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The African Queen

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Boating Down the Ulanga

Part 8 

“All right, Roddy. Here we go!” He glanced up at the fort, and then back toward where I clung to the tiller. “Better get down, little Rev. And keep your head down!” 

The Queen chugged around the last outcropping, and we were out in the open. Charlie crouched down by the engine, and I slid off the transom, fighting to keep the boat as close to the far shore as I could. 

Voices drifted down from the fort, although we couldn’t make out what they were saying. I peeked up over the side and saw a German officer gesture to one of his Askaris, and the black soldier stepped forward and took aim. 

I ducked down and began praying. It must have worked, because the bullet went whistling harmlessly overhead. 

By the tone of the shouts that followed that shot, the German officer was not happy. I risked another glance and saw the hauptmann strike the Askari across the face and yank the rifle out of his hands. He barked something at his underlieutenant, and a swarm of the black soldiers poured over a ridge. 

The gunfire started, a constant roar that all but drowned out the sound of the Queen’s engine. Chips of wood flew as bullets tore into the boxes of blasting gelatin, and I could see that Charlie was watching grimly, waiting to see if his words would be prophetic. 

The gelatin did not explode. 

But disaster struck in the shape of a bullet that knocked free the hose that channeled the steam to the gears that powered the Queen. A cacophony of sound beat down upon us; the whistle of the escaping steam, the staccato whine of ricochets, the slowing beat of the boat’s engine. The hose whipped back and forth violently, and the boat rapidly lost her forward momentum. 

Charlie swore viciously under his breath. “Keep you head down, little Rev. Down,” he ordered. “We’ll have to let her drift!” The Queen rolled and the river carried her along. 

I bit back a cry of pain; a splinter of wood tore across the back of my arm and lodged just under the skin. I could feel the warm blood welling out and sank lower. I tucked my arm tight to my body so Charlie wouldn’t see it. 

He had more important things to worry about: the Queen’s engine was being peppered by the bullets. The Germans supplied their colonial outposts with bolt-action weapons that had been the latest in technology during the Franco-Prussian War, almost forty-five years before. They were outdated now, but they could kill just as efficiently as their more modern counterparts. 

Charlie’s mouth was a white slash in his face. He looked at me as if he wanted to memorize my features, and then picked up a grease-stained rag. I could see him draw in a deep breath. He duck-walked to the engine, his body jerking with each bullet that struck his boat. 

The soldiers saw a living target and went wild, shooting as fast as they could throw the bolt. As quickly as he could, my lover grabbed the end of the hose and shoved it into the nipple connector, wrapping the rag around it. One hand groped blindly for a roll of duct tape, and he secured the fastening with it. 

The Queen’s engine resumed her steady beat, and I sagged in relief. A flash of light caught my attention, and I twisted my head to watch the mountain fort as it slid behind us. The German captain flung down his rifle and rubbed at his eyes frantically. 

“Told you we’d have an edge!” Charlie pitched his voice so that it rose above the sound of the African Queen as she chugged around the bend. “I bet that must have smarted!” He grinned evilly. “That Hun was wearing glasses and the glare of the sun caught him right in the eye!” He patted the side of the boat. “You’re a good old girl, Queenie!” 

“Why aren’t I excited, the way I was yesterday, …Charlie?” I was still a little hesitant to use his first name. 

He hauled himself to the back of the boat and dropped down on the transom. “Yesterday the odds were better than even that we’d come out alive.” 

“And today?” 

He took off his cap and ran his fingers through his hair, which was streaked with sweat. “Today, they were better than even that we’d be dead before we got past Shona!” 

I gulped and shivered convulsively. “I put your life at risk. I’m sorry.” 

Charlie took out a cigarette. “It’s all right, little Rev. It’s not like I’m doing anything with it anyway!” 

I tried to get to my feet, but my legs cramped and I whimpered as I landed on my injured arm. Charlie grinned at me and hooked an arm around my shoulder, giving me a boost up. That was when he saw my blood-soaked sleeve. 

“Christ Jesus, boy! What have you done to yourself?” 

“It’s…it’s just a splinter.” 

“Splinter my ass! That’s a fucking tree trunk!” He took the sleeve in both hands and ripped it up my arm. I couldn’t prevent a moan. 


“Mr. Allnutt! Your language!” I tried to make a joke of it, but my lover was deadly serious. He took my chin in his hand and tipped my head up, leaning so close his breath fanned my lips. 

“Fuck. My. Language. Sit still!” He took the piece of wood between his fingers. I held my breath as he gently exerted pressure and pulled it from under my skin. To keep from crying out, I bit down on my lip so hard it bled. 

I felt lightheaded from the shaft of pain, but that was nothing compared to the burning fire when Charlie upended a bottle of gin on the gash. The tears that had flooded my eyes spilled over, and I gasped and tried to jerk my arm away from him. “You’re hurting me!” 

He scowled at me and took the tiller. “You’ll be lucky if I don’t do more than that! Stay put, and keep this on your arm!” He wadded up my torn sleeve and placed it over the wound. Steering us to the near bank, he tied the tiller, and walked forward to throttle down the engine and let out the anchor. Then he began rummaging for something in a storage compartment. 

I mopped my face on my other sleeve and sniffed. “What are you going to do?” 

He grunted in satisfaction when he found what he was looking for. He set the items aside and I watched in amazement as he thoroughly washed his hands. 

“What are you going to do?” I repeated, more uneasily. 

Charlie glared at me. As he picked up the objects and held them in one hand, the other tipped the remainder of the gin over them. After he tossed the empty bottle overboard, I finally got a glimpse of what he was holding. 

I tried to scoot backwards, but there was nowhere else to go, other than into the river. “What are you…You’re not going to do that to me! I’m not going to let you!” 

“Oh, no? Well think again, little Rev! If I don’t stitch up this great gaping hole in your arm, it’s going to fester and rot until it’s hanging by a shred of flesh! Now hold out your goddamned arm and don’t move a muscle!” 

He was implacable. I obeyed his order and watched in morbid fascination as he threaded the needle. Another bottle of gin was to be sacrificed for the cause. He cracked it open and held it to my lips. “Drink!” 

“I don’t…” 

“Drink it, little Rev, and for chrissakes, don’t argue with me! This is going to hurt like hell.” I could see the pain in his eyes, and realized what this was doing to my lover. I opened my lips and let him pour the fiery liquor down my throat. 

I sputtered and gasped, and then cried out as more gin washed over my injury. He shoved the bottle into my other hand. 

“You’re going to need more of this. Drink it.” The needle slid into the flesh at one side of the wound, and I couldn’t tear my eyes away from the sight of my lover competently tying the first of the stitches. I gulped down a mouthful of gin. 

As neatly as a woman doing needlepoint, he sewed my arm closed. Finally, he nodded to himself. “That should do it. Do you have a clean handkerchief we can use as a bandage, Roddy?” 

I nodded dumbly, then bolted for the side of the boat and hung over it as I emptied my insides into the river. When I was feeling a little better, I found Charlie waiting patiently to bind up his handiwork. He brushed my hair out of my eyes and ran his thumb under my lashes, catching a stray teardrop that clung to them. 

He brought his thumb to his mouth and licked the drop off. My mouth dropped open, and he leaned forward and rubbed his thumb over my lips. Helplessly, I let him slip his finger into my mouth. I sucked on it, tasting blood and gin and salty tears. And under it all, Charlie. 

“How are you feeling?” he asked. 

“Well, you were right. My arm does hurt like h…the devil.” 

“Lay down for a while. I’m going to get the Queen back on the river and we’ll see if we can find somewhere safe to stay.” 

My head still felt a little foggy from the gin and the shock of having my flesh stitched. “Beg pardon? We’ll just find someplace like we’ve been doing, and move on in the morning.” 

“I don’t think so, little Rev. This is the end of the line. I ain’t taking you any further down the river.” 

“But…but you promised!” 

“And you could have died. I ain’t about to let that happen. You’re just a baby!” 

