265 Striking It Rich
Part 1 of 3
It was funny; Ned Strapper was in his mid-20 and lived in this tiny cowboy town all his life. Though he was good looking and a nice guy it was not easy for him to find a good buddy to hang out and get intimate with. Like many gays, he wanted a long-term relationship. Some prospects showed up on occasion with a cattle drive, and some arrived looking to homestead here were seen only monthly. Then there were the drifters who would stay a year or so, searching for gold or whatever valuables that could be found in the surrounding mines. Sometimes guys wanted to get out of city life and seek a laid-back country life for whatever reason and would check out the various ranchers for employment. A few newcomers looked to retire here. So, not much to choose from, and very little new stock would arrive. And, of course, very, very few of the eligible bachelors were good gay material.
Cactus Hills was not a growing town. As many of the people who came here, were about the same number of people that moved on. The population never broke 600. For one thing, the town could not support too many residences. It was a blend of old and new. Many guys still rode horses and wore cowboy hats here, but most had pickup trucks. Cell phones were quite common, but you’d rarely see FAX machines or digital watches, or even “Wi-Fi available” signs in stores. Yet many people really love this out-of-the-way historic jewel of the old west.
There was only the one gathering hole here for gays, the Cock-Eyed Saloon where they frequented. In a small town like Cactus Hill, you either have already been with every guy who was looking or turned them down because you were not interested. New sex stock did not come in very often.
But Ned wasn't interested in one night stands, though he had accepted them on rare occasion. Most of them were either too young or too old. Ned, at 24-years-old, didn't have much of a hankering for the young ones or those that were retired. So when this gray-haired fifty-something fellow came into town, Ned was curiously interested. Not just because of the age thing, but the guy was handsome and gave off the sense that he had a brain somewhere other than in his pants.
The newcomer was intriguing, at least in Ned's eyes. He was taller than Ned with a mess of hair and wonderful gray eyes. He was dressed like a miner: Durango boots, worn denim jeans, and a plaid shirt. Under his long wool coat, he had a brown leather vest. Atop his head was a broad-brimmed cowboy hat. Around his neck was a big faded blue bandanna knotted loosely. He came into the bar and stood next to it, a few barstools from me. I watched as he ordered a drink and then moved to a chair at a table in the back, watching the crowd that was gathered here for Saturday night. I’m sure he had no idea this was primarily a gay establishment. A few women and some straight males would come here also so it looked “normal.” The miner took off his hat and dropped it on the table, and then he slung his coat over the back of his chair. He nursed his drink, sat quietly and studied the crowd. There was no urgency or anxiety about him.
Ned felt an instant interest in this miner as he sat on his bar stool and watch the mirror image of the stranger in the mirror in front of him. He wondered if this fellow was just passing through or here to stay. After five minutes or so, Ned stood and turned his back to the bar. He hooked one boot heel on the brass foot rail to present an attractive pose. Ned was careful not to look too often in the miner’s direction. He saw that others among the regular crowd noticed the fellow's presence, but nobody took the trouble to go up and start a conversation. After a while, the miner got up, leaving his hat and his coat where they were, and returned to the bar for a second drink. He came and stood close to Ned, waiting his turn. Ned got a closer look at him then. He looked weathered, no … seasoned, yes seasoned was the word that came to Ned's mind. The older man’s clothes were worn but clean, and the man himself looked and smelled clean. Just as Ned preferred. The Cock-Eyed Saloon was beginning to fill up.
When the miner picked up his drink. He paused and looked at Ned deliberately, taking him by surprise since Ned thought the man didn’t even notice him. And yet, the miner winked at Ned before returning to his seat in the back. Well, Ned didn’t wait long, that’s an invitation he thought. Just as he was about to mosey on back to the handsome miner, all of a sudden, Jake and two of his friends came in and stomped right over to Ned, slapping him on the back with a cheerful greeting, Hey cowboy.” Ned didn’t know what to do. Jake and the others were casual friends to whom he did not want to be rude by just walk away. Ned didn’t quite know what to do. If he did not approach the new-in-town miner, would he ever see him again? Was this his only chance?
As he was “stuck” talking with these few guys, the saloon was really lively. Groups of men, laughing, joking and drinking were packed into this rather small bar. The crowd blocked Ned's sight of his mystery chap. Luckily Jake and his friends saw more of their buddies and shouted them over. It was about 10 minutes before Ned could duck between all the male bodies and begin to make his way toward the older man. He could not see him, Ned was not that tall, but he assumed the miner was still there in the back.
When Ned finally arrived at the back area to greet the handsome stranger, he was surprised that the guys around that table were a whole other group of fellows, mostly regulars. He quickly searched every corner of the bar, even the restroom, but he never saw that mystery fellow again. Ned concluded that he just left the bar, or left town altogether.
Ned was pissed at himself. He wasn't sure what else he could have done and figured he simply lost the chance to meet that new and different guy. I was like two ships passing in the night. He was disgusted. Ned pushed his way back through the crowd and out the back door. He was now in the back alley in the cool night air. It was a moonless night. The only light was what spilled through the open back door of the saloon. His eyes, unaccustomed to the dark, saw things dimly. Still upset with himself, he leaned against a building and just thought about what might have been. Then he realized that connecting with the stranger was most likely a one-night thing anyway. As Ned consoled himself, he started to walk slowly down the alley, heading for the livery stable where he stalled his horse. He lived in a small house only one mile out of town, a house his dad left for him at his passing. Yes, Ned had a car, but he liked to ride in the saddle on short treks. That’s why his nickname was, “cowboy.” He only went in a few steps when he heard the doors behind him swing open with a bang. Turning, he saw Jake and three of his cronies come stumbling laughing and yelling into the stables after him.
"Hey, Ned," Jake called, and Ned stopped and stared with a grim look on his face. The four guys strode up to him, and Jake put a hand on his shoulder, "Where you off to so early, cowboy?"
"I'm tuckered out with the noise and such," Ned said glumly. "I'm going home.”
Aw, come on, Ned,” Jake said, "don't go and do that. We want to catch up, have a little more drink."
Ned shook his head and turned to go, but Jake tightened his grip on his shoulder and tried to pull him back. Ned was still annoyed at missing the only connection with the new miner and tried to shake the other man off, but Jake held on. Ned reached up and shoved Jake's hand away. He didn’t mean to do it so hard; it was just his state of mind. But, to his surprise, one of the other men, who reeked of whiskey, told him angrily, "Don't do that, Ned. What? We ain’t good enough for you, you little pussy?”
