For the Glory of the Earth
Ervin Walker hiked up to the top of the ridge of the White Oak mountain range as he did every Friday afternoon, weather permitting. He was standing there, looking northwest over the rolling south central Virginia farmland as he had done nearly every Friday from mid afternoon until almost twilight for the past twenty-four years since he had received the call. This was his time to meditate and to let the words he would preach come Sunday morning at the Pentecostal chapel down in Pleasant Gap sink into him. Somehow standing here and looking down into the valley beyond his small farm, his own little slice of heaven, was what gave him his inspiration.
He had been born on this farm and he planned to die on this farm. Others were talking of selling, some because they just could not make a go of it anymore. But his land had come to his family at the time of their freeing, during the War of Succession, and each first son of each generation of the Walkers since then had pledged to remain on the land and to do their work for the glory of the earth. Nothing was more important than preserving the glory of the earth and receiving the bounty gleaned there from days of plenty and fallow alike. That they had received more than their usual share of days of fallow for too long now was one part of the troubles on the land hereabouts, but only one part. It had been seven years. That meant something to Ervin, more apparently than to some of his neighbors who were close to giving up. He had the faith the seven years of famine would be followed by seven years of plenty. He lived by this knowledge, which had seen his family through many generations of troubles with the earth in the valley he now looked down into. His family had known to lay up a good portion of the bounty in the feast years to tide them over in famine years, and they thus far had managed thereby to hold a steady course.
Rain. What they needed was rain. And protection from the outside forces of evil that were descending on this valley. Ervin lifted his arms and looked heavenward, looking for signs of rain, praying for the rain. And, with a thought to the outside forces threatening the valley, he was also listening for that one word or phrase that always came to him late Friday afternoon. The word or phrase around which he would construct the simple message he would impart to the faithful few in his momma’s chapel down in Pleasant Gap.
He stood there, for more than an hour, eyes closed, denying himself the glorious sight of his own farm descending from the ridge into the valley below. Denying himself the sin of knowing how prosperous he was compared to many of his neighbors and how fortunate a man of color such as he was to have been from a landowning family these past hundred and fifty years and more. Pushing out the sin of pride—and closing his mind to the other sin, the most powerful of those that plagued him but that he could not withstand—he rocked his solid, muscular body of a man not quite fifty and used to working the land hard with honest, manual labor, and he hummed and opened himself to the word.
When the word came, it was a single word this time, not a phrase, as it often was. It was the word “sacrifice.” It entered his mind so strongly, with a thunderclap that tantalized, not promising rain, but marking the shift in fronts and the blast of dry heat, that Ervin knew this was the word he was meant to talk on Sunday morning. And it came to him with such strength that he knew that it was also the key to the valley’s broader, more immediate problem. He didn’t know how it was key to this, but he often didn’t know the purpose of the word he was to preach while he stood on the top of the mountain range. Often fuller knowledge of what he was supposed to say and do came to him while he was doing his Saturday chores, working almost twice as hard on a Saturday as he did any other day of the week because there was to be no toil on Sunday. Sometimes the message didn’t enter him until just as he was standing on a Sunday morning to let it out of him.
The word had come earlier than usual. It was still daylight when he descended to the split-rail fence line marking the inner yard around the house, where the smaller farm animals and the tractor and old Ford pickup were kept. As he approached the farm yard, he felt his insides tensing up and that old sin tearing at him. There was nothing he could do about that, though. He had tried, but he could not deny that no matter how much he prayed or attempted denial. There were more pressing matters before him; this was a sin so great that he would need that and just that to concentrate on—someday. And now the temptation was overwhelming. He should never have taken Monte, Diamonte Moore, on. But when he had done so, that had been because of another call that came to him on the mountain top. The call that the young man needed his help, needed a chance to fulfill his own destiny.
But maybe it was a testing of himself, of Ervin Walker. If so, Ervin had failed the test. The young man Cihangir travesti was just too attracting—and, the real downfall, too willing, too pliable. He gave himself without question, with no fuss, no reproofs, just as if it was most natural thing, when every fiber inside Ervin screamed out that it was not natural.
