Him Who Made The Seven Stars
By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 49

Old Cajun saying: If you want the best seat in the house, move the dog.

"Oh, my God!" Claude Dewey exclaimed. "Dan, you idiot. I saw the e-mail you sent the attorney in Mason. This is all your fault. He tried to warn you it was a sensitive situation being watched closely by the government. You were officious in your tone and implied he was a know-nothing ignorant bumbling country bumpkin who couldn't possibly understand modern law under our newly formed government. He told you our client and his church member who broke into the place to take illegal photos are in jail for possession of stolen property, and that didn't raise a red flag? You didn't even take the time to verify his claim. One quick call to the sheriff's office would have confirmed it. Not cool, Cowboy. He gave you twenty-four hours to return the stolen documents and you refused. You just brushed him off. He did exactly what I would have done if I got your e-mail. I wouldn't beg you or wait for you to change your mind. I'd sit down and fire off an e-mail to Homeland Security as fast as my fingers could get it into the machine and hit the send button. It's exactly what the man did, and look what it cost us. We're essentially out of business, Dan!" Dewey yelled at his partner.

"Way to go, Howe!" Cheetum said sarcastically with a major dollop of anger.

"This ain't right. This is bullshit. It's like something out of the Twilight Zone. Somebody's playing a very bad joke on us. Let's get in touch with the bar association and find out what to do," Howe said.

They checked the security cameras and there was nothing on them outside or inside. They were just blank after midnight. It was not the only surprise the firm of Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe received that day. They gathered at Claude Dewey's home with their laptops to do some research, and found their hard-drives were formatted, wiped clean, awaiting an operating system. Every bite and tittle of their information was erased. They began checking and every computer in their homes were blank slates. Every memory stick was wiped clean and their kid's video games were scrambled beyond repair. They were forced to go to the public library to get on line. When they got in touch with the Bar Association, they told them they had no record of them ever having passed the bar exam, and assured them they were not licensed to practice law in the state of Texas. There were no records on them period. They were about to the hit the panic button, but they checked their bank accounts, and fortunately, they were still in place. Dewey carefully re-read the letter they found left for them to his partners. If they tried to question Homeland Security's motives or challenge their authority to do what they did, there would be further and swift retribution.

"If they have the power to wipe us out overnight, do either of you want to take them on? I certainly don't! I still have my properties, bank account, and savings. I got my family and my home. I don't care to gamble what I got left. We will have to make some adjustments, but we will survive. We can always take the bar exam again and get reinstated. In the meantime, I plan to get a job as a law clerk somewhere and study up for the next exam. I guess this effectively dissolves our partnership, Gentlemen," Claude Dewey declared.

"Fuck that! I worked too damn hard to get where I am. I ain't about to tuck my tail between my legs and lick their butts!" Dan Howe exclaimed.

"I think Claude's got a good point, Dan. I don't plan to be your Sancho Panza, follow you and hold your coat while you tilt at windmills, but feel free to go ahead-on saddle-up old Rocinante and knock yourself out, Buddy; however, if we hear you disappeared and ain't been seen nor heard from in a while, we won't have to ask ourselves why," Ernie Cheetum said.

"Son of a bitch! I'll bet that dumb-ass Cowboy knows what went on!" Howe ranted.  

"So what? After you lobbed your insulting pedantic word-bomb, your dumb-ass Cowboy wiped us out with one quick e-mail! You think you can eat enough humble-pie to get him to tell you anything after being so insufferably rude to the man? I think not! I wouldn't give you the time of day. What fantasy world do you live on, Howe?" Dewey asked.

"I don't plan to eat nothing, including his bullshit. The last line of his e-mail 'Let me know how that works out for you' tells me he knew something more than we did. I plan to drive to Mason and confront him, call him out, and demand he tells us what he knows, and why he didn't warn us about it. He's responsible for this, and I wanna' know who his contact was," Howe argued.

"For Christ sake, Dan, the man did warn us. He sent copies of the federal protection contract between Brad Kirkendall and the government. You always were a loose cannon, Howe. Your e-mail essentially said you thought he was a dumb, no-nothing, small town hick, Womack's case was gonna' go down your way, and fuck him. Now you plan to go there, ride into town on the back of your pony with gun's a-blazing like some drunken cowhand with a three-day hard-on from an overload of anger induced testosterone? I don't think so. I don't think he's dumb at all. He dismissed you handily in his e-mail when he wrote 'good luck with that!'" Cheetum said firmly and added, "That comment alone should have told you he was confident he was holding the winning hand, and you would be crazy to bet against him."

After a couple of days simmering on the back burner on low heat in juices of their own misery, Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe decided to dissolve their partnership, tie up loose ends, and move on with their lives. They divided up the work between them to notify clients whose cases were current. They explained, due to unforeseen circumstances, they would no longer be able to represent them. Claude Dewey sent a letter to Womack's wife stating they decided his case was without merit and they, in good conscience, could no longer represent him. He would either have to contract with another law firm, accept a court appointed attorney, or throw himself on the mercy of the court. Womack was devastated. His wife also informed her husband, the sheriff and his deputies returned to confiscate the hand gun he bought for her. Clarence ranted and raved in his cell for two days. He was watching his world come crashing down around him. He told anyone who would listen he was set up and was convinced the monster behind his persecution was that demon of a juvenile delinquent posing as a rancher, Billy Daniels.

* * * * * * *
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the masked man and his faithful companion, Tonto, were fucking their brains out like two demons late for All Saints Eve on Bald Mountain. Billy decided, after Jethro's stunning success in his Kagoli demon form, he wanted to consume more of the DNA altering enzymes from Captain Nick to fully complete the conversion process. He wasn't the only one. Oatie was determined he must do the same. Jethro tried to talk him into holding off and build up to it gradually, but ever' body knows you can't never tell no kid not to put beans in their ears. (Waddie swings and scores another triple negative construction, folks. The fans go crazy. The Grammar Nazis? Not so much.)

With all the excitement of the smack-down weekend, the addition of two more artificially created angels, and the sheriff rounding up Earl and Womack, Billy decided he and his surrogate pa, along with his immediate family, would spend a relaxed evening together in the line-cabin. Billy found himself in a deep sleep standing in a great field of Blue Bonnets and Indian Paint Brushes almost as high as the top of his buckaroo boots. Except for his boots, Billy was stark naked standing next to his beloved pa. It seemed so real, but it was just a dream. Billy felt Nick slip his hand into his and gently squeezed. Billy wasn't surprised. They often shared each other's dreams. If they were bored with their own dream, they would jump next door to see if the other was dreaming something more interesting than what was playing on their channel. Nick jumped into Billy's dreams more often. Billy's were always more gee-whiz-golly-gosh ain't that wonderful and renewed in Nick what joys he experienced in his own youth before the sobering reality of life in an ever changing universe could darken his spirit. Stark reality could sometimes be disheartening, to say the least.

"Are you with me or am I dreaming about you, pa?" Billy asked.

"Naw, I'm here. Someone called me out of a deep dreamless sleep, and said they wanted me to join you in this here field. Nice place. Wonderful smell. Wonder who brought us here, Kemosabe?" Nick mused without a sign of fear in his voice.

"We's both naked as baby jays, pa. Who else could pull this off?" Billy asked and grinned. Nick laughed at him.

"What's up, Gentlemen? Why you handsome beasties call us here?" Nick asked.

"Ah, our handsome children. It's good to see you again. We so enjoyed your family's visit, but we didn't want Master Billy to think we forgot about him," the voice of Gregor said.

"Won't you join us, Gentlemen. It is truly a wonderful place you have created for this meeting. There's a nice stream, some flat rocks we can sit on and share our thoughts," Billy invited.

In a great flash of light the huge Gregor and his smaller mate materialized before them. Billy and Nick walked hand in hand toward them, bowed deeply, and offered each giant watcher their free hand. The four creatures walked hand in hand to the river and sat on the huge flat limestone rocks. Billy winked at Nick, went first to Albrecht and gave him a hug and a kiss, and then to Gregor to do the same. "It's been too long, Masters," Billy said.

"We follow everything you do, young one. You have become the hero to a vast number of solar systems. We do not presume to interrupt the natural flow of your life, but we have a couple of errands we need you and your dad's help with," Gregor said. (Gregor didn't know you can't end a sentence with a preposition. Well, maybe he knew once and just chose to overlook if for the sake of brevity.)

"I've come to consider my relatives very much a part of the natural flow of my life. I couldn't imagine living without your love, goodness, and generosity of spirit following me and sometimes I'm even lucky enough to share your presence like this moment. Whatever you might have in mind, you know you can count on us," Billy said.

"We have two more cowboy-angels for you and your family. Their situation is much like Hank and Buck's, but they aren't a bonded pair. They have been partners in their difficult sojourn; however, they will probably go their own way after they have been returned to Earth under your employ. They were kidnapped from Earth about eight of your years ago by the Grays to process for food for their reptilian masters, but the hive mind has its flaws -- the Grays can be dense at times. Unfortunately, for them, the two men were taken from a war zone and fully loaded for battle. They overcame the Grays hypno-beam and wiped them out. They couldn't figure out how to pilot the ship and remained adrift in space for several days before they were brought aboard a Liberian freighter and taken to Retikki Prime. They adjusted quickly to life on Retikki Prime, proved to be hard workers, and became dedicated to their masters.

