By Waddie Greywolf
Chapter 20

Dwayne, Sidney and I returned to school that next Monday as if nothing  happened.  Little bit and I saw a new Dwayne emerging who was strong, purposeful and didn’t fear the future.  Now that he was out from under the Colonel, school wasn’t anything he couldn’t handle. When things were starting to get to him, he remembered the love of his handsome giant, his wonderful cowboy dad, his brother’s love, and the love of a strong group of men in the community; men who were not selfish in letting him know they cared about him and were standing strongly behind him.  Sheriff Leland Bard was especially good to Dwayne.

In a small town, it’s almost impossible to keep anything secret. People gossip and there’s nothing you can do about it. Dwayne knew that, but he wasn’t going to let it get to him.  He had me and little bit to keep his spirits up and we were like two guard dogs. We figured nothing got out through the men who were there that night, but most of it probably got started through the paramedics and hospital staff.  Almost all the kids who were part of the ‘in group’ in school heard something about it even if all the facts weren’t right.

It was common knowledge the Colonel was in jail on child molestation charges, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit murder, and several other charges, but they only were concerned with the molestation part. To them, that was the juicy part.  Since Dwayne was an only child it didn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out who was involved.  It was a little more sketchy for them what the giant, black man’s part in all of it was, but they weren’t about to ask. They knew he wasn’t charged with anything and was rumored to have saved Dwayne’s life.   

Gary Peacock asked if he could sit with us at lunch. We knew he’d heard. He simply stuck out his hand to Dwayne to shake his hand, told how much he admired him, and he would be proud to think on him as his brother. It brought tears to Dwayne’s eyes, but he didn’t break down. Dwayne thanked him graciously, and pulled Gary to him and gave him a hug. He told him he would be honored for Gary to think of him as his brother, and he was pleased to think on Gary as his brother as well. Nothing more was said, but Gary Peacock became one of Dwayne’s greatest defenders. If he heard anyone gossiping about Dwayne he’d embarrass the shit out of them.  That stopped it pretty damn quick.
For the fourteen days Lamar was in the hospital the three of us would walk over to the hospital from school and visit for a while. We would have an hour or so until my dad came to pick Dwayne and I up, and Mr. Wiggins came for Sidney. Lamar seemed so happy to see us and always had something funny to tell us about his day.  He’d have us laughing with him.  Little bit and I would leave him alone with Dwayne for a while and wait out in the lobby for our rides.  

“Did you obey your Captain, boy?” Lamar asked Dwayne gently.

“Yes, Sir, and thank you, Sir. It was wonderful. My dad really is what I needed right now. I’m so happy he’s here with me. He’ll be here all week. He was more than I expected, Sir. I love him, but he’s my dad, and I love you.”

“I’m glad for that report, boy.  I know’s you love me.  That’s why I can tell you to give yourself to your old man and let him heal you, Son.  I knew the minute I met him he was a good man.  I have a feeling he’s gonna’ be in both our lives for a long time to come.”

“I hope so, Lamar.  I think he will, too.  I love him a lot but not in the same way I love you.”

“You don’t have to explain to me, baby boy.  I know how much you loves me and it’s separate from your love for your old man. That’s as it should be. You should love and honor your dad.  Let both loves grow inside you, there’s room for both. You got a big heart, Dwayne. I saw what your spirit was made of in that damn bathroom that night, Son. You be a lot stronger than you think you are. I love you, too, baby boy.”

Dwayne stole a quick kiss, and said his goodbyes when I hollered at him. After fourteen days we drove Lamar back to Pendleton. Sticker volunteered to drive us in his new Humvee. There was room for dad, Dwayne, Logan, big Sidney, Lamar and me. We thought he might have some trepidation about going back, but he didn’t. He was looking forward to getting on with his life. He had new friends and new goals for himself.  He was happy, and he seemed content and confident. Sicker’s shiny black Humvee turned a lot of heads and all looked to see a huge black man being accompanied by six cowboys. We took him to the admin building, and they directed him to the infirmary. We said our goodbyes and made a big to-do about shaking hands.
Dwayne was a little down, but we kept reminding him he’d see him in a couple of week for graduation. His dad had to leave after spending a wonderful week with him. Sticker drove him back to the stock company. Dad and I laughed at them. They weren’t too silent in their love making and we could hear Dwayne telling his dad, “Fuck me, cowboy! Ride that damn thing!” Dad and I would hold each other laughing. We were happy for them, it’s exactly what both of them needed and they were making up for lost time. It was exactly what Dwayne needed, and my dad told me Rance confided in him it was just what he needed, too. Dwayne gained a great deal of courage and love from his dad that made him stronger than he had ever been. I was proud of my brother.

Dad told me,  the same night Rance told Dwayne about us being cousins, and at first I couldn’t believe it; but then, when I thought about Rance’s eyes being like mine, I had to believe my dad.  I know he wouldn’t lie to me, but it was just so hard to believe. It was wonderful news. It explained a lot of things about Dwayne and I we always took for granted being close friends. To find out we were related shed new light on our relationship. Dad was right to tell us about being cousins. It only made things better, and Dwayne was right, little bit had a fit. He knew for sure we were making the story up and blowing smoke up his ass. He came over that day just to hear it from the two horse’s mouths, my dad and Dwayne’s dad. He was flabbergasted. Dwayne and I had to administer much mouth-to-mouth resuscitation along with an ample dose of hide the little green snake.  

We skated through the last three weeks of school and we were out for summer vacation. Dwayne, Sidney and I spent a great deal of time together, and we watched our big brother grow into a man that summer. I think the experience matured the three of us. Mr. Wainright and Sticker told our dads they never saw such a dramatic change in Logan as there was since he bonded with us. They were both more than a little pleased and proud of their boy and us. They bonded in friendship stronger than ever with the other men of the community.  They all came to love and respect Sheriff Leland Bard as a man who brought strength of convictions and humanity to his job.

