Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Season's greetings!

We want to wish all of our readers a joyous holiday season, and a happy and safe New Year! 
Warm hugs,
Papa Werebear and UrsusMajr

Spirit of the Bear

The Spirit of the Bear

This is a story of true love, one that transcends death and time.
I dedicate this story to Ben and his love Big Jon.
By Papa Werebear, writing as Bjorn Torson

I woke as I had for the last seven years, with the sense that Jim had just gotten out of bed and was in the bathroom of our master suite, shaving his neck, trimming his beard and brushing his teeth. I felt the warmth of our love in my heart and smelled the wonderful cologne Jim liked to use after he shaved. It’s called 'Seattle' and comes in a plaid flannel bag like the Crown Royal bags. It’s a scent that seemed to embody my husbear’s rugged good looks and love for the outdoors. It’s like the woods and fresh air in cologne form and I love to wake up to the scent. It’s crisp and it blends so well with Jim’s natural musk.

As I became fully awake I realized with despair, as I had for the last seven years, that Jim was never going to shave with his straight razor in the bathroom of our master suite again. He was never going to catch me around the waist and kiss my neck from behind with his wonderfully thick, soft, salt and pepper beard. He was never going to hold me against his furry body and make love with me. He was never going to sit on the front porch with a beer and smoke his pipe in the evening. Jim Engle was dead. Seven years dead, from a blood vessel that burst in his brain.

It was so sudden. One minute he was watching football and the next he was dead. I had gone into the kitchen for hot wings and beer and when I returned, Jim was slumped over on the couch. No amount of CPR would bring him back, though I tried so hard. When the ambulance came, I was still trying to revive him. He was already brain dead, but I didn’t know that then. I followed the ambulance.

At the hospital they confirmed that there was absolutely no higher activity in his brain and somewhere around three in the morning, the rest of Jim just shut down. Jim hadn’t wanted to be kept alive, his living will had been very clear, so they hadn’t put him on life support. I was so distraught, I hadn’t even realized his heart had flat-lined. There, in the emergency room my beautiful bear lay slain. They left me alone in my grief at his bedside for probably only fifteen to thirty minutes; I cannot remember how long it actually was. It seemed like I looked on his pale beautiful face for years, every detail of it etching itself upon my mind. All I know is that they finally had to pull me away. I had forms to sign and I did so automatically. My mind performed the routine tasks, but I was not concentrating on the work. I was later amazed that I had filled the forms out so accurately without thinking about the details. Then the business was over and I got into my car and began the journey home to a house that I knew was empty. I knew joy would not greet me there, nor warmth, nor love. I knew it would be as empty as I was.

My world had just fallen apart and I damn near joined Jim that morning.
I was driving home. I was numb, but my thoughts continued in a cold, detached sort of way. I thought that I’d just lost the one man who had meant the most to me in the entire world. I didn’t cry. He was my strength, my joy, and my love and without him, I was empty; I was nothing. Still, I didn’t cry. It felt as though I had died too. Perhaps, that was it. 'The dead don’t cry,' I thought; and surely without Jim, I may as well be dead too. Half or more of me had died completely at three in the morning that day. It was all so unreal.
The sun was just coming up as I drove and I thought, 'I’ll never see another sunrise with Jim again.' Then I thought, 'Hell, why should I bother to ever see another sunrise at all, what’s the point?' I pulled over and got out of my car just this side of a bridge that spanned a fairly swift river. It was early and the road was deserted, there was no one around to stop me. It was fairly high, about fifty feet or so above the surface of the river and I didn’t swim well at all. If the current didn’t get me, the cold water surely would. I’d drown and that would be it. I’d be seeing Jim in just a few minutes. In just a few minutes, I’d be spending eternity with him. I climbed up onto the low railing and looked down.

I went to jump off the bridge and I heard Jim growl in my right ear, "Carl, don’t! Stop right now!" It was in the voice he used when he meant business, his ‘Papa Bear’ voice, and it jolted me like an electric shock. For a few seconds, I felt paralyzed. Then, I felt Jim’s big strong arms around me. I felt his warmth and love in my soul. I felt him in and around me and briefly I knew joy again. My body climbed down from the railing and backed away from it. I was dazed and walked automatically, it felt like my mind was in the back seat and someone else was driving. There was a wonderful feeling of peace and contentment in me. It was as if I was not controlling my body at all. I went back to my car and regained my consciousness, the warmth of the joy I felt left me. It was then, as cold reality seeped back in, that I broke down crying. Eventually, I got home. I went upstairs exhausted and crashed. I did not dream.

There were the usual things that needed to be tied up after death, all the legalities. There was the funeral and burial itself. I was grateful to all the friends that Jim and I had. They were like relatives and helped me to bear the burdens during a very difficult time. They brought food and stayed over a couple of nights in the spare bedroom. I think Kyle slipped some mild sedatives into the cocoa, because I slept deeply and undisturbed the three nights Kyle and Rick were over. Kyle insisted that I have cocoa before bed. It was a ‘comfort food’ sort of thing, he said and the hot milk had a mild natural sedative in it. I’m sure he was augmenting those natural sedatives.

I had told them about the incident at the bridge and Rick and Kyle were both in agreement that I should seek counseling immediately. They were so dear to me, they helped me remember appointments and helped me sort things out during their stay, but eventually, everything was taken care of and they left me to myself. They said to call if I felt I wanted to talk about anything. Either of them would be there for me, day or night. The visits eventually thinned out to only occasional ones and I decided they were giving me some space to sort things out.

I was alone, in the house that we had bought together. Jim’s will made no bones about who his beneficiary was. I was the solitary inheritor of all his worldly possessions. He had brothers, but was estranged from them since they had disowned him for daring to be gay. I remember, vaguely, the attorney reading the line that gave me control of the not so small fortune Jim had left me. "…I therefore, leave the total sum of all my savings and transfer ownership of all real property and businesses to Carl Delaney, my sole and beloved beneficiary." His lawyer smiled and said that Jim had been adamant about the wording, that it should include the word ‘beloved’. I held back tears.

Jim had taken care of me well when all was said and done. I had well over $700,000.00 after taxes, with his savings and the sale of the construction business he owned. He had left instructions for me to sell the business with his attorney’s help because he knew I wouldn’t be able to manage it. As Jim had instructed, that was exactly what I had done.
Engle Construction was worth quite a bit, had an excellent crew and a good reputation. The buyer, McMahon and Son, was a larger competing business. Jim had respected Brian McMahon, Sr. and remained friends with the younger Brian after Jim left McMahon and Son. As a result, there was no quibbling over the price for Engle Construction when it came time to sell it.

Brian McMahon, Sr., had given Jim his start in the construction business. He had hired Jim when he was a complete greenhorn at the age of eighteen and taught him the business alongside his son. He was like a father to Jim, a father that didn’t seem to mind that Jim was gay. The younger Brian and Jim had worked side by side and had become good friends. Later, after he’d inherited the business, Brian, Jr. had even sent business Jim’s way as his father had done. I was happy to see the business Jim loved passed into his friend’s hands. Jim’s crew would be well taken care of.

Jim had left me his half of the house and there was the cabin on some prime property up in the mountains where he and I used to go camping; where he and I saw our first sunrise together. I had no financial worries even after taxes and attorney fees, but I had no intention of quitting work. It kept me busy and did mildly distract me from the gaping hole that was left in my soul that Jim used to fill.

I had noticed that I seemed to feel Jim’s presence in the house after the funeral. I smelled the unmistakable scent of Seattle cologne, though the cologne was well-imprisoned in its bottle in the medicine cabinet, just as Jim had left it the day he died. I could swear I heard Jim humming one of his favorite country tunes, as he used to do when he was shaving, as I woke one morning and at this my heart broke all over again. I thought that I must have been imagining it in my half wakened state, the auditory hallucination being fueled by my grief. Yet perhaps I wasn’t imagining it. I became convinced that Jim’s ghost was still in the house and began to talk to him, to tell him how heart broken I was, how much his death had diminished me and how much I still loved him.

I began to sink deeper and deeper into a self-destructive pattern. I would have more to drink than I should when I came home from work and cry myself to sleep most nights. I didn’t eat very sensibly when I ate at all and I was losing weight, but not in a healthy way. I would go to work slightly hung over. My boss understood, but informally told me that I needed to straighten out my life and perhaps I needed to talk to a psychiatrist. He also suggested that I use some of my vacation time. He said that I didn’t need the pressures of the office heaped on me as well as my grief.

He is a good man. He’d lost a son to a motorcycle accident a few years ago. His son was riding the new Harley that he had given him for a graduation present from college. He was someone who more than fully understood what kind of grief I was feeling. So I took two weeks off, and I did use the mental health coverage my health plan provided. I saw a counselor, but I never told her about the phantom scents or sounds or the presence in my house. I saw her for about a year before I began to even try to come to terms with my grief.

At this time in my life our friends, because they were Jim’s friends too, came over to help and comfort me as they could. They told me that I should cut back on my drinking. They invited me out to things to take my mind off Jim for a few hours. I would refuse, most of the time, as gently as possible. They took me to comedies and to the state fair and other places that weren’t likely to remind me of Jim. But it was no use. I saw him everywhere in all sorts of things that reminded me of him or in other men. Such is the case when you love someone as deeply as I had loved. On the way to a movie one night we passed by a restaurant Jim and I had frequented. I became silent and held in my tears. 
Occasionally, I’d see Jim in a large, bearded, bearish man that looked remotely like him, like the night we saw the biker on his Harley who was stopped at a light on our way to a restaurant. Even my friends thought he looked like Jim. I was inconsolable and I’m sure my friends were at a loss as to how to help me. In reality there was nothing they could do. I would have to work this out for myself.

I had a dream, on the night of the sixth month anniversary of Jim’s death. I dreamed that Jim was sitting at the foot of our king-sized bed. He was wearing his favorite black and white plaid flannel shirt and smoking his pipe. He looked at me with a mixture of longing, love, sadness and concern. He shook his head slightly as he looked at me. He reached out a big paw and gently squeezed my thigh and told me that he was leaving. He told me he needed to go, so I could get on with my life and I could heal. He got up off the bed, moved over to me and gave me a smoky kiss just as he used to and smiled wanly and tearfully. I felt his soft beard and warm lips caress me and the touch of his callused hand on my cheek as he kissed me.

I will always remember what he said in that dream. He said, "I love you, Carl. I always will. Remember that. Get better." He paused then and gave me a serious look, "I’d rather that you forgot me completely than for you to go on living like this." He was being Papa Bear now, by the tone of his voice and the stern look he was giving me.
"I’ll never forget you Jim, you know that." I said, my voice on the edge of tears.
"No," he said, his expression and voice softening, "I suppose you won’t. But Carl, you can’t have a viable relationship with a dead man. Please find someone, love, and be happy again. I can’t stay any longer. I’d only make you miserable and if you continue to abuse your body like this, you’ll die. You’ll die far too soon. Good night, my love, I’ll see you again… someday."

I cried out, "Don’t leave me, I miss you so much." 
Jim, now crying as I was, said, "I know, my love, I know. I miss you too." He kissed me again, rose from my bedside, turned and walked out of the bedroom, closing the door behind him. I woke, tears streaming down my face and swore I could smell the chocolate-cherry blend of pipe tobacco that was Jim’s favorite.

I rose from bed and scrawled our conversation down on a tablet. I began keeping a diary after that with my dream of Jim as my first entry. I didn’t want to forget him at all. Not one thing. That week I found some undeveloped film from a camping trip we’d taken last summer up at the cabin. We were both old school when it came to cameras. I had it developed. It was painful to see my dead love’s beautiful face staring back at me from the pictures, but the one with him making a goofy face and pretending to pick his nose made me laugh. He’d done something almost exactly like that on our first date when I had complimented him. He usually acted goofy when he was embarrassed. I guess it was so he could feel people were laughing at what he did rather than at him, though I’d never laugh at him. Jim had his emotional walls. My preparing to take a candid shot must have caught him off guard and embarrassed him, but he had covered his vulnerability as he usually did. I smiled and laughed a little through the tears standing in my eyes. I rounded up all the pictures I could lay my hands on of him and I made an album. I would not forget.

In the last seven years I have never stopped mourning him and I certainly never stopped loving him. I had, however, stopped drinking to excess and repaired my life to some degree. Still, it was only a bandage on a wound that had not healed. I hadn’t moved on and found anyone else, despite the stern talking to Jim’s ghost had given me. I lived alone and had dated only twice. Both times the men were very handsome and decent. My friends had set me up with nice, husky, bearded bears on both occasions and, were I not still grieving, I would probably have fallen in love with either one of them. Still, no one could measure up to Jim.

Alone in the house, I hoped to feel Jim’s spirit still, but I no longer sensed Jim’s presence after that night of the sixth month anniversary of his death.

Never, that is, until two weeks ago.

Two weeks ago, on the seventh anniversary of his death, I began to feel Jim in the house again. I would come home from work and it was as if the house was occupied. It felt like he, too, had just come home from work. It felt like it used to. He’d leave earlier than I did in the morning, come home first and I’d come home to him. He rarely ever met me at the door, but I’d feel his presence in the house, even though I couldn’t see or hear him immediately. I can’t explain the feeling of ‘occupation’ that begun filling the house. It wasn’t like there were signs of another living being in the house such as things misplaced or knocked over. The house just felt ‘warmer’ than when I had left it in the morning. It was as if I could turn the corner and enter the living room and expect to see him sitting on the couch, reading a newspaper. 
That night, the seventh anniversary, I awoke for no reason and I could feel Jim lying next to me in bed with his arms wrapped around me. I could smell Seattle and chocolate-cherry pipe tobacco, but I seemed to smell it with my mind more than with my nose, it was strange. I also had a contented feeling in my heart and had absolutely no fear of the supernatural lover lying in bed with me, spooning, like he used to do. I could feel a definite pressure on my skin as though Jim was lying behind me with his arms around me. I could feel him gently playing with my chest fur, occasionally tweaking my nipples. I could even feel the pressure of his ghostly penis rubbing against my crack. I was becoming extremely aroused. I opened my legs and let him in and, though I didn’t physically feel a penetration, I could tell he was inside of me. I became extremely aroused. My breathing increased, I was sweating heavily and within minutes achieved orgasm for the first time in a couple of years. Since Jim’s death, I hadn’t really been that sexually active. Even auto-erotica didn’t seem to do much for me. It was strange. I could feel Jim orgasm and shoot inside of me even as I came. I fell asleep shortly after that, but I remember feeling a kiss on my ear and the whispered words, "You’ll be better soon, my love, sleep well" as I drifted off to sleep.

The next morning, thankfully, was Saturday. I woke and was sure my dream had been the best dream I’d had in years. In thinking about the ghostly sex of my dream, I became extremely aroused and jacked off. I soon came to believe it was not a dream at all. Jim was making love with me and his spirit had touched mine as we both achieved orgasm the previous night.

