again called on Sam Eagleston’s weapons men to help bring down
another Gray spacecraft that was plaguing the Steele ranches. It
was on Matthew’s ranch they brought down the craft. The Steeles
were astounded with the swiftness and thoroughness of Lazarus and his
men in cleaning up the mess. The next morning you could go over
every inch of the area, but you wouldn’t find a thing. The only
noticeable feature, and only if you were looking for it, was the cattle
refused to go anywhere near the area. They wouldn’t even walk
through it to get to another pasture. They would go around.
The grass died in the area and didn’t return for a couple of seasons.
Pastor Yates and
his wife wrote another letter to Dr. Scudder. It was polite but
firm. It was simple and to the point, David would not take Dr.
Scudder’s offer to the ranchers whose sons or slaves were involved in
the Holy Prophet’s proposal. Yates would never admit it, but his
father-in-law was a pretty shrewd judge of character. He was glad
he took his problem to Sonny. He did exactly what his
father-in-law recommended. He hit the ball back into Scudder’s
court, and now he was refusing to play his game.
was not a man anyone said ‘no’ to. With his meteoric rise to
power he got everything he asked for and more; however, as sometimes
affects the newly rich, it never seemed to matter how much he
accumulated, he was a sad and miserable man. He wanted wealth and
power and he got it. He wanted to be worshiped as a near-god, but
his own personal upbringing in fundamentalism and his own superstitions
wouldn’t allow him to claim he was the second coming. He settled
for the same role as John the Baptist; holy but not quite divine.
For the ‘divine’ who was to come, he left it up to his advisor and
left-hand apostle, Austin Taycious.
G. W. Bush had
his religious-political advisor in the form of a sadomasochistic,
self-hate filled homosexual named Karl Rove. Carl, or Turd
Blossom, as his political protege or master called him, loved the
rough, tough looking leather men of the Washington leather bars.
He introduced any number of these men to the bisexual president from
whom Bush finally contracted AIDS.
was not only a lover of the more masculine appearing males, he fancied
himself the potential lover of any male who appealed to him, and that
list was as infinite at the stars in the sky. He was an
outrageously flamboyant queen and made no apologies to anyone about his
preferences or his taste in men. While many proclaimed Rove as a
political genius it later became apparent he was little more than an
opportunistic, uneducated, crass, career destroying little crack pot
who happened to be in the right place at the right time.
It seems every
despot has their Goering, Rove or Taycious. It was Taycious who
came up with the idea to make Scudder more than just another hackneyed,
hell fire, damnation Pentecostal Evangelical by ramping him up in the
showbiz style of religion which was more outrageous and surpassed the
Elmer Gantrys, Billy Sol Hagus, and the insanity of Pat Robertson and
the hog-jawed mammonic antics of Jerry Falwell. He held healing
services that would make Benny Hinn look like an amateur. Of
course no one was actually healed. They were all stooges who were
carefully chosen before the service who wanted their five minutes of
fame to prove their everlasting love for Jesus and the Holy Prophet, as
Scudder became known. (fame was devalued under the Bush
administration from fifteen to five minutes.)
put on a show and the throngs of disenfranchised and hoards of
disillusioned recent poor who were yesterday’s middle class began to
attend and pay dearly for his fakery with money, with which they could
ill afford to part. So it’s been with the money grubbing
religious right for centuries. They don’t care who they step on
or ruin to increase their personal wealth and power. If it wasn’t
the Catholic church oppressing the poor and keeping them in darkness
for centuries, it became the modern day TV protestant evangelicals.
There was always
some miracle devised to really wow the crowd at each service.
Sometimes Scudder would levitate on the stage, speaking in tongues
while spotlights were only on him in a darkened auditorium. Other
times they would have a huge outdoor swimming pool in which Scudder
would baptize the faithful and later walk across the surface of the
water. Sometimes, he would invite one of the faithful up on stage
to walk on the water with him. He would take their hand and the
two of them would walk across the water together. The amazed look
on the face of the person chosen was enough to empty every wallet and
purse in the house.
There were no
miracles. It was all clever modern day electronics and trickery
any competent magician could do; however, when some magician proved
they could do the same, they were derided as charlatans. Their
Holy Prophet Scudder didn’t need magic because he was the real
thing. He had the power of the holy spirit and Jesus to do these
things for him. He had faith, and they had faith in him.
Their faith made Scudder a very wealthy man and while he was greedy, he
wasn’t foolish enough to forget those who put him into his position of
became the second most wealthy man in the new Kingdom of the Theocratic
Republic of America. His private, camp-name for Jeremiah was
‘Laura’ of potato chip fame. Taycious claimed Jeremiah’s sexual
appetites with young men were such, he never could eat just one.
Dr. Scudder’s pet names for Taycious were ‘Precious’ and ‘Medusa
Gorgon,’ or ‘Meg’ for short. Austin had wild hair that looked
like a nest of snakes most of the time. Jeremiah claimed his hair
was a non-venomous extension of his viperous brain. He claimed
the only reason Austin could speak at all was because his tongue was
split at birth. Austin found out about Scudder’s going behind his
back to acquire more Temple staff for himself and intercepted Yates’
second letter. He was less than pleased with his friend and
boss. He decided to watch the situation closely.
* * * * * * *
As might be
expected, Waco and Blue became very close. There really was no
reason to keep Blue on board the Bandersnatch as he looked and acted as
perfectly normal as Waco, any other cowboy or slave on the ranch.
Blue probably would’ve been happier living with the rest of the
Goodnight boys, but he never asked. Waco never asked him to
accept the task, but he came to see it as his job to stay with
Keekepata to keep her out of mischief and to be a companion for
her. It wasn’t she was so high-maintenance as she just seemed to
become bored and get into trouble. Young Shushonnis were known to
do rash things without thinking them through. In her mad rush to
assert her independence she didn’t consider the consequences of being
out on her own and having to adapt to the situation she found
herself. No matter how discouraged or depressed she got with
self-pity, Blue was always there to lift her spirits or entertain her.
She came to look
upon Blue as the big brother she never had and reserved the title and
image of ‘master’ for Waco. She came to almost worship him.
Even though Blue came to accept Keeke as his joint responsibility with
his brother Waco, it didn’t mean he didn’t need time away from
her. Waco was a good judge of such things and saw to it Blue got
some time off. During those times others traded off Keeke-sitting
so Blue could have a night away or a weekend to go rodeoing with the
boys. Sometimes, Arnie would babysit with her and they would have
great fun visiting around the community. Keeke slowly came to the
idea she was not always going to get to be around Waco when she wanted
which was her main reason for stowing away on the Buttercup. She
had to learn to do as he asked and stay were he told her while he was
misbehaved or didn’t do as she was told, Waco became more
restrictive. She was never punished. Good behavior was
rewarded with more privileges, and she got to be with the boys
more. She was never more happy than when she was dancing or when
she could be one of the boys. That’s not to imply she was a
tom-boy or becoming sexually ambiguous. She was very much a
female and the boys treated her like a lady. While Waco wouldn’t
let the boys pander to her, they respected her sexuality and insisted
she show them the same consideration.
It couldn’t have
been a better learning situation for Keeke. It was almost like a
planned match, if one believed in that sort of thing, and with report
after report coming to Captain Vinceeth, he could see for himself she
was being disciplined within reason, well taken care of, even loved and
respected. With his recommendations his superiors decided to
leave her where she was. There were some threats against their
empire by the same reptilian factor that was trying to take over Earth,
and they saw their princess hidden away right under the noses of their
enemy as probably more safe for her than being on her home world or one
of their ships of the realm. After all, while she was under the
direct supervision and care of Captain Waco Goodnight, he in turn, was
under the guidance of the highly respected Admiral Lazarus Long, a hero
to their empire. They had unlimited faith in his abilities.
Waco made good
on his promise to show his brother about the pleasures of his body;
however, it was strange for Waco. It was like holding and making
love to himself. It was a good experience for him, because he
didn’t realize how physically large he was in comparison to his slaves
and what they must experience having to accommodate him for sex.