"Sorry guys, I didn’t mean nothin’. I just want to be alone, OK? Now just get out of my way." Ned said and turned once more to get his horse. He didn't make even a full step before he was grabbed from behind and dragged back. Suddenly two of the men spun him around and twisted his arms behind his back. Jake standing up close, face-to-face, also became nastily.
"I asked you to stay, Nedie boy. I thought we was buds." Ned jerked and struggled, but the two men held him tight.
"Let me go, you damned drunks. Go home and sober up!" he said hotly. He knew from past experiences that Jake and at least one other there could get really rough, especially when they had too much.
Ned saw Jake nod and in an odd way. Jake kept Ned distracted for a bit saying a lot of nonsense. Before he realized it, Ned's wrists were pulled tighter behind him and he felt rope bite into his wrists. Jake's third companion was tying his wrists. He fought and struggled, but it was short-lived as it was three against one. In a quick minute, his wrists were firmly secured. As he attempted to struggle more to free himself, more rope was wound around his chest and belly. The coils were pulled tight and firmly knotted. Now his arms were tightly bound to his torso. These guys were not enemies of Ned’s, but sometimes they acted like unruly rouge teens, way out of control.
Immediately Ned became a lot more furious and screamed, "You no-good pile of horse shit! Get your fucking hands off … Mummph, Mummph MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH! …” Jake cut off his cursing by grabbing a large bandana from his back pocket and jamming it fully into Ned’s mouth.
"Mummph, Mummph, Mummph!” Even as Ned fought the gag and tried to reject it. Another hand pushed it back in and held it in. The wadded up bandana totally forced in. A second bandana was rolled up and the middle was placed over his gagged mouth, and the ends were tied off at the back of his head. But it was not so tight that he could not make noises.
"Mummph, Mummph, MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!” Ned felt half-smothered by the wad of cloth which mostly choked off his desperate shouts for help. The wrap around bandana was pulled so hard across Ned’s mouth; it made deep grooves across his bulging cheeks. At a hurried order from Jake, the men dragged the bound and gagged cowboy from the stable to the alley behind the saloon. About 500 feet down the alley there was a wooden staircase supported by thick, heavy vertical posts. They forced Ned with his back up against one of the posts and bound his upper body to it. Ned tried kicking in all directions until one of the guys secured his booted feet to the bottom of the post. When he was fully tied and gagged the four mostly drunk captures stood around Ned and all grinned broadly, wickedly.
Ned knew that was not good, "Mummph, MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!” He jerked at the ropes that held him, but he was tightly bound and helpless. Jake put his face within inches of Ned’s and spit in it. "Mummph, Mummph.”
Jake dropped one hand down and thrust it into Ned’s groin as the others watched. He grabbed Ned’s balls through his jeans and squeezed them, fiercely. “MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!”
Jake and his buddies were just starting to adlib some mean and nasty shit when, out of nowhere, a deep voice said, "You boys having fun?"
Jake and his friends turned their heads around quickly and saw what Ned was looking at. It was the handsome miner from the saloon standing a few yards away.
"What's it to you, old man?" Jake said.
The other man shrugged. "Nothing, if your friend there doesn’t mind being trussed up like a calf." He grinned suddenly. "I've played with more than one cowpoke who liked to be hog-tied for fun," the miner continued. "But I ain’t sure this boy's one of’ them. Don’t look to me like you boys are playing fair. Three against one ain’t too square by my thinking." Jake's friends had exchanged glances with the mystery man. Sizing up the miner as a bigger, stronger son-of-a-bitch they did not want to tangle with. They looked at Jake for leadership.
Jake glanced at Ned, who glared at him impotently above his gag, and then back at the miner. "He's a stuck up bastard," he said sullenly. "Thinks he's too good for the likes of us, always acts uppity, and like he knows things we don't."
The miner smiled grimly and shrugged. "Maybe he does, you know? But either way, don't give you no right to truss him up and gag the boy like you done.”
Jake saw that he and his buds were no match for this bigger, possibly nastier dude. It was the miner’s projection of his strong confidence as he stood planted there. “Hell," Jake finally said. "We were just funning him. He’s our bud, our favorite cowboy. We didn't hurt him none. Why he enjoys our company and all."
As the two men were speaking, Jake's friends had backed off and stood behind Jake. One even pulled at Jake's arm. "Come on, Jake," he said in a low voice. "Let’s get going, Jake. Come on, guys. Let this dude fuck with our buddy."
Jake looked over at Ned and then allowed his buddies to nudge him away. They all were walking backward for a few steps, then turn and more hurriedly scurried toward the back door of the saloon. By the time they had reached the back door they were laughing at the whole scene. They pushed each other into the bar, but Jake yelled back to the older stranger, "He's all yours, dude," and then gave a mocking yea and stomped fully inside, forgetting all about the incident.
Ned had watched them leave. Now he turned and found the big miner standing beside him and looking at him with an odd expression on his face, half-quizzical, half-sympathetic. This was the first time Ned got a really good, close-up look at the miner. He looked to be in his mid-50. He was tall and “big,” but not fat. He was a handsome man with caring eyes.
Ned was glad to be rescued. "Mmmmph," Ned mumbled into the soft wads of cloth stuffing his mouth.
The miner grinned. "Got you pretty well gagged up there, don't they, son?" he said gently. Ned found it odd that he was just referred to as ‘son’ even though he was 24.
To his own astonishment, found himself nodding in agreement. The miner nodded in return and then stroked Ned's cheek with a gentle hand. He shook his head.
"There's something about a nice-looking cowboy like you, all tied up helpless and gagged. That does something to me." His fingers continued to caress the younger man's face lightly, stroking his cheek, his jaw, and chin. Then he fingered the budging gag to check that it was tied tightly across his mouth. Strangely, Ned found the touch of the big man's fingers soothing as he seemed to forget the discomfort of the ropes and the gag. He was hardly surprised at all when the miner moved in close to him and embraced him, wrapping his hairy arm around his bound torso and gently pulled Ned’s head toward him so it nestled on the miner’s shoulder. With that same hand, he slowly rubbed Ned’s hair as if he was calming a pet.
“You know you're all right with me, don't you, son? Even tied and muzzled like you are, don't you?"
