Two Flasks, One Conversation - Scribe
Words: Words to use are teapot, tamborine, duck, crown, dominos, flask, gas lamp, two shells, bugle, stopwatch, comb, safety pin, cuffs, rake, squash. I'll put them in CAPITALS.
Jim stood glaring at the pile of canvas, cords, and rods. Then he kicked it.
Blair rolled his eyes. "Way mature, Jim."
"Shut up," Jim growled. "This is your fault."
Blair crossed his arms, raising an eyebrow. "It's my fault that they didn't include the ridge pole?"
"It's your fault that I didn't check to be sure that the package had all the parts. The one time in my life I don't check as soon as I get home to see that all parts are included, and THIS happens."
Blair shrugged, and glanced around at the campsite they'd chosen. It was just off a dirt road--a nice little clearing, not much bigger than the loft living room. The truck was parked on the shoulder of the road, right at the edge of the clearing. They hadn't had to move many branches to clear an area for the tent. "So?" He waved a hand at the surroundings. "You've waxed nostalgic about sleeping under the stars during your training, listening to the BUGLE playing Taps. Look upon this as a chance to indulge that yearning. We'll get out sleeping bags out of the SHELL, pick the softest stretch of grass, and spread them out." He smiled, holding his hands out. "See? It could be worse." He chuckled. "Could be raining."
Jim closed his eyes. "I don't fucking believe it. You quote Mel Brooks, and invoke a storm."
"Now Jim, don't start. That didn't sound all that close. It'll probably miss us, and..."
Both men were drenched almost as quickly as if someone had thrown them in a pool. They exchanged looks for a split second, then both ran for the truck. Both tugged futilely at their respective doors. "I don't fucking believe it!" Jim growled.
"I do," said Blair. "You ALWAYS remember to lock your door. Just my luck that I did, too, this time. Unlock it, man. I'm drowning, here." Jim was rummaging in his pockets. "Oh, don't tell me you've lost them!"
"No, I haven't lost them. I know exactly where they are. They're in the ignition."
There were a few seconds of creative cursing on both sides of the truck. Then the men remembered the open pickup SHELL, and they pelted for it. It isn't easy for two fairly sizable men to SQUASH through the back opening of a truck SHELL at the same time, but it's possible, as long as you don't mind a few bruises.
It was, of course, impossible for either of them to stand, so they ended up sitting with their backs against the cab. After a moment Blair said, "Well. That was fun."
Jim glared at him. "It took you precisely twenty seconds to say something facetious."
"I didn't know you had a STOPWATCH." growl "Oh, come on, Jim. Better to laugh than to cry."
"I am not..."
"I know you're not crying. Gah, it's just an expression." They were silent, listening to the rain pelting down on the metal roof just over their heads. "Are we going to drive back to Cascade, or are we going to stick it out?"
"I'm not going to turn around and drive right back. We can spread the sleeping bags out here--there's enough room--barely."
"Okay by me."
The sleeping bags were unrolled, with a lot of shifting, dodging, and DUCKing. Finally they ended up sitting back in the same position, but this time with padding between their butts and the cold metal of the truck bed. "See?" said Blair. "This isn't so bad."
"Speak for yourself. I'm not even near ready to go to sleep, so what am I supposed to do for the next couple of hours?"
"We could play DOMINOS."
"I didn't bring them?"
"Why not? I suggested..."
"No one normal brings DOMINOS when they go camping. Cards, yeah."
"So you brought cards? Great. We can..."
"I didn't bring cards."
"Well, we wouldn't be able to read the cards for much longer, because I'm not firing up the GAS LANTERN in these close quarters."
Blair sighed. "Well, if we can't use the lantern we darn sure can't use the Coleman stove. That TEAPOT I brought is going to go completely to waste.
"Serves you right. A teapot."
