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A HELPING HAND by K. Nitsua. Copyright 2020 by the author.
One sunny Sunday afternoon I just had to scratch that itch.
I’d been single for a while and had been quite content being celibate, relieving myself with the occasional solitary jack-off session. That day, though, my hand wasn’t enough. I didn’t want to socialize or date—I just needed some quick relief.
I was too impatient to search the apps on my phone or the Doublelist ads, low-yield propositions in any case. Besides, it was sunny and breezy out, altogether a pleasant day. I decided to do some old-fashioned outdoor cruising.
In recent years traffic in the city’s cruise spots had dropped off drastically. Who wanted to run the risk of being beaten up or arrested when there were so many safer ways to get off? On the other hand, there was the advantage of being able to size up a prospective hookup in the flesh. You could always beat a hasty retreat if a situation threatened to get out of hand. I decided to chance it.
Normally I’d take my big black Lab along with me if I were going outdoors, but today he’d only be in the way. So I left Boomer in the front yard, looking reproachful and doing his best to make me feel guilty about abandoning him.
It was only a short drive from my house down the freeway to get to the park I had in mind. Situated between a much bigger city park and a residential neighborhood, it was small and unprepossessing, just a grassy area surrounded by woods with one or two picnic tables and an ash can, though few people set up grills there.
But what couldn’t be seen from the street is what interested people like me the most. The woods sloped down a short hill and at the bottom, oddly, was a short paved road with no outlet in either direction, its original purpose long forgotten. Past it the woods continued, honeycombed by footpaths. In total it made for a pleasant dog walking area if you had an animal, an irresistible landscape for cruising on foot if you had an animal instinct.
Years ago the number of cruisers here, especially on weekends, had been much larger. Police crackdowns and the internet had decimated their numbers. I really didn’t have much hope of finding anyone. Still, it was a way to get exercise and less dreary than camping out on the couch at home watching porn on a device.
There were a couple of cars in the dirt lot at the front of the park when I got there, a mildly promising sign. I pulled in, killed the engine, got out of the car and strode across the grassy field. Occasionally a solitary man would be sitting at one of the picnic tables, a giveaway that he was on the hunt, but no one was there today.
I found one of the gaps in the woods that led down the hill to the paved path and clambered down the hill, picking my way carefully over rocks and tree roots. When I came out onto the asphalt I at last saw someone on the path some distance in front of me. I walked toward him, not really trying to catch up, just trying to get close enough to see what he looked like.
He heard me coming and turned. I speeded up a bit to overtake him, nodding briefly, trying to convey that I had no nefarious intent. He was older than me but not bad-looking, with thinning silvery hair and friendly eyes. As I walked past him he paused and caught my eye. I didn’t stop, but after proceeding a few more steps up the path I turned and looked back. This was how the game was played. If he was walking rapidly in the opposite direction, or had disappeared from view, that would mean that he wasn’t interested. If he was still there, there might be possibilities.
He was still there, his stare frank and open. He smiled, and I saw his hand moving inside one of the front pockets of his jeans, caressing the bulge between his legs. Nice. My breath quickened and I felt a pressure in my own pants. I dropped my hand and squeezed my goods in response. He jerked his head, beckoning me to follow.
We strolled back down the path, me trailing after him at a discreet distance, though there was no one else in sight. Then he turned and disappeared into the adjoining woods. When I got to that spot I saw a narrow trail winding through the underbrush. My man’s back was disappearing into the trees some distance ahead. I plunged after him, trying to keep pace while not making too much of a disturbance. We walked for what seemed to me to be quite a way before he stopped and turned. In a flash his jeans were unbuttoned and his exposed cock jutted out at me.
I caught up to him and we locked eyes. I grasped his erect shaft and squeezed it, feeling its hardness and heat. He smiled and reached out to cup my junk through my pants. The next moment he was undoing my belt with practiced ease and lowering my zipper. As soon as he fished my now fully erect organ from my underwear he bent and took it in his mouth. I drew in my breath at the familiar warm, sweet pleasure.
Without letting go of my dick he got on his knees, sucking enthusiastically, taking me down to the root on every canlı bahis şirketleri stroke. I could easily have let myself cum from his attentions but wanted to return the favor, so after a while I grasped his shoulders and urged him to his feet.
