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Pollination: The Series
|Another note: From the "Writing-without-an-Editor" Department -- a couple of corrections that have been brought to my attention by a couple or readers. 1) The plant-type that I keep describing in these stories is actually the carnivorous "Pitcher Plant," NOT the "Venus Fly-Trap." Damn, caught with my botanical pants down! This next one I didn't even realize until I looked it up. Given to me by "Jpboojum," (Thanks, PJ!) who wrote and said, 2) the word "symbiote" is incorrect -- creatures who share a symbiotic relationship are actually "symbionts." Well, my vocabulary just improved by one. Consider all this fixed as of this chapter! And if you re-read the other stories, substitute for yourself.|
|There were some men who begged for the transformation, willing to sacrifice
anything for the gross musculature, the heightened physical powers, the
strength and athletic abilities, the hyper-masculine attributes -- the men on
this extreme, though vocal, were still a minority. Most men fell somewhere in
the "always sort-of secretly wanted it, but couldn't voice that desire"
category -- repressed, inhibited middle-class schmoos that largely wasted their
new lives for lack of imagination. Lastly, there were the men who needed
greatness THRUST upon them, who resisted each step of the way.
Those were the precious few that Sheriff Lane enjoyed the most, savoring the moment of their acceptance like the last buzz from a long-held stash. Getting off on their submission, climaxing at their defeat, his flow matched their ebb. They ALL wanted it, it turned out, even the guys who didn't think they did -- ESPECIALLY them. The Sheriff so firmly believed that, he'd call it one of his core convictions -- he believed it even before he'd accepted his Symbiont.
At least, he thought he had.
He'd pulled over a Harley the other night -- a Road King, a modified cruiser -- because he'd thought the guy riding it was hot. West Virginia doesn't have a helmet law, remember, so the guy had been clearly visible. Large-frame, powerful carriage, European ancestry, strong lines, brutish hair -- maybe what had made him so hot had actually been the motorcycle -- wouldn't advertising agencies have had a field day with that? -- not that he'd been bad looking on second glance, either.
What the Sheriff liked in his boys was quite the opposite of what he looked for in men. Where he liked his boys tight and smooth, pretty and fit, he found himself attracted to bulky, well-muscled maturity. The Sheriff never compromised being a top -- but he would enjoy the battle for dominance these stronger men would offer. Boys were easy -- men presented a challenge. (Doubtful that anyone could challenge the Sheriff now.)
The guy on the Harley had been a big man -- the Sheriff would've enjoyed the encounter BEFORE his transformation. Bulky, mustachioed, chaps and vest over a black t-shirt and jeans, the rider had exuded manliness. So much so that, even when the three-hundred-fifty pound Sheriff had stepped out of his cruiser and approached him, the guy had remained calm. "You're a big one," he'd said.
"License and registration, please," said the Sheriff, his expression hidden behind his mirrored sunglasses.
"What'd I do?" the guy asked, crossing his arms, making no movement toward his wallet.
"Just give me your license and registration, buddy. I don't need any trouble from some pussy on a Harley."
And that was the kind of comment that always started the battle. Actually, it was kind of a clever move -- putting your adversary on the defensive immediately, unexpectedly. It gave the Sheriff the advantage from the get-go. In a rage, the guy would invariably charge and attack, and the Sheriff -- thanks in large part to the Symbiont's physical and reflexive gifts -- could use the guy's own energy against him, taking him down quickly and easily. (And again, putting the Sheriff in a dominant position.)
The guy on the Harley had been a textbook example. Attack his concept of masculinity, insult his manhood, and he'd predictably fight to protect his pride. He'd been off the bike as soon as he slapped the kickstand down, fist cocked and ready to swing.
To the Sheriff, enhanced through Symbiosis, every movement seemed in slow motion. He'd merely shifted his weight to dodge the swing, grabbed the attacker's arm as it sped by, and pulled him off his feet, following the course of motion. With incredible ease, he had the guy on the ground, arms pinned, cuffs out and ready to go on. No one had presented a challenge to the Sheriff since his transformation, and he kind of missed it.
When he had the Harley guy in custody, he'd forced him toward the cruiser. The guy struggled for sure, but to little avail against a Sheriff that out-weighed him by a hundred muscular pounds -- though the Sheriff had sure enjoyed the attempt. "What the fuck did I do?" the guy'd hollered, getting more and more agitated. "What the fuck did I do?"
