By Waddie Greywolf
whipped out his cell phone, and dialed his number.
Sidney senior answered.
“Hey, Dad,— I’m
home. We’re in the front drive. May I invite Mr. Longhorn
and my brothers in for a minute? Are ya’ll decent?”
Sidney heard his
night, I don’t know how decent we are, but at the moment, we’re fully
clothed, if that’s what chu’ mean. Sure, invite ‘em in.
We’d love to see ‘em. I’ll meet cha’ll at front door.”
Sidney’s dad and
Mr. Wiggins both met us at the front door. It was obvious they were in
a rare mood and couldn’t wait to see their boy. Sidney was
bouncing from one’s arms to the other. He was thrilled for them
and they were laughing at his enthusiasm. Sidney pulled Mr.
Wiggins down to whisper something in his ear. Mr. Wiggins
laughed, winked at Dwayne and I, hugged and kissed Sidney again.
We didn’t have to ask what our little brother told him. Mr.
Wainright gave my dad a hug and a kiss only to be followed by Mr.
Wiggins. Dwayne and I weren’t disappointed, we got the same. We
also got instantly hard when the big cowboy hugged and kissed us.
“Did my boy
behave himself?” Sidney asked dad with a concerned parental tone.
What,— are you kidding? That young man? That boy’s a good
boy! You couldn’t a’ made him no finer! He’s a joy to have
around. I’ll be honest with ya,’ breaks this old cowboy’s heart to
bring him back to ya.’” Dad chuckled, “We’re probably the only ranch in
the Western states that has a Frank Lloyd Wright style bird pen on our
back lot. You won’t find another like it in the state, I
guaran-damn-tee ya.’ It should be written up in 'Architectural
Digest.' I think them three are quite pleased with themselves and
well they should be. It ain’t jes’ no bird pen, it’s a fuck’n work of
art. Don’t know where them damn boys expect to find any birds worthy
enough to keep in that pen.”
Dad broke up
laughing. He could always come up with the most outrageous bullshit.
The men laughed together at my dad’s take on our project.
“By the way,—
Sidney told us about your message to him,— congratulations,
gentlemen. It’s about Goddamn time!” My dad added.
threw back his head and laughed with my dad agreeing with him. He
pointed a finger at my dad.
cowboy,--- ya’ jes’ never know how your words are gonna’ effect
somebody. I got to think’n all the way home about what you said, and I
knew I had to do something about it. I didn’t wanna’ lose one of
the greatest treasures I ever found in my life simply because his
contract might run out in a few years. I jes’ ain’t about to let
up beside Mr. Wainright, dropped a huge arm over his shoulder, pulled
him close and kissed him behind his ear. Sidney was smiling from
ear to ear and Dwayne and I pissed in our Wranglers. I noticed my old
man’s snake was moving in his pants. He wasn’t immune to
Sticker’s overt show of affection for his main man.
“I’d be a fool
to let a prime piece of beef like this big cowboy get out of my corral,
right men?” Mr. Wainright spoke directly to Dwayne and I who
were, by that time, glassy eyed and dumbstruck. We could only nod
our head in agreement. We probably looked like two hula dolls in
the back window of a ‘chee-vee’ low-rider with our heads bobbing up and
“Ya’ll come on
in. Let’s go to the kitchen. We got us an honest to
goodness New York cheesecake sent to us by a friend in the Big Apple
yesterday. I think Sticker and I can rustle up some hot chocolate
We followed Mr.
Wainright and Mr. Wiggins into their huge kitchen. It was
beautiful. Everything was done in stainless steal. It was
impressive. We sat around a bar-like counter with recessed lights
shining down on the counter. They served us a piece of wonderful
cheesecake and made a pot of coffee. Dwayne and I never had
cheesecake before but it was delicious. Our little brother was
thrilled to have us in his world. He sat between his two brothers
and had one hand on me or Dwayne the whole time. He was such a
love. His affections for us were not missed by his dad and Mr.
“Well, Son, did
you treat your brother’s right?” Mr. Wainright raised an eyebrow
at his boy and smiled. We watched as Sticker winked at our little
“God, I hope so,
Dad! They sure as Hell treated me right.”
“Well, I have to
say,— I don’t think this is the same kid we took over there a couple of
days ago. What da’ ya’ think, Sticker?”
“Hell, I knew’d
that the minute he walked in the door. He’d either grow’d
six inches, he’s walk’n taller or he’s got new heels on his boots.”
