Looks Can Be Deceiving
by Joe Butterman


I’ve known Mike forever.  Well, since grade school anyway.  We graduated from high school a year ago.

Mike is beautiful.  Well, maybe his nose is just a trifle large and maybe his chin is just a little small, and maybe his face is kinda long.  But his eyes are a rich deep brown and they sparkle with flecks of gold. When he smiles, it lights-up the world.  His hair is just absolute black and shines.  He keeps it kinda short on the sides, but longer on top and it lies over to one side.  It’s fine and silken.  He doesn’t bother with a comb.  He just brushes it.  He doesn’t put anything on it.  He should let it grow longer.

Mike thinks he’s a bad ass.  Lots of others think so too.  He looks it, I suppose, but he’s beautiful to me.  He usually wears a black leather jacket, 501 Levis, a sport shirt, and black Wellington boots.  He swaggers well.  He likes to pretend he smokes.  He usually has a pack of Lucky Strikes on display in shirt pocket or rolled-up in his t-shirt sleeve; but it takes him a couple weeks to burn them up.

When we were sophomores, for some reason, Mike shoved me into some lockers in the hall at school and tried to start a fight.

“Get outta the way fuckhead,” he snarled, all bad and shit, and shoved me aside.  My books went flying, but I quickly regained my footing.  I wasn’t too worried. I think I understood something even then.  Anyway, there wasn’t much that could happen, we were in the hallway between periods, there were a jillion kids in the hall, and someone had already yelled, “Fight!”  We sparred, shoved, and bounced around for maybe twenty seconds before Mr. Vorhees materialized, grabbed us both, and marched us down to the Vice Principal’s Office.

Like I said, I’ve known Mike since grade school; I’d thought he was beautiful since first he came into my dreams and I jacked-off thinking about him.  He didn’t know that of course. For that matter, all I knew was that I liked him.  I didn’t know there was more to it than that. We’d never done much except nod to each other as we passed in the hall, if even that. And then there was the thing in the hallway which really wasn’t a fight.

In those days, it seemed like every one of General Eisenhower’s soldiers had come home from the war, gone to college on the G.I. Bill, and then became a teacher.  This was true of Mr. Vorhees, and it was true of the Vice Principal, Mr. Titus.  Mr. Titus gave us quiet hell for a few moments, we were there after all, so we must be guilty of something; then, he asked what happened.  Mike just looked at the floor like he figured that’s what a bad ass would do; glower at the floor all sullen and pouty.  This didn’t strike me as very “bad.”  In fact, in my opinion, he’s really cute when he pouts.  But then, what the fuck?  I think he’s always cute so what do I know about it?

“It was a accident, Mister Titus,” I volunteer.  Mike may think it’s neat to get suspended, but I’m thinking I better fight for detention.  I can probably keep that pretty quiet, but my folks’ll raise holy hell if I end-up suspended.  “I wasn’t payin’ attention and ran into him.  Sir.  I think he thought it was me tryin’ to start a fight.  But I really wasn’t.  It was a accident.”  Pretty much innocent goodie-goodie shit.

Mike looks up at me and you can see he’s surprised.

Mr. Titus just looks at me.  He looks at me for the longest time.

An accident not ‘a accident.’”  He says, “Use an when the next word starts with a vowel, or the aspirate h.”

“Yessir,” I nod eagerly though I’ve no idea in the world what an ‘aspirate h’ might be.

“That’s just so much bullshit,” he says quietly and smiles.  He looks at the two of us for another long moment.  “Okay,” he continues, “this time I’m only going to give you each a week’s detention.  But you better know that if I see either of you again for fighting, there’ll be some suspension in it for you.  Agreed?”

“Yessir,” I’m relieved and am already starting to work out what to tell my parents about being on detention for a week, without, of course, mentioning anything about being on detention.