Ned tilted his head back and looked into the man's gray eyes. He suddenly realized that his dick was hardening in his jeans. Jake and his friends taking him by force that way had scared him, but to be bound and gagged with this man was different. He had been tied up before as part of role play, but it was never as firm and complete as he was now bound. Ned liked it when he trusted a man to put him in light bondage. Even more, he liked to be gagged but never figured out why that made him feel horny. Ned felt somewhat foolish feeling OK with this manly miner with whom he never even spoke one word. Yet he felt himself relaxing easily into submission with this older man who called him ‘son’.
“My name’s Dusty, at least that’s what they call me cuz of being so dirty and all every time I climb out of a mine. I shake myself and brush my clothes with my hands and a cloud of dust surrounds me.” Dusty smiled.
As Ned thought about this, Dusty reached behind the young man’s head, fingered the knot of the gag, and remove the bandana tied at the back. The thick roll of cloth fell away, and the miner tucked it into a pocket of his coat.
He grinned at Ned, "I’ll come in handy, later." Then he gently drew out the wads of cloth from the cowboy's mouth, letting the younger man work his jaw to relax his cramped muscles. Despite the relief, Ned realized he wasn't entirely happy about having the gag removed. At least he could speak.
“So you’re a miner? I don’t remember seeing you before.”
“Yep, I may be staying if the mine produces, or leaving if she don’t.” Ned did not know what to think about this handsome stranger. Maybe he should not throw caution to the wind. Maybe he’d better not get too far ahead of his heart feelings. Ned thought he’d just try to enjoy the time with Dusty, even if it’s a one nighter.
The miner moved behind him and he felt the rope holding him to the vertical stair post loosen. He watched as Dusty removed his bindings that were wrapped around his body and then coiled that same rope and hung it over his shoulder.
Ned was feeling odd. He definitely did not want to be tied up by those drunken assholes! He wanted to be free and left alone. However, Dusty displayed a kindness, a caring. And that was totally different. With Dusty standing there, petting him, talking calmly to him. Ned felt trust and safety. He really would prefer staying tied up as-long-as Dusty was there and in charge.
Coming out of these nice thoughts that were floating around in Ned’s brain. He suddenly really that Dusty did not continue untying him. His hands were still tied behind his back! With a grin, Dusty took him by the shoulder and turned him toward the foot of the stairs. “As it happens, I've got a room in this hotel, just up these very stairs. You wanna see it, son?"
Striking It Rich
Part 2 of 3
Dusty, who recently won a mine in a poker game, did not know how long he’d be in town. That would depend on if the mine turned out to be worth real money. If it did, he’d stay around and work it. If, within a few months, he determined the mine was just dirt, he’d pull up stakes and head to another town.
Ned looked up at the taller man for a long moment. Then, slowly, he just nodded, finding it unnecessary to speak. Dusty nodded in return, and then guided him, almost carrying him, up the stairs to the second floor. He took a quick look down the dimly lit hall before leading the bound man inside and in the first room at the back. As soon as they entered, Dusty let Ned just stand by himself, still with his hands bound behind him. Dusty took off his own broad-brimmed hat, tossed it on a chair. He turned on the lamp on a nightstand, just to the right of the iron-framed bed.
The tall miner went to Ned, standing and watching. He leaned his head upward and pressed his warm lips onto Ned's mouth, crushing the young man to his broad chest in a bear hug. It was a long kiss. The type of kiss where you are discovering that each of you wants this closeness with each other at this very moment. Everything important was detected, mutual thoughts were wordlessly exchanged and everything was in sync. When he pulled away, at last, Ned's cock was harder than ever. What would words add to any of this?
Dusty grinned down at him, "Yer a handsome cuss, cowboy.” Jake and all his buddies called him “cowboy,” and he liked that nickname. “That was a sweet kiss. But now you know what I'm gonna do, don't you?" As he spoke, he stroked the side of Ned's neck slowly with the strong calloused fingers of his right hand.
Ned nodded, "Yeah. You're gonna gag me." It was his way of signaling that he was OK with Dusty gagging him as well as tying him up. The young man never tried to move away, or resist. In bondage love-making, it’s important to tell the top what is OK. A bottom should never tell a top what to do during the sexual experience. It blows the whole submission surrender. But in the beginning, a bottom needs to give a very clear signal what is OK, and then let all his resistance ebb away.
"That's right, son," Dusty said in a low voice, "that's what I 'm gonna do to you, cowboy. I'm gonna gag you.” Dusty petted Ned’s body through his clothes. “Then, son, I’m going to tie you up all I want, the way I want. I can see in your eyes, you trust me.” Ned nodded but said no more.
Ned looked up at the older man and realized it was true. He did want this man to really bind him up in any way he wanted. He needed to feel that wonderful mindful-high sensation of giving up all control totally.
The man bent down and kissed Ned on the mouth again, a slow wet, calming kiss. Dusty cupped the back of Ned’s head in one hand and ruffling the short hair above his neck with his fingers. Ending the embrace, he crossed over to where he had set his saddlebags and removed a couple of big bandannas and returned to Ned who was so eager and excited now that he had acknowledged his desire to be gagged by this man. Dusty took the bandana the others used to gag Ned from his pocket. Then he added a second bandana to it as he rolled both up together in a very large wad of cloth. Work bandanas are huge to begin with, so this ball of cloth was as big as a fist. In order to actually insert it into anyone’s mouth, he needed to elongate it, like in the shape of a beer can. Cupping the back of cowboy's head in one big hand, he began to slowly insert the narrower end.
Dusty inserted one end fully into Ned’s stretched open mouth. Then he used his thumbs, alternately to methodically work the wad, little-by-little into the younger man’s mouth. He poked the wad in various areas to work it fully inside Ned’s mouth cavity, including his bulging cheek pouches. Ned’s cheeks were like those of a nut-stuffed chipmunk’s. Most gags are nothing like this type of mouth packing. Ned’s mouth was so full that even the usual muffled talking sounds one would make here with a regular gag, only a vibration in Ned’s throat could be heard. His tongue was forced down to the bottom of his mouth and could not move. There was no void left in his oral cavity left to fill. His mouth was completely sealed off.
