Cracker Rican Cowboys
Riley, a gay nephew of a modern day rancher in Florida, is lonely and looking for love. He answers a personal ad placed by Felipe, a first generation Floridian born to Puerto Rican parents. Their attraction is immediate and after a brief confrontation with a ghost in the closet a bond is quickly formed. It’s the perfect love affair until a tornado sucks at the very structure of their relationship. The loss of Riley’s soul mate, his horse Stormy, has a strangling effect on his emotions which forces him to deal with the loss of his parents, an event that happened when he was a child.
At the same time that Riley and Felipe are dealing with the aftermath of the tornado a young relative in Puerto Rico, whom Felipe has never met, is dealing with his sexual identity. When caught sleeping with his high school friend, Esteban is disowned by his family and has no place to go and no family or friends to help him. His only choice is to seek out his relative Felipe and leave the island of his birth.
Further adding to the tangled web is Kevin, who is divorced with a teenage daughter. Kevin has been looking for love too but Mister Right has never showed up and he satisfies his lust promiscuously. As Riley and Felipe are developing a loving relationship, Kevin is in the divorce process. When Kevin leaves his hometown in West Virginia he wonders where he will be in five years. Kevin’s craft to mend and repair eventually has a demolishing effect, yet he somehow finds a way to nail things back together without being the bad guy.
Riley took off his riding boots and peeled off his dusty, sweaty jeans. They wanted to walk to the corner and stand there by themselves. But with a little effort the stiffness was kicked from them, and they slumped onto the pile of this week’s laundry. Without underwear his balls hung low and were again enjoying their freedom, a daily evening ritual. His sweaty, ripe shirt joined the other protective, piled-up, soiled, cowboy garb. It was with effort that the socks were finally stripped off his tired feet. His muscles were extremely sore from today’s riding, and fatigue was pulling at his eyelids. After showering, Riley plopped, naked, clean, smelling good, feeling horny, looking sexy, into his favorite recliner, blue and heavenly comfortable.
Riley enjoyed working on his Uncle Bo’s ranch. He loved his horse, Stormy, that he had helped bring into the world. The colt was born during a thunderstorm, which were frequent during the summer rainy seasons on the Florida ranch. Riley had found Stormy’s mother giving birth in a shallow depression in the middle of the range pasture. The mare was older and had a history of difficult births; she had given birth in this location before. It had rained torrents; eight-plus inches in an hour, and the depression had become flooded. Riley had to hold the colt’s head up for its first breath of life after he struggled from the womb. Pulling the newborn from the puddle, Riley stripped off his shirt to keep the colt warm. Stormy would have drowned and died of chill, if Riley had not noticed the odd-looking brown hump that was the mare, lying in the middle of the field. What was the kismet that brought Riley and the colt together as soul mates? Was it the thunder, the lightning, the rain, the wind, or was it a combination of them all? Maybe it was the fact that Riley just happened to take a short cut across the meadow. The colt would need some extra attention. Just a month before, Riley’s lover of ten years had just up and left, so now he would have another focus for his love. The colt would be the catalyst to help Riley deal with the tremendous loss he felt.
The one room cabin that Riley lived in on the ranch was comfortable. He had everything that he needed and wanted, almost. He had a job that he enjoyed in the outdoors away from the rat race of the city. At the end of the day he had a place to plop, a meager cabin that provided shelter and housed his favorite blue recliner. A decent paycheck that stretched quite far, due to his uncle’s generosity, paid for his other basic needs. He had plenty to eat. Another benefit of working long hours on a ranch was the free beef that was stocked in his freezer. His social life was quite active with members of his riding group. Stormy he considered his soul-mate. He had a phone, computer, and Internet access to the outside world; he was not what you would consider isolated on the ranch. Yet there was one thing missing, an intimate companion, significant other, and lover. His riding buddies often joked about fucking the horses at the end of the day to cover up the fact that they wanted intimate companions as well, gay or straight. He actually had jacked off while riding a couple of times when he was feeling extremely horny. Stormy took it in stride. But, even though he considered his horse his soul-mate, Stormy could not give him a hug. His intimate nuzzling was not filling the void of an intimate lover. Riley jacked off almost every evening as he fantasized about one of the hired cowboys, dreaming that one day he would seduce that special roper-of-cattle into his recliner of blue.