Dad gave the papers Sadie left him to Rance and Dwayne the same evening she brought them by. Rance had a rodeo in a small town about thirty miles south and drove to our place every night he was there. We were having Rance, Dwayne and the Winchesters over for dinner. When dad told them what Sadie did, there was a great silence around the table. Rance was stunned, but after a while, when everything calmed down, it began to sink in, the ranch really belonged to them now. It took them a while to realize they had to make a decision what were they going to do with it?

Dwayne knew his daddy loved his job, and he wouldn’t quit it for the world. Dwayne didn’t want him to. He saw how much his dad loved his job.  He not only loved the job, it was important to him for his own self-esteem and self-worth, and for the first time in many years Rance Harding was proud of himself and who he was. He could walk tall. Dwayne was proud of his dad. The way Rance came to his boy’s side when Dwayne needed him gained him a great deal of love and respect from the community.

Dwayne talked it over with me and Sidney and we suggested they hold on to the ranch as a backstop or fall back thing for their lives. We reminded him one day his daddy was going to get too old to do that job.  Sidney pointed out traveling and being on the road as much as he was, begins to get very old and tiring after a while no matter how much you love it or how much it pays. You just get sick of living out of a suitcase.

Dad urged Rance to hold on to the ranch for much the same reasons. Rance thought it might be too much for the boy to live there again because of the bad memories, but Dwayne assured Rance only six months of his life was taken away by the Colonel, and he wouldn’t have any problem living there again. He was firm and honest with his dad when he told him it would be a different story if they hadn’t brought Dunbar to justice.  If the Colonel got away with it to do the same to others, then no, he didn’t think he could go back there ever again; however, that wasn’t the case, and he saw no problems with it whatsoever.

They asked Sidney’s dad what he thought they should do. Rance wanted to change the title to joint tenancy, but Sidney advise them not to. If they put it in joint tenancy, if anything happened to Rance or Dwayne the survivor would have to pay a lot of fees and taxes. Sidney suggested they keep it in Rance’s name and Rance would make out a living will, in the event of his death, it would automatically become his heir’s property with only minor fees for title change and no taxes.

They decided to keep the ranch and Dwayne would run it part time with help from others until he could finished high school.  He still wanted to live with the Winchesters until he graduated and then make a decision whether he wanted to move on his own or not. Then, too, they had Frank and Curley who were a fount of knowledge on how to run a ranch.  They were eager to see the ranch survive under Rance and Dwayne. Dwayne himself grew up on the ranch. He was no novice to ranch life, and the amount of work it required. Rance agreed he’d try to make it home as much as he could to help make the ranch a success. Dwayne would work on it on weekends and everyone helped him at one time or another.  Hell, they even got Gary Peacock on a pony several weekends.

The first week in June was my seventeenth birthday. Dwayne’s was about six weeks later in July, but we decided to celebrate both on my birthday.  Dwayne told his dad he didn’t want anything for his birthday, just him. That was enough for Dwayne, and he truly meant it. We both wanted the folks whom we loved to spend the day with us in celebration of not only our birthdays, but as a thanksgiving of successfully coming out of a terrible couple of weeks.

Dwayne was having to get rides with us and the Winchesters out to the ranch to get anything done. He was still trying to do his chores to help Frank and Curley out. Dad started loaning Dwayne his truck, and it really helped out. Dwayne would pick me up every morning, and we’d drive to school then out to the ranch to do the chores. Dad phoned Sticker and told him what was going on. He thought Dwayne needed some transportation of his own. He felt Dwayne was mature enough to be responsible and certainly could use his own truck as a much needed tool for the ranch. Sticker got in touch with Rance and told him what Vince said.  He told Rance he and big Sidney talked it over and agreed with Vince.

“Howdy, Mr. Wiggins, what can I do for you, Sir?”

“Rance,— Vince called me today and told me Dwayne’s having problems with transportation to and from the ranch to the Winchester’s or the Longhorns’s place. He suggested you get Dwayne a set of wheels for his and Casey’s birthday party next week. Sidney and I agree with Vince, we think Dwayne is mature enough to have his own truck. It would relieve a lot of tension for Dwayne and help several people.”

“Damn, Mr. Wiggins, I ain’t got time to go truck shopping for my boy before his birthday.  Hell, ‘at’s next week and you gimme’ that week off to be with him. I was leaving Tucson on Friday night to get there for Casey and his birthday celebration on Sunday. I don’t see how I can.  Maybe I can buy him one the week I’m there.”

“Remember that crew cab Ford 3/4 ton truck I was driving before I got the Humvee?”

“Yes, Sir, that was a really nice truck. It had a lot of extras on it.”

“Yeah, well I didn’t trade it in on the Humvee. The Humvee was a birthday gift from my boss man.  The Ford’s been parked in one of Sidney’s garages for over six months now.  It’s only two years old and in perfect condition. Hell, it’s still under warranty. If you want it, it’s yours for Dwayne.”

“How much you asking for it, Mr. Wiggins?”

“How ‘bout a blow job, cowboy?”  Sticker roared with laughter.

“Cheap at twice the price, Sir!” shot back Rance. “Hell,  I’d bend over and whistle like a’ pig fer ya.’”  Rance broke up laughing. That only made Sticker laugh harder.

“Naw,— it’s yours, if you want it for Dwayne. Just be damn sure, me’n Sidney get to sign the birthday card to let him know it’s from all of us.”

“Can I give you anything for it, Sir?”  

“No, you’ve done more’n enough to cover it, ramrod.  As Vince would say, I garan-damn-tee-ya’!” Sticker laughed again and got a laugh out of Rance.  “Tell ya’ what,— I’ll get it out tomorrow and take to a shop I deal with. I’ll have ‘um detail it, wash and wax it.  It’ll look brand new when they git through with it. You git Vince to drive you over here on his birthday, you drive it back and give him the keys.  We’ll follow you back over.  We’re invited to the party, too.”

“Damn, Sir!  How can I ever thank you?

“You all ready have, pod’na,’ more’n you know.”

