The Hitch-Hiker

by Joyon Lewes
(Image provided by the author)

 

Like many young people, I found myself obliged from time to time to be a hitch-hiker. It was most likely to result from the failure of some plan, a missed train, the non-appearance of the friend who said he'd drive you there or just a lack of money, combined with an urgent need to go somewhere. As anybody who's done it knows, the despair you feel can be quite profound when standing beside a major road and nobody stops for you, especially as the shadows of dusk deepen. It always seemed to be dusk when Iwas standing hopefully but dejectedly by the road, with my thumb out. And then a kind person, often a lorry driver, would stop and in no time I was warm again and my spirits were flying.  

     I made a vow that when I had my own car and so long as I had a spare seat, I'd never drive past a youngster in the situation in which I used to find myself. I lived up to that promise. Once, when I was nineteen, it really made a difference to one person's day. It made my day, too, and several more afterwards. 

     It was a very hot summer Saturday in 1974 and I was driving my little old Mini Traveller 300 miles from Southwest England to my parents' house in East Anglia. The railways were on strike. The roads were crowded with cars, motorbikes, cars towing caravans, cars towing boats, most heading to or from holidays in Devon or Cornwall. Most of the cars were full and there were very few lorries. With so few spare seats available the conditions for hitch-hiking were not good.  

     I was in an excellent mood, I was in no hurry, the countryside looked beautiful and in longish, floppy shorts and open-necked shirt I was dressed appropriately for a long day in a hot car. And I had room for a passenger. 

     At the top of a long hill, near Exeter, I saw my hitch-hiker. He was dressed in khaki army battledress with boots and gaiters and had a sausage-shaped kitbag slung on his back like a rucksack. It was always safe to pick up somebody in uniform: indeed, wearing a military uniform virtually guaranteed an early lift, except on a frantic day like this. I slowed down and pulled in beside him. I quickly realised the hitch-hiker wasn't a soldier but a fresh-faced schoolboy. He was wearing the insignia of the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) which operated – and still does – in many schools across the UK. I’d been a cadet myself and had truly loathed that vile uniform, its thick cloth chafing cruelly at every patch of skin it touched. The trousers, tunic and shirt were made of incredibly rough wool and as well as making you far too warm, even in winter, it itched like hell. The boy's khaki tie was a little loose but he hadn’t dared to undo the top button of his shirt, so his collar was doing its best to throttle him. Just looking at what my hitch-hiker was wearing was enough to set my every nerve-edge tingling with awful memories.  

     He was panting heavily but managed to say he hoped to get to somewhere near Cambridge, which was just a few miles off my route. 

     "I think I may be able to help then," I said. "I'll get out and we'll put your gear in the back." 

     Once back in the car and heading off down the hill, I observed my passenger. He looked about sixteen. His pink face was filthy with grime and beaded with perspiration and when he removed his beret, I could see his blond hair was darkened and matted with sweat. Like his face, his hands were damp and grimy. He looked absolutely exhausted. The smell in the stifling little car was not of overheated boy but of the horrible, musty uniform and of Blanco, the vile khaki paste he’d had to apply to his belt and gaiters. I was instantly reminded of hot days on the tank ranges when, as a CCF cadet, I’d been clad in a uniform just as hot and itchy, while the real soldiers were in open-necked, denim overalls. 

     "I'm going to Cambridge so just tell me where to drop you," I said, having quickly decided I'd enjoy his company. "My name's Jack, by the way." 

     "Oh, that's fantastic! Thank you very much! I'm feeling lucky at last!" said the boy, "Oh and my name's Graham, by the way." I liked people who copied my form of speech.  

     "I thought I'd never get a lift,” he continued, still panting a little. “I was struggling up that hill for an hour. I’ve never been so uncomfortable. I nearly pegged out." 

     "We could stop in a minute and you could take that uniform off and get into something cooler," I suggested. The sight of Graham sweltering in his full uniform was rapidly stimulating my sadistic leanings but the generous side of me wanted him to travel in much less discomfort. 