Ervin’s eyes went to the young man as he approached the farm yard. Monte was at the wire fencing around the chicken house, on his knees and leaning over at the edge of the wire, repairing it where the chickens had pulled the wire out of the dirt at the base of the fence, and nearly had it separated to the point where they could escape the pen, little knowing that the fence was there to protect them.
The older man ached, as he always did, at the sight of the young man’s bare back. Nothing aroused the juices inside the man more than the sight of those young, broad, muscled shoulders. Monte had come to him as an outcast in his last year of high school up in Chatham, where he had withdrawn from the school football team, despite high school football being the end all of everything in this region of the state, because, what was publicly discussed, Monte was drawn to working the land and raising and caring for animals. His teammates and schoolmates had derided him and shunned him—not because he was not suited for football, because he had a magnificently formed body and a talent for the game, but because he would not devote his full time to it—and because of the rumors about what he had done with his body.
Monte also knew what none of his classmates or the school’s alumni who were so taken up with the success of the football team knew for sure, although some suspected. Monte knew he couldn’t spend time in the school’s locker room with other young men without revealing the secret he himself had only learned shortly after his eighteenth birthday when the football coach, Mr. Docrity, had given him a ride home from practice one night and stopped on the banks of Green Creek in a remote location and fucked Monte four ways from Sunday in the bed of his Dodge Ram truck. Monte hadn’t minded the fucking. He hadn’t struggled or questioned the coach; he’d just laid back in the bed of the truck and opened his legs for the coach to do what he wanted, locking eyes with the coach in a welcoming smile and no more than a moan and grimace and arching of his back and reaching around to grasp the coach’s bare buttocks as Docrity’s slowly entered him and began to pump. This uncomplicated, full surrender of Monte to the coach’s lust inflamed Docrity and caused him to come back again and again for what Monte willingly gave him.
After two months of football practice and long rides home by the coach, Monte’s teammates had started to razz him about what he was giving the coach. Monte, uncomplicated in his sexuality, would have told they what he’d given the coach, but Docrity had forbidden him to do that. The young man had been too conflicted by the directions in which he was being pulled to remain on the team. And while withdrawing from the team, he’d withdrawn from most of the rest of life as well.
Withdrawing even from Chatham wasn’t totally Monte’s choice. As rumors spread of what the coach was doing with Monte, it was Monte who took the pressure. The coach had taken the football team to state semifinals four years in a row. It wasn’t the coach who was going to be taken to task. And the coach wasn’t going to stop fucking Monte by his own decision. Monte wasn’t planning on giving up the coach either, but the second time he was taken into the shadows behind the school gym, beaten by his former teammates, and told to get out of town, he did so—as soon as he picked up his high school diploma.
Monte’s shyness and ostracism had led his school counselor, a childhood friend of Ervin’s, to approach Ervin about taking the boy in to explore his love for animal husbandry on a farm—a farm a good distance from Chatham—as soon as he finished school and until his classes at the community college in Danville, to the southeast, commenced. Little did the counselor know the temptation and perpetuation of an “issue” she was creating for both the young man and for Ervin.
She had never known why Ervin’s wife had left him.
Ervin walked up behind the crouching Monte and placed a hand on the young man’s shoulder. Having heard the older man approaching, Monte didn’t flinch.
“I’m fixin’ the wire so they can’t peck their way out,” he murmured.
“I see that you are, You’re doing a fine job of it,” Ervin answered in a low, hoarse voice.
Monte turned his head and looked up at the older man, a knowing look entering his eyes. Both of Ervin’s hands were on Monte’s bare shoulders and he moved them, gliding down to the young man’s shoulder blades. The feel of the hard muscles on a young man’s back was a fetish for Ervin, bringing out urges he couldn’t resist. He stood back up, his knees now touching Monte’s back, but stayed standing only long enough to unbutton Fındıkzade travesti his shirt and spread it apart. Then he bent over the young man’s back again, letting out a low moan, and his bare chest closed over the muscular back of the crouched younger man, his taut nipples rubbing against Monte’s shoulder blades. Ervin reached around with one hand and cupped Monte’s chin and turned and raised Monte’s face to him. Monte’s lips opened to Ervin’s. A growl deep inside Ervin’s chest marked the feeble attempt he was making to deny his sin. His free hand went to palm one of Monte’s pecs, his thumb finding and rubbing over the nub of Monte’s nipple.
