Mayfield Magic

Chapter 7-Every Pitch Counts

<Aiden and Calvin>
Aiden ate breakfast with Larry. They talked about the Mariners’ weekend sweep of the A’s and about the Yard Goats’ game that evening. They also talked about the crowd coming to Mayfield from Seattle on July second.
Aiden mentioned that Coach Hallion had asked him to call Cal Loggins and feel him out about joining the Goats as a pickup pitcher for the SoCal BaseBrawl. ‘Although I’d rather feel him up than feel him out,’ Aiden thought.
“Do you think he might be interested?” Larry asked.
“I’ve got no doubt he is. I’ll bet he’ll want to say yes. But I don’t know his schedule, like if the Bucks are going to be in a tournament, and I don’t know what his parents will say.”
“Then ask him. Just don’t mention your coach asked you to do it. Make it sound like it’s the idea of you and your teammates.”
“That’s pretty much true. We’re the ones who suggested it to Coach Hallion. He’s a really good pitcher plus he’s a super nice guy. We do need to know by Wednesday.”
“Then call him this morning,” Larry stated.
“I will after I shower,” Aiden said. He rose from the table to put his dishes away and left Larry smiling at the thought that his gay son couldn’t call a cute boy on the phone without being properly clean.
The actual reason Aiden wanted to shower first was that he felt more alert in the morning after eating and showering, not necessarily in that order. He didn’t bother to dress since this was going to simply be a phone call; not that he had a problem with Cal seeing him naked.
Before placing the call, he brought up a mental image of the cute pitcher with long blond hair from Clark Pass. There was no question he would be a great pickup for the BaseBrawl on looks alone. But added to that was that everyone considered him one of the three best seventh grade pitchers in the Seamount Middle School League along with himself and Nolan. And if he liked to mess around, that would be a bonus.
Aiden finally punched in Cal’s number and was pleased when his call was immediately answered. “Hey, is this the Aiden Miller from Mayfield?” Calvin asked.
“Why, do you know another one?” Aiden chuckled.
“No, but it never hurts to be sure, so I had to ask. I mean, I knew it was you, but, well, I wanted to be, you know, kind of…”
“Exactly, but it backfired like a pitch in the dirt on a 3-2 count. Anyway, enough goofiness, when I gave you my number, I never thought you’d call even though I hoped you would.”
“Well, you could’ve always called me.”
“I know, but I didn’t want to, like, bother you.”
Aiden had gotten the impression when they’d talked that Calvin was a bit shy. “If I didn’t want you to bother me, I wouldn’t have given you my number. But, that said, I’m calling for two reasons.”
“Hit me with them.”
“First, I could have called you before this and didn’t. So, I was just as bad as you,” Aiden said. “So, now I’m saying hi to a great pitcher.”
“Well, now we’re talking.”
“Are you pitching against Kentburg today?” Aiden asked.
“Yep. It’s a big game for us. We gotta get them off our ass. And you guys have a big game, too. Are you starting today?”
“Nope, Trent is starting.”
“Well, he is your ace, right?” Cal asked.
“Yep. Just like you’re Clark Pass’s ace.”
“That’s what people say, but I think it’s Richie McQuade. He’s an eighth grader after all.”
“I’d rather see him than you in a game,” Aiden said honestly.
“Well, since you and Winton have the same record, I can honestly root for you guys, so I hope you kick their butts.”
“We’ll do our best. Strange as it sounds, since everybody in Mayfield hates Kentburg, I gotta hope you pitch really great but lose to Kentburg, so we have a shot at catching you.”
“I totally get it. Now, what was the other thing you called about?”
Aiden told him about the SoCal BaseBrawl and then went to the meat of the call.
“That sounds like a kick ass time. But what does it have to do with me?”
Aiden then explained to him how they were planning to pick up Nolan and Skyler for the tournament, but Skyler wasn’t going to be able to do it because Monte, his team, would be playing in a tournament in Yakima. “We were wondering if you would be cool with joining Nolan as a pickup pitcher. We can have two pickups and we would love to have you.”
“Wow, that sounds so epic. I can’t believe you’re asking me, but…wow, I don’t know what to say.”
“Say you want to do it,” Aiden said. “I know you weren’t the first pick, but you were considered and it was close.”
“No worries. I’m happy to be able to help. I really like you guys.
“And we really like you, Cal.”
“I really, truly, do want to do it. I know our team isn’t going to any tournament since we can’t afford it, so I won’t be going anywhere then. But I can’t afford to go to California.”
“You don’t have to be able to afford it—we’ve raised the money for it. You just need spending money for souvenirs and snacks and shit. Everything else is paid for. One thing you gotta know that I didn’t mention. Since you’re a pickup player, the only thing you can do is pitch. When you’re not pitching in a game, then you can’t play.”
“But I will get a chance to pitch, right?” Cal asked.
“From what I saw when we went to Federal Way, there is no doubt you’ll get to pitch. Having you pitch is the whole reason we’re picking you up.”
“Well, I’ll have to ask my ‘rents and stuff. When do you need to know?
