By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 18

The hospital released Dwayne the following morning.  Dad and I brought him some clothes and his favorite pair of old boots he loved to wear.  I got his clothes from his room before we left last night. They were still in a pile on his bed where he hurriedly undressed.  

By midmorning Lamar was feeling a lot better. The food for breakfast seemed to make him rally. Then, too, he had several visitors who came to wish him well. Flowers were arriving from everywhere. Sidney Wainright, Sticker Wiggins and Logan sent him flowers.  The sheriff and his wife sent him flowers.  The Winchesters sent him flowers.  Lamar was so unassuming about so many things, he was awed and touched that anyone would care enough to take their time, spend their money, or come visit him in the hospital. While he was gracious and charming in a non-obsequious manner, he had little social skills, and was mostly embarrassed by the attention he was receiving. He just couldn’t seem to understand what he did as an act of love for someone precious to him should generate such a response.

Dwayne tried to tell him he was a hero and people were trying to express their admiration and appreciation for his unselfish actions in saving one of their own. Dwayne was a member of their greater community and loved by many. They thought Lamar was a brave man to have done what he did. He understood the words and the explanation, but he still had difficulty grasping the concept. He was in awe of the beautiful flowers, and cried every time someone brought more. Dwayne wanted to stay with him, but Lamar insisted he go home with us. He wanted him to start recovering from what they went through together.

“Lamar,— I wanna’ stay with you.”

“I know you do, baby boy, but don’t chu’ worry none ‘bout ole Larmar. Lamar’s gonna’ be jes’ fine.  If you’ gonna’ be my protector and guide through this world, I wants you to be strong and responsible. There’s gonna’ have to be one of us who says what’s-what-about-what in our relationship.  Since I be older and twice as big, guess who dat’s gonna’ be?” he tried to laugh, but it hurt. “Especially, until’s you gits to be a man and that’s another two years off.  You be our navigator, and I be the Captain, okay?”  Lamar grinned real big at Dwayne with his perfect teeth.

“I have no problem with that, buddy !” Dwayne said.

“So, I want chu’ to go on home with your brother and his handsome dad.  I can tell they love you very much. You can’t forget the ones who’ve helped you and whose love sustained you to git through all this, Son. They need ju’ as much as I do. I can’t do much of anything anyways but lay here and recover.  Ole Lamar’s ain’t never been treated this fine in his life, and it’s all because of you, baby boy. I can’t be with you right now to make a little love to you, but that’s all this big body can think about ever’ time I look at chore’ pretty face.  My old thing down there stays half hard all the time you’re around me. I need’s that blood up here to heal my wound, not down there doing nothing but get’n me hard when I can’t do nothing about it.”  He laughed and a pain shot through him. “Now, you start mind’n ole Lamar today,— ya’ here, Son,— no ‘if,’ ‘ands’ or ‘buts’ about it!” He smiled sweetly at Dwayne.

“All right, Captain,— I’ll reluctantly obey your order. The sheriff ain’t gonna’ call Camp Pendleton until tomorrow morning anyway. He got the doc to say he had to keep you under sedation for a couple of days, and they didn’t know much about you until you came to. My brothers and I will have some time with you this evening to go over what to tell them. My little brother, Sidney, knows all about it. He and the sheriff are big buddies now. The Sheriff filled him in on everything. My little brother don’t forget nothing.”  Dwayne smiled, “Think we could raise my rank from ‘navigator’ to ‘first mate,’ Sir?” He grinned.

“Not ‘til you’s eighteen, Son.” Was all Lamar said as he smiled. Dwayne didn’t argue. He just nodded his agreement and smiled. He accepted Lamar as his leader.

“I couldn’t have a more handsome Captain.”  Dwayne whispered to him as he kissed him on the cheek.

“I love’s you, boy,— I really do.”  Lamar whispered back.

* * * * * * *

It was almost noon. Dad and I didn’t feel like cooking when we got home so we went to the pizza place in town and split a large pizza three ways.

“Dwayne,” you know Sticker and Frank are bring’n your daddy to our place this afternoon.”

“Yes Sir, I can’t believe I’m really gonna’ get to spend some time with my dad.  Other than going to see him ride in three rodeos and sharing a meal with him once, I ain’t never spent any time with him since I was seven years old.  That’s almost ten years. I won’t know how to act, what to say, or do.  I’ll probably make an ass of myself.”

“That’s what I wanna’ talk to you about, Son. Don’t hold nothing back from your dad you really feel, Dwayne. He’s yore’ daddy, and that man’s been there and back. You can’t surprise him with nothing.  I’ve know’d your daddy all my life, and I know him to be a good hearted, generous, but sometimes overprotective man. You ain’t gonna’ make no ass out a’ yore’self.  Ain’t no way. In his eyes you can do no wrong. That man worships you. No matter what you say or do, he ain’t gonna’ think less of you.  Just relax and enjoy him.  He’s a wonderful man to have as a friend, and he’ll even be a better dad if you let him.”

“Will dad get in trouble for coming to be with me, Mr. Longhorn?  Mom would have a hissy-fit is she knew. She’d try to have him thrown in jail for sure. I wouldn’t want that.”

“It was the sheriffs idea for Sticker and Frank to go get chur’ dad.  What happened last night cancels any say yore’ momma has over you right now, Son. Until the social workers and a court can decide if she acted in a responsible manner or not by leaving you with your step-dad,  the sheriff has given me temporary guardianship over you. So, for all practical purposes, you’re my boy now and Case is yore’ brother.”  Dad smiled at him.  

