Seek Him What Made Them Seven Stars
By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 70

"The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of the their difference." ~ Audre Lorde

The next morning was a work day. It was to be Marcus and Wilbur's first day on the job as 'Yard-dogs', or as Bubba referred to them: the Yard Dog and his Pup. The men cleaned up and got ready for the day. Wilbur morphed back before he took a shower. It was easier that way. When he return to the living area of their suite he was still drying himself.

"Have you inserted your plug, Son?" Marcus asked.

"Naw, sir, I thought you might like to do it," Wilbur replied reaching back to dry his butt.

"You won't be wearing it to work, but you will be wearing your harness. I talked with Master Billy and several members of our family, and after Harley-Buck's accident, it was decided no slave will wear a plug while working, especially in a potentially hazardous job. While I'll mostly be supervising and you will be my assistant, there is always a possibility of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I didn't agree with the idea at first, but the more I thought about it and talked with some of the men who came close to having a bad accident, I come to see the reasoning behind the decision. During off hours and on weekends Master Billy slaves are always plugged. We will keep the same schedule and abide by the rules. We'll have plenty of time when we ain't working for me to train you properly," Marcus said.

The big man helped Wilbur on with his harness. Wilbur got his cock cage from his dresser drawer, stuffed his fine set of tackle into it, and clicked the metal cage shut. Marcus kept the key on his key-ring. Wilbur walked to Marcus with his cod-piece in his hand and presented himself for his master's inspection. He stood at parade rest like Marcus taught him. Marcus smiled, took his keys from a loop on his cover-alls and locked Wilbur's cock-cage. He took the cod-piece from him and snapped it on to cover everything. He opened his arms for Wilbur to come to him. They embraced and shared a morning kiss.

"After a conversation with Master Billy and Project Manager Jethro yesterday, I was forced to reconsider a number of things we talked about," Marcus began, "While it's easy for Bossman Jethro to work in the raw or with his leather kilt, we'll be working outside everyday around some pretty heavy-duty construction, and it would be just too damn dangerous for you to wear only your harness and boots. We met with Hank and Buck in supplies, and they came up with them heavy-duty cover-alls lying on the couch over there. They gave us three pair to begin, but they ordered seven more pair. They should be delivered tomorrow or the next day. With ten pair, you'll have a clean pair to wear everyday and laundry is on a weekly basis. We turn our laundry in on Monday mornings, and we get it back by Friday afternoon; sometimes earlier depending on their schedule. So when one week's clothes are being cleaned, you got another week of clean cover-alls to wear. Just pull them on over your harness, Son," Marcus instructed Wilbur.

"Sounds good to me, sir," Wilbur said, walked over, unzipped them down the front and easily stepped into them. Marcus followed him and zipped them up for him. They were large enough to hide Wilbur's harness, but they were tight enough in all the right places they made Wilbur look sexy. By the time he got his cowboy boots on and his hard hat, Marcus turned away from his slave. He was afraid if he kept gazing on Wilbur, he was going to come in his cover-alls.

"Gotdamn, Son, you're the only man I ever did see what looks twice as sexy in cover-alls," Marcus said, and they shared a laugh.  

"That's only 'cause you know I'm wear'n your harness underneath, Master," Wilbur said.

"I won't gainsay that, Son, but you fill-out them damn things like they's tailor made for you," Marcus said, "I cain't wait to get you into that weight-room in the dungeon," he added.

"You don't look so bad in yore' cover-alls neither, Master," Wilbur said.

They joined the other men in the living area of the apartment, and each contributed insightful compliments and encouraging comments about the new Yard Dog and his Pup. They wanted to know how their evening went, and Marcus told them it went fine. The men and giants walked down to the dining hall to friendly greetings and big smiles. There was general conversation around the table, but Marcus and Wilbur didn't contribute much. They were too busy eating. If it's done right, good sex builds up an appetite.

Jethro always got to the the ship early to have a Hosanna Cake and coffee with his main crew of the six talented dwarfs who designed the Sapphire City. They were introduced to Marcus and Wilbur the week before to acclimate them to their jobs, and they worked closely with the men giving them a crash course in the construction snags and how they could best fit into their group. Jethro arranged a brief meeting with the construction workers on the project and explained Marcus would be the yard manager and Wilbur his assistant. They seemed a bit cold and suspicious at first, but as the day progressed, they could see the men were there to cooperate with them to speed the flow of work. By the end of the day, they began to understand how Marcus and Wilbur could make their work easier and flow smoother without so many frustrating starts and stops.

Marcus ran the yard like a iron-fisted despot with a velvet glove. His many years working for his brother came back to him like gold to a rich man. He could easily apply one situation to another and rapidly come up with a solution or a compromise which would keep the flow of work steady. By the end of their first day, Aunt Helen and her board reported a production increase by one third. By the middle of the week it increased by half, and by Friday noon when they knocked off work for the weekend, their figures showed a seventy-five percent increase in production. Jethro, his crew, and Billy couldn't have been happier. Marcus and Wilbur couldn't have been more proud of themselves.

Marcus picked his old-self up from the seeming defeat and depression of his past, and as his Blue-Angel promised, came alive again with a new mate by his side who was willing to provide him with his fair-share of heaven on Earth. The big Tuscan man had a job which was almost like it was tailor made with him in mind. The ex-con was becoming a force with which to be reckoned. On his other hand, his new mate Wilbur found the man of his dreams and would gladly and lovingly follow his Sir Knight-Errant to the ends of the world. Toward the end of the first week, Wilbur earned a cognomen for himself. He was all-over the work site, traveling between teams and his master to communicate how and when something was to be accomplished. He was busy as a beaver repairing breaks in his dam. The workers began to refer to him as 'The Beaver' because when the young cowboy was on the job, he never stopped except for breaks and lunch. It seemed like he was everywhere at the same time. It was an innocent enough nickname on the part of his fellow workers. They didn't have any idea the extra perks he was providing his husband, and it might be a double entendre or a snide reference to Wilbur's sex life with his master. Neither man thought anything about it. They found it amusing and somewhat endearing. Once in a while, in private, Marcus would affectionately refer to his partner as his Beaver.

A good job well done working with people you care about and with whom you grow close is a reward unto itself. Marcus and Wilbur began to relax and found great joy and peace of mind creating something of profound beauty. They were making a grand statement which contained the signatures of their personalities upon it. By the end of the first week, Jethro couldn't sing their praises high enough, and Aunt Helen and her crew were equally impressed. The two men found their place in the sun and were falling more deeply in love with each other with each passing day.

* * * * * * *
Monday morning of that week Cletus and David transported Bubba, Brute, Jack, Grover, Clyde, Mack, Garth, Slipweasel, Rumdum, and Cowboy Andy down into the deep swamps and bayous of Southern Louisiana to Gator Gap's place. It was early in the morning. Cletus wanted to get to his old friend and surrogate Paw-paw before Gator started his day. As old as Gator was, he worked the swamps for his living. For years his habit was to wake up, have coffee, and be out in his pirot on the bayou running trot-lines before the sun got too high in the sky and the day became stifling from the heat and humidity. David and Cletus decided to give him a little surprise and wake him up with a Cajun tune. David brought his box fiddle, Cleet his squeeze-box, and Clyde brought his big Gibson strapped around his neck. They started up a racket which would raise the dead let alone a sleeping Cajun-Angel. They started playing an old Cajun two-step d'Amédé.

The old Cajun swamp-rat came to his front door with the biggest grin on his face and tears in his eyes. He looked out onto the large porch and saw a dozen Cowboy-Angels standing there, and among them wing-wearing critters were his beloved young friend Cletus and his husband, Da'veed. Gator recognized six of them as fallen Angels he hadn't seen in several thousand years. He didn't recognize the other three men, or the unusual beastie with them, but if they were with his family, they were friends of his. Gator lived among the Cajun people for so many year, he took on their ways and anyone who didn't know his background would never believe he wasn't a home-boy. He lived and spoke Cajun fluently. He opened his arms wide and embraced his family, brothers, and their friends and invited them into his humble home.

Bubba, Jack, and Grover didn't know what to expect. They imagined someone living way back in the swamp where few Bigfoot would dare to tread would live in a rundown shack of corrugated tin and what building materials Gator could scrounge up for himself, but that was not the case. It was a large, comfortable home with lots of glass panels to let in the light and interesting antiques. It even boasted a second and third story nested within a tight grove of cypress trees festooned with Spanish moss and filled with exotic orchids and brightly blooming bromeliads Gator collected from every corner of the swamp and some he imported from South America. It was a feast for the eyes and senses. It looked like a combination of Richard Neutra's L.A. Silverlake house mixed with the Disney's Swiss Family Robertson's tree house.

"Coo-zone Cleet and Coo-zone Veed, I ain't heard from you in so long I thought you forgot about old Gator and his swamp brothers. Now here you are in my home and look at you -- you and your outrageously colorful wings. How handsome you men look, and to see my old brothers, Clyde, Garth, Mack, Andrew, Slipweasel, and Rumdum with you is a treat beyond compare. A visit from you men is always welcome, but I fear you are here for a greater purpose. I'm almost afraid to ask. We suspect the chosen one is coming into his own, and you are here as his emissaries. We have heard rumors of a young cowboy, Billy Daniels, in the center of Texas who has been miraculously healing people and beginning to create his own kingdom here on Earth. You must believe me when I tell you, it was only this past weekend we decided a trip to the Hill Country might be in order," Gator said.  

"How is Eligor, Orobas, Uzza, and Zagan?" Cletus asked.

"They're fine. Orobas has the largest compound in the swamp, and he's got visitors from the West: Ipos Kokobiel, the ArchAngel Uriel and his companion Sandalphon. We were together here at my place most of the weekend. I'm the farthest into the swamp and there ain't nobody around to disturb or spy on us except we get a few wild swamp people like your Watcher, Brute, you brought along with you. We never see one as much together as Brute. We try to help them when we can, but sometimes they can be temperamental. They don't respond well to the toxins being released into the swamp by secret and illegal fracking operations. They think all the two legged critters are to blame for destroying their habitat. They don't bother us because we're a resource for them. We heal them and care for them when they come to us sick, poisoned, or shot by outside hunters what don't know the unwritten laws of the swamp," Gator explained, "Should I invite them other Angels over?" he asked whipping out a cell phone.

Cletus broke up laughing. "You broke-down and bought a phone, Gator?" he asked.

"Yeah, had to. Us Swamp Angels got us some problems, Son. Our mental communications are getting rusty, and we ain't as accurate as we used to be. We don't like to admit it, but the same chemicals what's affecting them swamp people are affecting us as well. Ipos, Uriel, and Sandalphon's mental exchange is still as good as it ever was. They only come to visit once't, sometimes a twice't a year or so. We catch rainwater for drinking and cooking. We never drink the swamp water even if it's filtered, but we eat the fish, shrimp, and crabs from the brackish waters, and we use it to bathe. We're afraid we might start to lose our other powers as well, including healing. That would not be good. Our way of life depends on our powers -- not to gain great wealth, but to maintain a decent standard of living. We never charge for healing anyone, but it goes a long way to provide goodwill for us; when someone has an excess of something they always share with us. Look around you. You won't see many real estate signs in this area. Does this place look like a palace?" Gator asked and grinned.

"It does to me. I love it here," Cletus replied and everyone laughed.

"That's because it's home to you, Son. You know you and Coo-zone Veed are welcome here anytime," Gator said.

"That's good to know, Gator. Yes, I think you should call them band of Gumbo-pirates to come meet with us. It's important. We got some things to talk about and an invitation for you men from the Daniels family," Cletus said.
 