It gave him a better perspective on becoming a more gentle and
respectful lover. They each commented on his change; however,
Little Bear still wanted his rough and tumble football team member,
bronco busting cowboy master to perform for him. Waco enjoyed
that too and had the best of both worlds with Travis and Little
Bear. Strangely enough there was never any rivalry between them
for Waco’s affections or attentions. They were as much involved
with each other as Waco. They soon found Blue was almost as good
a partner as their master.
occasionally have one or more of the boys sit in with him when he had a
conference with Captain Vinceeth. The Captain always seemed to
greatly enjoy when Blue would join Waco. He just seemed to melt
when he saw both men on his huge holographic screen. At some
point, Waco and Blue would strip for him and allow the cameras to pan
them as they had their arms around each others’ shoulders. As
time went on their bodies matured, grew larger and harder from all the
activities on the ranch and the athletics in which they were
participating. Trey Vinceeth never shared those videos with his
other video logs Waco forwarded once a week became like love letters
from home to Captain Vinceeth and his men. Everyone on his ship
knew each cowboy by name. After one season of football they knew
all the team member’s names, how they were related to the Goodnight
boys, and even learned all they could about the opposing team’s
members. That season, Waco and his team went undefeated. In
fact, they were undefeated their entire time in high school. They
became a phenomenon in high school football and the further along they
went the more hungry the college and universities became. Their
junior and senior years, they had scouts at every game they played.
Of course the
highlight of the videos were the boys showering and running around
naked in the locker room after the games. Kyron became an
excellent cinematographer and could anticipate what Waco might want
included in the video. There was always Waco’s private sign to
his suitor Captain Vinceeth and the crew of the Banshee would always
respond with whistles and cat calls. They were happy for their
contributing more and more of her fantastic dances to the videos and
she began to rely on a host of others for suggestions. Waco and
Kyron gave her unlimited access to ballets, ballroom dancing videos,
even ice skating performances which was a sport she’d never been
exposed to. She watched ice skating by the hour and loved
it. She took many of their moves and incorporated them
successfully into her routines, until she became one of the most
accomplished dancers of the Shushonni.
her, Captain Vinceeth shared with Captain Waco he had dutifully
forwarded some of her more spectacular dances to his home world to her
family and the high counsel. A couple were released to the public
and were the hit of the viewing public for several weeks in a
row. They had never seen such dancing before. Keeke’s
videos became the darling of the critics throughout the empire.
The females began to adapt her dresses and hair styles to their own
purposes. Waco got permission from Captain Vinceeth to tell Arnie
about his contribution to Keeke’s success. Waco took him aside
and told Arnie his creations and suggestions with her hair were the
rage of an entire empire in another galaxy of the universe. Arnie
was amazed and humbled. He doubled his creative output and called
in a couple of assistants from the same sex community. It was the
beginning of a great fashion movement among the colonies.
Needless to say,
when her family and the high counsel saw her maturity and development
in her dancing, they were overjoyed. The proof of their
convictions in allowing her to make the best of her current situation
was obviously paying off. It was right there before them to
see. Keeke danced with such joy and maturity there was no doubt
in anyone’s mind she was thoroughly enjoying herself and wallowing in
her artistic expressions. Of course, Captain Vinceeth asked
Captain Goodnight to be discreet and allow him to tell Keeke about such
things. Waco assured him he would.
* * * * * * *
The Watkins Man
And it came to
pass, in another, small, poor agricultural community just South of
Reason County there was a poor family named Kodaly, of Hungarian
extraction. Twilla Kodaly, the wife of Zoltan, was the town’s
church organist and music teacher. If a family wished their child
to learn music, they sent her to Ms. Twilla. As mentioned, it was
a poor community, but Mrs. Kodaly didn’t charge a lot for her
lessons. As a results, or as the a direct result of the voices of
the ancients, she fostered a rather remarkable crop of young musicians.
Twilla was the
mother of five wonderful and bright children who were all musical
except her first child, her oldest boy, Johauk, who was certifiably
tone deaf. His condition was reminiscent of another musical
family from the eighteenth century, the Bachs, who, little known to
historians, had among their musical ranks of twenty-one children one
who was hopelessly musically challenged.* Poor Johauk was
similarly plagued. He couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket if his
life depended on it; however, he was incredibly rhythmical. Give
the kid two spoons, and he could make them speak a language more
beautiful than all the would-be purveyors of glossolalia. He also
learned to play the piano and organ with a modicum of talent and/or
dexterity. What he couldn’t sing he could pound out on a
keyboard. While he learned to read music as well as reading a
book, he never learned to improvise or play by ear. Neither could
he join in the family motets that became a tradition in the Kodaly
household on Sunday evenings. It made him sad because he
especially loved Bach chorals. (Those of the musical side of the
Mrs. Kodaly lay
in the bedroom of their large farmhouse in labor, ready to give birth
to her sixth child. Her faithful husband, Zoltan was beside
himself with worry. It was a late child and conceived shortly
after Twilla’s fortieth birthday. To say little Bela Kodaly was a
mistake was never considered in the Kodaly’s minds, but he was
definitely unplanned for. They thought they had taken all
precautions short of surgery to prevent another pregnancy, but they
never considered one cardinal rule of the universe: be sure, nature, or
some unknown force, will find a way.
It was not an
easy delivery and while baby Bela was strong, well formed and healthy,
Twilla’s vaginal bleeding wouldn’t fully stop its flow. It would
stop for a while, but as soon as she moved it would start again, and
she would begin to hemorrhage. She was losing blood faster than
her body could resupply it. The town physician came to the house
and suggested the family consider taking her to the hospital in Reason;
perhaps they could stop the flow; however, the family had no medical
insurance, and the hospital refused to take her. The doctor did
all he could and departed.
The family began
to plan for Twilla’s demise. The church people and family members
gathered that Sunday afternoon at the Kodaly’s large farmhouse to bring
gifts of food and prayers. Everyone was busy as the local
preacher and Zoltan kept watch with Twilla. The wife of one of
the farmers looked after Twilla and continued to clean her and change
her linens. As the day progressed and Twilla grew weaker, the sun
went behind the clouds and the day darkened as a dreaded blue-northern
threatened soon to be seen rolling over the Texas plains. It was
almost unheard of this late in the season. It almost seemed like
the weather was making a poetic statement about what was transpiring
with the walls of the Kodaly home.
As the Kodaly
children and several of the church choir members began to softly sing
motets around the dinning room table, from nowhere came a stranger to
the back door of the Kodaly house and knocked. Johauk went to the
door to answer the man’s knock. Standing at the bottom of the
steps was an imposing figure of a man. He was huge. Johauk
guessed him to be about six foot six. He looked like he could be
a cowboy drifter looking for work and a place to stay for a night or
two. The thought crossed his mind the man might be an escaped
cowboy-slave, but once he saw the man’s eyes the thought left his mind
The cowboy was
dressed in typical Western clothes. He wore Wranglers with an
older, faded chambray work shirt with a brown leather work vest.
He wore a large rodeo belt buckle with a wide belt and older pair of
rawhide mule skinner boots. He was a powerfully built man with a
large upper torso. He reminded Johauk of movies and pictures he’d
seen of an old movie actor from the fifties and sixties named Clint
Walker. He wore a heavy cream colored, below the waist fleece
lined jacket. Johauk thought it was unusual he had a tall
ornately carved walking staff in his right hand. His hair was cut
short and was mostly hidden under a huge, wide brimmed felt cowboy hat
which wasn’t shaped. The brim looked like it had seen many tugs
to pull it down around his face to protect him from the elements.
He had a fine looking Collie dog beside him who came to heel
immediately and looked up at his master with love and respect.
The animal waited silently. Both seemed to have a glow
about them other people or dogs didn’t. In the dimming light
Johauk couldn’t tell how old the man was.
“May I help you,
Sir?” he asked.
“Sorry to bother
you. It looks like you folks got company. Me and ma’ buddy
here, we’ve traveled a long way. I’m tired and hungry.
Could your family spare a piece of bread and some cooking oil of some
kind, and perhaps some scraps for my companion. After I rest a
bit, I would be willing to work for what food you might be kind enough
to provide.” he spoke softly.
children were taught to share with those who had less than themselves
and to be kind and hospitable to strangers.
