Kissing Cousins

by Grant Everett Eaton

Eric Anderson was born in April 1977 on Mount Olympus. At first his parents wanted to call him Adonis, but the Greek authorities wouldn't hear of it. So they settled on Eric and decided to raise the lusty baby in suburban Seattle. An upper-middle class neighborhood caught the chilly breezes off Lake Washington; so long as the family could afford, Eric was spared no amenity -- basketballs, footballs, bikes, cars, electronics, airplanes, and tree houses littered the front lawn from the time he was 3.

My earliest memory of Eric is very muddled and unclear; I recall only that I passionately despised him. A year younger and 40 IQ points my lesser, Eric behaved bawdily in public. His parents spoiled him through to the core -- when I was 4, we were at an awards ceremony in Seattle with his family. Eric ran up on stage and bulldozed over the microphone stand. His greedy, inquisitive fingers quickly found the mike and hurled it like dirt clod across the stage. The audience balked at the high pitched scream from the PA system. Aunt Dana only chuckled and shook her head. "You be a good boy," she mused as Eric set a land speed record around the buffet tables.

Tension has always been strong between us. I remember a family reunion in Seattle when I was 5. Eric and I bickered over a radio-controlled car for most of the evening until our hundred-year-old great grandmother threw her hands up and hobbled down the stairs. "Shut up and share the goddamn thing!" she declared, ripping the car from my grasp. Then Eric slapped me. So I slapped him back. Only harder.

Eric stormed upstairs in a rage of tears. That was the last time I saw him for nearly 7 years. But in 5th grade, I came back out to Seattle for another family reunion. Eric was 10 at this time, and I was 11. He was very thin, almost sickly in appearance. His voice was high and frail, like a cuckoo bird. A die-hard Nintendophile (like myself), Eric insisted on playing only his games while I had the esteemed privilege of watching.

Ostensible strife existed between us. A little discreet, but still very tangible. I was not permitted to enter -- much less touch -- the "holiest of holies:" the sacred Nintendo altar. Whenever I wished to watch Eric play, an escort of his two younger twins was required, flanked by a horde of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. (And occasionally Uncle Merril.)

The reunion went smoothly -- until the last day. Like most 11 year-old boys, I had stumbled across the greatest cultural landmark in American society -- Playboy Magazine. Eric’s eyes and ears were virgin to such surreptitious tales. So I promptly popped his pre-pubescent cherry on the subject.

While at my grandfather's house, I had uncovered a treasure-trove of vintage Playboy memorabilia -- Miss Firecracker, Miss Christmas, Miss March -- hell, Miss Saigon even? My bawdy little pea-brain especially liked Miss December, wrapped in red ribbon waiting to surprise some naughty little boy come Christmas morning. I took it upon myself to indulge Eric in the seedier delights of Grandpa Roy's forbidden box on the back porch. Forcing a straight face and acting mature beyond my years, I whispered, "Tan blond... underneath the Christmas tree with the presents." I coughed a little to sound manly. "She was wearing a big red bow you-know-where."

Eric was mesmerized, wide-eyed and mouth agape. "No, I don't know where!"

I laughed. "For a 10 year-old, you sure don't know much!" I toyed with the tassels on the carpet. "Haven't you ever seen a Playboy?"

Eric quickly averted his eyes and looked to the ground. "Well...... not exactly....."

"Little pussy," I chuckled as I walked off. Eric ran off into the house, feminine in contrast to his older, "virile" cousin. Big Grant was a man! He'd sailed the Seven Seas, conquered the greatest Nintendo games, scaled the tallest trees, earned the highest grades. But lo! He'd laid eyes on the sacred cow of the American male: Playboy Magazine! The pressure was too much. Young Eric couldn't possibly compare to his husky, suave cousin.

So you know what that little twerp did? He told my mother!!

* * * * *

Well... it was August of 1992, and I'd just arrived in from Wyoming after working on a ranch for 3 months. Sun-burned, agitated, and psychologically weathered, I was now the ripe old age of 15. Yet another family reunion -- this time in Astoria, Oregon. Four long years had come and gone... now what would that sickly little boy look like?

