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Him Who Made The Seven Stars

By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 43

"Serenity is when you get above all this, when it doesn't matter what they think, say or want, but when you do as you are, and see God and Devil as one."~ Henry Miller

The next morning Billy awoke to the movement and soft sounds of Hank fucking Buck next to him. He smiled to himself as he reach over to feel for his surrogate dad's cock and found him ready for his morning milking. << Time to get your heart started, Pa, >> Billy sent.

<< You just wake up? I been lying here listening to them two for about half an hour. They sound like two morning doves calling to each other -- peaceful and quiet -- soothing. I'll bet you a blowjob it will be a while before Buck asks you to change him back, >> Nick sent back.

<< If they's happy, I wish them well. They deserve what pleasure and comfort comes their way, >> Billy thought.

After Hank realized Billy was taking care of Nick, he didn't worry too much about him and Buck breaking the sound barrier, and began to take care of his mate like the cowboy he could be. It only heightened Nick and Billy's coupling more as Billy's slaves' pheromones were strong and powerful. The two couples managed to hit almost at the same time and there was a quartet of moans, groans, deep sighs, and muffled sounds from relief and satisfaction in the room followed by silence -- then, they quietly laughed at each other.

"For men in their eighties, you two amaze me," Billy said quietly relaxing in Nick's arms.

"Age don't mean nothing. When a buckaroo's got his'self a new toy to play with, he becomes born again to a new universe of possibilities and delights," Buck said.

"Hell, h'it ain't got nothing to do with your new plumbing, my good mate; although, I gotta' admit, it's the finest I ever done had. I swear to you, Master Billy and Captain Nick, Buck is the only person in my life, male or female, who has managed to keep our sex new and special all these years. You could give him back his cock and balls this morning, and I wouldn't shed a tear," Hank said complimenting his mate, "Well, maybe a couple, when he ain't look'n," he added and and laughed.

"Now, now, while I certainly appreciate them kind words, Brother, let's not be hasty. You bring me a totally new cowboy when you fuck me like you done last e'nin and this morning. You show me parts of you I ain't never seen before, so don't never underestimate your ability to bring something new to the banquet. I ain't ashamed to admit, I always thought of you as my husband, but while I don't feel like no woman, I certainly feel like you're fulfilling the role as my spouse like you's my own personal super-hero -- and you fill me up good, too, Cowboy," Buck said, "How many buckaoos can claim they got theys'selves a nice, tight little pussy especially made for them?" he asked.

"Quick, Son!" Nick exclaimed, "Put the coffee on before them two start gathering leaves and twigs to make a nest in our bed," Nick said irreverently. The men shared a laugh.

"Glad to, Pa, but them two buckaroos is welcome to nest in our bed anytime," Billy said.

"I hear that! I gotta' admit, I think we had us a dang good time here last e'nin; one of the more memorable we spent here in the cabin," Nick complimented Hank and Buck.

"It was a special treat for us, too," Buck added.

"What's on the docket for today, Kemosabe?" Nick asked, changing the subject.

"First, we gotta' go check on Gog and gather him for breakfast. After today, I'm going to have him take his meals on the ship where he will be spending most of his time; hopefully, with our Shedus. Right now, we can't afford to have a giant his size out and about on the property too much. Now and then, for a concert or a Saturday feed, probably won't hurt none, but until we get going we need the cover of the ship for the more exotic of our family," Billy reasoned. "When I accepted Balthazar's petition to become my slave, I promised him I would slowly ween him away from Madam Spartza; however, since she's come under my protection, my slave has found himself back in his old position; not because Madam Spartza demanded his attention, but rather from my slave's own deep sense of pride, duty, and need for appreciation. Furthermore, Balthazar wasn't happy the way Beauford was being cared for, and took it upon himself to to see to his needs and grooming as well. At my urging, he's learning to delegate some tasks, but I want him to create a team, over which he will become the supervisor and head Shedu wrangler. Since we've seen a connection with Gog and the Shedus, I want him to apprentice under our handsome black angel to relieve him of his many if not most of his responsibilities to our holy cows," Billy said and winked at Nick.

Billy addressed Hank and Buck, "I don't think it's any coincidence either, your two apprentice grooms, Mace and Picard, have also been apprenticing under Balthazar to help him groom our Shedus. Balthazar's correct in reasoning the grooming of one species for whatever purpose readily applies to another. Somethings may be different, but the same respectful approach and attitudes of service are applicable and must be adhered to. Of course, it's just expected, anyone working for or around the great bull and cow will be naked at all times. That's another reason why we forbid Mace and Picard to wear clothing on board ship. With our Shedu's permission, the villagers take great delight in packing picnic baskets and sitting on quilts spread on the lawn outside their grooming areas in the evening to have their supper while watching Balthazar and the brothers tend to the great beasts. Beauford informed us, female pregnancies among the villagers are up by ten percent," Billy said and laughed, "They gotta' be doing something right," he added and his cowboys laughed with him.
"After breakfast, Hank and Buck need to fly over to the Rutherford ranch, check on our outsourced herd, and get things going for the day. Then, they'll return to the ship to continue working with Enoch, Moss, and the teams on the Shire project. For the next couple of days I want you men to sort of act as wranglers or guides for our newest slave. Tonto," Billy said addressing Nick," You, Clyde, me, Grandma, and Ms. Zelma are driving down to San Antonio to have lunch and pick out some musical instruments for Randy and his sister, Kayla. It should be a fun, relaxed day. I think we could use a day to get our minds away from the ranch and project to think on other things, Tonto," Billy said.

"Couldn't agree with you more, Kemosabe," Nick replied, "Remember, you still got Bubba to help with parking his wings and transporting," he added.

"I ain't forgot, but thanks for the reminder," Billy said, "I think we'll have time after breakfast, we'll assist Bubba in transporting back to his ranch and return to our ranch to collect our posse for the day," Billy added.

"I'm worried about what Gog told us about Joe getting older and being at an unfair advantage. I never knew much about them two before they become members of my crew. After their first rut and we built them the arena to contain their passions, they become excellent crew members and protectors of me and the village folks," Nick said.

"Not to worry, Tonto, your masked-man done got it all figured out. I'll make an announcement. As their new master, I require them to submit to a complete physical examination from our slave veterinarian this year," Billy said and smiled at Nick.

"Why don't you never tell me everything, Kemosabe?" Nick complained.

"To keep you on your toes, Tonto. Two days before lock-down, we get Doc Oatie over to the ranch to do his slave doctor'n routine on Crunch. The not-so-jolly-green-giant-Ork get's a thorough poke'n and a' prod'n; blood drawn; temperature taken; finger wave; test-tickle check; reflex test; eyes, ears, nose, and throat exam; endurance treadmill; the works; slap him on his big green butt and tell him he's fit as a fiddle and ready for love.

"The afternoon before lock-down we bring Joe to the slave processing center and Oatie gives him the same exam with a couple of extras. We overhaul Joe until he's a giant in his middle years. We'll have most of our posse of cowboy-angels over for lunch Thursday afternoon. With the extra wings we'll have enough collected power to zap our big blue giant with so much macho energy he could take on King Kong, Mighty Joe Young, Godzilla, and Rodan in a giant-monster free-for-all smack-down wiff' one arm tied behind his back!" Billy exclaimed.

"Why didn't I think a' that?" Nick said seeming a little upset he might be losing his reason.  

"You's just blinded by our love, Pa," Billy said sweetly and stole a kiss from the big cowboy-angel, "Beside, I noticed since I become Master Billy and you Captain Nick, you done turned over a lot of personnel decisions to me. I don't mind. I think it's made both worlds come together better. Since taking on Madam Spartza and the beginning of the Shire project, I no longer think of your ship as yours or mine, but part of the ranch," Billy explained.

"I ain't got me no complaints, Kemosabe. If it works for you, it works for me," Nick replied.

"I think we need to talk with Joe privately or a couple of his close friends," Billy said.

"Our new grooms, Mace and Picard, are in tight with them. They been known to share an evening in their house with them," Buck said.

"When we check in on Gog later today lets have a chat with them," Billy said to Buck and Hank.

"We'll make arrangements, Master," Hank said.

Billy made coffee. Boomer and the twins joined the cowboys for a cup before transporting to the main ranch house. The twins were particularly happy and pleased to find their old friends stayed the night in the cabin with their master and his dad. Hank and Buck, along with Boomer, spent a lot of time with the twins over the last two week working on the Shire project. The cowboys told Billy they were impressed the way the twins were beginning to blossom into strong members of the team and growing in stature within the greater family circle. They were becoming two of Billy's most talented and valuable members beyond their incredible musical talents. They also sang the praises of Billy's Psyches, Archie and Edith, without whom the project would not have been the success it was.