But the Sheriff, emotionless behind his mirrored sunglasses, had only shoved him toward the cruiser. (He hadn't spoken because he'd been busy battling his own burgeoning erection. Not yet, he'd thought. Not yet.) Forcing the guy to bend over the cruiser's trunk, the Sheriff had kicked the man's legs apart, roughly frisking him.
"What the fuck...?"
"Shut up," the Sheriff had said, shoving the guy down with his forearm, leaning some of his weight against him. He'd reached around and felt the guy's pockets -- he'd avoided the crotch. The guy HAD to be able to feel the Sheriff's big cock pressing against his ass -- unless he'd thought it was a billy-club.
He'd been clean.
After unclipping the guy's wallet from the chain that'd held it to his belt, he'd pulled the guy to his feet and said, "Don't move."
"You gotta tell me what I done," the guy had said. "I got rights."
But the Sheriff had ignored him, opening the trunk of his cruiser. As the hood popped up, he grabbed the guy by the vest and pulled him around the back-end of the car, forcing him to look in the trunk. (For a fleeting instant, the guy had thought the Sheriff was going to PUT him in the trunk.)
But sitting there next to the spare tire had been a potted plant, strangely out of place in the trunk of a car, though it appeared healthy. It looked like one o' them pitcher plants -- one o' them carnivore plants -- the guy had thought. What the hell was it doing in the cop's trunk? And was it moving?
Too late. By then, it'd spat at him, a big ball of golden pollen, hitting the Harley guy square in the face. With his hands cuffed, he couldn't do anything but shake his head -- and that did little good. The stuff had clung to him almost.
Blinded by the pollen, almost choking on it, too, the Sheriff had easily pushed him into the back seat of the cruiser. Then the Sheriff had retrieved the plant from the trunk, walked to the other side of the car, and put it in the back seat on the opposite side.
The Sheriff filled out paperwork, leaning against the trunk of his car, until he'd heard the struggles cease. When he'd heard the guy break out of the handcuffs, when he'd caught the sound of tearing leather, it hadn't been long before he'd felt the moment of their Symbiosis. The moaning roar of orgasm signaled completion, and the Sheriff had strolled over and casually opened the back door.
The Harley guy -- his license had identified him as "Dwight Dixon" -- his rap-sheet had him as "Snake" -- had gained quite a bit of size. He'd misjudged himself getting out of the car, and his shoulders got stuck. Chuckling, the Sheriff had offered a hand, and Snake took it. When they'd finally gotten him out of the car, they both got their first good look at his new body.
Still smaller than the Sheriff, but not by much -- nobody was bigger than Sheriff Lane -- his leathers stretched, but held -- barely. They'd looked almost painted on -- almost as if it'd been his own thick skin -- a bull elephant after a facelift. What had been a bulky, loose-muscled lineman had become a tight, thick, heavyweight machine, favored in the arms -- the only bodypart NOT covered by black leather.
The closer he'd gotten to Sheriff Lane -- actually, the closer their Symbionts had gotten to one another -- the greater his lust. As the Sheriff had pulled him out of the car, they'd pressed together. The Sheriff had never kissed a man with a mustache before -- Snake had never kissed a man, period -- but they both liked it very much. Snake had blown his orgasm almost immediately -- the Sheriff seemed able to resist forever.
After that, when he'd understood everything, Snake had mounted his bike and prepared to continue north. The Harley might have groaned under the burden of his new, extra weight, but it was strong enough -- it would live.
Just as he'd been about to drive off, the Sheriff had handed him the ticket. "Don't speed in my town," the Sheriff had said, smirking, but not truly allowing himself to smile. (Snake still hadn't seen his eyes.)
That was the kind of guy -- and the kind of situation -- the Sheriff liked the most. And when he was bored, like he was now, sitting behind a billboard manning a radar gun, he liked to reflect on that particular moment. It invariably turned him on. (He was thinking of getting himself a Harley.)
But his reminiscence was shattered when a sports car raced through the speed trap. The Sheriff smirked. Even though he'd only caught a glimpse, the guy driving it looked kind of hot.
Maybe he'd struggle.
The Sheriff turned on his lights and sirens and pulled out.
"Holy mother-fuckin' shit!" was all Tony Leonardi could say when he got to the train platform and saw them for the first time. That was pretty much what everybody had said. Tony was just the most recent. "What the fuck's happened to you guys?"
