episode 3

SCOTT

I watched Steveís car until it disappeared around the corner at Lake Street. I couldnít believe it. What had I done to make him run away like that? Was it the comment about him not being able to get it up? At least I know he likes guys. Maybe he hasnít had a boyfriend since his accident. I know I read that paras could enjoy sex. Even if they canít get hard. But Steve wants to get hard. How would I feel if I couldnít? A little useless, I guess. Like an old man. Thereís gotta be a way. I jogged back into the apartment and got on the web.

STEVE

I drove fast, probably too fast, my face hot, my eyes tearing up a little, my hands gripping the controls tightly. I grabbed the brake too hard at the stop sign and my chest slammed into the seat belt. I heard something hit down in the footwell. I looked down; no blood, but my legs were still sandy from the beach. I thought Scott knew a lot about paras! Maybe some paras could get hard. My legs didnít spasm; maybe that meant my dick couldn't get hard either. I turned right. There was a guy in rehab who had really bad spasms. He was a T-6, a lot higher than me. Once his legs jerked suddenly and threw him out of his chair. I didnít have to worry about that, but I never asked him whether he got erections. The only person I talked to was the doctor. As soon as I found out I couldnít feel my dick.

I looked him in the eyes. "Will I be able to have sex?"

He fiddled with the lapel of his white lab coat. "At your level, the reflexes donít work anymore, so you wonít be able to get erections."

That was all he said. Nobody else talked about it. It was so depressing there. I left rehab as fast as I could. I just got my chair and learned how to use it.

I turned into the parking lot of my old club, Mikeís Fitness. I couldnít believe it -- my favorite handicapped spot, the one on the right of the walkway, was taken. There was another one on the left. I backed the car in so my door would open on the walkway. I got into my chair and wheeled to the back, grabbed my gym bag from the trunk and dropped it in my lap. I was curious so I went over to look at the car in the other spot. It was a white two-door, and it didnít have a placard hanging from the rearview mirror -- it had handicapped plates, like my car! Whoever it was had a permanent disability. I got as close as I could to the driverís door and looked in. No hand controls. Huh. I wheeled to the curb cut and up the path to the front door.

"Hey Steve." It was the attendant with dark wavy hair. His string tank exposed his bulging arms. "Whereíve you been?"

"Hey Mark," I said, wheeling over and stopping near the desk. "Just around. Thereís a pool at my new place." I liked how the desk was the height of a regular table, so I could see over it easily. At Scottís gym, the desk was up high.

"Let me know if you need a lift," he said, smiling at me. He sometimes helped me onto the bars so I could do dips. The feeling of Scottís hard shoulders under my hands flashed through my mind. I pushed the thought away.

"Sure," I said, and pushed towards the locker room.

It took me a minute to remember the combination to my locker. I pulled off my tank top and grabbed a clean towel. My membership here didnít run out until October, so why did I go and become a member at Scottís gym? I slammed the locker, but it bounced open. I slammed it again and held it closed.

The accessible shower was free, as usual, so I folded down the shower bench and transferred onto it. My feet slapped onto the tile floor. I noticed the sand on my chair cushion and brushed it off. I pulled the curtain closed so my chair would stay dry, then I turned on the shower. My chest muscles jerked a little as the cold water hit. Spasms? My dick and legs didnít move at all.

There was sand on the back of my legs and my butt, so I leaned over and ran my hands under my calves and thighs until they felt smooth. I put my hand on top of my knee for support and it felt slimy. Scott had rubbed suntan lotion there. What was I thinking when I let him do that? It didnít even feel good. It didnít feel like anything. I tried to wash it off, but it was waterproof. Slimy legs. Maybe they would slip through the water better.

I put my left hand under my thigh and pulled. My hips rolled to the right, and I braced myself with my right hand on the bench. My left leg crossed over my right and I dropped my foot on the floor and used my free hand to brush off the back of my trunks. Then I rolled to the left and got the other side. I switched off the water, dried off and transferred back to my chair. I felt the wheels skid a little on the wet tile as I headed for the door.

The weight machines werenít crowded for a Saturday. Probably the football game. There was a curly-haired guy I didnít know on an exercise bike. His eyes followed me as I rolled across the room. I pushed the glass door open and wheeled out to the pool area. The sun felt good on my back. Nobody else was in the pool. I picked the lane next to the wall and got out of my chair at the shallow end. The deck felt hot to my hands. I threw my legs into the water quickly to keep them from getting burned. Five laps backstroke, five breaststroke, and ten freestyle. The water felt good. I could almost forget about the tall boy with Abercrombie looks, silky blond hair and deep blue eyes.