Sir. Our mother is dying. She gave birth early this morning
to my little brother; however, her bleeding will not stop. We’ve
had the local doctor in, but he could do nothing for her. We
don’t have insurance so the hospital in the next town refused to take
her. It’s only a matter of time. We have all this food
brought to us by kind relatives and friends. We will be happy to
share with you and your companion, and afterward, you may use our barn
to rest and refresh yourself.”
young man, you are very kind, but all I require is a small amount of
some multi-grain or wholewheat bread and a small amount of oil.
My companion needs little more.” insisted the cowboy.
“But we have all
this food.” Johann motioned to the table full of dishes of food and
Son, but I thank you for the offer.”
argue. He found several pieces of some fresh multi-grain bread
his mother baked several days before and poured about an ounce of extra
virgin olive oil into a small cup and gave it to the man. He took
it from Johauk and bowed deeply to him in thanks, turned and sat at a
small table on the back porch. Johauk got some dry dog food they
fed the cow dogs and a bowl of fresh water for his companion.
The stranger ask
for his companion’s food and Johauk handed it to him. The man set
his companion’s food next to his on the table. The dog went to
his master and sat close to him. Johauk watched the stranger
cover the food with his left hand while holding his wooden staff with
his right hand. He bowed his head, and Johauk watched as the dog,
sitting along side his master bowed his head as well. Johauk
couldn’t make out the words, but it sounded like no language he’d ever
heard. The young man watched in amazement as the area under
the man’s hand began to glow with the purest white light covering the
food with its radiance and continued for several seconds; then, it went
away as quickly as it began.
He sat his
companion’s dish down, patted him lovingly on his head and urged him to
eat. Then, he slowly began to eat his bread which he would dip
into the olive oil.
“Would you like
some coffee with your meal, Sir?” Johauk offered.
“No, thank you,
but if you have some water I would be most grateful.” he replied.
Sir. I gave you companion fresh water. How inconsiderate of
me not to offer you some.”
“You have much
on your mind right now, Son.”
Johauk got the
man’s water and left him alone to eat his meal. He went to check
on his mother and was told there was no hope. Everyone was
praying for a miracle, but they feared the worst. Johauk didn’t
want to intrude on his father even though he was the eldest. He
figured if his dad needed him, he would send for him. He spoke
with several folks and tried to comfort his brother and sisters.
Then, he returned to check on the stranger and found him sitting in the
same place. He finished his food. So had his companion who
sat quietly by his side.
“May I get you
more, Sir? We have plenty for right now and my parents have
taught me to share what we have with those less fortunate than us.”
“Is there anyone
less fortunate than you, this evening, Johauk?” he asked quietly.
stunned. How did this man know his name? He never
introduced himself. Perhaps he overheard someone speaking to
him. Johauk looked into the man’s eyes. They were like no
other he had ever seen. They were like crystal clear pools of
blue water. They were the color of a fancy blue Western rodeo
shirt his mother made for him to wear. He noticed the man had jet
black hair, and up close Johauk could see he wasn’t an old man at
all. Johauk judged him to be about thirty-five years old.
“Yes, Sir, there
are many in this world who are worse off than me. I understand
your meaning and appreciate your sentiment, but living and dying is a
fact of life. If it is my beloved mother’s time to pass over then
I will be grieved to let her go, but I will be glad in my heart she has
gone to a better place.”
“And do you
believe there is a better place than this world, Son?”
“Yes, Sir, there
has to be unless all this is a cosmic joke and has no purpose in the
first place. If so, why bother? My observation of nature,
apart from any religious beliefs is, nature isn’t cruel. Some die
that others might live, but it’s always for a purpose. Nothing is
“You think for
yourself, Johauk, that’s unusual for a young man in today’s world.”
taught me to question all things, even religion and God.”
“They are wise
and benevolent parents. If I could grant you one wish this
evening for your hospitality what would it be?”
Johauk looked at
the man like he was daft to even ask.
“I have to hear
the words from you, Son?” he almost whispered.
“I would wish
for my mother to be saved from the jaws of death. Even though I’m
sure of her greater life after this, I’m selfish enough to want her
here with us. Is it wrong of me to wish for that, Sir?”
“Not at all,
Johauk. I was expecting it. If you will bring your father
to me, I will try to grant your wish.”
question your sincerity, Sir. I watched you bless your
food. I only hope I can convince my father.”
“You leave that
to me, young man.”
off to speak with his dad. He called him from the room.
“Dad, there is a
stranger here who asked for food and a place to rest. You taught
me to be kind and hospitable to strangers. He asked only for a
couple of pieces of multi-grained bread and a very small amount of
olive oil. I gave his dog some kibble and water. I fed them
and he asked to speak with you.”
Son. Your mother may not be with us much longer, and I want to be
by her side when she passes. Pass on to him my regrets and
apologies, but surely he will understand.”
never used the term ‘father’ with his dad unless he was trying to make
a strong point. “remember you once told me if I had something of great
importance or a truth to tell you to let you know it was the time for
you to listen to me?”
Son, and I meant it. Are you sure this one of those times?” he
asked like he was about to become impatient with his son.
Father! There’s something different about this man. Please,
Father, if you’ve ever considered doing something for me to prove to me
you trust me, now is the time. I just know it, Dad. I bring
you a greater gift of truth than I could ever express in words.
Please, speak with this man, Father.”
Son. I suppose I could spare him a minute. Go in and be
with your mother. Hold her hand and speak softly with her.
She is aware, I know it. She will know it’s you.”
quietly into the room. The preacher was sitting in a chair on the
other side of the bed. Johauk took his mother’s frail hand and
softly spoke with her.
Johauk. I’m here for you, mom. Dad stepped away for a
moment, but he’ll be right back.”
as his mother’s eyes flutter and opened. She looked at her oldest
son, smiled sweetly and gently squeezed his hand.
“You are so
handsome, Johauk.” She spoke softly, barely above a
whisper. The preacher took notice and leaned forward to hear.
try to speak, mom. Save your strength.”
I use it to tell you ‘goodbye,’ how much I love you and how much you
mean to me.”
“I love you,
too, mom. I don’t want to let you go.”
“You won’t have
to. He’s here, isn’t he?”
Johauk looked at
her like he was stunned.
ma’am. He’s on the back porch. Dad’s talking with
him. He came to the backdoor and asked for some food and a place
“I’m proud of
you, Johauk. You showed him compassion and charity. You fed
him and offered him your comfort even though your heart was
heavy. I do hope the bread was still fresh. I know the oil
Johauk looked at
her and smiled. He knew without asking she was there in spirit
and saw how he treated the man.
“I think the
bread was satisfactory. I tasted it, and it was very good.
He seemed to enjoy it. He complimented you on it. I told
him my mom makes the best bread in nine counties. He agreed with
“How is little
spoiled. He’s the center of attention and he’s doing well.”
Johauk smiled at his mom.
He heard the
door open and turned to see his dad with the stranger and his
dog. The tall man came to Twilla’s bedside and set his hat on a
night stand next to the bed. He stood his wooden staff in the
corner next to the bed. Johauk could see his hair was cut very
short. He motioned for his dog to go and lay by the fire.
The animal didn’t hesitate and did as instructed.
Son. Come, Preacher. We must leave them alone.”
questioned the preacher. “Is that wise, Zoltan? Do you know
this man?” he asked.
“It will be all
right. Now, come with me and Johauk.” Zoltan spoke quietly
preacher left with the men. He continued to give Zoltan what-for
after they left the room, but Johauk took him by the arm.
“My dad knows
what he’s doing, Sir. There are things under heaven and Earth
that can’t be dream of in our limited philosophies. Trust in God
for a miracle, trust my dad, trust me, but most of all, trust
yourself. Help us pray for our beloved mother. We have the
instrument to save her, we need you to assist us in channeling the
strength of our spirits to bless her with a miracle. Even as the
storm clouds gather and the evening grows colder, so our hearts must
conspire against the elements of nature to appeal to a higher source
for her salvation on Earth. Lead us, preacher. Pray with
us. My mother will be saved from the jaws of death this very
night.” Johauk told him with strong conviction.
