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About RichEisbrouch

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  1. Chapter 10

    Saturday, May 22, 1999 There seemed a strange disconnect between me asking, "What's the best restaurant in town?" and people answering. This was repeated in Forks, at breakfast, with Tom's easy question, "Do you have any fresh fruit?" The waitress paused for a moment, then seeming genuinely confused, replied, "Is watermelon a fruit?" Now normally, I don't eat eggs. I just don't like them. But it seemed dumb to order cold cereal, my usual, on a trip around the country. So starting in Morro Bay, for comparison, my standard breakfast became a large glass of orange juice, a couple of scrambled eggs, and whatever local potatoes, bread, and fruit the area favored. That started off fine, though by Forks I'd lost my courage. Instead, I scanned the menu for anything tangentially healthy, settling on a double order of oatmeal with raisins and, by default, whole milk. I could have asked for 2%. They might have had it. But a friend of mine, traveling on business, recently trapped himself in a mobius vaudeville routine. Asked if he wanted cream in his coffee, he routinely replied, "Half and Half." "Half and half what?" the waitress asked. "Half and Half." "Yes, but half and half what?" So why risk baffling a woman already in trouble identifying fruit? Tom had copy-catted my order, adding his usual cup of bad coffee. He didn't want it that way, of course; it just appeared, Starbucks being not nearly as pervasive as one might hope. While we slowly waited---Tom predicting they were planting, harvesting, and personally grinding our oats ---I investigated some local kindergarten art on the restaurant wall. I could recognize the snails all right: light brown paper, coiled, with added eyes and antennas. And I could pick out the clever strip of Saran Wrap slime. I could even understand how the kids had dipped ferns in bright green paint, then pressed their patterns onto the construction paper. But what was the slightly darker green splotch that appeared in every drawing? And the orange one? And the dreaded deep brown smear? A woman also waiting for her infinitely-delayed meal surveyed the art with me. "The dark green is cedar leaves," she finally announced. "Lots of them, local." That made sense, and we shifted to decoding the brown thing. Tom soon joined us. "It's a pine cone," he eventually bet. "Look, here's an indentation." We weighed. We agreed. Then focused on the orange: Too early for autumn leaves. Too round for carrots. Definitely the wrong scale for pumpkins. "There's just some things we'll never know," the woman laughed. Then, frowning at her still-empty table, she grabbed a free local paper---no wonder they were on the counter---and headed for the Ladies. My finally-arriving oatmeal was just okay. The best part though was, after eating it, for the first time in several mornings, I didn't have to scrub slippery hash browns grease off my teeth. We also passed on taking a leftover biscuit for the dog, which Tom had started doing in Mendocino. He'd meant it for himself, but the dog had found it under the front seat and seemingly swallowed it whole. The next day Tom hid another roll in the same place, wondering how long it would take the dog to discover. Only this time the napkin disappeared, too. A bright green napkin. We kept waiting all day for the dog to make it reappear. But we lucked out, because, last night, we found the damned thing intact, stashed under the mutt's blanket. Seems she could play Hide 'n' Seek, too. Pulling out of Forks, which is different from pulling forks out---how do people live in this pun prone paradise?---we found the local high school kids were having a Dog Wash. "Kind of desperate," I joked. "But maybe people here don't wash their cars." "Wish I'd known that while we were eating," Tom surprised me by saying, clearly unastonished by the canine goings-on. Likely what happens when you're raised in Tucson. Still, it's not like he needed to imagine his pet frolicking with wet cheerleaders just to ease down his gruel. He was simply trying to use her truck-time well. Making our way toward Port Angeles and the Vancouver ferry, we slowly twisted by graceful Crescent Lake, fifteen elegant miles of clear water, picturesque rocks, and perfect pines. "This is why I came to Washington," Tom kept repeating. And if I had a way to support myself in the woods, I would have bought one of the understated cottages. Though the ferry freaked the dog out: First, the vibrating deck. Next, simply crossing water. Poking strangers didn't help, either: Boys seemed unable to pass without scratching her ears. Girls, cooed "Hi, baby" in ways the boys would have killed to hear. And if Tom or I even inched from her side, she tried to herd us. "It's being half-border collie," Tom explained. "She probably thinks she's been sent on this awful trip just to track us." I laughed. "Is she really that unhappy?" He considered. "She'll get over it." Meanwhile, we stared at the Olympic Mountains: snow-topped above, though blue below, blending into the water. They almost seem to float, unmoored, like Valhalla. We weren't the only ones gawking: the boat was jammed, with every ex-pat Canadian seeming to be headed home. Turned out, it was a three-day holiday. "Lucky we made the ferry," Tom mentioned. "Next one leaves in late afternoon." Our guides hadn't warned us. As we docked, Victoria---the next port---seemed inviting, and it might have been great to explore. But, as with San Francisco and Seattle, that would have taken more time than we had, and this wasn't the city tour. Another trip perhaps, traveling by plane. There were also several large, high school bands on board, presumably heading for the Victoria Day parade. I could only imagine the traffic. So we slipped onto the bulk of Vancouver Island, planning to drive its several-hundred mile coast. We even considered taking another ferry from its north end, then driving the mainland highway back through British Columbia. That could add a week I judged, studying maps, and though our books also warned we'd need "early reservations," for an hour we discussed it. Which hardly stopped us from pausing for sights, some of the most amazing we'd seen: Interlocking green islands in the Strait of Georgia; The snowy Cascade chain anchored by Mt. Garibaldi. I tried not to take pictures, again knowing they'd barely match the panoramas. Our camera was just too small. We ended in Courtenay, surprisingly suburban along with its neighbors---one restaurant even had a sign reading No Cell Phones, not that we'd seen one for days. Our motel was in bunkhouse disrepair, though clean, and the boyish manager boasted he knew a "great place for dinner." "It just opened," his as-young wife cheerfully agreed. "So it has to be good." Wrong. They even managed to ruin iced tea. And I won't---can't---describe what they did to my steak. Still, across the back of our check, the chipper waitress had scribbled, "Hey! Welcome to B.C.!" I would have preferred something a bit more A.D. 218 miles
  2. Chapter 9

    Friday, May 21, 1999 Even with motel reservations, we'd been rushing the ends of the last three days, not our plan at all. But Mendocino had spooked us---we didn't want to be stuck again in the clone of that Ft. Bragg shanty. (Yeah, yeah: Motel 6 is a palace.) And yeah, again, the dog could always sleep in the truck. But Tom didn't really want that, and we were heading up the rural coast of Washington, home to few motel chains. So we went back to drifting---sort of. Over plastic breakfast---again the recommendation of some vinyl moteleer---we estimated where we'd be in two hundred miles. (That's what we had to average every day, I figured: seven weeks being forty-nine days; forty-nine times two hundred being roughly ten thousand miles.) Two hundred miles north of breakfast was Forks, where the dog guide reassuringly listed eight pet-lovin' motels. Including the Hoh Humm Ranch and the Westward Hoh Resort. (Both, I trusted, were on the River Hoh. Otherwise, those people had some explaining to do). One place was even Big Foot friendly. Woodman humor. There seemed little else near Forks, just this clump of rooms with the last hot, running water for hikers and lumberfolk. But since the parks weren't open yet for the season, we seemed safe without reservations. After reluctantly paying for breakfast, we leaned into the ocean wind on Seaside's mile-and-a-half-long concrete Promenade, built in 1920 for just under two-hundred grand (got to stop reading those plaques). Dead in the middle was Lewis and Clark's End-of-the-Trail Monument, the sun-crisped explorers bravely facing the surf with a numbed "Are we there yet?" glaze. I could only imagine what the area looked like when they first saw it. But I'll bet the food was better. In nearby Astoria, having already seen the bronzed pioneers, we skipped their museum. I'm sure it was full of spiffy maps and snazzy pelts, but we had a suitcase full of atlases, and if the dog tried chewing my baseball cap the way she'd just mauled Tom's, she'd soon be a pelt. Tom insisted she was just punishing us for leaving her in the---clearly well-ventilated---truck, while we went off to be battered by pancakes. But I think she knew what leftovers we were bringing, and figured the cap tasted better. Crossing the long bridge to Washington, Tom asked, "What's that?" again somehow thinking I'd know. "The Columbia River," I replied, just spotting the sign. "All of it?" "Yeah." "You're sure?" "Yeah." "It's just so... big." That's what happens when you live in L.A.---where mighty rivers trickle in concrete. Though reaching Washington gave us a new opportunity to take pictures of the frowning dog in front of a Welcome sign. And since we'd crossed an entire state in slightly over a day, Tom felt we were really Seeing America. North of Astoria came the Willapa Hills. Then Willapa Bay and the Willapa River. Not a land of imagination. Another sign indicated an Historic Courthouse in South Bend, but my rule---after chasing similar signs meant to mislead tourists and, perhaps, foreign militia---is if it's not On The Road, we don't stop. Otherwise, we drive on and on, full of elastic curiosity, finally seeing nothing. But the Pacific County Courthouse was right in front of us, and a kick. Built in 1910, overbudget at a measly hundred-and-thirty grand, it was nicknamed by those-who-were-taxed "The Gilded Palace of Extravagance." (They couldn't guess nothin' about Prada stilettos.) And that was without its interior marble columns. These were faked in wood, and later glazed by a multi-talented prison inmate. Early faux corruption. The best thing about the courthouse was its stained glass dome, which twenty years ago cost a hundred-and-forty grand just to restore. The next best thing was how this nationally-registered Taj Mahal-ette came to be built in a farm town. Even one once exalted as The Baltimore of the Pacific. It seems at the end of the nineteenth century, several local villages were jousting for the title of county seat, each feeling it had the brownest cows and most beautiful maidens. So they had a contest, which is to say election, and South Bend won. But the losers, feeling the election results, if not the maidens, were padded, refused to give in. (This sounds strangely familiar.) In response, the citizens of South Bend midnight-snatched the county records, and quickly erected a building so expensive the local government could never afford to move its seat again. Democracy in America. But I'm glad they did it, as it also gave us a chance to walk the dog in a sweet little Japanese garden, probably not intended for that purpose. North of South Bend, Aberdeen offered its own Historic Seaport, which, sadly, turned out to be a three-block tourist mall. Though it did give the dog a chance to chase a bird. And neighboring Hoquiam lured folks to its Historic Castle---just a big, old house, that day closed for renovations. There, the dog chased a bee. Then came the lumbering forests, clearly raw to public relations. Each section bore a servile billboard indicating when these particular acres had last been cut. And how rapidly the trees had been replanted. And how distantly in the future---dozens and dozens of years---they'd be "thinned" again. Nothing like taking condemnation personally. But I could see the city folks' point of view: clear-cut fields were gross no matter how reassuring their press. And clear-cutting doesn't leave a Disneyfied glen. You get huge upturned roots, bulldozed to rot to fertilizer. Where were those banana slugs when you need them? Forks was, well, Forks: a half-mile stretch of worker huts and laundromats. Our motel room was out of the forties, and rancidly pink. And there was a mystery shrine in the garden. We had dinner in what the friendly motel owner assured us was the best restaurant in town. She needs to get out more. 214 miles
  3. Chapter 8

    Thursday, May 20, 1999 Why do we do things? You can ask Freud if you wanna dig him up, or you can work out the answer: I wanted to see Coos Bay because there was a neat restaurant near where I lived called the Coos Bay Cafe. It always sounded rock-bound. Which Coos Bay wasn't. Dinner, in a dark Italian place, had been dense, oversauced meat balls. Breakfast, in a retro diner, was nuked hash browns. Where was that great home cooking? Still, we might have stopped anyway: even before reaching the town we'd seen signs announcing the House Of Myrtlewood. "What's that?" Tom asked, somehow thinking I'd know. I consulted our guides---without help. "'Another tourist attraction," I guessed, slipping the books back under my seat. "We should go." "Why?" He didn't know. But his instincts were often good. The billboards also advertised Free Video Introduction and Tour of Our Plant, so it didn't seem we'd lose our clothes or find the dog trimmed into a poodle. When we got there it turned out they made bowls. Bowls? Also boxes. And spoons. "Myrtlewood only grows in two places," the helpful video told us, the sole occupants in a room seating maybe a dozen. "Western Oregon and The Holy Land." Oh, god---a holy roller hard-sell? Nope, just coincidence. Their "plant," it turned out, was no larger than an L.A. four-car garage. The reason: the business was tiny. Myrtlewood trees can't be "harvested"---their word---till they're a hundred years old. After that, the wood is dense enough for finishing, and most of the items were made by hand. By women, it turned out, though not for any mystic menstrual reasons: they simply work cheaper. (There's a surprise.) And who else would spend their lives carving flatware? Though because the wood is so old, and in limited supply, of course it costs extra. A salad spoon you'd buy in K-Mart for a buck, here retailed for fifteen. "But it lasts your whole life," cheered a saleswoman. Great. A spoon that trails me through senility. "And they feel so nice." Tom was already stroking one. "I could get some for my mother," he proposed. "They smell nice, too," the saleswoman added. But she was just suckering me to put a spoon up to my nose. Moments later, as I glared at a velvet-lined collection plate you'd need a congregation to fund, a guy next to me started laughing. Then he explained. "A buddy of mine told me about this stuff. He does woodworking---you know, weekend junk. Birdhouses. But he saw a myrtlewood putter and figured he could make one cheaper." I'd already passed its mate on a shelf. Priced higher than a Porsche. "Anyway, he hunted down a mill, thinking that'd be cheaper than a lumberyard. And there was a stack of these planks---maybe eight-feet long, a foot-wide, couple inches thick. My friend said he take 'em. The owner said, 'Nope, already sold.' Turns out, for five grand each." They were destined to become a countertop in some hot Frisco bistro. One this guy and I doubted we could ever afford. Still, before we left, Tom did buy his mom some spoons. I got fudge. Then we headed up-coast. And if the drive from the California border had been almost empty, from Coos Bay north, it was Summerhomes! And all that went with them: Shops selling presents for people visiting friends, and stands peddling even cheaper junk you could take home as souvenirs. The clustered towns seemed mainly separated by knots of signs, warning of bicycles, children, and crossing swimmers. Some villages seemed planned. Others, more spontaneous than mold. The speed limit was posted at fifty-five, but we weren't topping thirty steadily, and it wasn't even summer. One nice thing about Oregon though: you're can't pump your own gas. The first time it happened, I thought someone was being extra friendly. Then I found out it was The Law---the only state besides New Jersey with that legislation. "Why?" I asked the pump boy. He shrugged. Polite, but still a pump boy. "Maybe so your hands don't get smelly." Right. Just outside Lincoln City, we passed the 45th parallel, halfway between the North Pole and the Equator. "We should've taken a picture," Tom said. "We can go back." He considered. "Nah." Though I did shoot a Tsunami warning sign. "What's a Tsunami?" he wondered. (Me, who can't tell sushi from sheboygan.) "A big wave?" I risked. "One that wipes out the world after nuclear attacks? Or maybe an undersea volcano?" "They have those here?" "Hey, I'm just visiting." We decided not to worry, instead distracting ourselves laughing at local signs: Lost Road (No Outlet). No Name Road. Dog Town. Lois Lane. Entering Sappho. But my favorite was Kids For Sale. Reaching Seaside, where we planned to stay, we were stunned by the Motel 6: A room large enough to play hockey. A couch. Coffee table. Writing desk. Refrigerator---admittedly, half-sized. Even a microwave, and unbolted-down wall art. "Was this place kidnapped from another chain?" I asked the clerk. Nope, Motel 6 had gone franchise. "There are some things you have to put in," she explained. "After that, you can add extras. As long as you don't price yourselves out of the market. Or give the chain a bad name.." Was that possible? "How's business?" I quizzed. "Terrific." She smiled. "There's no competition." Not much for restaurants either: at the woman's suggestion we tried the newly-built place right next door. It looked rustic, and we figured at least we could walk to indigestion. "Why is it," I soon asked Tom---as I played with, rather than ate, my food---"that it's so much harder to make dinner than to design a restaurant?" Because you only have to decorate once. 226 miles
  4. Chapter 7