Gator placed the call and spoke with Zagan Vine. Zagan agreed to get in touch with Eligor Bathin and Uzza Forcas. Then Gator called Orobas Gamagyn and invited him and his guests Ipos Kokobiel, Uriel, and his mate Sandalphon to join them at his place. Gator barely had time to put on his kettle to make coffee when the other Angels arrived on his front porch. Bubba said something about de-winging and Gator asked them not to, "Let them see you are brothers under the wings. Trust me, it will go a long way to influencing them. We ain't seen others of our kind for too long to speak the figures. We only know of a handful who are still on Earth. We think Ezekiel is living somewhere up North, but we ain't heard from him in a very long time," Gator said.

"Zeke, with his two dogs, his horse, and his Watcher-companion, joined us at the Daniels ranch about two weeks ago," Bubba replied.

"I'd love to see him again," Gator said taking the hot water from his small butane counter-top stove.

It was like a reunion of Angels for a few minutes. They seemed to know each other, and there were many handshakes, hugs, and stolen kisses among them. They knew Cletus as he grew up in the shadow of Gator, and they knew David from having come to and participated in their wedding some years ago. They knew Clyde, Mack, Garth, Andrew, Slipweaser, Rumdum, and more than a few tears were shed upon their reunion. They didn't know what to think about Bubba, Jack, Grover,    
and they were somewhat taken aback by Cletus and David's wings. The ex-archAngel Uriel walked around them looking at their wings. He couldn't get over Jack, David, and Cletus' outrageously colored wings. They looked like three parrots. The others watched him carefully. "These Angels ain't fabricants like us," he proclaimed.

"No, sir, they ain't," Clyde spoke up, they's enhanced humans -- Texas Cowboys to be more precise. We call them Cowboy-Angels; in fact, all Master Billy's Angels, slave or freeborn, fabricants or human hybrids, are referred to as his Cowboy-Angels, sir," Clyde explained.

"Angels, the slaves of humans?" Uriel asked with more than a little disgust in his voice, "Is that why you have a ring through your nose and tits?" he asked.

"Naw, sir, Master Billy ringed his first punishment slave, and I got so hot from the way he looked afterward, I asked my master if he would ring me, and he was gracious enough to gift me with a set. Since I volunteered to come to Earth to become Master Billy's slave, I fell in love with him and his family. I wanted to show my love by wearing his rings. I also have a ring through the head of my cock if you'd like to see it, sir," Clyde said proudly.

"Yes, I'd very much like to see it, Clyde," Uriel said.

Clyde didn't hesitate and dropped his Wranglers to the top of his fine buckaroo boots, took his big cock in his hand, and held it out for all to see. There were a few whispers among the unprepared Angels.

"Humm, I didn't expect it to be quite so handsome," Uriel said, "I think I can understand your passion. Where did you come from to join this Master Billy you speak of, and were you a slave there, as well?" he asked.

"I was rescued from Earth and taken to planet in the Pleiades system and later to a new planet in the Andromeda galaxy created by the Irin race as an exact replica of Earth known as Fort Adam Lear," Clyde replied returning his cock and balls to his Wranglers.

"And does your new master require that of all his slaves?" Uriel asked.

"Oh, no, sir, only those who request it. He got the idea from one of his other slaves, who was for many years a protector, to what the Grigori thought was the last remaining Shedu in the universe. He was one of only two of our black brother Angels, Balthazar. Madame Spartza had him ringed over a hundred years ago. He's now Master Billy's slave and Madame Spartza is under the protection of Master Billy. She has been introduced to the only other living Shedu bull. He was on board Samu'el's spaceship all these years as his number one protector and commander.

"Old Nick is still around? Well, I'll be damned. He swore he would never return to Earth," Uriel said.

"He came here on a mission given to him by the Grigori. With a little help from the Irin and myself, his ship had an accident. He was badly wounded with no one to save him. Master Billy risked his life and that of his beloved steed to rescue Captain Nick, and you know the universal law about saving a life," Clyde explained.

"Yes, I'm very familiar with it. So old Nick, Lucifer himself, is the slave of your master?" Uriel asked in awe.

"Yes, sir, but it's more complicated than that. That's why we're here, sir, to apprise you folks of the situation so's you can verify for yourselves, but I'll let Master Bubba Kirkendall be our spokesman for our group," Clyde said, "I'm just here to play ma' guitar along with Coo-zone Cleet and Veed, sir," he added humbly.

Bubba spoke up, "You are the last of the Angels who were once under the control of the alien reptile Jehovah or Yahweh. There's about the same number of so called Fallen Angels as there is those who were faithful to Jehovah but were finally abandoned on Earth. The rest have come to us having heard from the Watchers the word given them by the Grigori," Bubba said and paused.

"Oh, yeah? I'll bet Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, Ezekiel, and Sama'el ain't with you," Uriel scoffed.

"Old Zeke done drove down from the North with his two dogs and pony in tow with his personal Watcher a couple of weeks ago; looked around, done had his'self a couple of adventures, and decided to park his old truck out behind the barn and stay wiff' us for a while. He's living with a family of giants on Captain Nick's ship. Gabriel, Raphael, Michael, and Sammy arrived Sunday afternoon a week ago on four winged white horses they give to Master Billy to take care of and are getting settled in with them giants on Captain Nick's ship. They're looking forward to seeing you," Bubba said.

"When?" Uriel asked.

"We can open a gate right now, if you like and bring you back whenever you wish. You can step through onto the ranch, have some coffee or Texas Tea with some Hosanna Cakes, meet the Daniels family and join-up with the rest of your family, sir. We'll take you on a tour, and Master Billy can personally invite you to our Fourth of July barbecue and Barnyard Concert next Saturday," Bubba explained.

"Gate? What gate?" Uriel asked.

"I have to open it, sir," Bubba said and grinned, "It's one of my 'apps' what come along wiff' my enhancement," Bubba explained, waved his hand, and a gate of blue free-electrons sprang up.

"Why do I suddenly feel antiquated and out-of-date for the first time in my long life?" Uriel asked no one in particular.

"Don't never underestimate yourself, sir; besides, we need old farts like you to keep us bold brash young'uns in line to make sure we don't go-off half-cocked and do some'um stupid," Bubba said and slapped the big Angel on his back. For the first time in a very long while, Uriel laughed.

"You men game?" Uriel asked his mates. Everyone, including Gator answered in the affirmative. "Lead the way, Son, and we'll be right behind you," Uriel said to Bubba.

"You need me to take your hand, Gramps?" Bubba asked and laughed.

"Maybe you better, Son," Uriel played along and put out his hand for the big cowboy. Bubba took it, and they disappeared through the gate.

The others followed suit in a stream until they were down to Gator, Cletus, and David. "You sure it's safe, Son?" Gator asked.

"We use them every day, Paw-paw. Ain't lost nobody yet," Cletus said and took his hand. David smiled and took Gator's other hand, and they walked through together.

After they got to the other side Cletus told Gator he better check and make sure everything came through all right. The old Angel began to feel everything. He grabbed his ass, his tits, his cock and balls, and watched Cletus and David grin at each other, and realized his adopted boy was teasing him. "Never mind," he said, laughed, and pushed each man gently on their shoulders to lead the way to the other men.

The door was programmed to come through in the barn near the bunkhouse where they built the stage for the barnyard concerts. Bubba asked for everyone's attention. "We planned our exit in this barn to protect us from overhead surveillance from satellites. When we have our weekend parties we insert a video loop of the same picture of the ranch hour after hour so nothing unusual will be seen, but we return the normal video feed on Monday mornings. We would ask you men who are winged-up to de-wing so's we can go about our business without fear of something unusual drawing attention to the ranch too early. We realize, sooner or later, people are going to take notice of us and want to inquire more, but until that time, we want to keep as low a profile as possible for as long as we can," Bubba said.

The Angels certainly didn't think Bubba's request was unreasonable as they had to keep on guard and cover their own asses for centuries. They lived with the paranoia of being discovered everyday, but it became part of their lives, and they grew used to it. That's why they lived in remote places and among indigenous people who held a deep regard for the unusual, and respected the Angels for their powers and their healing abilities. The Angels were always willing to care for the people who graciously allowed them to live among them and protected them when they could. The natives would go to great lengths to hide their great healing shamans.

Billy knew Bubba was going along with his posse to collect the swamp Angels, but he didn't know the other three, Kokobiel, Uriel, and his enhanced human mate Sandalphon were visiting them. Billy made arrangements to take them to the great dining hall on the ship to feed them breakfast before they got their day underway. He told Bubba to bring them to the big house first for coffee and Hosanna Cakes to introduce them to his family. It's not everyday someone gets to meet such a large gathering of Angels. Bubba led them up the porch stairs to the front door, opened it and ushered them in. Billy heard the clomping of heavy buckaroo boots, and knew it must be them.

Billy, Nick, Boomer, Uncle Nathan, Tron, Enoch, Moss, and the twins came to greet them. Bubba let Cletus and David take over the introductions, and it was utter confusion for a few minutes. The Angels knew Samu'el, by his other name Lucifer, the bearer of light, knowledge, and reason, but they also knew him by his more common cognomen, as Nick. After Cletus introduced him as Captain Nick, they thought it might be more appropriate if they went along with the times and referred to him as Nick or Captain Nick.    

They took them in and introduced them to the ladies. Kate, Zelma, and EvAngeline Andreeson, Roz, Aunt Helen and several of the other ladies. They were thrilled to get to meet the fabled swamp Angels, the desert Angel Kokobiel, one of the great ArchAngels Uriel, and his companion. Billy introduced Uriel as ArchAngel Uriel, and he quickly but politely corrected Billy he was no longer an archAngel. He humbly insisted, upon the disbanding of the Angels after being deserted, and with those who escaped containment scattered to the four winds throughout the universe, there were no Angels left for them to oversee. To continue to insist he or the other Angels were of a higher rank was of little merit and held no purpose. Uriel claimed he was an ex-archAngel, but today he considered himself no more than any other Angel, fabricants, or enhanced-humans.

"Until I saw the three enhanced human's wings of Master Jack, Master Cletus, and Master David's this morning, I would have made an all-encompassing statement: You seen one Angel, you seen 'em all; however, now I would amend that comment to: You ain't seen no Angels until you done seen Angel Jack, Cletus, and David," he said and broke into laughter. The rest of the Angels and family laughed and agreed with him. "Remind me to buy a pair of sunglasses as soon as possible, Dear-one. While you're at it, admonish me to show a little more humility and considerably less jealousy for them three men," he leaned over and said to his partner loud enough everyone could hear and got another round of laughter out of the folks around the table. Uriel's sense of humor endeared himself to Billy and his family.

The ladies served coffee and one Hosanna Cake for each man. Kate explained they could have as many as they liked, but they didn't want to spoil their breakfast which was being prepared for them on board Captain Nick's ship. The didn't stay long and walked back to the barn from whence they arrived. Nick waved his hand and another gate sprang up for them to pass through to go on board his ship. They exited in the dungeon and Kokobiel was heard to say, "My god, they plan to torture us," he said loudly and everyone laughed.

"No, we ain't thought about it, but we'd be happy to arrange something for you if you're into that sort of play. We did have one production we done what was sort of fun a couple of months ago we can show you a video later if you like. It's about as kinky as we get around here, but when we do, I'm proud to say we done it up right. About the only thing we use the dungeon for is relaxing. We par-boil our bodies in the wonderful hot water in the steam bath attached to the dungeon every Friday or Saturday night. It's a male-only, bullshit bonding sort of thing, but we do have a couple of trans-gendered males and one brother/sister chimera who regularly attend," Billy said. He was amazed no one questioned the words 'trans-gendered' or 'chimera.'

Bubba and Billy led the men up the back stairs to the great dining hall in the castle. They could tell the Angels were impressed with the enormity and obvious age of the castle. It seemed to ramble on and on. When they entered the great hall, the regulars were finishing up their breakfast, but the newer Angels Zeke, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Samu'el waited to have breakfast with them. There were more greetings exchanged, hugs, stolen kisses, a few tears shed, and much macho slapping of backs and strong handshakes.

