West Otter Lake

Copyright© 2013 – Nicholas Hall


West Otter Lake – Chapter Eleven– "Among the instrumentalities of love and peace, surely there can be no sweeter, softer, more effective voice than that of gentle peace-breathing music." –(Eliha Burritt)

The drive on the return to the Resort was a bit tense, for me that is, not for Mae who seemed completely at ease now her grandsons, my brothers, were enrolled in school and apparently off to a satisfactory beginning. I finally broke the silence.

"I had no idea Ollie was a pianist or you were degreed in music!"

"What would've you done if you had that knowledge prior to now?" she queried, as if expecting me to say something profound, or perhaps not.

Damned if I know, I thought, but answered "I don't know." Pretty profound, right? "The problem I'm faced with is, how do I provide for him in order to meet his intellectual and artistic needs? It's obvious, from your comments in the high school office he's used to having a piano available for his use and practice."

"Actually," she slowly and thoughtfully responded, "we rented an electric piano keyboard from the school and he used it at home. Otherwise he played and practiced on the pianos at school. The Salvation Army also had a piano he could practice on; he used it for preparing for contests. There's no way I could afford to own a piano, as much as I would've liked to."

My head was just abuzz, full of questions, curiosity, but I decided to wait until we arrived home at the Lodge before I separated the wheat from the chaff and sought answers. Leandro heard the truck coming down the lane and had coffee perking when we walked into the Lodge's kitchen.

"Mae," I said firmly, but not aggressively, "we need to have a talk. Leandro, I need a cup of coffee."

Leandro heard the seriousness of my tone and observed the tenseness in my face and quickly, but quietly complied.

"Would you like that with a shot of whiskey?" teased Mae.

Now Leandro looked confused, somewhat taken aback by her comments, but accompanied the coffee, not with whiskey, but a plate of freshly baked, still warm, cinnamon rolls.

All three of us sat at the table; Mae deftly, with a certain amount of grandeur, poise, and self-assurance, helped herself to a roll, managed a small bite, set it down, sipped her coffee, and before I could begin the inquisition, unfolded her story for Leandro and me.

"I grew up in the Projects in Chicago, the only child of parents who emigrated from the south, Mississippi, in hopes of finding something better in life for themselves in the north. I don't know what they left because we didn't have a great deal here either. Momma always said it was much better, so I took her at her word."

Her parents worked where and when they could; her mother doing maid service at hotels and her father custodial work. Mavis was a good student, in fact, better than "good;" a straight "A" student in grade and high school. When young, she often accompanied her mother to church choir practice during the week, especially if her father worked at night. They feared leaving her alone in their apartment with both of them gone. It was at choir practice the church choir director noted Mavis' interest and talents in music and began giving her piano lessons.

Mae was a quick study, extremely proficient and talented, a natural at the keyboard with a light, steady, interpretive touch, so the lessons continued through grade school, middle school, and high school. Mae excelled and was often the accompanist for large and small groups from her high school when they competed in city contests. Her teachers encouraged her to attend college and study music, specifically piano. There was no way the family could afford it, but Mae was awarded a four year tuition scholarship at the University of Chicago. By living at home, working part-time, and riding the bus to and from campus each day, she was able to get a college degree.

It was while riding the bus to school she met Jimmy Thompson, the bus driver.

"He was a young, handsome black man, with a smile that melted my heart every time I boarded the bus. Jimmy ran the same route every morning and picked me up at the bus stop less than a block from our apartment and dropped me off on campus. At first he just smiled at me and once in a while would wink. That wink made my heart flutter even more."

"It wasn't long until I was seated behind him where we could visit, quietly of course since passengers aren't supposed to distract the driver. We started dating steady toward the beginning of my senior year and decided to marry after I graduated in the spring. It was a small, simple ceremony held in the church where I started my piano lessons. We found a small apartment and I intended to work, but he was a passionate and consummate man and soon I was pregnant. Sadly, we lost that baby, but six months later, I was pregnant again and we had Malacki; such a beautiful boy. Reidel and Alicia were soon added to our family and I never did go to work, until Jimmy was killed, and you know that story."

