his suitcase into the bedroom to unpack. He reached over to the
dresser behind him to turn on the A.M. satellite news program from the
HCBC (Holy City Broadcasting Center) The news was non-stop
reporting about things going on in the Holy City in the heart of
Washington. (It was no longer known as D.C.) The radio
“When a reporter
from our very own Fox news today asked what he thought about Kwanza,
the Holy Prophet replied, ‘Don’t rightly know; ain’t never driven
one.’” everyone in the news room laughed.
“Wasn’t that a charming
response, Jim?” The female news anchor with the highly teased, bee-hive
hair asked her companion.
“It really was, Nancy. The Holy Father can be so clever and funny
sometimes. Of course he knows what Kwanza means, he just saw a
chance to make a funny, and he went for it. In retrospect, I
think it pretty well sums up what the rest of the country thinks about
without being mean-spirited.” Jim, the hair, gushed.
“I have to agree
with you, Jim. Praise the Lord for our wonderful Holy
Prophet; long may he be our leader. You know, Jim, we’re
jes’ so lucky to have such a wonderful man of God for our
leader, . . . well, ever since Saint George W. Bush, a true man of God
if there ever was one, took control of the government
from the ruthless hands of the Godless liberals in our country in
2008. May his sainted soul
rest in peace.” Nancy, the bubble head, responded.
“We really are
blessed, Nancy.” Jim, the hair, agreed.
Scudder’s remark struck Brick Armstrong as insanely funny, and he
laughed his ass off. He knew better. He knew Scudder had no
idea what the reporter was talking about. There was a knock on
the door of Brick’s apartment in the Holy Tabernacle plaza. He
reached over and turned off the radio.
hollered. He heard the door open and close. “I’m in the
bedroom.” Brick spoke loudly. He turned and looked.
Standing in the doorway was his young friend Tim. Brick threw the
shirt he was unpacking onto the bed and opened his arms. Tim was
in them in a moment.
“I thought it
might be you. I hoped it might be you.” Brick said.
“I’m so glad
you’re back, daddy bear.” Tim cooed.
“I was going to
call when I got unpacked to see if I could drop by. Glad you’re
here instead. Are you on call for the Holy Father this evening?”
I’m free for the evening.”
supper and a movie?”
“I’d like that.”
Tim knew ‘supper and a movie’ meant ordering take-out and watching a
movie in the comfort of Brick’s apartment, his huge, black leather sofa
and his big arms. It made Tim’s dick get hard just thinking about
“Is Stan getting
settled in at the induction center?” Brick asked.
“I went by his
room before I came here, introduced myself and gave him as much of a
pep talk as I could. While I liked Stan, my heart really wasn’t
in the pep talk. There was an understanding that passed between
us. I didn’t have to clarify my position. I think he knew
where I was coming from. He seemed to like you a lot. Told
me I was really lucky to have you as a buddy. He said you told
him we was a little more than just buddies, and I admitted you were
“I think he’s a
good kid, Tim. I hope you take him under your wing. You
don’t have to hide anything from him. Let him know how you really
feel about things around here. I know sometimes that can be
dangerous, but in Stan’s case, . . . well, I just got me a good feeling
about him. Let him confide in you, and I promise, I won’t ask you
to share a confidence. That ain’t why I’m asking you to be nice
to him. It’s just you’re older than him and you know the ropes
already. Just let him know what he can get away with and what he
can’t.” Brick was serious.
funny.” Tim teased. “You give me that same speech about every kid
who comes into the Prophet’s harem. It’s part of your
charm. It’s who you are. You care about all us boys.
That’s why I love you, Officer Brick.”
“Yes, but I care
more about you than all the rest. I love you.”
“I’m glad.” Tim
They shared a
deep kiss. Tim could feel Brick’s penis growing strong and erect
underneath his hard leather cod piece.
“Has daddy bear
been naughty and not taking his shots?” Tim whispered in his ear
so if the place was bugged it wouldn’t be heard. Brick looked at
him and grinned. Tim didn’t need any further answer, he could
feel the rock hard truth poking him in his own crotch.
“Praise the Lord
of host!” Tim said as reverently as any priest blessing the
sacraments. “Hear my prayer, oh Lord. May your humble
servant, semi-vestal virgin prove worthy to feel this brave, strong,
proud Officer of the Holy Temple move into the deepest depths of my
fundament this evening and spill his hot seed into my needy, hungry,
hungry holy vessel.” he mouthed as a mock prayer.
“If I have
anything to say about it,— your prayer will be righteously answered, my
handsome vestal virgin.”
virgin. Let’s not forget the ‘Semi’ part.” Tim corrected him in
“I don’t care
what they wanna’ call it, I wanna’ call it ‘mine.’” fired back Brick as
he grabbed himself two big handfuls of Timmy’s firm buttocks.
Officer Brick. You know it. Don’t never doubt it! The
Holy Prophet might use it, but it ain’t his. Just between us, I
think he knows it, too. There’s only one man on this Earth worthy
enough to claim my ass for his own, and it’s the big daddy bear what’s
holding me in his arms right now.”
again and both got very excited.
“A quick one
before supper?” Brick asked. “And a nice, long leisurely one during and
“You don’t even
have to ask. I’m clean. I’m yours. You want a piece
of the ass what belongs to you, I’ll serve it up hot for my daddy bear
anytime he wants it.”
turns me on.” Brick growled like an old bear.
thrown all over the room in a fury to undress. Brick took his
young mate like a big bear should take his cub, with strength and a lot
of good natured mauling. They were exhausted when they finished
and only put on enough clothes to be decent for the delivery boy when
he brought the Chinese food. They gorged themselves on oriental
delicacies and settled down for a good Sci-fi movie and more
loving. It was an oldie but goodie, "This Island Earth."
They made more love than actually watch the movie; but,
it didn’t matter, they were together, they were in love, and they were
* * * * * * *
Stan spent his
fifteenth birthday by himself, alone in his cubical at the young men’s
dormitory in the Holy Tabernacle Plaza. He wasn’t particularly
sad, but he was a little lonely. He searched his room for hidden
microphones, listening devices or video cameras. He was very
thorough and took his time. He was just about satisfied there
were none when he heard a small voice behind him he would recognize
“Moe, is that
you, little buddy?”
“Yes, yes, yes,
it’s me, Master Stan! It's me! I’m here with all your
brothers, Master Lazarus, Master Charlie and just everybody to wish you
a happy birthday.”
me.” Stan said.
ain’t. We’re all here, but we can’t be too loud due to you being
in a dormitory. Otherwise, we’d break out into a rousing
chorus of Happy Birthday.” assured Waco. "We ain't using the
holoprojectors on the robo-cams because we don't want nobody walking in
and catching you with a pup running around on the floor of your
room." Waco chuckled.
"That's okay. Jes' to hear your voices again is a comfort."
‘hello’ to Stan and wished him a happy birthday, but when he heard Ole
and Hattie’s voices he broke down in tears.
Son.” Ole encouraged him. “We’ll be together again soon.
Just have faith. We ain’t forgot about you.”
My sweet boy, I love you and miss you so much.” cried
Hattie. It broke Stan’s heart to hear her cry.
“I'm jes' so
glad they saved you from them Christianist Nazis. It means the
world to me to know ya'll are safe and with our people. I’ll be
you afore ya’ know it, Ms. Hattie. I got me a job to do here
first. I ain’t gonna’ be able to come home for a little
while. I know that now. I’m here for a purpose. I
don’t know what yet, but them taking me weren’t just by chance.
There’s greater forces at work here than I originally thought.”
“How do you know
that, Son?” Lazarus looked at Jesse who had a wry smile on his
“I just do,
Captain Long. I hear voices and they tell me I’m safe, and
take care of me. I believe them, Sir. I know in my heart
I got something to do here.”
brother.” spoke Waco. “I hear the same voices and they tell
me the same thing.”
Jesse nodded to
monitoring you constantly, Son. Kyron knows when you need us, and
if things get really bad, you know we’ll be there in a minute.”
H’it ain’t like I’m having to go through this alone. I just miss
my little buddy.”
oh! I miss you, too, Master Stan. You come home to
Moe. You’re Moe’s bestest buddy. I love you so much.”
“I love you,
too, little brother. You’ll be back in my arms afore you know it.”
him well again and signed off for the evening. It was almost
better than a birthday card. He wouldn’t have minded some cake
though. Maybe if he wished hard enough a magic fairy would bring
him some. He thought about Keekepata, smiled to himself as he
sent his birthday wish to her.
* * * * * * *
In their love
making Brick’s big foot knocked some papers off the end table next to
the huge leather sofa they’d been wallowing around on for a couple of
hours. Tim went to pick things up and saw Stan’s picture.