“I couldn’t do better, but I shore’could do a lot worse for a dad, and have, Mr. Longhorn.  Ain’t real sure about my brother, though.”  Dwayne joked.  I poked him in the ribs.

“You were your momma’s responsibility, Dwayne. She wouldn’t share you with your dad. Sadie knew for six months there was a gradual deterioration in your relationship between you and her. I don’t know how many times she talked to me about it and asked if Casey or I knew what was wrong. The obvious was right there in front of her; yet, she couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

Several people suspected what was going on. Spencer and I were sure of it, but you never said a word. That’s why the night you told Casey, he wasn’t surprised, and he told you we all ready knew.  When I called Leland Bard to give us a hand in all this, he knew the minute I told him there was something going down at your place, what the matter was.

Your momma knew Brad Dunbar was an asshole when she married him.  Everyone told her not to marry him. I told her I thought she was making a big mistake, but when your mother gits her head set for or against something no one’s gonna’ change her mind. She just didn’t wanna’ admit there could possibly be anything wrong with Brad. She kept giving him the benefit of the doubt and wouldn’t confront him when he was getting on your case all the time. Have you ever heard the phrase ‘divide and conquer,’ Son?”

“Yes Sir, in school. If you separate an army it’s easier to conquer them.”

“That’s right, and that’s essentially what Brad did to you and your mom.  He managed to divide you and Sadie to where you wouldn’t talk to each other about him. He made her think it was all your fault for not accepting him as your new dad, and he only had your best interest at heart,  he was only trying to shape you up and make you responsible. He simply told you he’d beat her up or kill her if you said anything. It worked for six months and might have gone on longer until you either told someone or worse, disappeared. Sadie knew something was going on,— she just didn’t wanna’ admit it to herself.  She didn’t wanna’ see it. She didn’t wanna’ have to admit she made a big mistake marrying Brad Dunbar.

 The man would invent things to humiliate or browbeat you until you were becoming almost completely subservient to him. I know you love yore’ momma, Son, and I love Sadie, too, but she didn’t act responsibly with you. So, by her actions or inactions for your safety the balance of things has changed considerably. Until all this can be straightened out, I have more say in your safety and well being than your mom.  Lee left you in my care until the courts decide what should be done for you.”

“What a’ ya’ think will happen, Mr. Longhorn?”

“You’ll probably be placed in a foster home until you’re eighteen and can make a few decisions for yourself.”

“You mean live with someone I don’t know?”

“No, Son,— the Winchesters have taken out a foster care license and want to offer you a place to stay with them if you’d like to.  No one’s gonna’ force you. You don’t have to stay with them.”  

“I really love Mr. and Mrs. Winchester. I just never thought about living with them, but I don’t think I’d mind as long as I get to see my brothers, my dad, and Lamar.”

“Well, Son, that may or may not happen depending on a lot of things.  Spence asked me what I thought, and I told him getting a license wasn’t gonna cost him anything; it’s always good to be prepared. The sheriff told him last night he was gonna’ have to accept Lamar in his home if he expects you to live there. Spencer and Donna don’t have any problem with Lamar. They’re two of the most liberal minded folks we know.”

“Is my mom gonna’ come home to see me?”

“She can’t right now, Son. I called her, and talked with her for a while last night. She wanted to. She wanted to come down to be with you, but she don’t have no one to take care of her sister for her. I told her everything, and I suggested she not come back right now. There’s really nothing she can do. Everything’s been taken out of her hands. You may as well know, if and when she comes back, the sheriff will arrest her and put her in jail pending a hearing to see if they wanna’ press charges against her.  She just may do jail time, Son.”

“My mom, no,— why?”  Dwayne acted surprised. I guess I was, too, when I heard it from Sheriff Bard.

“For exactly the reason I told you a minute ago.  Dwayne, this is hard for me to tell you, but she may be found criminally negligent for allowing this to go so far without doing something about it. She could be charged with child neglect, because she catered more to Brad’s needs than she did yours. It was neglectful of her to allow him such total control over you.  You were her responsibility, and she made the decision to give Brad that control; so, she’s responsible.

She could be charged with child abuse because she allowed Brad to have his way with you, and never stood up to him where you were concerned. She could a’ told Brad not to tell you to do a damn thing anymore. It wasn’t his responsibility. She could a’ told him, if you did something wrong, for him to tell her.  Then she would decide whether you were to be punished or not and he was not to have a hand in it. She didn’t do that, Son. She continued to allow him to dominate you, and to intimidate you into submission.

She could also be charged with abandonment. It’s a wonderful and noble thing for Sadie to be up there taking care of her sister while she’s dying, but it wasn’t necessarily her job. She could a’ found someone to take care of her, or placed her in a hospital or a hospice. She has two other sisters who live closer than Sadie who could a’ taken her in, cared for her or made arrangements for her care, and neither one has the responsibility of a child to care for. I told Sadie to find some alternate form of care, but she wouldn’t hear of it. I told her not to go off and leave Dunbar in charge of you.

I offered to take you in whenever she left. I told her she could jes’ leave you with me and Case, and then, she could stay up there ‘til her sister passes away. She wouldn’t do it. Well, that’s Sadie. She gonna’ do what Sadie wants to do and to Hell with the rest of the world; however, by taking on the responsibility of her sister, she neglected her responsibility to you. She, in effect, abandoned you to a sick man who had no legal control over you. So, essentially, Sadie’s stubbornness has come back to bite her in the butt.