"I didn't notice you having any problem with me packing the coffee pot. You get your caffiene your way, I'll get mine my way. So, no games. Talking it is." Blair RAKED damp hair off his face, pulled a COMB from his pocket, and started to untangle his hair. "Pick a subject."
"Just like that? Oh, hell... Sixties music."
Blair started to sing. "Hey, Mister TAMBORINE man, play a song for me. I ain't sleepy and there ain't no place I'm goin' to..."
"Stop right now or I'll put you in CUFFS. I brought mine."
"That's you all over. Don't bring dominos or cards--do bring handcuffs." Blair was examining his sleeve. "Ah, man! I ripped my sleeve when we were jamming through the window. This is one of my favorite shirts. I don't suppose you brought a sewing kit, did you?"
"Damn! If I don't get this sewed up it's just going to keep ripping and it'll be ruined by the time I get home."
"Hold on." Jim pulled off his shirt. Blair found himself blinking at a broad expanse of smooth, glistening chest as Jim fumbled with his shirt. "Here, take this."
"Blair, wake up. Here." Jim shook what he was holding, and Blair focused. It was a SAFETY PIN. "I always keep one pinned inside my shirt--you never can tell when you're going to need one. You can use it to keep the tear from lengthening."
"I sure can. Thanks." Blair took the pin, then removed his own shirt to start the repair work.
Jim found himself staring at the water droplets shining in Blair's pelt of chest hair. Some people might take one look at Blair's long hair and think 'feminine'. If they took a second glance and noticed the whiskers and body hair they'd know better. Sandburg was one of the most casually masculine men Jim had ever known.
I'd better get my mind off Sandburg's body, thought Jim. But what the hell am I going to think of instead? Maybe sleeping this close together isn't going to be the best idea ever.
Blair finished fastening the pin and dropped the shirt off to the side. "I'm not putting that on again. What have we got to eat, since we can't heat anything up?"
"I don't need much, since I had a late lunch. You can open a can of beans, if you like."
"I didn't even like cold beans during my harried student days. What else do you have?"
Jim pulled a crackling cellophane bag out of the box of supplies. "These."
Blair looked. "Peanuts? Raw peanuts?"
"They're not raw--they're roasted."
"Jim, they're in the SHELL."
"That's the best way to eat them." Jim had opened the bag and was cracking a peanut. "They're less salty than the shelled kind." He popped the two pellets into his mouth and chewed.
"Seems like a lot of work for a little gain."
"Suit yourself." munchmunch
"I mean, isn't it a lot of bother?"
"I'm not cracking walnuts or Brazil nuts, Blair." Jim held a peanut between his fingers and pinched. crack shell munch "See?"
Blair took a peanut and examined it--then squeezed it. "Mine just sort of compressed."
"Try squeezing it closer to the end."
Brows lowered, Blair squeezed--hard. crack "A-HA!" munchmunch "Say, that's pretty good." crack munch "I remember now. I haven't had unshelled peanuts since I was about ten, and we traveled a season with that circus."
"You and Naomi were with...? Never mind. That sounds like a story I want to hear when I'm dry and comfortable." Jim dug deep in his sleeping bag and pulled out a silver FLASK. Uncapping it, he took a swig, then offered it to Blair. "And I hope you're aware that this is a sacrifice on my part."
"Not too much of one." Blair pulled out his own flask and showed it to Jim. "What's yours?"
"CROWN Royal. Yours?"
They swapped flasks and both took a deep drink, then sighed in unison. "Okay," said Jim. "This could work. I think that getting drunk might be a viable option."
"Before I throw in my support I have to ask you one question."
"Which would be?"
"If I get falling on my ass drunk, am I likely to be eaten by a bear?"
"No, you're not likely to be eaten by a bear." Blair held up his flask as if in a toast and took another swallow. He didn't quite spray when Jim said, "Though I can't vouch for getting eaten by a Sentinel." Blair coughed, and Jim reached over, patting him on the back. "Okay, there? You don't need, like the Heimlich Manuever?"