The men transported to the ranch house and were earlier than usual, but most everyone was in the kitchen getting breakfast ready and chatting quietly. Billy made up a couple of mugs of coffee for him and his pa and announced he, Nick, and Clyde were going to wake Bubba and give him his first lessons in de-winging. They would teach him to transport after breakfast. They found Bubba fast asleep in his protector's arms. Brute was awake and smiled at Billy and Nick as they came through the door. "Wake up, Master Bubba, we got company," Brute said and began to bathe Bubba's face lovingly with his huge tongue.

"Tell `em to go away until after you get through bathing me, sweet beast," Bubba moaned.

"Not this morning, Cowboy, we got us a full day, and we need to get you trained-up to be a cowboy-angel," Billy said firmly, "After we teach you to transport, you and your `sweet-beast' can fly back to your place where you can spend the rest of the day in bed wiff' him. Nobody can fault you. Ain't no doubt, Brute is a worthy beast," Billy added.

Bubba grumbled good naturedly but got out of bed. He was naked but Brute helped him on with his Wranglers and boots. Billy told Clyde to outfit him with a nice leather harness and in an instant Bubba was looking good and hot. "I think I might learn to love this part," he admitted shyly. The others laughed at him. They took him by the hand and taught him to transport to the de-wing zone where they removed his wings. It didn't take them a couple of times before Bubba felt he could fly solo. He transported himself and Brute to the zone, de-winged, and returned. The men congratulated him and gave him pats on the back for his graduation. They would wing-up again and teach him to transport from place to place after breakfast.

Breakfast that morning was a time of coming together for Billy's immediate family. It was a time Billy would always remember as one of great joy and hope for the future. After a fine weekend with the wonderful success of the Highland Shire project they were finally getting a sense the project was underway. Tron and Moss were anxious to get their ranch started up again and Billy told them to pick twenty-five of the Irin cowboys and cowgirls they wanted. They looked at each other and looked back at Billy with blank looks on their faces.

"What?" Billy asked.

"Dad and me, we done talked it over, and we's kinda hoping Bossman Rutherford could be here to give us a hand and help us decide," Moss said shyly and grinned. The family went nuts laughing at them. Billy almost fell off his chair. Nick rarely laughed, but he was holding on to the back of Billy's chair as he laughed with the rest.

"If you men are serious, I'll ask his mother, but I hope you realize, I'll have to put him on the payroll as a consulting employment specialist; and, they don't come cheap," Billy said and joined his family in another round of laughter. Kate was in tears and Zelma claimed her sides hurt. "Furthermore, you'll be setting a precedent them other ranchers will hear about and demand equal time to use his abilities," Billy added which only made them laugh more.  

"Yeah, but what he might save us in cooperation and time not having to be spent with personnel problems and adjustments might save more in the long-run than the initial costs for his services," Tron reasoned, and of course, his mate and son agreed with him.

"It's like Randy said, Son, there's those who will flourish better in jobs within the Shire project than trying to get a ranch up and running full-time. He'll more likely be able to cull them from the herd, and those with whom we contract to accept our slaves will have an easier time with the transition," Nathan backed Tron and Moss.

"Makes a lot of business sense to me. I agree with them cowboys, Master Billy," Enoch spoke up, "Besides, I don't feel like my day is complete without a big ol' hug and a wet sloppy buckaroo kiss from the ramrod of the Rutherford spread," he said and started everyone laughing again.

"We'll second that!" Hank said for him and Buck.

"Okay! All right, I know when I'm out numbered. I'll ask his mother. It might be a handy argument if she gets uptight about me spending money on them for musical instruments and more clothes. I'll just tell her I'm deducting the cost from her son's salary for his consulting services," Billy said and everyone laughed again.

"Your granddaddy would be proud of you, Son," Kate allowed, and they all laughed.

Billy, Nick, Clyde, and Bubba winged up and the men began to teach Bubba how to transport from one end of the long hallway down the far side of the house where the bedrooms were. They did it several times, then told him to try solo. Bubba was a natural and waved when he materalized at the far end. They had him transport back and forth a couple of times to get the hang of it. Finally, after saying thank you to his hosts and the kitchen staff, Billy, Nick, and Clyde transported Bubba and Brute to the living room of his ranch. Bubba couldn't thank Billy and his men enough. "Just remember, we're gonna' need you back over to our ranch Thursday noon for lunch to help us with our blue giant right afterward. It won't take long, and you and Brute can transport back to do what you need for the rest of the day, but you're due back to our ranch again Friday noon if you want to see the smack-down festivities and the lock-down of our blue giant and our half-breed green Ork," Billy reminded him.

"I'd sure like to see that. Is it gonna' be an all weekend thing, Master Billy?" Bubba asked.

"Sure. You can stay wiff' us over to the ranch in the same room you and Brute shared, or we'll find a place for you on the ship if you like. Also Friday afternoon, us cowboy-angels will get off to ourselves in the slave processing room at the ranch to have us a small ceremony to ring my pa here," Billy motioned to Nick.

"You's gonna' get ringed, Captain Nick, like Clyde and Balthazar, sir?" Bubba asked with enthusiasm.

"Yes, Son, I was feel'n left out, so I asked our master to include me," Nice replied, "Make that one more other than the Bull," Nick said quietly to Billy, and he nodded his agreement.

"I'd really like to see that, sir, if'n ya' don't mind," Bubba said like a school boy.

"You're welcome to come and observe, Bubba, and bring your watcher if you like," Nick replied.

"Thank you, Captain Nick, I sure will," Bubba said.

"You got a busy day today, Bubba?" Billy asked.

"I gotta' go over to Earl's and get my stuff. I promised I'd take him to breakfast yesterday morning. I'll do it this morning. I already et a good breakfast, but another won't hurt me none. That way I won't have to eat lunch," he replied and grinned.

The men said their goodbyes and Billy, Nick, and Clyde transported back to the Daniels' ranch.

* * * * * * *
"What'll we do first, Number One?" Bubba asked Brute. He picked up the cognomen from Billy calling his watcher his `number one.' Brute smiled proudly.

"It's still early. We could go back to bed for a while, I could relieve my master, and give him his bath for the day," Brute said.

"The sun just barely come up over the hill country. Damn, they get up early over to the Daniels' ranch!" Bubba exclaimed.

"You'll get used to it when we get into a routine and eating properly," Brute said.

"You in charge of me, Number One?" Bubba asked.

"Yes, Master Bubba, it's my job to see you eat properly, and any other needs I might provide you. I'm your slave, your protector, your companion, and your caretaker," Brute replied.

"I'm glad it's you, Brute. I'm afraid I'm a man what needs a lot of care and to be reminded to practice self-discipline," Bubba said.

"I'm your beast, sir. Put yourself in my paws, and I will help you become the man you need to be and want to become," Brute said.

"I have faith in you, Brute," Bubba said.

"That's all you need, Master Bubba -- Brute will do the rest," Brute replied, "Then it's back to bed for a while. I'll give you comfort and relieve you of your heavy load, and you can fall asleep while Brute gently bathes and sings to you like he did when you were just a wee bairn," Brute said.

"Sounds like a little bit of heaven to me, my handsome beast," Bubba agreed.

* * * * * * *
Hank and Buck returned from the Rutherford ranch shortly after Billy, Nick, and Clyde returned from Bubba's place. They were giddy and laughing. They reported to Billy, Bossman Randy, and his strawboss were already up and having breakfast with the cowboys and girls. They stayed in the loft with Ludo. Randy wanted them to asked if Master Billy would consider allowing his strawboss to go along with them to San Antonio.

"I don't see why not. We got plenty room and he might come in handy giving us a hand loading stuff into the van," Billy allowed, "I know he's gonna' want Rand Snoddy here with him when he helps chose the hands for the Garrett ranch. I'll see if Mary will allow him and Kayla to return with us and maybe we can get that out of the way this afternoon. They can have supper wiff' us and we can take them back to their ranch," Billy said.

Clyde brought the van around and those going with them to San Antoino were waiting. Kate and Zelma wanted Roz to go with them and Billy agreed. Billy took Nick, Clyde, Balthazar, and the twins with him and left Boomer to assist the planning crew on Captain Nick's ship. Kate asked if they could stop by HEB in Fredericksburg on the way back. She wanted to pick up a few things. Billy agreed. Everyone going with them got into the huge van and set out for the Rutherford ranch. It was still relatively early when they arrived. They hoped to get in some shopping before lunch and head back to the hill country shortly thereafter. Mary had Randy and Kala dressed in their best outfits. Kala was wearing a pretty floral print spring dress and Randy looked like an old time buckaroo gunfighter in his western outfit. Rand Snoddy was in the kitchen having coffee with the family. Ludo was breast feeding little Clara. It looked like a scene from any American home.

