Beards of 2020 so far!

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Beard of July

Brucesters!

Introducing Alex our Beard of July instagram @alex_deshkovets. He’s a Geologist and loves to travel. He speaks English and Russian. He loves cars and is an entrepreneur. He loves mixed martial arts.

Bruce in the City

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A Time Away

I’ve decided that as im looking after my mental health I will be stepping away from my blog for now. Thanks for all your support. The Beard of the Month will continue.

Bruce in the City

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Coming in July

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BRUCEINTHECITY.COM

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Happy Father’s Day

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“Behind the Rainbow” by Bruce Christopher (a short story series)

Behind the Rainbow

by Bruce Christopher

Part 1 In the Beginning

It always begins so lovely, like any relationship. It was Summer 2019. A guy was looking for a place to retreat from the stress of a noisy break up. He found this curious spot in Tweed Ontario. Riverside! It looked perfect. All gay male clothing optional. He had never camped before but that didn’t stop him. He got a tent and supplies and the dude was off to collect his sanity away from a 13 year dysfunctional relationship. Just him his tent and his non perishables. 

When he arrived at Riverside it was so beautiful. A stunning pool just beyond the welcoming gate. Clothing optional admittedly he wanted to dive right in. The two guys in the office were nice enough. Both attractive in their individual ways. The fellow was honestly there to be on my own. Free from drama. Free from stress. Free from hostility and heartbreak. His site was perfect. It was very busy at first but as the camp sites filled up it was comforting knowing he wasn’t all alone. He stayed to myself. He had a lot going on in his life and was way too fragile to put himself out there. A couple across from this guy were very attractive, viking-esque. Oh the sites and sounds of this camping experience is going to be one for the books. As the evening came so did the invitation from the owners to attend their big bonfire at dusk. He really didn’t want to go but he didn’t want to look antisocial. Plus everyone seemed to be going so who knows? Maybe he’d meet some interesting guys. Boom the fire was lit.

Guys circled the crackling pit like witches at the solstice. Lots of beautiful fellows. He didnt stay long but long enough to acquire the nickname “Peterborough” given to him by this sweet and ever friendly guy. He went back to his campsite thinking he loved it here. The fellow sat quietly at his small fire. The fellows across from him had also return and were retiring in their trailor. It was so quiet. It was so dark. The sound of crickets and the moaning of two men in the throws of love making reached his ears. The shadows on their tent trailor casted a film like image of one on top of another.

He went to his tent to avoid the awkwardness should they come outside to their fire after they were spent. It took him no time at all to fall asleep. What a beautiful place. What could possibly go wrong? He was behind the rainbow and he wasn’t sure what he would find there.

Part 2 The Shower

The weekend disappeared as fast as a Grindr hookup, and he (Mark) knew he wanted to go back. The dark situation in his personal life weighed heavily on his chest. He wasted no time and booked another weekend at Riverside. Single after so many years, he was excited to have the guiltless freedom of meeting beautiful men. If only he wasn’t so scared and shy. Maybe this next visit he’d prove to be a little braver. He was greeted with open arms at the gates of the park. He really felt like he had come back home. It didn’t take Mark too long to get his tent up, his shorts off, and his swim trunks on. It was time to check out the clothing optional pool. And, of course, the beautiful men he saw. Many smiles and hellos seemed to happen naturally. They’re tanned bodies shining with sweat in the sun, Mark took the experience all in. He made sure his trunks were cute enough to hopefully get some attention.

Two sexy, naked, bearded fellows kissed as they waded in the pool. This is so great Mark thought, pushing his loneliness down as his mind fought, saying I’m so alone. That night he was ready for the big bonfire. He really wanted to be there. Meet some nice guys, enjoy the beautiful weather, and who knows, maybe the wind would blow in his direction. For eight years of the 13 in that broken relationship, Mark had no relations with his partner. No one real to hold and kiss and fondle. So dry and cold and demanding his world had become. Just before he headed down to the fire pit he stopped off at the washroom to freshen up a little. It was already dark and he didn’t want to be late for the lighting of the bonfire. He was taking a shower when someone came in from the darkness. He peeked around his shower curtain discreetly to see who was there. The stranger was very attractive. His type for sure and it was then he recalled a sign. “No sexual activity in the washrooms.” What’s with gays and bathrooms he thought. The sexy bearded fellow noticed Mark looking out and froze. The guy moved closer to the shower. So many thoughts were racing in Mark’s head. The stranger spoke. “You enjoying the park?” “Yes,” answered Mark. “How’s the water?” The bearded stranger asked. “Good. Hot.” The stranger began to open the curtain. With a smile that could stop the rain. Mark didn’t move a muscle. “You’re going to have to be fast,” the bearded stranger whispered. “Were not allowed to do this in here.” The bearded fellow removed his clothes.