We drove up to Astoria: my mother, my stepfather, my sister, and my dog. What a trip! We arrived at my grandmother's summer home on the shores of the Columbia. It must have been past midnight when our car finally rolled up the steep hill and came to a stop in front of the home. I remember stumbling through the front door, muttering something like "hi" to the grandmother I hadn't seen in years, then falling on the sofa dead asleep.

The next morning we showered and got dressed. Everybody was there except Uncle Merril's family. I sat in the living room, looking out onto the street and waiting for the sickly little prick that I had fought with for so many years. Maybe now we're finally old enough to get along, I thought.

Just then I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head to look. There, out on the street, was the most gorgeous man I'd ever seen in my life. Electricity raced through my horny little mind. I cursed under my breath and stood up. My God! He was the sexiest fellow on earth!

The tall, masculine stud walked closer to the house. He was 6'1", 165 pounds or so. Gossamer blond hair seasoned with some darker streaks in it; absolute perfection. Loved his hair! He turned his face to look at the door. Casually moving closer. An indescribable beauty. I never knew the magnificence of men until my brazen eyes discovered this diamond in the rough. He looked like he was 20 or so. So sexual, so erotic, so insufferably salacious that my mind was already weaving a thousand-and-one filthy things to do with his naked body.

His heavenly torso was masked by a sweatshirt. I could tell he was a walking sculpture. Human artwork. Virility in motion. I realized that he was already upon the doorstep. What was he? A paperboy? A salesman? An underwear model?

Nope. He was my own goddamn cousin.

He opened the door and walked in. Before I realized what he was doing, he walked right up to and stuck out his hand. Determined and magnetic, his ice blue eyes penetrated to my core as he locked onto my affectionate gaze. "Hey, Grant," he opened with a rich, milky-smooth voice. "Long time, no see?" He stood stoutly in front me, a whimsical smile permeating his drop-dead gorgeous face. It was Eric!

I wasn't sure whether to shake his hand or to strip him. A little candy I'd been chewing on rolled off my panting tongue and hit the floor. Eric stood expectantly, waiting for me to say something. My mouth had rusted shut. He was by far the most ravishing guy I'd ever seen -- now or ever. Awestruck and paralyzed, I hung in front of him for a second.

"Oh.... hi...." I choked up. I weakly grasped his hand and shook. God.... what I wanted him to do with those hands! They were so powerful and yet so silky!

Just then my mom raced into the room. "Well who's this handsome young man?" she screamed, rushing to hug the cousin she hadn't seen in years. "Boy! You've really become a looker, haven't you!" Mom began chatting with Eric. I ran into the bathroom, sick to my stomach.

I looked in the mirror at my own perversely pale face, marbled by acne and blemishes. "Holy shit!" I cursed aloud. "That's your own fucking goddamn cousin out there! You wanna screw your own fuckin' cousin!" I felt sick to my stomach. I stayed in the bathroom for 10 minutes or so until the nausea subsided. But he was so hot! How could I not want to have sex with Eric?!

Before I opened the bathroom door, I gave myself a good talking-to. I was resolutely determined not to fantasize about the lover-boy hunk in the next room. The perfect-body, perfect-hair, perfect-face, perfect-voice sex god that I had considered my inferior for so many years had come back to haunt me like a demon. What a stud!

My stomach fell as I opened the bathroom door and walked out into the living room. Eric was sitting on the sofa. I let out a little gasp. I'd almost forgotten how sexy he was in those short ten minutes I'd just spent in the bathroom! He took my breath away as I scanned his body over once more. And his voice! Spellbinding, exuding pure unadulterated sexuality. "Hot sex" was written all over him like a billboard. My brain worked like a Clydesdale to come up with another thousand-and-one filthy fantasies. (It wasn't hard.)

Eric was wearing shorts. I looked at his legs. Geez -- they were so tan! (And pretty hairy, too.) Obviously, whoever made Eric knew that Grant Eaton had a fetish for legs. I loved every inch of my cousin's picture-book body: from his head to his toes, all I wanted him to do was expose some more flesh. I kept going back to his legs -- so strong, yet so perfectly sculptured. Not too muscular; just flawlessly rendered. The ideal human form -- the standard against which all others are measured.

