Late that afternoon they reached the safari lodge, which was basic but comfortable and enjoyed good views.They checked in and found their rooms, which were next door to each other. Hardly anyone else was staying there – maybe six young adults and a few children - although more guests were expected at the weekend. 

The best time to watch the game was after dark, by real or artificial moonlight, at the artificial salt-lick and waterhole created by the lodge's management, so the two officers had a swim in the lodge's swimming bath. Richard grumbled humorously about the requirement to wear trunks; he preferred to bathe naked. As it was, he sported a pair of the briefest scarlet trunks that James had yet seen. Given his tough, dark good looks and rugby-player’s physique, Richard was able to carry this off. His skin looked healthy, pale and rosy, but not tanned; he evidently did not sunbathe, or had not done so recently. Richard’s body was shaven, like an Olympic swimmer or diver, which emphasised his defined physique. He looked like a classical statue: Roman, not Greek, James decided. Occasionally people would look look twice at him. Richard did not mind that; he executed some showy dives into the pool, which seemed to please the few onlookers. He kept within sight of James, sprawling by the pool in abandoned attitudes; once or twice James wondered whether Richard might just possibly be flaunting himself at him. 

But that was surely out of character for such a macho-man; especially a civilised macho-man, who had studied the Classics at Cambridge? In any case, it didn't matter; James, a handsome man himself, was happy to acknowledge other men's good looks and he admired Richard's, even though he had put him down as a probable “lady- killer” with a limited interest in his own sex. This was despite the equivocal, gamy reputation of 4 Company, 5 Para; Richard seemed not to fit their profile. Nevertheless, James reflected, under other circumstances, he might possibly have made an understated pass at Richard. 

Even so, James would occasionally look up from his reading to find himself the object of Richard's enigmatic stare, from behind a pair of Polaroid sunglasses.  It was slightly unnerving. Apart from that, there was nothing precise that James could criticise; most of the time Richard was polite and attentive; even slightly formal. James finally decided that Richard was simply acknowledging that he was with his superior officer. Once or twice he said “Sir”. After their swim, James told Richard:

“We are effectively off-duty and not in uniform. So let’s relax and use first names, as I said before we set off. I hope that we’re going to be friends; we shall be working closely together for the next three weeks.”

“That’s fine by me,” said Richard. Suddenly he reached across the table with one of his rare, show-stopping smiles:

“James, I’d be honoured to have you as my friend: I’ve heard an awful lot about you!”

He wrung James’s hand. His handshake was warm and dry.

“Well, I hope you didn’t believe it!” laughed James. (What had the blighter heard?)

“Why? Nothing very bad, I assure you... mostly about your sporting record. I know you swim and play rugby. Did you ever box or wrestle?”

“No! I never have. My Commanding Officer doesn’t like boxing. He’s seen too many soldiers brain-damaged from doing it. We don't have a boxing team. And I don’t think anyone in the British Army my wrestles. As a sport, it’s a bit of a joke.”

Richard threw back his head and laughed.

“You're thinking of British so-called Professional Wrestling, which definitely is a joke; Big Daddy, Giant Haystacks and all that lot. That's not what I'm talking about. Well, I do both; I wrestle and Ibox. Better not mention that to your Commanding Officer!” He looked at James and smiled: “I’d have thought that you were exactly the kind of man who’d enjoy contact-sports - of every kind, I mean!” 

“Well, I guess that rugby’s a contact-sport.”

“It sure is, although that is not what I really meant!” Richard chuckled and then seemed inclined to change the subject.

James wondered what Richard had really meant, but he did not elaborate. As a result, James was left feeling rather slow on the uptake. 

The tropical sunset was brief but spectacular. Soon afterwards the night-noises of cicadas, whip-poor-wills and frogs drowned out the day-sounds. In the artificial moonlight, green eyes began to be reflected in the dam; the crocs were cruising about, waiting to be fed with offal by the hotel staff. They were Belize crocodiles; much smaller cousins of the African variety and now very rare. Richard seemed to find them fascinating and offered to lend the crocodile-keeper a hand. This turned out to be almost literally true; one small crocodile jumped out of the water like a Jack-Russell pup, making similar noises, and tried to bite Richard’s hand, but he was too quick for it.

“Little bastard!” he laughed, "Biting the hand that feeds him!"