Mark didn’t know what he was about to do but the stranger took the top of Mark’s head and pushed gently down. Putting Mark on his knees. What was happening? Who was this? The stranger pulled his shorts down. Mark was clearly getting the message. Was it the heat of the water or the temperature outside that had Mark ready to oblige? He looked up at the stranger. He spared no time introducing himself to Mark. One moment of bliss and the stranger left without a word. Not as much as a thank you. That’s OK, he thought. Someone had seen him and he felt less invisible then he had felt in many years. He dried off got dressed and went down the fire to cool off. The bearded stranger wasn’t there. It’s alright, he thought. There’s always tomorrow to meet that man he’d fantasize about later that night. There’s always tomorrow for fantasies to come true…..

Part 3 The Invitation

Did I mention how beautiful he said the resort was? Who would have thought such a sweet spot was hidden along the river in Tweed? It was now his third weekend at the park and he was feeling like the Belle of the ball. Sadly, his experience with the shower guy didn’t go well at all. He was already in a relationship. With a firefighter. How was he suppose to compete with that. Mark was naive enough to spend $40 on some poppers the bearded guy told him to buy, in hopes this would solidify his status. It didn’t sadly. Got him jerked around like a dog for a few weekends. Were things beginning to spiral. This time Mark was ready to camp all on his own. After setting up he went to spend the day at the pool. Feeling calm and collected. Sipping his cocktail and reading the latest movie reviews. The pool area was always kept so lovely. Greetings from the owners always made him feel so welcome. Silly Mark, when will he learn you pay for a service? You should get service. Mark, being in that state of recovery, allowed his heart to control his head. It was then as he was drying off from the outdoor shower that he saw the most beautiful man. Even more alarming was the beautiful man saw Mark. He was the most stunning man on deck. Sultry blue eyes. A smile that could literally knock you down. And muscles! So many muscles. Mark thought “As if. There is no chance in Hell that guy saw me.  His thoughts would get him in the end. Mark stood with some guys he had met the weekend prior. A sarcastically hilarious couple. That almost professionally bent your ear. The beautiful man looked over at Mark and introduced himself. “I’m Brent.” He said quietly. Mark’s perfectly timed humor showed up right on time. “I’m in love.” He risked. “Its nice to meet you.” That evening would host the highlight of the month: a stellar drag contest. Mark was asked to be in it but it just wasn’t for him. He knew he wouldn’t miss it though. Every weekend the park put on a themed dance and event. It’s fabulous and well-received by the seasonals who help organize it. The music began and a circus of Drag Queens entertained all night. Mark’s favourite was one fellow who resembled Marylin Monroe.

He thought he was the best. The beautiful man was there. Laughing and enjoying the spectacle. Catching eyes now again with Mark. Mark found his way over to the beautiful stranger. It didn’t take long for some very enlightening small talk to ensue. The pavilion lights lowered. The show was done. It was late and everyone was more than half lit. Mark was disappointed to learn Brent wasn’t single and was camping with his man. It didn’t stop Brent from inviting Mark to join them at their fire in a half hour or so. Once everyone stumbled safely back to their camping spots. The new beautiful friend and his partner’s fire was ablaze. They were on the strip that was clothing optional and the view was hype (hype?) as they stoked the fire and poured Mark another cocktail. Brent was so attentive. His partner was pleasant but not as expressive with his feelings, so Mark had a hard time knowing whether or not he was completely welcome. Was the nakedness a sign of familiar comfort or was this a more mischievous act on their part? Mark just didn’t know but removed his shorts at their fire eventually too.

They sat by the fire. Warmed by a heat that was palpable. It was a completely unique experience Mark found himself in. The beautiful man, his partner, and Mark sat naked around the fire’s light. Talking about anything that came to mind. The cocktails flowed. It’s amazing how the night flies out in the woods when your naked, Mark thought. It was about 3 am when the boys invited Mark in to have a couple more cocktails before they went to bed. There was an odd silence after much flirting and peeking. The beautiful new friend invited Mark to the bedroom. Without his partner. Mark decided to go. Was it the cocktail that made him brave? This guy was way too hot for someone like him, he puzzled.