Jethro was still having coffee and Hosanna Cakes talking with several of his crew along with Marcus and Wilbur, and he introduced them to the Angels. Jethro was morphed into his Kagoli Demon form and only wore his massive black harness. He was naked from the waist down as his employees insisted, so they could enjoy his magnificence. He was using his huge leathery bat-like wings to embrace a couple of his staff. It was obvious they loved it and him. The Angels were a little taken aback except for Zeke, Gator Gap, Uriel, and his mate Sandalphon. "My god, I ain't seen me one of them Kagoli Demons in centuries. I thought they were all killed out," Uriel said in awe.

Gator doubled over with sobs, his face in his hands, and allowed Cletus and Veed to help him to a seat. What's a' matter, Paw-paw?" Cletus asked, "Ain't nothing to be afeard of, Jethro is the slave of our local animal and slave doctor who's one of Master Billy's brothers. Jethro's working as project manager building our new city. He's the most loving Demon you can imagine," Cletus said trying to rid Gator of what he thought was fear.

"Many years ago, I had me one of them Demons for a companion and mate. We was like you and Veed. Our souls became as one, and we married ourselves. I loved him more than life itself and that's why I come to live in the farthest, darkest, most dense part of the swamp where nobody could find us, and we'd be safe. We were safe from the white men, but we didn't count on the Indians. They attacked him one day when I was out hunting for food and not only killed him, they cut his heart out and his body into six separate pieces. No one has ever shared my bed, and I have never loved another since that time. Later the tribe who killed him came to me to heal them, but I didn't turn them away. He would not have wanted me to. It ripped my heart out to do it, but I healed them. Before they left, I told them I knew they were the one's who killed my beloved mate, his blood was on their heads, and because of their fear and ignorance, I had no one to share my bed. They robbed me of my companion and because of them, I must live my life alone. I proudly bear his mark to this day," Gator said, stood and took off his shirt. He disappeared for a second and returned with a set of bat-like wings exactly like Jethro's. The gathered crowd of enhanced humans and Angels were overwhelmed. Very few ever saw Gator wing-up, but they were impressed beyond words.

Jethro walked over to the old Angel and looked deep into his eyes. "You should know enough about the Kagoli to understand not one of us dies completely, Gator. Our person is recorded in the DNA of the species. Look deep into my eyes, Gator, speak my name, and I will come to you," Jethro said softly. Everyone around the room was in awe of what Jethro said and the staggering implication of his words.

"Lord Lodbrok? Ragnar Shaggy-breeches?" Gator asked looking deep into Jethro's eyes. The Angel saw a strange flash and Jethro's eyes adjusted. They became the dark pools of love and compassion Gator looked into thousands of times before, and it moved the Angel to the core of his soul. (Many insist fabricated Angels have no souls, but that's a fallacy; however, they never began to develop souls until they were forced to make choices for those they cared about and can be satisfied in their own hearts they did the right thing. Only then would they begin to develop souls and earn their wings.)

"Ah, my beloved Gator," Ragnar spoke in a different voice than Jethro's, "I have only fleeting moments to share with you. I am so proud of you. You overcame your guilt, pain, and anger toward those who killed me. You learned well what little I had to teach you. Always remember what I told you: You are unique in the universe and there will never be another like you until you decided to create a life half-mine and half-yours. I do not speak in riddles. If you share my words with Master Billy, he will understand. He will help you make a living monument to our shared love come to pass. I must return Jethro to his body, but remember this, I loved you more than anyone I ever shared love with in my life, and there were a few. Now, kiss me, my beloved mate, and you will know it is I who have come to you. You are among good people with whom you will share a strong bond. You will call them your family, and when these things are accomplished, I will come to you and dwell within your heart. You will no longer be alone," Ragnar said, and they joined in a kiss that moved everyone in the dungeon to tears. When they finished, Gator said to his beloved, "I still love you like no other. I will look for you, my beloved brother, and be ready to receive you when you come to me. There will always be room for you in my heart," Gator said, and Jethro began to shake his head like he was coming out of a deep trance.

"Feel better, sir?" Jethro asked.

"Much better. Thank you, Jethro, for your compassion and your gift. I will never forget your selflessness or your generosity," Gator said, "You have given me new hope," he added.

"You all right, Paw-paw?" Cletus asked.

"Better than all right, Son. I don't know if an Angel can be reborn, because we were never born in the first place, but I think I came close," Gator said and smiled the sweetest smile, "I think I have much to learn from your young master, Cleet," he added.
 
"Hosanna!" exclaimed Bubba.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" responded the Daniels family. The Angels looked at them and smiled.

"Hosanna, indeed," agreed Uriel.

"Do you know what my mate was talking about, Master Billy?" Gator asked.

"Absolutely!" Billy exclaimed, "My husband Boomer and I created a bairn on our wedding night on Retikki Prime, and Billy Junior is doing well growing within a surrogate mother, the fine young lady you met up to the big house we call Roz. Our next bairn will be a son for Boomer," Billy said with encouragement. "All I have to do is call forth your mate's DNA, mix it with yours and give you the choice of carrying the bairn for four and a half months and having a faithful Watcher of your choice carry him for the last four and a half months; or, we can find a comely Irin cow to carry him to term. Nothing to it," Billy added and noticed several Angel's mouths dropped open.

"But we ain't fertile, Master Billy. We's mules," said Uriel using the cowboy vernacular. (Angels adapt quickly.)

"I don't need your sperm, sir. All I need is your DNA information. I can insert it into your sperm and voila' -- you're fertile," Billy said, "I also plan to have several children by Captain Nick, my surrogate pa.   

"If what you say is true, sir, then I understand why your family members shouted 'Hosanna,'" Uriel said.

"He's telling the truth, Uriel, I can tell. No one would be so cruel as to lie about something so dear to this old Angel's heart. He would have to have the heart of a reptilian devil, and I feel nothing like that in him. I have faith. I believe he can do what he says," Gator said.

"Would your powers apply to an enhanced sterile human slave?" Sandalphon asked.

"You ain't no slave, Sandy," Uriel rebuked him.

"Of course he's your slave. You should be proud Sandalphon thinks on you as his master. It's obvious, he loves you deeply and would lay down his life for you. He would even bear your children if you asked him, but to answer your question, Sandalphon, yes, it certainly does apply to slaves as well as freeborn. I know the difference, but other than our three punishment slaves, I don't chose to think upon my slaves as other than family. Boomer is my slave, given to me by his uncles, the two reigning Lord High Chancellors of Retikki Prime," Billy went on to describe his relationship with Nick and his halfling twins. The Angels were in awe. They heard rumors but discounted them as highly exaggerated.

"Are you responsible for giving the enhanced humans in your family wings, sir?" Sandalphon asked.

"I am. Do you want a pair of wings, Brother?" Billy asked.

"If my master would allow me, I would love to have a beautiful set of wings, sir," Sandalphon replied.

"You don't have to ask me. Of course you can have a set of wings if you want them. They just might come in handy," Uriel insisted almost annoyed at his mate for asking.

"Yes, he does, Master Uriel. He needs your approval and encouragement, and I'm willing to bet, if you don't give him what he needs, he will refuse my offer," Billy said.

Uriel walked over to his mate, took him into his big arms, looked him in the eye, and spoke, "I feel like a blind man seeing for the first time, my love. Of course I want you to have a pair of wings and make them any color you wish. Have Master Billy make them as outrageous as them three. I will fall on my knees and beg him to make mine match yours. You choose for both of us. For your years of love and selfless devotion to me, you take the initiative this time, and where you lead, I will follow," Uriel said and then sealed his words with a grand kiss. There were several deep sighs of empathy from the gathered crowd.  

"It will be done. You have a week to consider, Sandalphon. I have yet to formally invite you Angels to our ranch starting at noon next Friday and to stay the weekend or longer if you choose. Saturday will be the Fourth of July, and we plan a great feast and wonderful musical entertainment. For the first time, we will be inviting a number of our neighbors and people we know and respect from our community. It will be a grand day, but we will take time to do these things for you, including taking care of some health problems you swamp-rats are experiencing. So as everyone is here, consider this my formal invitation to you. We will put you up in a suite of rooms in the castle, and you will be treated like family," Billy said.

They sat down at the great table for breakfast. Jethro and his new men, Marcus and Wilbur said their goodbyes and left for work. After they were gone, several asked about the two men who were part of Jethro's crew; the older and younger man. They said they could read their auras, and they were deeply in love with each other.

"The big man we rescued from prison. He was falsely accused and convicted of a crime he didn't commit. He was in prison almost thirty years and was wasting away in solitary confinement. We come to find out, he alone holds the secret to rescuing your brothers from stasis. His mate is a young cowboy from Northern Oregon who never went to school a day in his life, yet he's more learned and educated than your average high school graduate. The universe moves in mysterious ways sometimes and there are forces out there what encourage certain interactions between people.

"They were a prime example; a much older man and a young man just barely legal age, but they were brought together, fell in love, and now are engaged to be married. I enhanced both of them and when they fledged, their wings were exactly the same color. I had no choice in the matter. It just happened that way. I can never tell what an enhanced human's wings will look like. I could use you, Master Uriel, and your undisputed mate, the handsome, strong, and stalwart Sandalphon and me, my husband, and surrogate pa, as prime examples whose actions seemed to be products of someone else pulling the strings -- and we would be right," Billy said and grinned.

"Are you talking about a supreme being, Master Billy?" Orobas Gamagyn asked.

"No! Not at all. I'm talking about millions upon millions of minds whose imaginations have been set in motion by our actions and feelings. They don't necessarily call the shots. We're the only ones who can do such things as individuals, but if we're careful and listen to the greater, majority of voices of the universe, they will tell us the right direction to take every time," Billy said and left several blank looks on the faces of his audience.

"I didn't believe him either at first, but he's proved it to me over and over again," Captain Nick backed-up his boy.

"I think I can understand," said Gator Gap.

"You men have no idea who or what you're dealing with," Zeke spoke up, "I only been here a couple of weeks and the things I seen and the way this family works ain't like nothing else on this planet, and rarely seen on any other planet. I come because I got word through the Watchers in the North, a cowboy in the Hill Country of West-Central Texas needed fallen Angels to rescue their brothers in stasis. I thought I'd come check it out, stay a couple of days, and drive back up north. I'm here to stay for as long as Master Billy and his family needs me and my girls. Ain't that right Pancake? Dolly?" he asked his dogs.

"That's right, Master Zeke. We're behind your decision all the way," Pancake replied, "We love it here on the Daniels ranch," she added.

"Wait a minute! Did that dog just speak?" Zagan Vine asked.

"Of course I spoke, sir. Master Billy done give me and my sister the gift of speech," Pancake replied.

"See what I mean, Gentlemen?" Zeke asked like he just put the period at the end of the sentence, and grinned like a possum eat'n shit.
 
"And I suppose you got lions what lie down with lambs, too?" Uzza Forcas challenged him in a mocking manner. Forcas could be a sour-skeptic and a dick-head at times.

"Not yet, but make a note of that, Grover. I like the idea. It's almost biblical," Billy said and got a laugh from the others, "How about a large Stomping of Bigfoot living in harmony with an equal number of Daddy Long-legs who regularly attend our Barnyard Concerts every weekend to enjoy a good meal with us and sit on the cliffs to listen intently to the music we perform? Would they match your biblical challenge?" Billy asked.

Uzza Forcas looked from one brother to another and finally caught Zeke's eye. Zeke just grinned and nodded his head it was true. "It's true, Brother Forcas," Gabriel said, "We witnessed it as well, and if that ain't enough for you, the ancient Essengurda have finally decided to arise from their slumber and join Master Billy and Captain Nick to make a new home for themselves and lend their support to the Daniels family," Gabriel added.

