about,’ Jake replied. ‘The things that can happen to a gay guy when he gets jumped by two other guys hell bent on causing trouble can be quite unpleasant . . . it’s not usually like a regular bashing . . . it’s often much worse.’
‘You mean it’s like . . . errr . . . sexual, as well as physical?’ Danny enquired.
‘Yeah, it often is.’
‘I saw blood on your legs . . .’ Nate cautiously ventured.
‘Does that mean they . . .’ he started to ask, but he just couldn’t finish the sentence.
‘You’re asking does that mean they raped me?’ Jake softly prompted. ‘Yeah, mate. They did.’
‘Oh, fuck!’ Nate whispered.
Both Danny and Nate could tell that Jake was growing quite emotional as he recounted in his own mind what had happened. They couldn’t begin to imagine the horror that their friend must have gone through, yet neither boy knew quite what they could – or should – say or do to help him.
Eventually Danny moved over and sat down beside Jake, putting his arm around Jake’s shoulders, gently rubbing his shoulder with his hand. He half expected Nate to say something, but thankfully he didn’t.
‘Has that . . . ummm . . . ever happened before?’ Danny gently asked.
Jake nodded, as the boys could see the beginnings of tears welling up in his eyes.
For a long time nobody said anything. Danny continued to comfort Jake, as Nate looked on, somewhat uncomfortably.
‘You said there was two of them,’ Nate eventually asked, trying to change the subject and take Jake’s mind off what they had been talking about, although not quite sure if he had succeeded.
‘Yeah, that’s right,’ Jake sniffed.
‘And did you see their car, or can you remember anything about them?’ added Danny.
‘It was red. A red Valiant.’
‘With black stripes?’ asked Nate.
He saw the look that the two boys gave each other. It was obvious that they knew the car.
‘One of them called the other one, Thommo,’ Jake said, and judging by the nods coming from Nate and Danny that confirmed their first suspicions.
‘That’d be Frank Thompson,’ Nate spat. ‘Dark curly hair? Pretty solid build?’
‘Sounds like him,’ Jake replied.
‘And was his friend a skinny blonde guy, with a huge nose?’ asked Danny.
Once more Jake nodded.
‘Fuck . . . I think I’m beginning to hate this town,’ Danny grumbled
‘It’s not the town . . .’ Jake said. ‘It’s just some of the people in it.’
‘Well, they’re not going to get away with it, I promise you that,’ Nate avowed.
‘And just what are we going to be able to do about it?’ asked Danny.
‘I’ll ask Lachlan,’ Nate replied, referring to his older brother. ‘He’ll know what to do.’
‘No, guys . . . I don’t want you to do anything . . . I don’t want either of you getting yourselves into any sort of trouble on my account . . . or getting anyone else involved,’ Jake protested.
‘Is that why you didn’t tell the Sarge everything?’ Danny asked.
‘Yeah, something like that . . . it’d only be more trouble.’
‘Don’t worry . . . we won’t be getting ourselves into trouble,’ Nate promised. ‘But that doesn’t mean that Frank and his buddy will be getting off scot free! Lachie will know what to do. You just leave it to us.’
Looking sideways at Danny, Jake asked, ‘Do you think that you can talk any sense into your friend?’
‘I’m not even going to try,’ Danny replied. ‘The bastards deserve whatever they get.’
Slowly Jake shook his head. Despite what had happened to him, this wasn’t what he wanted.
‘Now . . .’ Danny asked. ‘What are you going to do with yourself? You can’t stay out here on your own.’
‘No, you definitely can’t! They might come back!’ added Nate. ‘You should go into the caravan park and camp there. At least it’ll be safer in there.’
‘I think I might just do that, boys . . . stay in a cabin or something, at least for a couple of nights, while I get over the aches and pains I just know I’m going to have, and get a few repairs done on the car . . . but after that I think I’ll head home to the folks for Christmas a few days early.’
‘You’ll come back again, though, won’t you?’ Danny anxiously asked.
‘Of course, mate. It’ll take more than one incident to scare me away totally . . . especially now that I have friends here.’