They went inside to shower and change for dinner. To give the mosquitoes and other insects the least opportunity to bite them, they both wore jeans, long-sleeved shirts, elastic-sided bird-shooter boots with long socks inside them and, to add a touch of smartness, lightweight blazers. Richard wore a Para regimental cravat with his. James wore the Fusilier equivalent. They had smeared fragrant citronella-oil on the exposed bits of their skin to further deter the insects. 

James and Richard were easily the smartest diners on the terrace. The waiters seemed to appreciate the effort that they had made and paid them extra attention. Without being asked, they now served them two long, cold glasses of lager. 

“They think that we're rich tourists!” whispered Richard.

“And will therefore expect a mega-tip when we leave”, said James, sotto-voce.

Even without their smart-casual clothes, Richard and James made a striking pair: two tall, strong and handsome men; one hazel-eyed and dark, theother blue-blond and Teutonic. Some of the other diners looked at them inquisitively, but they were not there to socialise . They had important things to discuss and seemed only to have eyes for each other.

Howler monkeys serenaded the tourists weirdly. From time to time deer, peccaries and other animals would appear at the salt-lick or to drink from the dam, keeping a wary eye open for the crocodiles. Once a jaguar appeared and carried off some meat that had been left out for it. Everyone fell silent at these moments and a few took photos.

Finally James said that he was going to bed; he had some notes to look through before turning in and he needed an early night. Richard smiled, nodded and stayed at their table to finish his drink and smoke a cigarette. 

"It's a bloody hot night", thought Richard. "Dark and moonless - unless you count the electric moonlight kindly supplied by the safari lodge - a good night for a dark deed!" Unusually, he added a prayer; a pagan one: "Now, Gods, stand up for bastards!" Richard was a bastard and had a slight complex about that. 

The noise of the crickets, tree-frogs and nightjars was now almost deafening. Something or other was exciting them. Richard stood up and quickly walked indoors with a slight smile playing on his features. 

Seated at his desk in shirt, trousers and slippers, James heard a stealthy sound. Looking up, he saw the door, which he had forgotten to lock, opening slowly to admit Richard, who was wearing a serious expression. That was about all that he was wearing, however. On entry, he had been swathed in a white hotel bathrobe . He dropped this on the floor. Now fully naked, apart from a watch on a massive leather wrist-strap, and a gold chain bearing a small locket, Richard looked handsome and dangerous. His pale skin glistened in the subdued golden glow of the table lights. He walked purposefully towards James.

James rose to his feet: “Hullo, Richard, what's up?"

"Nothing, but it's about to be!” 

Richard touched his cock, which was already getting hard. He grabbed a handful of James's shirt and pulled him towards him. After a moment's tussle, he kissed James, thrusting his tongue deep inside James's mouth. James struggled ineffectually. Wherever he touched Richard, he touched his naked skin, which aroused both of them. It wasn't long before the shirt was on the floor and James was naked to the waist. He was still half-heartedly trying to fend off Richard. The trouble was that he was now laughing nervously and uncontrollably – what about, he was not sure. This did not make it any easier.

James felt a terrific warmth flow from Richard to him. Now they both had hard erections.

Richard loosened James's belt, unzipped his jeans and thrust a hand inside to briefly feel his quarry; he squeezed James's testicles gently; James gasped. Then, before he realised what was happening, his jeans and briefs were round his ankles and Richard was kneeling in front of him. He took James's cock into his mouth and began expertly to suck it. James was now leaning against the desk and groaning gently. From time to time Richard would change his technique to swallow the cock to its root or suck James's balls, tugging painfully. While he was sucking James's cock, he thrust a long, questing index-finger into James's most secret and sensitive place ; up his man-hole. James was not prepared for this:

“FUCK!!!” he shouted.

“Shush”, said Richard, rising and kissing him on the mouth, “That comes later. Don't make such a racket!" James could taste his own sex in the kiss. 

They half-staggered, half-waltzed over to the bed, wrapped in each other's arms. In the course of this sweaty, breathless transit of his bedroom James kicked off his trousers and briefs. They arrived at the bed fully naked.