The men were
having a good time teasing Sidney. Sidney was loving it.
night, I shore’ nuff love my brothers, all right, but my main man is
Mr. Longhorn, here, Dad. I ain’t ashamed to tell ya’ll, I love
him. He’s my personal hero.”
“Well, I don’t
know’s you could a’ picked a better man to love, Son.” Mr. Wainright
My dad got the
biggest shit eating grin on his face and blushed like a school
boy. He opened both his hands in a gesture of
“I never seen no
man be so calm and collected as he was in the face of potential danger
from that mad man, Colonel Dunbar. I though for sure the Colonel was
gonna’ hit ‘em. I stood there watching Mr. Longhorn stand his ground
without so much as batting an eyebrow, and I told myself I’d be happy
grow’d up to be half the man he is.”
my dad barked at Sidney. Sidney got down from his stool, went to my dad
who embraced him, held him for an minute, then bussed a kiss behind
his ear. “I love ya’ for them words, but your main men should
always be them two sit’n right there beside each other. Don’t
mean there can’t be room in yore’ heart for this old cowboy,
though. I love
you, too, Son!” My old man actually got tears in his eyes.
I could see Sidney’s dad and Mr. Wiggins were moved, too.
“We’re you able
to help your brother’s with Dwayne’s problem?” Mr. Wiggins asked
“I hope so, Mr.
Wiggins. I came up with a plan, but they’re gonna’ need me to
implement it. They can’t do it by themselves. They need my
help. That’s what they couldn’t see in their dream. It was the part I
had to supply.”
“Since we’re all
here, and tomorrow ain’t a school day, you wanna’ share it with
us?” Mr. Wainright asked his son.
We will, but before I tell you and Mr. Wiggins, Dad,— please,
Sir,— hear me out before you make a decision; maybe, even sleep
on it tonight. I really wanna’ help my brothers, Dad. I
need to be a part of this for me as well as for them. They been s'damn
good to me over the last several years. I don’t wanna’ let ‘em
nodded his agreement, and Sidney started in to tell him every
detail. It must have all come together in Sidney’s mind exactly
the best way to present his plan to his dad and Mr. Wiggins. I
even saw my dad looking at him in awe a couple of times from the way
Sidney was weighing all the options. I could see his dad
listening with a detached concern but his partner, Mr. Wiggins had a
wry, proud smile on his face and placed his arm around Mr. Wainright to
lightly rest on the back of his barstool. It was in that moment
Dwayne and I saw how deep his affection was for both men. Sidney
finally exhausted his presentation and sat there silent for a minute.
“Wow!” said his
dad. “Sounds like something out of 'Mission Impossible'; except, I
see this plan as quite so impossible. I promised you I wouldn’t
make a decision right away, and I won’t. I’ll even take your
suggestion and sleep on it tonight. I need to talk it over with our
head wrangler, here, anyway. I wanna' get his input on what we
just heard. All in all, at first hearing, I have to say it’s a
damn good plan and it just might work; however, I won’t lie to you;
naturally, as a father, I have some concerns. I won’t bring them
up right now. I wanna’ think about it tonight.
I think the part
about involving your uncles is a good idea. Sticker knows as well
as I do, all three of us,— me, Sitcker and Curley will have to sit on
Frank until he agrees to cooperate. Frank never has liked the
Colonel. He treats him with respect and courtesy because he is,
after all, his employer. When Frank finds out what he’s been
doing to Dwayne, he’ll wanna’ take matters into his own hands and that
could spell disaster. I think we can get him to see the larger
picture and benefit of having a little more ‘permanent’ solution to the
problem of the Colonel.
Frank thinks the
world of Dwayne, partially because Dwayne is Rance Harding’s son and
Frank was in love with Rance. He promised Rance he’d stay with Sadie
and look out for you, Dwayne. He’s tried to do just that. Bet
cha’ didn’t know that, did ya,’ Son?” Sidney Wainright looked at
Dwayne. Dwayne looked at me, then back to Mr. Wainright and shook
“I done told him
the other night, at Spencer Winchester’s, there’s several things he
don’t know about his dad. They ain’t bad things, it’s jes’ he
don’t know about ‘em yet.”
“How much do you
think we should tell him, Vince? I don’t wanna’ overstep my
“Well, I done me
a lot a’ think’n on it, Sid, and I pretty well figured it was gonna’
come up summers with all of this what’s been going down between Dwayne
Dunbar. Dwayne’s at an age now, I think he can handle it and
sooner or later he needs to know. He’s got his brothers to lean
on, but I don’t think it’s gonna’ be that big a problem for Dwayne. For
all the shit he’s been through lately, I’d say he’s a pretty strong
“Yore' daddy and
Frank Mayhew met on the rodeo circuit, Son, years ago." Mr.