The two boys beamed. They both thought of him as a friend also . . . and for one of them he had already become so much more than that.
‘So, do you want some help packing up?’ Nate asked.
‘I’d really appreciate that. Thank you.’
It was well into the afternoon when Jake pulled out of the camping area, with the boys following behind on their bikes. By the time they reached the caravan park a short time later Jake had already checked in and parked his van beside one of the cabins. The back of the van was open and he was obviously starting to get himself settled.
Packing all of Jake’s gear away out at the campsite had proved something of a challenge, but between the three of them they had managed it okay, as once Jake got moving he seemed to brighten up.
The boys had been worried that everything would all spill out onto the ground just as soon as Jake opened up the back of the van; it would have been just great having naked photos of the two of them blowing across the manicured lawns of the caravan park for all to see, particularly if any of the boys who lived there and whom they went to school with, of which there were a few, happened to pick them up. Thankfully none of those boys were sighted as Nate and Danny rode in through the main gate and headed directly toward where they could see Jake’s van parked.
Jake came to the door of the cabin when they knocked, looking a bit more alive than he had when the boys had watched him climb into the van and drive away, but they could see he was still moving quite gingerly.
‘Are you sure you’re going to be okay?’ Danny asked him, without even trying to disguise the concern in his voice.
‘Yeah, maybe you should see a doctor or something, like the Sarge said,’ added Nate.
‘I’ll be fine, boys. Some weed would have dulled the pain a little, but it looks like I’ll just have to settle for some Vincent’s powders and a bit of sleep in a decent bed. After that I’ll be as right as rain. You’ll see.’
Danny didn’t know much about where to get some weed from, but he knew what Vincent’s powders were; they were those disgusting tasting pain killers that his stepfather lived on when he was hung over. He’d had them himself when he’d had bad tooth aches, and while they were great for what they were made for, they still tasted like crap.
‘What about something to eat or drink?’ Danny asked. ‘You really need to have something.’
‘Maybe later,’ Jake replied. ‘For starters I think I’m just going to go and have a hot shower and then hit the sack for a little while. After that I’ll do something about getting some food . . . I promise.’
‘Just so long as you do,’ Danny said firmly.
Jake thought it was sweet how Danny was fussing over him, which only served to make him grow fonder of the lad. He noted that Danny was still being quite careful about not doing anything or saying anything that might let his friend in on their secret, but he knew that eventually – either by accident or design – Nate would find out that the two of them meant more to each other than just being mentor and student, or just friends, and when that time came the relationship between the three of them would most definitely change. Just how Nate might handle that he couldn’t be sure, but given his acceptance of Jake and the things that they had all so far done together, he suspected – and hoped – that Nate would be cool with the news when it came.
Looking around the small cabin, Danny could see that it was quite well equipped, with a separate bedroom, a kitchen, a living area, and even its own toilet. There was no shower, however, which meant that Jake would have to use the communal shower block that everyone else in the park used.
‘Are you going to be okay getting across to the showers?’ Danny asked.
‘What? Are you going to go and hold his hand? Or wash his back?’ Nate chuckled.
‘Nooo,’ Danny nervously replied. ‘But just look at him . . . he’s not exactly in the best shape he’s ever been in, is he?’
‘I’ll be fine, Danny,’ Jake repeated. ‘You don’t have to worry so much. Why don’t you boys go and catch up with your friends, or something? You don’t need to hang around here . . . like I said, I’m just going to have a long, hot shower, then get some sleep. I’ll catch up with you tomorrow and I bet I’ll be as good as gold by then.’
‘Yeah, that sounds like a good idea,’ added Nate, with a glint in his eye that didn’t go unnoticed by Danny, who just knew that Nate had something in mind for them to do. Chances were, Danny thought, that if he didn’t spend the afternoon babysitting Jake, he would be spending it babysitting Nate instead. He also knew that Jake would be perfectly okay on his own, sleeping off the effects of what he had gone through in the previous twenty-four hours, but knowing Nate as he did there was every chance that it would be him who would most likely be the one that would really need saving today.
‘All right then, if you’re sure you’ll be okay,’ Danny said to Jake.