     "You won't believe it but I haven't got any civvies. I've been with the Royal Marines for a week. I've just got pyjamas and more bits of uniform and spare boots and sleeping bag. We were told not to bring any civvies. It's been unbearably hot all week: I can't wait to get home and out of this and under a shower." 

     The only bits of Graham I could see were his head and his hands, the rest of him being closely encased in the unforgiving, prickly, smelly, khaki uniform. The windscreen was getting misty and I realised Graham was actually giving off steam. He was pulling first one bit of cloth away from his body and then another and kept running a finger inside his tight collar to try to relieve the rasping all around his neck. He was shifting about in acute discomfort. 

     "Well, I'll stop so you can at least take off the battledress and shirt; we've got hours ahead of us and it's going to get even hotter," I said, wondering if I had any clothes Graham could wear, and then thinking better of it. The prospect of a nearly naked cadet beside me for 250 miles was distinctly alluring. 

     Knowing the route quite well, I turned off the main road onto a lane that led to nowhere much and pulled to a halt beside a field, with trees all around. By now I'd given Graham my credentials so hoped he wasn’t nervous of stopping in a wood to take off his clothes in front of a stranger. He climbed gratefully out of my tiny car and at once removed his webbing belt, battledress blouse, then his hideous 'hair shirt'. He wasn't wearing a cotton under-vest; it wasn’t permitted, apparently. (I had always worn a vest or T-shirt, to try to relieve some of the itching.) His arms and torso were deep pink and running with sweat. Then he took off his gaiters, great, clunking boots and thick, khaki, woollen socks. I stood and watched, trying not to look too interested. His shirt was drenched; you could have wrung the sweat out of it.  

     He got back in the car wearing just his thick, hairy trousers. I didn't want to suggest he took those off as well but I quietly hoped that the steamy conditions in the car would make that an attractive option in a very short time. We set off again, heading for Somerset, our route then taking us through Wiltshire, then Oxford and finally to Cambridge. At some point I'd have to stop at a pub for refreshment. Graham wouldn't want to appear in public in his state, so I'd just bring a beer or two over to the car. In fact, several stiflingly hot minutes later, the prospect of an early lunchtime pint seemed highly appealing so I mentioned it to him. 

     "I couldn't go into a pub like this," he said, "but I could certainly do with something to drink. And it's a bit embarrassing but would you mind if I took these trousers off too? My legs are just about cooking. It's horribly uncomfortable but I'd understand if you’d rather I keep 'em on." 

     My heart leapt. I quickly found another quiet spot off the road. Graham got out of the car and, facing towards me, removed his trousers, so that he was at last free of the dreadful, khaki torture suit, as many boys used to call it. I could see his tiny, sodden, cotton underpants sticking to his skin. He looked a little bashful as he tried to straighten them, so I looked away as he climbed back into the car, flinging his trousers into the back, with the rest of his uniform. Once we were on our way again, I asked him, rather superfluously, if he was now more comfortable. 

     "Yes, thank you, Jack. It’s so good to get that lot off after a week of sweltering in it. I had to wear it all the time. It's incredibly uncomfortable – every night I think I'm getting used to it but in the morning it's real torture having to put it on again. I'll never get used to the itching. And it's all so much worse on a hot day like this. I'm afraid I don't smell very nice." 

     He did smell rather sweaty but it was hardly his fault. Anyway, it was that wholesome, boyish, sporty odour: so much nicer than the pungent stench of nylon-shirted people in over-heated offices. Graham, now naked save for his high-cut briefs - they had virtually no sides at all - looked much more comfortable and made a magnificent feast for my eyes. His long thighs contrasted with my rather shorter ones and were of course bare, whereas mine were clothed almost to the knee. Soon, we stopped at a pub in Somerset which I knew well. I parked at the far end of its large car park, figuring that Graham could leave the car and sit on the grass in the shade, invisible to other people. I collected a couple of pints of bitter and returned to the car. Graham and I sat in the shade of a tree and enjoyed our beer. I should add that in those days, it was not considered unusual, let alone irresponsible, for a driver to punctuate a long car journey with a pint or three of beer. 

