By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 28

Brick Armstrong lay there for a few minutes like he was stunned; like a male rabbit who, when he ejaculates, falls over into a dead faint.  He felt like a lump of flesh that was once an animal who now lay mortally wounded by the side of the road, soon to become road kill.  He finally got his breath and remembered his young lover who just provided him with the most fantastic feeling he’d experienced in six years.  He’d forgotten the ecstacy that was ejaculation.  He reached down with his strong arms and gently pulled Tim up to him so they were laying face to face.  He kissed him lovingly but with firm conviction.

“How can I thank you for that, Tim?”  Brick whispered.

“You don’t have to, Sir.  I should be the one thanking you, Officer Brick.”

“No, no, boy.  I don’t think you understand.  I ain’t come in over six years.  I forgot what it was like.  Would those three little words you wanted to hear a while ago be a start, Son?”  Brick whispered breathlessly.

“You don’t have to, Brick, I know you love me.”

“You’re right.  I do.  I. . . Love. . . You. . . Tim.”  Brick said the words separately as if to give each the greatest meaning.

“I’m glad, Sir.  You know I love you.  I’d do anything for you, Brick.”

“I know you would, Tim.  I just don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of someone loving me.  When I became a Temple Guard I pretty much gave up all responsibility to everyone, even myself, to live my life only for the Holy Prophet.  He tells all us guards he loves us, but he ain’t never done nothing like that for me.  My eyes have been opened to other possibilities.  I’m confused, Tim.  I gotta’ think about this.”  Brick held the boy tightly.

“Look, Officer Brick, I don’t wanna’ be the cause of you not going to heaven  and following your dream of serving the Holy Father for an eternity.  Even if you decide to take the final step, I won’t stop loving you.  There’s so much of you to love, I can make do with the rest of you knowing you love me in return.  Maybe in heaven God will let you have another dick, and I can love you even better.”

“I don’t know.  The Holy Father preaches against men being with men, but he tells us we have a special dispensation, because we’re children of the living God and sheep of the Holy Father’s flock.  I believe everything he says, Tim.  He’s a wonderful man, and I believe he hears the voice of God, but you know what?  I think I heard God’s voice a while ago when you were suck’n on my dick.  I heard a voice as clear as day telling me to give you what you needed.  It told me it would put within me what you needed most at that very moment.  I think it was a miracle, Tim.  Did you need me to feed you my seed?”

“Oh, yes, Officer Brick.  I prayed to God the whole time I was suck’n on your dick he’d let you reward me with your fine tasting seed.  I prayed he’d show me a sign you and me got something special what goes beyond scripture or faith.  I wanted something real, and you gave it to me.  I can still taste you.  Best I ever had, Officer Brick.”

“Not better than the Holy Father’s.” Brick half asked.

Tim didn’t answer but shook his head affirmative.

“Humm.” said Brick. “You made me feel like a million bucks, Tim.”

“I’m glad, Brick.  I hope I can do it again for you.”

“I have to think about it.  Maybe the Devil is placing temptation before us.”

“If you heard God’s voice, I don’t think it should be confused with the Devil’s.  I didn’t do what I done for you because the Devil made me do it.  I done it because I love you, Brick.  If God is love, then he had to be help’n me.  At one time I could a’ sworn he had his big hand on the back of my head just a’ pushing me down on your dick to make me suck you harder and faster.”

“Maybe you’re right.  I ain’t real smart when it comes to think’n, Tim.  You’re a lot smarter’n me.  About the only thing I know how to do good is be a Temple Guard.  I’m good at that.”

“Yes, you’re very good.  Maybe too good.  All the slaves love you, and I’m almost certain the Holy Father loves you, too.”

“You really think so?”

“Yes, I’m afraid so.”  Tim answered reluctantly.

Tim knew if Dr. Scudder really was fond of him, Tim could kiss Brick’s dick goodbye.  Who knows, maybe Tim just did?  Tim heard they didn’t actually remove the testes, they returned them to the original cavities they dropped from in adolescence and secured them with surgical saran.  They would still produce a minimum of testosterone; however, the increase in body heat would all but cancel the production of motile spermatozoa.  Without a vehicle to shoot it into the uterus of a female, sperm became a moot point anyway.  The massive injections of steroids the guards were given on a regular basis made the glands pretty much useless.

Unknown to Brick and the other Temple Guards, included in their weekly shots of steroids was a heavy castration drug that made erection and sexual penetration almost impossible.  That made Brick’s ejaculation all the more a borderline miracle.  The Holy Prophet didn’t have any problem with his guards laying down with his Temple boys, but he was adamant they would not lay with his Vestal Virgins.
“What about you, Tim?  You want me to suck you off now?”

“No, Sir.  I didn’t do it jes’ ‘cause I wanted you to return the favor.  I done it because I wanted to prove to you I love you.”

“I’ll do it for you if you want me to, Tim.”

“Not this time.  Another time, perhaps.  Okay?”

“Okay.  Whatever you think best, Tim.”  Brick said almost like a child acquiescing to an adult.

Brick was a good ten years older than Tim.  It made Tim stop and think, at eighteen he was having to be the more mature person when it came to his relationship with the big man.  Brick was huge, but he was an innocent.  He was a simple man who was innately good hearted and kind, but saw the world from the eyes and emotional maturity of a twelve year old boy.  Brick’s actual age was twenty-eight.

Tim wanted to save himself from what he felt in his heart was wrong, but how could he walk away and leave this innocent man behind; a man he idolized and had come to love so deeply.  To remove any part of a person’s body for reasons of faith or piety was just simply wrong to Tim.  The first step to personal reform, rebellion or escape against the rages of stupidity and blind faith is a kernel of doubt.  The smallest seed of a Banyan tree can grow to engulf the largest of religious edifices.

* * * * * * *
The separation between rational humanist and fundamentalism grew larger and stronger; however, the secular humanist were still in a greater majority than the uber-right wing conservatives, but their time was limited.  There began great purges and trials against liberals who were tried in kangaroo courts with less sympathy for truth or justice than the Salem witch trials.

Unless a secular humanist was in a critical position necessary to a community or the theocratic regime, they were sent to one of the many detention camps to work as slave laborers for large corporations who privatized the camps early in the Bush administration.  What was once a large majority of Americans who still believed in democracy and the American dream of liberty, justice and the pursuit of happiness was quickly being replaced by hard core fascist right wing theocratic stooges.

Fundamentalists, or Christian Mythologist as they came to be known were beginning to be the new majority.  They were no longer referred to by the left as Christians, Christianist or Dominionist.  As a severe backlash, all Christians and Muslims were branded by the left as “Mythologist.”  They were placed in the same category as flat Earthers, Earth centrist, and believers in the God’s of Greek mythology.

Scientist and progressive humanist communities began to go underground.  They gave up the fight after Creationism became legislatively required teaching in all major universities and colleges.  They just considered people who believed that way as part and parcel of a primordial ooze of humanity that would, hopefully, one day, go the way of the dinosaurs.  The Creationist Mythologist lived and believe as they were told without ever allowing a single creative thought or doubt to enter their heads for their entire lives and died to be forgotten as little more than compost for the ethos; sad lives lived in quiet desperation, sometimes pumped with meaningless sound and fury signifying nothing; unable to investigate or care beyond their blind faith in a failed dogma about their sojourn on this planet.

Creation and the grand experiment that is man was thought to be about the separation of the better angels of man’s nature from the bad.  According to most philosophers there never was such a thing as the Devil.  Evil was seen as a purely rational function of nature as well as good; however, when a higher order of creatures are contemplated there becomes a greater distinction between the two as opposed to the order of the good or evil as a reflection of the food chain.
Elephants, for example, are at the very top of the food chain and yet they are herbivores.  They have highly developed, complex social structures and have been proven to know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.  They form tight family bonds and mutually care for their young in family groups.  They know about love and affection and mourn their dead.  They have long been suspected to be interceptors and conduits of mass intelligence through the waves of consciousness.  Even the bible metaphorically expresses their special place in a divine scheme of things in the book of Job.

The text of Job (40:14-24)  Behold now, behemoth, which I made (along) with you; he eats grass as an ox.  Observe, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.  He moves his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones (testes) are wrapped together.  His bones (ivory) are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.  He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.  (an elephant can sense and understand the divine-force within all sentient creatures and only those who recognize and honor their divine-force may approach them without fear)

Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.  He lies under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens. (swamp land)  The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.  Behold, he drinks up a river, and hurries not: he trusts he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.  He takes it (in) with his eyes: his nose pierces through snares. (an elephant's senses are more acute than the average sentient creature making him ideal within the reason of wisdom)

How many religions of Earth revere the elephant and give him a special place in their concept of man’s spiritual relationship to a higher intelligence?

(The most dastardly cut of all was the Creationistas who claimed the above passage proved the existence of dinosaurs during the time of Job.  One would  have to be stone stupid to take that description to be other than an elephant or perhaps a wooly mammoth.)

There has been speculation killer whales were once indiscriminate killers and would as readily kill and eat a human as a seal; however, over the years many of their kind were helped and nurtured by humans, legend has it, the word was passed among their kind not to kill or eat humans any more.  There have been no recorded killings of humans by Orcas in many years, and several instances of stranded swimmers being helped to shore by them.