“You need to tell Coach Hallion by Wednesday, even if you can’t do it. That way if you can’t go he can keep searching because he needs to have the roster in by Sunday.”
“Unless the ‘rents say no, I’m in. Just give me the coach’s number.”
“My guess is he’ll want to talk to your ‘rents, too,” Aiden said.
“No doubt.”
“One last thing.”
“Ask away,” Cal said.
“I always thought you were kinda shy, but you didn’t sound shy today.”
“I’m shy until I get to know you. Then I’m hard to shut up.”
“Well, I hope I get to listen you chatter away a lot more.” Aiden then gave Cal Coach Hallion’s number and said he would give the coach Cal’s number, too.
The boys disconnected. Aiden was feeling good about the conversation. He had no doubt that if everything worked out in the next couple of days, Calvin would fit right in with the Yard Goats; except for the next Wednesday when the Yard Goats and the Clark Pass Bucks went head-to-head.
<Winton Baseball Park>
The Mayfield and Winton fans felt the big game between the Mayfield Yard Goats and Winton Travelers was sure to bring out a lot of parents and fans for both teams. It did exactly that.
Aiden, Mason, Miles, and Riley arrived at the field an hour before game time. Larry drove them in the Pilot. Phil would be driving down from work and would be at Winton by game time.
As soon as he arrived, Aiden sought out Coach Hallion and talked to him about Cal. He told the coach he had already communicated with most of his teammates, and they all were hoping Cal would be able to play.
“His mother and I will be talking tomorrow when we both have the time. I guess Cal insisted she call me, but we both work during the day and have games tonight,” Coach Hallion said.
“Did she give any hints about her decision?”
“Nope, she just wanted to set a time to talk tomorrow,” Hallion replied, hedging the truth a little. To him it sounded like Cal’s mother would be for the trip if some of her questions were answered satisfactorily.
Aiden thanked his coach and ran to greet Landon who he had just spotted near the home dugout on the third base side. They exchanged greetings, predicted who would win the game, an outcome they obviously didn’t agree on, and went to join their teammates.
Through the first four innings the game was a scoreless pitching duel. The Goats had the only hit of the game, a double by Trent in the first. The Travelers’ only baserunner had been the result of a third inning walk.
The Goats got on the board in the top of the fifth. Back-to-back doubles by Muddy and Scott led off the fifth and gave the Goats a 1-0 lead. Miles singled in Scott to give the Goats a two-run lead. But what caught everybody’s attention on the scoreboard was the zero hits for Winton.
Trent pitched a scoreless and hitless bottom of the fifth. He walked Bryce Johnson, the third batter in the inning, on 3-2 pitch that was a borderline call. When Trent went 2-0 on the next batter, Bryce took off for second on the next pitch. As soon as Mac caught the pitch (which was a strike) he fired a bullet to Aiden at second. Aiden placed a perfect tag on the sliding runner for the third out.
 When Trent entered the dugout, he sat on the outfield end of the bench by himself. Eric saw Riley move over to join Trent but stepped in front of him. “Ask me about this later, but baseball tradition says to let him sit by himself,” Eric told him.
“For real?”
“Totally,” Mac said. Kevin had just informed him of the unwritten rule that nobody talked to a pitcher with a no-hitter going.
“Okay. I guess I’m always learning,” Riley said. “But then, I’ve never seen a no hitter go this far either.”
“Riley, don’t say that word at all!” Aiden told him forcefully. Having pitched one himself, Aiden was well versed in the weird ins and outs of a developing no-hitter. The Goats went down in order in the top of the sixth.
In the bottom of the sixth Trent showed he was not only not tired, but he also had some extra energy to draw on as he struck out the side. In the top of the seventh, Kevin sat next to Mac and conducted a coach to catcher talk about how Mac should handle the bottom of the seventh inning.  He wanted to give Mac some advice based on his own experience. Kevin made sure not to say “no-hitter” during his talk. Mac listened intently. After all, Kevin had caught Eric’s famous perfect game. Kevin basically told Mac that if Trent looked like he might be getting tight to tell him that he was the best and all he had to do was be himself.
The seventh was a productive inning for the Goats. Riley singled and stole second, Mac singled him in. Rusty entered the game for Mac as the designated runner and scored when Gordy doubled up the first base line.   Aiden lined out to short, ending the top of the inning. The Goats would be going into the bottom of the seventh holding a 4-0 lead.
A loud buzz coursed through the crowd as Trent took his five warm up pitches. The only real suspense left in the game was whether Trent would complete the no-hitter.
Ben Mullins, the catcher, struck out swinging for the first out. Landon was the next batter and hit a hard fly ball to left center. Gordy, the center fielder, turned to his right and ran hard to where he thought the ball would come down. Riley, who was playing left field, ran toward him, but Gordy called him off. Riley turned away, following the dictate of Coach Hallion that the center fielder was the quarterback in the outfield and the left and right fielder should yield anytime he called for the ball. Gordy reached out in front of him and made a remarkable running catch. The Mayfield fans roared with delight. Trent was one out away from a no-hitter in one of the Yard Goats’ biggest games of the year.