“I’m not a baby! You can’t keep me here! I’ll go back to Limbasi…”

“Wanna bet? You’re stuck here with me. And don’t push me, boy! I ought to tan your hide until you can’t sit for a week, putting yourself in harm’s way like that.” I tried to protest the injustice of that statement, but he ignored me. “I still might do just that if you give me any more bullshit about soldiering! You can’t threaten me with going to Limbasi; we’re too far away from it. You’ll be walking until this fucking war ends before you get anywhere near there!” 

“I don’t care! If you won’t take me to the Lake, then I’m going back…” 

The rest of my words were cut off as the captain yanked me over his knee and began to spank me. I gave a yelp of outrage and began to struggle. The swats fell harder, and my ass began to grow warm and tingle. And I began to grow hard! 

I had to get off his lap. I sank my teeth into the firm muscle of the thigh under my mouth. 

With a roar, he leaped to his feet and I fell onto the deck, banging my head. He stood over me, his hands clenched into fists. “You little bugger!” 

I grew pale. There wasn’t much worse you could call an Englishman. “That’s the second time you’ve called me that! I’m leaving in the morning!” I whispered hoarsely. 

“Fine!” he snarled. “You want to leave, you can leave! First thing in the morning!” He strode to the front of the boat and pulled in the anchor, then fired the engine and backed the Queen out into the river. The current caught her and she moved forward. 

He was going to let me go? He wasn’t going to try to stop me? I put the length of the African Queen between us and stood watching the far bank, watching crocodiles slide into the water to attack some hapless prey. 

“There was a bold fisherman, set sail from Port Pimlico…” A quick glance over my shoulder revealed the captain singing raucously, and nursing a bottle of gin. 

And lined up on the transom next to him, were a half dozen bottles, awaiting his attention.


Note: The earliest date I could find on Barnacle Bill the Sailor was a 1930 recording by Hoagy Carmichael. I did find it listed at a Sea Chantey site as well, so I’m taking the risk that Charlie may have been familiar with it. I always had a soft spot for this song, and just thought it fit. Need I mention how shocked I was by the lyrics?? Also, I have no clue if Bang, Bang Lulu is appropriate to the time. But it is a song a sailor would sing. 

Part 9 

When I had threatened my lover with walking all the way back to Limbasi if he broke his promise to take us down the Ulanga, he had simply agreed to let me go. 

He wasn’t going to try and stop me. I felt as if he had casually tossed my heart in the trash. 

Mr. Allnutt spent the better part of the afternoon imbibing and singing. He grew tired of the Bold Fisherman, and began warbling off-color songs. His favorite seemed to be about a woman named Lulu, and his wonder of who was going to bang, bang her while he was out to sea. 

I could have wept. 

He finally picked a spot at random and put to shore. Even if the injury to my arm hadn’t precluded it, I would not have been able to go for a swim; the current was rather lazy and it was shallow enough to encourage crocodiles to use the area as a hunting spot. Their bellows shattered the stillness of the evening as they warned competitors away. 

I made a meager dinner. I wasn’t really hungry, and Mr. Allnutt seemed more inclined to drink his. 

I took my blankets and laid them down at the bow of the boat. It was difficult to fall asleep, and finally I resorted to caressing my cheek with the scrap of soft wool from my childhood. 


Originally, it had belonged to Nanny. When Brother announced, shortly after the deaths of our parents, that we would not be needing her services any longer, she had volunteered to stay without pay, but he had ruthlessly dismissed her. I didn’t dare voice an objection, but Nanny knew how devastated I was. I sat on her bed, watching with sad eyes and quivering lip, and rhythmically kicking the frame with my heel while she packed. 

“Ah, young Master Roddy, don’t take on so! It will be all right, pet. You’ll see! And just so you know that Nanny will always be thinking of you, I want you to have this.” ‘This’ was a small woolen afghan she had knitted to cover her legs in the winter. 

“But you’ll have nothing to keep you warm, Nanny!” A single tear escaped to slide down my cheek. 

“I’ll be going to my brother’s, in the Midlands, pet, and believe me, I’ll be plenty warm there. You keep this with you. Whenever you see it, or touch it you think of Nanny, and know that I’ll be thinking of you right back.” 

“Will you write to me, Nanny?” I asked as she enveloped me in her soft embrace. She always smelled of lilacs. 

“Of course, pet. Count on it.” 


But there was no ‘of course’ about it: she never did. When I asked Brother if there was any mail from her, he sniffed and said the ignorant woman could neither read nor write, and I’d better forget the notion of ever hearing from her again. 

I had the little blanket, though. It shrank over the years; from the many times I had to wash it. And unbeknownst to Brother, it came with us to Africa, and brought me much comfort. 

I folded it and placed it under my head, and tried to shut out the sound of my former lover getting riotously drunk. 

It was a miserable night. I couldn’t sleep from the throbbing pain of the stitches in my arm. And the pain in my heart. 

Sometime during the night, however, I began to grow angry. It wasn’t my fault! I hadn’t deliberately set myself up to be injured by that piece of wood that had been splintered by an Askari bullet. 

And I wasn’t the one who broke his word! My temper grew shorter and shorter as the night wore on. The last chorus he sang proved to be the final straw. 

I'm dirty and lousy and full of fleas,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor
I'll stick my mast in whom I please,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor
My flowing whiskers give me class,
The sea horses ate them instead of grass,
If they hurt your cheeks, they'll tickle your ass,
Says Barnacle Bill the Sailor.  

I tossed aside my blanket and got to my feet. Charlie had slid into a deep, drunken sleep, snoring so loudly that if there were windows on the African Queen they would have been rattling. Cradling my injured arm, I searched for a tool I could use as a pry bar. I dragged the unopened case of gin next to the side of the Queen and sat down beside it. 

By the time the sun rose, that case was empty, and bottles floated around the gently rocking African Queen. I decided I needed a break and brewed up a pot of tea. While it was steeping, I got the second case ready. 

I had to favor my right arm, and that slowed me down, so there was still half a case left when Mr. Allnutt finally began rousing. I sipped my tea sedately as he groaned and rolled to his knees, swearing at the cries of the birds that sliced into his brain and damning the early morning rays of sunlight that pierced his eyes. 

I waited until those bloodshot eyes were focused on me, and then made sure he was watching as I emptied the contents of the next bottle. 

“Oh, little Rev!” he whimpered. I dropped the bottle into the river to join its mates, and reached for another one. “Oh, now that’s plain cruel! Little Rev! Please, have a heart!” 

There were just a couple of bottles left. I turned my nose up at him, ignoring his moans and pleas and tossed them into the Ulanga. He scrambled for the last one, diving forward to grab it, but there was nothing left in it. “Oh, little Rev! I needed that! What am I going to use as hair of the dog?” 

He watched forlornly, and then with rising anger as he realized that there was no more gin left on board. “You had no right, Roddy! You had no right, at all! They didn’t belong to you! Oh, my aching head!” 

I picked up my cup of tea and stalked back to the stern. The family Bible was buried at the bottom of the carpetbag, and I retrieved it. I settled myself on the transom, brushed the hair out of my eyes, and opened the Book. 

While Charlie grumbled, I started at Genesis, and began turning the pages, finding my favorite passages, which all dealt with sex. 

When I caught a glimpse of clothing being tossed to the deck, I was sorely tempted to peek, but I was steadfast in my resolve to not give my lover the satisfaction. I licked my thumb and turned another page. The story of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course, Brother would never approve, but I had long ago found all the passages that aroused my… interest. 

In spite of my best intentions, the splash I heard had my head jerking up, but he was already in the water, and I couldn’t see anything. I scowled down at the Bible, and carefully reached for my teacup. 

There was a startled yelp, and Charlie came up over the side in a flurry of pale limbs. “Jesus, Roddy, you might have told me there was crocs in the water!” 

I kept my head down and bit my lip to prevent a burst of laughter. 