It was his vital information. He saw Tim’s birth date.
What’s today?” Tim asked.
Hell! Damn! Fuck! Piss and fart!”
What’sa matter, little brother? Ain’t never heard you use
language like ‘at before.” Brick mockingly chastised Tim.
birthday, Brick! He’s fifteen years old today.”
slapped the palm of his hand against his forehead. He
sounded like Homer Simpson, “All them words you jes’ said and double
‘em! How could I have missed that? Get chore’ clothes on,
brother. There’s still time.”
The two men
dressed quickly. They rushed out the door and
stopped at the local supermarket. While Tim ran to pick out a
birthday cake, Brick went to the frozen food section for ice
cream. He threw four half gallons of different flavors into a
shopping cart. He returned to the bakery section just as the
baker on duty was putting the finishing touches on Stan’s
name. It looked great. They got small paper plates and a
box of plastic utensils. Brick had the presence of mind to get a
half gallon of milk and some plastic glasses. Brick paid for it
all on his Holy Ghost charge card. He knew no one would question
the charge for a small birthday celebration for one of he Holy
Prophet’s newest semi-vestal virgins.
They arrived at
the boy’s dormitory and knocked quietly on Stan’s door. Stan
opened the door and was surprised to find the only two men he knew
standing there with grocery bags in each hand. Tim handed him a
couple as they barged into his room.
“Why didn’t you
tell us it was your birthday?” Brick gently chastised him.
“I didn’t even
think about it until about an hour ago. My little buddy from home
contacted me to wish me a happy birthday.”
“Master Waco you
spoke of?” Brick asked. “How could he contact you here?”
“No, no, my
little buddy, Moe. My pup. My pal.”
understand.” said Brick.
“Him and me, we
communicate in our heads. Sort a’ like telepathy ‘cept’n it
ain’t. I can really hear him, and he can hear me.”
If you say so.” Brick looked at Tim. Tim just smiled and
shrugged his shoulders. Tim sat everything out as Stan and Brick
talked. Stan’s eyes got bigger and bigger.
“Did you eat
I had supper in the dinning hall. It weren’t bad. I had
halibut in some sauce with some vegetables and a salad. It was
good. I enjoyed it.”
“We’ll take you
out if you’re still hungry. Sorry we didn’t discover it was your
okay. I’ve had a good day and hearing from my buddy helped.”
“I ain’t never
heard of anyone having a pet here in the dormitory, but if you want,
I’ll ask the Holy Father if he’ll let your buddy come stay with you.”
okay. I ain’t gonna’ be here that long anyway, Officer
Brick. Besides, Moe’s a country dog. He wouldn’t be
comfortable here in the big city.”
quite know how to respond. He just looked at Tim who smiled at
him, but he didn’t respond either.
“I thought you
told me you’d never lie to me?” Brick confronted Stan in a joking
“Oh, you mean
about me hearing from my little buddy? I weren’t lying to you,
Officer Brick, . . . was I, buddy?”
Waco cued Moe,
and he gave a sharp little bark. Brick and Tim looked around and
then at each other.
“How’d ju’ do
that?” Brick grinned at Stan.
me. T’was ma’ buddy, Moe. I just proved to you I spoke with
him. Now do you believe me?”
know. Maybe you’re a ventriloquist.”
“Naw, I’m mostly
a pretty good football player. I gave you ma’ word, I wouldn’t
never lie to you, and I won’t. I can’t all the time prove to you
something I say ain’t a lie. You gotta’ show some faith in me
like you ask me to show you.”
you’re right! Sounds fair to me. Okay, I believe you.
You spoke to your little buddy. How ‘bout you, Tim?”
believer! I believe him. I heard a bark same’s you did, and
I was looking right at Stan when it happened. It wasn’t Stan.”
The men enjoyed
their ice cream and cake. A couple of other boys dropped by to
welcome Stan and were invited to join the party. Soon every boy
in the dorm was in Stan’s room having a good time including a young man
a couple of years older than Stan. He was big and obviously a
country boy. He introduced himself to Stan as Jimmy-Bob
Dodge. Stan thought he was just about the best looking cowboy
he'd seen since he left Reason. He wondered if the Ancients sent
him Jimmy-Bob for his birthday? The robo-cams did a close up of
shaking Jimmy-Bob's hand and caught Stan blushing in three
dimensions and vivid color. There were many hoots and much
laughter went up from
his cowboy brothers watching. Fortunately, the sound was off on
Stan's end. Everyone back
on the Mighty Bee was enjoying watching Stan have some fun and not
having to be alone on his birthday. Keekepata looked at
Jesse. She smiled and winked at him. He smiled back, gave
her a thumbs up approval, and nodded his head.
* * * * * * *
tell ‘em?” Charlie asked Lazarus.
“I thought about
having Blake tell ‘em, but they’re ma’ boys. I guess it’s my
responsibility. Besides they sort of look up to me now.
Since we initiated Burt into the Grange and we’re gonna’ initiate Phil
next week, I’ll take them aside and tell them first. I’ll discuss
it with them and let them have a say how they wanna’ break the news to
their younger brothers.”
“You gonna’ buy
the old man?” Charlie asked him.
“I can’t rightly
say. Any input you might have would be helpful. He ain’t on
any of ma’ lists. A, B or C. Don’t have no D list. If
so I’d probably be the only one on it.” Lazarus laughed.
mine would be sit’n right along side a’ yours.” Charlie laughed.
“You’re one of
the best men it’s ever been my pleasure to know, Charlie
Goodnight. How can you say that?”
“Thanks, Boss, I
“Since when do
slaves have to be on a list?” Charlie changed the subject.
point. ‘Cept’n have you looked at the number of your and Angus’
slaves on the list?”
“No, I leave
that up to you.”
eighty percent of ‘em’s names is on the A list and the others’s on the
B list. Don’t matter none, if they’re a slave they go where their
huh? That’s interesting.” Charlie allowed. “When is
old man Stamper going to trial?”
“Thirty days I
guess. It ain’t been announced yet. Don called me early
this morning and woke me up. Thank goodness Lucas was sleeping in
his own room last night. He decided I ain’t been resting too well
with him next to me. He’s right. He keeps my old mule
standing all night.” The men shared a laugh, “H’it ain’t hit the news
yet. I wanted to talk with you before we started our day.
We can tell the boys at breakfast. I ain’t even told Lucas.
We gotta’ watch him close.”
“I think you
have a tendency to brood-hen that boy too much. I think he'll
handle it better'n you might think. You wanna’ take
today off?” Charlie offered.
“Naw, it’s our
heaviest calving season. Too damn much work to do. I gotta’
be out there with them men. I’ll leave it up to you and his
brothers to keep a close watch on him. Hell, we got Cable, Blue,
Keeke and the lummox men to watch over him. Ya’ll‘ll let me know
if he ain’t doing well and needs me. I have a feeling he’s gonna’
handle it better than Caleb’s brothers.”
at Lazarus’ use of the term “Caleb’s brothers.” He really wanted
to disassociate Lucas from the Stamper boys in his own mind. He
admired Lazarus for being so honest about his feelings. Lazarus’
love for Lucas was palpable. He tried hard to be the dad Lucas
“I think you
should buy the old man, but give him to a rancher who’s in the colonies
or one of the Steele men. Maybe Ole or Sonny. Pay Bill
Birdsall to train him. Throw a little business his and Angus’
way. Bill’s baby-slave training program is just what old man
Stamper needs.” Charlie said with a twinkle in his eye and then
Boss.” Lazarus allowed.
“I had a good
teacher, Ramrod.” Charlie laughed at Lazarus. They laughed
together as they hugged each other.
* * * * * * *
The boys came in
for breakfast and were a little surprised to find Charlie and Lazarus
already sitting at the table having coffee. The boys did their
usual to help Ida Mae get breakfast ready and came in to stand around
the table. Jesse came in with Utah to join them. They
joined hands and Charlie said a quick prayer. They sat down to
eat. Lazarus took his time. Jesse looked at him like he
already knew what he had to tell the boys. Lazarus didn’t doubt
he probably did know. Lucas looked at Lazarus and smiled.
“How bad was it,
Dad?” he asked as he took a biscuit from the plate and passed it on to
his brother next to him.
Son.” the rest of the boys perked up.
“I saw it last
night. A cowboy was shot in the back by Elam Stamper out to the
local honky-tonk on Farm Road 49 called Slim Pickin’s. You know
the place. It’s got a wooden sign hanging out front. It’s a
painting of a cowboy with his finger shoved up his nose. Elam
Stamper left the bar and drove drunk into the side of the Pentecostal
church and set it on fire. It burned to the ground before the
fire department could get there.”
at Jesse. Jesse put his fist to his mouth to keep from laughing.
this has been happening a lot with them boys. First Waco, then
Stan, and now Lucas. Is it normal, Jesse?” Lazarus asked
the man to his right.