"My apologies, sir, after centuries of whispered promises and nothing of substance beyond war, more war, and rumors of wars, I'm afraid this old Angel has become jaded and skeptical," Uzza Forcas said with considerable humility.

"Apology accepted, Angel Forcus, "I come from a long line of cowboys, and I'm damn proud of it. Unfortunately, cowboys is known for their bullshit which seems to reach a peak with our politicians and religious leaders in Texas. All they gotta' do is open their mouth and you can smell it a mile away. I'll admit, I sometimes use a soupçon of bullshit while telling a story to make it more entertaining. I done spread my fair-share around a campfire making a story more interesting than it really was, but when it comes to my family and our accomplishments, I wipe my feet at the door. That's where the bullshit ends, and I become my own man or Cowboy-Angel what can backup his claims. Before you men go get'n any idea I'm something or somebody supernatural, stop and think about your past.

"You know you were sold a pile of bullshit and the price weren't cheap. It's taken you centuries to get to the point where you can be together and be civil with each other for your separate roles in them early days. I ain't no god nor do I have any claim to be. I'm simply an enhanced-human what is still learning what he can do and how best to go about using the powers I been gifted to make my life and the lives of those I think on as my family as easy and comfortable as possible. I don't expect you men to accept anything at face value. You will be given plenty of time to make your own judgments. In the meantime, relax, enjoy our hospitality and the joy of discovering how our family works and the Highland Shire project," Billy urged him and his brothers.
 
"I rather like your wings, Gator," Billy said.

"Why was I left with only wings like Ragnar's? Do you have any idea, Master Billy?" Gator asked.

"You wanna' take that one, Pa?" Billy asked Nick.

"Maybe it would be better to show you, Gator," Nick said. He took off his shirt and boots and motioned for the twins to do the same. Billy sent a mental message to Boomer to follow Nick's lead. Billy removed his shirt and boots as well and the five of them began to morph into Kagoli Demons; one giant daddy Demon, two large adult Demons, and two smaller incredibly cute Demons.

"My god how many of you can morph into Kagoli Demons, sir?" Gator asked.

"Lord, Gator, I lost count. They all come to love the Kagoli's bodies and morph sometimes for sexual play purposes. Jethro's master, our vet and slave doctor, Doc Oatie, can morph into a Kagoli Demon, and several of our giants. Some nights they's more Demons in the hot tubs than Cowboy-Angels. Even our little Sun Bears can morph. We'll show you a video of our mummer's play we call 'Night on Bald Mountain,' when almost everyone but our beloved Grover is playing the role of Demons," Billy said and laughed at the thought.

"What's that got to do with my wings, Captain Nick?" Gator asked.

"You didn't ingest enough of your mates enzymes to make the full transition one way or the other. Reminds me of a song I heard since I been back on Earth. The singers sings, 'I'm stuck in the middle with you,'" Nick said, "It's exactly what happened to you. You's stuck in the middle and can't go one way or t'other. Ain't no problem, we can help you with it," Nick said confidently.

"I don't know if I want to give them up. They's all I got left of Ragnar," Gator lamented.

"You won't have to. You'll be able to become him fully, and then morph back into your Angel form with your original wings," Nick assured him.

"That would be wonderful," Gator said.

"There's only one small problem," Nick said and grinned, "You have to stay the night with me and ma' boy for three consecutive nights," Nick said and grinned wickedly.

"That wouldn't be so bad. I wouldn't have no objections," Gator said and grinned.

"We'll let you decide after we tell you the rest in private," Nick said and grinned.

"Do you think you could help us rid our bodies of chemical contaminants we got from eating the fish and shell-fish we get out of the swamp, Master Billy? A few of us, including Gator, are noticing memory loss and loss of some of our powers. A lot of people and a few swamp creatures like your Watchers, only not so friendly, come to us from time to time. They know there's something wrong with them, but they can't tell us," Eligor Bathin asked.

"Yes, I can purge your systems and restore you to your previous normal state of health, but you can't go back to your old way of living. While you might be immune to death from natural causes, when you were created, there weren't so many toxic chemicals and massive animal waste dumped into the swamps. I can teach you how to detoxify your food, but I recommend you find some other means of gathering food than from the gulf and swamps. I can only detoxify you so many times before your bodies will start to loose their ability to regenerate rapidly enough to keep you immortal.

"Look at you swamp-Angels compared to Zeke, Uriel, Sandalphon, and Kokobiel. You look thirty years older than them. You know that can't be good. Until we can do something to stop the big, corrupt corporations and equally corrupt politicians from dumping their shit into the waterways for disposal, you will only get worse. I might even suggest you consider relocating for a while until we can accomplish the environmental protection procedures to safeguard the eco-systems of the swamps, but I can't promise you a time schedule. We'll get to it when we can, but until then, unless we have your help to stand with us to bring about change more quickly, then it comes down to a choice of whether you want to continue living or face your sure death in a toxic swamp," Billy said.

"I can't speak for my brothers, Master Billy, but I'd like to stay for a while and take advantage of your generous offer. Would you have time for me this week?" Gator Gap asked.

"We'll make time for you. All you men are welcome to stay as long as you like. We have a busy week ahead of us coming up to the big day on Saturday for the Fourth of July, but if you agree to become a part of our family, even temporarily, and give us a hand, we'll be doing each other a favor," Billy allowed, "Furthermore, we have videos for you to watch in your spare time to better inform you and bring you up to date from our beginnings to where we are now. You got a lot of catching up to do, but don't fret none about it. I can guarantee, while it's educational, it's equally entertaining. We can put you men up in a suite of rooms in the castle, and I'll have several of my slaves assigned to see to your comfort and needs. I only need to inform the kitchen staff we will have eight more to feed, and they will take care of the rest," Billy said.  

Billy knew Gator would stay, and he was pretty sure the original old swamp-rat was probably the unspoken leader for his group. What Gator wanted to do, they wanted to do. Billy knew Sandalphon was anxious to get his own set of wings, and aside from his brusque manner, Billy would bet the big Angel, Uriel, would do anything to make his faithful mate happy. Billy didn't know about Ipos Kokobiel, but if he had to wager, he imagined Uriel held an equally strong influence on him. Billy was right. They all decided they would like to stay; at least, through the weekend.

"How do you men feel about becoming cowboys for your visit with us so's you will blend in more naturally when we have outside visitors, and you can feel free to mix and go anywhere on the ranch you like; however, for your personal safety, I'd appreciate it if you would allow one or more of my Cowboy-Angels to accompany you. Clyde, Cowboy Andy, Garth, Mack, Balthazar, Slipweasel, Rumdum, or Zeke will be glad to take you around and answer any questions you might have," Billy said.

"I have no problem with it since we didn't pack a bag. I'd be proud to wear cowboy clothes, Master Billy," Uriel said and the others agreed with him.

Billy turned them over to Hank and Buck to see to their rooms and clothing. He left Clyde and Cowboy Andy in charge to supervise and help. Billy excused himself and his immediate family, and promised they would join them for lunch in the great dining hall where they were enjoying a big ranch breakfast. The visiting Angels were overwhelmed there was so much food on the table and the quality was far superior to anything they could get in a restaurant or cook for themselves. Few, with the exception of Sandalphon, were worth a damn in the kitchen until it came to down-home Cajun food; then, the Angelic swamp-rats were unsurpassed. They took great pride in their recipes and guarded them like they were sacred texts.

"How you gonna' handle the enzyme conundrum wiff' Gator, Kemosabe?" Nick asked after they departed for the big house, "I know you only need a drop of my blood to give him the ability to morph into a Demon and back," Nick added.

"I'll carefully explain the natural organic method what got him his Kagoli wings and give him the option of continuing down that path with us as hosts, or explain the quicker less intimate method. I'm taking odds he'll opt for the organic method, Tonto," Billy said and grinned, "Did you see the look on that Angel's face when he got a good look at Jethro? If there weren't so many of his buddies around, I swear on the name of some unknown god, he would have dropped to his knees and ate his fill right then and there. There was a desperate hunger in that poor Angel's eyes which caused me to have a deep empathy for him. I know what he was going through. I know the craving. I often have me some Demon Dad, Kagoli, withdrawal symptoms what can only be satisfied with another fix," Billy said and they shared a laugh.

Nick was amazed at the pace Billy set for himself. Monday morning was usually a madhouse around the ranch, and yet, Billy took everything in stride, including seeing to their new guests. Billy asked Vox Humana to give a brief speech at church the day before. Vox announced there would be a Fourth of July barbecue and Barnyard Concert on Saturday at the Daniels ranch and it would be the first time they invited a limited number of the public, mostly friends and neighbors, to the ranch. Vox told them, members of the church were invited, but they must either let him know if they planned to attend or they could call the ranch and speak with Kate Daniels to let her know. It was important for them to RSVP so the Daniels would know how much food to prepare. They had until Wednesday noon to confirm their reservations. Unless they notified him or one of the Daniels family before the deadline, they would not be allowed on the property. Someone asked what sort of entertainment they planned.

"Oh, nothing too grand," Vox replied, "Just the entire Houston Philharmonic Orchestra with several well known guest soloist for the classical part of the program of American music, and the second half of the program will be devoted to down-home country music which will include many local musicians who are quickly gaining national attention through the CD's the ranch has released privately," Vox said like it was just another day at the ranch. Murmurs of speculation ran through the small congregation. Vox knew every one of them, and out of fifty people, he guesstimated perhaps half would even bother to drive out to the ranch. Vox went on to stress they must be a member of the church with their names on the role or they could bring a family member or guest who was visiting in their home. However, there would be some folks there, not church members, who would receive separate invitations. One man asked why the Daniels didn't just throw it open for the entire community? "Two reasons," Vox replied, "One, they have limited facilities, parking space, and seating for the concert; second, would you open your home to everyone in our community?" he asked. The man said 'no,' laughed, and allowed Vox had a good point.
 
Kate and Zelma spent one afternoon the previous week sending out a few invitations to individuals and families who were not members of their church. They were people who they knew and spoke to for years around the community. Bubba and Lima Bean and their three kids were invited. The Sheriff's two deputies and their families were invited. They invited a couple of old maid school teachers and one older gentleman who was known to do good deeds for anyone in the community in need of a helping hand. His name was Brent Sparks, and he would go out of his way to help anyone. He drove a small Japanese car with a large cargo area in the back. Mr. Sparks would take the elderly to the store and see them home safely. He would take their groceries in for them and help them put them away where they could easily get to them. He would sit with the sick when they had no one else to look after them. He would drive veterans fifty miles to the nearest VA hospital for a check up or some procedure they required and wait for them, then drive them home.
 
There was a young paraplegic cowboy who was severely injured in a rodeo accident by a Brahma bull who broke his spine living in the local old folks home. Mr. Sparks was told about him and became his friend. He visited him several times a week to sit with him and talk. Sometimes he would read to the young man. He would faithfully take him to the local movie theater on Saturday nights. The local theater in town was going to be remodel. They ripped out all the seats and threw them away, but they never got the funding they were counting on due to ever increasing austerity programs; however, they did manage to buy a second hand digital screen and sound system. Texas people are resourceful to say the least. Folks would bring their aluminum webbed lawn chairs to sit in, and it was fine. They always had extra chairs sitting around for those who didn't know or forgot to bring an extra chair. The young cowboy's wheelchair was perfect.