His cock was just as hard in my mouth as mine was in his. I lapped up the salty fluid flowing from its tip. His hand stroked my hair and a faint moan issued from his throat. “Nice,” he whispered. “Mm hmm,” I agreed, as I continued to blow him.
We changed places and he took me in his mouth again, pulling on his own stiff organ as he stepped up the pace of his sucking. Soon I felt myself getting to the point of no return. “Going to cum,” I hissed through gritted teeth. He let go of my cock long enough to reply, “Do it,” before he started to slide back and forth on my shaft like a machine, spit running out of his mouth and falling on the ground in long glistening strings. “Oh fuck,” I groaned, squeezing my eyes shut and grabbing his head as I felt the sperm rush through my dick and burst into his eager mouth. My body pitched forward at the waist as the orgasm exploded in my brain. I fought to keep my balance, my chest heaving with release. Below I heard faint gurgles, then gagging gasps as he choked on my load. I looked down and caught a glimpse of his cock, still in his hand, emptying its load in white spurts onto the ground, next to clots of my cum that had dribbled out of his mouth.
He let my softening organ go and looked up at me, his face red, his blue eyes watering, his face stained with saliva and semen.
“Sorry if I was too rough,” I said, still trying to catch my breath.
His smile was unexpectedly sweet. “Don’t be sorry! You were wonderful.” He wiped himself off on his sleeve and stood up. “I hope you enjoyed that as much as me.”
I was hurriedly stuffing myself back in and zipping up, aware of the danger of discovery. “I did. Thanks, buddy.”
He patted my upper arm, turned away and quickly walked back down the trail toward the paved path. It was better if we didn’t emerge together, and besides, there was really nothing to say.
I’d scratched my itch and should have felt better. I didn’t really, though. There was an emptiness inside me, as there often was after a quick encounter. The rest of a long boring day still stretched ahead. I didn’t want to get off again, but I didn’t want to go back home either. Instead of heading out myself I started walking deeper into the woods with no particular purpose.
A little way further the trail crossed a creek bed that nowadays mostly lay dry, a jumble of rocks tumbled by past flowing water, between which grew tufts of tangled vegetation. Bold cruisers sometimes ventured down this draw into deeper woods, but it was a bit of a tricky hike. I was in that kind of mood, though, so I left the path and started clambering over the rocks, stepping carefully to avoid catching my foot in a tree root or vine and going down.
It was good exercise. Soon I was puffing and starting to break a sweat. I had to look down at where I was placing my feet pretty much constantly, so it wasn’t until I paused to catch my breath that I became aware of someone ahead of me, sitting on a patch of higher ground that would have been a bank, had any water been flowing in the creek.
As I got closer I saw that he had an animal on a leash, a largish dog of indeterminate breed sitting on the ground next to him. The dog raised its head and saw me first. Whatever kind it was, it was old—its muzzle once must have been black, but was now grizzled and silvery. Its big tail thumped the ground in welcome and I smiled.
Up until that moment the owner’s face had been invisible. His head was bowed, one hand supporting his forehead, elbow on one knee. At the dog’s reaction to my approach he looked up. He was younger than me by quite a bit, with a head of tousled dark hair. His features would have been handsome had they not been distorted by tears.
I had interrupted someone in a very private moment of grief. My first impulse was to withdraw with a hasty apology. At that moment the dog tried to stand, but sat back down again with a yelp of pain. Something was wrong with the animal, and the instinct of a fellow dog owner kicked in. I climbed out of the creek bed toward the pooch, making cooing noises and stretching my arm out.
“Aw buddy, what’s wrong? That’s a good dog.”
As I sat next to the old animal, trying to console it, I became aware that its owner was looking at me, still sniffling. I’d overstepped, big time.
“Sorry to barge in.” I started to get back up, to leave him alone.
“Wait.” He wiped his eyes and nose on one sleeve, heedlessly. “I can’t get him to move.”
Concern rose in me. “What’s wrong with him? Is it his leg?”
“Cancer. I—I’m supposed to have him put down tomorrow. Brought him out here for a last walk—he loves this place. Overdid it, I guess.”
“Oh my god.” My natural inclination not to get involved was forgotten. canlı kaçak iddaa “The poor guy.” I stroked the dog again, thinking fast. It was a long way back to the park entrance, where presumably the guy’s car was. The loyal animal must have followed his master as best he could over the rocks, but had finally given out.
