The only sound
in the RV was the soft drone of the air-conditioning as it pumped out
cool air like a holy blessing on such a hot evening. JR had Hank
Morgan’s rapt attention as he carefully described his previous
evening. Hank listened in awe to what his son was telling
him. Even with a prior admonishment from his Master, what his son
would be telling him was true, Hank had a hard time believing, but in
the back of his mind, it all made perfect sense. It better
explained the mystery of Lazarus Long.
“But the best
part, Hank,” JR looked up into the big man’s eyes he was now leaning up
against, “Captain Long said with slaves being given the option of
living much longer lives their sentences must be reconsidered
accordingly. If a man knew he could live for ten to twenty times
longer than the normal life span, who would want to live as a slave for
that length of time? He said they had to make it worthwhile for a
man to want to choose a longer life span. So that means you might
not have to be a slave forever, Mr. Morgan. Knowing Master
Charlie’s a good Master, he would honor a decision made to grant you
freedom after a decided period.”
“That would be
an incentive, but you’ll forgive me if’n I don’t get my hopes up,
Son. I been a slave too damn long to believe in pie in the
sky. And you chose to take the longevity gene, young
Master?” Hank asked.
My brother and his slaves were all gonna’ take it,— I didn’t wanna’ be
left out, Hank. Mr. Goodnight said he’d tell ma for me. He
said he’d tell her he made the decision to allow me the choice.
Captain Long didn’t force none of us to take it. As fearful as ma
was about Ox’s milk maybe we shouldn’t tell her about it right away,
but look what it done for me, Hank? I ain’t had me no headache
since I been drink’n it, and what I experienced with my brothers on
Captain Long’s ship, I would a’ had a split’n headache for sure.
I think whatever was wrong with me is gone. It’s like a miracle,
and I’m so thankful not to have them damn headaches no more.”
“We’re happy for
you, Son.” Hank told him, “I think I’ll talk with Master
Goodnight about what and when to tell yore’ ma about all this.
Master Goodnight has a way with yore’ ma nobody else does. He can
git her to see reason when I cain’t sometimes. So you say Master
Long, my new ramrod, is the Captain of a space ship what will take us
away when things git bad here on Earth?”
I know there’s a lot more, and we all got a part to play in all
this. It’s jes’ so exciting to me, I had to share it with
somebody I love and who I know understands me. I couldn’t think
a’ nobody better’n you, Hank.”
“I’m glad you
did, Son. I love you, too, JR, more’n you’ll ever know.
Just the idea I might git to be around to watch you grow up, have a
family of yore’ own, have little ones,— why, that’d be incentive enough
for me to wanna’ live longer. I have a feeling this all may work
out to everyone’s benefit. I wonder when Master Long will ask us
slaves if’n we want the shot?”
“As soon as you
let him know you’ll volunteer, Mr. Morgan. Captain Long thinks
you’re a good man, Sir. It was him what told me he thought I
should tell you about my evening on his ship. Oh, Hank, I hope
you do decide to volunteer. I want to see you walk as a freeman
one day. I’ll do ever’ damn thing in my power, Sir, to see it
happen; I love you that much, Hank.”
“You think this
old slave could have me another one a’ them sweet cowboy kisses, Son?”
“You can have
all you want, Hank,— anytime you want ‘em.”
The men kissed
another sweet and gentle kiss, but this time the emotion was too great
for them. Hank enfolded JR in his big arms and started
weeping. JR was sobbing with his head resting on Hank’s broad
“God, I love
you, JR.” Hank spoke as he held the boy tight.
“I love you,
too, Hank.” JR replied quietly.
* * * * * * *
Their talk over,
JR turned off the air-conditioner and the men slowly walked back across
the compound. This time Hank reached down and took JR’s smaller
hand in his as they walked together. As they reached the middle
of the huge area they saw Charlie and Lazarus come out of the big house
walk down the porch steps toward them. Charlie raised his
hand to acknowledge the men and have them wait for a minute. JR
gently squeezed Hank’s big hand to let him know it was all right with
him to be holding his hand. Hank looked down at him and
smiled. He squeeze his hand back and they stood there waiting for
Charlie and Lazarus.
“Two mighty fine
look’n men, wouldn’t you say, ramrod?” Charlie asked his new
Boss, right handsome, indeed.”
“You men have a
good talk?” Charlie grinned at Hank and JR.
“We did, Master
Goodnight, and thanks for yore’ warning.” Hank responded.
Hank. If’n I hadn’t a’ seen it with my own eyes I don’t think I’d
believe Waco if’n he’s to come to me and told me a tale like ‘at.”
“How much do you
think we should tell Ida, Mr. Goodnight?” Hank asked.
“It might be
easier coming from you and JR, Hank. Tell her you done talked
with me, and I confirmed ever’ thing JR told you. You plan on
staying with her this evening?”
me, Sir, if’n you don’t mind.”
“You know I
don’t mind, as long as it’s all right with Ida. Lord knows I
wanna’ keep that woman happy.” the men shared a laugh, “We’ll see
ya’ll for breakfast in the morning, then. Come, we’ll walk that
way with you. I’m taking our new ramrod down to look at the
foreman’s house. I ain’t been in there in a several years.
We ain’t had us no foreman since old man Dobbs and his wife decided to
retire right after my daddy died and moved in with their family down
Harlingen way. Ida keeps it clean and dusted once a month, but I
thought we’d take a look at it. Maybe Lazarus would like to use
it. After all, it comes with the foreman’s job.”
“Sounds like a
fine idea to me, Sir. Looking forward to working with you
tomorrow, Sir.” Hank spoke to Lazarus.
“Won’t be much
different from the way we been working, Hank.” Lazarus chuckled,
“Don’t expect no big changes. I’d like to speak to the men in the
morning after Mr. Goodnight, talks with them. I wanna’ assure ‘em
things will continue as normal, and I ain’t out of make no radical
changes. There will eventually be some changes, but they won’t be
nothing what’ll upset nobody.”
The men reached
Ida’s cottage and said their goodbyes. JR held the door for Hank
as they strolled into the cottage hand in hand. JR only
dropped Hank’s hand to go to his mother to give her a quick hug and a
peck on the cheek. Ida Wallace could tell something powerful
happened between her men. Women are that way. They know
about their men. She could tell they’d been crying, but they had
the biggest damn smiles on their faces. They were laughing and
joking with each other like they always did, but she never saw Hank and
JR holding hands before. That really peaked her curiosity;
however, Ida was satisfied they had a good time together. Ida
invited Hank and JR into the kitchen for some left over chicken and
other stuff from the big dinner. JR begged off saying he ate so
much at dinner he was still full. He asked if he could be excused
and go to his room to watch T.V. Ida told him he could. He
hugged and kissed his mom goodnight. Then he went to Hank and
threw his arms around him to hug him. Hank blushed but slowly put
his big cowboy arms around JR. JR gave him a gentle kiss on the
Morgan. I meant ever’ damn word I said this evening, Hank.
If’n you need me, I’ll be in my room.”
Hank went weak
in his knees, but he managed to give JR a quick peck on his
cheek. “I meant ever’ word I said, too, young Master, and it’s
good to know you got my back.” he smiled and winked at JR.
JR giggled and left the room. Hank sat down in one of Ida’s
kitchen chairs and looked at her with tears in his eyes.
woman, for him. I could never do enough for you nor give you
enough to show you how much you and him mean to me.”
Hank put his
head in his hands and began to sob. Something he never did in
front of any woman let alone the woman he loved. Ida went to him,
held him and comforted him.
nothing you could give me, Hank. There ain’t nothing we want from
you but yore’ love, sweetheart. I think our little man is growing
“He is Ida
Mae. He’s beginning to wake up to things he’s jes’ accepted
before. He know something ain’t quite kosher with his
relationship with you, me, Master Charlie and Waco. He gimme’ a
big hug and a kiss this evening and told me he thought on me as his
pa. He like ta’ ripped my old heart out, Ida. He looks just
like I did at his age. H’it ain’t gonna’ be long before he puts
two and two together.”
“I know. I
been noticing him watching you and trying to do ever’thing jes’ like
you do it. He’s even got chore’ walk down pat. He looks
like a little you when I see him walking across the compound. I
know I told you to let me tell him one day, but I changed my mind about
that, Hank. If and when he asks, I jes’ know, after tonight, it’s
gonna’ be you he comes to for the truth. It wouldn’t be right for
you to lie to him. He might think you was trying to deny him, and
you two have grown too close for that. If he asks you, Hank, I
want you to tell him the truth.”
“Oh, God, I
don’t know if’n I can, Ida Mae.”
“Of course you
can, Hank Morgan. He’s your son. Don’t matter to him none
you’re a slave.”
“I know, he told
me this evening he didn’t care. He was so loving and sweet he had
me in tears, Ida.”