“Um, y’know, little Rev, I think I’ll get the old Queen ship shape. She ain’t had a good going over in donkey’s years!” 

I set the cup beside me and looked for another story. Ah yes, Lot and his daughters. Personally, I could not see wanting a child that badly. 

The captain was climbing into his canvas trousers. I did not look. “It’d be nice if I had a set of clean clothes. Now you, little Rev, you get your washing done as soon as may be. No procrasti-whatsis for you!” Charlie kept up a spate of conversation while he worked on the African Queen, to which I purposely did not reply. “No, sir! You make sure the chores is all done and then you read your Bible. Say, uh, why don’t you read one of them stories out loud, little Rev? My sainted mum used to do that when I was just a nipper.” 

I turned another page. 

There was the steady scrape of blade over whiskers, and I wanted to look so badly. The silence stretched out. 

“Would you like another cup of tea, Roddy? Yours must be cold by now.” 

Lick the thumb, turn the page. 

“Damn it, you can’t keep doing this to me, boy! It ain’t natural! Talk to me!” He was breathing heavily. “You want an apology? All right, fine. I’m sorry I got drunk. I’m sorry I spanked you! You ain’t a little boy, and I shouldn’t have done that…” 

“Is that why you think I did this? Because you spanked me?” 

“Well, ain’t it?” 

“Mr. Allnutt, what you did to me was nothing compared to what Brother has done!” 

“Then why…?” 

I finally looked up at him. And felt my mouth drop. With the salt and pepper stubble on his cheeks and chin removed, he looked much younger. And even more irresistible. 

“You went back on your word! You promised to take me down to the Bora, and now you’re not! And you called me a nasty name. Twice!” 

“Shit. Shit. Shit. I’m sorry, little Rev. I didn’t mean nothing by it. I’ve led a rough life, and I ain’t used to watching my tongue. And I was so scared!” Trust him to zero in on what hurt me the most. “And breaking my promise, well, hell! I was just trying to keep you alive! And you got even real good, Roddy, throwing away all my gin! Jesus God, boy, you’re a pisser!” He took a deep breath. “All right, fine. I’ll take you down to the Bora, we’ll go on to the lake, and we’ll blow up the Louisa. I ain’t got no idea how, but I’m sure something will come to me!” 

I wanted to throw myself into his arms, but I didn’t know if he wanted me any more. “Truly, Mr. Allnutt? Truly? We’ll go down to the Lake?” 

“I thought I was ‘Charlie’.” He came to me and drew me to me feet. Being careful of my arm, he held me close. The warmth of his breath as he sighed ruffled my hair. 

“My Charlie.” I let my lips wander over his smooth cheek, intrigued by the new texture. I remembered something else, and tried to pull away. “You were going to make me leave!” 

His arms tightened. “I’m sorry. I was just so scared,” he repeated. “You were bleeding, and all I could think was that I could have lost you…And I wasn’t about to let you leave. I ain’t never going to let you leave! Once I sobered up, I intended to talk you into staying with me.” 

“You really were? You’re not just telling me that?” I snuggled into his arms. “And now?” 

“Now?” I could feel his smile against the corner of my mouth. “Now I guess you’ve talked me into going with you. Just…don’t leave me.” 

“That’s why I got rid of the gin,” I confessed. “I was so hurt you’d call me such a horrid name. And then you were going to let me walk away!” 

“That’s why?” 

I nodded. “I wanted to hurt you the worst way I could think of. Brother could have told you what a wretched boy I am.” 

“Little Rev, I know he was your brother, and I know you must have loved him, but he was a stupid fu..fool!” 

I hummed contentedly. Charlie’s hands had wandered down my back and were cupping my buttocks, squeezing and separating them. 

“Um, could I ask you a question…Charlie?” 

“Mmmm.” His fingers were tracing the crevice and searching for my opening, and his knee had insinuated itself between my thighs. 

“That song you were singing?” 

“Which one? I was singing a few, if I recall.” He gripped my hips, urging me to ride his knee. 

“That…that last one…” I was getting distracted by the sensations he was skillfully arousing. 

“Barnacle Bill? What about it?” 

“What…what did he mean ‘If they hurt your cheeks, they’ll tickle your ass’?” I blushed and looked away. 

“Damn! I’ve gone and shaved my beard off!” 

“Maybe you could grow it back? Then you could show me!”


Part 10 

The captain of the African Queen shoved piece after piece of firewood into the furnace of the boat’s steam engine as we chugged along on the river. I sat at the tiller, watching in fascination the flex of muscle beneath the canvas trousers, as he searched for more tinder, and swore under his breath when he couldn’t find any. 

“We’re going to have to tie up early. I’ll need to find more fuel, and I’ll need daylight for that.” He turned on his haunches to smile at me. 

I looked at him from under my lashes and bit my lip to keep from laughing, but didn’t succeed very well. Now that we were no longer cross with each other, I felt almost giddy. I could have floated on air. 

My lover flowed to his feet. There was no other way to describe the graceful movement as he rose to his full height. He poured a cup of tea, strode to the stern and offered it to me. “How’s the arm feeling, Roddy?”  

“You did a good job stitching it.” I took a sip of the tea. “This is lovely, Charlie. Thank you.” 

“You carry on more over a cuppa than I do over my gin!” He tipped my chin up. I was frowning at the thought of him drinking. “You didn’t answer my question.” 

“It’s fine, Charlie.” 

“Why don’t I believe you?” 

I strove for an innocent look. “I don’t know why, I’m sure!” 

He settled himself as close to me as he could get with the tiller between us, and I could feel the heat of his body. I leaned into him, and rubbed my cheek against the rough material of his shirt. He rested his foot on the edge of the transom, fished in his pocket for a cigarette, and settled his arm around me. 

“Tell me something about navigating the river, Charlie.” 

He squeezed my shoulder and pointed forward and to the right of the boat. “See that vee, little Rev? That’s a snag. Take her a bit to port.” I adjusted the direction of the tiller. He drew in a deep mouthful of smoke, tossed his cigarette into the river and pointed out another stretch. “That choppy water, over there? Them’s shallows. The Queen don’t draw much water, so she can pass over them safely. Most other boats’d get their bottoms torn out.” 

“And that smooth, flat expanse, Charlie? Rocks?” 

“Rocks,” he agreed. “Or hippos. Just don’t go bumping into no hippos, little Rev. Makes them awful mad!” 

I brushed the hair back out of my eyes and smiled at him. He really was a nice man, to take the time to instruct me like that. I took another sip of tea. It was cooling rapidly, and I finished it before spotting a stretch of bank that looked promising. 

“Shall we tie up there, Charlie? Looks like there would be plenty of firewood there.” 

“Sure, little Rev. And maybe you can toss in a line and see if the fish are biting.” 


I was in a clearing on the bank when he returned with his arms laden down with a good deal of tinder. I had cleaned my catch and built a fire near the river. The meat was skewered and roasting over the small blaze. 

“Mmmm. That sure smells good, little Rev. I don’t remember what kind of fish is in the Ulanga. What did you hook?” He stacked the wood in the tender, hopped back onto land, and crossed the clearing to gather more of it. 

“Oh, just something that wasn’t too smart.” I smiled at him, hoping he wouldn’t press me to reveal the identity of our meal. Brother could never accept the reality of life in German East Africa. Charlie had been here longer than we had, but I didn’t know how he would feel about eating snake. 

He took one of the skewers and nibbled at the well-done meat. “Tastes real good, Roddy. Kind of like chicken! What’d you use?” 

“I found some of the leaves the native women in Kungdu used to rub meat to give it flavor.” I took a piece off the sliver of wood and bounced it from hand to hand until it cooled enough to eat. “I found a can of peaches, too, Charlie.” 

“Which would have been really tasty soaked in gin, little Rev!” He laughed at the affronted look I threw his way. “Did you bring the flour?” 

“No, I didn’t even realize we had any.” 

He climbed back onto the Queen and rummaged in a forward storage compartment. When he rejoined me, he had the tin of flour and a small frying pan as well. 