You could a’ told Brad Dunbar to go fuck himself, and take a flying leap at the moon, and there ain’t a damn thing he could a’ done about it. Even when she wasn’t there, you didn’t have to do a damn thing he said. There’s no way he could a’ made you. He could a’ tried, but if he laid a hand on you, or tried to punish you without her consent, you could a’ had his ass thrown in jail pending an investigation. All you had to do was show the sheriff your bruises and file a complaint against him.

That shore’ would a’ put a major kink in his plans. It would a’ scared the crap out a’ him, too. He shore’ as Hell wouldn’t want any kind of investigation about him getting back to the military. You wouldn’t even have to have bruises, Son. You could a’ told Lee Bard anything, and he would’ve believed you. He knows you ain’t the kind a kid to make up shit.

Remember the afternoon I took you guys and your little brother to do the chores and he made such a scene.  By, God, come Hell or high water, he was gonna’ make you stay there. He backed down real quick-like when I reminded him he had no legal say where you went or what you did; especially, since Sadie left you in my care. I was hoping like Hell he’d hit me. I would a’ had his ass thrown in jail and pressed charges against him for assault. You notice he didn’t lay a hand on anybody. He was so use to getting his way by intimidation he thought he’d jes’ bulldoze me. Not this old cowboy.  Don’t worry, Son, it’s all gonna’ work out.”

“I hope so, Mr. Longhorn, but I don’t want my mom to go to jail.”

“Of course you don’t, Dwayne. She may not and your statement about what you think and how you feel about it will be taken into consideration.  Do you feel up to going by the ranch on our way home to do the chores and pick up some a’ yore’ things, Son, or would you rather wait?”

“No, I’ll be all right, Sir.  I’m fine.  After all, Mr. Longhorn, I was the one what got the better fuck’n last night.”  Dwayne laughed, so did we.

“Can’t gainsay that, Son.”  Dad laughed. “Look to me like you weren’t in too much pain but cha’ did have an awful grimace on you face.”

“Hell,— that weren’t from pain, Mr. Longhorn,— it was from trying like crazy not to shoot my load too quick! I hadn’t got my full eight second ride in on ‘nat big bull, and I damn sure knew there weren’t gonna’ be no re-rides.  The son of a bitch  selfishly fucked me so many times, never allowed me to come, I just felt like, in a round about way, I was gonna’ make him fuck me until I wanted to stop.”

Dad let out a whoop you could a’ heard in the next county. We both were laughing.  

“You know who would love that story, Case?”  dad asked me.

“Sheriff Bard?”  I asked.  Dad just laughed and nodded.

“I’d kinda like to drop by the ranch, Mr. Longhorn.  There’s a number of folks I need to start tell’n how much I love and appreciate them.  I may as well start with two men who’ve looked out for me most of my life.  I know Frank Mayhew is with Mr. Wiggins, but Curley’s there, for sure, and I can tell him. I can tell Frank when he brings my dad to your place.”

We got to Dwayne’s place and it looked different somehow. Dwayne even commented on it.

“It don’t look so gray and foreboding this afternoon, does it?  Or is that jes’ my imagination playing tricks on me?”

“No, Son,— by God, I think you’re right!  It looks like the place went from black and white to technicolor overnight, don’t it?  ‘ At’s spooky ain’t it?” dad asked.

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore, Toto.”  I said to Dwayne.

He gently frogged my arm and grinned. First thing Dwayne did when we got there was head for the bunkhouse. He didn’t get far when Curley came out to greet us. Curley was your typical Western cowboy. He wasn’t a bad looking man, but then again, he wasn’t a handsome man either. He was a man of the Earth like my dad, Dwayne’s dad and Curley’s mate, Frank Mayhew; however, dress old Curley up in his Sunday best go-to-meet’n cowboy duds and he could turn a few heads, male and female. He turned mine a few times. Dwayne slowly walked toward the cowboy and Curley seemed to understand  what Dwayne needed. He opened his arms to him. Dwayne gave him a big hug and a kiss.

“What’s that for, Son?” Curley asked shyly.

He wasn’t use to open displays of affection. You would never see Frank or Curley touch each other in public. They wouldn’t even sit close to each other; however, when they were home, behind closed doors it was a different story.

“It’s just to say thanks, Curley,— for everything you and Frank done for me over the years; for all the little things I always took for granted; for always being there for me, never pushing, but always offering me quiet support when I most needed it. You never intruded on my life, but you’ve always been there when I needed you. You and Frank come to ever’ damn game I play to cheer me and my brother on; and, for a million other reasons I can’t think of right now. You two have been much more than just hired hands on a ranch. You’ve been an integral part of my family. If it weren’t for you and Frank I wouldn’t a’ had no daddy. You taught me to rope and ride and to be a man. You taught me by example. I love you Curley. I love you and Frank very much, and  I jes’ wanted you to know.”

Curley couldn’t talk he was so choked up. He just hung onto Dwayne and they cried in each other’s arms for several minutes.

“We thank God you’re out from under that monster, Son. We love you, too, Dwayne. You’re one of the finest young men I’ve ever known. You have no idea how much Frank loves you. He never wanted to push himself, but when you’d come and ask him for something, it was the most important part of his day. I love you, too, Dwayne. I know great things are gonna’ come your way.  You’ve been through more than any person your age should ever have to go through, Son. You deserve some good things.”