“He’s coming to
an age he’s gonna’ need his daddy more and more and h’it ain’t right we
put it off on Mr. Goodnight. I know he’d do it without a thought
about it; however, he’s been too damn good us, Hank, to have to give
him extra worries.”
hon. I think when he does discover I’m his pa, he’ll be able to
keep it quiet. I’ll jes’ impress on him the necessity of playing
a role to keep him from being enslaved. I’ll tell him how
wonderful a man Master Charlie is to have done what he done for him and
us. I don’t think he’ll have no problem. He don’t even have
to give up being Waco’s brother. I think Waco would have some’um
to say about that. He idolizes JR.”
“They been awful
good to him, Hank. I’ve noticed he ain’t had no headache in
almost a month. I was wrong, I apologize. You were
right to want him to try Ox’s milk. Still hard for me to think
“He won’t have
no more problems, sweet heart. He was exposed to some critters
what healed him the rest of the way and removed every blemish and wart
from his body. I didn’t believe him at first, but he showed me
his hands and feet. Honey, he ain’t got a mole or a wart on him
no wheres. His skin is flawless. That big wart what was on
the back of his neck that give him so much problems is
Hank told Ida
about his conversation with Charlie Goodnight and his conversation with
JR. Ida sat there stunned. She would shake her head like
she didn’t know if she believed it or not, but she knew neither Hank or
JR were prone to make up stories. Each was about as down to Earth
as you could get. JR inherited that quality from his dad.
huh? Flew ‘em to Mars and Venus you say? I know’d there was
some’um different about that man. For all his cowboy ways, Mr.
Long is too intelligent and understanding a man to be a drifter
cowboy. I remember that big ship flying overhead the evening of
Waco’s birthday and Mr. Long and them critters walking up. It all
makes sense now. I don’t know’s I like the idea of him giving JR
“Do you think
he’d hurt JR, darlin’? Besides, he gave all the men with him the
shot. Master Charlie said to tell you JR asked him, and he gave
his permission. We’re gonna’ be offered it as well,
darlin.’ I’m gonna’ take it. If what Mr. Long says is true,
they can’t keep me as a slave for thousands of years. Even if I
have to work as a slave for another fifty years, it’d a’ be worth it to
know one day I could ask you, as a freeman, to be my wife, Ida.”
“Oh, Hank, that
would be wonderful. I’ll have to think on it some. The idea
of not growing older has a lot of appeal, especially to a woman.”
JR, he ain’t gonna’ force nobody to take it. You’n me, how
many times we talked about spending eternity together in the afterlife,
Ida Mae? You know I’d walk by yore’ side for an eternity.
That ain’t no cowboy bullshit neither. What if we had the
possibility dropped in our laps in this life to spend a thousand or
more years together? Do you think you’d grow tired of me, woman?”
“God, Hank,— I
can’t git enough of you now. After a thousand years we’d jes’ be
warm’n up.” Ida giggled. “I spend all week thinking about us
being together on the weekend. To be able to lay in the same bed
with you, as my husband every night, would be heaven itself, my love.”
really make me your love slave and make me run around without no
clothes on?” Hank chuckled.
sweet ass I would! You don’t know how close I come to asking
Master Charlie to play a joke on you and order you to stay naked all
weekend and be my slave.” Ida howled with laughter.
“I would a’ done
it, too.” Hank shot back. “I’d worship at yore’ feet,
“Aww, Hank, I
love you so much.”
“I love you,
too, Ida Mae. You made me a man again and gimme’ the greatest
gift a woman could give a man. You gimme’ a fine son, who I’m so
proud of and love so much I could shout it to the heavens. I git
down on my knees ever’ damn day after work and thank the good Lord for
Master Charlie, you, and my boy.”
* * * * * * *
The door to the
foreman’s house wasn’t locked and Charlie held the door for Lazarus to
enter. There were three other houses in a row next to Ida Mae’s
cottage but the foreman’s house was the biggest and at the end of the
four. The men walked into the living area and nothing was out of
place. It was exactly as the former occupants left it. The
furniture was covered with old sheets and Charlie took off a few to
show Lazarus it was old but clean and serviceable. He led
Lazarus into the small kitchen and showed him a pantry back of the
kitchen. There was a hallway that led to the back porch.
Right behind the pantry on the porch was a washer and dryer. They
were covered, too. Charlie pulled the sheet from the washer.
“These are brand
new. I bought ‘em the year the Dobbs left. Ain’t been used
Charlie took him
back into the hallway and opened a door on the other side that opened
onto a large room with a full bath attached. It was a maid or
cook’s room. Lazarus was surprised the house was completely
furnished. There was a nice double bed, dressers, and high-boy;
one overstuffed wingback chair and an old rocking chair. It had a
huge braided rug on the floor.
immaculate.” Lazarus commented.
Mae. She keeps it this way. I don’t think she spends more’n
one day a month in here, but when she does she make a full day of
it. I always pay her a little extra for it though.”
The house was
two stories and Charlie led Lazarus to the stairs; however, before he
did, he opened another door under the staircase and there was a huge
area for storage. Directly across from the stairs was another
door. Charlie opened it and flipped a light switch. He led
Lazarus down into a basement the same area as the house. It was
exclaimed Lazarus. “Even the damn basement is clean. I
don’t know how that woman does it. It’s spotless.”
“Why do you
think I do ever’ thing I can to keep her happy, brother?” Charlie
laughed. It was the first time he’d ever called Lazarus ‘brother’
but he like it.
jars of preserves and food down here and what looks like wine.”
“Yeah, the old
man had some grape vines and made wine ever’ year. No tell’n how
old some of them bottles is.”
“I’ll bet he
labeled each bottle with the date.” Lazarus picked out one and
sure enough, it had a handwritten label showing the date of
bottling. It was ten years old. “This one’s just coming
into bloom. Jes’ ripe for pick’n.” Lazarus chuckled. “This
is fantastic!” he exclaimed again.
better.” Charlie laughed.
They left the
basement and climbed the stairs. There was a long hallway and to
the right was the master bedroom with a full bath. The bedroom
was a big room, took up half the upstairs area and was on the front of
the house. Once again it was spotless and the huge four poster
bed was a beautiful antique to behold.
walked off and left all this?” Lazarus asked.
it. Dad helped them buy most of the furniture for the house and
it was their way of thanking him and me for their stay. It
weren’t no agreed upon thing, they just chose to do it. Besides,
I don’t think they’re kids wanted any of it. They got their own
“It shore’ is
comfortable look’n, Boss.”
“I thought you
might like it.”
him the other three upstairs bedrooms. The bedroom next to the
master bedroom didn’t have a bath. It was obviously meant to
share the bath at the end of the hall. The bath had three
doors. One entry from the hall and two on each side entered into
the larger bedrooms on either side. Each room had it’s private
entrance as well off the hall. The two end rooms were obviously
meant for siblings who would share the bath. The final thing
Charlie had to show him blew Lazarus away.
another stairs between the master bedroom and the smaller quest bedroom
that went to a huge attic. Like the rest of the house everything
was in order and it, too, was spotless. There was all sorts of
furniture and old trunks that called out to be rummaged through to
discover their hidden secrets.
exclaimed Lazarus in a hushed voice.
always been kind a’ fond of the house myself.” said
Charlie. “It sort of has a ‘lived-in’ kinda feel about it.
Like it just wraps its arms around you and says ‘welcome home.’”
Boss.” Lazarus allowed.
ramrod?” Charlie asked as they walked back down the stairs.
“Very much, but
let’s take things one step at a time. I don’t wanna’ overburden
Ms. Wallace. I don’t want her think’n she’s gotta’ clean my
quarters as well as take care of yore’ house, you, Waco, her own house,
and all her other responsibilities. For right now, I’m
comfortable in my little bedroom off the kitchen. Would you mind
if I bought me a slave for a houseboy?”
“Not at all, but
I thought you was pretty much anti-slavery?”
ain’t. At least not the way you and yore’ brother treat your
slaves. The problem with slavery is the unchecked mean
spiritedness and senseless brutality that can arise from such a
system,— where one man has unlimited power over other human
beings. I don’t care how the Theo-cons legislate slaves to be
considered livestock or non-human, the bare-ass truth of the matter is,
they’s still human. You can’t legislate a dog into a cat no
more’n you can a human into livestock. You know masters who take
their positions to the extreme, Boss.”
I do, ramrod.”
“What I want is
a young boy, about yore’ boy’s age, what can be easily trained and will
work hard to keep me happy. I ain’t interested in sex from a
young’un. I ain’t no pederast.”
volunteer for the job, ramrod?’ Charlie looked Lazarus in the eye
“Ah, hell, Boss,
you already done got a good position with me. We jes’ gotta’ be
careful we don’t git no Jesus-patrol freaks stick’n their noses into
our bedrooms.” Lazarus said softly like they might be overheard
as they walked away from the house. “I’ll check out all the houses in
the morning for bugs, but I’ll check yore’s out tonight. Anyway,”
Lazarus continued, “it’s just a matter of time. We’ll put the
word out with your brother, his foreman, Cotton, and Hoot, and we can
tell Mr. Gibbons tomorrow evening. We can even alert the sheriff
and Mr. Tennent.”