It was general knowledge in the community, Mr. Sparks would feed anyone who came to his door hungry, but he never asked for anything in return. He never made a distinction between the righteously poor, deadbeat druggies, or alcoholics. If they were hungry, he fed them. If they were honestly poor he gave them what assistance he could. He was quiet and unassuming, but he was fiercely independent. He was never known to attend any of the several churches in town. When asked if he was a Christian or did he go to church, he would reply, "I don't need religion to be a good man. My works speak for themselves." He lived with a small spayed female Swedish Vallhund for a companion who went everywhere with him. She possessed a charming personality and was always cordial to guests or people Mr. Sparks might be helping. She was welcome everywhere. He named her Gertrude but he called her Gertie most of the time. When Mr. Sparks called to confirm he would be pleased and honored to join the Daniels family for the Fourth of July, he was surprised when Kate told him to be sure and bring Gertie with him.

"Oh, yes, I almost forgot, the young cowboy veteran you visit in the old folks home, Barton Langstrom? Do you think he might like to come with you, Mr. Sparks? We have facilities to take care of his needs and enough manpower you won't have to be burdened with his care for the entire day," Kate inquired.

"I'm sure he would be thrilled and your offer is above and beyond gracious, Mrs. Daniels; it's an act of supreme blessedness," Mr. Sparks said.

"Well, I don't know about that, Mr. Sparks, but we have admired your selflessness in our community and hoped in some small way we could show you our appreciation for your good works," Kate said sincerely. There was a pause on the other end and Kate could swear she heard the man crying. "Are you all right, Mr. Sparks?" she asked quietly.

"I'm sorry, Mrs. Daniels. I was overcome for a moment by your kind words. Do I need to get back to you about bringing Mr. Langstrom, ma'am?" he asked.

"No, just bring him with you, and we'll take over from there," Kate replied.

"May the ancient voices of the universe bless you and your family, Mrs. Daniels," Mr. Sparks said.

"They already have, Mr. Sparks, beyond measure, and we wish to share the bounty of our blessings with others," Kate said. They said their goodbyes and disconnected.   

Billy made a personal call to the Clemsons who gave him the wild boar to exchange for Marcus when they rescued him from prison. He invited them to join his family the Saturday following their visit, but they couldn't make it due to unexpected family showing up. He spoke to Dover and made him promise they would come Saturday around eleven in the morning to spend the day with him and his family for their Fourth of July barbecue, music, and fireworks. Dover promised, come Hell or high-water, they would be there.

* * * * * * *
In their usual Monday morning meeting with Aunt Helen and her ever growing managerial staff, someone posed a question about additional comfort stations since they were having so many guests for the weekend. They wanted to know if Billy wanted to rent or buy his own. Aunt Helen pointed out it would seem, with the addition of the Essengurda and ever growing visitors, they would have a permanent need for such or at least until the Highland Shire project could be finished. It might be to their advantage to purchase them.

Billy agreed for a dozen units to be placed by the side of the newer barn for the ladies, and a dozen units to be placed down behind the older barn for the men. Billy wanted a couple of female attendants for the ladies-units and two males for the men's units to make sure they were fully stocked.

Billy made a wisecrack about when he agreed to this gig of becoming a new messiah he didn't know the job description included waste management, or he might have reconsidered. He got a few giggles, but he heard his pa standing beside him suck in air between his teeth, like he knew Billy just threw a winning home-run pitch to the best batter on the opposing team. Aunt Helen slowly took off her glasses, took a deep breath, and sighed audibly, "Unfortunately, Master Billy, even the exalted must make decisions for his flock. The mundane as well as the sublime must be considered, sir," she said sweetly, knocking it out of the ballpark. Nick didn't hold back. He let out one huge guffaw and doubled up with laughter, and the others in the room joined him.

"You deserved that!" Enoch Redbone exclaimed.

"Amen, Brother!" Moss Garrett agreed.

"Hear! Hear!" exclaimed Bubba.

Billy was still laughing. "I guess I did. Forgive me people, and Aunt Helen in particular. Make a note Aunt Helen to raise your salary and everyone on the board's a dollar per hour effective immediately," Billy said and got a big smile from Aunt Helen and a round of applause from his faithful board members.

"Way to go, Aunt Helen!" several were heard to exclaim and a couple patted her on the back.

Billy had a number of things going on he needed to check out, but decided to take on the four depleted swamp-Angels that afternoon after lunch. He would save Gator for last as he wished to discuss other options privately with him.    

* * * * * * *
The Fourth of July was to be another one of the homecoming events where skeleton crews were left at the participating Grange ranches which were worked by the Daniels family slaves, and the others would be gated to the Daniels ranch for the day. Bubba and Jack planned to bring Doug and Hoss Dewberry with them, and Saturday night would be Leon and Pete Breedlove's first time to share a bed. Billy was in contact with Little Willie Whistlepie and Sheriff Andreeson. Willie eagerly accepted Billy's invitation to gate from Nellie Peterson's garage and leave his pickup truck behind her Cantina.

Since there wasn't much going on in Tall Pine, Oregon for the Fourth of July, the Sheriff made up a story and told his wife, Willie and him were going hunting for the weekend, and they were taking Willie's truck. They planned to take off right after his shift Friday. The Sheriff made a big thing of packing his guns and camping gear in the trunk of his patrol car. His wife didn't know what Willie's truck looked like nor did she care very much. Shirley Andreeson didn't know what to think after her husband returned one morning, and he looked twenty years younger. She was certainly moved by her refurbished husband and wanted him, but Robert didn't care to have anything to do with her. Robert's love for her died after the birth of their second son. The Sheriff couldn't even get an erection when she tried to lie close to him. The Sheriff finally admitted to himself there was just nothing between them anymore since Bobby was gone.

* * * * * * *
The visiting Angels were agog over the huge storeroom where the two mature cowboys housed the new and surplus western gear. Hank and Buck didn't fuck around. They organized the place to look like a major Western store show room. Billy gave them an open-end budget and told them to make deals in quantity buying. Hank and Buck could squeeze a nickel until the buffalo shit. They bought in volume and made winning bids on close-out stock. Billy and his staff were amazed what the two cowboys could do and the amount of product they gathered way under Billy's presupposed ceiling. Billy and his staff couldn't have been more pleased or proud of Hank and Buck.

They built boot rack shelves with row after row of every kind of western and work boot you could imagine lining three large walls in the room, and the place smelled wonderful. It was an immediate, guaranteed erection for any man who appreciated leather goods. They had a glass case counter they found in one of the storerooms in the castle, cleaned it up, and filled it with belt buckles and other western accessories. They could look at a man's foot, and without measuring it, Buck could tell the size and width he wore. He would hand him a pair of boots, and they would fit like a glove. Each Angel was given his choice of two pair of boots. The eight visiting Angels were like kids in a candy store.

Hank would measure one's waist and shout the width and inseam to Buck, and he would bring out three brand new pair of Wrangler boot cut jeans. They were allowed to pick out five nice western shirts for themselves. Buck and Hank had a number of different styles of belts and buckles. When it came to hats, the Angels pretty much left it up to Hank and Buck which hat suited them best. When Buck and Hank were through picking the felt hats, everyone agreed the cowboys picked the perfect hats for them. The Angels also got nice straw hats for everyday wear. Hank and Buck explained the felt hats were more for formal wear like to the Fourth of July picnic and Barnyard Concert. Hank used a permanent laundry marker pen to carefully write each Angels' name on the hat band inside their hats. When they ask why?  Buck told them they would find out at the concert on Saturday.

When they finished there were big smiles on the Angels' faces. They got so much, they needed help carrying everything back to their suite of rooms. They were equally impressed with their rooms and how large and comfortable they were. They were in a considerably better mood when they walked down the back stairs to the dining hall for lunch, spruced up, and wearing their new cowboy clothes. The kitchen help came out, made over them, told them how good and authentic they looked, and gave them a resounding round of applause. They found a little bit of heaven for themselves on Old Nick's ship, and they were glad for it. They were impressed Billy Daniels was so together and managed to gather such competent and sensitive men to work for him. They fell in love with Buck and Hank in the short while they were with them. The two old cowboys couldn't have been more polite, congenial, or respectful of the Angels; holy or not.

* * * * * * *
The kitchen and dining room help were in full gear getting ready for the extra guests. Billy informed them earlier there would be a larger crowd than usual for lunch and gave them figures. Billy never demanded anything extra from his help without consideration, no matter their position on the social totem-pole, he would reward them equally. Armed with meat cleavers, cast iron frying pans, large egg beaters, and one mop, several of the cooks cornered Cletus with his husband David, and demanded he share his recipe for 'Gumbo' with them. They were serious, too. When that didn't work, they got the men laughing at their pleading and hyperbolic threats. Cletus pulled an old yellowed sheet of paper from his biker wallet, he carefully unfolded like he was unrolling a Dead Sea scroll and began to read off the secrets of his award winning gumbo. They carefully copied it down and sent emissaries to the big house to beg Ms. Kate for several items they didn't have. They never heard of filé powder. (pronounced fee-lay)

Cletus advised them, if it was fresh to use it sparingly. They would know from the smell. If it was very fresh and aromatic, set a small amount on the table for those who liked the flavor stronger. Kate didn't have any, but was sending Roz and Dorcas into the local market for some other things and told them not to come home without it; then, she laughed and explained the situation. She already called the store, made sure they had a bottle, and told them to put one behind the counter; her lady Roz would ask for it.

Billy, his posse, his management staff, the project management workers on the Highland Shire, and the other Angels in residence, met the visiting Angels in the dining room, and they looked spectacular in their cowboy clothes. They beamed with pride from the compliments Billy's family bestowed upon them. The swamp-Angels were particularly impressed when the dining room servers brought out great bowls of fresh garden salad, baguettes of freshly baked French bread still warm from the oven, and large tureens of Filé Gumbo they served over wild rice.

It was the ultimate compliment from the staff for the Cajun-Angels. Everyone watched carefully as Gator Gap took his first taste, sat up in his chair, smiled from ear to ear, and exclaimed, "Tres magnifique!" and the others cheered.

"Did you gentlemen have an interesting morning?" Billy asked. He was curious who would answer his question, but wasn't surprised when the others looked to Uriel as a spokesman.

"Indeed we did, Master Billy, and to say it was an 'eyeopening' experience would be underestimating the surprise and feelings of great joy and empathy we felt for you and your family's compassion; the care for your fellow creatures, large and small, and your sometimes wicked fun and ribald humor you and your people seem to enjoy so much from living life to the fullest; but, I think the most impressive part was, you seem to have the knack of bringing everyone else along with you no matter their station in your family, thus making them as equal as anyone else. We watched the video of you and your men holding the mock trial for the preacher and the young cowboy with the horns. I don't know about the others, but I sat in my seat and laughed my Angelic-ass off and cried buckets of somewhat less than holy-tears at the same time. I never experienced anything quite like it during my many years on this planet. Highly unusual for me, I might add, but I looked around me and the rest of my brothers were reacting the same way, so I didn't consider myself ready for the Angel's retirement center just yet," Uriel said and everyone laughed. "I only have one burning question, sir, no pun intended. Who played the part of the Devil, Satan?" Uriel asked.

Billy smiled and pointed at Gog down the table. "Our beloved giant, Billy Gog Groats, who can morph into numerous Demon-type critters he's run across over the years. We picked that particular one for having just a touch of compassion in his appearance," Billy said and motioned for Gog to stand. The Angels gave him a huge round of applause, and the rest of Billy's family joined them.

"Thank you, Good Friends. I don't know whether it's good to feel proud of something what was such a naturally fun thing to do is worthy of me or not, but I certainly appreciate your approval for my small part in our Mummer's play," he said and sat down. They applauded for him again.

"It was brilliant and Balthazar played the ultimate Arch-Angel with dignity, humor, and strength. He created an image I truly wish I could have been so many years ago. I can only hope to someday live up to such a standard as he set in his performance," Uriel said with a soupçon of lamentation.