     Graham had told me he was sixteen but he looked much younger now. His well proportioned, smooth, sportsman's body was now a little less pink, having cooled down somewhat. I sat opposite him, granting myself a splendid view of his hairless arms, legs and chest, his blond hair and his handsome face, which had not yet needed the razor. When we'd finished our pints Graham stood up and said how grateful he was to for such a dream lift. Then he said: 

     "Please don't think I didn't trust you but the reason I didn't take my trousers off at first was because I didn't want you to see my legs." 

     "Why? What's wrong with them?" I laughed. He turned slowly away from me, plucking at the hems of his still damp briefs to pull the fabric away from the crack of his bottom, into which it had retreated. He had quite broad hips and, however firmly he tugged at the hems, the briefs - tiny as a bikini - couldn't begin to cover the cheeks of his bottom. Boxer shorts would have been much more suitable with that uniform. 

     "God! Are those marks what I think they are?" I inquired, looking at his buttocks and the backs of his thighs, on which were the unmistakeable signs of a beating with belt, or rope or something. "Don't tell me the Royal Marines did that to you!" 

     "No, they were brilliant; no, it was this awful cadet NCO we had with our group. He had this game of forfeits with us last night, at the final parade, and anyone with the tiniest thing wrong with his uniform was given a few whacks. Then he wouldn't let us take the horrible stuff off unless we begged him for a beating. Everyone ended up naked and being thrashed. All except one boy who liked his uniform so much he slept in it, rather than get a whacking. He wasn't quite so happy this morning though, having to go home in it." 

     I had to get in the car pretty quickly, or else my state of arousal would have been obvious to Graham. We left the pub and continued our merry way through England, stopping at another pub an hour later for more refreshment. As he got out of the car, I was treated to a view of his entirely naked bottom, with all its whipping marks, as the seat of his little briefs had disappeared into the cleft between his buttocks. The thought of the coarse wool rubbing over and chafing that perfect bottom every time he was in uniform stimulated more hormones than I thought I possessed. He pulled at the damp cotton and tried to stretch it over his bottom but I knew what would happen once he sat down again beside me, on the hot, plastic, car seat. Self control, Jack! 

     "We can't have you going about like that, Graham," I said, altruism oozing from every pore. "I've got some shorts and a T-shirt that might fit you. Then you could come in the pub with me." 

     I haven't told you that he was taller than me and a little wider. He wasn't by any means stout - he was perfectly proportioned. It was I who had the 30-inch waist. In my pale blue T-shirt his chest looked magnificent and his eyes bluer than ever. The PE shorts I lent him were a relic from my schooldays (packed as third reserves for my other, more salubrious shorts) and weren't quite big enough to enclose his beautiful bottom. I don't think he knew it but my shorts exposed over an inch of the base of his rose-pink buttocks. Now almost decent, he looked sexier than ever and walked with me, barefooted, into the next pub, which was near Devizes. He insisted on buying me lunch but as he wasn't old enough to buy alcohol, gave me a fiver and I went to order two pints of Wadworths and some sandwiches. We sat in companionable silence, munching our food. One or two people were giving Graham a more than occasional glance. A vicar was sitting nearby, sweltering in his garb of black. From the way he was eagerly scrutinising every part of Graham, I could guess why he was holding a newspaper firmly over his lap. I began to be proud of having such a fabulous specimen of English boyhood seated beside me.  