“That’s a good
idea. You know if’n we travel over to Ranger’s tomorrow we’re
gonna’ have to take the posse with us?” Charlie asked.
to. I think Mr. Gibbons needs some cheering up and Travis needs
to visit his folks in their home. They also have something
important to tell him.”
“Do you know
what it is?”
“I didn’t at
first, but ma’ boy and Waco put me on to it the fourth of July, and
shore’ ‘nuff there’s an extra heartbeat in Elsie’s body.”
“Oh, my God, how
wonderful. Ranger asked me what I thought about allowing Bobby
and Elsie to have another kid. I told him to go for it.
Travis seemed to bring so much happiness to everyone over there.
Even Mary Gibbons loves Travis. Well, damn, I’m glad he decided
to do it. Bobby and Elsie didn’t wanna’ raise another child as a
slave. Ranger done promised them this child would be raised
free. I hope it’s a little girl. I know Elsie wants a
little girl so bad. Speaking of children, Father Long, what about
your two servants on the ship? Do they have enough to do or could
you set up a portal and have them take care of the house for you until
you find a slave?”
not. When the house is shut up, no one can see what’s going on
inside. Besides, I might get to look at them occasionally.”
Charlie smiled. “Would the electronics be easily detected?”
“Naw, Sir, it
works on an entirely different scientific principle them suits ain’t
got no concept of. It works on harmonics, and they ain’t looking
for no music. Lemme’ think on it. For a while, until I git
settled in ma’ new job, I got enough on my plate.”
I guess I jes’ wanna’ see my ramrod happy and comfortable.”
nothing to be ashamed of, Boss. It’s what makes you the man you
are. Besides, staying in the big house for a while makes it all
the more easy for me to help you with that itch you got.”
“Sounds good to
me, ramrod.” Charlie smiled.
* * * * * * *
the big house that night and found bugs in every major room including
the bedrooms and baths. He even found a sub-miniature video
camera with sound chip in the kitchen where the men ate. He
disabled everyone. There was nothing the suits could do about it
if their plants malfunctioned. Ida Mae asked him if he would
check her cottage, but he found only one in the living area.
Charlie and the boys went with him and couldn’t believe the places they
found bugs. Lazarus put a sign on each phone to remind whoever
was using it their conversation was being monitored.
The next morning
at breakfast, Lazarus once again warned the men of guarding most of
what they say and then speak in soft tones. If they wanted to
talk about something sensitive, turn on a radio or TV loud enough it
could drown out their whispered conversation. Either that, or in
the boy’s case, use their minds to communicate. They all agreed
they were sufficiently shocked by what they found. After
breakfast the men found several bugs in each barn and tack room.
They found a couple in the slave quarters even though the suits claimed
they didn’t believe a word a slave says. Lazarus checked the RV
but found nothing there. He then checked all three of the extra
houses and found several in each house including the foreman’s
house. Fortunately, he and Charlie didn’t say anything
incriminating. Lazarus told Charlie he’d make another sweep after
work that evening to make sure. He would take Ping and Pong with
him. They could sniff out any device that shouldn’t be there.
Charlie formally announced to the slaves Lazarus was their new
foreman. They all knew it already, but it was just a matter of
formality. They all cheered and applauded for Lazarus. He
spoke to them next. Lazarus’ speech was short and to the
point. He told them pretty much what he told Hank. Things
were going to continue about the same and any changes would be made
slowly and over a period of time. He did, however, want his men
to come to their crew leaders if they had a problem, and they would
come to him. He expected them to follow protocol.
The first day
went smoothly enough. The slaves were astounded when Lazarus
worked right by their sides, and at the end of the day, he was as dirty
as they were. They were even more taken aback when he still
ate his lunch of slave chow and a biscuit with them. They thought
that was pretty neat. It said to them he wasn’t going to get all
high and mighty with them and become aloof. They had the
opportunity to express their opinions and ideas with him. Once in
a while someone would say something about work, and he would tell them
they must take that up with their crew leader. He made a
separation of being one of them and being their boss. They knew
to show him the proper respect his new position was due and called him
Mr. Long, ramrod, or straw boss. He wouldn’t let them just call
him boss, because he explained to them Mr. Goodnight was the
‘boss.’ They respected him for that.
have been happier with him, and at the end of the year, Charlie’s
profit margin was fifty percent higher than in past years. He
could only attribute it to Lazarus’ leadership and work ethic. He
couldn’t have been more pleased with his decision to make Lazarus his
foreman and felt it was money well spent. It also gave him more
time for other things and to be with Waco and his slaves. Charlie
enjoyed the boys and Rabbit became a regular bunk partner for him;
however, Charlie was as adamant as his brother, he wouldn’t do anything
with the ‘Chief’ until he was a little older. Angus and Charlie
agreed to set a date,— the Chief’s sixteenth birthday.
getting all he wanted and could handle from his young master. He
only had to say the word and Waco was only too happy to plow his lower
forty for him. Waco learned to divide his time equally among his
slaves. Once in a while, he had to be alone with his lummox and
give him his undivided attention. Those were the times Waco could
relax and enjoy himself to the max. His beast took good care of
his young master.
* * * * * * *
The work day was
over around noon in the summers, due to tropical hours. The men
were up several hours before the sun came up and put in a full eight
hours by the time the sun was highest and hottest in the sky.
Lazarus cleaned up and later, in the cool of the evening, joined
Charlie, Waco and his posse, including JR, in the barn. They
decided to go on horseback to the Gibbon ranch rather than drive
over. By truck it was a twenty minute trip, but on horseback it
was about and hour. Ox walked along side his young master in his
new outfit. His high boots offered him much needed protection
from the choya cactus. Choya had hooks, almost like fish
hooks, that embed themselves into the skin and can only be gotten out
with a pair of pliers; however, many times the hook will break off in
the skin and has to be dug out with a small penknife.
ahead and Ranger Gibbons, his slave-foreman and his wife were expecting
them. They arrived about six in the evening. There was much
rejoicing, hugs and kisses. Mary, Ranger’s wife, was quite ill
and couldn’t have many visitors, but after Charlie explained why they
were there he consented to let several folks come into the room.
He wanted Elsie to be with her, because she had a calming effect on
Mary. Ranger told Mary about Ox but he didn’t know how she might
react to him. He also allowed Charlie and Lazarus into the room.
The men paid
their respects and Charlie introduced his new ranch foreman to her, Mr.
Lazarus Long. Mary could see the lummox standing behind the men
with the most gentle orange eyes with gold flecks in them. He was
looking at her with great sympathy. She wasn’t the least afraid
of him. She held out her hand to him. Ox slowly moved next
to the bed, leaned over and took her smaller hand.
“So you’re the
giant I’ve heard so much about.”
Ox smiled at
her, but continued to hold her hand. He almost got tears in his
eyes, but choked them back. He could feel everything in her frail
body and knew it was almost hopeless. He was in contact with the
Kryscellians and he was feeding them all the information they needed to
make a decision whether she could be saved or not.
“He don’t speak,
Mary.” Charlie told her.
“Yes, he does,—
you just can’t hear him. I hear him loud and clear. He has
a good heart, and he knows how I’m feeling. He’s in contact with
some life forms I’m unfamiliar with. They aren’t from our
planet. Neither, is he.” she smiled at Ox, and he returned
her smile and nodded. He carefully dropped her hand, bowed to her
and moved away. The men excused themselves and wished her
well. Charlie promised to get over more often to visit.
“What’s all this
about aliens and Ox not being from our planet?” Ranger asked when
the men were out of the room.
“It’s a long
story we’ll tell you about, but for now, what does Ox say,
ramrod?” Ranger smiled when he heard Charlie call Lazarus
“He says she’s
eaten up with Cancer and no amount of chemotherapy or drugs are going
to help her; not even a bone marrow transplant. The Kryscells
tell us they could only postpone the inevitable for possibly three to
four years, more or less, but she will finally be overwhelmed with the
disease and succumb rapidly to it. She will appear to
doctors and you like her Cancer has gone into complete remission;
however, it won’t be total. It has damaged her bone marrow to
such an extent and will continue to remain dormant until her immune
system can’t support her any more. Then, she will have to go
through the suffering and loss of strength a second time, but she will
go more quickly.” Lazarus told Charlie and Ranger. Ranger
looked devastated. Everyone felt bad for him.
“Now for the
alien part, brother.” said Charlie gently. “My ramrod, here,
invited us all to the desert to ‘camp out’ for the night after the
fourth of July party at my brothers. He, also, invited my big
brother, his ramrod and my youngest brother, his slave. We didn’t
know we were being taken to his spaceship, the one we saw fly over on
Waco’s birthday. It’s currently resting inside the blue granite
mountains in the Northern portion of my property. He took us for
a short trip through our solar system. We orbited Mars and Venus;
came back and spent the night on board.
