Graduation was two days away. We had been fitted for our caps and gowns. I didn't think the day would ever come and now I wasn't sure I was happy about it. I was glad to be graduating, a sense of accomplishment, but I was already feeling melancholy about all I would miss; my friends, baseball.....the guys on the team in more ways than one.

The seniors didn't have school so I was up early to cut the grass then I would hang out with some of the guys, maybe get fucked a couple of times. I had just finished the yard and had the mower tilted up, scraping the clumps of grass off the blades with a putty knife. The song that was playing on the radio in the garage ended and the news came on. I let my mind switch to Off-Ignore as I always did when the local news came on. I didn't need to hear about somebody's cat getting stuck in a tree, or that another liquor license had been denied. But my mind switched back when I heard the name Justin Walker....."was killed last night in a one car crash on Saw Mill Road south of town......" My mind went numb. I heard the voice of the newscaster but comprehended nothing more. I looked down at my hand holding the putty knife. My knuckles were white I was holding it so tight, then it started shaking. I watched my hand for probably a full minute before I dropped the putty knife and got to my feet. I looked around, frightened, bewildered, lost; it was like I didn't know where I was, nothing looked familiar.

Suddenly I loped down the drive and ran down the street, aimlessly, the direction didn't matter, I had no destination. I just ran. My body had to be in motion. I ran the words over and over again in my head till it became a mantra, keeping pace with my feet hitting the sidewalk. I ran till my legs began to ache, my chest heaving to draw in air. I didn't know how far I ran, or where, I just had to keep going, to get away from the awful lie. But my brain wouldn't let me. Justin Walker was killed last night in a one car......Justin Walker killed last night......Justin killed. It kept replaying in my head like a defective movie clip. Suddenly I went down. I thought I stumbled, but as I went down I knew it was my legs simply giving out from exhaustion. I fell in a crumpled heap on my hands and knees with my face in the grass. I gasped for air but couldn't draw it in. I heard someone far off crying Justin's name over and over again. It sounded like me. I felt sick. I was seeing black with tiny stars. I was going out.........

I was vaguely aware of a pair of powerful arms lifting me off the ground and a deep voice, but I couldn't make out what the person was saying. I couldn't recognize the voice at first, I was fighting to stay in the peaceful place I'd been. I didn't know why except that where I was going from that wonderful peace was an awful place, full of pain and unhappiness. I wondered if I'd died and was being brought back. Then the voice registered; it was Deputy Brady; his muscular arms carrying me to the squad car.

"Must've passed out from the heat and dehydration," he was saying, to no one in particular. "I'll get you in the squad car where it's cool, and get you some water."

He opened the car door and laid me in the passenger seat and laid the seat back. I lay limp as a rag doll. I'd never felt so weak in my life. He closed the door and I was suddenly surrounded with cool air. He got in the driver's side and put a bottle of water to my lips.

"Drink, slow," he said. He held the bottle and I drank.

"What happened? Where am I?" I asked weakly without lifting my head.

"I don't know but I think you must've passed out from the heat and dehydration," he said.

"I was running, I tripped over something."

"I don't think so. There was nothing to trip over, except your own feet. I think you just gave out. You ran a long way. You're in the 5600 block of Chestnut; that's damn near out of town."

"I was running to.....oh, God, B-Brady, tell me I was dreaming.....about Justin......?"

"No, Kenny, you didn't dream it. He was killed last night."

"Oh, God!" I sobbed, and had to raise up to keep from choking. I leaned forward with my face in my hands. "God, can't be. There must be some mistake."

"No mistake," Brady said. "What's worse, Sheriff Walker was the first one at the scene."

"Oh, my God!"

"He could barely talk when he called for backup. He's the one who told us it was Justin. I took the call and went. God, I never felt so terrible in my life. It was awful."

" god, he was supposed to graduate....." I could barely speak through my sobs. "Where's Sheriff Walker now?"

"He's home. The family's being called. I don't know what else. All I know is he couldn't be at the station. No way."

"Geezuss, what he must be going through."