Weeks passed, I would hear footsteps in the bedroom above when I was in the kitchen or living room. The floor would creak with the weight of a heavy man’s footsteps and I knew that Jim was up there, moving around. I would occasionally feel a slight twinge of grief, but it also made me happy to know that he was around and looking after me. When I watched football, I would sense Jim’s warm presence next to me on the couch. I never sat in the place Jim used to sit while watching TV in all the years since his death. It was his place and I guess I kind of enshrined it. Now, in the evenings when I watched the game, I could feel Jim’s arm around me or on my thigh. I was contented. On one occasion, I lost all interest in the game because Jim was rubbing my crotch and nibbling on my ear. I unzipped my pants and came immediately. I began to think about sex again, though I was not yet ready to start dating.

I made Jim’s favorite dishes and set aside a little on a plate for him in addition to what I took for myself. I bought a bottle of Seattle, opened it and poured out a little in a dish in the living room as an offering to the spirit of my bear lover. I understood now why some of the eastern cultures had this tradition as part of their ancestor worship. 
The original bottle of cologne had been thrown out and other personal possessions donated in the hopes that disposing of Jim’s things might help me dispose of the grief I felt. All of Jim’s clothes had been given away to the thrift store. All except Jim’s favorite black and white plaid flannel shirt and a certain suit that he wore on our first date. The shirt was in a drawer but its scent had long since faded. I put a few dabs of Seattle on the shirt and slept with it like a security blanket at night.

I’d also kept Jim’s straight razor and had learned to shave with it in the last seven years. It was his great-grandfather’s razor and his brothers didn’t know he had taken it. He cared for the razor because it connected him to his past. His brothers had wanted to sell it for the money they could get. Jim had very skillfully shaved my face with it on occasion and I remembered it was such a sensual experience. The first time he had shaved me I was as hard as steel by the time he had finished. We, of course, immediately made love and he was late for work, as I was. We saved that experience for evenings or weekends after that, because it never failed to arouse me. It was tough using the antique implement at first and I got nicks almost every time I used it, but I learned. In all the times Jim had used it on me, he only nicked me once, on the neck, he was so skilled in it’s use. He of course, licked the wound and made it all better. I kept Jim’s razor sharp with the strop he had used. He had taught me how to sharpen it. It gave me a connection to Jim I’d never had before.
Jim was eight and a quarter years older than I and just about my same build, though he was more muscular, and heavier. He was nicely padded with a small beer belly. He was my papa bear.

I had always been clean-shaven, except for an occasional mustache I’d keep for a month or two. I decided about a month after Jim’s return that I would grow a beard too, like Jim had. I would not shave anything except my neck for the rest of my life. I began wearing his favorite flannel shirt in the evenings after work, too. I hadn’t smoked at all before Jim’s death, but shortly after he’d passed on, a year or so after, I had taken up Jim’s habit and his pipe and now smoked the same blend that was my lover’s favorite. I’d sit in the evenings, on the porch with a beer and Jim’s pipe. Wearing Jim’s flannel shirt and enjoying my lover’s pleasures helped me remember Jim and it soothed my weary heart a little. I could, at times, feel Jim standing behind me, rubbing my shoulders. I would talk softly to him about the day’s events and blow smoke up toward my ghostly lover’s face in the hopes that he could enjoy it too.

One evening, when a sudden rainstorm drove me from the porch, I passed by the mirror in the hall with Jim’s pipe in my teeth, wearing the flannel shirt and holding the empty beer bottle in my hand. I stopped dead in front of the mirror. I looked at my own reflection and I was amazed and slightly aroused. I had grown to look quite a bit like my lover. My beard had grown in full and thick. It was black with silver on the chin and a lot of silver in the mustache and was salt and peppery everywhere else just as Jim’s had been. My chest hair even poked out over my black T-shirt collar in strands of black and silver, just as Jim’s had. I went into the living room and when I came back to the mirror with a picture of Jim, I couldn’t believe the resemblance. I had grown about as chubby as Jim had been and had put on the same kind of bulk he had naturally from working.

In the seven years since his death, I’d joined a gym and was working out two to three times a week. I had put some bulk on, but I didn’t exercise enough to remove the beer belly I’d developed. I wasn’t that serious about being trim. Swimmer’s figures had never done anything for me, or had they done anything for Jim for that matter. I’d always been on the slightly husky side and appreciated that look above all other body types. I looked in the mirror and realized that, though we surely weren’t identical twins, I looked quite a bit like Jim. The resemblance was enough that I could have passed for his brother, or his son. I especially resembled him with his pipe in my mouth. I held it in the same way he had, with the same slight frown.

I decided it was time to communicate with Jim. It was time to find out why he had returned and what it all meant. I wondered why I had come to look so much like my dead love. I wasn’t displeased with the look. As a matter of fact, I thought I looked damned hot and I wasn’t about to change it by shaving or losing weight.

My new look even aroused really satisfying sexual fantasies. In them, Jim used his ghostly powers to sculpt my body into his very image. This, as the fantasy went, was so that he could possess me and we could live together in the same body as one merged being, happily joined for eternity. I knew this was silly and pure fantasy, but I must admit I was just a bit creeped out by it when I thought seriously about the fantasy. Jim was sleeping beside me almost every night now and I’d grown accustomed to having sex with his spirit.
I decided to contact a psychic, someone a friend had recommended when I told him that Jim was back.

That’s how I came to know Arnold MacIntyre. Arnold was not a ‘professional’ psychic. He said that he would not take money for his help at all; he felt that would be wrong. He didn’t make his money by reading the tarot or talking to the dead. He did those things, but by profession he was a CPA.

I talked with him on the phone. I remember thinking that he had a warm, friendly, deep voice and I felt I liked him before I had ever met him. He asked me not go give him details and had said he had asked the same of Kyle, the friend who had recommended Arnold to me. He didn’t want to know anything about the spirit in my house or anything about me. We arranged a date for Arnold to come over.

Arnold came over after work, the Friday after I had called. I opened the door and was rather pleasantly surprised. He was quite a good-looking man. He was also taller than I am and beefy. He had a beautiful thick red beard, blue eyes and a receding hairline. He had strong, furry, meaty hands with thick, long fingers and well-muscled arms, which I discovered when I shook hands with him.

I thought he looked nothing like any CPA I’d ever expected to meet. Most of them, I thought, were short, slight and wore thick glasses. This man was a bigger bear than I am and from the looks of his partially unbuttoned shirt, just as furry as either Jim or I. My friend Kyle had told me that he wasn’t a ‘bear’ in the sense that he was straight, but Kyle hadn’t told me that he was a drop dead gorgeous fur-ball. I felt a stirring in my loins from the moment I opened the door. Standing there, as we made small talk after the introductions, I realized that Arnold was the first man I’d had any lustful feelings for since Jim’s death. I thought, 'If he were a bear I’d fuck him in a heartbeat -- and wouldn’t you know it, he was off limits!'

He had introduced himself and I invited him in. Arnold immediately said, "The spirit is here, now. I can feel his presence right here in the hallway. He’s come to greet me."
I thought, "Sure, nice start! Tell me something I don’t know." But I nodded and said, "Yes, he showed up some months back and I’m not surprised that he’s here now. How did you know my ghost was male?" I asked. "Because," he replied, "I sensed that he was a robust man with a thick beard," Arnold paused and looked me over. A strange look passed over his face. "like you." I was amazed. Arnold had recognized my current stature and furriness as being very close to Jim’s. 
"That plaid flannel shirt you’re wearing and that pipe you’re cradling, he says that they once belonged to him and that you look very…" At that Arnold blushed a bit and, after clearing his throat, continued. "He says that you’re very sexy looking in his shirt."

I was sure, by the throat clearing, that Arnold had edited the comment Jim had made to him about how ‘hot’ Jim thought I looked. I imagine Jim was quite free with details.

Arnold continued, "He also says he appreciates that you are smoking his blend. He can’t smell it of course, unless he taps into your senses. He says it is still not as good as having a physical body and actually smoking the pipe, but he appreciates the offerings you’ve been making for him. He can smell and taste them when he lightly touches your mind. He likes it when you blow smoke at him. He says the way you look when you do it makes him very…uh… aroused."

Arnold was still blushing. "I’m guessing he was your lover," he said shyly.

I smiled, "Yes, he was my husband."

"I’m sorry," Arnold said, "this must be painful for you." 
"It is, yes… a little. But he’s been dead for seven years or so and I think I’m beginning to move on. It’s actually why I called you," I said.

"Seven years, that’s a long time," he said, "you must have loved him very much."
"I do, yes." I said, becoming a little choked up.

"Forgive me, I didn’t mean to use the past tense as though you had stopped…" 
I interrupted him. "It’s alright, please, come into the living room." I said as I choked back my emotions and smiled at my special guest.

Arnold came into the living room and I offered him a seat, being careful not to gesture, and something to drink. He refused, saying it would be a distraction to eat or drink while he was working on a haunting. 
Before we’d moved very far into the room at all he said, "That end," and he pointed to the end of the couch that Jim had always sat on, "That’s his side, isn’t it?"

I said, "Yes." Arnold sat down on the opposite end of the couch to Jim’s favorite end and I sat in the leather recliner. I was rather surprised that Arnold didn’t falsely guess that the recliner was Jim’s favorite seat.

"He’s in the room. I sense that he’s standing by you. He’s telling me that he died in this room. He’s asking me to tell you that he didn’t suffer from the burst blood vessel in his brain. He says it was like someone throwing a switch. One minute he was in his body and the next he was looking at you from the couch while you gave him CPR. There was no pain, just a flash of light and everything went dark, and then he was looking down at you."

I was shocked. There was no way Arnold could be a phony with all the details he had given me in just a few minutes, unless he had pumped Kyle or other friends for information and had a memory like a steel trap. Of course, I suppose he could have dug up records on Jim and found out the cause of death. It was on the death certificate, after all. But not the other details. Not those.

Following this thought, and partly to convince myself, I said, "I don’t want to insult you, Arnold, but it is possible to find out some of these details from public records or by talking to my friends and you could guess some of them. Can you tell me something that only my lover and I would know?

Arnold smiled, "Well, we can start calling him Jim, but that could be obtained from a death certificate." Arnold paused as if listening and began relaying a message, apparently from Jim. "Jim says there is something. He tells me that you were both watching the Rams vs. the Packers game the night he died. You had gotten up to get more beer and hot wings. Jim liked his hotter than you did and used to dump tons of cayenne pepper on his. He tells me he used to tease you about being a pussy because you liked celery sticks and ranch dressing with your hot wings. He ate his straight and said he liked to feel the burn at both ends, like a real man. He tells me to remind you of the time you made the special chili. The ‘nuclear waste’ chili. You dumped two bottles of cayenne in it just to see how much of a man he was. He ate the entire pot in the course of three days and he says it really did burn a lot, but he wasn’t going to let on to you. He kept telling you how good it was, that it was the best batch you’d ever made. He says he really didn’t like the burn at the other end, but he wouldn’t let you know that."

I interrupted to speak directly to Jim, a broad smile on my face. "I knew it!" I crowed with triumph and laughed. "I knew it, you son of a bitch! I knew it was too hot for you! You never did ask me to make it the same way ever again." I laughed. 
Arnold began again. "He’s laughing and says he knew you knew, but he wouldn’t let on because it was a game and he couldn’t admit defeat. He says his pride was on the line. He didn’t use Louisiana Hot Sauce because it’s for pussies too. He liked the straight cayenne. He liked it on eggs for breakfast and used it instead of black pepper for most things. Jim says on the night he died, his team was playing. He loved the Rams and you chose the Packers just so there would be a definite winner and a definite loser. He says...” and Arnold paused, blushed again, smiled and continued. "Jim says the winner got to be on top when the two of you went to bed. Jim says he wished the damned blood vessel had held out and burst thirty minutes after he had finished and was snoring, because he knows he would have been on top that night. The Rams won and up until the blood vessel burst, he was horny and ready to celebrate. He was ready for a… well...." Arnold faltered.

"…a good rough fuck session," I finished. Arnold had blushed yet again. "Jim used to get very crude, verbally. That last comment would actually be quite tame. Jim could make sailors blush, so don’t feel bad. It was another game we played. He used to make me blush. It turned him on. Hell, everything turned him on! When I had grown used to his language and stopped blushing, that turned him on too, especially since I could then dish it out as well as take it," I explained. 
I could tell that Jim was embarrassing Arnold, and he felt it was necessary. Still, Jim was trying to be gentle with his living vocal proxy. He was leaving no doubt in my mind by his use of language that it was indeed Jim to whom I was indirectly speaking. 
"OK,OK,  I’m convinced," I said, "You don’t have to prove Arnold is the real deal any more, my love."

"I think I need to explain about the kind of language you’re getting from Jim." I said, almost apologetically. "You see, Jim was a construction worker. It’s a sort of tradition with men who work construction. When I met him, he was getting out of his pickup first thing in the morning. I’d seen him a couple of times during the week before that and enjoyed him as eye candy. He even took off his shirt for me a couple of times. Once on a lunch break when I was passing by and once when I was leaving work. He sported his furry torso and held his tools suggestively because he knew it drove me mad with lust. He’d eyed me up and down like a hungry Kodiak those times and made some comments to one of his buddies that I couldn’t hear. Jim’s comments engendered quite a bit of snickering from the both of them. That was a few days before our first meeting."

"It was very early, the day Jim and I formally met. It was before most people were scheduled to show up for work and the street was mostly deserted. Jim began by whistling at me and made some catcalls like most construction workers do to women passing by. Then he made some extremely crude comments and equally crude gestures with his hands and mouth."

"It scares most men, straight or gay, when a 250 plus pound man with a nice bit of muscle and a leering look says those kinds of things. Suggestive doesn’t even come close to what he said. He was quite explicit and let me know that I was just what he wanted, after work. When he was done, Jim had a fine smirk on his beautiful face."

"I decided that I was going to end this one way or another. Either he was straight and belligerently picking a fight with me or he was gay and he was crudely coming on to me. The first possibility meant that I could end up in the hospital. The second meant that I needed to take charge of the situation. I walked over to him and told him, in a very calm even tone, that I thought he was a filthy, grimy, smelly, foul-mouthed, hairy pig. I said that he had a lot of balls to talk to me that way. I finished by saying that if he was going to talk to me like that then he damned well better pick me up at 6 o’clock that evening and take me to the finest restaurant in town, to make up for it."

I paused in my narrative and could feel the mirth coming from Jim, standing by my side. He was damned proud of the way I acted toward him on our first meeting. His pride in me was something he reminded me of often during our marriage. I continued with my description for Arnold.

"Jim laughed uproariously in response to my challenge. He grabbed me, which startled me quite a bit since I thought he was going to kill me, but he French kissed me instead. He asked me, very sweetly and sincerely, where I wanted him to be at six. He admired my courage. He said I had a bigger set of balls than he did and then corrected me. He said he was not a hairy pig. He was a filthy, grimy, smelly, foul-mouthed, furry bear."

I smiled at the warm memory, pausing while I cleared my throat. "He showed up at six, in front of my office, freshly bathed and well groomed."

Arnold interjected at this point, "He had gone to the barber and had his hair cut and his beard neatly trimmed. He’d also had a manicure. He was wearing a very nice gray wool suit, a white silk shirt with a blue silk tie that matched his eyes."