Andy Duggan, the designated hitter, was the next batter. Trent’s first pitch was called ball one. The second pitch which was ball two and Trent was in the hole with a 2-0 count.  Mac asked the umpire for time so he could go out and talk with his pitcher.
“You’re better than he is, so just go after him,” was all Mac said as he echoed what Kevin had told him.
As Mac returned to home plate and got into his crouch, Aiden got into his fielding position. He thought about what Marty had said the day before. “Every pitch counts.” Aiden thought that was totally true right then.
Trent blew the next pitch past Andy who swung hard but got nothing but air, and the roar got louder. Andy fouled off the next pitch making the count 2-2. Andy then lofted a fly ball to left, bringing everyone to their feet with the Mayfield crowd screaming their heads off. The ball looked like it was a can of corn, but it still had to be caught. Riley moved a few steps to his right, caught the ball, and started running in, holding the ball high in the air. Trent Hallion had just completed a no-hitter and the celebration was worthy of the feat.
One thing Riley made sure to do was give the ball to Trent for him to save forever. Trent took the ball and gave Riley a big hug. Trent made sure Mac got the next and biggest hug. Trent thought Mac had called a fantastic game and had said all the right things to keep him grounded. He felt a huge surge of love for his catcher and wondered if this was what Eric thought of Kevin after their perfect game. Coach Hallion was proud of Trent as his coach and even prouder as his father. It was a performance he had never dreamed he would see happen. The Coach gave Trent the next hug and the two fought off tears of joy.
Aiden sought out Landon in the understandably disorganized handshake line. “Great game, dude,” Landon said.
“You almost broke up the no-hitter. That was a nice poke,” Aiden said.
“Yeah, and Gordy made a totally sick catch. He saved that no-hitter. I did my best, but he did his best better.”
“I hope not having any trains to watch wasn’t a problem for you.”
“I survived. But the team sure didn’t,” Landon laughed.
<Aiden and Nolan>
That night Aiden had an interesting chat with Nolan.
“In a week and a half I’ll be a Mayfield Mustang,” Nolan reminded Aiden.
“I totally, completely, and absolutely can’t wait,” Aiden said. “Hey, I saw on the league website that you had a shutout.” East Centralia had shut out Tenino 6-0. “Did you go all the way?”
“I sure did. I threw a four-hitter, struck out 11, and walked two.”
“How did you hit?”
“Two doubles, two runs scored, and a ribbie.”
“And with the Wildcats winning you’re still tied for first,” Aiden said. The West Centralia Wildcats had clobbered South Centralia 11-3, allowing them to match the East Centralia Scrappers’ 10-3 record.
“And you guys are in second all by yourselves in your division,” Nolan pointed out. The Yard Goats had a 9-4 record.
“Yep. Winton is 8-5 and Clark Pass beat Kentburg, which makes Kentburg 8-5.” What Aiden didn’t mention was that it also gave Clark Pass an 11-2 record and a two-game lead over Mayfield with three games left to play. Nolan and Aiden both talked about how Monte and Washtucna had both clinched first place in the Columbia League. In fact, the three playoff teams in the Columbia North division were all decided.
“Good luck in your game Wednesday. But since you’re pitching, that game is in the bag,” Nolan chuckled.
“I wish. You guys have the tough game. You’ve got to kick some Kentburg ass for us.”
“That’s our plan. Speaking of plans, what kind of JO fantasy are we going to have tonight?”
“How about us fucking Trent and Mac side-by-side in your new house,” Aiden suggested.
“Let’s go for it.” The outcome of their virtual jerkoff session was as good as expected.
Aiden chatted with Cal Tuesday evening. Both had just arrived home from their respective practices. Aiden had meant to call Cal during the day but ended up going biking on the bicycle trail into the Cascade foothills with Gordy, Miles, Riley, Grant, and the twins. Gordy’s mother had packed eight lunches for the seven boys, leaving them all to wonder who was going to get the extra lunch. The bike trail was an extension of the bikeway that followed Lakeshore Drive and Highway 12.
When they got to where the bike trail broke away into the hills, Miles removed his helmet and hung it on his handlebars. “What the fuck are you doing, Miles?” Aiden asked.
“There’s no cars and nobody who’s going to see me, so why should I wear this thing on a day that’s going to be hot,” Miles answered.
“Why don’t you say that to Coach Eric or Coach Kevin. I’ve got their phone numbers, I’m sure they’d like to hear what you think.”
“What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about Bobby Neal. They can tell you all about not wearing a helmet. Bobby was a teammate and a friend of theirs.”
“He’s the kid who got killed riding his bike and they named the Coach’s Award for, right?”
“He’s the one,” Gordy interjected. Like Aiden, he knew the story of the death of Bobby when he was their age in detail and had visited Bobby’s gravesite.
“Well, he was out on the road when he got hit, and there are no cars on this trail.”
“Miles, listen real carefully. Bobby never got hit by the car that was coming down the road. His bike slipped on the gravel and his head hit the road. The car never touched him.”
“Yeah, but…”
“No yeah buts. You wear your helmet on a hot day like the rest of us or I’m turning around and going home.”
“And I’ll follow him,” Riley said, and Gordy concurred.