The young man’s body trembled under the caressing touch of the rough toil-callused hands of the older, more experienced man. Leaving Monte’s breast, Ervin’s hand moved down Monte’s hard belly, unbuttoned the fly of his worn jeans, and wrapped itself around Monte’s engorging cock.
Disengaging from the kiss, but their eyes still locked on each other’s, Monte gave Ervin a shy look, and asked, almost in a whisper. “You gonna fuck me again today before chores are done, Mr. Walker?”
“Come into the house now,” Ervin answered in a hoarse, strangled voice. “The fence is secured good enough for now.”
“You gonna fuck me good?”
“Just come into the house, Monte.”
“Yes, sir.” Obediently, without hesitation, Monte stood and followed Ervin into the house.
Ervin fucked Monte on Monte’s bed. It was always on Monte’s bed, not Ervin’s. Ervin slept in the same bed his parents had slept in—and his father’s parent’s before that. It was the bed Ervin’s mother had birthed him in and the bed both she and his father had died in—the bed Ervin assumed he would die in too. And maybe his son, Tyrone, after him, the son that Ervin’s wife had taken away with her when Ervin was discovered to be having his way with Lamont Jackson a couple of farms over.
They fucked on Monte’s bed. And they fucked the way Ervin liked it, Monte on all fours or on his belly, and Ervin crouched over his young, well-muscled back, kissing and biting the curves and contours of the young man’s back and rubbing his nipples on Monte’s shoulder blades, while he stroked Monte’s ass in long, deep strokes. Monte panted under Ervin as the older man moved from loving caresses and holding his thick cock at the root and revolving it in Monte’s channel, guided by Monte’s gasps and murmurs of “yes, there, like that. Fuck me good, Mr. Walker,” as Ervin snaked a hand around Monte’s waist and stroked his cock to ejaculation.
Monte sexually relieved, Ervin continued stroking, progressively sinking into lust and beyond-control need. They ended with Monte, always all-out passionate and vocal, not holding out on wanting the fuck, crying out “Ram me! Ram it hard. Yes. Again and again!” And, lost in the primordial fuck, Ervin did just that, pulling out of the younger man’s canal with a cry at the end and barely getting the condom ripped off his shaft before he shot his load, in three strong bursts, across the small of Monte’s back and collapsed on top of the young man’s trembling body.
“That were a good fuck, Mr. Walker. Thank you kindly.”
Ervin turned his head, not wanting Monte to see his pained expression, his humiliation of giving into his lust again—and being thanked for it.
Once Monte was into a fuck, he went as whole hog as any young, randy stud, wanting more of it, harder and deeper. And he could be a screamer for it. As casual as he was in giving it away, he could really turn a man on with how intense he was in the clutch.
Sometimes when Ervin felt he wanted the fuck more than once, he’d remain in Monte’s bed and they would doze between takings. As submissive as he’d been to the coach’s demands in the backseat of his car and grateful to Ervin for taking him in and permitting him to work on the farm for pay before his first year in community college—and feeling protected by having an older man who wanted to make love to his body—Monte uncomplainingly fell in with whatever mood or servicing request Ervin made. He never was the one to ask for a fuck, but he never denied Ervin when Ervin wanted it. He had never denied or hesitated with the coach, either, not even that first time. On occasion, Ervin worried about Monte’s pliability, but his own sin was so great that he didn’t want to worry about it too much or for too long.
Monte never questioned Ervin’s need to gain sexual satisfaction through him at all. The young man’s greatest interest was in working on the farm and, specifically, with the animals. Watching animals breed—and sometimes the males trying to breed with each other—was taken by Monte as just the natural way of nature. He assumed that he would ask for sex from Ervin just in the natural scheme of nature if Ervin didn’t ask it of him nearly twice a day, fully satiating the needs of even a young, vigorous man in his prime. And Ervin was thicker, could reach deeper, and could stroke longer than Coach Docrity Fulya travesti had been able to do. Monte did wonder on occasion whether a younger man could do him even better, but he was in no particular hurry to find out.