"Yes!" I said, "He was so handsome in it." 
Arnold closed his eyes and said, "Jim says you still have the suit in his old closet upstairs. He says it would fit you with slight alterations and he’d like it if you wore it. He says there’s no sense in letting a really nice suite like that go to waste."

I began again, "I was so shocked and so pleased when I saw him in it that day. For all the world, he looked like a fortune 500 businessman. The suit was brand new that morning and he’d paid extra for express tailoring. His black shoes were Italian and very expensive. He’d just come from the shop where the suit had been purchased. It was such juxtaposition, seeing such a well-groomed handsome man driving that grimy dented pickup of his. I remember that was the first time I’d ever smelled his cologne and I was entranced. Jim had taken the day off work and prepared all day for our date. His words were gentle and flattering and he held the door to his pickup truck open for me and closed it as I got in. I said, when he had shut the door on his side, "Wow, beauty and the beast, all in one package." He laughed and started to oink like a pig, then grunt like a bear and picked his nose. Then I started laughing. That was the beginning of our first date. We had a wonderful dinner at a very nice French restaurant."

Arnold interrupted, "Jim says he had pulled some strings with the restaurant owner. He’d done him some favors in the remodeling of the restaurant so he got reservations that afternoon for the evening."

"Yes," I said, "He was gruff beast with the soul of a poet. He was very romantic. He showed me how much more romantic he could be later in the evening." I saw the uncomfortable look on Arnold’s face. "But I don’t imagine further detail is necessary." I could tell that Arnold was embarrassed.

I continued in another vein, "You see, Jim had built a shell of gruff behavior around himself since his family had disowned him. He used gruff, rude, crude, rowdy language or behavior to keep people away, so he wouldn’t be hurt again. He’d had a lot of sex in his life. He’d go to a bear bar and score most nights and kick them out of bed in the morning, but he’d never allowed anyone to love him. He had never courted a man, as he had with me. He willingly gave a chance to those that could see through his defenses or challenged him but none had ever managed to tame the grizzly. Until I rose to his challenge."

I thought, in the long silence that passed between Arnold and myself, that Jim was giving me hints all along that it really was him. He had been trying desperately, without offending Arnold too much, to make me believe Arnold was the genuine article. Jim used to talk to me just the way he did tonight, only rougher.

For the first time I knew for sure that Jim had never left me, really, in all the years since he’d died. I had never told a single soul about our little side bets on the games we watched. Further, outside of that one time in public, when only one of his construction buddies was there to hear him, Jim had always spoken to me like a gentleman in public. Those were our secret games, just for the two of us and not to be shared. I set the pipe on the coffee table. I sat, silent, and continued to think. Finally, I spoke. 
I said to Jim, again directly but in a bit of a shaky voice. "Jim, why are you here?"

Arnold answered. "He says he’s here because he loves you. He says you and he have unfinished business. He says you’re quite a handsome bear, with your new beard and muscles, and that you’re depriving some nice bear out there of one hell of a good…" 

Arnold only slightly hesitated this time and didn’t blush, "Catch." I smiled. I knew Jim would have normally said to me, "…one hell of a good fuck!" but perhaps he did actually say catch this time, no longer needing to prove Arnold was really speaking for him.

There was a pause while I wiped my eyes on the sleeves of Jim’s favorite shirt. Arnold continued, "He says you haven’t been very quick about things. He says that he’s the one that died, not you and that he’s wondering if you’re brain damaged or something."
I laughed through my tears at that one.

Arnold continued, "He says he’s checked in on you from time to time these last seven years and expected you to have been dating at least by the third or forth year after he had died. He says he wants you to start living again."

At this, I broke down. I was sobbing. I had cupped my face in my hands and was crying like a child in front of a complete stranger.

The next thing I knew, Arnold had me in his arms and was rocking me back and forth from a kneeling position on the floor. He took the hands from my face and looked me in the eye. "Shhhh… It’s OK," he said, in a husky voice and then he kissed me.

I was shocked and broke the kiss immediately. I moved further back in the chair. A smile came over Arnold’s face. A smile I recognized and a twinkle in Arnold’s eyes told me that he wasn’t exactly himself.

"Oh Carl," he said, "it’s me. I asked if I could borrow Arnold’s body for a while and he agreed. He really feels for you, you know. He wants to help you about as much as I do."

I was confused, but in looking in Arnold’s eyes, I could really sense Jim in his body. 
"Look, Carl," Arnold said, with Jim’s inflections and mannerisms. "I can’t stay in this body for more than a few minutes at a time. It requires too much concentration to stay and even a willing participant tends to try to push you out. It’s a self defense mechanism the soul uses, kind of like spiritual antibodies. All of those stories about possession for months and years are nonsense. I have something important I want to tell you directly. You’re life is going to improve a whole lot more soon, if you’ll let it and if the other person involved in improving you life is agreeable. I meant what I said when I came to you in your dream that night. You need to find someone and be happy. I want you to keep your mind open to the possibility of dating and settling down with another nice bear. If you can do that, I can move on to whatever’s waiting for me beyond that tunnel of light I’m supposed to go through. Now, promise me you’ll stop moping around like some damned kid," he growled.

"I promise," I said, nearly choking on the tears.

"Good!" he said in a louder stern voice."See that you keep that promise." He was being Papa Bear now. He softened, smiled and squeezed my shoulder.

Then he looked over at the coffee table and a whimsical smile played on his lips. He picked up the half-smoked pipe, put it between his teeth and said. "You got a light? It’s been seven years and I want just one last puff, before I go. But make it fast, Arnold is getting uncomfortable."

I reached in the pocket of the flannel shirt and handed him the monogrammed silver lighter I’d given Jim for our third anniversary. He puffed the pipe into life and drew the smoke in deeply. He closed his eyes and smiled. He very slowly let it out through his nose, savoring the flavor and smell as though he was locking it into his memory. He took another deep draw, moved toward me and gave me a long smoky French kiss, squeezing my crotch gently as he did so.

He broke the kiss with a nip on my tongue and a lick of my lips. He put the pipe and lighter back in my hands and stood. "I’ve got to go, Carl; I’ll check in on you. But I’ll be back if I’m not convinced that you’re getting you’re life back together." 
"I love you Jim," I said, with tears streaming down my face, "I always will." 
Arnold reached out and touched my face, cradling it in his big hand as Jim always had, tears standing in his eyes. "And I love you to, my love. I’ll be there to meet you on the other side, but you better not try to rush things like you did seven years ago. Life is short and life is precious, Carl. You were trying to join me way too soon. You get together with that nice bear I said might be coming along if you can. If it doesn’t work out, I want you to keep looking, you hear?"

He had returned to his Papa Bear stance and voice. I nodded. He continued with a merry glint in his eye, "Maybe we can get together for a threesome on the other side. You, your new husband and me. I can’t think of any better definition of heaven, can you?" He smiled devilishly. 
"Oh, and by the way," 'Papa' back in his voice. "The pipe, the leather tobacco pouch, the lighter, my great-grandfather’s razor, the shirt and any other shit I left lying around that you haven’t thrown out are all yours now, so you can stop saying ‘Jim’s this and that’, OK?" He smiled down at me.

Arnold turned around, walked back over to the couch and sat on Jim’s side. He looked over at me and said, "Good-bye, love. Be well." He winked and then, Arnold’s head bowed and Jim was gone.

Arnold raised his head and looked around. "How long was I out?" he said. 
"About five minutes." I said.

"There’s a really nasty taste in my mouth, can I have a drink of water or something?" he said, making a face.

"Sorry about that, Arnold. Jim wanted a last smoke before he left," I said as I puffed on the pipe. "It’s a taste that took me awhile to acquire. I’ll get you a beer if you like, that should wash away the taste." 
"Yeah, sure, that would be great." I noticed Arnold sort of avoided my gaze and had become a bit withdrawn. I went to the kitchen and came back with two beers and handed Arnold one and blew my nose on some tissues from the box on the coffee table.

"So, what happened while I was out?" Arnold asked, a bit hesitantly. "I usually don’t remember what’s happened while I’m possessed. Some mediums do and some don’t. I sort of go on vacation while a spirit possesses me. I have dreams that have nothing to do with what’s happening. It leaves me disoriented, when I come back."

Obviously he really didn’t have any memory of the events of those five minutes he was possessed and the disorientation would explain his odd behavior just now. I thought it best not to mention the incredible French kiss Jim gave me with Arnold’s mouth as a parting gift. It was exactly the way Jim used to kiss, though. Kisses are like fingerprints, no two people kiss the same and I knew exactly how Jim used to kiss me. He’d end each kiss with a little nip on my tongue and a little lick on my lips when he broke the kiss. That was exactly how Arnold had kissed me after inhaling the smoke from the Jim’s pipe.

"Well," I began, "Jim came over and hugged me and told me that it was damned well time I got my life back together and that he was going to keep coming back until I got it right. Of course that’s the quick version, he was a little more verbose than that about it. He told me he loved me and always would and then he took your body over to the couch, sat you down, winked at me and left."

We both sat and talked about the evening’s events and drank our beers. We spent a good number of hours talking about ghosts and the supernatural and other cases Arnold had worked on. I told Arnold all about Jim and when we had finished talking, at about one in the morning, I felt that he and I had begun a very good friendship. During the evening’s conversation, I found out that Arnold was also a Rams fan, just like Jim and invited him over to watch football sometime. He said that would be great and said he’d call when the Rams were playing next. He waved as he got into his car to leave. That night, I was not visited physically by Jim, but I had one Hell of a wet dream about Arnold. In the dream we were kissing and rubbing each other’s cocks together and then I felt Arnold explode all over my chest. I woke up smeared in my own come and I could have sworn I heard Jim’s chuckle.

It was about two months later that I heard from Arnold. It was one evening when I was sitting on the porch with my pipe and a beer, as usual. He rolled into the driveway and came up to the porch with his briefcase in his hand. We shook hands and I offered him a seat and a beer.

When I came back with the beer he had a serious look on his face. He opened the beer, took a sip and looked like he was struggling with something.

"What’s wrong, Arnold?" I asked. 
"Well," he said, "after the night I came over and we talked to Jim, some things happened," he said, hesitantly.

"What sort of things?" I asked.

"Jim hasn’t been back here, has he?" Arnold asked. 
"No, I don’t think so. I haven’t sensed him in the house since the night you came over. What’s going on?” I asked. 
"Well," he paused for a time and I could tell he was trying to find the right words. "Sorry, it’s kind of hard for me to start." 
"It’s OK," I said, "take your time."

He paused again, drank several gulps more of his beer while I reloaded my pipe and lit it up. "Carl, Jim has been visiting me off and on since the night I came over. At first he was just hanging around the house, talking about you. I feel I’ve known you for years because of the details Jim gave me and the images he flashed into my mind. Then Jim started talking to me about my life and how lonely I was and then he told me something about myself that I’ve known for years and have been hiding.” He paused and gulped.

Carl, I’m gay." He paused again and furtively looked at me, then looked back down at his beer bottle. He continued, "Jim said he knew it when he possessed me. He could read it in my mind and he’s been reminding me almost daily that I was very turned on by you when I first saw you at the door. He reminded me of that tingle in my balls and at the base of my spine when I saw you there, with the pipe in your mouth as you answered the door. Jim said that I was attracted to his type of bear and that you were now very much the type of bear he was. Carl, I..." 
Arnold hesitated and swallowed hard, his hands were shaking as he said the next. "I’m beginning to feel the way he felt about you and not just because I could feel the love Jim had for you. He said he wouldn’t leave me alone until I came and talked to you. He restored the memory of when you, he and I kissed that night and frankly, I get stiff just thinking about that. He’s been visiting me in bed and, though I’m a complete virgin when it comes to sex with men, I think after what Jim has been doing to me at nights, I would really like to make love with you. He’s been inside of me, I mean inside of my anus."
Arnold blushed and hesitated before he went on. I took a long drink, put the pipe back in my mouth and puffed as he continued. "He’s been inside of my ass and I liked it. Last week he possessed me, I gave him permission of course, and he sort of played back a memory of making love with you while he possessed me. It seems he’s found a way of keeping me from going on vacation while he’s inside of my head. He and I jacked off together as we remembered you fucking him. I guess the Packers won that night or something." 
I smiled at that one, that comment was pure Jim.

"I’ve got to tell you," Arnold said, "I think you’re a really handsome man and I’m extremely attracted to you. Jim showed me in his memories the large brownish birthmark on your right inner thigh that’s sort of the shape of Alaska in the memory we shared. I thought it was cool looking. I was thinking that perhaps I was the…" 
He stopped at that point and looked over at me. He’d been studying his beer bottle very intently while he was talking about events of the last two months. I guess he’d figured he’d gone too far with the birthmark comment. It must have been the look on my face, because Arnold became even more nervous. I was shocked and I guess it showed.

He hurriedly said the next, "OK, I’m sorry. This is a complete mistake, I guess I should be going now." 

He began to get up and I bellowed a bit too loudly, like some drill sergeant, "Sit!" I could use the Papa Bear voice too. He sat back down like his legs had been kicked out from under him with a rather frightened look on his face.

"I’m sorry," I said in a soft voice, "I didn’t mean to be so rude. I just didn’t want you running off before I had a chance to say something. I was taken aback, a little, that Jim had shared so much of our relationship, like how I look naked." I paused and said the next with the gentlest most sincere voice I could possibly muster. "I think I would very much like to take you upstairs and make love with you Arnold, this very night. I want to explore every inch of your body and give you incredible pleasure."

Arnold blushed a deep crimson and studied his beer bottle again. I smiled and took his hand in mine. "It seems Jim has seen fit to fix us up, so let’s not disappoint him. He must really be anxious to move on. Hey, maybe he’s got a hot date waiting for him?" We both laughed.

"There’s something else,” Arnold said and he opened his briefcase. He pulled out a notepad. "It’s a message for you from Jim, he wrote it this morning when I agreed again to let him possess me. It was more like automatic writing, though. The man has a positively filthy mind!" 
I smiled. "Don’t I know it!" I said with a chuckle.

"He has showed me all sorts of things I can do during sex, over these last two months."
"Yeah," I said, "I got him a copy of the gay Kama Sutra for our first anniversary and he was determined to work his way through the book. He did so with me, two or three times, though some of the stuff we couldn’t do because we were too heavy or not limber enough."

Arnold blushed furiously.

"I’ve still got the copy upstairs." I said and winked at Arnold. He handed me the notebook and really started studying his beer bottle.