When a species progresses to the level they understand a difference between good and evil and have a choice, there remains the question, which will they choose?  Given free will, it was left to the individual.  Every man and reasoning sentient creature has the ability to make a choice.  The great experiment fared much better in some species than others.  It fared much better in some races of men than others.  In many, as in all of nature, it became equated with a goodness or the development of a godlike gene.  Not that those containing the gene became actual gods, but rather became godlike in their attitudes toward their kind and environment.  In others, it appealed to the more base element of their nature and triggered a false-god gene that made them narrow their thinking to cull from them anything their leaders deemed unworthy.  They, for lack of a better analogy, became the Judas goats for a condemned flock of bleating brethren.  It was a short trip from conversion to the edge of the cliff.

The paradox was, those who believed the most in blind faith and what they perceived as worthy of worship, were not what the great experiment was about.  The voices of the elders of the universe remained stoic but persistent in their eternal droning to convince sentient creatures to ‘do the right thing’ by their specie, their planet and their responsibility to their fellow species (including lesser animals)  The winds of consciousness drones on through many species and carries the dreams of civilizations so vast, powerful and amazing the average human can only begin to imagine.  Man was standing at the threshold of a new consciousness.

* * * * * * *

Abigail Yates didn’t like her husband’s proclivity to dress in women’s clothing.  Even though he claimed to be totally straight and devoted sexually to her there were nagging doubts in her mind she couldn’t resolve.  Being the wife of a man with such a sensitive position in the community meant she couldn’t share her dismay with anyone, not even her closest friends.  They surely wouldn’t understand, and the least word to the community would mean disaster and quite probably the end of her world.

Abigail was comfortable with her life and her position in the community.  She never really liked sex and after the first several years of gritting her teeth and faking orgasms with her husband the fire began to dwindle between them.  To be honest, it dwindled with David; it was never really there for Abigail.  She tried to think of the last time they had sex together.  She couldn’t remember.  Was it two, no,. . . three years ago?  She couldn’t be sure.  She usually marked it on a calender she kept on her desk as a social reminder.  She kept past years as a sort of diary of when things happened for her and the church in general.  She flipped back through the pages for four years and there wasn’t an entry.  She felt some guilt at first; however, David never seemed to be the kind of man who nagged her for sex or threw it up to her about their lack of activity.  She always wondered if he might have some interests on the side, but they were always together.  David never exhibited any suspicious traits.   

At first she insisted he get rid of all his female clothes, his drag outfits she heard such things called, but as time went on she thought if she went nuclear on him, he might want more from her and at this point in their marriage she didn’t know if she could even fake it any more.  The thought of laying with her own husband repulsed  her so badly she spent a morning in the bathroom being sick the last time he attempted to penetrate her.  There was one person she felt she could talk with about it; although, she knew it wouldn’t be easy.

Abigail’s mother, Vivian, was always somewhat of a rebel.  Abigail never felt close to her mother.  She was closer to her dad, but they never discussed anything of a personal nature.  On the other hand, her three older brothers worshiped Vivian and their dad.  Vivian never fully bought into the foursquare gospel church thing, and the times her big cowboy husband, Sonny, got all misty eyed over the prospects of a closer-walk-with-thee, she dragged his ass off to bed and fucked his brains out.  It always did the trick.  Sonny wasn’t about to give up what he had with the demon lady who shared his bunk.  Vivian dutifully attended church with her family, but Abigail had seen her mother roll her eyes at more than one teaching of the church.

Vivian was a women who was raised in an educated Eastern liberal home, and according to her family, married beneath her station in life.  After her graduation from Smith, on a trip one summer to visit relatives in the badlands of Texas, Vivian met and fell in love with an outrageous rodeo cowboy who could spin the biggest yarn, tell the tallest tales, rope, ride, drink and shoot with the best of them.  She never met a more sexy, alive, vibrant, open, honest, vulnerable and loving bullshit artist in her life.  Her cowboy was the very essence of the legendary ‘Pecos Bill.’  He even claimed he was raised on the banks of the Rio Grande by a pack of wild coyotes and to this day they still cry at night because he left his canis latrans family to marry Vivian, his sweet ‘Slue-foot Sue.’

Vivian quickly realized what and how much she wanted out of life, and with her cowboy she got it all.  She wasted no time telling her condescending monied Eastern family to suck eggs.  She would marry Sonny, have his babies, as many as he wanted, then get down on her knees and shamelessly beg him for more.  Vivian didn’t marry just any cowboy.  She married Sonny Steele, one of the greatest all round rodeo champion cowboys ever to grace a saddle.  

Sonny was every inch a man and a hell raiser of the first order.  Along with his buddies, the Linderman brothers, Sonny blazed trails of unbelievable rodeo feats and bawdy actions that came to define the term ‘rodeo cowboy’ for a couple of generations until the Christianist cowboy movement of the late eighties and nineties, where every cowboy worth a ride would jump down from a wild bronc or bull, fall to his knees and praise the Lord.  Most were neither real sure who the Lord was nor what he was all about, but it was fashionable to do, it made a good show, so they followed the rest of the herd.  They became a pabulum of sameness; one being little more than a clone of the next.  Few stood out the way Sonny did.  Following the herd has always been easier than thinking for one’s self, and mistakes notwithstanding, being your own man.  

Sonny rode rough, high and handy until he met his little filly Vivian who immediately put a very large ring though his nose, broke him to her saddle, and firmly planted her red-hot brand on his cowboy butt.  The last of the wild stallions was hobbled and broke.  In front of his beloved pal, his bestest buddy, his devoted pony, ‘Widow-maker,’ Vivian lassoed Sonny’s heart and vowed never to return it.  There was no escape for poor Sonny,. . . not that he ever wanted to.  Sonny’s old dick drooled every damn time he got a whiff of Vivian’s scent.  She would send him into rut when his ‘rutter’ was all used up.  Sonny saw Vivian as the hell cat, cyclone he was destined to rope and ride down hot, wet and hard until he either tamed her or rode the life out of her.  

Either way was fine with him; however, as many times as she begged, for what she saw as her final triumph over him, he would never let her ride his pony, Widow-maker.  There are just some things a cowboy keeps to himself.  In the case of his pony, it was for Vivian’s protection.  All the cowboys who knew Sonny well, believed Widow-maker held a death grudge against Vivian for stealing his beloved partner.  Sonny claimed, and rightfully so, he didn’t own a lasso that would reach all the way to the moon.

Vivian tamed him just a bit and settled him down right nice, but not too much.  She never wanted to make a gentleman out of Sonny.  She still got goose bumps from Sonny’s wild, unpredictable nature.  Like his sex, Sonny was raw, vibrant and explosive, and that’s the way Vivian loved him.  Sonny kept Vivian and everyone he met on the cutting edge of life.  He was not a man to go quietly into his latter days of age.  Vivian tamed him just enough to raise a family and become a more than moderately successful rancher.  They had four children, three buckaroos who were, for all practical purposes, dynamic but not carbon copies of their dad, and a little girl the family spoiled rotten they named Abigail.

Abigail’s mother and cowboy dad had a thriving sex life from the time the were courting and were still having unbridled, passionate sex daily well into their later years.  Abigail found religion early in life and latched onto it like a drowning man clutches a lifeline tossed to him after falling overboard from a ship.  The church taught Abigail sex was bad and dirty.  It should only be done for procreation purposes and certainly never, ever for pure lust or carnal enjoyment.  It was looked upon as a fast-track road to perdition.

When Abigail found the courage to bring up the subject of her husband’s ‘problem’ with her mother it all tumbled out faster than she would’ve liked.  While she felt some relief she sat there feeling like she just torpedoed her on boat.  Her mother smiled, grinned wickedly, then chuckled.

“Didn’t I tell you there was something not right about that man?”

“Yes, Mother.”

“Do you think your daddy and me have been exclusive with each other all these years?” she asked Abigail in a teasing manner.

“Yes, ma’am.  I would never think you and daddy would do anything with someone else.”

“Well, you’d be mighty wrong, little sister.”  Her mother laid at her feet.  Abigail hated it when her mother called her ‘little sister,’ it meant she was being condescending to her.  

“Don’t get me wrong, your daddy is still the only cowboy for me.  There’s just something about that man’s brand of love’n I can’t never get me enough of; still can’t today.  He still git’s me hotter’n a freshly fucked fox in a forest fire what’s jes’ drank six cups of coffee at the height of summer.  Why, I’d be ride’n high on that big saddle horn of his three times a day and six times on Sunday if he’d let me.  I have never told your daddy ‘no’ in the fifty years we lived together.  Your brothers inherited their daddy’s randy gene, but alas, daughter, you inherited your grandmother’s prissy gene.  Why I’ll bet the last time you spread your legs a dark cloud of moths flew out.”

“Mother!  Really!  Please, I didn’t come here to discuss sex, or be abused by you.  I came to you for motherly advice.”

“Don’t know why you’re s’damn shy about sex, I never raised you that way.  You always was your daddy’s little girl.  Then you found religion and God help us.  The rest of the family’s been on trial ever since.  Sonny always protected you with a vengeance.  I told him shielding you from the realities of the world would one day come back to bite us in the butt, and sure enough, it has.  Sex is a part of nature, darlin,’ it’s all a part of life you church folks try to keep hidden from one another.  You try to pretend humans are above the animals we live with by denying your natural urges or suppressing them.  No wonder them folks is so angry and warlike. They ain’t got no other way of expressing their frustrations that one good fuck would probably take care of.  Why, you’re daddy’s down to the barn right now, even as we speak, corn-hole’n three of his cowboy-slaves to keep ‘em in line.”

“Mother!” shouted Abigail in an indignant voice. “Daddy would never do anything like that!”

Her mother almost choked on her coffee and laughed out loud.