     We said little in the pub because the conversation we'd been having in the car wasn't appropriate for strangers to hear. Graham was now so much at ease with me that he'd been telling me in detail about his week in Plymouth. Most of the other boys on his course were local lads and Graham was the only one who'd come all the way from East Anglia, which was why he was making his solitary way home instead of sharing taxis or getting his dad to pick him up. I was keen to learn more about the last night at the Royal Marines depot but would have to wait until we were back in the car. Graham did say that his first pair of boxers had been wrecked while playing an impromptu game of rugby. The other boys all had sports kit but Graham had to play in his boxers and army boots. 

     "It wasn't very convenient, as you can imagine and when I got tackled - which was far too often, my boxers got torn. They ended up in shreds." 

     The vicar cleared his throat and I saw him cross his legs and press his newspaper even more firmly onto his lap. 

     "Didn't you have some spare boxers?" I asked. "When I had to wear uniform like that I always wore boxers, sometimes two pairs at once. Or pyjamas." 

     "I wear pyjama trousers if I think I can get away with it," said Graham, quietly. "But of course last week it would've been impossible cos people would've seen. I only had one spare pair of boxers and they bit the dust last night."  

     He gave me a look that said he'd continue the story in the car. The vicar's face was redder and sweatier than ever. 

     Onward we drove, Graham's arms and legs now a pleasing shade of pink instead of the angry red they'd been when he'd taken off his torture suit. "So what happened to your last pair of boxers?" I asked, suspecting that I was destined for another erection.  

     "Got ripped to pieces, worse than the others. When we'd got our uniforms off we knew we'd have to accept a thrashing from this obnoxious bastard of an NCO but it'd be better than suffering any longer in that sweltering khaki." 

     Graham described how the boys who'd so enjoyed tackling him in the rugby game pounced on him and tore off his boxers and presented him as the first to be whacked, holding him naked and face-down over a bed. The boy NCO used a length of halyard (nautical rope to you and me) to whip Graham's bottom. Graham didn't remember whether he yelled but the boys that followed him certainly did so probably he did, too. It all sounded like quite a party; it seemed they ended up lashing each other, apart from the boy who kept his uniform on. Graham retold the story several times as our journey progressed and each time the tale grew more enthralling. It had been nothing less than a barrack room orgy of mutual whipping and by the end, Graham's wasn't the only underwear to be ripped to shreds. 

     I was finding it tricky to concentrate on driving the car and we stopped at a cafĂ© near Bicester for a cool drink, non-alcoholic this time. The images in my head of what had been happening to Graham were titillating to say the least and the sight of him my T-shirt and shorts was ever more beguiling. It was time to drive on. In the tiny car the two of us were so close together that it had been impossible not to brush his smooth, bare thigh with my hand when using the gear stick. Now, as we were becoming more familiar, he moved his right leg even closer to me, his knee almost touching my hand on the steering wheel. Such a small gesture but so exquisitely pleasing! I had the pleasure of knowing my lift had saved him endless hours of misery struggling along in his sodden uniform in the fierce heat of that scorching Saturday. Was this his way of thanking me? 

     As we approached Bedford, he put his hand on my arm and said how thankful he was not to have worn his torture suit all day long. "You've been so kind, Jack. With anybody else I'd have had to stay fully dressed. And with anybody else, I'd have been too embarrassed to sit like this all day. It's been a fantastic day. I think you really understand me." 

     "Well, Graham, I think it's just that we're both very special people. It's been a real pleasure to meet you." My reply was sincere but ambiguous. He must have guessed I found him physically attractive and I hoped he didn't find me physically repulsive. I patted his leg. He put his hand over mine and held it there, pressing my hand onto his thigh. So, did he, I wondered, find me a little bit attractive? 

     By now, of course, we'd worked out precisely where each other lived. Graham lived just outside Ely and I lived just outside Cambridge. Our homes were a mere twelve miles apart. I said I'd drive him to his front door and then turn back for Cambridge. 

     "Maybe we could arrange another meeting, so you could give me my clothes back," I said. 

     "Yeah, naturally. I can't tell you how grateful I am for them and of course for the lift. But I'd better put the bloody uniform on again before I get home or Dad will ask questions. He's ex-army, you know and has old-fashioned ideas." 