Turns out, my
son’s slave, our fine looking lummox, is Captain Long’s Godson.
Ox has a stateroom of his own on board Captain Long’s ship, the
Bandersnatch, and in his room he keeps silicon crystal life forms
called the Kryscells. Ox was in communication with them as he
examined Mary a minute ago. They have remarkable healing
capabilities to repair carbon based life forms like us. There’s a
possibility they could bring them here to expose Mary to them or
perhaps it would be better to take her to them through a portal Captain
Long could open in Mary’s bedroom. You could go with her, of
course. We all would. They could prolong her life, but the
decision is up to you and Mary.”
“What is Mr.
Long doing here on Earth?”
“It’s all good,
but would you trust your brother to answer your questions as we
go? You and Mary have to make a decision. Lazarus tells me
he can have a Gurney here instantly to transport Mary to his
sickbay. It should be little or no trauma for her.”
Bobby Jessup was
listening to all this with his mouth open. He had his arm around
his boy and looked down at Travis as if to ask if he was with
them. Travis smiled and nodded his head. He raised his
shirt to show his dad his flawless skin. There was no blemishes
of any kind, and being a ranch kid, he had his problems with warts,
too. Bobby was stunned. Waco, JR and Rabbit raised their
shirts to show the men their bodies were also free of any blemishes.
“How can he take
her to his ship from our bedroom?”
trust me. I’ll explain later, Ranger. It’s all very Star
Trek stuff,— advanced technology. Go in and talk with Mary.
Tell her what we said and give her a choice.”
just shook his big cowboy head, looked worried, but he knew his brother
wouldn’t lie to him or put him on, especially about something as
critical as his Mary’s health. He turned and walked into the
bedroom. Elsie was sitting there holding Mary’s hand.
them men have the most outrageous proposition for us to make a decision
about. The life forms you spoke about are on a space ship that
belongs to Captain Long. According to them they have the power to
heal some illness we have; however, as you probably know, they examined
you through the giant lummox. They said the Cancer was too much
with you to cure you completely. They think they could give you
three or four more years; however, eventually you will relapse as your
immune system weakens and you will go more quickly. Depending on
our decision, they can take you to them immediately through a portal
Captain Long will set up in our bedroom.”
“I know about
them, sweet heart. I was just telling Elsie I’m not crazy.
I heard the giant beast talking with them. I heard what they
said. They didn’t try to hide or whitewash anything. I
trust Ox and I trust them. They say the Cancer will go into
remission for several years but return with a vengeance. If it
means I’ll have a several more good years with you, Ranger, I want
them. My only regret about leaving this world is, I love you so
and can’t bear the thought of you being alone. Do you want me to
hang around, sweet heart?”
“Oh, God, Mary,
you know I do,— with all my heart. I’d give them anything they
asked of me just to have you with me a couple more years. I would
if they only gave me six months, darlin.’”
sobbing and held Mary’s hand tight.
“Tell them we’d
like to do it, sweet heart. Elsie would you go with me?”
“Of course, Mrs.
Gibbons, you know I will.”
over and kissed Mary on her sunken cheek then left the room.
“She wants to do
it.” was all he said when he returned to the men.
Three,— four years is better than losing her right now.” said Lazarus,
patting Ranger on the back. Okay, I need to contact my ship and
open a portal directly to my boy’s stateroom.” he pulled a tiny
box out of his shirt pocket and spoke into it. “Cable,— Son, send
me the coordinates for Garron’s stateroom. Forgive yore’ old man,
I’ve forgotten them. I need to open a portal. We’re
bringing a sick woman to see the Krycellians. Get David and
Jonathan to accompany you through the portal and bring a anti-grav
Gurney as soon as I open the portal. The men heard a reply like
someone was in the room with them.
Father. I’ve sent the coordinates. They are in your
remote. I have David and Jonathan with me. We’ll being in
Garron’s stateroom when you open the portal. We have no clothes,
about clothes time is of the essence. Thanks, Son.”
Captain Long?” Ranger Gibbons asked. Charlie chuckled.
“You might say
so, Mr. Gibbons. Prepare yourselves, gentlemen, they will be
nude. When we don’t have guest, my son’s are always nude.”
problem. Mary and I are used to naked slaves.” allowed
good, but these men ain’t no slaves. It would be hard to classify
them. I’ll let your brother do that for you.” Lazarus
winked at Charlie and laughed and the boys laughed with him.
Bobby Jessup didn’t have a clue.
“Now, if you’ll
show me into the room.”
for Lazarus to walk into the bedroom. Lazarus went to the far
wall of the room, far enough away from any major furniture there was
room for maneuvering a Gurney. He took out of his pocket a small
button that looked like a butt end of a rifle cartridge and pressed it
into the floor. There was a small ‘whump’ sound that vibrated the
floor and rattled bottles on Mary’s dresser. He pressed a button
on his remote and a door sprang up that wasn’t there before. It
had a bluish tint to its surface, but you couldn’t see through to the
other side. All the men gasped including Charlie and the
boys. It was like magic to them. Mary smiled knowingly.
gentlemen. Boys, you and Ox wait outside for a minute. I’ll
come get you to go with us when we’re ready.”
He no sooner got
that out when a naked Cable came through the portal pulling a Gurney
with no wheels. It simply floated in the air about waist
high. He was followed by two more naked men, David and Jonathan.
again at the sight of the men.
“My, God, these
men are your sons, Captain Long?”
“Yes, they are,
Mr. Gibbons.” Cable, David and Jonathan smiled real big to be
called Lazarus’ sons.
They’re so perfect. They’re the most handsome men I’ve ever
seen. They look like what I would imagine angels to look
like.” exclaimed Ranger.
“Why, thank you,
Master Gibbons." spoke Cable for the three men.
"Now, I ain’t
gonna’ be able to live with ‘em for several months.” Lazarus
laughed and slapped Ranger on the back.
Lazarus had the
men leave the room while his androids got Mary onto the
Gurney. They covered her with a couple of lightweight blankets
and were ready to go.
will you come with us. She will need an attendant to remove her
clothing so the rays from the Kryscells will do the most good.”
Captain Long, I’m ready, Sir.”
please get the
men, I think we’re ready to go.” Lazarus spoke. Charlie
hollered out the
door. Cable and his men were already going through the portal as
the men returned to the room. Lazarus motioned for Elsie Jessup
to follow the Gurney and she did. He motioned for Ranger and
Bobby to follow next. The boys were veterans by now and followed
their lummox through without fear. Lazarus bowed slightly and
motioned for his boss to pass through.
ramrod.” was all he said.
Boss.” Lazarus followed him through and closed the portal.
They were all in Ox’s stateroom. Cable and David moved Mary over
to the glass where the Kryscells were and adjusted the Gurney height to
be level with the bottom of the case.
“Us men will
leave you now, Mrs. Gibbons. Mrs. Jessup remove her clothing and
let her lay flat on her back on the Gurney.”
“Can my husband
stay with me, too, Captain.” Mary asked Lazarus quietly.
hurt him a bit, Mrs. Gibbons. They won’t hurt you either, Mrs.
Jessup; however, they’re going to ask you to remove your clothes,
too. You can leave your underwear on. Just let them have
maximum exposure to your skin.”
The men left
though another portal and found themselves in the galley. Cable,
David and Jonathan had treats and coffee for the grownups and fruit
juice for the boys. Bobby Jessup didn’t let go of Travis’ hand
for a minute. He was fascinated by what he was seeing. He
couldn’t take his eyes off Cable, David and Jonathan. The boys
were pretty taken with them, too. Charlie still couldn’t believe
how beautiful they were in every detail. He had to give it to his
straw boss. They man had good taste in men, and he tasted good
Travis spoke quietly to Bobby, “Cable, David and Jonathan are, for lack
of a better term, androids. They are bio-mechanical men Captain
Long had created by an advanced race of people, but they are so much
more than simply an artificial creation. They are sentient
beings. Like us, they have intelligence and they reason.
They have feelings and emotions like we do. They know what it is
to hurt, and they know the meaning of love. They live and work
for Captain Long because, in a greater sense he is their father, and
they are his sons. He loves them and they love him. That’s
why it was difficult for Captain Long to explain his relationship with
“You mean they’s
robots.” Bobby asked softly like he didn’t want to insult the
beautiful men serving them.
“No, Dad, the
ranch truck is a robot. You get in it and tell it what to
do. It has no intelligence of its own. It will never decide
it’s hungry, and drive itself to a gas station for a fill up.”
The men smiled at Travis’ simple but accurate explanation to his
dad. “You may be fond of it, but h’it ain’t never gonna’ beep its
horn to tell you it loves you in return.” Travis smiled.
Son. I’m afraid yore’ old man’s just an uneducated hick
slave. I didn’t mean no disrespect to the men. I admire
them too much for that.”
over and spoke directly to Bobby Jessup, “No disrespect taken, Mr.