The hand was unmistakably Jim’s and what was written was in his idiom.
My love,
I have waited seven years for this. If you are reading this note, it’s because I have finally bugged Arn enough to make him visit you. I know you will grow to love him as much as you loved me, so give him a chance. I want you to know that I love him very much too. Over the last two months I’ve really gotten to know him and I’ve grown to love him. He and I have been sharing some memories, he’ll remember some things about you that I remembered about you. I think he’s falling in love with you just from the memories he and I have been sharing.
If I were still alive, I’d want you both as my husbear, or is that husbears? He is a gentleman, a good man. He will make you happy and I’m sure you will do the same for him. I really hadn’t planned this, but sometimes luck or fate drops things in your lap. I had no idea Arn was a bear until he let me possess him, but I started getting ideas just as soon as I found out.
I could see the way you looked at him when he came into the hallway and I recognized that look. It was the same look you used to give me and you have no idea how happy I was to see it on your face. I haven’t seen you in that kind of lust since I passed away.
When I possessed Arn, I could feel his attraction for you. I knew how you made him feel and I’ll let you in on a secret, he wasn’t just disoriented that night; he was trying to deny how he felt and didn’t want you to see how turned on he was becoming. It was a natural fit. I just needed to convince Arn to give you a shot. He’s really afraid of rejection. I’ll be watching as you read this note. If you plan to start a relationship with that gorgeous red head, just give him a kiss and I’ll be packing for that trip through that tunnel of light.
I will love you always,
I put the notepad down, stood, and took Arnold's hand in mine and pulled him up. He looked more than a little nervous. I looked over his shoulder and said loudly into the night, "OK Jim, start packing."

Arnold said, "He says you don’t have to yell. He’s standing right at the base of the porch steps."

I laughed. I drew on my pipe and French kissed Arnold deep and long. I nipped his tongue as we broke the kiss and licked his lips. Arnold was just a bit surprised. "No, Jim didn’t step in to kiss you, that was all me," I said. We stepped over the threshold and closed the door behind us. We held hands as we climbed the stairs and adjourned to my bedroom. We made love long into the night and I introduced Arnold to pleasures he’d never dreamed possible. I had learned a little from the gay Kama Sutra and committed it to memory. 
Arn and I have never heard from Jim again and we’ve been married for ten years now. I know Jim is happy for us, wherever he is. Maybe he’s just as happy as we are, with some hot bear on the other side. Maybe one day, we'll have a fourway.

Copyright © 2000 & 2015 - Bjorn Torson
Any and all re-use prohibited without explicit permission.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Bully

The Bully
By Papa Werebear, writing as Bjorn Torson

Tonight, I drove by my old high school in the car I had rented. I was back in my old neighborhood, having just purchased a new house built on a lot where an older house had stood and was here to move in. Being a novelist, and a rather successful one at that, I could afford to move away from the city and back to my hometown. The best part was that since I write under the pen name of Arthur Nelson and my photo does not grace the back of my books, I could remain anonymous. I write science fiction and fantasy novels and with the advent of laptops and modems my life became even more ‘stay at home’. I could conduct most of my business by telecommuting. I needed a better place, a quieter place, to write.

I couldn’t sleep, so I went for a drive around the neighborhood to see what I remembered and what was unfamiliar. It was one o’clock on a Saturday morning. Many memories, some good and a lot bad, came to the surface of the dark pool that was my childhood. I pulled into the parking lot of my high school and parked in an area that wasn’t well lit. I turned on the radio and found an oldies station. I sat, just looking at the place, hearing the phantoms of my childhood echoing through those halls in my memory.

 As I said, the bad memories outweighed the good. I was one of the kids that regularly gave my lunch money to the bullies. We were the nerds, the geeks, the wimps, and fatsos that usually fall prey to the strong or popular. Every kid had something that caused him to be picked on. Some kids had "coke bottle" glasses. Others were skinny and odd looking. I was picked on because I stuttered and was under-muscled and overweight. I had a double helping of handicap that just ached to be ridiculed by the brutes that ruled the campus like lords. Going to the teachers didn’t help because if one of the bullies got detention, one or more of us suffered. As a result, your fellow victims would squeal on you to avoid a beating. They’d make a game of hunting us down after school. I was prey to one bully in particular. His name was Hank Dodson and he sort of ruled the bullies. He was the one who thought up the ‘Hunting Parties’ that came after squealers. The bullies divided us up as prey. Some bullies had fewer kids paying them off and others had more. Hank had the most and wouldn’t let any of the other bullies beat up on us... as long as we paid him, of course. It was a nice little ‘Junior Mafia’ type protection racket for him. Hank was a sophomore and I was a lowly freshman when this started and he had at least eight to ten of us contributing to ‘The First Bank of Hank the Tank’. His nickname was appropriate; he was a tank. He was huge and damned near a man. I wouldn’t have been surprised to learn that the other bullies were giving him a cut of their take. By his junior year, Hank was bench-pressing 200 lbs. and was dating a girl who seemed extremely impressed with his physique. Hank would buy her stuff with the money that was meant to buy our lunches.

Hank was big and tough and all of us were afraid of him, especially in Phys Ed. He was the coach’s favorite. He wasn’t the star of the football team; he was the wall of muscle that bulldozed the other team’s guys into the dirt. The coach gave him duties over us in our PE class. Coach was fond of reminding us that if we didn’t toughen up our bodies, we’d grow up to be ‘pencil neck geeks’. Hank, of course, abused his position and the coach didn’t seem to care. When one kid complained that Hank was pushing him around in class, Coach said that he "…should just duke it out with Hank." When the kid said that he couldn’t, that Hank would beat him into pudding, the Coach just laughed and said, "Well, toughen up then, this is what I’ve been trying to tell you. If you don’t, the Hanks of the world are going to push you around all of your life." Coach seemed to be big on physical Darwinism. Survival of the strongest, not the one that best fits into his niche. It’s the common misunderstanding of Darwin’s concept that the ‘best adapted’ pass on their genes.

Hank’s presence in my life, I admit grudgingly, was valuable in one way. His apparent muscular invulnerability was what inspired me to begin to work out. I saw that the big guys never got picked on and now, years later, I was a large enough man that most people didn’t want to try to bully me. Perhaps Coach was right, if in a limited way.

In my junior year we contributors to ‘The First Bank of Hank the Tank’ got a rather pleasant surprise. Hank would not be returning for his senior year. No one knew exactly why. Rumor had it that his dad had sent him to military school to knock some sense into him. Hank had apparently been doing some wild stuff that wasn’t exactly legal, it was said. The same rumor said Hank had gotten into trouble with the law and that’s why he was being sent off. Other rumors said he’d seriously maimed another kid in a fight because Hank was using strength he had underestimated. That rumor said Hank had been sent off to jail. Yet another said he’d got his girlfriend pregnant and they were both living out of state with an aunt until after she’d had his baby.

No one knew what the truth was. Hank really didn’t have friends. He had associates, and victims. No one ever got close to him or knew too much about him. I had personally overheard a couple of the other bullies talking, but all they said was that they were glad they hadn’t ended up like Hank.
As I sat in my car, lost in dark nostalgia, a police car pulled up to mine. I hadn’t noticed the patrol car. The lights weren’t on and it ran very quietly. So quietly that the music covered the sound of the engine. I hadn’t noticed the officer getting out of his patrol car. He turned on his flashlight and looked me over through my rolled up window. I was more than a bit startled, as I hadn’t expected to be interrupted in my reverie.

I couldn’t see his face as he motioned me to roll down the window. I rolled my window down with the light still in my face. It’s a control thing most police do.

"Can I see your license and registration sir," the very tall and very burly policeman (from what little I could see) said in a deep bass voice.

"Yes, sir; this is a rental, but I think I have all the proper paperwork," I said in a friendly even tone; I was surprised I could muster that kind of control over my voice, given my level of unease. I noticed that the strap was open on his service pistol, ready should he need to use it. I dug around in my glove box for the rental papers. I got them from the glove box without too much fumbling and dug the license out of my wallet. I was just a bit more nervous and I guess it showed because he looked over the paperwork and driver’s license with more than just a casual glance. While he examined the papers, I stared straight ahead, over the steering wheel. I thought to myself, 'I haven’t done anything wrong.' I was having the normal reaction most people do when confronted by an armed, very tall, physically powerful officer of the law. I reined anything that might be considered threatening in my voice or mannerisms.

"Mr. Gregory," the great bear of a man said, coolly, "what are you doing out here at this hour of the night with your lights off?" The question made me feel like I’d been strapped to a chair and I was being grilled for information. I looked into his face. The flashlight was just enough out of my eyes that I could see his face from the reflected light. His blue eyes seemed menacing and he wasn’t smiling. I felt like I had all those years ago when Hank had extorted lunch money from me. I began to speak with the nervousness in my voice probably quite evident to the policeman, because it had risen slightly in pitch.

"I yoo-used to go to this sk-school. I’m moving back here after being gone since I gr-graduated. I couldn’t sleep, so I thought I might cuh-cuh-come by and look at the old school," I said, trying to sound as truthful and innocent as possible, but the stuttering made it obvious that I was nervous and possibly had something to hide. I hated being nervous, my handicap returned when I became nervous.

"Really?" the officer said. The friendliness in his voice had risen by extremely small increments. "What years?"

Feeling as though it was vital that what I said sound truthful I replied, "Nineteen-seventy-f-five through seventy-nine. It’s been a long time." I hated that I stuttered, hated that I was scared.
The officer smiled broadly and his eyes flashed. His thick, bushy, black moustache more than hid the corners of his smile as he did. Now his face was alight with much more friendliness and, perhaps because he was less stern, he had relaxed his stance a bit and moved his hand away from his pistol. Perhaps, because he was less threatening, I could notice just how handsome he was.

He had a nice looking face, rugged, with a small scar to the right of the dimple in his cleft chin. His well-muscled arms were covered thickly in black hair and his black T-shirt under his crisp black uniform had hair poking out over the top of the neck collar. I could see that he shaved from his cheeks all the way down to that line of hair. He was a very good-looking bearish man and I leaned a little out of the window, shifting my body so that he couldn’t see the erection that was growing down my right pant leg.

He chuckled a little and said, "Well, I went to this school too, but I didn’t get to graduate with my class, like I wanted to.” He grinned widely, showing perfect white teeth and looked deeply into my eyes. “It’s nice to see you again, Tommy; you’ve changed quite a bit."
That last bit shocked me out of my lustful musings and sent a chill down my spine. My heart leapt and my growing erection shriveled. The policeman looked me over as if judging my physical capability. I looked at the officer’s nameplate to find out who it was that knew me well enough to call me Tommy. He noticed me checking out the nameplate and chuckled again. "That’s right Tommy, it’s me. I’m really glad you came back."

What I saw filled me with dread. The nameplate read ‘H. Dodson’. My worst nightmare had just come true, ‘Hank the Tank’ was a policeman and he had recognized who I was. If the name on my license hadn’t betrayed me, the stuttering certainly had.

Seeing the horror on my face, Officer Henry Dodson’s smile turned more wicked than friendly, I thought, and the gleam in his eye was not a merry twinkle anymore. His jet-black hair in a crew cut with the distinctive widow’s peak seemed extremely severe and the image of Hank as a sadistic drill sergeant or prison guard came to mind. I was stunned that I hadn’t noticed something so obvious before. How could I have been so stupid? Had I come to the realization beforehand, I would probably have sped off as soon as I had recognized him. He hadn’t changed that much. Some wrinkles and a touch of grey at the temples, the big black moustache, but he really didn’t look too much different than he did in high school. Why hadn’t I seen it earlier? Perhaps because I had indulged the fantasy since high school that Hank was locked away in prison for life or getting the electric chair for killing some skinny mousy little man. Speeding off was definitely not an option and neither was getting out of the car and running, so I sat, paralyzed with fear.

Then he said, and it sounded so very menacing, "Well, well, well, Thomas Ulysses Gregory. Good ol’ ‘Tugboat’! You’re looking good. You’ve been working out I see; you finally heeded ol’ coach Silva’s advice! I’ve always hoped we’d meet again. I have some unfinished business with you. How have you been all these years, Tommy?"

I was in hell. I was sweating all over and the air was very close. "I-I’m… Oh-OK." I stuttered; I kept my answers short so I could actually get them out, just like when I was a kid. I had huge bruises for weeks after Hank was finished with me. The bruises were bad, but it was nothing compared to the teasing I got for sharing the name of a long dead U. S. President. Hank knew my middle name because he had punched me as hard as he could in the shoulder and leg until I told him, then he made fun of it. He used my initials as a joke or called me "U-sissies". The latter name was the worst and haunted me until after graduation.

Though logically, I knew I was about Hank’s size and had taken plenty of self-defense classes and knew that he probably couldn’t beat me up so easily anymore, Hank had a new way he could bully me if he wished. He seemed extremely aware of it, too.

We were in a secluded parking lot and in the darkest section of that lot. There were no witnesses at one-twenty in the morning and striking an officer was a really serious offense. Hank could beat the shit out of me and if I laid a hand on him; I would be in real trouble. I remembered the stomach punches I got the time I didn’t have the money to give to Hank. That was the time Eli Sanders took it from me first and swore he’d kick my skull in if I told Hank. Suddenly, I was fourteen years old and Hank the Tank was taking my lunch money all over again. I was sweating like I’d just run five miles; my undershirt was soaked.

"I see your stuttering problem resurfaces under stress," he said. The smile had faded from his face and Hank looked pained. I had no idea what it meant. "I’m sorry I make you stutter." Hank said.
He smiled again, but there was sadness to the smile. He gently patted me on the shoulder. "Relax, Tommy, I’m not going to steal your lunch money and I’m not going to beat you up. Just because I’m a cop and we’re alone doesn’t mean that I’m going to revisit our old predator-prey relationship." Hank handed me my license and papers. "I’ve changed a lot since you saw me last, more than you could probably imagine." He said the last a little softer and an odd look was in his eyes. He cleared his throat and continued, "I’m not a bully anymore, Tom. I’ve learned some tough lessons from life since last we saw each other."

I relaxed a bit, but only a bit. I was sure this was some sort of trick.

"Listen, Thomas." He said my name formally with respect due an adult and he said it with a genuinely friendly tone in his voice. "I feel real bad about how I treated you and the other kids, way back when. I’ve made it up to some of the other guys. It’s a promise I made to myself, years ago and I’ve been trying to fulfill it. I’ve mostly helped with small loans or helped them build onto or refurbish their houses. You know, ‘sweat penance’ for my sins. I even went easy on Jimmy Swanson’s kid. You remember Jimmy Swanson? He was the skinny redhead with buckteeth and big ears? I used to call him ‘What Me Worry’?"

I sort of nodded my head. I remembered Jimmy Swanson and that he really did look like the guy from MAD magazine.

"Anyway," Hank continued, "when I caught his kid Justin vandalizing the school over there, I dealt with it privately; with Jim. Jim gave an anonymous donation to the school to have the graffiti painted over and I didn’t report that I caught his kid so Justin didn’t go to juvy. Justin was becoming quite a little bully himself and he and I had a long talk about being a bully. I figured that since I’d been in his shoes, it was logical. His dad made him work off the cost of the paint with the nastiest shit jobs he could find and insisted that those paying him give him only half of what they’d regularly pay for odd jobs." He laughed ruefully at that last bit. Perhaps he was thinking it would have been better for him if his father had done something similar when he was a kid. Hank had sort of traveled down the road to ‘Tangentville’ and came back abruptly.

"So!" Hank said in his deep booming voice and then reduced his volume for the next. "Back to what I was getting at. The ones I haven’t made it up to, have moved away like you. I’ve tried to make it right with all of them that I could contact and I’d like to make it right with you, if you wouldn’t mind."
I was stunned and didn’t know what to say. "OK." I said the next hesitantly. "What did you have in m-mind?" I was still suspicious.
"Well," Hank said, "you said you’re movin’ back, right?"