     "Well," I said, "we'll stop so you can do that but we'll make it as close to Ely as possible and if you keep my stuff on underneath it won't be so excruciating having to get into that horrible uniform."  

     He didn't want his parents to know he'd travelled all day almost naked. Besides, he had to conceal his whipped thighs from them so we stopped a mile or two from Ely. He shuddered as he put on the still-sticky hair shirt and again as he pulled on the trousers. He was once again perspiring freely into his torture suit when I dropped him at his home, a large house just south of Ely. It had a good view of the cathedral, the so-called Ship of the Fens. I was sorry to see him go but glad I'd made his day immeasurably better than it might otherwise have been. I had some very tasty memories to recall, which I did in highly energetic fashion once I was safely tucked up in bed that night. 

***** 

Two days later, Graham phoned to suggest we meet again, so he could return my clothes he'd borrowed. "I could get the train to Cambridge, Jack, or maybe we could meet near here? I know a pub, miles from anywhere and I could get there on my bike, if you wouldn't mind driving. I usually take my fishing rod and try my luck on the river." 

     The next day I drove to a pub named The Anchor, a few miles west of Ely. It's situated on the twenty-mile-long New Bedford River, an artificial channel built in the mid-seventeenth century as part of a scheme to drain the Fenland for agricultural use. Its other name is Hundred Foot Drain, which doesn't sound very romantic but refers to its width. It was where Graham had chosen for us to meet again. It being another hot and sultry day, I was once again in my long, floppy shorts and open-necked shirt. I parked near the pub and waited for Graham to come cycling along the lane. I'd arrived a full twenty minutes before our rendezvous time and was alarmed to find myself suddenly nervous. Would he come? Would I find him as beautiful as I'd remembered? Would he be alone - supposing he brought a friend with him? Supposing it was a girlfriend? 

     Ten minutes later I recognised the lone cyclist heading swiftly towards me. I stepped out into the lane and watched him approach. He saw me and waved. 

     "Hello, Jack!" said Graham as he brought his bike to a halt. When I took his hand to shake it I noticed it was warm and moist. His lovely face was bathed in sweat. 

     "Hello, Graham," I replied, only just stopping myself from adding 'darling.' "There was no need to pelt along like that - now you're all hot and sweaty - again!" 

     "Whereas you're dressed for the weather, as usual," he said, grinning. 

     "I hadn't realised we'd agreed on formal dress," I said, surveying his long-sleeved shirt, fawn cavalry twill trousers and brown brogue shoes. And the Paisley-patterned cravat around his neck.  

     "Oh, this is Dad's idea of casual dress," said Graham, untying the cravat and stuffing it into his trouser pocket. "I'll probably want to take off my trousers later." 

     "This is getting to be a habit," I said, trying to mask the excitement I felt. "But be my guest!" 

     We went into the pub, which was dark and cool, in contrast to the blazing sunshine outside. The barman obviously knew Graham for he said "Your usual half of cider, squire?"  

     An old man in the corner nodded to Graham and muttered "You alright then, Graham boy?"  

     This made me uncomfortable because I knew if eavesdroppers were about I couldn't say all the things I'd been planning to say to Graham and indeed, we made rather stilted conversation as we sat with our cider. We talked about our families; Graham said his father knew mine, on account of them both being magistrates. We talked about cars and cricket. We briefly discussed the hit parade. I was hoping we could talk about things more personal and intimate than the success of Band on the Run. I was relieved when we'd finished our drinks and could go out again. 

     "Let's wheel my bike along the riverbank to a place I know," said Graham. "I can't wait to get these stuffy clothes off and look like you. Oh and I've got your T-shirt and shorts in my saddlebag, all nicely washed." 

     The river runs straight as a die and we walked along in the blistering heat for about half a mile, to the place Graham told me he used for casting his line and hoping for a bite. We were quite alone. 

     He'd left his rod at home so I said "No chance of a bite today, then." 