“I really appreciate it, Sir, and I know Dwayne’s gonna’ be thrilled. Would you do me a favor, Sir.  Out of respect for Spencer Winchester would ju’ mind calling him for me and ask his permission to git Dwayne some transportation for his birthday.  I’d really appreciate it, Sir. I know Spence probably won’t have a problem with it, but I’d jes’ like to show him that respect, Sir.”

“Damn good idea, Rance!  I hadn’t even thought about it. No problem!  You got it, cowboy. I’ll call him right away. See you Sunday.  Have a safe trip, ya’ hear?”

“Yes, Sir, and thanks again, Sir.”

“You’re welcome.”

* * * * * * *

Mr. Winchester did appreciate Sticker calling at Rance’s request and he thought it was a wonderful idea.  He certainly agreed, he felt Dwayne was mature enough to have his own transportation, and it would solve a lot of problems getting him out to the ranch and back.  Spencer was really touched the men took him into consideration and asked his permission.

The day of our birthday party we were up early cooking breakfast for everyone. Dwayne had another wonderful night with his dad and from the sounds from their bedroom, it gave the term ‘rough riders’ new dimensions. Lord a-mighty, them two weren’t real quite about their love making. Dwayne had a silly-ass grin on his face all morning.  He was cutting up potatoes for cowboy fries.  I was watching him out of the corner of my eyes, and he would just grin to himself from time to time.

“That good, huh, cowboy?”  I asked quietly.  He turned to look at me, grinned real big and just shook his head.

“Pert-damn good, brother! I can’t gainsay that.  Of course I don’t think of what dad and I do as passionate, romantic love.  I look’s on it more like it’s medicinal.  He’s jes’ give’n me another injection of cowboy love’n to get me over the Colonel.”  Dwayne giggled like crazy.

“You are so full of shit, brother,— you was over the Colonel the first night dad and I heard you yell, ‘Yahoo, ride ‘em, cowboy! Spur ‘em hard in the flank!’”  I laughed at Dawyne.

“Ya’ll heard that?”  He laughed.

“Dad and I don’t even bother to have sex anymore when your dad’s here.  We love it. All we gotta’ do in lay there, make a little love, and listen to you two. Hell, we come ever’ damn time.” I was laughing my ass off at him.

“I don’t believe you! I’m gonna’ ask yore’ daddy. He won’t lie to me.”

“Go ahead, on!  Knock yourself out, brother!” I laughed at him.  

“Oh, God, Case,— I can’t help it!  He done figured out that first night we were together what he needed to gimme’ to git me over the Colonel. You’re right, brother, that old cowboy got me over the Colonel the first damn night, but for God’s sake don’t tell him! I got him believe’n I need a shit load more of them fine cowboy fucks.” Dwayne had me in stitches. “After each one, I tell him I think I’m git’n jes’ a little bit better. Who knows, it might be years before I fully recover.”

I couldn’t stand anymore, I had to leave the room.  Dad and Rance came down for breakfast and wanted to know what the hell was going on. Dwayne and I just shook our heads.

“Trust me! You don’t wanna’ know!”  I told them. Then Dwayne and I laughed harder.

 It was a wonderful day. Dad barbecued and everyone came. There must have been fifty people there, so Dwayne and I didn’t miss Sticker and Rance when they took off to go get his truck. Sidney all ready knew about it, but he didn’t say a word at first until I pulled him aside. After a while, Dwayne started looking for his dad and Mr. Winchester told him he thought he and Sticker ran to the store for some more ice.  About that time we looked up and saw Sticker’s Humvee being followed by the dark, navy-blue pickup we knew was his old vehicle.  Rance was driving it, but Dwayne had no idea.  Little bit couldn’t keep the secret from his big brother, so I knew what was up.  I was really happy for Dwayne.  The truck was polished to a high sheen and looked brand new. Rance walked over as everyone gathered around. He handed Dwayne the keys.

“Happy birthday, Son.”

Dwayne’s mouth dropped open. He couldn’t believe the truck was for him.

“It’s from me, Mr. Wiggins, Mr. Wianright, and Sidney, Son.” Rance handed him the card.  Dwayne opened it and burst into tears he was so touched. His dad took him in his arms and hugged him. He recovered quickly to thank Mr. Wiggins, Mr. Wainright, and to hug and kiss his little brother.  Dwayne was thrilled.  It was a really nice truck with lots of extras.

Not to be outdone dad handed me the keys to our old pickup and told me I could start driving it.  He all ready taught me to drive, and I got my license right after I turned sixteen.  He still didn’t let me drive much, but with Dwayne having his own transportation, he thought I probably should, too.  I gave him a hug and a kiss.  He gave me another birthday gift though. He gave me a beautiful new pony.  It was a little male pinto colt.  It was so pretty I was thrilled with it.  I sincerely thanked him.  I loved it.

“Can’t afford a new truck for you, Son,— wish’t I could.  I ain’t giving it to ya,’ ‘cause we need it around the ranch, but you can use it. Ever’ damn thing I have is yores anyway.”

“The old truck suits me jes’ fine, Dad.  You know I’ve always loved that old truck.  It has character.  Hell, it ain’t that old.  We got it jes’ before mom past away about four years ago.  Besides, I love my new pony you gimme.’  I’m gonna’ make him into a fine roping pony if’n I can.  He’s so pretty. Thank you, Dad.”
The highlight of Dwayne’s day was Lamar called to wish him a happy birthday. Dwayne was thrilled. The infirmary was going to release him at the end of the following week, and he was returning to a regular company who were going to graduate in one week. He gave Dwayne the dates. Dwayne told Lamar about his new truck.  Lamar was happy for him.  He couldn’t wait to see it when we pick him up after graduation.  He was going to stay with us one night and we would take him to the airport the following day to fly home.

Lamar didn’t know how it happened, but he got a letter and some official documents that claimed his conviction for being an accessory in a car theft had been rescinded and expunged from his record.  He no longer had any arrest record nor any conviction on his record, and the judge who sentenced him was reprimanded.  He was very happy and told Dwayne to be sure and thank the sheriff for him.  He told Dwayne to tell him he would come thank him personally when he visits us on leave.