But Mike hasn’t said anything yet, and Mr. Titus is clearly waiting.  I shift my foot over real casual so that my upper body doesn’t reflect the movement and tap Mike’s ankle with my toe.  He jerks up like he’s surprised, or something, and says, “Yeah.  Yessir.  Thanks.”

“Okay, you two are out of here.  And don’t come back.”  We escape into the outer office where the secretary gives us tardy slips and we return to our classes.

After school, I start home in the normal manner.  Our detention won’t start until next Monday.  Mike is waiting at the sidewalk and he’s looking right at me.  Then he looks down, then up the street, then back at me.

“Thanks,” he mutters still looking up the street, “that was pretty cool.”  He looks back at me kinda sideways and his face lights-up with a smile.

Remember what I said about his smile?

“Let’s go getta coke,” I offer, trying to be all cool and not show how happy I am.  I’m taking this as an apology.  I return his smile thinking I’d better seize the moment. I already like him, so I really want to get to know him better.

By the end of our week of detention, we’re really close.  Not as close as I’d like.  What I’d like is naked in bed, but this is way better than before. To be sure, I’ve only the haziest idea of what we might do naked in bed; but it sounds great. As the school year progressed, he’d eat dinner at my house two or three times a week and he frequently spent the night.  I loved and hated it when he spent the night: I loved to be with him, but I wanted more and I didn’t know how to do it.  He even had extra clothes at my house.  Things weren’t good for him at home.  My Mom liked him and she treated him as a second son.  He quit carrying the Lucky Strikes around and only smoked when somebody offered him one and he thought he had to do it to look bad, like down at the pool hall, or out and about on Friday night.

Our friendship might have seemed odd to others.  Mike had his rep, and he did his best to live up to it.  I, on the other hand, was perceived as quiet and shy; I had no use for the pool hall, could care less about the game, seldom went there, and never without Mike.

During the summer vacation, we go jobs together on two different ranches.  Just short, temporary, mostly bucking bales and stuff like that.  One night, the foreman had left us a six pack of beer.  Mike wouldn’t touch it and that’s when he told me what an asshole his Dad was.  “Fuckin’ drunk,” he called his Dad. He went on to tell how “that fuckin’ asshole” had beaten-up on his Mom until she gave up and ran away.  The only thing Mike knew of his Mother was the picture he had of her.  I poured the beer down the sink, but carefully left the cans crushed at the top of the trashcan so they’d think we drank them.  We needed to look bad for Mike.  A lot of looking bad may just be illusion, but Mike needed it.


When we were juniors, Mike suggested that we join the swim team at school.  This was not difficult.  Our school, like our town, was small, and we didn’t even have a pool at school.  So we used the municipal pool across the street.  Our coach just went through the motions.  He never really gave a shit.  He was built like a fireplug and almost as smart. He’d come over to the pool with us, get the practice started, and then leave.  Three of us were part time lifeguards, so lots of times, one of us would have been in charge of the pool when it was open to the public.  The pool is open only to the team during practice.    There were only six of us.

I like to swim a lot.  I didn’t know that Mike liked to.  I’m one of the certified lifeguards on the team.  But I wouldn’t bother with this Mickey Mouse swim team if it weren’t for Mike.  Watching Mike take a shower is a treat and there’d only be the two of us.  Mike and I take a long shower after each practice.  The other four are in and out and that’s fine by me because they’re just in the way.

Mike and I are pretty much alike.  My hair is light brown and, like I said, his is coal black.  My eyes are hazel and his are a rich brown.  My nipples are smaller than his.  Which, I know, isn’t a lot alike.  But we’re both slender and wiry with “innie” belly buttons.  We’re both almost six feet tall and we both weight about 135.  There was one of those fancy scales with weights and a balance arm and we’d weigh each other after every practice.  I think this is a great excuse to stay naked longer.  When I weigh him, I fuddle with the weights, but I’m admiring him more than reading the scale. We have very little hair on our bodies.  He looks hairier than me because his hair is darker.  We have little tufts in our pits, and a sparse triangle of pubic hair above our sex.  We swim regularly and we work hard during the summer.  We’re about the same size down there.  I’d like to measure Mike’s.  I do more than just measure it in my dreams.