     He giggled and said "Not unless we bite each other!" 

     He put down his bike and began to take off his clothes. "Like I said, this is my Dad's idea of casual clothing, regardless of the heat." 

     The cavalry twill trousers clasped his thighs very tightly and he had to pull hard to get them off. Underneath he had on a pair of white PT shorts, very much like the ones I'd lent him. Soon that was all he was wearing and I was once more treated to a beautiful view of his pink, deliciously hairless body. Inside my own shorts things were beginning to get exciting.  

     Graham stood before me and smiled. "I seem to be making a habit of doing a striptease for you, Jack! But at least these shorts aren't as indecent as those little briefs I wore the other day."  

     Not sure what to say, I mentioned what was uppermost in my mind. "Have you still got those marks from your beatings or have they faded now?" 

     "Dunno. Can't see them. You'll have to tell me." He turned away from me and hitched his shorts up a bit, to expose the crease where his bottom met his thighs. The marks were still there, although somewhat faded.  

     "Yeah, still there," I said. "But not so angry-looking, thank God." 

     "Like a closer look?" He dropped to the ground and lay on his tummy. "Have a good look, Jack and tell me if it's safe for me to wear swimming trunks in public yet. You can touch if you like."  

     I knelt over Graham's prone form and studied the whip-marks on his upper thighs and at the base of his bottom. He gently pulled the rear hems of his shorts up far enough to expose half of each glorious buttock. He wasn't wearing anything underneath. I responded to the invitation and very softly traced my forefinger over a nasty weal on his right thigh. His body quivered to my touch and he went 'Mmmm.' I hoped it was a quiver of pleasure and, suitably encouraged, I explored more of the marks, working my way onto the crown of his firm, smooth bottom where another red mark streaked across at an angle. My penis was rock-hard and pulsating. 

     "This one's the worst," I said, rather breathlessly. I leaned over to rest on my left elbow and with my right forefinger continued to stroke the sweet boy's bottom. It was something I'd never done before and was an utterly sublime experience. Suddenly, I found myself clasping his half-bare right buttock with my hand and simultaneously there was drama in my shorts and I shot my load into my underpants. I rolled away from Graham, my right hand now clasping my groin as the semen continued its squirting into the big wide world.  

     "Oh, hell! I've had an accident! Oh God! I'm so sorry, Graham - I'm so embarrassed. God knows what you must think!" 

     As I writhed about, pummelling my penis as if to punish it, I expected an outburst of disgust from Graham but all he did was to sit cross-legged on the grass, facing me and saying nothing. When I had the courage to turn my face to his I saw he was smiling.  

     "All that way in your car, Jack, I was sitting beside you virtually naked and hoping you liked me in that way and now I think I've got my answer. Just before we got to Bedford you put your hand on my leg and I hoped it would be a sign. So, am I right?" 

     "Christ, Graham - was it so obvious? Yes, I think you're bloody gorgeous! But we hardly know each other - I don't know what to say - what happens now? We'd better go our separate ways. Oh God, I'm so sorry!" 

     "You don't get it, do you, Jack? I'm really flattered you think like that about me! Look, you're in a mess. You'd better take your shorts off. Good job I brought your stuff with me, isn't it?" 

     Barely able to believe that Graham hadn't banished me into outer darkness, I relaxed a little and watched him go to his bike. Returning with my old PE shorts in his hand he said "It's not fair - you've seen me almost naked and I've never seen what you're like between your neck and your knees. Come on, get 'em off!" 

     Graham, a boy three years my junior, was taking charge of me, calling the shots. And he was right - my emission had been huge and very messy and I had to get out of my shorts. I stood up, looked around to make sure we were alone and self-consciously removed my shirt and shorts. My underpants were in a terrible state and off they came too. Graham passed me my clean shorts and I put them on, under his steady gaze. The shorts were just big enough to cover my bottom.  

     "Well, that's a relief," said Graham. "I was hoping you weren't all hairy and you're not! I don't like hairy boys." 