“He’s been doing it for years, missy.  He has a regular routine.  He goes through all his cowboy-slaves at least once a month.  He missed a couple of days last week due to the croup.  He got a little behind in his work.  He’s making up for lost time insuring all his cowboy-slaves gets fucked by him personally on a regular basis.  Keeps ‘em happy and working hard.  You might say he’s getting a lot more behind in his work this morning.”  Vivian laughed at the look on her prim and proper daughter’s face.

“Why do you tell me such dreadful things, Mother?  You always did try to shock me.”

“I keep thinking, one of these days you’re gonna’ wake up and leave that dimwit preacher, go out and find yourself a real man, a cowboy who would throw his lasso around your ass and never let you go.  One who would make a real woman out of you and keep you knocked up with grand kids for me and Sonny.  When’s the last time you had sex with that pervert?  A year,. . . two?  More?”

“Mother!  I’m not here to discuss my sex life with my husband.”

“Of course you are!  If he has to go around wearing women’s clothes to satisfy something inside him you ain’t providing, then you better start looking closer to home, honey.  Sounds, to me, like you ain’t never gonna’ give me no grand children.”

“You got enough grand kids from my brothers.  They cost me and David a fortune every year at Christmas and their birthdays.”

“Yep, we got us an even dozen, but none from you.  I guess it ain’t never gonna’ happen, so sounds like you got a decision to make.  If you want things to continue the way they been, you better consider a compromise.  You better let him have his dresses if you don’t wanna’ put out for him or divorce him.”

“You always could be so crude, Mother.  I just don’t understand you.  I know you were raised better than that.”

“Better than what?  Better then them hypocrites you hobnob with in your congregation?  They’re the most sexually repressed people in the world all in the name of a mythology no one in his right mind could support with half a grain of reason, and you sit down right beside them every Sunday, daughter, and believe the same life choking things they do.  I feel sorry for you.  Sonny and I pray for you ever’ damn day, that one a’ these days you’ll see the light and dump that silly self-righteous pervert.  Ever’ damn time he smiles he reminds me of a dog what suffers from corprophagia.  I could tell you a lot more about him, but I won’t.  I’ll leave that up to yore’ daddy.  Since you won’t never talk about such things with Sonny, and he’ll protect his ‘precious’ with his last breath, I guess you’ll never find out.”

About that time, Sonny walked in the screen door of the back porch and stomped his boots to clean them on the old burlap feed sacks.  He saw his precious in the kitchen talking with her mother and went to embrace her.  Abigail could smell the telltale odors of ranch life on her dad and a strong, unmistakable odor of male sex.  She broke off their hug and turned away from him.  Sonny looked at Vivian, puzzled.  She shook her head and rolled her eyes.  Sonny got the message.

“You get them slaves taken care of, cowboy?” Vivian pressed him.

“Yeah, all three of ‘em.  They kissed ma’ boots and told me it was the best I done give ‘em in a while.  They’s glad I’m over the croup.  They walked away with big smiles on their faces.  They’ll be jes’ fine for another month.”  Sonny allowed.  He could see Abigail stiffen.

“Any left for me, stud?” Vivian asked coquettishly and winked at Sonny.

“Ah, hell, yes, darlin’! Gimme’ an hour after lunch, and I’ll take care a’ ma’ purtty little heifer right good.”

“Well, yore’ little heifer could sure use a good romp in the pasture with her prize bull this afternoon, daddy.”  Vivian played it to the hilt.  She stood and went to Sonny’s waiting arms.  They embraced and Sonny gently kissed her on the mouth.  Abigail got up from her chair.  She was visibly shaken at her parent’s open expression of affection.

“I guess I better be getting on home, now.” she spoke quickly.

“Naw, I jes’ come in.  Stay for lunch, darlin.’  Mrs. Harper always makes more’n we can eat.” Sonny invited.

“No, daddy, I gotta’ get on back.  I got a meeting this afternoon with the Women’s Temperance League.”

“Wish’t you could stay for a while.” he urged.

“I just dropped by to talk with mom about some things.”

“Well, come‘mon back when you can, daughter.” Sonny went to hug and kiss her goodbye, but Abigail was already to the door on her way out.

Disappointed, Sonny turned to Vivian and grinned.

“What the hell you done to her this time, woman?” he grinned knowingly.

Vivian giggled.

“David’s dressing up in women’s clothes.” she said quietly.

“Lord God a’ mighty!” Sonny exclaimed as he slapped his knee with his hand and let out a cowboy whoop Vivian knew Abigail must have heard on her way to her SUV.  “I know’d the day I done it, I never should a’ butt-fucked him.” Sonny lamented.

“No, that ain’t it.  You just should a’ never been s’damn good at it.”  Vivian roared with laugher. “Now it seems like all he wants to do is learn to shimmy like his sister Kate!” Vivian barely could speak she was laughing so hard at her own joke.  She continued,  “Now, don’t chu' be going and feeling all guilty about it.  It was him what come upon you butt fuck’n Perry Reid down to the barn.  You’s jes’ taking care of old Perry like you do all your cowboy-slaves.  David wanted to see what it was like to be a slave and you showed him.  Lot’s of men take it up the butt, but they don’t feel the need to wear women’s clothes.  I think the good Reverend’s  problems go a lot deeper than one cowboy fuck.” Vivian assured Sonny.  Sonny wasn’t convinced.  

“You think I should take him aside and have a talk with him; you know, man to man like.”  Sonny offered sincerely.

“You know I give up on them two a long time ago, Sonny.  So, I ain’t the one to ask.  I go to their damn church and sit there week in and week out listening to the hog swallop that fat-ass little moron preaches as God’s holy word.  Can’t tell you how many times I come home with a bloody tongue or ma’ teeth hurt’n from grinding ‘em together.  What he git’s, he deserves, and ma’ daughter’s made her own bed, let her lay in it.  Do what your conscience tells you, daddy.  As long as you take care of the main heifer in yore’ barn, you know I’ll follow you to the end’s of the Earth.”

“That far, darlin’?” he asked stealing another kiss.

“Further, cowboy, much further!” Vivian assure him.  If she only knew how much further she would one day follow her cowboy.

* * * * * * *
Abigail Yates sat down with her husband, and as rationally as possible, told him he could keep his women’s things in the old servant’s quarters on the back of their double-car garage.  He was not to bring them into the house.  If he felt the need, he could wear his things out there, but only when she was gone for a couple of days at a time.  She would make arrangements to visit her family more often; however, under no circumstances would she share her clothes or makeup with him.  He must buy his own things or let her know what he wanted, and she would buy it for him.  David agreed to all her terms, and couldn’t wait for her to be gone.  His chance finally came.  He was ready.
The Reverend David W. Yates, the cross-dressing Baptist preacher, felt unsettled, a little like a lidded pot rocking on the stove as it boiled (except his wife only served dishes cooked in the microwave), for on the one hand His Holiness graced him with a visit, but declined to grace his church with a sermon, so to assuage his wounded pride, he twitched and struggled into his new padded girdle until it was firmly around his ample hips; then, as he turned this way and that, admiring his reflection in the full length mirror, he began to hum the hymn ‘How Firm a Foundation.’*

David’s cell phone rang.  He answered.

“Reverend Yates?”  the voice on the line was deep and sounded official.

“Speaking.”  David answered.

“This is Captain Delbert Hawkins of his Holiness’ Temple Guards calling.”

“Yes, how is his Holiness?”  Pastor Yates tried to sound cordial.

“He’s fine and sends his greetings.  We have a request from his Holiness we’d like to bring you personally.  We’re in town.  We’d like to come to your house right away.”  The man sounded urgent and not to be put off.

“Uh, I’m in a meeting right now.  Could you meet me at my home in an hour?”

“We’ll be there, Sir.”  the man hung up before David could give him his address.  He assumed he probably already knew it, besides the parsonage was right by the church, one of the biggest buildings in town.

David rushed around cleaning off his makeup and putting his female clothes away.  He barely got everything done when the doorbell rang.  He checked everything in the mirror and was satisfied he got everything off.  He went to the door and opened it.  He was unprepared for the size of the two men who stood in his doorway.  They were huge.  Not only were they huge in size, their muscles were developed to the max.  They wore their traditional leather clothes with tall boots and leather cod piece pants.  Although David told himself he wasn’t a homosexual he couldn’t take his eyes off the men’s crotches.  They didn’t seem to notice.  They were both so used to other people staring at them the preacher’s gaze had little effect on them.

“This is Sargent Sven Olefson, Mr. Yates, and I’m Del Hawkins, Sir.”

David stuck out his hand and shook the two men’s hands.

“Come in, gentlemen.”  Pastor Yates ushered the men into the living room, and bid them sit down.  They did but sat on the edge of the sofa like they were uncomfortable.

“Can I get you something to drink, gentlemen?”  he offered.

“No thanks, we can’t stay long, Mr. Yates.”  Del said reaching for a briefcase by his side.  He sat it on the coffee table and undid the lid.  It flipped up and he brought out some documents.”

“His Holiness is asking you to act as his representative in this community.  He’d interested in gaining the cooperation of the good folks here to donate to his cause several of their young men for his stable of semi-vestal virgins, and a couple for potential Palace Guards.  If donations are not forth coming he will gladly pay far more than the going rate for slaves.  I don’t think I need to remind you that a request from the Holy Prophet is not to be taken lightly by you or the townspeople.”

“Oh, no!  I wouldn’t, but I’m not sure about the town folks.  We’re a small community.  There are no slaves I’m aware of currently for sale.  I don’t know of anyone who might even consider volunteering to become a temple virgin or a guard, Mr. Hawkins.”