"Not meaning to insult you, sir, I would say 'welcome to the human race.' Despite your immortality, from your words, I suspect you have a deep desire to become part of us. Perhaps many of your brothers have shared a common dream to become a greater part of something they helped create. My best guess is, us humans were never really programmed for more than being an ignorant, passive slave-race. Someone, somewhere along the line taught us we could have more if we gained knowledge and reason. Knowledge is feared by those who would enslave us. It was looked upon as the death-knell for authoritarian despots who denied us to eat of the metaphorical tree of knowledge. I think we have you and your brothers in stasis to thank for that. Creation of a race don't end at the birth of a new species. It has to be carefully nurtured as a part of their social evolution, but alas, for all your brothers' good intentions in the beginning, we didn't have surrogate-nannies to show us the way.

Billy continued, "Religions, left in their wake, have always supported the notion, man should bow-down before an omnipotent wrathful despotic god and submit to his authority no matter how insane the myths of his being. Many times the only other option for non-believers was death by the hands of his faithful. Of course, 'god's' authority was readily transferred to the prelates of the early churches and subsequently established royalty through claiming the divine right of Kings. Our earliest teachers and mentors are locked away deep in the Earth somewhere in the Middle-East. From their early guidance, we were instilled with the idea, if we strive hard enough we could build great civilizations, and we did; however, they always collapsed in on themselves for the same basic reasons: fear, myths, superstitions, war, and the insatiable greed of the moneyed class.

"They become cancers on the body of society and grow ever larger and demanding at the cost of endangering the existence of the very body which supports them. As they would have a controlled society to protect their wealth, so should the common man have built-in laws to protect him. The money-class should be controlled to keep them from developing an entitlement attitude as an excuse to abuse the power and influence their money can provide. We had a lot of failures through the centuries, but we keep on trying to get it right. We are fraught with mistakes, contradictions, and self-doubts, but the prize is not necessarily in the outcome, but in the challenge and the never ending struggle for something better for ourselves. My job, as I see it, is to make sure we finally accomplish that goal," Billy said.

"Hear! Hear!" said Tron Garrett.

"Hosanna!" exclaimed Enoch Redbone.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" the folks around the table replied.

"And it only gets better from there," Zeke spoke up looking right at Uriel.

"I have to agree with our brother, Zeke," said Gabriel, "We never saw that video until this morning with the rest of you. I think I can speak for the rest of us ex-Arch-Angels, we were as impressed as you were, Brother Uriel. We've only been here a short while. This place, and the people, seem to wrap themselves around you, but you never want them to let go. We keep thinking it's too good to be true. We keep looking for the soft, ugly underbelly, but we can't find one. It's difficult to hide bad things when everything is shared. You will discover everything is shared from the top down and to use cowboy lingo: what chu' sees is what chu' gets," Gabriel finished and laughed.  

"That's good enough for me," Gator said, "Hell, they had me at the first taste of this here Gumbo. It's damn good, too! Anybody what cares enough to take the time to put this much love into a meal can't be bad people," he said and got a laugh out of everyone.

"What's on the docket for this afternoon, Young Master," Michael asked.

"I would like to work on the four swamp-Angels who live in Gator Gap's area and restore them. I need to talk with Gator privately, and a couple of things must be agreed upon before I process him. Any of you Angels are welcome to join us and watch us work. We could certainly use your extra-gathering power to complete our tasks quickly and more efficiently. Not meaning to be presumptuous, but perhaps you might learn a few new techniques, so don't be afraid to ask questions. I will be glad to share with you what I know," Billy invited them.

The newer Angels looked to Uriel for a reply. For some reason, unknown to Billy at the time, Uriel became the big Daddy-Angel to them, and his word seemed to be respected above the others. "We would be honored and pleased to assist you, Master Billy. You will have our full cooperation, sir," Uriel said and the rest agreed with him.

The lunch was a great success, and the Angels couldn't thank the cooks and help enough. Billy told Aunt Helen to give them a nice gratuity in their next paychecks and raise their salaries to compensate for the extra work. Also, to check with them to see if they needed more kitchen and dining room help. He didn't know how long they were going to have the extra Angels stay with them. Billy pretty much figured Zeke, Slipweasel, Rum-dum were going to be permanent residents, and he suspected the five ex-archAngels, including Uriel and Sandalphon might decide to stay for a while. Billy was unsure about Ipos Kokobiel. He didn't say much, but he smiled a lot. He seemed to be pretty happy living among the desert Indian tribes. Time would tell.

After lunch the men and Angels sat around the table and talked. Billy sent the four Angels, Zagan Vine, Eligor Bathin, Uzza Forcas, and Orobas Gamagyn with his grooms to help remove their clothing, give them robes, and return to get him. It didn't take them long, and Billy led the visiting group of Angels down into the depths of the dungeon. Billy took special note of the robes his grooms found for them. The were pure white, made of a heavy terrycloth, with a belt of the same material to tie around the waist. The length of the robes came down almost to the floor; however, the most unusual part was each had a hood with a drawstring around the neck which made the Angels look like holy acolytes or monks of purity. Billy thought they were rather apropos and complimented his grooms. They were pleased he liked them and said they helped pick them out when Buck and Hank placed the order.

Billy processed each Angel and managed to do the damn-near miraculous feat of bringing them almost back to their pristine beauty of their earlier selves. He couldn't bring them back to the perfection they were when they rolled off the assembly line, but they had a touch of maturity which gave them a look of having a wise countenance. In their cowboy clothes, they looked like any handsome middle aged Texas rancher. Billy carefully explained exactly what he did and allowed the other Angels access to his mind so they could learn the process for themselves. They were highly impressed with Billy's talents and patient demeanor caring for the ancient Angels. He explained he triggered some dormant enzymes to which he attached the name of  'toxic-scrubber-brigade' what would cleanse their systems of the heavy metals and contaminates they accumulated over the years living in the swamp which was growing more toxic by the day.

He also explained he must repeat the same procedure on them three times with one day between each session. For those periods, in the late afternoon, they must drink a large sixteen ounce glass of a special drink of pureed raw herbs and vegetables he would have the kitchen staff prepare which would remove the toxins from their intestinal track. It would consist of parsley, cilantro, kale, broccoli, Spirulina, green tea extract, apple, lemon juice, and a bit of royal jelly mixed with honey to sweeten the mix. They were to have nothing else to eat until breakfast the next morning. The four swamp-Angels were overwhelmed at their appearance after Billy finished with them. They were so touched they cried and showered him with their affections. Gator was impressed, but he was a bit depressed Billy didn't care for him right away. He was like a little boy who didn't get any candy given out to the others. Billy felt his anxiety and conferred with Nick.

"Go ahead-on and refurbish him, Kemosabe. You can take care of the Kagoli conundrum later. Start him on the same schedule so's he won't feel left out," Nick advised.

"Remind me to have Aunt Helen give you a raise in your allowance, Tonto," Billy said sincerely.

"Off with your clothes, you old Gumbo-Pirate. I was gonna' wait and take care of both your problems at the same time, but you got my surrogate pa to thank for setting me straight. Might as well get you started on the same program as your mates. It will be easier for us and my kitchen staff," Billy said and patted the table for him to get on it as soon as his grooms helped him off with his clothes. Gator was overjoyed and lost no time shucking off his clothes. Of all the swamp Angels, Gator's body appeared to be the most depleted. It took Billy and the Angels a little longer with Gator, but when they were through, he looked the most improved of the swamp-Angels. Gator couldn't thank Billy and Nick enough, and he cried in Billy's arms. Again the other Angels who assisted were staggered at Billy and their old arch nemesis Nick's empathy and compassion for their newly refurbished brother.

They came to look upon Nick in a new light and realized he and the other fallen Angels were right, and they were wrong. It only increased their feelings of sorrow and guilt they chose the wrong side, but they also came to realize, through Billy Daniels, they were neither beyond the greater rationality of reason nor out of reach for their personal salvation through repentance; not simply as Angels, but by reaching out to finally conjoin with the human race. They came to understand, Billy was right; after all the centuries they wandered aimlessly, they must make a stand to set right a mistake they made thousands of years ago.

Next Billy singled out Uriel's companion, Sandalphon, and told him he would grant his wish for a pair of wings. The big man was not as handsome as most of the Angels, but he looked like a strong, rugged male human should in Billy's opinion. He found Sandalphon quite attractive. His immediate friends and his Angel brothers called him Sandy. With his rather ruddy complexion, dressed in his new western clothes, he looked very much like a cowboy named 'Sandy' should look. His clothes enhanced his cognomen. "Come, Sandy, you look like a kid on Halloween what only got fruit in his sack and no candy. Let my grooms help you undress and lie down. I will give you the pair of wings you always wanted," Billy said.

"Do I have a choice of color?" he asked as he immediately removed his hat and started to unbutton his shirt.

"I don't have a great deal of control over it. To be honest I ain't researched that part of the application enough to tell what color they will be or how to control it. The splashy colorful wings of Jack, Cletus, and David were created by my brother, Bubba, here. Usually when I do it, they come out whatever color the gifted person imagines for himself. We've noticed bonded pairs of men will have the same color wings almost invariably like the universe wants them to be known as a couple; however, if you have a particular preference in mind, we'll do our best to accommodate you. If you want color, I'll let Bubba gift you. If you want a pair like Uriel's, I'm your man," Billy explained.

Sandy looked at his master. "Don't look at me, Son. They're going to be your wings, and you have to live with them. Tell the man what you want and not what you think I might want," Uriel said firmly.

"I want a pair like Master Jack's," Sandy replied without hesitation.

"Bubba! You're up!" Billy exclaimed.

"Wing up, Brother!" Bubba ordered Jack so he could see his wings while he was working on Sandy.

After Sandy lay down on the table, Bubba came and took his place at the head of the table and for the first time felt the combined power from the other Angels and his brothers being channeled through him as a capacitance to release it to the rugged looking man lying beneath him. It was an exhilarating rush and a stimulating experience almost like a the high a person gets just before orgasm, but it was more sustainable and Bubba was in control. He started at Sandy's head and let a rush of energy flood out of him. It didn't stop until Bubba felt like his wave of released energy hit another shore and sent back an echo-wave of confirmation. After a few minutes he knew he completed the task of restoring the man and gifting him with a set of brightly colored wings. Bubba knew exactly when they would be breaking through the skin on his back. He gave the signal for the others to power down, and they automatically shook the excess energy from their wings to be absorbed by the flat stones which made up the dungeon floor. Sandy sat up and looked puzzled. Bubba realized from the look on the man's face, he didn't understand it took time for them to grow. Bubba placed his hand on his shoulder, "Fear not, Brother, I only planted the seeds. Didn't anyone tell you, you must grow them yourself?" he asked.

"No, I was expecting them to be there when you finished, but it makes sense," Sandy replied, "I thought maybe I wasn't worthy enough to receive a pair," he lamented.

"Nonsense!" Bubba barked at him, "The seeds I planted are very much alive and starting to grow right now, but they won't break the surface of your skin until much later this evening. Until then, you must drink Watcher's milk to fully activate them and give them strength. They should be ready to break through about eleven this evening. One of us will be with you to perform the minor surgery necessary to help them break through, but we will heal your back immediately," Bubba explained like a doctor, "Not to worry. I still ain't sure how human babies are born, but I can birth a set of Angel's wings like a pro," Bubba bragged and got a laugh out of the gathered Angels.

"How long does it take for them to grow?" Sandalphon asked.

"Once they break the surface, they will grow to maturity in approximately twelve hours -- maybe less. You will need a Watcher with you. He will feed you his sweet milk, sing to you for comfort an reassurance, and help you relax. Bubba assigned one of his extra Watcher-Protectors to stay by Sandalphon's side. He was the smallest of the extra group of Watcher who hung-out and protected Bubba's ranch. He was only seven and a half feet tall. Bubba called him 'Shorty.' He was young and still growing, but he had a sweet, unassuming manner about him everyone loved. Shorty and Sandy hit it off right away, and the huge beast had the Angel hooked to his teats in no time. Angels are not immune to the wonderful flavor, texture, and effect of Watcher milk.  
 