Marked laid down onto the bed. Brent, his new beautiful and now surprising new acquaintance, made his way with a smile most enticing, moving himself up and hovering over Mark. Then there was that kiss. That kiss just like the Faith Hill song. The most incredible kiss he had experienced he thought in his whole life. Brent was strong and tender, loving and aggressive, and it blew Mark’s mind and overwhelmed is lonely heart. Certainly no man could kiss this way with out any feeling behind it. He couldn’t imagine it. It was too much and yet not enough. Brent removed his track pants which he had put on when they went into the trailor to relax. Now they were on the bedroom floor and Mark was literally beside himself as he took Brent into his mouth. Genteel, tender, something completely new to Mark’s world. All Mark could think was is this really happening and wow what an amazing piece of gender. An hour had past in a flash and in Brent’s eyes you could see his mind going back to the living room space. His mind was on his partner and the passion Mark and Brent were exchanging came to a scratching halt. Not without another one of those incredible kisses. Would Brent ever kiss him that way again? It was too late already. Mark was completely smitten…

Part 4 Blow and Go

Mark didn’t take off his swim suit like most of the other men. The guy he met his first night was at the pool. He sure was cute too. Completely different than Brent, but gorgeous in his own way. Days fly by quickly at Riverside and dusk was upon them. Mark decided to go back to his tent. Laying quietly he heard foot steps coming towards his tent. “You there Mark?” The guy said in a whisper. It was the stranger from the showers. “Yes.” Mark replied. The zipper of the tent began to open. The strangers breathing somewhat heavy as he stood outside the tent with his cock hanging out pointing towards Mark. “We can do this here.” The stranger said. Mark didn’t know his name but somehow the stranger knew his. News travels fast in this park so it seemed. There was a pause if noise and movement. Mark didn’t want to seem rude or dismissive but he thought he should at least get the guys name. “Hey what’s your name?” “Zepplin.” He answered. Although Mark felt like he was talking to a cock. “Would you like to come in?” Mark inquired. Zepplin bent down and crawled into the tent. “I like your bear sign out there.” Mark could still see Zepplin’s head poking out the top of his bathing trunks. “Thanks.” Then the not-so-stranger asked Mark an odd question. “Can you buy me some poppers?” Mark didn’t really know how to reply. “I guess…where?” A puzzled Mark asked. “When you go back home. I’m a Dominant guy. If you want to build trust you need to do what I ask but shut up about it. This park is full of gossip.” He pull out his cock again making it very clear what was expected of this new friendship. The night was about to get very hot. Though the temperature outside was dropping. Zepplin move himself closer to Mark’s mouth. “I guess there’s not going to be a need for an answer.” Mark puzzled. The crickets were shining outside. The sound of sensation was muffling out the crickets as Mark did his best to not let his new bud down.

The next morning Mark felt really alone. The guys across the way were out cooking some bacon and eggs. That undeniable scent wafting into his tent. He didn’t feel right about last night, but he also found the whole thing rather erotic. Inevitably it left him feeling alone and used. Maybe another day at the pool would help wash away the of regret the night before. While he was at the pool he learned that Brent in fact would be coming next weekend and that helped to lift Mark’s spirits. Almost out of no where dark clouds rolled in and opened up directly above the park. “Fuck!” Mark cursed. He quickly pulled his shit together and ran down to his tent. Sitting inside he listened to the rain on its roof. His mind returning back to the reality of what he was going through with his breakup and the burden he still carried with him. He had to figure out how to close that chapter urgently. His ex had controlled every emotional and social aspect of their relationship. He even convinced Mark looking after his Aunt who was suffering from MS was Mark’s obligation, because they were a couple. Mark – despite the pulling to say no – agreed. The rest on that was history. Eight years of servitude to his Aunt. No physical attention from his ex, and debt out his asshole. Mark was broken. 13 years in a mess of a relationship and eight at the back end that made him feel more like an employee then a lover. The next morning he found himself alone in a beautiful park that in his mind had the promise of romance. He decided to make his way down to the morning coffee in the pavilion after the rain. Maybe daylight and coffee would bring some virtue.