“This is something I learned on the Veldt. Only, there it was too dangerous to have a fire, so I had to use the eye piece out of my field glasses to bake them!” Charlie put together a thick batter in the palm of his hand and fried it up. “Flatbread,” he said briefly, sliding the small, golden brown circles onto a plate. He repeated the process until he had a neat stack, and some of them he sprinkled with salt, and some he sprinkled with sugar. 

He handed me one of those. It was so hot it burned my mouth as I took a cautious bite. I blew on it until it lost some of its heat. Then I gobbled it down. 

“This is delicious!” I mumbled around a mouthful. “May I have some more?” 

He was watching me as I greedily licked the sugar from my fingers, and I blushed and dropped my eyes. Which landed in his lap, where I could make out the bulge of his prick. 

“Oh!” I breathed. “Oh, my!” 

“I want you, Roddy. This isn’t the best of times, but I swear I’ll be careful of you…” 

I couldn’t catch my breath. He wanted me! 

His eyes were on the front of my trousers, and my prick sprang to attention. I licked my lips. 

“Are you wearing anything under this, Roddy?” My lover was beside me and his hand was stroking my trousers. I shook my head, unable to say a word, and he moaned. “You are a wicked lad! Let’s douse this fire and get back on board the Queen! It’s time all good little boys went to bed!” 

He scooped up a bucket of water and dumped it on the remains of the fire, and I leaned forward to scatter the charred twigs. I felt his palm slide up over the back of my thigh to palm the curve of my ass. 

“Charlie!” He combed the hair back from my eyes and cupped my chin. “You won’t be sorry, sweetheart. I promise you!” 

I swung a leg over the Queen’s railing, and his hand was there, giving me a boost. 

Fondling me. I whimpered with need. 

Charlie spread the blankets over the deck at the stern and took down the canopy. “There’s no threat of rain tonight, little Rev. And I want to have you under the stars.” 

My fingers fumbled with the buttons on my shirt. 

“Careful, Roddy.” He took the shirt off my good arm and eased it down over the bandage. “You don’t want to start that leaking blood.” He ran his hands over my torso, and I just stood there, staring down as my nipples sharpened to pebble-hardness. 

Charlie unbuttoned my trousers and brushed them down off my hips. They slid to the deck and I stepped out of them. “What…what do you want me to do?” 

“Ah, sweetheart! You don’t need to do a fu…a single thing!” He did try to guard his tongue around me. I thought of his tongue, of the things he might do with it, aside from guarding it, and I sighed. He stroked my shaft, catching the drops of liquid that oozed from the tip and rubbing them over the head of my prick. 

Then he leaned forward and replaced his fingers with his tongue, and I realized that this was one thing I had not contemplated him doing. “Charlie!” I gasped. My legs turned to noodles and I sat down on the deck, bruising my rump. He laughed softly as I rolled to one side and rubbed it. “Not funny, Charlie!” I said, aggrieved. “I hurt my bum!” 

“Then I’ll just have to kiss it and make it well, won’t I, little Rev?” He brushed my hand out of the way, and kissed and nipped his way over one cheek and across to the other. 

I found myself flat on my stomach, and I pillowed my hands under my cheek. 

“Spread your legs for me, sweetheart.” His tongue began to explore the crevice between my buttocks, starting at the sensitive skin just behind my balls and working his way to the tight ring of muscle that guarded my back passage. I shivered as it probed the pucker, and tried to hold myself still, but my prick was begging to be stroked and I rocked my hips forward. 

Charlie abandoned his actions and sat back, and the cool night breeze blew across my hole. I tensed, but then he stroked me, and I relaxed. In the dark, I could hear the rustle of clothing as he stripped off his shirt and trousers. He dragged a tin toward him, and opened it, scooping out a viscous substance that he spread over me, and then began to work into my snug channel. 

This was what I had wanted since I had seen those two natives loving each other in the jungle. But the sensation was like nothing I had dreamed. “Am I hurting you, sweetheart?” Charlie asked as his finger slid deep inside me. 

“No!” I moaned. “Give me more!” 

He chuckled, and suddenly there were two fingers preparing the way for him. I was frantically rubbing myself against the blankets. “Can you take another finger, little Rev? I want you really loose. I’m not much above average in size, but I don’t want you to bleed!” 

“Please, Charlie! Please!” 

My breath caught as he fucked me with three fingers, constantly crossing something inside me that drove me wild. 

“All right, sweetheart.” He removed his fingers and I looked back to watch as he slicked more of the substance on his shaft. “Get on your knees. No, keep your head down, I don’t want any weight on your injured arm!” He drew a deep breath. “All right.  I’m going to give you the real thing now. You’ll tell me if it hurts. Promise me!”

”Yes, yes, anything! Just fuck me, please Charlie!” 

He was careful. Oh, he was very careful. And I thought I would go out of my mind. 

The broad head of his prick pressed against my hole, and for just a second there was resistance, and a feeling that bordered on pain. I wasn’t about to tell my lover, and have him call a halt to this marvelous experience. I wanted this, and I would undergo anything to have it. 

But then he was past the ring and sliding deep into me. His balls pressed snug against mine, and he held himself still to allow me to become accustomed to his invasion. 

I bucked my hips, inviting him to ravage me. And he accepted my invitation. 

His motion was strong as he plumbed my depths. He would withdraw until just the head of his prick was still in me, and then slide back his entire length. Gradually, his pace picked up, until he was slamming into me forcefully. 

I spread my legs wider, trying to take more of him, trying to take him deeper. His hands shifted from my hips to my shaft, and he caressed me in time to his own thrusts, driving me higher and higher. Sensation pooled in my groin, and then spiraled out to the farthest reaches of my body. 

“Charlie!” I spilled myself into his hands, filling them to overflowing. 

“Ah, my beautiful boy. Take this. Take me!” His prick seemed to swell, stretching the walls of my channel even further, and then he cried out as he flooded me with liquid heat. 

My lover’s lips wandered over my back, finally settling on the spot where shoulder and neck joined, and he began to suckle. I whimpered, and my inner muscles clenched. 

Carefully, Charlie got us onto our sides, making sure my injured arm was not beneath us. He was softening, but he hadn’t slid out of me yet, and I relished the feel of him: still part of my body. 

“Charlie, I lo…” and I was sound asleep.


Part 11 

I sat tensely at the tiller as Charlie pointed toward the last of the rapids that tortured this portion of the Ulanga. These looked to be really brutal, a series of waterfalls that descended into stretches that danced riotously and then caracoled like an insane thing. With rocks cropping up at odd intervals, there could be no doubt they would prove fatal to the Queen if she could not avoid them. 

He kicked the boiler and staggered back to the stern, trying to maintain his balance as the river seized the old boat in its clutches and hurled her into the treacherous currents. 

“It’s…it’s hard to steer, Charlie!” I shouted over the tumult of the white water. He positioned himself next to me and threw his weight into the tiller as well. 

And we went over the first of the falls. 

Charlie held tight to the tiller and to me, and somehow we managed not to get thrown out. The African Queen was almost perpendicular to that drop, her bow plunging straight down into the frothy spume. She barely had time to settle at the bottom of the trough, before the current dragged her on toward the next falls. Water washed ceaselessly over the side of the boat, and soon we were ankle deep in it. 

The next series of falls were not quite as violent, and we had a brief span to catch our breaths. Charlie got himself behind me on the transom and braced his legs around mine. His arms circling me, he pulled me back into his body, trying to shield me from the worst of the buffeting, and we clung to the tiller for dear life, trying to force the boat into the safest path. 

The Queen was flung forward and she slipped and slid and took on more water. I was sure this was the end, and I wanted to bury my face in my lover’s chest, but I knew he needed me to keep watch for the rocks, so I gritted my teeth and kept my eyes opened. 

As if furious that she was about to lose us, the Ulanga tried one last time, thrusting us over an expanse of rocks we hadn’t expected, hadn’t seen. There was a scream of tortured metal as the African Queen struggled through the rapids, and then the river reluctantly released us from her death grip. 