The preacher had
no idea what Johauk was talking about, but if that’s what the family
wanted, he would do his best for them. Zoltan assured him his son
spoke for him as well. Zoltan put his arm around his son’s
shoulder and walked a short way from the crowd to speak with him in
boy.” His dad paused for a moment and looked like he bit his
lower lip, “No,— I apologize, Son. I will never call you ‘boy’
again. You will always be my son, my boy, but today you became my
equal. You’re a man today, Son, with all the privileges it
implies. No matter the outcome this evening, I know we done the
right thing. The stranger asked me to have you sit outside the
door. He told me to tell you not to allow anyone in the room
until he calls for you, not even me. I trust you to do just that,
“I will do as
you ask, Father.” Johauk said proudly.
thing, Son. He said you will hear him calling you, but it will be
in your mind. Open your mind and heart and allow him to channel
what he needs from those of us who will be praying. I don’t
understand it, Son, but he assured me, you would.”
understand, Dad. I don’t know how I understand, but I do. I
will do as he asks.” Zoltan hugged his boy to him and kissed him
behind the ear.
“I know I rarely
tell you, Johauk, but I love you very much. You were my first
born, a son, and I’m more proud of you today than the day you were
Dad. I’ll try to live up to your love for me and your trust.”
doubt in my mind, Son.” he smiled at his boy.
* * * * * * *
came.” Twilla whispered to the stranger kneeling beside her bed
holding her hand.
“It’s the least
I could do for one so devoted to the music of the cosmos and her gifted
children. Your greatest is yet to sing, but if his lung capacity
is any sign, he will be far greater than the rest. He will become
one of the finest musician this world has ever produced.”
“Can you save
so. Young Bela needs a fine teacher. It will be difficult,
but if you stay with me, I think we can make it to the shore. It
won’t be easy, Twilla, you’ll have to do battle against a greater
desire to leave this world, but you have one outside your door who will
fight off the seven-headed dog guarding the very gates of hell to fight
for you. He is young, strong and pure of heart. He will
provide us with what we need. Take from him. Take from me
and my companion, all you need. As you and your family have given
unto me, so it will be freely given unto you. Shall we begin?”
evening, I am no master. I am a guest in your fine home.
Your Son, whom you have raised to be considerate of others has made a
friend of me and my companion for your family. I am only repaying
his kindness and unconditional hospitality to us. Think of me as
your brother, Twilla. It will be easier for you when I must touch
you in your private places.”
began. The music stopped in the other room, but the stranger sent
to Johauk to have them begin again and not stop until he told
him. Johauk relayed the message to his father and softly the
motets began again. This time Zoltan was carrying the bass line
for the family. Twilla sighed as she heard her husband’s deep,
bass voice and she relaxed.
The hours passed
and still the family sang and prayed. They would pray then sing
another motet, another choral then pray again. Six hours passed
and Johauk watched as he saw strange, bright flashes of different
colored lights come from under the bedroom door. He could feel
the energy from the front room flowing through him and on into the
bedroom. Suddenly, on one of his very favorite motets, ‘Krist lag
in todesbonden’ he started humming the bass line with his dad. He
had played the choral many times and knew the words and notes by
heart. It dawned on him he was carrying the bass line while
leaning on his dad’s strong voice. Johauk threw back his head and
started singing with all his might in perfect tune.
didn’t stop singing, but looked through the room to see Johauk singing
in perfect harmony with them. They increased their volume until
they were completely united in song. Everyone watched as the
words and music poured from Johauk, but along with the words was a
brilliant white fluid-like light that seemed to be pouring from his
very soul. It flowed forth from his mouth, down his front,
spilled onto the floor and found its way under the door and into the
bedroom where his mother lay under the close watchful eye of a man of
purest nature and his pure-hearted companion. They were no longer
strangers to the Kodaly family.
It was as if the
family’s combined and united prayers were producing this healing flow
of some unknown plasma from their oldest sibling. He felt his
strength flowing from his body and spirit, but still he sang. He
was not afraid. If his mother took all of him, he would gladly
give her what she needed without question for himself. The weaker
he became the stronger the others supported him until he gained a bit
of strength and was able to carry his own again and the piece finally
ended on one huge cadence. Johauk slumped over in his chair in a
dead faint. His father quickly went to him. He held Johauk
in his arms until he came around again. When he opened his eyes
he heard a voice in his head.
“Come to me,
Son. Bring your father.” It was the voice of the stranger.
Dad. He is calling for us.”
Johauk took his
father’s hand and led him through the door. The stranger was
still kneeling by his mother’s bed. She had color in her cheeks
again, but she was asleep. She had the most peaceful look on her
face. He knew she was all right. She would recover.
She would live. The stranger held out his hand for Johauk and
motioned for Zoltan to go to the other side of the bed. Johauk
took his mother’s hand in his and it felt warm and alive. He saw
the tears falling from his dad’s eyes as he took her other hand.
Johauk turned to speak with the man, but he and his companion was
already out the door and he quietly closed it behind them.
after eight hours of deep, relaxing sleep. She smiled to see her
husband holding her hand on her right and her oldest son holding her
hand on her left. They were both asleep. She smiled to
herself. They saved her from death. While the stranger and
his companion were the instruments of her salvation, her two men saved
her with their determination and the strength of their love. They
refused to let her go. She knew more than one miracle occurred
that evening. He oldest boy, could now sing. She wasn’t
sure which meant more to her, her life or hearing her first born
sing. She wasn’t going to worry about it, she had both and her
heart was full.
she was hungry. That was an excellent sign. She ate and
over the course of several days, she was up and walking around.
She regained her strength quickly and was soon able to take care of her
new baby. She had much help from her family who insisted she not
try to do too much at first. She let them pamper her and the
baby. She saw it as their due for saving her life. They
deserved to be allowed to pamper her and young Bela. It was their
way of showing her their love and devotion. It was their
way of regaining their strength and sense of worth.
* * * * * * *
Johauk went to the barn to thank the stranger, but he was gone.
The girls gave him more bread and oil for his breakfast. He left
a note for them with the girls and younger brothers. It simply
read: ‘We will meet again. You are whole again. Stay well,
the best is yet to come. Join the Grange of Reason County.
Ask for Ramrod Long of the Goodnight ranch.’ The men fell to
their knees and cried in each others’ arms as they wept from joy,
relief, and a deep sense of personal despair not being able to thank
their benefactor. Twilla later assured them, their thanks were
unnecessary. The stranger knew their hearts.
* * * * * * *
Word of Twilla
Kodaly’s miraculous recovery, the big cowboy and his companion spread
throughout the surrounding counties. He was seen on several
occasions and would stop by some rancher or farmer’s home and share an
evening meal with them. He would only eat whole-grained bread and
a bit of cooking oil. He would allow his companion a variety of
foods, but they must be blessed before they were consumed.
Families started keeping fresh whole-grained bread and extra virgin
olive oil on hand. A spare place was sat at many tables at all
times in case he might drop by. He always volunteered to do work
for his and his companions food. Many times he did help a farmer
or rancher for several days at a time who needed help and they got to
know him pretty well. He was mild mannered, soft spoken but
friendly. He had a good sense of humor, but never at someone
else’s expense. His companion worshiped him. Many would ask
him to speak to them, and he would ask them what they wanted to
know. He would tell them what simple truths he knew.
made a special trip on a Sunday afternoon to the Goodnight ranch for
their Sunday afternoon feed and football game. The entire Grange
was there. They were greeted with open arms and Zoltan gave
Lazarus the note the stranger left them. He smiled when he read
it, and they all wondered.
comes highly recommended, Mr. Kodaly.” Lazarus smiled and as he
handed the note back to Zoltan.
“Do you know of
this man, Ramrod Long?” Mr. Kodaly asked.
“Yes, I met him
many, many years ago. He and his companion came to me when I
needed a friend, and he carried me through a difficult time in my
youth. He let me lean on him until I could make it in the world
by myself, then he and his companion departed. I didn’t
understand at the time, but others needed him as much or more than I
did. I never knew his real name. I call him the Watkins
man, but he goes by many names. I don’t know anyone who knows his
real name. Maybe he don’t have one.”