Part 5 Sharing with Daddy

No matter how beautiful and confusing the men at the park were. Nothing compared to the anguish Mark felt when he went back to his rented room in town. The reality of his loneliness and anxiety tried to get the better of him. Like a night demon from an old Alfred Hitchcock thriller. Long nights of praying and crying that the nightmare of the ongoing saga of his break-up would soon disappear. It wasn’t going to though. That horrific ex of his was drawing this out like the extended version of Lord of the Rings. Mark lay in tears on his bed counting the minutes when he would be back in the park. Brent would be there the next time Mark went camping. He couldn’t wait. Brent was everything Mark always wanted in a man. Masculine, shaved head, tattoos, a beard and a big heart. His cock was nothing to dismiss either. He wasn’t there though. He was laying in his bed wrecking his brain around one to many personal problems.  He struggled with extreme depression and chronic anxiety and every night like clockwork the demons would return to keep him awake. Most nights he’d be up until 4 and 5 am. Tonight he had some new thoughts rolling around in his crowded head. Brent, he was amazing. He’d never seen such a beautiful man. He wasn’t perfect by any means but fuck he was lit. Mark began to unzip his pants. He told me he had fallen for him. I thought “So quickly?” But this is his story so I’ll tell it like Mark would want it. Mark pulled his dick out. His face flushed with thoughts of the first sex-capade he had with Brent. Zepplin was far from his thoughts now and he decided to text Brent. He had managed to get his number and he thought why not see if he’d be willing to share in some sexting. “Hey Brent its Mark.””Oh hey Mark. Hows it going?” Brent replied.”I’m good. Just laying in bed. Trying to get my mind off some stuff.””Oh ok. Like what?” Brent inquired.”Just some shit I’m going through.”Mark spent a good quarter of an hour texting the whole story about the evil ex and his struggle with mental health.”You will feel a lot better when all this is over. He sounds like an asshole.””That’s an insult to assholes.” Mark joked. As the conversation wound down on the ex factor, Mark and Brent found themselves talking about the park and the weekend to come. Speaking of which that’s just what they ended up doing. “Sexting is fun. Maybe we could do it again sometime?” Mark asked. “Sounds good. Now clean up and get to bed.” Brent ordered.” Sounds good Daddy. Chat tomorrow?”Brent agreed. “Huh Daddy. I like the sound of that.” Mark thought as he clicked off his bedroom light. “Goodnight Ernie.” Talking to his childhood stuffed educational figure and with that the light went out.

Part 6 Two Bears

Mark liked calling Brent Daddy so much when they met at the pool the following weekend and they hugged Mark whispered in Brent’s ear, “Nice to see you Daddy.” Brent just smiled and went off to his partner where he was soaking up some poolside sun. Mark walked down the steps of the pool and floated around, not really speaking to anyone but gazing off into the sky wondering what adventures await him. The mosaic of men with partners was palpable.

Mark was feeling alone. He watched Brent cater to his older partner like a well-rehearsed husband. “What was up with that” he thought. “I’m cute, why isn’t anyone interested in me?” Well the already taken ones seemed to be. At that moment Zepplin swam by. “You know guys are saying you offered to blow a guy in your tent this weekend. Did you? You have to be careful the gossip behind the rainbow is toxic,” Zepplin whispered. “No I did not say that or ask that of anyone!” Mark was pissed. This Zepplin guy was getting in his nerves. Then out of nowhere he asked “Did you get my poppers?” Mark answered abruptly “Yes I did.” “Ok relaxed. You’re coming on a bit strong.” Zepplin quickly turning the tables on Mark like he had done something wrong. This was suddenly not as fun as weekends before. He didn’t want that kind of attention…and who was spreading rumours about him?

Just then two bear-like men came swimming up to Mark. “How goes cutie?” They were naked and Mark was shy. “Ha I’m good thanks.” Mark finally uttered. Zepplin still wading very close by. Mark kept glancing over at Brent. He just wanted to be back in his trailor kissing him deeply as he did their first meet. “Would you like to join us at our campfire tonight after the main bonfire?” The bears asked. “Sure that would be great.” Mark didn’t want to decline in fear of looking antisocial. They were cute enough for solid dudes. What did he have to lose. After the Friday night meet and greet at the weekly bonfire, Mark made his way to the bears’ trailor. They hadn’t attended the bonfire. Mark wasn’t even sure the offer was still on the table but he went anyway. It was damn dark Mark told me as he recalled the night. He went up to the trailor but there was no fire. The one taller bear was sitting quietly by an unlit firepit. He whispered hello and Mark approached. It didn’t take long for Mark to notice his greeter had his dick in his hand. “Hey hows your night?” Mark whispered. “Really good just really horny, my better half went to bed.”