"We'll explain once Chuckie gets here," said Keith, touching his balls through the thin layer of his gym shorts -- the ones that had once been baggy, really baggy, so baggy he used to never wear them. (He thought they looked like a skirt.) It had taken them a while to find clothes that fit -- both him AND W.B. -- clothes that were big enough for them now. He ended up in the already mentioned gym shorts, now stretched-taut over his sweeping quads, and one of his old practice jerseys, cut to expose his abs -- it had been cut before his transformation. He would've preferred to be wearing underwear -- not just because his Symbiont would get better support -- for now he hung loose inside his gym shorts, but because he was in front of his buddies, and he didn't want to betray himself so easily.
W.B. -- who would never be called "shy" -- still wore his old cargo shorts, though now they were tight in the thigh and loose in the waist instead of the other way around, and they hung low on his hips -- his gut up and gone -- exposing the top of his boxer shorts. Otherwise, he wore only a well-worn wife-beater, which had once been stretched by his lineman's belly, but now lay loose over his rock-hard abs. W.B. liked the guys looking at him. He flexed for them. "Fuckin' amazing, isn't it?" he asked, showing his arm, his bulbous biceps.
"Is it real?" Tony Leonardi asked -- it was as big as a melon, remember, maybe bigger, and Tony Leonardi, who'd always had the biggest arms (though his were only smaller citrus), was in shock.
"Feel it," said W.B., moving his flexed arm closer to Leonardi.
Tony Leonardi had barely touched it, barely laid a finger on the granite-like hardness of W.B.'s biceps, when big Dan Wall called, "There's Chuckie!" and distracted them.
Chuckie pulled up on his ten-speed -- since losing his car-privileges for the summer, he pumped everywhere on his bike, which he claimed gave him the best legs of the group. (There'd be some challenges to that now.) Chuckie was the smallest of the guys, at five-six. It made him a damn fine wrestler, but not much help on the football team. Still, the five of them, jocks that they were, accepted him in the clique. He and big Dan Wall -- like Mutt and Jeff, a reference that would be lost on these boys -- were inseparable. One could describe their relationship as symbiotic even then, before the transformation. The two had been neighbors since childhood, and were closer to brothers than their real brothers, of which Chuckie had two (both younger) and Dan Wall had one (a dozen years older). They had their secrets.
Big Dan Wall had big, bulky muscle, thick joints and heavy bones. When he finished filling out, he'd be more than impressive -- even now, at an awkward eighteen, he showed the "pre" in his prime. He was growth-hormone gone awry, the perfect high-school lineman.
"All right," said Chuckie as he pulled up on his bike, "what's so dang-fired important that I gotta hustle my ass down here so quick...?" Then he saw Keith and W.B.. Like the rest of them, he said, "Holy shit. What the fuck's happened to you?"
Keith smiled. "It's easier if we show you."
The two gigantic boys led the way, not even checking to make sure the other guys followed them -- they knew they would. They led them right to the edge of a rise about a hundred feet from the old train platform, on the far-side of the tracks. They all looked down into the valley. "What?" said Tony Leonardi. "What are we lookin' at?"
There was a cluster of about eight tube-shaped flowers at the base of the rise, looking out of place and alien. Keith pointed to them. "Those flowers are what happened to us," he said. "We sniffed 'em."
Leonardi snorted. "No fuckin' way!"
"Way, dude," said W.B., adjusting his balls -- his heavy, heavy balls. "We sniffed the flowers, and we got fuckin' massive." He hit a few poses, a double-bis, a side-tris, a most muscular (in case they weren't sure). "No shit."
Keith indicated the two wilted plants amidst the group. "These ones here were the ones."
"And they made you like that?" asked Chuckie.
They both nodded and said "Yeah" and "Yup" simultaneously. Neither could seem to resist flexing, or touching his package.
"No fuckin' way!" said Tony Leonardi, crossing his arms -- his own strong arms, the ones that used to be the biggest.
"So sniff a flower, dude," said W.B.. "Prove us wrong."
But Tony Leonardi didn't -- he took a step back instead. "Fuck you. What's the joke?"
"No joke, Tony," said Keith. "It's true. That's what happened."
Chuckie piped up. "I'll sniff a flower!" he said. "I ain't afraid." But before he took a step, he added. "C'mon, Dan."
Dan Wall shrugged and followed after him, as he'd done for all the years they'd known each other. As the rest of them watched, Chuckie bent down toward a flower. Neither Keith nor W.B. warned him, so he was surprised when the pollen hit him in the face. His immediate reaction was anger, and he quickly looked at Keith and W.B. to see if they were laughing, to see if he was a victim.
The look on their faces was satisfaction, not amusement, so he knew he wasn't. The only one laughing was Dan Wall -- and that only for the slap-stick element, the only humor that Dan Wall could really appreciate. "You think somethin's funny?" said Chuckie, his face covered in dusty pollen. "Somethin' amuse you?"