    Wednesday, May 19, 1999 This morning we doubled back again. To see Ferndale. Honest. Flaunted on billboards as both The Victorian Village and The Westernmost City in the Continental U.S. (They must've been really pissed when Alaska joined the Union---no one wants an asterisk in their Book of World Records.) We'd also heard about them in Mendocino---as the only other California town entirely landmarked. I figured we'd have an English breakfast---tea and something chalky---in some overly fussy cafe, get that out of our system, and continue north. (Though we'd have to stop reversing ourselves each morning, or we'd never see the U.S.A). Still, after we parked in the little pastel village, and I asked for a good place to eat---Tom was walking the dog---all I got was stares. "Well, there is the Greek's," a woman in the supermarket finally offered. It didn't sound Victorian, and she didn't say if it was any good. "And Curly's," her bagger added. "But they only serve breakfast on weekends." It was Wednesday. "There's the Inn," a customer suggested. "Did that open?" asked the bagger. That started a conversation that ended with all three women staring across the street through the plate glass window. Towards a heavily-decorated building that could've been there since Prince Albert was in kilts. At that point another woman joined them. "I just heard it opened myself," she put in. "This morning." "It opened this morning?" "No, I heard it this morning. It opened Sunday." "It's supposed to be good," the first woman told me. Though I wondered how she knew, since moments earlier, she couldn't remember the place existed. But as that seemed like the best recommendation we were gonna get, Tom and I soon found ourselves sitting in what clearly once had been a bar. Now, it was freshly neutered for family dining, though its high ceiling retained an eccentric, chain-driven palm fan. Remnant, no doubt, of those happy days when Californians could still smoke. I asked our waitress about the contraption, figuring it historic. "I'll have to find out," she replied. "Everything's so new we're still getting use to the menus." A minute later one of the co-owners came by. "Nothing's original," she laughed. "Not even the bar." (Tall, mahogany, with proper brass fittings.) "It was all remodeled twenty years ago---to look older." The Cheers mentality. "What are those domes in the ceiling?" I asked. Semi-circular, white plastic eggs: they looked alien against the pressed tin. Tom had guessed air conditioning vents. I thought spy cams. "Disco speakers," the woman grinned. "We have to get rid of them. But first we need customers." There were only a few other people, mainly older, in a room that might seat forty. But tourist season hadn't yet begun. Breakfast was cute, maybe more whimsical on paper than on our plates. Afterwards, though we didn't need to, we walked it off on the three-block main street, first springing the dog from her backseat prison. She made straight for a sidewalk tree, claiming it as her own. The shops were a mixture of practical---for people who lived in town---and loony---for us passing through. Most stores welcomed the mutt, not even letting Tom tie her outside. Except the tiny post office, sporting a huge sign, NO DOGS. "Someone got bit," Tom mumbled. The most interesting gallery was Hobart Brown's, founder of The Annual World Famous Kinetic Sculpture Race---which I'd never heard of. "It's over twenty years old," the manager back-filled. "Got started accidentally, at the Fourth of July parade. With three, kind of haphazard vehicle/sculptures, driven by human power." He pronounced the "slash." We saw some of them later, in the town museum. We could even have met Hobart Brown, his studio being over the gallery and the manager assuring us, "He loves interruptions." But I have friends who are artists, and know how they can talk. And I wanted to get out of Ferndale before the next parade. Still, we almost got lost in The Golden Gate Mercantile. Like the Inn, the general store looked like it had always been there. But the owner said, "No, only twenty-seven years. Why? You interested in buying?" "Could you really sell the place?" I asked. "It seems like great fun." She laughed, groaning. "Some days. Others, I never sit down. And there are weeks I wonder why I even bothered opening that morning. Right now, we're thinking of taking it all online." "Steadier business?" "We hope. We had a catalogue a few years ago. Got three mentions in the L.A. Times, and grossed forty-five thousand dollars that month. That's a lot for a small store. We were up till two AM every morning wrapping parcels. Post Office claimed they'd have to put on extra help." "It must've been great." "No, my husband and I were both business people. We opened this place to get away from all that." She laughed again. They already had some long-distance customers. "When the Hollywood people were here," ---Dustin Hoffman's Outbreak was filmed in town---"they bought everything we had. And we still get late-night phone calls from the Ralph Lauren folks. They say, 'Ship everything connected with old soap,' then use it in store displays." More typically, Main Street was small shops like the local art supply. The woman who ran it was originally from L.A.---no one seemed actually born in Ferndale. "But since I was twelve, I've always wanted to live in an old house out in the country. And drive a fifty-seven convertible." The restored Belvedere was parked out front. We also stopped at the cemetery, not that I needed to see dead people. But the graves seemed oddly cantilevered on the hill. The Hanging Mortuary of Ferndale. Eureka, as we zipped back through, also had a refurbished downtown, perhaps a regional commodity. With some neat murals hiding some ugly walls. Late in the afternoon, lured by The Trees of Mystery, we stopped. It was just a twelve-foot circle of redwoods, all sharing the same root. Not even a lurking druid. Far better was a towering concrete Paul Bunyan, partnered by a thirty-five foot, anatomically-correct, Babe-the Blue Ox. "What's that, Mommy?" I could hear little kids asking. "Have some more popcorn, sweetie." Paul and Babe fronted a souvenir shop selling foot-long, glow-in-the-dark ants. (Nuclear waste anyone?) And postcards showcasing 'The Banana Slug---friend to man in the Pacific Northwest.' (They speed up decomposition.) Maybe we hadn't missed The Lost Coast. Finally, the Welcome To Oregon sign. For days Tom had been asking, "Are we really gonna leave California?" "It's a big state," I'd explained. "Look at the map." "By now, I thought we'd be in Canada." Though exiting California had made him grin, goofily. Even the dog glanced toward the camera as we photo-opped Oregon. Still, Tom seemed slightly disappointed, and it turned out he'd expected a more radical change in landscape. "The trees do seem greener," he insisted, gazing about. "Rounder. Something." Sure. 270 miles
  5. Chapter 6

    Tuesday, May 18, 1999 Tom walked the dog, showered, shaved, had free-but-rotten coffee in the motel lobby, and thumbed all their tourist lit before I got up. "What'd you find?" I eventually mumbled, squinting at the light. The drapes were transparent. "Some good things." "Like?" I wasn't up to complex words yet. "Couple things better than last night." "Yeah... well..." It was too early to apologize again. "And there's a good place in Mendocino. For breakfast." I had to think: "Didn't we already pass that?" "It's only ten miles.." He'd made up our minds. Actually, I was curious about Mendocino. Despite our guidebooks' warnings, as we'd chased down a place to stay, the town had seemed interesting. It looked even better in the morning---uh, late morning---light. The restaurant Tom had picked overlooked the main street. It was kind of a glassed-in porch on the second floor, its back wall hung with movie posters. But not the ones you'd expect, bought at some discount decorator outlet. These were a mix of classics and gore. I asked our waiter if the films had been shot there. "Oh, yeah," he grinned. "And there's more posters near the kitchen." I went to look. Same Time, Next Year. Johnny Belinda. East of Eden. Summer of '42. "They use it a lot for New England," the waiter added, something soon repeated at the local museum. That was a small white house just across the street. A hundred years earlier, it had been home to the city's founder---well, first non-indigenous settler. Its front room was almost filled by a model of what the town had looked like at its financial peak, as an 1890's lumbering center. "We were built on a shipwreck," the museum historian explained. "Early on, the Spanish used the California coast as a safety net. They'd sail to China, load up, then turn around. But this was before they'd really mapped the Pacific, so they'd simply head east again till they bumped into land. Then they'd go south." To 'Me-hi-co,' as he pronounced it. "Anyway, one ship didn't make it. Actually, lots of them didn't, but this particular one wrecked in our cove. And a wealthy San Francisco businessman---which is to say pirate---sent one of his underlings---on foot, if you can believe it, leading a pack of mules---to see what he could salvage. By which I mean loot." As intended, the tourists laughed. "Only by the time he got here, the local tribes had already stripped the wreck. Legend has it the natives wore silk that winter. And this young assistant, afraid to go back with bad news, noticed the redwoods." I hadn't seen any redwoods. Which are kind of hard to miss. "Now San Francisco needed lumber---because the gold rush had everyone building. And since this assistant had been bright enough to find something he hadn't been sent for, he was put in charge of the logging. Within twenty years, it made him a millionaire." He was also a practical man in other ways, at one point marrying his fiancee's sister. Seems he'd gone east to bring his intended wife from Boston---they'd been courting by letter---and discovered she'd died of the flu. But her younger sister hadn't, and she was as good as any redwood. Things boomed again when San Francisco burned in the 1907 quake, then business flattened. In the 30's depression, the town dipped further, and for years afterward was mainly a cheap home for artists fond of painting the sea. But in 1970, faced with the oddity of looking much as it had forty years before, the town had itself landmarked---the first time a whole California village did that. Almost immediately, it was further preserved, on film. Because, coincidentally, Hollywood's backlots were disappearing, and the industry needed nearby locations. While I was in the museum sipping free hot cider---'Your donation requested'---I also came across a postcard titled The Jessica Fletcher House. The name sounded familiar, and I flipped the card expecting to read the history of some minor poet or artist. Nope, the Angela Lansbury character on Murder, She Wrote. Mendocino was sometimes Cabot Cove. Though as our guidebooks warned, the town was art gallery and gift shop heavy. And loaded with retirees. Wealthy ones too---in an Irish-speciality shop, I overheard one great-grandma telling her friend, "I think I'll get this for the big house." After Mendocino, we'd planned to follow a series of barely-marked roads heading north, hoping to stay as close to the ocean as possible. But we were advised against it. "My husband and I drove that route once," a woman in the Chamber of Commerce reminisced. "Maybe twenty years ago. When we got back, we had to wash the Mercedes three times." "We only have a pick-up truck," I assured her. "Not only that," a woman in a wine shop added. "People who live in that area are very private, if you know what I mean. They plant... well... special gardens. And carry guns." The area was nicknamed The Lost Coast. So we stuck to the main road, not wanting to end up with shrunken heads. Still, some hours later when traffic began thickening, we slipped onto a side road that had been winding around us. On the map it was labeled Avenue of the Giants. Not Jack-killers---Redwoods! Drive your car through 'em! Carve a house out of 'em! Wonder how they survived Mr. Hearst! Of course, we stopped the truck inside one. We just had to---it was written. And I took pictures: Of Tom. Of the still-living tree. Of the dog-who-absolutely-wouldn't-look-at-the-camera. Then I started shooting the forest. Generally, I hate doing that---making big things small. I always feel dumb when something that once looked terrific comes out looking so lame. But this place could make a fool look like Ansel Adams. I only stopped snapping when I noticed a sign: Poison Oak. After the forest, our port for the night, Eureka, was nothing to shout about. To be honest, it was Fort Bragg with coffee stands. And I'd botched the motel reservations. "You have to say 'You-reeka,'" the friendly desk clerk explained. "Or they mix it with Yreaka. Why-reeka." An hour away. "You-reeka," she repeated. "Why-reeka." And wasn't happy till I aped her. Though she did find us a quiet room, away from the highway. And Tom discovered an historic restaurant: The Samoa Cookhouse. "The last working company town cookhouse from the days of Big Lumber," he read from the Rough Guide. It advertised huge portions of Tom's favorite---red bleeding meat. Though as we pulled into their parking lot, it also presented the sign: Bus & RV Parking. Never a good omen. Still, on the way there, we'd passed the place our motel clerk had suggested, eerily dark, and hung with a hand-painted banner: Steak Marsala with Mushrooms and Marsala Wine Sauce---$8.95. The Samoa Cookhouse once seated thousands, but now only served several hundred at a time. The long tables had managed to survive, though the tough-guy benches in the photos had been replaced by as-uncomfortable chairs. And the food with sawdust. Okay, it wasn't that bad (Tom made me say that 'cause he felt the place had character). The grub was at least warm, and there were mine loads of it. Though the waiter kept endlessly repeating, "All you can eat... All you can eat," like he knew it was an inedible challenge. And there were fewer than two-dozen people trying. We ate fast, and moderately cheap: $12.95 each covered soup, salad, pork chops, roast beef, ham, baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, waxed beans, cold slaw, applesauce, sour cream, horse radish, coffee, tea, soda, milk, apple pie, cherry pie, whipped cream, and ice cream in the two most popular flavors---chocolate and vanilla. Far better than the food though, and some of the immense people shoveling it down---no staring, this was NRA country---were the old pictures hanging on the walls: Grinning black-and-white lumberjacks. Circus-sized saw blades. Caravans of floating trees. And shots of increasingly high water from the Great Floods of 1912 and 1915. It must've been neat back then. Before cholesterol. 174 miles
  6. Chapter 5

    Monday, May 17, 1999 Soon after breakfast, we were back at the dog run. It seemed only fair: the hounds hadn't been out to a slick restaurant the night before, and we didn't even bring them leftovers. Besides, exercise would probably tire Tom's mutt, and she'd sleep all day in the truck. Not that she'd done much else besides spin abstract tongue art on her window. Soon leaving Lisa and Lexy, we quickly sped by San Quentin, grateful to be two of the unwanted. I couldn't imagine that there were tours, though this was California. Slipping into nearby Muir Woods, we were surprised by the miles of hidden houses, along with a road twisting as inwardly as Freud's. With no guardrails. "You all right?" I asked Tom as we leaned hard left. He nodded against the G-force. "Tell me if you need a break." We slammed starboard. The dog, trying to hold her footing, slid into the storage well. "She okay?" Tom worried. "Yeah," I laughed. "So am I," he finally added. "This isn't bad. And you can drive the East coast." He'd read somewhere about Boston. So we spiraled on. Through Point Reyes Station and Tomales---where a small store advertised "Now! Tamales in Tomales!" And Bodega Bay, where Hitchcock filmed some of The Birds. Then Jenner. Stewarts Point. Fortress. Some names went back to frontier days. Others were geographic. Or so said the historic signs. And the road just kept twisting. Each time we started to relax, it re-coiled, shifting our view. Sometimes we edged cliffs. Then skirted lagoons. Or we were surrounded by trees, which instantly disappeared, leaving Grant Wood hills, with cows. Near five, I noticed we'd barely gone a hundred miles---and we still hadn't picked a place to stay. We tried Mendocino. "Almost cute," one of our guidebooks warned. Still, it might have been Eden and we couldn't have stayed: No Dogs Need Apply. "You're sure?" Tom asked, after my third refusal. The sun was beginning to set. "You want to try?" "No," he admitted. So on Mendocino's north border, I tried another inn. Dogs weren't even discussed. "We have a cage," I tried to persuade the manager. "She'll sleep in the truck." The woman show me the gate. White, with tulips. Finally, Fort Bragg: it sounded military, but proved otherwise (the Army base I remembered was on the East coast). We had a dog book, a thick paperback Tom had bought on-line, which offered annotated lists of pet-friendly motels. But Mendocino's were a bust. And the best of Fort Bragg's were fourth rate. Tom frowned at the sagging beds, and the ripening wallpaper. "At least, it's clean," I pointed out. "I can always send her home." "What?" I say that a lot around Tom. Either he mumbles, or I can't hear. Though shipping the dog home was the other reason we'd brought the cage: if she really started messing up our trip, she could be air-dropped to Tom's waiting neighbor. "It's the first time we've had trouble," I told Tom. "If there'd been a Motel 6 here, we'd be fine." "I don't like Motel 6." "You're not supposed to." Not that there were any around---or on many stretches of back road we were planning to drive. They mainly clumped around highways. "We can try somewhere else," I suggested. But Tom was already dead-eyed-staring out the door. "What do you want to eat?" I asked. "What looks good?" The motel manager had no thoughts---almost literally. I checked our books. "A couple of things look okay." "Pick one." I took the best, a restaurant with a four-fork salute, hoping to balance our motel. But I chose wrong. It was the kind of place you'd take a married woman you were trying to seduce. Pink leather booths. Cafe-curtains. Shiny plants hanging from brass rods. And the food sucked. As we ate, Tom studied a motorboat, circling the cove. The view was fine: wide, primal sea. But that won't fill your stomach. To distract ourselves, we talked of better food. Before leaving L.A., we'd decided to have breakfast and dinner out, to give us a sense of the places we were driving through. We didn't plan on lunch 'cause we figured we'd be pulling over all day. At night, if we needed to, we'd use our reference books, the British Rough Guide and American Triple A series, to find decent restaurants. The latter clearly boosted advertisers, but no worse than local tourist newspapers, laden with coupons. I thought the best advice would be word-of-mouth, at least, it always worked for my mom---even in countries where she didn't understand the language. But we were finding that people with jobs in motels didn't eat out a lot. Much later, as Tom slept, I studied our maps. Without going too far off back roads, we could easily stay at Motel 6's the next three nights. That wouldn't solve the food problem, but would stop our rushing around each evening looking for a room. And maybe that little extra time would give us a shot at better restaurants. As I slipped outside to make reservations---there was no long-distance phone line, either---the dog tagged along. So we ended up taking a walk. 206 miles
  7. Chapter 4