“Why do you
think me and Utah’s stayed around so long? We saw it
coming. We discussed it and wanted to be around to see it
happen. Utah told me this morning he’s glad we stayed.
Fasten yore’ seat belt, brothers. This is just the
beginning. It’ll grow.” Jesse said as he dipped his
whole-grain bread into his olive oil. Lazarus looked at
Charlie. Neither blinked.
“That was the
sheriff what called this morning early, Son.” Lazarus continued
with Lucas, “According to him Elam Stamper got roaring drunk last night
and fought all comers at the bar. He tore up the place.
Nobody could settle him down. Finally the owner called Elam’s
buddy Jack Hall who’s in town to come down to talk some sense to
him. Jack came down and sat with him for a couple of hours trying
to get him to go home with him and pass out for the night, but
something seemed to be stuck in his craw; something was really
upsetting the old man. Finally, Jack had enough and went to
leave. The bartender talked him into it thinking Elam would
follow him. Elam got mad because Jack wouldn’t stay and drink
with him, pulled out his gun and shot him in the back. I guess,
cowboys will be cowboys even in the Twenty-first century.” Lazarus
shook his head in wonder.
“Jack Hall’s in
bad shape. He ain’t expected to live. Sheriff said them
doctors don’t give him much hope. After he shot Jack, Elam was
powerful sorry, but ran out the back jumped into his truck and headed
off through town like a bat out of hell. Someone said they saw
him swerve to miss a deer what was crossing FR 49, Elam’s truck jumped
the curb, went off down the embankment into the Church yard, and
slammed into the side of the Pentecostal Church. Elam got out of
his truck and staggered away without a scratch; howsomever, a few
minutes later his truck burst into flames, exploded and burned down the
church before the fire department was even notified. The only
people who could do anything was the Steele’s son-in-law,
Preacher Yates, and a couple of neighbors with garden hoses. It’s
totaled. Ain’t so much as a hymnal left. The sheriff’s got
Stamper in jail. He’ll be arraigned Monday, and his court date
will probably be thirty days later.”
whistled long and low. Whistling wasn’t allowed at the table, but
Little Bear was just expressing what they all felt. They were
shocked. They felt bad for their brother. Lucas felt it,
but he was going to set the record straight.
think it, gentlemen. My dad ain’t in no jail. He’s sitting
right here at this table.” There was a palpable silence followed.
Son. To be honest I was a little worried about you.”
“That’s just the
kind of man your are, Dad. You’ve allowed me to come to expect
that from you, and you’ve never let me down. My dad would never
shoot a man in the back for any reason nor would he set fire to a
church, as much as he might like to.” Lucas smiled wickedly and got a
laugh out of his brothers.
“You gonna’ be
okay, Son?” Lazarus asked Lucas with concern.
“Nice of you to
ask, Dad, but ain’t no need really. I didn’t wish for this to
happen to Stamper. If I was present I might’ve tried to stop him,
because he’s a human being who was being irrational, but he did this
himself just like he condemned Caleb to be dog food. I don’t have
sympathy for him. I’m not elated this happened to him, but
neither am I surprised. I saw more in my dream than I’m telling
you, but no one needs to know that part until I talk with Mr.
Hall.” Jesse nodded his head in agreement with Lucas, “Can Mr.
Hall be saved, Mr. Watkins?” Lucas put to Jesse.
“Yes, Blue can
save him. I could save him. Cable and the Kryscellians can
save him; however, without our immediate intervention, he will die in
that hospital. They’re doing almost nothing for him because they
can’t confirm his insurance through his company back in Lubbock.
His company heard rumors about how bad his wound is and refuse to give
authorization for payment of medical care. If he dies, they don’t
have to pay anything. They ain’t even removed the bullet
yet. If he don’t die from bleeding, he’ll die from lead
suggestions, Son?” Lazarus deferred to Lucas.
“I know I’m only
a slave, Dad, but one consideration I would beg from you and Master
Charlie. If you men, in yore’ wisdom, decide to buy Elam Stamper
he never sets foot on this ranch or the ranch where Caleb’s brothers
are living. If we save his worthless hide from a murder charge by
saving Mr. Hall’s life, then I don’t want him tainting anyone’s life
agreement to Lazarus. It sounded right to the boys, too.
Jesse beamed at Lucas like the kid was saying the right words.
“It’s a done
deal, Son! You got our word.” Lazarus confirmed.
have to bring Mr. Hall here as quickly as possible. There ain’t
no time to waste. Am I correct, Mr. Watkins?”
right, Son.” Jesse confirmed.
out his cell phone and punched Don Lassiter’s number.
Sheriff! What’s the fastest way we can get Mr. Hall out here to
“He’s on the
way, Ramrod. I hope you and Mr. Goodnight won’t think bad of me,
but I could see they weren’t gonna’ do squat for him. I sent him
by county medivac chopper a few minutes ago. You should be
hearing the engines any minute now.”
“You done the
right thing, Sheriff. We’ll get back to you as soon as we know
Ramrod. Give my best to Mr. Goodnight and the boys. Give
ma’ boy Lucas a hug for me.”
Son. See you soon.” Lazarus closed his phone and slipped it
back into his vest pocket. “Maybe we should let Hank go on
without me for a while, until I’m sure everything is under control,
Boss. The medivac chopper should be here in minutes.”
idea. Hank, after breakfast get them men out to work and the
ramrod will join you and Curley as soon as he can.”
Boss. Me and Curley can handle things today if you need him here.”
see. I’ll leave it up to him.”
The men just
finished breakfast when the chopper landed in the compound. The
Medivac men wanted to assist in getting Jack Hall into whatever medical
facilities they had at the ranch, but Lazarus tipped them heavily and
assured them they could handle Mr. Hall from there. As soon as
the chopper lifted the men rushed him to the old barn and onto the
Mighty Bee. Cable was ready for him and ran test to find out his
blood type. There were five cowboys on the ranch that matched his
blood type and volunteered to give blood. Cable had him hooked up
with blood in a matter of minutes.
They operated on
him, removed the bullet, repaired his lung and set his broken
clavicle. They couldn’t figure out how his clavicle got
broken. Cable thought it might have been from him falling into a
door when he was shot. Lucas had other suspicions. The
bullet itself was lodged in a front rib but broke one upon entry to his
back. Two others were cracked in the front. They had to
tape him up tight. They managed to stop all the bleeding and
Cable reduced his prognosis from critical to stable. He still
wasn’t out of the woods, but he was certainly better than he was.
Jesse watched the bio-mechanical men work with great skill, speed and
unity to save Jack Hall’s life. He was impressed and told Cable
he would trust him with his own life. Cable was very flattered.
They had Jack
Hall in recovery still under heavy sedation. He had tubes coming
out of every opening and one in his penis. He had a tube down his
throat to keep him breathing and IV’s in both arms. The
Kryscellians floated in and parked themselves by him and started their
healing process. He didn’t wake up until the afternoon of the
following day. He was fully conscious but a little taken back by
being taken care of by three remarkably good looking nude men.
That was just
the beginning of the weird things that began to happen to him.
Next thing he knew there were young cowboys all around him talking with
each other about him like he wasn’t there. One who looked exactly
like the one who seemed to be in charge placed his hands on him and a
strange blue light emanated from his hands that would considerably
reduce his pain. He could actually imagine the young man was
healing him with his hands.
If he wasn’t
strapped down tightly to his bed he would’ve jumped up and ran when he
saw the huge hairy monsters who joined the young men, but they hugged
and kissed them like they were old friends. They towered over the
young cowboys and smiled down at Jack. He was in too much pain to
fight or run. He just lay there and shook from fright. One
of the boys called to one of the naked men.
He’s having some reaction to us and our lummox friends. He needs
naked man came in with a hypo and gave it to him in his IV drip.
He immediately relaxed but didn’t drift off to sleep. It didn’t
seem so bad. Obviously the boys were friends with these
monsters. Then he saw something incredible. He knew he was
hallucinating. There was a beautiful fairy who was hovering over
his bed and came to land on the shoulder of the biggest monster.
He reached up and placed his hand to brace her. She sat there
quietly looking down at Jack and smiling sweetly. She was
beautiful and made old Jack’s cowboy penis get an erection.
Everyone laughed at his hard-on. He blushed a deep red color.
cowboys came into his room. One he recognized as Sonny Steele,
champion cowboy. He didn’t know who the other man was, but he
looked too young to be Sonny’s dad. Maybe it was his older
brother? They looked a lot alike.