Wainright continued, "They fell
in love and rodeoed together for a number of years until your daddy got
drunk one night and got blamed for a robbery he never committed.
He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a small
town judge, he was appointed a public defender who was a lousy
attorney, and they sent him up for five to ten. There was a lot
talk about the sheriff being involved with the robbery and framing your
daddy. The sheriff was never brought to trial, but eventually he was
kicked out of office. It created enough doubt, another attorney
who Frank paid to take your dad’s case, got his sentence reduced to
He was released
after three years. All that time Frank was working for the ranch
my family owned, the Lazy 8. I know all this because I worked right
along side Frank as another hired hand for over six years. Why I
was work'n as a cowboy at a ranch my family owned is another story for
another time. While your dad
was in prison, he wrote to his old highschool sweetheart, your momma,
Sadie, and she would go every visitor’s day to visit him. They
fell in love and got married when your daddy got out of prison.
His great aunt left him some money when she passed away and left it in
trust for Rance. When he got out of prison he used it to buy the
ranch you live on, but not before he paid Frank back every penney plus
interest he spent on your dad’s defense. A year after I
left the Lazy 8, Frank came to California to work for his friend.
After all, if it hadn’t a’ been for Frank Mayhew, your daddy, probably,
would still be rotting away in prison for a crime he never committed.
How could yore’ daddy help but love a man who would go to bat for him
when he had no one else in the world who believed in him?
Frank Mayhew is
a cowboy. He didn’t do what he done to claim yore’ daddy’s love.
He did it for no other reason than he loved yore' dad. He would
never consider your dad owed
him a damn thing for doing what he done even if Rance Harding never
effort to pay him back; however, your daddy’s a cowboy, too, Son, and a
damn good one. He
paid Frank back and then some, but you don’t forget or leave behind
someone who has meant as much to you as Frank Mayhew did to him.
Rance wanted Frank to come and share in the joy of his new life.
If they shared a little physical love on the side,— so, fuck’n, what?
There weren’t no
doubt, your daddy loved yore’ momma, Son. He still does,
today. She was the only woman for him and the only woman he’ll
ever love; however, there was enough love in your old man’s heart
he carried on a relationship with Frank on the side for several years
until Sadie caught ‘em in the barn one evening with Frank suck’n his
dick. Frank tried to warn your dad it might not be safe, but
Rance was horny and didn’t wanna’ listen to Frank. He had to have
Frank’s love right that minute. Frank tried to cover for him, but
it didn’t do no good. I don’t mean to judge your momma, Son, but
I feel she might’ve handled it a little bit better’n she did.
So you see,—
there was more to it than your dad jes’ letting Frank suck his dick
once. Sadie never knew about the other. If she did she wouldn’t
a’ kept Frank on as a hand. As far as I know,— she don’t know to
this day. Rance never told her it was Frank who spent all his
money for almost three years to get him out of prison. It really
wasn’t any of Sadie’s business. It was something private between
him and Frank. When Rance lost everything and left to go back on
the circuit again, he made Frank promise he’d stay with Sadie and look
out for you. Sadie hired Curley, and,— well,— you know the rest.”
I had my arm
around Dwayne and Sidney had his around him, too. I was proud of
my brother. He seemed to take it all in stride and wasn’t overly
affected by Mr. Wainright’s news.
“That don’t make
me love my dad a whit less, Mr. Wainright. If anything, it makes me
love him more.”
“'At ain’t the
reason I told ju’ that, Son. Of course you shouldn’t love
your dad a whit less, and I was hope’n it would make you just a little
more proud of him. There's been some awful things said about yore'
daddy around this uptight, little community by folks who judged
him without know'n all the facts or the truth. Rance Harding is
one of the finest
men I ever did know and still is today. He’s welcome in my home
anytime, and I’d trust that man with any thing I have;— except, maybe
this big cowboy next to me. Then I’d have to do me some powerful
it.” Mr. Wainright grinned and winked at Dwayne.
“I think I can
understand that, Sir.” Dwayne laughed with him.
gentlemen,—” said my dad, “I think it’s time for us to be head’n on
home. Sid,— Sticker,— we certainly do appreciate your hospitality
and the talk. We’ll keep in touch and have you men over for
that, Vince, I’m sure. Thanks for bringing our boy home.”
and as for you, young man,— !” Dad pointed a finger at Sidney, “Talk’s
cheap! Git chore’ butt over here and show this old cowboy how much you
really love him.” Sidney was in my dad’s arms in a flash
and wouldn’t be satisfied with a hug and a peck. He kissed my
dad full on the mouth, and dad didn’t hold back. I saw wet spots
form at the crotch on Mr. Wainright’s and Mr. Wiggins’ Wranglers.