“Why do you call
him the Watkins man? My grandmother used to tell me stories about
the Watkins man. I thought a Watkins man was a door to door
peddler of household goods in the early West? ” said Sam Eagleston.
the Watkins man was a highly respected, honest and revered business
man. He was much more than that, though. He was a bringer
of news. He was a pharmacist, advising and dispensing various
patent medicines. He was a friend and remembered the names of all
the children and most of the pets in a home. He was like an
extended family member to many. Folks would feed him and put him and
his horse up for the night just for stopping by their small town or
remote ranch. He would always give the lady of the house in which
he stayed a much needed gift for her hospitality.
The name came to
me as an analogy for him. He travels out of his way to do good
things for others and pedals his love throughout rural communities and
homes. He stops by homes who are full of love, absorbs it, takes
it with him and redistributes it to those who could use a little, along
with a goodly dash of hope. What home, including ours, ain’t
always just a bit low on love? We use it up like it was
sugar. We can’t never seem to get enough. He comes along
and refills your larder and asks very little in return. Call him
Mr. Watkins if you need a name for him. I do. He always
laughs at me, but he knows how I mean it. I ain’t seen him in
years. I’d like to though. He always has a companion, a
beautiful Collie dog who don’t have no name neither.”
Lazarus left it
at that. The crowd wanted to know more about this man, but they
were country folks who knew it was impolite to ask for more than they
were given. They went about their socializing. Young Johauk
was swamped by the Goodnight boys. He and his next youngest
brother, Johann were recruited to play in the afternoon football
game. The boys played against him and his team and knew Johauk
was a pretty damn good footballer. So was his younger
brother. The Kodaly children were fascinated with the strange and
wonderful new creatures they were seeing to say nothing of six
rambunctious pups yelling they wanted to meet them.
The next thing
that occurred amazed Zoltan and Twilla. The women of the
community absconded with little Bela. Each took a turn holding
him and telling Twilla what a handsome boy he was. They took him
to a huge furry monster and to Twilla’s dismay handed the babe to
him. Twilla could only watch in horror as the women smiled at her
and shook their heads for her not to be concerned. Twilla watched
as the enormous, hairy man tenderly undid the blanket to look upon the
face of young Bela. Twilla saw a look of what she could only
describe as unconditional love cross the monster’s face. He
showed the babe to his human companion sitting next to him and the man
gently offered Bela his finger which the babe grasped with both his
strong young hands.
“He is so
handsome.” said Lyle Chamber. “Congratulation, Mrs. Kodaly,
he’s wonderful. My mate wants to know if he’s been fed in a
“No, not since
this morning. I’m not producing enough for him, and we have to
prepare a formula.” replied Twilla.
Lummox milk is the best in the universe. Strom wants your
permission to feed him.” said Lyle Chambers.
Twilla turned a
pale shade of green. The other women assured her their babies
were being raised on lummox milk. Twilla looked at her
husband. He smiled, shrugged his shoulders and nodded his
“All right.” she
She and Zoltan
watched in utter amazement as the big monster gently held young Bela to
his teat and the child went crazy sucking. It was like they
hadn’t fed him in a week. Strom got the biggest smile on his face
and winked at Twilla. She felt a little better as she watched one
of the women take a damp, warm towel and gently began to clean some of
the spilt milk young Bela couldn’t get down quick enough. The
baby didn’t stop until his little stomach was ballooned up. Then
he promptly went to sleep. He didn’t wake up all afternoon, but
he maintained the sweetest smile on his little face.
family were unanimously voted into the Grange. The family had a
wonderful afternoon and promised to try to make regular trips to
meeting at least once a month. Charlie, Angus and several
other of the men of the Grange explained the wonders of their
organization and their ultimate goals to Zoltan. He had a
difficult time believing and accepting what he was being told; however,
now that he considered his son a man, he asked for him to be included
in any explanations the men might have. There was something
transpired between him and the stranger Johauk never shared with his
father. Zoltan never asked, but he knew his son had changed.
After a quick
trip to the Bandersnatch and a visit with Captain Long’s medical staff,
young Johauk was a convert. He and his dad got the Long-shot and
managed to get his little bothers and sisters into the barn for their
shots. Lazarus gave one to Twilla and young Bela as well.
Twilla didn’t know about it, but if her husband and oldest son were so
for it, she went along.
and his wife Mary heard all the talk about the miraculous recovery of
Twilla Kodaly. Mary was beginning to show signs her cancer was
returning. The Kryscellians or Blue couldn't help her. They
and Lazarus could do nothing more for her. Mary wasn’t
angry. She was grateful for the extended period she had with her
husband, but above all to give him the son and heir he always
wanted. They couldn’t help ask.
is there any hope this unknown cowboy could help my Mary?” Ranger
“To be honest,
Son, I don’t know. I was so young when I knew him, I never
learned the full extent of his healing capacities. I don’t think
I even knew he had abilities until we parted ways. I should have
known. He healed my spirit and body on several occasions. I
just never thought much about it. I don’t know how to contact
him. I don’t think anyone does. You know I’d do anything I
could for your wife, brother, but sometimes the matters of life and
death ain’t up to us. Pray for Mary and for a miracle and we will
join you. We got the power of the Grange behind us. Let’s
Lazarus and that evening at sunset, as was their tradition, everyone
joined hands and prayed. One man of the Grange was picked to lead
them in prayer. This time it was an older cowboy, who was looking
and feeling younger every day, Warren Steele. As he prayed he
covered all the high spots and then at the very end he prayed,
protect and help those less fortunate than us. Open your heart to
those among us who are ill and suffering with disease. We pray
for a miracle, Lord, for Ranger Gibbons and his beautiful and faithful
wife, Mary. Look into every heart here, Lord, and know we are of
the same mind, spirit and love for them as our family. Hear our
prayer, oh Lord. Bless and keep each of us. Let your light
so shine on us to make us lamps unto your glory. Amen.”
There came a resounding ‘Amen’ from everyone gathered.
young Johauk took a pitchpipe and blew into it. The Kodaly family
launched into J. S. Bach’s arrangement of Philip Nicolai’s “How Bright
Appears The Morning Star.”
appears the Morning Star,
beaming from afar;
The host of
Branch, of Jesse's Rod!
Thou Son of Man
and Son of God!
We, too, will
lift our voices.
continued to hold hands as the talented family sang several verses of
the well known choral. It was a moving moment as the sun slowly
sank behind the hills in the West.
Waco and his men
exchanged e-mail addresses with Johauk and a couple of the older Kodaly
children. News of the communities were quickly passed between the
kids on each others’ web sites. They had a wider, broader, better
sense of what was going on with their extended family than the
adults. The boys made up half a dozen bottles of lummox milk for
young Bela and gave them to his mother. Twilla was almost in
tears at their thoughtfulness. They even made up one for Johauk
and urged him to drink it. It wasn’t a joke, it would give him
perfect pitch. He wouldn’t need to use a pitchpipe any
more. From what he observed during the day, he didn’t doubt
them. He just accepted their gift graciously. He was glad
he did. It did exactly what they said it would.
* * * * * * *
The pups were
growing up fast, but Waco was not in any hurry to break up the
act. Neither were any of the rest of his brothers and adults
around him. They were a lot of work, but they were a delight to
have around. Maxine was already spoken for and the date of the
boy’s birthday was agreed upon by all that those pups who had found
homes would depart that day. Maxine was going to Sheriff
Laverne found a
home near Parsons. They no longer called it New Mexico because it
wasn’t officially a part of the state. Laverne was asked to come
and live with the Olsens. Their little girl needed a companion
and she and Laverne got along great. The Olsen boys were thrilled
when they found out their family was getting one of the pups. So
were the Stampers. They knew they’d get to see Laverne almost as
much as the boys. Patty was going to stay on at the ranch for a
Moe was going to
live with Stan Edmunds and his family. Since they were a poor
family they couldn’t afford to buy a cow dog so Waco and the boys voted
to give Moe to Stan and his owners, the Blooms. They seemed to
get along great and Moe spent several weeks on their ranch helping
them. Moe was staying with Stan during the last month of school
helping him get the cattle and the milk cows in at night.
the school bus dropped Stan off at the usual time. Moe was
waiting for him, but he seemed upset. He was jumping about.