"They proved their mettle saving the children of an orphanage from a dreadful fire at great risk to their own lives. They were burned so badly, on any other planet they would have perished. We could not allow such heroism and self-sacrifice to go unrewarded. It took us several weeks, but we managed to restore them to their original state. We enhanced them and gave them options for their future. They wanted to return to Earth to become your slaves and work for you. They also realize there was a good chance they might be reunited with their families, but their first duty will be to you as their master. For your help in this matter, we will be sending you a token of our appreciation with these men. Use our gift wisely as we know you will," Gregor explained.

Albrecht picked up the conversation. "We would like for you to visit the young Cajun man's family and prepared them for his return. We know you already have information about the Boudreaux family. Take Boss-man Randy; your two halflings, Poly and Cass; Bubba Kirkendall; Jack McCormack; Boomer, and Brute with you. Also take your pa, Balthazar, and Clyde with you as well. You will need them," he explained, "While I have the floor, let me say your handling of the giant Ork affair was masterful, Master Billy. We can't tell you how proud of you we are, and the same goes for the Irin. They have volunteers backed up by the thousands to come to Earth to serve you and your cause. We are also pleased you are well ahead of projected time estimates for absorbing and putting your Irin slaves to work. And this week you began to lay the foundation for your new city. May we suggest you consider building several more bunkhouses like the last four you built on the cliffs over the North fork of the Llano river. We might further suggest you utilize your new slaves, Garth and Mack, to oversee and implement your bakery and herbal production as soon as possible. You will not only have a huge market on Earth, you will be swamped for orders throughout the universe. Think large, Gentlemen, you don't have to confine your business possibilities to Earth," Albrecht encouraged them.

"That reminds me to thank you for your last wonderful gift of the Hosanna cakes. They were greatly appreciated, enjoyed, and gone within three days. I never heard so many cowboys shout 'Hosanna' in my life," Billy said and got a laugh out of his giant in-laws.

They talked about many things, but the giant watchers decided they disturbed enough of the cowboy's sleep and needed to return to their own dreams. They bid farewell to each other and left Billy and Nick alone. "I hate to leave this place, Pa. It's so peaceful and soothing," Billy said.

"We don't have to. Lay your head back on my shoulder, and I'll whisper nasty things to you," Nick said.

"If you do, we won't get no sleep, and I found myself being short and cranky a few times lately," Billy said.

"Then close your eyes and let me tell you a story," Nick urged, and Billy did as his pa told him.

It was a wonderful story. Billy was the hero and rescued a young virgin lad from a great dragon with his jewel encrusted Sword. With his gleaming blade in hand, he charged. One, two! One two! And through and through his vorpal blade went snicker-snack! He left it dead, and with its head, he went galumphing back. (Nick only recently discovered Louis Carroll.) Later, Sir Knight Billy protected the handsome young man's chastity from a marauding band of gypsies, tramps, and thieves. The lad was so grateful he pledged himself to become Sir Billy's page and apprentice knight.

* * * * * * *
The next morning the ranch house was busy with activity getting breakfast together and Billy's staff smiling with pride from ear to ear at the success of their covert mission. They told in detail how they managed their caper and pulled it off without the slightest hitch. Helen let the others tell what they accomplished and was mostly quiet, but they sang her praises, and referred to her coordinating skills many times. The general consensus was, they couldn't have done it without her.

"What did you do with three offices and a reception room full of furniture and files?" Billy asked in awe.

"It's in the old barn, sir," Andy said proudly.

"I got to see that after breakfast. Me and ma' pa done worked us up a demon sized appetite last e'nin. We need to get some food in us or we might float away," Billy allowed.   

There was much conversation around the table about the latest news; how Womack failed to tell the sheriff about a hand gun he bought from Earl what belonged to Brad Kirkendall. Clarence was written up with another stolen weapons charge to add to the other. Billy's team told how they managed to infiltrate computer files and erase any trace of the law firm of Dewey, Cheetum, and Howe. They wouldn't be able to practice law in the state of Texas until they passed the bar again. Billy and his cowboys laughed and complimented his family. He made it a point to graciously thank Helen Kirkendall for her tireless efforts and genius at coordinating and seeing their plan worked successfully.

After breakfast the men walked to the barns and took a quick look at the furniture. It wasn't cheap stuff. The three attorney's desks were huge and looked like they were handmade by expert craftsmen. Even the carpets were expensive oriental weaves. Billy was surprised by the beauty and tastefulness which brought it all together. He was sure they had decorators plan each office and worked hard to capture each man's personality pompous, successful, on the border of ostentatious, but fortunately, the decorators displayed good taste and pulled-up hard on the reins before they allowed it to go over the cliff.

"What'll we do with this stuff?" Billy asked to no one in particular.

"You can't keep your office staff in the main house, Kemosabe," Nick said, "One forty-eight hour mission wasn't bad, but you need a more permanent place where these folks can get off to themselves to do their work with the least confusion and without bothering the life and comfort of your family in the ranch house," he added.

"Are you suggesting there might be room in the castle, Tonto?" Billy asked.

"We ain't using but a third of the castle. That's the way we found it, and we ain't never had to use more than we're using now. Two thirds of it was closed off and boarded-up long before we transported it onto the ship. We been so busy with other projects, we ain't had time to explore the rest. Nobody's been in those sections. Ain't no tell'n what's in 'nere. Let's open it up, round up a cleaning crew, and give these good folks some room to breathe and grow. These desks will come in handy. They will have time to go through the files at their leisure and keep only the one's you want," Nick said.    

"I think it's a great idea. Nobody will find this stuff there, and we might as well make use of it," Billy said, "It's time we got our staff together under one roof where they can do their thing," Billy allowed. "Okay, let's start today. We'll get a crew of cowboys in there to open it up. We can take a tour this afternoon with them and let them pick their own set of rooms. Why didn't you open up the whole thing, Tonto?" Billy asked.

We had to plumb and wire the section we're using now. There was no such thing back in the days when it was built. We modernized about a third of it. The rest we left pristine. With your Irin slaves we can get it done on a priority basis, and the rest as we have time to get to it. It will be good practice for building your city," Nick said.

"You're right. Let's do it. Hank, you and Buck work closely with our other staff. You men know better than us what they'll need to get started, and for their personal comforts. Get the offices done first and then any living quarters after that. If we're gonna' use the whole castle, we might as well outfit it. We can also use it to house more Irin specialist, and important guests," Billy allowed.

And so the refurbishing and retrofitting of the castle began. Billy made another decision. He didn't want Thor and Zeus going back to being lead guard bulls at the front gate. He needed two good men to see to the remodeling of the castle. Hank and Buck were already so busy with jobs Billy assigned them and others they just took on themselves. Billy wanted to relieve them of some of the pressure. He didn't want his favorite buckaroos burning themselves out. They would become figure-heads over the project and act as procurement coordinators, but Thor and Zeus would become the foremen of the job. Gog and Willie would be their ramrods to see the work got done in a timely manner. Billy made it clear, he didn't want the ancient castle 'modernized' past the point of creature comforts. He wanted it left in its pristine Gothic beauty. Billy developed an affection for the old castle which made him appreciate it and stirred deep feelings within him to protect and preserve its original glory. He stressed any retrofitting must be done in a manner which would go unnoticed by anyone not in the 'know' as to how it was accomplished.  

They temporarily moved and stored the stuff from the attorney's offices into a large hall until they could get the new offices completed. Until then, Billy's staff would continue to use the apartment on the third floor of the ranch house. Billy's staff and workers estimated a time of two weeks to get the job done. They were in the last week of April, and with the month of May, would come better weather. Spring was in the air and people's attitudes for working and accomplishing great things together were growing into a passion. While his staff was still together, Billy quietly assigned them one other job.

He talked in confidence with his main heads of staff including Aunt Helen, whom he was quickly coming to think of as his Auntie head-of-staff. He gave her a single sheet of paper he printed out from information he gathered from Elmer and Oatie about Stanley David Breedlove. He interview Oatie and Elmer one evening in his office in the tower of the house and recorded their conversations on his computer. He went back and gleaned, what he considered, the most important information and several paragraphs about personal quirks they knew about.

One of the most outstanding and interesting bit was, Stan became friends with a young Cajun boy his age, Etienne Boudreaux, who attended Mason High School with him. Etienne was so handsome and masculine every kid in school was in love with him girls and boys. The teachers couldn't take their eyes off him both sexes. He was a natural athlete and the coaches loved him. He tried to light a spark in Stan to play football, but his heart just wasn't in it. Secretly, Stan would love to play football with his buddy, but he didn't want to invoke the wrath and endless interrogations from his mother he knew he would suffer. Janice told him she was sure football was what turned Oatie queer -- being naked and messing around with the other players on the team in the showers playing grab-ass and drop the soap. Stupid knows no limits.  