I looked at the dog again. It had once been an imposing creature, but I could see now how thin he was, no doubt a result of his illness. The words came out of my mouth before I had decided to utter them.
“We’ll carry him back to the path. Will it hurt if I lift him?”
His eyes widened in surprise. In his distraught state he hadn’t thought of trying to carry his pet. “I don’t know.”
“I’ll be careful.”
I squatted down and slipped my arms under the dog, then straightened up, trying to keep the pressure off his stomach and legs. I managed to get to my feet with the animal in my arms, though it was a heavier lift than I’d anticipated. Other than panting the dog didn’t make a sound, which I hoped meant that I wasn’t hurting him.
Slowly we proceeded back along the rocky creek bed with the animal in my arms. I had to pick my way even more carefully than coming in, as a stumble would have meant disaster. The boy, as I had begun to think of him, followed me silently, holding the end of the leash. Once he warned me about a branch lying across the rocks. Finally we got back to the smoother trail that led out of the woods to the paved path. By then I was winded. As gently as I could, I bent and set the dog on his feet on the path. He didn’t collapse, which I took to be a good sign.
“Think he can walk back now?” I asked his owner, still holding the leash.
The boy pulled gently. After hesitating the dog started to walk after him. I breathed an inward sigh of relief and followed them as they headed out of the woods. It occurred to me that they might need help getting up the hill.
It was probably a good quarter of an hour later before we stood by his car in the parking lot, the dog safely lying in the back seat. As I’d suspected, I’d had to carry the animal one more time from the paved path up the hill to the grassy picnic area. The day’s labors had left me totally exhausted and, although I felt sorry for the boy and his sick pet, I was looking forward to getting back home, jumping in the shower and then into bed for a nap.
I remembered with a start why I had come to the park that day. The blow job I’d gotten already seemed in the distant past. At least the empty feeling was gone too.
The boy turned to me. “Thanks for your help. I didn’t know what I was going to do. I’m Theo, by the way.” He offered his hand.
“James,” I said as I shook it. “I’m sorry about your dog. Believe me, I’ve been there. More than once.”
“You have a dog?”
“Yeah.” I chuckled. “Boomer is going to be pissed that I went to the park without him.”
Theo’s lip trembled. “Zeus is the only one I’ve ever had. He’s fifteen and… and I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”
I hesitated, but had to ask. “How… is it going to happen? Do you have to take him to the vet?”
“Mobile vet’s coming to my place. Costing a mint, but I couldn’t stand having him die in some cold, scary office.” He wiped his eyes. “I’m not usually such a basket case. My boyfriend and I broke up a month ago, then Zeus started going downhill really fast.” He tried to smile. “When it rains it pours, I guess.”
Silence. Then I heard myself say the words. “Do you need someone to be there with you?”
The next morning I found myself at a modest rented house in a neighborhood near the big university in town. It made sense, given Theo’s youth, that he was either a student or had recently been one. In any case he had to be modest means, just starting out in life.
When I asked him whether he needed some help putting his dog to sleep I hadn’t been sure what his response would be. He had teared up again with gratitude, embarrassing me.
“I didn’t know how I was going to get through it by myself. I even thought of calling my ex, but he never liked Zeus much. I think he was jealous.”
So here I was on his doorstep, holding what I hoped was a modest bouquet of flowers in my hand, reproaching myself for the umpteenth time for being a pushy old queen. I thought of the agony of saying goodbye to the dog I’d had before Boomer, though, and knew that if there was any time someone needed emotional support, it was now.
Theo opened the door right away. His eyes fell on the flowers in my hand.
“I have something in mind,” I said. “I’ll explain later. If you don’t feel comfortable with it, no worries.”
He led me into his tiny living room. Zeus lay on his side on an old rug spread out on the otherwise bare floor.
“I gave him a pain pill,” Theo said. “I think he’s comfortable. Of course, they’ll give him more drugs before…”
I patted his shoulder. “He won’t feel a thing.”
The mobile vet and her assistant canlı kaçak bahis arrived a few minutes later. They did their work as kindly as they possibly could. Although I didn’t take my eyes off of Zeus for an instant as Theo and I sat on the couch together watching his last moments, I couldn’t tell when his spirit actually left his old body. All I knew was that the vet finally put a stethoscope to Zeus’s chest, listened, and softly announced, “he’s gone.”