Brady was rubbing my back and shoulders all the while.

"Where do you want to go, Kenny? Is there anyone home at your house? I don't think you should be alone."

"No, I......I don't know.....we were out of school today ..... the seniors. To the school.....that's where the guys will be going. Can you take me to the school?"

"Sure. You just make sure you're okay before I let you out."

"I'm okay."

"Like hell you are. We'll take the long way," he said.

He drove me to the school and I was right. I saw several of the guys' cars parked along the street. Brady got out and came around to open my door before I had a chance.

"I want you to walk down there about ten yards," he said, pointing down the street. I did as he said and then he told me to run back to him. I ran back and stopped right in front of him. He put his hands on my back and stomach and said he wanted to feel me breathe. Then he looked into my eyes and told me to bring my hands straight up over my head then lower them straight out to the sides and hold them there. I passed all of his tests. He reached in the car to get the bottle of water and tossed it to me.

"Call me if you need a ride home."

"I'll get a ride," I said.

Walking up to the door, I poured some of the cold water in my hand and splashed it on my face. Inside, several kids came up to me but I brushed past them, going straight to the locker room. That's where the guys would be. Jocks are like a bunch of homing pigeons when it comes to the locker room. There was a kid standing at the door, I didn't even know his name.

"Kenny," he said.


"We're not letting everybody in. Just the jocks, figured you guys would want to be alone together," he said as he opened the door for me.

"Thanks," I said, clapping him on the shoulder as I went inside. I heard the door close behind me as I headed down the ramp. My legs were suddenly still shaky. I emerged into the locker room to see the faces I expected to see there; Tyler, Damon, Luis....the one face I didn't see was Justin. Nobody said anything as I moved among them toward my locker, we just clasped hands. Luis moved over on the bench but I slid down my locker door to sit on the floor.

Tyler was standing with his head against his locker door, his shoulders shaking with his silent sobs.

"It could've been any one of us," someone said.

"But it wasn't. It was Justin."

"God, I loved him like a brother."

"I wish it'd been me."

"No you don't. What good would it do if it was you?"

"He was better than me. He was better than all of us, everything he's been through. He never even had his mom all his life."

"I wonder if there's any way they can let her know?"

"Like she'd probably care."

"I thought she was dead."

None of it made any sense. It didn't have to. It was all just something to say, at a time when nothing needed to be said but maybe it was good therapy to say it, to hear each other's voices. I didn't say anything. I just sat there, leaning back against my locker with my legs crossed out in front of me, staring at the weight bench with the barbell on the rack. I wondered if Justin's hands had been the last to take hold of that bar. If they were, nobody else should get to touch it. That's when I said something.

"Who worked out last?...the last one to do bench presses?"

They all looked at the weight bench then around at each other.

"I don't know."

"Not me, I haven't worked out in a week."

"Had to be Damon or Justin. None of the rest of us could bench that much."

"Not me," Damon said.

"Justin, then," I said quietly. I didn't have to say what we were all thinking. But Damon confirmed it. He got a pen out of his locker then walked over and snatched a notice off the bulletin board and scrawled something on it. He held it up for all of us to see what he'd written. NOBODY uses this weight bench or touches the barbell or the weights till further notice!!

We all nodded in agreement. It was a useless gesture, but meaningful to us, when we all needed there to be something meaningful in our lives.

"Somebody will have to clean out his locker," someone said

"The coach."

"No. Kenny'll do it," Damon said, and nobody disagreed.

I dropped my head and let the tears flow unashamedly. I heard others around me, sobbing, and somebody said Fuck!

We hung around the locker room for about an hour, till I decided I needed to go home; my parents didn't know where I was. I mumbled that I had to get home, and left.

I found out later that some of the guys had wanted to spend the night in the locker room, sleeping on the mats. I was glad I didn't stay. If I had, there would've probably been an orgy.

I was about two blocks from the school when a car pulled over with a quick beep of the horn. It was Kyle. He reached over and opened the door. I climbed in. We didn't say anything. He drove home and I got out and walked across the street to my house. Neither of us had still said anything.