Billy made the five swamp-Angels swear on the name of some unknown god they would follow his instructions to the letter, and they duly swore. In a moment of nonsense, they decided each would swear on the name of separate unknown gods, because they reasoned if one unknown god accidentally found out and got pissed off, the others wouldn't have to share the unlucky Angel's punishment. They were a bit amused and thought Billy's attempts to mother-hen them were touching. He wouldn't even allow them sit in the dining hall while the others were eating supper least they be tempted to sin and not keep their word to him. He insisted they must drink his special concoction and return to their rooms immediately. They would otherwise be able to participate in any further activities for the evening; however, they were warned to take note of the nearest restroom facility because within approximately three to four hours they would think their bottoms were bomb-bay doors about to drop Fat Man over Nagasaki and Master Billy's cocktail-du-jour would completely evacuate their systems ridding them of toxins. (Yes, Virginia, even Angels must defecate.)

* * * * * * *
Billy allowed the new set of Angels to follow him everywhere that afternoon. He showed them the new building projects and the two apartment style bunkhouses they were building to have a little more comfort and privacy for some of his staff. Of course, he took them on a whirlwind tour of his City of Glass, the Sapphire City model, and showed them what they completed. They were impressed. They got to see their neighbors Marcus and Wilbur working their asses off trying to get things organized, but they seemed to have things under control. Billy made a mental note to have Buck and Hank get them a couple of pairs of steel-toed engineer boots. They looked uncomfortable walking so much in cowboy boots, and the western boots provided them little protection on a construction site.

That week Billy changed his and his posse's schedule to bring the newer Angels up to speed. He would have breakfast in the big house with his family, but he and his posse would have lunch and sometimes supper with the Angels and work crews. He had a lot to get done as it would be a shorter than usual week for him since he was devoting most of the day Friday to rehearsals with the Houston Philharmonic at Uncle Tom's cabin. He was in touch with Clara Mae almost everyday and she hired a couple of extra orchestra members to help her organize and make sure they got the music and parts from their library. They were starting early in the morning, taking a break for lunch which Billy and his staff would provide, and then however long it took after that.

Monday evening late, Billy, his posse, and everyone in the castle met in the bath area of the dungeon for a soak in the hot tubs. Bubba's prediction of Sandy's fledging was accurate almost down to the minute. He started complaining his shoulder blades were beginning to be uncomfortable around ten thirty. His assigned Watcher, Shorty, was attentive to the big man that evening and was with him and Uriel when Sandy's fledging began. Bubba led Sandy to the dungeon and had him lie face down on the same table he worked on him before. Bubba expertly cut one side and allowed the small nub to pop up and then the other side. Jack was right behind him healing Sandy's wounds and there was little or no blood. Bubba told Uriel and Shorty to take him to their room and have him drink as much of Shorty's milk as he could. Let Shorty share his bed, and Sandy would grow-in a set of wings by morning. Billy could tell Uriel was impressed beyond measure.

* * * * * * *
Things were going along smoothly until Wednesday while Billy was finishing the second round of detoxification for the five swamp-Angels. They knew the routine by that time and were looking better after each session. Several of the Angels commented they couldn't remember a time they looked so healthy and were equally pleased they looked so much younger. They could see the results for themselves. Billy was working on Gator when he felt a tickle. He recognized it was his little brother's tickle.

<< Zat chu', Bossman? I'm busy right now as you can see, >> Billy asked and sent him a metal picture.

<< Emergency tickle, Big Brother. Ludo found Leatherface at the base of them limestone cliffs above my swim'n hole down to the river a while ago. He says his left leg is slashed open, he's got a gunshot wound through his back, and Ludo thinks his back may be broken, >> Randy said.

<< Where are you right now, Little Brother? >> Billy sent.

<< I'm out front of the foreman's house, with ma' ramrod, >> Randy returned.
    
Billy stopped for a minute with Gator and looked up. "I just got a tickle from ma' Little Brother. Leatherface was shot and fell off a cliff down by the river. He's got a big gash in his leg and Ludo thinks his back may be broken. Bubba, Clyde, Enoch, Moss, transport in front of the foreman's house over to the Rutherford ranch. Boomer fetch that gurney in the corner and go wiff' 'em. Bubba, grab that emergency kit on the wall over there. It's got a tourniquet in it. Those of you who can hear thoughts tune into mine -- right now," Billy said.  

<< I'm sending Clyde, Bubba, Enoch, and Moss. Can you open a gate to the river where Ludo and Leatherface are, Son? >> Billy asked.

<< Sure, nothing to it, Bro. I'll have it open when they get here, >> Randy said.

<< Here comes Boomer with the gurney, and he's coming with them, >> Billy said, << They'll take his pain away and levitate him onto the gurney. While they do that, you open a gate to the dungeon on Captain Nick's ship. Leave Ram in charge of the ranch, and have him tell your mother where you are. You come with 'em through the gate, Son, >> Billy said and watched his team disappear.  
 
"Let's finish up here. It will take them several minutes, and we're just about through with you for today, Gator," Billy said.

"Hell, we can do this later, Son," Gator started to get up.

"No, no, lemme' finish! He'll be all right. I got good men working for me. They'll prep him and have him ready for me when they get here. Relax, Gumbo-pirate," Billy reassured him.
 
It took them a little longer than Billy thought. He was finished with Gator several minutes before his men and little brother came through a gate into the dungeon. Billy alerted his grooms, and they were waiting with buckets of warm water, antibiotic liquid soap, sponges, soft cloths, and fluffy towels to clean Leatherface's body. They had a rubber sheet over the table so they could clean him and not get blood on the padded leather table. The first thing Billy did was dip his finger in Leatherface's blood and tasted it. Nick watched a great shock come across his boy's face. Billy was stunned like he couldn't believe what he discovered. Billy shook his head like it just couldn't be. He dipped his finger in to taste the man's blood again like he wanted to make sure he didn't get a false reading. << Is it Randy's uncle Douglas, Kemosabe? >> he heard Nick ask in his mind.

<< How did you know, Pa? >> Billy replied.

<< I suspected for sometime now, but never said nothing. I was almost sure you suspected something, >> Nick returned.

<< I did suspect something, but nothing like 'iss. What should I do about Randy, Pa? >> Billy asked without thinking.

<< Put yourself in Randy's place. Would you wanna' know? >> Nick asked.

<< Damn right I'd wanna' know, and I'd resent anyone trying to hide the truth to spare my feelings just 'cause I's a kid, >> Billy send back.

<< Then you got chore' answer, Kemosabe. It's the right thing to do. You and Randy can talk about who needs to know later, >> Nick sent.

<< Will you take him aside and tell him, Pa, while we work on Douglas? >> Billy asked.

<< Not unless it's a direct order from you as my master. He needs to hear it from the one man he loves above all others, his Big Brother. He needs to know he can put his faith in his savior, >> Nick sent back.

<< God, I hate it when you're right, Tonto! But I have to love and admire you for telling me the truth. I'll tell him, Pa, >> Billy sent.  

"Clyde, pick Randy up and hold him for me," Billy told Clyde and he did. "Little Brother, there's something you need to know about Leatherface. He's your uncle Doug, Son," Billy said and watched a look of terror mixed with joy come across Randy's face.

"Oh, my god! I knew there was something different about him what was more important than just being an interesting stranger. Can you save him, Master Billy?" Randy said starting to cry.

"You know I can, Son. We'll fix him up better than new, but we got some decisions to make. I need my Bossman to pull his'self together because you're gonna' be making some big decisions for your uncle, while me and these fine Angels work on him," Billy said with empathy for his little brother, "Boomer, take Randy from Clyde. I'm gonna' need all the extra wings we can get to put this man back together and enhance him," Billy said.

"We been at this for sometime now, is there any Angel who needs a break or is tired?" Billy asked.

"Are you kidding, after what you done for us?" Gator Gap asked.

"Go ahead, Son, do what you need to do to bring this man around right. We're behind you a hundred percent," Uriel said.

"Make that a hundred and one percent, Master Billy," said Uriel's mate Sandalphon as he raised his beautiful new multicolored wings and smiled.

It was quite a spectacular introduction for the Angels to meet Billy's little brother, the young boy they referred to as 'Bossman Randy.' He was Billy's first major healing. They watched the videos of it and how Billy became known as the Walmart Cowboy Jesus. The new Angels heard Billy's family talking and trading stories about Randy, and saw him on several other videos they viewed, but it was their first time to meet him. They were more than a little impressed. They quickly put two and two together and were as dedicated as their young master to save Randy's uncle for him. Furthermore, it was their first time to see Billy in action saving someone's life rather than doing enhancements, refurbishings, or detoxifications. The dedication and skill of the young master melted the hearts of the most skeptic among them. By the time Billy finished working on Douglas Rutherford's body to make sure he was in no danger of expiring, there wasn't an Angel, fabricant or cowboy, who wasn't ready to give their lives and souls if need be to the young Cowboy-Master of the Hill Country.  
 
Billy removed the bullet from Douglas' back which was lodged in one of his ribs. It didn't go all the way through and no damage was done to his lungs. His grooms came in and gave a quick cleansing of the exposed wounds and saved the the rest for later. After the bullet was removed, Billy healed the wound in Doug's back, then moved to his leg. The Angels watched in awe as the the torn flesh and tendons went back together like a movie accident run backward until lastly the tissue came together followed by the external covering of skin. By the time Billy got around to working on Doug's back, Oatie Breedlove transported from his office directly to the dungeon on Captain Nick's ship and was there to help Billy access the damage.

Fortunately, Doug's spine was not broken, but almost every rib on his left side was either broken or cracked. Once again the Angels were stunned by what they saw. They watched the overhead scope as rib after rib was fused back together and conjoined in their original position. Billy and Oatie made a thorough inspection of the big man's spine from the back of his head to his coccyx and found no bruising or trauma. The only thing left to correct was his face and as Billy and Oatie carefully removed his leather covering there were several audible gasps and a few heads turned away at what they saw. Their hearts went out to the man and his nephew. Randy took one look and turned his face into the fur on Boomer's massive chest, and the young cowboy cried.

"He's gonna' be all right, Bossman," Oatie assured Randy, "We can fix him, Little Brother," he added.

"It's decision time, Little Brother. Doug don't wanna' look like his old self. I done told him I could repair his face like new. Maybe he might change his mind, but lets give him the option. In the meantime, who do you want him to look like? You know we got a DNA data bank of damn near every man on this ranch and most of our neighbors to pick from. I can make him look like their twin brother or a normal sibling with minor tweeks," Billy said.

"I want him to look exactly like Jethro Quince, and I want him to have a foreskin like Jethro and me. My daddy absolutely refused to have me circumcised. My momma told me my daddy said him and his brother swore a pact, if they had sons they would never have their penises mutilated like theirs were," Randy said without hesitation. "I know my uncle would appreciate it, and could you maybe give him another four inches and make it a little fatter while you're at it, sir?" Randy asked like he was designing his own special man.

"He's already done got a good straight-eight without erection. You sure about them extra four inches, Bossman?" Billy asked with big grin. He didn't care, he was just having fun with his little brother to lighten the situation.

"A cowboy can't have too much cock. If he's to become my foreman, I want him to have the biggest penis on the ranch. Ever' body loves a ramrod wiff' a big dick. Why do you think Jethro's so successful, Brother?" Randy said and grinned.

"I c'ain't argue with such sound reasoning, Bossman. Okay! He gets a fatter cock wiff' four more inches and some nice lace curtains," Billy said, "Don't you think we should ask Jethro if we can use him for a template for your uncle's looks and body?" Billy asked.

"You don't have to ask, Jethro, Master Billy. He's my husband and slave. I can speak for him," Oatie said.