Big Dan Wall stifled his giggles enough to recount the event, like he was calling color-commentary at a game. "You was so cocky," he said, reenacting Chuckie's motions. "So sure they wasn't gonna play a joke on you. You bent down like this, and the plant..."
The plant next to the one that hit Chuckie spat its wad at Dan Wall, as he stared at it, dumb-founded -- it was the perfect TVLand Pie-Take, the dust covering his frozen face, except his shocked eyes. All the boys laughed -- Chuckie included -- hell, even Tony Leonardi laughed at Dan Wall making an idiot out of himself. Dan Wall shook his head, and tried to wipe the pollen off with the back of his hand. He ended up just spreading it around, breathing more in. Chuckie had already given up trying to get it off his face -- the shit CLUNG to him. And when he laughed at Dan Wall, some got in his mouth.
"Now THAT was funny!" said Chuckie, pointing at Dan Wall.
"Fuck you," said Dan, grabbing Chuckie in a mock head-lock and giving him noogies -- which was the way the two of them expressed their physical affection, the way MOST straight guys did, with rough-housing.
"So, what, Leonardi was right?" said Chuckie to Keith, pushing himself off of Dan, who was licking his lips at the taste of the pollen (like pre-honey) -- it was good. He liked it. "Ha ha. Good joke. You got us."
"No, no," said W.B. shaking his head. "It's not a joke -- it was the pollen. That was what happened to US. The pollen."
"Give it a minute," said Keith. "You'll see."
Trusting their friends, albeit suspiciously, the five boys waited there on the train tracks. In a few minutes, Chuckie and Dan Wall began to realize that Keith and W.B. weren't playing a joke.
They weren't playing a joke at all.
The Bowden's had owned the property since the mid-1800's, right as the big rush to go to California seemed to infect the populace like a gold-plated virus. For a time, Ed's Great-Grandfather had kept cattle, but the rich land brought in so much more that they finally switched to farming permanently. (Besides, Ed's Great-grandfather produced a large enough family to easily run a farm. So large, in fact, that it would seem that producing family was the only thing Ed's Great-grandfather liked to do aside from land-holding.)
Between the wars and the accidents and the villainy of Time itself, Ed was the last of that grand family to work the farm. Now, pushing seventy -- wife dead, one son dead, the other moved off to the city -- the one who'd snobbishly called farming "antiquated." (Ed had to look that up to discover he'd been insulted, though the kid was probably right.) He had nothing left. Just offers from the big companies looking to buy up the state of Kansas and run it themselves. Ed had vowed to never give in to them. No matter what.
He was the kind of older man who looked like he'd been very powerful once -- almost strapping -- but misfortune had borne down on him so heavily that he was slowly collapsing under it. His body could barely stand erect and tall, hunched at the shoulder and weak at the knee. For a man who used to be able to toss bales of hay into the loft single-handedly, it was a painful decline. He was mostly angry.
And then this man Murdock appeared -- out of nowhere, an over-muscled miracle. If one could put aside his freakish body, he struck Ed Bowden as perfectly normal. He wanted his own land -- he'd explained when he'd arrived with the Real Estate agent a few days ago -- to be away from society, to become self-sufficient. He could put his weight-lifting equipment in the barn -- he used the word "possibilities" over and over.
Ed Bowden LIKED this man Murdock. He liked his confidence, his gruffness, his very profound sense of masculinity -- Murdock expected no opposition, so he got none. Not just that Murdock treated Ed like a man, with respect, not the patronizing air people adopted when speaking to the elderly. Murdock listened patiently to Ed's million stories -- histories about the land and particular members or branches of the family -- even showed some interest. Maybe Murdock knew that it was Ed's way of saying goodbye to the place, where he'd lived his entire life.
Ed accepted Murdock's bid on the property -- he even offered Murdock to move in to one of the main-house's eight bedrooms while the paperwork went through. "No need for you to pay them hotel rates!" Ed declared. "Besides, it'd make it feel more like a transition for the old place." There'd be at least a month before the closing.
Murdock was outside right now with a rented roto-tiller, working the Near Field -- the one right next to the barn, adjacent to the back yard. This would be his "personal garden," he said. Ed figured it would be the place he grow his salad stuff and his marijuana. (See? Ed was a very practical man.)
Out of the second-story bathroom window, Ed could see Murdock, shirtless, tilling the soil. The buzz of the machine's gas engine echoed quietly through the house, easily controlled by Murdock's massive upper-body -- it'd been a long time since the sounds of activity were heard at the Bowden Farm. Ed liked it.