You know those Greek and Italian sculptors that did those great statues of naked men?  The ones in all the art books?  Well, if they’d ever seen Mike in the shower, they wouldn’t be so interested in David or Zeus or any of those guys.  They’d want to do Mike.  First off, he backs into the shower, so he presents his sex to full and unobstructed view.  He sorta leans back into the water and usually has his arms up giving the impression of massaging his own shoulders and stretching at the same time.  This really accents the definition of his chest.  His eyes are closed.  When he leans like this, you really see the curve of his butt.  He is stunning.

The water streams down, around and off him.  It wets down his pubic hair and makes his triangle sharp and distinct, which accents the way his dick lies over his balls all kinda relaxed but still somehow ready.  The warmth of the shower makes his balls hang lower, one a little bit above the other but both clearly outlined in their silken flesh.  My eyes sweep over his elegant legs.  Slender and defined.  God he’s beautiful.

I like to pretend my eyes are closed and admire him through my eyelashes.  I think his cock is a little larger, now, than normal.  My cock twitches at the thought of seeing his boner.  But I’m chickenshit so I tell it to settle down.  I close my eyes to help my cock settle down.  Mike turns off his shower.  We’re almost done.  Soon we’ll be drying off and I’ll see him moving the towel over his body.  The best part of this is when he puts his towel over his back and pulls it from side to side.  He really gets into this and his motion makes his sex sway enticingly.  Enticing.  What a great word.  It sounds like it must taste great.

We double dated to the Junior Prom.  I did most of the small talk for us, and we both relaxed after we got rid of the girls.  We rode around for a while in my Dad’s Buick and then went home to my house.  Mike drove.  We can be very comfortable with each other.  Quiet.  No need to talk or anything. I hoped maybe we’d park like other couples get to do; but we’re not really like other couples.

Our senior year was pretty much a repeat, except that we had to swagger more because we were almost through.  Mr. Titus caught me in the hall one day and congratulated me; he said he was glad we’d not been back in his office.  It seemed perfectly natural the way he spoke of Mike and me as if we were a pair.

We had both registered for the draft so, of course, I began to worry about it.

“Gary! Gary!  I got us a great job,” Mike announced.  It seemed that old man Dettweiller liked us and had offered us a job.  We’d be running the old Henderson Ranch for him.  We’d be doing all of the haying and all of the regular work, irrigating, fence repair, some herding.  It would last until November.  I agreed in a flash.  We’d be a hundred miles from town, alone, together.  I didn’t even ask how much we’d be paid and forgot about the draft.

We’d bucked bales for Mr. Dettweiller on this same ranch last summer.  The original ranch house had burned down years ago and had been replaced by a mobile home, which was now old and the so-called bunkhouse. The shower could barely manage a trickle, so we’d swim in the river after work.  We swam naked and looked at each other.  I mean we really looked at each other.  I hoped that something would happen, but nothing did.  Why am I such a chickenshit?  We’ve been practically inseparable for three years.  But what if he refused.  What if I lost everything?

Mr. Dettweiller dropped us off with a huge load of groceries.  He told us what needed to be done and said he’d be back in a week to check on us.  There was an old Studebaker pick-up and four saddle horses for us to use.  There was no phone.

We put all of our groceries away.  It was a beautiful day.

“Come on,” Mike said, “let’s go swimming.  We’ll start work tomorrow.”  He was already shucking his clothes, so I started stripping too, and we went down to the river and plunged in.