Stan waved ‘goodbye’ to Waco and his brothers from the Goodnight
ranch. The boys were leaning out the window to say ‘hello’ to
Moe shouted at the bus, “men come to ranch today. They take Mr.
Ole and Ms. Hattie away in big, black cars.”
for the bus driver to hold the bus.
we’re git’n off here. Our brother needs us. I’ll call the
ranch and have someone come pick us up." The Stamper boys wanted
to get off, too, but Waco told them to go on home. He would call
them and their masters as soon as they knew something.
The bus took off
and the boys half walked, half ran down the long dirt road to the
Bloom’s ranch. Nobody was in the house. There wasn’t a note
or anything. Ole and Hattie Bloom were gone. The only
witness was Moe, and he did as Master Ole told him; he didn’t say a
word and hid under Stan’s bed off the front hall. He stayed there
until he heard Ms. Hattie crying, then he tucked his little head and
ran right for the man holding her to bite the first thing he could wrap
his mouth around. The other man saw him coming, drop kicked him
like a football, and he went sailing through the air. He landed
in some cactus and ran away yelping and crying. He found his way
back into the house and hid under Stan’s bed again.
“Did you hear
what they said, Moe?” Waco asked the pup.
I could hear everything. They said they’s arresting Mr. Ole and
Ms. Bloom as political distances.”
little brother.” Waco encouraged the pup.
“The big man
said they was plotting to overthrow the Holy Prophet and his
government. He said they had to be locked away so they wouldn’t
pervert the rest of the folks in the county.”
“Did they argue
with him or try to fight back?”
“Mr. Bloom said
they’s full a’ shit, him and Ms. Hattie was good upstand’n, god fear’n
Christians, and had no political ties with any subversive groups.
Then the big man asked Mr. Bloom if they was members of the
Grange. He admitted they were and that’s when the big man told
his men to handcuff them. They took them away with Mr. Bloom
cussing and Ms. Hattie in tears. The big man said they would come
back later for Stan. It was awful, Master Waco. I was so
scared I didn’t know what to do. I disobeyed Master Bloom.
I ran out and tried to bite the men what had hold of Ms. Hattie.
They kicked me pretty hard. My side hurts real bad, and I got
cactus sticking in my side and paws.”
Moe, we’ll git you to Cable and he’ll fix you up. You done good,
buddy. We’re proud of you.”
All the boys
agreed and Stan gave him a hug and kiss. He was devastated.
He was in tears. Waco whipped out his cell phone and dialed
the ranch. Charlie answered.
“Dad, me and ma’
brothers got off the bus at the Bloom ranch. Moe hollered at us
Mr. and Mrs. Bloom were taken away by government men. They said
they’s coming back for Stan later. We gotta’ get him out of here.”
what you do. You men get out a’ there, but don’t take the
roads. I would send someone after you, but they might return
before we could get anyone over there. Take the back country
route and head for our place. Stay out of sight of the
roads. I just saw Lazarus head over to his house. I’ll
check with him and get back to you. Don’t waste any time.
If Bloom’s got enough horses, you men double up and ride
bareback. The main thing is to git out of that house and on yore’
way. Understand, Son?”
Dad. We’re out a’ here.”
Waco no sooner
put his cell phone away when Travis spotted three black limousines turn
onto the dirt road to the ranch.
“Look, you men
hide in the barn.” shouted Stan, “Let them take me. What can they
do? I know you and Captain Long will figure out something to save
me and my folks. Take Moe with you.”
“I wanna’ stay
with you, Stan.” Moe cried.
buddy. You done enough for right now. No tell’n what they
might do to you. They could shoot you if they thought you was
gonna’ try’n bite ‘em again. You’re hurt. I can see
it. Go with Master Waco and get chore’self fixed up. Do it
for me, little brother. I love you.”
“I love you,
too, Stan.” Moe whined.
Moe. We gotta’ git out a’ here.” Waco urged the pup.
scurried out to the barn and hid in the hayloft. They watched
through knotholes in the old board’s of the barn. They watched
the men in dark suits with sunglasses get out of the limos and walk up
to the house. Stan was in his room like he just got home from
school. He pretended he didn’t know what happened and met the men
as they walked in the front door.
“May I help you,
“Are you Stan
Edmunds, the Bloom’s slave?”
“Yes, Sir, I
am. They ain’t home right now. I think they probably went
into town to buy groceries. They should be back in a while.
In the meantime, is there something I can help you with?”
The big man
looked around and raised an eyebrow.
“You here all
I jes’ got home from school. I’s about to change ma’ clothes and
go out to do ma’ chores.”
“You won’t be
doing yore’ chores today. You’re coming with us.”
Why? What have I done? Who, the hell, are you anyway?”
Stan looked at
the huge, muscular man in his leather outfit with his tall imposing
boots and badges. He knew very well who the man was, but he was
playing the dumb country boy.
“You ain’t done
nothing, Son. I’m Officer Brick Armstrong of His Holiness’ Temple
Guards. Your owners have been arrested as political dissidents
and will be placed in correction camps by the government. Since
you’re a slave you will be taken back to Washington with us and be
given a position as one of the Holy Prophet’s semi-vestal
“Fuck you, I
don’t wanna’ go be no perverted hypocrite Jesus freak’s sexual
toy-boy!” Stan shouted.
mouth, slave! I won’t be the one getting fucked! You’ll
have the honor of having his Holiness fuck you. You should be
grateful, you’ll be guaranteed a place in heaven and his kingdom.”
“I don’t believe
in all that crap.”
neither did your owners. Look where it got them. They’re
just the first of many of this subversive Grange who will be sent for
re-education in the ways of the bible and the word of the Holy
Prophet. We’ll be doing them a favor.”
“You won’t get
away with this. There’s other forces in the universe that will
what? What has your prayers ever brought you?”
“A good home and
folks what love me, until you assholes come along.” Stan slammed the
It stopped Brick
Armstrong in his tracks. It made him think about his miserable
childhood and how he took to bodybuilding to overcompensate his small
size and goofy looks as a young boy.
all about them in a couple of months. You’ll be pampered like you
can’t imagine. All you’ll have to do is eat, and work out to keep
your body perfect for his Holiness. They have all sorts of
entertainment for you kids back in Washington. You’ll love it
Sir. I’m begging you. Just leave me here. Tell your
superiors I ran away. I have a place I can go where no one will
“And where might
that be?” Brick asked as he raised an eyebrow.
“Two old cowboys
who are slave trainers. They’ll take me in, and I can be a slave
for them. They’re good men. They’ll let me stay with their
slaves and work for them.”
“They members of
this so called Grange?” Brick asked.
“Yes, Sir, but
they be good men. Please, Sir. I don’t wanna’ be no sex toy
for the Holy Prophet.”
kid. Your fate is sealed. Your owners were sent an offer to
buy you that would’ve made them rich beyond their wildest dreams for
the rest of their lives. They never even bothered to reply to the
office of our Holy father. They ignored his generous offer
“If they did, it
wasn’t because they were against him, it was because they love
me. Don’t chu’ see? Money don’t mean much to country folks
what ain’t never had it before. They invest in folks. The
Blooms are my family. They’re the only parents I’ve ever
known. I love them, and I know they love me, Sir. Please,
give me back my family and my home.” he begged.
running down Stan’s face. It was really beginning to get to
Brick. He tried to change the subject.
damn dog that was around here earlier? It tried to bite two of my
men. They kicked him pretty good.”
Moe? He didn’t come to greet me when I came in. I was going
out to look for him. He was a stray we took in a couple of days
ago. If you hurt him he probably took off again.”
Stan was hoping
the huge man would accept his explanation. Brick bought it.
He was more interested in getting the boy out of there. Brick
pointed to two of his men.
“You, Scott and
Roper, got out to the barn and check it out. See if you can find
that mutt what tried to bite you earlier. If you do, shoot it.”