"No! No! Big Bro's got a good point, Doc Oatie. We can ask him, but I'll tell you what he'll say. I know Jethro. Him and me, we's good buddies. Remember, I's the one what helped design him. I give him that pitcher of the mechanic from Team Fortress 2. I'll just tell him I want my own copy of his fine-self for my uncle," Randy bragged.
      
As Douglas Rutherford lay in a deep sleep, his future was being planned and orchestrated by several extraordinary men and one young boy, his nephew, to become the man he always wanted to be but couldn't because of unforeseen setbacks in his life. Billy sent his grooms to fetch Jethro and tell him his two master's and his little brother had need of him. Jethro knew who they were talking about without explanation, set his work aside, and followed the grooms to the dungeon. Randy cheated by running to Jethro's huge arms and being swept up with a greeting of major hugs and stolen kisses. The Angel and cowboys were enjoying the exchange.

"We found out Leatherface is my uncle everyone thought was dead, Brother Jethro. As you can see, three-quarters of his face is gone. He don't want to look like his old self because he don't want his mother and sister-in-law, my mother, finding out about him. We need to create a new face for him. They asked me who I wanted him to look like and my first thought was, I want him to look just like my big brother, Jethro," Randy explained.

"What's the problem?" Jethro asked like he was dumbstruck they should even ask.

"Master Billy thought I should ask your permission to make him look like you," Randy said.

"That's bullshit! Didn't you tell him we was brothers, Little Bro?" Jethro asked like he was disappointed.

"I did. I told him I knew what you would say, but I wanted Master Billy to hear it from you," Randy said.

"No disrespect intended, Master Billy, but if my little brother wants his uncle to look like me, by all means, make it so. I'd be right proud and honored to have me another brother in the Rutherford clan," Jethro said firmly stealing another kiss from Randy. "Is that all? Can I get back to work now?" Jethro asked.

"Yes, and thanks, Big Brother. I knew you wouldn't let me down," Randy said and stole another kiss of his own. The Angels gave both men a round of applause. Jethro put Randy down. They held hands and took a bow. Jethro turned and went back to his work.

"You don't never wanna' challenge that kid. You gotta' give it to our Bossman, he can back up his word," Billy said to the gathered audience, and shook his head, "Ain't that right, Mr. Smarty-boots?" Billy asked Randy, and the young buckaroo giggled. Randy captured the hearts of the rest of the Angels like it was a walk in the park.

It took them a while, but with the massive strength from the extra power of the life-force gathered by the huge number of Angels from the ether of the universe helped considerably to make the project move faster. The rebuilding of Douglas Rutherford to look like a twin of Jethro Quince was even more amazing to the Angels and Billy's posse as well. Billy's Cowboy-Angels watched him do some pretty remarkable things in the last several months, but the reconstruction of Doug Rutherford was borderline miraculous.

"I'm sorry, but I have to say, I'm standing here watching this with my own eyes inches away, but I'm having a rough time grasping the reality of what I'm seeing," Uriel spoke softly.

"Hosanna!" Sandalphon said quietly in reverence.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" the others echoed like the final 'amen' of a great prayer.

"See, I told you, you should do children's parties, Big Brother," Randy said and giggled. Everyone in the room laughed including Billy.

"Hesh up, Little Brother! You'll make me lose my concentration, and yore' uncle could end up with an ear for a nose," Billy said, and everyone laughed again.

When Billy finished Doug's facial reconstruction, the Daddy Long-leg looked like a Xerox copy of Jethro. Billy went over Doug's body inch by inch and removed scars, cuts, or bruises, and replaced them with healthy living tissue. Randy wanted him hairless, and Billy wasn't about to argue the point. If Doug didn't like being hairless, Billy could give him hair later. He had to agree with his little brother, the image of Jethro Quince to help Douglas restart his life was a good place to start. Doug turned out to be every bit as handsome, and his new appearance exuded raw-boned sexuality; he was stunningly handsome lying on the table.

When Billy was through, he moved away and allowed his grooms to carefully and gently bath every inch of Doug's body. They dried him, and they were done. Billy thanked them as they were mopping up the blood and water which fell on the flat stones of the floor. They were finished. They brought a fine cotton sheet to cover him. Billy softly called to him. "Doug! Douglas Rutherford! I know you can hear me. The voice you're hearing is Billy Daniels. In a minute I'm going to let you open your eyes. You had a bad accident. We think you were shot in the back, lost your footing, and fell off a cliff. You have been repaired, and you're safe on the Daniels ranch. Your Watcher-Brother and your nephew's protector, Ludo, found you unconscious and bleeding on the bank of the river below the limestone cliffs. If you can hear me, raise your right hand," Billy instructed, and slowly Doug's fingers moved; then his hand raised just a bit, and he let it settle back down. "I'm going to ask you a couple of questions. Raise your right hand for 'yes,' your left hand for 'no,' and both for 'I don't know.' Understand?" Billy asked and Doug raised his right hand and let it back down.

"Good! Good! Do you hurt anywhere?" Billy asked. Doug raised his left hand and lowered it. "I'm going to let you open you eyes, and you're going to see a group of men standing around wearing wings, but don't let it bother you none; y'aint died and gone to heaven; unless, you consider the Daniels ranch a little piece of heaven. The truth is, we just returned from a costume party and dang if everybody didn't show-up dressed like Angels," Billy said and got a few laughs from his audience. "Now, open your eyes, Doug," Billy commanded and Douglas Rutherford opened his eyes and saw Billy Daniels standing over him with his wings still on his back. He blinked a couple of times and looked around at the concerned faces of other good looking men and cowboys wearing a variety of different colored wings.

"Costume party my ass," was Doug's first statement, and the men roared with laughter.

"Welcome back, Cowboy," Billy said and took his hand. "You got a small but huge fan over there in the arms of that big Watcher, whose quick action saved your life," Billy said and Doug focused to see Boomer holding his nephew, Randy. He tried to sit up, then put his hand to his face to cover it. He looked confused when he felt flesh instead of a leather mask. Billy gently put his hand in the center of his chest and made him lie back. "Relax, Doug! You ain't got nothing to worry about. We made you look like one of our favorite and best looking slaves to hide your identity if that's what you want. However, when I checked your blood, your DNA pattern was almost exactly like my little brother's over there, and I knew you were related; so closely related, you could only be his daddy or his uncle; however, there were two alleles which were different what told me you must be Randy's uncle Doug," Billy said. The Cowboy-Angels made way for Boomer, and he carried Randy over to his uncle.

Boomer set him down, and Randy took his uncle's hand. "Damn, you look good, Uncle Doug. Ma' big Brother here and his Cowboy-Angels, and some real honest-to-god Angels among them, worked on you for a couple of hours or more to heal you and refurbish your body. Master Billy was just blowing smoke up your butt. They really are wings, and you'll start to grow a pair in about twelve hours. You's one of the Daniels family now, Uncle Doug. I am, too, but I won't get my wings until I go through pooh-bear-tea. That's all right. I can still do some neat tricks. I'll show you as soon as you get better and grow stronger. You look like a twin to my big brother, Jethro. He gimme' his consent to have Master Billy use his DNA to rebuild you. You're still my uncle, but you's just been repackaged," Randy said and smiled at his uncle. "And what a package -- a Ramrod Randy special," Randy declared and all the Angels laughed at his enthusiasm and joy.

"Then those were real Angels we saw come riding out of the clouds at the last Barnyard Concert?" Doug asked.

"Yeah, Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, and Sama'el. Raise your hands, Gentlemen," Randy said and the four Angels with white wings raised their hands.

"You feel like sitting up, Son?" Uriel took Doug's other hand.

"I think so, sir, and who might you be?" he asked.

"I am Uriel," the Angel replied and Doug nodded.

"The light of God?" Doug asked as Uriel helped him sit up and turned to drop his legs over the side.

"That's what my name meant once upon a time long ago, Son, until me and my brothers were bullied and betrayed. Now, today, after what I just witnessed -- Master Billy Daniels and his Cowboy-Angels, with our assistance, brought you back from the brink of death and completely rebuilt you -- I have become the light from out of darkness; I have seen a new hope for mankind I never thought possible," Uriel said.

"Does that rate a 'Hosanna', Big Brother?" Randy asked sotto voce using the back of his hand pretending no one else could hear him; everyone did and laughed.

"I'd say it definitely does, Little Brother," Billy replied, "Take it away, Tiger!" Billy exclaimed.

"Hosanna!" Randy shouted raising his little hand in a fist, and everyone in the room echoed his cry.

"Hosanna, in the highest!" they replied holding up their hands in a fist.

"Would you like to get a better look at your new self, Brother? You feel like walking to that mirror over there?" Billy asked motioning to the floor length antique mirror in the corner.

"I might need a little assistance, sir, but I think I can navigate it," Doug replied.

Uriel got on one side and Bubba on the other to slowly walk Douglas to the mirror for his first look at his new self. He stood before the mirror in awe. The man looking back was more ruggedly handsome than he ever remembered himself being, but he liked the look. He also commented he liked the hairless look including his heavy dark beard which made him look masculine with just an edge of toughness. When Billy told him he could provide Doug with another persona, he never believed he could really do it, but here he was, looking at a remarkably strong looking, handsome man. Voluntary tears came to Doug's eyes. "Thank you, Gentlemen, for a second chance. I won't let you or my nephew down," Doug said to the Man-Angels gathered. They applauded and cheered for him. Randy ran to his uncle and hugged him in the raw. It was natural for the young cowboy to show his affection for his only living male blood relative.  

"Come, Mr. Rutherford, we will have grooms help you in the shower, and we will dress you in western clothes. We will find a room here in the castle for you and Randy where you can stay until you grow more sure of yourself and feel you can venture out on your own," Billy said.

"Thank you, Master Billy for saving my nephew's life, and thank you for saving mine," Doug said.

"You're welcome, Brother. We hope you find a new home here as well as one at the Rutherford ranch," Billy said.

"It may take some time, sir," Doug said.

"No one will rush you. Well, maybe my little brother, but you can't fault his enthusiasm," Billy said and laughed.

"He's just like his daddy," Doug replied.

* * * * * * *
Billy called the Rutherford ranch and explained to Ruth what happened, but he didn't tell her Leatherface turned out to be her brother-in-law. He decide he would leave that to Doug and Randy. He asked if Randy could stay at the ranch for the rest of the week through Sunday. Nothing surprised Ruth anymore about Randy and she felt he was safe as long as he was under the Daniels supervision. She was sorry to hear about the Daddy Long-leg but happy Randy and Ludo found him in time and Billy saved him.

They had an extra, private room with bath and sitting room within the giant's apartments. Doug expressed an affinity for the huge men, and they shared the same feeling for him. Billy gave the room to Douglas and Randy. Hank and Buck carefully laid out the same allotment of western clothes for him they provided the visiting Angels, and they were waiting for Doug when he and Randy arrived. Randy helped his uncle dress for supper. Doc Oatie and Jethro stayed for supper on the ship to continue their visit with the newer Angels and Doug got to meet his twin. The two big men were moved to tears. Jethro called him brother and Doug acknowledged his claim and called Jethro his brother. Doug was reserved, but he wasn't shy anymore. He couldn't be shy with a nephew like Randy. The young cowboy brought his Watcher-Protector and Doug's running buddy, Ludo, to the ship to provide his uncle with Watcher's milk and help wet-nurse him through the birth of his wings. Randy was an old hand at birth'n Cowboy-Angel's wings and was there with his master to welcome his uncle into the light of a new world.


End of Chapter 70 ~ Seek Him What Made Them Seven Stars
Copyright ~ ~ 2014 ~ 2016 ~Waddie Greywolf ~ All Rights Reserved
Mail to: Waddie Greywolf <waddiebear@yahoo.com>
WC = 20,645
02/05/2014
08/04/2016

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