It was cool and refreshing and Mike was naked and beautiful.  We climbed out and stood on this boulder by the side of the river.  This boulder is the perfect size for lying on and we used it for that a lot last summer.  I stood and stretched and flexed in the warmth of the sun, eyes shut, enjoying the breeze and the trickles of water on my naked body.  Then I felt Mike’s fingers tips tracing over my cheek and he fondled my ear.  My eyes flew open and I looked into his eyes, into the deep of his soul.  Now I know for sure that I have never not loved him.  His hand slips down onto my neck and shoulder and he gently presses and pets me.  I put one hand on his waist.  The blood is surging through me.

Okay.  Well.  So much for chickenshit!  I pulled him into me and stepped into his kiss.  It’s like electric only magic.  It takes my breath away.  His tongue is pressing and stabbing and daring me. I respond with my tongue and the feel of his mouth is deep and promising.  I hug him to me and run one hand down and over his glorious butt.  It’s wet and smooth and silky.  I love the feel of his crack as I run my fingers through it.  My hand runs up and down his spine.  Every part of him is sexy.  I feel his boner straining against mine.  I’ll look at it later; the feeling of all the rest of him is just too great right now.

He broke our kiss, then he started kissing and licking along my throat. Moving steadily lower. He kissed one of my nipples, sucking and swirling his tongue.  I almost collapsed with the power of his kiss.  I do sag a little, and Mike started to settle me down onto the rock.  We are flowing together and rubbing our straining boners against each other.  We kiss some more.  I have both hands on his butt, squeezing and trying to pull him into me.  Our boners are intense.  We rub against each other, our stomachs, our thighs.  We’re wet and silky against each other, warm from the sun and hot from within.

His incredible mouth starts lower again.  This is what heaven is all about.  I feel his fingers rolling my balls around.  He is on his knees now, between my legs, he has me on my back on the rock, and was rubbing my boner with his cheek.  First one cheek, then a lick or two, and then the other cheek.  I cannot believe it.

He takes me into his mouth.  I hold him gently on me, rubbing and caressing his head.  His mouth is too much and I felt somehow weak throughout my body, excepting only my passion for him. There’s nothing weak about that.  He keeps me in his mouth.  His tongue swirls around, while he moves up and down the length of me.

I have loved him forever.  I have thought about this forever.  So it doesn’t take long and I cum for what seems like forever.  Throbbing and spasming and surging and pulsing and he stays right on me, licking and gulping.  I’m both drained and exhausted.

I’m stroking his head with one hand and I look down at him.  He’s looking up at me.  He still has the tip of my dick in his mouth, teasing me with his tongue as if there was just a little more for him.  His deep brown eyes are looking into mine.  He is so beautiful.  It would take my breath away if I weren’t already panting so hard from cuming so intensely.

“Oh God Mike.  God.  God.”  I run my tongue over my lips.  I started to roll him over and reached for his boner.  I gave back to him every kiss.  Every sweep of the tongue.  And every swallow and tender caress that he had just given to me.

We lay in the sun as our passion cooled.

“What took us so long,” Mike whispered.

For the rest of the summer we only wore clothes to work in.  The rest of the time we were naked.  We had sex regularly, but we also talked a lot.  It was really funny.  We could have been having sex since our sophomore year.  But we were both too scared.  We didn’t want to lose what we had.

Our first night at the ranch, I had Mike fuck me.  I told him it had to be slow and easy because it was my first time.  It hurt a little at first, but I had dreamed about this, and practiced with a green banana, so the reality of it just swept me away.  I was surprised when he then had me fuck him.  I hadn’t thought about this, but if Mike wanted it, that was fine with me.

While we were working for old man Dettweiller, we decided that we were going to live together when we got back to town.  When you’re young and in love, well, it’s great to be together.

We found a cute little house in the old part of town.  Mike came with me as we went to the used furniture store, checked the want ads, and got some stuff from my Mom.  He let me make all the decisions, but he carried the money, paid for everything, and pretended to have a say in everything.

We bought an old Dodge pick-up to get around in.