“I jes’ realized you be seventeen this birthday.  Lord, Lord, baby boy, you’s gonna’ be a man this time come next year. You’s all ready a man to me, boy. I kept think’n we’s got two more years before you turns eighteen, but it ain’t, it’s next year. I’m gonna’ schedule my leave for that two weeks for sure. I have leave coming right around then. I loved being with you before ya’ll brought me back to the base. I loved hold’n you in my arms, baby boy. I can’t think of nothing else but you, Son.  I love you, Dwayne, and hope you have a great birthday today.  I’m looking forward to seeing you and your brothers weekend after next.”

“We’ll be there.  We may bring another few good men with us.  I love you, Lamar. I know you probably get tired of a kid telling you he loves you, but I do. I think of you all the time.”

“Ole Lamar don’t never git tired of hearing his baby boy tell him he loves him.  Now, don’t go saying that no more. I’s jes’ worried I might scare you off by tell’n you too many times.”

“You don’t have to worry either, Sir. You told me never to doubt your love, and I ain’t gonna’ start now.”

“Good boy!  Now that’s listen’n to your ole Captain. Gotta’ run, boy. Say hello to all the good folks; especially, Sheriff Bard. He’s a good man. Bye, baby boy, I love you.”

“Bye, Sir, I love you, too.”

Dwayne went out and shook Sheriff Bard’s hand and thanked him for having Lamar’s conviction rescinded and everything including the arrest expunged from his record.  Dwayne told him the judge who wrongly convicted Lamar was reprimanded.

“Son, that’s wonderful news, but I didn’t have anything to do with it. I knew about it, I knew it was in the works, but I’m really glad to hear it got done. I had little doubt it wouldn’t get done, considering— ”

“Considering what, Sheriff?”

“The staff of attorneys Mr. Wainright has on permanent retainer.”

“Mr. Wainright did this for us?”  Dwayne asked. The sheriff smiled at Dwayne’s use of the word, ‘us.’

“Yes, Son, it was him.  Remember me asking if anyone might know someone who could help this man.  Sidney called me the next day and asked where his attorney could get the particulars on Lamar’s conviction for auto theft. I told him who to get in touch with, and I guess he took care of it.  Congratulations,  I’m happy for you, both, Son.”

“Thanks sheriff,— well,— we owe you a great deal of thanks as well. You really been good to us, Sir.”

“Jes’ do’n my job, young man,— jes’ do’n my job.”  He smiled. “Oh, and by the way, happy birthday, Son. Only one more year to go before your grand opening.”  He smiled wickedly. Dwayne laughed.

“My ‘grand opening’?”  Dwayne fell out laughing at the sheriff, “I’m praying that’s exactly what it will be, Sir. We’ll be sure to invite chu,’ Sheriff.”

“Wouldn’t miss it for the world, Son.  Jes’ remember to be a good boy and say them prayers ever’ damn night. ”  Sheriff Bard winked at him, laughed and hugged Dwayne.

Dwayne went to Mr. Wainright and duly thanked him for his actions in getting Lamar’s conviction rescinded.  Big Sidney hadn’t heard from his attorney who handled it for him, so he was surprised and pleased it was done. It was a great day. Rance stayed with us and Dwayne all that week. Dwayne was in heaven.  His cowboy dad was home again. The Winchesters understood when Rance was here, Dwayne would probably be staying over at our place.  Still, Dwayne would call everyday to check in with either Donna or Spencer to let them know he was okay and having a good time. We all had dinner with Donna and Spencer one night that week and they came over to our place for dinner on Friday.

Rance and Dwayne spent a great deal of time at the ranch. They had long talks with Frank and Curley about what they thought they should do and Rance and Dwayne went through the house talking about what to get rid of and what to keep.  

“You know, Dad, I don’t wanna’ live here by myself right away.  Would you consider helping me to stay with the Winchesters for a while after I get out of high school if they’ll let me. They really make me feel wanted and like I’m family.  It’s wonderful when you’re here, but I’ve come to rely on them.  To be honest, I think they’ve become a bit fond of me, too.”

“I think it would be a wonderful idea.  You can’t have too much family, Son and they’re fine people.  ‘Sides, I don’t like the idea of you living alone way out here.  Frank and Curley are great men to have around. Hell,—  they’re like family, but they have their lives to live. They can’t provide much companionship for you.  Sure, I’d be willing to see you through a couple of years or so. We could ask them to set a price for room and board for you.  You don’t eat there all the time anyway.”

* * * * * * *

That summer was perhaps the best summer of our lives.  Little bit was with us constantly.  We didn’t care.  We loved him, so did Rance and my dad. He decided that summer he wanted to be called Logan.  He decided he liked the name better than Sidney. I think it was because Mr. Wiggins gave him that name. Also, he was growing up, he wanted to be distinguished for himself and not be confused with big Sidney.  It took everyone a while to get use to it, but we did.  By the end of the summer everyone in town was calling him Logan.

Dwayne jokingly named Logan’s ESP talents, his ‘psychotic’ abilities.  He began to develop his abilities, and he became better at getting into people’s heads. As he grew, so did his talents. He no longer had to go into a deep trance. He could do it pretty much anytime he wanted.  He didn’t do it a lot, because his daddy sat him down and gave him a stern lecture on the right to people’s privacy. Furthermore, big Sidney insisted as few people as possible  know about his talent. Can you imagine the paranoia and fear it would strike in the hearts of every politician and military mogul if one man had the ability to tell others whether they were telling the truth or not? Boggles the mind.

Aside from big Sidney’s lecture, his daddy always raised him to respect folks privacy, but once in a while he just couldn’t resist. We could always tell when he was doing it, he’d look like he was staring off into space deep in thought.  He wasn’t, he was in someone’s head listening.