Theo stumbled forward, fell on his dog’s body and began to weep. I wiped tears away from my eyes too. The others watched, compassionate but dry-eyed. This was a scene they had seen many times before.
When Theo had calmed down a bit, I walked to the kitchen table where I had left the flowers and came back, unwrapping them. Zeus was lying on his side with his eyes closed, still and peaceful. I began arrange the flowers on and around his body.
“I’d like to take a photo of him with the flowers,” I said to Theo. “Is that okay?”
He nodded wordlessly and stepped back. I took out my phone and snapped the photos as quickly as I could, then cleared the flowers away.
“We’re going to get something to wrap your animal in,” the assistant said. “You did request cremation, correct?”
I saw my chance and followed her outside. I caught up to her as she got to the vet van and quickly handed her my credit card.
“Just put it on this. We’ll sort it out.”
A few minutes later we stood on the curb, watching the van drive away with Zeus’s earthly remains inside. Theo turned to me.
“You didn’t have to do that.”
“I wanted to. You can take me out to dinner, or something.”
Theo smiled. “I actually am kind of hungry now. I couldn’t eat anything this morning.” He turned and hugged me. “Thank you for everything.”
I tightened my arms around his slender body, feeling tenderly protective. “I’ve got to go to work now. But how about tonight?”
“You really didn’t have to pay for Zeus,” Theo said to me that night. “I knew it was coming and I had the money saved.”
We were at a little Italian bistro, one of my favorite places in town. Theo had insisted on taking me to eat somewhere I really liked, price no object. “It’s the least I can do for a total stranger who just dropped two hundred bucks on me,” he said.
I tried to mollify him. “You’re right, it was kind of pushy. There’s just something about a sick animal that makes me forget about boundaries.”
“I’m glad you did,” Theo admitted. “I was really in a fix at the park. Thanks for rescuing us.”
“You’d had Zeus a long time, you said?”
Theo’s eyes grew sad again. I tried to retreat. “Listen, if you’d rather not talk about him…”
He shook his head. “It’s not that. My family got him when I was in grade school. We grew up together.”
“So he came to college with you.”
Theo rolled his eyes. “Not exactly. I guess I’m going to tell you the whole story.” He sighed. “So my parents didn’t react very well when I told them I was gay. In fact, when I left for college they told me never to come back.”
“Well, that must have sucked.” My words felt flat and inadequate.
He snorted. “You think? We hadn’t been getting along anyway. I was actually happy to leave, even though having to pay for school myself was hard. The only thing that made me sad was leaving Zeus. I begged them to keep him for a year until I could move off-campus. I even sent them money every month for his food.
“A nice neighbor told me what they did. She looked up my e-mail and wrote me before Christmas break. My parents had taken Zeus to the local animal shelter. I freaked, called them up screaming. They just got tired of taking care of him, my mother said. Bitch.
“I jumped in my car and raced down the freeway back to my hometown. At least they told me where they took him. Fortunately I’d just got paid and had a wad of cash with me—I spent all of it getting him out of that place. I put him in the car and drove back to my dorm, which of course didn’t allow pets.
“I snuck him in and swore my roommate to secrecy. Luckily he liked animals, but then the R.A. on our floor found out—it’s hard to keep a big dog quiet. That was the worst day of my life. Some upperclassmen I knew who lived off-campus said they would take him over break till I could figure something out. If they’d said no, he would have had to go back to the pound.”
He fell silent. All I could say was, “Wow.”
Theo looked up at me. “Zeus and me, we’ve been through a lot. But we survived—until he got cancer. Nothing anybody could do then.”
“It must be so hard. Especially after you’d moved heaven and earth to rescue him.”
He shook his head. “I’m no superhero. Just a guy blubbering in the woods about his dog. I wish you hadn’t seen me like that. Though I’m glad you came along.”
A wry look crossed his face. “You know what I was thinking when we were walking back? Some hot guy walks up to me in the park while I’m right in the middle of an ugly cry. Ends up carrying my sick dog because I was an idiot. Way to go, Theo.”
My jaw dropped. I pointed to myself. “Theo? Did you just say I was hot?”
His gaze was steady. “I guess I did.”
“Are you, like, coming on to me?”
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