    Sunday, May 16, 1999 Sunday morning, we all slept late. Except the dog. She'd spent the night in the truck, Nina and Jeff having one of those cats I'd mentioned. Though Tom reprieved her just after dawn, setting her free in the backyard. Still, when we were all finally considering breakfast, and Tom went out to feed her, she was gone. "You're kidding," I said from the inflatable thing I'd been sleeping on, stretched on the living room floor. "No," Tom replied. Tense. I glanced out the window. No dog. Tom rarely lies. I went out to look, not that I expected anything---mainly, I was being polite. Tom went with me, calling the dog's name. "That'll get us arrested," I joked. Turns out you don't joke with Tom. Not about missing dogs. Nina must've heard us 'cause she soon came out. Then Jeff, who glanced 'round the yard, into the fenced-in side areas, then quickly found the mutt. At least, he spotted the hole. "Got her!" he shouted. And by the time we caught up, the dog's nose was poking under the fence. She'd clawed from one yard only to be trapped by a second fence, hedged by undiggable roots. "Bad dog," I said. She replied by pissing too near my feet. Not a beast that takes criticism. "She didn't mean anything," Tom insisted, patting his ward while surveying the hole. "I'll pay for that," he told Jeff. "Nah, we'll just stick some carrots in it. Call it a garden." He casually kicked the ditch full of dirt while Nina inspected a chewed bowl. "I'll pay for that, too," Tom promised. "Will she be okay?" Nina asked instead. "Oh, yeah---she likes plastic. My neighbor,"---the pet rescuer---"says it's good for her teeth." "She must have really wormed under that fence," Jeff soon pointed out. "That hole's tiny." "She still a pup," Tom grinned. And it was true: she'd only turned two the day before we left. We put her firmly on a leash, ate, showered, then Tom and I left around noon. We were in no special hurry, having only a hundred-or-so miles to go---to a friend of Tom's near San Francisco. Passing through Castroville, we bumped into the Artichoke Festival. "Want to buy some?" I asked. "For Lisa?" "Not for me." Unsure of his friend's tastes, Tom waffled. So we drove on. Lisa was a jazz musician, specializing in tenor sax. We had plenty of time because she had an afternoon gig. "A wedding," Tom guessed. Though her band also marched after funerals. So we drifted, in increasing traffic. It peaked in Half Moon Bay, a too-cute town with signs directing folks to: The Orthodontist. The Chiropractor. The Chemist. "What's that?" Tom asked. "It's quaint for 'drugstore,'" I told him, but still had to explain. "You need to read more." When we got to Lisa's, she was walking her dog, Lexus. I figured it was named for her car, also black, and sitting in the open garage. "It's actually 'A-lexis,'" she laughed. "And she was named when I got her." Tom's dog and Lexy were quickly chasing each other's tails. "We should take them to the dog run," Lisa suggested. So we did, loading both the car and truck, since neither had room for five, including the oversized pups. The dog run, maybe ten miles away, was built on a spit of land once intended for suburbs. "But people protested," Lisa explained. "They do that here." (We were just south of Berkeley.). "This has always been a park." From which, on a fogless day, you could see three bridges: The Golden Gate. The Oakland-Bay. And the Richmond-San Raphael. You could also see dogs. Hundreds of 'em. Running free. "Don't they fight?" I asked. "Nah, they're happy to be loose." And they couldn't get away---the land's one shore-side was a chain-link fence. Of course, the dogs jumped into the water, spraying mud all over their owners. There were lots of them, too---it was also a people-meeting place. Though while Tom and Lisa mingled, I read signs, placed around as frequently as waste containers. In 1850, the field had been a picturesque bulge in the coast, named Point Isabel for the then-mayor's wife, who liked to picnic there. Overlooking it was a wooded hill. A hundred years later, unannounced, the hill was viciously plowed into the bay, and three horrified local women lobbied the resulting political embarrassment into a park. That was quickly divided between dogs and joggers. "Runners still get in the way," Lisa told us. As proof, Lexy immediately cornered a young preppy. "That dog under control!" he barked. "Sure thing," Lisa grinned. "But you're out of line." The guy reined in. Then ran. By seven, we were back at Lisa's. Her house had been built into a hill, and, in reverse of many homes, had the bedrooms downstairs. Upstairs, through leafy trees, was Rear Window. "You can see everything," I told her. She shrugged. "It's just neighbors." Clearly, more sophisticated than mine. The restaurant she chose was also more urbane than I expected---good thing I packed those khakis. We got last-minute reservations because Lisa was a regular. "I was first taken here by Jessica Mitford's husband. You know, the late writer? American Way of Death? I helped care for her near the end." Deca, as Ms. Mitford preferred---it was a childhood name---was in her late seventies when Lisa met her. "We were introduced by a friend who knew I'd cared for my mom." By then, Deca had already had a small stroke. "Probably brought on by drinking and smoking." Though by the time Lisa knew her, she'd quit both, and was chewing nicotine gum. "Compulsively." At first, she didn't trust Lisa. "But she needed someone to walk with, and I wouldn't take any guff. And it sure didn't hurt when I saved Bob's life." Everyone was so busy tending strong-willed Deca, that no one noticed her husband was wasting away. "He insisted it only just a toothache, but every time I saw him he looked worse. Finally, I called an ambulance." "It was that serious?" "Oh, yeah---it turned out he had a systemic infection. Another few days, he would've been gone." Saving her eighty-year-old husband assured Deca's friendship. So much so, when she began coughing up blood, Lisa was the first one she told. "What did you do?" "Rushed her to the doctors. We must've done three weeks worth of tests in the next two days. But the news was all terrible. Not only did she have cancer---it was everywhere." She died within a month. "That's too bad." Lisa laughed. "No! She took it heroically. Called all her friends. Said, 'I'm dying! Come have lunch!' And they did." She laughed again. "And how we ate! Three meals a day! All from restaurants like this!" Dinner that night turned out to be the best food we had on the trip. "And her friends were people like Maya Angelou---writers I'd only ever heard of. They'd order out from restaurants, load up their cars, and come visit. Every day was a party!" Indirectly, Deca also gave Lisa The Green Street Band---the one that followed funerals. "Of course, she had this war on with the industry. They just called her 'Jessica'---one name, like 'Madonna.' So she wanted the cheapest cremation, then a huge send-off that the 'pros' wouldn't get a penny of. Well, Bob found four white horses. I put together a band, uniforms and all. We marched down Main Street playing Deca's favorite songs." "That must've been something." "Made all the front pages! And, actually, we became something of a tradition. Because a year later, when Herb Caen was dying---he was a famous columnist---he insisted we play for him, too. Made the front pages all over again!" It was a funeral Lisa had been playing for earlier. She did a couple hundred a year. She also recorded, and occasionally toured Europe. In her spare time, she tutored at a ghetto grade school. "My life keeps getting better and better," she grinned. "Though I've been told, if I really want to be considered a serious musician, I have to move to New York---or L.A. One of my students just moved east, and works all the time." I was surprised. I thought San Francisco fairly cosmopolitan. "Nothing like the big cities." I couldn't imagine that, though I didn't have to imagine Lisa's music. Driving north, Tom had played one of her CD's. It was everything you could want. 161 miles
  8. Chapter 3

    Saturday, May 15, 1999 I'd seen Salinas, not that there's very much to see: The Steinbeck Center. Steinbeck House. Nearby Cannery Row gift shoppe 'n' mall. The Steinbeck Center's a combination museum and bookstore, built at the bad end of a town that never really had a good one. Old banks now sell antiques. Former office buildings are antique malls. You wanna buy something new, you gotta drive twenty miles. The museum's only recently opened, delayed for years 'cause Steinbeck kind of hated his hometown. So in order to fundraise, the city had to wait till everyone he'd pissed off was dead. Also, in a Clean-Up Salinas effort that would have made Steinbeck howl, the museum was built on the former red-light district. Steinbeck House is where John was born, and grew up, and wrote his first---disgustingly-overeager---novel at fourteen. It was never published, though has probably served as mother-lode for hundreds of dissertations. Now, the house is a restaurant, and---no surprise---a gift shop. They sell little bars of purple soap called The Grapes of Bath. Cannery Row, in nearby Monterey, once smelled fiercely of fish. Till the day the sardines died. Now there's an aquarium, and, okay, fish 'r' fun for a while. But after you've watched the tanked sardines circle and circle, and once you've munched some of their kin for lunch, you get bored. There's also lettuce. Miles of lettuce. Miles and miles. And miles. Of lettuce. Another reason Steinbeck opted out. Fortunately, my friend Nina had other plans. As fortunately, not The Castroville Artichoke Festival. Celebrating---along with the obvious---Marilyn Monroe's being The First Artichoke Queen. And not The Campbell Prune Festival. Heralding the fruit now being seductively marketed as Dried Plums. And not 'Doc' Ricketts' Hundredth Anniversary Fund Raiser and Swing Dance. 'Doc,' of course, couldn't preside. Having long-since been trashed by a booze-sotted train. Nearby San Jose offered the twisted Winchester House, an architectural horror constantly rebuilt by a doomed old loon, warned by her possibly psychic/contractor that, "When the house was finished, so was she." But Nina and her husband had already seen Frankenhaus, Jeff many times, with many visitors. Which left Santa Cruz. That was A Town Time Forgot. Full of second- and third-generation hippies pushing their legal wares (less licit attractions could be found, I'm sure, by appointment). But Jeff mentioned a boardwalk. I pictured something old, and comfortably ruined. Instead, we got a huge, sticky arcade, with sun-baked carnival rides crammed with pierced, and piercing, kids. There were buildings, too, which might have been interesting once---in the prohibition 20's, Santa Cruz had been summer home to wealthy San Francisco and some of that Gatsby cash remained. But with all the cheap neon, who could tell? Still, just across the surfer-infested inlet was a quiet pier. "That looks good," I mentioned. Nina was staring through coin-fed binoculars, though not at some burnished dude. Over the dunes, rose smoke. "What's that?" I asked. "Moss's Landing." "Which is?" "Antique stores." Let 'em burn. Lately, anything I've seen even vaguely labeled "antique" should have been compacted years ago. But I wanted to see the pier. And though Jeff and Nina had been to the boardwalk any number of times, neither knew how to cross the inlet. Eventually, we found the---clearly marked---way. Everything was quiet there. There was only a scattering of people, and few kids. And, yeah, there were too many shops peddling local crafts clearly made by Asian children. And the white-flocked deck instantly ceded right-of-way to thousands of hovering gulls. But at the wharf's end was a restaurant with 360 degree views. I got some pretty good fish 'n' chips, Jeff had crab, and Nina and Tom picked oysters---which do even less for me, I'm afraid, than I do for them. "Canned," Nina soon hazarded. Tom chewed more firmly. "What's downtown like?" I asked shortly. "Are there really hippies?" There were, though the housebroken variety: Peddling love-beads. Painting faces. Sporting weekend tattoos. There was also some unexpectedly good art, which---more surprisingly---I began to buy. This wasn't like me. Since moving to quake-prone L.A., I'd stopped buying anything that could be flattened by a roof. And buying there made no sense: We'd just started the trip. Santa Cruz was a long afternoon's drive. Other places we'd never see again. Still, I bought: A dozen small prints by an amazing artist. Three larger photos. A couple of vases for overdue wedding gifts. "Get me outta here," I finally begged. "Before we can't afford dinner." "You still want to go?" Nina asked. "Oh, yeah. We owe you birthday food." That was supposed to happen the night before. But squeezing in Hearst Castle got us to Salinas so late, Nina and Jeff had already sent out for pizza. For supper, we were back in Steinbeck-central, in a restaurant Nina and Jeff claimed had "the best Italian food in Salinas." And maybe it did. Afterwards, while the dog, and this time Jeff, slept, Nina showed Tom and me pictures from Japan. Salinas is sister city to Wakuya. "Where's that?" I asked. "Just outside Tokyo." Isn't everything in tiny Japan "just outside Tokyo?" Nina's a teacher, and the two cities exchange cultural programs. After twelve days, she'd come home with a huge album full of photos of kids and kimonos. And kids in kimonos. And large groups of people smiling. "They like to line up," she laughed. They also liked slippers: For the house. For company. For special sanitary reasons (it seems some of their toilets---Nina had snapshots---were still holes in the floor). She also had pictures of Portugal. Not sister-anything to Salinas, just a place she'd visited with her aunt. Lots of tile in Lisbon: On buildings. Sidewalks. In murals. "Red clay's really cheap there," she explained. "So they use it for everything." The pictures just made me want to travel more---I'd never really been out of the U.S. At least, not without getting mugged. But that's another story. 85 miles
  9. Chapter 2

    Friday, May 14, 1999 The dog woke me at 6 AM. She wasn't doing anything, just standing with her nose facing the door. Probably universal mutt sign for "Out! Now!" I wasn't about to walk her. And she couldn't walk herself, something she was used to doing in Tom's fenced-in backyard. And I wouldn't wake Tom. I went back to sleep. Maybe an hour later, I kinda knew Tom and the dog were going out. And some time after that I knew they'd returned. And maybe Tom can walk a dog, then slip right back to sleep. But I can't. I finally pulled out of bed around nine, after first flipping through fifty channels to make sure nothing awful had happened in the world. Nothing had. Nothing awful had even happened on the motel room floor. I was clean. By ten, we were back in Margie's Restaurant, the repetitive, if sound, choice of our morning motel woman. Again, we got huge amounts of food for our four-and-a-half bucks: Mounds of shiny scrambled eggs. Heaps of home fried potatoes. Slabs of fresh rye toast, with both butter and jelly. Even a slice of watermelon. And tankards of fresh-squeezed orange juice were only two bucks more. An hour later we'd just headed north, when I remembered I'd wanted to see Morro Bay. We'd skipped it the last night to be sure of our reservations. Backtracking slightly, we found the town mainly good for its rock: Huge rock. Morro Rock. Just squatting out there in the bay. Some wise guy special effects idea of a giant souvenir asteroid. After taking pictures---ya just gotta---we homed on Hearst Castle. Its official designation is William Randolph Hearst's San Simeon National Park though the man himself simply called it The Ranch. And maybe when you own more than Texas, something piddling as a chunk of the West coast seems mundane. But it ain't. There was no crowd when we reached CasaWillie, though the next tour was still two hours off. Lousy planning? Tiny staff? Since we were due in Salinas for supper, and since you can't drive Big Sur any more self-destructively than thirty miles an hour, it seemed we'd have to skip the tour. "There's an IMAX movie," Tom pointed out. He's good at finding these things. It featured a five-story, young Billy, learning Secrets Of Great Art on a Grand Tour of Europe. That was in 1873, and he went with his Mom. Awww. We saw the movie, which was no Citizen Kane. Though like lots of things bad for you, it just made us want more. Only now, the next tour was three hours away---and Sold Out. Still, as we started to leave---Tom wondering why I hadn't made reservations (Hey, it was off-season)---something mumbled from above. Cancellations? I went to ask, while Tom checked on the dog, we hoped safely chained to a sheltering pine. It turned out there were no tickets---sort of. All the scheduled tours were sold out. But even as this was sworn to by the counter help, the ceiling speaker whispered Cancellations. "What gives?" I asked. A loophole, which the ticket sellers seemed loathe to admit. It only happened on r-e-a-l slow days, they insisted, in months starting with Q. It seems you had to buy tickets for a specific tour, but if an earlier tour had vacant seats, you could slip ahead. That mushroomed all day, till the last bus might be empty, but in the computer still Sold Out. There was another catch: you had to have tickets to use cancellations. Or you had to be accidentally standing by the Closed window when the Attendant With The Mean Face grumbled, "Damn! No-shows again!" Then, if you forked over your fourteen bucks fast enough, you were in. Waiting for Tom, I missed two more opportunities, and the Mean Faced Woman leered at me like I was planning to rob her drawer. Finally, smiling Tom returned, opportunity re-reared, and almost instantly we were On The Bus. "Why didn't they tell us this before?" Tom asked, as we were waiting for our guide. I shrugged. "Government." Still, the house was even better than I remembered---I'd seen it before, with family. And maybe watching the IMAX film helped. Because when you only know Randolph Hearst as The Evil Yellow Journalist, the castle seems just what young Orson Welles made fun of. But when you realize aging William, sketching with mad architect Julia Grant, was still very much that ten-year-old touring Europe, you kinda share his monster Erector Set. Though I wouldn't wanna sleep there. It's no longer a left-wing target---in the late '60's a homemade bomb took out a guest cottage wall. But the whole place is like lead. Even the gift shop pictures make it seem warmer. Partly, that's slick magazine styling, all hothouse flowers and New Jerusalem light. But when you're actually in the castle, you quickly understand why Hearst constantly invited boxcars of Hollywood stars. Without them, he was living in a train station. Yet I'd go back. There are something like five different tours, and I want the torchlit one, at midnight, with would-be actors standing in for suave Cary Grant and sultry Hedy Lamarr. Stephen King meets Evelyn Waugh? The Shining, Revisited? I hope. Though Big Sur quickly blew away the ranch. I'd seen that before, too, but never enough. You're at the edge of the world: Ocean. Clouds. Sky. And way below, the sound of distant seals. With a road so deadly even the dog couldn't sleep. I could. I was completely relaxed. Tom drove. 157 miles
  10. Wisecracking Across America

    Two guys and a dog load into a 10-year-old pickup truck and spend two months driving the perimeter of the United States. It doesn't directly show, but over the course of the two months, the narrator falls in love with the driver -- and with the dog. I'll be posting Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
  11. Chapter 1