“I don’t think
he recognizes me.” said Sonny. Jack slowly nodded his head he
recognized Sonny. They laughed. “He does. Howdy,
Jack. Long time no see. You don’t look so good, Son, but
you’ll be getting better real soon. Them fine looking naked men
saved your life. Well, hell, truth is, all these men saved your
life. You ain’t got no worries about this place. It may
seem a bit strange what with the big furry monsters and little fairy
lady what flies around, but trust yore’ old cowboy brother, you got the
best care here you can get on this planet. By the way, this here
good look’n old codger next to me is ma’ old man, ma’ dad Warren
Steele.” Jack couldn’t believe the cowboy was Sonny’s dad. He was
middle-age cowboys came into his room. He recognized both of the
men. They were pointed out to him as leaders of the Grange.
One was a rancher Charlie Goodnight whom he went to high school with
and played football. The other was Charlie’s right hand man and
foreman of his ranch, Ramrod Lazarus Long. Charlie gently took
his hand and spoke to him.
comfortable, cowboy?” Charlie asked.
Jack nodded his
head, but pointed to the breathing tube.
“I’ll ask for
you. Cable, does he still need his breathing tube?”
The naked man
came in the room, took his pulse and leaned over him to listen to his
respiration with a stethoscope. He smiled at Mr. Goodnight.
“I think it’ll
be all right to remove it; however, if he has trouble I might have to
put it back for a while.” With that the man took hold of it and with
one swift, fluid motioned literally ripped it from his throat.
Jack was glad to get rid of it. Cable had some spray and motioned
for Jack to open his mouth. He did and Cable sprayed something
that deadened the scratchiness in his throat.
you.” he whispered to Cable.
Mr. Hall.” Cable replied.
“Where am I,
“In a hospital
on my ranch.”
‘I ain’t never
hear’d of no hospital like this. This place is like being in a
science fiction movie.” Jack grinned.
“I’ll admit, it
has its moments of credibility; like naked doctors and
attendants. Bigfoot monsters walking the halls visiting
people. A small, beautiful winged fairy-like creature flying
around bringing a smile to folks. Dogs what talk to you.”
Ain’t seen me no dog what can talk yet. Bring 'em on."
Jacked grinned like he didn't believe.
whistled. Patty, Shep, and Larry came scurrying around a corner
followed closely by their parents and Utah. The pups put their
front paws upon the bed to stand. They looked right at the
Hall, I’m Patty and these two yahoos next to me are ma’ brothers, Shep
and Larry. They should a’ named ‘em Larry one and Larry
two. They’re just alike.”
“No we ain't,
are we Shep?” complained Larry.
“I should say
not. We don’t agree on nothing.”
“Yes, we do!”
don’t! You know damn well we don’t!”
“See what I’m
talk’n about, Mr. Hall.” Patty rolled her eyes in disgust.
laughed for the first time since he’d been shot. Pain wracked his
body, but it was worth it.
“Who do you
belong to, Patty?” he asked.
“We don’t belong
to nobody. If you mean who do we live with, I live with Master
Long and his son Lucas. Ma’ brothers stay around the ranch where
they please. We be cow dogs during the day, and I ride herd on
Ramrod Long’s twin sons in the evenings.”
“Do all these
dogs talk?” Jack laughed.
Scraps, he talks. Ma don’t. We been working with her to get
her to speak, but Ma’s happy just being dad’s mate. That’s her
name, Happy. Mr. Utah is Mr. Watkin’s companion. He
can talk. He can talk real good; better’n us pups. He don’t
say much, but when he does us pups listen. He don’t speak less’n
he’s got some’um important to say.”
That’s enough, guys. He’s gonna’ be here for a while and you can
visit when he’s feeling better and answer all his questions.
Let’s not tire him out. He’s got to get up and start walking a
little later this afternoon and he’s gonna’ need all the strength he’s
Walking? I don’t think so. Not yet.” Jack objected.
“Got to, Mr.
Hall. If we don’t get you up, things will start to go
wrong.” Cable backed up Charlie.
“We went to too
damn much trouble to save your life to let you backslide now.”
“Why did you do
this, Charlie? Why ain’t I in a regular hospital?”
“The company you
work for wouldn’t give the hospital in Reason authorization to pay to
fix you up. When they found out how bad you were wounded, they
decided it would cost them too much money to save you, and it would be
cheaper in the long run to let you die. You don’t have no heirs
or next of kin listed, so they figured, if nobody cared nothing about
chu’ there wouldn’t be no one to come after them. It takes money
or someone who gives a damn to fight ‘em. So much for health
“You still ain’t
answered ma’ question, Charlie? Why would you do this for me?”
seemed like the right thing to do, Jack. Does a man need any
“No, I suppose
he don’t. It’s, . . . just, . . . . ah, hell, nobody’s ever done
nothing for me since my parents died. How can I repay you,
anything about repayment? Cable do you have a bill made up for
Mr. Hall I don’t’ know about?”
“No, Sir, Master
Charlie. There ain’t no such thing as a bill in this
hospital. You know that, Sir.” Cable smiled. He knew where
Charlie was going with his line of questioning.
“There, you have
it, Jack. No bill. You’re home free.”
“What can I
say?” asked Jack.
“Thank you, will
do nicely.” said Charlie. “And enjoy your stay. Get to know
these folks. You might find you like ‘em.”
“I already like
them. I’m a bit wowed by some, but I think I could adjust.”
“Good, glad to
hear it.” smiled Charlie.
Jack lay back
into the depths of the soft, clean bed and pillows. His body had
been completely washed and cleaned. He’d never felt so pampered
in his life since he was a child. He thought about the wild
dreams he had of leaving his body; watching the paramedics come into
the bar, lift him onto a Gurney and shove him into the waiting
ambulance. He watched the doctors fighting about whether to
operate on him or let him die. What the hell was a hospital for
if it wasn’t to help folks? The funniest thing was, he didn’t
give a shit! He could’ve cared less. He wanted them to let
him die. He saw a bright, white light, and it was calling his
name. It was the most beautiful thing he ever saw. He heard
about people seeing a white light when they died. Was this what
they were talking about? He walked into it and found himself in a
His parents were
there, and while they were happy to see him, they were
restrained. There were friends and others who had gone before him
who came to greet him and wish him well. Then he saw her.
>From afar he saw B.B. in a long, beautiful white dress coming toward
him. His soul sank to the bottom of his boots. It was heavy
like a lead weight. It was the first time he thought about
shedding tears, but they seemed to flow from his eyes unprompted by
him. She walked up to him and smiled at him. She looked
deep into his eyes, leaned forward and kissed him lightly on his cheek.
cowboy. Welcome to the other side.”
“Am I dead,
B.B.?” Jack asked her.
“Not yet, but
damn near. I have it on good authority you won’t die this
time. You gotta’ go back, darlin.’ In fact, you’re gonna’
live a very long life and have many buckaroos and cowgirls.”
“Do you remember
ever’ thing what happened to you, Darlin’?” Jack fished.
B.B., I was weak. I couldn’t help myself.” Jack moaned.
It was probably the purest form of love I never had shown to me when I
was alive. At least it told me no matter what I done, you loved
what I had to offer. I never fooled myself you were a
deep-troughed lover, Jack. Cowboys jes’ ain’t the type what does
a lot of poetry spouting and make’n loud protestations of faith in love
and romance. A good pony, a six-pack of beer, a two-dollar
gee-tar, a fine pair of boots, a chunk of cow warmed over a mesquite
fire, and a warm hole to sleep in is about a cowboy's biggest
walked away happy I could provide you with one out a’ six. It
meant a lot to me, Jack. Sorry I didn’t have time to fix my
makeup.” B.B. laughed at her own joke then continued.
weren’t chore’ fault, cowboy. It was ma’ own damn fault. I
don’t even blame old Elam, but he don’t need to know that. You
done the right thing by burying me out there in the desert. If
you hadn’t you’d a’ been in a peck a’ trouble you didn’t deserve.
Thanks for saying them words over my grave, Jack. Probably
wouldn’t a made it if’n it weren’t for you. I guess I had one
redeeming thing going for me. I’s able to forgive others.
Keep that in mind as you journey though your long life, cowboy, and
remember there’s a cowgirl buried out there on the prairie what thinks
about you. Send a thought her way from time to time.”
They kissed and
Jack found himself falling,. . . falling? No he wasn’t falling,
he was flying! He was flying through the air along side a
helicopter. There was a body in a plastic bubble strapped to the
side and he was flying right along side of it. He knew the body
was his, but where were they taking him? He looked down through
the early morning light, down through the clouds and saw a beautiful
ranch they were headed towards. He thought he might have been
there before. He couldn’t remember. Down and down the
chopper went until it landed in the compound of the big ranch. He
took a deep breath and passed out again.
