He stood there in his white jockstrap, gazing into space as his mind took him down paths of images, rather like the trances he'd heard that his ancestors experienced, as recounted by older men on the Rez.
A vicious sting on his left buttock brought him instantly to his senses.
"Hey dude! You just gonna stand there in your sweaty jock or you gonna take a shower?" Skye turned to see three wrestlers, naked, with towels in their hands, laughing as one of them twisted up his towel into a rat tail and seemed like he was about to flick it at Skye.
Skye felt a volcano of anger throbbing inside him, but then the guy with the wound up towel said, "Here, I got you a towel" and he tossed him a clean, folded white towel from the stack that sat by the showers. "I'm just messin' with you, buddy. No hard feelings." Skye hardly knew what to do with the fury that had emerged inside him, but the other fellow's gentle answer floated and landed like a balm, and Skye felt himself relax.
"You're Skye, right? I'm Brad, and these two dorks are Will and Kevin." Brad stuck out his hand, and after a moment, Skye shook it, as he then did with the other two. The scene of him wearing just his jock and shaking hands with three guys who were naked was startling, odd, and even slightly humorous.
"Hey," said Skye, like an awkward oaf meeting the cool kids at a party. A momentary silence settled on the group.
So," said Will, " howdya like that first practice. Rough, huh?" Kevin chimed in, "Right? Fuckin coach always starts the year like that. Seems crazy to me, wearing everybody out when we have four more days of practice this week." The instant ease with which they spoke to him somehow smoothed over Skye's initial awkwardness , and he said, "Well, yeah. I mean, I didn't expect that the first day."
"Yeah, I'll bet," responded Will. "Different from high school, I'll bet. What school did you wrestle at, anyway? Some place local?"
Skye was surprised. His skin tone and facial features usually made it clear he was Native American, and almost all the Natives were educated on the reservation.
Brad smacked Will on his heavily muscled arm. "Don't be a dumbshit. He's from the Rez, right?"
Skye said nothing.
"Oh, duh," exclaimed Will. "Sorry, man. I should have known."
"Well," said Skye, "it would have been a good guess, though not all of us stay on the Rez." A slightly uncomfortable pause. Then Brad: "Well, dude, we're gonna hit the showers and I'll see if I can get these two to keep their hands off each other's peckers." That broke the ice and Kevin threw his towel in Brad's face and barked, "Yeah, you'd like to see that, wouldnja, Mr. Soap-up-my-cock-for-half-an hour!" The trio laughed and even Skye smiled. Though not accustomed to this banter, he could see how it cemented their friendship.
Brad was an old campaigner in the verbal taunt department: "At least I can work it for half an hour and not lose my load in the first 30 seconds... as all the ladies here on campus will tell you is the case with my studly friend Kevin, here."
"Well," chimed in Will, "at least all the ones he's slept with... and that makes how many, Kevin? Nearly ONE, was it?"
Kevin merely grabbed his own penis and ballsac in one hand, shook it at his buds, and exclaimed, "I can't argue that. With all my conquests, it'd take all afternoon... kinda like your mom!" And with that, he turned and scampered off to the showers, his impressive sac swaying as the others gave chase.
Skye was quick to realize that this kind of dialogue was the conversational currency of the team, and he watched the three muscle-bound guys head to the shower:s Brad, a model of 6-foot plus lean muscle, pale skin, brown hair and green eyes, with massive thighs, beefy arms, and a rock solid butt; Kevin, on the lower side of six feet, beautifully tapering biceps and granite quads, olive skinned bespeaking some southern European heritage; and Will, only about 5'8" but sculpted like a statue, with black skin and brown eyes. Clearly, they were in their third year of wrestling, and the conversation of a few minutes before showed how comfortable they were with each other--so much at ease, in fact, that it was simple for them to joke around with Skye only moments after meeting him. All this was a quick study for Skye, who became increasingly aware of a kind of emptiness in his male psyche that could only be filled by guys his age just being guys. Although Skye could not have articulated before this moment the need to be part of the joking, the touching, and even the unexpected warmth of this group, he now knew, with the awareness that dawns on a sleeper who has just awakened, that he had better embrace this group of men before it slipped away as so many things had in his life.
The noise of raucous laughter and hooting pulled him from his reverie. He paused, put his fingers inside the waistband of his jockstrap, and pushed it down. In a moment of almost childlike imitation, he placed it on the bench and then adjusted it by twisting the waistband and one of the leg straps so it mirrored the exact position of Kirk's. He did this without even thinking, and a moment later smiled at his silly behavior, but he left his jock as a unspoken tribute to his mentor.
He grabbed his towel and then paused again. He'd noticed some guys wrapped the towel around their waists as they headed to the showers, but some just looped it around their neck and shoulders or just draped it off one shoulder and walked to the showers, usually tugging away at their nuts, happy to have them freed from the confines of a jock pouch. Some instinct told Skye that if he didn't get his ass to the showers immediately, he'd get grief from the other guys--possibly teasing about shyness. In what was perhaps one of the bravest moments in a life full of courage, he shrugged and draped the towel over one shoulder and headed for the first group shower of his life.