Ned felt his cock stiffen in his pants. His emitted moans were simply throat vibrations. Dusty loved to put the palm of his large hand against Ned’s neck and “feel” the sound. Ned was torn between the heart-quickening excitement he always felt when being gagged and the suppressed panic he would feel at his being silenced and helpless. As he looked up at the big miner, with his jaw distended and his cheeks all bloated, he was not worried. With the gag-wad fully in his mouth and lodged in place behind his teeth, there was no way he could reject it. But Dusty wanted more, so he used another bandana, this one rolled up, to wrap around Ned’s head and then tie off around the back. The only difference between this gag and the one that Jake forced in his mouth, was that Jake stuffed only one bandana into his mouth. That one bandana gave Ned an erotic tingling feeling in his dick. But what Dusty did, creating an entire full-packed, mouth gag, made Ned’s dick totally hard. It did not escape Dusty’s attention.
For a precious long moment, the miner held his cowboy with one strong, manly arm squeezing his “son.” Dusty placed one arm around Ned’s back cradling him closely against his chest, the other hand lifted the young man’s chin and using those fingers to gently rub and tap the super tight bandannas gag. Ned looked up at Dusty and slipped deeper into his own arousal at being so helpless, so tied, so gagged, so utterly at another man's mercy. At the same time, Dusty’s own excitement was increased by his realization at how strongly the act of gagging him, excited the captive as well.
"I got to do it, son, I just got to," the miner said in a whisper. He crushed his body against Ned’s. Dusty squeezed his own body so tightly against Ned’s that the cowboy could breathe freely. But, of course, Dusty knew that.
"Mumph, Mumph, Mumph …” Ned moaned softly, but it was not a demand to be released, but rather his reaction to feeling so much erotic pleasure. There was no more resistance coming from Ned.
So, Ned was thinking. ‘I’m a 24-year-old, long-time resident of Cactus Hill with a steady population of just about 600 people. The thing about Cactus Hill is that it seems caught in a time capsule of the Midwest with the entire cowboy atmosphere. Yes, most men wore cowboy hats and a few still rode horses. As a gay man living here, and one who sought a long-term relationship. It is frustrating because, so few newcomers will settle here. So, there is not much to choose from. Then, on Saturday night, in the only gay saloon in the town. I see a stranger there, nursing his drink. His name turned out to be Dusty, and he was, indeed a miner, new to this area. He is an older man, fifty-something, and dressed like the few local miners dressed. The stranger sat in the back of the bar and spoke to no one, not even as the bar filled up with town regulars.’
‘This night, several of Ned’s friends got drunk and followed Ned out into the back alley and tied him up to a post and gagged him. Ned was fully dressed, right down to his cowboy boots. When his friends got carried away poking and teasing him, Dusty, came to his rescue and chased the rowdy guys away. Although Ned was terrified when the stranger first appeared in the dark alley. It didn’t take long for the two men to realize they had the same bondage fetish. Dusty like a guy all bound and gagged. And Ned liked to be all tussled up and speechless. So Dusty freed him from the post, but otherwise left his hands bound behind his back. What Dusty did next, was to walk him to his own hotel room.’
In his room, Dusty held Ned close to him in an unmistakable embrace of affection. An affection that was mutual. It’s one thing to be turned on when in bondage. It’s a whole new world to have strong affections for each other. Dusty used his hand to push and hold Ned’s head tightly against his own neck, kind of in a lovers embrace. Ned’s fully clothed, tied-up body became relaxed to slip away into the comfort of the caressing hold of this manly guy. It was as if Ned sensed that this older man wanted to take care of him. He allowed Dusty to guide him into his room and over to the side of the steel-framed bed. The captor half eased, half forced, the bound cowboy down onto the mattress placing him on his back and then placing his body on top of Ned’s. It might not seem to be comfortable for a guy to lie on his own bound hands, but Ned felt fine. Some discomfort from bondage was erotic to him. For the moment Dusty stayed on top of Ned, embracing him. Ned gazed up with an almost puppy-dog look of grateful arousal on his handsome face. Dusty, smiling, looked down at him with a look of tenderness strangely mixed with triumph and power.
Dusty was unknowingly salivating, spit dripped down the corner of his mouth. He was all horned up. But he was acting like he had all the time in the world. Why not? Ned was all bound and gagged! He was going to enjoy his cowboy captive for as long as he wanted and in the exact way he wanted. He had all the power he needed to do as he wished. Much of that power came from Ned, himself, who clearly wanted to surrender and submit, to this particularly hunky, older man.
Dusty reached down and took off his own spurs and then Ned’s letting each of them drop with a jingle onto the wooden floor. He repositioned Ned’s bound, fully clothed body, on the bed. He took some of the rope he had retrieved from his saddlebags and bound Ned’s still booted-feet together, lashing the rope around his ankles and then down between them and in the front of his boot heels. Dusty roped Ned’s boots tightly together, and then wound it back up, repeating this several times before knotting it off tight.
Next, Dusty used another length to bind Ned's legs together below and above the knees, securing the man thoroughly. When he was done, he stood for a moment looking down at the younger man. Ned was utterly helpless now, at the man's mercy, and Ned knew it. The ropes Jake and his cowboy buddies used to bind Ned’s hands and arms behind him were still very secure. And this new rope bondage he just added made Ned’s powerlessness complete. The gag was the most effective gag he'd ever contrived, filling the young man’s mouth with a huge, packed-in wad of soft cloth that was tied at the back. Ned tugged and struggled at the ropes, not to get free, but to feel the power of the unyielding rope, and the controlling authority of his man.
With a movement that seemed surprisingly agile for so big of a man as Dusty, he stretched out beside his bound captive and took him gently into his arms. The dim light from the lantern was on the younger man's side of the bed so that it shone on him most. For a long while, the older man did nothing but hold his bound and gagged companion in his embrace; gently stroking him on his head, his jaw, his chest, his belly. It seemed to Ned that the miner was content with his mere possession of him. To have him helpless in his arms, tightly bound up with lashings of rope and his mouth thoroughly stuffed with bandannas. Ned found himself staring up at the man in an ever-increasing state of arousal.
After a long while, the big miner began to speak, his deep voice low and controlled. Ned, pressed so close, could feel the fellow's voice rumble in his chest. "I'm gonna have you, cowboy," he said softly. "You know that, don't you, son? I'm gonna have you. I've got you all tied up now, all roped up, hands and arms and legs all bound up with tons of rope. You can't get away from me now, cowboy, even if you'd wanted to, but I'm sure hoping you don't. You don't, do you, son?" He bent close to Ned's face, his gray eyes staring down intently into the younger man's blue eyes. Ned sighed and moaned hopelessly into his huge gag.