My family tried to console me and I tried to let them but I was dying inside. I wanted so badly to go to Sheriff Walker to console him, but I knew there would be family there, and I would be intruding. He wouldn't think so, but others would. I called him when I went to bed. I didn't know who answered the phone. I asked to speak to Jack and said to tell him it was Kenny. He came to the phone.

"Jack, I won't bother you. I just wanted you to know I'm thinking about you. You know how sorry I am. My cell phone is under my pillow, I'm here if you need me."

"I know you are. Thanks. It's not all been decided yet, but I want you to be a pall bearer."

"It's an honor. Thank you. So, I'll say goodbye now. Call me."

I couldn't sleep. I kept thinking of all the times we'd had together and after every one I had to tell myself he was dead. I didn't know why I was torturing myself. I hated the idea of cleaning out his locker, yet I wanted to be the one to do it. I thought I should be the one to do it. My hand was under the pillow and I felt my phone. I held it in my hand, willing it to ring, for Jack to call me....Godd, somebody just tell me it was all a mistake. I was wide awake now, ready to scream, unable to arrange my thoughts. I wondered what I would find in Justin's locker. I punched the stem of my watch to see what time it was; nearly midnight. Not that it mattered. At the same time I was dragging my phone out from under my pillow. I flipped it open and dialed it. It rang three times before a deep, groggy voice answered.

"Coach Baldwin, this is Kenny. I'm really sorry to bother you at this hour."

"What's up, Kenny? Anything wrong?"

"Only everything that could be wrong," I said. "Listen, Coach, I was wondering if you could let me in the gym, the guys picked me to clean out Justin's locker."

"Right now? Tonight?"

"Yes, sir, I wanta do it right now, when there's nobody around. It need.....needs to be between me and Justin.... you know? I really need to do this, Coach."

"All right. I can meet you there in about twenty minutes."

"Thanks." I hung up and turned on the lamp. When I was dressed I went to my parents room, around to my Mom's side of the bed. I knelt down.

"Mom.....Mom, I'm going to the school to clean out Justin's locker. Coach Baldwin is meeting me there."

It was just like her not to question me. She simply squeezed my hand and said, "Okay."

I parked on a side street and walked back to the school. I didn't want my car seen parked at the school and have somebody come nosing around. Coach Baldwin was unlocking the door when I walked up.

"Sorry, Coach."

"It's all right, Kenny. I understand," he said as he let us in. We walked across the gym to the boys' locker room. Down the ramp, two naked bulbs cast an eerie light through the room.

"I'll wait for you in my office. Take your time," he said.

I tried the light switches till a light came on over the row of lockers that included Justin's and I turned the rest of them off. I stood there gazing at the two rows of lockers, at the strip of tape on one door with WALKER printed on it. In the deathly silence, I was hesitant to approach. I tried to conjure up the sounds of the locker room full of guys but no sounds came. Only the muffled sound of my sneakers as I walked to his locker. I sucked in a deep breath and began twirling the dial on the lock. Justin and I gave each other our combinations, but I'd never had a reason to get in his locker, but the numbers were embedded in my mind. The click of the lock being removed then the grating sound of the door being opened reverberated through the empty room.

For a long moment I just stood there, looking at his open locker. This was the last I had left of him and I wanted to burn the image of it in my brain before I disturbed anything. Then I got to work. I started with the upper shelf. There were two books from the library--I would give those to the coach--and a spiral notebook. I flipped through it but found nothing but assignment notes. A half empty bottle of water. I began setting stuff out on the bench. Some candy and gum wrappers and shoe laces. A brand new jockstrap, still in the unopened box. Why, I wondered, I'd never seen him in anything but old faithful, as he called his old jock that he'd had since starting high school. His batting gloves, and a neatly folded clean towel at the very back. I took out the towel and found a strip of three condoms, plus a single, and a tube of lube. There was a pair of tennis shoes on the bottom of the locker with a rumpled towel, and his baseball cleats and ball glove.

