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riding on the range

Chapter Two

May 14 2006

“Man, this shit stinks!” I said to no one in particular as I shoveled manure into the wheelbarrow. I had been blessed with the happy task of cleaning out the horse stables every morning since I was about ten. And for those who have never experienced the joys of shoveling horse manure let me tell you; on life’s list of fun things to do it comes in somewhere below sitting naked in a tub full of broken glass.

I had gotten up early, as usual, to do my chores. Tyler was still asleep, which kind of surprised me. Usually he was up before I was. I had really not wanted to leave my nice warm bed, but manure is a lot easier to clean early in the morning when it’s semi-frozen.

I leaned against my shovel and stared at my horse. “I need to quit feeding you. I can’t do this much longer”.

I was startled by the phone ringing; we have a phone in our barn that’s connected to our main phone line.

“Hello” I answered.

“Hi there Josh, how are you today?”

It took me a second to recognize the voice of Mr. Kenly, the owner of Kenly’s Tack and Western Wear. I was good friends with him, considering that there was about a 50 year age difference between us. I hung out at his store all the time, talking to him, getting his insights on life. I had a great respect for his opinions and for the great wisdom that he had. Any time I had something big I needed to talk about I went to him.

“I’m great Mr. Kenly, how are you?”

“Oh I sure can’t complain. How’s your mom and dad?”

“They’re pretty good too.” I replied.

“Well anyways I was just callin’ to tell you that saddle you ordered came in yesterday.”

That was another reason I liked Mr. Kenly. He added that personal touch to his business that big chain stores didn’t. Anytime you ordered something from him he called you as soon as he got it.

“Oh thanks Mr. Kenly, I’ll come by later on and pick it up.”

“Alright Josh, see you then.”

I hung up the phone and glanced at the clock. I had been surprised that Kenly’s would be open that early but the clock told me it was already 10:30. I had been shoveling shit for almost three hours! I decided the rest could wait till later.

I headed out of the barn and rounded the corner, running right into Tyler. We both staggered backwards, but we both recovered our footing easily.

For some reason we both broke out laughing. I pecked Tyler quickly on the lips and said good morning. I continued past him to the shed alongside the barn, opened the door, and hung the shovel inside.

I turned as I shut the door and looked at Tyler. The sun was shining from behind him and it made him look positively stunning. We both grinned and I asked him how he had slept.

“Well I’ve never felt safer while I slept than I did last night.” He replied.

I laughed at that and put my arm around his shoulders. We headed back to the house, talking the whole way.

“So what’s goin’ on this afternoon at Max’s?” I asked him. Our friend Max lived just down the road, and he had called the night before inviting us to his house later on but I wasn’t sure what for; Tyler had talked to him not me. Max was in my class at school, in fact our birthdays were only three weeks apart. He had straight blond hair that hung down to his shoulders, a little longer than Tyler’s, and he was around 6” 1”.

“Oh he’s having a barbeque tonight.” Tyler replied “It’s just a couple of us, you and me, Steve, Jenny, Jill, and Keifer.”

Jenny, Jill, and Keifer were actually triplets, though they didn’t look anything alike. Jenny had almost white straight blonde hair and was about 5” 11’, while Jill had wavier dirty blond hair so it was much darker, and she was only about 5” 6’. Both of the girls had their hair very long, most of the way down their backs. Keifer on the other hand had shaggy light brown hair that was always tangled (I don’t think he ever combed it), that hung down a little past his ears like Tyler’s, and he was about 6” 1’. Jenny and Keifer were about two weeks older than Jill (I personally thought their mother was something of a hero for being in labor for those two weeks) but currently they were all sixteen. They lived on a ranch about a half hour away, but we all went to the same school.

Steve was another friend of ours that had moved here only about two years before, the only one of our little group who lived in town. He had just recently turned seventeen. He also had blond hair but it was cut short, like mine, and he was about six feet tall. He and Jill were a couple, which actually bothered Keifer. This was really surprising as Keifer was usually pretty laid back. It was also really funny.

Tyler and I finally reached the house and went inside. I told Tyler that I needed a shower bad.

“No argument there dude.” He replied.

I was in the shower, cleaning myself up, trying to get rid of that horrible manure smell, when I noticed how hard my cock had become. I had gotten so excited by everything that had happened the night before that I was almost bursting, I needed relief so bad.

I stroked up and down my throbbing 7 ½’ until it looked and felt ready to pop. I moaned Tyler’s name over and over, imagining what it would feel like to fuck this boy! It took me all of about two seconds to blow my load all over the side of the shower.