Jessup, we’re happy you find us pleasing to look at and to have raised
as fine a young man at Travis, you couldn’t be a hick, Sir.”
uneducated neither, Dad. You taught me so much I couldn’t a’
learned no wheres else. I’m proud of my ole man. These men
are the product of an advanced technology we ain’t got much concept
of. Believe me, we’re just as baffled and amazed by them as you
are. They are incredibly handsome men, and any man should be
proud to call them his sons.” Waco and the boys agreed with
* * * * * * *
Kryscellians began to glow and radiate their light. Ranger and
Elsie stood there behind the Gurney and clearly heard the Kryscells in
their mind invite them to remove their garments. Ranger looked at
Elsie and she shrugged her shoulders.
“Well, I am
ya’ll’s slave, Master Gibbons. You and Mistress Mary’s seen me
naked many times. Let’s go for it. If there’s anything
wrong with me having this pregnancy so late maybe they can correct it.”
“You got a good
point, Elsie. Is it all right with you, honey?” Ranger
politely asked Mary.
dear, we're all family here.” she smiled at him.
“Okay, let’s do
it, Elsie.” They quickly removed their clothing and stood close
to the Gurney. Somehow, it just seemed right to the three of
them. There was no reason Mary should be naked or be embarrassed
by herself. They felt it was the right thing to do.
The rays from
the Kryscellians got stronger and stronger penetrating every inch of
their bodies. It was beginning to feel wonderful. Mary was
holding on to Ranger’s hand and squeezing it gently from the ecstacy
she was feeling from the penetrating rays. Each light spectrum
seemed to be doing something different. The blue crystal seemed
to be the most healing and comforting. He, seemed to be uniting
and directing the others.
“Do you hear
that?” Mary asked.
Mistress.” Elsie smiled at her. “They’re singing to us.”
“My, God, I hear
them, too. I just thought it was my imagination. This is
too fantastic to be believed. They are such beautiful
creatures. They’re filled with love.”
exposed to the warm, healing rays of the Kryscellians for over an hour,
they began to subside until the lights in the cabin came up
again. Ranger and Elsie rushed to put their clothes back
on. Ox notified Lazarus the Kryscells told him they were finished
and the men could return. They returned to Ox’s stateroom and
found Mary fully dressed in her nightgown covered in the light blankets
Cable provided for her.
doing?” asked Lazarus.
fine. Probably a bit tired”
Captain Long.” Mary held out her hand for Lazarus to take.
“This has been a wonderful experience. I’m glad to have had a
chance to meet the Kryscellians. They are wonderful creatures and
very beautiful. Thanks for sharing them with me. I already
“That’s what we
were hoping for, Mrs. Gibbons, and you’re very welcome.”
“Please, call me
‘Mary,’ Captain Long.”
Mary, it would be an honor, ma’am.” Lazarus gently squeezed her
small hand and released it.
He pressed the
button on his remote, the portal opened again and he had Cable, David
and Jonathan take Mary Gibbons back to her bedroom. The men
followed them through in the same order they arrived. After the
androids helped Mrs. Gibbons back into her bed Lazarus thanked
them. Ranger was a bit more demonstrative and had to hug and kiss
each one. It didn’t make any difference to him they were naked;
however, all three androids popped a boner at Ranger’s display of
“We were just
doing our Father’s bidding, Master Gibbons. Glad to be of
shook their hands and Elsie kissed each one on his cheek. They
left through the portal pushing the anti-grav Gurney before them.
Lazarus clicked a button on his remote and the portal was gone.
He reached down and picked up the small metal button and put it back in
It was his turn
to receive Ranger’s thanks and affections. Lazarus assured him it
was his brother who suggested it to him. Ranger had a big hug and
a little more than brotherly kiss for his neighbor. He was in
tears Charlie loved him enough to think of him in such a giving
way. He would always be in Charlie’s debt. The men said
their goodbyes to Mary. She was exhausted from the ordeal and
wanted to sleep. She dismissed Elsie and thanked her graciously
for her concerned help. They left her alone to see the men off.
didn’t want to get very far away from Travis, and Travis was eating up
his dad’s attention.
mother and I have something to tell you.”
“I already know
about it, Dad. Ox knew the fourth of July there was another
heartbeat inside ma. I’m so happy for you and ma. I’m
gonna’ have me a baby brother.”
“We were kinda
hoping for a little girl, Son.” his mother said. Everyone
laughed. “Ox can tell what gender the baby is?” asked Elsie.
ma. Like I say, I’m gonna’ have me a little brother. Oh,
and by the way, Master Waco and I are bringing you some special milk
every week to drink. You must drink it all and not share it with
dad. Well, you can let him have a little, but mostly it’s for
you. It will help you through the pregnancy and the baby won’t
have no problems.”
have grown in the last month, Travis. You’re growing up way too
fast, Son.” said Bobby Jessup. “We love you, boy.”
“I love you,
too. We better be git’n on back to the Goodnight Ranch.”
Ranger and Bobby
followed them to the barn to get their horses. Lazarus turned to
“You mind if I
leave a portal marker here in yore’ barn, Mr. Gibbons? ‘At way we
can be here in minutes if there’s an emergency.”
That would be great, Captain Long.”
captain on my ship, Mr. Gibbons. Away from my ship I’m ramrod or
straw boss of the Goodnight Ranch.”
another brass button down into the ground next to one of the end stalls
away from the main entry. As he pressed it into the dirt, it made
the same ‘whump’ sound and the ground shook under the mens’ feet.
“Will it get
lost or swept up when we clean the barn, Sir.” Bobby asked.
git that thing up with a bulldozer without my remote tool,
Son. It’s embedded in bedrock hundreds of feet beneath us.
H’it ain’t go’n no wheres.” Lazarus smiled at Bobby Jessup.
guess. Now, we can jes’ walk the ponies through to our
barn.” Charlie commented.
“I done told ju’
you’s a smart man, Boss.” Lazarus laughed with Charlie.
“However, it’s such a beautiful evening, it think we deserved to take
the time for a leisurely ride back through the desert in the
moonlight. I know the boys are up for it, and ma’ boy needs the
ramrod.” Charlie smiled at Lazarus’ romantic notion.
The men said
their goodbyes and left Ranger, Elsie and Bobby waving as they
departed. Bobby filled in Ranger and Elsie on the parts they
missed he learned about when the men were waiting for the Kryscells to
complete their work. After experiencing what they just did, it
was easier for them to accept; however, Ranger refused to believe
the handsome naked men were androids.
* * * * * * *
The men were
mostly quiet returning to the ranch. There wasn’t much to
say. They felt good they were able to help someone they all loved
and cherished. Charlie and Lazarus lagged behind the other men
and talked quietly.
“You know why
Mary was so willing to try something unknown, don’t chu’?”
Lazarus asked Charlie.
“Hell, I would
if’n I knew I was looking death in the face and could have a few more
years with somebody I loved. I would’ve given anything to had a
few more years with my wife.” Charlie said sadly.
“I’m sorry for
your loss, Mr. Goodnight. Mary has in mind giving Ranger the son
he thought he would never have with her.”
ramrod? Wouldn’t that take a lot out of her? Would the
child be born with Cancer or a genetic propensity for it?”
really are smart, Boss. I would’ve never thought of the genetic
thing, but it ain’t so far from a possibility. The fetus acts
like an invading parasite. It takes over the functions of the
host body like few parasites do. It makes a woman’s body produce
what it needs to survive, and yes, it can be very hard on a woman and
her immune system. It all but cancels out her immune system so it
won’t see it as in invading organism and reject it. If she tries
it, I doubt she’ll live very long after she gives birth. She
might even die in the final trimester, or giving birth may be just too
much for her. Either way, she’ll be cutting off the possibly of
perhaps two more years she could spend with Ranger; however, the urge
to procreate is sometimes stronger than the urge to survive.”
“But what about
the baby, Lazarus?”
“With Ox’s milk
and another visit to the Kryscellians, they can insure the child’s
safety. If she can keep it through part of the final trimester,
we can keep the child alive without her. We have some advanced
techniques on board the Bandersnatch your doctors can only dream about.”
“Oh, Lord, do
you really think that’s what she has in mind?” asked Charlie.
“I have no doubt
about it, Boss.”
* * * * * * *
Mary sprang back
to health in no time. The doctors couldn’t believe the miraculous
change in her condition. They could find no trace of the
Cancer. It seemed to have gone into total remission almost
overnight. They were dumbfounded. Only Mary and her family
knew the truth; however, Mary was not one to sit around and worry about
details or the future. She was given a second chance. She
was going to make the most of what time she had left with her beloved
husband,— her highschool sweet heart, the Captain of the football
team,— the only man she ever loved. Mary had big plans.
After only six weeks of ever increasing strength and well being, Mary
was pregnant with Ranger Gibbon’s son.