I grabbed the edge of the pool and brushed the water out of my eyes, catching my breath. There was a foot on the pool deck near my hand. It was a left foot. I turned my gaze up slowly. The foot was attached to a muscular calf and thigh, which disappeared into navy blue racing speedos, cut very low. His right leg -- wasnít there.

I stared at it. It ended halfway down his thigh in a tapered stump. I finally pulled my gaze away from the stump and followed the light skin up a well-built torso and arms, to a face with short, medium-brown curly hair and piercing blue eyes that looked into mine. He balanced there on his left foot, his arms and stump moving back and forth a little. I looked back down at the stump, then up at his face again.

"You swim real well," he said, looking into my eyes.

I froze for a moment. His eyes were close-set and his nose was kind of big. His lips looked full but were set in a line, his expression serious.

"Thanks," I said.

"Race you," he said. He hopped on his left leg, holding the stump of his right leg up a little, until he stood in front of the lane next to mine. Then he jumped in, foot first. I shielded my face from the splash. He surfaced, his hair slicked down, and stood on the bottom. He didnít need to hold the edge like I did.

"You gonna race or not? Freestyle, one lap."

Me race someone? I thought. "I can't use my legs, you know."

He sighed. "Yeah, I saw you swim. And I know that's your wheelchair."

I remembered. "You were the guy on the bike inside! But you have legs. I mean..." I trailed off, looking down at his stump.

He gripped the edge with one hand and pulled himself over to the edge, bending his arm. "Iíll push off with my arm, like you."

I looked down the lane to the end, twenty-five meters away. "Okay." I tensed my arm.

"Go!" he yelled, and pushed off.

I swam as hard as I could, but I could feel him pulling away. He beat me by a full body-length. I grabbed the edge and surfaced.

He was grinning at me. "Awesome, man."

"What do you mean?" I tried to catch my breath.

"Youíre really good. Iíve got three classes on you and I didnít beat you by much."

"Classes?"

"You know, crip swimming." He cocked his head a little. "Youíve never heard of classifying?"

"Um, no," I said. I guess I was a crip. "Iíve only been swimming for two years, since... you know."

"Only two years?" He whistled. "Are you at State?"

"No, Iím working," I said, wondering if I looked that young.

"Iím a sophomore. Weíve got a great team this year." He paused for a moment. "Iím starving. You wanna get something to eat, and Iíll tell you about it?"

The sun was getting low. "Sure. Iím Steve," I said, suddenly realizing I didn't know his name.

"Brian," he said, reaching over with his right hand while he gripped the edge with his left. It was the deep end, and even he had to hang on. His hand felt smaller than mine.

"I need to get out that end," I said, gesturing back.

"Oh yeah," he said, looking over at my chair. "See you there, then."

He took off. I followed, arms churning furiously. No fair!

It felt like the pool was longer than before. I glanced ahead. No one there -- and the edge wasnít getting any closer.

I stopped stroking and looked back. He was holding my ankles. Laughing his head off.

"You wiseass!" I yelled, bending over and yanking on his wrists. He let go and I had to tread water with my arms to keep from sinking. I had to laugh too.

We swam over to the end, in my lane, and he got out facing the edge of the pool, pushing down on the edge with both hands until he could get his stump over the edge. He turned and sat, his foot in the water, facing me. He watched me lift my butt backwards up to the edge. I pulled my legs out one by one, crossing them in front of me. I grabbed the frame of my chair and rolled it closer, put one hand on the seat, and pushed down on the floor with my other hand to lift my butt onto the seat. I shifted my butt back and reached down to adjust my feet so they were flat on the footrest.

"So howíd it happen, man," he asked, looking at my feet.

I looked at him. "Rock-climbing," I said, thinking that was the most blunt way anyone had ever asked. Not that many people asked. They just pretended I didnít exist.

"Bummer," he said, standing up, hopping a little to keep his balance. He was shorter than I had thought, maybe five-eight, about the same as me, if I were standing, anyway.

"What about you?" I asked, thinking he wouldnít mind.

"Cancer," he said, and I thought he would leave it at that, but as I wheeled and he hopped toward the showers, he went on. "I was thirteen. It was either lose the leg, or die."

