A little something to take the chill out.
DANIEL AT BOYS BEACH
Daniel was a friend of Jay and Frankie’s who they had invited up to spend a few days at camp in PTown. Daniel had moved east from Ohio after breaking up with Loretta, the woman he lived with for a couple of years. She’d been possessive and controlling, he finally realized, and knew that only distance would give him the freedom to start a new life without her – a life that included the realization that he really preferred men to women. Jay had worked with Daniel for six years now but this was the first time Daniel had an opportunity to stay with Jay and Frankie in their RV.
Daniel was in his late twenties and not quite sure of himself when it came to meeting or dating men. He’d had one boyfriend, now an ex-boyfriend and their tempestuous relationship had made him something of a loner. Because of his shyness, Daniel could easily be taken for being aloof. In a place like Ptown, aloofness was normal and even considered desirable – or at least it was a quality that made some men very desirable in the eyes of certain other men.
Daniel was desirable in his own right, aloof or not. He was about 5-foot-ten, nicely tanned and, despite the fact that he never went to the gym or worked out, he had a perfect physique: big-boned and solid, his arms and torso were those of an Olympic swimmer. His body was decorated with just the perfect amount of dark hair that shouted masculinity without any of the negative qualities of hirsuteness. Daniel did not have the abs of a gym rat, but his belly was flat and taut; a dark treasure trail led from his navel and disappeared into the jeans that hung seductively on his hips and bowed out slightly in the front so that from the right vantage point one could observe a tease of pubic hair. His angular facial features, his cheeks and jaw were accentuated by a sexy 5 o’clock shadow at all hours of every day. His hazel eyes were constantly smiling though his lips were more reserved and showed little emotion.
“Get your things together, Daniel, we’re heading out to Boys Beach.” Frankie announced.
Jay and Frankie and a few of their friends always called the gay section of Herring Cove “Boys Beach” though other Provincetown regulars had other names for the popular spot. It was a relatively remote beach, way past the life-guarded area. It was a good half hour walk from the parking lot or the bike rack and even a bit longer if you hiked out the breakwater from Pilgrims’ Landing to Long Point.
“And don’t forget to bring plenty of water and your suntan lotion. You wouldn’t want to burn your delicate parts,” Jay added.
“I’m ready,” Daniel said, dressed in only a pair of cut-offs and holding a rolled up beach towel. “I stuffed a jug of water, some lotion and my cigarettes in here. That’s all I need.”
Jay and Frankie and their dog Bruno were loaded down like they were going on a desert safari. They had knapsacks, a cooler filled with sandwiches and Diet Coke, a pile of blankets and towels, a beach umbrella, a large thermos jug of ice water, a dog bowl, a leash, and a ten foot rope to keep Bruno from wandering. Somewhere in the pile was a book, a cassette player and the Provincetown Magazine. Bruno had his own saddlebags for water and food and toys. The four of them hopped into Jay’s truck and drove to the Herring Cove parking area.
“I’ll carry the cooler,” Daniel offered, “and the umbrella, if you like. I don’t mind.”
Daniel, carrying the cooler, the umbrella and his towel looked even more toned and gorgeous than usual. His bare feet and legs were nicely tanned and his abs glistened with a mere hint of sweat as he walked the beach, effortlessly toting the Igloo cooler. Jay, Frankie and Bruno, in contrast, looked like they were on a month-long expedition.
The guys made their way past the various groups of sunbathers: past the families with kids, past the Lesbians with kids, past the topless Lesbians, past the naked straight couples and past the gay men with swim suits, around the dunes and to the section of the beach where naked gay men were scattered like castaways. Some single men, some in pairs or groups, soaked up the sun; others were reading books or the daily newspaper, while others frolicked in the waves or strolled nonchalantly along the water’s edge, picking up colored stones or dishing about last night’s tricks.
“OK, this looks like a good spot,” Frankie said as he dropped a load of beach paraphernalia on the sand. Bruno looked relieved to finally take a rest from the long hike.
Jay said, “Fine. Looks good. And there’s plenty of eye candy to boot." Frankie and Jay spread out a large blanket and arranged some rocks along the perimeter to prevent an unexpected gust of wind from churning it up. Jay hoisted up the rainbow colored beach umbrella and tied the dog to the center pole.
Frankie and Jay removed their shorts. “Ah, finally, free,” they both said in unison. Frankie added, “The glorious freedom of being naked on the beach. Has to be the next best thing to heaven, maybe better.”
“Danny boy, don’t worry about the park rangers,” Frankie said, “they usually just give a verbal warning reminding you that the National Park does not allow nudity. Mostly the rangers don’t go looking for trouble and pretty much ignore the nudity, unless someone gives them flack. Nudity’s been a tradition here for years.”
“I don’t know about that,” Jay said, “I heard that they’ve got a new head honcho this year and the rangers are under instructions to issue tickets and collect fines if they want to keep their jobs. But it’s after Labor Day, so they might be short staffed and we’ll probably be OK. Besides, there’s usually plenty of warning when the rangers come down the beach on their ATVs. Most guys give a shout and a heads up if they spot a Parkie. Just keep your shorts handy.”
Frankie said, “I remember when the rangers actually used to patrol the beach on horseback. Maybe that’s what made it so difficult to enforce the no-nudity rule. Much easier to spot a Mounty than a dune buggy.”
“Well, guys, if you don’t mind I’ll just spread out my towel here and catch some sun. Give me a holler if I need to cover up,” Daniel said as he laid out his magic carpet on the sand about a dozen feet from Frankie and Jay. Frankie didn’t show his disappointment with the distance Danny had decided to put between his towel and their blanket. He had been hoping to keep a closer eye on Daniel’s beautiful body.
“You never have to cover up, if you ask me,” Frankie said, “but if I see a ranger I’ll let you know.”
After an hour on the beach, Daniel needed to cool off. There hadn’t been any sign of a ranger, so he walked bare-assed down to the water’s edge and dove in. Bruno, eager for a swim also, tugged at his rope and nearly took the beach umbrella down in an attempt to follow Danny. Frankie got up, untied the dog and the two of them walked down to the water to join Daniel. Jay followed and jumped in before Frankie even got his knees wet. Frankie was trying to adjust to the cool temperature of Herring Cove as Jay sent a cold splash into his face.
“Hey, cut that out!” Frankie complained.
And so went a glorious afternoon at the beach. It was one of those September days that seemed too good to be true.
(to be continued)