"Yeah," I said, not knowing where Hank was going with this. "I’ve got movers coming in next Thursday; I’m not physically moving myself."

"Have you got a place to stay while you’re waiting for your furniture and stuff?" Hank asked.

"I’m staying at the Hyatt Regency," I said.

"Nice! Are you married?" Hank asked.

"No. Why?" I asked.

"Because," he said, "I could help you get settled in when your stuff gets here and I’ll put you up until you’ve got your house straightened out. How’s that? I’m sure you remember; it’s the house I grew up in a couple of blocks from here. You’re single, so I don’t have to worry about making the place too pretty for your wife. I’m not married either, so when I’m on duty you’ll have the house to yourself. I sleep like a rock, so even when I am home it’ll be like I’m not there. You’ll have a lot of time to get things arranged with your new house, without having to worry about getting it all done on a schedule. It will save you from spending on that hotel, too. I’m a pretty damn good cook too, so you won’t have to go out to a restaurant every night. Unless you want too, of course."

Hank really had changed in the last twenty-five years. I figured if he wasn’t in prison, he’d be married to that girl he was supposed to have gotten pregnant with twenty or so mean kids just like him. I was sure he’d have a wife who would dote on him as much as the girls used to fawn on him in high school. I never figured he’d be single and have to learn how to cook.

He used to make fun of the few guys taking home economics class and I was one of those. He used to say the guys taking that class were all fags. One day, just after class, he asked me if I’d like to wear a French maid’s outfit and suck his cock. The other bullies standing around got a huge laugh out of that one, as did Hank. I blushed furiously, but it was weird. The thought of sucking his cock sort of turned me on, even as I was being humiliated.

Of course, I never let on that I really was a ‘fag’. That would have been suicide. I didn’t even really fully admit that to myself until I was half way through college. Even now I only feel comfortable being a bear in larger cities; I know the value of discretion. I know enough not to let on around most overtly masculine men, like Hank. It just isn’t worth the trouble. Thinking about being here in a small town in Pennsylvania near the New York border made me aware of how I missed the bear den in Philly. Still, I was close enough that I could road trip if I needed my fix of bear fur. New York City has plenty of bear clubs, too; and I’d been to a few of them and knew some of the fur-balls there.
"So, Tom," Hank said formally, "what do you say? Is it a deal?" Hank offered his hand and I considered the offer briefly. I looked up into his passive face, took his hand and shook it. Hank’s grip was warm and firm and I returned it as best I could.

"It’s a deal," I said.

Hank smiled. I noticed that he really was handsome, now that I was over my fear.

"Alright then," he said jovially, "I go off shift in a couple of hours. There’s a spare key taped to the underside of the first step up to the house around the back. It fits the front or back door. You can go around back through the side yard. There isn’t a dog and the gate isn’t locked. If you come in through the back door, you’ll go through the laundry room first, then the kitchen. There’s an alarm keypad in the laundry room and also just by the front door. The code is #-4-2-6-5-*-#. Here, I'll write it down for you. You’ll have 60 seconds to enter the code once the door is opened. From the kitchen, there’s a hall that leads to the front door and to the left of the front door is the living room. Go on in and stretch out on the couch. When I come in, I’ll wake you and we can work out sleeping arrangements."

"OK," I said, "I’ll do that. The key is under the first step to the back door, right?"

"Yep," Hank said, "I’m writing down the address below the code, just so you don’t get lost. Be sure to tear this up and throw it in the kitchen trash can when you get in." As he scribbled, I peeked at him again. He was still a tank and my erection was returning. "Here you go," he said as he handed me the scrap of paper with the code and address.

We shook hands again and he went back to his patrol car. I started up my car. He drove up and rolled down his window.

"And help yourself to whatever you want in the fridge, unless it looks like a science experiment." He laughed and drove off.

I was very impressed with Hank. He seemed to have changed dramatically. He was no longer the sadistic beast he was in high school. He was decent, kindly and helpful. He also trusted me, a person he knew only from years ago, as a guest in his house.

I found the place in minutes. It was well kept and looked recently renovated. I knew the house was a tract home and dated from about the early ‘50s. It looked like Hank had added onto the place, since his house was not an exact twin of those on either side of it. For one thing, it had a second storey and an attic with dormer windows. At what was now about two in the morning, the neighborhood was quiet. A dog barked across the street. It looked to be a quiet neighborhood and I suspected, even at its most active, it was a nice place to live. I found the redwood gate with a latticed arch covered in roses. It opened up to the side yard and I followed along the wall of the house around to the back. I saw the dimly lit sunken pool and Jacuzzi in what turned out to be a huge, well-landscaped back yard. There was nice redwood decking all around the pool and this continued up to the back door. The redwood latticework and roses were repeated as walls around a portion of the pool and around the back porch.
On the other side of the pool was a nice gazebo covered in what looked like honeysuckle vines that must provide a nice shady spot during the day.

I found the first redwood step up to the back door and the key duct taped to the bottom. I let myself in. It was dark, so I fumbled around the doorframe for a switch and found one. The door opened onto a small laundry room and that, in turn opened onto the kitchen and what looked to be the basement from an open door that led down into inky darkness. I found the keypad and entered the code. The green light went on and I knew then that the system was disarmed. The kitchen was tiled and had a nice butcher-block island. Off the kitchen, there was a door that led to a pantry and on the other side of the kitchen I could see what looked like a den or office through an open door. I tore up the scrap of paper and threw it in the kitchen garbage, as Hank had asked.

I couldn’t resist looking around, just a bit. I went into the den and flipped a switch that turned on a floor lamp. The room was in earth tones and had a comfortable looking leather recliner in dark chocolate brown by the floor lamp in the corner. I looked around the room. There were nice hardwood bookshelves and a hardwood desk with a computer under the window that looked out on the swimming pool. It was sturdy furniture and the solid wood looked like it would weigh a ton. The desk had a rather nice leather swivel chair of the type used in the offices of upper management. Across the room, on the other side of the recliner was a small oak table with an ashtray and cigar humidor. Hank liked cigars, which wasn’t unusual. The few times I saw Hank’s dad he’d had one clamped in his mouth. There were a couple of videotapes on the table: American Werewolf in London and Die Hard and DVD editions of Terminator and T2. The recliner was opposite a large TV and a stereo in an entertainment center on the wall with the door. The entertainment center matched the desk and bookshelves. The collection of DVDs and VHS tapes were mostly action flicks as I could have guessed by what I’d seen on the table; Hank obviously wasn’t into the slow paced stuff. This suggested to me that he either had a short attention span or watched this genre because he didn’t want to have to pay close attention to the movies while he relaxed... or perhaps he was just your typical macho guy and only liked action flicks.

Overall, the room was comfortable and showed Hank had really good taste. I looked at the pictures on the wall; the police photos, photos of Hank getting awards or promotions, the plaques that were in the photos of the ceremonies and other things of the type that decorate the walls of a cop’s house. The photos of the "Pirates", "A’s" and "Cardinals" with mustachioed Hank as the team coach or manager and the little league baseballs signed by the kids in three separate years on the bookshelves surprised me. I couldn’t imagine him being gentle enough to handle kids, but apparently he’d been coaching or managing a team for at least the last few years.

I also saw some things that cleared up a mystery about Hank. On the wall was a picture of Hank at about eighteen or so. He was in a Marine dress uniform and there were medals and other military memorabilia on the wall in frames. Apparently, Hank’s dad had either sent him to military school or he enlisted in the Marines in his junior year. I turned out the light and went back into the kitchen.
I found the door to the hallway and went past the stairs to the door that led to the living room. I again found a switch that turned the lights on in the living room. Across the hall by the bottom of the stairs was a small guest bathroom and since it had been a couple of hours, I made use of it.

Hank’s living room was nicely furnished in large comfortable sofas and chairs and it seemed that he’d had the place professionally decorated. Everything in the living room was brown, forest green and beige with stained oak wood floors, and reflected the den’s ‘manly’ touch. The comfortable green leather furniture had stained oak accent pieces to match the floor and bookshelves. A large fireplace with a generous granite hearth and mantle was the focal point of the room. It was a very neat and comfortable home, despite what he had said about needing to make the place presentable for potential female guests. There was no mistaking it, Hank’s home was a reflection of him; the living room was very well ordered and I suspected the rest of the house was as well.

I looked through his library in the living room, a sort of occupational weakness, I suppose. His books were nice and it spoke to me of Hank’s tastes. He had quite a collection of classical literature and it wasn’t just for show. The books were recent editions, but they had the wear of being read much more than once. His collection of science fiction and fantasy, I noticed, had everything I’ve ever written along with extensive collections of authors from Asimov to Zelazny, all hardback editions.

I went back to the kitchen and looked in the fridge, grabbed a beer and the makings for a ham sandwich and turned out the light as I left the kitchen. I sat down on the couch and pulled off my shoes and turned on the tube in the living room. I watched a little TV as I drank the beer and ate, I was careful to use a couple of paper towels as a coaster. When I was finished and I was relaxed a little from the beer and satisfied by the sandwich, I turned off the TV and the light. I stretched out on the couch using my light jacket as a blanket and soon I was sound asleep.

I was woken a little while later by Hank, gently shaking my shoulder. My jacket was over my head, so I guess that’s why the light of the living room hadn’t roused me.

"Hey, Tom," he said quietly, "it’s time to get you into a real bed." I looked into Hank’s blue eyes, a bit disoriented, not knowing exactly where I was or why a big handsome stranger was waking me. For a brief moment, I thought he was taking me to his bed and I smiled at the thought. A second or two later it clicked and I realized what was going on. I noticed Hank had removed the outer uniform shirt and was holding it in his hand. He was just in pants and his black T-shirt. I noticed the bottom of a Marine insignia tattoo on the outside of his right bicep, the bottom portion of the anchor and the globe, just below the cuff of the sleeve of the T-shirt.

I also noticed that Hank needed a shave, he had dark five o’clock shadow on his cheeks and chin. I remembered that he seemed to be freshly shaven when I’d seen him last. Curious, I asked, "What time is it?"

"It’s about four thirty in the morning," Hank replied. "Come on, time to get you upstairs."
I grabbed my shoes and jacket and Hank showed me the way up to the guest bedroom. There were two bedrooms, plus Hank’s bedroom at the top of the stairs and the bathroom and hall linen closet. There were also stairs leading up to what I guessed to be the attic room or rooms. Hank pulled out some covers, a pillow and sheets and asked which room I wanted. I chose the one closest to his room and headed in. Soft greys and blues greeted me and the room again was a reflection of Hank. A stout and sturdy wood-framed king-sized bed that looked like it could hold the weight of four guys Hank’s size. He told me that there were some disposable razors and toothpaste and toothbrushes in the closet and that I should help myself in the morning. He said that he usually got up around noon and that I was to help myself to whatever I wanted for breakfast. He patted me on the shoulder and said good night.

I turned down the covers, got into bed and as I was drifting off to sleep, I wondered why Hank needed a shave after only three or so hours and became erect thinking about it. It was odd, but I supposed that Hank had lots of testosterone to spare and it affected the growth rate of his beard. I started drifting into sleep, thinking about Hank and how after all these years we might become good friends after all. I chuckled a bit, thinking about us as ‘pals’, and was out.

I awoke around eight in the morning. It was Saturday and Hank was still snoring away loudly in his room. Some men have a very annoying snore, Hank's was very rhythmic and somewhat comforting. I found that thought strange, that a man’s snore could actually be soothing and not be the cause of my waking. Hearing him, I imagined him naked and furry in his bed with a huge erection oozing pre-come as he had erotic dreams. I could resist no longer; I needed release. I found the towels in the linen closet. I took a shower and as I showered, I jacked off imagining Hank behind me, jacking me off with his big hairy hands as he pressed his huge cock into my butt crack and rubbed his soapy, furry chest against my back. I gushed out three loads as quietly as I could. I rinsed off and dried myself. I hadn’t disturbed Hank and I could hear that he was still snoring as I finished drying.
I needed to shave and brush my teeth, so I got a razor and the toothbrush and toothpaste Hank had mentioned. I shaved my neck and upper cheeks and trimmed my honey blond beard and moustache and cleaned up after myself.

After taking care of the morning routine, I went downstairs, made coffee and helped myself to bagels and cream cheese and a couple of bananas. After breakfast, I got into my car and went back to the hotel. I packed up my stuff, checked out, did a couple of things for work and returned at about noon. I reminded myself that sometime next week I’d have to drive the rental back to Philly and turn it in, then pack up my car with my last minute things and drive it back.

I rang the front doorbell. I’d left the key on the living room coffee table, by the beer can and plate. Hank met me at the door wearing just a towel with shaving cream on his face. Hank had just lathered up and hadn’t started shaving when I got back.

I was rather impressed by the amount of fur on his torso and I could see as I passed him in the doorway that his back was as furry as his front. His arms and legs were furry as well, but I could see the Marine Corps tattoo in full now, under the fur of his arm. I circumspectly looked a little closer at his face as he turned to shut the door and couldn’t believe how long his stubble was. It was remarkable how much Hank’s beard had grown over night. It looked like he had two days growth under the shaving cream. I was amazed and I guess my expression gave away my thoughts.
He just smiled and said, "Overactive hormones, my beard grows fast. I keep an electric razor in my patrol car, with an adapter for the cigarette lighter so I can stay neat lookin’ on duty. It’s a fuckin’ pain in the ass. When I retire, I’m growin’ a beard like you!" He grinned through the shaving cream. "If you’re goin’ to be a cop, you can only get away with a moustache; regulations an’ all."

I imagined Hank with a full beard, jet black with a few silver strands here and there throughout, realized I was getting turned on and changed the subject to his pool in the backyard.

"Would you mind if I took a swim, I noticed your pool last night." I said, thinking how the cool water would do wonders for reducing the erection I was covering with the jacket I was carrying.

"Sure! Go ahead. Knock yourself out!" Hank laughed, "I half way expected to find you in the Jacuzzi last night. I’m gonna finish shaving. After that I’ll throw on a pair of trunks and join you. Do you have swim trunks?"

"Yeah," I said, "I picked up some on the way over in the hopes of using the pool. I’ll just go up to the bedroom and drop off these suitcases and get that stuff from my car, first."

Hank went back upstairs to the bathroom and I followed him up. We chatted on the way about how I slept, if I’d found everything I needed for cleaning up in the morning, like the toothpaste and towels and whether I found everything I wanted for breakfast. God, but his back was furry and his muscles rippled underneath his skin as he walked, like the muscles of a big cat or a racehorse. I realized that I was going to have to control myself while I stayed with Hank. He was such a beautiful man, but I’m sure he’d be quite unhappy with me if he knew I was gay and admiring his gorgeous body.

I got the rest of my stuff from the car and took it up to the bedroom, changed into my swim trunks, grabbed a towel and headed down to the pool. When I got to the pool, I stood and stared in amazement. I hadn’t noticed last night that the home I was buying was directly behind Hank’s house. Part of the reason was that it was then two in the morning and the other part was that the back portion of Hank’s backyard had some nice large trees that screened off most of the view so when I’d bought the house, I hadn’t seen Hank’s back yard. Hank and I were going to be back to back neighbors. This was going to be harder than I thought. With ‘Hank the Tank’ taking a swim or lounging half naked in his hot tub where I might see him from my second story bedroom, I knew I would have a hard time not jacking off as I stood by the window and watched him.