“Here’s a list of names the Holy Prophet has provided.  You are to contact their parents, families, or owners in the case of slaves, and stress to them the honor and privilege for one or more of their sons to be given into the service of our Holy Prophet and the blessing it would be for them and their children.  They would be guaranteed a place in the new kingdom either here on Earth or in heaven.”       

The Reverend Yates quickly looked over the names, and they were all the boys he introduced Dr. Scudder to the Friday night of the football game including a couple he didn’t introduce him to.
“None of these men’s families or owners are members of my church, Mr. Hawkins.”

“Then you must go to them and their families and present to them his Holiness’ generous offer and request.  There’s also totals for the amounts the federal government would be willing to pay for these young men listed beside their names.  In a couple of cases the amounts are quite generous; enough to make a family extremely wealthy.” urged Captain Hawkins.

“But, . . . you must explain to his Holiness, these men and their families are not the kind you can buy for any price.  These men have lived on their land for generations and family is precious to them.  Even their slaves, I’m surprised to say, become part of their families.  Money has little or no import to them when it comes to family.  Their families and their bonds to them are considered their wealth.  There is no balance to that equation, Sir.”

“Nonsense!  Every man has a price.” Captain Hawkins said with firm finality.  “As a last resort you might remind them it would be unwise to have the Holy Prophet disappointed with them because they blatantly refused to share with him, when all he’s trying to do is give their children a greater chance for salvation than others not so fortunate.  All he asks is a little graciousness and generosity on their part and everyone will be happy.”

The young men’s names, boys really, on the Prophet’s list were mostly relatives and slaves of Charlie Goodnight and Lazarus Long except for two.  One slave listed was Stan Edmunds, the only other slave on the football team who wasn’t a Goodnight man.  Stan might as well have been considered one of the Goodnight boys.  Stan’s owners, the Blooms, and Stan were in thick with the Grange and knew all the things the boys knew.  The Grange helped them many times over the past couple of years and they were devoted members.  

Stan was the slave to a single couple, Ole and Hattie Bloom.  He was more like a son to them and lived in their house.  They were poor folks, but Stan loved Ole and Hattie and became the son to them they never could have.  He was a good kid.  He willingly worked his ass off for the Blooms to make their life better.  They loved and took good care of Stan in return.  Now that Stan was in highschool and a solid member of the football team, they couldn’t have been prouder of him.  They were a family and Stan was their slave in name only.

The other slave listed for a position was Angus and Charlie’s younger brother, Shane.  He was listed for a position as a Temple Guard.  The preacher had to shudder to think what a life a man would have to live to become a Temple Guard.  He could see the blank look in the eyes of the two men who brought him the Holy Prophet’s requests.  To him, they were little more than walking zombies who had their brains washed, rinsed and spin dried so many times they were beginning to lose their humanity.

Also on the list was Waco and Blue Goodnight’s names.  Yates couldn’t believe his old friend would be so bold or so unreasonable as to attempt to take away from a family and community two of their most important heroes.  It was not only unconscionable, it was down right stupid.  Yates only knew the rumored story of how Blue came to the Goodnight ranch, but he knew he was close family.  You only had to look at the boy to see he was almost a double for Waco.  The family resemblance was more than a little remarkable.

The preacher correctly saw himself being placed between a rock and a hard place.  How could he take the Holy Prophet’s message to men like Charlie Goodnight and Lazarus Long and expect to have any kind of dialogue?  He wasn’t sure about the relationship between Goodnight and Long, but he assumed from what he heard in the community it was a close working relationship.  He could understand that.  Many ranch foremen became close extensions of the owner’s family.  There was a bond which formed between men from day to day hard work toward a common goal.

Yates didn’t know how, but they managed to thwart one of his attempts at gaining a foothold of control over them, but they sent him a strong warning if he continued his aggressive posture, they would take him down with little conscience.  In his own perverted way, he kind of admired them for their fortitude.  The fact he had no conscience when it came to them wasn’t important to him.  What was most important to him was power and control that he was so lacking in his personal life; however, he knew he had been checked and mated by the men of the Grange.  They took a page from Teddy Roosevelt, ‘Walk softly and carry a bigger stick.’  It served their purpose well against bullies like Yates.  Their bold actions put him in his place and served to remind him just how little control he had in the community.  He hated himself and his sham of a life.  Left with no choice, Yates made up his mind to leave well enough alone and coexist with the Grange on a MAD basis. (Mutually Assured Destruction)

He knew he could, potentially, cause them all sorts of grief and fully intended to start his campaign by using his church as his bully-pulpit when they lobbed a pretty firm warning shot across his bow.  He knew they were not joking.  They were deadly serious.  He could be ruined, but how was he going to approach them without being laughed at?  He needed counsel and he knew of no one in his congregation he could turn to or trust; however, there just might be one man who might give him some comfort and advice.    

* * * * * * *

Scraps and Happy came rushing into the house followed by their brood.  The little one’s were slower and not so sure footed as their parents but one by one they made it through the doggie door and into the kitchen.  They dutifully lined up behind their parents.  Ida looked down at them and smiled.  She knew Scraps and Happy well enough to know they wouldn’t come bursting it through the doggie door unless something was up.

“Is ramrod Long here, Ms. Ida?” Scraps asked politely.

“Why, yes, he’s in the front room having coffee with Mr. Goodnight.”

“Would you please tell him we need to speak with him and Mr. Charlie?”

“I think you can go on in, darling.  I don’t think they’re real busy.”

“Thanks, Ms. Ida.”  Scraps replied and quickly headed for the living area followed close behind by his family.  He found Charlie and Lazarus talking quietly and drinking coffee.  They looked up to see the dogs descend upon them.

“Fine looking family you got there, Scraps.” Charlie laughed.

“Thanks, Mr. Charlie.  We just come from the ship.  Mr. Cable sent us to get you gentlemen.  He said to tell you Kyron has intercepted some information you will probably want to know about.”

“That’s fine.  We’re just about finished here.  Since you seem to be acting as messengers would you mind going back to the ship to let Cable know we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

“Sure thing, Boss.  C’mon Happy!  C’mon kids, the exercise will do you good.” Scraps barked at the pups.  There was much scurrying and thumping of little paws as they all headed out to the back porch and a chorus of pups yelling ‘goodbye’ to Ida Mae on their way out.  She just shook her head and smiled.  It never ceased to amaze her how much joy could be packaged in six small bundles of fur.

Charlie and Lazarus got to the ship and Kyron shared with them the Temple Guard’s visit with the preacher.  The robocams picked up every nuance of their exchange and even got closeups of the documents as the preacher was leafing through them.  After the Temple Guards left the parsonage, Kyron shut down the video.

“Thanks, Kyron.  You done good to notify us.” Lazarus spoke to the AI.

“Just doing my job, Captain, but it’s nice to know my efforts are appreciated.”

“Can you believe the arrogance of that piece of filth who calls himself a Holy Prophet?” Charlie was more angry than Lazarus had ever seen him.

“Steady there, cowboy.  You’re right, of course, but anger ain’t gonna’ get us nowhere.  To be forewarned it to be forearmed.  I’m just glad I let the boys talk me into leaving them robocams on him.”  Lazarus tried to calm Charlie.

“Looks like he’s still doing his dress up routine.”  added Charlie.

“Just more fuel for the bonfire.”  shrugged Charlie. “Just remember, we’re in this together.  He’s after several of my boys as well.”  

“I know, but what can we do?  He’s holding all the cards.”

“You ain’t played much poker, have you pardner?” Lazarus grinned.

“Not a lot.” Charlie admitted.   

“Sometimes h’it ain’t the cards you’re holding what counts, it’s the way you play them.  I wouldn’t be too worried about it.  This could easily blow up in his face.  Damn, them sure were big men weren’t they?”  Lazarus made reference to the Temple Guards.

“Not much bigger than ma’ little brother and his master.”

“Yeah, I’m sure that’s why he’s on the list.  The preacher was right about one thing.  Country folk’s family and people are more important to them than money.  I’d be willing to bet everything valuable in all them cargo bays on the Mighty Bee (Lazarus’ nickname for the Bandersnatch) the Bloom family would never consider selling their boy Ed.”

“You’re right, ramrod.  I wouldn’t take that bet.”

“Didn’t we git a feeler from one of the preacher’s in-laws a couple of weeks ago about joining our Grange?”  Lazarus asked Charlie.

“Yeah, we ain’t had a chance to bring it up at a meeting, but they live in another county about a hunner’t and thirty miles from us.  Seems they been hit awful damn hard by the Grays after our last stand at the Gibbon's ranch.  As a matter of fact all three of his brother-in-laws, Matt, Mark, and Luke Steele all wanna’ join our Grange.  They applied for their daddy, too.  Told me they couldn’t get nothing going in their area.”

“Steele?  Steele?  Where have I heard that name before?” Lazarus tried to think.

“Their daddy is an old rodeo buddy of Angus and mine when we was young men.”

“Not Sonny Steele?” Lazarus asked.

“The very same.  Top all round cowboy seven years in a row.  Back when being a top hand meant something.  You know him?”

“His great-granddad and I grew up together.  I knew his granddad and his daddy as well.  I delivered Sonny into this world.  When Sonny’s ma went into labor, he was too big for her to birth.  His momma was a tiny woman.  I never did figure out why them huge cowboys liked them tiny little women.  Other than my mate, Sonny’s dad was one of the biggest men I ever knew.  It was like breeding Waco’s pony Ranger with a Shetland pony female.