“Me and Lance are following Aiden,” Lenny said.
“You guys are harsh,” Miles grumbled.
“That’s because we’re your best friends,” Aiden reminded him.
Miles slammed his helmet on, and the seven riders started up the grade. Nothing more was said about helmets, and they had a grand time. Aiden was awarded the extra lunch for standing up for what was right. He ended up eating half a sandwich and splitting the rest with Miles.
What impressed Aiden and the rest of the boys was that Miles wore his helmet all the way home. There wouldn’t have been much they could have done if he hadn’t, but Miles elected not to push the issue; he had heard the message loud and clear. They arrived back to Mayfield in time for a light dinner at their homes before going to the middle school for a quick practice.
Aiden was supine on his bed as he thought about the bike trip. He wondered if he had been too harsh on Miles. Then he remembered his talks with Eric, Kevin, Noah, as well as Marty, about Bobby and bicycle safety and decided he hadn’t been too harsh. What he had been was a good friend.
And now it was time to make that phone call to Cal. After exchanging greetings, Aiden got to the reason for his phone call.
“Did you talk to your ‘rents?” he asked.
“Sure did. They’re all for it, but the boss mom wants to talk to the coach first. As long as it don’t cost them any money, I think it’s gonna be a go,” Cal exclaimed.
That was what Aiden wanted to hear. “I saw that you shut down Kentburg yesterday.” The Clark Pass Bucks had knocked off Kentburg 5-1 on Kentburg’s home field.
“Yep. I went the distance, and the one run was unearned. Lacey dropped a fly ball in right field and by the time he got the ball in with his wienie arm the runner got to second. Lacey is what you call good hit and no field. Anyway, then this pitcher on our team gave up a solid base hit which Lacey fielded. The third base coach had seen Lacey throw and had no problem sending the runner home for the score.”
“And that pitcher was you, right?”
“It sure enough was since I was the only dude pitching for us. I can’t even blame the run on Lacey since I was the one who gave Keith, the hitter, a fat pitch to hit and he hit it good. One thing about our team, we got good pitching, great hitting, but sometimes we look like a friggen t-ball team in the field and on the bases. In other words, we got lots of guys short on brain power. Dom, who is our best hitter and my best friend, says it’s all about inbreeding,” Cal laughed. “But hey, they got good talent and are nice guys and we’re in first place so what can I say?”
“Did you tell anybody about what we talked about?” Aiden asked.
“Just Dom, and he knows how to keep a secret. He says that if I don’t do it then I’m one fucked-up dude. He likes to say fuck a lot. I don’t use it so much.”
“I’ve noticed. So, you’ve got East Oly tomorrow, and us and Parkview next week, right?”
“That’s going to make you dang hard to catch.”
“Good,” Cal chuckled. “Oh, no offense meant.”
“It’s all good, dude. I would have said the exact same thing if I was in your place. Anyway, I’ll see you next week when we play each other and I hope we meet in the playoffs,” Aiden said
“You and me both. That would be epic.”
The boys exchanged ‘laters’ and disconnected.
Nolan was spending the night before the game at Carter’s house. Nolan’s bedroom was strewn with packed boxes and he wanted to be away from the room the night before the game. Since Nolan wasn’t going to be home, he and Aiden agreed to skip their chat.
Aiden had a conference call on his phone with Miles, Riley, and the twins. Not surprisingly, baseball was the main topic of their conversation. Miles’ helmet revolt was not discussed. The friends’ silence on the topic said it all: what was done was done and they were ready to move on. The big thing they did agree on was to do everything they could to stick it to the South Centralia Broncos from the get-go to keep them from thinking they had a chance to win.
When Aiden got ready to sleep later in the evening, he set Horace on the bed, said his evening gratitude prayer, and snuggled with his stuffed donkey. He thought about jerking off, but sleep hit him before he could follow through on the thought.
Aiden and Larry spent the morning working on having everything ready for their holiday company. Aiden had to deal with his dads and Mike the Donkey vacillating on what the dates of the visit would be, but they finally agreed on a July 2nd arrival on the Amtrak Cascades with a departure date of July 5th.  
Justin, Marco, Tony, Logan, Darnell, and Madison would be the Seattle boys spending the July 4th weekend at Aiden’s house. Skip, Lenny, Lance, Riley, and Mason would be the Mayfield contingent. They would be sleeping in the basement as well as in Aiden’s tent. The Donkey would be their chaperone on the train and would be sleeping in the guest room. Phil would be in charge of the food, which would be served buffet style. Mike would be overseeing the buffet. Nolan would not be able to attend since he would be playing in a holiday tournament in Eugene, Oregon. The Mayfield boys agreed that this gathering looked like it had the earmarks of an Aiden party.
<At the Centralia Baseball Complex>
And suddenly it was time to get ready for the evening’s game.  Larry drove Aiden, Mason, and the twins to Centralia in the Honda Odyssey. Phil would be driving to the field from work.
Coach Hallion had a brief chat with Coach Winfield before calling his team in from the field. “How are your kids holding up?” he asked the Broncos’ coach.