Mike wanted to get a job at a gas station, but I was having none of that.  My Dad knows everyone and he’d offered to get Mike a job as a brakeman on the railroad.  Mike likes cars, but it wasn’t hard to convince him he wanted to be a railroad man.

“Any kid can pump gas.  But ya gotta be a man to railroad.”  There.  That was easy.

We settled into a comfortable routine.  Mike usually made one run a week on the train.  He’d be gone for two days when he made a run.  Sometimes he made two runs, but he was junior man.  I worked for my Aunt at her jewelry store.  This job had been planned for me years ago.  We were doing well.

Then Mike came home one night all beat to shit.  He was bleeding from a deep cut above his eye and his clothes were torn, stained and bloody.  I go instantly into nursing mode.  I strip him and go over every inch of him, checking his assorted cuts and bruises.  All we have in the medicine box is some hydrogen peroxide and some Fura ointment.  Fura ointment, of course, is for horses, but it works just fine on people too, we’d learned that on the ranches.

I took him to the doctor next morning.  He needed six stitches over his eye, but nothing was broken and he’d be okay.

I waited for him to tell me.

He’d gone to his Dad’s to get the picture of his Mom that was all that he had of her.  His Dad wanted money from him, now that he had a good job.  He told his Dad to “fuck off” and the old bastard blind-sided him and commenced to whale on him.  Mike broke free.  The old man was drunk of course and Mike finally got out of there with the picture, but the frame was broken, the picture was torn, and Mike cut himself on the glass.

He was right on the brink of crying.  “You’re gonna look bad with that scar,” I tell him smiling.  His tears start to flow, but he smiles at me, and then we kiss.  Quiet and loving.

When Mike made his next run on the railroad, I looked carefully at the wreckage of his Mom’s picture.  Taped to the back of the photograph was a cellophane envelope with a negative.  I took that down to the photography studio and had another print made, then I went to my Aunt to buy a silver frame for it.  When she found out what it was for, she insisted on giving it to me.  I think my Mom and my Aunt understand a helluva lot more than I’ve ever told them.

It’s been three weeks since Mike’s Dad beat the shit out of him.  I’ve been watching the scumbag as he staggers out of his favorite saloon almost every night. I only watch for him on the nights when Mike is gone on a run with the railroad.  Mike’s alibi must be solid.  Plus, there are some things, after all, that Mike doesn’t need to know.

He’s easy to watch because the fuck just got his welfare check so he has plenty of cash; he’s not trying to cadge drinks all up and down Main St.  I watch from the shadows.

I’m waiting for him again tonight.  In the usual way, he comes out the rear door, and lurches up the poorly lit back street toward his apartment.  This time, his apartment, is a longer three blocks away than he might think.  Quietly, on rubber soled panther feet, I come up behind him right between two streetlights where the light’s the dimmest.  He hasn’t got a clue until my old baseball bat smashes into the side of his right knee and he goes down on the asphalt in a heap with a grunting moan.  My return swing with the bat connects above his kidneys and drives him face down with another grunt.  I come down square in the middle of his back with all of my weight behind my knees.  I’m satisfied to hear and feel what must be some ribs cracking and this time he gives a kind of gargled groaning scream.  Very satisfying.

I pull his head back and up using his filthy hair as a handle, and then smash his face into the sidewalk. Then I pull his head up again and whisper into his ear, very quiet and calm, “If you ever,” jerk and smash, “touch Michael.  Dmitri.  Bennigsen,” jerk, jerk, jerk, “again.  You.  Are.  Dead.”  I stand-up; I kick his left arm into position away from his body.  I bring my foot down hard on his left wrist, and swing the bat down one more time.  I bring it down from the sky with everything I have behind it, right on his elbow.  There’s a most excellent crunch and this time he screams for real.  Did I tell you that he’s left-handed?  I fade into the shadows and am gone.

Like I said.  I’ve known Mike since grade school.  But I’ve loved him forever.


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