Back in them days they knew about cut’n a baby out of a woman, but they did it only to save the child, because the woman always died.  She would die anyway if the baby couldn’t get out.  I was hiding out here on Earth for a while and had my ship hidden in that area.  I took her to the ship and we beamed Sonny out of his mom and she survived.  I swore Sonny’s dad, mom and granddad to secrecy.”
“Damn, brother, you do have a history in this area.” Charlie shook his head.  

“I think we need to take us a trip to visit with Mr. Sonny Steele and his boys.”

 “I got their phone number and their daddy’s number in the house.  I might be wrong, but last I heard their granddaddy was still alive and living with their mom and dad.”

* * * * * * *

The men walked back to the house and Lazarus dialed Sonny Steele’s phone number.  A lady answered.

“Vivian Steele.”

“Howdy, Mrs. Steele, you don’t know me but my name is Lazarus Long.  I’m ramrod for Mr. Charlie Goodnight on his ranch over here in Reason county.  I believe your son’s, Matt, Mark and Luke, have applied for membership in our Grange and applied for their dad, Mr. Sonny Steele, as well.  Is Mr. Steele in this morning, ma’am?”

“Why, yes Mr. Long he’s sit’n right here at the table having breakfast with his daddy.  Would you like to speak with him?”

“I’d shore’ appreciate it, Mrs. Steele.” Lazarus heard Vivian Steele tell Sonny.

“Sonny there’s a gentleman on the phone named Mr. Lazarus Long.  Say’s he’s the ramrod for one of the Goodnight ranches in Reason county.  Says the boys applied for Grange membership for them and you.  He wants to talk with you about it.”  

Lazarus heard some dishes clatter and there was a brief commotion.

“Howdy, Mr. Long.  Excuse me just a minute.  My dad had an accident.  He dropped his coffee mug and broke it.”  There was a brief moment went by.

“Mr. Long, ma’ dad wants to know if you’re related to another Lazarus Long who used to live in our area many years ago.”

“You tell your daddy I’m the same Lazarus Long he knew back then.”

There was another commotion.  “My dad just passed out.  He’s gonna’ be okay, but what’s going on here, Mr. Long?”

“Could Mr. Goodnight and I drive down and speak with you and your boys this morning?”

“Charlie or Angus Goodnight, Mr. Long?”

“Charlie, Sir.”

“Damn, I ain’t seen Charlie in years.  I’d love to see him again.  Excuse me just a minute, Sir.”  Lazarus heard him talking with his dad.  “Mr. Long and Charlie Goodnight want to come visit, Dad, and speak to me and the boys about their Grange.”

“You tell him to get his ass on down here as fast as he can!” Lazarus heard Warren G. Steele tell his son.  Lazarus smiled and winked at Charlie.

“Tell yore’ daddy I’m looking forward to seeing him again.  Tell him we developed that wonder drug we talked about all them years ago, and I’ll bring some for him.”

“Will do, Mr. Long.  You tell ole Charlie I can’t wait to see him again.  See you in a couple of hours.  I’ll have ma’ boys here.  Their ranches are adjacent ours.”

The men said their ‘goodbyes’ and hung up.  Sonny relayed ramrod Long’s message to his dad and the old man got a knowing smile on his face and breathed a deep sigh of relief like a man who just heard he was given a reprieve from the governor.  Sonny sat there looking at the color beginning to return to his dad’s face.  He wondered how his dad knew this man.  The old man was in his late nineties.  He got a far away look in his stone cold arctic blue eyes.  They twinkled from memories he was recalling from sixty-five years ago like they happened only yesterday.

“Mr. Long didn’t sound like he was yore’ age on the phone, dad.”  Sonny stated.

“That’s ‘cause he ain’t.  He’s much older’n me.”

“No, no, I mean he sounded younger, dad.”

“Figures.  He won’t look a day over forty.” smiled the old cowboy holding another cup of coffee to his mouth.

“I don’t understand, dad.” Sonny said.

“You will.  Trust me.  All will be revealed soon enough.  Lazarus Long brought you into this world, Son.  I watched that cowboy take you from your mother.  He saved her life.  He’s the only reason you had both a momma and a daddy to raise you.  He made sure she couldn’t have no more after you.  I’s jes’ too big a man for yore’ momma.”  Sonny didn’t ask any more.  He knew when his dad finished a conversation, he wouldn’t get another word out of him.  Vivian looked at Sonny and winked.  She shook her head in amazement and disbelief.  Sonny stabbed another slice of ham with his fork, helped himself to a couple more of Vivian’s hot cakes and finished his breakfast.

* * * * * * *

Charlie drove and Lazarus directed him.  He knew exactly were the old Steele homestead was.  They pulled down the gravel road to the old ranch house and saw the old man sitting on the front porch in a rocking chair.  Lazarus eyes started watering as he could see Warren’s ice cold blue eyes still as intelligent and full of wonder as ever.  The old man stood as the others came from the house.  Lazarus bounded up the steps and took the old cowboy in his arms.  He threw caution and formality to he winds.  He kissed Warren right on the mouth and the old cowboy surprised his son and grandsons by returning Lazarus kiss like it was his birthright.  Lazarus broke it off and stood there holding his old friend as they sobbed in each others’ arms.

“H’it’s so damn good to see you again, pardner.” Lazarus said softly.

“Never thought I’d ever lay eyes on you again, Mr. Long.  You’re shore’ a welcome site for these tired old eyes.”  Warren told him.

“Lazarus, Son.  I’m just Lazarus to you.”

Warren got himself together and introduced Lazarus to his family.  Charlie had been busy getting reacquainted with Sonny, Vivian and their boys.  They went into the house and sat in the living room to talk for a few minutes.  Vivian had their slave-lady cook hold lunch and invited Lazarus and Charlie to join them.  Lazarus dropped his saddle bags in the hallway of the big house.  They joined the family in their kitchen for lunch.  Unless it’s a formal affair country folks always eat in the kitchen.  It’s the greatest compliment to guest for them to be invited to share their common eating area.  It means they don’t have to put on airs because you’re considered family.  

After everyone was served, Vivian dismissed the slave-lady, Mrs. Harper, and sent her to her duplex she shared with an older lady who cleaned and helped out sometimes in the kitchen.  Rumors spread quickly among the slaves if they overheard the slightest thing of an unusual nature.  Vivian had a feeling there would be things discussed over the table Sonny wouldn’t want the slaves to know about.  Lazarus and Charlie made note of the cook’s dismissal.  They didn’t talk about much until she was gone.

“Did you really bring me into this world, ramrod Long?” Sonny asked Lazarus.

“Ask your daddy.  I was the man what gave you your first spank’n.” Lazarus laughed.

“He shore’ 'nuff did and you let out a yell that would a’ made Johnny Reb proud.” Laughed Warren and elbowed Lazarus gently in his ribs.  Sonny’s boys laughed at their dad and granddad.

“How come you don’t look as old as granddad, Mr. Long?” Mark asked.

“Mark!” Vivian chastised him for his arrogant question.

“It’s a reasonable question, Mrs. Steele.  You wanna’ tell him, Warren.”

“Lazarus Long was a member of a family whose family name has all but been eradicated from history.  They were a specially designed and engineered family who developed a longevity gene that gave them life spans far longer than the average human.  Folks who didn’t understand tried for years to hunt them down like animals and destroy them because they’s jealous.  Lazarus is older than any of you can imagine.”

There was quiet around the table.

“I have good news, old friend, we isolated the gene, and now I can give it to anyone who wants it.  I brought some for you and your family if you choose to accept it.”

“Have others taken it?”  Warren asked.

“I’ve had it, and my son’s have had it.  All my cowboy-slaves have had it.  My brother and his family.  Almost all the family members of the Grange have had it.  Several of the Souix tribe including Chief Tin Penny have had it.  The Cheif was about your age when he got his shot, now he looks half your age and has taken on a couple of new wives.” reported Charlie.  Everyone laughed.

“Has our government developed this new age vaccine?” asked Luke.  Warren laughed.

“Naw, Lazarus ain’t from our world, Son.  He used to be.  He grow’d up here with my daddy, but he got captured by an alien race and spent many years away from Earth.  He came back for a while to hide out here.  That’s when my daddy introduced him to me and Sonny’s mom.  Yore’ momma’ would’ve died had it not been for this man.” the old man spoke to Sonny. “He took Sarah on board his space ship and he and three naked mechanical men beamed you out of her womb after going up inside her with mechanical devices and cutting your cord.  I watched him do it.  Sarah was just fine afterward.  She lived up until about five years ago, Lazarus.  Wish’t you could a got here a little sooner.”  Warren said sadly.

“Me, too, cowboy, me, too.  I didn’t get here until about two years ago.  I settled into them blue granite mountains on Mr. Goodnight’s property and went to work for him for a pony and ma’ grub.  He liked ma’ work and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  I became his foreman.  I love my work and the folks I’m living with.”

“You still got them beautiful mechanical men, Lazarus?”

“Indeed, I do.  They’re over three hundred years old now and look the same as when you knew ‘em.  Other than an occasional tune up, lube and oil change they’s still good as new.”  Lazarus laughed.  “They were excited when they heard I relocated you.  They’re anxious to see you again.”

Warren seemed pleased.  “Got any kids, Lazarus?”

“Just had twin boys with my mate, Arlen.  You remember Arlen Jones, don’t you?  The cowboy almost big as you and Sonny?”

“Shore’ I remember him.  A fine buckaroo.  You and him have twins with one a them ape-men.  Yore’ boy, the fine looking Lummox you adopted, Garron?  Was that his name?”