* * * * * * *
Lazarus put out the word in the community he was looking to buy a young
slave for a houseboy. Lazarus was flattered a couple of the
younger slave-cowboys offered to take care of his house for him on
their off hours. He couldn’t help wonder if there was more than
generosity in their motive. He often looked upon them as
attractive and stimulating; however, he graciously declined and told
them he wasn’t moving into the big house until he could make sure it
was taken care of properly.
volunteered to take care of it for him, but Lazarus saw what she was
responsible for and wouldn’t consider it, even if he paid her good
money. Lazarus decided for her, she needed her time with her
family more than she needed the money. After all, life
shouldn’t be lived for the quantity you can accumulate, but for the
quality of your life. What does it mean to gain the fortunes of
the world only to die a lonely old man or woman. It is a far
greater gain to be honest and love your neighbor than to cheat him out
of a grain of wheat.
Lassiter, who’s boy Ox and Waco saved from the Thunderbird, was a wise
man. He was a free thinker, but he also knew his political base
was the extreme religious right who elected him. He knew all the
words and sited scripture and verse to their delight; however,
underneath all his participation in the dog and pony show organized
religion had become, his heart longed for something more simple,—
something that didn’t require him to feel like a hypocrite. The
truth was, he hated all the unbending, rigid dogma and ignorant beliefs
of the common folk. It wasn’t that he felt he was more
intelligent than them or felt himself or his family better than them,—
well, maybe just a little better because, he felt some of their beliefs
and practices were just short of pagan or even barbaric.
Therefore, he tried to conduct himself as a man of understanding and
mercy rather than one misguided by evangelical beliefs.
Being sheriff he
could get away with a lot with no fear of being put under the watchful
scrutiny of the Jesus Patrol,— sometimes known as the Righteous
Rangers. They were a local neo-nazi S.S. type organization who
like bulldogs sniffing out nonbelievers and heathens in the name of God
and Jesus, only to promote and gain encouragement for their nefarious
purposes. They mostly left Sheriff Lassiter alone. They
tried one time to topple him from his lofty position as Sheriff of the
county only to find themselves on the opposite end of the nefarious
stick. Sheriff Lassiter could be ruthless when his world (i.e.
his family) was threatened. The Jesus Patrol members who tried to
do him in found themselves facing charges of treason, distortion,
character assassination and terrorism. The five of them were
actually glad to have gotten off with lifetime slavery, and only got
that because of a last minute plea from the sheriff himself for
They were looking at the death penalty.
eyes and ears in all parts of the county that had little to do with his
fundamentalist political base. He was kept in power by the
fundies and kept safe from their insanity by those folks in the
community who were more rational and liberal thinking. To say he
was Machiavellian wasn’t quite fair to the sheriff. He was far
more concerned to do good where he could and protect good people no
matter their religious beliefs. He fought a constant battle
against the extreme right for trying to decide for him how he should do
his job. Naturally, like all extremists, they wanted him to throw
the book at their enemies and over look their glaring foibles. He
became an expert at walking a tightrope.
By far, his
favorite folks were the ranchers and farmers. They responded to
him in kind. They helped him out of more tough spots than all the
extreme right put together. They offered him encouragement and
him emotional succor when he didn’t think he could take another day of
the Jesus freaks. They were unrelenting. The Jesus Patrol
made the early settlers of Salem, Mass. look like flaming liberals.
cultural phenomenon occurred shortly after His Holiness G. W. Bush the
first was crowned Supreme Deacon of the newly formed Theocratic
Republic. Farmers and ranchers in rural areas began to secretly
withdraw their support from the right wing loonies. It suddenly
came crashing down on them, they bet on the wrong pony. They
always had been middle of the road liberal Democrats until the
Republican party came along with their sound bites and endless prayer
meetings. Now they saw their country was no longer the strongly
democratic nation it once was and was now a despotic theocracy ruled by
a little man who had lots of power but very few brains.
Unbeknownst to them, it had been planned and carefully executed since
John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Kennedy’s death was the
beginning of the end of the great country formally known as America.
The sheriff had
a young boy in his custody he was trying to find something to do with
him. He was the youngest of six brothers who lived with their
parents on one of the largest farms in the county. For all its
size and capabilities, it was not very successful because the old man
was a drunk, and he didn’t know how to control his sons. He let
them do pretty much what they wanted, except lately he started
threatening them with selling them into slavery if they didn’t
straighten up and fly right. The boys were putting up a front of
making a conscious effort.
The old man
caught his youngest son sucking his other son’s dicks. Sheriff
Lassiter explained to Mr. Long the boy was born with a cleft palate,
the family never bothered to have it corrected. He's almost
in his left eye because he needed an operation to repair the muscle
that held the eye in correct position. It seems one of his
brothers hit him up side his head with a baseball bat as a sports
accident when he was just a toddler.
The sheriff said
he was sure the boys raped and made a sex slave out of the boy from an
early age, but when his dad caught him sucking the others off, it
wasn’t them he became angered with. He took it out on the young
boy and beat the crap out of him. Consequently, the boy has a
broken arm; a broken ankle; three of his ribs are broken and he has a
massive contusion on his head. The old man tried to take the boy
to the slave dealer Mr. Tennent, but he refused to accept him, and for
a scum bag like Tennent you know the boy has to be pert-damn bad, Mr.
Long.” the sheriff laughed at his description of Mr. Tennent, “He
said the most he could get for him was to sell him for dog
food. They would sell him by the pound, they would remove
all his teeth and hair, throw him into a huge grinder and in less than
minutes he would be dog food being squeezed into small tins to be
automatically sealed and heated to sterilize the contents.
“How old is he,
“He was twelve
years old the fourth of July, Mr. Long.”
going rate for a slave sold for dog food, Sheriff?”
mentioned ten bucks per pound. We weighed him and he only weighs
about eighty pounds. He ain’t real big, and I think he’s slightly
retarded. We can’t git nothing out of him. He jes’ keeps
rocking back and forth. We can’t even tell if he’s in any pain.”
“So the most
Tennent could git for him is eight hundred bucks?”
“Yes, Sir, I
think that’s the price he mentioned.”
“Has he been
taken to a doctor or a slave vet?”
His dad didn’t wanna’ pay for either. He says he don’t care what
we do with him, he just wants some money for him.”
gonna’ handle the sale for the old man?”
understanding, Mr. Long.”
“Can I see him,
“Of course, Mr.
Long. You and Mr. Goodnight are welcome here anytime. I
heard Ox is your Godson. Any friend of that big man is a friend
of mine, Sir. My family worships the ground Charlie and Waco
Goodnight walk on, Mr. Long.”
fine folks, Sheriff. I tell you what, I’ll get Mr. Goodnight to
drive me in to see the boy. If’n I want him will Mr. Tennet trust
me for his money until tomorrow?”
“I don’t see why
not. You ain’t going no place, and besides, h’it ain’t that much
money I couldn’t float chu’ a loan for a couple of days.”
“Naw, it ain’t
nothing like ‘at, Sheriff. I just gotta’ get my money out of
another bank. All I’m interested in is git’n some medical help
for the boy, and I have a fine slave vet in mind to take care of
him. You think Tennent would take a thousand dollars for him?”
“Sounds like a
fair price to me, Mr. Long. More’n he’ll git selling him for dog
“I tell you
what, offer him fifteen hundred so Tennent can make a few bucks on the
fair, I’d think, Mr. Long. I’ll be here all evening. If’n I
ain’t, have my desk Sargent page me. I’ll be here as quick as I
can. Either way, he can show you in to see the boy, Sir.”
Lassiter for think’n ‘bout me. I can’t say for sure I’ll buy the
boy. I’d like to examine him first. I might bring Waco and
his slaves with me. Will that be all right?’
yes! Them boys is welcome here anytime.”
“See you this
“Look forward to
with Charlie, and it was decided they’d all travel in after work that
evening. Lazarus hurried and showered. He put on his best
cowboy duds and was surprised to find the boys and Ox all decked out in
their finest. Charlie looked really sharp, but then Lazarus was
beginning to think Charlie looked good in anything he wore. They
made the forty-five minute drive into town. Charlie took his
check book. He told Lazarus he would buy the boy if he wanted
him, and he would take it out of his pay a hundred a month. The
men shook on it, and it was all they needed to seal the deal.
When they got to
the Sheriff’s station the sheriff was there. He made over
Charlie, Waco, Ox, Travis and Rabbit. He knew Rabbit well and
knew his father and grandfather. He told Rabbit his granddad was
doing well and had a message for him he’d tell him later. The
Sheriff welcomed Lazarus and shook his hand. He led them to the
single cell where he was holding the boy. He wasn’t laying on the
bed, he was rolled up in a ball in the corner of the cell as far away
from the bars as he could get. He wasn’t asleep, but he had a
dull look on his face, like the lights were on but no one was
home. Lazarus was afraid the boy might be in shock.
beside the boy. He didn’t move. Lazarus reached out with
his mind and touched the boy’s. He felt pain all over his
body. The kid was in agony. Lazarus spoke gently to him in
Don’t be afraid, Son. The voice you hear in your head is coming
from the man squatting down next to you. Can you hear me, boy?”