"Can we take our strawboss with us, Cowboy Billy?" Randy asked after hugs and kisses.

"Sure, we got room, and he can give us a hand loading packages," Billy replied. Billy went on to tell Mary and Evelyn Rutherford how Randy and Rand picked out the ranch hands for their ranch, and his neighbors, Tron and Moss Garrett, wanted Randy and Rand to give them a hand choosing their crew. Would it be all right, if Kayla and Randy returned to the Daniels' ranch with them, and Billy would bring them home after they ate supper with them? Mary didn't have any problem with it and agreed. Everyone climbed into the van and they were off for San Antonio.

They made good time and were there just after the big store opened. It was a huge music store devoted to mostly instruments of all kinds with racks of music. Billy didn't bring Vox along because he figured between himself and Kate they could pick out the music Randy and Kayla should begin learning. The place was a musician's wonderland. Billy led Kayla and Randy to the electronic keyboard section first. Billy and the twins were happy with their Casio Privia keyboards, but they had a new line of Yamaha keyboards which were amazing in their sound and keyboard response. Billy wanted Randy and Kayla to learn using a legato touch and the Yamaha had the most consistent action of all the rest; plus, it had many more extras than the Casio.

Billy sat down at the demo model and ripped off a difficult Chopin Ballade and people in the store gathered around to listen. When Billy finished, the attitude and interest of the sales people doubled. Randy sat down after him and began to play the first Bach Invention in C Major and played it perfectly from beginning to end. The people were impressed and applauded the young boy. Billy and his family were stunned. "How'd ju' learn that without a keyboard, Son?" Billy asked.

"He sits in front of his computer for hours, watching and listening to Glenn Gould. Randy wants to play like him. He plays along with him using his desktop," Kayla explained, "He just transfers what he learned to the keyboard. He taught me to do it, and I can play too, but we don't hum along when we play," Kayla bragged. Billy, Kate, and Zelma laughed.

"Let your sister play, Cowboy," Billy said and Randy reluctantly gave up his seat at the keyboard. Kayla sat down and played nice little piece called "Crazy Eight" and she played if flawlessly. When she finished there was more applause. The Daniels/Rutherford contingency took over the store. Kayla and Randy tried several brands of keyboards but decided the Yamaha's were the pick of the litter. Randy really liked the weighted keyboard and how much it felt like a real piano keyboard. Billy bought six of them. One each for Kayla and Randy and the rest for him and his musicians. The store threw in headsets for each keyboard.

They moved to the other instruments and Randy found a violin which caught his eye. He tried it and was able to play a basic tune on it. Kayla liked a cello she found and after hearing Roz play a couple of pieces on it, decided it was for her. The people gathered never saw such a talented family and were more astounded by each performance. Poly and Cass took two violins and with Roz on the cello played the first movement of a Telemann trio which mesmerized the crowd. It only solidified Randy and Kayla's musical imagination. Billy bought the string instruments for them. Zelma jokingly suggested since he bought six keyboards, why not start a small orchestra? Billy thought it was a great idea and asked how many violins, violas, and cello's they had in stock? They replied they had six of each. He bought them all and bought four double basses as well.

Next they moved to the country section of the store with guitars, banjos, and mandolins. Clyde picked up a fine, expensive Gibson guitar and started strumming a few chords. He played a beautifully lyrical Spanish piece no one ever heard before. He told Billy later it was created by a Spanish composer who personally taught it to him hundreds of years ago, but never wrote it down. It was such a lovely piece, people were stunned after he finished. Then they broke into applause. Billy was quite proud of his cowboy-angel.

Randy picked up a five string banjo and began to pick around on it. To everyone's surprise he strummed a few well known chords. Clyde played them back and then he began to play the well known melody to the Dueling Banjos piece. Randy picked out the same melody in return. A big grin crossed Billy's face. He couldn't believe what he was hearing. Clyde and Randy set off and bit into the meat of the piece and ate the notes like they were being invented for the first time. The crowd was clapping in time and urging the two on who were in their own world of pick'n and grinning. By that time, the store was full of people who came from the other stores to hear the impromptu performances by some kids who were part of a highly talented musical family. When Randy and Clyde finished the Dueling Banjos piece the gathered audience went bananas and responded with shouts, whistles, and thunderous applause.

Poly grabbed a fiddle and Cass grabbed a double bass as Clyde and Randy got their heads together. "I watched a man play a piece on the Internet and memorized it," Randy said to Clyde, "It's called Flint Hill Special. Do you know it?" he asked.

"I heard it once't before; take off, Son, and I'll follow," Clyde urged him.

Poly and Cass never heard it before, but it didn't matter to them. One time through, and they would have it down pat. They urged Randy to begin. The young cowboy set out and wowed the audience with his virtuoso playing. Clyde was right behind him, caught up with him, and joined him on the second pass. Poly was playing an accompanying part until Clyde and Randy gave him a nod and it was his time to shine. Then they passed the attention to Cass, and the halfling made the double bass sing. It was a wonderful musical moment. Billy and his family were more than gobsmacked. They were flummoxed and flabbergasted. What did he create with these two young children? Billy was becoming worried until he looked up and caught Zelma Redbone's eye. She saw his conundrum and slowly shook her head not to go there and grinned at him like the cat what swallowed the canary. Billy could see the vision in her eyes and a Christmas performance on the stage of the Houston Philharmonic featuring her extended family including Rory and Calhoun Redbone McMartin playing their hearts out for a packed house; everything from Bach to country and bluegrass. Billy returned her smile, winked, tipped his cowboy hat to her, and gave her a thumbs up. Zelma broke up.

Billy bought two of the Gibson acoustic guitars. One for him and one for Clyde. Roz and Kayla started playing around with a couple of fine looking mandolins which had pleasing sounds and Billy bought them as well. Kate picked out several basic keyboard learning books and bought numbers of classical pieces for Kayla and Randy to pick over. She suggested the same for Rory and Calhoun and Billy added them to the bill. It was the store's single largest sale since they began business ten years before. Billy whipped out a roll of hundred dollar bills what would choke a horse and counted it out to the penny. The store owners finally put two and two together and realized Billy was the man who saved Randy's life at the WalMart in Fredericksburg. They couldn't do enough for the Daniels and their friends.

The young strawboss of the Rutherford ranch walked around in awe of his Bossman. He had no idea the talent the young man possessed and was dazed to be in his presence. Randy didn't seem to change a bit after such a display. He was still as warm and caring about Rand as he was since they met. Billy put his arm around Rand and pulled him close. "Don't let your Bossman overwhelm you, Mr. Snoddy. Just remember, beneath his talent is the heart of a young boy who needs a big brother. I can only provide so much for him," Billy said trying to reassure the man.

"I didn't have no brothers or sister when I grew up. I was pretty much on my own, Master Billy. I been so independent most of my life, I don't know if I'm the man for the job. This assignment is turning out to be much more than just a strawboss for a group of men and women," Rand said.

"Out of all them folks, Randy picked you first. My elders in our family were right. That boy knew what he was doing. I saw the picture you drew. When you realize you need Randy as much as he needs you, it will begin to make sense, Cowboy," Billy said quietly, "If you's unsure, let him lead. Just be strong and support him. Trust me, everything will fall into place," Billy added.

"Thanks, Master Billy, I'll give it my best shot," Rand said.

"I know you will. Randy has faith in you, and I got faith in both you men," Billy encouraged him.

* * * * * * *
Billy gave everyone a choice of where and what kind of food they wanted to eat. He told them they could eat anywhere they chose, but he didn't want to eat in a fast food place. San Antonio had several nice restaurants where they would have a nice lunch. Everyone finally decided on Mexican food and Billy had Clyde drive them to one of the best restaurants in town. The back of the van was packed to the ceiling with instruments and some larger instruments strapped to the inside panels. There was still room for everyone, but after a trip to HEB in Fredericksburg, the youngsters might have to share a seat with someone. Billy knew Randy wouldn't complain too much about it, and Kayla adored Roz. They had a great lunch, Billy paid the check and they were off again. The stopped by HEB and it seemed everyone knew who they were. People would hunt them down in the isles to introduce themselves to Billy and Randy. It took longer than they thought with the interruptions, but they finally left Fredericksburg and drove back to the Daniels' ranch. It was still early afternoon. Everyone came out to help unload the van and the extra instruments were stored in the new barn in one of the large storage rooms on the side. Billy left Randy and Kayla's instruments in the van.

