"Everything is bigger in Texas," the neon sign said. "You can say that again," I thought as I drove past it. The roads. The desert. The loneliness.
My eyes started to close as the sky got even darker. No! I jolted. I have to stay up! "The worst is over," I tried to convince myself.
Gotta keep going until I make it to Dallas. I'll find a place to crash there. It was the goal I'd set for myself when I left. "And I ain't no quitter," as Bubba would put it.
Still, my stubborn eyelids wouldn't listen, lulled down by the rhythmic humming of the car. The next time I jolted, it was almost too late. Mere seconds from swerving off the road. After all the shit I've been through in the past four years… what a fucking way to go.
Half an hour later, I finally saw a sign of civilization. A dive bar, off the side of the road. I better take a break here. Like it or not, I needed it.
As soon as I opened the door, all eyes shot my way. There were only three people in the whole place, all men. Two of them shooting pool, one behind the bar. After seeing I'm not one of the regulars and inspecting me for a couple of seconds, they went back to what they were doing.
I took off my hat and headed to the bar.
"What can I get ya?" the man asked, an unlit cigarette in his mouth. Maybe I'd just interrupted his smoke break. Still, he sounded friendly enough. With his shirt half-unbuttoned and stained wifebeater underneath, he reminded me of Bubba's dad.
"Whatever will keep me awake," I tried to imitate his Southern drawl the best I could, or at the very least, sound neutral.
The man moved slowly, biding his time, yet his movements seemed rehearsed and routine. Thirty seconds later, a glass of whiskey hit the hardwood bar in front of me. The bartender didn't seem concerned with asking for ID, even though I could sometimes pass for someone under 21.
The glass was opaque, as if it'd seen the inside of a dishwasher too many times. I downed half of it in one swig.
"Ya ain't from around," the man said. It wasn't a question.
"No, sir," I agreed.
"Ya look like ya wearin' a Halloween costume."
"Oh, really?" I chuckled. In my plaid shirt, jeans, cowboy boots, and cowboy hat, I thought I looked pretty authentic.
"It ain't about what ya wear, it's about how ya wear it," the man read my mind. "All that stuff looks it's never been worn before. Well, except for that there belt buckle."
My smile faded. Without realizing, my fingertips went down to my belt buckle and caressed it. In another swig, I finished the second half of the drink.
"It was a buddy of mine's, from the military," I said.
"Mighty fine of him to let ya have it."
"He did't. His family did. This morning, after his funeral."
"Well, shit. Sorry to hear that, boy."
It was a generic saying, but it sounded heartfelt. The man moved around and, without asking, refilled my glass, before pouring one for himself as well.
"To your buddy," he said, taking the cigarette out his mouth.
"To Bubba," I raised my glass.
We downed the drinks bottoms up, before the bartender poured another round.
"Do ya mind?" he said, taking out a lighter.
I wasn't from around, but I was fairly certain you couldn't smoke in bars round here. For all I knew, though, this was his bar, and I doubted the two other men in here would mind.
I shook my head.
"Ya want one?"
Another short head shake.
"So, is that why you're here?" the man said after taking a long drag and exhaling the smoke.
Bubba's funeral was in El Paso this morning. It left me driving through the Chihuahua Desert during the hottest time of day.
"Did your buddy die here, or… over there?" the man asked. He sounded more concerned rather than nosy.
"There," I said. My answers were monosyllabic, but I was happy to have someone to talk to, after eight hours in the car by myself, only taking breaks to piss off the side of the road.
"Ya back for good?" he asked between puffs of smoke.
"Yeah," I nodded. Not that it's been very good so far.
"And where ya headed next?"
"I have no fucking idea," I thought.
"Dallas for now, then Oklahoma."
The man could tell I was neither from Dallas nor Oklahoma, but he didn't ask any questions. He just smoked in silence.
"I'm driving across the country," I said, preferring to talk than sit in silence.
"Oh, really? Never left Texas, m'self," he said, with something that sounded like pride.
I smiled. It didn't feel right to talk about my past travels. All those European countries and luxury resorts in the Caribbean... Until now, I'd hardly seen any of the country I'd signed up to protect.
"There's still a way to go until Dallas," the man said after he'd finished his smoke. "You don't plan on drivin' like that, do ya?"
Instead of perking me up, the whiskey had only made me sleepier. I was almost passing out at the bar.
"It's either that, or sleep in the car," I said.
The man sighed, before continuing.
"I live upstairs. I got a couch you can crash on."
"I don't wanna inconvenience you," I replied.
"Ye'll inconvenience me more if you get yaself killed drivin' like that and then the police come askin' questions. C'mon."
Again, this wasn't a question, it was a statement.
"Let me just get my stuff from my car," I said.
When I came back in with my bag, the man was waiting by an open door behind the bar. He nodded at one of the men playing pool, who nodded back. It was their silent agreement for the other man to watch the bar while we went upstairs.
I walked around the bar and followed the man upstairs. There, a small space was divided into a living room and kitchen area, with one other door leading to the bedroom.
"Bathroom's through there," the man pointed to the bedroom. "I'll leave the door open in case you need to go for a piss in the middle of the night."
"Thank you. I'm sure I'll just pass out," I said, dropping my bag on the couch, next to all the stuff that was already there.
"I'll be downstairs if ya need anything," the man said, and left.