The old boat wallowed and rolled through the calmer waters, seemingly as exhausted by the ordeal as we were. As if of her own volition, she made toward the bank. I leaned forward to give Charlie room to get around me, but instead he seized my waist and pulled me back to him. I froze as I felt the insistent press of his prick against my buttocks. 

I glanced over my shoulder at him, and he took my chin in his fingers and brought my mouth to his. His lips pressed lightly until mine opened to him, and his tongue slid in, exploring the heated depths of my mouth. 

He unbuttoned my trousers and spread them open, allowing my shaft to spring free, and traced the muscles of my thighs and groin. I had to break the kiss in order to breathe. His thumb teased the slit at the tip. He smeared it with the clear drops of fluid that beaded there, and pressed down to encourage more to appear. 

The tin of the lubricant he had used the night before was stored in a nearby compartment. He scrabbled for it and leaned forward to scoop up a goodly amount. “Rise up a bit, Roddy,” he murmured hoarsely, as he freed himself from his trousers and applied a liberal coating to his own weeping shaft. As I moved, my trousers slid down, leaving me bare and exposed. 

My channel was still slick from the last time Charlie had loved me, just as the dawn was breaking. Now he slid a finger into me, testing my readiness, and then he drew me up and back. As I lowered myself onto him, I felt the now-familiar pressure of his prick at my opening, begging to be let in. 

I took a deep breath and let my weight carry me down. That was all it took. I felt myself enveloping my lover, and I exploded. My inner muscles clenched around the intruder that was thrusting in my passage, demanding even more of a response from me. I moaned and shuddered, and became hard once more. 

“Burn for me, sweetheart. Catch fire!” Charlie’s hands on my hips urged me to ride him harder, to take him deeper. Each inward stroke bumped that spot inside me. Each outward caress left me anticipating the next thrust. 

With a growl, Charlie began to come, and the sensation of being filled swamped me. All I could feel was my lover in me and around me. I came again, knowing I was safe in his arms. 


The African Queen gently bumped the bank, rousing me back to consciousness. Charlie slipped out of me, and I winced. 

Charlie had made love to me three more times the night before, the last time having me just before dawn, and when I woke again, my eyelashes were glued together, my hair stood up in spikes, and I was so sore I knew I wouldn’t be able to sit comfortably for a week. 

And so happy, I could have died and thought the world well lost for love. 

 His hand tousled my hair. “I’ve got to tie us up, little Rev. Can you start bailing?” 

I looked around dazedly, and nodded. “Aye, aye, Captain.” I hauled up my trousers and fastened them, then went to the bilge pump and began working the handle. 

“Easy, little Rev. Easy. Like this.” He knelt behind me and placed his hand over mine. The pace he set was slow and steady. And sensuous. 

I leaned my head back against his shoulder, absorbing the warmth of him. He took my face in both his palms and turned it up toward his. “Roddy!” he said softly, and swallowed the sigh I breathed into his mouth. 

He released me and got to his feet. “Pump, sweetheart. Or we’ll wind up in the river instead of down it!” 

I picked up the tempo and watched as the level of water in the boat gradually lessened. Charlie tossed the anchor into the river and prepared to go overboard to see what had caused the ear-shattering screech of metal when we tore through the last of the white water. 


“Yeah, little Rev?” One leg was already over the side, and his attention was centered on what might be beneath the surface of the river. 

I went over to him and put my arms around his shoulders, hugging him close. “You’ll be careful, won’t you?” 

His head shot up, and a broad grin split his face. “You bet your ass I will!” I blushed at his mention of that portion of my anatomy, that well-used portion of my anatomy. “I’ve got you to come back to!” He pressed a kiss to the corner of my mouth, and dropped into the water. 

I went back to working the bilge pump, but didn’t take my eyes off the stern of the boat. A minute dragged into two. Two minutes dragged into three. I was about to abandon the pump and go looking for him when he heaved himself up over the side, gasping and sputtering. 

“Charlie! I was so worried!” 

“No need, little Rev. There’s no fancy currents down there. I took the time to give her hull a going over. The skin seems tight enough.”


“But the shaft is twisted like a corkscrew, and one of the blades is gone off the prop.” He wiped the water from his face. 

“Can’t we mend it?” 

“Oh, sure, if we was in a slip in Limbasi. We’d just get the Queen out of water. We’d take the shaft down and straighten it, and order a new prop from the manufacturers. It wouldn’t take long for it to come in, seeing as she’s only thirty years old. And while we was waiting, we’d just get the Queen up out of water and get her bottom scraped and a new coat of paint on her.” 

“You were a machinist up at the mine, weren’t you, Charlie?” 

“Uh, yeah, I was. Sort of jack of all trades, master of none, you might say.” He grinned. “I can do most anything!” 

“Yes, you can!” I agreed softly under my breath, and utterly lost my train of thought as I caressed him with my eyes. 

“So what if I was a machinist, little Rev?” 

“Oh!” I remembered what I wanted to say. “Why couldn’t you mend her here?” 

 He had been enjoying my obvious pleasure in his body, and he sighed. “I ain’t that good, little Rev. I’d need an anvil, a hearth, coals. Which we ain’t got, in case it escaped your notice.” 

“I once saw a Masai native working with charcoal on a hollow stone. Mightn’t that work?” 

He scratched the hinge of his jaw. “Yeah, that might work. It would mean working under water. But there’s still the prop.” 

“Do we have to have it?” 

 The captain nodded and reached out to stroke my cheek. “Without a new blade, she’ll be out of balance and the shaft will be all twisted again. I can make the blade, that ain’t the problem. It’s how to keep it in place. We can’t tie it on!” 

“Could we weld it? That is the term, isn’t it, Charlie? Well, you know what I mean.” 

“I know what you mean.” He took a strand of my hair and rubbed it between his thumb and forefinger, then tugged me toward him. “You’re a wonder, Roddy. A pure wonder!” 

“Then we’ll do it.” Our lips were just a breath apart. 

“We’ll try,” he hedged. 

“And then…” 

His gaze became cautious. “And then…” 

“And then we’ll make the torpedoes!”


Part 12 

It took time to get that shaft off the Queen and onto the shore so Charlie could work at straightening it. He kept refusing my offers to help, until the time he came up choking and sputtering. 

“Feels… like… I swallowed… half the river …that time!” 

I helped him over the side of the boat and handed him a cup of tea. “You need something warm inside you, Charlie. Drink this!” 

He nodded and took the cup. “I… just need …to catch my breath.” 

“When you go back in, I’m going with you,” I told him as I sipped from my own cup. 

“*What*?” The tea sprayed from his mouth. “What will you be thinking of next? You’re not doing that! I don’t need no drowneded boy on my hands! And what about your arm!” 

I sat next to him and ran my palm over the stubble that covered his cheeks. “I’m not a boy! My arm is doing fine. You can take the stitches out anytime now. And I’m going in with you! Unless you tie me to this deck, there’s no way you can stop me!” 

Charlie scowled at me. “Don’t tempt me, little Rev. I just might do that!” 

But the next time he went into the Ulanga, I was right behind him. We got the shaft off, and eventually he had it straightened. 

“You know, if my old Dad had put me to blacksmithing as a boy, I’d never have come to Africa!” 

“If you never came here, I never would have met you!” That thought disturbed me. 

“No, I think we were fated, little Rev.” 

“Beg pardon?” 

Charlie just grinned. “I think…” He leaned back against the side of the boat and gazed up at the piercingly blue African sky. “I think I would have found you, no matter what!” 

“Really?” I breathed. 

“Really. Now,” my lover rose and sauntered toward me. I grew hard, and wondered if he would finally let me see him as he made love to me in the light of day. He pulled me to my feet and pinched my nether cheek. “Give us a kiss, and let’s get back to work!” 

//Charlie Allnutt, I’ll see you naked yet!// I vowed to myself. 