They looked at each other and smiled. Once again Dwayne and I
simply pissed in ours.
Son,— you really do love this old man!”
have no doubts, Mr. Longhorn. I meant what I told my dad, Sir.”
We said our
goodbyes all around, and it took us another thirty minutes to get out
there. It was a good visit, and it solidified our bond with
all the more.
* * * * * * *
We drove home in
silence. We were each in our own thoughts. Dwayne leaned up
against my chest. I put both arms around his arms and locked them
at his chest holding him tightly against me. I’d reach over and steal a
kiss from time to time. We were almost home. I was glad because
my ole dick had been up and down so many times in the last several
hours it was getting cramps.
“Is there more I
don’t know about my daddy, Mr. Longhorn?” Dwayne asked my dad.
“Jest' a bit,
Son, but I promise it’s all good. It’s something he would wanna’ tell
* * * * * * *
We got home and
I helped dad with his shower and got him into bed. He told us it
was all right if we wanted to stay up for a while, but he was tired and
wanted to go to bed. I kissed him goodnight and went to join my
feel like watching television and I wasn’t really interested in it
either. He wanted to take a shower.
company, stud? Might need someone to 'warsh' you’re back for ya.’”
“Sure,— you know
where I could round me up a handsome cowpoke to help me?”
might.” I grinned real big.
I showered again
with him and he seemed to enjoy the closeness. We held each other
under the hot water for a good while making love. We finished and
returned to my junk room to the huge bed. We took one look at it,
he turned to me, I turned to him, and we both knew without a word being
spoken, we couldn’t sleep in that big bed that night. It was just
too damn empty without our little brother. We went back to my
main bedroom and there we stayed the night.
* * * * * * *
The rest of the
weekend Dwayne and I spent helping dad with some projects he wanted to
get done around the place. It was a wonderful two days even
though we did work our butts off; however, working with my dad
wasn't like ordinary work. He was always full of stories and
could keep Dwayne and I entertained for hours. Before we knew it,
we''d accomplished a lot and wasn't even aware of the time going
talked with our little brother on the phone a couple of times and
exchanged a couple of e-mails. His dad still hadn’t talked with
him about his decision whether to let him help us, but Mr. Wiggins told
him to hang tight. That meant Mr. Wiggins was going to bat for
him. He felt good about it. Sidney dropped us an e-mail
around Sunday noon and told us his dad invited his two uncles for
dinner that evening. That was a good sign his dad might be
thinking about talking to his Uncle Frank to convince him to go along
with our plan.
dad rented a couple of movies we watched and we got to bed early.
It was just as well. My brother and I had a lot of loving to get
in and Saturday night just seemed like the right time to do it. For all
of my dad’s love and mine, I felt my brother slipping more and more
into uncertainty. I was afraid he might go into severe depression.
couldn’t have been more up in the air as far as his immediate future
was concerned and he was rightfully worried. Sunday afternoon dad
got a call from Sadie.
“How are things
going back there, Vince? Is Dwayne all right?”
Sadie. He and his brother are out back putting some finishing
touches on their bird pen. It turned out really nice.”
bothered to call before now, but I got a call night before last from
Brad. He was ranting and raving about you refusing to bring the
boys by to do the chores. I told him I knew you well enough to
know you wouldn’t do that sort of thing unless you had a pretty damn
good reason. I asked him what he’d done and he told me he didn’t do
anything. I love Brad, Vince, but that’s just a little hard for
me to believe.”
“Well, I hate to
tell ya’ this, Sadie, but he was gonna’ make Dwayne stay home with him
the rest of the weekend to punish him again, because he said Casey and
him didn’t do the chores the night before to suit him. I talked to
Casey after we got home the other night, and he assured me they did
everything exactly according to Brad’s instructions. I told Brad
I was sorry, you left Dwayne in my care, and he would be
with me. He got in my face, tried to intimidate me with a lot of
verbal posturing and empty threats, try'n to get me to jes' give in and
have his way, but I’m sorry, Sadie,--- I just couldn’t. He yelled
Dwayne telling him he had to stay home with him, he was being punished
and not to get into my truck. I told Dwayne to get into my truck
and we left. I just didn’t feel like exposing the boys or their
friend to his ranting and raving again, so I called him, told him to
do his own chores until you got back and could iron it all out between
him and Dwayne.”