‘I’m sure. Now go,’ Jake ordered, but in a lighthearted manner. ‘I’ll see you later on, okay?’
‘Okay,’ Nate answered for the both of them. ‘We’ll see you later,’ he said, as he started dragging Danny toward the door and eventually outside.
Jake followed them out, and as he watched the boys ride away he shut and locked the back of the van, before heading back inside the cabin. He may have promised the sergeant that he was drug free at the moment, but he sure wished he had a little weed right about now, just to take the edge off. Maybe later he might be able to find out where he could get some.
When the boys left the caravan park behind them, Nate started pedaling fast back toward town, not even bothering to wait and see if Danny was following him, before veering off the main road and heading for his place. Danny was sure that his friend had something in mind, so he followed along behind, knowing full well that whatever he was up to would affect him also, so he needed to keep an eye on him.
‘Hey, what are you planning?’ Danny called out to Nate, but the grin that Nate shot back over his shoulder was enough to confirm his suspicions that something was up.
When they reached Nate’s house they rode straight down behind it and to the large corrugated iron shed that stood at the bottom of the yard. There were three sets of double doors across the front of it, of which two were currently open. One of these had the tail end of Nate’s older brother, Lachlan’s, pride and joy – a dark blue 1965 Ford sedan – sticking out of it. Danny could see that the doors of the car were open and the bonnet was up.
The boys dropped their bikes outside and walked through the other open doorway, where they found Lachie leaning over the mudguards and doing something to the motor.
‘Hey, Lach. Watcha doing?’ Nate asked.
‘What does it look like, dick brain?’ came the reply, without Lachlan even looking up from what he was doing.
‘Fuckin’ up something else on your car, I’d say. Why don’t you just take it to Reardon’s garage and get it fixed properly?’
‘Cos that costs money . . . and besides, this is more fun,’ Lachie replied, this time sticking his head up and flashing the boys a smile, before standing up and facing them. In his hand was a distributor cap with wires hanging off it.
Danny liked Nate’s brother. He was eighteen and had always been like a big brother to him as well as Nate, not to mention being the source of many fantasies in recent times as he would lie awake in bed at night with his hands down his underwear. The two brothers looked as if they had been cast from the same mould, but not only that, they had the same quirky personality and laconic sense of humour. It was hard not to like them.
‘So, what have you dorks been up to? Get yourselves in any trouble today?’
‘As a matter of fact, I had a ride in the paddy-wagon this morning,’ Nate casually replied.
‘You what? What the fuck did you do this time? Dad’ll tan your hide . . . again!’
‘Relax . . . it was nothin’ like that . . . we was helping someone out.’
Lachlan looked at Danny, then his brother, then back again.
‘What’s he got you involved with this time, Dan?’
‘It’s okay, we’re not in trouble,’ Danny promised.
‘But something did happen?’
‘Yeah . . . it did,’ Nate replied. ‘We went out to Hidden Beach this morning. Danny’s been getting some painting lessons off Jake, you know, that guy in the Sandman I was telling you about.’
‘I hope you’re being careful . . . I’ve been hearing stories about him . . .’
‘Oh, relax. He’s okay,’ Nate replied. ‘He’s a friend of ours.’
‘If you say so . . . so, what happened out there?’
‘When we got there we found him all bashed up,’ Danny answered.
‘Yeah, you should have seen it, there was blood all over him, and they smashed up his car too,’ Nate added, knowing full well that an attack on a car like Jake’s Sandman panel van would possibly be considered even more serious that the attack on Jake himself.
‘Holy fuck! You said they? Do you know who did it?’
Nate and Danny glanced at each other, then they both nodded at Lachie.
‘It was Frank Thompson and his mate, Snoz,’ said Nate. ‘Jake told us they were in a red Valiant with black stripes, and when we described Frank and his mate, he said yeah, that was them.’
‘So, who called the cops?’
‘I did,’ Nate answered. ‘I rode back down the road on my bike to the first farmhouse and got them to call the Sarge, and he came out pretty quick. He picked me up at the farmhouse and then we went back and found Danny and Jake.’
‘But he told the Sarge who did it, didn’t he?’