Etienne lived with a Great Aunt and her husband in Mason during the week, but every Friday afternoon his family would drive to Mason to pick him up and take him to spend the weekend with them in their big double-wide trailer at one of many trailer parks which sprang up after the turn of the century in Erna, Texas. There was a major deposit of fracking sand discovered near Erna and a huge plant built to excavate and load it for transporting to fracking sites. They hired anyone who was an able-bodied male. They only paid minimum wage, but times were tough and poor folks came from far and wide to work at the sand plant not caring it was one of the agents contributing to poisoning the water table and their bodies. They weren't bad people. They were like everyone else in the country suffering from the stupidity of sequestering and enforced austerity programs by oligarchs and conservatives of the new Theocratic-Corporate regime. They were trying to survive and provide for their families as best they could.

Toward the end of their freshman year in high school together, Etienne invited Stan to spend a weekend with him and his family, and after much fighting with Janice, she finally gave her approval. She lost big when she turned her back on Oatie, and as a result, she became more lenient with Stan, but not much. The boy had to fight for every concession he got from her. Every Saturday night the Cajuns and the Gypsies would gather in a clearing outside of the small town of Erna and build a big fire. They would bring food and their musical instruments. They played mostly Zydeco Cajun music and the people would sing and dance. Stan loved it. He never knew people could have so much fun together as a family, and they weren't stingy with their love and affection for him. They included him in everything.

Etienne was a gifted Cajun squeeze-box player. His older sister, Rochelle, was learning the basics of playing the fiddle in the Zydeco saw-fiddle tradition and began to give Stan lessons. To everyone's amazement, Stan seemed to have a natural gift for playing the fiddle and quickly picked up many of the tunes they played. Stan loved the Boudreaux family and spent as much time with them as he could; that is, until Janice's paranoia raised its ugly head. She started getting pissy about the amount of time he spent with the Boudreauxs and questioned Stan endlessly about his relationship with Etienne, and did they sleep in the same bed together when he went to visit? Stan refused to answer her questions. He wouldn't let his mother intimidate him and told Janice it was none of her fracking business. Furthermore, he refused to be punished or live with her irrational suspicions brought about by her insane homophobia because of Stan's older brother.

Janice wasn't known for her parenting skills, stomped her ruby slipper (the house hadn't fallen on her yet, and her toes weren't curled up) decided to go nuclear and forbid Stan to spend anymore weekends with the Boudreaux family. It was the final straw. Stan stood up to her and told her he wouldn't put up with her Neo-Nazi-like interrogations, and anything she might be implying. If she couldn't trust him to be a good man and do the right thing, then she wasn't competent enough to continue being his parent. Stan was not gentle with her and told Janice she had become the epitome of the real wicked witch of the West. Stan told her if she didn't lighten up, allow him to have some life away from her, his holy sisters who sat in her 'amen' corner, and Jancie's smothering, life-choking concentration camp style interrogations, he would either take her to court to become an emancipated minor or go to his granddad on his hands and knees to seek sanctuary with him. Stan reminded Janice about her track record with Oatie and what her hatred did to the entire family. He insisted, there wouldn't be a court in the state what wouldn't set Stan free of her. What she was doing to him had nothing to do with right or wrong, it boiled down to two simple words child abuse.

Janice was just a hair's breadth away from pushing the red button to start a nuclear war with her second son when she remembered Elmer's words. He told her it was only a matter of time, and he would have both boys under his protection. She was such a wicked witch, Elmer said she would drive Stan away as surely as she did Oatie, whether Stan was gay or not. She decided her hatred for Elmer was greater than her need to find out every small detail of her boy's private life. She couldn't stand the thought of having the big cowboy win again, and if Stan was gay, she didn't think she wanted to know. She decided to back down and lower her situation colors to def-con yellow. She didn't give Stan permission to go with the Boudreaux family the next weekend. Stan never asked. He just packed his backpack, and took it to school with him on Friday morning. She didn't hear from him until the following Monday afternoon after school. She asked how his weekend was. Stan told her he had fun; he got to hear and play a lot of wonderful Cajun music. She never said another word to him after that.

Later, Stan asked Janice if she would help him buy a second-hand fiddle. She told him 'no' absolutely not. She wasn't going to have no long-haired musician for a son. Stan built himself a fiddle out of an old white pine wine box which originally held two bottles of fine wine. Various parts he got from junk-shops and hardware stores. He worked on his old square fiddle by the hour trying to get it to sound the best he could. He watched videos on YouTube about violin making, shaved more off the insides until they were almost paper thin, and moved the internal posts around until he got it just like he wanted. The love and attention he was lavishing on his 'BeauSoleil Box,' as he called it, began to pay him back with dulcet tones so sweet, people who heard him play swore he conjured an angel to resided within his box and would sing its heart out every time Coo-zone Da-veed stroked him just right. Stan became known by his real name to his new family as David. He was known to them as Cousin David or in Cajun 'Coo-zone Da-veed.' He lived in two worlds. A cold, suspicious, never good enough, life-sucking gray world of religious zombies created by his mother and sisters, and his other world of light, happiness, joy in music, and a loving family who weren't afraid to care and share what they had with others.  

Stan would practice on his home-brew square fiddle every afternoon after school for several hours. For some reason, once she heard the kind of music Stan was playing, Janice eased up on him a bit; but she didn't spare his feelings. She told him she hated Cajun music. She said it brought out the devil in men and women, and she thought he was wasting his time. That was fine with Stan, his other family in Erna didn't feel that way. Oatie didn't know about Stan's association with the Boudreaux family, but Elmer did. Not much got past the bull of the hill country, and he thought including the information might have some significance in trying to locate Stan.

* * * * * * *
It was Wednesday evening and Billy got word out to Bubba and Jack to come to supper again, he wanted to hear the latest news, and he assured them he had plenty to share with them. Bubba went by the jail earlier in the afternoon. He began to make it a habit of going to the back door and knocking. Every time he tried to walk through the front, Womack would try to engage him in conversation. "Bubba! Bubba! Am I glad to see you! I need to talk to you, Son," Clarence would say trying to get his attention and strike up a conversation.

"You have nothing to say I'd be interested in hearing, Womack," Bubba said.

"But you don't understand. It ain't my fault. Earl set me up. This is all his evil doing. He sold his soul to the devil, Bubba. You shouldn't be talking with him. I know how much you love him, but he ain't your brother, Son. He's on a mission to destroy you. He told me so. His heart is filled with jealousy and anger against you. You've got to believe me, Bubba. Earl is a part of a great demonic force who is taking over our community," Womack raved.

"Who would know better about the work of demons than a self-proclaimed preacher who turned his back on God to screw his fellow man. No thanks, if I have to deal with demons, I'd rather go right to the source, Clarence. The devil his'self couldn't be more despicable or unholy than you in my eyes, and I'll bet he don't foam at the mouth when you talk with him, neither. I hear'd tell you won't be a preacher much longer. I hear'd rumors your congregation is having a hearing tomorrow night to kick yore' no-good fat ass out of their church," Bubba lied through his teeth, but his words had their desired effect. Womack got a dour look on his face, but still yelled after Bubba as he walked into the back part of the jail. Bubba smiled at Earl as he walked into the back area.

"Gotta' give him credit. He's a hustler," Earl said shaking his head in disgust. He was sitting on his bunk with his hands together.

"I better not find out you give yore'self to the devil without first giving me a taste of yore' sweet cowboy butt, Buckaroo," Bubba teased.

"Naw, I'm pretty underhanded, but I wouldn't do 'at to my brother," Earl went along with Bubba's bullshit.

"Good to know. Now we got that out a' the way, you doing all right? Is there anything I can get for you?" Bubba asked.

"As a matter of fact, I need some stuff for my bathroom, Bubba. Toothbrush, paste, mouthwash, throw-away razor, and some cheap aftershave. Oh, yes, and later on in the week, if you could see yourself clear to share supper wiff' me with another one of them belly buster combos from the DQ would be greatly appreciated," Earl said and smiled.

"I think we can manage them things, Brother," Bubba said. "Yore' momma called last e'nin and asked about you. I told her you were doing fine. She invited me out for coffee tomorrow, and I plan to go check on her for you see if she needs anything," Bubba said.

"Thanks, Bubba, I'd appreciate it," Earl said.

Bubba didn't stay long. He had a couple of other errands to do and thought he'd pick up Earl's stuff at the dollar store while he was at it. He stopped by the market and got another couple of bags of carrots for the guard bulls. It had been a while since he and Jack brought the others. Brute was riding in the back of Bubba's truck. The huge beast was phased out of sight but reappeared to help Bubba throw the carrots out to the cattle. "How did I live so long without you in my life?" Bubba yelled up to Brute.

"Your were never without me, Master, I was always here, by your side, every step of the way. It just wasn't time yet for you to know about me. It might have changed the balance of the time-line, but that would not be allowed," Brute said, "Besides, you're at an age when you would appreciate me more as time goes on. We're going to have a wonderful time with your little brother and Master Billy this evening. You'll get to see a great weapon you've read about in legends but what ain't been seen on Earth for centuries," Brute added.

"How do you know these things?" Bubba asked.

"I see bits and pieces. Two cowboy-angels kidnapped from Earth like Hank and Buck returned to become Master Billy's slaves, and one will bring a great weapon as a gift for his new master from Master Billy's in-laws," Brute said.