* * * * * * *
Lazarus sent for
Bert and Phil. He asked Blake to come along with them. They
came though the gate about eleven in the morning. They had been
busy and nobody had time to listen to local news. Charlie invited
them to have lunch with him and the boys. They were thrilled to
be included. He and Lazarus took them to the canteen on the
Bandersnatch and offer them coffee. David and Jonathan served.
you’re now a part of the Grange, Burt, and you will be next week, Phil,
we decided it was time you men started having some say in your and your
brother’s future. I don’t need to remind you you’re still my
slaves; however, there’s room within that framework to consider your
thoughts, opinions and needs. We brought you men here to tell you
something about your dad.”
Lazarus went on
to tell the boys the trouble their dad got into the night before.
He was a little surprised they weren’t more upset. When he
finished he waited for them to say something. Burt looked at
Phil, and he nodded for Burt to speak for both of them.
“We’ll tell our
younger brothers, Master Long. Boss Blake will help us. I
don’t foresee any problems with us men. I’m so embarrassed by
what he done it makes me ashamed I have to wear his name the rest of my
life. I just wish our last name weren’t Stamper no more.”
“Me, too, Master
Long. I feel the same way as ma’ brother.”
“Now, don’t you
men go blaming yourselves. Weren’t nothing you could a done about
it.” Lazarus tried to comfort Burt and Phil.
“We know, it’s
just we been working so hard to separate ourselves from what we was,
it’s like it’s all come back to haunt us.”
“You men have
done damn good, and I have no doubt you’ll continue to do well.
Master Charlie and I are proud of you and your progress.”
“We’ve come to
look on you, Master Charlie, Hoot, and Cotton as our real
parents. We think on Boss Blake as our big brother. I know
that probably ain’t the right thing for a slave to say about his
Masters, but we got more as a family now than we ever had with our old
man. We got so much more family with our cowboy-slave brothers
over to our ranch and our brothers here on your ranch, Master Charlie,
and the Grange. I ain’t never been a part of anything what meant
as much to me as you folks, even if I am a slave. If we’d stayed
with him no tell’n where we’d be today. Most likely me and Phil
would be in prison or lifetime slaves under terrible circumstances and
our younger brothers would be sent off to State Orphanages only later
to become indentured. Wait a minute!” Burt exclaimed.
dead in thought and a crooked smile came across his face. He had
an epiphany. His face started glowing with his moment of personal
understanding. It took a tragedy happening to his old man to
bring him to this point, but he suddenly saw the larger picture.
He looked at his brother and smiled. He knew Phil didn’t have a
clue; he hadn’t figured it out. Burt looked at Lazarus and
Charlie and saw their eyes were misting. He looked at his
boss-man and saw the same welling up inside him. They knew, at
that moment, Burt understood why he was a slave, but he didn’t always
have to be a slave. It all depended on him. He thought back
on how many times Lazarus, Charlie, Hoot, Cotton and Blake told him and
his brothers the same thing, over and over again, but the reality and
truth of it never fully sank in until that very moment. It was
only a matter of time, and how he conducted himself. He could
live peacefully with that thought. Burt let go of all
preconceived notions, and his very soul relaxed. The bigger
picture was, he and his brothers were being cared for. They were
being carefully trained. They were becoming a part of a larger
family. They were being gently but firmly led into the light of a
new future for them; one which offered hope and promise.
“How can I ever
thank you men?” Burt broke into sobs. His brother put his arm
around him to comfort him, but Phil didn’t have a clue what just passed
between his brother and the other three men.
“You just done
it, Son!” whispered Lazarus in a choked voice.
* * * * * * *
Jack woke up
again. He’d been having a strange dream about a beautiful bullet
shaped craft that came floating through the air and was parked right by
his side. In it were beautiful crystals and they were all aglow
shining their lights on him, but there was more to them than
that. They were singing to him. At first he couldn’t make
heads or tails of what they were singing or why but as time passed he
began to pick up a word, a phrase that kept repeating itself. He
didn’t feel the least threatened by these, these, . . . what could he
call them? Were they alive? He came fully awake and in his
darkened room the wonderful lights from the Kryscellians flooded over
him and filled the room with their rainbow of colored lights.
They were real!
“Yes, we’re very
much real. We’re a different life form from you, Mr. Hall, but
we’ve been relating with your species for sometime now and we’ve formed
a symbiotic relationship.”
symbiotic mean?” Jack spoke softly.
Mutually helpful. Equally beneficial. Our rays have great
healing powers for carbon based life forms like yourself. We were
asked to help with your healing, and we’ve had a couple of sessions
you while you were unconscious. We learned much about you and
have found your healing paths. You’re mending quite nicely.”
beautiful.” Jack whispered almost to himself.
Jack. It’s nice to be appreciated. We hope we can make your
body heal faster.”
Jack didn’t try
to say more. He just lay back and relaxed in the warm glow of the
creatures, or whatever they were. He knew they weren’t from
around these parts. In a little while the Kryscells departed and
Jack was left alone in the dimly lit room. He was never fully
alone. Within ten feet there was a naked man attendant or the
main doctor as he called Cable. Jack looked up to see another big
cowboy walk into his room and look down at him. He recognized him
you old son of a gun! I ain’t seen you in a while. I know
you live in the area, but our paths don’t cross much. What are
you doing here?”
Jack’s hand and shook it.
“I heard you was
here, Jack. Jes’ thought I’d stop by and say ‘hello.’ I
come to visit my missus. She’s in the next room over from
yours. They’s treating her for cancer.”
“Is she gonna’
be all right, Ranger?”
know. We’re hoping for the best. She’s on her third week of
a new treatment and is showing great signs of progress. Them
crystals what just left your room a while ago are very optimistic and
several of our other community healers are optimistic. I hear
you’re out of the woods. I’m happy to hear you’re gonna’ make it.”
“Yeah, they got
me up walking twice a day. It’s a bitch, Ranger, but I realize I
gotta’ do it. I think I’m git’n stronger and they be feeding me
like a hay hand in mowing season. Damn, I ain’t never et so
good in my life. They been giving me some sweet milk to drink
that’s the best damn stuff I ever tasted. It’s like drinking
melted ice cream.”
“Oh, yeah, it’s
good stuff all right. It’s good for you, too. Ma’ wife
drinks it along with her rice she’s allowed. Great stuff!”
“How do they
make it?” Jack asked.
“You don’t know?”
“You seen them
Bigfoot monsters the boys have with them all the time?”
“Yeah, I kind a’
got used to ‘em. Scared the crap out of me the first time I seen
mostly peaceful creatures. Wouldn’t want one mad at me. The
milk you been drink’n is from them. The males produce the most
nutritious milk in the universe. In their species the males are
the ones what’s responsible for feeding the young. The females
just birth the young, the rest is up to the male to take care of
‘em. The milk has great healing properties for humans.
That’s why they’re giving it to you.”
“I said the same
thing when I first found out about ‘em, but I ain’t pulling yore’
leg. Me and ma’ slave’s babies are being raised on it. Them
young cowboys drink it right from the tap.”
“You mean they.
. .?” Jack grimaced.
pardner, right from the old teat. They love it.” Ranger
chuckled. Jack just shook his head.
“What about that
fairy creature what’s been flying about.”
playing cards with ma’ wife right now. I waved at ‘em but come to
see you for a minute. That’s Keekepata. She’s from another
planet from Earth. She’s a princess of her people and is hiding
out here from another race what’s at war with her planet.”
“Wait just a
damn minute! You’re telling me these creatures are from outer
‘at’s exactly what I’m tell’n you.”
“Son of a
bitch! Then all them stories about flying saucers was true?”
You’re on board one right now.”
Jack. It took me a while to get used to the idea, but now I don’t
know how we got along without ‘em. Them Bigfoot monsters live on
our world, but they originated on another world in another
galaxy. It’s a long complex stories how it all came to be, but
you’ll learn as you get to know everyone. You can’t understand it
all overnight. It will take you a while, but when you do
understand, it will blow your boots off, buckaroo.”
“Are them nude
male nurses and doctors human, Ranger.”
“You mean Cable,
David and Jonathan and several others of their kind?”
“Well, they is
and they ain’t. They’re bio-mechanical men.”
“No, much more
sophisticated than a robot. They’re a sentient life form.
They’re capable of feeling, pain, hurt, love, disappointment, and a
host of other feelings. Yet they’re part mechanical and part
biological. They’re body parts work just the same as yours,
cowboy. If you want to know more about them, just ask.
They’ll be happy to tell you. They’ll even let you feel ‘em up if
you like. Lord knows I have more’n a few times. I’ve even
played a little stink finger with a couple of ‘em. Fucked one of
‘em, too. They be so damn tight you won’t believe it.”