Dwayne got a few of his things. Dad and I went through everything in the house looking for evidence.  We didn’t find much.  We were very neat and didn’t disturb anything.  However, I did find something kind of interesting. I guess I read too many Hardy Boys detective stories, because I’m always suspicious of a character like Dunbar who might have a lot to hide and where he might hide it. I got under his desk to look, but didn’t find anything.

His desk was big, massive and made of fine wood. It looked like it might have been a desk that was once in an Officers office and he may have purloined it, or requisitioned it for his private use. From days of reading my Hardy Boy mysteries, I remembered there was always a secret drawer in every desk that hid the final clue to solving the mystery.  I didn’t expect to be that fortunate; nevertheless, in the truest tradition of sleuthing I ran my hand under ever surface of the top drawers and ‘bingo’ I found a small button.  Of course I pushed it and the neatest little secret drawer popped out.

There was six, eight by eleven, manilla envelopes filled with material and were stamped ‘Top Secret.’  On top of it all was one CD in a case.  It was unmarked.  I took it all and put into a brown paper bag and didn’t plan to look at it until Sidney, Dwayne and I could look at it together. If it was something really technical, Dwayne and I would be lost, but I know our little brother wouldn’t be. Dad hollered to us to come on and let’s go. He told us we’d have more time later to look, we should be getting home. It was getting on into the afternoon. Dwayne asked me what was in the bag and told him it was something I felt our little brother should take a look at with us.

Dwayne couldn’t wait to see his dad.  He couldn’t stay still. He was up pacing about every few minutes. I went up to my room and got two baseball gloves and a ball and came back down.

“C’mon, bubba, let’s go out front and toss a few. We can see ‘em coming.”

We were playing catch when far up the road we could see Mr. Wiggins Humvee. Dwayne was more excited and happy than I ever saw him before, but was trying hard to curb his enthusiasm. I swear if the boy had a tail he would’ve been wagging it. Mr. Wiggins drove into our compound and pulled to a stop.  rank and Sticker got out of the front and Rance Harding got out of the rear door. I had only met him a couple of times at rodeos where dad and I roped together.  He was a fine looking cowboy, and I could see where my brother got his good looks. It certainly wasn’t from his mother. Sadie wasn’t plain, but she was far from pretty.

One thing that always struck me about Rance was how strange his eyes looked. The closer he got and we shook hands, I could see they were the same color as mine; however, they were a much lighter color of violet. My eyes were a darker shade. His eyes were certainly exotic, and only added to Rance’s attractiveness. He was a handsome man and a better looking cowboy.  Rance held his arms open for his boy. Dwayne was in his dad's arms faster that a lightening flash.



Dwayne was in his daddy’s big, loving, cowboy arms, being caressed, having kisses stolen from him, and holding him tightly to comfort him. ‘H’it don’t get much better’n this.’ thought Dwayne.

I don’t think there was a dry eye in the yard. They stood holding each other for the longest while,  hugging and kissing, and shedding a few tears. No two men ever deserved to shed a few tear than Rance and Dwayne that afternoon. They didn’t want to let each other go.

“It’s so good to see you, boy.  Boy, Hell,— look at chu,’ you’re damn near a man!  You’re gonna’ be as tall as me or taller, I’m sure.”  Rance told Dwayne.

“You don’t know how good it is to see you, Dad. All these men here, been tell’n me I need my daddy. They weren’t wrong,— I do need you, Dad. Dad there’s something I need I need to take care of for a few minutes. Please, follow me.”  

Rance followed Dwayne to Frank.  Dwayne threw his arms around Frank, hugged and kissed him.

“I told your partner a while ago how much I love and appreciated him for being there for me when I most needed him and you. Over the years I’ve just kinda taken both of you for granted. You were always there giving your quiet, unassuming strength to me when I most needed it. I just wanted you both to know how much I love you and what you mean to me. I told Curley if’n it hadn’t a’ been for you two, I wouldn’t a’ had me no daddy or role models. Just cause my dad’s here don’t mean I’m gonna’ stop loving you two. Thanks for everything, Frank, I love you and Curley very much.”

Frank was totally unprepared. It rocked the old, stoic cowboy on his boot heels. He couldn’t say a damn thing. He was so choked up he couldn’t speak. There wasn’t anything to say, really.

“We love you, too, Son.”  Frank choked out from the lump in his throat the size of a hen egg.

  Rance stood in admiration of his son’s thoughtfulness.  He was impressed. Then Dwayne moved to Sticker, hugged and kissed him, told him how much he appreciated his love and encouragement over the years and especially the last two weeks.

“Ah, Hell, Dwayne,— there’s lots of folks who love you in this community, Son.” Sicker told him, “I watched you grow up, boy. I’m proud of you, and I love you, too. That old horse thief standing behind you don’t deserve a boy as good as you.”

Everyone laughed and went into the house. Dwayne helped his dad get his two bags from the rear of the Humvee. Dwayne all ready chose a room for himself next to my junk room with a nice big, comfortable four-poster bed; however, we made up another room for his dad just in case he wanted a separate room. I knew Dwayne wanted his dad to stay with him, but I could tell he was as nervous as a cat on coffee going upstairs.     