Jack pulled in behind Bubba who was parked by the side of the road. The guard cattle were too busy eating the sweet carrots to pay much attention to him. They looked up, recognized his truck and went back to eating their treats like 'ho-hum, it's just Jack.' He laughed to himself as he got out of his SUV. "Need a hand, Brute?" he hollered to the handsome beast as he came along side Bubba's truck. Brute handed Jack a handful of the carrots and he began to cover the other side of the road from Bubba. He knew they didn't get any because they weren't chewing. They cheered as Jack threw carrots their way. They continued throwing them around until the sacks were empty. Most everyone got at least a couple of treats. As the men got into their vehicles, they mooed, and stomped their hooves in thanks for Bubba's thoughtfulness and generosity.

The men drove up to the big house and found everyone waiting for them outside. They were surprised to find Boss-man Randy Rutherford was with them. Randy ran to Bubba and jumped into his arms. Bubba spun him around and stole a kiss and a hug. They were laughing and having a great time. Then Randy remembered Jack and gave him the same unabashed welcome.

"Didn't know we'd get to see you this e'nin, Ramrod Randy, but it's nice surprise to find you here," Bubba said.

"It was the middle of the week, and I couldn't stand not having my saddle buddy around, so I asked his mom for a midweek sleep over. Ruth was kind and generous enough to allow it. Besides, we got us an errand to run after supper, and I'm gonna' need his help to remind me when I ain't doing ma' job right," Billy said and everyone laughed.

Supper was a lively time of comparing notes and ideas about everything what was happening in their world. They kept it light and fun and everyone was enjoying themselves. Billy talked with Bubba about hiring Aunt Helen to run his office staff. He would pay her the same wage he was paying Oatie's slave Jethro as project manager for the Highland Shire project. He already had a meeting with his staff, and they agreed he wouldn't find a better chief-of-staff.

"I think they've fallen in love with her, and they call her Aunt Helen," Billy said.

"I have no problem with it as long as she's active and happy. I'd like to see her grow and develop," Bubba said. "Tell us about this road-trip we's suppose to take this e'nin after supper, Master Billy. I understand two enhanced cowboy-angels will be returned to Earth and one will bring you a great weapon?" Bubba asked.

"How did you know about the cowboy-angels? I don't know nothing about no weapon. Our uncles come to me and Captain Nick last e'nin in our dreams and told us where to go and who to take along, but they never said nothing about no weapon. They said one would bring me a gift," Billy said in awe of Bubba.

"My beloved Beastie is a seer, Master Billy. He can see bits and pieces of the near future," Bubba replied.   

"We're going to visit the Cajun family who were good to Oatie's brother, Stan Breedlove, when he was in high school. We think we might be able to track Stan through them. One of the returning cowboy-angels is their son, Etienne Boudreaux. We believe they think he went missing in action. He did, but just not the way they might think. It will be a great reunion for them, but Etienne will belong to me," Billy said, then paused for a moment, "That sounded bad, but you know what I mean. Certainly as a member of my family his family will become a part of us as well," he added.

Everyone had more than enough to eat and decided to have dessert after they returned from the Boudreaux place. Billy decided to take the big ranch van and there would be plenty of room for cowboys and beasties. Randy could sit in his favorite lap. Billy instructed Boomer and Brute to remain hidden after they arrived until he told them they could materialize. The days were beginning to get longer and the sun was beginning to set in the West as they drove to Erna, Texas. It didn't take them long and Billy pulled into the mobile home park. His staff got the address and phone number of the family and the space number for their trailer. Billy was impressed by the size and beauty of some of the double-wide trailers. The Boudreaux family lived in the very last mobile home on the street. They pulled up in front and unloaded. Billy went up to the door and knocked while the rest stood behind him off the porch. Mr. Boudreaux came to answer the door and his eyes went wide to see a fine looking young cowboy and several other cowboys, several with rings through their noses, and one young buckaroo about seven years old standing by the young cowboy's side.

"Good evening, sir. Are you Mr. Odio Placide Boudreaux?" Billy asked.

"I am, young man," he replied.

"Mr. Boudreaux, I'm Billy Daniels, owner of the Daniel's ranch just South of Mason, Texas where the two rivers, the Llano and the James, come together. We come to pay you and your family a visit and would like to talk with you about a mutual family matter, sir," Billy said.

"Come in! Come in, Gentlemen," Mr. Boudreaux said as he stuck out his hand to shake Billy's, "Us Cajuns don't know no strangers and welcome anyone with a good heart into our homes. You never know when you might be entertaining angels unawares," Mr. Boudreaux said.

Randy giggled. "Hesh up, little buddy!" Billy said to Randy and got a big grin on his face, "I couldn't agree with you more, Mr. Boudreaux, and we try to maintain the same spirit of cordiality to anyone who finds their way to our front door regardless of their station in life," he added, and then launched into a couple of sentences in the Cajun tongue about what an honor and privilege he considered it to be to be invited into Mr. Boudreaux's home. The man's eyes lit up, and he grinned from ear to ear. "You are a brother, Mr. Daniels?" he asked.

"I try to be a brother to any man with a good heart, sir," Billy replied in Cajun.

The men walked into the large trailer, and it was obvious the family just finished their supper. Billy's timing was perfect, and they went into the living room. Billy introduced Nick, Balthazar, and Clyde, the three large men with rings through their noses, as his slaves and protectors. He further explained Nick Samuel was his surrogate dad. He introduced Bubba and Jack, stressing Mr. McCormack was one of only two attorneys in Mason and was Billy's family lawyer. He introduced Pollux and Castor as his little brothers who were fully grown men. They were of another race known as halflings. Last but not least, Billy picked up Randy and introduced him as his adopted little brother and saddle buddy, Mr. Randy Rutherford. Several of the Boudreaux women were chattering away in Cajun they were sure Randy was the young boy they saw a cowboy, who looked like Billy, heal in the parking lot of Walmart in Fredericksburg. "You beautiful ladies are correct. That's where we met," Billy spoke to them in the Cajun language.

"Master Billy healed me of a terrible crippling disease. I was dying, and he saved my life. For his kindness and compassion, I asked him to be my big brother, and he agreed," Randy said in equally flawless Cajun dialect. The family was startled.

"How many of you speak our tongue?" Mrs. Boudreaux asked.

"Hands?" Billy asked, and every hand went up except Bubba and Jack's. They were pleasantly surprised.

Mr. Boudreaux introduced his family. His two lovely daughters and their husbands. Billy recognized the oldest daughter's name as Rochelle. She married a fine looking man of Gypsy heritage by the unusual last name of Howler. Rochelle was holding their young daughter about four years old who was almost totally unresponsive to anything going on in the room. Billy knew immediately why he was told to bring Randy along. Rochelle was sitting on the large sofa trying in vain to get the little girl to suck from her breast, but she would have none of it. She was staring off into space. Every now and then she would point to something, grin, giggle, then hold our her little hands toward the unknown. Billy squatted on his haunches to get a good look at her. "And what is this beautiful little lady's name," he asked quietly.

"We named her after her active spirit. For the first three years of her life she was almost hyper-active, full of energy, and conscious of everything around her. She would run from one thing to another taking in life at an accelerated rate. She would come to you for a moment and then dash away to something else which might catch her interest. We named her 'Dashaway," Rochelle said.

"Dashaway Howler? What a lovely name, and it suits her perfectly. She seems to be intent on getting someone's attention," Billy said.

"She's four years old. She's too old to suckle. She should be eating solid foods, but since the massive doses of childhood disease vaccinations she's regressed mentally to a state we can't communicate with her anymore. I can't understand what she keeps reaching out for. There's no one there, Dash," she spoke to her child in frustration.

"Sorry, ma'am, but there is someone there. Me and Dashaway can see him. We brought along two of our family protectors we call watchers, but they's invisible to adults. You might know them as Bigfoot. She smells Boomer's milk. See, she's drooling to get to his teat," Randy said.

"What are you talking about. She's always drooling, Son," Rochelle said to Randy.

"May I hold her, ma'am?" Randy asked. Rochelle looked at her husband, and he nodded his consent. Randy gently took Dashaway from her mother and the little girl began to make cooing sounds and smiled at Randy like he was a young Lochinvar who had come to her rescue to take her to the land of milk and honey. She was unusually small for a four year old. Randy gently rocked her while walking a few feet away from the couch. "Show yourself, Boomer. You too, Brute," Randy commanded. Instantly the two giant watchers materialized to the gasps of the family. The little girl was going crazy trying to get to Boomer. The huge creature smiled the most loving smile at her and took her gently into his enormous arms. Dashaway zeroed in on Boomer's tit like a heat seeking missile and began to suck like there was no tomorrow.

"She could see Boomer and Brute, but you can't. I can see them because I ain't reached puberty yet. All children can see watchers. I have my own watcher named Ludo. He's at home. I drink his milk a lot, and he feeds my baby sister every day. Watcher milk is the most nutritious and healing food in the universe. I promise, you will notice a difference in your daughter, ma'am," Randy said.   
 