“Surprisingly well. These kids are happy to get a chance to play and they want to win badly. They work their butts off every practice. I have to wonder if the kids who made the rosters of the East and West teams work as hard.” James Hallion knew that Coach Winfield had been an assistant coach for a very successful program at the Senior Babe Ruth level for the past five years. He agreed to coach the Broncos when the kids who were cut from the other two Centralia teams indicated they wanted to play, even if they weren’t going to be a very good team. Since his son, Richie, was one of the players, Coach Winfield agreed to coach them for a year. He knew the team would struggle, but he also knew he had the ability to make the players better if they were willing to work hard. He was pleased with the team’s attitude and work habits. He knew they wouldn’t win very many games, but he hadn’t anticipated being winless with three games left in the season.
The way Coach Hallion read the mood of the Goats as they went through their warmups and infield was that they were quietly confident. They knew their opponent was winless, but they respected them and were ready to start the game playing their best.
That attitude showed right from the start when Gordy doubled and Aiden singled him in. Trent launched a 2-1 pitch over the left-field fence, which was a healthy poke on the full-sized fields of the complex, and the Goats had a 3-0 lead before making their first out.
Aiden showed he was on top of his game as he struck out the leadoff batter and got the next two batters to ground out. The Goats scored another run in the second and another in the third to give them a 5-0 lead as Aiden put down the first nine batters.
The top of the fourth was scoreless for the Goats and Aiden’s streak came to an end when the Broncos picked up their first hit after Aiden struck out the leadoff hitter yet again. He had put down the first ten batters in order.
One thing everybody noticed was that the Broncos were playing solid baseball. Even though they were winless, the Mayfield fans could see that they were well coached and had a positive attitude despite their record.
Since Aiden’s no-hit bid had ended, Coach Hallion was going with his plan to give Riley, Lance, and Max some work. He also substituted Emmett, Grant, Lenny, Mason, and Rusty, his bench players, into the game, intending to play them the last three innings. When Riley entered the game in the bottom of the fifth the score was still 5-0. He gave up a walk and two hits, leading to the Broncos’ first run.
The Goats answered that run with two of their own in the top of the sixth, making the score 7-1. Lance pitched the bottom of the sixth. A walk, two hits, and throwing error by Emmett at shortstop allowed three runs to score making the score 7-4.  Suddenly the fans were hoping to see Coach Hallion re-enter the starters. The inning reminded Aiden that even with a six-run lead, every pitch counted. 
Max ended the suspense in the bottom of the seventh when he pitched a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the last two batters. The Goats ended up with a 7-4 win.
In the handshake line, the Mayfield players let the Bronco players know that they were impressed with their hustle and solid play. The Goats knew the Broncos, who had played errorless ball, hadn’t given them anything. The Goats had to work for the win, especially when the Broncos battled back from a six-run deficit. They wished the Broncos good luck for their last two games and sincerely hoped the team would win at least one of those games. The Broncos last two opponents were East Olympia and Winton. The Goats felt East Olympia, who had been overrated at the start of the season, were beatable. The Goats learned later that Winton had squeezed out a 6-4 win over the Broncos when the two teams met earlier in the season. A win or even two were definite possibilities.
<Aiden and Nolan>
“How did you guys manage to lose to Kentburg of all teams?” Aiden asked Nolan. The Kentburg Stingers had stung East Centralia 6-5 at the Horace Mann Middle School baseball field. It was a busy baseball/softball day in Centralia with games on all four fields at the baseball complex, at both high schools, and at Mann.
“Don’t remind me. They’re a good team and played a good game and we’re a good team and didn’t play quite as good,” Nolan replied. “I mean when your pitchers walk seven batters and the team makes two errors it doesn’t make it easy to win.”
“How did you do?”
“I went two for four with an RBI double, but I also had one of the errors. Believe it nor not, I dropped a pop foul near the Kentburg dugout.”
“I doubt the Kentburg players helped you much.”
“Not even close. I think we were thinking more about the tournament in Eugene than the team we were playing. And it looks like you guys had a close game with the Broncos.”
“We had a 5-0 lead and Coach put subs in. I didn’t play after the fourth inning. South scored some late runs, but I never felt like we were in trouble.”
“Who played second?”
“Mason and he played a good game. Made the plays in the field and a hit single.”
“Well, with West Centralia beating Parkview, we’re suddenly in second by a game. And all four of the top teams in your division won.”
“Hey, you get to play West on Tuesday, which should be an epic game,” Aiden pointed out.
“And if we beat them we’re tied with one game left and we both have tough games for our last game.”
“Yep, and Clark Pass is two games up on us with two games to go. But their next game is against us, so we can keep them from clinching.”
The talk changed from baseball to how they would seduce Calvin when they went to California which led to almost simultaneous orgasms from the two friends.
Aiden woke up wondering what had possessed him to invite so many out-of-town friends and relatives. It was one thing to have a party of Mayfield friends for a night or two, but this would be three nights of boys who were friends, but not the kind of friends he had in Mayfield.
‘Well, at least it wasn’t four nights,’ he thought thinking of what his Phil dad had told him: “Guests are like fish—after three days they begin to smell.”