I finished cleaning myself up and climbed out and got dried off and dressed. I found Tyler reading the paper as I walked into the kitchen.

“Hey man, I’m gonna head into town. Mr. Kenly got that saddle I ordered so I’m gonna pick it up. You wanna come with?” I asked.

“Sure.” He replied “I haven’t been into Kenly’s for a while.” He replied.

We grabbed our hats and our boots from the entryway and headed out the door. I had always thought that Tyler’s hat was kind of silly. He wore one of those little hats with the sides folded up (kind of like Toby Keith’s hat if you know who that is) which was really not practical for a real cowboy. Usually the only people who wore those were city slickers and rhinestone cowboys. But it kind of suited him so I guess that’s why he wore it.

I jumped behind the wheel of my truck, a ’96 Dodge, and Tyler climbed in the passenger side. I peeled out of the yard and tore down the long driveway. I thought it odd that my dog, Cannibal (a crossbreed Rotweiler and collie) wasn’t barking and chasing us, then I realized that I hadn’t seen him all morning when I was doing chores. This bothered me a lot, especially since Cannibal was such a wuss that he never went too far from the house. I figured he was off behind the barn in his shady hole that he had dug underneath the floor of the barn. During summer he spent most of his day in there.

I pushed the thoughts from my mind as I approached the road. It had been a really dry year, so I kicked up a lot of gravel as I headed down the road.

Tyler had slid over beside me and my arm was now around his shoulder. It occurred to me that this probably wasn’t the best idea, since we didn’t want our friends to know anything. I told him this and he quickly scooted back over to the passenger seat. It was only a short way into town from my place, about ten miles or so, so we got there pretty quickly.

The town of Rats Bottom was pretty tiny. I’m just kidding. Its real name was Hopsville but it was really tiny. There were only about ten streets in the whole town. This actually accounted for quite a few blocks, I’m not sure how many, but the population was about 1,020 or something (which is actually a pretty fair size in the prairies). I’m sure it’s probably bigger by now though.

Kenly’s store is right on Main Street between the bank and the restaurant. That’s another thing I love about small towns. Every business you could possibly need is all contained in one or two blocks. You’ve got the grocery store, the drugstore, the bank, maybe the restaurant (and let me assure you there is only one restaurant in any small town) all within 100 meters. And I absolutely love it.

I glanced at Tyler as I brought the truck to a stop and caught him staring at me. I asked him what he was staring at.

“You’re just so sexy I don’t know why I didn’t tell you how I felt earlier.” He answered.

I blushed a little, but not really noticeably, and looked out the window. I felt Tyler’s hand brush against mine as he said “I really do believe that.”

I squeezed his hand in mine and gave him a quick grin, then climbed out of the truck. We headed across the street and into Kenly’s.

The bell above the door clanged as we entered and I heard Merle Haggard crooning in the background; Mr. Kenly always had his radio playing the local classic country station. Mr. Kenly didn’t come immediately from the back so Tyler and I browsed around the store.

The first thing I noticed in the store was that Mr. Kenly had gotten some new belt buckles. I had a kind of thing about my belt buckles. I had a whole drawer full of my favorite buckles at home and another boxful in my closet. I guess you could call it my “cowboy bling”. I got at least one new buckle a month, but usually two or three.

My favorite buckle was a gold one in the shape of a cowboy hat with AYRA (Alberta Young Riders Association) on it. I won it at a rodeo when I was 14 and I wore it most of the time.

One buckle in the case of new arrivals caught my attention. It was a silver Jack Daniels buckle. There was nothing really special about it; it was basically the Jack Daniels logo. But I really wanted it. I don’t know why, I hardly ever even drink whisky.

“You like that Josh?” Mr. Kenly’s voice came from behind me.

I turned around. “Oh yes sir it’s really nice” I replied.

“Well if you’re interested it’s only $15.00”

“Why so cheap?” I asked.

“Well you can’t tell but there’s an error on the buckle. The date when the company was established says 1688 not 1866. The buckle company is going to send me a new one without the error but they said I could keep this one. So I put it on a huge sale.”

“Whoa that’s awesome!” I exclaimed “I’ll take it.”

Mr. Kenly opened the back of the case and took out the buckle. He carried it over to the cash register and walked around behind the counter. He put the buckle in a little box and set it down. Then he went back into the back room talking over his shoulder.

“I’ll just go grab your boots from the back.”

He came back quickly with a boot box and set it on the counter. I opened the box as he was ringing it in and pulled out one of the boots. They were really nice. I had actually designed them myself with a mail away order form that let you choose colors and designs for the boots.