"We see them when we gather on the outskirts of town," Mr. Boudreaux said, "Some of the Gypsies are afraid and throw rocks at them, but they come to hear the music. Us Cajuns look upon them as fellow travelers on our world. We leave left overs for them when we go home for the evening. The males produce milk?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, both produce milk for their bairns, but the male is the greater producer. The males have a pouch on their front similar to a Kangaroo or Panda and he carries the baby for half it's gestation period. When it's hungry, it will come out, crawl up his hairy body, hook up to a feeding station, and then return to his dad's pouch when full," Billy explained.

"Did you really heal Randy, sir?" Rochelle's husband, Alphonse, asked.

"Yes, sir, I did, but I denied it to the news people. By the time they got to us, Randy and me bonded so tight you couldn't separate us with a twenty-mule team. We become blood brothers. My little buddy helped, and swore my story about a UFO was true so's we wouldn't get flooded with requests for healings," Billy explained, "We do a little here and there when we can but mostly we count on folks being faithful to us. How do we do that? We make them members of our extended family. Randy's my little brother. If I heal your daughter for you, would Coo-zone Bill and Randy be welcome into your family?" Billy asked.

"Certainly, sir. Absolutely. I can understand how it might present a problem. Are you an angel, sir?" he asked.

"Yes, but not in the biblical sense. It will be explained to you in a few minutes. We brought a gift for you and your family, Mr. Boudreaux, to prove our good intentions, sir," Billy spoke to the older gentleman.
 
"What kind of gift, Son?" he asked.

"A gift of love. Your very own cowboy-angel. I don't know how to explain it to you so's you would understand other than just amazing you folks like Randy done with our watcher brothers. Go ahead on, Ramrod Randy, do your thing," Billy said and winked at his little brother.

Randy held his fist up in the air and hollered, "Hosanna!" Billy's family did the same and loudly proclaimed, "Hosanna, in the highest!"

Immediately a door sprang up in the trailer with a surface which looked like rippling blue water. Through the door walked the first cowboy-angel followed closely by a second holding a great sword. The family caught sight of their lost son Etienne fully fledged and went crazy. "Etienne, my beautiful son. Is it really you," Mr. Boudreaux cried.

Etienne handed his sword to Brute, went to his dad's arms, and they cried together holding each other tightly. "Yes, it's me, Dad," he replied.

"Did you die and become an angel, Son?" his dad asked. His mother and sisters came to him and surrounded him with hugs and tear-filled kisses.

"No, I didn't have to die to earn these wings, but me and my pardner damn near did. It's a long, unbelievable story, but we will have time for me to explain. I have been sent here to join Master Billy Daniel's family as his slave. Now don't panic at the word 'slave.' It ain't what you think, Papa. Master Billy's slaves become a part of his family. He will become my master, and I will become his slave. We will enter an agreement where we own an interest in each other a spiritual indenturement, if you will. It's sort of like them Cafeteria Christianist like to talk about giving themselves to their Lord to serve him so's they can create a better world for the future, only they ain't got no real tangible person to dedicate themselves to just a lot of nebulous scriptures of questionable origin which they only use as an excuse for bigotry and hypocrisy to hurt those what don't believe the same as they do. It may sound complicated at first, but it really ain't. Once you see it in action, you will understand," Etienne explained briefly.

"That's the best explanation of a sacred trust between two men who bond for a purpose I've ever heard, Etienne. I will remember it when someone needs a more convincing explanation of the matter," Billy complimented the fine looking young Cajun man. Billy's words prompted the first man to come to Billy, kneel before him, and pay homage to his boots. "Rise slave and share your heart and your love with your master," Billy commanded, and they shared a kiss which was not uncommon among Cajun men with their close buddies. The man introduced himself as Etienne's Marine buddy in the Middle East, Raymond Escobar.

"And where is your family from, Ray?" Billy asked.

"My family owns a small truck farm in Ramona, California where they grow organic fruits, vegetables, and several whole grains for markets around the greater San Diego area. It's a beautiful place. I'm looking forward to visiting with them," he replied.

"We will make time for you to visit, Ray," Billy assured him.

Etienne spoke to his family, "We will also have time to visit, but first, I must take care of business and pay homage to my new master," Etienne said. He went to Billy, fell to his knees, and paid homage to his boots.

"Come to your master's arms, my good slave, and share your love with me," Billy commanded firmly.

Etienne was in Billy's arms in an instant, and they also shared a passionate kiss to seal their bond. The family was impressed. They broke apart and Etienne walked to Brute, thanked him for holding the great sword, held it across his arms, and returned to Billy. He fell to one knee and held it up for him to accept, "This is a gift from your uncles, the Lord High Chancellors on Retikki Prime. It is the ancient sword Excalibur which featured so prominently in Arthurian legends. It isn't a weapon of destruction, sir. It is a defensive weapon and may only be used by a great man who is pure in heart and compassionate by nature. You may not choose it for a weapon. It will choose you, sir," Etienne said.

"Thank you, Etienne and Ray. I accept this sword with great humility and honor. While I would like to think of myself as a man with some compassion, I don't think I would qualify as a man with a pure heart. I'm capable of some terribly nasty thoughts sometimes mainly of my own invention," Billy said and laughed. All of a sudden, the sword began to glow. It produced the purest white light and began to hum.

"I think Excalibur might disagree with you, Master Billy," Raymond said and smiled.    
 
Billy grinned and decided he would explore his new toy's capabilities later. He handed it back to Brute and asked him to guard and take care of it for him. "My pleasure, Master Billy," he replied and Etienne's family were impressed by Brute's deep, booming voice.

"We didn't know they could speak, Mr. Daniels," Mrs. Boudreaux said.

"They can. They just don't very often. They prefer to communicate with each other and sometimes with us, mentally. We can hear them in our heads," Billy explained.

"They are the dominate species on the planet me and Ray lived on while we were gone. They're wonderful, peaceful, and intelligent creatures. If a man is fortunate enough to have one for a friend or protector, he is indeed, a lucky person," Etienne told his mother, "The one Master Billy calls, Boomer, feeding my niece, is next in line to be supreme ruler of the planet where we lived, and I heard Master Billy is his consort. Together, they will someday rule a whole galaxy," he added, "Is Maw-Maw still with us?" he asked.

"She's in your old room, Son, but she can't get about. We must do everything for her. She was ninety-two her last birthday. She told me an angel come to her in her sleep last year on her birthday and told her to hang on, cling to life, she would once again look upon the face of her handsome grandson, he would restore her health, and strengthen her tired old heart with his sweet music. Then she told me she would dance with you again," Mrs. Boudreaux said.

"Master Billy?" Etienne asked.

Billy knew what Etienne was asking. "Let's take care of your niece first, and then we will help your grandma-ma. Have the women prepare her for us," he told Etienne.

"Not to worry, Mom. As young as he looks, Master Billy has become a great healer and restorer of age. With me and Ray's help and Master Billy's men, we will help my beautiful little niece and Maw-Maw. Maybe she will dance with me again," Etienne said.  

About that time, little Dashaway Howler decided she couldn't drink another drop of the sweet, rich milk from Boomer's teat, pulled away, and sputtered. Boomer began to clean her with his huge tongue like she was his very own darling bairn. Every heart in the trailer was touched by the huge monster's instinctive need to care for the young girl child. Dashaway focused for the first time in over a year and held out her little arms to her mother. Rochelle was moved to the core of her being. It was the first time in a very long while her daughter, her precious little girl, acknowledged she even knew her mother was in the same room with her. Rochelle broke into tears as Dashaway hugged and gave her mother a big kiss on her cheek. The Boudreaux family were devastated.

"Mom, you and Sissy go to Maw-Maw and undress her. Leave her on top of the bed but cover her with a light cotton sheet. It must be pure cotton with no blend. You and Sissy may stay to comfort her, but you can't be close to her, understand?" Etienne asked.

"We understand, Son, we will prepare her," his mother said and took Etienne's younger sister they called 'Sissy' with her.

"If you will excuse me and my men for one minute, we must gather our wings like your son and his buddy. We will disappear and return in an instant. Do not be alarmed. We do it all the time. The men set their hats aside, and everyone but Randy disappeared and reappeared in a great flash of light. They were fully fledged with their beautiful wings. Their western shirts were replaced by handsome leather harnesses. The family was astounded by so many angels but the cowboy-angel the ladies made over most was Jack McCormack and his brilliant multicolored wings. He stood out from the rest like a blinking neon sign.

"Why is he so so ?" Rochelle couldn't find the word.

"So outrageous?" Billy asked, and grinned, trying to help her.

"No, so spectacular and colorful," she replied.

"Thank you, Mrs. Howler. My enhancement and my wings were given to me by accident as an unwitting gift from my big brother, Bubba; this big cowboy standing next to me. He was trying to show-off his new wings for me, and they began to gather energy. His watcher, Brute, told him to release his built-up charge into me, and he did. Bubba zapped me with a huge jolt of his gathered energy. He's responsible and told me he'd been thinking about the Magic Tiki room at Disneyland that afternoon. He thought it might have something to do with the color of my wings. I look like one of them parrots, but I'm rather happy with them. They're unique, and I don't mind standing out in a herd," Jack said and laughed.