Ned shook his head slowly. "Umm ummmmph. Umm umph."
The miner smiled, showing his brilliant white clenched teeth. "I'm glad, son, real glad. I want you so bad, cowboy. You're such a handsome galoot. Love your compact, toned body. But there's something kid-like about you, and I like that, cowboy." While he spoke, he went on stroking Ned’s face, belly, and thighs all at his disposal. "You got a nice head of hair, cowboy," Dusty went on softly, "and I noticed straight off in the bar that you had a sweet mouth. God, I'd like to kiss you again, son, but I want you gagged like you are, even more, son, oh yeah. I want you gagged." He ran his fingers gently over the thick swath of bandanna that was bound over Ned's mouth and around his head. "You really are gagged, aren't you, cowboy, that's a gag and a half, ain’t it?"
Ned moaned. "Mumph, Mumph, Umm…” as he did, he felt Dusty’s strong arms tighten around him in a very tight and continual bear hug.
"Oh cowboy," the big man said in a voice that held a tremor in it, "when you moan like that, son, when you make them muffled up, gagged sounds like that, you get me so hot, so hard, making me so fucking excited, son. It's all I can do not to take you right now, right NOW!" Again he squeezed Ned tight, "but no, son, I wanna take this easy and slow, you're too good to waste on rushing fast." He stroked Ned’s thick hair. Then he began his caresses all over the still dressed cowboy.
After a long moment, Ned realized that the man's touch was more directed now. Dusty’s calloused fingers slowly wandered over to target Ned’s nipples through his shirt. He gently began to encircle those erect nubs and to caress them, lovingly. Then, the miner ran his hands all over Ned’s shoulders and sides and then returned them to give more attention to the young man’s nipples. For Ned, it seemed like an eternity before his captor pushed Ned’s vest aside and began slowly working at the buttons of Ned’s shirt. Dusty slipped his hand inside, under his shirt and on top of the fabric of Ned’s long johns, and gently pinched those nipples. He withdrew his hand and returned to caressing the cowboy all over. Dusty love Ned’s hair, he loved to rough it up and stroke the soft strands of it between his tough fingers. A few moments later, his hand slipped inside Ned's shirt once more, pinching his nipples a bit harder this time. He repeated these motions on and on. The cowboy writhed in his bonds and mumbled through his gag to signaling for Dusty to quicken his actions, to speed things up. He was so eager to experience all Dusty had to offer.
But, Dusty was not only a pro. He wanted to move along at his own, slow, methodical, torturous pace. It did not matter how much Ned try to object or control things. Dusty knew that this cowboy loved all the erotic feelings he was receiving. So, he had a bright green light to proceed as he wished. Ned could only lie there, on his back and allow the miner to stimulate him as he pleased.
Ned was erotically frantic. "Mummph, Mummph, MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!” Ned screamed at him. Dusty did not need an interrupter, he knew Ned was feeling highly erotically teased, and his dick was not even being touched. “MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!”
“Yes, my son, what a good little cowboy you are being.”
"Mummph, Mummph, MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!” By all physical signs, Ned was now “demanding” that Dusty speed it up and get his dick out, suck him off, beat him off or … whatever! Just fucking do it …NOW! When the cowboy’s muffled screams didn’t affect Dusty’s behavior. He started to buck his hips. Ned was tied up, but he was not tied down to anything. So he started jerking his body, twisting. Bending his knees and jerking about.
“Now, now, cowboy. That will be just about enough of that.” Dusty lovingly told him with a smile. He was so pleased that Ned was responding more and more. It was all telling him how much Ned was enjoying all his touches and caresses. “OK, OK, son. I know you love my touches, but you want me to expedite my lovemaking and hurry up what I enjoy doing. I love that, son. I just love that. But, I go at my own pace.”
“So, pard’ner, here’s the deal. I take my pleasure in fondling you all bound up as I wish, and you leave me alone to enjoy myself. OK?” Ned just stared and listened intently, not sure of what Dusty was saying. “But if you move about or jerk around. I stop and just go watch TV. If you scream, as muffled as it is, I leave you and go sit in that chair and watch TV.” Ned blinked his big sexy eyes a few times but did not move. “Now, if you can be a good little cowboy for me, and don’t try to interfere, then I will stay right here on the bed and play with you all I want. So it’s my way or the highway. Got that?”
Ned did not nod his head in agreement. He remained motionless. ”OK, Ned, you may nod yes or no.” The bound up, gagged cowboy quickly made exaggerated nods up and down that he understood. Dusty smiled. “Good, son. Very good. And thank ya in advance for letting me enjoy myself.”
Feeling all proud and happy, Dusty undid the buttons of the bound captive’s long johns and slipped his hand inside against the young man’s bare chest. “Fuzzy, ain’t ya, cowboy? Got a nice little crop of chest hair, ain’t ya, son? I like that. I like that in a man, cowboy, even if there is that bit of a kid in you. I like the kid in you, yeah, I do, son. I really do. That fuzzy chest of yours is nice." As he spoke he rubbed his rough palm against Ned's bare nipples which were now tender from all the attention they'd received moments ago. Just that sliding of rough palm against them touched him off. He did a quick jerk his torso. Dusty spoke loud and clear with a firm fiery look deep into his eyes to remind Ned not to move. Ned stopped. He did not want Dusty to abandon him and go watch TV.
"Now you can softly moan, I’m OK with that, just don’t try to scream or wiggle. Don’t make any sounds or movements to get me to change what I am doing.” Dusty suddenly pinched Ned’s right nipple sharply to get a reaction from the younger man. Ned snapped his eyes closed and held them closed as he tried to take the erotic pain silently and without moving his body in any way. Then he let out a soft moan, as was permitted.
Pleased with Ned’s controlled response, Dusty gently caressed both of Ned’s nipples for a while. Then he petted his head, face, and hair, lovingly. As if Ned was his new pet, he caressed Ned's throat and shoulders, stroking gently. He followed this gentleness with a sudden attack on those jutting nipples and again. Ned stiffened his body without jerking or crying out. What helped Ned to stay still and passive was his tensing his arm and leg muscles, like when one does isometric exercises. Apparently, Dusty was OK with that.
For a while, Dusty followed this pattern, alternately caressing and pinching at uneven intervals so that his bound companion was unsure what to expect at any one moment.