Marked finally asked where the fire was. The man responded, “In my hand.” Mark thought, “God not another blow job from the new guy. This is bullshit.” The man was cute, but he also had this broken feel about his personality. Mark remembered noting that earlier. Just then a light went on in the trailor. The man’s was up after all. He made his way to the door and invited Mark in. The man’s – Mark later learned his name was William – fire was no longer in his hand. Mark went in their trailor. He figured it would be nice to get to know some seasonals in the park. He’d start here. They chatted and played cards until the early hours of the morning. 4am came quick. It was time for bed. Mark was ready for that quiet walk back up around the hill to his tent. That’s when William extended an invite to sleep there. “There’s lots of room.” He encouraged. Mark thought it sure beat walking all the way back, especially after several drinks and feeling pretty done for the night. “You can even cuddle with us.” William’s partner, Jasper, commented as he motioned to the bed at the far end of the trailor.

Mark did love cuddling that’s for sure. He couldn’t refuse. His loneliness could use some serious pampering that night. His current relationship status was weighing heavily on his mind. This would be such a wonderful distraction. His mind then shifted to Brent. Mark wished it was him he was going to be cuddling with. He felt sad and excited at the thought. The boys all undressed and got into bed. Their naked bodies touching one another. They all whispered goodnight and drifted off to sleep. Are you nuts? Of course that didn’t happen! Jasper and William had a plan and they were about to execute it.

Part 7 Insecurity

A plan for sure. The night was filled with all kinds of horny measure. Mark was exhausted. He left the next morning feeling worse then the night before. He strolled past the little river that weaves through the park. He stood there, just gazing into the water. “I wonder if they’d even notice…” he quietly uttered. Mark snapped a photo with his phone and continued his way to his tent. The sunlight was dotted by a few clouds overhead, but the possibility of rain was ignored with rumors of Brent returning to the park today. Mark had been going crazy inside with excitement. He decided to smoke a joint which he brought by a friend’s advice. He was about to light up but just then he saw the red RAM driving up to an empty spot just beside Mark’s tent. It was Brent with his partner. Mark’s heart filled with excitement and nervousness. He hoped so much Brent would invite him over again. It was looking very promising weather-wise but there’s lots of fun to be had indoors. Who knows, maybe someday we will have to stay indoors for a long period of time. One needs to find fun things to do. They began setting up their site. Brent waved a very welcoming hello and Mark almost tripped on his unlit fire pit. “This weekend,” he thought, “will tell everything. Whether their make out session was a one time thing or something deeper.” There was a hint of a drizzle and it was much cooler. Mark wasn’t looking forward to a cold night in the tent. Brent shouted over, “You want to join us for lunch?” Mark was elated. “I’d love to, thanks. Should I bring anything?” Marked continued. “No just bring yourself and that beard of yours,” Brent flirted. Mark just smiled and sighed and decided a good shower was called for. Best to look and smell his best. The walk to the showers seemed longer then usual. The anticipation of spending time with Brent slowed the clock to a lingering on each second. Mark arrived at the showers. Zepplin was there. Should he stay or go or tell him he’s not interested? He looked so inviting there as he removed his clothes to shower. His dick just hanging there. He certainly wasn’t shy was he? “Hey what’s up?” Zepplin said. “You got me poppers?” Mark didn’t have them. Didn’t he already give them? Mark was frazzled. “No, I don’t.” He stuttered. “Ok that’s cool. Get on your knees and do what you know you want to.” Zepplin demanded. Mark walked closer and when he was in arms reach Zepplin pushed him down to his knees. “You’re going to fit in perfectly around here.”