Charlie managed to fashion the blade for the propeller out of the metal that he had on board. I worked the bellows to fan the charcoal, and eventually it was welded on. 

“Well, it works well enough,” he said as he ran the engine to see how the shaft and prop functioned. “The question is, how will she stand up under a full head of steam?” 

“The answer is out there?” I asked, nodding toward the Ulanga as she flowed past our vantage point. 

“Yeeaahh.” He drew out his response, clearly not happy with that prospect. “And the Lord help us if it ain’t the right one!” 


With the shaft and the propeller once more back in place, we decided to spend the remainder of the day doing mundane chores. 

“Charlie, why don’t you get out of those clothes and I’ll wash them, along with mine?” 

“Uh, no. That’s all right, little Rev. I don’t mind.” 

I just stared at him. “Well, I mind, Charlie. You’re getting a bit…whiff…if you don’t mind my saying.” 

Color mounted his cheeks. “Yes, well, I…I don’t have anything to wear in the meantime.” 

“Oh, for heaven’s sake! Use a blanket!” I threw it to him and gathered what clothes I had, pretending to be busy. But I peeked over my shoulder, hoping for just a glimpse of the body that brought me such pleasure. 

Charlie was watching me, gnawing on his lower lip, and he saw me glance his way. He raised an eyebrow, and I shrugged and turned away. I was listening carefully, though, and when I stole another look, his back was to me, his shirt was off, and he was removing his canvas trousers. He was naked under the worn pants, and I understood why he was reluctant to have me see him without the protection of his clothes. 

From the outer curve of his ribcage to just below his left hip, my lover bore a vivid reminder of the war in which he had fought. A white, raised scar bisected his back. I had never felt it, because he always made sure he took me from behind. And he never permitted me to touch him under his shirt when we embraced. 

I left my clothes balanced on the rail; they could wait until later to be washed. I padded silently to where he was wrapping himself in the blanket. “Charlie!” I murmured as I traced that scar, first with my fingertips, and then with my lips. He stiffened under my touch. “Did you imagine I would think less of you because your body was marked by scars of honour?” 

“There wasn’t anything honourable about that war!” he said hoarsely. He refused to turn and face me. 

I slid my arms around him and explored his back with teeth and tongue. His skin was cool from the last time he had submerged himself in the Ulanga, but it warmed under my ministrations. “Make love to me now, Charlie,” I sighed, rubbing my erection against him. 

He groaned and turned to take me in his arms, the blanket falling unheeded to the deck. “You’re going to be the death of me, little Rev! I really am too old for you!” 

“No!” I moaned as he ran his thumb over my lips. “You’re perfect for me!” 

He nuzzled the spot under my ear. “You’re just a boy, and I’m twice your age!” 

I pulled back and looked, really looked at him, at the hair that lightly furred his chest. It was dark as the hair on his head, but sprinkled in it were numerous grey hairs. I stroked my hands over it, feeling his nipples tighten to sharp points and stab my palms. 

“Charlie.” I could feel heat climb my cheeks at the words I was about to speak. “*Fuck* your age!” If Brother had heard me use language like that, he would have seen to it that I would be unable to sit for a very long time, indeed. I told Charlie as much. 

“Perhaps I should punish your for your naughty language then, little Rev.” His fingers caressed my buttocks, squeezing and parting them so he could find the opening that belonged to him alone. 

This was not my brother who caned me to the point of unconsciousness. This was my lover, who awakened me to sensations that left me wide-eyed and breathless. “Oh, I’ve been very wicked, sir. If I ever hope to get into heaven, I’ll need to be spanked frequently!” 

“By me?” 

“Only by you!” 

His mouth opened over mine and his tongue plunged past my lips, repeatedly mimicking the action of his hips. He licked my palate and inner cheek, before luring my tongue into his mouth, where he sucked on it gently. 

“Charlie, please!” I gasped. I took his hand and brought it to my groin, where my arousal had been weeping with excitement for some time. 

“My beautiful boy!” he whispered. “My own little Rev! This time I want to watch you when I make you come!” 

He laid me down on the blanket and reached for the tin of the engine’s lubricant. Before leaving Limbasi that last time, he had gotten a brand new supply, and the stuff had not been used before the first night he had brought me to climax with just his touch. We were making such in-roads into it that I feared the Queen would be shorted when she needed it, but Charlie had just laughed and said I was more important to him than the old boat. 

My lover coated his rampant erection and then pushed my legs back toward my chest, leaving me exposed to his careful touch. He ran a finger over my balls and then to the pucker that was impatiently awaiting his possession. I shivered with want, and he inserted one finger, pausing until I was comfortable with the invasion. 

Keeping his eyes on my face, he gave me a second finger, stroking the lubricant into my passage, and brushing across that spot inside me. I yelped in response. 

“Oh, I do like when you sing for me, little Rev!” This time three fingers made their way into me, and I was mewling with the fever he was building. 

Finally, as I trembled on the brink, he removed his fingers and brought the flushed head of his prick to my spasming opening. Hooking my legs over his shoulders, he pushed forward, the hair at his groin teasing my shaft and driving me higher, while his prick began measuring its length in me again and again. 

Charlie lay chest to chest on me, and my shaft was trapped between us. I chanted his name as he fucked me, until his mouth seized mine and all I could do was hum with frantic pleasure around his tongue. 

I trembled and then came apart in his arms as with one final, powerful thrust he poured himself in my willing channel. The deck of the African Queen was hard under my back, but that was unimportant. My lover was in me, and that was all that mattered. 


Charlie let himself over the side of the old boat and began to swim lazily around her. I was already in the river, washing the residue of our passion from my body. The cool water soothed my aches, but I relished the reminder of my lover’s possession. 

But there were still chores to be done. I washed Charlie’s clothes and climbed back aboard to hang them from the line he had put up for me. Then I went to where I had left my trousers and shirts, only they were nowhere to be seen. I searched the boat, and then dove back into the Ulanga and swam to the other side of the Queen, looking for my clothing. Nothing. 


“Yeah, sweetheart?” He was lying on the surface, his prick soft along his thigh and his voice filled with satisfaction. 

“Have you seen my clothes?” Perhaps he was teasing me and had hidden them. 

“No, little Rev. I’m too busy enjoying the afterglow of loving you to within an inch of your life.” 

I gasped, sure I could not possibly be growing aroused again! I swam to where he was floating on his back, the stroke I used exposing my well-used nether region to the flow of water over it. “I can’t find them, Charlie!” 


“I can’t find my clothes!” 

“Hmmm. If they tumbled into the river, the current may well have carried them away!” Charlie snickered, and suddenly looked thoughtful. 

Foolishly, I disregarded that look. I was rather concerned about facing the light of day without having trousers and shirts. I still had my unmentionables, so I wouldn’t be totally naked, but I was at a loss, not ever having faced anyone solely in undergarments.  

“So, young man, it seems to me you’ve been very careless, losing your clothing like that! You’ll have nothing but your skivvies to wear, I would think. And I also think that… a spanking is in order!” He lunged for me, and with a squeak I tried to get away. 

Tried, but not very hard. 

And needless to say, I failed.


Note: song lyrics. The song is The Whiffenpoof Song, and it's one of Yale's most cherished traditions. Guy Scull is believed to have set this melody in the 90s to a freely adapted version of Rudyard Kipling's poem titled "Gentlemen Rankers". Reader's Digest Treasury of Best Loved Songs, copyright 1972, p.192Gentleman Rankers refers to gentlemen who must become common soldiers, not having the money to buy a commission. “We’re poor little lambs, who have lost our way. Bah, bah, bah. We’re little black sheep, who have gone astray. Baa, baa, baa. Gentlemen rankers off on a spree, Doomed from here to eternity. Lord have mercy on such as we, Baa, baa, baa.” Many thanks to Gail for taking the time to look this up for me. 

Part 13 

I was stretched out naked on the deck, sated, letting the heat of the sun soak into my back after my final dip into the Ulanga before we continued on our way. We needed to determine how the Queen reacted to her repairs. 