“Damn, Warren!  Ain’t nothing wrong with yore’ memory.  Garron is Waco Goodnight’s slave now.  Waco calls him his 'Ox.'  He’s completely devoted to his young master.  It weren’t Garron who acted as a secondary birth parent for ma’ boys though.  It was his adopted dad here on Earth, a big Volgoron or Bigfoot as they’re called on this planet.  His name is Strom.  He’s much bigger than my boy and a fine looking critter.  He carried our twins to term for us after Arlen gave birth to them.”

“Wait a minute.  Men having babies with Bigfoot monsters?” Vivian asked incredulously.  

“At’s right.  I wouldn’t a’ believed it ma’self if’n I ain’t seen it with ma’ own eyes.”  Warren backed up Lazarus.

“I wouldn’t have either, Mrs. Steele, less’n I’d witnessed the whole process.” Charlie confirmed.

“I got me another son, too.” continued Lazarus, “A real fine boy.  One I adopted as a slave whose daddy was gonna’ sell him for dog food.  He’s now one of our highschool football team’s star players along with Mr. Goodnight’s boy Waco and his cousin Blue.”

“Lucas Long?  We seen him play in the last game; the one where the H.P. came and caused such a stir.  He’s damn good, Mr. Long, a fine little athlete.” said Matt.

“Y’ain’t changed a bit, Lazarus.”  Warren smiled and said softly like he was admiring his old friend.

“Would ju’ like to see a video of your birth, Sonny?” Lazarus asked.  Warren almost fell out of his chair laughing.  He knew what Lazarus was up to.

“How could you have videos of ma’ birth, Mr. Long?”

“Lazarus’ got all sorts of technology we ain’t never heard of yet.” Warren told his son.
Lazarus got his saddle bags and took out a small holographic projector about the size of a silver dollar and placed it in the middle of the table.

“You men ain’t never seen this technology, but chore’ granddaddy has, right, Warren?”

“Is ‘zat one of them there three-dee projectors, Lazarus?”

“You remember.  Good for you.  Yes, it is.  You remember Kyron on board my ship, Warren?  I asked him to prepare a special disk for this occasion.”
Lazarus had Kyron make up several vid-disks he brought along.  He pressed a button on the disk and a holographic, three dimensional picture sprang up.  Everyone was visibly shaken and moved slightly away from the table.  Warren was having a ball laughing at his family.  He relished the idea he wasn’t so old he knew a few things they didn’t.

“Why ain’t you never told us you knew about these things, Dad?”  Sonny asked in awe.

“Would ju’ have believed me?” The old man grinned at his boy.  Vivian giggled and pointed her finger at Sonny.

The first shot was in the infirmary of the Bandersnatch.  There was Lazarus and a very young Warren with a big man standing behind him.  Warren sucked in air.

“Daddy.” he said quietly.

“Is that our great-granddad?” asked Sonny’s youngest boy Luke.

“It is, indeed, Son.” Sonny answered in awe.  “Damn, he looks like a double for you Matt.  Hell, all you boys look like him.  He was a handsome Devil, were’nee?” Sonny asked.

“I’ll say.” volunteered Vivian.  Then she giggled mischievously.

Laying on the table was a very pregnant Sarah Steele.  She was a tiny woman compared to the men who surrounded her.  She raised her hand to someone they couldn’t see and into the camera range came a huge, furry monster who gently took her hand, raised it to his mouth and lovingly kissed it.  A big smile came across the small woman’s face.  

“Garron.” spoke Warren softly as tears began to form in his eyes.

The video continued and showed three fine looking, handsome naked men surrounding the table along with Lazarus.  You couldn’t see everything they were doing, but when they were satisfied they cut the umbilical cord of Sarah’s baby they moved away.  Sarah lay there holding Warren’s right hand with the big monster gently holding her other.  They watched as she was ballooned up one instant then completely deflated the next.  At that very instant a baby boy appeared on the table next to her.

Lazarus and his men surrounded the baby and were sucking muck from his nose and checking everything.  Lazarus picked him up by his heels and gently smacked him on his little fanny.  The baby jerked and gasped for air at the same time.  Then everyone jumped at the yell the kid let out.  Warren slapped his leg and fell over into Lazarus’ arms laughing.

“You always did have a set of lungs on you.” Warren said to Sonny.

“This is amazing.  I’m getting to see my own husband’s birth.” Vivian said with awe.

The men in the video carefully cleaned the baby boy and wrapped him in a soft blanket.  They handed the bundle to Sarah.  She undid the blanket and wept at the baby’s beauty.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.  Even hard nosed old Sonny was shedding a few tears.  Vivian was beside herself.  They were even more amazed when Sarah handed the bundle in her arms to the smiling monster who stood beside her.  Garron took the bundle, and gently held it to his breast.  The baby didn’t need a further invitation.  He hooked up to the monster’s teat like it was the fount of many blessings and began to suck with a vengeance.  One of the naked men brought a towel and gently dabbed the excess milk from the face and chin of the baby.

“You fed me monster milk?!” Sonny asked his dad accusingly.  He couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

“Lummox milk!"  Warren corrected his son, "Only the best for my boy.” Warren grinned.  “Lummox milk is the best milk in the universe, boy, everyone knows that!  Gave you a leg up on life.  Put lead in yore’ pencil, bullets in yore’ six-shooter and made you the cowboy you is today.  We was damn lucky to have Lazarus and Garron for friends.  He nursed you through several childhood diseases.”  Warren said with a mischievous giggle.

“Why am I suddenly jealous?” Mark laughed.

“Yeah, me too, brother!” Matthew added.

“Hell, count me in on that, bubba!” Luke exploded.  Everyone laughed.

“You know. . . now that I think back . . . . I remember a big, furry, gentle monster who used to come to me in my feverish dreams as a kid and feed me from his teats.  His milk tasted like sweetened condensed milk, almost like ice cream before it’s frozen.  I remember. . .  I remember him singing to me to take my pain and fever away.  It always worked.  He didn’t sing words.  I don’t think he could speak, but I knew what he was thinking and his songs vibrated to the bottom of my soul.  It was like he was stirring up the healing parts of my body to make it function to the best of its ability.  All these years I suppressed those images thinking I was either nutty as a fruitcake, ate one too many mescal worms, or had an unnatural desires to suck hairy men’s tits.”

“Mine ain’t hairy, but maybe that’s why they’s sore all the time.” Vivian offered.  The men fell out laughing at her.  Sonny blushed bright red and winked at his wife. The video came to an end and Lazarus ejected the disk from the small projector.
“Thanks for that, Lazarus.  They never would a’ believed me in a million years.  Why if’n I tried to tell ‘em any of that, they’d a’ slapped my tired old cowboy ass in a happy farm.”  Warren roared with laughter.

“You’re welcome, pardner.”  Lazarus grinned.  “We understand you men wanna’ join our Grange.  Is that right?”  Lazarus asked the Steele men.

“Yes, Sir, Mr. Long.  We’re losing cattle right and left.  We know it’s aliens what’s taking ‘em.  We got videos and pictures of cow after cow being abducted by them bastards, but the government or the sheriff in our county won’t do nothing about it.”

“Maybe we can help.  I’ll show you men a brief video of  how we handled our own problem.  Then, you can decide if you still wanna’ join us. What you’re about to see is how we went about setting up and taking care of our problem.”

There were pictures of the men of different ranches preparing their bunkhouses and hats with the antistatic material Lazarus provided them and explaining what they were doing and why.  Sonny and his boy’s mouth’s dropped open and stayed that way until the old man laughed and told them to close them.  The video went all the way through showing Sam’s weapons men shooting down the last alien ship over Ranger Gibbon’s ranch and the Buttercup coming along to pick up the debris.

“Amazing!” whispered Sonny.  “And you ain’t been bothered since?”

“Not yet.  Once they lose a couple of ships they leave the area.  I ain’t saying they might not return, but it’s going on a year they ain’t been back to our area.  Probably ‘cause they jes’ moved on to your area.”

The Steele family wanted to join the Grange without question and filled out all the application papers Lazarus and Charlie brought with them.  Lazarus told them they would present them to the next meeting and the members would vote.  If they’re approved, then they’re in the Grange and they would work with them.  

“However, gentlemen, we need something from you in return.” Lazarus grinned.

“Name it, ramrod!” Sonny spoke firmly.

“I got a couple more videos for you to see.”

Lazarus put the second disk into the projector and pressed the button.  Up sprang the preacher in all his drag glory admiring himself in his full length mirror.  There were giggles and groans went around the room.  Warren was mortified someone he was even remotely connected to looked so ridiculous.

“Damnation, that poor man makes and ugly woman, do’nee?” Sonny slapped his leg and fell out laughing.  His boys did, too.  They obviously weren’t too pleased with their brother-in-law.

“Lord help us all.  How can he lead people to God when he’s such a pervert?” asked Vivian.

The video went on and showed the Holy Prophet’s Temple Guards paying preacher Yates a visit and the purpose of his visit.  Sonny was devastated.  Vivian was livid.

“That worthless son-of-a-bitch.” she ranted, “No wonder he paid an unexpected visit to your town.  It just so happened we went to the football game that Friday night and saw that demented little pervert.  This is awful and to think, our son-in-law is a part of his plan.”

Lazarus told the family about him preaching against the Grange and the Steele family agreed they’d heard him say some terrible things about the Grange.  In fact, Mark spoke up and declared Reverend Yates' speaking against the Grange was the main reason he and his brothers decided to join.  Everyone laughed.  Lazarus told how they sent the preacher pictures of himself dressing up in drag, warning him if he didn’t cease and desist from speaking out against the Grange the photos would be made public.