Part 8 Oral Intensity

Mark had had about enough. He refused to get used again. Before Zepplin had a chance of putting his dick in Mark’s mouth. Mark got up from his knees and growled, “Not a chance, asshole.” He pushed a hand against Zeppelin’s shoulder and exited the showers. The shower can wait. Mark may have stood up for himself but his tears didn’t go unnoticed by Brent as Mark passed by his trailor on his way back to his lonely tent. Brent called Mark over. “Want to hang out? Terry’s at the pool.” Terry was the name of Brent’s partner. Mark could never seem to remember. Mark decided to join Brent in his trailor. It was warm and Mark was elated to be getting some alone time with this sexy Daddy. Some small talk about the weather was happening but the hormones in the room were palpable. Brent was sitting on the sofa and Mark knelt on the floor in front of him.
Massaging Brent’s feet and stroking his legs.
Then with both hands on his knees and spreading his legs apart.
Brent could feel Mark’s hand through his shorts. Mark reached the top of Brent’s zipper. Pulling it down Mark reached in and pulled out Brent’s hard dick. Mark pulled Brent forward so his ass was on the edge of the sofa.
Then Mark put his hands on Brent’s chest and gently push him backwards so Brent was almost lying down.
Mark knelt between Brent’s legs. With both hands under his ass Mark lifted Brent up so his cock tip touched his lips. Slowly he pleasured him. Caressing his unit. He lifted Brent’s butt a little higher and suddenly he felt Marks tongue push firmly against his ass. Then, with his fingers pushing deeper, Mark felt the muscles of Brent’s anus tighten. Waves of ecstasy flow through their bodies as fingers and tongue continue to work their magic. Moving up towards Brent with tongues touching their chests touch. Brent backed Mark down onto the floor now and moved into a 69 position. It took Mark’s breath away as Brent pushed deep and hard inside his throat. His balls spanking Mark’s face as Brent’s thrusts became stronger. Then eventually Mark could hear Brent’s breathing change and he knew Brent was close to finishing. Suddenly filling Mark’s throat with his hot sticky sperm. Things went quiet. Then a whisper, “That was incredible. You want to sit by the fire?” Mark smiled through his shaking body and replied. “Yes. Yes I do.”

Part 9 State of Mind

As usual the weekend came and went so quickly, but Mark’s thoughts were heavily on the happenings from the past few days. He found it extremely difficult to come back to his reality after such moments of bliss. His secret was well kept from his new friends and he feared it wouldn’t be long until his mental health issues starting showing up like an unwanted pregnancy. Every breath he took didn’t bring him peace but inner turmoil. 13 years in a miserable and abusively controlling relationship changed Mark to his core. He knew he was due for another session with his therapist because his demons would return if lost sight of his progress. The fights and control and manipulation he faced for so many torturous years would catch up to him eventually. There was no touching, no kissing, no sex. There was very little to no understanding about his anxiety and depression from his ex, and he was always getting pushed into things he was not comfortable doing. He tried to find any good thought, but just as he managed to find one it seemed like the phone would ring and his ex would tear him another asshole. His meds weren’t working. The situation with his ex boyfriend was not improving and he just wast moving on properly with his life. Nothing but the thoughts of spending another evening with Brent would keep him from doing something stupid during his downward spirals. He only knew that Brent seemed to get him. Seemed to connect with him on a level he had actually never felt in a same sex relationship before. He had only two long term relationships with guys after he ended his early years of dating females. If only he could truly find love. If only something or someone could pull him out of his bell jar. The nights were long when he wasn’t at Riverside. Crying until early hours of the morning on a daily basis. He just wanted his tent and that safe place he called “Behind the Rainbow.” His only reprieves were the texts he would receive from Brent faithfully every day. He couldn’t believe it. No one ever showed him that kind of kindness before. Certainly not since his teen love Grace when he was only 18. He longed to be straight or eighteen or anything else then what lead him to the place he found himself now. Those texts. They were like glasses of red wine to a drunk. Intoxicating and addictive. He punched his pillow. The pain of his lack of wellness was strong this night. Thank God for the daily check-in by Brent. His self loathing could wait.