My buttocks were still warm from the paddling my lover had given me for being so careless as to lose my clothing. I didn’t understand how they could have fallen overboard and gotten lost in the river. The current surely wasn’t that fast! 

“Are they quite red, Charlie?” I asked as I brushed the hair out of my eyes and smiled at him over my shoulder, wanting nothing more than to have his hands on me again. 

“Are you sure I didn’t hurt you, little Rev?” He lounged casually on the transom, leaning on the tiller, which obeyed his steady hand. 

I remembered the feel of that hand on me, and wriggled voluptuously, rubbing my prick restlessly against the blanket on which I was lying. “Not a bit, my very dear!” 

He growled at my words, but I could see how they pleased him and how my actions excited him. “You have a very spank-able bum, I’ll have you know, Roddy Sayer! And I’m too old to be making love to you again so soon, so just you stop tempting me!” 

“Do I tempt you, Charlie? Oh, you do say the nicest things!” 

He grinned, his eyes avidly stroking the curves of my buttocks. 

I sighed and rolled over, shading my eyes with my arm. “How is she holding up, Charlie?” 

“Things is looking good, little Rev!” 

“Why do you do that, Charlie?” 

“Do what?” He was scanning the river ahead of us, searching for rocks or snags. 

“I’ve noticed…sometimes you speak as if you never had any education at all. And other times you speak as well as I do.” 

“Noticed that, did you, little Rev?” He took a cigarette from his pocket and lit it. 

“Charlie, don’t procrastinate. If you had no education, you would never have known of poetry like Gunga Din or The Charge of the Light Brigade.” 

He smiled at me through the smoke of his cigarette. “My ma was a schoolteacher.  She believed in books, and she made sure I appreciated them as well. And she had a real elegant way about her of speaking, which she passed on to me. My dad, now, he was a common laborer who liked the bottle a little too much. After she passed on, there wasn’t anything left for me there except to follow in the old man’s footsteps. I couldn’t bear that. And well, I wanted to see the world, so I ran off to be a soldier.” 

“Gentlemen rankers, off on a spree,

“Doomed from here to eternity…” I sang softly. 

“Not even a gentlemen, little Rev, but you have the right idea. I discovered my mates thought I was trying to make sport of them if I talked proper, so I adopted their way of speaking. When I started working at the mine, it gave me an edge over those Froggies up there. They thought I was an ignorant sod. Never could figure out how I’d get the best of them.” His eyes grew distant. “Sometimes I forget. She would have been so disappointed in me.” 

I got to my knees and crossed the deck to the stern on them. “No, she wouldn’t! You’re a good man, Charlie Allnutt!” I ran my fingers over the front of his trousers, tracing the bulge that was tenting the fabric. I unbuttoned the placket and took his prick out. 

“Oh, now, here, little Rev!” 

As I watched, clear fluid beaded at the tip. Curious, I leaned forward and licked it off. 

“Little Rev, I don’t think you want to do that!” 

I looked up at him through the hair that fell into my eyes. “I don’t?” I licked again. “I think I do, Charlie. I like the way you taste!” 

“Jesus God, boy! You’re killing me!” 

I ignored his words and ran my tongue from the base of his shaft to the tip, then reached into his trousers and took his balls in my fingers, rolling them and rubbing them. 

He thrust forward just a bit, and that was enough to encourage me. I dipped my head and took an inch into my mouth. A tiny spurt of precome hit the back of my throat, and I swallowed it. My own prick stirred, and I engulfed more of him. His head tipped back, and he groaned, the hands that had at first tired to stop me now urging me on. 

“Yes, Charlie!” I released him long enough to let him know how much I was enjoying this. “Do that again! Fuck my mouth!” This time I took his entire length in my mouth, feeling him nudge the back of my throat. I pulled my head back until just the tip of his prick remained between my lips, and I nibbled and licked while he petted my cheeks and shoulders and back. I sucked him all the way in and let him feel my teeth. 

With a shout, his hips jerked uncontrollably, and he was filling my mouth with his hot essence. My throat muscles worked, milking the last drop from him, and he sagged backward. I let him slip from my lips, a tiny smear of come at the corner of my mouth. 

“Jesus God!” he repeated, and he took my face in his hands and drew me to him. “No one’s ever done that for me before!” 

I felt a flush heat my cheeks, and looked away, afraid I might have cheapened myself in his eyes. “Surely the ‘ladies’ in Limbasi…?” 

He was shaking his head. “Not the ‘ladies’, not the odd mate…” 

“I shouldn’t have done that, Charlie?” I asked, barely able to get the words past my lips. 

My lover put my arms around his neck and raised my chin. His mouth was hard on mine, and his tongue swept in to taste himself. “Thank you, little Rev! Thank you!” His hand fondled my hip and then wandered to where my shaft was impertinently pressing against his thigh. “And turnabout is only fair play!” 

He pushed me to the railing of the old boat and sank to his knees before me. “Charlie! Who’s steering the Queen?” 

“She’ll be all right for the time it takes me to please you! And if she isn’t…” His mouth swooped down to capture my prick. And he showed me what heaven looked like. 


“No other man could have done it, you know that, Charlie?” 

“Brought you such pleasure do you mean, little Rev? It’s nice of you to say so!” 

I blushed. “You know that isn’t what I was talking about, Charlie! Although, it is true!” 

I climbed into my unmentionables, but my lover brushed my hands away and began to button me up, using the opportunity to toy with my nipples and stroke his fingers through the silky hair that grew under my arms. I shuddered and reached for him, but he turned me around and pulled me backward into his embrace. Cradled in his arms and thighs, I sat before him on the transom, and he steered the African Queen down the Ulanga. 

He laughed softly and dropped a kiss behind my ear, and I sighed happily and snuggled against him. 

“You’ve done so many things, Charlie: gotten us past Shona and through the rapids, repaired the Queen when she was damaged.” I knew it was time to bring up the next venture. “You can make a torpedo, too! Can’t you, Charlie?” 

“Beg pardon?” 

I raised my head and smiled at him. “I thought that was my phrase, my dear.” 

“Don’t change the subject, little Rev! What did you just ask me?” 

“I asked…” 

“I heard what you asked, Roddy! Off all the fool…You might as well ask me if I can fly! It’s impossible!” 


“*Why*? Well, it’s complicated!” 

If I had been having this conversation with Brother, it would have been finished at this point. But I knew my lover would not strike me. Well, he might spank me, but that was something else entirely. I felt myself grow warm at the thought. And I couldn’t resist teasing him: it was such a delight! 

“Why is it complicated?” 

His eyes took on a rather desperate cast. “A torpedo is a complicated piece of machinery. There’s gyroscopes, compressed air chambers, compensating cylinders. And I don’t have the equipment to make any of those things, so there.” He nodded triumphantly. “It can’t be done!” 

“But…all those things, the gyroscope and the chambers and what-all-else, they’re just to make it go, and hit what it’s aimed at, aren’t they?” 

“Well, yes,” he agreed reluctantly. 

“We’ve got the African Queen!” I told him with satisfaction. “We could fill the oxygen and hydrogen cylinders with the blasting gelatin, couldn’t we? If we fixed them to stick out of the side of the boat, we could ram the Queen against the side of the Louisa.” 

“Getting ourselves blown up in the process?” 

“Oh, no! We’d dive off before she collided, of course!” 

“Oh, of course!” Charlie growled. “Well, listen good, little Rev. We ain’t gonna do it, because it can’t be done!” 

I turned my head, and he stared deep into my eyes. I refused to look away. I was beginning to notice that after putting up some resistance, Charlie Allnutt invariably did what I wanted him to. I found that thought utterly arousing. 

And he surrendered, as I was certain he would. “All right. I’ll make the torpedoes. I’ll get you down the Bora to that Lake, and I’ll turn the Queen into a dreadnought. And we’re both going to wind up dead!” 