Ranger winked at him and laughed.
Ranger. You’re all man.”
“I shore’ am,
cowboy, and don’t chu’ never forgit it! That’s why I can
appreciate a fine looking piece of ass on another man when I sees
it.” Ranger roared with laughter and the look on Jack’s face.
“Then, I guess
them crystal critters is from outer space.” Jack said rhetorically.
catching on, cowboy.”
* * * * * *
Blake let Burt
and Phil tell their younger brothers about their dad’s drunken
rampage. It was Burt who mostly told them. Phil pretty much
listened and backed him up. To Sam, Jeb and Zeke there was
something different about their oldest brother. He was softer in
his approach to them. He was more understanding and took time to
listen to what they had to say. He was like the big brother they
always wanted him to be. Even Blake noticed a decided difference
in the way Burt handled his younger brothers. Sam and Jeb seemed
to accept it pretty good but Zeke was quiet. He didn’t have much
to say. Burt tried his best to bring him out to get him to say
what was on his mind.
know. I’m just think’n about what a waste it’s all been.”
Zeke said shaking his head. The rest of the boys gave him their
full attention. “If what I’m hearing from my oldest brother is
true, then Master Long bought us to protect us from our dad and the
sort of shit he put us through all our lives. We’re missing our
youngest brother because of him and our lack of understanding. I
blame him for that, too, because he didn’t teach us to work together or
love and respect each other as a family. We was like
animals. We treated Caleb worse than an animal. The way we
treated him was a direct result of what we were taught and allowed to
do to him. The more I’ve learned how to treat people, the worse I feel
about the way I treated ma’ little brother. If we’d stayed with
our dad I can only think I would’ve taken Caleb’s place and then Jeb
would’ve been next. As far as we’ve come and for all we’ve
learned we still can’t escape what we was then.”
“There’s a lot
of truth to that, Zeke.” spoke up Blake. It was the first time
he’d said much of anything. “However, you ain’t today what you
was then. I don’t think it’s fair to hold it against your
brothers or yourself what might have been. It didn’t happen to
you or Jeb that way because you’ve all been under Master Hoot and
Master Cotton’s care, and I’ve been your Ramrod for the last couple of
years. Burt said you guys come to think on me as an older brother
and that’s all right with me, but we all know each of us are first and
foremost slaves of Master Charlie and Master Long. Truth is, you
ain’t the same men what walked onto this ranch two years ago.
You’ve come a long way and you’re growing up to be fine young
men. So, where’s the waste in that?”
“I didn’t mean
with us, Boss. I meant for Captain Long. He paid our daddy
a lot of money to keep us out of harms way, to bring us along like
decent men, and it’s all gone for naught.”
“Maybe it ain’t,
brother.” said Jeb, the bright one. “We know where the old man
hides everything. Since we been sold as slaves, we ain’t around
no more, he wouldn’t think to find new places to hide his stash, and
you know damn well he never believed in banks.”
exclaimed Sam. “Between us, I’ll bet we could find what he’s got left
of the money in about thirty minutes. If we don’t get it for
Master Long, somebody else is gonna’ get it. Better our Master,
what’s been looking out for us for the last two years gits it than some
damn stranger what buys the place and stumbles onto it.”
they’re gonna’ sell the farm immediately to pay back some of his
damages.” chimed in Phil. Burt laughed.
“And he ain’t
gonna’ need no defense fund. He’ll be charged with attempted
murder and willful destruction of community property. It’s a slam
dunk case he’ll be sold as a lifetime slave.” Sam added.
“You know, it
never crossed my mind, Boss, but ma’ brothers has got a great
idea. You think Master Hoot and Cotton would let you drive us
over there for a quick search?” Burt asked Blake.
“Wouldn’t do no
harm to ask. C’mon, let’s go ask ‘em.”
The boys were
really psyched and talked about the different places they knew their
dad hid money. Blake explained the idea to Hoot and Cotton.
Hoot said it sounded like an adult Easter egg hunt. They laughed
their ass’s off at the boys and told them to go ahead.
men find, c’mon back here and we’ll all take the gate to the Goodnight
barn and you can give it to Master Long.”
The boys jumped
into the back of the old work truck, with Blake driving, and took off
for their old homestead. It took them a little longer than they
thought, but when all was counted they found a little over a hundred
and fifty thousand dollars of old American dollars, which were worth
almost twice as much as the newer Amero dollars. They were
thrilled. They were laughing, hooting and hollering when they
drove back into the compound at Hoot and Cotton’s ranch. They
felt like they’d really put one over on their old man. Hoot
contacted Charlie and Lazarus and asked if they could bring the boys
through the gate, they had something they wanted to give their
master. Charlie and Lazarus had no idea what it could be.
Hoot gave them no clue.
They all came
though the gate and Lazarus invited them on board the Mighty Bee for
refreshments. David and Jonathan waited on them. The boys
were in great spirits. They loved the men on the
Bandersnatch. Burt handed Lazarus the paper grocery bag
containing the money with a great big smile on his face.
“It’s from all
us Stamper boys, our Boss and our Master’s Hoot and Cotton. It’s
our way of saying ‘thanks’ Master Long.”
in the bag and smiled. He handed it to Charlie and he took a look.
“My God in
heaven. How much is in here?” he asked.
“A little over a
hundred and fifty thousand, Master Charlie.”
Waco and his men
gathered around to look into the sack. Everyone was amazed.
Burt went on to explain how and where the money came from.
Lazarus wasn’t shocked nor did he have any misgivings about the
money. As far as he was concerned, the boys had every right to
take advantage of their dad’s situation. He took advantage of
them, why shouldn’t they do the same. Lazarus
couldn’t stop laughing from the irony of the whole thing. He knew
immediately what he would do with the money.
“You men have
any idea where this money will go?” They looked at one another.
They hadn’t thought that far ahead.
needs an ally in this town. When the fundamentalist became a
threat to us we took the preacher down a notch or two, but as you know,
with Stan Edmunds and his family being taken by the Federal Government
we got us a bigger problem. Better to smooth things over with the
Christianist and have allies in our community against the Holy
Prophet. It’s just good politics. This money will go a long
way to building a fine, new church for them.”
you’re right, Master Long.” commented Burt.
The boys looked
like they understood the wisdom, but didn’t see the benefit for their
master. They had no idea of the accumulated wealth sitting in a
huge section of the Mighty Bee. The only other man who knew about
those bays and what they contained was Charlie Goodnight.
don’t mean we can’t use some of the money on some things we need for
you boys, like new clothes, computers, and one hell of a party for all
of us to celebrate.” Lazarus laughed. The men
cheered. That was more to their liking to hear they were going to
get to share in some small token of reward for their effort.
thing!” Lazarus exclaimed, holding up one finger as if to make an
important point, “For thinking outside the box and action above and
beyond the call of duty for common slaves, I think calls for something
more than just a blowout party. I’ve been promising you men a
trip into space for over a year now, but there’s been so damn much
happen we ain’t never seemed to have the time for it. We’ll just
damn well make time!” He slammed is closed fist down on the
table. The boys cheered.
you think you and your crew are up to piloting a group around our solar
system for a day or two vacation?”
“Say the word,
Admiral Long. My crew and I stand ready, Sir. By your
command.” Waco snapped to and stood at attention; which had it’s
comic overtones in his Western clothes, but he managed to pull it off
without too many laughs. The Stampers boys looked at each other
in surprise when Waco called Lazarus ‘Admiral.’ Waco saw their
surprise and continued, “What? You didn’t think the Mighty Bee
was the only ship in this fleet, did you? Where do you think
Captain Jones and Bryce come from? Where do you think Captain
Strom and his mate Commander Fielding come from? There’s ships
hidden all over this planet. There’s one hidden beneath the great
pyramid of Cheops. There’s one hidden less that two hundred
feet in solid granite next to the NORAD command center in Colorado.”
The boys looked
at Lazarus with a new respect bordering on reverence. They’re
owner, they’re master was the Admiral of a huge fleet of ships trying
to save them and the Earth from a final holocaust. They were
We’ll take the Buttercup and visit every planet in our system.
For that we need overnight accommodations and supplies for a large
party. There’s several folks we need to take along because of
their loyalty to the Grange.”
The Stamper boys
asked if they might visit Mr. Hall to express their sorrow for their
dad’s actions. Lazarus sent David to ask Jack if the boys might
visit him. He returned quickly and related Mr. Hall said he would
be pleased to have them visit. Lazarus led the boys to sickbay
and into Jack’s room. The rest of the men stayed in the
canteen. It would’ve been too crowded for all of them to
go. Besides, Waco and his men were in to visit Jack several times
a day. Lazarus introduced the boys.