Part 10 An Unfortunate Text

Mark was back at Riverside. He was pumped. This Saturday night was the White Party. A perfect excuse to pull out his white leather gear and leather face mask. He wanted so much to be the Belle of the Ball. It was going to be his last weekend in the park. The summer was closing in and he had one more shot at hopefully meeting someone single. He was torn. Brent was already spoken for and being a third was not really what he had in mind. Dusk was falling in the campground and it was time to pull himself together. Strangely, his depression and anxiety had followed him to the camp but he was going to do his best to wear a brave face. A lot easier with his leather mask in place. He could hear the music from across the park. It was now or never. He grabbed his booze of pre-mixed Caesars, and made his way to the dance. As he walked past the other campers there was an empty space where Brent’s RV normally is. He didn’t come this weekend. Mark was really disappointed. He had rented the small cottage this time and he wanted to share the experience with him. As he walked up to the pavilion there were many he had come to know quite well from all his visits to the park. There were some fresh faces too which was encouraging. Oddly, the ones he had become physically knowledgeable of didn’t bother giving him the time of day, and Mark stood alone in the corner while the other fellows danced on. Mark, now into his 4th Caesar, got the nerve to say fuck it and got his ass on the dance floor. Someone handed him a joint. He took a big strong haul from it. Yes, he thought, now this is a party. One thing was true about Mark, he could dance like a son of a bitch and this brought the boys around. He found himself in a circle of beautiful half naked men. Was this going to be his night? Where the Hell was Brent this weekend. Down went another Caesar. The music was pumping. It was disco night. Which wasn’t all that surprising with where he was. The gays love their disco vibes. The place was quickly becoming a disco inferno between the hot weather and the smoking hot guys. That guy handed him a joint again. He took another deep hit. Closing his eyes he pictured Brent. The beautiful man he is. The tenderness of his heart. Mark felt his phone vibrate. Was it Brent with another flirtatious text? It was Brent.

Mark went off the dance floor and opened up his messages. “Mark, I know I need to step back. As much as we do have fun, and do support each other with our life-struggles, the relationship has become too much for me. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel smothered. The friendship has too many constraints and expectations. Me having to ensure I say specific things at “bedtime” or even have to ensure I say goodnight, at all, is unrealistic for me. I know you are in love with me, and that may be what is expected if we were a couple, but we are not. I have a partner, and he has repeatedly voiced his opinion on the matter. It does not sit well with him. He feels you are “pushy,” and I know it makes him view you as a threat. He is of the utmost importance to me, and always will be. When you have angered me, he knows I’m upset, and he puts the cause squarely on you. Energy I expelled agonizing over something I may or may not have said or done, concerning you, takes away from my relationship with him because during those moments you are occupying my thoughts, and that is wrong. Friendship is supposed to be a mutual give and take, but I don’t feel that it is. I want to say and/or do things with friends because I want to. I don’t want to out of a feeling of obligation. That is what I feel it is between you and I. Me just having to sit and think about what I’m writing means, at least to me, that this is not a good relationship for me. In the end, though it may be harsh, it must be this way for my own sake.” Mark’s phone fell to the ground and his heart pounded like thunder. The world was suddenly in slow motion and the mental anguish was too real. Marked smashed his empty bottle of ceaser onto the ground and began to fun as though he was on fire. Where was he running? No one seemed to notice.