“Oh, dear Lord,
Vince. I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I done figured it
was something like that. You done the right thing. I can’t blame you
for not want’n to go back over there. Look, Vince,--- I need your
help. I ain’t gonna’ be able to git back before Wednesday at the
earliest. Would you mind taking care of Dwayne for me? I don’t
want him back over there with Brad until I get back. I don’t know
what bug he’s got up his butt, but I just can’t deal with it right now.”
“I done told
ju,’ Sadie, I’ll be happy to take care of Dwayne as long as you need me
to. He’s happy over here and he’s calmed down a lot since he’s
been here with Casey and me. He’s got a second home here, Sadie,
anytime he needs it.”
I knew without asking I could count on you. I really appreciate it.”
Sadie. Do you wanna’ talk to your boy?”
“I don’t have
the time right now, Vince. Tell him I love him and to stay close
to you and Casey until I get back.”
“I will, Sadie,
and if you need to leave him here longer, that’s fine, too. Hope
everything works out for you.”
you’re a good friend.”
* * * * * * *
cooking. He hollered to Dwayne and I in to come in, clean
up and help with
dinner. We were working in the kitchen, Dwayne was fixing a salad
and I was working on fixing a vegetable for us. I put it on the
stove and got out the ice to make tea.
yore’ momma called a while ago." Dad said, "She was in a rush and
time for me to holler to you to come to the phone. She said she
ain't gonna’ get back before Wednesday and for you to stay here with
Casey and me.” Dwayne had his back to dad and I, but we could see
his shoulders slump and he breathed a deep sigh. “Her exact words,
Son,--- was for you stick close to me and Casey.”
“Did she say
anything about the Colonel calling her, Mr. Longhorn?”
“Yeah, she said
he called and ranted and raved. He told her, after Thursday
simply refused to
bring you boys back over there to do the chores. He told her he
didn’t do nothing. Yore’ momma’s ain’t a dumb woman, Son, she
knew I wouldn’t a’ done something like that unless I had me a pretty
damn good reason. I told her how he acted, and I think Sadie
believed me. Whether she did or not she wasn’t about to risk
leaving you with him when she couldn’t be around to control him.
She’s try’n to look out for you, Dwayne.”
“I know, Mr.
Longhorn, but it’s like I told you and Mr. Winchester the other night,
I wouldn’t be in this position if’n she hadn’t a’ married him. I
asked her not to. I begged her not to, but she assured me it would be
all right. I never did like the son of a bitch. That don’t
mean I didn’t find him a good looking man and hot as hell; however,
even back then, when they was date’n, I felt there was jes’ some’um not
quite right about him. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I knew he
made me uncomfortable the way he looked at me sometimes. He tried too
hard to be my buddy. I guess that, combined with the fact I don’t
think she should a’ ever kicked my dad out in the first place makes me
feel bad about her. I’m convinced she only married the Colonel to
spite my dad so's she could make him think she replaced him as her
husband and my daddy. All that makes me feel pretty bad towards
her. It’s confusing to me, too, because like Mr. Winchester
said, it makes me feel all the more alone in the world.”
ju,’ Son. Are you alone now? You got two brothers who
couldn’t love you more and one old, has-been cowboy who’s more than
jes' pretty damn
fond of ya.’ You got the Winchesters, Sid Wainright, and Sticker
Wiggins who love and think the world of you. Hold on to what chu’ got,
boy,--- it jes’ may save yore’ life.”
Dad walked over
to my brother and took him into his arms. Dwayne hadn’t broke down in a
couple of days, but he let it out that night. My dad held him and
comforted him as I went about getting the rest of dinner ready for
us. Dwayne recovered and was better for letting out his anger and
frustration. He had a lot on his mind. Neither dad nor I
held it against him. He had every right to be upset. He
didn’t know if or when his world might come crashing down around him.
We ate dinner
and we were all feeling better afterwards. We cleaned up the
kitchen and Dwayne and I went off into my junk room to do our homework
for school the next day. It took us a couple of hours, and then,
was time for bed. I helped dad again and Dwayne got into the
shower by himself. It was the end of a wonderful four
days. It was hectic, but it had moments of joy. After we
made a little love to each other and satisfied ourselves, we lay there
holding each other.
man’s right, Casey. Before last week I didn’t have any of
you. Now, I have some pretty wonderful folks who are behind me
and believe in me. I have a lot of love coming my way. With
yours and Sidney’s love I can make it though. I love your old man, too,
you and Sidney you’re gonna’ give my old man a complex. I’m jes’
kidding, brother. If anyone has enough love to go around for all
of us, it’s my dad. I’m pretty damn fond of that old, has-been
cowboy myself." We shared a laugh about my dad calling himself a
'has-been.' My old man was far from being a 'has-been.'