I swallowed. "You can walk, though."

"Yeah, fake legs keep getting better and better."

"How come Iíve never seen you here before?" I asked. "Thatís your car in the handicapped spot outside, isnít it?"

"Those are my wheels," he said, and then glanced at my chair.

"These are my legs," I said, looking at him as I continued pushing the handrims.

"Yeah," he said. "Yeah, I just drove by and saw this place. Never been here before."

I went in first and held the door for him. At the locker room door he returned the favor. I wheeled to my locker, grabbed a towel, and headed for the accessible shower.

BRIAN

His legs are so thin. Iíve never seen legs that thin. But his abs are pretty nice, I guess heís just paralyzed below the waist. Pretty cool wheelchair, flaming red like he wants to be noticed. I keep on pedaling and watch him roll out the door to the pool. He goes around the corner and I canít see him anymore. Wonder if heís good. I cool down for a minute and then stop, reach down to pull my right sneaker out of the footstrap, then step off the bike. My right knee is locked and itís clumsy as usual. The knee on my new leg is supposed to be smarter. I walk quickly into the menís room, open my locker and pull off my T-shirt. I kick off my left sneaker and pull down my sweatpants and briefs together, then step out of the left side. I pop the seal on my leg and pull my stump out of it. I lean the leg against the back of the locker with my pants and sneaker still on it. I lift up my stump. It looks a little red. I grab the end with both hands and squeeze a few times. My Speedos are in my backpack so I take them out and sit down on the bench. I yank my sock off and pull my Speedos over my left foot. Then I stand and pull them up. I scratch my pubes. I hop to the showers and wash the sweat off. It kind of sucks that there arenít any rubber mats. Thereís a handicapped shower, though, and the bench looks wet. He must have used it. I hop back to the locker and grab a towel, then head out to the pool.

The wheelchair is there, looking kind of lonely. Like a lost puppy or something. I guess itís cause itís the only one. The deck is pretty warm under my foot. Heís doing freestyle, and his form looks great. What if heís some kind of champion or something? If he's paralyzed below the waist he should be an S6. I ought to be able to beat the record for the class. I hop over and stand right near the edge, next to his chair. I watch him do a few laps. He hasnít noticed me yet.

His hand grabs the edge near my foot and his head pops up. He sees my foot, singular FOOT, and he looks me up and down, then he stares at my stump, naturally. I tell him how good he is and offer to race him. He whines that I have legs. I offer to start in the water and not kick off the wall. He says yeah, so I jump in and we go. I only beat him by a length. Iím so impressed I grin like an idiot and offer to let him meet the team, and he says sure.

Then he points to his wheelchair and says he needs to get out over there, so I pretend to race him. He takes off and I keep pace with him, then halfway down I sneak underwater and get into his lane. His limp legs twist left and right behind him. Heís not gonna feel a thing. I get behind him and keep on kicking while I reach out and grab one foot, then the other. I gradually slow down and stop, treading water. He doesnít notice heís not moving for like four strokes! He finally turns around, sees me, and hacks at my arms to make me let go. Weíre both laughing like maniacs.

We get to the end of the lane and I get out, and I watch him get out, picking up his legs with his hands. He gets into his wheelchair easily. He catches me staring at his paralyzed feet, just lying there on his wheelchair. I ask him how it happened, and he says rock-climbing. Then he asks me, so I say cancer. Not that talkative, but heís got this great body, at least above the waist.

I follow him in and he actually holds the door for me. I hustle to the locker room and hold the door for him. Itís embarrassing, I mean, itís harder for him to get through doors, isnít it? I go over to my locker and pull out my leg. My pants and sneaker are still attached to it, so I pull off the pants, then I look for him. Heís at the handicapped shower. I carry the leg over to show him.

STEVE

I was about to transfer to the shower bench when I heard a loud noise on the tile, slap slap slap. I looked up and saw him hopping over, carrying something.

"Let me show you my leg," he said, stopping nearby. I turned my chair to face him. He held it out in front of him with both hands. At one end was a black Nike sneaker, low cut. I could see the top of a gray plastic foot in it, and attached to it was a cylinder of black metal that extended up to the shiny hinge that was his knee. Above the knee there was more black metal, and then a large white curvy thing that looked like a bucket. I reached out to feel it with my right hand. It was hard plastic.

"Thatís the socket, the part my stump goes into," he said. He pointed to a black button thing, an inch or so across. "This is the suction control."