"That's... that's for solids, man," Blair choked.
"Okay. Artificial resperation, then?"
"No. I think I've started breathing again. I also think that maybe this conversation is getting a little complicated to have when we're drinking with nothing but peanuts in our bellies."
"You could be right. I need a drink to consider that." They both drank. "Is your mouth empty?"
"Good. I wanted to be sure before I said this. I'm bisexual." Blair inhaled sharply, and Jim pointed at him. "I was right."
"Thanks for warning me. I... Uh... I am, too."
"I knew that."
"You... I never told you. I never, like, kissed a guy when I was around you. How do you know."
"Pheromones. They don't lie."
"Oh." Blair drank again. "And you haven't killed me yet?"
"Because I've noticed that you might be a little more aromatic when I come out of the bathroom before I put on my pants? Hell, no. It's flattering. Besides, you get the same scent when you're watching Antonio Banderas, and that's good company for anyone." Jim took a long swallow.
"I don't believe this. We've NEVER had a conversation like this before."
"We've never been cooped up with no shirts in a tiny shelter on a rainy night, deep in the woods. Sometimes all you need is the right setting."
Blair tipped his flask up again. "Or maybe enough alcohol."
"Nah. If that was true we'd have spilled our guts after the first Christmas party we attended together."
"Megan mixes the most potent egg nog I've ever encountered. Next time I need to bring some rum."
"I think we're doing okay with what we have. We haven't even reached the bottom of the flasks, and we're already sloppy drunk."
"Oh, I beg to differ. I am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be sloppy drunk."
Jim reached out and picked a peanut shell out of Blair's hair. "Believe me--we both qualify."
"Um. Yeah." Blair gave him a goofy grin. "Blitzed."
"Three sheets to the wind."
"I dunno about you, but I hoisted the bedspread a couple of minutes ago."
"You don't seem all that drunk to me."
"Need proof?" Jim leaned over and kissed Blair. "Would I have done that if I wasn't drunk?"
"I damn sure hope so. However I wouldn't have done this if I wasn't drunk." Blair threw an arm around Jim's neck, dragged him close, and returned the kiss with interest, meaning that a whiskey flavored tongue was involved. When they finally parted (by just a few inches) Blair said, "Is this a good idea?"
"Dunno. It might be prudent if we seperated, cooled off, and discussed this tomorrow with clear heads."
"You wanna do that?"
"Thank goodness, because I think that acquaintance rape is hidious, but I'm going to be ready to kick a hole in the truck bed if I don't get some relief pretty soon."
"Glad to hear it."
Jim pushed Blair down flat and climbed on top of him. There commenced hot, sweaty, dirty man-sex. Several small forest animals approached the truck only to retreat quickly when they heard the thumps, groans, and growls. Then all was quiet. The animals cautiously began to approach again--only to be driven away by the recommence of the noises. They went on a good bit longer this time. The noises eventually stopped, but by that time the animals had decided that any scavenging they might find wasn't worth facing whatever it was that was making that sort of noise.
Jim and Blair lay tangled together naked on top of the sleeping bags, both panting. Finally Blair caught enough breath to go, "Whoooooo."
Jim sighed. "That about covers it."
"Are we going to talk about this?"
"Not unless you want to discuss future sleeping arrangements and prefered positions."
"Your bed, since mine's just a single, and I'm open to anything that won't throw someone's back out."
"Okay, that covers it. I'm glad we didn't open the bags. This way neither one of us has to sleep in the wet spot. Move your sexy ass so I can get these open. We'll both freeze if we try to sleep on top of them."
"Won't these zip together."
"You damn betcha."
The bags were zipped together and Blair and Jim occupied them, snuggling close for body heat--and other reasons. Just before they drifted off, Jim muttered, "I'm still having these bags dry cleaned."
Blair chuckled. "You're such an Ellison."
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Acknowledgments: Thanks to Patt for the cover art.