I saved the locker itself till last, where his jersey hung in the back, his practice shorts and PE shorts on a hook on the side. His jockstrap hung on the other side, long since stained past white from not being washed, and well worn with little tears and pick holes. I took his shorts out and laid them across the bench, then laid his jersey above them. I left his jockstrap till last. It was like an icon, the way it hung with the pouch still in the form of his manhood. It was almost sacred to the touch and I felt almost unworthy to take it from the hook. But if not me, who? It was an emotional moment for me. I took it from the hook and brought it up to my face. The feel of it, the subtle smell of Justin permeated my senses. I started to choke up as I remembered the times I'd had this very garment pressed against my face, bulging with his manhood; how many times I'd released his cock and balls from the pouch......

I held it there as emotions washed over me, till tears began to fall and soak into the cotton mesh material. As I wiped the tears and held the jock up to see his name in the waistband, I decided I wasn't going to do this. I wasn't going to remove everything and leave Justin's locker gaping open like an empty tomb. I began putting things back as closely as possible how I found them, all except the library books. They were not his. I hung up his jersey and shorts. I kept the single condom but put the strip of three back, along with the lube. I wanted the guys to definitely see that. I put the water bottle back. I hadn't touched his helmet on top of his locker and I left it there. I even left the candy and gum wrappers. I couldn't bring myself to throw anything away. Not yet. The only thing I didn't put back was his jockstrap and his ball glove. Instead of putting his jock on the hook, I hung it over the top of the open door. I would take the ball glove with me, give it to his Dad, maybe he would want to bury him with it.

I stood back and surveyed my handiwork. It looked good. It looked like Justin had just walked away to shower and left it open.

I took the books into Coach Baldwin. I tapped lightly on the door and opened it without an invitation. Coach was at his desk, reading. He slipped the magazine into his desk drawer as he looked up.

"How's it going?" he asked.

"I found these, they need to go back to the library," I said, laying the books on his desk.

"I can do that," he said. He leaned back in his chair. "Listen, Kenny, there's a rule, in situations like this the principal and one other teacher is supposed to open the locker. If anything's said about you doing it by yourself--I don't think there will be, but I'll take responsibility for it."

I nodded. "I pretty much left everything like it was, only open. I think the guys should see it the way he left it. We can decide what to do with everything later. Most of it goes to his Dad. I'm taking his ball glove, maybe his Dad will want to bury it with him. I don't know about his jersey."

"We'll retire his jersey," Coach said.

"Do you have an extra towel, Coach? I would like to shower if you have time."

"Sure." He turned around and got a towel from the cabinet behind him and tossed it to me. "Take your time. You don't know it right now, but this is all good for you."

I nodded and left his office. I took off my clothes in front of Justin's open locker. I didn't go to the futile effort of trying to conjure him up to be there. I was giving up on that; he was dead and he would never be there again. But being there at his locker with so much of him inside it gave me a feeling of closeness, even pained comfort.

I tossed the towel over my shoulder and walked back along the wide, dark corridor to the showers. I'd never felt so alone in my life. The single night light gave the showers an eerie, tomb-like aura. I didn't turn on anymore lights. It was appropriately death like. For some reason I turned on all the showers. Maybe I was trying to conjure up past images again. I didn't think so, I just wanted all the showers running. Soon the room was filled with dark steam that wrapped itself around me like millions of soft fingers, caressing my body. It made me feel safe. I took the next to last shower, the one I always used, next to the one Justin almost always used; close to me, where I was handy. These were the showers we used that first time he fucked me.

I wasn't pulling up old images but I couldn't help thinking about him. He was so much a part of me, in every sense; I didn't want to block him out. I needed him to still be a part of me. I thought he would always be, but right then I wasn't sure. I didn't know how the death of someone so close could be dealt with, or how it would affect me in the weeks and months, even the years to come. I knew I wouldn't ever forget him. I leaned my head against the tile wall and let the memories and images flood my brain. I didn't try to grab hold of any of them; they wouldn't get away, they would always be there. Suddenly, I began to cry.