    Thursday, May 13, 1999 "We're not leaving civilization," I told Tom. "We forget anything, we can buy it on the road." But Tom's more cautious than I am. Though not as obsessed as a former boss of mine, so intent on planning ahead, we sometimes got nowhere at all. Tom and I got somewhere, after only a kind of late start. We headed north from L.A. on a seven-week trip following the U.S. border. At least, I thought seven weeks: I had no idea how long it would actually take to drive 10,000 miles. And I was guessing on the miles. We were taking Tom's pick-up truck, a ten-year-old Toyota, though he offered to buy something new. "Don't you understand?" I'd laughed. "No one'll steal your truck. It's insurance." "It is red," he insisted. A tiny flare of masculinity. "It needs paint. It's past paint." But it was in good shape otherwise, had just been checked. And bribed with new tires, and a used camper shell. Not that we planned to camp out. I mean why sleep on dirt when there are plenty of cheap motels? Plus friends with a guest room for Tom, a couch for me, and a place to park the dog. Oh, yeah---the dog. She has a name, but it's too stupid for words. That's what happens when you're christened by a three-year-old, the daughter of Tom's pet-rescuing neighbor. Without the dog, we wouldn't have needed the shell: I used to bike long-distance, so travel light, and Tom said he didn't need much either. But on a test drive to see if the hound would do anything besides be sick the entire trip, she took up most of the back seat. (Tom's truck has a cab-and-a-half.) And while Tom and I could have each crammed a small bag besides the beast, that probably would have been inhumane. And who wants to risk getting tickets---all across America---for torturing a dumb animal? Okay, she's not dumb. She has her own training manual, Smarter Than You Think. But I'm not dumb, and Tom's not, either. So of the three of us, she was Shemp. Taking her was my idea. Partly practical---a friend of mine who used to travel with her pooch said it was great for making friends. More sentimental---once Tom adopted the mutt, she mainly slept in his backyard. And knocking rotten grapefruits off a tree, then burying 'em, then digging 'em up again, ain't my idea of living. So I packed a couple of bags, plus a handful of shirts on a hanger and a pair of half-decent khakis for visiting my mom. Tom took two duffles, plus a Samsonite bunker jammed with Triple A books, one for every state and four for Canada. And we took The Cage, sleeping insurance for anti-dog motels, or friends with cat houses. I wanted to leave early, then wander through the mountains and up the coast. But Tom had to work till just before we left and wasn't even sure he'd be ready by noon. Also, my friends in Salinas preferred us a day later. "We can stay somewhere else," I shrugged, pulling out the maps. "How 'bout Morro Bay?" "What's there?" Tom asked. "I don't know. We'll find out." And that was about the plan: North to Vancouver. East to Nova Scotia. South to Florida. Home to L.A. Going where we wanted, when we chose. Only I slept late this morning, something I've been known to do. Then it took us a couple of extra hours to get organized. We finally left around two, though in mid-May that still gave us five hours of light, for only a few hundred miles. Easy, if we were taking the freeway. But another goal of the trip was to stay off main roads. That wasn't absolute: in some places, like West Texas, the best idea is to find the biggest highway, floor the gas, and get the hell out. So we wandered local streets for a while, before connecting to slightly larger roads, then we slipped into Los Padres National Park. That was amazingly empty, though maybe not by chance. Last fall, a deadly mud slide wiped out its main road for six months. Along with several rangers. Driving warily, we eased up 4,000 feet. Around us, flowers were yellow and mountains unCalifornia-green. The Tourist Board tries to spin us sunnily as The Golden State, but it's a lie---those plants are dead. Below us would have been the Cuyama River. But in a land where rust never conceives, the mighty Cuyama was a dried old shoelace. In Santa Maria we hopped onto the freeway to skip a stretch of stunted malls. The towns had great names---Nokimo, Oceano, Halcyon---but that was about it. Though to our east, often right to my shoulder, swept the Sierra Madres. At San Luis Obisbo---another pretty name for nothing there to see---we stopped at the famous Madonna Inn: Mae West bedrooms. Flintstones johns. The late Liberace doing his lounge act. All for a quick laugh and post cards, then back to the road. Soon enough, we were on two-lanes again, closing on Morro Bay. And, yeah, there are better places to stay than Motel 6. But we had this dog. Checking into our room, I already was rolling up windows and rolling down sleeves. Then we headed to Margie's Restaurant, the diner suggested by the desk clerk. "You'll be surprised how much food you get, "she'd grinned, though after ordering, I slipped out to the truck, digging in the back for my sweater. The one I'd only packed for Canadian glaciers. Dinner was big, and cheap, though just what you'd expect---meaning there was no French on the menu. There was no French in the motel room, either, though it was less Jesuitly-awful than I remembered from other trips. And the mattresses were firm. Tom and the dog quickly fell asleep despite Little League practice going on under lights right across the street. I balanced my notebook on my knee and considered the day. What was the high point? The big stone F, carved boldly on a mountainside above the musty town of Fillmore? Almost as warning. Or the roadside plaque, dedicated to young Thomas Bard---merely twenty in 1865 when he drilled California's first oil well, changing history? Nah, it was how quickly we'd ditched the muck of L.A. In ninety minutes, we'd sped to the high Sierras, home of Bogie and stubble-chested adventure. If stinky mules. 234 miles
  12. Chapter 30 -- Part 3

    Caged – Part 3 From Alan: “The Beach” is interesting. It wanders a bit in ways I hadn’t noticed in your writing before, maybe because your other stories all focus on sex, which gives them a built-in tension. Mostly, it seems like a lead-in to your having sex with the main character. Whether that happened or not, it might need to in order for the story to have the same power as your others. Also, in order to make room for the sex, some of the side stories may need to be edited. Maybe you could spin them out separately. But don’t lose the ambiance. The casual mix of guys and the details about their lives is terrific. From Caged: I was aiming for an erotic non-sexual story, in part to share with that writer friend, and in part to stretch myself. I may chat with him tomorrow and certainly, some of the feedback may involve cutting less relevant stuff. From Alan: Please let me know what happened with the feedback. From Caged: He really enjoyed the story and the various threads running through it. He suggests a couple more chapters, allowing those threads to develop, and then go back and consider what fits well, or not, and what needs a tad more development. I did in fact have sex with the main character and I’ll see him again in a few weeks when I’m back in San Diego. Though chapters on these meetings would be similar. My writer friend sympathized with my desire to appeal to a wider audience and said he was definitely hooked to read more (and remember he’s straight). I’ve been writing very intensely this week, almost 20,000 words, but all for business projects. I can’t always pick the intersections between my creative bug and the real life to-do list. From Alan: Interesting that both your friend and I think the beach story is still evolving and that what you’ve written is just the start. Nothing wrong with making money writing for business. Good to have that career. From Caged: Hooked up this morning with Andre again, this time for a quickie cos we both had stuff to do. A nice surprise: he easily penetrated without lube. Not usual for me. Also, for first time, acknowledged my cage by teasing me playing footsie with it for a while. I was hoping he’d cum in me this time but I suspect he wants that to be a culmination of a long session and I’ll trust he knows best. Btw, he’s a sound tech on the local news, never on camera. From Alan: Glad you’re seeing Andre. As I said, he seems to make you happy. From Caged: Yeah, and there’s zero chance of emotional involvement. Here’s another video I thought you might enjoy, the second half in particular is just hot. From Alan: I’ll look at it soon. Thanks. School keeps getting busier. From Caged: My straight erotica writer friend (is there an acronym for that?) sent me specific feedback on the beach story last night though I haven’t looked at it yet. Was in Sacramento last weekend and hooked up for 2 hours with a hot 23 y/o blond dude (prob military). He said he was vers/btm but was A+ as dom top; somewhat different than Andre (more into spanking and foot worship and generally aggressive). But really skilled. I took notes and will write it up. Flying to Atlanta for a few days. Was too pussy to do pat down with my cage so I took it off and then put it back on right after. Was really weird. I didn’t want to remove it. Reminded me when I put on a cage for the first time, I knew I’d be wearing one for the rest of my life. Felt relieved to have it back on and feel safe again. From Alan: You do have some adventures. It might be fun to do the pat down with the cage on, just to see what it does to you emotionally. But you may risk your flight, or they may ask you to strip. From Caged: I’ve witnessed a bit of negativity with law enforcement types so prefer to avoid that. But to truly embrace dick chastity, I may need to get over it. I suspect people working as security staff at airports are pretty conservative, so if they see some guy packing metal in his shorts, they’ll want to investigate. I think you’re right to be very cautious for the 10 or so minutes it involves being out of chastity. I’ve read a metal cage is handled the same way a Prince Albert is; they’d pull me aside to a private room and i’d show it to them. From Alan: Guess it all depends if you’d enjoy that. I’ve been meaning to tell you: thanks for the video of those Swedish guys. From Caged: That’s a great way to think about it: to elicit a smile on my face while they squirm. In the video, I love how the man puts his hand lovingly on the boy’s head, patting him for a good job, and I love the boy’s subtle smile as he moves his lips gently over the man’s spunk-covered cock head. Also nice that we don’t see the boy’s prick so I can imagine him caged. From Alan: I hardly think either of those guys is much past his early 20s, so it’s hard calling one of them a man. But I know what you mean. And I liked the tenderness, too. From Caged: Reached day 30 with no wet orgasms. From Alan: Except for the fact that you’re better balanced than the guy in one of those chastity stories you sent me – the ones online, not something you wrote – you seem to be sharing some of his experiences. How have you been? Are you still traveling, or were you only in Atlanta for a few days? Are you back visiting San Diego? I’ve been too busy at work to follow. From Caged: I’m home. Was in Atlanta, San Diego then Portland and leave for Sweden tomorrow for a week. Just prepping to be away seems to take a week! Have "gone quiet" to get stuff done. That said, had some more nice romps with Andre. Bought a leather paddle for spanking, among other things. He liked that, although he liked me in the blindfold more. We finally got to the point to "share fluids" (well, I won’t be sharing but he is). It was a joyous experience first time. Only some minor writing on my part, no new stories yet. Although it’s been fun also looking forward to a break and/or trying some other dudes, preferably one with a fairly different look (taller than I am, pretty hairy) and dominant of course. Also challenging myself to engage guys online for conversation that would have been too challenging in the past in terms of me having enough experience. Anyway, back next Sunday. From Alan: Enjoy your trip. Coincidentally, we just had an administrator visiting from Sweden , and besides the official meetings and district observations, my wife and I got to spend several evenings with her. So many different approaches to the same goals. Taking a break from your writing and going out to seek adventures seems like a better idea than imagining sex. Challenges are almost always useful. From Caged: Hi! I’m back again. Mostly busy catching up on work projects: writing, email, and computer programs. Fun halloween in football gear; had mushrooms with some straight friends. Had fun with Andre a couple times, including last night. Each time we bring a little something extra, like a black pen last night for him to write on my ass before pounding me. He did me so good I slept 10 hours. LOL. Very fun. And that’s about it! Haven’t gotten back to erotic writing yet. It’s definitely on my list. From Alan: You don’t need erotic writing as long as you have erotic living. I’m very busy, which keeps me focused on useful things. Looking forward to Christmas break. From Caged: I hear you. I love teaching but there’s always a point when I can’t wait for summer session to end. Last night I hooked up with a 28 year old IT guy, here for some consulting. He wanted some teen-student and coach role-play. I wanted to oblige. He was at a nearby hotel, so I walked there, and on the way I found myself trailing behind a teenaged boy and imagined what it would be like to be him, to get myself in the mood. The hotel was nice and I waited in the lobby for him. I had a black shopping bag of goodies to play with and felt a little like an escort. He retrieved me. He looked and smelled amazing. In his room, his stuff was thrown all over, which feels manly – I generally dislike fastidious guys. He was very firm, telling me what to do, and also gentle. He wanted me to strip but then had me keep my jock on while worshiping his pits, feet, balls, cock, and ass. I’m not so much into ass but I really love pits and his amazing musk got me extra horny. We did some role-play talk. He was a coach and I was in chastity to make me stick to my studies. He knows I steal glimpses of boys in the locker room and am a fag but still a virgin (since in real life, I really am, that was easy to imagine). It was fun play. Then he lovingly teased my "cunt" with his cock and fucked me. He wasn’t quite as big as I’d like, but big enough. He really held me tight and close and whispered in my ear. Since he was recently tested, I felt it was safe for him to cum in me. His body tensed and quivered as he came, to his great satisfaction. He was jet-lagged and ready to sleep but he asked me a few questions as I dressed about life in chastity. He said he still needed to jerk off twice a day, but wondered if some guys like me were more constitutionally fit for chastity, which is likely so. I briefly described prostate massage – my usual route to orgasm. He said he hoped we’d meet again. I’d like that. Then I walked home and since it was still early I stripped to shower. His musk totally clung to me, and his sperm was still inside me. I loved that. Smell means a lot to me and I do my best to keep in the cum, to absorb it. I just lay on my bed in my jock and relived the encounter. I repeated his moment of ejaculation over and over. How good it felt for both of us and what it means for a man to plant his seed. I imagined a man impregnating me somehow. I want more gay sex like this. From Alan: It doesn’t seem like the sex is letting up, and you don’t seem to be getting tired of it or of being locked in. Go for it. I don’t know how you keep up the energy, and I’m not much older than you. I’m also not being regularly wrung out by Andre. From Caged: LOL. Mind over matter. And my productivity does take a little hit. From Alan: I suspect you’d sacrifice some of your productivity for the rush. Hasn’t your husband noticed that you’re far more relaxed than usual? From Caged: My BF has been away on business. He returns Tuesday morning. Not quite sure how to balance things. From Alan: There’s a challenge to keep you busy through the holidays: not losing your partner while not giving away that you’re being steadily fucked. Hope know what you want. From Caged: My BF is fine with me having a random fuck buddy. He’s said quite plainly, "Having a lover is a good thing." I just need to stay respectful. That said, my BF and I had sex twice since he’s returned and after 2 months of Andre, I’m pretty spoiled. My BF is clumsy and not as big or creative as Andre and his idea of a