Leandro refilled our coffee cups while Mae and I sat in the quietness of the kitchen, pondering and absorbing what had transpired. I was at a loss how or what to respond, except I did know I had a very intelligent and talented lady sitting at the table with me. It explained the native intelligence her grandsons had and obvious inclinations toward the fine arts. Leandro, bless his heart, solved my unspoken but extremely real problem.

"You know, my father said if you have a talent, use it or lose it, no matter what it is or how insignificant you might think it might be and encouraged me in following my desires in carpentry and cooking. I had no desire to attend college; besides I wasn't certain if I could even be admitted without the proper papers since I'm an undocumented immigrant."

If Mae previously knew or suspected his residency status, she never acknowledged it. His remarks didn't cause her to blink, flinch, or give any sign it surprised her. Well, she knew now he was my undocumented lover!

"But, Luis, that's another matter; born in the United States and a citizen as a result, is the brightest one of all of us in the family. Once we recognized it and observed his grades and progress, getting him a proper education became our family goal. When he and I left New Mexico with the local sheriff hot on the heels of everyone brown in color and with the folks' deportation back to Mexico, he and I ended up here with Connor. After we told him our story, I knew we had a chance to get Luis in school again and the education he deserved. It didn't take long for Conner and me to discover each other and fall in love. He and I committed ourselves to providing Luis with as good an education as we could, no matter what! I use my talents in carpentry and as a fixer-upper in doing repairs around the Resort and, until you arrived, preparing the meals for us and Conner provides a home for us all to share and work in. I see no reason why we can't continue doing the same for you, Ollie, Terell, and Treyvon. I know that Conner feels not only a responsibility, but really feels deeply for his half-brothers."

"I guess what I'm trying to say, it'd be a shame to waste your talents and especially Ollie's, by not having a piano to practice on and play. I'm certain you miss it terribly. I know, I regret not bringing my guitar with me, but we left in such a hurry, I plumb forgot it."

Excuse me! Can anyone explain why I'm the last to find out anything? It seems as though, in this very talented and astute gathering of half-brothers, lover, guardianship, and grandmother, the only instrument I can play is the skin flute; pretty well I should gather since Leandro always seems to sing out ecstatically when I do.

Actually, my performance is really enhanced if, while tonguing the tiny aperture on the end of his velvety, stiff flute while alternately sliding the foreskin back and forth and up and down as one would while playing a trombone, I hum a little ditty and fondle his balls rhythmically, bringing forth a crescendo of high gasps and yowls, and stuffing a finger up his ass ring, tweaking his love button, he releases such a deluge of joyous swimming little notes, it's quite difficult to describe. At that very moment I couldn't anyway, my mouth is too busy swallowing. God, I love that man's taste!

As I thought more on the subject of musical talent or lack of it, I did fart a high "A" in English class one time! However, it was not appreciated by the teacher or those students sitting next to me. I think they thought the note lingered about in the air longer than it should've. Anyway, I was sent to the principal's office where, fortunately, I wasn't asked to repeat the performance.

"I never knew that!"

"Never knew what?"

"That you played the guitar, Leandro," I snorted incredulously.

He shrugged, "It never came up before."

That's about the only thing that `never came up before;' his whizzer always stands up straight, proud, with the hood off, when I enter the room, it seems. Don't you know, I just love it when it does?

"I suppose," I piped up rather sarcastically, "We're all going to start singing `The Hills are Alive' or something and exit stage left prancing out the door to `Edelweiss.'"

"You're so silly," giggled Mae, (okay, now I really know where that comes from), "there's just woods around here, besides the Edelweiss is an Austrian flower. I doubt it's not indigenous to this part of the world."

Leandro, scratching his head, looked at me, pleading with his eyes, hoping for a positive response.

"I don't know about that but, Conner, would it be possible to locate a used piano so Mae and Ollie could continue to play and practice? Wouldn't it be nice to have music in our house, my Love?" as he reached under the table and gentled squeezed and fondled my leg as he said it (not my right or left leg, but my most sensitive and now quite stiff, middle, shorter one).

You know, I have absolutely no will power when it comes to this stud I have for a partner. If Mae wasn't sitting here with us, I'd drop my pants, wiggle my ass at him, and let him plow the back forty with that sod buster of his, planting his seeds deep in my furrow.

"I don't see why not," I squeaked bringing Mae's eyebrows to a questioning peak.