The other kids in school accepted him as our buddy and he was included in everything.  Logan began to bloom socially, and he began to date quite a bit. We would tease him unmercifully about some girl he had a crush on. We were happy for him, he was a late bloomer, but he decided he had to try everything at least once.  Big Sidney decided for his senior year in school Logan needed his own transportation and gave him permission to buy anything he wanted except a Humvee, a sports car or an expensive status car.  Logan decided he wanted a pick up truck like his big brothers. His dad let him pick the one he wanted.  We went with him several time to look, but he just couldn’t find the truck he wanted.
“Look, little bit, tell us what chu’ want and we’ll help you find it.” Dwayne told him as we were driving from dealership to dealership in San Diego. We’d spend a good deal of time helping him look.

“I’ll know it when I see it.” was all he would tell us.

We were getting pretty frustrated with him.  On the way home we were passing through the many small towns and burgs we had to go through to get back to our community when Logan yells,

“That’s it!  Right there!  Turn around big brother and let’s go back.”

What he saw was a late model Ford 3/4 ton pickup with crew cab and a long bed with lots of extra goodies.  It was for sale by a private owner and was sitting in the front yard.  We stopped and looked at it, and Logan fell in love with it. It was exactly the color combination he was looking for and had the big crew cab which had more room for people than the average car.  A woman came out who was young and in her mid-thirties.  The truck still had payments to make on it, but she was asking minimal because it was part of a divorce settlement which it had to be liquidated quickly.

It was her husband’s truck. Big Sidney had Sticker take it to his auto-mechanics to thoroughly check it out, and they found it perfect condition.  It had never been wrecked. Sticker wrote the woman a check and paid off the balance that afternoon. Sticker took it to his dealer to be detailed for Logan.  It was a handsome truck, and Logan was thrilled with it. Sticker told big Sidney he thought they got a really good price for the truck, and his mechanics agreed.

The three of us spent a great deal of time on the Harding ranch working to help Dwayne and Rance.  Logan surprised Dwayne and I, he was no shirker when it came to hard work, and he was right there with us every day lending a hand.  That summer he shot up in height until he was almost as tall as Dwayne and I. We told him it was all the cow shit he’d been walking in that made him grow. It was good fertilizer. He wondered if there might not be a grain of truth to it. He was no longer our little brother; our little bit.  Of course, that didn’t stop us from calling him our little brother or little bit.  He loved both names. He told us he looked upon nicknames others give you as a from of endearment. Dwayne told him, he was, indeed, a ‘dear.’

I never really appreciated how much Frank and Curley did around the ranch.  They certainly earned their modest wages Rance was now paying them.  They hadn’t been paid by Sadie or the Colonel in three months.  Rance paid them up what they were owed.  When you don’t make a lot a money you need what little you get as income. They’d lived on their savings for three months. Now they could put it back. Rance was hoping to pay them more as they made a profit from the ranch, but that might not be for a while.

Dunbar had no idea how to run a ranch and almost ran it into bankruptcy in the two years he was married to Sadie.  She let him take charge. She let him do it.  Dwayne figured, that last six months, his mother was depending on the Colonel’s income to float the ranch.  We wondered if he let the ranch go almost into bankruptcy to make Sadie dependent on him. That way, she was more likely to turn her head and ignore what was going on.  We thought that was why he was so bold and arrogant about his sexual activities. He thought he had her where he wanted her, and Dwayne wasn’t a threat.

Rance wondered out loud, after the Colonel was thrown in jail and Sadie no longer had his income to depend on, if she saw the handwriting on the wall, she was going to lose the ranch anyway, so may as well give it to Rance and Dwayne to see if they can make a go of it. With Rance’s income they certainly could and did. It made a profit the second year they owned it and a profit every year after that.

They did, indeed, raise Frank and Curely’s salaries to where they were sharing in the profits.  It was the most money they made as cowboys in their lives.  Rance remembered what Sticker did for him and how he treated him.  He and Dwayne decided Frank and Curley should be treated the same way.  Rance and Dwayne wanted them know their hard work was appreciated.

In our running around the San Diego area Logan noticed a gay S & M leather shop out near the Naval Station, and we thought it would be great fun to check it out.  It was late summer, I hadn’t bothered to shave in a couple of days and had a pretty good stubble of beard and mustache.  I certainly looked older than my age. As big as they were, so did Logan and Dwayne.  We looked around for a while when suddenly Dwayne saw an enormous rubber husband that was made from a soft pliable material that look for all world like a duplicate of Lamar’s generous endowment. Dwayne’s eyes lit up like a pinball machine that just went ‘tilt’ and his mouth began to water.

Logan looked at me, and I looked at him. We smiled at each other and then broke up laughing. We didn’t have to be mind readers to figure out what our big brother had in mind. Dwayne was so shy he couldn’t bring himself to buy it. I told him to give me the damn thing, I’d buy it for him.  Logan was laughing at the two of us. He had tears running down his face. That didn’t make it any easier on poor Dwayne.  We’d never seen him so embarrassed.  He was bright red from blushing the whole time I was paying the man for the sex toy. On the way to the truck Logan turned to me.

“Who’s he gonna’ git to use it on him, bubba?” Logan asked laughing.

“Hell, what’s a brother for, little bit, if’n we can’t help out our big brother in his time of need?” I chastised him laughing my ass off.

“You mean you guys really would help me out?” Dwayne asked sheepishly.

“Are! You! Kidding?!  Try’n stop us!”  I told him.

“Yeah, big bother, but ya’ gotta’ give each of us an equal turn.”  Logan laughed.

“I was jes’a’ hope’n ya’ll might.”  He said grinning real big.

And so it was, every chance we got we were away to the Harding ranch to help out our big brother.  Of course we helped him with the ranch, too. Dwayne kept his toy in a cabinet on the back porch where no one would find it. He certainly wasn’t going to keep it at the Winchester’s.  We agreed with him it might be in poor taste, to say nothing of scaring poor Donna Winchester to death if she accidentally discovered it. It had sort of a pinkish flesh color to it, and it wiggled a lot. Logan named it ‘Pink Floyd.’ I wanted to name it ‘Baby Lamar.’  Dwayne thought we were awful to have such fun at his expense. He was right, we were, but that’s what brothers are for.