Aiden and Larry set up Aiden’s tent, which could comfortably sleep up to four boys; more if guys wanted to squeeze in tightly.
Aiden felt ready for the guests. His cousin, Logan, was his main contact in Seattle and Aiden had gone over his final plans with him the night before. Logan mostly agreed with what Aiden had planned, suggesting a few minor changes, which Aiden followed through on. The guests would be arriving on the 4 pm Amtrak Cascades and dinner would be pizza at the Bear. The Mayfield crew wouldn’t be coming until the next day, giving the Seattle boys time to get acclimated.
Before his guests arrived, Aiden planned on spending the day with Gordy at Kalie’s house. Kalie’s cousin Gretchen, who had just turned thirteen, was visiting from Oregon. Kalie had invited Gordy to come to her house for a small birthday party and to talk about getting their friendship back into order. Because Gretchen’s older brother, Ian, was also there, Gordy wanted Aiden to join him. Gordy didn’t like Ian and thought having Aiden with him would keep Ian from being too much of an asswaffle.
Aiden agreed to accompany his friend. “But I have to be home no later than three because we have to pick up the Seattle dudes at the train station at four,” Aiden told Gordy.
“Not a problem,” Gordy responded. “I’ll leave when you leave. I just don’t want to have to listen to Ian talk about how he’s going to be the first to fuck Kalie even though they are cousins. But what I really want is to make up with Kalie, which is why I’m going there today.”
“We can both tell Ian to shut up if he gets too asswaffley.”
“I never heard that word before.”
“I don’t doubt it since I just made it up.”
It turned out that outside of everyone going topless during a before lunch hike in the woods, nothing close to sexual happened. In fact, Gordy and Aiden both enjoyed themselves. Aiden was pleased to see Gordy and Kalie hold hands during the hike, as did Ian and Gretchen. Aiden knew that Ian and Gretchen had fucked numerous times even though they were brother and sister. He didn’t care what they did—but he did care what Ian tried to do with Kalie. But Ian didn’t try anything and didn’t even hint at anything, even when they were half naked, making Aiden and Gordy (and Kalie) happy.
Lunch was sandwiches and chocolate birthday cupcakes. Nobody bothered putting their tops on for lunch and Kalie’s mother had no problem with it. “She probably wouldn’t have had a problem with us taking our shorts off, either,” Gordy confided in Aiden later. The main reason they kept their shorts on, Aiden knew, was because they were worried about getting bugs and burrs on and in their underwear.
Aiden and Gordy left at two. Aiden waited for Gordy and Kalie to exchange a long kiss. He knew he was supposed to think everything was now cool between the two, but he wasn’t ready to jump on that bandwagon yet.
“Thanks for helping me out,” Gordy said as they rode their bikes into Aiden’s driveway.
“Not a problem,” Aiden replied. “I’m always ready to help my best friend.”
Gordy grinned. “Have fun with your party. I’ll see you on Monday.”
“And you have fun with your cousins. I hope there’s a cum or two in it for you.”
“You know I won’t be looking for one, but if one happens, I won’t turn it down.” Gordy rode his bike out of the driveway and Aiden went into the house.
Larry was sitting in the living room reading a magazine. “Are you ready to go?” he asked.
“As soon as I take a piss,” Aiden replied.
A few minutes later they were on Lakeshore Drive in the Odyssey. Phil was leaving work early and meeting them at the Centralia train station. County workers would have Friday and Monday off along with the weekend and Phil told his workers they could leave work early on Thursday.
Larry and Aiden arrived at the station at a quarter to four. Aiden checked his Amtrak phone app and saw that the train was running on time. They soon heard the sound of a train horn coming from the north. Just as the headlight appeared, Phil joined them at on the platform.
“Does anybody know which car they’re riding in?” Phil asked.
“Logan texted me that they were in the second car,” Aiden replied.
“That’s interesting, because Mike texted the same information to me,” Larry grinned.
“Then that must be where they are,” Aiden said with mock seriousness.
When the six-car train came to a stop, the Millers looked to see which door the conductor was going to open. When the one on the south end of the car opened, they were waiting for the passengers to disembark.
Mike the Donkey stepped off the train first. He waved to the Millers and stepped away from the door. “Well, here we are,” Mike said. “I’m letting you know just in case you thought we might not be here.”
“You certainly look here to me,” Larry said. Larry was used to Mike’s convoluted logic. Logan stepped off next and was followed by Justin, Marco, Tony, Darnell, and Madison. They stepped away from the train to allow outbound passengers to board.
“Hey guys, welcome to Centralia,” Phil said. He looked at Madison. “And who do we have here?” Phil and Larry hadn’t met Madison so Aiden introduced them to the blue-haired boy.
Aiden had messed around with him at the Cousin Dozen Blowout. He was a little surprised when Logan asked if Madison could come to the party, but since Logan and Madison had become good friends, Aiden figured it would work out great, especially since he liked Madison.
“Did you guys have a good trip?” Larry asked.
“Yep, the train was on time and everything,” Justin gushed. “It was a mega fun ride. The conductor was really nice, and the hot dogs were good.”
