From the crude cover art to the "tell it like it is" title, George Davies' Tailpipe Trucker (published under his usual nom de plume, Clay Caldwell) looks like a run-of-the-mill one-hander that trades on the appeal of ultra-macho men getting down and dirty together, with the bonus of salacious several pen-and-ink sketches scattered thoughout. So it's a quite a surprise to realize, a couple of chapters in, that it's actually a feature-length treatise on freewheeling sexual etiquette whose good horndog/bad horndog conceit will ring a familiar bell to those of us who grew up with the moral lessons imparted by Goofus and Gallant's adventures in the sanctimonious pages of Highlights Magazine.
Trag thinks he knows Curly better than Curly knows himself and never misses an opportunity to say so, which is pretty much par for his deluded course, since he's under the impression that Curly is just like him only less so by virtue of being an unsophisticated hick.
So Bobby-Leroy has some manners and puts them to use in situations that would probably make his mama faint dead away. He introduces himself proper-like to lot lizards and lunch ladies alike, washes up before getting down and dirty and doesn't hold with that "wham, bam, thank you Sam" stuff -- if someone shows you a good time, well, it's just plain rude not to reciprocate. Bobby-Leroy has Trag's self-hating number from the get-go, but keeps his counsel while slyly testing Trag in ways that reveal the parameters of his buddy's homosexual panic.
Near the end of the run, Trag takes a couple of days off to loll around a middle-of-nowhere hotel, while Bobby-Leroy does a little solo run to nearby Harper's Junction and picks up 18-year-old Martin Nelson (who prefers to be called Mike), a fresh, unspoiled and lusty kid who's about to graduate from high school and has a real thing for truckers. It's love at first sight -- or first night, anyway, once Bobby-Leroy has satisfied himself that he's not taking advantage of a kid whose libido is out of line with his judgment and experience.
And there you have it: All's well that ends well. Bobby-Leroy -- who finally puts his foot down and makes it clear that he does not want to be called Curly -- gets Trag to admit young Fred has gotten under his skin, then hauls off and picks up newly-minted graduate Mike, with whom he hopes to enjoy many long, bare-assed hauls.
Without coming off like some sanctimonious defense of same-sex monogamy, Tailpipe Trucker manages to squeeze quite the array of messages between the sweaty sheets: Self-hating homos are a drag; that big butch daddy cruising roadside rest facilities might be as neurotic as the fancy fey boys keeping big-city shrinks in swimming pools and second cars; fidelity to someone special can be as hot as casual carnality; and a sleepy southern accent doesn't always indicate inbred idiocy or Deliverance-style viciousness. And while Bobby-Leroy in particular is painted with a broad brush, Davies/Caldwell includes enough offbeat details to ensure that no one will ever mistake him for the basket-kissing cousin amputated from the Dukes of Hazzard family tree.
Browse Reviews of Vintage Gay Pulps
The Boy Avengers, Boys Behind Bars, Chamber of Homos, The Concentration of Hans, From Steve, With Love, The Gay Haunt, His Brother's Keeper, Hot Asset!, The HIS 69 Artist's Sketchbook, Intensive Care, The Long Leather Cord, The Male Maulers, Man Eater, Master of Monfortin, Murder One and Two the Hard Way, The Number on the John Wall, The Pile Drivers, The Sexual Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Tailpipe Trucker, Things Never Went Right... Three Ring Sex Circus, The Wisteria Club