Sir. Moe’s ma’ buddy. He didn’t mean nothing. He was
only trying to protect Ms. Hattie. He’s jes’ a pup, Officer
Armstrong!” Stan really began to cry.
“Okay, if you
men find him, see if you can get a rope around him and bring him with
Waco and his men
saw the men coming for the barn. They started to climb down the
ladder from the loft and make a run for it when they saw a big cowboy
with his shirt off, sweat pouring from him, with a pitch fork in his
hand mucking out one of the stalls. He looked up smiled at the
boys and motioned for them to lay down and cover themselves with
hay. Waco didn’t know who the man was, but he had his
suspicions. They made sure they were covered with hay and Waco
held Moe and whispered for him to be quiet. He nodded his head he
understood. The men got to the barn and saw the big cowboy
working up a sweat.
“Who are you?”
“Just a drifter
cowboy. The Blooms offered me and my companion food and a dry
place to stay a couple of nights in their barn in exchange for cleaning
out their stalls.” he motioned toward his dog who was laying down
in some clean straw.
dog?” the other asked stupidly.
He’s ma’ buddy. Goes ever’ where I do.”
another black and white mutt around here?”
“You mean the
“Yeah, I guess.”
said the one.
“Yeah, I saw him
hightail’n it out a’ here about an hour or so ago. Sounded like
he’d been hurt by somebody. I didn’t git a chance to check him
out though. He ain’t been around since.”
“Okay, well you
better be moving on after you finish up here. Help yourself to
what food’s in the house. The family won’t be back.”
their slave; the young boy?” the man asked. “You could leave him
here with me. I’ll see to it he finds a home.”
“Ain’t none of
your business, mister. Just take what you will for your work and
take off. We’ll be checking back to make sure you don’t steal
nothing.” the big man bluffed.
“As you wish,
Sir. If I was gonna’ steal, I’d steal from rich folks, not poor
folks like the Blooms.” the cowboy replied and went back to work.
The men left and
walked back to the limousines. They said something to their boss,
then they got into the big, black cars and left with Stan.
now. You men can come out. They’re gone.” said the
Waco and his men
climbed down from the loft. They were all shaking. Moe was
really hurting by the time they passed him down from the loft.
The folks he was bonding with and his new young master were taken away,
he ached all over, and the Cactus thorns hurt his little feet. He
was in no mood to be messed with. The man’s dog walked up to him
and looked deeply into the pup’s eyes.
look’n at, dog?” Moe said like he was irritated.
damned!” exclaimed the cowboy slapping his leg and laughing, “A
talking dog. In all these years I never thought about giving you
the gift of speech, Utah. Go on, answer the pup.”
young one. I was just concerned for you. I wanted to see if
I could help.” said the beautiful Collie. “Thank you,
Master. It’s a wonderful gift.” he spoke to the cowboy.
“Are you who we
think you are?” asked Little Bear.
“Who do you
think I am, Chief Tin Penny?” The boys chuckled because the man
knew Little Bear’s last name.
“I ain’t no
Chief, yet.” he said humbly, “I hope to be one day. We
think you’re the Watkins man?”
cowboy threw back his head and laughed again. He had a deep
musical laugh that made the boys smile.
“You been talk’n
with Lazarus Long, I can tell.”
“Yes, Sir, he’s
our Captain.” agreed Little Bear.
“Fine man, your
Captain. Yes, I’m the Watkins man. I guess the word
‘shaman’ would describe what I do sometimes except it ain’t
magic. It’s roots are firmly established and planted deep in
science and physics. It’s just a science your Scientists ain’t
discovered yet. ”
“Did you really
contract with the Blooms to work for them?” Travis asked.
“No, I lied to
them men. I came along a little late and saw what was going
on. I thought you men might need a hand so I stepped in to create
a diversion. I’ll finish up my job here, do the chores, feed the
stock and then be on my way.”
“Can we invite
you to come stay with us?” Waco asked him.
can. I’d be right proud to visit with you men. I heard a
lot about you and the Captain. Better contact yore’ dad,
Son. Let him know you and your men got some work to do. We
can ride the horses over to your place so it’s less to take care of
Waco took out
his cell phone again and called his dad. Lazarus answered.
Son. How are you men? We didn’t hear from you, but
something told me not to call you.”
right. They come and took Stan away. We hid in the barn,
but we ran into an old friend of yours, the Watkins man.”
“You know I
wouldn’t lie to my Captain, Sir.”
“No, I know you
wouldn’t. Then I know you’re fine. He won’t let nothing
happen to you men. Can we come get you?”
We got us some work to do. We need to feed and water the stock,
do some chores around here. Then we plan to saddle up the horses
and ride ‘em back to the ranch overland. We ain’t gonna’ use the
idea. Sounds like a plan. Do you need help?”
I got all ma’ brothers here. You might tell Keeke why Blue is
late git’n home so's she won’t be worried. Tell Cable, Moe’s been
hurt. We’ll be bringing him to sickbay when we get home.”
“We ain’t never
got around to installing a gate over to the Bloom ranch. It’s my
fault. You still got that gate-post I give you to keep in your
I forgot about it.”
“Use it. I
showed you many times how to set one up.”
remember. That sure would make it easier on us right now.
Thanks, Sir, we’ll do that.”
Waco talked with
his dad for a minute and put his phone away.
“We don’t have
to ride the horses over to our place. We’ll leave them here for
tonight. I got a gate-post in ma’ back pocket. I can set it
up, and we’ll git Moe to Cable in no time. Can you lay down and
wait for a few minutes, Moe?”
Master Waco. I’ll be all right if I don’t move too much. He
went over and lay down near the stranger’s dog.”
install it right now so we can git you to Cable. Ain’t no sense
in you laying around hurt’n when they could be working on you while we
take care of things here. You tell Cable what happened.”
Waco got out his
wallet, found the thin metal gate-post a little smaller than a dime,
cleaned away a small square of ground next to a large beam near the
first stall. He pressed it into the ground and a large vibration
shook the area. The stranger got a funny look on his face.
Waco took out his hand held remote and programed in a couple of codes
and number and the gate sprang up. Waco motioned for Moe and he
ran through. He was home in Cable’s arms. He was in sickbay
on the Bandersnatch.
“I’ll be damned,
again.” said the big cowboy. “Where’d old Lazarus find this
boys pitched in, and they had all the chores done in no time.
They watered and fed all the stock. Later, after the boys
finished the chores, they approached the gate and Waco opened it again.
urged the stranger, “walk on through. It won’t hurt you none.”
Collie didn’t hesitate and walked through the wall of free
electrons. He was followed by all the boys and his master.
The cowboy took one look at Cable and his men and laughed. Cable
smiled at him. They already had Moe on the operating table and
were checking him out.
“Welcome to the
Cable. You men are, indeed, fine looking. I’ve heard talk
about you, but words don’t do it.”
Sir. You’re very kind.”
“Nonsense, if I
taught Long anything it was to give him an eye for beauty. I dare
say he exceeded my expectations.” the cowboy roared with
laughter. The boys were enchanted by him. Lazarus and
Charlie came through the gate from the barn. Lazarus went to the
Watkins man, placed his hand on his broad shoulders and looked into his
beautiful blue eyes.
“I’d know them
eyes anywhere, you handsome Devil. It’s s’damn good to see you
again.” Lazarus hugged the cowboy to him and wept. The
Watkins man shed a few as well.
“No better’n it
is to see you, you old reprobate.” he smiled. Lazarus
looked and saw his companion who was wagging his whole body.
friend.” Lazarus said as he generously petted the beautiful
Collie. “Have you given him a name?” he asked.
“Yeah, we done a
lot of walking through the state of Utah. It was his favorite
state, and he says he always feels most at home there, so I named him
‘At’s a perfect name for him.” said Lazarus and looked into the
dogs eyes. “You’re as handsome as ever.”
Captain Long.” the dog replied. Lazarus laughed. “How
long’s he been talking, cowboy?”