Then the fates decided to be mischievous and have a little fun; that’s when disaster struck.  Rance was home for a long weekend and Dwayne and I went somewhere with little bit.  Rance went looking for a cleaning  rag on the back porch. He found a rag and pulled it out of the cabinet when suddenly ‘Pink  Floyd’ rolled out in all its glory, dropped about four feet to the floor with loud thud, bounced once and landed right across his cowboy boots. Rance was stunned beyond belief to find a giant rubber cock laying at his feet.

Then he started laughing his ass off. He needed no explanation.  He knew immediately what we were up to, and what it was for. He sat on the back porch steps and laughed until he cried. Frank and Curley walked up to find out what was wrong with him.  He couldn’t tell them, but just pointed into the back porch for them to take a look.  They did, and they sat on the steps and laughed with him.

This was just too damn good for Rance to keep the story from the men in our community who loved Dwayne and would most appreciate it.  The men thought they were going to have to call the paramedics when he told Sheriff Leland Bard about his incident with ‘Pink Floyd’ bouncing around on the floor and onto his cowboy boots. Of course, being a cowboy, Rance embellished his story until it was way out of proportion and painfully funny.

I don’t think Dwayne ever discovered his dad found ‘Pink Floyd’ before he told him about it. However, there were many snickers and chuckles from the men who loved him. The sheriff chastised Rance and told him he should be ashamed of himself, he thought it was a damn good idea.  He was proud of Dwayne and told Rance he should be, too. All in all, for all the fun, Rance was proud of his boy for thinking enough of someone else to see to their happiness and volunteered many evenings to give his boy a workout with it,— after Rance got thought fucking him, of course.

We worked with our brother all that year until he could take the damn thing with no problem,— and I don’t mean just gently.  He learned to relax and take the whole thing the first go. We could fuck him with it for an hour or more, but he’d snap right back, tight as ever. We told him we thought we were being rougher on him than the Colonel ever was. He agreed.

Our senior year in high school was the happiest most wonderful year of our lives. Dwayne and I led our football team to our second year as district champions. We were on top of the world.  Dwayne, Logan and I became lionized in school.  We had no problems getting dates with any pretty girl we wanted. The editors of the year book did something unprecedented that year.  The first page of the year book had a big, handsome picture of Dwayne and the year book was dedicated to him. He had no idea they were going to do it, and it touched him deeply.

I won most popular student for the third year in a row and Logan was voted smartest man in school. He was valedictorian of our class.  His grade point average for his four years in high school was a perfect four-point-oh.  No one ever graduated with a higher grade point average. Because of having Logan for a brother, a lot of times we’d do our homework together, and he’d teach us tricks how to learn and memorize things. As a result Dwayne and my grade point average rose considerably.  

Of course our little brother gave the valedictory speech at our graduation. He didn’t tell anyone what he was going to say. We all thought we’d hear the usual, ‘go forth young fertile minds and make the future yours’ speech.  Not Logan.  His speech was all about the potential goodness of all mankind and the importance of reaching out and helping your brothers.  In a round about way it was great testament to our friendship and everyone got the message.  There wasn’t a dry eye in audience when he finished, and they gave him a standing ovation.  We were right proud of our little brother.     

Lamar kept in constant contact with Dwayne. He would tell him what he was doing and Dwayne would tell him about what he was doing. Lamar was thrilled to hear about Dwayne and his dad getting the ranch back from Dwayne’s mother.  He wanted to know all about it and what they were doing.  Lamar couldn’t tell him where he was because he was half of a team of armed guards for the admiral of the seventh fleet.  He rose in rank quickly and was now Corporal Bradley. He would accompany the admiral anywhere he went and was regularly seen in Washington and the pentagon in the company of the admiral.  The admiral particularly like Lamar and was good to him.  The Marines sent him to a six week school to learn protocol and how to be a guard for a dignitary.   

He sent Dwayne pictures of himself in his full dress uniform, and he really looked handsome and sharp.  Logan and I were so damn jealous we decided after we cut our brother’s heart out, we’d tar and feather him, and just for good measure we’d draw and quarter him; then, we laughed our ass’s off at our silliness.  Lamar sent one picture of him and his partner, the other guard, and they both were in full dress uniform.  The other man was a white man, but almost the same size as Lamar. He, too, was huge. Dwayne had a picture of Lamar framed and sitting on his desk at the Winchester’s.  Lamar and Dwayne wrote and exchanged e-mails several times a week, but they were very careful not to write anything that might be misconstrued.  The only terms of endearment they exchanged was ‘dear brother.’ They could read between the lines, though, and each knew the other was still very much in love.

Just like he planned, Lamar got his two weeks leave at the end of his first year as a Marine and he flew to San Diego to be with his love for his eighteenth birthday.  He wrote to Dwayne he had no more family but our community.  He felt more at home with us than anywhere else. Dwayne was thrilled Lamar was coming for his birthday.  Everyone was happy for him.  Dwayne wanted us all to go to the airport with him, but Rance told him ‘no.’ He should go alone in his new truck to pick him up.

He finally agreed with his dad and drove to the airport by himself.  He was standing watching all the people get off the plane until finally he saw his love, proud, handsome and tall in his dress uniform.  He looked spectacular.  Lamar saw his young, handsome cowboy, in his boots and big hat, standing there with the biggest smile on his face, and his heart damn near skipped a beat. He forgot just how imposing and fine looking his little buddy was and how much he love the sight of him. They hugged but didn’t kiss more than on the cheek. It was a brotherly welcome; totally acceptable in public. However, when they got to Dwayne’s pickup with the heavily tinted windows, it was a horse of a different color.  They kissed a kiss of welcome and passion that was at once as gentle as it was moving for both of them. They finally broke it off and sat there for a minute.

“Ready to go home, my beautiful giant?”