The boots were pitch black except for the toe which was pale grey. It had three small stars on either side and my initials sewed in handwriting along the side. I thought they were pretty sweet.

“Alright then Josh if that’s everything today it comes to $136.56. Charge it to your parents account?” Mr. Kenly said.

“Yeah that’s all. Can you put it all on the charge slip as boots? I don’t think my parents want to pay for my buckles.”

“Sure I can.” He replied. He filled out the charge sheet then I signed it. He rang it in to the till and then turned his attention back to Tyler and me. He asked us what we were up to today. I told him we were going to Max’s for a barbeque. I glanced at my watch and realized that it was almost 3:30 already. I told Mr. Kenly that we needed to get going.

I thanked him for the boots and the deal on the buckle and Tyler and I headed out the door. We climbed into my truck and I roared away down the street. I looked at Tyler and asked him why he hadn’t talked at all in the store. He told me that he just hadn’t really had anything to comment on.

I accepted this answer and flicked on the radio to kill the ensuing silence. My favorite song, The Truck Got Stuck, was playing and I sang along. I thought I was an alright singer even though some of my friends told me I wasn’t, but I knew they were just kidding.

I noticed Tyler staring at me out of the corner of my eye and I stopped singing.

“You probably don’t want me to kill your ears by singing.” I said.

“No I love your voice.” He replied

I didn’t sing again anyway the rest of the way to Max’s place. I heard his dog, Sparks, barking as I pulled into the driveway. I could see everyone else already on the deck; apparently we were the last to arrive. I confirmed this by seeing Keifer’s Jeep and Steve’s Chevy in the driveway.

I stopped the truck right behind Keifer’s Jeep and turned off the engine. I turned and stared at Tyler for a second. I reminded him that we couldn’t act at all different from usual towards each other or everyone would know something was up. We both smiled at each other and I quickly pecked Tyler on the lips. I squeezed the bulge in his pants.

“Stop it.” He told me. “You’re making me really horny.”

“Well that’s just a preview of tonight” I told him.

He grinned and jumped out of the truck before I could say anything else. I followed Tyler up the gentle slope of Max’s front yard, getting a nice view of his ass wagging in his jeans.

Tyler came up to the front door, knocked and went in, with me following close behind. We walked right through the house to the deck on the west side of the house. Max’s parents weren’t home but that wasn’t a surprise; his father worked for a big oil company so he was always flying all over the world, and his mother was always on a cruise or in the Caribbean with some guy she was after. They didn’t really even have a marriage.

We walked through the house out to the deck. Keifer, Steve, and Jill were all in the hot tub. Oh did I mention that Max has a hot tub? Well he does, because his parents are freakin’ rich (because his dad works for that oil company) so his house is basically a mansion.

Anyway Keifer, Steve, and Jill were all in the hot tub. I noticed that Keifer had positioned himself in between Jill and Steve, which caused me to laugh under my breath. Max was standing in front of the barbeque and Jenny was sitting in a chair beside the hot tub.

“Hey guys I thought you’d never get here.” Max said as he turned to look at us.

“Sorry man, we were at Kenly’s. I ordered some boots that finally came in.” I replied.

Max tossed us each a beer from the cooler by the barbeque. Unfortunately it was Labatts but I drank it anyway.

“Sorry about the beer. The old man didn’t leave any Molson in the house.” Max apologized.

“Whatever. It’s better than nothing I guess eh?” Tyler said.

I walked over to the barbeque to talk to Max and Tyler sat down next to Jenny. I had always thought that maybe he liked her, but obviously I knew now that I was wrong.

“So man how’s it goin’?” I asked Max. “It seems like forever since I seen ya.”

“Well I’m pretty good. I just got back from LA actually. My dad decided he should spend some time with me. Of course in between all his business and his other crap I only got to see him for a grand total of about two hours over three days.”

I knew Max didn’t really care. He had been raised by a nanny and a butler, so he had never really felt any real strong feelings for his parents. They were more like a couple of strangers that visited the house once in a while. But every few months they decided they needed to see Max for a while so they made him come to some far-off destination that they were currently staying at. But it always turned out to be a big joke.

Max started to say something else but then stopped. He suddenly looked like he had something big to get off his chest. I could tell he had something else he wanted to talk about, but I guessed that he probably wanted to wait till there wasn’t a big group of people around. He often talked to me about his parents, even though I couldn’t really give him any advice or anything. I think he was just glad to have someone that was willing to listen.

Max quickly changed the subject and started to talk about some football game that was on the night before. I couldn’t have cared less about football; I’m more of a hockey man myself (as are most people in Canada). I made a mental note to talk to him about his problem later.

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