I jumped in and the water was just fine. A little cool, but not cold and it did what I wanted it to do, my erection subsided. It was early summer and it was wonderful. I was in the pool for about fifteen minutes when Hank came down in a tight pair of black swim trunks and a towel over his shoulder. I could see just how muscular he was, but I also appreciated that he had slight love handles too. The trunks he was wore left nothing to the imagination. I remembered how big Hank had been in high school. I had seen his cock in the showers from glances I stole while he was rinsing the shampoo out of his hair and had his eyes closed. Hank was all grown up now and I could see that everything about him was bigger. The difference now was that instead of just having a furry chest, like he had in high school, the fur now covered Hanks body. He tossed the towel into a lounge on the deck and did a cannonball into the pool. He came up for air, laughing boisterously in his deep voice; immediately he started horsing around with me, splashing water in my face and pushing me under the water, holding me there briefly; just general roughhousing. We were both laughing and playing like kids. I wondered why we couldn’t have been like this when we had been kids. After a few minutes we both calmed down, resting in the shallow end of the pool just slowly moving our limbs in the water, feeling the water swirl around.

Then I asked a question without thinking about it, "Hey Hank, why is a nice guy like you still single?"

Hank stopped cold and stared at me with those intense blue eyes. He had become very still. I felt like I’d just made a huge mistake.

"What did you say?" He said in a soft, even voice. His stare seemed to bore into the back of my skull, but I couldn’t break the connection.

"I j-just said. W-w-what’s a nice guy like y-you doing living a-alone?" I was scared and my stuttering had returned. Suddenly the water in the pool was much colder and I shivered.

Hank broke the stare by turning half away. He spoke softly without looking at me. "It’s alright, Tom. I’m not angry with you, I was just… I was just surprised is all," he said. "You called me a ‘nice guy’".

There was a pause and he turned to face me. He’d regained his composure. I almost said something, but he continued and prevented it.

"Look, I was really mean to you in high school. I guess I just didn’t expect to hear that from you, at least not this soon. I’ve gone for long stretches of time without hearing that phrase applied to me. Even those others that I’ve helped, to make amends, to atone for what I’ve done, haven’t said that. They’ve thanked me, but I always get the feeling that they expect me to bite them or something. They treat me with respect and smile and say ‘Hello’ when they see me, but it’s like I’m some sort of chained dog they don’t really trust and don’t want to get too close to." He paused again and shrugged.
"I guess it could be the uniform. I’ve offered to have some of them over for dinner or cards or something, but none of them have taken me up on it. Maybe they don’t like cops or maybe they still resent what I did to them as kids; I don’t know. I guess I really can’t blame them."

Hank paused and for just an instant before he continued I thought I could see through his ‘tough guy that nothing got to’ mask. It was haunting him and hurting him, that he had truly changed, but he was still being judged for what he did when he was just becoming a man.

"To give you an answer, I guess I just never found the right one; I guess I’m not really loveable," he said in a matter of fact tone. "Even the guys at the station don’t seem to want to be pals with me. I don’t exactly get invited over for poker or football and pizza with the guys. I’ve overheard them in the locker room when they didn’t know I was there; they call me ‘The Iceman’. That’s why I work the graveyard shift even though I have seniority and rank over some of them; it means I don’t have to be around them so much. It’s OK; I’ve grown used to being a loner."

"So, you don’t have anyone?" I asked quietly. He shook his head. "What about your folks?" I asked.

"My mom ran off when I was in the fourth grade and my dad raised me as best he knew how, I guess. Dad’s been dead for five years and he was in a home for ten years before that. He had Alzheimer’s. It was hard. He was all I had and at the end he didn’t even recognize me. I had no one left and there was no one close. So you see, I’ve had some practice being alone."

I could see why the other cops called him ‘The Iceman’, because as he told me about his dad, he was in complete control of his emotions. I could see why it was hard to get close to the man, but for some reason he was telling me all of this. I wondered why it was easier for him to extend friendship to me.

"I’m sorry." I said. "I meant what I said, you are a nice guy."

"Thanks and there’s nothin’ to be sorry for; like I said, I’ve had practice… I’m fine." Hank said simply.

"Have you ever wanted to be married?" I said, bearding the bear in his den.

"No," he said, "I’d be hard to live with." Hank changed the subject quickly. "Hey, let’s get dried off and grab some lunch." Hank had opened up as much as he would allow, and now the door was closed again.

The next two weeks went much smoother with Hank’s help. I moved into my house and could actually get some work done.

As the hot summer months dragged on, Hank and I became closer, and our friendship grew. One night, after a nice barbecue on his deck, while we were sitting in his pool with a couple of beers, Hank said, "Tom, I think you’re one of the best friends I’ve ever had." Well, Hank had drunk more than a couple. He was almost plastered. "He smiled a bit ruefully and followed with, "I think you’re one of the only friends I’ve ever had."

If Hank only knew how attractive I found him, with his thick dark stubble, moustache and ice blue eyes. On the other hand, if he knew, we probably would stop being friends.

That night, as I was saying goodnight and getting ready to go back to my place, Hank teetered a bit and grabbed me in a rough, tight bear hug and thanked me for being his friend. His eyes were a bit misty. I hugged back, thanked him and punched him playfully on the shoulder. He smiled as he scratched his stubble, said goodnight and headed off towards the house, swaying slightly as he went. Hank was really drunk.

I realized just how starved he was for human contact. The most touching he probably ever got was a handshake. A simple hug had made him teary eyed or, perhaps, that he felt he could hug me had done it. I knew that was more than he would allow from the guys at work. I headed back to my place, thinking about how Hank had called me one of his only friends. Sadly, I felt he was right. In the few months I’d known him, he never had any visitors I’d ever seen. He came home from work, ate, slept and went back to work. I broke that routine up, but I too had work so some days I wouldn’t see him.

As the summer changed to fall, Hank and I decided that we’d install a gate between our properties. It only made sense, I was constantly going over to his place and though walking around the block wasn’t strenuous, it was more convenient with a gate between us. Previously, Hank would just hop the fence if he wanted to come over to my house. Being a cop, he was used to doing that if he was chasing someone down.

I liked to work out and Hank insisted that I use his equipment in his large basement. He and I would spot each other on the free weights in the morning or afternoon and when he was working in the evenings. When he wasn’t there, I would use the weight machines so I didn’t need a spotter. Hank had quite a set-up. He even had a wrestling mat on the floor, which he used for sit-ups or push-ups.
The basement was finished off like the rest of the house, though the basement had been left with lots of exposed brick for its decorative value. There was enough room for a home gym and wrestling mat with ceiling to floor mirrors on one wall. There was a bathroom with a toilet and a shower, a small spare bedroom, a small utility room with the hot water heaters and a storage area and lastly, there was another room that Hank said was for storage. I didn’t get to look in there because he kept it locked. He said he had his gun collection and some other personal and valuable stuff in the storage room. It was a very heavy steel door and had a combination lock and stout hasp on it. He said he didn’t want thieves to get into it.

As the weather got colder I stayed mostly at my place. I’d see Hank on the days I went over to work out and on the weekends we’d get together for dinner, but the weather was too cold to hang out on the deck, as in the previous months, so I wasn’t over every night like in the summer. I was also working to finish my next novel.

Because Hank is a fan of sci-fi, I hadn’t told him I was his favorite author. I kept my pen name ‘Arthur Nelson’ a secret. I really didn’t want to throw that into our blossoming friendship and I really wasn’t sure I wanted Hank to know at all. As far as he knew, I worked for a publisher in New York. Not knowing anything about the business, it was easy to pass off this half-truth. Well, I did work for a publisher in New York, sort of.

One night, I woke up around three in the morning. I didn’t know why I’d awoken but I looked out my window, facing Hank’s place. I could have sworn I saw a bear sitting in Hank’s hot tub. I blinked and rubbed my sleepy eyes and went to get a pair of binoculars I kept for hiking in the hall closet. When I got back to the window, I focused in on the hot tub, looking through the semi bare trees. All I saw was Hank sitting in his Jacuzzi with a beer. He was puffing on a cigar, something he didn’t do often enough to be a habit for him. There was steam all around. The steam rising from the tub swirled around in miniature tornadoes. Without thinking about it, I began stroking myself gently as I watched Hank relax. He had grown what he called "Vacation Beard", which meant that he’d grown a good bit of stubble in the couple of days he’d taken off. He was relaxing, puffing away on his cigar, staring up at the clear moonless starry sky.

I watched as Hank got out of the tub; he was naked and I began to stroke myself with more vigor. I could see how well hung Hank was. I opened the window slightly because, suddenly, the room had become a bit too warm. Hank got two more beers out of a small cooler and placed them by the edge of the Jacuzzi. Then, amazed, I watched as he began to stroke himself. He arched his back a little, pointing his cigar and bearded chin toward the sky. I saw the cigar glow on and off like a twinkling light as his breathing increased in pace. I was completely turned on now, watching as this furry beast grew hard and pinched his nipples with the hand that was not otherwise occupied. He looked down at his huge manhood, rolling his nipple between his thumb and forefinger, a cloud of smoke drifting slowly around him. He was hard. He reached for something on the nearby table. It was a rubber. He opened the packet and he put it on. It was a red colored rubber and Hank filled it out quite nicely. He got back into the Jacuzzi. He opened one of his beers, took the cigar out of his mouth and downed the beer in a few gulps. He replaced the cigar and then began to masturbate. The on and off glow was much faster now and I could see the billows of smoky steam coming out of him, making sort of a localized fog around his head in the still night air.

I was absolutely enthralled. I watched as Hank made love to himself. When he arched in orgasm and I heard his growling grunt through the slightly opened window; I shot a big load in my underwear. Hank lay in the tub for a while, obviously enjoying the afterglow as I wished I could. He finished the other beer, put out the stub of his cigar in the ashtray and went back into the house, still wearing the condom. After that, I couldn’t sleep. I jacked off twice more that night thinking about what I’d seen.
As I lay there, before finally drifting off, I wondered why I’d seen Hank as a bear when I’d first looked out the window. Perhaps I was seeing what I wanted to see. A gorgeous, bearish, straight man I could not have was symbolized to my half waking mind as the animal all my friends and I saw us as being like. I saw Hank as a bear because that’s what I wished he was; a bear that would sweep me off my feet and make love to me in his den. Writers have fertile imaginations.

I also realized that I felt a bit sad for Hank, who obviously didn’t get to share sex with anyone. I thought on; perhaps there was also something to the belief that the totemic animal lent its guise to the one who took the animal as his totem. After a time with the totem, the man began to look like the beast he had grown close to, so that it was obvious which animal protected and guided the man. Though I didn’t know that Hank had the bear as his totem, I was certain that the bear spirit watched over him. I drifted into sleep thinking about this shamanistic concept and dreamt about sex with bears, both of the animal and human variety.

The next day, in the afternoon, I went over to work out with Hank. I found that he had shaved his beard off and was back to just his thick, generous, well-trimmed moustache.

"Yep," he said with a bit of regret in his voice after I had mentioned it, "vacation’s over, back to being mostly clean shaven."

"You really do look better with a beard," I said, "it looks natural on you."

"Well, thank you. That might even be true, considering it covers most of my ugly mug," Hank said with a wink, "but I’ve got to earn a living and cops can’t have beards on the job, unlike you shaggy civilians."

Hank chuckled as he said the last and grabbed the sides of my face, vigorously ruffling my brown beard. We roughhoused and play wrestled for a while on the mat, then we started stretching for a serious work out. Hank’s bones popped as he stretched and he cracked his knuckles and neck. In the last six months, the man who had given me nightmares as a teenager had become my very best friend in the world; I knew that now. It was very difficult, as we went through the workout routine, to keep my mind off the scene I’d witnessed the previous night. I kept seeing Hank jacking off in the water with that cigar and I was semi-erect, as I was finishing up my bench presses. Hank looked at the obvious bulge in my sweats as he was spotting me and began to chuckle. He joked about my woody and then just as easily told me that he got hard when he worked out sometimes.

"Nothin’ to be embarrassed about, you get all that testosterone pumpin’ around in your blood and you’re naturally gonna get hard. Come on, las’ set and we’ll hit the showers; an’ you’d better take a nice cold one, buddy!" He laughed and I finished up the set.

After showering, Hank and I went bowling. I hadn’t been bowling since I was ten and I was really bad now. Half the time the ball would end up in the gutter, the other half I would knock over only a couple of pins on the sides, still, we had fun. Hank was far better than I and bowled a good game. Of course, in a friendly way, he rubbed it in. We ended up at Antonio’s for dinner, a little mom and pop pizza place, and went home after that.

Time passed, and Thanksgiving came and Hank invited me over. I told him that a friend of mine would be coming down to stay over the holiday and a week after because he, like Hank and I, really didn’t have any family. He was quite happy to have another guest for the holiday. We had an "Orphan’s Thanksgiving". We were three guys without family, sharing the holiday.

My friend Rich Griffin is a bear from Philly and he and I had fooled around with each other before he had started up his last relationship with Mark. I really had a thing for Rich. I liked sex with him, but neither of us ever seemed to want to have a relationship together. We just seem to have too much fun together as casual partners. Though considering that he was now single and I’ve never really been attached, perhaps it was time to reconsider a serious relationship with Rich. He has beautiful blue-grey eyes, a nicely muscled stocky build with a good layer of padding and light blondish-brown hair covering his body, face and head. His beard is thick and very bushy with grey on the chin hair and a thick, long blondish moustache. Rich is bald in the typical male pattern and the grey fur on his chest and back combined with what’s in his beard really turns me on. He’s a genuine Papa Bear. When his fur goes completely white, he’s going to look like Santa Clause. Well, Santa Clause with nipple rings and dog tags.

I let Rich know, before we went over to Hank’s place that he was straight and didn’t know I was a bear.

"Don’t worry," Rich said, "I won’t say a word."

"Oh, and don’t mention that I’m an author either. Hank is a fan of my work and sometimes people get a little weird when they find out you’re a famous author," I said.

"I didn’t," Rich said.

"No, you were weird before I met you," I said and Rich gave me a grin. "Anyway, you’d known me for almost two years before you found out and you wouldn’t have found out if you hadn’t come across the rough draft I’d forgotten to put away before your visit. Further, you don’t read the genre; you like westerns. Now, how would you react if you found out one of your favorite western authors, like Louis L'Amour, was your neighbor and friend?" I asked.

"I’d cut his head off, stuff it with salt and sew up the lips."

I gave him a ‘What the Hell’ look and he laughed mirthfully at my confusion.

"Good ol’ Louis has been dead a couple of years, m’boy, and if he were my neighbor he’d have to be a zombie."

"I’m serious!" I said and took a swipe at him. "You are just so weird!" I said with a chuckle.

"Why, because I like to read about supernatural stuff like ghosts, zombies, werewolves and vampires too? OK, OK, I get the point," Rich grinned, like a mischievous child. "I’d probably bug even a zombie Louis L’Amour with a million questions and phone everyone I know to brag that, ‘…he’s back from the grave and writing again and did I mention that he’s my neighbor!’" Rich said, and I punched him in the shoulder just because. Rich laughed and faked being seriously hurt by the punch.