Randy and Rand were whisked away to the old barn where the interviewing tables were still set up. They thought it was amusing Tron and Moss wanted them to help pick the hands for their ranch. They did the same as Randy the day before. They gave each a pencil and paper and told them to put anything on the page they wanted, but they didn't want histories or reasons why they wanted to work for them on their ranch. It took Randy and Rand less time than the day before. They handed Tron and Moss the names, and they were the ones they chose. It worked out fine for everyone.

* * * * * * *
Bubba drove up to the bunkhouse on the Hickson ranch. After spending time at the Daniels' ranch and seeing the work put into bringing everything up to date with repairs and a coat of paint, he grimaced to himself at how rundown and neglected the Hickson place looked. The bunkhouse in particular was little more than a rundown old shack and Bubba imagined the only thing holding the structure together was a few patches of paint which refused to fall off. He wondered how he could have stayed in it so long. He took a deep breath and let it out a self-accusatory sigh at his own intransigence with his long, deep dream of something more with his childhood secret love for his cowboy buddy. Bubba chastised himself for his disgust with the condition of the Hickson's ranch. His uncle's ranch looked only a little better, but since it became his, when Bubba looked upon it, he envisioned it fixed up and looking successful like he planned to see it become. He knew Earl was inside the old dilapidated wood structure. His old truck was parked out front.

Bubba walked up to the door and let himself inside. Even after a nap and a good tongue bathing from his watcher, it was fairly early in the morning, and Earl was still in his bunk. He raised up bleary eyed and looked at Bubba. "Hey, Bubba, where you been?" Earl asked, sat up, and threw his legs over the side to get his bearings.

"Here and there," Bubba replied as he started to gather his stuff

Earl started to pull on his Wranglers and shirt. "I went over to your uncle's place to look for you yesterday. Your truck was there, but you weren't home," Earl said.

"Yeah, a friend come by and picked me up. I stayed at his place for a night," Bubba said gathering a bunch of his stuff and making his first trip out to his truck to throw in the back.

"What's your hurry, Brother?" Earl asked.

"No hurry. I just got some things to get done, and I want to gather my personal belongings so's I got everything together in one place," Bubba replied.

"I'll pull my boots on and give you a hand," Earl said.

"No need, Brother. I ain't got that much stuff," Bubba said, stopped, and spoke to Earl, "Sorry I's unavailable to go to breakfast wiff' ya' yesterday morning, but I set aside some time for this morning if ya'onna' drive into town to Willow Creek or Nacho Momma's place," Bubba said.

"That would be nice. I'll splash some water on my face and be ready to go," Earl said, "Any word about your uncle's place?" Earl asked.

"Yeah, I'll tell you about it over breakfast," Bubba said, stalling to think how much he wanted to tell Earl. He didn't care to have everyone in town know his business and knew what he told his buddy would be passed on to Womack within hours. He decided to tell him just enough to keep Womack guessing.  

"What you got to do today, Bubba?" Earl asked.

"I got to drive to Brady to buy me a new bed and some other stuff for the ranch house," Bubba said.

"Where'd you get the money?" Earl asked.

"Here and there, from a couple of sources," Bubba replied, "To be honest wiff' ya,' I don't care to tell you much about my finances, Earl. The less I tell you, the less information will get back to Womack, and we already done talked about him. You know how I feel. All you need to know is, I got me a new job, and I'm entering a partnership with some men to start up the ranch again," Bubba said.

"You got a job for yore' old buddy, Bubba?" Earl asked.

"Not really, unless you want to become my love-slave," Bubba said and grinned.

"Thanks for the offer, Brother, but I don't think so," Earl replied annoyed.
"You know how I feel about you, Earl. Like a dadburn love sick fool, I already let ma' hair down and told you how much I love you. I done loved ju' all my life. I let chu' lead me around like a big bull wiff' a ring though his nose, but that's changed since our last talk. You made yourself clear you won't never consider such a horrible thing as loving me, and like it or not, I gotta' learn to live with it. So, I'm going my way, and other than taking you to breakfast this morning like I promised, I ain't support'n you or your mother no more. If'n I can't have you the way I want, I ain't gonna' waste no more time or money on you. I ain't a' gonna' settle for crumbs from your table like an old faithful lap dog," Bubba said more firmly and sure of himself than Earl ever saw him before.

Earl didn't say anything but looked at Bubba like a puppy the big man just yelled at and told not to follow him down the road. One tear escaped his left eye and ran down his cheek. He slowly arose from the bed and walked toward his big buddy. He reached up and gently put his hand on Bubba's shoulder. He took in a deep breath and sucked in the sexual essence of the big cowboy's fragrance from Brute's morning tongue bath and something clicked inside. The suppressed sexual feelings he held for his surrogate brother, but sat on all these years, broke loose like the fires of Hell consuming the worst of sinners. At that moment, Earl Hickson didn't care. He lost control of his sphincter, and it spasmed like it could almost feel Bubba's huge penis slowly, but lovingly, penetrating him to plumb the depths of his soul. The thought of such intimate bonding with his brother was overwhelming to him. Earl was already singed by the heat of passion from the basic raw animal sexual pheromones he was breathing in from Bubba's magnificent, strongly masculine body. Earl couldn't help himself, he was so drawn to Bubba his own body lost control. He got a look in his eyes of profound surprise as his mouth opened slightly, his head slowly moved toward Bubba's, and Earl's lips found his cowboy brother's mouth.  

Bubba neither waited for a second invitation, nor questioned Earl's motivation for the moment. It was something he dreamed about happening, but after their last conversation was convinced it would never come about; however, it didn't stop the wheels in Bubba's head from analyzing the situation. He was bouncing every possibility around his brain within the confined walls of his cranium. He heard a voice break in to get his attention, << Beware! You are wearing my scent, Bairn, which enhances your own. While you are unaware, it's very potent to your buddy. Earl would have the power to resist if he was never interested in the first place. He's only succumbing to feelings what's been locked up inside him and repressed for years. He subconsciously wants what he's doing, but he consciously hates himself for giving in to his basic animal instincts. Your draw for him is strong. Earl's kid sees you as his cookie jar. You're just getting a taste. Don't assume he's going to give you the whole pie, >> Brute sent to him.

<< I'll settle for a small slice for right now, Number One, but stay tuned, >> Bubba sent in reply.

<< Always, -- it's what a protector does, >> he heard Brute assure him.  

Bubba gently enfolded Earl in his huge arms and returned his kiss with just enough passion and strength, but not so much as to frighten his smaller brother. Bubba only gave as much as he received. He allowed Earl to drink as much of him in as he needed and left it up to him how long they lingered. Bubba was surprised when the kiss went on for sometime with Earl exploring Bubba's mouth and seemed relaxed enough to throw his arms around his big cowboy buddy. Earl finally broke it off, but not abruptly. He lingered awhile and stole several small, extra kisses from his brother. Bubba gently returned them. The big cowboy neither fooled himself nor got his hopes up it was a kiss of invitation or commitment. It was neither. It was a kiss of exploration and Bubba was sure he heard Neil Armstrong's voice saying, `One small step for man -- and the eagle done shit,' Bubba cowboy-paraphrased the last part in his mind.

"What have I done?" Earl asked rhetorically, sounding a bit like Scarlett O'Hara, but since neither cowboy knew what the word 'rhetorically' meant, it only sounded empty and remorseful to Bubba.

"Let's see -- you either just gave a small portion of yourself and your love to your brother for safekeeping, or you done sold your eternal soul to the devil and you just bought chore'self a first-class, one-way ticket to the hottest portion of Hell reserved only for the very wicked or most perverted of humanity," Bubba replied. He was quiet for a moment to let his words sink in -- then, he laughed.

"King's X! It was my first time, and I didn't really mean it!" Earl exclaimed like a little boy, but he quickly stole another kiss from Bubba, like he was stealing one for the road.

The big cowboy laughed at him. "Who do you think would be more pleased? God, because you showed your brother a little long-overdue love? Or the Devil because you just handed him your soul on a silver platter due to one small lapse in judgment? Remember, your brother is gonna' be standing in judgment wiff' you hold'n yore' hand," Bubba said, "Or, I could sell you out and tell bowfubbum I didn't really wanna' do it, but your kiss and the thought of stable'n my old cayuse way up inside that tight purdy little cowboy butt of yorn for an e'nin made me crazy wiff' lust," Bubba added and laughed again.

"It's your aftershave what done it!" Earl exclaimed.

"Do I look like I shaved?" Bubba asked, rubbing his whiskered chin with his hand.

"Don't take it the wrong way, Bubba," Earl said.

"There ain't no `wrong way' to take what we just done, Earl!" Bubba exclaimed, "You offered, I accepted, and we shared. It just happened, like it was the most natural thing in the would for us to do. What's wrong wiff' that?" he asked firmly.