“Will you calm down, brother.” I whispered to him “You weren’t this nervous last night.” he just gave me a weak smile.

“Dad we made up a room for you if you want or you can bunk it in with me.”

Rance looked funny for a moment.

“Where would you like me to stay, Son?”

“Are you kidding?  I wanna’ bunk it in with my old man.”

“Vince, you got any problem with me bunk’n in with my boy?”

“Not if you don’t have any problem with my boy bunk’n it in with me.”

“Then, I be bunk it in with my boy. Damn, it sounds good to say that. Thank you, gentlemen.”  

We all laughed at Rance. Frank and Sticker had to take off and said their goodbyes to Rance and Dwayne. We walked back downstairs to leave the two of them alone. They were in another world just beginning to know each other.  They had the future before them, and it looked good. Dwayne closed the door to talk to his dad in private. Rance was a bit apprehensive. Being a cowboy he didn’t have much experience being a dad. He was going to have to take it one step at a time.

“How are you, boy?” Rance asked Dwayne in a concerned voice.

“Recovering, Dad, but I’m excited you’re here. It’s like a dream come true. Dad, I’m,—”

“Yes, Son?”

“Oh, Hell! I’m afraid to say anything,— ask you anything, or tell you anything because I’m so afraid I’m gonna’ fuck it up, make a fool of myself and you won’t like me.”

“Well,— would ju’ believe me, if I told you I feel the same damn way. I’m as nervous as a whore in church. There’s something I been dream’n about though, but I don’t know whether to tell you or not.”

“Mr. Longhorn gave me this not-so-short little speech over lunch today about how much he thinks of you, what a good man he thinks your are, on and on. He really loves you dad.”

“Vince and I go back a long way.  He was best man at your momma’s and my wedding. We’ve known each other all our lives. There’s some things you don’t know about I never told your ma, they’re things that Vince and I share in common. I’ll tell you about it soon, but not right now.”

“Mr. Longhorn told me I could tell you anything and no matter what it was you’d still love me.”

“He ain’t lying, Son. Vince knows me as well or better than any man alive. Next would be Frank Mayhew. God, I still love that man. Almost broke my old heart today to see him.”

“Why, Dad?”

“I know he has another life now, and I respect him for that. I think the world of Curley and wouldn’t intrude on their relationship for the world. I jes’ wanted to hold him and tell him I still love him after all these years. I didn’t because I was afraid like you. Afraid he’d reject me and afraid he’d take it the wrong way.”

“Sounds about like how I feel right now. I’m afraid to tell you how I feel.”

“Dwayne, we’re gonna’ have to get to know each other, Son. Let’s make a couple of ground rules. You be honest with me, and I’ll always be honest with you. You trust me, and I’ll trust you. Can you tell me what your afraid of, Son?”

“I feel the same way about you as you did about Frank today. For years my only dream has been to lay down with you an hold you in my arms, and for you hold me. I’m not talk’n sex, here, Dad; although, I wouldn’t rule it out if’n it was offered.”

“You mean you wanna’ hold me, touch me and kiss me?”

“Yeah, Dad,— that’s pretty much it.”

“So,— what’s wrong with that?  I was afraid to ask you to gimme’ a real kiss awhile ago.”

“Oh, Daddy,— I love you so much. I’m so damn glad jur’ here.” Dwayne started crying. Rance took him into his arms and held him close. He comforted him and soothed him until Dwayne got himself together.  Then Rance moved his lips close to his son’s and brushed them across Dwayne’s as an invitation. He didn’t have to send a second.  They began a kiss that united them in a bond of father and son that lasted the rest of their lives.

It was as if Rance reached across ten years of separation to a frightened little seven year old boy and pulled him through a dark tunnel to a young man on the threshold of maturity. Dwayne told his dad in that kiss how much he needed his presence, his strength and his maturity to lean on. Rance thought he was the worst kind of pervert for having dreams of one day holding his boy in his arms.

Rance grew up and accepted the fact he liked to play both sides of the fence, but Sadie was his only real love interest on the straight side. Rance would never love another woman.  The number Sadie did on him worked as effectively as she hoped it might. It essentially castrated him. She wasn’t happy with just snipping his balls off, she wanted to wear them around her neck for all the world to see. He and his boy lay across the bed with Dwayne resting in Rance’s arms.

“Tell me a little about my potential new son-in-law, Son.”  Rance requested.

“Dad, you may not be prepared for him.”

“Because he’s black?”

“Not just black, Dad,— blue-black, like obsidian or tar. He’s so black he has a blueish sheen to his body that makes him almost glow.  I watch him, and he sometimes changes color from a black-black to a deep, dark navy blue color.  I know you won’t be prepared for his size.  He’s a giant, Dad.  The biggest damn man I’ve ever seen in my life and many other folks say the same thing. He also has a big heart, he’s simple and child like, but he ain’t stupid by no means.  He just trust people too much.  He’s naive and gullible to a fault, but I love him. He saved my life, Dad.”

“Sticker and Frank filled me in on a lot of what’s been going on. I’d like to meet this man.”

“You will if you go to the hospital with me this evening.  I wanna’ be with him for a while.”

“That’s understandable.  Are you more comfortable now, boy?”

“Yeah, a lot.  Would you hold me close tonight, Dad.”

“I won’t let you go all night, partner, how’s that sound?”

“Wonderful. I love you, Dad.”

“I love you, too, Son.”