‘No, he didn’t want to make a fuss or stir up any more trouble.’
‘Why? What else happened?’ Lachlan demanded.
Once more the two boys looked at each other.
‘We’ve got to tell him,’ Nate said quietly.
‘I . . . ummm . . . no, we shouldn’t . . .’ Danny murmured.
‘Come on guys . . . if it’s that serious then it sounds like Frank and his pal are going to need sorting out,’ Lachie said.
‘You . . . you can’t tell anyone . . .’ Nate said. ‘You’ve got to promise. Especially not the Sarge.’
After a few moments of thought, during which Lach’s eyes flicked from his brother to his friend and back again, he eventually nodded.
‘Okay then. If that’s what you want, I won’t tell anyone,’ Lachlan promised.
When the boys had finished telling their story, Lachlan leaned back against his car and let out a long whistle. They had told him of how they met Jake and how they had become friends with him, which mainly revolved around him helping out Danny with his artworks, but leaving out only their ‘modelling job’ and anything that might tag Jake as definitely being queer.
‘So, let me get this straight,’ he said to them. ‘This guy was camping out there, and Frank and his buddy decided to have themselves a bit of fun, which ended up with them bashing and raping your friend and then trying to trash his car?’
‘Yeah,’ Nate replied. ‘I ain’t ever heard of guys getting raped before. Have you?’
‘I guess it happens, but it’s not something anyone ever talks about much, is it,’ Lachie thoughtfully replied.
‘So, what should we do?’ Danny asked.
‘You guys have done enough already,’ Lachlan replied. ‘Frank can’t get away with this . . . and he’s not going to. If we can’t go to the cops then we’re going to need to think about what we can do.’
Everyone knew that Frank had a bit of a reputation around town for being something of a bully, and there had also been rumours of him using his stand over skills to force himself upon others, although it appeared that no complaints had ever been made, or if they had been, nothing was ever proven. It was possible that his family connections, coming from the family that founded the town, had probably been what had saved him. What Danny and Nate didn’t know, however, was that Lachlan had had some first-hand experience with Frank, and so payback, for Lachlan at least, was going to be something sweet, whichever form it took.
‘What have you got in mind?’ Nate asked his brother.
‘Don’t you worry about that, little brother,’ Lachlan said, while playfully ruffling his hair. ‘Just be happy knowing that the bastard is going to get just what he deserves . . . and boys, no matter what happens, you know nothing about it, okay?’
Danny and Nate glanced at each other, before they both nodded their agreement.
‘Good. Now how about you leave it with me? You’ll know soon enough when something happens,’ Lachlan said to them. ‘Now how about you piss off and let me finish fixing this heap of crap so I can go and catch up with some mates this afternoon,’ he added, before turning his attention back to the distributor cap in his hand and returning it to its rightful place in his car.
‘C’mon, mate,’ Nate said to Danny. ‘Let’s go up to the house and grab a drink or something,’ he suggested, as he grabbed hold of Danny’s t-shirt and tried dragging him away.
‘Yeah, right-o,’ Danny answered, and the two boys set off for the doorway, before Danny stopped and turned back to face Lachlan.
‘Geez, now what?’ Nate exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air as he did so.
‘Hey . . . ummm . . . Lachie . . .’ Danny said.
‘Yeah, mate?’ came the reply from beneath the hood of the car.
‘Have you got any . . . ummm . . . grass? Or do you know where we can get some?’
‘What the hell?’ Lachie exclaimed, banging his head on the underside of the hood as he stood up and faced the boys. ‘Don’t tell me you guys have started with that shit?’
‘Fuck no!’ Nate quickly announced, before shooting daggers at his friend.
Lachie just raised his eyebrows toward Danny.
‘It . . . it’s for Jake,’ Danny stammered. ‘He said it would help take away some of the pain he’s in.’
‘Yeah . . . I just bet it would,’ Lachie chuckled, as once more he leaned back against the mudguard of his car, looking from one boy to the other and back again, weighing each of them up, along with the dilemma of just how far he should go for them.
‘What?’ Nate asked, recognising the curious expression on his brother’s face. ‘Don’t tell me you’ve got some?’