We drifted off
into a deep sleep. I don’t think either of us woke up once until
I heard Senator Klegghorn start to crow. I raised up to see the
first rays of light come through the window. It was the start of
a brand new day. The days were getting longer and warmer. It was
and we would be out of school in a couple of months for summer
vacation. Summer vacation, Hell! Sometimes Dwayne and I
would work harder during the summers than we did all during the
school year; except, in the fall when we had football practice every
afternoon. Then the last couple of weeks of summer we had
football camp. When you live on a ranch the summers are a time to get
things done you can’t in the winter when you don’t have as much time.
* * * * * * *
at the Wainright home, Sidney and Sticker were alone in Sticker’s
bedroom getting ready for bed.
about like you thought it would with Frank.” Sticker commented to
“Yeah, but thank
God we got him simmered down and managed to talk some sense into his
head. That Curley is a marvel with Frank. I wonder
sometimes if Frank realizes the prize he has in that man. I never
fail, ever’ damn chance I get, to tell him how much I think of Curley
and how good for Frank I think he is. You know Frank, he just
sort a’ stoically agrees. He never says anything, but I've known that
old cowboy too many damn years, I know he loves
Curley. I’m still uneasy about all this, cowboy. I know I
have to give Logan an answer soon.”
fly, fish gotta’ swim,—” Sticker started singing under his
breath. Sid laughed at him. Sticker could hammer home a
point with an economy of means.
“All right, wise
guy, I know you’re right, but damn it, cowboy,— !”
“Look! What chu'
worried about? I’m gonna’ be right there by his side.
Jes' 'cause you be sharing my bed don’t mean I’ve stopped think’n
'bout doing my job; not jes’ because you pay me, neither. I love
that boy. You think I’d let anything happen to that kid?
Not on this old cowboy’s watch! As Vince would say, I
guaran-damn-tee ya’ nothing’s gonna’ happen. That kid’s got it figured
out down to the nat’s ass, Sid. I believe in him. I have
faith in him. I know what he’s capable of. So do you,
buckaroo! We’ve brought him along and raised him up for this
moment. We’re the ones who taught him to accept responsibility
for helping his fellow man. Are we gonna' send him a mixed
now, and tell him, ‘Kings-X, Honcho! All this crap we been feed'n
ya' only applies when there
ain’t no personal risk involved?’ Sidney, I’ve personally seen
you risk yore' own life for someone you didn’t care nearly as much
about as Logan
does them two men; to say nothing of Vince Longhorn. That kid's
plumb crazy about that man. C'ain't say's I blame him none. I'm pretty
fond of that old cowboy myself. No doubt our boy loves Casey and
Dwayne, but I
think he's got a major adolescent crush on Vince Longhorn.”
“Well,— if’n he
does,--- all I can say is, my boy’s got damn good taste in men. I
wouldn’t have the slightest problem with my boy sharing a little
love with that cowboy. The way he treats his own boy and Dwayne
is enough for me. Besides, I know him well enough to know he’d
never initiate anything between him and Logan. I’m more afraid of
our boy raping poor Vince.” The men shared a laugh. “I still
can’t believe what Logan told us about Vince, can you?”
“Well, I can
honestly say, in all the years we've known him, I never noticed
nothing.” Sticker told him, “He’s
never said a word about having artificial limbs, and if you weren’t
about it,— how the Hell would ju’ know? He sits as good a horse
as any man I ever seen. He’s made my old dick hard more’n once
watch’n him’n his boy rodeo.”
Sidney sounded abashed and smiled at his mate, “Yeah,— me, too.”
He reluctantly admitted. Sticker pointed a finger at him and
laughed. “Logan told me he lost his legs in Vietnam and Vince has
several medals including a Bronze Star. Casey and Dwayne told
him. He wondered why Casey showered with his dad, but he just
thought maybe it was a tradition with them. Dwayne told him that
wasn’t it. Vince needs minimal help in the shower, and since his
wife died a couple of years ago, Casey took over helping him. You
gotta’ admire a man like Vince and even more, his boy, Casey.” allowed
there you go. You think for a minute Vince is gonna’ let his boy
be involved with something he wasn’t pretty damn sure would turn out
all right? I don’t think so.” Sticker allowed.
cowboy! I know you’re right, and thank you for not using the
‘overprotective’ card. I know you have it in your back pocket
ready to whip it out at a moment’s notice; however, I have a sneaky
feeling you’re counting on me coming around to your way of thinking
without having to play your trump card. I’ll tell him in the
morning he can do it.”