I let that come, too. There was no reason to try to hold it back. I was alone, and Justin would understand. Maybe he would even like me crying over him. I wondered if he could see me. I wanted him to. My grief swelled up and the sobs washed over me.

"Kenny, I can't tell you how sorry I am." It was the coach's voice, and his hand on my shoulder.

I didn't start or look around; it was as if I knew he was there. I reached back to acknowledge him and felt he was naked. As he should be; he was in the showers. I kept crying. I didn't feel any need to stifle it; I needed to let it out, let it drain me of the awful truth and the grief it caused.

Coach brought both of his hands on my shoulders and moved closer. His hard, muscular body pressed against me, his meaty cock against my butt. He wasn't hard--I didn't know if he would get hard--but he felt good, everywhere. I let my hand rest on his hip and clenched my butt muscles to acknowledge his welcome presence.

"I think this was a good idea, Kenny," he said in a gentle tone that was unlike him. "You needed to let it out. This is a good start; it'll get easier."

"No, it won't," I said.

"You don't think so now, but it will. I promise." Then he asked. "I only came back to check on you. Do you want to be alone?"

"No. Stay, please."

He wrapped his arms around my chest and stomach, pulling us tighter together. His cock felt meatier, I didn't know if it was because it was pressed harder against my butt or it he was fluffing up. I didn't care either way, I just wanted him there, close. If he wanted to fuck me.....

I didn't dwell on the idea but I didn't reject it either; I didn't know how I was supposed to feel about it--having sex so soon, especially with Coach Baldwin. It seemed a sacrilege in a way, disrespectful of Justin's memory. But not so much, when most of the memories I had about the guy were sexual.

Coach's cock was definitely hardening. He shifted his weight to allow his cock to swing up and lay up along the split of my ass. It felt good, even comforting. Maybe sex would be part of the grieving process. I didn't know how to grieve. I didn't think most kids my age did. I knew there would be grief counselors at the school tomorrow. But for now I felt I had my own counselor. He was moving his cock very gently in the crack of my ass.

"Kenny, I.....I don't know if this is the right time, you want this?" he asked as he ran one hand down over my butt. His voice was hoarse.

I didn't hesitate. "Yes."

He ran his finger along my crack, the rough knuckles scraping over my hole. I pushed back against his hand. I felt his warm spit fall into my crack and he leaned forward to block the shower spray from washing it away. He lubed up my crack then used more to probe into my ass. He took his time, inserting one, two, then a third finger, stretching my hole. Then I felt the heat of his cockhead pressing against my hole. I held firm and braced myself. Coach's cock was thick, like the sheriff, and the head was even wider. It was going to hurt; it always did. Yet I barely winced when he entered me, I didn't cry out at all. In a perverted way, I welcomed the pain.

He clasped his hands around my hip bones and pulled me back as he shoved in all the way. His meaty cock slid across my prostate, causing my eyes to roll back. Oh fuck, I thought this is going to be so good, so what I needed. He held us tightly together and made his cock throb deep in my ass, and each throb was like a gentle caress over my prostate. The pleasure was building up even before he started fucking me.

I moaned softly, "Ohhhhh, Godddd, Coach," as he eased back and shoved in to start fucking me. I flattened my hands against the wall and jutted my butt out for him.

It was a slow, languid fuck, his cock slicing through my hole with a gentleness that I'd never known from Coach before. Even the pleasure was gentle and soothing. He fucked me for a long time, till my legs became unsteady and my knees felt weak.

"Coach, can we get on the floor? You've got me weak in the knees."

"Sure, I'll get some towels," he said, and started to pull out.

I clasped my hand around the side of his butt to stop him. "No, I don't need towels, the floor is slick."

He took me to the floor on my hands and knees with his cock still in me, and started fucking me again. With a soft moan, I bent forward with my shoulders and face on the warm, wet floor. "We can change positions if your knees get tired," I told him.