After a time, the miner started to let his hand roam far down Ned's side, stroking and squeezing the firm flesh and muscles of his waist and hip and flank. Once in a while, he gave Ned’s belly a hard slap, and Ned saw, through half-closed eyelids, that the miner was grinning down at him. A slap was usually followed by a gentle caress of his nipples, but sometimes it was followed by a firm pinch. Ned twisted in his ropes and moaned into his gag. His cock had been straining hard in his jeans for what seemed hours now, and the big man had so far not even grazed it. Suddenly, Dusty placed his big hand over Ned’s bulging crotch and squeezed firmly. Ned moaned softly, though a bit louder this time.
"Getting hard, cowboy, ain’t ya? It makes you hard, don't it, my tying you up all helpless, and stuffing a big gag in your mouth, and playing with you like this? It gets me hard too, cowboy."
"Yeah, son, you just keep moaning into your gag like that. Those soft moans of yours sound like you are begging me. I just love that. You may beg all you want, sweetie." The big miner squeezed Ned's cock once more, and then went back to caressing his head and chest before returning to Ned’s groin once more. He was gently stroking it firmly but slowly through the cowboy’s jeans. After a time, he began to squeeze harder, and Ned found himself encouraging the man, striving to lift his hips to press his groin harder into Dusty’s hand, as he moaned into his gag.
"I got you almost ready now, don't I, cowboy? You’re getting real hot and bothered, ain’t ya, son?" Ned found himself moaning into his gag and nodding. He was hot, as the man said, hotter than he'd been in a long time. The way this big man had made him so helpless, had bound him and gagged him so that he was utterly at the miner’s mercy. It caused Ned’s to rise to the extreme erotic need to climax.
Striking It Rich
Part 3 of 3
Ned felt the miner’s fingers working at the buttons of his fly, and then at the buttons of his long johns, and then the rough fingers curled around his hot and aching cock and squeezed it, and he cried out into his gag. "MMMMPH!"
With Ned’s cock sticking out through the fly of his jeans, Dusty hugged and embraced him tightly. Placing his mouth near the cowboy’s ear, Dusty whispered, "I'm gonna take you now, son. I told you I was gonna have you for mine, and I meant it. You're such a good-looking cowboy, son, such a handsome buckaroo, and you're gonna be mine. I'm gonna have that sweet ass a' yours, son, just for me."
As he said this, he reached over to the nightstand and took something from the nearby table and carefully poked a sharp tip into the jean material about where Ned’s asshole would be. Ned, of course, could see nothing behind him but felt his jeans nudged this way and that. When Dusty finally replaced the scissors on the night table, Ned wondered what that maneuver was all about.
"Mummph, mummph, MUMMMMMMPPPHHHH!” was Ned’s response as he felt Dusty’s finger in direct contact with his asshole, tickling it. Dusty cut a hole in the bottom of Ned’s jeans and long johns to expose the cowboy’s lovely asshole. "Mummph, mummph, mummph, mummph." Dusty was not into meanly ruining someone’s clothes. He thought he’d have his cowboy wear these holely jeans out to the bar, or to where ever he wanted Ned to wear them.
The cowboy thrashed helplessly as was squeezed and held in a long bear hug. At the same time, Dusty tickled, rubbed and poked all about that wonderful ass he now owned. Ned was bucking, fiercely now. Ned could not stop and certainly, at this point, Dusty did not care about any movements. He enjoyed all Ned’s struggles.
There was cowboy Ned, with his hands tied behind his back, and his legs and ankles bound tightly as well. It was kind of funny to see Ned fully dressed, fully bound, and fully gagged … with only his stiff dick sticking out of his pants. The thing was, Dusty was not touching that stiff dick, he was only slow-finger fucking the cowboy’s sweet asshole. Dusty smiled broadly as he rotated Ned more fully on his back. He left his finger still up Ned’s asshole with Ned pulling his full body weight on it. Now, as Ned thrust his hips upward to try to get some friction on his stiff, now dripping, abandoned dick. He was actually fucking himself on Dusty’s long, callused finger.
Worst, Dusty was not at all exerting himself. He was all calm and, at this point, passive. He was just watching and enjoying Ned’s erotic air-fuck as he bounded up and down on that one warm finger. Ned was beginning to sweat. He was pumping himself like crazy into a frenzy of erotic spasm. Dusty continued his non-hurry mode and he did not stop anything. The squeaky bed springs were sounding like a barnyard dance rhythm. The sound resembling ‘Dueling Banjos’.< br>
“Shhhh. Calm down cowboy, easy now.” And Ned slowly ground to a stop, resting solidly on Dusty’s manly finger. “That’s it, cowboy. I think you’re ready for the real thing.” Ned felt the finger slip out. He then watched the handsome miner lean over to remove his boots and sock, then unbuckle belt and remove his jeans. Dusty worn no underwear, so this was Ned’s first glimpse of his capture’s toned body and wonderful dick.
It must have seemed funny, or at least odd, for tied-up cowboy Ned to be totally clothed in his everyday western outfit, right down to his boots, with only his stiff dick sticking out. While Dusty, was totally naked, not to mention hard as a pole.
"What a sweet ass, cowboy, what a sweet round ass you got, cowboy, and I'm gonna take that ass, ain’t I, son, yeah, I'm gonna take that sweet as a' yours, and you're gonna let me, huh, 'cause you ain’t got much choice, do you?" He pressed closer to the younger man, his lips right against his ear. "You want me to take your sweet ass, don't you, son, you want me to?" His voice was almost a whisper, low and crooning. Ned nodded his head and moaned. The man's firm lips kissed his ear, and then he turned Ned's head towards his own and he kissed the other man all over the side of his face, his lips hard, his tongue soft. "That's my sweet cowboy, yeah, son, you're my sweet cowboy, all tied, gagged and helpless like a newborn calf, ain’t you, and you're mine, ain’t you?" Again Ned nodded frantically and moaned his submission into his huge gag.
Suddenly, the miner was gone, but before Ned gave it much thought, he was back again. Ned heard the soft plop of a jar opening, and then he felt the miner's fingers slipping something cold and slick against those backdoor lips. Of course, he was poking his bound companion through the hole he cut into the jeans and long johns. Ned struggled a little and moaned into his gag, but the miner held him close with one hand while he went on greasing his asshole with the other. First, he simply rubbed his finger against the tight seal, and then he began gently to work the lube inside. After finger fucking him moments earlier, he opened up pretty good. But this time Dusty was working two fingers into his love hole and probed deeper. Ned moaned with pleasure now. The miner eased out and in and then it was three fingers, but that eased sooner than before, and then Ned heard the miner whispering into his ear.