“About and hour
now. Don’t know why it ain’t never crossed ma’ mind in all these
years to give him the gift of speech. When I heard the boy’s pup
speak it made me feel sad I ain’t done it sooner. Now I got me
somebody to talk with without reading their mind. It’s good to
hear the sound of another voice even if it’s just a bark.”
“And what about
you, cowboy. Have you taken on a name for yourself?”
“I think my last
name is gonna’ be Watkins, thanks to you. Don’t mind
though. I always sort of liked the name and the analogy from
which it was derived. Your head man here’s already done come up
with a name for me. He heard it last Sunday when the Kodaly
family was singing for the folks. He gimme’ my name right then
and there. It echoed down through the winds like a the great
reverberation, or an aftershock of a great Earthquake or a
tsunami. As them folks sang ‘Amen’ so did all the voices of the
immortal chorus. It was like it was branded across my butt like a
flaming sign, to say nothing of the imprint it made upon my
heart.” he chuckled.
“And that name
would be — ?” Lazarus prompted.
Waco, your young Captain who has the heart of a fine, handsome
Visallian Captain and warrior neatly wrapped up and lemniscated with
pretty ribbons tucked away in his own heart.” The cowboy smiled
and winked at Waco.
It was a highly
romanticized but fairly accurate description of Waco’s feelings for his
brave suitor. Waco blushed bright red and his men hooted and
laughed at him. He took their razzing good naturedly.
“What name did
you give our Watkins man, Son?” Charlie asked.
From, ‘O righteous Branch of Jesse’s rod. It just seemed to
fit.’” spoke Waco quietly.
Watkins. I like that. It’s a perfect name for you,
cowboy. It’s time you had a name for men to know you by.”
Lazarus encouraged him.
“I guess I have
to agree with you. The voices on the winds won’t let me do
otherwise. So, now I have a name. It’s the first step to
becoming integrated within a species. Something I never thought
I’d allow myself do after watching what my brother went through.”
“He was a bit of
a rebel and a hot head. He never would admit it, but he was far
more political than you. You’re not that way. You’re level
headed and peaceful. You’ve had two thousand years to adjust and
relate with these folks. Would it really be so bad? You
could do worse than to throw your lot in with us. We shore’ could
use your help. If the winds are correct and what’s been recorded
for years from other sources, we’re in for seven terrible years.”
“So it would
seem. I’ve spoken many times with my companion about it.
Utah’s urged me to get more involved on a personal basis with these
folks, and I can’t say he ain’t been convincing at times. At
other times, I see and hear some of the crazy damn things they do and
want to pack our bags and leave.”
“You can leave
anytime you want.” Lazarus chuckled.
“I know, it’s
just a metaphor.” he laughed.
* * * * * * *
Cable took good
care of Moe. After a while, the pup was loving the attention, but
when it came time for the boys to go to the house for their supper, he
wanted to go with them. Cable had his ribs tapped up tightly and
had managed to remove most of the Cactus stickers.
one. You have to stay with us this evening. I want you to
stay here for one night so we can observe your progress, then we’ll see
about tomorrow. I’ve given you a mild sedative and I don’t want
you running around hurting yourself more. You’re going to be very
sore tomorrow morning, trust me. We have plenty to feed you on
the ship.” Cable insisted.
Moe kind of
groaned like any child might, but he knew better than to argue with
Cable. He was the lord and master of sickbay. His word came
before Captain Long’s when it came to someone who was injured or
brother. We’ll come back after supper and bring one of your
favorite folks with us. Maybe we can talk him into sharing a
little of his sweet milk for you after your supper.”
The promise of
lummox milk lifted Moe’s spirits, but he asked if he could see his
parents, his brothers and sisters when they came back. Lazarus
assured him they would bring them. They didn’t let them come this
time because there would’ve been too much confusion. Moe seemed
to understand. Moe expressed great sadness over the loss of his
family, Stan Edmunds and the Blooms.
little brother, we’re going to discuss what to do over supper. We
won’t forget about them.” Blue comforted him.
* * * * * * *
The men left the
Mighty Bee and walked to the ranch house for supper. They were
not as late as Ida Mae thought they might be, and she was happy to see
them. Lazarus warned Jesse and Utah to prepare themselves for the
onslaught of two grown dogs and five pups who will want to know about
their family member. Sure enough, Scraps was the first to them.
Long, Master Charlie, how is our boy?”
Long, tell us.” echoed the pups. Jesse had a big smile on
“They all speak?”
“All but Happy,
and we’re working on her. She doesn’t seem to be too upset about
not talking. She gets her message across to the pups without
it.” Charlie laughed.
“He’s going to
be fine. Cable discovered a couple of cracked ribs, but they
weren’t broken. He’s still working on him and I promised him
we’ll all come out to visit him after supper.” Lazarus explained.
shouted the pups.
comfort to hear, Sir.” Scraps told him.
Scraps. We were concerned for him as well. Cable’s gonna’
keep him on the ship tonight, and we might let him stay with Keeke and
Blue for a while until he fully recovers. We don’t want him
running off looking for Stan or the Blooms. He won’t find them.”
a good idea, Master Long. He does have his mother’s passion for
life.” Scraps observed. Happy wagged her body.
introduced the Watkins man to Ida Mae she shook his hand with awe and
“Thanks for what
you done for Mrs. Kodaly. We’ve only known the family for a short
while, but they seem like wonderful people.”
Mrs. Wallace. You should be very proud of your son. He’s
going to become a great leader.”
puffed out like Frigate bird in mating season. Ida Mae marveled
at how the man could know such a thing. JR acted like he didn’t
want to hear it. Later when she asked him he told her he didn’t
want to know the future. He wanted to live it as it came.
At the table Ida
Mae set out several slices of a whole-grain bread and a small amount of
olive oil for Jesse and a bowl of dry dog food for Utah next to his
plate. He smiled when he saw the food. Charlie sat at one
end of the table and Lazarus at the other. Jesse sat next to
Lazarus and JR was on his other side. The boys watched in awe as
Jesse blessed his and Utah’s food. He then gave his
companion his food to eat.
“Will you bless
our food, too, Sir?” Waco asked.
“He blesses his
own food and that of his companion’s because the bread and dog kibble
are only vehicles which carry what nutrients their bodies need to
exist. The real nourishment comes from that, with which, Jesse
blesses their food. It wouldn’t work the same for our food.
We gain nourishment from what’s in our food, not for what someone else
might convert it to.” Lazarus explained.
“I can say words
over your meal as your species does from time to time, if you like.”
“I think we’d
all like that, Mr. Watkins.” said Bronc. The others agreed.
Jesse told them
to join hands. They did and Lazarus grabbed Jesse’s rod lower
than where Jesse was holding it to complete the circle. A strange
red and green light began to emanate from a small stone mounted in the
top of Jesse’s staff and shown down on everyone and over the
table. He began to speak,
food, fathers. May it bring the proper nourishment to our bodies
and our spirits. Be with us in our lives and in our hearts to do
what must be done in the coming days. Walk with us and guide
us. Grant us your wisdom and blessings. Amen.”
the boys, and the light went out.
End Of Chapter
30 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~
* J. S. Bach had
twenty-one children and wore out three wives. One of J. S. Bach’s
lesser known sons Philipi, Philipi, Philipi Bach was stone-dead,
tone deaf. He tried and tried his best, but he just couldn’t
master the fugue or the canon, to say nothing of motets, gavottes, or
passipieds. He couldn’t even jig properly. He was like a
fish out of water at Bach family gatherings. Later in life he
married into a very wealthy family of Jews by the last name of Juke who
insisted as his integration into their family the two last names be
hyphenated with the Jewish name first; after all the Jews were the
chosen race. (similar to when Felix Mendelssohn converted to
Christianity. See: Wikipedia: Felix
Mendelssohn-Bartholdy) The Jukes were
totally unmusical and couldn’t carry a tune with the help of a pack
mule; however, Philipi Bach fit right in. Philipi Bach, himself,
never did much to garner acclaim, but one of his great grandsons did
become a rather prolific inventor and invented the now famous
Juke-Bachs. Unfortunately, while purported to be a musical
reproduction unit, it’s never been known to carry a decent tune.
Such are the ways of the musically challenged.