Although he had been taken by surprise, James had no problem with any of this. He was a handsome man; members of both sexes had made passes at him in the past. Nearly thirty, he intended one day to get married - he would want a son to whom to leave his small agricultural estate and the family home, he had had a number of relationships and encounters with women. But he was also discreetly bisexual. Starting at school,  James had had a number of flings and one-night stands with other men, in which he had almost always been the top. He now pushed Richard onto the bed and climbed on top of him, lying with his legs between Richard's. Their faces were now close together. James could smell and taste the liqueur that Richard had taken after dinner, on his breath. They kissed again. Their breathing started to synchronise. 

Richard grinned. “So here we are!” he whispered happily. He was running his hands all over James as they were speaking.

James said nothing, but kissed Richard passionately: his mouth, ear-lobes, which he nibbled, his nipples, then anywhere. He started to hump him rhythmically. (Come on Richard, open wide your legs and your ass to me!)

At this point Richard demonstrated his wrestling skills. He suddenly flipped James over, so that he was now on his back and Richard was on top; which was where Richard preferred to be. 

He continued kissing James, working his way southwards. His renewed oral attentions to James's cock almost caused James to faint, without bringing him to orgasm. Then Richard spread James's legs. He stretched them apart and pushed them forward. He got his face between James's ass-cheeks and started to rim him expertly. This had never happened to James before; it felt great, but it almost blew his mind. 

What happened next did blow it. Clinging to the bedstead, his legs held wide apart by Richard; his eyes tightly shut, mouth open and gasping, James was vaguely aware of Richard drooling saliva on his man-hole and probing him with a finger.  Suddenly Richard spread, mounted and forced James. James's knees were almost in his face. It was shocking and painful. James was being fucked deeply for the first time in his life. He swore and bellowed until Richard firmly put a hand over his mouth. Outraged, he looked up at Richard, who was staring back at arm's length. His heavily-muscled arms were fully extended and braced as he humped away. There was no mercy there: Richard's face was a ferocious grimacing mask: teeth bared and clenched, a manic grin on his face and the dark eyes staring fixedly into his. Richard hammered steadily into James, breaching his sphincter and hitting his prostate. James started to seep pre-cum. He thinks that he probably fainted briefly, too.

Then Richard flipped James over once more, onto his stomach, again mounted and pounded him from behind. He was now as deep inside as it was possible to go. James was now crying from the pain and shock, but he was a big, powerfully-built man. Presently there could well be remorse, disgust, even violent revenge.

Richard again took charge; he turned James over and manually and orally gave him the orgasm of a life time. He then kissed James tenderly and hugged him.

In the event James simply said: “Why, Richard, why?”

“I had to. I've been nuts about you for about four months!  I couldn't hold out any longer.”

"Hang on! We only met four days ago!”

“Nope." Richard was emphatic. “Whether you knew it or not, it started four months ago, when I saw some of your photos in the Army Physical Training School. I fancied the shorts off you in some of the rugby team-photos. As for that group of you and your mates in the Army Water Polo Team, stripped to your trunks, I managed to get hold of a copy.  I've jacked myself off in front of it! And then suddenly I found myself here, serving with the original, so I kind of flung caution to the winds. And here we are.” 

He subsided wearily on top of James. 

“This is completely and utterly bonkers,” said James. He looked both amused and worried.

As an ice-breaker, Richard's sexual assault on James was unexpectedly successful. Apart from James's sore ass, they now felt completely relaxed in each other's company and started larking around like a pair of giddy teenage lovers; which, given that Richard was twenty-six and James twenty-nine, was rather an achievement.

The following day they startled Mark, the AAC pilot of the light reconnaissance 'plane who took them for a flight over the disputed frontier area by bursting into song. It was Fifth Dimension's 1967 feelgood song, “Up, up and away...”. Richard started and James joined in:

"Up,up and away
My beautiful, my beautiful balloon
The world's a nicer place in my beautiful balloon
It wears a nicer face in my beautiful balloon
We can sing a song and sail along the silversky
For we can fly we can fly
Up, up and away
My beautiful,my beautiful balloon"

"It's not a bloody balloon, it's an aircraft!" complained Mark. He fell about laughing - not a good idea if you are the pilot - and had hastily to steady the aircraft. Richard whooped and laughed even louder. James laughed too, and wondered how it was all going to end.

A very large black vulture flew past, in the direction of Guatemala. 


Max Markham


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