He also wondered about being fucked by a white man—if that would be any different from being fucked by the coach or Ervin. He never thought about the morality of being fucked by any man—only about the pleasure he could get and receive from it.
During the day, Ervin could approach and fuck Monte almost anywhere where there was cover. He didn’t like to do it out in the open, saying that he couldn’t do it with the thought that his sin could be so openly observed from the heavens. But the cover of the shed they called a barn, or inside the pickup cab, or under bushes in the shadow of the house had all been taken advantage of when Ervin’s lust got the best of him, which usually was when he saw Monte crouched over, showing the curve of his magnificent, young, hard, bare back.
At night, they always did it in Monte’s bed, though. And when he was done, Ervin would return to his own bed, always alone. While moving between the beds, he would admonish himself for giving into his sin. But once in his parents’ bed he gave not a whisper of his weakness. In his parents’ bed, although a sinner he was, there was no inkling of his deepest, darkest sin. As long as he didn’t do it in that bed, surely his ancestors knew nothing of his great failing.
* * * *
“I thought this was all goin’ on cross county at the Coles Hill farm.”
“EnergyFuture Incorporated is actually looking in several locations,” the handsome man with the squared-away Marine look, blond buzz cut, and jeans and sport shirt tailored to fit in but still a bit too stylish for Danville, answered.
The question had come from the audience in the library meeting room on the north side of Danville, Virginia. It was the first of the evening that had even a hint of critical question behind it, and Ervin was beginning to be convinced that the movie-star-handsome corporate representative booked to talk to this open meeting on Saturday evening had salted the audience with supporters of the plan to open up a uranium mine in his valley. Thus far the man, who was all smiles and glib talk and flirty looks at the grinning women present, had called on questioners by raised hands. This was resulting in softball questions from folks Ervin had never seen before in his recollection. And Ervin was pretty sure he knew everyone living in the White Creek valley. This last question had been impatiently called out from the audience by one of the valley farmer’s Ervin did know, Bill Kemp.
“What about the health hazards of uranium mining?” a woman’s thin, crackly voice with a patrician Southern accent floated out over the audience. Ervin could hear a groan go up from many of those in the room he didn’t recognize.
“We have plenty of literature on that laid out on the table here, Ms. Harrison. You are welcome to take any of it home with you. And you’ll notice that Pittsylvania County’s congressional delegation up in Washington has, to a man, written endorsements on those studies.”
“Well, Bob, Mark, and Tim are all up in Washington, D.C.,” Sadie Harrison called out in a dry voice. “I’m just a bit more interested in the health of those who will be living down here with all that radioactive uranium being brought up from our earth here abouts and refined right here. You did say it was to be refined right here, didn’t you?”
The groan, reminiscent of the canned laughter tracts used in TV situation comedies from the previous century, rose again across the audience packed into the windowless library meeting room.
They have come prepared, Ervin thought. That man—Jack Carson, the representative EnergyFuture sent down from Richmond to charm folks into numb brains, to contain and nullify any opposition, and to get land purchases started had done his homework. He even had known who Sadie Harrison was and that she would be a major focus of his problem mitigating the opposition to what EnergyFuture—and Richmond—wanted to do here. She was perhaps the wealthiest person in the northwest corner of the Pittsylvania County. She was as old as the White Oak mountains and her family had been wealthy landowners here since the Revolutionary War. She herself had indexed that she knew everyone who was worth knowing when she had used the first names of the state congressional delegation representing this region in Washington. She also was known as a leading environmental and animal rights advocate in a county known for its ultraconservatism and as a hunter’s paradise. She was the major supporter of the county’s SPCA, which she insisted maintain a no-kill policy.
As, smiling an “I’m not the least bit worried how this is turning smile,” Jack Carson raised his arms to show that he wanted to tamper down the audience reaction before he gave a “reasonable” answer to Sadie Harrison’s “obviously” impertinent questions.
Ervin stole a glance at Monte in the folding chair beside his to see what his reaction to all of this was. Monte seemed to be wide-eyed and fascinated. His attention was glued to the handsome, confident-acting man standing on the platform at the front of the room.