long session is half an hour, and his usual is 10 minutes. Really NOT satisfying even though he’s loving and of course I’m happy he’s back. So yeah, need to work out how to get my needs met in a balanced way. From Alan: Fortunately, I’m not in the same kind of relationship as you are, sexually and maybe not emotionally. Having kids is another huge reminder to stay balanced. It’s a good thing your partner is open-minded, even if it also works in his favor. From Caged: I’ve never asked if he sleeps around. Does that make me sound stupid? From Alan: No, but it’s probably good that Andre’s not available full-time. On paper, my wife doesn’t believe that marriage means complete fidelity, and I think I’d fine if she had occasional outside sex. I’m not as sure about an extended relationship. From Caged: Thanks for keeping up. I’ve been super busy the last couple weeks with work, travel, and holiday events, so busy that the swell of unrelieved chastity has built up without much notice. Got to play with Andre again – what great skill and endurance. Still want to write a bit. Maybe will have more time in a week or two. Started looking at narrow cages. It’s one thing to fantasize that it will be a permanent lifestyle and another to have 6 months pass quite used to it. From Alan: What’s a narrow cage? How does it differ from the one you’re currently using? For a man who virtually has no dick, you seem to enjoy sex extraordinarily. From Caged: The tube section of my current cage is wider than it needs to be. Reducing it by a 3/8 of an inch would make a snugger more realistic fit. I’d keep the length the same to accommodate night time erections. A narrower tube would also be lighter weight and prevent me from sticking my pinky finger through the cage bars. And yeah going dickless has increased my enjoyment of sex tremendously. "...has no dick..." sounds so hot. I never liked ejaculating and as a bottom I don’t need an erection so why not dedicate myself fully to pleasing real men’s cocks, right? From Alan: You are a real man. Only a real man would have the guts to metaphorically lop off his cock. From Caged: Yeah, I was just getting into character there with "real men’s." Of course courage, patience, and such are adult traits. Your comment got me thinking. From an anthropological perspective, a "real man" might be defined in terms of roles, activities, challenges, and behaviors in society and relationships. Some of these are more biologically driven and others are more culture specific. For example, ejaculating to sire children is an activity and acting as a father is a role. Given the variety of these, we can score someone (say, 0% to 100%) based on challenges overcome, and roles filled. Generally, teenage boys face the challenge of losing their virginity by sticking their penis into a vagina, and almost all succeed by their mid-20s, often much earlier. It’s a major life event. In contrast, I’ve tried and failed to penetrate and I "got my cherry popped" like a girl by another male. So I "failed" this challenge though of course I love fully embracing the role of a submissive bottom. Sexually, I don’t function as a typical male and apparently it’s deeply me and makes some other men very happy too! From Alan: You keep giving me proof of how happy you’ve been making other guys and yourself, and that’s terrific. Keep doing that. Meanwhile, my wife and I are taking our daughters away for almost two weeks, so happy holidays. From Caged: Happy holidays to you as well! From Alan: How have you been? Still playing happily? How’s the chastity holding out? From Caged: I’m mostly working; went from quiet holidays to lots of business in the new year... not much time for playing and definitely no writing. Still very happily caged From Alan: Amazing. When was the last time your husband let your dick out? From Caged: I’m aiming for 1 year, though frankly besides occasional inconvenience I can imagine permanent lockup. The new cage allows some breathing room but less than before. No need for erections. I cum about 1/month. Two interesting experiences: 1) Had my first wet-dream EVER. Yeah, I hear most guys have wet dreams especially as teens but I never did. Now I know what it’s like! And 2) After an hour of giving a friend a BJ, the moment he came and I tasted it, I also had a dry hands-free full-body orgasm (e.g. I didn’t ejaculate, just had full orgasm). Otherwise, very busy; pretty adapted to life caged, so I get work done. And winter limits outdoor exercise to get rid of excess frisky energy. From Alan: Unexpected orgasms are fun, especially when they hit more than your dick. I’ve never managed hands free except in my sleep, and that’s probably been since I was a kid.. The lack of ability to have sex may keep your mind focused but as I’ve said, it makes me a bit nuts. Is your partner enjoying himself, carrying the key? From Caged: Certainly I’m horny a lot. The abstinence (from ejaculating) is part of my meditative practices, a powerful aid to kundalini yoga, which I started in November on a regular basis. Not sure what my partner thinks of it all. He’s not interested in power or meditation and even if he’s quick in bed, he enjoys it. I keep hoping he has a break thru at some point. From Alan: It must be hard: being in love with a man you don’t match up with in bed. From Caged: Yeah, you’re a lucky guy. From Alan: Takes a lot of communication. From Caged: Hi! Really sorry. Was seriously busy and now in bed with flu. V-Day we cooked at home. For our anniversary we went out and my BF got me a really cute card From Alan: Sorry about your flu. It’s going around and has hit a lot of students and staff but has fortunately missed me. I even found myself back in the classroom when we ran out of subs. Didn’t do any teaching. The kids found it too much of a joke that the principal was in their class. We mostly talked about news and sports. From Caged: Worked half day yesterday and today. Afternoons spent napping. Sigh. Not hit as hard as my boyfriend now, but still unpleasant. This one creeps up on folks and stays for a couple weeks! So last month I had my cage off for 10 days around V-Day and our anniversary. Not to stimulate me. Just as a break. And a chance to check on the effect of caging for so many months. For the first week, my penis remained tiny. I’m used to having it feel big with the metal cage and was shocked by how small it was. And it remained flaccid even with stimulation and I came with it flaccid. Finally, two nights in a row I woke up with a nighttime erection and after a week it returned to a more normal size, whatever that is. When I was younger, normal size was 6-1/4 inches. Before the cage it was usually 5-1/2 inches. Not sure it got to that. Once it looked like it was mostly back to normal, the cage went back on. From Alan: Glad your dick got a break, but sorry the flu hit your husband, too. My wife felt dizzy one afternoon but shook it off with a good night’s sleep and a weekend taking it easy. Our daughters have been fine. They’re both athletes and do an hour of cardio every day. Germs wouldn’t know where to land. From Caged: Apparently it can take up to three weeks and the cough lingers. I had very mild symptoms for a week, then it hit and mostly left me weak with that cough. After so many months of peeing sitting down, I had to remind myself I could stand to pee. Sort of like visiting a foreign country where they drive on the other side of the road. From Alan: You may as well enjoy pissing like a guy while you can. I’d never thought about that. Just figured you could. From Caged: Nah, it dribbles. Now, I’m back to squatting. From Alan: Any idea how long it will take your dick to shrink again? From Caged: Love to know but that would be unproductive since I’d have to take the cage off to measure. From Alan: You sound like an obsessed teenager. Hope your cough goes away and your dick sticks around. From Caged: LOL. From Alan: I don’t want you laughing at your dick now. From Caged: I was laughing at the “obsessed teenager” part. I entirely agree: the point of the chastity cage is to remove awareness, not add to it. I wasn’t expecting much shrinkage since as I said my cage is wide and certainly not short. That’s in part why I was surprised. In the future, when I move to a shorter, narrower cage, the effects may be longer lasting. From Alan: Some evil part of me is amused that you have an even tinier dick – mainly because you seem to enjoy the thought. I don’t particularly like big dicks, but I like them to be proportionate to the man. Yours no longer is. But you’ve got a good face, so what the hell. From Caged: It’s been almost a year – 50 weeks – since I went into chastity. Still really loving my sex life as a submissive dickless bottom for several fine men. Thinking back, since age 12 when I first started thinking about sex, I’ve always imagined myself in a receiving role. Maybe I was born with the wrong equipment and my brain thinks I’m supposed to have a hole instead? I otherwise ID as a dude. Weird feeling. It’s just so satisfying when a man uses me and I totally forget I have a penis. I’m sending you a little thing you might enjoy. It’s the only nonbusiness writing I’ve done for months. I gave it to Andre. I wrote him: Top 12 Thank You’s: 12. Kissing your feet, because you are a King 11. Smelling your musky pits, cos I’m a fag 10. Sucking your undies 9. Worshiping your amazing, perfect cock 8. Pleasuring your dick but only after I earn it, with my throat pussy as my only purpose. 7. Asking what I want even though you probably know better what I need, and slowly I learn. 6. Warming up my hole with your tongue, because you are sweet on me. 5. Patiently opening my tight hole; and later, I look in the mirror between my legs and admire your work and feel lucky. 4. Fucking me hard, cos it relaxes both of us. 3. When we fuck in synch, you let me back thrust and work my ass muscles. 2. Humorously poking my caged boy-clit, because I really actually forget it’s there; Why was I born with a tool I don’t need or know how to use? (Doesn’t matter!) And the #1 thank you: 1. Ejaculating into me so hard that I feel each squirt from your pulsing cock; and I keep your seed. From Alan: Good to know you’re still having fun, not that I suspected you suddenly wouldn’t. How’s your husband fitting in? I hope you have the best of both options. From Caged: My BF is still not sexually awakened but I can’t imagine being without him. Andre surprised me with a wonderful new toy: a prostate vibrator. Within a minute of use, I enjoyed waves of prostate orgasm. Really amazing feeling and so thoughtful of him. From Alan: Haven’t you ever used one – or had someone use one on you? If can be great fun but also addictive. And you have Andre, plus your partner, among others... From Caged: Yes I can see how it would be addictive. Andre can get me to this on his own – he’s skilled but not fast. My BF has only gotten me there once or twice over the years. The sex was different this time with the orgasm at the beginning. I felt more sensually engaged afterward. Anyway, I can get a lot of the same thing from a good meditation now w/o sex so hopefully I will keep my head on straight and not long for the vibrator, LOL. From Alan: That’s the problem: you can use the vibrator alone. You forget other people. From Caged: I’m tempted to buy a vibrator but honestly the joy of sex for me is being with another man, playing around with him, being pleasantly surprised and trained. And getting his cum is the best part. A vibrator can’t do any of that. From Alan: I thought Andre already gave you a vibrator. Did he bring it just to play? Probably a good choice, keeping it away from you. From Caged: Nah, he’s fully in charge and I prefer it that way. He wanted to insert both the vibrator (which is slim) and his cock at the same time: we’ll need to work up to that. It’s amazing, whenever I think I want X, and he says Y instead, his turns out a much better choice. I’ve learned to trust his instincts and guidance. From Alan: I’ve learned to trust your recountings of his instincts. You’re his toy. From Caged: Hi! Again sorry for the lapse. Finishing up projects and breaking ground with some new ones. Feels good. Still in chastity and waiting for the new smaller cage to arrive. My BF’s present to me. It won’t be horridly small, just smaller. Today is day 3 of a 6 week workout challenge. Taking 1/2 the recommended dosages of the usual workout supplements including a natural (and lab certified!) testosterone booster. Needless to say, that + chastity = challenging mix. I haven’t been able to meet up with Andre much cos he just returned from 5 weeks away. He’s looking at a job in NYC. Hoping we’ll hook up this afternoon. Also, my other fuck buddy keeps having family stay over – don’t relatives understand that a single gay guy’s apartment isn’t "available." Poor guy has missed out on dates and sex. He and I did video sex yesterday. I used a dildo while he jerked off. LOL. I went another 45 min to satisfy myself. It’s sort of amazing, that after an hour with a dildo, I’m much more relaxed than if I’d cum. The dildo is not the same as a pounding by Andre (or any good sized cock) but it does the job. I wonder if any male, or any gay male, can experience this or only really sub bottoms like me? BTW, Andre says fucking me is work (work he loves) but I can’t tell if he’s as relaxed as he makes me after our "workouts"? Here’s a message I sent to him after we last fucked: “Surprises: You greeted me at the door with your hot naked bod, and the excitement in my eyes was like an addict seeing crack. I wanted to grab you and worship you all over, right there, and you kept me wanting as you worked my holes your way. How did you know I love sucking soft cock? It prolongs your pleasure. I’m there to serve. A proper bitch learns this and loves it. You jerked off just an hour ago?! I tried so hard to get you stiff and then SURPRISE, you got yourself back in my face, hard as a fucking rock in seconds, cos you’ve got a King cock. Hope you felt my joy as I took your rod down my pussy throat. Fucking myself on your cock, you teasing my hole, repositioning me. And the prize: grabbing your hips and pulling you in all the way as you pumped your seed in me. After, I was in a daze, weak in the knees, checking out your handiwork in the mirror. I gotta say, you know how to make a sweet ass masterpiece.” What else. I’m feeling really frustrated by not getting regular sex. My boyfriend is sweet but his low interest is so dissatisfying. For years, I would just jerk off on my own and have sex just enough and certainly I didn’t understand what amazing sex is supposed to be like. No relationship gives everything and I will not be disrespectful to him. I don’t want him sitting at home knowing I’m off somewhere getting fucked even though we’re both cool with it. Though sometimes I’m not sure where this is all going. In late June I attended multiple retreats using native medicinal plants (read: ayahuasca). One of the visions (right word?) featured Andre, not as a lover but as a teacher. I saw more clearly how he operates. Very insightful. Got insights on my boyfriend and others too. In tandem with kundalini yoga, the result is very powerful, like literally hours of orgasm + learning at the same time. Have been keeping a journal and integrating some of the insights into my daily life / thought patterns. From Alan: Good to be back in touch, Skip – I didn’t realize it had been almost a month. This is supposedly my slow season, but that isn’t happening. Too many good teachers retiring, and I’ve been in constant interviews. I’ve barely been online. Good thing I’m happily married. Balancing that, and love, and sex are tricky, but you seem deft about it. As long as you keep your husband from being hurt, and the guys continue to enjoy seeing you, especially Andre. The most interesting thing you said about him was the insight you got about him as a teacher. Of course, that would interest me. Also how, without the retreats, plants, and yoga, he made you realize what good sex could be like. I didn’t realize the sex had continued to slow with your husband. I thought it was tame but comfortable. Has he participated in your retreats, plants, and yoga? Have you even tried taking a vibrator to him? Early on, my wife did that to me, and it changed my world. It might be interesting for your husband to have that kind of continuous, intense orgasm, if only to let him know that’s possible. Of course, it might turn him into a bottom, and then where would you be? Anyway, enjoy yourself. Keep yourself and all the other guys happy, and you’ll be fine. I know you’re about to head into summer teaching, so catch up when you can. From Caged: Will do.
  13. Chapter 30 -- Part 2