"Itís held on by suction?" I asked.

"Yeah," he said, turning the leg so I could see into the socket. He reached inside and put his hand on the side of the socket, pushing a little. It moved. "Itís made of silicone. Feel it."

I reached in and felt the soft, flexible lining. "How does it keep from wiggling around?"

"The outside is rigid, and it has curves that fit my pelvis tightly," he said. "The inside has to be soft because my stump changes shape during the day." "Your..." I found it hard to say. "Stump... changes shape?"

"Yeah," he said, leaning the artificial leg against the wall. He hopped a little closer, and raised his stump, cradling it in his right hand. "My stump gets bigger and smaller depending on the temperature and how hard Iím working it. Here, you can touch it."

I looked up at his eyes, then back at the stump. "Are you sure itís okay?"

"Yeah, go ahead," he said, waving his stump around a little.

I reached out with both hands and tentatively touched the rounded cylinder of flesh, holding it up on the bottom, touching the top gently. It flattened as I squeezed it. It was covered lightly with medium brown hair, just like his left thigh. On the end, near the back, was a scar, about two or three inches long and U-shaped. I rubbed it with a finger. The stump jumped a little. I looked up.

"No, thatís okay," he said, smiling, his mouth hanging open a little. "Go on."

Okay, I thought. I squeezed the stump with both hands, rolling the muscle around. It was really soft. I rubbed the sides, fascinated by how it felt. I held the stump with my left hand and stroked the inside with my right, from the end towards his crotch. He let out a strange noise. It sounded like a moan. I looked up at his face again. His eyes were closed.

Then I felt something touch my right hand. It was his dick. It was growing in his Speedos. I stroked the inside of his stump again, back and forth, in and out, getting closer to his crotch. I stared at his dick. It kept swelling until it popped out the top of his low, low Speedos. It was big, bigger than how mine used to be, at least I thought so. And it was cut. And it throbbed. And it pointed straight at my face.

I leaned forward and took it in my mouth. "Ohh," he said. His hands reached out and grabbed my shoulders.

I kept stroking his stump, fingertips gently kneading the muscles, while my tongue caressed his shaft, his tip and the ridge in between. His stump and dick were the same. My hands circled around the tip of his stump, and my tongue circled around the tip of his dick. My hands slid up and down the shaft of his stump, and my tongue slid up and down the shaft of his dick. I moved my head back and licked the sweet pre-come off the tiny hole at the end, and he jumped a little, his stump twitching, his hands gripping my shoulders hard. I swallowed him again, deeper this time, and my hands and lips and tongue moved, faster and faster. His head fell back, his butt clenched, he groaned, his stump jerked, and he shot.

I let him go and wiped off my mouth with the back of my hand. The taste was salty sweet. He leaned backwards and hopped back a little to keep his balance, breathing hard. He tried to stuff his dick back in his Speedos. I looked down and felt my own dick with my hand. It was lying against my right thigh, limp, as usual.

"Man!" he gasped. "Whereíd you learn to do that?"

"You liked it?"

"It was amazing!"

"I havenít done it in two years," I said. It felt sort of good. "Since... you know."

"Man," he said. He pulled down his Speedos and hopped out of them. "I gotta wash off."

"You want to join me in here?" I was surprised the words came out of my mouth.

He looked at the handicapped shower, then back at me.

I put my hand on his shoulder and looked meaningfully at him. "Thereís room for two."

He looked down at my legs, then back at me, and shrugged off my hand. "No, thatís okay." He hopped over to the regular showers, holding his stump up as usual, his dick bouncing up and down.

For a few moments I watched him. I transferred to the bench and started soaping myself down. I kept looking at him through the curtain. After a couple of minutes he turned off the shower and hopped over to his locker. He dried himself off quickly and put on his T-shirt and pants, but not his leg. He sat down, put on his left sock and sneaker, then stood up and tucked his rights pants leg back and up into his waistband. He shut the locker and hopped over, carrying his leg.

"You know where the main campus is, right?" he said.

I switched off the shower. "Yeah, sure," I said.

"Our next practice is tomorrow at the Aquatic Center," he said. "Get there at one."

"Wait, werenít we going to get something to eat?" I asked.

"Are you still hungry?" He asked, and he laughed. He hopped away.

I transferred into my chair as fast as I could, still wet, and followed him. When I got out the front door he was unlocking his car.