"I'm gonna have you now, cowboy, you're gonna feel my hot cock in that sweet ass of yours, cowboy." As he spoke, Ned felt the firm tip of the man's cock pressing against his opening and worked it slowly, very slowly inside his asshole. But, apparently, Dusty was moving too slow to suit him. It was utterly frustrating Ned. He jerked and twisted to try to get Dusty to just fuck him as hard as he could!
“Oh, so my sweet cowboy wants me to hurry? You what to tell me how to take you, son? Ok, you win. I’m OK with that. I'll stop now and go sit in that chair and watch some TV.” And Dusty began to stand and move away.
"Mummph, Mummph. Mummph, Mummph. Mumph, Mummmmh Ned began to shade tears. His body trembled at the thought that he’ll lose Dusty’s tender, caressing touches. "Mummph? Mummph?”
“Oh … you changed your mind, sweetie? You’re sorry you interfered with my method of taking my pleasure?” Dusty spoke softly, knowing all along a boy like Ned would have a very difficult time keeping still and silent. “Are you sure you want me to stay right here and have my fun?” Ned nodded and begged with his eyes for Dusty to continue.
"Mummph, Mummph,” was all the sound Ned made, as his body became limp and lifeless, like a sack of potatoes. Completely limp, except for his very hard, dripping flag-pole dick.
Dusty loved it. He loved everything about Ned. Dusty continued to slowly, patiently press his cock in further, then paused, and still further. It was a methodical intrusion to avoid causing pain to Ned.
Dusty held Ned in a spoon position, each on their side. Dusty completely naked, slow-fucking his cowboy’s ass through the hole he made. And there was Ned, all bound and gagged with only his own large, drippy dick standing at attention through his opened fly. What an odd sight to behold. It was easy for Dusty, but quite the contrary for Ned, who was using every ounce of mental strength to not react or push. Dusty’s lips curved into a smile against Ned’s ear as he whispered, “Oh, yeah, son, now you give yourself to me. I loved to take ya when you are all tied and gagged and helpless. I know you want to give yourself to me, body and soul.” Ned was sweating, he had a glistening. His skin sweating evenly, coating his body. Although his stiff pole was oozing precum. He held his body as relaxed as if he were in a coma.
“Such a sweet ass, cowboy, yeah, let me get into you, son. Let me work you over as you lay helpless and nonresistant." And as he crooned into Ned's ear. He brought his hand around and took Ned's stiff dick in the curl of calloused fingers. He began to run his tight-gripped hand up and down the younger man's pre-cum-coated cock while his own dick thrust in and out of that wonderful ass.
"Mummph, Mummph. Mummph,” Ned's grunts faded into low whimpered moans. Ned pressed his back against the miner’s front side who used his free arm to pull him back closer. Apparently, that was fine at this point.
All control and rhythm went out the window. They were groaning and jerking like two wild animals, one plowing the other, locked in an uncontrollable frenzy. There was no logical or methodology, no care in guiding anything. Ned felt Dusty pump harder. Ned felt his own desires raging over-the-top. His balls pulled up and held tight. Ned squeezed his asshole tight. “Agggggghhhhhhhh.” There it came, a flood of manly jism gushed, blast after earth-trembling blast, from Dusty’s canon-dick into the cowboy’s ass.
Of course, that triggered Ned’s dick to shoot man-lava all over the place. He cried out in the loudest muffled screams of the night, into his gag. He could not stop. Ned continued to yell into his gag and twisted in his ropes and Dusty’s tight arms. He jerked and spurted again, and then finally threw himself back against his man and lay there on his side, spent in the hunky miner’s embrace.
The two men rested there, clasped and glued together in sweat. Finally, all at rest, all silent. 30 minutes later, Dusty slowly loosened his embrace and relaxed. He twisted himself up and eased himself out of the warm hole. Dusty guided Ned to relax on his back. The miner gazed down at Ned for a long while saying nothing, just looking, running his deep gaze over the cowboy who laid, now docile, beside him. Slowly the husky miner got up, dragging himself into the bathroom and fetched a warm cloth and returned. Tenderly, mopping up the man juice that was deposited all over Ned’s clothes.
Content with that, Dusty clean himself up. Dusty stood in silence and looking down at Ned, who laid there in the bliss of his climax-daze. Though still in his emotional erotic high, Ned was pleasantly stunned at what had happened. He was aching to be held close in the other man's arms again, wanting and yet not wanting, the big man to loosen his ropes and take out the gag. Ned had, at once, the bondage he loved, from a man he felt dearly about.
Against his inner desires, Dusty bent over Ned and began to free him from his bonds. Tenderly and methodically, he unknotted and unwound the ropes from younger man’s booted feet, knees, and hands. All the while he had a quiet smile on his face and paused a few times just to look down at Ned where he lay. When finished, he re-coiled the ropes and placed them over one of the bedposts. There was an awesomeness in the air. Some new experience had begun that was going to become a part of both of their lives. It just seemed that way. Like two ships in the night, meeting to dock side-by-side, and moving away no further.
Ned remained as he was, in no hurry to leave or even sit up. Dusty sat down on the edge of the mattress beside Ned to reach behind his head and gently untied and remove the outermost bandanna. Then he loosened the huge bandanna wad that was so completely compacted into his mouth. Ned swallowed and tried to wet his dry lips with his tongue.
"Wait there," Dusty commanded. He crossed the room and retrieve a glass of cool water. He batted Ned's extended hand away when he reached to take the glass. “No, son, I’ll take care of you.” And he tipped the glass to feed him the water in sips, at first, and then a long drink. Finally, the cowboy let his head fall back and looked up almost shyly at Dusty.
"Thanks," Ned said. The handsome miner nodded and stroked his hair. "Thank you, son." Ned looked up at him and smiled and neither wanted to break the stare.
Then Dusty stood up naked beside the bed. For the first time, he took in Dusty’s firm, toned body, especially for a rugged man in his mid-50’s. He had strong broad shoulders and a nice chest, with peppered gray hair on it.
"Come on, son," he said, "let's get you outa them duds."