Eric looked at me and smiled. His teeth were like little white Chicklets, faultless and impeccably white. "We're going to the beach in a few minutes. Wanna come with us?"

"Sure," I stammered. "Lemme run and get some swim trunks." I ran off to my suitcase, wondering if I'd be lucky enough to see him with his shirt off. I was wondering if his body was as good as his face was. Or his voice. Or his legs, for that matter. Everything about Eric utterly exuded carnal sexuality. Lust in its purest form.

We piled into Uncle Merril's Cadillac and drove the short distance to the emerald Oregonian coastline. The beach was not too busy, so Eric and I quickly wandered off to a semi-deserted area by ourselves. We had managed to talk openly the whole trip down -- no fighting, no arguing, no animosity -- just two friends meeting after years of part. (Though one of the "friends" desired considerably more than just friendship!)

I walked along the beach barefoot. I had a hideous farmer's tan from the ranch -- brown legs, sheet-white feet. I kept my shirt on. Eric took off his shoes and socks. Oooo, he has such nice legs! I lusted.

Then, without a sound, Eric peeled off his shirt. There are only two words in the entire English language capable of describing his body: instant orgasm.

An extremely learned (and horny) scholar might write a doctorate dissertation on the immeasurable merits of his seductive, amorous torso. I prefer not to taint Eric’s gorgeous body by mere words. Anything less than the real article is simply a flawed imitation. Once you've tasted Dom Perignon, a photograph is nothing more than cheap booze. (And dime-store booze at that!)

Eric Anderson has -- hands down -- the most appetizing body in the Western Hemisphere. Period. End of discussion. I need not say more.

I tried to pry my eyes from his god-like figure: a lechery-provoking figure of astronomical radiance. Between his legs, his face, his voice, his personality, and his chiseled torso, Eric had my mind running like a 200 horsepower Briggs & Stratton. I siphoned up all kinds of torrid images from the gutter. There wasn't much I didn't want to do with his delicious body. I had to quickly remind myself: Wake up! He's your cousin for God's sakes!

After a few minutes, we headed back to the car. Eric was staying at the beach at a Christian summer camp with his family. He invited me to stay with him in the hotel room. I pretended to be disinterested at first -- but I quickly relented. That night my mother agreed to let me spend the week with Uncle Merril, Aunt Dana, Eric, and the younger twins -- Robbie and Melissa.

* * * * *

I managed to restrain my sea of ecstasy throughout the day. Operative sequence: the day. Because at night, things changed just a teeny bit.

Eric was unpacking his suitcase, displaying his marvelously faćionable wardrobe. Each shirt was brand name -- Girbaud, Stüssy, Guess de rigeur. Eric had a lot of "grunge," too -- in style, Seattleish, and very Nirvana. He was dressed to the hilt. And so tall! (He was as tall as I was.)

It was late in the evening when we finally ate dinner and got ready for bed. I had pushed Eric’s rippled body from my head. But not for long! Eric went in the bathroom to undress. Within minutes, he reappeared wearing nothing more than underwear and a smile.

(Insert dramatic Scarlet O'Hara fainting scene right here.)

I couldn't believe he was a whole year younger than me -- yet so much older looking, so much more sensuous. I could have broken bricks on his chest. (And a few other things, too!)

Eric came over to me; I undressed him in my mind. (Not a hard thing to do, given the fact that he wore little more than a pair of tight-fitting red boxer shorts. And they were silk!) "I've been working out," he explained as he bent over to put his dirty clothes in the closet. I quickly picked my eyeballs up off the floor and tried to compose myself.

"Nooooooo!" I replied sarcastically, as if you couldn't guess by his washboard stomach. "You're kidding! How long have you been lifting weights?"

Eric stood up and scratched his chin. "Well, my dad got me a weight set last semester... so I'd say about ten months now. I can bench-press 160. Can ya tell?"

"Nah... I'd never know. I'm not into those things." I looked the other way and feigned boredom. "Did it take you long to get results?"

Eric walked in front of the mirror and flexed his glorious stomach. He ran his fingers over each well-defined ripple, admiring his exemplary figure. Not an ounce of fat on that body! "Oh, probably about three months. Look at my chest."