"You know what I mean. It don't necessarily mean it will lead to some'um else!" Earl exclaimed in reply.

"No, no, you don't git off that easy, Buckaroo. It don't necessarily mean it won't lead to some'um else neither -- like me making such sweet love to you, yore' asshole will tell you to beg me to fill you up with my old longhorn and ride you like a cowboy should ride his saddle buddy," Bubba insisted, "In the meantime, if you gimme' one more a them sweet, sloppy buckaroo kisses, I'll settle for that, and forget about the rest," Bubba said quietly still holding Earl in his arms.

Earl took another deep breath, inhaled more of Bubba's enhanced sexual pheromones, and proceeded to give Bubba another kiss even better than the first. It contained just a hint of repressed passion Earl was having a difficult time riding herd on to keep from coming to the surface. When they finished, it was Bubba's time to sigh deeply, "You met my bargain, and paid me more'n I asked. All is forgotten, Brother," he said and let Earl go.

Earl got the funniest look on his face like he wasn't real sure it was what he wanted to happen, but he was relieved Bubba was a cowboy of his word. "You won't tell nobody will you, Bubba?" Earl asked.

"No, I won't tell a soul, but I'm gonna' have sandwich-boards made up what reads: `Earl Hickson done kissed me! Now we's butt fuck'n buddies!' I plan to walk around the square wear'n `um," Bubba said and laughed.

"You's terrible, Bubba," Earl said and smiled.

"I ain't like you, Earl, I don't betray my friends; especially those what love me," Bubba slammed him.

Earl didn't answer. He knew Bubba was talking about Womack. Bubba wondered if Womack put Earl up to showing him a little affection? He wouldn't put it past the fat little bastard. Bubba also wondered if Womack pressured Earl, perhaps it backfired on his buddy, and Earl discovered he liked it a little more than he thought he might. Bubba was convinced the second kiss was more than pretend -- or maybe he was reading more into it than he should because it was what he wanted. He thanked his protector again for his sage advice. Then it came to him to do some fishing of his own. "What's Womack got on you what would make you betray your brother, Earl?" Bubba asked.

"Nothing. I swear to you, Bubba. I just come to see the light of Jesus, and I wanna' make sure I go to heaven. Other than you for a buddy, I ain't never had me much in this life, and never learned how to go about get'n more for myself than working like a slave for a nickel on the dollar. I realized this past weekend, without you in my life, my prospects ain't real bright, Brother," Earl replied.

"Look, Earl, if that bastard is blackmailing you or is hold'n some'um over your head, tell your brother. The time we been apart, I come to make friends with some pretty powerful folks what might be able to help you. I learned me some things I never knew before about my uncle and his legacy to me. It weren't only about the ranch, land, or money, Earl, it was about my place in our community I never knew about before. If Womack's got you by the nuts, for god's sake, Brother, tell me about it!" Bubba exclaimed.

"It's nothing, Bubba," Earl said, and Bubba knew he wouldn't get any more out of him.

Bubba drove them into town and Earl decided he wanted to eat at Nacho Momma's. It was fine with Bubba. He could park his truck out front and watch it while they ate so nobody could steal anything from the back. He thought about how insane the idea was. Nobody in the small town was the least interested or gave a rat's ass what Bubba Kirkendall had in the back of his truck. He knew folks in town who spent thousands of dollars on security locks, bells, and whistles for their homes and never bothered to use it or even lock their front door.

They ate a good meal. Fortunately for Bubba, they posted the lunch menu early so he didn't have to eat two breakfasts. He told Earl he weren't hungry for breakfast, but the enchilada and taco lunch combo sounded good to him. They talked quietly while they ate; mostly about things Bubba wanted to get done around the ranch. Earl kept talking about how rough it was going to be for him and his mom now they didn't have Bubba's rent coming in. Bubba felt sorry for him and said he might have some work for him if he wanted to do some basic carpentry and painting for him. He offered to pay Earl minimum wage, which was nine dollars an hour, but if Earl didn't work and fucked off, Bubba wouldn't keep him. Earl was used to Bubba just giving him money when he was broke. He said he'd think about it. Bubba knew Earl probably wouldn't stoop to working for him, but at least, he made the offer. The only problem with giving Earl money was, he never once in all the years ever thanked Bubba. Neither did Earl's mom. They acted like it was their due just to be Bubba's friend.

They were mostly quiet on the way back to Earl's place. Bubba's cell phone buzzed, and he saw it was his attorney Jack McCormick calling. He smiled as he punched the button to connect. "Howdy, Brother," Bubba said.

"Howdy yourself, Bubba. How's by you, Cowboy?" Jack asked.

"Fine and dandy, sir," Bubba replied.

"You now a full member of the Daniels' cowboy-angel-family?" Jack asked.

"E'aup! Fully fledged, sir. Same color as the head Bossman's," Bubba replied.

"Gold?" Jack gasped.

"`At's right, Brother. I just hope I's worthy," Bubba said.

"You ain't got nothing to worry about, Bubba. Somebody must think you're worthy or they wouldn't be that color," Jack said, "You certainly got my vote, Cowboy," he added.

"You to home or work?" Bubba asked.

"I'm home for the day," Jack said.

"I'm driving Earl back from breakfast right now, can I call you back in about ten minutes?" Bubba asked.

"Sure. No problem. I ain't going nowhere. Talk with you then," Jack said and disconnected.

Bubba disconnected, put his phone in his shirt pocket, and smiled to himself.

"Who was that?" Earl asked.

"A new friend I met about a week ago," Bubba replied.

"Is he part of your new business arrangement?" Earl asked trolling for information.

"Yes, he's one of my new partners. They's several, Earl, but I can't tell you more," Bubba said.

"Can't or won't?" Earl asked.

"Both, Brother, and don't even ask why. You know why, Earl," Bubba replied.

They pulled into the compound of the Hickson ranch. Bubba pulled up in front of the bunkhouse to let Earl out. "Thanks for breakfast, Bubba," Earl said.

"You're welcome, Brother, but I hope the sky don't fall. Glad to hear you're listening to my words. Your parents never taught you manners. My uncle demanded it of me. A few words of gratitude for something somebody done for you goes a long way to insuring their continued good feeling toward you," Bubba said, "I'm gonna' be busy the rest of this week and over the weekend. I'll give you a call the first of next week and see if you're interested in doing some work for me. You should have yore' mind made up by that time. If not I'll get somebody else," Bubba said.

"Other than work for you, I get the feeling you won't have much time for me no more, Brother," Earl allowed.

"I'm afraid that's so, Brother. I done told you, I'm going on with my life with or without you. Say `hello' to your mother for me," Bubba said like it was the end of his conversation with Earl.

"Bye, Bubba," Earl said quietly and got out of the truck. He watched Bubba turn the truck around and drive down the dirt road to the blacktop. He had an empty feeling inside which didn't have anything to do with Womack or his pushing for Earl to get something going with Bubba to betray him. Earl wondered to himself if he was falling in love with the new, strong willed cowman-rancher he could see Bubba becoming. The Devil be damned, what he experienced in Bubba's big arms in the bunkhouse with them two kisses rocked his world. Bubba was right. It just seemed natural to share a little love with his brother. `What would Jesus do?' he asked himself.

* * * * * * *

Bubba got to the blacktop and began the drive back to his ranch. He took his phone from his shirt pocket and pressed Jack's home number, and he answered. "Hey, good look'n, what cha' got cook'n?" Bubba asked and heard Jack laugh.

"Absolutely nothing, Cowboy. I's kinda hope'n you weren't doing nothing, and we could do nothing together for a while," Jack said.

"How `bout help'n an old cowboy out this afternoon with some'um he don't know diddly-squat about?" Jack asked.

"Sounds like a mysterious challenge. What is it?" Jack asked.

"Drive into to Brady wiff' me this afternoon to help me pick out some new furniture for me from a couple of them Western stores," Bubba replied.

"No problem. Where is you?" Jack asked.

"On the way to your ranch, Pod'na," Bubba replied. He heard Jack laugh.

"See you when you get here, but beware of Satan and Matilda," Jack said.

"Who? What?" Bubba asked.

"Satan and Matilda. They's my guard geese. Male and female Chinese geese. Don't make the mistake of underestimate'n them. They can take out a chunk of flesh through yore' Wranglers, Cowboy," Jack said and laughed.

"Screw that! I ain't get'n out of ma' truck until you come out for me!" Bubba exclaimed and Jack roared with laughter. "I'll see you in a few, Brother," Jack said and was still laughing as he disconnected.