"Is you say'n I's an e pluribus cow, little Brother?" Bubba growled in mock disgust. The other men laughed.

"It's only a metaphor, big Brother, but if the hoof fits wear it!" Jack exclaimed and everyone laughed at their exchange.

"I think you look stunning, Mr. McCormack," Rochelle allowed.

"Why, thank you, ma'am," Jack said in his best cowboy manner and bowed deeply.

"Why didn't you get wings, Randy," Mr. Boudreaux asked.

"I ain't old enough, sir. I been enhanced, but I won't get me a set of wings until I reach puberty," he lamented, "I'm beginning to believe life don't start until pooh-bear-tea," he said sadly and everyone laughed at him.

"Don't you believe it, Ramrod Randy. You stay a kid as long as you can and milk it to the max, little Brother. I promise, as yore' big bother, I won't never steer you wrong. Trust me, 'pooh-bear-tea' is highly overrated," Bubba told him and got a laugh from the crowd.

"Randy, I want you to sit in the middle of the couch. Mrs. Howler, let Randy hold Dashaway," Billy said. Rochelle handed her little girl to Randy, he took her into his arms, and gave her a quick kiss on her forehead. Dashaway seemed to trust Randy immediately.

"Go inside, Randy, and tell me what you find," Billy said.

Randy's face went blank like he left his body. He closed his eyes and his eyeballs began to move like he was in REM sleep or watching a video on the backside of his eyelids. The family watched Dashaway's face light up, and she smiled. She had a visitor. "We're confused. We're better after Boomer's milk, but many conflicting things -- too many thoughts coming and going to make sense of anyone. No cop or light to direct or stop traffic. Can't grab one thought and hold on to it. They dash away as quickly as they come. Attention? Impossible! Like watching twenty Olympic ping-pong games at the same time. Which one do you follow? Watch them all? Look away! Book! I see a book. Dash wants to show me book. She holds on to books. Her one stable anchor to a slipping reality," Randy said. He was quiet for a moment, and then he smiled, "Oh, my God! She's showing me every book she's read in a flash mode. She don't read word for word. Dash like her name. She reads page by page. Whole page imprints on her brain. Much like you taught me to take a screen-shot of a window on my computer, Billy. But, like watching ping-pong games, all this mass of information, but she can't access any of it. No continuity! No flow of reason. Less understanding of purpose.

"She can read a complete book in a matter of minutes. She has developed her intuitive state to understand meaning of story in book from flashed page. She lives vicariously in story-world like a ghost might remain in a house after death because of connection and love for it during life. My God, she's flashing pages to me -- reading me a romance novel her mother took a month to read. I understand! I can see! I know how she takes one page and digests it was a great painting and not individual words; like we play notes from printed page, but it comes out music," Randy said, and Billy watched tears fall from Rochelle's face. "Dash needs flushing of heavy metals and micro-bactum introduced into her system through vaccines. Ordinarily, a child's system can fight them off, but in her case too many massive doses and other damaging chemicals from highly processed foods come together to create a log-jam. Create great confusing self-replicating and perpetuating feed-back loop. They need to be flushed as well," Randy said.

"We can do that. Flash her a picture how I must taste her blood to get her DNA. Show her a finger prick for me so we might gather a small amount of her blood. Tell her one drop will do and not to be afraid. She will feel no pain, and I will heal her finger immediately," Billy said.

"I showed her, Brother. She flash pic of me doing it for her. I told her I would," Randy replied.  

"Get me a sterilized straight pin," Billy said to anyone, and one was produced. Randy took it and quickly pricked Dashaway's little finger, as he absorbed any pain or trauma. Billy healed it immediately. She didn't even flinch. Billy squeezed a good drop, put it onto his finger, and tasted it. Instantly, he could taste the problem. "You gonna' be okay with this, little Brother?" Billy asked Randy, "You know you'll be a bit more enhanced along with her," Billy said.

"How can you enhance perfection, Brother?" Randy shot back and everyone laughed.

"Good point, baby Buckaroo, and the answer is, you c'ain't," Billy replied, "Besides, I love you just the way you is, Cowboy," he added.  

"Dash flash pic of me holding her. She don't want me to let her go, Master Billy. She asked me to be her big bother and see her through this. I agreed. I can't stop now anyway. We need each other. Her corrections will contribute to my growth. I will lead her through the maze, back to her family, and she will get me one step closer to pooh-bear-tea," Randy said. The adults were stunned at Randy's words of compassion for their little girl and several of the stoic cowboys reached for their bandannas to wipe away a tear. The cowboy-angels, including Etienne and Raymond gathered around the couch. They spread their wings up and over the children, and the Boudreaux family watched in amazement as the healing rays of the universe were drawn onto their wings and channeled through them to their master. Papa Boudreaux began to understand his boy's need to serve such a good man. He thought he might even consider it himself if he was younger and without responsibilities.

Billy held his hands above Dashaway and emanated a soft blue light. Billy concentrated it mostly on her head and shoulders, but moved from time to time to her small arms and legs. They continued for about thirty minutes and everyone could see the little girl slowly regaining control of her mind and body. The most contented smile came across her face, and she knew she was coming home to her family. When the cowboy-angels were finished, Dashaway's first impulse was to jump down and run to her mother, but she remembered her manners. She threw her little arms around Randy, gave him a big hug, a kiss, and spoke for her first time since she disappeared into herself, "Thank you, Brother Randy, for bringing me home. I love you," she said softly with all the love in her little heart, "And thank you, Master Billy, and these handsome cowboy-angels for giving my life back to me and my family," she added.

"You're certainly welcome, young lady," Billy replied and broke off the healing rays of light. Billy's posse of cowboy-angels' mission was complete. Dashaway's parents and family were overjoyed. Rochelle and her husband had to hug and kiss Billy and Randy several times. Alphonse Howler didn't want to let go of Randy. He was ready to fill out adoption papers.

Mrs. Boudreaux and her daughters returned from Mr. Boudreaux's aging mother's room and announced to Billy and his cowboy-angels she was ready. They went to the room and Mrs. Boudreaux left them with her two daughters to attend her mother-in-law. "May I call our closest family to share our great joy, Mr. Daniels? It is our custom. They live within walking distance," she asked.

"Sure. We will lose our wings when we're through and return as normal cowboys," Billy replied.

"Would you rather I wait until you're finished, sir?" she asked.

"No, go ahead. Just don't allow them in this room. It might disturb our flow of energy and our concentration. That would not be good," Billy said.

"I promise, I will have Brute stand before the door with your sword and look menacing. He's pretty impressive just the way he is," she said and grinned.

"That would be a good idea, ma'am," Billy agreed.

Mrs. Boudreaux left them to their work and closed the door behind her. She went to Brute and told him Master Billy said for him to stand before the door with his sword and not let anyone into the room until they come out. Brute nodded and took his place before the door. Boomer joined him, and the two beasts made imposing guards. Amelia Boudreaux, Amy to her relatives and close friends, was on her cell phone with the punch of one button, "Come to our trailer, Sister. Bring your family. Call our brother. Call Odio's brothers and sisters. Have them walk to our trailer. We have been blessed, and we must share with you. We have some unusual guests," Mrs. Boudreaux said and paused, "I can only tell you our sweet boy is home with us again. The rest is too unbelievable to explain on the phone. It is wonderful and a time for great rejoicing," she said and listened for a moment, "Yes, Etienne is alive. He is here with us in our home. Now hurry," she said and disconnected.

It didn't take long and there came about twenty-five people, adults, children, and dogs to their front door. Randy decided he would stay with the family while the men worked. He witnessed it so many times he didn't need to see it again, and he was having a great time eating pecan pie and talking Cajun with Mr. Boudreaux, Al Howler, and little Dashaway. Randy was impressed Dashaway remembered much of her Cajun dialect. She sat in her daddy's lap and shamelessly flirted with Randy. Randy enjoyed being a hero like his big brother, but he also learned humility and graciousness from Billy. The family came into the room, and they immediately saw the huge watchers standing tall in front of Maw-Maw Boudreaux's bedroom door. One held a huge jewel encrusted sword with the point resting on the floor and his huge paws holding the handle, one on top of the other in a stately manner. Brute and his partner looked like they were guarding the site of an ancient sacred relic and, in a way, while she dearly loved her mother-in-law, Amy Boudreaux thought it was an apt analogy.

The family met Randy and couldn't believe the change in Dashaway. She was active and full of life again. She remembered her aunt's and uncle's names and their kids as well. She introduced Randy to them as her new brother. They wanted to know what happened, but the Boudreaux's were cagey about telling them everything right away. They were faced with a dilemma how do you tell someone you're entertaining angels without sounding like you're a refugee from Coast To Coast A.M. Radio?

"Look closely, Brothers, Sisters, and Cousins -- does this young man look familiar to you?" Mr. Boudreaux asked.

"I thought he looked familiar when we came in. I said so to my wife, I seen that boy some wheres before didn't I, honey?" one of Mr. Boudreaux's brothers said, "His picture was on the TV for several days a couple of months ago. He's the boy that big tall young cowboy from Mason County healed in the Walmart parking lot in Fredericksburg, ain't he?" he asked.