"Hey, whatís the deal?" I asked, rolling down the path. I stopped in front of him. "I thought you liked me." I felt pathetic for saying it.

He looked at my face, then down at my legs. I looked too. They were messily arranged, my right foot half off the footrest, dripping water.

Then he said, "Iím not gay."

I watched him drive out of the parking lot. What was wrong? Was it my legs? I smacked my fist into my right thigh. Did I get anything out of that, I wondered. I guess I could still give good head.

I started to shiver. I turned my chair around and headed back in.

BRIAN

And I canít help it, I get a hard-on. And he sucks it. He sucks it good. But can I do the same for him? Can he feel anything? I look at his crotch, and thereís nothing. Do I even turn him on? Heís sexy above the belt, but his legs are just wasted. So when he asks me why Iím taking off, I tell him Iím not gay. Heíll be great on the team. What else I can do. He gives terrific head. I just hope Sean doesnít find out.

SCOTT

He finally came home around seven. When he wheeled in I said hey, and he said hey, but he didnít look at me. His hair was wet, so I wondered if he had gone to the gym after all. I asked if he had dinner yet and he said he wasnít hungry, then he went in his room and closed the door. I walked up to his door and tried to say I was sorry, but he didnít say anything.

Earlier today I found out that there were lots of ways for paraplegics to have erections. Viagra only worked if they could have short-lived or weak erections on their own, and I didnít think he could have one at all. A penile implant was kind of drastic. You could stick a needle in your dick, which made me squirm just to think about, but that needed a prescription. Then there was the vacuum pump, simple, easy, not too expensive. I ordered one, next day air so it would arrive on Tuesday. I knew he still wouldnít feel it, but maybe it would make him feel better about himself.

Would it make me feel better? I sat down on the couch and asked myself, did I care if he could get hard? I wasnít sure. I mean, I guess I liked feeling someone inside me. I switched on the TV. It was an ad for Herbal Sextasy. I changed the channel.

STEVE

I played Resident Evil until my vision got blurry, then flopped onto the bed. I stared at the ceiling a long time before I fell asleep.

Bright sunlight woke me up. I looked over at the clock. Only 9:42. I didnít want to talk to Scott, so I shut my eyes.

...and I was running on a sea of green, extending as far as I could see. The sky was blue and clear and it was bright, really bright. I felt the grass under my bare feet as they pounded the ground. The energy coursed through my legs. My legs? I heard someone shout behind me and I turned. It was a boy with blond hair. It was Scott, chasing me. I ran faster, but he caught me, grabbed my shoulders, spun me around. Then he was kneeling on the ground, looking up at me, smiling, and suddenly my dick was there, hard, huge (was it that big?) and Scott opened his mouth...

My head jerked up. I was in bed. I tried to get up, but my legs wouldnít move.

My legs -- I saw the wheelchair waiting there by my bed, waiting to be my legs. It had been a dream.

The radio was blaring.

"-- just like a couple of tots

Running across the meadow

Picking up lots of forget-me-nots.

You make me feel so young."

Was that Sinatra? I hit the snooze button and fell back on my pillow. How long had it been since I dreamed about running? I couldnít remember. I used my chair in my dreams. It was a part of me. I was okay with that. Why did I dream about --

Then I remembered. Brian. The swim team. The clock said 12:32! I had to get ready. I got in my chair and wheeled across the hall to the bathroom. I didnít have time to take a shower, so I just cathed -- my bladder was really full -- brushed my teeth, tried to comb my hair, but it was a mess. Then I wheeled back into my room, changed into my Speedos, pulled on jean shorts over them, threw on a tank top. I stuck my Birkenstocks on my feet and grabbed my wallet and keys. When I wheeled into the living room, Scott was sitting on the couch. He stood up as soon as he saw me.

"Steve, I wanted to say --" he began.

"Iím in a hurry right now, can we talk later?" I said, wheeling to the door.

He ran over and stood between me and the door. I stopped and looked up at him.

"Steve, I'm sorry about what happened yesterday," he said.

"Why? You didn't do anything," I said.

"Then why are you mad at me?" he said. He looked really upset.

I almost said what I felt. That he obviously wasn't able to accept me with my useless dick. Unconsciously I put my hand on my crotch. But I couldn't say it.

"I need to go. I'll see you later." I kept my voice cold. I reached back and placed my hands on my wheels.

He looked at me, then he walked away. I shoved hard, my front wheels going airborne as I crossed the threshold.

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