Sure enough, two enormous white geese headed straight for Bubba's truck on a dead run with their wings spread, their heads lowered with a mean-ass look in their eyes when he drove into the compound of the McCormick ranch. They looked like two miniature Boeing 707's on a bombing run, a mission to destroy the intruder into their world, and they were making a horrible racket, honking at the top of their voices what would raise the dead. Between bouts of honking, they would hiss like a basket full of snakes. Bubba sat there with a big grin on his face, but he wasn't about to get out of his truck. He saw Jack on the front porch laughing his ass off. He walked down, shooed the guard geese away, called them by name, and reassure them Bubba's truck was not an advance invasion force. They seemed to be trained well enough, if Jack said the intruder was okay, they could back down and lower their attack level to defcon prepared. Bubba was sure he just witnessed defcon: Holy Shit! Bubba got out of his truck and didn't wait for Jack to invite him in. He ran as fast as he could to the steps, front porch, and stood waiting for Jack. Jack was doubled over with laughter as he walked to the house. "I warned you," Jack said.

"I ain't never seen nothing like them birds before in my life. They's scary sum'bitches. They's the most frightful creatures I ever' done seen," Bubba said and laughed nervously. "Fuck them monster movies, I'll have nightmares for weeks dream'n of being chased by them bastards!" he exclaimed.

"Ah, they'll get used to you and your truck, but it may take a while," Jack said and laughed again.

"Hell! If I had me a pair of them birds I wouldn't need them watchers over to my ranch," Bubba declared and Jack laughed again.

"Why do you think I keep `um?" Jack asked rhetorically.

"I hear that!" Bubba agreed.

Jack invited Bubba in and showed him around the place. "Damn! Did you buy this stuff or was it your family's?" Bubba asked, referring to the furniture.

"Most of it I inherited, but a couple of pieces I bought in Brady," Jack replied.

"This is exactly the kind of feel I want for my place. If we could find something like this, I'll be a happy buckaroo," Bubba said.

"They's a couple of stores over there what carries this sort of Western furniture. C'moan! Let's jump in the truck and drive over," Jack said.

The cowboys drove into Brady and visited several stores before Bubba made a purchase. When he made up his mind, he bought close to ten thousand dollars in nice, sturdy, handsome, but not pretty, furniture. He only ask for the California king size pillow soft bed to be delivered as soon as possible, because Jack reminded him they were probably going to be busy out to the Daniels ranch from Friday noon through the weekend. Since Bubba bought so much from the major store, they were anxious to accommodate him, and agreed to deliver a load the next day. Bubba figured with the muscle power of six watchers he could remove the old stuff in a matter of hours. Bubba drew them a detailed map of how to get to his ranch, paid for his purchases with his bank's debit card, and they drove to the local WalMart to buy sheets and covers for his new bed. He also bought some groceries to stock his empty cabinets and refrigerator. It was getting late and the sun was low in the sky.

"You hungry, Brother?" Bubba asked, "I'd like to take you to supper," he added.

"You smooth talker. I don't usually accept such an offer on a first date, but see'n as how we just picked out your new bed together, it might seem appropriate," Jack said and laughed.

"Ah, Hell, t'weren't chore' help what prompted my offer. I's thinking of having to face them mean-ass, scary frick'n birds when I take you back. I wanna' make damn sure we's on good terms," Bubba declared and Jack doubled over with laughter.

Bubba took Jack to a steakhouse he knew about West of town. It wasn't fancy, but they served the best steaks cooked over mesquite with the bare essentials: beans, cowboy potatoes, and a small salad. There were only a few customers and for the most part, Bubba and Jack had the place to themselves. They had a couple of glasses of wine and were feeling mellow. The more time they spent together, the better they liked each other. Because of their past weekend, they were quickly coming to trust one another with their most intimate thoughts. There was enough age difference between them, Bubba looked up to Jack as a big brother, and there was an innocence in Bubba which made Jack come to think on the big cowboy as his younger brother. It wasn't a sexual draw, although it could have been, but an easy understanding they were becoming good friends who would be there for each other no matter what.

* * * * * * *
The Garrett's ranch hands were chosen, they were told to get their gear together and be ready after their supper to be taken in the school bus to the Garrett ranch. While Tron, Moss, Enoch, and Nathan were working with them, Billy and his immediate family transported to Captain Nick's ship to check on Gog and his keepers. Of course Randy wanted to go wherever his cowboy hero was going and asked to bring his strawboss along. Billy didn't know what they would find, but decided if Randy was going to be a cowboy he couldn't be shy about any circumstances in which he found himself. Billy knew they very probably would find the giant, his keepers, and Balthazar naked in the area of the stables.

Billy, Nick, Clyde, Hank, and Buck, along with Randy and Rand Snoddy transported to the the hallway in front of the apartment Captain Nick and Beauford assigned Gog. Billy knocked on the door. A naked dwarf open it, bowed deeply to Master Billy and his friends, and made a sweeping gesture with his arm inviting them inside. Billy went to Mace, embraced him, and kissed him on top of his head. The men walked into the room to find Gog, Picard, and Balthazar naked. Randy was in cowboy heaven. He ran to the naked giant and was swept up into his arms for a giant hug and a kiss. He did the same with Balthazar and whispered something to him which made the huge black man laugh and blush. "I'll dream of nothing else until that day, Buckaroo," Balthazar said.

"We didn't mean to disturb you gentlemen, we had a busy morning and day, but we wanted to check on our new slave to see how he's doing and if he's comfortable. Are these men treating you with respect and kindness, Mr. Groats?" Billy asked.

"I couldn't ask for better companions or accommodations, Master Billy, and I do so enjoy being able to be natural without the hindrance of clothing. Mace and Picard are a world of wonders unto themselves, sir, to say nothing of our magnificent stable master, Balthazar," Gog raved sincerely. Gog seemed overwhelmed and pleased he might be working for the giant Shedus with Mace and Picard under Balthazar's expert guidance and broke into tears several times at his good fortune. He couldn't believe such a nice apartment would be his to live in, enjoy, share the company of his new friends, and a place to bring and entertain his Irin bull brothers.

Conversation finally came around to Joe the blue giant. "We were hoping Mace and Picard know some things about Joe which might help us since we heard they were guests in their home several evenings," Billy said.

"We know no secrets, Master Billy, but we will be willing to help if we can. We're quite fond of Joe, but we feel Crunch treats him cruelly and has little respect for him," Picard replied, "We don't understand how someone as good hearted and kind as Joe can put up with Crunch day after day. We can only take Crunch for brief periods," he added.

"Has Joe said anything to you about any concerns he might have for the coming smack-down?" Billy asked.

"Yes, sir, but he mentioned them only to us in private -- mostly when Crunch was gone and we were lying together after offering Joe our comfort. As big as he is, he's the most excellent and caring lover either of us could hope for; however, our new friend Gog is equally excellent and skilled as a lover. Picard and I found out something special about Joe after we trusted him enough to share our bodies with him. Being intimate with a giant will cause most to relax, let down their guard, and sometimes they will trust you with the secrets of their hearts. We understand it to be a trait which could possibly make them vulnerable to others less scrupulous with their intent toward them; so, we respect them and keep what we know to ourselves. We certainly understood we were not to discuss anything Joe shared with us with his mate. Joe has great apprehensions about the coming battle because he's afraid he won't win, and he doesn't think he can spend another year as Crunch's slave. He told us if he lost, he would ask Captain Nick to sell or trade him to the Gregori or the Irin.

"Joe was worried when Gog arrived and we were assigned to assist him because he thought Gog might be his replacement. We assured him Gog was here because Master Billy asked for him, and he was the close companion of two of Master Billy's guard bulls when they lived together on Fort Adam Lear. Joe went on to tell us, even if he won this smack-down, he would request reassignment to another world to get away from Crunch -- not because he doesn't love his half-Ork brother, but because he's getting too old to live such a demanding life anymore," Mace explained.

"I wonder why Joe remained with Crunch all these years?" Billy said like he was musing to himself.

"We asked Joe the same question, Master Billy, and he told us it was for several reasons," Picard picked up the story, "When Joe fell in love with Crunch they were both much younger. Crunch is much younger than Joe and the giant became his daddy. As Joe told us, when they met, Crunch was more human than he was Ork. The Ork part of him didn't begin to manifest itself until a decade or more after they were together, but when it did, like teenagers in human families rebel against their parents, Crunch began to challenge and rebel against Joe's authority. Joe noticed it would happen about the same time every year and disrupt their lives for three days; then, afterward, Crunch would snap out of it and become Joe's good boy again.