"Yes, sir, it's me, Randy Rutherford, and it was my big brother, Master Billy Daniel, what healed me and saved my life. He done the same for Dashaway this e'nin, sir. Him and his posse of cowboys is in the bedroom over yonder doing the same for Mr. Boudreaux's mother. They's just about through. I can hear them talking among themselves, and there should be a bright flash of light come from under the door in a minute. Wait for it!" Randy said and there followed a great flash of light from under the door. They'll be out in a minute," Randy said sure of himself.
    
"How did you know, Son?" one of the big men asked.

"He can hear their thoughts. So can I," Dashaway answered for Randy.

"Can you hear anyone's thoughts?" another asked.

"Only when I want to. I don't make it a habit. It ain't polite to eavesdrop on other people's private thoughts. Master Billy done taught me that. I never try to enter his mind unless I tickle him first," Randy explained.

"What to you mean by tickle, Son?" the big Cajun man asked.

"Knock on the door to his mind. It tickles when somebody's trying to get in touch with you. Sort of like when you set your cell phone to vibrate when you receive a call. You can either let them into your mind or you can block them if you're busy. Master Billy recognizes my tickle, and if he's too busy to answer, I know he'll get back to me when he can," Randy explained.

"You must be very close to him," one of the ladies said.

"Yes, ma'am, him and me, we's brothers," Randy said proudly.

The door to the bedroom opened and Billy and his cowboys walked out single file with his two new slaves, Ray and Etienne bringing up the rear. Everyone dropped their wings before leaving the room. There were several gasps at the sight of their relative coming out of the room. Obviously, a few of their relatives weren't told of the miraculous appearance of Etienne. There were many hugs and kisses exchanged along with introductions and becoming comfortable with each other.

"How is Maw-Maw?" Amy asked Etienne.

"Much better. Master Billy could only bring her back about thirty years. Still, she looks good for a lady in her early sixties, and she's able to get up and around. Sissy and Rochelle are helping clean and dress her. They should be coming out in a few minutes. The first thing she asked me would I play my box for her? I promised I would if you still have it," Etienne replied.

"Of course we still have it. We would never give it away. It has a part of your soul in it, Son. We still have your brother David's 'BeauSoleil Box' he made," she assured him.

"You have Stan Breedlove's home-brew square fiddle, Mrs. Boudreaux?" Billy asked.

"He gave it to us when he left for the Middle East. He returned once with his big Cajun husband on their motorcycles and stayed a little over a week with us. We tried to get him to take it with him, but he refused. He was so sad and disheartened to hear his brother, Etienne, didn't come home. We told him we only know he was listed as missing in action but presumed dead. We thought it might help if he played a little, but we couldn't get him to play for us. He said his heart and his love for music-making died along with his brother. He said he wanted us to have it. We offered to ship it to him, but unfortunately he and his mate have fallen upon hard times, I'm afraid," she said sadly.

"I'd love to see it, if you don't mind, Mrs. Boudreaux," Billy said.

"Of course not. I'll get both from the back room, Mr. Daniels," she said.

"Billy, ma'am, just call me Billy," he said.

"I feel like I owe you the respect, sir," Amy said.

"Then treat me like a member of your family, and it will be the greatest respect you can give me, Mrs. Boudreaux," Billy said.

"Then call me Cousin Amy," she said and grinned.

Billy smiled and nodded his agreement.

"Clyde, grab your Gibson from the back of the van. I feel a musical moment coming on," Billy said and grinned.

"Can we get our fiddles, Master?" Poly asked.

"You didn't bring the Strads, did you?" he asked.

"No, sir, Master Billy. We done like you told us and brought our fiddles," Cass assured him.

Billy grinned. "Good men! Sure, go with Clyde," Billy said.

While Clyde and Billy's halflings went to the van for their instruments, Amy Boudreaux returned with Etienne's squeeze-box and what looked like an old rectangular suitcase from the 1940's made out of heavy cardboard. When Billy commented on it, Amy told Billy more of the story of their Cousin Da-veed's fiddle. It actually became a family project. It was an old suit case their granddad used during the second world war. Stan refurbished it and made it into a case for his baby. It was meticulously restored, and when Billy open the case, he was stunned by the detail of the inside. The instrument itself was stunning enough, but Stan must have worked for weeks to create the case to lovingly store and protect his work of art. And that's exactly what it was, a work of art. Billy carefully took it from the case and removed the bow. Amy explained the bow was found in a thrift shop in San Antonio by another relative for only five bucks. They gave it to Stan for a birthday gift. There was even extra rosin and a cowboy bandanna neatly folded to go between the neck and the chin rest inside a small compartment in the case.

Billy tightened the horsehair, rosined up the bow, and tuned the fiddle. It was still in decent tune. When he got it tuned to his satisfaction, he placed it under his neck, and launched into the opening of the Mendelssohn violin concerto. More than one mouth in the trailer dropped open. The instrument was more than Billy might have imagined. It truly contained a soul of its own. While it had a clear singing upper range, a strong and powerful mid-range, it was in the lower range where its character dwelt. It had the power and purity of a fine violin in the upper range and the haunting but singing darker soul of a viola in the lower range. Billy was as impressed with Coo-zone Da-veeds fiddle as he was with the twins' Strads. After playing several acrobatic pages of the Mendelssohn, Billy stopped. As the family applauded his talent he shook his head. "Ain't never played me no better instrument. This is more than I could imagine," he said and smiled.

The family's eyes got big when they saw Clyde's Gibson guitar and the twins got out their fiddles. After tuning them, they were ready. Billy nodded to Etienne and he started in on an old Cajun tune 'Bosco Stomp.' Utter chaos ensued as Clyde, Billy, and the twins joined in. It was like they'd been playing together for years. The Boudreaux family went crazy, yelling, and applauding for the musicians. It was more than just music to their ears, it was the music of their souls; it lived and breathed their heritage and bound them together as family. If you can play Cajun music, you must be family. When they finished the first tune there was more yelling, applause, and stomping of boots. The door opened to Maw-Maw Boudreaux's bedroom, and the attractive mature lady walked into the living area assisted by her two granddaughters. A hush fell over the family. Amy went to her mother-in-law and embraced her. "Are you hungry Maw-Maw?" she asked.

"Yes, but I can eat later. Right now my soul is starving for more of my grandson's music," she replied, "But first, I must thank the young cowboy and his men who have brought about a miracle for me and my family. He has given my life back to me for a while," she added and walked unassisted to Billy. He sat Stan's fiddle aside and opened his arms to her. Maw-Maw Adelaide Boudreaux embraced Billy and gently kissed him on his cheek, "Thank you, Son, for what you have done for our family. You are a part of us now. Age has only one benefit. As the oldest surviving member of this family, I declare Billy Daniels is a 'Boudreaux' and let no person hearing my voice say different for fear of retribution from a higher power!" she said firmly.  

"Hear! Hear!" the Boudreaux family responded to their matriarch.

"Hosanna!" shouted Randy and held up his fist.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" everyone replied and raised their fists in salute.

"I'm very proud and honored to become a member of the Boudreaux family, Maw-Maw Boudreaux," Billy said and kissed her gently on her cheek.

"Play us another tune, Son," she said.

The great lady sat down at the room-dividing bar to listen as her granddaughters and Amy went to the kitchen to warm up some Gumbo they had left over from supper. They offered other foods not quite so spicy, but she insisted she wanted some.

"Billy let Etienne pick the next number, and he asked if they knew a piece called "Cajun Groove." He was surprised the twins and Clyde knew it. Billy said for them to start and he would pick it up. It was another up-time strong beat rip-roaring Cajun number and Clyde and the twins performed flawlessly. The family was really enjoying the music and the neighbors began to gather outside to listen. The piece was also rewarded with much applause and even the neighbors were showing their appreciation. The men decided on one more number, then they would end their brief musical performance. They asked their audience for a request and Mr. Boudreaux called for 'Jolie Blond,' and the rest of the family agreed. They started in and much to everyone's surprise Billy sang the words in a clear baritone voice in the French-Cajun tongue:
 
Pretty blond, look at what you have done,
You left me to go away,
to go away with another, yes, than me,
What hope and what future am I going to have?
 
Pretty blond, you've left me all alone
To go back to your family.
If you had not listened to all the advice of the others
You would be here with me today.
 
Pretty blond, you thought there was just you,
There is not just you in the land to love me.
I can find another pretty blond,
Good God knows, I have a lot. (a subtle sex innuendo?)

The second round Clyde joined him in perfect harmony in a deep bass voice. Their two voices blended together like warm butter in a creamy batter. Their performance brought tears to the eyes of even the most hardcore Cajun music lover. Etienne had the biggest smile on his face. He was going to belong to a family who loved music and were excellent musicians. His heart was filled with joy, and he was home surrounded by his wonderful family. If Billy and his cowboy-angels didn't win the hearts of the Boudreaux family, their music certainly did. They couldn't say enough good words to them and how impressed they were. After much applause for their last number, they put their instruments up, and the neighbors and extra family drifted away. The Boudreauxs invited them to sit down for a cup of coffee and a piece of pecan pie.