Kicking back, his balls being adjusted upward, still rejoicing for the airing off, Riley picked up this week’s copy of the Watermark, a bi-weekly Florida gay newspaper. He glanced at the usual articles and ads with hot horny hunks, then flipped to the ‘Men Seeking Men’ section of the personals. He started skimming the ads, nurturing a pipe dream that he just might run across one that would strike his fancy. There were the usual descriptions: seven inches, eight inches, nine inches, cut, uncut, hot hungry bottom, thick dangling top (now there was a new one), no fats, fems, or cowboys. Well, that left him out. Riley wondered if there were any real men out there that would develop a relationship and just love him for his twelve inches. Of course he joked to his friends about giving it in three-inch increments. Actually he would only have to play twice to measure up to a foot. Double the pleasure, double the fun, he thought. Then his eyes focused on the following ad:
Cracker Rican Looking for Cowboy Fun
Native Floridian of Puerto Rican descent looking for that special Cowboy. Me: 31 y. o., 5’8”, 180#, Black Hair, Dreamy eyes (Shouldn’t at least one thing, the color, be left for a surprise?) I am an avid outdoorsy type who loves primitive camping and horseback riding. Connected by spirit to, and researching, early Florida Cracker history. I do not own a horse yet, but I could saddle up my pony for the Right Cowboy. Call 1-800-CRACKER, dial my security code #1237, and leave a message. Let’s saddle up our ponies and ride each other on the range, Cowboy.
Riley reached for the phone. Out loud he dialed the number. “One” beep, “Eight” beep, “Zero” beep, “Zero” beep, “C” beep, “R” beep, “A” beep, “C” beep, “K” beep, “E” beep, “R” beep. With the task completed, his nervousness increased as the ringing began.
After three rings a digital voice asked for the security code; when entered, the message began. “Hello. My name is Felipe. I thank you very much for answering my personal ad. I am a member of the Florida Area Gay / Horses Are Great Society. We refer to ourselves as the FAG-HAGS. As you can tell, I really love horses and am looking forward to owning my own before the end of the year. If you are a serious cowboy, leave a message and a phone number and I will call you back. Giddy-up, Cowboy.”
Beep. The recording started; Riley coughed. It felt like the biggest, greenest frog he had ever seen was stuck in his throat. The telephone leaped back into its cradle-pond.
Meanwhile Felipe was masturbating to his fantasy of riding naked across the prairie on horseback. The white mane on his palomino steed was flowing in the wind and brushing against his legs. His spirit soared high, as did the spirit of his cracker counterpart. His fantasy was vividly painted in his mind, and seldom altered course. On a golden horse with a pure white mane and tail he would ride. Most of the time he was riding in a saddle, sometimes bareback, but always at a steady trot. He was naked except for his cowboy boots and hat that were brown, and a red bandana tied around his neck. The steed seemed to know the way, trotting through the meadow, reins draped across the saddle horn. Frogs would be croaking from the cypress domes on either side as Felipe whacked it off. It was as if the frogs were cheering him on. As palomino hooves splashed across a small stream, Felipe’s dick would relieve itself. Rivulets of splashed semen would dribble down his body and onto the leather saddle. The horse knowingly would stop and return to the stream, and Felipe would easily slide from his musky saddle into the water. A scent of leather and sperm would waft its way up to his nose, and he would bathe away the released seed.
Today, for some reason, as he reached for a towel to clean up, the meadow in his memory had continued to be vivid. The grass was a brilliant green, cropped short by the grazing cattle, the cypress domes more alive than he remembered them before. The Spanish moss was waving more gently in the breeze, as if pointing him in the correct direction. The frogs were singing a sweeter chorus, as if they were trying to tell him something. Bathing in the stream was more sensuous. What was the message they were trying to convey? Then he heard a familiar voice again.
“Thanks for taking me to the meadow, Felipe. We’ll go there again soon.”
“You’re welcome, Toby,” said Felipe to his friend, the ghost.