    Caged – Part 2 From Caged: Been very busy with work and haven’t written anything more. Will definitely let you know when I do. I used to think that jacking off was something guys couldn’t help, like peeing. Now I realize I don’t need to. And the last month has really been the first time that I’ve had zero problems concentrating for work. I’m still horny, mind you, it’s just that I can focus my attention elsewhere now for several hours at a time. If anything, a chastity cage is a great training device! Experiments with milking have been interesting. The first one was mind-blowing, like WAY better than the usual orgasm. The second was no fun at all – got relief from horniness but zero enjoyment. And third time, I just came profusely while soft in my cage. Couldn’t help it. BTW, do you find that summertime is more difficult? I find my balls sag a lot more in the heat and make the cage less comfortable. From Alan: I’ve never noticed any change. But I suppose when you have a weight hanging on you, you notice any little difference. I don’t understand your milking experiments. Were you milking someone, and you came soft while locked in because you couldn’t stop yourself? Why was the first one good, and the next one not? If you’d have let me, that’s what I wanted to explore. When I’m having sex regularly, I don’t masturbate. And my wife and I still often have it for a couple hours, so I’m pretty hands off. From Caged: The milking experiments are on me while locked in. Either I’ve tried them by myself or with my BF. The Internet seems filled with contradictory info about milking and now I see why. Each attempt results in a different outcome. My goal is to be permanently locked in. The metal cage makes this possible. As a practical health matter and to maintain sanity, it sounds like I need to expel prostate fluid every so often. Up until recently, when I was in the plastic device, my BF would let me out every week (then every 2 weeks, then every 3) and he’d jerk me off. I’d also have a few days without the cage. Now that I’m in the metal device, what to do? The first genuine attempt was on my own, with a dildo, after 3 weeks of no release. Of course I can’t get hard in my cage but I can tap my prick and massage myself with the dildo. After 5 minutes, maybe 10, I ejected a single stream of precum (transparent) and felt amazingly relaxed after, as if I’d cum fully. The second time, two weeks later, was a similar set-up. I got to the point of release. I felt this huge build up like I was going to cum. I was 99% there. I felt the cum shooting in me but just before it was about to come out, and I stopped tapping, there was this weird feeling of "back flow" and nothing came out. While I was surprised and frustrated by that, and there was zero pleasure in it, I actually felt relaxed afterward for days as if I’d come. My BF pointed out that no actual mess to clean up but me calmed down was ideal. For the third attempt, because it seemed like I stopped tapping too early, I kept tapping and came with the usual white spunk in my cage. It made a mess but felt great and frankly I’d gone too long for what I’m used to so far. There were other past attempts, but these 3 are in the metal cage. The first time was ideal. It felt better than the usual orgasm, it was just pre-cum, and it was enough to calm me but not make a mess. From Alan: You might want to have your boyfriend give you a very slow, full body massage, with special attention to any of your usual trigger points except, of course, your locked-in dick. Don’t exclude your unlocked balls. When you’re just about on the edge, see if he can retrigger your first experience with a gentle lubed finger slowly working your prostate. From Caged: Sounds lovely to try. I love massage, both giving and receiving them. Unfortunately, he doesn’t give massages. We’ve even talked about it. Sigh. I guess that’s what friends are for. I’ve debated which terms to use: boyfriend, husband, partner... He’s not really my boyfriend because that sounds like we’re dating. After we donned rings a few years ago, I called him husband for a while and called me wife, which I didn’t like. We’re usually mistaken as straight business partners. LOL. In bed, of course, I’m now basically a wife. And he takes about as much interest in the details of my chastity as a straight man does in his wife’s feminine hygiene stuff. He wants me eager and ready to receive his cock. And as I’ve learned in the past few weeks, he wants me to up my game at giving him blow-jobs. From Alan: I thought he sounded more like a husband than a boyfriend, but I used the word you used. Get a younger, skilled friend to give you a massage then. And what does your husband want you to improve about your blow jobs? From Caged: I’m a natural born cocksucker. LOL. Love giving sensual blow jobs. But I could be better while being face fucked, keeping my tongue active and not choking when being hammered. My BF gave me some nice praise a few days ago. I felt so good knowing I’m getting it right for him. From Alan: Well, you’ve found something that’s fun to practice and gives you immediate feedback. Also, if I seem to be ignoring you, I’m not. We’re back in school, full-time, and it destroys my free time. From Caged: oh goodness, no worries. This is a super busy time for me as well. nine more days and I’m home free. From Alan: What happens in nine days? Does summer session end? From Caged: Exactly. Then I’m off. From Alan: Where are you going? From Caged: I run my own business. I only teach my seminar in the summer. I have projects to finish (and start) and will also travel for work and visit friends (including those "with benefits"). I’ll be locked in chastity throughout, which will be interesting. I seemed to have figured out how to focus on work and yet be electrifyingly horny in a snap. LOL. The steel cage has been great, and from talking with my husband this morning, we agree it will stay on truly permanently. BTW, for the first time, I said to my man, "thank you for keeping me safe in the cage." From Alan: I thought you taught more often. Having your own business and the related travel certainly gives you a lot of freedom, and glad the cage gives you the focus you need. Eventually, it might be nice to have the discipline without the hardware. One of my pleasures with guys who like bondage is letting them learn they can do it without ropes. From Caged: I’ve always taught full-time. I was asked by a friend at the university. Mainly I run a small import company, very specific, for construction safety equipment. I could teach more but wouldn’t make much and I enjoy my freedom. I hear what you’re saying about self-discipline but I’m still quite a horny guy. Not sure I could go more than 5 days without jerking off without a cage. And I feel there’s a lot left to learn, being locked-in while with a variety of men. For example, for quite a while I was annoyed that my husband (BF? terms terms!?!) wasn’t up for sex every day while I am. I recently got to thinking that’s selfish of me. I’m now okay embracing being ready for him whenever he’s ready. Similarly, while it’s incredibly pleasurable to be used while really horny, I can focus my attention away from my own passive experience of pleasure to focus on techniques to be a more active bottom. I want to build up a lot of new habits and have new experiences for the foreseeable future, and the cage is great for that. From Alan: Being locked in sounds great for your focus and working discipline. When did you start your business? From Caged: Well, it wasn’t exactly a family business, but there are rewards for loyalty and competence and having the head to run an office. Last lectures delivered… finishing up grading… almost – almost – vacation time! Wrote some chastity poetry. Needs a little editing. Not sure why I’m writing it, maybe easier than stories. LOL. But will send it along for your feedback. From Alan: Sure, send it, but first, a warning: I suck at understanding poetry. It was no fun when I had to teach it. I’ve sat in other people’s classes, and they really understand and are enthused about the form and its imagery. From Caged: Understood. I’m not super abstract with poetry. Not my forte either. Almost done with another story, the first in chastity. Also, for your enjoyment, here’s a different one. It’s about a three-some and my first story while in permanent chastity. It took place a mere 2 months ago. From Alan: I’ll read them this weekend. From Caged: No hurries, I’m in San Diego staying with friends. Husband’s tethered at home working. Fun BBQ last night. Got to show my cage to a friend of mine. He and I have been meaning to hook up for maybe 5 years! (Not yet but soon). I worried he might think it was weird but he loved it. Give him something to dream about. Later today might go to a nude beach. I foresee that will be an experience. From Alan: Nude on a beach in a cage. That may be a surprise. The story was fun. There are a couple of typos, mainly verb tenses, and a couple of euphemisms that aren’t my personal style but may be yours. "Stallion" in particular – the rest of your writing is so grounded in reality. I can accept it as a choice of the main character, but it seems to move the writing away from reporting and closer to porn. Also, a question: is the main character in a gay marriage or a straight one? From his introduction, it seemed to be straight, but at the end, there’s mention of "getting home to his husband." And it seems careless – or arrogant – to go home smelling of lube and come and absolutely hoping there’ll be no one there before he can shower. But these are all picky teacher questions which don’t need to be corrected. Overall, I really liked the piece. Thanks for sending it. From Caged: Glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did! There is another much more psychological one to write and I likely have another tryst coming up soon. Re the main character: Very near the start it says he’s gay-married. This distinction may be generational. And he very much courts danger so I’m not totally surprised he’s go home smelly. Went to the clothing optional beach. Inevitably I "came out" as caged. Got the usual reactions. At least one guy was pretty turned on; he quickly got how it worked. I’m quite attracted to him and since he lives only 45 min from where I’m staying, he may end up fucking me. I went body surfing. I worried at first, though the cage can’t just come off (I’d need to lose a testicle for that). The cool water caused my balls to contract and hold the cage tightly. One young guy who’s really cute and also a bottom got naked. He has a really small prick. It really turned me on. I keep thinking of how beautiful it is small. I don’t want small in bed for a top but on a bottom it’s nice. We all went out to dinner after. I feel very happy about the day. I remind myself that it’s odd and maybe wrong to use the cage as a way to draw attention to something I’m claiming to ignore. Perhaps I can spend less time on ways to get cock in me and more time sublimating my energy to just helping other (gay) men. From Alan: The story introduces the main character as saying something like gay-married-sneaky, but I wasn’t sure that meant he was married to a woman and secretly sneaking out with gay men. It also might be nice if you clarify that he risks danger. Using your caged cock to attract men is no worse than guys using dogs to meet women. As long as your husband’s comfortable with your new adventures, then it’s between you and him. I look forward to your next story, the tougher one. I tend to ride the surface in my life, so it’s nice to see other people going deeper. Unfortunately, I still haven’t looked at your poetry. From Caged: That’s a good point about "gay married." I’ll find another term or refer there to his husband. My husband is “ok” with all this, for now, though I don’t fool around THAT much. I’ve noticed more young men (in their 20s) actively approaching me. Maybe I should say yes to those! My poetry is nothing special but it was fun to write. From Alan: “Fun to write” is always a good reason, and I’ve never been a reader or fan of angst. As long as you’re exploring, see if those interested guys in their 20s have started to learn technique. Mostly, they seem good at working out. But they are fun to watch. From Caged: Angst + sex definitely aren’t my cup of tea and I’m not much of an angst-ridden guy anyway. Except for giving blow jobs, I was a poor bottom even into my 30s. Master Mark told me I had a lot to learn but it took fetish to start to actively train. Speaking of which, while I’m happy with my cage, I’m wondering about the fit – maybe I’ll try the Mature Metal "Pet Trap." That exposes a little less flesh and is more form fitting. It’s been great to sleep at night in a cage that’s a little too big. But eventually, I can see submitting to a smaller cage. Worked on another story today – about my first experience. Not the first try at telling it. Will keep at it. From Alan: Don’t cramp yourself so much you cause physical damage. Being dickless is probably no fun. From Caged: My husband jerked me off in my cage this morning. OMG, after maybe a month... it was just amazing and I felt so relaxed afterward. It was a gentle reminder that yeah, as you said, being dickless is no fun. Also, for your amusement, a video about a guy giving a blow job. I particularly like 1:45 or so. The boy’s expression is inspirational. From Alan: You’d think your husband would occasionally let your dick out to play. How did he manage to jerk you off while keeping you confined behind 2-inch bars? I’ll look at the video when I get a chance. I need to be on a different computer. From Caged: My husband jerked me off by rhythmically tugging on the cage. Besides, after several weeks of chastity, I can shoot spontaneously just with a dildo or cock in me. I was "ripe". As for the cage, if I asked to be let out for a legit reason (health, travel) he surely would. Neither of us consider me using my penis as a man would to be a legit reason. In the past, when he let me out of the plastic cage it was either to jerk me or just to tease me before locking me again. Though he may release me someday similarly from this metal cage, he hasn’t yet and it may be months (or years) before he does. For me "play" or sex means receiving a man’s cock and doing my best to satisfying it. My pleasure comes from the act of service, being more my true self, and prostate stimulation. From Alan: I knew that about you wanting completely to please, sexually. I just wasn’t sure of the mechanics of your being able to come while soft and restrained. Didn’t your cock try to get hard while your husband was steadily tugging on the cage? You’ve already said you don’t get aroused while servicing because your attention is focused on the other guy or guys. But doesn’t your cock get hard a little? I would have thought that was only natural. Again, thanks for being so honest about your body. For me, that honesty is the difference between good reportage and porn. Also, I keep meaning to tell you: I read the poem you sent. No trouble understanding it, but I like your stories better. I think it’s a better fit for you. From Caged: Thanks about the poem. As I said it was easier to write because it’s shorter. But I know what you mean about the fit. This picture is the stiffest I can get in the cage. Without it, I can get fully erect when jacking off though I will instantly go soft when presented with a hole. Normally I am totally soft during any sex. I’m still very aroused, both in the front and back, and I can cum soft while restrained. When my husband tugged on it, yes, it got stiffer, but not much, not like in the photo above. I think there’s no mechanical issue. Simply, psychologically, I have no wish or need to be erect. From Alan: Interesting. Thanks. Looking at the photo, it seems like the top ring of the cage is mainly putting pressure on your balls, and that would cause pain and deny you pleasure. But you seem to be fully erect, though obviously you couldn’t fuck anyone wearing all that metal. I didn’t realize your cage could ride down your dick like that. I meant to tell you: that was a strange video. I don’t mind guys being abused when they’re being paid for it, though it’s not something I’d choose to watch. But that kid seemed very real and didn’t seem to be having much fun. From Caged: Other guys I passed the video to loved it. Great realism. It was a nice demo on subbing. Never wondered if the kid was having fun in the usual sense, which is an interesting question. Last night a dude I met online (age 27) came over and fucked me for 3 hours nonstop. First time with a blindfold. Loved it. Very skilled top. I was 100% sub but also very much enjoying it, and the guy said that showed. It was his first time with someone in chastity. Really, the cage can work wonders. LOL. The last half-hour, he managed to continuously rub on my prostate. Wow, just wow. In person he had a thug look which was also a huge turn on. The ring relies on the balls but it doesn’t hurt. That photo is a really rare moment. These days, I’m stiff once in a blue moon. If fully erect, I’d be pointing up, not down. Years ago, it was 6.25 inches, but in recent years, I’m 5.5 inches. During sex, like last night, I forget about it entirely and it’s tiny. My attention is on my ass and the man’s cock. Attached is another story, from this past weekend. Hope you find it enjoyable. I’m so glad I wrote it all down. I remembered so much while writing! Next to clean up the story from June. This one is called "Andre the King.” From Alan: You absolutely have fun as a sub, but I’m not sure about the kid in that video. Some of the other guys on that site seemed like paid professionals, but that video looked like homemade porn. Of course, that could have been part of its appeal, and the kid could be a young pro. To me, that would make all the difference. The story you wrote was really nice. See Andre again. I know you’re a happy guy, but he seems to make you even happier. And since you’re both married and want to stay that way, it shouldn’t mess up either of your relationships. Is his a straight marriage or a gay one? For that matter, is he married? You only mention visiting family. There are 2 or 3 typos along the way, one at the bottom of page 4, one at the top of page 5, and one, I think, close to the end. But nice clean writing. No euphemisms. You know I like that. From Caged: Thank you for much for reading the story and giving your feedback. Your thoughts and questions are very helpful since I tend to miss obvious things sometimes. It was really a powerful experience. The chemistry between us, both physically and psychologically, was just right, at least in the bedroom. Andre is single. He was just visiting his extended family. A straight friend who is an erotica writer has encouraged me to write some stories, even short ones, that don’t have sex but are exciting that way, like when I went to the nude beach a few weeks ago. Having a number of those would move any blog I’d start a little more away from the porn category. I also went back and started sorting journal entries from a different area of my life: spiritual experiences. In many ways, spiritual and sexual experiences closely relate. While I’ll probably keep them separate, I want to write those more professionally as well. Will look into the typos! Thank you for catching those! Another friend of mine who took a course on women’s fantasies has encouraged me to add a "story" or two that describe a fantasy experience – not trying to make it a story, but stylistically distinct. Thoughts? From Alan: Sometimes, only having a strong sexual attraction is all you need, especially when you’re trying to preserve a second, more ongoing relationship. So enjoy what you and Andre have, especially since you have permission to play. The excitement of “Andre the King” could be matched with several other not overtly sexual stories, and the fantasy stories might be interesting, too. But two other considerations, and I don’t mean either of them as a limit. First, it only takes one story for people to consider an entire blog porn, following the old "You fuck one goat" joke. So don’t worry about labels. Write what you want to most. Second, you seem, by nature, to be a reporter, and a very detailed one. That would play into the not overtly sexual stories, because, again, you’re reporting. But I’m not sure how it would play into fantasies. You could probably easily report your own, as you partly already have. But I’m not sure if you could get into other people’s imaginations and write as convincingly. For example, how much do you know about what Andre was thinking while you were being so happily fucked? He might have been remembering someone else or fantasizing about another guy or planning out his next day. There are sex ed books from the ‘50s and ‘60s that advise guys to remember baseball stats while trying to maintain erections. I had to read some for grad school, and they were pretty funny. But if that’s what was going through Andre’s mind, it’s not going to be much of a fantasy. So play with the idea, but don’t spend a lot of time on it if it’s not something you enjoy. From Caged: It’s a delight to get your messages. Good reminder to just write naturally for myself. Stories like the nude beach one can heighten the psychological aspect of the overtly sexual stories. It’s neat you that mention "reporter." I am forever annoyed by real life so-called news where the "reporter" seems challenged to just report what’s observed. Perhaps I take for granted this gift. For fantasy fiction stories, it’s easy to write from the POV of people different from me, using different dialog and emotions – even interactions between women, though that took quite a long time to develop. So I could likely write “fiction” from say Andre’s POV, but it would not be particular to Andre without further studying him. He can go a long time before ejaculating, so yeah, he must be thinking of something. He pays a lot of attention to tiny cues and things I say. He can repeat verbatim facts and statements I’ve made. And he reacts quickly to adjust his pace based on my responses, especially my facial expressions. E.g. he enjoys when he causes a little bit of pain and then turns it into pleasure. He can tell from my brief reactions whether I’m ready for something. In my class, I do an interview workshop where students write a vignette in the 1st person from their writing partner’s POV. I don’t know quite enough about Andre yet, but I could, especially if I interviewed him. From Alan: Then you have the technique to get into other people’s minds, though I can’t see Andre being interested in being interviewed. You might have to learn slowly about him, letting him volunteer what he wants, and he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who shares those kinds of thoughts. Nice that he picks up tiny cues. Enjoy that. By the way, what’s your name? Mine’s Alan. I think we’ve gone six months only knowing each other by screen names. From Caged: Simon, but I usually go by Skip. Thanks for asking. Yeah, Andre wouldn’t be super into being interviewed. It might feel weird to him, though he knows I write and he himself is in tv production. I suspect, in his dirty mind, he wants to shoot a porn of us. LOL. Here’s a new story, no sex, all fun at "The Beach." From Alan: I’ll take Skip. Thanks. Interesting that Andre’s in TV. Funny if I’ve seen him reporting on the news. I’ll get to the new story another night. Going to sleep now. From Caged: Since “the beach” is merely rated R, not xxx, I sent it to that (mostly) straight friend of mine who writes erotica. He may give fairly detailed feedback and I may end up with two versions. LOL. No idea what Andre does in tv but I don’t think he’s on camera. I’ll find out. He fucked me again, at his place. Somewhat different and just as amazing. He really is so talented in bed. Very high sexual intelligence and he prepared with my preferences in mind, like feeding me his dirty jock. We went 2.5 hours and chatted afterward in a sweaty mess. He was still amazed that I have a virgin penis but then realized that his ex-boyfriend was also so, and he hasn’t even given a bj in years much less bottomed. In the shower I said something and he called me out for internalized homophobia. I had to agree and respected him for saying it. And again he was amazed I wasn’t all defensive like a lot of guys. Well, he’s 27 and I’m 36. I’d probably have been defensive at his age. I love how he gently pushes me just past my limits. Might actually sleep with him again From Alan: 27-year-olds can be much better adjusted about being comfortably gay than older guys. That’s the great thing about the world opening up. Glad you saw Andre again. I’ll try to read the beach story tonight. Busy day. From Caged: No pressure.
  14. Chapter 30 -- Part 1