"What can we do for you, Coo-zone Bill?" Odio Boudreaux asked.

"You're probably familiar with Cousin David's family and the troubles they had with David's mother and sister's being extremely conservative in their religious beliefs," Billy said and saw the looks of sorrow, sympathy, and despair cross their faces for their adopted son, Stanley David Breedlove. "Me and my cowboy-angels restored Cousin David's granddad, Elmer Breedlove, and his granddad's love of many years, the organist for our Methodist church in town, Vox Humana," Billy said and they nodded their head they knew of them. "Oatie saved the life of one of the daddy long-legs who ran with the watchers, and he gave himself to Oatie to become his slave. They fell in love and are getting married the second Sunday in June at the Daniel's ranch. Since Elmer and Vox have been rejuvenated, they decided they would get married the same time a double wedding ceremony.

"Otie and Cousin David's dad, Pete, divorced his wife and has come around to accepting Oatie as he is, and we have recently included him into our family as well. Every man deserves a chance to change," Billy said and they agreed. "Cousin Amy mentioned earlier Stan visited your family with his husband. We were hoping you could help us locate Cousin David to invite them to the weddings as a surprise for Oatie and Elmer," Billy explained.

There was a great quiet came over the family and several shook their heads. Amy looked to her husband to speak for the family. "Ah, sweet Coo-zone Bill," Odio began and looked Billy in the eye, "It is true, our adopted son whom we lovingly call Coo-zone 'Veed and his giant husband visited us about three years ago. They were riding the biggest damn motorcycles known to man and looked like two refugees from an outlaw biker organization. I guess our Cajun influence was too great for Coo-zone 'Veed. He fell in love and married the biggest damn Cajun man any of us ever seen. Not only was he big, he was big and ugly. We don't know which was bigger, his body or his ugly," Odio Boudreaux said and grinned.

"Good Lord, was he as ugly as Bubba?" Billy asked and grinned.

"Hey! Watch it, Bro!" Bubba yelled, "My protector's ears just went up, his nose turned red, and he's got steam come'n out his ears. I'll play hell git' him to sleep tonight," he hollered to Billy and everyone laughed.

"No, No, Coo-zone Bill! Bubba looks like an angelic cherubic choir boy compared to Cletus Thibodeaux Abernathy," Odio declared and his family shook their heads in agreement.

"My God, just how ugly was the man?" Billy said going along with Mr. Boudreaux's hyperbole.

"He was so ugly, our dogs would run and hide their faces under the sofa so's they wouldn't have to look at him when he come into a room. If they accidentally caught sight of him, we'd have to give them tranquilizers and a shot of Cajun-light'n for a couple of days after to make them stop shaking," Mr. Boudreaux said, slapped his knee, and fell over laughing. Cowboys and Cajun folks share the same love for enlarging on a story.    

"Poor Coo-zone 'Veed," Billy said.

"Don't you believe it for a second, Master Billy. In Coo-zone 'Veed's eyes, Cletus Abernathy was a God among men; his knight in shining armor. As he tells the story, and we believe him, because of his growing up with such hatred and trauma in his other home, he never let himself even consider a partner of the same sex. Hell, he loved our boy Etienne to the point of hero worship and wanted to be just like him in every way. They spent night after night in the same bed but never touched each other. A father would know if it happened, but to confirm it, I asked my boy. He would never lie to me. He knows there ain't no need for lies between us," Odio smiled at Etienne.

Etienne spoke up, "I told my daddy, h'it t'weren't because I didn't want to. Us Cajuns don't cotton to them life choking beliefs of conservative Christians. We's mostly Catholics, but we got us a trap door for such nonsense. We go to confession heard by a celibate priest who wears dresses what's probably a lover of young boys to forgive us our sins, say ten 'Hail Marys,' read them beads, genuflect, kiss them tiny feet of Jesus, wash our hands in holy water, and promise never to do it again until the next time," Etienne said and laughed. Everyone laughed with him. "The truth was, I was as much in love with 'Veed as he was with me. We just never consummated a physical relationship," Etienne said boldly before his family. No one blinked. They knew. They didn't care.

Mr. Boudreaux began again. "They were so happy together they were a joy to be around and Cletus had to be one of the best Cajun squeeze-box players we ever done heard. That's why we wanted Coo-zone 'Veed to play his fiddle with him, but he refused. That part of his life died when he learned we thought Etienne was lost to us. Nevertheless, there are lots of other fine fiddle and guitar players among our family ranks and those of our close friends and neighbors. Coo-zone 'Veed was obviously proud of his husband and urged him to play. Cletus could play so well he would bring tears to the angels' eyes. He brung more'n a few tears to me and my family's eyes. But chu' know what? The more he played and grinned, the better looking he got. Every member of my family will tell you the same!" Mr. Boudreaux exclaimed. "He never became no raving beauty, mind you, but we could see the inner beauty his husband saw in him what made Coo-zone 'Veed fall in love with him," Odio said.

"Amen to that, Son!" Maw-Maw spoke up for the first time.

"Does that rate a 'hosanna'?" Randy asked.

"We'll let that one slide. Okay, little brother?" Billy asked and laughed. Everyone laughed at them.

"Just check'n," Randy said.

"And you's doing a fine job, little Brother, keep'n your big brother in line," Billy said and gave him a shoulder hug. Al Howler was more sure than ever he was going to adopt Randy.

"We did so enjoy their visit. They stayed with us for almost two weeks, and we loved every minute they shared with us. We took them to two Saturday night Jamboree's at our gathering site outside of town, and by the second Saturday, word got around about the phenomenal squeeze-box player visiting with the Boudreaux family. The next Saturday evening there was standing room only, and the concrete slab was full to capacity with dancers. It was one of the most memorable evenings anyone could remember, and the music-making was the jewel in the crown. Cletus Thibodeaux Abernathy's name is spoken in revered tones when he's discussed. Unfortunately, it was a gray and cloudy day when they departed. It was like a bad omen and everyone felt it. The air was heavy with moisture from the tears of angels crying pressing so close it was hard to breathe. On the way back to their home in Northern Oregon, they had a terrible accident and Cletus was badly injured. Since that time, Coo-zone 'Veed has worked to support them, but with the cut backs in public health care, they have done little for Coo-zone Cleet. Even the VA refused to help him because his injuries were not active duty related. The new government has cut many programs for the poor and middle class. If you're poor, if you get sick, you die. That's all there is to it. The last letter we received from Coo-zone 'Veed, he told us he didn't know how much longer 'Cleet could last. David's doing his best, but it don't sound good," Mr. Boudreaux said.

"We could help them, Coo-zone Odio. Do you have any information to help us contact them?" Billy asked.

"I don't know. We have the information but Coo-zone 'Veed made us swear we would never give his information to his family. He didn't want any information getting back to his mother. He spoke kindly of his older brother, but was hurt his granddad never seemed to care as much for him as he did Oatie and left him to his own devices when it came to his family. He had to face his mother and sisters alone. That's why he spent so much time with us. We were his only escape from them. We were his oasis in a dry, barren landscape," Mr. Boudreaux said.

"But Dad, Master Billy ain't part of 'Veed's blood family. I ain't saying Master Billy ain't a part of the great bull of the hill country and his brother Oatie's family. He has accepted them into his greater family like he has with us. You wouldn't be betraying your promise to 'Veed by giving his information to a third party. If Master Billy contacts him and 'Veed don't want nothing to do with him or his old family, that's different. Think about me. 'Veed has the right to know I didn't die, I been returned to my family, and now I'm part of Master Billy's family. If you let me have the information, you wouldn't be betraying him because I'm part of your family. I could contact him on behalf of Master Billy," Etienne reasoned with his father.

"What do you think, Wife? You, Maw-Maw?" Mr. Boudreaux asked his wife and mother.

"I will defer to Maw-Maw, Husband," Amy Boudreaux said quietly.

"Give the information to Etienne. It will be all right, Son. The angels are smiling. There will be a great healing of torn bodies and tortured souls coming together, and I see our big Cajun brother, Coo-zone Cleet, leading the way. Coo-zone Bill will put them men together again. They will, once again share their home on the open road, they will find a new heaven living next door to an old hell, and they will come to dwell therein. Master Billy's family is larger than you can imagine, Son. Our family must become a part of his and him. He is the new Messiah," she declared.

"Now Cowboy!" Billy pointed to Randy with his thumbs and forefingers like a two-gun sheriff.

"Hosanna!" he shouted.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" everyone in the trailer replied.


End of Chapter 49 ~ Him Who Made The Seven Stars
Copyright ~ ~ 2013 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com
WC = 15692
05/04/2013
12/04/2013

Attention Nifty Readers: If you enjoy this story or others on Nifty, please send a generous donation to Nifty.org -- http://donate.nifty.org/donate.html -- to help support and maintain this free service so it may continue to remain available to everyone. Also, if you enjoy a particular story, it costs you nothing to send an e-mail to the author to let them know you appreciate their hard work creating these stories for you to read. A compliment or a couple of words of encouragement goes a long way to stimulate creativity... or anything else you might have in mind. ~ Thanks. Waddie Greywolf