“Them’s the best words I’ve heard all week, Son.”  Lamar answered.

“I love you, Corporal Bradley.”

“I love you, too, baby boy.  Oh, shit, after tomorrow I ain’t gonna’ be able to call you my ‘baby boy’ no more.”

“You can call me anything you want to, big man, and I’ll come a’ running.” Dwayne replied. Lamar laughed. “You look so damn handsome in your uniform. I’m so proud of you.  I’m glad you wore it.  Everyone is there waiting for you. I wanted them all to come with me to the airport, but my daddy told me ‘no,’ I should come by myself in my new truck to pick you up.  My dad is usually right about a lot of things. I’m kinda glad I did.  I don’t have to share you with anyone for a little while.”

“I’m glad you did, too, baby boy. I gets all nervous when a lot of people are talk’n to me at the same time. Now, when we git to the ranch I won’t have any problem. I knows all them good folks.  I loves them all.”

“They love you, too, Corporal Bradley.” Dwayne winked at him. “I love calling you that.”  He smiled.

“Good boy, you should show proper respect for even a noncommissioned officer.”  Lamar smiled, “This truck is a beauty, Son.  When you said pickup truck, I was thinking a beat up old cowboy truck.  This thing is really nice. It’s comfortable even for me.  My head don’t touch the roof like in all them cars we have to ride in with the admiral.”

They talked about a lot of things, and they were really relaxed by the time they got to the Longhorn ranch. It was early afternoon and dad, Rance, Logan, the Winchesters, big Sidney, Sticker, and me were all there waiting for him to say ‘hello’ and ‘welcome.’  They all would be there tomorrow as well for Dwayne’s birthday.  We decided to celebrate our birthdays separately that year.  Somehow, it just seemed right since this was a special birthday for the three of us. Logan wouldn’t turn eighteen ‘til the second week in August and, he was really jealous of Dwayne and I.  I told him I’d get a knife from the kitchen, and he could cut my heart out later.  He laughed.

Logan and I used his printer and made a huge banner we hung across the post of the front stairs up to the porch of the house that read: ‘Welcome Home Corporal Bradley.’ Dwayne said Lamar got choked up for a minute when he saw the banner. He turned to Dwayne.

“It’s so good to see all their faces again.  That Mr. Wiggins is a fine looking man, ain’t he, boy?”

“Yeah, he is, but not as handsome as my Marine Corporal.”

“Ain’t a one of ‘em prettier’n you, baby boy, and don’t chu’ forget it! I got me a pur-tee little cowboy to love.”  He smiled as they came to a stop.

“Yes, you do,— and I got me a handsome Marine Corporal to love.”

Everyone was at Dwayne’s truck.  Dad was the first to get to Lamar.  He threw his arms around him, gave him a big hug and a kiss on the cheek.

“Damn, Son, you look so fine and handsome in that uniform.  Welcome home, Son.”

“Thank you, Mr. Longhorn. I’s s’glad to be here. I appreciate you asking me to stay with you, Sir.”

“You’re more’n welcome, Son.”

Next was Mr. Wiggings and Sidney Wainright.  Lamar had a big hug and kiss for each of them and shook their hands.

“I wanna’ thank you men for all you done for me.  I won’t never forget it, Mr. Wiggins, and Mr. Wainright.  I shore’ appreciate it.”

“You’re welcome, Son.  Welcome home.”  Sidney said for both of them.

Little bit was next and Lamar had a big old hug and a special kiss for him.  Logan was giggling like a school boy, but we’d all ready graduated.

“Look at chu,’ boy!  You ain’t no ‘little bit’ no more! You’re almost as tall as them yahoos.  You been a good boy, or is Corporal Lamar gonna’ have to turn you over his knee?”

“Oh, Corporal Bradley, I’ve been so bad, Sir.  I deserve a good spanking, Sir!”  Logan said contritely.  

Lamar laughed, hugged and kissed Logan again and promised he’d take care of him later.  Little bit laughed.

The Winchesters  greeted him and welcomed him home.  If a black man could glow, I’m sure Lamar was at that moment. Last but not least was Dwayne’s dad, Rance Harding.

“Mr. Harding.” Lamar stuck out his hand and Rance took his bigger hand and shook it.

“Ah, hell, Son, that ain’t gonna’ get it, gimme’ a hug.”

“Yes, Sir, Mr. Harding.”  Lamar hugged and kissed Rance on the cheek.

“And for God’s sake, call me Rance, Son.”  He laughed.

“Yes, Sir. Thank you, Sir. I appreciate that, Sir.”  He smiled and Rance laughed more at his politeness.

“You’re a fine young man, Lamar,— you’re welcome here, Son.”

“I feel like I’m home, Sir.”

“You are, Son.”  Rance assured him.

Dwayne and I managed to break down the huge bed in my ‘junk room’ the three of us played on from time to time and moved it across the hall to a room we fixed up for him and Lamar.  Logan helped us repaint the whole room, clean and wax the floors.  In a trunk in the attic we found some beautiful Oriental rugs we cleaned and placed on the floor. We added a chest of drawers from my junk room.  I wanted to get that stuff out of my junk room anyway to have more room.  The room was at the far end of the hall and was one of the four out of six upstairs bedrooms with windows on two sides for cross ventilation.  It was a nice room when we finished. Dwayne helped Lamar with his sea bag and they stored it in the big room. Lamar took one look at the bed and got a big smile on his face.

“Now, that’s a bed a man can sleep on.”  He said.

“That ain’t all you gonna’ be doing in that bed, big man.” Dwayne said under his breath and then chuckled.

We all laughed. We left the room to leave them alone for a while. I closed the door behind us. Lamar took Dwayne into his arms and looked down at him.  Dwayne was a bigger man than either me or little bit and this man towered over him. Many times when you see an unusually tall man he will be skinny; not Lamar.  He was as broad at the shoulders as he was imposing in height. It was as if the huge bed was made for him in mind. He gently kissed Dwayne on his forehead.