Plus, it afforded him an opportunity.
Ed shuffled his way down the hall -- it'd taken him almost ten minutes to get up the stairs -- toward the back bedroom, where Murdock had settled. Not surprisingly, the door was locked -- Ed had given Murdock the key himself. (Murdock had joked about how old-fashioned it was.) But Ed had a spare AND a master of his own, not that Murdock knew THAT. An old man had to have some secrets.
It took him a few tries -- and a few keys -- to get into the bedroom, but the door finally opened. Ed could hear the tiller working the field, so he knew Murdock was outside, but he couldn't help feeling like he wasn't alone. A little bit of snooping by an old man was almost expected in the mid-west, wasn't it? Ed had watched Murdock move in -- Murdock said that he'd wait to bring his big stuff -- his furniture, his weight-lifting equipment -- until after Ed moved out. (Ed didn't know Murdock didn't really HAVE any of these things.)
But Ed was curious about something else -- not just the prospect of seeing if Murdock took steroids, which was what Ed figured. No, Murdock brought in a big plant, wrapped in paper, like it had come from the florist's shop. He was obviously trying to keep it secret -- he kept it wrapped! -- so Ed figured it was illegal. Probably marijuana.
Ed hadn't seen a marijuana plant since his son Dave (who became "David" when he moved to the city, the one who found farming "antiquated") had grown some in the Back Field. His son had convinced him to try it before condemning it -- and though he'd liked it, he had to teach his sixteen year-old son a lesson. They'd had to destroy all twelve plants, much as neither had wanted to. (If Ed Bowden had understood the concept of karma, he'd realize he'd created his own Fate right then.)
Ever since, he'd always wanted to try marijuana again. Now, he figured that the plant Murdock had tried to sneak in here was nothing but! The man wouldn't have kept it covered if he'd hadn't been trying to keep it secret. So, feeling as if he'd had the authority, Ed let himself into Murdock's bedroom.
This room faced east, and got the full force of the bright morning sunshine, lighting it in a beautiful white-yellow. Ed scanned the area quickly and found the plant in the big window by the dresser.
It wasn't marijuana -- at least, nothing like anything his son had grown, though it smelled as bad. The flower looked like a tube -- like a big purple cock, as big as a man's arm. (A COCK as big as a man's arm -- imagine!) "What the hell is that?" he asked, stepping toward it.
In response -- an almost EAGER response, like the thing had been waiting for him, ACHING for someone to come into the room -- the flower shuddered, and shot a wad of pollen the size of a bowling ball -- easily as big as Ed's head -- right at him, hitting him square in the face. The force of the shot slammed him over backwards, flat onto the floor.
He lay there, unable to catch his breath from the thick pollen choking his airway, but conscious of his sudden erection, the likes of which he hadn't felt in twenty years.
What the hell was happening to him?
To ride a motorcycle is to experience one of the joys of manhood. Straddling that mechanical power and mastering it, feeling its erotic vibration against your scrotal sac, the hot-and-ready throb of pre-sex. It's why men rode. It's why such a masculine, sexual mystique had become associated with a simple instrument of transport. The entire leather underground explosion could trace its origin back to the motorcycle.
Snake had been riding since he was fifteen -- his first Hog when he was twenty-four. (His first pair of chaps hadn't been long after that.) To ride a Harley was to understand that a masculine sexual rush was the most important part of having a bike -- the bike and the rider would then became reflections of each other.
Was it any surprise, then, that his Symbiont LOVED it? The steady hum of the engine, the vibrations of power, even the simple shifting of gears gave the creature that now resided in Snake's balls a sense of stimulation and comfort not usually experienced by members of its species. If such a thing were possible, one could say the Symbiont was turned-on by riding the Harley.
And an excited Symbiont supplied stimulating rewards. At first, Snake could only go five or ten miles before having to pull over to blow a load. Now, barely a week later, he could manage almost fifty. It became a game he played with his Symbiont -- who could hold out the longest. (He usually lost.)
To see him drive by, an almost three-hundred pound bodybuilder dressed only in leather pants, boots, and an ill-fitting vest, unshaved face (scruff almost as thick as his mustache), shaggy hair, sunglasses, and packing a package that seemed almost impossible, one wouldn't think this gruff example of counter-culture was responsible for the hundreds of pinkish flowers now growing along the highway, the many small patches of penis-y posies popping up at rest areas and truck stops.
But he was.
Snake continued north, on his way to Canada and the business he would soon have there.
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