I glanced over at my cousin. I think his name should have been Narcissus. Eric didn't even need to flex his muscles -- it was already so obvious he had a sculptured physique. When he flexed my eyes hit the floor again. I quickly looked away and covered my eyes. This was so clandestine and forbidden: I was head-over-heels for my own cousin!

I went to bed that night: horny, jealous, and confused. But most of all, I was feeling guilty. So very guilty for fantasizing about my own cousin. My flesh and blood. This was the stuff bad jokes were made of! I felt so terrible -- Eric had no idea how hot I was for him... and I continued to play Mr. Str8: secretly conceited, "scamming" on his stunning body every chance I got. (But hey -- can you blame me?)

* * * * *

I woke up the next morning, refreshed and alert. Eric got out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his waist. (The room temperature rose 16°!) I tried to avoid looking at him. During breakfast, Eric ate any goddamn thing he well pleased. Eggs, bacon, sausage, butter, milk, cereal, croissants, juice, muffins -- Fe Fi Fo Fum, he smelled the blood of an Englishman. You name it, he ate it. His face was without a single blemish. Pristine and untainted, clear yet bronzed by the summer sun. How could he eat so much grease? And have 0% body fat? No pimples? No oily skin? I looked on in jealousy as he wolfed down strip after strip of bacon. (Now there was a strip of bacon I wouldn't mind wolfing down!) Then came a stack of pancakes. And some more muffins. (He ate like a horse. Maybe we DO have something in common. I guess hollow legs run in the family.)

After that, Eric and I went to Christian class. He sat next to me during the youth program. It was pretty cool -- a bunch of right-wing Christian teenagers sitting around singing, reading the Bible, praying, and smoking pot.


Maybe the Puritanesque church air cleared my mind. The Eric fantasies got a temporary reprieve when I uncovered fresh meat. (I think his name was Brandon.)

Whew! Bible class done, Eric and I went to the beach. I thought about sex all afternoon. He drove me crazy -- I was so ridiculously jealous of him. He had such tasty arms, and such a mouth-watering face (Eric’s face isn't his only mouth-watering piece of equipment, either!). Oh--and a body so hot it could melt the polar ice caps.

In the afternoon, we went to a candy store downtown. I drooled over the chocolates (and my cousin), thinking that I really shouldn't buy any. I worried that my face would explode like the Pacific Rim of Fire. Mount Helena. The last days of Pompeii. I couldn't bring myself to buy anything except a 10Ę peppermint stick.

Oh -- and Eric? Let's just say he bought stock.

Then we went to the beach. I watched enviously as he ate piece after luscious piece of milk chocolate. And candy bars. Marshmallows, too. How in the hell could he eat anything he wanted without breaking out?! I was becoming quite agitated watching him -- I monitored my diet meticulously, but blondie over there could slurp up anything even mildly edible without a second thought. Fuck DNA!, I thought.

Eric and I don't even look alike. Maybe in height. He is so ultra-masculine. Let me put it this way: I look like the Good Witch Glenda in comparison to him. Hell, Hulk Hogan could be mistaken for a fairy princess next to Eric! I'm convinced we come from a different gene pool. In my heart, I know it's not true. But he looks about 512 times better than me. What a stud... the girls in the Christian class weren't thinking very Christian thoughts, I can tell you that! (And maybe the teacher wasn't, either!)

Finally, on the last day of camp, we went downtown. Eric wanted to shop. He explained to me that he did his own shopping. No snoopy mom. I was greener than an Earth-First Activist. My mom did all of my shopping! Eric stopped in the most fashionable boutiques. He went through rack after rack of designer clothes until he came up a few choice articles. Then he went to the changing rooms.

Invariably -- in store after store -- he'd come out shirtless, pretending he wanted me to see him "put on" the shirts he was thinking of buying. But the real reason was obvious: the counter girls had to use smelling salts to remain conscious after he walked out of the dressing room ą naturel. (Eventually I built up a tolerance to him and didn't have to use smelling salts anymore. Except when he bent over, of course.)

Eric would march to the front of the store and examine himself in the mirror. People on the streets would pause to leer at his body in the window. Why didn't he just get a job flaunting himself? After Eric walked into a store, sales would rise by more than 20%. The welcome wagon was on every corner.