"I don’t want Hank to be in awe of me and I don’t want everyone in the neighborhood showing up on my doorstep for autographs." I said, "It’s bad enough that he talks about the books now and then. Can you imagine if he found out I wrote them? I need to keep my cover intact."  Rich grunted in an affirmative sort of way and we headed over to Hank’s place.

Hank had indeed become quite skillful in the kitchen. The meal was wonderful, turkey with all the trimmings and all of it very well done. Hank was the happiest I’d seen him since I’d moved back to this little town and he and Rich were talking like old buddies in no time about sports and cars.
After we helped Hank clean up the kitchen and put the food away, we sat around eating pumpkin pie in the living room and watched the game. After that we just talked. Mostly it was about work. Rich was a mechanic for the city of Philadelphia. He worked on all the vehicles the cops and other city departments used. Hank told him that his department was going to need a good mechanic soon. The job didn’t pay as well as the one Rich had now, but being a smaller town, it was probably less expensive to live here than in Philly. Hank said the mechanic they had was getting ready to retire and his assistant had his head up his ass and was a lazy bastard. I offered that Rich could stay at my place until he found an apartment and gave him an elbow in the rib and a wink when Hank wasn’t looking. Eventually we both said our goodnights to Hank and he invited us back the next day to help him finish up the leftovers with a calorie-burning workout afterward.

Rich and I hurriedly went back to my place. It was cold and that helped move our feet. However, the real reason for the hurry was that we desperately wanted to fuck. When Hank had left the room a couple of times to use the ‘can’, Rich had played with my crotch. I gave his basket a nice couple of squeezes and we’d kissed. We’d built up quite a bit of lust and the danger of being caught had turned us both on.

When we got back we ran up the stairs, stripping off clothes as we went. We were up ‘til one or so in the morning fucking like bears in heat, and I guess we were. Since Rich’s lover had left him he had not felt comfortable enough with anyone to have sex. Since he and I had been fuck buddies before he’d met Mark, we just started in again like before.

I hadn’t found anyone since I’d moved here, not counting the fantasies I had about Hank while jacking off, and I was just a bit afraid to look. It’s best to keep a low profile in a small town. We were both overdue for a good romp with a furry playmate. Being around ‘Hands Off Hank’, as Rich calls him, had added greatly to this evening’s sexual tension.

Something about Hank’s scent turned me on. I noticed it one day while I was staying at his place at the beginning of summer. Hank had gone to work and I’d just taken a shower. I opened up the hamper in the bathroom containing his dirty clothes. I wasn’t even thinking about him, I was thinking about work and moving as I was tossing the damp towel in the basket. I caught his scent in the clothes. It made me rock hard instantly. I took his sweaty black T-shirt back to the bedroom and pushed the underarm patches of the shirt up to my nose. I jacked off and shot a thick load in just moments while breathing in his rich scent. I hadn’t even been horny until I opened up that hamper.
Richs’ own tension had been building all night too. I think Hank’s scent affected him in the same way it affected me. Hank obviously had some really potent pheromones.

All of that building tension came pulsing out of us that night. I was surprised we didn’t wake the neighborhood, but I suppose all that grunting and growling just seemed loud to me after having been alone since late spring. I slept happily in Richs’ furry embrace.

The next morning, around nine or so and after another good quick fuck, Rich and I went over to Hank’s. We ate leftovers and, after an hour or so, we all ended up in the basement. I’d brought sweats to change into and rich had shorts and a T-shirt to work out in. Hank didn’t even seem to notice when he saw Rich’s piercings as he was pulling on his grey ‘fat old fart T-shirt’ as Rich calls it. Rich had left the dog tags on the dresser at my place, as they were somewhat of a dead giveaway.

Hank, Rich and I worked out. Rich said he was a bit out of shape, but he seemed to be doing just fine. After awhile, the male scent from the three of us was heavy in the room and it was making me horny. I knew it was doing the same to Rich. We finished after about an hour and Hank offered the use of the showers. Rich begged off saying his stuff was back at my place. I knew what Rich wanted. He liked my scent and I liked his and we both wanted to explore each other’s bodies before a shower could wash the fresh sweat away.

As we were getting ready to leave and Rich was in the bathroom, I took Hank aside. I told Hank that I had to do about eight hours of rather boring work on my laptop the next day and I didn’t want to be a bad host to Rich. I asked if Rich could hang out with him, perhaps work out again or something until I could get back. Hank said that wasn’t a problem with him and that he’d be glad to have the company. He said he rather liked Rich and thought they had hit it off rather well. I suppressed a laugh because I didn’t think he’d be so friendly with either of us if he knew we were bears. Hank said he figured they could watch TV or something. I told him that Rich is one of those guys that is happy to just hang around. I thanked him and he gave me one of those ‘well of course’ looks.

Rich and I headed back to my place. I told Rich on the way that I needed to finish up some writing the next day and that Hank had said it was fine if he hung out with him at his place.

Rich smiled broadly. "‘Hands Off Hank’ really turns me on. I don’t know what it is, I just find myself wanting to lick him all over. It’s going to be really hard to keep my eyes off his gorgeous cock and that scruffy beard of his. I’d love to suck his cock."

"Well, perhaps this will help," I offered with a rueful grin, "Hank’s probably extremely capable of beating the crap out of either of the both of us. He’s skilled in self-defense, he’s been a Marine, he’s in top physical condition and he’s police trained on top of everything else. If you don’t keep your hands to yourself, that bear will probably maul you."

"Oooo, you know I like the rough stuff," Rich said with a chuckle as we went through the back door of my place.

"Yeah, but Hank might be more rough than any top bear you’ve played with if you piss him off. Remember, Rich, I went to school with him and he was quite capable of beating the crap out of anyone who displeased him then. Given the proper motivation, he might be just as capable again," I said.

"I know," Rich said, "I really wasn’t serious, but the fantasy is nice. I’ll keep my roving eyes and hands in check."

Rich and I couldn’t wait to get upstairs and wallow in each other’s scents. We headed straight for the bedroom and fucked until we both needed a nap.

The next day, which was Saturday, Rich headed over to Hank’s place around 8 am and I worked some more on my newest novel. It was almost finished and ready to send it to the editor.

It was nearly 3 pm or so when Rich came back over to my place. I was in my office, and I’d just about finished for the day with work. Rich came into the office. He seemed rather anxious, so I asked him what was wrong.

He got sort of a strange look on his face and said, "Nothing, I’m just fine. Look, Tom, I’ve got to get back home. I’m gonna shower, pack-up and get on the road before four," Rich said.
Something was on his mind and he was trying not to let it show.

"What’s up, Rich? I thought you were going to stay through next week," I said.

"Well, plans have changed. I’m sorry Tom, but I just can’t stay. Something’s come up, I’ve got things I’ve got to do and I can use this coming week off to do them," Rich said. There was an uncomfortable look on his face.

"What things?" I asked, looking him square in the eye.

"Look, Tom, I can’t talk about it. You’ve been great; I’ve really enjoyed myself. I’ve had the best sex with you that I’ve had in years and I’d like to stay and have more; really, I would. I’d like to tell you what’s going on, but I can’t. Can we just leave it at that, please?" Rich asked. I’d never seen him plead this way before.

"OK. Look, if I can help…" I said and Rich interrupted.

"No, you can’t help. It’s something that just is. Look, Tom, it’s OK; I’ll be fine, really, really fine," he said, "I need to get back home ASAP, perhaps I can tell you later, and perhaps not, but right now I really can’t."

With that Rich gave me a hell of a kiss and headed up stairs to pack and take his shower. About a half-hour or so later he came down. We said our good byes. Rich seemed desperately passionate, he kneaded my crotch as we deep kissed again. I could tell he really didn’t want to leave.
He was in his pickup and on the road at a quarter ‘til four.

I couldn’t imagine what had happened. Then I realized that it might have something to do with Hank. Perhaps Hank had found out that Rich was a bear and Rich felt uncomfortable staying. I decided I’d go over and talk to Hank about it.

I got over to Hank’s place and knocked on the door. He opened the door with a look that told me he had expected me. His stubble was thick and he was wearing his black shorts and no shirt. He was puffing on a cigar and I couldn’t help but notice his cock was semi hard and I wondered if I’d interrupted anything. "Come on in, Tom," he said and closed the door quickly against the cold. If I had interrupted, he didn’t seem to mind.

I followed him back into his den; he was in the middle of an action flick. Hank sat back in his chair then turned the DVD player and TV off.

"Cigar?" Hank offered me one from his humidor.

"No thanks," I said. I smoked an occasional cigar, but not as often as Hank did and he wasn’t that frequent. He replaced the cigar and put the humidor back on the table by his chair.

"So, what’s up?" Hank asked and offered me a seat. I pulled up Hank’s leather office chair, the one by his desk, and sat in it as he sat back in his recliner.

"Well, Rich just left. I was wondering if there was something wrong. He seemed anxious," I said, carefully studying Hank’s face.

"Oh, I don’t think there’s anything wrong." Hank said with a grin around his cigar. "In fact, I think everything’s going to work out for the better. See, Tom, I’ve suspected something about you since high school."

Hank’s voice had an edge to it and I didn’t like what that could mean.

"While Rich was over here this morning, I learned something about you," Hank said and got a most wicked grin on his face as he rolled his fat cigar between his forefinger and thumb. "Rich couldn’t hide it forever you know, not from someone like me. Did you really think you could keep it a secret forever?"

"W-What are you talking ah-ah-bout." I stammered.

Hank chuckled, no doubt at how nervous I was.  He drew on the cigar and blew out a big cloud and said, "Rich is gay… and so are you, aren’t you?" Hank said puffed again on the cigar.

I sat, stiff backed, and answered. "Y-Y-Yes," I said, and once again cursed my nervous stutter.

"Well well, well… ain’t that interesting." Hank said, "I bet I’ve been giving you quite a little show, haven’t I? I bet you’ve been going home and jacking off thinking about my big hairy body, haven’t you? You find me attractive. You think I’m hot, don’t you?" Hank said, his voice still had that edge and his eyes twinkled with what I knew was malice.

I couldn’t frame any thoughts that would help me out of this situation.

"You’re silence speaks volumes," Hank said as if he were a cross-examining lawyer.

I looked down at the floor to avoid Hank’s piercing stare. This must have been why Rich left in such a hurry. Why the hell hadn’t he warned me?

"Rich is a big hairy guy, a very interesting point, don’t you think? He has piercings and I have a tattoo. I discovered he was gay when I caught him checking me out. He was almost drooling. I asked him right out if he was gay and he was very frank about it. Oh, don’t worry, he didn’t implicate you; he lied and said you didn’t know he was gay, but I can put two and two together. I suspected as much when I realized that Rich and I fit into the same category: big and hairy and we both have body modifications. I imagine that those things fit into your ‘type’ for men. He stays over at your place and you two hurry on over there as soon as it is socially polite to leave. I confirmed you were gay when I answered the door. I could see it when you looked at my hairy chest and followed the fur down to my package. Why do you think I’m dressed this way?"

I was shivering with the sudden cold that swept over me and it had nothing to do with the physical temperature of the room.

"Rich also let something slip. He didn’t outright say it, but he said enough that I was able to deduce the rest. Apparently you’re none other than Arthur Nelson, one of my favorite authors," Hank said, and I looked up quickly from the floor into his ice blue eyes.

"Yes," Hank said, grinning again around his cigar, "my favorite author is a Bear. So you really thought you could keep something like that secret. Our brief conversations about fiction let me know that you knew much more about it than you let on. The way you quoted some of your passages was not the way a fan would have quoted them. It was the way the creator would. Not word for word, but with a supreme understanding of the characters and their motivations; fans never understand the characters as well as the creator. After all, to the creator, the characters are their children."
Hank gloated and puffed on his cigar.

"Do you remember when I asked you if you’d like to suck my cock in high school?" Hank said.
I nodded.

"I was sure you would. I remember how you looked at me even then and hoped you might reveal yourself to me. I’m going to clear something up for you about that. Something I think will settle things between us. I didn’t go to school my senior year because my dad shipped me off to the Marines to ‘make a man out of me’. He caught Joey Richards and me in my room. I didn’t expect him home so early that day. Dad liked to go to the bar after work. Well, that day he didn’t go to the bar. I didn’t hear him come in because Joey was giving me head and I had just shot my load when dad opened the door. When you’re in bliss, the world could crumble around you and you wouldn’t care. I suppose it would have been you and me dad caught if you’d been a little bolder and had given me a little more indication that you were interested. I can’t blame you though for not; you probably thought I’d have beat you up if you had said yes to such an offer and perhaps I would have, if any of the other guys had been around. A man has to maintain a reputation, doesn’t he?" Hank grinned. "Especially, a man with so much to lose."

"Anyway, dad sent me off to the Marines and, well, they did make a man out of me. A big muscular, hairy, mean, angry, combat trained, gay man. The first dick I ever had up my ass belonged to one of the guys in my platoon. He was a big hot fucker from Kansas… a big burly corn-fed farm boy."
I could see Hank was briefly reliving his first fucking as he paused and looked at his cigar as he rolled it between his fingers. You never forget the first one; good or bad, you never forget.

"He was even more muscular than I was then, but it was just fuckin’, not a relationship. You can’t have a relationship with another guy if you’re in the military. It’s their ‘don’t tell and you better not be’ policy. The point of all of this is that I think you and I could have a lot of fun together and more, Tommy, but there’s a price to pay if you want to fuck with me. Rich found that out today and agreed to pay that price; it’s why he left so suddenly. He’s going to pack up, move down here and take that mechanic’s job I mentioned. I’ve got a guy in the shop who owes me a favor. Rich will get the job. Now, do you want to start up a relationship with me or do we want to just stay friends?"
Hank puffed on his cigar, waiting for my response, he had laid it out before me and it was my move next.

"I don’t know what to say? You mentioned a price. What price?" I asked.

"Well, for that, I’m going to have to take you down stairs and show you. I’m going to tie you down to show you, because that’s just the kind of kinky bear fucker I am. Rich agreed to the same conditions and you saw him. He wasn’t harmed. I’m not going to hurt you, Tommy, unless you want me to." Hank grinned lustily. ‘However, if you want to back out, I’m fine with that. You can say no now, or you can say no when you see what I have to show you. Are you willing to be bound?" Hank asked.

"I’m willing to do that." I said.

I was excited now. I’d gone from scared stiff to just stiff. This beautiful intimidating bear was going to tie me up and show me something about himself that would be extremely private and kinky. I suspected the price would be that I would be his ‘slave’ or ‘boy’ or ‘cub’ or all of the above if I accepted and I was absolutely ready to accept and be any or all of those for him.

"OK, take off your clothes." Hank growled around his stub of a cigar and puffed.