Yes, Sir, I can hear you fine. If I don’t move it hurts less.
<< Can you
let me see yore’ face, Son? >>
ugly, Sir. My brothers call me ‘catfish’ because my mouth cain’t
never close like a catfishes. >>
<< I don’t
care about yore’ looks, boy. I’m interested in buying a young boy
for my slave. >>
The boy managed
to slowly turn his head slightly so Lazarus could get a good look at
him. He was badly beaten up. His face was bruised and
swollen. It didn’t look like much of a face. It looked more
a lump of raw meat with what once might have been a nose.
you ain’t so bad look’n, boy, a' tall. Way you was going on, I
see me a monster. I done already got myself a monster for a
Godson. Can you see that big man standing there? >>
Sir. He be huge. He don't look like no man I ever seen.
right, Son. Now, I gotta’ know some’um. I’m looking for a
young boy what will keep my house clean. I’m foreman on a ranch,
and I live alone. I ain’t got me nobody to clean house for me, so
I’m looking to buy a slave to do it for me. Are you
interested? Do you wanna’ be my slave, boy? >>
<< I ain’t
good enough to be no man’s slave, Sir. My daddy tells me I’m
stupid and ma’ brothers call me a retard. Hell, I don’t even know
what a retard is. >>
<< Do you
think you could be taught to change sheets on a bed, make my bed in the
mornings, make coffee for me, run a washer and dryer, keep my boots
cleaned and polished, learn to run a vacuum cleaner and clean a
already do them things for my brothers. That’s all I’m allowed to
be a slave for them. I guess I got me,— what chu’ call,— on the
training, Sir. I can do them things, but wouldn’t you
want a better looking slave than me? >>
<< Naw, I
ain’t look’n for no pretty slave. I’m look’n for one who’s
willing to be trained and do what I tell him without question.
When I give an order, I expect it to be carried out swiftly and to the
best of your ability. Besides, your daddy is selling you cheap.
<< I ain’t
got me no daddy no more, Sir. Ain’t got me no brothers,
neither. They all been so mean to me. I don’t want nothing
more to do with ‘em. I’ll be your slave if’n you want me,
Sir. I’ll be a damn good slave for you. Hell, it’s
gotta’ be a better life than I’s living at home. I’ll take good
care of you, Mr.— >>
Son, just call me Master Long. Okay, I’m gonna’ give you a shot
that’s gonna’ make all the pain go away. My Godson, that big
monster of a man, is gonna’ carry you out of here, and I’m gonna’ take
you to a slave vet to fix you up. Do you understand, Son? >>
Sir, Master Long, I understand, and thank you, Sir. You’re the
first man what’s ever been nice to me in a long time. The sheriff
is a good man, but he’s all business. >>
underestimate Sheriff Lassiter. He called me about you to see if
I'd be interested in buying you as my slave. He jes' may have
saved yore' life, Son. Your daddy was gonna' sell you for dog
food." The boy let out a painful sob.
Lazarus gave the
boy a shot that would put him in a twilight sleep. It took effect
instantly. Ox scooped up the boy like he was a feather and began
to sing to him as he cradled him in his huge arms. The boy
relaxed and a small smile came across his face.
Mr. Tennent said
he would be happy with fifteen hundred for the boy. He promised
Charlie he would tell the boy's old man he couldn't find a buyer who
wanted to spend the money to fix his son up and had to sell the kid to
the rendering plant. So Lazarus and Charlie reckoned the old man
got eight hundred and Mr. Tennent took the rest. Lazarus allowed
it was just as well. He didn't want the family, who treated him
so horribly, coming around looking for their little brother
anyway. The sheriff said he'd go along with Mr. Tennent if the
old man asked him where the boy went. He didn't blame Charlie and
Lazarus for wanting to keep the boy's whereabouts secret. It made
perfect sense to him. Tennent slipped the sheriff a couple of
hundred bucks to make sure their stories were the same. Charlie
check for Mr. Tennent and left it with the sheriff and his staff.
The men left the sheriff's station and rode back to the ranch.
Charlie knew without asking
Lazarus would take the boy to his ship to his med-bots and
androids. He also knew Lazarus had once been a doctor
himself. He would supervise the boy’s care and recovery. He
only wished he could be by Lazarus’ side to see him in action.
“Would you like
to accompany me and Ox to the ship when we return, Boss?”
“Were you just
reading my mind?”
“Naw, Sir, just
thought you might like to see what I plan for the boy.”
“I’d like that
very much, ramrod.”
“We need to
leave the boys behind this time.” There were groans from the
posse. Ox was still cradling the boy in his arms in the camper
shell of the truck. He had him wrapped in a blanket the men
brought with them.
“Now, cut that
out, guys.” said Charlie, “You’re included in everything. With
fewer men there's less confusion. I agree with our ramrod.
sure he’ll take you to visit as soon as the boy comes around.
He’s gonna’ need encouragement and understanding from men his own
age. You can help out then.”
“On this receipt
we got, it says his name is Caleb Stamper. Caleb ain’t a bad
name, but I think I want him to have a new name. If'n his family
thinks he went to the dog food factory, I don't want him keeping
the same name. Besides, when I git
though with him, he won’t look like he does now. He certainly
won't look like no 'Stamper' boy. He’ll look like
Ramrod Lazarus Long’s slave.” Lazarus chuckled.
liked the name Lucas.” said Charlie.
Lucas Long. I kinda like the sound of that. Thanks, Boss,
for his new name.”
The men arrived
at the ranch, and Ox carried the boy to the barn. Lazarus took
remote and open the portal. Once again Cable came through without
clothes pushing the anit-grav Gurney. Ox gently laid Lucas on the
Gurney and Cable slowly moved the boy’s arms and legs to their correct
position. The android looked at the boy and his condition.
Charlie gasped when he saw a tear run down Cable’s cheek. Cable
looked up at Charlie, smiled and winked at him. Charlie chuckled
at his own stupidity as he followed Lazarus and Ox though the portal.
were ready for the boy. They didn’t take X-rays. The ship
advanced systems that showed everything wrong with boy. What they
discovered amazed even the med-bots. They claimed, by rights, the
boy shouldn’t even be alive. Almost every bone in his body had
been broken at one time or another and there was no evidence he was
ever taken to a doctor to have them set. Some set naturally,
others didn’t. To make the boy whole again they would have
to do major reconstructive surgery on him to say nothing of the
corrective surgery required for his face and mouth.
everyone. We been up against as big or bigger problems.
Remember how bad my boy, here, was when your other father and me
brought him to you? Let this boy be a challenge to you to
do two things, to test your skills and increase your knowledge
base. We’ll just keep him in twilight sleep until we have him
where he can start to heal. Then we’ll ask the Kryscellians if
they will be gracious enough to help us with him. They’re due
another exposure to the sun soon, and then they’ll have even more power.
As far as his
face is concerned, Ping, Pong and I will do a digital work-up of how we
him to look. Take skin and bone samples immediately and start
growing them. I want some bone added to his chin. I think I
want a dimple in there, too. I want his jaw more square and his
forehead raised. I’ll get a digital picture to you by
tomorrow. In the meantime, lets start on his immediate
needs. Let’s wield his bones back together and start them
healing. I don’t see any internal organ damage. Check out
his testicles and make sure both are working. His penis will
probably grow more as he matures, but what the hell, you got my
penis on file. Make him look like his new Father. He ain't
got no foreskin so grow him one. We got the Dalek's technology on
file. We got more surgical talent on board this ship than
the whole of the Dalek world. We can do this, gentlemen. We
can rebuild him. I want this boy as perfect as my other sons on
this ship. From what he's been through, don't you think he
All the med-bots
and androids agreed. Charlie stood
with his mouth open watching and listening to Lazarus take charge and
tell his staff what he wanted.
correct his mouth and face, check his teeth as you go. If they
need any work, do it during his period of twilight sleep. I don’t
want him going through the trauma of dental work. If he needs
teeth, take a DNA sample and start buds to grow him some new
ones. If some are beyond repair, replace them, too. With
his bone that ain’t healed properly we will surgically correct each
one. I don’t want him walking with the slightest limp.”
On and on
Lazarus continued with his staff. He made sure he had plenty of
pictures of the boy’s face to have Ping and Pong do digital work-ups of
just how Lazarus wanted Lucas to look. Ping and Pong appeared in
the sick bay. Charlie could tell, they were both distressed by
the look of the boy. Lazarus motioned for Charlie to follow him,
Ping and Pong. They went through another portal and were in a
huge processing room with giant screens all around the room. The
whole place came to life and a giant face of a fine looking man looked
down at them.
partner, Arlen, Boss. The processor decided to take his
appearance for his own.”
impressed. It was the face of a man who was a great bear of a
man, but had the most disarming ice blue eyes. He was very
handsome and rugged looking.