“Good hot dogs are very important,” Mike pointed out. “And, everybody behaved really well.”
“Yeah, even Tony did,” Marco said.
“Well, I had to set an example for my little bro,” Tony said.
They headed for the parking area and tossed the bags into the back of the pickup, which had a canopy.  The boys were loaded into the Odyssey and Mike rode with Phil in his Silverado pickup.
Before heading to Aiden’s house, a stop was made at the Bear Pizza. Larry had reserved the party room over Aiden’s objections. Aiden wanted to get home so he and the Seattle boys could get naked as soon as possible. As a result, he insisted they should order the pizza to go. Larry, on the other hand, wanted the boys’ first meal to be in a reasonably controlled environment rather than in the chaos of everyone wanting to see the house, the games, and, figuring out what, or what not, to wear.
Larry’s victory was easier than he had anticipated since Aiden could see the logic in his dad’s argument. Aiden could see that his pop preferred they all strip when they were full of pizza and thinking about getting naked rather than thinking about food instead of getting naked. Also, it would give his pop and his dad a chance to get to know the boys they didn’t know well (Tony, Marco, and Madison) and get reacquainted with the other boys, especially their nephew Logan.
Dinner worked out as planned, full of friendly chatter, laughter, and the Seattle boys politely answering questions posed to them by Aiden’s dads while Aiden chatted with Mike the Donkey. As tempting as they were, the boys didn’t sample the video games.
After dinner they went straight to Aiden’s house, where he gave the six Seattle boys a tour. Marco, Tony, and Madison were the only boys who hadn’t been to Aiden’s house before. Logan, Justin, and Darnell were impressed by Aiden’s remodeled bedroom. They all loved the dock on the lake, the swimming pool, the hot tub, and the games room.
The boys finally congregated in the back room of the basement, where they sat on the couch (Aiden, Logan, Darnell, and Tony), the overstuffed chair (Justin), and on two folding lawn chairs (Marco and Madison). Justin got right down to business. “What are the rules gonna be?”
“Rules? What rules?” Aiden asked with feigned innocence.
“You know, the dress rules. What do we have to wear?”
“Yeah, Logan said we were all gonna literally be, like, naked,” Madison said.
“And Logan’s right,” Aiden said, setting up a round of cheers. “So, let’s start now. Do you want to do it the slow way by drawing cards and taking one item off at a time, or the fast way by just stripping together?”
“Let’s compromise, and do it the kinda fast way,” Logan said.
“Damn, where did I get this dorky cousin? It’s simple. We draw cards, low card goes first and gets naked in front of everybody, and we keep going until everybody is naked.”
Aiden shook his head. “Well, duh, how did your dorky cousin miss that idea?”
“Hey, you’ve had a lot of radical things to totally think about,” Madison said. “And if nobody wants to be first, I’ll just literally go without drawing a card.”
“I have another idea,” Darnell said. Everyone shifted their attention to him. “Instead of cards, just do it alphabetically by first name. That way, Aiden our host, will be the first to be naked and he can bone up watching the rest of us take our clothes off. And before you say anything, I am not a dorky cousin.”
“Darnell, that’s a great idea,” Logan said. “And tomorrow, we’ll tell the Mayfield boys they should do it the same way.”
“I’m good with it,” Aiden said. “I’ve got no problem being naked first, or getting hard, or any of that. Been there, done that.”
“Then get started,” Madison said. The party was getting off to a better start than he had imagined. He thought Logan had been yanking his chain when he talked about the things that happened at an Aiden party.
“Not that I’ve been to many of his parties,” Logan had told him, “living in Seattle and all. But I’ve been to enough and heard enough stories from and about my dorky cousin to know what could happen.”
Aiden stood up, removed his t-shirt, and threw it on the floor next to the couch. Next came his shorts which were followed by his socks. He was left standing in a pair of light blue briefs with white trim.
“Take them off!” Logan yelled.
Aiden grinned and pulled them off, revealing his hairless, almost 4.5” boner. “Next!”
Next was Darnell, who became a part of the party almost by accident. Nobody complained, though, since Darnell was considered a friend by Logan, who was instrumental in getting him included. Everyone except Justin and Marco knew Darnell from the Cousin Dozen Blowout plus Darnell had been a friend of Logan and the Miller family. He was especially close to Eddie who had lived with Darnell in Bellingham while attending summer school classes at the college. Justin and Marco admired Darnell’s dark skin, which reminded them of their teammate and friend Karl.
Justin was next. He was nervous about getting naked with all the older boys watching him. Among the boys in the room, only Aiden, Marco, and Tony had seen him naked with a boner. He calmed himself by focusing on Marco and was soon naked. Once his clothes came off, he realized that being naked in front of new boys wasn’t so bad.
Like Darnell, Logan stripped quickly. He finished by jiggling his hips as he pulled off his red boxer briefs. His tween erection was throbbing.
Madison didn’t surprise any of the Seattle boys by making a huge production of his striptease. All that was missing was the erotic music, although Madison supplied some off key singing as part of his production. The five older boys broke into applause with Justin and Marco quickly following suit.