Toby had revealed himself when Felipe was five. Now they played adult sexual games, satisfying the lust that Toby had not been able to realize during his lifetime. He too had fantasized about inviting one handsome cowboy into his bedroll at night. In the mornings his dreams had relieved him of the lusting pressure in his balls. Once he actually did ride across the meadow, the meadow-fantasy that he now plays in Felipe’s mind, masturbating while on horseback, bathing himself in the small stream. How Toby wanted to go back there, to the pasture fields and rangeland of his younger days! Where the environment was harsh and made a man tough, even if he did want to suck dick. It was the life he knew, cracking a whip, moving the cattle to market, getting by on the barest of necessities. It was a life he loved, life on the open range, his cook fires comforting, the sunsets dazzling, the morning sun always there with renewed life. But, then, one morning when he was up and about before dawn, taking care of his normal chores, he looked back and saw his lifeless body being placed into a shallow grave. His very close friend, Curly, was throwing on the first shovel of dirt with an emotion he could not hide, big tears running down his face. Life expectancies were short in the pioneer cracker days. Toby had not been feeling well the last few weeks. He had been coughing up phlegm and his chest hurt after a spell. More recently, he had been extremely tired, turned in earlier that usual at night only to wake up sweating and feverish one minute with chills the next. The common terms of lung sickness or consumption were often used for a respiratory disease like pneumonia. One of the main causes of death in those days.
Toby had stood there dumbfounded, not ready to leave. He had not invited Curly into his bedroll yet. He had to experience that before he could give up his spirit. “Curly! What are you doing?” Toby had shouted. “Curly, stop! I need to tell you something before you do that!” Toby had repeated his plea over, and over, but no one heard him. He had reached for the shovel handle, yelling to Curly again, his ghostly hand passing through the friend who was covering his body with sandy soil. “Curly, I need to tell you something, Currrrrrllllllyyyyy!” Curly heard nothing, just finished the grisly job, sobbing.
Toby had stayed and continued to work on the ranch without notice. He had tried to communicate with the other cowboys; nothing. He would touch them without them even flinching; the lowly mosquito got more attention. He even got so brazen as to jack-off in front of them as they were sitting around their evening campfires. His ghostly seed would shoot into the fire sizzling and sputtering, the sounds lost in cracker cowboy yarns. For years he muddled around on the ranch; then, on an excursion to a rodeo, he met Felipe.
“Hey, Mister. Where did you get the funny clothes?” asked the five-year-old Felipe, perched atop the arena fence.
If Toby had not already been a ghost he would have turned white as one. Startled, he jumped when the youngster addressed him. He had become accustomed to his life as a spirit, and to having people ignore him. How could it be that this boy was able to see his vintage clothing? Toby's clothes did not fit in with the jeans, tank tops, short shorts and sandals that the rodeo watchers were wearing. Nor did his ‘cowboy hat’ blend in either, being a floppy felt cracker hat from years gone by.
“Are you talkin’ to me, Boy?” ask Toby.
“I like your hat, Mister. Can I wear it?” asked Felipe innocently.
“Sure, Kid,” answered Toby, placing the floppy oversized hat on the small child. Of course no one noticed the interaction. Felipe had talked to imaginary friends before when he played, and his parents were oblivious to his childish ways. But in a way, Felipe was more aware of his environment than most adults. In his innocence he was able to reach beyond the barriers of time, and say hello to someone who looked different. He spoke to a cracker cowboy who was different in more ways than one, already becoming somewhat aware of his own differences. Felipe just had not learned any adult labels for the differences that he felt. Later in life he would label his cracker-cowboy-ghost friend as a “hot dude.”
Felipe beamed a large smile as the announcer called out the next event. Toby climbed up beside Felipe, who from his perched vantage point watched the rodeo with special interest. He had begged his parents to bring him to the “horse show” and had wanted a front row seat. Atop the fence was the best seat at the rodeo, and he claimed it as his own. The annual rodeo was a very popular event in Arcadia, Florida. Everyone attended, even one ghost-of-cowboys-past.
“What’s you name, Mister?” Felipe asked.
In his common backcountry drawl Toby very seriously said, “So very nice to meet you, Felipe.” He reached out to shake the small boy’s hand in a polite manner, but realizing that his body had not been in a solid state for years, Toby withdrew his friendly gesture. The announcer boomed over the loud speaker, “And our next event will be the barrel racing,” which distracted Felipe, the withdrawn gesture unnoticed.
Felipe got excited when he saw the first horse running the race. He lost his balance and Toby, without thinking, reached out to steady him with a fatherly hand. His hand was useless in the attempt to keep the boy from falling. Felipe regained his balancing on top of the fence and flashed Toby a warm smile of friendship. They continued to interact during the remainder of the rodeo events. However, Toby was careful not to extend a ghostly reach for fear of frightening this young cowboy.
It was a relationship that would not end that day; it would develop over the years. Toby would show up and play childhood games and watch Felipe grow. As time went by, Toby would reveal who he really was.
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