“No, you won’t!
You march your cowboy butt into his room this evening and tell
him. Don’t make that kid wait another minute, Sid. If
you’ve made up your mind, tell him so’s he can get a good night’s
sleep. You were a kid once. You know how important things like
that are to someone his age.”
“Damn it, you’re
right, again. Now I know why I pay you the big bucks, cowboy. It
certainly ain’t because of your pretty face.” Sidney laughed at
“Oh, by the way,
straw boss, I bet old Sticker knows something you don’t.”
share it with me, cowboy?”
talking to Dwayne the other evening and telling him about his dad.”
“I didn’t wanna’
say nothing,--- didn't know if it was my place,--- but he ain’t riding
the circuit no more.”
“How do you
Rodeo Stock Company you told me to buy about three years ago?
Told me you thought it had promise?”
Last you told me it was doing really good and making you some money.”
brother. Half a mil every quarter is a little better pay than
punching cows for a living. Well,— guess who I hired on to be my
main stockman and ramrod of the outfit?”
ain’t. Rance Harding’s been working for me for almost two years
now. I got rid of that other no good son of a bitch, and
immediately after hiring Rance our profits started going through the
roof. I think the other guy was siphoning off most of the funds,
but I can’t prove it. I’ve been rewarding Rance accordingly. If
he makes me money,— he makes more money! He’s making better than
he ever did rodeoing, and it shore' is a Hell of a lot more steady for
him. He asks me every now and then about you and your
boy, and how you’re doing. Tells me to send you his love.
Now, I can tell him I don’t have to send it no more,--- I can give it
you, up close and personal.” Sticker grinned wickedly at his
mate. “Now, go do your fatherly duty and tell that boy he can help his
“On my way, head
wrangler. You be here when I get back?” Sidney asked with a grin
on his face.
“With a fresh
batch of cowboy love for you, buckaroo. Got a good scald on this
one, too. You gonna’ love it.” Sticker winked and grinned at
what wine would go with cowboy spunk?” Sidney mused as he left the room.
“For that big,
hearty, beefy flavor of the Old West?" Sticker shot back in his booming
bass voice, "An eighty-nine
Cakebread Merlot, of course,--- what else?”
* * * * * * *
Dad dropped us
off at school the next morning. We watched as Mr. Wiggins pulled
up in his new Humvee to drop off Sidney. He smiled and waved to
us. We walked to the curb as he rolled down his window.
Sidney was getting out on the other side and came walking around.
“How you men
doing this morning?”
Wiggins. Good to see you again, Sir.” I said to him.
kidding, brother? It’s always good to see this man!” Dwayne
laughed and punched me in the back. Sticker roared with laugher.
brother’s got good news for ya.’ See you men later. Ya’ll have a
good day, now, ya’ hear! See ya’ll this afternoon.” He
smiled, tipped his hat, and drove off.
We turned our
attention to our little brother. We each put an arm around him
and walked him to the stairs where we sat every morning waiting for the
bell to ring. We did it because we genuinely loved Sidney, but it
was also a big social thing for him to be seen in close company with
the two biggest men on campus. Dwayne and I began to notice there
was a big change in the other student’s attitudes toward our little
brother. More and more were coming around to talk with us and him.
“What’s the good
word, little brother?” Dwayne asked Sidney.
“My dad gave me
the go ahead last night before he went to bed. There’s one stipulation
though, Mr. Wiggins has to be a part of our commando crew.”
“You KNOW we
ain’t gonna’ have no problem with that, little brother.” I laughed.
you would.” he shot back. “I got everything together and threw it into
a bag. I left it in the back of Mr. Wiggins’ truck so it’s
immediately available when I need it. What’s going on with
“She called dad
late yesterday and asked him to take care of Dwayne until she gets
back. She said the Colonel called her and told her, dad just
refused to bring us over to do Dwayne’s chores for no reason at
all. Dad told her the truth and she said she figured it was
something like that. She said she won’t be able to get back until
Wednesday at the earliest. That gives us today and tomorrow to
get set up. I got the stuff you asked me about in a bag I left with dad
to bring if I called him. He said since the Colonel won’t be there
until later on in the evening we could go over to do the chores, help
you get set up and be out of there. Dad said he’d have Frank tell him
we came to do the chores.”