I remember one store we went into had a bunch of T-shirts with condoms sewn onto them. Eric thought he might get one. When I asked why, he said he'd tell me later.

So that night...

We went back to the hotel. Eric was as anxious to talk about the T-shirts as I was. (Oh goody!) It was dark, so he sat down on the sofa and turned on a lamp. Eric took his shirt off because "it was hot." (The air temperature wasn't more than 70°. I think the only thing hot was my cousin!) I certainly didn't complain! He sat across from me on the sofa.

And we started talking about sex. Not just any sex, mind you -- but the really raunchy, nasty stuff. Like most teenage boys do. (Step right up and get yer barf bags, folks!) Eric disclosed the fact that he was a virgin. (Yessss!! Score for Grant!) He explained that the "hottest" chick in the school was after him (gee, I wonder why?) and he was thinking of going out with her. But Eric’s idea of going out involved sex.

So he described each intimate detail of intercourse -- according to his best friend, a boy "well-versed" in the arcane spellbook of heterosexual eroticism. (The kid had been around the block a few times. Maybe he stopped at the street corners? At the wrong time of night?) Anyway, Eric’s friend was an "immensely" experienced cherry-picker. (Eeeeew! Love these lewd colloquials!)

Eric explained exactly what he wanted to do with a girl. Needless to say, I was sweating beads within a few minutes. That boy had a wonderful imagination! His erotic fantasies fired some high-grade plutonium into my risque nuclear reactor. Weapons-grade plutonium, even! I was damn near the point of meltdown! I put out an APB for nuclear fallout. "Evacuate the state."

(Dontcha just dig these post-Chernobyl puns?)

So Eric finally wound things down. I went to get a drink of water. He undressed and pranced around the hotel room in his underwear again. Hey, I could get used to this. He was spoiling me -- during the day, I went to the beach with him. At night I could rip off all of his clothes with my eyes. And like I said, a tight pair of silk boxers ain't hard to remove when you have genius-level IQ!

He was soooo ultra-sexy. He slept in the bed beneath me. (We had hunk beds. Err, uh... BUNK beds!) On the last day of camp, we went diving off a bridge into a canal. I was too much of a wimp to take the 15-foot plunge, so I simply watched Eric exercise that insidiously desirable body of his in the water. He swam down the canal a ways and disappeared. A few minutes later he came back like a speedboat, a white plume of water shooting up behind him. "Some fags are in the water!" he screamed frantically.

He came dashing up from the canal. "Gross! Some faggots are down there... 3 of 'em... skinny dipping."

"Lead the way. Maybe they'd like a 5-some!"

(Hah! Gotcha again!) Eric and I took off. He didn't want to hang around the canal with a gay keg-party going on up stream. (Though I sure did.) I feigned immense disgust. In reality, skinny-dipping in public is NOT my idea of a good time. Watching Eric do it is.

We went back to the hotel. My vacation was nearly over, and Mom came to pick me up. Eric and I said goodbye with nothing more than a handshake. Those six fabulous, lustful nights were over. Those lurid days at the beach, ogling over the tanned "washboard" stomach, concrete chest and exquisitely sculptured arms. The Spiegel model's face... so delicate, so masculine, so... perfect. One-hundred and forty-eight hours of sheer fantasy, fueled by the highest-octane body on Earth. Yet equal to the sex drive -- perhaps surpassing it -- was the extreme envy I harbored for Eric. But the torrid images of my cousin will forever tumble about my brain. Lust hibernates; memories do not.

I took out an old photo the other day. Eric was standing next to me on the bank of the Columbia. His face was obscured by shadow, but I could tell how handsome he was. A torrent of jealousy pattered into my thoughts. Why was he so goddamn good-looking? Why did I get the other shit that stares back at me every morning in the bathroom mirror? Envious as I am, I must find fault wherever I can. My greatest relief: at least Eric isn't as smart as I am. Not quite. Close enough for serious competition, though. He'll give anyone a run for their money. I guess beauty and brains do come together in one package. But only when the sun, moon, and stars align.

And only on Mount Olympus.

Grant can be reached via e-mail at geaton@lynx.neu.edu, or visit his