Without a word I did as he ordered, leaving everything in a pile on the floor of his den. I was rock hard as I stood before the man who had terrified me in my youth. Hank looked at me admiringly, puffed the last on his cigar, turned and put it out in the ashtray on the table next to his chair. He walked over and began inspecting me with his warm hands. I stood still, Hank was in charge and I knew it. He ran his hands all over my torso, tweaking my nipples until they were completely erect. He growled or grunted gently as he conducted his inspection, gently biting me on the neck or kissing my shoulder. I stood still. Moving around back he ran his hands over my lightly furred back and then he tested my anus. I spread my legs, just a little, and Hank pushed gently against my puckered hole with a couple of his meaty fingers. He grunted with satisfaction. He knew I’d be a good tight fuck. He came around front and I looked down to see he had a huge erection. His cock head poked out of the top of his black shorts and it was shiny with pre-come.

'Hank must be enormous,' I thought, 'larger than I suspected before and he’s thick. He must be at least a foot long to have a cock peeping out of the top of his shorts.'

Hank dropped his shorts. His cock stood up straight and wiggled with each pulse of his heart. He was so wonderfully masculine. His hands cradled my balls and stroked my cock. He moved his huge, hairy, thick-fingered hands up my belly and roved over my chest. He grunted in pleasure as he moved to my beard and ran his fingers through it.

"I envy the bear who can keep his beard, but retirement isn’t far. The good thing is, cops can retire earlier than most. As soon as I do, I’m never shaving anything again," Hank said and smoothed out my beard.

He offered a finger for me to suck and I took it gladly. Watching me suck his thick hairy finger made Hank grunt lustfully and grin. He removed his finger and looked into my eyes as he held my face between his hands. He moved his opening mouth to mine and we kissed. I raised my arms, which had been at my side the whole time Hank inspected me, and ran my fingers through his chest and back fur as we kissed. I moved to his stubble beard as Hank continued to rub his hands through mine. Hank rubbed his cock against my crotch and belly as we kissed and I could feel his slick pre-come lubricating me.

"Why did I ever wait so long?" he said as he broke the kiss. I smiled. "Follow me,” he said simply. We went into the laundry room and took the stairs down to the basement. I turned on the light at the top of the stairs.

"No, turn it off, put your hand on my shoulder and I’ll lead you." I put my hand on his warm furry shoulder and he led me to his locked room, the one with the steel door. It was so dark, but Hank maneuvered as if he’d done it a million times. He opened the room up. I followed him in and he shut the door behind me. I could hear him throw a bolt and lock the door with the same combination padlock he’d just opened. He spun the dial on the lock and I knew that whatever happened now I could not leave without Hank’s consent. I was now completely at his mercy, but I felt secure in that. Whatever happened next it would be all right; Hank was in control and Hank always made the right decision.

The next thing I knew, Hank’s big warm hands were roving all over me again and he deep kissed me. He didn’t miss my mouth, even though it was pitch black in the room. We groped for a good five minutes, feeling each other in the darkness.

"I brought Rich down here," Hank growled, "just the same way, earlier today. We made love until noon. We only took two breaks in that time. Can you last for four hours, Tommy?" he said in a strangely husky voice.

"I will last as long as you need me to," I said and I meant it. I was living the dream, the fantasy, with this man.

"That’s my boy!" Hank growled in my ear and I felt such pride. Hank was proud of me and I had pleased him. His approval was suddenly so important to me. "Put your arms tightly around my neck. When I lift you, wrap your legs around my waist."

I did as Hank instructed. He was very strong, and lifted me with ease. He walked over a few feet, our cocks rubbing together as he did so, and laid me down into something. I heard clinking chains and I guessed that he was putting me into a leather sling. I’d been in one on a few occasions with my bear buddies in Philly. I was right. He secured my arms and legs and I felt him put a folded terry cloth towel over my face.

"OK, Tommy, in a few minutes I’m going to turn the lights on. When your eyes are adjusted to the light and I remove the towel, you will have to make a decision. That decision is as follows: do you or don’t you want to have sex with me." Hank said huskily. I could tell by his voice that he wanted to fuck me; he wanted to satisfy his lust and so did I. We had waited thirty years to do so. Why the hell wouldn’t I answer ‘Yes’ when he turned on the lights?

In the next five minutes I heard Hank stretching, like he did before workouts. I could tell because his bones were popping as he was flexing and I heard him crack his neck and finger joints. Some guys were very serious about warming up before every physical exertion and I guess it made sense. Sex is exercise as well as pleasure. The light came on and my eyes hurt, even with being closed and under three layers of folded towel. After a few minutes Hank removed the first fold. A few minutes after that he removed the second layer and after a few minutes he spoke. He sounded strange for some reason and I didn’t know why. His voice was odd. It seemed deeper, like he was trying to sound bigger or something.

"I’m going to take the towel off. I’m standing behind you. I want you to wait to open your eyes until I get in front of you and tell you to open your eyes," Hank said. "Can you do that?"
I thought, 'Damn, Hank, what’s with the suspense. Oh, well, who am I to mess with his fantasy? I agreed to this, so I’ll play by his rules.' I agreed to his wishes.

He removed the towel and moved in front of me. "OK, you can open your eyes," Hank said.

I opened my eyes. The single lamp behind me was probably only 60 watts, but it was more than I needed. I saw Hank and I couldn’t believe what my eyes were telling me.

My mind simply couldn’t wrap itself around what I saw. Standing before me was a huge grizzly man. His hands were human hands with claws and his muzzle wasn’t quite the length of a bear’s. He was covered in shaggy dark brown fur and stood on two legs. He didn’t stand like a bear; he stood like a huge man with his arms at his sides. His chest was barreled and his arms were even larger than Hank’s were normally. His neck was very thick and I could see cords of muscle standing out on his neck even under the fur. His eyes were Hank’s ice blue eyes and he smiled with ivory fangs. I looked at his huge throbbing cock and it was dripping with creamy white sperm that was just oozing out of the tip and down the long shaft into the furry ball sack. I realized the bear I’d seen in the Jacuzzi months back really was a bear and really was Hank, too. Perhaps this was why I was not as afraid of him as I should be or perhaps I just trusted Hank after years of fearing him.

The beast spoke.

"I’m proud of you Tommy. Rich screamed when he saw me like this, but I can hardly blame him," the bear said. "It’s not every day a man comes face to face with a living legend, especially one that looks like it could devour you. He began to calm down after I started rubbing him with my big furry paws and talked to him softly and soothingly. I told him what a hot bear he was and started suckin’ his growin’ cock. He gasped in fright when I did that. I guess he thought I was going to bite it off. Most guys do that when they see their pride near that many gleaming fangs. Five minutes after I began blowing him he was moanin’, talkin’ dirty and tellin’ me how wonderful he thought I was. Ten minutes after that, he gave up his first sweet cock honey to his ‘Big Papa Bear’. That’s what he called me. He knew he wanted to be my cub. I asked him if he wanted to be a big furry bear too. He was quite eager. I told him I would need to inseminate him and he spread his legs as far apart as he possibly could so that I could get inside. I pushed my cock up his quiverin’ ass and we fucked joyously for what seemed to be hours. I finally came up his hairy ass and he just kept repeating, ‘thank you’ and moaned as he pumped out come all over his hairy chest. I lapped it up with my long bear tongue and he petted my furry head and played with my ears."

"He knows what’s going to happen to him, Tommy. He knows he’s going to be a beast like me in about four months. It’s why he didn’t say goodbye to you with a parting fuck. I told him that if he did, he might deprive you of the opportunity to decline the offer, even though I don’t think he’ll be making Werebear semen for at least a month. It must have been very hard for him to pass up the chance to fuck you, Tommy; you’re so damned sexy."

Hank paused and scratched his furry chest with his huge claws. I looked around and noticed that this room was indeed where Hank kept his rifles, pistols and ammo. He had a small wall safe by the gun cabinet. The room was painted all in black and even the carpet was black. The windowless room seemed to devour light except for that which illuminated Hank, the sling and the oak gun cabinets.

"You like the room? It’s black so there aren’t any distractions with color or light." Hank said.

"See Tommy, this is my secret. What I am is very rare. Though there was a time long ago, I’m told, when what I am, what I’ve become, was accepted for what we were. We were even valued members of the tribe: protectors, healers and guardians. But the elder bears know more about that. Some of them have been alive for a very long time. I’m telling you all of this, because I want you to understand what it is that I am, and what you could become."

"After I got out of the Marines, I went searching for something, I felt empty and I knew I wasn’t any better a man than I was at eighteen. I didn’t know what I was lookin’ for, but I was lookin’ anyway, just hopin’ to find a way to fill the emptiness inside of me, to tame the anger I felt toward everything."

"One day I found this little place in British Columbia, not more than a hundred miles from the Washington border. I was just about out of money and was having a sparse dinner at the motel restaurant. It was evening and I was thinking about the fact that I was going to have to spend the cold early fall night in my car, when this burly silver bearded trucker started up a conversation with me. I was very turned on. He was everything I wanted in a lover; he was the kindly father or grand father figure I had never known. There was a gentle power to him and to me this made him extremely attractive. I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying because I was too busy thinking about how damned hot he was. It was obvious I wasn’t paying very close attention and he even joked about it, later. His name was Robert and he lived about ten miles from the little town. He invited me back to his place to stay for the night when he found out that I didn’t have enough to stay in the motel and that I was going to sleep in my car. I took him up on the offer."

"We went back to his place, a nice big cabin style home in the woods. We had a couple of beers and, to make a long story short, he and I became very intimate. We were on the verge of fuckin’ an hour after we got to his place. He did the same thing with me that I did to Rich and that I’ve just done with you. He tied me up in the dark and revealed himself to me as a Werebear."

"I was surprised, but like you, I was not afraid. For some reason, I trusted him completely. I knew, even in his ursine form, that he would do nothing to hurt me. He was gentle and loving from start to finish. He became my Papa that night and that night, I became his Cub. The form you see now is the middle phase, the adult bear. In the four months that followed my first night with Bob, I became bigger and furrier than I’d ever been. I realized quickly that shaving was going to be a lot harder, because the growth rate of my beard had increased. It was another five years before I gained my complete non-transformed muscle mass, my bear mass. Still, by my fifth month I was so happy with what I’d become I couldn’t imagine ever wanting to be anything else. I spent those five years with Bob and he taught me what it really was to be a man. He taught me how to be kind and good, things my own father should have taught me, but couldn’t, I guess. When I came back here to take care of my father in his last years, I was a completely different man than the angry, mean kid that had left for the Marines. I still go back and spend a couple of weeks with Bob every summer, well, every summer until this year. Bob understood, I was looking for cubs of my own in you and then in Rich. Bob comes here and spends December with me."

"So. Tommy... now is the time for you to make your choice. Will you become a Werebear, like Rich, and be my lover? You, Rich and I could be mates."

I lay in the sling my cock had become hard again, listening to the tale of how Hank became a Werebear. I imagined myself looking the way Hank did now and was not displeased with the vision.

"Will it hurt; changing, that is?" I said.

"Yes, it will hurt. It’ll be like having growing pains for the four months before you change into a bear for the first time. It’s not that bad. Changing into a bear for the first time is also painful, but after that, your body settles into it and it actually becomes a turn on. Each time you change, it becomes easier and you gain more control of the change," Hank said.

"Hank, I have found you incredibly sexy since that night in the parking lot of our high school. I’ve imagined you and me together almost every night since. I’d do anything for you, be anything you wanted me to be. I want to make love with you as a man and as a bear. The thought of being what you are is a bit frightening, I admit. Change is always scary and this is the biggest change I can imagine, but I’m sure you’ll help me through it. So, before I lose my nerve, just do it," I said.

"Those are the sweetest words I’ve ever heard, Tommy," Hank said with a toothy grin.

With that Hank bent over my body and began rubbing his oozing helmet tip against my asshole. We kissed as he leaned into me, my mouth wrapped around as much of his fanged muzzle as I could get. Suddenly he was inside of me. Rich had loosened me up over the last couple of days, but I wasn’t loose enough so that I didn’t feel some burn as Hank sunk his enormous tree trunk bear cock into me.
For the next several hours, there was no clock in the room. Hank fucked me in so many ways I swear we’d done all the positions possible for human, bear or werebear. He was insatiable. When I was finally too tired to continue, he took me up to his bedroom, massaged my sore muscles and we slept soundly together for the first time. In the morning, Hank’s beard was full and I woke him by nuzzling in and nibbling on it. I can’t wait for him to retire!

It’s been four months since Hank made love to me that first time. It’s spring and Hank has two bear cubs in his den. Bob stayed past December and it was like having a second Papa or a Grandpa Bear. Christmas was the best I’ve ever experienced.

Rich and I transformed for the first time early last evening; Hank and Bob fed the both of us and we packed it away. A changing body needs lots of fuel. Our elder bears scratched our increasingly furry hides, massaged our changing muscles and satisfied the sexual needs of transforming cubs. It was one of the most sensual experiences I think a man can know. Rich moved into my place a couple of weeks after he had left in such a hurry. He had needed to pack and move before it became too snowy to do so easily.

It’s so funny; the two of us wrestle on the mats in Hank’s home gym like cubs play fighting. We put on the safety gear and go at it. Bob says after a year or so we’ll be ready to wrestle transformed, as real bears, but that at the moment, we’d wreck the place because we’re not used to our bear bodies. Wrestling helps us co-ordinate our new bodies and teaches us control. It teaches us to ‘know our own strength’ and besides, it’s a whole lot of fun. The rules are the same as Olympic wrestling. The stakes are winner fucks the loser, not that either of us minds being on the bottom. Hank and Bob love to watch, and of course, we both service our Papa Bears after we’ve settled up. They’re usually quite horny after refereeing the match and the two of them have promised us a match as transformed Werebears to show us how it’s done.

Rich got the job here in town two months ago, just as Hank said, but he’s not planning on moving out. Bob said the three of us are well suited to be mates. I think we’ve all found the happiness we had craved.

My writing has never been better. Having sex with three horny bears seems to keep the creative ideas flowing. I’ve started a series of books about Werebeasts and the first book; ‘Under the Bear Flag’ is due out on the market in May. It’s about a sheriff of a small town in California in the time of the old west. The sheriff, of course, is a Werebear. I wanted to present Werebears, Werewolves and other ‘Weres’ as very human creatures; not the savage, mindless, bloodthirsty beasts they have come to be in Hollywood films. It’s good PR, and someday, some ‘Werebeast’ out there may benefit from it, who knows? Sales are expected to be very high, especially among some subculture groups.

Hank is getting more grey hair on his head and in his moustache. He’s becoming our Papa and something about that changes a Werebear. All I know is that it makes him horny and Rich agrees. Hank, Rich and I are planning to visit Bob in Canada next summer. Hank wants us visit ‘Grandpa’ in the woods, where we can all feel easier about shifting shape. Rich will probably be able to go, but work may not allow more than a week or so. He’s saving up all the vacation time he can.
Life is different now. I had to explain to my editor that I was working out a lot over the winter, but that it wasn’t detracting from my work. I sold him on the idea that a physically fit author is a productive author and one that would have stories for years to come. He’s excited about the new series.

The price that Hank mentioned was very cheap, in my estimation, and well worth the spending.

I hope all you bears out there liked the tale!
Copyright © 2000-2004 - Bjorn Torson
Any and all re-use prohibited without explicit permission.