Part 155

"Anyway," Pop continued, "now that you've done such a wonderful job with my yard, I'm going to get some garden furniture, and a barbecue."

"Cool! Then you can invite your friends around. Hang!… you said you don't have any friends."

"I do now."

"How come you're such a grumpy old dude, yet you dig me?"

"How come you only have one friend who's a grumpy old dude?"

"Yeah," I laughed. "Weird, huh? Anyway, you're gonna have to get a pool."

"There's already one there. I had it filled with earth. See that corner where all those shrubs and bushes are growing? There's a pool under all that stuff."

"Teen Muscle can fix that, no probs."

"Sounds expensive."

"Nah, many hands make light work and all that shit. You wanna do it?"

"I'd never use it."

"But we would."


"Yeah, why not? It'd be cool to have a place where we could hang… the guys and me… and kinda do our thing with no adults around. No offence, Pop, but it's not like you're an adult… well, not like other adults."

"Don't be too sure about that, young fella. No drugs, no drunkeness, no entertaining the entire neighborhood with one of those boom music things."

"Boom box. Nah, we're pretty civilized, Pop. Whaddaya say?"

"What would your parents think?"

"Do they need to know?"


"OK, how about this? We do a great job on your yard, with the pool and everything, then we invite all our folks around for a celebration party to show them what a way cool job we've done. Then everyone's folks can meet you and get to know you. After that, it'll be cool if we visit again... without our folks."

"Well…" Pop took a sip of beer and pondered my suggestion for a moment. "Let's take it one step at a time. And how can you be sure your friends will like me? Or if I'll like them?"

"Don't worry about it, Pop. Leave it all to me. Never fear! Daniel is here!"

"And to think it was only a week or so ago that I was leading a nice, quiet, uncomplicated… what are you doing?"

"I need to piss." I walked a few paces, turned side-on to Pop, lifted my semi, then sent a powerful stream of piss several feet into the air before it plummeted to the lawn. "You were saying?"

"Do all your friends behave like you do?"

"Pretty much."

It was about 5pm when I'd finished the day's work, and entered Pop's comp room. "OK if I use your shower?"

Pop turned from the screen and eyed my sweating bod up and down. "You look as though you've been on a war movie set, except soldiers normally wear clothes."

"Maybe if they didn't, there wouldn't be any wars," I cracked, then raised my arms and sniffed my pits. "Especially if they all smelled as bad as I do right now."

"By all means, use the shower. And my deodorant, if you want."

"You wanna watch?"

"Stop that!"

"Chill, Pop. Just teasing."

As I soaped myself under the warm water, I wondered how I'd feel if Pop was in the room watching me. It wouldn't have worried me, but I figured it'd sure worry the fuck outa him. Getting Pop to chill was almost as difficult as getting Jason to chill, but for very different reasons.

"There ya go, Pop," I announced as I returned to the comp room. "Check it out."

"I wonder if you realize just how incredibly beautiful you are."

"Beautiful? Hey, gimme a fucking break, Pop. Beautiful is for chicks! Did I tell you I work out with a chest expander? Check this out, man!" I began to flex my biceps and lats, and puff out my chest. "Pretty awesome, huh?"

"So, so."

"Yeah, right, Pop. You should see your fucking eyes, man. They're on fucking springs. Hey, you wanna feel my bicep?" I leaned forward, so that my bicep was within reach of Pop's hand. "Go on, feel it."

Pop resisted for a moment, then placed his fingers on top, and his thumb below. "My God! It's like iron!"

"And this!"

Pop's hand ran the full length of my lat, from just below my pit to just above my hip. "I had no idea there was such power in…" His voice trailed off.

"What's the matter, Pop? Embarrassed?"

"I really shouldn't be doing this."

"You wanna feel my pecs?"

"There's an envelope on my dresser… your pay… $100."

"What have you been writing?"

"Just the usual."

"Can I read it?"

"I really don't think… oh, what the hell. Dammit. You're far more outrageous than anything I could ever write about, anyway."

"Cool. I'll give it the boner test." I put one hand on Pop's shoulder, then leaned forward so that I could read the screen. A couple of paragraphs later, my boner was at full attention, the whole, rock-hard, seven inches of it. "Hey, Pop! This is totally rad!" Then I looked at his face to see that his eyes were riveted to my hard meat. "So there ya go, Pop. Your story has passed the boner test. Pretty cool, huh?"