The corners of Lachie’s mouth edged up slightly.
‘Now it’s my turn to demand a promise,’ Lachie said, before leaning in through the open door of his car.
‘Anything!’ Danny quickly responded.
‘Are you shittin’ me?’ Nate demanded.
‘This goes no further than this garage, you got it? If I hear one fucking peep about it, especially from the olds, Nate, I’ll have your balls for decorations to hang from my mirror, right beside my fuzzy dice! You got that?’ Lachlan demanded.
When he finally turned to face them he was holding a small plastic bag, containing just a small amount of green matter.
The boys knew what it was. Even if they’d never tried it they had still seen enough people with it. They knew what it smelt like too, from school.
‘There’s not a lot left . . . it’s all I have. But it’ll be enough for your friend to roll one. Just remember that you kids, and your mate, are going to owe me, big time!’ he said, as he tossed the bag to Danny. ‘And keep it out of sight . . . and if anyone catches you with it, tell ‘em it’s not yours and you found it on the beach or something. Okay?’
‘Errr . . . yeah, of course. Oh, man, thank you!’ Danny gushed.
‘Orright, orright, let’s not get too mushy. Just leave the other thing to me and I’ll see what I can do, okay? Now get out of my face before I start wonderin’ why I’m being so nice to you two dweebs.’
With that Lachie turned his back on the boys and went back to his motor. Nate and Danny backed out of the garage, watching Lachie as they went, before finally turning and heading for their bikes.
‘You heard him . . . keep it out of sight,’ Nate hissed as they picked up their bikes. Danny’s shorts didn’t have any pockets, so he quickly shoved it inside his jocks, before then making sure his t-shirt was hanging low enough to cover any suspicious bulge.
‘I can’t fuckin’ believe it,’ Danny whispered.
‘You’re not wrong,’ Nate replied. ‘Who woulda thought it, my brother the pot head! Fuck, mum would have a conniption fit if she found out!’
‘Well, you better hope she doesn’t find out; otherwise we all know just where your balls are going to be hanging!’
Danny noticed Nate swallow hard. They both knew Lachie well enough to know that there was every chance he would follow through on a threat like that. After all, wasn’t that why Nate had turned to him in the first place?
The boys walked up the back yard to the house, leaving their bikes on the grass just near the back steps, before heading inside. Thankfully there was no one else home, so Nate organized a couple of drinks for them before they headed for his room.
‘I still can’t fuckin’ believe it,’ Nate whispered, as if he was afraid there might be someone hiding inside the house still. ‘I never knew he was into that shit.’
‘C’mon, mate. It’s not that big a deal. Every second person has tried it, I bet.’
‘Well, I haven’t either.’
‘Well I guess that makes Pat and Thomas the pot heads out of our little group then!’ Danny chuckled.
‘What about wanting to try it? Have you ever wondered what it would be like to give it a go?’
‘Maybe . . . but until today I never even knew where to get some from!’
‘Yeah, me neither!’ replied Nate. ‘Although I guess there would be enough folks at school who would be able to get hold of some for us if we wanted some.’
‘Yeah . . . but it doesn’t matter now though, does it? We can just ask your brother!’
‘Oh, Jesus. Wouldn’t that be just great!’
‘Hey, why don’t you spend your fifty bucks on some?’
‘Fuck that!’ Nate laughed. ‘Then Lachie would want to know where I got the fifty bucks from!’
‘Oh yeah . . . I didn’t think of that. Anyhow, what do you want to do this afternoon? Do you want to go find the others?’
‘Naw . . . not really. We could always go to the movies. Wasn’t that new shark movie supposed to have started playing here this week?’
‘Oh, yeah. Jaws, or something, wasn’t it? Sounds pretty scary.’
‘Yeah, and I want to see it so bad!’
‘Okay, count me in. But I better just ring mum first and tell her where we’re going,’ Danny replied.
‘Sure. Knock yourself out,’ Nate replied.
About the Creator
Mark 'Ponyboy' Peters
Aussie, Queer & Country
LGBT themed fiction with an Aussie flavour, reviews, observations and real life LGBT histories.
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