Conclusion The Darkness


Mark ran off into the woods. He was drunk. He was high. He was distraught. Not a great combination for someone already on the edge from his ongoing mental health issues. The sound of the dance was not far off. It was pitch black in the woods. Sounds of guys fooling around in the bush could be heard over the music. The text he read from Brent was brutal. He asked himself if he had caused this on himself. Why was he always getting the dry end if the stick. He was dizzy. He was crying. He was intoxicated by alcohol and sorrow. Then hands began to touch him in the dark. He lost count at four. He dare not turn his phone on in fear of breaking the dark and exposing the hands’ owners. Someone unzipped his fly. Hands pulled his pants down. This wasn’t what Mark had in mind when he ran into the woods. Mark spoke out. “No guys. I’m not looking for…” he was pushed to the ground. “No!” He yelled, forcing himself up and shoving the bodies of naked men away. One said “What the fuck?” Another barked “What’s wrong with you?” Mark ran off towards the river. Still crying, pants down around his ankles. He ran past the pavilion, unsure if anyone even noticed. The only light were the stars and even most if them had there eyes covered tonight. The thunder roared and the rain began to fall. Mark dropped himself at the riverside and punched at the wet ground. Fuck fuck fuck. Why? Why did he do it. Why did he throw me away. Just because I love him doesn’t make me a fucking bad person. Just then someone touched his shoulder. “Are you OK?” There was a deafening pause. “No not really,” Mark answered. “Looks like your having a hell of a night,” the stranger continued. “Want to get out of the rain?” “Yes,” Mark responded wearily. “Come to my tent. Don’t worry I’ve got no motive here. Just want to give you a hand.” He helped Mark to his feet and though Mark struggled to stand because of intoxication they managed to get to the tent of the stranger. “May I help you with your wet close?” “Ya sure why not,” Mark slurs. “OK I’ve got some warm PJs you can put on.” “I don’t need any PJs. I’m not a wimp. I don’t get cold. I can camp.” Mark slurred some more. “OK well your shivering, let’s get our wet shit off and cuddle at least and keep each other warm. Would that be OK?” “Ya. I’m not a slut you know,” Mark barked. “Ya that’s OK. I’m a slut but I’ll try to behave myself tonight.” Marked laughed at the stranger’s comment. “You’re sexy,”Mark announced. “Well thanks. Apparently it’s the beard and the tats. ” The stranger joked. “Ya they’re all hot,” Mark flirted. “OK lets cuddle,” said the stranger. The sexy guy helped Mark into the mock bed on the ground and Mark wasted no time laying his spinning head onto the chest of this kind and sexy fellow. Not a word was spoken. Not a virtue stolen. Just two guys drifting off to sleep.
The warm body next to Mark was not enough to keep him comforted. In his drunken state he quietly got up from his cuddle buddy, making sure not to wake him. Mark was still too distraught by the text and the unwelcome advances in the woods. His mind was flushed with every reason to feel unwanted, unlovable, unlivable. He staggered as quietly as he could. Once out of the tent, the darkness and the sounds of the night haunted his thoughts. “Why am I here?” He whispered. This isn’t how things were to be. Is this my fault? This is my fault. Just then he noticed Brent’s RV now parked in its typical spot. He was back. Mark’s heart sank recalling the text message he had received from Brent an hour or so before. He wasn’t actually sure of the time but he knew it was late. The dance was long over. The campground was quiet. Mark felt utterly alone. He stood outside Brent’s trailor and, quietly talking to himself, he whispered. “You hurt me so bad. More then any hurt. You were my friend. My friend.” His words caused him to begin crying. He walked up to the trailor and noticed a cooler. “Beer. Yes I think I will, thank you.” He spoke to himself as though he were the Belle of the Ball and Brent was offering him a drink. He wanted to leave a note. Where was he going to get a pen? There was no pen he concluded. Blood would do. Mark pricked his finger with a sharp twig he found on the ground beside him. Newspaper Brent was using for kindling was perfect. Mark began to write. “Brent, ya so I got drunk. I thought he would help me forget about you but I can’t. I did fall in love with you. Does this make me a bad person? I got drunk hoping I’d forget the evil that was this year for me. I know what I need to do. I just know.” Signed Mark. He set a rock on it so it wouldn’t blow away. He hadn’t been able to stop crying. He drank down his beer like water. “Fuck you. You broke my heart.” He cursed. Then we wandered off down towards the river. The walk seemed to take forever in the dark and if anyone was awake surely they would have heard Mark swearing along his journey down to the river, but no one interrupted. Maybe no one heard. Mark stood back at the riverside where he was hours before, crying, hitting the ground. He began to remove his clothes. His pajama top first then his shoes. Lastly he pulled down his bottoms and stood naked at the riverside. He turned around and looked at the darkness that was the park. He breathed in deeply, turned to the river and stepped forward. The water was cool. The current was inviting. “I know what I have to do.” The next morning, several campers passed the river and noticed the clothes laying damp by the side of the river. Know one seemed to know who owned them. It was not until that Sunday around lunch when Mark, not having his tent packed to leave that the owners grew concerned. Brent came to the office with the note he found on his picnic table. What happened? Where was Mark? He was never heard from again and the body was never recovered from the river. It was rumored a naked person was seen walking through a town nearby but no arrests were made and there was no one to witness what the old man from the town said he saw. No one ever knew what happened to Mark. Did anyone even care? One thing I can tell you for sure he will never again travel Behind the Rainbow. He always told me he liked Riverside. I’m certain the place will be forever haunted by his memory. I know I am. I should have never written that text.

The End….

Author Bruce Christopher

Editor Martin Rye

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Summer Solstice

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Wine with Erik Fleming

Alba Vega Albariño
Hey everyone! I got a Spanish wine this time!! Yay! This is perfect for the hot weather! This wine comes from the Rias Baixas region which is very popular for their white wine and is where 99% of Spain’s white wines are produced!

The Alba Vega Albariño is a great expression of the region’s style and characteristics and priced at $16 it’s a really great value! On the nose the wine offers aromas of lemon zest, lime and melon with subtle mineral notes. The wine is dry with a tart acidity making it feel light and vibrant!

Enjoy with light seafood like calamari or on its own! It’s a very good friendly wine so don’t be scared to explore it with other foods!

Thanks for reading!

Erik Fleming

Edited by Martin Rye

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Pride

pride month 2020
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