"When Reidel introduced me to his boyfriend, I had some difficulty understanding gay love and sex, but now I can see it has its own rewards," Mae conceded with a very knowing smile, fully cognizant of what Leandro was doing and did nothing to bring it to a halt, as if I wanted her to.

I succumbed to his tortuous, loving massage, rose (with some difficulty I might add), and trotted off to the office where I called Mrs. Chromley at the high school office, seeking the name of the dealer or business where the school acquired the pianos it used for their music program. After our conversation, I informed the co-conspirators that we'd travel to Benson's House of Music in Parsonville the next morning on a shopping spree, if the weather permitted.

That afternoon, about the time I expected the school bus to drop off the boys, Leandro and I wandered down the lane to await its arrival. While we waited, Leandro looked up at the road sign marking our private drive. He just shook his head in amazement.

"Where in hell did you ever come up with that?" as he pointed to the sign.

"I didn't, Grandpa Johnson thought of it years ago and had the sign put up," I relayed. I really never thought calling the road leading to the Lodge, "Downdalane" was anything peculiar, but I suppose some people would. After all, when you went toward the Lodge, you went "down the lane" and if you went out to the county highway, you still went "down the lane."

We stood next to the bus stop kiosk Leandro built for the boys to shelter in while waiting for the bus for about five minutes before we saw the big, yellow bus come rumbling and rattling down the county highway. Wheeling up in the opposite lane, it stopped, lights flashing, stop arm extended, the boys disembarked, and the driver waited until the four happy, bouncing boys were across the highway, before rumbling down the road again. To say all four boys were bouncing and absolutely giddy with excitement would be a misnomer, since only two were overtly exuberant – yep, the twins!

Ollie and Luis sort of walked to the side, grinning as we began our journey back to the Lodge, the "two peas in a pod" skipping alongside of Leandro and me as they began telling of their day at school, from the minute we left them in the office until they arrived home on the bus. It seemed as if they were reluctant to exclude one minute of their experience; from the time they met their teacher, Mr. Polistrini, who according to them was the epitome of all things wise and wonderful, to lunch (fantastic, but "not as good as Grandma's or Leandro's"), to the ride home on the bus ("not like the smelly city bus with pictures of guys dicks drawn on the back of the seats").

Yes, they were happy boys, giving credence to my belief if you put kids in school, get them into that familiar routine, all will be well, even in the midst of chaos and disaster.

Now, Luis and Ollie were a different kettle of fish! On reaching the lodge, when asked how school was, Ollie grinned shyly, "Good!"

Luis, on the other hand, exclaimed excitedly, "Better than `good,' dufus! Guess what, Conner?"

"You shit your pants in physical education class!"

"No, that's tomorrow; today was study hall."

"Okay, I give up; what?"

"Ollie's in all of my classes, except study hall, but that's going to change as soon as I can see the guidance counselor tomorrow and if you approve my class change. Will you, please, Conner?"

Luis was all out of breath, black eyes wide with the fervor of his request, waiting for my reply. "That depends, Luis, on what the change is; if it's beginning checkers, you can forget it."

"You're so silly," Luis smirked (now, by God, he's saying it too!), "I'm going to sign up for chorus."

"And why is that, may I ask?"

Placing his arm around Ollie's shoulder, Luis replied quite simply, "Because my best friend is the accompanist."

Mae overheard our conversations as we stepped into the Great Room and smiled that sweet, enigmatic smile of hers'; almost Mona Lisa like.

Ollie, I noticed, hugged Luis back.

The next morning, after the boys departed for school, Mae, Leandro, and I drove to Parsonville and Benson's House of Music. Well, wouldn't you just know it, they had an upright studio piano, the very model used in schools, and an acoustical guitar just seeming to wait for us to appear and salivate over. As Mr. Benson explained, they usually had a number of upright studios on hand this time of the year in preparation for high school music contests. The high schools rented the pianos if they hosted the contests and this year Otter Lake High was hosting the contests. Well, lucky me!

Mae began trying them all and finally settled, for one reason or the other, on one in particular and began playing while I completed the paper work. Benson guaranteed they'd have it delivered this very afternoon, tuned, and ready for Ollie when he came home. I was about to write the check for our purchases, when Mae's playing caught Mr. Benson's attention and most of the sales people and customers in the establishment.