    Caged – Part 1 Into role-play, dom/sub interaction, chastity devices, wrestling, sport/military gear, verbal teasing and humiliation, edging, more. Got hot for kink after visiting a club in Berlin, no kid. PICS TAKEN RECENTLY (yesterday to 15 months ago). Currently in longterm lockup in steel cock cage. Looking for learning and interaction around that. Like men who are confident, dominant, verbal, and like to train or guide. Also love role-play (nerd/jock, etc) and anything imaginative. Interested in meet-ups and events with like-minded guys, and am good on follow-through. Prefer my age or younger. Happily in a relationship so just here for random safe fun. Stats: 36, 5'11", 160 pounds, brown hair and eyes, hairy arms and legs, caged dick. Definitely young looking for my age. From Alan: Hope you’re having fun being locked in. From what I understand, it’s both a pleasure and a trial. Did you lock yourself in, as some guys do, or are you following orders? From Caged: fun, with occasional breaks. I set a duration and boyfriend keeps the key until then. From Alan: Was it your boyfriend’s suggestion or yours? The problem is sometimes the most fun I have is edging guys and showing them things about slowing down their bodies they didn’t know. You know you can easily be aroused, even locked down, and you could probably shoot, soft. But that’s a mess to clean up. From Caged: The cage was a surprise gift for my boyfriend. The moment he saw it, he loved it and loves me in it, though he likes to give me release sometimes when he decides too. I really appreciate the slowing down part. My bf is pretty quick. But I can easily go two or three hours – I stay very aroused in general, I just have no need to cum. Fortunately, I have some "friends with benefits" that play (use me) with a lot of patience and enjoyment. I really enjoy focusing on pleasing the man I’m with. There’s no need for me to cum except for health reasons. And yes, my bf and I now really enjoy the "no mess" part. From Alan: I once had sex with a guy who finished up our pleasant afternoon by cracking "Sex is so messy." Glad you and your boyfriend are having fun, and you’ve discovered the pleasures of slowing down. Another guy taught me that, not that I was a racer. He was studying a kind of zen massage, which would now mostly be described as edging, and I was his dummy. One of my favorite activities from both sides, but very few guys have the focus this guy did. From Caged: Dick chastity has provided a ton of amazing memorable experiences. Imagination was certainly a part of that, though in some cases a man might just be very skilled with his tool. And, yep, being forced to think about the other naked guy is always useful. But that’s just good manners anyway. The biggest change: In the past, when faced with a naked guy, I would typically evaluate him and think about what I wanted to do. Now I think about how to best meet his needs. An example is cock size. Before I would be disappointed by a small penis. Now I get imaginative about how to please a man even when he’s soft. In fact, by focusing entirely on his needs, I’m actually much more satisfied afterward. From Alan: Absolutely. It’s a lot more fun to play with another guy’s body and see what makes it go. Partly because you already know your own body. Partly, because as he unwinds, you’re along for the ride. Only he’s bucking so hard, he doesn’t realize that. From Caged: The biggest complement was the guy who said giving him a BJ made him shed tears (of pleasure). From Alan: Tears of pleasure are nice. A guy grinning for a couple of hours as his body loses control is also fun. You seem to be learning a lot that you now have time to think about. Must make your boyfriend very happy. From Caged: I journal my experiences to keep learning. A lot of it is about setting aside ego and also the practical tips for being a better bottom. I really appreciate that my BF likes me in dick chastity and is patient easing me into it and allowing me to play with other men sometimes. And after being locked for a week or three, his cock makes me very happy! From Alan: After two weeks of being locked in, I suspect a dog, licking your hand, would make you very happy. But it’s better that your boyfriend has that pleasure. What gave him the idea of locking you in? Also, I meant to tell you when you mentioned journaling: if you want to read a sad/funny book about gay men, chase down Numbers on the web. John Rechy. One of the first porn novels I read. Mix that with what Arthur Schnitzler wrote, and you’ve got my life. From Caged: LOL. Cute! About the dog! And, yeah, the constant energy and joy is a huge plus. How we started: For too long I got into jerking off to porn and wasn’t into sex. So I took a chance, got a cage, and surprised my BF... and he loved me in it! Maybe I got the idea from the web? Weirdly, I don’t recall. It’s been perfect for me. I’ve got a virgin penis, so what was to lose? And as we push the duration for days to weeks, it’s been a mind fuck. Sex is amazing. Yes, I’m more horned up. Also, my attention has shifted a lot. Like, my BF cums for both of us and I really notice every detail as he’s cumming. Even outside the bed, I’m more attentive and supportive, considering his needs more often. Also I found “Numbers.” Thanks. His writing style is similar to how I write up my stories – as a series of detailed encounters. Though I write in the first person. Partly, I’m preserving my experiences, especially ones I might forget. And partly, they’re coming together as an anthology of my journey into dick chastity and learning my passion and gift as a submissive bottom. Some of them are pretty personal and I still know the guys. Like one is now married for years has 4 boys and is by his own admission maybe 80% straight. As my friend, he popped my cherry and showed me that I’m gay. Probably wouldn’t share that out of respect for him though of course it was the second story I wrote up. Just had to. I had every minute and act of that night in my head for almost 15 years. Again, thanks! From Alan: Being constantly aroused for an extended period can give you a certain kind of natural high if you’re aware enough to channel it. It just makes some guys dangerous, and, personally, I have to be very careful not to do something stupid. So I don’t let myself get that way. What I like about Numbers, though the sexual politics are way off now – it was published in the late 60s – is its emotional truth. There’s more overt sex in porn now, and it’s all videos on the web because who reads? Also, the book almost seems instructively written for straight folks. It’s like Rechy realized any gay guy knew this stuff, so why would they read about it? But I was just a kid in fairly isolated Iowa, and the book was set in sophisticated LA, so this was all new. After 50 years, times have happily changed, and gay men can be looser – way looser. Also, there’s more diversity. I think every guy in that book is white. Of course, so much of porn, straight and gay, is white. From Caged: The natural high is great, and beyond exercise and sex and chores, I’m wondering how to best channel it. Oh, to harness the drive of a 17 year old with the experience of an adult. I do get relief from bringing another man to orgasm, but after a few hours I’m ready to go again. I’m curious, what do you mean that it makes some guys dangerous? Is there a story there? From Alan: The story unfortunately is called rape, and it happens all too often, with straight and gay men. Going back to something more pleasant, what do you do with your journals? From Caged: The background of “Numbers” is interesting. That obsession with age. About what you said about race, I’m only attracted to and been with european and middle eastern guys, all white. Not attracted to anything else, though I do enjoy watching black top / white bottom porn. I wonder how many straight folks want to read the details of gay sex, though some might wonder, and I’ve found at least one online site for straight women who enjoy gay porn, though more soft core. I recall once watching a woman totally get hot as she watched a straight guy and a gay guy flirt (all 3 were college students) as part of an improv acting thing. So I totally believe it. I can’t watch straight porn (because of how the women are used), but do enjoy straight lovemaking scenes in books where I can imagine being the woman. Come to think of it, I was first exposed to gay through straight porn. It was suburbia in the early 90s (no Internet, etc). The guy showed me a straight porn magazine and asked if I could do what the woman was doing. There were instructional pictures and text. So I guess books and magazines can be very informative! I will send you some of the journal entries I’ve turned into short stories. From Alan: I’m attracted to a lot of different guys. Maybe it’s my background. I try to make the world more inclusive, and I think that changed the way I think. I grew up in a white world, and when I started to teach, the system was mostly that way. Now there’s more balance, but it still tips heavily white. That doesn’t explain why so much of porn is white-focused, seeing the world isn’t, but maybe that tells you who’s watching. I don’t enjoy it. I’d much rather spend my time with someone. And you took me way off track: the most important thing I wanted to say tonight is I’d like very much to see some of your writing. I wasn’t going to ask directly because I thought you wanted to keep it private, possibly only to be shared with your boyfriend. From Caged: I’ve sent you two episodes that I wrote up. There are more if you’re interested, and a few I haven’t quite turned into stories yet. They’re pretty "lite," like 2 to 5 pages each. When I asked you how some guys might get dangerous, rape never occurred to me. I never penetrated even before chastity. Being super horny might make me desperate to say yes to something I shouldn’t, and that would be dangerous. But now that you mention it, yeah, I can see it happens. From Alan: Thanks for the two pieces. They’re very good. I don’t know what you do for a living, but you sure write well. When you get a couple more, you should post them on a blog, maybe password protected, so only your friends can read them. From Caged: Thank you. I don’t know if I have enough memorable sex experiences to write a ton, but who knows. I tried writing about my first time. That was hard and I stopped and put it aside. It was a pretty good experience that I wanted more of, but it so shaped who I am, and was not entirely appropriate, that it’s sort of scary. There are one or two stories that I wouldn’t post out of respect. The guy I wrote you about who’s mostly straight and married now was truly the friend who laid me for my own good to get me out of the closet. It’s not that I’d "out" his experience, it’s that I truly love and respect what he did for me as very special. Speaking of which, writing + chastity have certainly highlighted how much I LOVE being on the receiving end of a man, both physically and psychologically. Anyway, I’ll send you a couple more stories. From Alan: Thanks. They’re fun to read. And I’m not suggesting you go out and have sex so you can write about it. But it’s sometimes good to remember what you’ve done. From Caged: Sent em From Alan: And they were both nice. Thanks. Though the main character’s experience doesn’t seem to track from your other stories, if I remember correctly. I’d go back and check, but I deleted the stories after I read them, to respect your privacy. I know what you mean about some experiences being too personal. I’d never talk about my wife. But maybe it’s an influence of teaching that makes me think some sharing would be instructive. I’m always amazed how misinformed kids are, and not just about sex. From Caged: Yes, I gave you stories out of order. Glenn is my first post-middle school sex experience while Justin was just a couple years ago. The earlier stories were in-between. I would put them in chronological order on a blog. BTW, I’ve been chatting with a guy in Australia who is early in his chastity journey and that inspired me to start writing a series of articles. One of my friends is a psychologist who writes articles on issues related to gay men and sex, so I might hand off these to him or just share them when relevant. Of course, my journey is far from over. I may do a poll or brief interviews of some kind for anyone who’s interested. Oh, I’ve started to think about the themes present in the stories. But I may wait to do a few more before diving into analyzing them. That is another benefit of journaling! From Alan: It’s not just the order of the stories you sent. The facts within them don’t seem consistent. On the subject of chastity: just out of curiosity, I checked, and there are all kinds of stories on the web. Particularly about guys in extended chastity. From Caged: Thank you for deleting the stories. That’s very considerate. Two of the stories were written recently and the other two a few years ago. Since I’d like the narrator to be consistent, please feel free to point out discrepancies or threads that I leave hanging (ahem, LOL). Enjoying my chats from Australia. This guys’s about a month into not cumming and he says it’s “like he’s flying." I’ve only done half that but it’s a great metaphor! And on the occasions when my BF jacks me off, I feel "like someone had died." At the same time, it’s a challenge to keep a clear head for serious work, though I believe it’s possible, at least for hours at a time. (and I notice, the longer I go, the more interactions with people become easier.) From Alan: If you send me the four stories again, I’ll try to remember what I found inconsistent. From Caged: Sent em again. From Alan: I found one of my problems: "Master Mark" is role play – the narrator isn’t still 14 and Mark isn’t 18. As the story went on, I got so caught up in the details, I forgot the guys were actually adults. Also, the fact that the narrator clearly knows he’s gay at 14 and learns from Mark that he’s specifically a bottom fights with what he learns from at 21. In that story, at 21, he’s still dating women, and Glenn both gives him his first experience with a guy and then has to tell the narrator that he should consider himself gay. So it seems like information the narrator long ago learned. From Caged: Thank you for the feedback. It’s very clear and helpful. What a compliment that you got caught up in the story! What I will do, besides ensuring I share them in order in the future, is to add my age as a little subtitle or such at the start of each one. After all, I’ll eventually have a story at the actual age 14 too, and the goal is to cover 36 years of my life – well from 14 on. I read another story online with a lovely ending. In particular, it’s about how a guy’s chastity game is a semi-conscious way of trying to deal with various issues – from his oddly sexless marriage to yearning for excitement and freedom like in his youth. I too understand that my foray into dick chastity is a way of dealing with various issues. The only thing I hated was the guy peeing on himself near the end. I’m not sure what that was compensating for. From Alan: Some guys like to piss on themselves, and I’ve been with at least one who wanted me to piss on him. I couldn’t do it. The self-hating pop psychology seems too easy, but the guy insisted he just liked the warmth on his chest, and it made him come with no hands. I respect that, but I told him to find another guy. Otherwise, we had a nice time. As for your own writing: an age tag on each story might help. One of the things I used to teach – when kids were lost in classic lit – is it’s part of a writer’s job to help readers follow along. Also, I know there are stories you don’t want to share, and I think the one about Glenn is one of them. But it’s so pivotal to the narrator’s maturing that if you’re going to leave it out, you might think of a way to mention that a very private experience changed the focus of the narrator’s life. From Caged: Yes, Glenn is one of the encounters I wouldn’t share. Too bad really since he so impacted my life. We’re still best buds. Have lots of notes on 2 or 3 recent sex episodes with me caged. So want the time to write! Order of episodes from age 21 to age 36: Amazing Glenn Master Mark Desert Reggie Gentle Justin I just read another chastity story online and it was tough. The content veered into stuff I dislike (e.g. scat) and the character became ever more pathetic. I even skimmed some pages in the middle but I kept at it, trusting it was going somewhere. One thing – it was interesting to see a Master portrayed in a healer role. I’ve never seen that. And even the small progress the “patient” made was a step in a better direction. Lots of ideas there, like utilizing a man’s existing resources/strengths, redirecting his attention, assigning him stuff that’s worse before it gets better, and testing his limits. I was sort of reminded of Lars Van Trier’s "Breaking the Waves,” where the audience is led to really want to give up on the main character, but in the end, even when most viewers probably have, we see that God hasn’t given up. (In the story I read the Master was playing the role of God.) From Alan: Thanks for sending me the link. I had to skim a lot, too, and the main thing that kept me going was you got through it. Even as a kid, I gave up on The Story of O because I hated how it treated women. But I’ll bet a lot of that online story’s true. It seemed confessional. And I keep having to remind myself that all these guys don’t hate themselves, and they aren’t trying to self-destruct. The just like the feel of warm piss on their chests and the feel and smell of squishy shit. From Caged: I forget that too, especially when it comes to scat. Put into new custom steel cage today. Super comfy. Elegant. Allows a little more stimulation than my plastic cage. From Alan: Thanks for the photo and the tease. That’s a very pretty cage, as is the toy locked inside – and I almost never comment on a guy’s dick. There’s part of me that still wants to play with it, just to see what it can do in its perpetually-aroused-but-physically-soft state. First, I’d have to get your interest and your and your boyfriend’s permission, and I’m not sure which of those comes first. From Caged: That’s sweet, thank you, and nicely put. Love the word "toy", as in: – the phrase, "boys and their toys" – a small, fun object to play with – not the real thing Since my penis is still virgin, I suppose it will never graduate to the real thing. LOL I don’t need my BF’s permission, though I’m sensible and discrete and respect him. That said, I only play with guys younger than me. Really lovely wording: "perpetually aroused but physically soft." Don’t mind if I steal that for some future story? From Alan: You can steal anything I write you for a story if you explain why you only play with younger guys. That’s not any pressure on my part: I’d rather have you as a friend than as a one-time playmate. It’s just that I still learn from guys older than I am. From Caged: I really enjoy our chats about writing and psychology. Your question is yet another example. Hmm, why do I prefer younger guys? My job puts me a lot with college age guys, which can be a little too young at times but I love their energy, health, and openness (when approached the right way). I myself look quite young for my age. Maybe late 20s, maybe mid. Too young can be boring. 30s are great. 40s maybe as a stretch if the guy has stayed in shape. You have but I also like darker guys. Generally, older means more skilled while younger has more energy. But Justin (from my story) was A+ and he was only 19. Anything in the prime of life... I think, overall, I am enamored with the young warrior archetype and there’s little reasoning with the limbic system beyond that. From Alan: I doubt I’d go near any guy in his 20s, and only if he seemed interesting to talk with. Mostly, I prefer guys from their mid-30s up, presently with no limit, but I’ve been wrong. Mostly, I hate liars. From Caged: Every man has his hero inside. And young guys may not know how to express that hero, but I can usually find it and either speak to it in a way that wakes their interest (or scares them), or wakes the equivalent part of myself. Did a bit of both with a 26 year old recently. I got so much from it. It’s about highlighting and leveraging similarities and contrasts. There’s a straight kid I run into 4 days a week. He’s maybe 20. He’s got a great masculine energy and a solid head for business and will likely do well there in the future. He’s wired a certain way and I’d love to absorb some of that how-to, that energy, that way of being in the world. Maybe it’s the same reason I’m no extrovert but I find foreign cultures easy to get and enjoy. From Alan: I spend a lot of time around high school students, and the older ones are pretty close to college kids. For me, showing interest in their bodies, instead of who they are, seems predatory. In fact, at my age, looking at anyone under 30 seems predatory. From Caged: I’ve had fun with two students, entirely after the course I occasionally teach. They were both so soft and lovely and, alas, also inexperienced and hesitant. Mostly it’s not sexual. I just really love being a mentor for younger guys, especially since I get very smart and ambitious ones. In practice I end up with guys in their 30s. My BF has many wonderful qualities but he’s eager only every 2 or 3 days, likes only one thing, and then lasts only about 10 minutes whereas I like to go an hour or more. C’est la vie. That’s what play dates are for. From Alan: I sometimes think I only know one thing to do. That’s true in the broadest sense, because I really like to explore a guy’s body. But it’s different for every guy and depends on what I find while exploring. Like you, I’m happiest at a couple hours, but a lot’s changed as I get older. I keep thinking I’ll stop playing around, and I’d often rather not be. But, as you said, it’s a different energy with guys. It sounds like you teach much brighter students than I’m generally around. Public high schools are great levelers, and, at first, I was in a very narrow sector. Fortunately, athletes don’t have to be academically bright to be good at what they do. From Caged: Reminds me that perhaps I should add some aphrodisiacs to my BF’s diet. My BF has many wonderful qualities but he doesn’t exude any of that corn-fed American alpha jock charm that tends to get me hot in my cage. LOL From Alan: The problem with corn-fed jocks is they’re often hard to talk with. I’m betting your boyfriend doesn’t have that fault. From Caged: My BF is funny, bright, educated, creative, caring, very good with people, and has traveled/lived around the world. A wonderful life partner. Thing is, particularly as my priorities change in life, there’s this other kind of guy: very creative, a self-made businessman, fun loving and risk-taking, athletic, outdoorsy and likes to travel, wears a baseball cap to his office meetings, loves learning about science, is spiritual, loves sex. I’ve met a couple of these guys. We’d never last when younger, but we get on well now. Really tough balancing act to walk as each partner changes in life. From Alan: For me, the balance comes in giving myself a little freedom to explore while maintaining a permanent emotional base. Mostly, I can be honest with my wife, but sometimes not. But I’m never going to fall in love with a guy because that would mean leaving my marriage, and it would be impossible for me to maintain any balance without it. From Caged: Emotional balance is good to keep in mind. Thanks for the advice. Now in week 5 of chastity. My longest single stretch w/o orgasm. I suppose at some point I might stop counting or thinking about it, simply accepting caged as the new normal... not sure I’m there yet. Horny as fuck. LOL... Fortunately, I have some time this weekend to start writing again. From Alan: I can’t go alone for more than a week, and a delay like that mostly has to do with scheduling. I need contact with someone, even sleeping close together. Still, as long as you’re having fun. It should be interesting to see how you write at this stage. Did you get anything done?
  15. Chapter 29