"Over time, the Ork part of Crunch grew stronger until one day he rose up against Joe and demanded he become his slave. He told Joe if he didn't like it, he must fight and beat Crunch into submission if he could, and if Joe bested him the next time he came into rut, Crunch would be forced to become his slave for a year. If not, Crunch would beat Joe into submission and the giant would remain his slave for the rest of his life. Crunch knew Joe's race was mostly peaceable and would rarely raise a hand against another unless ruthlessly provoked. Joe remained Crunch's slave for three years. Each year Crunch became more demanding and cruel to Joe until the blue giant finally broke and almost beat Crunch to death.

"Every time Crunch would come around after being knocked out cold, Joe would yell in his face and ask if Crunch would admit defeat and submit to being his slave for the next year? Joe said he was forced to cold-cock Crunch six times. Fortunately, the seventh time, when the giant drew back his huge hammer of a fist to turn off Crunch's lights, did he finally submit and called Joe his master. You know their tradition, Joe whipped out his big cock, pissed all over Crunch soaking him, demanded Crunch open his mouth, rammed his huge cock as far down Crunch's throat as he could, and forced him to drink what was left in his bladder. And so it went for many years; except, until recently, it was rare Joe ever lost their rut-battle, what come to be known as `close-skillet' on Captain Nick's ship," Picard said.

"I'm amazed Joe managed to stay on top for so many years," Billy said.

Mace continued, "Ork ejaculate combined with Crunch's human jizz acts like a hormonal stimulant and a temporary physical rejuvenator for blue giants. Joe was always an equal opportunity lover and would provide his mate with as much comfort as Crunch did Joe when Joe was the master; however, when Crunch became master, he never took care of Joe's needs and was very demanding of Joe for his comfort only. Joe began to notice, the more of Crunch's come he drank the better he felt and the stronger he became. Joe discovered if he stocked up and sucked Crunch off half a dozen times before lock-down, it gave him an edge to defeat Crunch. It took Crunch years to discover Joe's secret, but when he did, he began to deny Joe his jizz and wouldn't let him suck him off several weeks before they came into rut," he explained.

"Wait a minute. How could Crunch have both Ork and human semen?" Billy asked the handsome young brothers.

"Two sets of testicles, Master Billy," Mace replied.

"In the name of the gods of love and joy, that would mean...!" Billy exclaimed, stopped, and looked at his family to see if anyone else put two and two together but didn't come up with `quantum-hybrid' for an answer.

"What, Kemosabe?" Nick asked. Everyone was hanging on Billy's epiphany.

"Crunch ain't no hybrid a'tall, Tonto. He's like Vox and Rox. He's another chimera -- one who has allowed his Ork half to subjugate and suppress his inner human just like Rox allowed Vox to do for years," Billy said like a conservative looking through a dark pair of austerity glasses into the blinding light of fiscal reality. It certainly shed a new light on the current situation. A couple of jaws dropped, but his family agreed, it made perfect sense. "So what you're telling us is, Crunch has been cheating to keep Joe subjugated to him?" Billy asked Mace and Picard.

"I suppose, if you considered manipulating circumstances in your favor as cheating, Crunch would be guilty, Master Billy, but you can't accuse Crunch without considering what Joe did to give himself an edge," Picard allowed.

"Our young groom is right. What about Joe pig'n out on Ork come before a rut, or your plans for Joe we discussed this morning, Kemosabe?" Nick challenged without revealing details.

"There's a major difference in leveling the playing field and stacking the deck, Tonto. I understand your point, and I ain't disturbed by your observations. You men are right to bring them to my attention," Billy replied,"However, if I'm master of these folks, they belong to me, I belong to them, and I'm responsible for their well-being, then I expect the judgment of my word to be final. To these points, I consider what Crunch did from the beginning -- bullying a more docile species into submission -- as intimidating and manipulative. Joe responded the best he could, but it seems these Ork-Giant ruts have grown from a lover's quarrel to a full blown cold war; complete with gross, all out battles for survival. Crunch's species may be more adept and used to this type of mating ritual, but Joe ain't and no matter his size or strength, it has been an emotional and psychological disadvantage for Joe from the beginning. I ain't so inflexible I won't listen to someone else's input on the matter and consider their opinion, but as you know and have commented several times, I will look out for the underdog," Billy said.

"Hosanna!" exclaimed Balthazar.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" exclaimed the rest of the men gathered.

Billy opened his arms, raised them before him, and began to speak to his audience in the universe, "It is as old as the ancient plays of the Greeks, Romans, those of early England, and even modern plays, for a member of a cast to step out of character for a moment to make an appeal to the audience or to the mythical gods of Earth, to ask for conformation of judgment or intervention should the players upon the stage make a bad decision or choose the wrong direction; they call for you to hear their plea and offer guidance if their decisions are not in keeping with the greater, perhaps more compassionate, voices in the universe. Playwrights often wrote two or more endings to a play in which the outcome would be determined by the druthers of the audience. We call upon you to do so today for two of our family. You have placed this burden upon us, and we have accepted your commission. Watch us players closely. If you agree with our course, register your approval, but if you disagree, let your voices be known in proportion to those who agree and so give good reason," Billy said like a player upon a stage, then added, "Hosanna!"

"Hosanna, in the highest!" Billy's family replied.
"For now, pending further notice, we will follow my plan," Billy said firmly without explaining to those who didn't know what was discussed earlier that morning in the line cabin. Strangely enough, no one present asked to whom Billy's soliloquy was addressed. They knew he was speaking to a greater audience throughout the universe. He called and they responded.

* * * * * * *
Later, in the ranch house before supper, Billy asked Balthazar what Randy whispered to him when they met in Gog's apartment. "Ramrod Randy told me the first person he planned to morph into when he got his wings was me. He promised he would make such sweet love to me with a perfect copy of my own penis, he would win my heart and poison my passion for anyone but him," Balthazar replied.

Billy damn near fell on the floor laughing. "E'aup, he's gonna' be a fine buckaroo, `at's fer damn sure. Precocious little bugger, ain''nee?  Ain't no doubt in my mind, he'll keep that promise one day. He gets it from his big brother. Ever' time I look upon you in the raw, I share his feelings, and I wouldn't put it past him to do exactly what he says," Billy said, and they shared a laugh.

"He don't know it, but he already has my heart wrapped in gold foil, lemniscated with bright ribbons, and shoved into the back pocket of his cowboy Wranglers like a ubiquitous can of Beechnut smokeless tobacco," Balthazar swore to his master.

"And my heart's in his other pocket, Brother," Billy agreed.
"And not presuming to second guess my master, but at least one of your plans to consider for Crunch is to equalize the two creatures sharing his body by removing one pair of testicles?" Balthazar asked quietly.

"I won't deny the thought has crossed my mind, but it's only one of several possible outcomes and not necessarily the preferred one. I won't consider any action without more investigation into the matter," Billy replied.

"That's why you asked for a universal consensus? Balthazar asked.

"It is. I don't want to make a mistake, and I want those out there in the universe to know whatever I decide was swayed by their input. Neither will it be done before the thoughts of all parties concerned are considered and other avenues are exhausted," Billy said, "Even then, Crunch will be allowed to speak for himself and be given options. Crunch ain't no criminal for following his species' natural mating instincts," he added, "but Joe should be given an equal opportunity to better his life," Billy said.

"I've come to expect fairness from you, Master. Whatever comes of this -- whatever you decide -- you have my full backing," Balthazar said.

"Thank you, Balthazar, your words are a comfort to me," Billy said, "And thank you for assuming the position of master of the stables," he added.

"I'm pleased and proud to be of service, Master Billy. It gives me a chance to make sure our Shedus are properly tended, cared for, and given the consideration they're due. My new position also affords me more time to devote to you and our larger family. I think it's working out nicely for everyone," Balthazar said.

"I agree. Hopefully we will be sent a couple of others who have the qualification for overseeing our treasures. Captain Nick assures me there are several within the fallen angels stored in stasis who might be able to lend us a hand with their care. I plan to keep my eye out for another couple of giants. The Shedus seem to respond well to them. I can't believe Billy Gog Groats just fell into our laps," Billy said and laughed. Balthazar agreed with him.

* * * * * * *
Billy called the Breedlove ranch and Vox answered the phone. "Hey, Mister Music Man, we done went and got some more musical instruments today, and you need to start teaching our students," Billy said.

"Really? How wonderful. What did you get?" Vox asked.

Billy gave him a complete rundown down of his day with the family and the exciting things they discovered about Randy and Kayla's innate musical abilities and their willingness to learn. Of course, Billy enlarged the story and told it like a true cowboy. He managed to get Vox laughing. Vox switched Billy to the speaker on his phone to allowed Elmer to listen to their conversation. Billy could hear the big Bull bellowing with laughter with Vox. He was enjoying Billy's story. "How is Oatie and Jethro getting along?" Billy asked.