Time lingered over me as I gave myself up to the wonderful pleasure the Coach was giving me. We could be there all the rest of the night, I thought. There was little innovation about the way he fucked me; just a slow and steady in and out, with a few hip rotations that made me whimper with pleasure. He knew that felt good for me but he only interspersed them in the course of the total fuck. He didn't want to make it too good too fast. He wanted it to last too. I wondered what I had caused him to leave, at home. Had he been fucking his wife when I called?

After a while, he said, "Can we do this on your back for awhile? I can get the towels."

"Yes, any way you want me," I said. I didn't tell him not to get the towels this time and he did. He spread three of them out across the wet floor, making a pad for my spine. They were quickly soaked with the shower spray but they felt good. I lifted my legs for him to take me again. I thought I should feel like a slut--Justin was dead and I was lying on the floor of the showers getting fucked by our Coach--but I didn't.

"Justin would understand, you know," he said. It was uncanny, the way he seemed to sense my feelings.

"I know. Do you think he sees us?"

"I don't know how that works, but if he can, he's smiling."

He moved from his kneeling position to lean up over me as he fucked me. Supported on his powerful arms, he leaned his head down and I almost panicked as I realized he was going to kiss me. He'd never done that before. We were hardly ever face to face when he fucked me; I was usually bent over his desk. I accepted his kiss and returned it in kind. It made me quiver inside. It had the same effect on him, I could tell by the way his cock bolted inside me.

"You've never kissed me before," I said.

"I wanted to, but I wasn't sure you would go for it."

"I go for it," I said with a smile.

"Were you in love with him, Kenny?" It was an odd thing for him to ask.

"No. I loved him but I don't think I was in love with him."

"I often wondered if he was in love with you," he said.

"No, I don't think he was. What made you wonder?"

"The way he looked at you. The way he always seemed to want to be around you."

"I wanted to be around him, too, but it wasn't that kind of love between us, not with him or any of the others."

"I've seen the guys standing in line waiting to fuck you. That says something," he said.

"It says I'm an easy, cheap fuck, I can be had for the price of standing in line," I joked.

"Don't put yourself down."

"I'm not putting myself down. I'm happy in my skin. I like the deep physical contact. I'm happy being who I am. If I make other guys feel good along the way, that's okay, too. Nobody loses."

Coach smiled. "This is nice, being able to talk like this while we fuck."

"Yeah, it's not so intense and frenzied."

"Most boys are pretty frenzied when it comes to sex," he said. "Is it that way with the guys?"

"Yeah. It's getting pretty intense right now, Coach." I could hardly feel it building up till I realize it's on a higher level than when we started out, and it's been that way."

"Do you want to cum?"

"Yes, but without touching my cock," I said. "Just keep fucking me till you fuck it out of me."

He fucked it out of me about ten minutes later. He also fucked it in me. I felt his cock swell, then throb violently before it exploded, sending torrents of cum spurting deep in my insides. My prostate was already so sensitive and on edge that the mere throbbing of his belching cock got me off.

"I'm cumming, Coach."

"I know, I felt the buildup, then your love nut going crazy. Let it go, I love seeing you shoot your load."

I closed my eyes--I didn't want the coach to see them roll back in my head if they did--and let myself be swept along in the breathless climax.

"Yeah, it's cumming, I can feel it," Coach whispered as he felt my ass muscles tightening and fluttering around his cock. The next instant I was shooting long ropes of thick cum that went sailing up over my head. It started landing on my shoulder and chest, one across my face and several more across my stomach.

"Geezuss, the way you cum ought to be in the Guinness Book."

"Fuck, Coach, that was so good," I whispered.

"I know you feel better. I'm glad you called me, Kenny."

"Bet your wife wasn't."

"She understands the relationship I have with my athletes."

"Does she?"

"Well, not that....this part of the relationship, but she knows I need to be there for you guys."

He eased us onto our sides and spooned me, his cock still buried deep in my cum laden hole. When he slipped out he rolled onto his back and pulled me in tight against him. Together, we lay on the towels on the locker room floor with the showers spraying down on us.

"You need to be getting home, Coach, back to your wife," I said after a while.

"I know. I would like to stay right here."

I got to my feet and put my hand down for him. "Go home," I said as I pulled him to his feet.



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