I tried not to look around too much and be nosy. Still, from the look of the place, it was obvious the man lived alone and didn't really care about keeping it tidy. I carefully put all the stuff that was on the couch down on the floor, before taking my clothes off, getting down to my boxers.
I took my toothbrush out of my bag and headed to the bathroom. Stepping inside the bedroom, I saw it was even messier than the living room. Clothes, mostly used socks and underwear, were sprawled all over the floor. Empty cigarette packs, full ashtrays, and an old bottle of lube were on the nightstand.
I brushed my teeth quickly and went back to the couch. I looked around the room, hoping to see a blanket somewhere. It was warm enough to sleep without one, but I figured it's more polite to cover up if I go to sleep near naked, especially if I happen to pop a boner in the middle of the night in the loose boxers I was wearing.
Luckily, I found a small blanket on the floor. I took it with me to the couch, and like I'd predicted, I passed the fuck out immediately.
A few hours later, I was awoken by the noise of someone coming in. The room filled with the smell of whiskey and cigarettes as soon as its owner was in. He'd probably had a few more drinks before closing up.
"Ya alright?" he asked when he noticed me stirring.
I realized I'd kicked the blanket off to the floor in my sleep. I lay in the dark and heard the sound of the man taking his shoes off and unbuckling his belt, somewhat surprised to hear him do this in the living room. Then again, it was his place after all.
He let his jeans and heavy belt drop loudly to the floor, and he walked to his room. His nightly routine, I'm sure. From the bathroom, I heard the sound of piss hit the toilet, with both doors open. He pissed like a racehorse for over a minute, before stumbling to his bed.
With my eyes still closed, my hearing was even shaper than usual. I heard the man light up, then take an inhale so deep that I could hear it to the other room. After that, a noisy cough, so loud I could hear the phlegm in his chest.
After it'd calmed down, the man reached for something on his nightstand. All of a sudden, my anxiety kicked in. What if it was a gun? Was I safe here? Was this stranger just trying to be helpful, or did he having something else in mind?
Whatever he had in mind didn't seem to do with me, however. The man remained in bed. A few seconds later I could start to make out what he was doing: jerking off.
It was no surprise whatsoever. A man living on his own, going to sleep alone after work. It was to be expected. My dick wasn't all soft either. I wondered if it'd been poking out of my underwear when the man walked in.
Listening to his lubed-up strokes, I started to get harder and harder. A few minutes later, the man lit up another cigarette, and went back to yanking his cock.
Without thinking about it too much, I got up. My feet walked toward the bedroom on their own. I didn't have a plan what I would say once I was there. I could always say I just needed to use the toilet.
I found my host exactly how I'd imagined him: sprawled out in bed, hairy legs wide open, and his hard cock pointing upwards, glistening with lube and precum.
"Ya alright, boy?" he asked casually, taking the cigarette out his mouth with one hand, while his other hand pumped up and down on his boner.
I said nothing else.
Just like he'd done to the pool player earlier at the bar, the man nodded his head at me without saying anything. No words were necessary; I understood his invitation.
I slipped my fingers inside the waistband of my boxers, and pulled them down to the floor, before climbing in bed between the man's wide-open legs.
As I leaned forward, not even the cigarette smoke could cover up the smell of the man's crotch. It reminded me of the only time I'd felt a smell like that: in the military, whenever we had to go for days without a proper shower sometimes.
The man reached for a raggedy towel, that was obviously his well-used cum rag. He used it to wipe the lube off his dick, as I licked my lips, waiting to wrap them around in.
I didn't have to wait long. Pretty soon, my lips were sliding down his shaft, and his cockhead went from hitting the roof of my mouth to hitting the back of my throat.
"Mmmf," I choked on the man's cock. Now that my nose was buried in his bush, the smell was almost overwhelming.
"Aha," he grunted, putting one hand on the back of my head and starting to fuck my throat.
I had no idea if this person was into men or not. Maybe to him I was just an eager mouth to unload in. Either way, it was fine by me. I let my jaw relax, as I started to stroke my own dick while letting the stranger face-fuck me.
"Yeah... yeah," he grunted more and more aggressively, putting both hands on the back of my head and fucking me faster and faster, until I was gagging and drooling all over. Then, he finally slowed down.
I thought he'd done it to spare my throat. Turns out, he was almost done with his cigarette. He reached for another one off the nightstand, and lit it with the tip of his previous one. I continued to suck his cock and jerk both of us off while he chain smoked. After a few minutes of me working on the head of his dick, he was ready to go in deep again.
In a second, his dick was hitting my throat again; his hands on the back of my head. I gagged, but started to get used to it. Flashbacks of the first time I sucked a man's cock flashed through my mind. In the military, my first week. Initiation.
My throat completely relaxed, instead of pain, I felt pleasure now. I started to stroke my dick faster. The man fucked my face harder and harder as well. A few minutes later, just as I was running out of breath, his rapid pumping told me he was about to shoot.
"Yeah. Fuck, man. Shit. Yes!!" the man grunted, as his warm cum started to coat the back of my throat. Sliding down, I took all of it, obediently swallowing all his jizz.
Quickly multitasking, I reached for the man's cum rag and laid it under my dick, just as I started to shoot my load all over it. I felt like moaning out loud but I couldn't, prevented by the musky cock in my mouth, and the sperm that was currently gliding down my throat.
A couple of minutes later, when we were both done, I got up and picked up my boxers off the floor. Heading back to the couch, neither of us said another word. I was up before sunrise, sneaking out to hit the road.