* * * * * * *

“C’mon, you two, we’ve fixed an early dinner ‘cause Casey and Dwayne are meeting their brother at the hospital.”  Vince hollered up the stairs.

We had dinner and Dwayne was calming down a bit.  I didn’t know how the kid was holding up so well. I think I would’ve been a basket case. He went through a rough two days filled with extreme highs and lows.  It was like he was on a roller coaster of emotions.  Thank God, things were starting to go his way for a change.

I was all the more impressed with his dad over dinner.  I found Rance to be an intelligent, thoughtful, and compassionate man; however, underneath all the cowboy persona I sensed he was like a powder keg ready to go off at any moment.  He was like a metal coil spring that was wound a little too tightly. He was a fascinating man and had lots of good, interesting and funny stories to tell.  Nobody tells a story like a cowboy.
We finished dinner.  Rance and Dwayne went off to clean up and change clothes to go to the hospital. Dad and I cleaned up and dressed before we fixed dinner.  Dwayne was nervous as he was getting undress to take a shower.  He couldn’t help glance at his cowboy dad as he was undressing. He never saw his dad naked that he could remember, and as much of a prude as his mother was, he doubted seriously she would’ve ever allowed it.  Rance was slowly undressing.  Emotionally, he wasn’t in much better shape than his boy.

“Ah, what the Hell, cowboy!” he said under his breath, ‘you ain’t never been shy in your life, why start now? Your boy’s more worried than you; help him out here.’  He thought to himself.

“Git chore’ clothes off boy, your dad wants to see his son’s body.  I know you wanna’ see mine, so let’s us git over this shy shit with each other.  Dwayne was standing there facing his dad when Rance stepped out of his Wranglers and threw them on a chair.  He turned to face his son in all his glory.  

“Hoe-lee shit, and damnation, Son! You be a fine, good looking young man.  Co’mer, boy!” Rance ordered Dwayne.  Dwayne was in his arms in a flash. They hugged, and kissed while holding each other tightly with their dicks fighting for space between them.  Naturally, they both got hard and laughed at each other.  His dad was every bit as handsome and wonderful as Dwayne hoped he would be and more.  Rance was impressed with his boy; especially, the size of his dick. He was bigger than Rance.  Rance reached down and took it in his hand.

“Damn, boy, you got that from yore’ momma’s daddy.  He was hung like a plough horse.”

“How would ju’ know, Dad?”

“Her daddy was a cowboy, too, Son.  Cowboys know that sort of thing about each other.  We knew the minute we shook hands and looked into each other’s eyes we’d slip off to the barn as soon as we could git away.”  Rance laughed.  “I still go by to see her old man once in a while.  He’s always got something new in his barn he wants to show me.  Her momma just can’t understand why we’re still friends.” Dwayne laughed at his dad’s ease talking about something so personal.  He reminded Dwayne of Lamar talking to the sheriff.

“That shower big enough fer two, boy?”

“Yes, Sir, it’s a special built shower because of Mr. Longhorn’s legs.”

“Damn, I forgot about that.  He’s adjusted to them store bought legs a’ his so well I didn’t even remember. He was a hero in Nam, Son. Vince was awarded two purple hearts and a bronze star. I’m a bit older than Vince and I was over there a little earlier. I only spent a year over there, got shot up and sent home.  I went back to being a cowboy, got drunk one night, got accused of a crime I didn’t commit, and sent to prison. Vince and I lost touch for a while.”

The men headed for the shower laughing and talking. Vince and Casey could hear them as they walked down the hall to the bathroom.  Vince looked at his boy and opened his arms. It’s just what Casey needed at the moment.

“You read my mind, old man.  You’re getting better’n better at that.”

“No, I didn’t.  Truth is, I jes’ needed to hold my son right then.  I feel so glad inside fer them two,  I jes’ wanted to share it with my boy.”

“Glad ja’ did. I feel the same damn way.  Kiss me, old man.”  

My dad gave me a kiss that rocked me on my boot heels. If my toenails were a bit longer it would’ve curled them. He kiss told me in no uncertain terms how glad he was we had each other.

“You’re in big trouble, tonight, cowboy!”  I told him. “A’kissing me like that,— shame on you!”  I laughed.

“You’re the kind a’ trouble I welcome, honcho.  I wish’t every dad had a boy to give him as much ‘trouble’ as you gimme.  The world would be a much better place.”  He smiled.  

Dad could say the damnedest things sometime, then he could turn right around and break my heart with his love.

“Big trouble!”  I threatened him again.  He laughed.

* * * * * * *

When my brother and his dad came down the stairs, clean, shaved, hair slicked, and smelling fine, they took our breath away.  They were two of the best looking cowboys I’d seen in a while.  I wondered about poor Lamar to see these two walk into his hospital room.  I could only pray they had a bedpan under him. Dad and I grabbed our hats, we all piled into the Bronco and headed to town.  It was just around half past six and the sun was sinking low in the western sky.

We got there and went directly to Lamar’s room. They moved him to a private room. Sticker and big Sidney got their heads together and decided he needed a little more privacy than a double man room might provide. Lamar’s face brightened when he saw us come into the room.  We all removed our hats before entering.  He was sitting up in bed and just finished his dinner.  Sticker, big Sidney and our little brother were all ready there and were talking with him.  He held his arms open for Dwayne who almost burst into tears to see his buddy looking so much better.  He gently hugged and kissed Lamar.