"Can I stay the night with you, then?" Ned said quietly, kind of begging.
Dusty, who was about to pull off Ned's right boot, looked up at him. "You just try and leave, cowboy," he said gruffly, "and if you think I tied and gagged you tight before, you'll see how tight I can tie and gag you now." Then he jerked off first one boot and then the other. As the miner pulled off his socks, Ned reached to finish unbuttoning his own shirt. But, again, but the big man leaned over and pushed his hands away. "Son, do I look like I need your help? This is my job," he said smiling. Ned was surprised, pleasantly surprised, and laid back passively. Dusty went about his loving task. He took off the young man’s clothes. He stripped off Ned’s jeans, got him out of his vest and shirt, and laid them neatly aside. Finally, he reached to undo the buttons of the younger man's long johns, Ned felt a little shy. But Dusty simply unfastened the long row of buttons and then stripped the top of the underwear off his chest and down to his waist. “OK, lift your hips, son.” Ned did allow Dusty to get the underwear completely off his legs. Completely naked as dusty, Ned laid back. His eyes scanned the beautiful body of his loving companion. It was the first time that they saw each other naked.
The rustic looking miner shook his head, "Such a sweet-looking cuss, that's what you are, cowboy."
Ned stared at the man. "You're so handsome. God, you're handsome. I can’t tell you how much …"
“Best you get up and do what you need to in the bathroom, and get your ass back, quick.” Just as Ned rose up and stood, Dusty swatted his ass and got a yelp out of him. When Ned returned, he followed Dusty’s directions to get back on the bed.
Ned started to ask a question but was interrupted, “Hush. Now … if you’re staying the night, I need to take care of you. So turn over on your belly and put your hands behind you, cowboy.” Ned was confused, but definitely not scared. He wanted to cuddle with Dusty and slowly fall asleep entwined in his arms as he always imagined it would be after sex.
“If your mine doesn’t work out for you, how long before you split, and move on?”
“Don’t worry ‘bout that now, son. I have a strong hunch I’m gonna hit a payload. It just seems that way. If I don’t hit it here, it’ll be elsewheres. But I’m sure it’s gonna happen.” Ned knew it was rare to hit payload. Some miners try all their lives and never succeed. Likely this miner would have the same result. That’s a bummer. A fucking bitch when he leaves, Ned painfully surmised.
Dusty reached into a bedside table drawer and pulled out several clean bandanas. Calmly he rolled one up tightly and used it to bind Ned’s hands behind him. Ned was beside himself, but not worried at all. Dusty took a second bandanna and used it to wrap around Ned’s ankles, and tied it tight as well.
“OK, son, wiggle yourself onto your back.” As soon as the cowboy did, a third bandana was carefully pushed into his mouth, but only one this time, not two. The fourth and final binding was rolled up and looped around Ned’s head and tied off in the back. Ned was puzzled. What was happening? But, again, he trusted Dusty and allowed him to do as he wished. The difference from before was, this was not scratchy rope, but soft cloth and the gag was good but did not fully fill his mouth.
“Ok son, time for sleep. I need my rest. You tuckered me out, cowboy.” Ned nodded but was not sure what he was agreeing to. Dusty lifted the young man’s legs and remove the blanket from underneath his boy, to place it on top of him. As Dusty climbed into bed alongside his cowboy, he adjusted his body this way and that, trying to see how best to sleep. Ned tugged slightly at the soft bonds of cloth on his wrists and ankles and mumbled into the snug bandanna gag between his lips. He was just testing the bindings to see if they were really secure. They were.
"I ain’t letting you get away durin’ the night, son," Dusty spoke calmly. Then Dusty grabbed Ned firmly and carefully and turned him on his side, facing away from him. I guess they were spooning again. Dusty felt all was almost right, just a bit more adjustment. He pulled Ned’s body very close to his front side and placed his captive in a big, strong bear hug from behind. Ned moaned and shivered as this sent erotic chills down his spine.
“Oh yeah, son. I love this position.” Ned’s was not asked his opinion, but he was obviously in the heaven he always wanted. Dusty turned off the lamp and resettle his cowboy’s rump tightly against his groin. Dusty’s dick was again as hard as ever. He carefully inserted it between Ned’s thighs, just under his balls. Ned wiggled his hips which made the underside of his own dick rub and slide against the top of Dusty’s hard dick. “Shhhh, calm down, son, I need my rest.”
“That hobble and bit will keep my sweet-ass cowboy where I want him for tonight, right, son?" Ned nodded and pressed himself back into the big man's complete embrace.
Since Ned was facing away from Dusty, he could not tell that his miner’s broad smile. Dusty was so very, very happy. The fact that this position was an erotic torture for Ned, well … that was just icing on the cake.
"Come morning, cowboy," he whispered, "you're gonna get hog-tied and gagged real good. I’d love to put you in all kinds of positions … and I will. Good night. Love.”
Dusty resettled his firm manly grip on the younger man and let himself drift into a deep sleep. "Mummph. Mummp,” Ned whispered his “good night” into the gag. Dusty bent his knees up to position his body like a chair. Ned assumed the same position with his own legs. So, while on their sides, Ned was sitting on Dusty’s lap, in profile. Dusty’s hard dick was pointed upward, which was lodged between Ned’s thighs. He waited until he heard a slow, regular breathing rhythmic from Dusty to signal he was in deep sleep. Then, every once in a while during the night, Ned would slowly thrust his hips forward and backward onto his man’s lap. This caused him to feel Dusty’s big dick that would slide and rub against his own dick, as well as his asshole and balls. He did so gently so as not to wake his man.
Within a month or so, of the night they meet, Dusty realized that he was not gonna strike gold. However, he did decide to stay. No, Dusty never dropped his requirement to give up on riches. But he did move into Ned’s home just outside of town and set up a very nice household. Dusty continued to dig in the mine he laid claim to but never struck the gold he sought. It turned out to be unimportant since his treasure was being there with Ned. Within a few years, Dusty and Ned took over a small hardware store that went out of business and made a go of it. They made some great friends and seemed never to lose the love and lust they had for each other. Dusty reflected on just how precious Ned was to him, more than gold or treasure. Dusty knew that he finally struck it rich. He now had more wealth than he ever imagined.
Copyright 2018 GayTies.com. Each story part is displayed for only 24 hours, and is reposted only once every couple of years. So, log-in every day (or upgrade) so you don’t miss a one of them!