My God, she was an artist with a delicate, nimble touch, giving artistic color to "Waltz in A Major" by Frederick Chopin, switching to a fast, but measured, "Maple Leaf Rag" by Joplin, before finishing with a bit of "American in Paris" by Gershwin. When she finished, the people in the store applauded her performance. Mae bowed her head bashfully and quickly joined us at the counter.

"Mrs. Thompson," exclaimed Mr. Benson, "if you'll come here April 4, our open house, to play and demonstrate our pianos, I'll knock five hundred dollars off of the piano I'm about to sell you."

Done and done again – YES!

Mae was happy, Benson was happy, and I was ecstatic; almost to the point of defecating in my britches, to put it politely! Leandro, on the other hand, whispered in my ear, "All this excitement gave me a hardon. Wanta fuck big boy?"

Well, not then and there so I informed him I'd take a rain check on his proposition.

Everything was delivered and tuned as promised that afternoon. Leandro and I met the bus and listened to the boys chattering all the way down the lane. The only comment I overheard Luis make to Leandro was, "Ollie sure impressed everyone in physical education today."

"How was that?"

"We had to shower after class," and he snickered as did Terell and Treyvon. Poor Ollie was embarrassed and gave Luis a gentle poke on the arm.

Entering the Lodge through the front door and the office area, we were met with Modest Mussorgsky, "Promenade," "Pictures at an Exhibition," being performed by Mae, seated at the new piano, placed in front of the big windows of the Great Room, and overlooking the lake. She moved from that piece to Robert Schuman's "At Night" from "Fantasia Pieces, op.12."

Ollie stopped just inside the Great Room, his mouth agape, eyes fixed on the piano and his grandmother, then every so carefully, handed his books and pack to Luis, tears streaming down his face, reached up, and hugged me tightly to his chest in an embrace of thanks, before running across the room to the piano, where he stood listening to it being brought to life by his grandmother.

The twins were equally as transfixed, their lower lips quivering in excitement, joy, or just plain emotion as they watch Ollie hug and kiss their grandmother, interrupting her playing, and lovingly caress the keys. When she shifted to allow him access, Ollie played a few scales and with head bowed, eyes half-open, willed his fingers to begin De Bussey's "Clair de Lune" with a touch and delicacy which melded the piano to him, bringing a different life to it than his grandmother had, and an interpretation to the selection which failed to bespeak of his youth, but that of a young master of his art.

The rest of us walked silently into the room and sat, enjoying the music. Terell and Treyvon joined Leandro and I on the couch, while Luis pulled a chair close to the piano where he could be in close proximity to Ollie. Ollie played, eyes closed, head and body moving with the emotions invoked through the music, lifting his fingers and hands delicately as he touched the last note, allowing it to linger and finish, and looked at Luis and winked.

"Isn't he good?" Terell whispered.

"Yeah," answered Treyvon, "now we can start lessons again."

Mae allowed Ollie to play one more piece before insisting it was "homework first, a lesson for Terell and Treyvon, and supper." Ollie could then practice and play until bedtime, if he so desired, but definitely school work came first.

Leandro and I cuddled up next to each to each other after we'd retired to bed for the night, arms wrapped tightly, holding us together, inseparable as I nuzzled his neck, and thrust gently, but insistently up against his turgid cock with mine, the gliding motion aided by the natural lubricant oozing from each tip.

"I think," I whispered, "we have a very talented, intelligent, and gifted family. I thought the music this evening was fantastic. It would've been perfect if you'd picked out a few tunes on the guitar."

He sighed, "I'm not of the caliber of a performer as Ollie and Mae are; my selections are mainly folk music; besides I haven't tuned it yet."

I ceased my forward movement, reached down, and wrapped my hand around his velvety instrument of pleasure, asking, "What's to tune; this feels like it's ready for a concert now?"

"As soon as it finds a seat and settles in," he crooned, gently turning me on my side and with one, slow, deliciously sensuous push forward, settled into my private theater to his very curly bush and began playing the familiar song I loved so well!

To be continued


Thank you for reading "West Otter Lake – Chapter Eleven - "Among the instrumentalities of love and peace, surely there can be no sweeter, softer, more effective voice than that of gentle peace-breathing music." –(Eliha Burritt)

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Nick Hall


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