“Damn, boy, you be so pretty in all your cowboy clothes.  Makes ole Lamar wanna’ become a cowboy, so’s he can ride herd on you.” he grinned real big.  Dwayne immediately melted and ran down into his boots.

“There were a lot of fine, black cowboys in the old west. There still is today.”  Dwayne told him.  

Dwayne was right, Rance wasn’t prepared for Lamar’s size. He thought Lamar had to be the biggest damn man he’d ever seen anywhere. Dwayne introduced his dad to Lamar and they shook hands; except, Rance wouldn’t let go of Lamar’s big hand and held it while he spoke to him.

“Son, I wanna’ thank you for what chu’ done for my boy.  You have a home with us anytime you want it or anytime you need one.  Our hearts and our doors will always be open for you.”  Rance told the giant man.

“Thank you, Mr. Harding, but I jes’ did what seemed right at the time. I weren’t think’n ‘bout being no hero, Sir.”

“Well,— that’s what make a hero, Son.  A man who knows what’s right and stands up for it even in the face of danger.”

“Thank you, Sir.”

Dad shook his hand and I gave Lamar a hug and a kiss.  Dwayne was right, he skin was electric. We chit-chatted for a few minutes, then the men told him they were going for coffee to let us be alone with him for a while, they knew we had some things to go over with him. They’d be back to say goodbye. They waved and left.  The men got halfway down the hall and Rance looked at the other men and just grinned real big.

“Biggest damn man I ever did see in my fuck’n life!”  He laughed and the other three broke up with him. “My boy’s a lucky young man.”  He said quietly as he shook his head still in disbelief. “And you guys got a look at his,— ”

 “Yeah, we all saw it, brother!”  My dad laughed.

“And,— ”  Rance had the three men in stitches laughing at him.

“It’s as big as the rest of him.” ventured Sticker, “No,— Hell,— I take that back, it’s bigger in proportion to the rest of him.”  He laughed. “First time I saw it, I damn near passed out. I told Logan and Casey I knew how the Centaur legends got started.  Logan thought my idea had merit.”  They all laughed again.

* * * * * * *

We drilled Lamar what to tell the Marines and told him to stick to his story no matter what they asked, implied or said they knew about. Sidney told him what they might ask. Sidney went over and over it with Sheriff Bard. Sidney asked questions that stumped the sheriff, but he would make a note and find an answer for him.  If he didn’t know something he’d admit it. He wasn’t the kind of man to blow smoke up your butt. Leland Bard wasn’t that way.  He’d simply pick up the phone, dial a number and have an answer for Sidney in a matter of minutes.  He had contacts everywhere.

Sidney told Lamar he all ready cut out the parts of the video where Lamar let Dwayne suck his dick and where Lamar kissed him. He told him it just looked like he switched cameras and that’s basically what he did; however, there was several minutes missing between certain shots. Sidney knew before we started, it would be easier to manipulate the recording with multiple cameras without anyone being the wiser, and being digital, you can’t tell a copy from the original.

“You never touched Dwayne, Lamar,—  understand?  That’s important! And, you know not to mention a bathroom tape.  You don’t know nothing about no bathroom tape!”  Sidney repeated for the umpteenth time.

Lamar smiled and told him he understood.  Sidney was a good teacher even if he did have a penchant for details.  We all felt comfortable Lamar had it down pat and wouldn’t mess up.  He still wanted to be in the Corps and we wanted him to be.  Finally, Sidney and I looked at each other and decided it was time to give Dwayne and Lamar a little time alone.  We excused ourselves and went to find our dads.  Sidney told Lamar he probably would be leaving right away with his dad and Mr. Wiggins.  Lamar hugged us and had a kiss for us as well.  Walking down the hall Sidney turned to me.

“Jes’ cut’n our brother’s heart out ain’t nearly enough, Case!”  Sidney said seriously and we held each other laughing. We were laughing when we joined the other men, but we wouldn’t tell them what we were laughing about.

* * * * * * *

“I was right, you know?” Lamar smiled at Dwayne.

“‘Bout what, Sir?”

“Yore’ daddy is a knockout, boy. Damn fine look’n man.”

“I have to agree with you, Sir.  I done told ju’ about me not seeing him in nearly ten year and why.  It seems like good things are happening for me, and you can’t know what a thrill it is to have my dad in my life.”

“Yes, I can, boy. I see the love that passes between you two.  That man worships you.  Listen to me, boy, don’t chu’ go get’n no crazy notion of saving yourself for ole Lamar.  If yore’ daddy offers you a little love’n, if’n I hear you didn’t give it to him, I’m turning you over my knee and spank’n your little butt good until it’s nice and pink.”

“Can I put my dick between your legs, Sir?”  

Lamar laughed with Dwayne.

“I’m serious, baby boy!  The love you have for me and I have for you is som’um special. It always will be. No one can ever touch it or take it away from us, but the love you have for yore’ daddy is separate, and it won’t threaten our love a whit.  Old Lamar’s done made up his mind, he ain’t having sex of any kind with you until your eighteenth birthday.” he grinned wickedly, “Then watch out, boy!”  He laughed.

“I understand, Sir.  Does that rule out making a little love to each other?”

“Oh, Hell, no, Son!  I’ll give you all the love’n you can handle, boy, but I jes’ ain’t gonna’ be like the Colonel.  Taking you before you’re eighteen would make me almost as bad as him.”

“You could never be as bad as him.  He has no love in him, even for himself.”