     "Sounds like you speak from experience," I said, feeling a hint of jealousy. 

     "No, it's hypothetical; I just don't fancy hairy legs. I hope mine never get hairy. Hey, Jack - you don't look anywhere near nineteen now. You don't even look old enough to have a driving licence!" 

     "Well, I am, you cheeky bugger! Anyway, you don't even look old enough to ride a bike! Except I see you're plenty old enough to get a tent in your shorts!" 

     "That's because - if I can borrow your words - you're bloody gorgeous! Can I have a feel?" 

     During the next hour of groping, fondling and giggling we each admitted we'd never done this with anyone else. "Well, nobody worth bothering about," said Graham, admitting there'd been a few gropes at his boarding school in Nottinghamshire.  

     I had to agree that dormitories were hardly places to practise chastity but assured him I'd had no special friends before this. "Somehow, Young Conservatives isn't my idea of a dating agency." 

     "Speak for yourself! There was this girl called Henrietta who wanted my body back at the Easter Ball!" 

     "And did she get it?" I asked.  

     "Course not! Her legs were far hairier than ours," said Graham. "So were her lips ..." 

     At which point we had our first kiss.  

***** 

Time was marching on and we had to call a halt in the delightful proceedings and head for our homes. At supper, I told my father I'd found a like-minded friend to potter about with during the holidays.  

     "Isn't he a bit younger than you, Jack?"  

     "Only a year or so, Dad," I lied. "And I gather you know his father. Graham likes being in the open air, like I do. We could go messing about in boats and things ..." 

     That night I thought about Graham and wanked myself silly. As I eventually drifted off to sleep I imagined the two of us in a little boat, enjoying the sunshine and each other's company. 

     Next morning Mum called me down to the hall, to the telephone. "It's Jeremy and Fiona from Stowmarket, darling." 

     Too excited for breakfast, I rang Graham's house. "Hi Graham, it's me. Yeah. Look, can we meet at the river again? Yeah, today. I've got a proposition for you." 

     It was a cooler day and I wore my jeans. Graham didn't feel the need to take off his cavalry twills. We didn't mind because we had more exciting things to think of as we strolled along the New Bedford River and as I was telling him my news. 

     "These friends of mine booked a boat on the Broads for a week and asked me to go along as well, cos I know a bit about boats and things. But they've had to cancel. It's all paid for and they said I could take it myself, so long as I found someone to keep me company. It's next week. What d'ya say?" 

     "I've never been on the Norfolk Broads," said Graham, "and I don't know what my folks would think." 

     "It's OK!" I yelled. "My dad's already spoken to yours. It's OK!"  

     "Christ, Jack, d'you mean we could be by ourselves on a boat for a week, with nobody to get in our way? Just you and me?" 

     "That's about the size of it." I said, gleefully, grabbing Graham's arm and linking it with mine. 

     "So, you'd be the captain, then?"  

     "Well, yes, I s'pose so." 

     "Oh captain, my captain!" yelled Graham, pulling my arm close to his body. "I'll be under your orders! Will I be excused Dad's idea of casual clothes?" 

     "Yes, but I want you to bring your hair shirt. I’ll make you wear it if you displease me.” 

     Seeing the joke, he replied “OK, I’ll bring the hideous thing but only on condition that if you displease me you'll wear it!” 

     After I’d given him a friendly punch on the arm I said “I bet you’ll be happy to wear whatever you like, with no father watching” 

     “And as little as I like, if it’s nice and warm.” 

     “If you do that, I might turn into a peeping Tom.” 

     He stopped walking and turned to face me, pretending to look stern. “Oooh, I wouldn’t like a peeping Tom in the boat!” 

     He cupped my chin in his hand and gazed into my eyes. I was aware of great excitement in my jeans. 

     “But I wouldn’t object to a peeping Jack!” whispered my gorgeous hitch-hiker, sending me straight to heaven.