I smiled at him, so filled with pride that he was going to do this. “We won’t die, Charlie. We’re on a righteous mission. The Almighty will protect us.” 

“Of course He will.” Charlie put me away from him. “He looks after fools and children, doesn’t He?” 

“You’re not a fool, Charlie. And I trust you. You’ll get us to the Bora.” 

“Listen, little Rev. I ain’t Spengler, and this ain’t no dugout canoe!” 

“Yes, I know. But I know you’ll get us to the Lake, just the same!” I said it with the utmost confidence. 

“I’m glad one of us is so sure of that!” He huffed in dismay. “How did I let you talk me into this damnfool mission?” 

“Because you…like me?” I asked daringly. 

“No! Because I…” He brought himself up short, as if something had startled him. After a beat he continued. “Yeah, little Rev. Because I like you.”


Part 14 

Charlie sprawled backward in my arms as I edged the tiller to port to keep us in the center of the river. Winding slow and easy between her wide banks, the African Queen carried us sedately on our way. My left hand stroked over his chest, pausing every now and then to caress a nipple. 

“Pinch me, sweetheart,” Charlie sighed, rubbing his head against my chest. “Here we are, boating down the Ulanga as gracious as you please! Why, we’re just like Antony and…”

I squeezed his nipple, and he growled and leaned his head back to frown at me. 

“I am not Cleopatra!” I informed my lover as I rubbed a soothing apology over the bit of flesh I had tormented. Then I captured his earlobe between my teeth and bit down. 

“Bugger!” he yelled. “You little devil!” 

I chuckled and sucked on his ear. 

“No, you certainly aren’t Cleopatra, little Rev. I was going to say ‘like Antony and Caesar’.” 

“In that case…” I kissed the toothmarks I had put on him. “Are you Caesar, Charlie?”

“I ain’t much of a ruler, Roddy.” 

“But you’re my…” I bit my tongue. I knew the older man was more than a little fond of me, but how could I let him know I was thinking of forever after in terms of us? Perhaps once we succeeded in sinking the Louisa, he would want us to go our separate ways. 

“I’m your what, little Rev?” 

“You’re my very good friend, Charlie. Um, do you suppose this is where the Ulanga changes to the Bora?” 

He was watching the slow passage of the wildlife that came down to the river’s edge to drink, and now he nodded. “Shall we tie up for the night?”

“Why, Charlie!” I teased. “What did you have in mind?” 

He pulled my head down to his and caressed my lips with an open-mouthed kiss. “The river is resting, sweetheart. We need to, also.” 

My lover rose and walked to the bow as I steered us toward the near bank. He tossed the anchor over the side and turned, just as the first fly bit my neck. 

“Oww!” Suddenly, I was surrounded by a black cloud of the swarming, biting insects. “*Charlie*?” They descended on me, the sound of their wings so loud everything else was drowned out. “I’m being eaten alive! I’m going over the side!” 

His grip on my arm jerked me to an abrupt halt. “What you said about being eaten alive, little Rev?” He nodded toward the opposite shore, where I could just make out the crocodiles that were launching themselves into the river and arrowing to our side. 

“Charlie! Get me out of here!” I swatted the air about my head as they settled into my hair and entered my ears and mouth. I spat frantically. “Charlie! I can’t stand it!” 

Charlie shoved me to the deck and tossed a stained tarpaulin over me. I cowered under it, shuddering and blinking furiously to prevent the plague of flies from getting into my eyes. I continued to brush at my face and arms, moaning in desperation. I began to fear there would be no more air to breathe. 

And then the tarp was pulled away. The flies were gone. Charlie had the African Queen moving at full speed away from that benighted spot. He bent to make sure I was all right, and I threw myself into his arms, tears streaming down my bitten cheeks. “I’m sorry, Charlie! Oh, God! I’m sorry! I’m so ashamed of myself!” I wept. 

He held me tight and stroked my back, murmuring soft words of comfort. “My beautiful boy. My own little Rev. It’s all right. We’re away from there now.” 

“Charlie, I didn’t help you. Oh, your poor neck!” Raised welts covered every bit of flesh that hadn’t been protected by clothing. 

“It looks worse than it is, sweetheart. I’ll make a poultice of mud for the two of us, and it will be fine. It’s just having them attack like that! I’ve heard of them driving buffalo and native cattle mad! They just run and run until they fall down dead!”

I trembled and held him tighter. “Will it be like that everywhere we try to tie up, Charlie?” 

“I don’t know, little Rev. If the river stays straight, I’ll try to keep us in the center of the river. I’ll let the anchor out a ways. That should keep us out of trouble. Here, now, Roddy.” He tapped my chin. “Make us some tea, why don’t you?” 

The mundane task helped me pull myself together. Charlie obtained some mud from the river bottom, and we spent the remaining daylight hours daubing each other with the soothing stuff. 

But our dreams that night were filled with the buzzing, biting horror. 


“How much further to the Lake, Charlie?” 

“There’s no telling how many days it will take. It’s probably just a few miles as the crow flies, but it all depends on how much winding around this old river does.” 

“I’m sorry, Charlie. When we started, I didn’t think… I’ve put your life in danger, and I’m so sorry.” 

He hugged me close. “Now, now, Roddy; none of that. I wouldn’t have missed this…missed you…for the world! What a time we’ve had, little Rev!” 

“We’ll never lack for stories to tell when we get back, will we, Charlie?” 

My lover pressed a kiss to my hair. Then he stiffened, and I froze, half-expecting us to be attacked by stinging insects again. 

Instead, before us lay a sea of grass and papyrus. “Shit! Sorry, little Rev. There doesn’t seem to be a main channel!” 

I swallowed hard. “We can’t just go round and round.” 

“No. But once we’re in that, there’ll be no going back. If we choose the wrong channel, we’ll have to go forward until we get stuck on the mud. Then we’ll just sit there until we go mad with fever.” 

“Oh, Charlie!” 

He pulled me to him and took a deep breath. “It will be all right, little Rev. I promise you!” His mouth was savage on mine, and I whimpered under his assault and took fire. 

“Yes!” I moaned. “Take me, Charlie! Before we go into that, make love to me one more time!” 

“Oh, yes!” There was no time for finesse, no time for tender kisses. He ripped at the buttons of my unmentionables and shoved them down off my hips. “Lean against the side, sweetheart!” 

I braced my legs apart and jerked as my lover hastily inserted a lubricated finger into me. “Charlie! Do it!” I ordered. With one smooth thrust, he was buried up to his balls in me, the hair at his groin tickling my buttocks. He gripped my shaft and held both of us still. I could feel his prick quivering in my passage, lodged firmly against the spot that made me burn. I shook with the need to move. 

But he forced me to remain motionless. “Charlie!” I wailed with frustration. 

His fingers twined with mine as I gripped the railing, and he began slamming into me with such force that I thought I would go over the side. He pulled me upright, his hands placing mine behind his back before he released them. As he reached for my aching shaft, and as he stroked me and drove me into a realm of unbelievable sensations, I gripped the muscles of his buttocks in clenched fingers. I urged him to fuck me harder, with words I was unaware I knew, and with actions he had taught me. 

My lover fastened his lips at the base of my neck and began to suckle, and with a cry, I poured forth the essence of life, spattering it over my chest. Charlie swirled it over my torso, coating my nipples. And then he bent me forward again. Mindlessly, my inner muscles grasped at his shaft, and I was filled with heat as he came in my plundered channel. 

“My beautiful boy!” he whispered in my ear, dropping kisses, licks and nips across my shoulders. 

I tried to keep him in me for as long as I could, but eventually he softened too much to remain in the body he claimed, and he slid out. He turned me and licked my nipples clean. 

“Not fair, Charlie!” I murmured, leaning against him. I nuzzled the spot under his ear. 

“Life isn’t fair, little Rev.” He looked ahead at the hammocks of grass. Once we were in there, once it closed behind us, there would be no going back. “All right, sweetheart. You pays your money and you takes your choice!”

~End Part B

On to Part C