“You may be right about that, but I aims to keep your love for a good while, and I ain’t about to fuck up the best damn thing what ever happened to me. Ole Lamar is gonna’ be away most of the time the next couple of years playing Marine anyway, but you know’s I’m gonna’ be on yore’ doorstep ever’ damn chance I git.  Remember, what I told ju’ about being Captain?”

“Yes Sir, you are, Sir. I thought it over and I really kinda like it that way.”

“Good, ‘cause yore’ Captain’s gonna’ give you one other order; lean on that fine looking cowboy dad of yours and give him and your brothers all your love while Lamar’s away. Y’ain’t gonna’ be take’n any love away from me to give your love to them.  Our love is fixed.  I love you, baby boy.”

“I don’t wanna’ sound like a broken record, but chu’ gotta’ know I love you, too, Sir.”

“Ole Lamar’s gonna’ wait, but with yore’ daddy, he’s a different matter.  He’s yore’ daddy, and the only one you’ll ever have.  Remember,— you’ll have old Lamar around to love a lot longer than you’ll have him.  Get in the love’n you can with your old man now, boy, while you can.  Get it while the get’n’s good, Son! You never know what tomorrow’s gonna’ bring.”

“I will, Sir.  It’s not like I’m a virgin and he’d be taking me for the first time, I guess.  I think I know my dad and he would make me wait until I was eighteen, like you. Maybe not since the barn door was opened. Casey’s dad, Mr. Longhorn, is making Casey wait until he’s eighteen and Casey is a hound dog about do’n what he agreed to with his dad.  I admire him.”

“I don’t even have to ask about the three of you, right?”

“Naw, Sir, you’re right, they be my bonded brothers.”

“That’s good, I can feel the love that passes between you. The little one worships you two.”

“No more’n we love him, Sir.  We couldn’t a’ pulled off what we done without him.  Along with you and a number of other good men ya’ll all saved my life, Sir.  I’m so grateful to all of you, especially you, my handsome black giant.”
“I jes’ wish’t it wouldn’t a’ happened, but if it didn’t, I wouldn’t a’ found my handsome young cowboy.”

They hugged and kissed.  Lamar was getting stronger, Dwayne could tell. It was a kiss that tole Dwayne just how much the big man loved him.

We came back into the room to say our goodbyes and to gather Dwayne.  We left him alone for a minute to say his personal goodbye to his giant.  Then he came out, looked happy as a fresh fuck hen, and was ready to go home with his dad.  On the way home, Rance put his arm around his boy and pulled him over to him to hold him.  Dwayne was so moved by his simple gesture he started crying.

“Suuu, boy,— it’s gonna’ be all right.  Yore’ daddy’s here now, and he ain’t never gonna’ let chu’ go again; that is,— until you’re old enough to get your prize with that big man.  I hope it works out for the two of you, Son.  He seems like a good man. Wouldn’t mind a bit having that man in our family.”  He soothed his boy.
* * * * * * *

That night my dad and I lay in bed holding each other and talking after I burned his barn down, as he called my blow-job.  I’m not going to try to guess why, but he was extra tasty that evening.  He just hit the spot. We were talking about everything in general.

“I’ve said several prayers this evening for Dwayne. I’m pray’n his daddy takes him tonight.  He needs some love’n that ain’t crazy or manipulative.”

“I agree with you there, boy.  That kid’s been through a lot.  He’s been brainwashed to crave that kind of sex, and the only man what can pull him away from that kind a’ think’n is his daddy.  If there’s one man on this planet who I know could do the job and do it well, it’s Rance Harding. I think your prayers are gonna’ be answered, though.  I had a chance to talk with Rance while we were waiting for you and your brothers at the hospital.  Glad Sidney and Sticker were there. I didn’t have any problem talking to him in front of them, because they know everything anyway, and as it turned out, they were a great support for me.

Spencer and me were talk’n about this whole thing, and he told me if Rance had any inclination that way he better make love to his boy, or Dwayne’s gonna’ have greater problems later on in life.  Leland got me off to the side and told me the same damn thing. I didn’t know whether to talk to Rance or not because of your and my agreement for you to wait until your eighteen. Sid has basically told Logan the same and he’s agreed; however, Spence, Leland, Sticker and Sidney told me the situation with Dwayne is different. His barn door’s all ready open and ya’ can’t git the cows back in. It took me a while, but I finally came around to agreeing with them.
“We told Rance what most all the men were think’n, but we weren’t try’n to tell him what to do with his boy. We told him it was only a suggestion, we understood he had to do things his way. The only reason we were telling him was because of our love for Dwayne, and if he decided to, he wouldn’t suffer any incrimination from us.  He seemed to accept what we had to say and listened to us. I know he’s gonna’ tell Dwayne the rest of what he don’t know about him tonight, but after he grabbed Dwayne in the Bronco on the way home from the hospital,— I knew he probably will take him tonight. He loves that boy, and well he should. Dwayne’s a damn good boy and a good brother to you.  Ain’t a person in the community don’t love that boy, including Gary Peacock.”  We shared a laugh.  Sidney spilled the beans and told dad all about my run in with Gary and ultimately making a friend of him.  It wasn’t a secret, I just hadn’t gotten around to telling him.

That night, as Rance held his boy in his arms sharing a little love with him he told him the rest of the things he had to keep secret from him all these years.

End Chapter 18 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All rights reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com