"In all seriousness, Daniel, I don't understand how my words… I mean, all I'm describing is the stuff you already do. How on earth…?"

"It's the way you write, Pop. Anyway, you haven't seen my boner before. Whaddaya think?"

"It's like everything else about you, Daniel… awesome. What can I say?"

"That'll do. Y'know something, Pop? I came around here this morning feeling like shit 'cause Jason had called me a fucking weirdo. And now I'm feeling cool again. I really don't deserve the money in the envelope."

"Yes you do. You've earned every cent… and more. As for Jason's and my opinions of you, they shouldn't really matter. It's your opinion of yourself that matters most."

"That's easy to say, Pop. I'm a teen. I haven't been around long enough to know who I really am."

"Then allow me to give you my version. You're without doubt the most natural person I've ever met in my life…"

"And the hunkiest," I laughed, causing my boner to bounce, and the old dude's eyes to boggle once more.

"And the most egotistical."

"You really think so?"

"No, not really," he answered with a smile, still talking to my dick instead of me. "Sure, you have an ego, and you love to show off, but your ego is pretty fragile. It doesn't take much to dent it, or even shatter it, which all goes to prove that your veneer of bravado is just that… a veneer. Underneath all that chest-puffing and swaggering, you're just as vulnerable as the rest of us."

"Is that a good thing? And, by the way, I'm up here."

"Sorry," he blushed, raising his eyes to mine. "Yes, I think so… so long as your basic self-esteem remains intact."

"How come I make you so damn nervous?"

"I think it's me who makes myself nervous. I'm a pedestal builder, but I build them for other people, not for myself. I suppose you could say that I'm in awe of you."

"Hey, I'm just a guy."

"Are you?"

"You make me think that maybe there's something wrong with your own self-esteem."

"There was… before you came along."

"So how come you still get nervous?"

"If you were a writer, and you wrote about the most incredible characters, never expecting one of them to materialize, never expecting to actually meet one of them, or anybody like them, in real life, and then… well, I think you know what I mean."

"I'm that awesome?"


"That's kinda weird, 'cause that's how I feel about my buds, like they're totally awesome. I look at Paul or Greg or Jason or Dick or whoever and think, whoa! He's a god!"

"Are you less awesome?"

"I guess not. You have a way of making me think about stuff, Pop. Do you really figure my buds think I'm as awesome as I think they are?"

"You'd know that better than I, Daniel. But from what you tell me about them, I'd say you and your friends were all on an equal footing."

"So how come I make you nervous?"

"We're back to that again, are we? Well, let me put it this way. If you and I were to swap places right now, and I was doing to you… trying to do to you… what you're doing to me, I have a feeling that I'd fail miserably. In fact, I'm sure you'd puke."

"OK, so you work in the garden, and I write the stories. Yeah, right. The garden would be back to looking like a fucking jungle, and the stories would be a total fuck up. What's all this shit about swapping places? Why should we? What's all this shit about me being better than you? That's all crap, Pop. You're trying to compare things that shouldn't be compared."

"You're right, of course."

"And lemme tell you something else…"

"Do I have a choice?"

"No! You think I haven't put you on a pedestal? You think I don't look up to you? OK, I tease you, and I pissed on the lawn knowing that you'd be totally fucking bug-eyed, but, hey, you’re cooler than you think you are, Pop. You should take some of your own fucking medicine. We're not meant to be the same, you and me. We're meant to be different, and that's what's so damn cool about it."


"Sure. Why not? Hey, I get to check out what's up your towel," I cracked.

"I don’t think you'd be very impressed."

"OK, but there's a whole bunch of other stuff about you that I'm impressed with. Jeez, Pop!"

"OK, OK, OK. I get your drift. So what's gonna happen? You're gonna tease me, and I'm gonna shrug like it's no biggie? You're gonna piss on my lawn or in my sink and it's like ho-hum? You're gonna parade your goddam awesome bod around and get boners and I'm like too busy to notice? Is that it?"

"No," I said thoughtfully. "I like you the way you are, Pop. I dig it when you freak. Are you gonna stop freaking whenever I do rad stuff?"



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 Daniel's Diary Part 156