 As was often the case in the relationship between Marco and Justin, the boy who came across as being shy was the bolder of the two. He quickly stripped, did a complete turn, wiggled his hard cocklet, and sat down.
Marco’s brother, Tony, finished the show. Like Justin, he wasn’t comfortable stripping in front of a crowd. He would have preferred to have them all get naked at once and go from there. But he was soon naked and, like his predecessors, he was hard.
Aiden couldn’t help but check out the Seattle boys. He’d seen everyone but Marco naked at one time. Because of his own insecurities regarding pubic hair, he couldn’t help but check them out for pubic hair growth. Since they were only nine, Aiden knew he didn’t need to give Justin and Marco much of a look. Logan had turned twelve less than a month ago, so Aiden gave him a longer look. He saw no sign of hair. Tony and Madison both were hairless. Darnell, who was thirteen, had a line of dark, curly pubes a little over an inch thick covering his pubic region. Aiden noticed Darnell had some stray hairs on his testicles as well.
“Well, we’re all naked, now what do we do?” Logan asked, which is what everyone else was wondering as well.
“Do you Seattle boys have suggestions?” Aiden asked.
“What would the Mayfield boys do?”
“It depends on our mood, and which ones are here,” Aiden explained. “Usually, some of it might have to do with sex, but not with everybody doing it at once. Most of us would go to the games room and play naked ping pong or foosball, or soak in the hot tub, or whatever. I think the Seattle boys should do what they want to do, not what they think the Mayfield boys want to do.”
The boys sat silently, some of them slowly stroking their erections, trying to figure out what to do. “What are we gonna do tomorrow night when the Mayfield boys are here?” Tony asked.
“Like I said, let’s take it a day at a time,” Aiden replied. He thought about what he had learned in his Fourth Dimension meetings and from mentors like Sammy and Marty. “Do what you want to do today and don’t worry about tomorrow.”
The Seattle boys were impressed by Aiden’s answer, Logan in particular. Not that he really thought otherwise, but he was beyond convinced right then that his cousin wasn’t any kind of a dork.
“Before we decide on some radical sexy thing, I’ve got a wicked idea,” Madison said. “Instead of having lame names like the Seattle Boys and Mayfield boys let’s have some special kick ass names we can use.”
“What did you have in mind?” Darnell asked.
“Well, you’re not a Seattle boy so it can virtually have nothing to do with Seattle.”
“Why not?” Logan asked. “He can be an honorary Seattle boy.”
“I like it,” Darnell grinned.
“Now we just need a name,” Tony said.
“Hey, dudes, I wouldn’t have, like, said anything if I didn’t have an epic name in my head.”
“So, tell us,” Logan said. “If it’s as epic as you say, maybe it will stick with us when we get home.”
“It’s so epic it’s radically epic,” Madison responded. “So, here’s something I learned in social studies. What’s the official nickname for Seattle?”
The other six boys thought for a few seconds before Justin surprised them by raising his hand as if he was in school. “I know! I know!” he called out. “My Papa Dawg told me at his birthday dinner on Sunday.”
“So, tell us,” Marco pleaded. He was proud of his boyfriend for speaking up and now he wanted to be proud of him for giving the right answer.
“It’s The Emerald City!” Justin shouted out.
“And what do you think the name that the most awesome Madison came up with is?” Madison asked.
Ironically the member of the visiting group who did not live in Seattle is the one who came up with the name. “I bet it’s the Emerald City Boys,” Darnell grinned.
“And you win the epic grand prize. And if you can’t figure it out and tell me what it is, then it’s you’re not gonna get the prize, somebody else will.”
“Do I get a hint?”
“Darnell goes, ‘do I get a hint?’ so the most awesome Madison says it’s something you can do with me tonight and I ain’t talking about brushing our fangs.”
“I get to sleep with you!” Darnell stated confidently.
“That, dude, IS the epic grand prize.”
“And I can’t wait.” Darnell had a crush on the cute eleven-year-old the moment he first saw him.
“And the most awesome Madison can’t wait either.”
“I love the name,” Logan said. “And because he’s with us and guessed the name and gets the grand prize that the most awesome Madison dude is giving out then I think Darnell gets to be an honorary Emerald City Boy.”
“Everybody who likes the Emerald City boys raise their hand,” Tony said.
All the hands rose, including Aiden’s. Aiden decided that the Mayfield boys would need to come up with a name tomorrow.
“What about the guys who aren’t here, like Eddie and Curt and our other good friends, do they get to be Emerald City Boys too?” Logan asked.
Everybody agreed their circle of friends would be Emerald City Boys.
“What about Aiden?” Justin asked.
“I’m gonna wait and see if my friends who are coming tomorrow want to come up with a name of our own,” Aiden said. “If they don’t, then I’ll ask to be an honorary ECB.”
The group cheered their new identity and then asked Aiden if they could celebrate by going outside and running around the yard naked. Without waiting for an answer, they headed out the door and ran around the side and back yards. It wasn’t completely dark yet with a smidge of twilight still left.  The group of boys yelled and shrieked and displayed the pure joy they were experiencing.        
Next: The Emerald City Boys