“That’s a good
cover.” allowed Sidney. “How about letting Mr. Wiggins drive us over to
your place, Case? We put everything in your dad’s Bronco and go from
there. Mr. Wiggins can go with us. We’ll leave his truck at
your place so’s not to attract any undue attention. Then, if by
some unforseen chance the Colonel should come home early, we’re just
there to do the chores and be out of there. He won’t be any the wiser
about our real purpose.”
The bell rang
for first period.
“Hope to see you
guys at lunch?” Sidney said.
“Count on it,
little brother.” Dwayne said to him. I nodded my agreement
and we were off to class.
* * * * * * *
The bell for
lunch rang and I got there before Dwayne and Sidney. I found a
place over in the corner by the large windows that looked out onto the
outside picnic table dinning area. I was a grey, cool, overcast
day, and I noticed Gary Peacock was sitting at a table by himself
eating a sandwich from a brown paper bag. He had a coke he bought
from the machine he was drinking with it. I wondered if he had
fallen out of favor with his buddies. I kinda felt bad for him.
I saw Sidney and
Dwayne enter the cafeteria at the same time and waved to them.
They went through the line and brought their trays over to the table
where I was sitting. They looked out and saw Gary sitting
alone. They both looked at me and I shrugged like I didn’t know
anymore than they did.
Sidney, “makes ya’ wonder don’t it?”
“Well, I guess
this is one of those times you told me to feel bad,— then, jes' let it
confirmed Sidney. “Just consider,— without his goon squad he’s a pretty
pathetic figure. Someone like him needs an audience for his
cruelty. Take away his audience he’s little more than the rest of
us; a little man, unsure of himself and his future.”
said Dwayne, "sometimes you say things that make a Hell of a lot of
because I’m trying to be cruel to Gary, it’s because I’ve been where he
is. I’ve never required an audience, and I certainly pray I don’t
have a deliberate cruel streak; however, all of us need the love and
support from people around us who care.”
“‘At’s fer damn
sure, little buddy.” Agreed Dwayne. “I don’t know where I’d be
if’n it wasn’t for a few good men, including you two, who love and care
“As long as you
and Case have good hearts, you’ll never have to worry about that sort
of thing. The old saying, ‘you can attract more flies with honey
than you can vinegar’ was never more true than in Gary Peacock’s case.
He’s not a bad looking kid. If he just tired to be a bit more
pleasant he’d have all the friends he could want. Sometimes I get
the feeling he must think it’s just not cool to be nice to people.”
“You say you
been where he is, I can’t imagine you being that alone, Sidney.”
I stated. “If it’s true how have you managed to cope all this time?
We’ve known you since the first grade and while we’ve always been
friendly with each other, we just always figured you were pretty much
“I guess I do
put on a pretty good front, Case, but it wasn’t the truth. I’ve
always felt like a freak; like an outsider looking in. I told
your dad sometimes the only thing that ever made my day worth a damn
was being able to see you guys and say ‘hello.’ I always prayed
for more, but never in my wildest dreams entertained the idea of being
your buddy. You don’t know how much the last few days has meant
look at me and our brother, here. We been friends since the first
grade, played sports together, rodeoed together, but it ain’t been
until all this shit with his step-dad that we bonded as brothers.
That was little more than,— what, brother,— a couple of days before we
brought you on board as our little brother? So you’re getting in
on the ground floor just like us. We weren’t kidding about you
belonging to us, and don’t have no fear, when this is all over with the
Colonel, we ain’t gonna’ let chu’ get away from us. You be stuck
with us, bubba!”
A big grin
spread across Sidney’s face.
“I could imagine
a lot worse fates than belonging to you two men, Case. Now, let’s
change the subject before I get all blubbery and make a damn fool of
“Why break with
tradition at this point?” Dwayne shot at Sidney as a tear rolled
down his face. “Sure,— thanks a lot, guys,— leave the biggest one
to do the dirty work.”
Sidney and I
broke up with laughter at poor Dwayne. His tender heart only
endeared him to us all the more. We sat there eating in silence
for a few minutes looking out at the lonely figure of Gary Peacock
staring off into the distance as he silently consumed his sandwich.
“Do you think I
should reach out to him?” I asked my brothers.
“Do you think
he’d offer you comfort if he destroyed you?” Sidney asked and
little brother, but that ain't no test for compassion.”
End Chapter 12 ~
Copyright 2005 ~