“How did you get these videos and pictures, Mr. Long?” Sonny asked.

“Lazarus’ got technology available to him we can only dream about, Son.  My guess is they’re a form of invisible robotic camera placed on him around the clock.”

“Happy farm my ass!  Yore’ mind is as sharp as it ever was, cowboy.”  Lazarus confirmed Warren’s guess.  He took his small com receiver and punched in a number.  Instantly three robo-cams appeared in the air around Lazarus.  The Steele family gasped.  Lazarus pushed another button and they were gone.

We have them on all our family members for their safety and protection.  In case they get abducted or lost, we can easily find them.  They’re great for making videos of football games and compiling them for watching in the future.  Then there’s times when you have a particularly fine time in the bunk with your partner you’d like to review at a later date.”  Lazarus said with a smile in his voice.

“When can we get ours?” Vivian wanted to know.  Her boys laughed at her.  Sonny didn’t.  He grabbed her by the neck and planted a big one on her.  

“Now, to bring you up to speed with what we’re up to, I brought along a fun video of things what’s happening in our world.”  Lazarus said in a lighter mood.

Lazarus pressed the button and once again the projector came alive.  There were videos of Keekepata which the men and Vivian fell in love with.  There were videos of the Kryscellians and their new vessel.  There were pictures of Ranger and Ping and Pong and their offspring.  There were videos of the new twins and Waco and Blue.  They couldn’t get over the likeness of the two boys.  They also commented on what a fine looking young cowboy Lucas Long was.  Last but not least, were videos of Happy giving birth to the six pups and their progress all the way through them singing the A, B, C song with the boys.  The Steele family were laughing their ass’s off at the pups and all said they wanted one including Vivian.  She thought they were wonderful and wanted to meet them before they were all given away.

Lazarus gave his old friend the long-shot and to his surprise the others wanted one, too.  He had the men drop their Wranglers, but he gave Vivian her shot in the arm. Before they left, Lazarus made arrangements for Warren to come to his ship to be checked out by his medical staff.  

“You got a barn near the house where you don’t have a lot of traffic from slaves, Sonny?”  Lazarus asked.

“You gonna’ set up a gate, Lazarus?” Warren asked.

“I thought I would if’n it’s all right with your boy, Warren.”

“A gate?  A gate to where?” Sonny asked without thinking.

“To Captain Long’s ship, Son.”  Warren explained.

“That’s gotta’ be a hunner’t and thirty miles away, Dad.”

“‘At’s right, let him set it up, Son.  Trust yore’ old man.”

“I trust you, Dad.  Sure, Mr. Long, we got a small barn we keep special equipment in with several stalls. I keep it locked up most of the time.  It ain’t available to the hands unless I give ‘em a key.  C’mon, we’ll take you out there and show you.”

Sonny led the family, Lazarus and Charlie to the newer, small barn.  Lazarus sat a gate terminal at the base of the first stall.  The family was impressed when the Earth shook as the ground for the gate found bedrock.

“Go ahead, old friend.  I checked before we left and the ship still has your DNA on file.”

The old man stepped up to the stall and hit his fist gently against the four by four post next to where Lazarus set the terminal.  The gate sprung up and the family jumped back.  Warren didn’t, he was expecting it.  He chuckled.

“Like old times, Lazarus.” he smiled and winked at his friend.

“Better’n old times, Warren.  Go on ahead.  We’ll follow.  There’s three naked men on the other side what are about to have a conniption fit to see you.”  Without hesitation, Warren walked though the blue wall of the liquid-like plasma field and disappeared.

“Come, friends.  You may as well meet my staff.”

“Sonny took Vivian’s hand and they walked through the gate.  The boys followed one by one and then Lazarus and Charlie walked through.  

Warren was in Cable’s arms crying and David and Jonathan were introducing themselves to Sonny, Vivian and the Steele boys.  Then Warren had to hug David and Jonathan.  In a couple of minutes all hell broke loose as Scraps, Happy and the six pups came bounding into the area by way of another gate.  Everyone laughed and greeted them.   The pups couldn’t quite get Lazarus’ name right yet.  He was ‘Wham-wad Wong’ to them.  Vivian thought that was charming.  She had to pet each pup and compliment Scraps and Happy on their family.  The big dogs wagged their entire body at the nice comments.

“Can they open a gate themselves?” asked Luke.

“Oh, yeah.  It’s mostly Scraps responsibility, but Happy can open them if she needs to.  We ain’t let the pups do it yet for obvious reasons.”  Lazarus laughed.

The gate Scraps and his family came through opened again, but this time two enormous furry men in their full winter coats came through.  The second one was much bigger than the first; however, Warren didn’t have any trouble recognizing his old buddy Garron.  He was in his Lummox friend’s arms in a flash, sobbing his heart out.  Ox was petting the big man and began to sing to him.  Sonny got a strange look on his face like he’d heard that song before.  He went weak in his knees and his two oldest boys caught him.

“They’re amazing.” spoke Vivian quietly.  “I always knew in my heart they existed.” she said.  

Warren broke off from his hugging Garron, but was still holding his big paw in his.  He held out his other hand for Sonny to join them.  Sonny walked up to them.

“Garron, this is my boy, Sonny, whom you nursed and help through some bad children’s diseases.”

The big monster smiled so sweetly at Sonny his heart melted and he knew he had to hug the creature.  His arms were around Ox and the two stood in an embrace for the longest time as Ox sang to Sonny again.  Vivian was moved to tears.  She never saw this side of her rugged cowboy husband before, but she was grateful for the chance.  Everyone was introduced to the two creatures and were impressed by their gentleness as well as their size.
“Now, I wanna’ see you back here, tomorrow morning, Warren.  Mrs. Steele you come with him or the three of you come together.  I want my staff to check him out, and it won’t hurt to have them look the two of you over either.”

Sonny and Vivian agreed.  They stayed only a while and then Lazarus took them back to their ranch.  They left with no firm plan as to what to do about Preacher Yates but Sonny said he wanted a chance to talk with him.  Maybe he could get him to say ‘no’ to the H.P.  Lazarus didn’t offer a solution.  He figured it would work itself out.  Charlie and Lazarus said their ‘goodbyes’ and left the ranch.  They were back to the ranch before the boys got home from school.

* * * * * * *

The Steele family sat around the kitchen table having more dessert and coffee.  They talked quietly among themselves.

“Why is Lazarus Long here, granddad?” Matthew asked.

“He told me he hoped to return one day and get me and my family.  I asked him while we were on his ship if that’s why he was here?  He said ‘yes’ and showed me a list of folk’s name to be carried away from this world when the end comes.  All our names were on his list except two.”  Everyone hung their heads.  They didn’t need him to tell them who the two people were.

“Then it’s true.  Our world is coming to an end.”  Mark said as a statement.

“Afeard so, Son.” Warren confirmed.  “I asked him when, and he said about eight to ten years.  He’s here to collect the people most likely to do well on a new world and maybe return here someday after this world is reestablished.”

“Is he sent from God like the bible says?”  Luke asked.

“No, Lazarus is a man like you and me.  He’s just being instructed by a higher order of beings, but he ain’t one of them.  He’s just doing what they tell him.  I trust him, and I trust them.  I think, for too many years, man has worshiped wrong ideas about what and who the voices or spirits of the universe really are.  They are nothing more than advanced beings who are trying to save us from ourselves.  They see we’ve come to a crossroads, we need a helping hand and they’re reaching out to help us so’s not all our specie will be lost.  Lazarus and I had many talks in the past.  He reminded me how the American Indians look upon the great spirits and how they probably have a closer idea of their connection with them than any organized religion today.”

There was a great silence in the kitchen.  Vivian sighed.

“Makes more sense to me than a lot of things I’ve heard.  I just ain’t never been able to buy into the myth my son-in-law preaches.  What he espouses ain’t for the betterment of man, it’s for organized hatred, power, greed and political control.  Hell, they lost me with Creationism.  I’ve changed my mind, Sonny.  I think you should talk with him.  We can’t let them men down.  We can’t let that bastard rip their families apart.  If there’s the least chance we can do or say something to make a difference we have to try.”

“Whatever you decide, Dad, you know the three of us will back you up.”  Matthew spoke as the eldest son.  The other two boys agreed with him

“Throw my lot in with Vivian and the boys, too, Son.  I’m ready to stand up to that little tin plated despot even if it costs me my life.”

“Let’s hope it don’t come to that, Dad, but I appreciate y'all's confidence.”

The phone rang.  Sonny answered.

“Steele ranch.  Sonny speaking.  (pause)  Howdy, Son. How are you?  (pause)   No, no, we were jes’ sitting here talking and having some pie and coffee. (pause)   Sure, what’s up?  (pause)  Tomorrow?  Yeah, that’ll be fine.  We ain’t going nowhere.  We’ll be around here most of the day.  If we know you’re coming we’ll make it a point to be here.  C’mon down.  Look forward to seeing you.  (pause)  Yeah, tomorrow afternoon is fine.  (pause)  Well, I’m sure whatever it is we can work it out.  See you tomorrow.  Plan on having supper with us.  Drive safely.  (pause)  You, too, Son.  Goodbye.”  Sonny hung up the phone.

“It was David.  He sounds troubled.  He wants to talk with me.”

“Good.  At least he’s coming to us.”  Vivian allowed.

“Poor man.” Warren said.

“I don’t know, Granddad.” said Matthew, “I can’t feel much sympathy for a hypocrite.”