"Aw, Hell, we ain't seen hide nor hair of them two for several days. They's like two rabbits in a burrow. I don't think they's got out of bed more'n a couple of times. Roxanne cooked a good meal for us last e'nin, and they came to the big house for supper. They ate like they never tasted food before. Our table looked like a herd of locust passed through and ate everything in their path," Elmer declared and roared with laughter, "But when you got the food of love, you don't need to eat real food," Elmer added and laughed again.

"It sounds like Master Oatie has decided to keep his enhanced slave," Billy said.

"You couldn't pry them two apart with a twenty mule team, Son, but I drew the line when they started feeding each other at the table," Elmer declared and laughed again. The bull sounded happy for his grandson and son-in-law.

"And I suppose we could more easily pry our Bull and his little darlin' apart?" Billy said and laughed.

"Not a chance, Cowboy!" Elmer replied and bellowed with laughter again. Elmer Breedlove could lift Billy's spirits like no other cowboy.

"What can we do you for, young Master," Bull asked.

"I need Oatie over here tomorrow sometime -- at his convenience -- to do a checkup on our Ork, Crunch, what's going into rut -- and I need him Thursday to do a checkup on our blue Giant, Joe," Billy said.

"He cain't do `um both the same day?" Elmer asked.

"Naw, sir, but they's a good reason, and we'll explain. We also need you and Vox for your cowboy-angel gathering powers when Oatie comes on Thursday. I'm calling in several other of our brothers to assist me and my posse to give our blue giant an overhaul," Billy said, "Remember to bring Mick Flynn with you," he added.

"Will do. I'm beginning to see a pitcher," Elmer said, "And it's a Billy Daniel's Blue Plate Special to give the giant an edge," he added.

"And you would be right, Master Bull," Billy said and laughed.

"Don't blame you a bit. I seen the way Crunch treats his mate, and I can feel Joe's humiliation, resentment, and pain. While some men might enjoy such abuse, I know Joe don't," Elmer declared.

"Exactly, but there's more to it we just discovered a while ago. It looks like me and ma' pa's gotta' a big decision to make, Bull," Billy said.

"Can you tell us, Son?" Elmer asked.

"Crunch is another like Vox and Rox. He ain't no Ork-Human hybrid. He's a chimera. Joe fell in love with his human part, but Crunch's Ork part's been totally dominant for some time now. We get feedback, Joe can't keep up since he's getting older, and Crunch is considerably younger," Billy explained.

He heard Elmer let out a long, low whistle, like the news caught him totally off guard. "Only you could find yore'self in a mess like this, Master Billy, but somehow I know you're gonna' do the right thing. Look! You tell me when you need Oatie over to your ranch, and I'll make damn sure he's there. Ain't no two ways about it! You may have to put up with Jethro coming wiff' him, but I don't think he'll be a problem for you," the Bull said and laughed.

"No, not at all. I just won't let him get near Captain Nick's ship or none of us will ever see him again. Them village folks is likely to kidnap Jethro and them powerful holy cows will help. They's so in love with their resident demon they shed tears when his name is mentioned. I shit you not!" Billy said and the three men shared a laugh, "Why don't you men transport over here at noon tomorrow, have lunch wiff' the family, we'll take care of Crunch, and you can either hang around for supper or return if you like. Remember, we still gotta' pick out slaves for your two ranches. We could pick yours tomorrow, Perry Reid's Thursday, and he could be here to help with Joe's enhancements," Billy said like he was thinking out loud.

"Sounds good to us. Lets do it. Hell, Oatie ain't done no work but a couple of times this week. He takes his `assistant' wiff' him ever' where he goes. He won't let that big cowboy out of his sight. Cain't say's I blame him none. We took `um to breakfast this morning down to the Willow Creek in town. We always get good service because I believe `tipping' ain't no city in China, but them ladies couldn't do enough for my grandson and his mate. It got downright embarrassing; didn't it, Sugar-tits?" Bull asked his mate in mock disgust. Vox laughed and strongly agreed with the bull, "We'll get them two over there tomorrow about eleven come Hell or high-water, if'n I have to rope, hogtie `um, and lock `um in the calf-carrying cage. How's that?" Elmer asked using his wonderful cowboy hyperbole.

Billy broke up laughing. He was sure he couldn't top that one. "Perfect, Master Bull. We'll look forward to seeing you again," Billy said. They wished each other well, said their goodbyes, and disconnected.

* * * * * * *
After supper Billy, Nick, Clyde, Balthazar, and Boomer drove Randy, Kayla, and Rand back to the Rutherford ranch. It was like Christmas unloading the van. Kate, Zelma, and Roz went nuts picking out clothes for Kayla and Randy. Billy tried to soften the gifts by telling Mary and Evelyn he couldn't say `no' to his grandmother. They bought a lot of summer clothes for the kids, but Billy made sure their `strawboss' got some good looking Western clothes. He figured correctly, Rand would become a regular around both ranches, and he should dress well to reflect his status at both ranches. He was overwhelmed by the Daniels' generosity. Mary and Evelyn were also overwhelmed by the musical instruments Billy bought the children. They were more than a little impressed. Mary began to think Randy's request to stay in the foreman's house with Rand made more sense than she originally thought.

Randy wanted his piano set up in his bedroom in the foreman's house and his other instruments there, too. He was in heaven as Clyde and Billy helped get things in order. Billy and his men didn't stay long and asked if Mary planned to come over Friday noon for lunch and the evening. Mary didn't want to come until Sunday dinner, but she didn't have any problem with transporting Randy and Kayla to the Daniels' ranch on Friday to stay the weekend. The kids were overjoyed. They didn't tell her about the smack-down, but Billy later found out Mary knew.

Randy and Kayla wanted to know how best to start learning to read music. They already knew the basics from tutorials on the Internet, but they wanted to know how Billy learned to read music. "Start with simple four part chords like hymns or Bach chorales. Learn to count and keep an even tempo when you read even if it's very slow. Do it slowly until you get the notes right, then gain speed. It won't come overnight. You must work at it a couple of hours a day. Do one hour in the morning and one in the evening of nothing but reading. I'll have Dociean and Dorcas order you printers for your computers, and Roz and Clyde can teach you how to download and print out music available from the net. Some sites are free, but others require payment. I'll have Dorcas set up an account and you can buy what you want. You can order more that way. We can photo copy, and you can share your choices with each other," Billy said.

After many hugs, kisses, thanks, and promises to see each other again soon, Billy and his posse drove back to the Daniels' ranch. Billy got out of the van and told Clyde to drive on up to the ranch and he would walk. He hailed Thor and Zeus. They were glad to see their master again. "Come, you two, walk wiff' me up to the compound then you can return," he said, and they readily agreed. Billy told them about housing Billy Gog in an apartment created especially for a giant in the castle on Captain Nick's ship. There would be plenty room for them to stay with him for the weekend, and the bed was so big they could share it. He thought the two big bulls were going to cry. They assured him they were really looking forward to noon on Friday. They walked and chatted most of the way to the compound. Billy filled them in on what was happening around the ranch and how he felt about things. He talked with Thor and Zeus like they were good friends, and he could tell them anything. They were very supportive and wished him well. They said their goodbyes and turned to walk back to the gate. Billy proceeded to walk up to the house and found Nick waiting for him sitting on the steps.

"We gonna' get an early start to bed this e'nin, Kemosabe?" Nick asked.

"You tired, Pa?" he asked.

"No, not particularly. I's more concerned for you. You had a pretty emotional day what's still hang'n over your head like a dark cloud," Nick replied.

"I could sure use me some quality time wiff' ma' demon dad," Billy said.

"Think we should take him out of his box and dust him off, Kemosabe?" Nick asked.

"Best idea you done had all day, Tonto. What do you think about your boy making the complete transition to Kagoli, Pa?" Billy asked.

"It's only a matter of time anyway, unless you figure out some way to padlock my hole to keep your tongue out," Nick replied, "A chastity device of sorts," he added.

"What an awful thought, Pa. Some of the best love'n I ever got was from your handsome hole. I wonder if the real Lone Ranger made love to his faithful companion's ass?" Billy mused.

"If he didn't he weren't a true man of the West," Nick replied firmly.

"No argument there, Pa. Fuck it! I want the full package like Jethro. We owe it to the Kagoli," Billy allowed.

"No, Kemosabe, you owe it to yourself," Nick replied.

"Cain't gainsay that, Pa," Billy replied.

End of Chapter 43 ~ Him Who Made The Seven Stars

Copyright ~ ~ 2013 ~ Waddie Greywolf
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