“Mr. Hall this
is Burton Stamper, Elam’s oldest son. We call him Burt. The
next man here is his next younger brother, Phil; next we have, Sam; Jeb
and last but not least, Zeke, the youngest.”
“It’s good to
finally meet you, gentlemen.” Jack shook each one’s hand.
“We jes’ wanted
to tell you how damn sorry we are, Mr. Hall, for our dad’s actions.”
said Burt and the other boys agreed.
you men coming to me to tell me. It means a lot, but h’it weren’t
your fault. To be honest, I don’t hold no grudge against
Elam. He and I were pretty good friends. I like yore’ dad a
lot. Drank with him many evenings without ever a bad word between
us; however, the other night something was stick’n in his craw and he
jes’ couldn’t get over it. I did ma’ best to git him to come home
with me and pass out on my parent’s couch like he done a hunnert times
before, but he jes’ wanted to stay there and raise hell. I gave
up and started to leave. The next thing I know’d I heard a gun
shot and a searing pain in my back and chest. I thought fer sure
I was a dead man. Almost was, if’n it had’n a’ been for these
good men saving my life.” Jack motioned to Lazarus and Charlie.
“You’re in the
best of hands here, Mr. Hall. I can guarantee ya.’” said Sam
holding up his hand. “See them three fingers?” he wiggled his
three fingers, “Cut them off with a table saw what kicked back on me
about a year ago. Them men put ‘em back on and them crystal
critters healed me up real good. I got full use of ‘em today
because of them. They’s jes’ a little shorter, but what the hell,
they git the job done.” he smiled at Jack.
awful good to me. Don’t you men worry none. I don’t plan on
press’n charges against yore’ old man. He was drunk out of his
mind. I forgive him for shoot’n me. From the care I’m git’n
I can tell I’m gonna’ be jes’ fine. I heard he went and burned
down the Pentecostal church. He’s gonna’ have a lot to make up
for with a charge like ‘at against him.”
“We didn’t come
to say we’s sorry to try’n talk you out of press’n charges against him,
Sir. As a matter of fact, we hope you do press charges. Not
because we’re angry with him for selling us into slavery; we done
forgive him for that; but, because we’re ashamed of him, and we don’t
want him hurt’n nobody else. Hell, Mr. Hall, we got us better
lives being Master Long’s slaves than we ever did living with our
dad. They treat us good, feed us well, they let us go to school,
we git to play football, but we work hard, and we’re learning to become
a family. Since we been slaves, we been working hard to separate
ourselves from him and his lifestyle. In a way, you’d be doing us
a favor by pressing charges against him.” said Phil sincerely.
“Well, I never
thought you men would come to me for either purpose. It’s
something to think about, but don’t be angry with me if’n I don’t
choose to press charges. I need to think on it, but my gut
reaction is to just let it be. My daddy didn’t teach me much
either, but my grand daddy, he taught me the cowboy way. Yore’
daddy’s got enough on his plate with burning down the church.
He’s probably looking at lifetime slavery for that and attempted murder
even if I don’t testify against him. There were just too many
witnesses, Son, what seen him do it.”
decide, Sir, you have our word we won’t hold no grudges. We’ll
leave it up to you, but we appreciate you hearing our thoughts on the
“Glad to do it,
and I’m really glad to meet you men. If it’s any consolation I
think what he was so upset about was he missed you men and jes’
couldn’t admit to himself he made a mistake.”
“That’s just the
thing, Mr. Hall, he didn’t make no mistake.” allowed Burt. “He
don’t know it, but it was the best damn thing he could a’ done for
us. We understand it weren’t necessarily his intent or motivation
in selling us. We didn’t understand it at the time and hated him
for doing it. His intent was nothing more than to get money for
his’self and his motivation was greed; however, he unwittingly saved us
from a world of hurt by selling us to Master Long. We were
running wild and at each others’ throats most of the time. Me and
Phil would a’ been in prison or sold as lifetime slaves by now and ma’
younger brothers would be in state run orphanages looking at a lifetime
of indenturement to payback the state.”
should go to him and tell him.” Jack said quietly.
The boys looked
at one another, but didn’t respond. There was a silence in the
room you could feel. The younger boys looked to Burt for an
answer. Burt blushed red from embarrassment being placed in a
position of authority. He wanted to prove he understood what
Master Lazarus and Charlie were trying to do for them.
“‘At’s a good
point, Mr. Hall, one we ain’t thought about. Two years ago we was
so angry at our old man, we would’ve told you to go ‘f’ yourself at
such a suggestion. Today, things is different. Today I can
tell you I’ll talk it over with my brothers, our Masters and our
boss-man, and we’ll reach a decision together; however, like you done
told us, I can’t promise we’ll agree to do it.”
“Sounds good to
me, young man. You men drop by again. I’ve enjoyed your
“We will, Sir,
it’s good to meet you. We’re in and out of here all the
time. We’ll stop by and say ‘hello.’” Phil promised.
Jack shook the
boys hands again and they left. Lazarus took the boys back to the
canteen to join the Goodnight men. Charlie indicated to Lazarus
to go on he wanted to speak with Jack for a minute, and he’d join them
in a minute.
serious about not pressing charges against Elam Stamper, cowboy?”
Charlie asked quietly.
What he done was wrong but I’m gonna’ live. I thought we’s suppose to
point, Jack. We are. I guess I jes’ ain’t had time to think
it out thoroughly. Well, like the boys, whatever you decide,
we’ll stick by you.”
“Somehow, I jes’
know that, Mr. Goodnight. I really appreciate what you and yore’
ramrod has done for me. I do, however, plan to go after my health
insurance company with a vengeance though.” Jack chuckled, “When
I get through with them they’ll have to hang out a new sign that reads:
“Hall Medical Insurance Company.” They shared a laugh.
“You should go
after them. They almost cost you your life. We’ll back you
on that, too. You could end up becoming a very wealthy man, Jack
Hall. If you decided to stick around here, we hope you’ll
consider joining our Grange. We can use more good men like you.”
“I ain’t never
been a joiner, Charlie, but I got to know more about what’s going on
here. You, Ramrod Long, and all these folks fascinate me.
Even your slaves act like it’s natural for them to see such
wonders. If that means becoming a part of your Grange, count me
* * * * * * *
A date was set
for the first weekend in August for their trip. Charlie and
Lazarus talked about limiting the Grange meetings from every Sunday
afternoon after church to once a month. The rest of the time it
would be just immediate family; however, when they got to counting who
would be included in immediate family it included almost all the
Grange. They gave up and thought they’d just start delegating
more help to come from individuals. It turned out fine.
Folks started bringing more food and drink for everyone and it equaled
out. They planned for a Thursday through Saturday trip and be
back in time for the Sunday Grange meeting at Angus’ ranch.
with Charlie and they decided they needed to take care of some much
needed business and the time was perfect to strike at the heart of the
town’s Christianist loonies, and that included Preacher David W. Yates
and his wife. Charlie drove the big ranch wagon Ida Mae
used most of the time for Hank to drive her into town for
shopping. They called Ed, Angus, Ranger, Sonny and Warren Steele
to come through the gates and drive in with them. They met
Sheriff Lassiter and Chief Tin Penny at the preacher’s parsonage.
The were a representative body of the Grange. They all knew and
agreed before they got there what Lazarus and Charlie proposed to
do. Sonny Steele and his dad Warren couldn’t believe what the men
planned to do, but they thought it was nothing short of brilliant.
They called to
make an appointment. David was stunned he was getting a visit
from the Grange. It made him very nervous. He knew they
were aware of his vicious plots against them. Abigail tried to
just want to express their sorrow for our loss of the church, David.”
but your dad and grand dad are coming with them.”
all the more reason you shouldn’t be concerned. Dad would never
be a part of anything that would put you in a compromised
position. I just have a feeling these men aren’t that way.
I have faith my daddy and I know my granddaddy wouldn’t be a part of
something that would harm us.”
arrived. David and Abigail received them warmly. Also
present was the associate pastor and minister of music, Raymond
Trowbridge, and the president of the church’s board of directors,
Quincey Throckmorton. The men shook hands all around.
Abigail had a couple of women from the ladies auxiliary of the church
there to help her serve coffee and desserts to the men. The first
order of business was, the visiting men wanted to take a look at the
remains of the church and David took them out to show them. Don
was right. There was nothing left. They hadn’t even moved
Elam’s old Dodge pickup truck out of the way. The men expressed
their sorrow and ‘tisk-tisked’ at the destruction. They returned
to the living room of the parsonage.
“Thank God the
parsonage was built far enough away from the church it wasn’t
disturbed.” said Sonny Steele.
was built quite a while after the church, and as you can see, it’s a
rock quarry stone structure. It was able to withstand the heat of
the fire without much damage at all; however, we did manage to wet it
down during the fire.” explained David.