“You know how your little sister can be, Matt.”  Vivian looked at Sonny, and she could see he set his jaw.  “I kinda feel sorry for him myself, . . . just a little.”  Vivian added.
The boys never felt closer to their parents and granddad.  They acted like they didn’t want to leave, but they did, one by one.  They had a new found reason for unity and some hope for the future.  They had just been given a shot that could possible prolong their lives ten fold from what they ordinarily might live.  It was a new world for them to consider.  It was a new beginning for their granddad who had all but given up hope.  He was making his peace with the universe preparing to crossover, but now he was sure he would live to see his great-grandchildren grow up.

* * * * * * *

“Do you think they can make a difference?” Charlie asked Lazarus on the way back.

“Don’t know, but we were sent there for a reason, I’m sure of that.  I think Sonny has a strong influence over the preacher.  Don’t know how or why, but if he will listen to anyone, my bet is on Sonny.”  Lazarus said with conviction.

“‘At’s another bet I wouldn’t make, ramrod.  I think you may be right.”

* * * * * * *

As David drove the hundred and thirty miles to his father and mother-in-law’s ranch he thought of many things.  Mostly he thought of the horrible position his old friend and divinity school chum placed him in.  It just wasn’t right.  It might have been if he had the power in his community he planned on, but those efforts were destroyed by the Grange.  It sort of reminded him of the game ‘Battleships’ he played as a kid.  You had to outguess your enemy to sink his ships.  Somehow, they managed to outguess him and sink his whole damn navy.  How could they have done it?  He struggled for an explanation.  Nothing came to him.

He wondered how open he should be with Sonny.  He had a strange affinity for the big cowboy.  He stupidly asked Sonny to butt fuck him one afternoon after catching him servicing one of his cowboy-slaves.  David didn’t know what made him do it, but Sonny looked like he was really enjoying fucking his slave and the slave had a wonderful smile on his face like Sonny’s big cowboy dick was taking him to places of ecstacy David could only dream about.  David shocked himself when he asked Sonny to show him how it felt to be his slave.  He was even more shocked when Sonny quickly agreed, didn’t bat and eye, told him to drop his pants and bend over the fucking horse.  

The cowboy simply provided David with what he asked for.  David didn’t want to admit he enjoyed it, but he did.  A couple of times he felt he could understand the ecstacy the slave felt and found himself smiling the same smile.  He must have enjoyed it.  It was the only time he ever ejaculated without fucking his wife or manipulating himself, which he rarely did, either.  He almost wished Sonny had chastised him and refused to do what he asked.  Then he would, at least, have some cushion for his guilt, but he had none.  Sonny never said a word to him other than to make sure he was all right after he fucked him.

Sonny never said a word about it afterward and never treated David as a homo or someone he didn’t want to be around.  Sonny was just as open and affectionate to David as a cowboy can be to another man without seeming to go overboard.  He neither asked David for a rematch nor asked David if he enjoyed it or how he felt about it.  Sonny’s stoicism was almost worse than him taking a firm stand, one way or another.  It was easier for David to deal with absolutes than vagaries.  He didn’t see religion or his participation as any form of vagary.

On the contrary, the rules were quite clear, while the dimensions, . . . not so much.  That’s why religion suited his life perfectly.  He could insist on the rules being followed while allowing himself to be creative within the boundaries of his own unique visions.  What he preached didn’t necessarily have to apply to him.  He had heard the word ‘hypocrite’ but he easily dismissed it for himself as a convenient non sequitur.

He arrived at the ranch in the late afternoon.  Sonny came out to greet him and ushered him into the big house.  David liked the house and the kitchen in particular.  He knew they had two female slaves who cleaned and worked in the kitchen, but he also knew Vivian was a fine cook and enjoyed cooking.  The kitchen smelled of pickling spices and apple pies.  It was a heady brew and made his stomach growl.  Sonny noticed.

“Vivian gave the slave-ladies the afternoon and night off.  She’s cooking supper.  She went in to lay down for a spell and she’ll be down later.  Dad’s in his room reading the latest Farm and Ranch magazine.  We’ll eat in about an hour.  Can you hold on that long, Son.”  Sonny sounded concerned David might be hungry.

“That’s fine, Dad.”  David said, “I had a late lunch but my stomach sometimes has a mind of its own.  I smelled all the goodness emanating from the kitchen, and it went crazy for a minute.”  he laughed.

“Wanna’ stiff drink, a beer or something?”  Sonny offered.

“No, thanks, Sonny.  I appreciate the offer though.”

“How ‘bout taking a walk down to the pasture.  It’s a warm evening and we can talk.”

“Sounds great, Dad.”

The men left the house and started through the gate down through the pasture.

“Before I start, Dad Steele, let me apologize to you.”

“Whatever for, Son?” Sonny asked shocked.

“For asking you to let me experience what it was like to be one of your slaves that afternoon.”

“No apology necessary.  I enjoyed it.  If I didn’t make you enjoy it, then I weren’t doing my job right.  Taking care of one of ma’ slaves ain’t about hurt’n ‘em.  At first they might nor like it so much, but most come to enjoy it and even look forward to it.  The better I am at taking care of ‘em, the more work I get out of ‘em.”

“No, no, I actually did enjoy it, Sir.  I know maybe I weren’t suppose to, but I did.  That didn’t come out right.  Damn it!  My life is going to hell in a handbasket, and I go and blurt out something like that!  I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“You didn’t offend me, David.  I understand where you’re coming from.  I don’t judge you or condemn you for wanting to experience what you asked me to do.  I’m more concerned for you.  I just done what you asked of me.  I thought you were all right with it, and I didn’t never think no more about it.  Weren’t no big thing with me.  I do it almost ever’ damn day.  I either have a cowboy what needs it and asks me for it or I take me one who I think needs it whether he does or not.”

“I guess you heard about my other ‘problem.’” David went fishing.

“Yeah, Abigail told her momma and you know Viv and I ain’t got no secrets from one another.”

“Well, I’m sorry about that, too.”

“Look, Son, I’ve run across ever’ damn thing you can imagine in life and I ain’t shocked no more about nothing.  Well, that ain’t totally true neither.  As a matter of fact, I ran across several new things yesterday what shocked the shit out of this old cowboy, but that’s a story for another time.  What I’m trying to say is, I’ve learned to live and let live and not judge other folks.  You don’t have to apologize to me.  It eats ma’ heart out to say it, but I know my precious little girl ain’t been the wife to you she probably should a’ been.”
“No, now don’t say that, Dad Steele.  Abigail is all I could hope for in a good and faithful wife.  What problems we have are all my fault.  I’m the one who ain’t no good, Sir.  I wouldn’t blame her if she wanted to divorce me.”

“Look, she don’t know nothing about what went on between you and me and me and her mother have decided she don’t never need to know.  All you have to deal with is your current situation.  She don’t never talk with me about such things no ways.  She talks with her ma, but Vivian gets so upset with her she won’t tell her nothing.  Just take it one day at a time, Son.  Do what you need to do, but don’t drive yore’self crazy about it.  Hell, all of us got some things  we do we ain’t real proud of.  Don’t mean we stop doing ‘em.  If you need what you do, then do it.  Abigail will get over it and adjust.”    

David was dumbstruck.  He never counted on Sonny to be so understanding.  He thought he’d probably punch his lights out.  David found himself almost wishing he would.  ‘How perverted is that?’ he thought to himself.  David felt safe with Sonny.  He felt like he could trust him.  He could, but David grossly underestimated his father-in-law.  Sonny was far from being the dumb, but gentle hayseed David took him for.  Sonny just set his trap and now David was about to take the bait.  Sonny could barely contain himself.

‘Wait for it!  Wait for it!’ he thought to himself.

“There’s a couple of more things, Dad Steele.  Somehow the members of the Grange found out about my experiments in cross-dressing.  I have no idea how they did it, but they got photos of me dressed up.”

“That can’t be good, Son.” Sonny commented like he saw the dilemma.

“I suspected something of a demonic nature’s been going on out to the Goodnight ranches under the guise of Grange meetings so I’ve been preaching about what I felt was going on out there.”

“Do you have any proof?”

“Naw, Sir.  Just speculation from things I’ve heard about how secretive they are about everything.”

“In today's world, can you blame them?”

“Well, Sir, they don’t attend our church and the church they attend is known as a weak sister to the real faith.”

“Humm, so what was the upshot of all this?  How did you find out they got photos?” Sonny already knew but he was reeling in the fish.

“They sent them to me with a warning.  I better stop speaking out against the Grange or they would make the photos public.”

“What do you plan to do about it?”

“There ain’t nothing I can do about it.  They sunk my battleship.” David blurted out.  Sonny wasn’t quite sure what he meant, but he got the picture.  “But that ain’t all, Sir.”

David went on to tell Sonny about the visit from the Temple Guards and the request from his old friend and divinity school chum.  Sonny didn’t know David went to school with the Holy Prophet.

“What do you plan to do about it?”  Sonny asked him.

“I don’t know, Sir.  That’s why I’m here.  I need advice.”

Sonny sat down on an old plow which was left to rust in the pasture years ago.  He never bothered to remove it because it belonged to his great-granddad and had become a fixture of the landscape; like Sonny, it looked like it belonged there; both, were a part of the land.  He offered for David to sit down next to him, and he did.  They sat there watching the sun go down.  Sonny was tempted to tell David what he must do, but he thought if he did, there was a good chance it might offend the younger man’s ego and cause him to do the opposite.  This had to be David’s decision.

End Chapter 28 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com

* Thanks to my friend and fellow author Jerry Leckie for this fine paragraph in honor of the Bulwer-Lytton contest.