“Good day to
“Good day to
“Kyron, this is
my boss on the ranch where we are staying. I’m his foreman.
His name is Master Charlie Goodnight.”
Kyron, it’s a pleasure to meet you.”
“Thank you, Sir.”
received the pictures from sickbay of the face of our patient?” Lazarus
asked the processor.
Father. Putting them up for you now, and may I say, Sir, he looks
All around the
room huge pictures of the boy’s battered and misshapen face came on the
indeed, say that, Kyron. We hope to correct that for the
boy. We need to create a new face for him, but I need a
composite work-up from you for the med-bots as a guide for them to
remake him. You know my preferences of male facial types,
Kyron. I think you have files of men’s faces I’ve worked on or
thought were attractive. Would you put them up for us, Son?”
there were hundreds of men’s face on the screens, each one more
handsome and attractive than the next.
“Help me pick
one as a templet, Boss.” Lazarus encouraged Charlie.
They’re all good looking men; however,— the more I look at them several
begin to stand out.”
Kyron, please remember the ones we pick.”
Charlie picked out almost fifty faces, and they were displayed on fifty
separate large screens around the room.
“I don’t see
your face up there, ramrod. Kyron, would you please add your
Father’s picture to these.”
It took Lazarus
and Charlie the better part of an hour discussing the merits of one
facial type over another. Charlie wanted to start with a templet
of Lazarus’ face. His argument was, if the boy was going to have
his dick he should resemble him. Lazarus humored his boss, but
added he didn’t think he was handsome. Charlie laughed at him and
assured him he was quite handsome. They finally arrived at a
composite they agreed on and turned it over to Ping and Pong to overlay
the face onto he boy’s and determine how much surgery and how it was to
Lazarus left the
boy in good hands with Cable in charge. He would see his father’s
every order was carried out. Charlie and Lazarus said their
goodbyes and left the ship. As they walked across the compound to
the house the boys came running out to greet Ox and ask about the boy.
“How long do you
anticipate for his recovery before he can begin training, Mr.
Long.” Waco asked.
about three months. He has a lot of surgeries to undergo, but you
won’t recognize him when he returns. You may start to visit him
in about a week. He still will have a long way to go, but your
encouragement will mean a lot.”
decided on a trainer, Mr. Long.”
so. I was going to contract with Master Birdsall, but I don’t
know I agree with his ‘baby slave’ technique, especially for a young
boy. I’ve talked with Master Austin, and I think he and Master
Daniels will do well by the boy. I think when they git through
with him, he’ll be able to hit the ground running. I’ve
contracted with them to train him for three months.”
six months before we have a new brother, Sir.” Waco sounded sad.
“I don’t know’s
you should think on him as a new brother; however, I do plan to have
him attend school with you boys. I know you’ll look out for him.”
“We will, Mr.
Long. We won’t let nothing happen to one of our men.”
take another shot at that, ramrod?” Charlie put the back of his
hand to his face
to cover his grin. Lazarus shrugged his shoulders and grinned
“What the hell,
of course you men got chore'selves a new brother, but his first duties
are to his
Master. You must impress on him you understand he has to take
care of me first. We can always work around schedules.”
laughed his ass off at Lazarus. He was beginning to know the man
and knew from his dealing with his androids and crew members he acted
benevolent monarch. He was firm, but he was loving. The new
slave didn’t have a clue what a fine
man and Master he now belonged to. Charlie imagined the boy would
look better than any of their boys. He was right. Lucas
turned out to be a stunningly handsome young man.
* * * * * * *
While Lucas was
being remodeled, Lazarus was content to stay in his small room
and entertain his boss a couple of weekend nights per month. He
also started arranging to get away from the ranch and back to his ship
at least one weekend per month. He didn’t want to appear to leave
the ranch too much it might arouse suspicion. Those
weekends he would relax in the arms of his bonded mate and they would
sate themselves with each other.
Arlen was a big
man. He was a foot taller than Lazarus and his fine, chiseled
body was covered with hair. He looked like a smaller version of
their Godson Garron. He had a dark, ruddy complection with
piercing ice cold blue eyes. They were startling when you first
met him and once you did meet him you never forgot him. He was
also raised as a cowboy in the old tradition. Lazarus rescued him
three hundred years before when Texas was little more than a
frontier. He was being chased by an outlaw gang. Somehow,
he managed to come upon their camp when they weren’t there, found their
stash of money and gold and made off with it. They had him
cornered in a box canyon when Lazarus spotted him with one of his
bot-cams. He was immediately attracted to the man and thought he
was too good looking a man to die at the hands of the robber scum who
were sure to kill him. When Lazarus tells the story he emphasizes
he never believed in love at first sight until he laid eyes on his
stopped as a huge air ship, the likes of which none of the men ever saw
before, hovered over them. The robbers watched as their loot and
the man who stole it from them slowly rose into the sky and into the
belly of the ship. They fired their guns at him only to have
their bullets bounce off the shield that surrounded him. To say
they were pissed was an understatement. Lazarus gave the man a
choice. He could stay with him and be his partner, or Lazarus
would beam him back to the rocks, and he could take his chances in a
Arlen was no
dummy. He didn’t have enough cartridges left and at least with
the tall man he had a chance to live.
“Hell, yes, I’ll
be yore’ partner. For save’n my cowboy butt like ‘at, I’ll bend
over, grab my ankles and whistle ‘Dixie’ like a pig fer ya,’ Mister.”
with laughter at the man and almost lost his concentration.
Good,— but first you gotta’ return the money to them folks it was
“Aww, do I have
to? They ain’t gonna’ miss it. Besides, they’s gonna’ think
I’s one of them robbers.”
“No, they won’t,
and yes, they will miss it. That money represents the holdings of
poor folks as well as rich who expect a bank to protect their
money. They ain’t got no guarantee their life saving is safe in a
bank and if they lose it, they’ll all suffer. They’ll be so
glad to get their money back they’ll believe you. Just don’t tell
‘em you expect a reward or accept one if’n they try to give it to
you. Insist you were just doing yore’ Christian duty. You
won’t need no money with me no ways. You’ll find out there’s more
to life than money or wealth. If’n they lock you up in jail,
don’t you think I got the power to git chu’ out, cowboy?”
“I don’t know,
Sir,— I’s jes’ a dumb cowboy. I ain’t never had me no
school’n. What the hell do I know?”
“Okay, I’ll do
it. Ain’t nothing good ever happens to me no how. Jes’ once
in my damn fucked up life I’d like to fall into a bucket of roses
instead of cow shit. I thought I already done done it ‘til you
cowboy, when God closes one door, he usually opens another.”
“He don’t care
nothing ‘bout no worthless cowboy, Sir.”
“You might be
surprised to find out yore’ net worth, cowboy. Here, put this
coin in yore’ pocket and don’t lose it. It might be your only
means of git’n out of another tight spot,— understand?”
“Yes, Sir, I
over the town, from which the money was stolen, and in the wee hours of
the morning, set Arlen down on the main street within a hundred feet of
the bank. Arlen waited until the bank opened, walked in set the
money on the counter.
“Here, I think
this belongs to you, Sir. I found it roaming around out in the
badlands and come upon an outlaw camp out there. They was all
down to the creek, butt naked, bathing themselves. I found their
loot, decided to do the Christian thing and bring it back to you.
They tried to follow me and shot my pony. It died, and I had to
walk the rest of the way into town.” Arlen didn’t say anymore and
turned to leave.
young man, what’s your name, Son?”
Sir. I’s just a two bit cowpoke who believes in the cowboy way.”
“Well, Mr. Jones
let me give you a reward,— at least for your pony.”
“Thank you, Sir,
but I don’t want no reward. A man ain’t suppose to be rewarded
for doing what’s right. Lot’s of poor folks need their
money. I’s jes’ think’n on them.”
Arlen poured it
on, all the while his heart was killing him to give the money
back. He walked out of the bank and down to the end of the
street. The banker rushed from the bank to offer to buy him
breakfast and watched as the cowboy slowly rose into the sky with his
arms lifted up to heaven. He watched as the cowboy disappeared
into the clouds. The banker hit his knees with tears running down
his cheeks. He was sure he just witnessed an act of God Almighty
and his angel was a young, hairy buckaroo with the most unusual
eyes. The banker never denied any cowboy an account at his bank
after that and became known as the most fair and honest banker in the
West. He became a wealthy man, all because one young cowboy
returned his stolen money.
Years later when
they followed up on the story and investigated the man’s life, Arlen
and Lazarus shared a laugh about the man relating how a cowboy angel
returned his money when he was going to have to close his bank.
He only came in that morning to see how many accounts he could set
right from his own money before he announced bankruptcy. His name
was Jessie Fargo.
his acceptance of Lazarus’ offer, Arlen Jones finally fell into his
bucket of roses and became a man worth far more than all the money in
the state of Texas.
End Of Chapter
11 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2006 ~