“It was very
heroic of you and your neighbors to get out there with nothing more
than garden hoses and try to fight the fire.” allowed Chief Tin
right to the point, Pastor Yates. While we ain’t members or
attend your church, we recognize the right and the need to have other
religious viewpoints represented within our community, and in the
spirit of Christianity the board members of the Grange you see
represented here today met and decided we'd like to offer a hand to
help you rebuild.”
Lazarus handed David a business envelope with the church’s name on it
in care of Reverend David W. Yates.
David opened the
letter inside, read it, took one look at the enclosed check and
collapsed. It was a check for a hundred thousand dollars.
His family and church friends got him to a chair and Abigail brought
him around. She saw the amount of the check and smiled at her dad
and granddad. David was stunned.
“We didn’t know
what we were going to do. Our treasury is at an all time low,
gentlemen, and this is like an answered prayer, like manna from
heaven. I don’t know how we can thank you.” he broke down
in tears, much to the discomfort of the men of the Grange.
a beginning, Sir. Consider it a goodwill gesture. We know
you're in a tough spot right now.” said Lazarus. “We assume you had
insurance on the
“Yes, Sir, we
did. The appraiser has been out, but it was such an old structure
we couldn’t get a hundred percent replacement policy. They will
only settle for about fifty thousand for what they consider and act of
God. I don’t know how they could consider a drunk man driving
into the church an act of God but they do.” David complained.
what the Grange is willing to do for you and your congregation.
Accept their fifty thousand as a base. Hire a competent local
architect and have him design a new church for you. The Grange
will stand ready to backup a loan for five hundred thousand dollars,
not including this gift donation to your church and ministry.
When the building is complete the Grange will stand ready to pay half
the construction cost not to exceed two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars. If you can bring it in for that or under the Grange will
all cost. If you need a loan, the rest must be paid by the
church. If those terms are acceptable, your handshake will
confirm our agreement. You and your board have forty-eight hours
to confer and accept or reject our offer.”
There was a
silence in the room that was palpable.
Why would you men do this?” David caught himself before he said more.
the right thing to do, Reverend.” Charlie told him. “We feel
certain, if the Grange was in trouble, you and your congregation would
be the first to offer us a helping hand.”
“Well, yes, of
course we would.” David said in a stunned voice, all the while thinking
in the back of his mind, ‘Ain’t a snowball’s chance in hell I’d help
you Godless heathens, but I’d kiss the Devil's butt to get myself a
new church.’ David W. Yates couldn’t see farther than the end of
his nose. He was a petty, selfish little man with many problems.
the major members of the church right here, David. Why don’t you
go into your study, discuss it with them and give Ramrod Long and the
Grange your answer today.” Abigail suggested sweetly.
Dear. Would you gentlemen excuse us for a few minutes.
Please, have more coffee and some cake or pie.” David gushed, and left
with the president of the board of directors of the church and his
second, the associate pastor. They went into David’s study and
closed the door.
“What do you
think, Quincey, Raymond?” David asked.
“I don’t know.”
said Quincey suspiciously. “You’ve preached pretty heavy against
the Grange. What is the congregation gonna’ think when you
announce to them you’re planning on crawling in bed with ‘em.”
money to us and backing up a building loan ain’t exactly crawling in
bed with them, Q. What do you think, Ray?”
“I got the same
feeling Mr. Throckmorton has. You’re gonna’ lose a lot of
credibility with your congregation. For a while there, we had
them Grange folks backed into a corner. Don’t know what happened,
but all of a sudden they’s off the hook, so to speak. Quincey’s
right. If you accept this from them it’s gonna’ make you look
like a first rate hypocrite.”
it’s time we rethink our position about the Grange. Maybe we
should think about co-existing with them. They’re just folks like
us. They’re Christians, too. They just ain’t as good
Christians as we are. My father-in-law and his dad are faithful
members of the Grange. Since they joined I ain’t seen or heard
about any Satanic goings on out there. They’d let me know if
there was. My father-in-law is a cowboy of the first
magnitude. He would never lie to me.”
about that Watkins man, they call him, what’s living out there with the
Goodnights. He goes about heal’n folks, but not in the name of
our Lord. He don’t never tell nobody he’s from God, or he heals
the name of Jesus. He says he’s no more or no less than we are,
he just has natural gifts. Where did he git them gifts,
David? I ask you, where did he get them?” Quincey pressed
know. I’ve heard about him, but I ain’t met him. Let’s look
at facts, gentlemen. Quincey, you’re on the board of directors of
our bank, are you and your bank willing to stand behind as large a
building loan as them men just offered us?”
know. I don’t think so. We’d have to have a meeting on it
first, but I can guarantee you it wouldn’t be anything near that
close. We’d probably match the fifty thousand you’re getting from
the insurance company and that’s it. If we plan it right and cut
corners, a hundred thousand would probably replace the old structure;
however, I can’t even promise that much until the board meets to
discuss it and votes on it. It’ll take about two weeks.”
weeks? You’re the damn president and chairman of the board of the
only bank in town and you can’t give me something more definite when we
got men waiting in my living room willing to rebuild our
church on a handshake, bigger and better than it was, for cries
sake? Get out of
There are many avenues for gifts, but they always start from the same
spirit; there are lots of ways to serve, but it's always the same Lord
who benefits. If we benefit
at the same time, why not? I say we take their money and
run. Let’s take what we
can get. If they're foolish enough to think thery're gonna' buy
their way into heaven by cozying up to us, let 'em think it. We
know better. If the rapture comes as soon as most folks think,
we'll be gone and leave them holding the bag. We'll get us a
brand-new church, but they won't git jack-shit. I think this is a
from God, gentlemen. It’s an answer to
“Or it’s from
the Devil. My daddy always taught me if it sounds too good to be
true, it probably is.” added Raymond sarcastically. “I think we
an appeal to the Holy Father, since you’re an old friend of his.”
kidding? The last time he came shopping for young kids for his
deviate sexual purposes I couldn’t even get him to preach in our
church. What makes you think he’d give a rat’s ass about us?”
true! Our Holy Father ain’t no deviate. Them’s blasphemous
words, Preacher!” said Quincey.
“Oh, grow up,
You wanna’ see the mail I got from him asking me to be his pimp here in
Reason? He was gonna’ try and make off with half our damn high
school football team, but I put my foot down and told him ‘no.’
As it is, he trumped up dissident charges against Ole and Hattie Bloom
and sent them to a re-education camp so’s he could scoop up their young
slave-boy, who was, for all practical purposes, their son. Young
Stan was taken off to the Holy City to become one of Scudder’s sexual
toy-boys. Remember, I know him a lot better than you men.
We lived together while going to bible college. I know him inside
and out. I know his sexual habits and tastes. Trust me, a
man like him don’t
change those things over night! Remember how many times
they had that silly, grinning imbecile Ted Haggard in and out of rehab
for cocksuck’n. They never did cure him. They never
admitted it, but they finally
realized there weren’t no cure. They just give up on him and cast
him out. He died in an alley somewhere sucking off a bum; a man’s
penis in his mouth and a bottle of Thunderbird wine under his
armpit. What a way to go. Who’s to say? Maybe he
found his own personal bliss. At least he died ministering to the
poor. It’s time to fish or cut bait, gentlemen. Let’s take
a vote, right here and now!”
betting Raymond would vote with him, after all, he had to show his
pastor loyalty. “My vote is for accepting their generous
proposal. What about you, Ray?”
so. A reluctant ‘aye.’” he said.
“Well, for the
record I’m voting against it, and I’m hereby resigning my position as
president of the board.” Quincey Throckmorton said belligerently.
“No, you ain’t,
Quincey! Jes’ get that thought out of your head, and climb down
off'n that damn high-horse a' yours! You’ll
continue to be president of the board until I tell you, you can step
down. Got that? Furthermore, you little tin-plated,
bureaucratic weasel, you will announce to our congregation it was a
decision of the church board. Two fuck’n weeks, my ass! No
wonder this damn town is dying with men like you running the main
financial institution. Yore' daddy put the wrong damn son in
charge before he died.” David
Throckmorton glared at David, but David Yates didn’t back down.
Raymond Trowbridge’s mouth dropped open. There was no doubt in
his mind, his pastor’s statement was a direct threat about something of
which he had no knowledge. He wasn’t about to ask either.
He didn’t want to know. He could see the lights flashing from one
man’s eyes to the other. He could see himself being struck by a
stray bolt of lightening, but he wouldn’t want to be in Quincey
Throckmorton’s boots at that moment. Raymond could smell the
ozone, . . . or was it brimstone? He couldn’t be sure.
End Of Chapter
32 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~