    Ticklish Straight ex jock 5'10" 165 37 brwn/blk goatee ex investment banker MBA deathly ticklish all over but get the most turned on watching m/m naked tickling and edging and gang tickling. I am so turned on and my wife is in the other room but I have to jackoff now. So turned on if some young guy has me tied and spread and exposed and vulnerable and ticklish. Back in grad school at U of I, but I live nearby in CR. In A+ shape and the best looking guy I guarantee you! From Alan: Married guys are fun to play with, but I'm past your age, and it looks like you want someone younger. Still, I admire your intensity. Enjoy yourself. From Ticklish: Well if you are into it or would be open to it my fetish is to be tied naked and tickled and edged and made to beg for relief... from both. Your age is unimportant to me and the pic you sent looks good. From Alan: I'm into it, but we'd have to work around our schedules and find a place. Since we're both married, that gives us no place to play. From Ticklish: My wife is a vet tech and works nights so I can host. Want to be tied naked and vulnerable to a mans gaze and fingers playing with my body and controlling every sensation of tickling and edging and pleasing until I have to beg for relief from both the tickling as well as the orgasm denial. I am deathly ticklish and have never done this but i always fantasize about it! From Alan: Evenings are tough for me, but how about tomorrow, Thursday, if we start relatively early, say around 4:00? Usually, I'm free on Saturday and Sunday mornings, but this week, I also happen to be free tomorrow afternoon, as mentioned, till about 6:00. If you’re free on very short notice, that would be great. My name's Alan, by the way. I'm kind of an ex-teacher who can't stop teaching. I'm good at gently tickling and slowly edging guys, and that might be fun for you for a couple of hours. Just curious about something though: if you've never done this, who's the guy restrained on the bed in the photo you sent? Or did you restrain yourself just to get that picture? In any case, it's nice. Hope to see you tomorrow or maybe Saturday. From Ticklish: My wife is working tonight. 513 555 1674 text me Erol From Alan: Erol, I know it's being overly careful, but because I'm married with kids and a sometimes shared phone and computer, I only contact guys through this site. But since you're online, and I’m working late this afternoon, I'll stay on here for a while. (No reply) From Alan: It's about an hour later. It's an amazing temptation to call or text you, but since I've held to the rule not to for a dozen years, I can't break it now. I'll check in tomorrow afternoon, after school. (No reply for several weeks) From Ticklish: Sorry its been awhile. I got kind of distracted by other guys interested and your first few messages didn't seem like you were too enthusiastic about meeting. You’re a teacher? I'm a grad student at U of I. I already have one Masters but wanted to do something different. I was married and now married again so i get discretion. Plus I was an investment banker and used to keeping secrets in fact very good at it. Your age is perfect. I fantasize about an older teacher needing to punish me. 44 is really a turn on even if its only a few years older if you don’t mind informally role playing. But I want to be restrained unless you have a better idea and being lightly tickled all over and edged has me squirming right now. You have my number. If you get me yours I will text you next time I have an opportunity. I just spent the other night alone naked watching m/m tickling and forced cams and edged myself. My availability is usually short notice as well so that should work fine. From Alan: Good to hear from you, and it hasn’t been that long. This all sounds very good. Let me know when you’re free. From Ticklish: Hey I am free tonight all night. Spent last night watching videos and edging myself without cumming so my balls are about to burst. My wife leaves at 6pm and is gone till 7:30am. I plan to continue to watch videos and play with myself as i have finals coming up and need to clear my mind. Again your age is a turn on. Being tied and tickled and edged by an older man no matter how little who is a teacher (I will fantasize you as my teacher punishing me with tickling and bondage and edging till I have to beg) I live in CR not far from the airport and the vet hosp where my wife works. Let me know if tonight works for you. Some guys I have chatted with say things about tying and tickling me all night or all weekend and that would kill me. I am so ticklish I swear I know I could be tickled to death so just a couple hours or whatever works with your schedule. I am off the charts ticklish on my feet and extremely well groomed (but I never actually knew what that meant. Shaved my body last night) From Alan: It's an easy drive to where you live, and I like to see guys happily wiggle. The emphasis is on “happy,” as I'm not into punishment except, maybe, by unrelenting pleasure. Unfortunately, timing is always a problem as I’ve mentioned. I'm not free tonight, and I’m mainly free Saturday mornings, from 8:00 till about noon. I need to be home and looking innocent pretty close to then. Phones and computers are tricky, too, as I've said. Maybe the best we can hope for is my checking this site some Saturday morning and discovering you're free. I look forward to that. From Ticklish: I cannot do weekends cause my wife doesn't work and I have finals coming up. I am free tonight again at 5:30! I was edging myself imagining you are my elementary school teacher and I am a bad boy and you correct me with tying me after school naked and tickling and edging me till I lose my mind and promise to be good. That turned me on last night but I edged myself all night but didn't let myself cum hoping you would be able to sneak away today so my balls are loaded for you. You will be the first man I have EVER had this kind of contact with. I would also like to keep the tickling videos playing to keep us turned on. I have 3 weeks to learn 10 weeks worth of really boring stuff so it will be a long time and just putting all the cards on the table I have been trying to experience this for years and have met several good prospects (one I just barely missed a couple days ago) Please see if there is any way you can manufacturer a plausible reason to come by at 7 or 8 tonight. I live at 2981 6th St SW Apt 8 its just N of the 33rd ave exit on 380. 5:45 she will be gone. there is tons of parking too. Its the easiest potential connection I have had the opportunity for. I am just so close to tickle torture I can't stand it. We have to take this once in a lifetime chance! Have to walk the dogs but will check back here on whether you can come or not. I will be stark naked and strokng my lubed up cock and watching m/m tickling videos as soon as she is gone. It's a small apartment bldg and I will just leave the door unlocked. That would be sexy. I am pretty sure outside my door you can both hear the videos and me stroking my lubed up cock (i like a lot of lube) cause I think I have heard my neighbors pause outside like they are trying to figure out what I'm doing. The door is always open anyways. And last week you wrote that you could play for a couple hours which is probably way more than I can take. My wife is always trying to tickle me so I know how ticklish i still am. She knows about it and would actually love to tie me up and tickle me but she is a vet tech and her hands are deadly tickle weapons and I don't trust her. I admittedly am extremely good-looking and work out and she is always after me. Maybe after this if I don’t go insane I may let her. From Alan: There are very occasionally days when I'm free evenings during the week. They have to do with my wife working late and our daughters being busy with activities. I could be in the door right after your wife leaves. On those days, I don't have to be home till 8:00 or 9:00, and if I’m a little late, I can say I was working, too. Even on days that I work till 4:00 – my normal hour – I could be to you by 4:30 if your wife happens to be gone. I could stay for an hour-or-so, which it seems might fuel your fantasies for a while. But that depends on my knowing in advance when you’d be free and preparing my excuse. I’ll try to make this work out, but, meanwhile, you have a very skilled partner, and I'd let her at me if I were you. Let her seize the day, and your dick, too. Sorry about tonight. There’s no way I can get free. So empty your balls, clear you mind, and study. From Ticklish: Hey Alan I am thinking of subbing to help pay my tuition and probably am going to sign up to take the Praxis teaching exam this summer. How hard is it? I have problems getting PT work because I am on disability for a work-related injury and there are limits to how much you can make before your benefits start to erode and most menial of temp staffing firms will not take me because I only want to work when I want and then I would max out for most jobs in 2 weeks and they say their clients want temps that are using the job as a tryout if you will. If I want to sub, again 6 to 7 days would be the most I could work in a month and I want to work when and what days I want. Is that possible? Do they call you or you call them and see if they have a need for a sub that day? From Alan: The Praxis is pretty easy, no matter what level you’re taking. I used to teach it to friends, and you may have provided the one excuse I need to see you some evening when your wife is gone. But the test and your other questions about subbing need a longer answer, and I’ve got a meeting now. I’m heading into a week of them. More later. From Ticklish: thnx From Alan: OK, a follow-up. Subbing is sometimes a pain in the neck. Probably the best way to do it is through an agency, and there are several good ones in the area. They always seem to be hiring because people always leave. I was on a subbing roster for about a week when I was in grad school, and I hated it – hated having to get up at 6 AM to wait for a call that might not come. It wrecked my sleep. Still, you could probably tell them you're only free certain days, say Wednesdays and Fridays, and hope you pull your 6 or 7 days a month out of that. Another thought is teaching online. Do an Internet search for businesses that teach English to Asians – often Koreans. They’re also always hiring. The problem there is you work all night because you're teaching during their days. The work didn’t exist when I was in grad school, and I wouldn’t have considered it because of the hours. Also, I'm not sure you can limit yourself to 1 or 2 nights a week. Friends who’ve done it say the biggest thing is you really have to pace yourself. It’s an 8-hour night of ESL with almost no breaks, and the students just keep coming at you, one an hour. If you don’t have that kind of focus, don’t try it. As for pay: subbing averages $150 a day. ESL pays between $120 and $150 depending on the organization. As for the Praxis, go online, review the site or buy the book. If you want, I really will tutor you. From Ticklish: All good stuff! Thank you so much. Yeah I can also teach at a for profit or JC without a credential. Kirkwood has an open offer to me to teach the GMAT (I got 98% which got me into the top B-schools) and it's $50 an hour but then again I run into the problem of losing my disability documents to insurance. I'm going to reread your message and make some notes so they don’t get lost. Thanks again From Alan: I'm not sure what you mean about the disability documents, but Kirkwood is fairly flexible, and you'd be teaching at the high end. The low end, especially homework tutoring and college prep, is $15 or $20 an hour. From Ticklish: I worked on the Chicago Stock Exchange and there was an accident in my building and I’m on disability. So I can make an additional $1000 per month but Kirkwood 's offer of $50/hour means only 20 hours per month and they wanted me to work more. But because of my score the guy said any time I change my mind the offer is open. Now back to tickling, your wife is not into it? There is a guy I met on here who seems safe and he and his partner both want to tickle me. That sounds intense but I don't know if I could handle it. What scene do you have in mind? I like the student teacher tickle punishment. How long have you been into tickling? Ever tickle a straight guy before? How long do you go? Many guys talk about tickling me all night or even weekend. I am way too ticklish for that. Probably in 2 weeks I should have another opportunity. Do you use tickle talk like gootchie goootche goo? Just typing that makes me hard. More humiliating. I actually have been tied a couple times but the tickling was too hard and hurt. Very feather like strokes are what I find unbearable. Also I think the mind is the key and the few other times I tried they just jumped right in and it didn't tickle. From Alan: As with maybe anything that involves two people, it depends on what happens. But I wouldn't promise you all night, a weekend, or a tag team until I saw how you’d respond. Even then, an hour would probably be sadistic. I have a very light touch, which you’d probably enjoy, but, yep, the mind is absolutely key. Along with expectation. (No reply) From Alan: I haven’t heard from you for a week. Are you trying to learn all your coursework before finals? From Ticklish: Yeah studying and I wasn't suggesting anything like that long of a session I was merely saying that once I'm tied up those type of mind games and uncertainty I think would heighten the fear factor. I highly doubt I could last 2 hours especially if your touch is very light which tickles me exponentially more. Shouldn't even tell you. A couple minutes would surprise me but if I am restrained I'm in the army so to speak! And 6 to 8 is perfect when my wife works. From Alan: You'll be in the army, but you’ll have your videos to watch, so that might help. If you want to take a break from studying, this Tuesday or Wednesday would be fine. Late afternoon, till about 6:30, the latest. I'll check in tomorrow night. Meanwhile, focus on your studying. From Ticklish: Wednesday might work but it wouldn't be till 5:45pm when she leaves. Tied naked and tickled by my older teacher or tutor for punishment is a hot scene. I would probably have to be gagged so that the neighbors don't hear anything. Can't have that. You said you have a light touch which is making me hard just thinking of it. I like watching the videos where the teen is half or fully hard and his cock is flopping back and forth while he is getting tickled and squirming. I feel very comfortable too because of your background and being older, not scared to death and wanting to back out like with other guys. I actually totally trust you. From Alan: No reason to be scared. This is for your pleasure, sort of, since on most levels, you seem to hate it. Also, do you have restraints? Are the ones in the photo you sent yours? I just gave away a piece of rope I've carried in my car for years because a friend of mine needed it to move some furniture. Also, if you're free tonight, please let me know. I can't always get to this computer, and I don't want you waiting if I'm not going to show up. From Ticklish: Yes. I'm free tonight. I had to pick up some stuff to get me in the mood but I am home alone watching tickling videos and edging myself naked. Text me 513 555 1674 From Alan: I don't know when you sent your message, but it didn’t get here till after 9 PM. That was too late – there was no way I could get out of the house then. The hours I’d tutor would be 6 to 8 PM, and I need to set that up at least a day in advance. You have a more flexible schedule since your wife works predictable hours once she’s scheduled. I might be free next Tuesday, from 6 to 8 if you can figure out something ahead of time. From Ticklish: let you know thnx From Alan: Slight change. Unfortunately, I’m not available this week. Sudden board meetings. From Ticklish: This Friday maybe possible. My schedule is really not more flexible because her work schedule always changes and I never know in advance. But just going from the fact she hasn't worked for several days Thursday or Friday seem likely. I like that you're older and a light feather touch tickler. I can't wait to be naked and vulnerable and restrained for your tickling fingers. Also the 6-8 pm time that works for you is perfect. I don't want some guy tying me up and tickling me all night that would be a nightmare! I highly doubt I can take 2 hours as a single stroke makes me jump off the bed and scream! Oh I hate to suggest this but it is an apartment building and I certainly don't want anyone talking so I don't see any options to having a gag of some sort. Duct tape seems the most fool proof. Cant wait to be tickled by you . There were several guys I was corresponding with but I have all but stopped messaging them. From Alan: As I wrote, I’m not available this week. These meetings were unexpected, but unshakable. Duct tape is fine if you want it around your face and head. It’s a bit rough on the skin and hair. Knotted socks sometimes work better, but if a guy wants to scream, he’s going to manage it, no matter what. Also, you never did tell me if you have the restraints in that photo. Hope the studying is going well. When are your finals? From Ticklish: Oh no I don't have those restraints. There was a guy who eventually got tired of me. Several times he would get hotel rooms and had good restraints but a couple of problems, A) I really am straight. Even high on my meds. And he would immediately lube me up and get me off (maybe a little tickling and he wasn't light it was too hard and did tickle but was more irritating) Then he’d release me to retie me and try to get naked and masturbate and I wasn't into it so I'd leave and eventually he said he'd pay me to take some photos and that was it. Never contacted each other again. And being straight makes the restraint part essential because if I am secured and can't stop it it's not my fault. In fact there were several other instances where the guy wants to talk before and get to know each other but then I feel complicit and that doesn't work. The ideal situation would be to come in, minimal talk, (I'll be watching men tickling videos and naked and edging), get blindfolded, gagged and tied (stimulating the stories of straight guys ambushed or knocked out) and then a role-play. The other guy like i said would immediately Jack me off so then I'd lose interest, and him wanting to get naked, that grossed me out. I read a story yesterday and the guy was constantly kept on edge while tickling to keep him interested and nipples played with which could make me cum by itself. Also milking sounds common practice and I would be interested in cumming more than once but there is nothing ticklish or pleasureable. It is PURE pain and not into that. Some rest and watching videos and gentle stroking tickling to get me back in the mood without being released. I saw a video with a guy whose wrists were duct taped heavily to his ankles which left him totally exposed (also the clinical fantasies where the stud is tied to a gyno table with stirrups spread wide is another turn on) soles of feet easy access either on back or face down and seems simple and a turn on. From Alan: All very useful information. Thanks. I'll try to remember as much as I can for when we see each other. So far: I'll come in. You'll already be naked and watching videos. I'll catch you at it, restrain you, gag you, tickle you, maybe get you off, then make you watch more videos, and tickle you again to get you off, and leave. If you have duct tape, taping your wrists to your ankles should leave fewer marks than having me tie you spread-eagle on your bed, and I'll tape your mouth at the same time so you can't talk or scream. Maybe next week, depending on your schedule. Mid week is best : Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. When are your finals? From Ticklish: Just passed them. I think I am going to accept an offer from another man tomorrow. Even though he's a little more than scary I can't pass the chance up and too turned on from watching videos . From Alan: Actually, the board meetings are suddenly over, and tomorrow – Friday – might work after all. Can you let me know if you're free by noon? If so, I'll be to you around 4:00 From Ticklish: Ah ok. I am pleased. Like I said the guy seems to be a very hardcore leather S&M guy with with a full on dungeon (who has a dungeon in their house). I just am so curious and tickle horny and edging that I am capable of doing something stupid. He has also been exemely vague on what he wants to do to me and bondage and everything. yes tomorrow 6pm is possible. She is working. From Alan: Good. Look forward to seeing you, especially after what you wrote last night. I'll check in tomorrow at 3:30 for the all clear, so I can head out around 5:30. But if there's anything else you want to tell me today, I'll check in tonight around 11:00. I'm pleased about this, too. (No reply) From Alan: It’s 11:00. Nothing here from you, so I'll check in tomorrow afternoon to see if it's good for me to head over. Congratulations on passing your tests by the way. From Ticklish: Had a very rudimentary session last night so unfortunately can't do it again for a while From Alan: Too bad. I was looking forward to seeing what your body could do. Hope last night was fun. (No answer) From Alan: Erol, a quick afterthought: it takes a lot of guts to offer yourself up to a stranger, naked and bound, no matter how that might pale to what you went through in that office accident. I may be wrong, but I get the sense that whatever happened last night might not have gone quite to your expectations. The good news is you have your videos, and you know how to please/torment yourself. Keep at it. And get it touch when you want. I won't push it. (No reply for over a month) From Ticklish: Hey sorry for the absence. Well let's see, this guy has photos on the site and our messages let me to think he was pretty hardcore and leather and sadistic but when he came over he was just a regular guy. We (or he) had some problems with my dogs which barked a lot at him and did kinda upset the mood. Too much time was spent with just normal chit chat. I was naked sans a towel and had been edging myself to m/m tickling and forced orgasm videos for 2 days. The reason I mention that is because I am 100%/straight so that is why bondage is important and why stories and videos with the plot of straight guy kidnapped or sedated only to wake naked, helpless, vulnerable to another man intent on tickling his body and genitals against his will. See that way I can get into it and rationalize it. Sitting and chatting and planning makes me a willing participant in something that is not my preference and unenjoyable. Willingly doing something gay is gay and just terribly uncomfortable. We went to the bedroom and i took the towel off and he did not restrain me but started tickling which had me squirming but wanting to say stop not because it tickled but it just grossed me out. I wanted to have the only light be the tickling videos I picked to maintain the mystical fantasy. He took out some oil and spent most of the time tickling my groin (I once rolled over to avoid the tickling and squeezed my legs together to keep his fingers out) but he just switched to go tickling my butt and balls sticking out behind and between my legs which surprised me as it tickled like shit! I rolled back and he kept simultaneously tickling my foot and between my legs and then just on my pubic bone area and cock and I felt my balls percolating and I have very little control anyway and he was tickling my pee pee and I knew an enormous surge was coming so I was saying no no and trying to move away but couldn't. The build up of cum from the previous auto erotica just felt like it was too much to let go, that it would blow my tip of my cock off like the exploding cartoon cigars and I came buckets and HARD I will admit but since I wasnt restrained and the set up was uncomfortable I just sat up and APOLOGIZED and let him know I wasn't interested in it any more. We talked a while and he kept trying to tickle my legs and feet and telling me over and over how perfect my cranium was which I had never heard and he was up and packed up and left. That's the entire enchilada From Alan: Good to hear from you, Erol, and your experience was a lot better than I thought. I was afraid you went into some guy's dungeon, got stripped, tied down, and then got yourself forcibly fucked. That happens, and when you disappeared from this site, I was pretty sure of it. Instead, you found a normal gay guy who just wanted to play with the things normal gay guys are interested in: dicks, balls, and butts. On top of that, he wasn't listening to your saying you wanted to be restrained and pretty much kept in the dark. Also, you wanted to be tickled all over. But you did learn a little about your pubic bone and balls being very sensitive, so it sounds like he had some experience and dexterity. And he got to your thighs and feet, if only at the end. Also, you did shoot nicely, which I'm sure in some way relaxed you and made him happy. Gay guys like to see other guys shoot. Let me know if you want to risk this again. I think I've been taking decent notes, and this experience has helped. From Ticklish: Ha! yeah sure. I feel like you've actually listened to me and I am totally comfortable you’re sane. Wow that is a real horror story you told there. That HAPPENS? Isn’t that rape? From Alan: Almost nothing is rape with gay men, since rape fantasies figure into a lot of their sex. Think of how they figure into your own: naked, tied down, struggling. Maybe it's just guys. Let me know when you're ready, and I'll work out my schedule. But take your time to think it through. From Ticklish: thnx

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