“You ready for tomorrow night, sweet baby?”

“Sure am, big man, I can’t wait. I been drive’n my brothers and dads crazy talk’n ‘bout chu.’”

“You afraid?”

“Not a bit. Should I be?”

“Well, you know’s how big I am, Son.”

“Yeeees, I certainly do remember.” Dwayne smiled real big, “I remember ever’ inch of it. It’s burned into my memory like it was yesterday, and if I need a reminder I can watch the video. You don’t how many times your beautiful cock has all ready been made love to in my dreams and you jes’ don’t know it.”  Dwayne laughed and Lamar laughed, too.

“Ya’ll saved a copy of the video?”

“Yeah, little bit made copies for each of us. I told him not to give me mine until my birthday. I told him I wanted the unedited one where it shows me sucking on your big dick and you stealing a kiss from me when the Colonel weren’t look’n.”

“Can we watch it together?”

“Sure, I’d love to. Will it bother you to see yourself git shot?”

“We can turn it off before then, can’t we?’

“Sure, no problem.”

“What about the bathroom video?”

“Logan made me a copy of that, too.”

“That’s what I wanna’ see.”

“Me, too!” Dwayne agreed.

“It’s the one what’s got the love in it.”

“Can’t gainsay that, my handsome giant.”

“Lemme’ git out a’ this uniform before I git some’um on it.  Are those drawers for us to use, baby boy?”

“Yes, Sir.”

“While I undress would you mind unpacking my bag and putting things in those drawers. I don’t care where, jes’ long’s I can find ever’ thing. What I wanna’ wear is way down at the bottom.”

“Yes, Sir, Corporal Bradley, Sir.”  Dwayne said with respect.

He started unpacking and watched Lamar undress at the same time. He carefully hung up his uniform and put it in the closet.  He removed every thing else and placed his mirror polished shoes in the closet as well.  He took off his shirt and was down to his GI issue underwear.  He didn’t hesitate, and took his wife-beater undershirt off and threw it on the bed. He dropped his boxer shorts to the floor.  Lamar was even bigger than Dwayne remembered him.

Dwayne could clearly see the scar where the bullet entered his chest just below his massive pectoral muscle. Dwayne hadn’t forgotten how large he was below his waist.  He couldn’t have picked a better rubber husband to expand his horizons.  Lamar was at least that big or maybe just a little bigger.  Dwayne reached down to the bottom of Lamar’s bag and brought out a huge pair of Western boots, a pair of big Wrangler jeans and a beautiful Western shirt.  Lamar grinned real big at Dwayne.

“I wanted to fit in.”  He said shyly.

“These are handsome boots, just like their owner.”

Lamar quickly dressed and stood before Dwayne.  He made as handsome a cowboy as he did a Marine Corporal.

“Lamar,— is it my imagination, or are you bigger than you were a year ago?” Dwayne asked him.

“I hope to hell it ain’t chore’ imagination, Son. I worked my black ass off for this extra mass.  I’s glad ya’ noticed,— that’s really sweet of you.  I done it jes’ fer you, baby boy.  I told myself you’d notice.”

“How could I help? You really are bigger; much bigger! I’ll be curious to see if anyone else notices.  In the meantime, kiss me cowboy.”

They kissed a kiss full of love and joy. It wasn’t a tongue battle or swallowing contest.  It was kiss of two men in love with each other who knew more love is conveyed through a gentle and tender kiss.

The two men went downstairs and several mouths dropped open. Lamar went up the stairs a handsome, squared away, sharp looking Marine Corporal and came down the stairs a big, handsome, black cowboy.

“Lord, a-mighty,— would ya’ll look at what jes’ come down them steps.” said my dad.  He went to Larmar and patted him on the back. “You’re looking fine, Son.”

“Thanks, Mr. Longhorn.”

“If you call my brother, Rance, by his first name, you think you kin call me, Vince, Son?”

“Thank you, Sir, I appreciate it.  It’s so good to see all ya’ll again. I told Dwayne on the way, I feel more at home here with you folks than anywhere.”

“Hell, that’s the way we want you to feel, Son!”  Barked Sticker. “I’d tell ya’ to relax and let chore’ hair down, but ya’ ain’t got none.”  Sticker laugher.

“Naw, Sir, I had some kind of illness when I was a young boy and all my hair fell out. It never grew back.  I’ve been bald most of my life.”

“I’m sorry, Son, I didn’t know.”

“Don’t be sorry, Mr. Wiggins, I ain’t.  Its saved me a fortune in haircuts.”

Everyone laughed.  Dwayne knew Lamar was going to fit right in with these folks,— and there was one other place he had in mind for his giant to fit into. They had dinner together. Everyone brought something.  Sticker and Sidney volunteered to bring steaks if Vince would cook them on the grill outside over mesquite. Donna Winchester brought another wonderful dessert.  We provided salad and a vegetable.  Dwayne and Rance cooked up the cowboy fried potatoes.

Later in the evening Lamar and Dwayne lay together on the big bed with Lamar holding his love in his arms pressing his body close to his.  They made sweet love and whispered outrageous things to each other lovers have done since the beginning of time . They were tempted to wait until midnight and then,—

“No! Damn it! We’ve come this far, baby boy.  We can wait ‘til tomorrow night.” Lamar said with authority.

“Yes, Sir, Corporal Bradley, Sir.”  Dwayne replied.

Lamar held Dwayne close to his big, warm body all night and would wake occasionally to buss a kiss behind his love’s ear, sigh deeply and return to a deep peaceful sleep.  It seem like they’d come so far together.  They were separated; but yet, they made an effort to keep in touch all year.  Dwayne didn’t know why God brought him this giant to love, but he wasn’t going to worry about it.  He did say a small prayer of thanks for bringing him and Lamar together.  If God is love He surely must have been in the room with them that evening, smiling, satisfied with Himself and thinking,

‘I done real good,— git’n them two together.’  

End Chapter 20 ~ Texas Longhorns
Copyright 2005 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All rights reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com