By Waddie Greywolf

Chapter 33

Reverend David W. Yates led the board members back into the living area of his home.  David was all smiles, but Lazarus could see there were no smiles on the faces of Quincey Throckmorton and Raymond Throwbridge.  He’d lived long enough to recognize the look of two men who had serious reservations about the agreement which their preacher was about to make with the Grange.  Right wing Christianists have always been masters at making others feel uncomfortable, so it warmed Lazarus’ heart to see the roles reversed for once.  The Reverend Yates was all bubbly and friendly as he shook Lazarus and Charlie’s hands in acceptance of their generous offer.  He made it a point to shake the rest of the men’s hands including Chief Tin Penny, whom he considered little more than a Devil worshiping heathen.

Many of the Native Americans were returning to their old faiths which were totally unacceptable to an intolerant group like the Christianists.  To Lazarus’ way of thinking, the American Indians were probably closer to the truth of the universe than the Christianists ever were.  The fundamentalist looneys were so far off base from the original concept of Christianity, it was all but unrecognizable.  It was just one more reason for Yates to disapprove of and hate the Grange.  They welcomed and accepted anyone regardless of their beliefs unless they were unbendingly rigid fundamentalist.  There, they drew the line.  It was a double edged sword for Yates because his in-laws were staunch members of the Grange which, in effect, said they agreed with their more liberal politics.  It caused many arguments between him and his wife; however, Abigail was quick to remind him the Grange’s liberal acceptance of his not-so-conservative preference for casual wear saved his ass.

* * * * * * *
On the ride back from town there were some choice lines exchanged by the cowboys, to whom nothing was sacred.  The men had been through a lot in the last couple of years together and began to wallowed in the comradery a little ribald humor could provide after a particularly unpleasant visit with the other side.

“I wonder what sort of outfit that money’s gonna’ buy Preacher Dave?  He can afford several nice ensembles if he shops wisely.” laughed Sonny.  The other men laughed knowing some of the money would probably go for that purpose before it went to feeding and clothing the poor.

“Knowing David, I’ll bet they’ll be very tasteful.” allowed Warren in all seriousness.  They laughed again.

“I don’t know, Dad, I showed you them pitchers the Grange sent him to shut him up.  You gotta’ admit, he weren’t a real comer.  I’d put him in the same category as Eleanore Roosevelt.”

“Aww, c’mon, Son, he weren’t that pretty.”  Warren shot back.  Sonny set his dad up and Warren knocked it out of the park.  The men were laughing their asses' off.

“Gentlemen, gentlemen, please,”  Lazarus feigned mock indignation, “we’re talking about a man of the cloth here.”

“Yeah, nine full yards per dress, I’d wager.” insisted Ranger, and it set them off on another round of laughter.

“As big as he is he’d need the whole nine yards.” allowed Ed. “And then some for extras.” they laughed harder.

“Do you think our offer  was received in the spirit we hoped it might?” asked Charlie of Sonny and Warren.

“Can’t rightly say, Mr. Goodnight.  My son-in-law can be a difficult man to deal with; not because he’s clever or real bright, but because he has a such a narrow view of life.  Whatever works for the moment seems to be his m.o. for everything he undertakes.  He may feel one way about something today and change his mind a hundred and eighty degrees tomorrow.  I did put one thought in his head.  I told him it would be a nice gesture if he tried to get young Stan Edmunds back from the clutches of the H.P. and return him to where he belongs in our community.”

“I thought we weren’t gonna’ put no strings on his accepting our help?” Lazarus asked Sonny.

“I didn’t put it to him that way, Ramrod.  I just told him if he felt grateful and wanted to show his good faith it might be a nice thing to do.  He reacted about like I thought he might.  He turned green around the gills.” The men chuckled.  Sonny continued, “He’s afraid of the Holy Prophet and I imagine he has a right to be.  We’re really surprised he stood up to him the way he done, but then he had a sharp stick poke’n him in the ass.”  Sonny laughed referring to the Grange’s threat.  “Hell, we all never know from day to day who might be next to be hauled off and labeled as a dissident.  As long as we operate within the framework they set up and keep our noses clean, I don’t see how they can get away with rounding us up and doing what they done to the Blooms.  They just done that because the Blooms were poor and knew they couldn’t fight back.”  

“It was also a way to take a shot at the Grange indirectly.  Scudder knew the Blooms and Stan were a part of the Grange family.  He’s testing the waters.  David got me aside and asked if I knew anything about the Blooms being raptured from their re-education center.  I told him I didn’t know nothing about it.  I lied and told him it was the first I’d heard about it.  I told him he know'd more about the rapture than I do.” said Warren Steele.
“He didn’t seem too upset about it, but I don’t think he’s put two and two together with the Grange; mainly, because the Blooms ain’t show’d up on anybody’s radar.  As far as the H. P. and Reverend Yates are concerned, they just vanished.  That’s the way we wanna’ keep it.  I got to thinking, this rapture thing is a great cover for what we’re doing.  Most of the Christianists think it’s gonna’ happen all at once, and in the final days it just might when we go to collecting folks; however, ain’t no reason the rapture couldn’t be an ongoing thing; some today, some tomorrow and the next day.  Who’s to say?  They say God works in mysterious ways.  Perhaps that should be our moto for the Grange.”  Warren concluded with a chuckle.   

Before Sonny and Warren went back through the gate to their ranch they wanted to visit Jack Hall for a minute and see how he was doing.  They were impressed.  He was sitting up in bed playing Texas hold ‘em with Waco, Blue, Travis, Little Bear, Ox and Keekepata.  Laying next to him on the bed was Patty with her head in his lap.  He was playing cards with one hand and petting her with his other.  Under his right arm was Jill, and sitting on a pillow next to his left shoulder was her brother Jack.  The scene looked like a cross between a velvet painting of dogs at a poker party and a picture of a bad Star War’s costume reunion.  Jack Hall looked like he fit right in as the Earthman who accidentally found himself in a strange situation, which wasn’t too far from the actual truth.

“Howdy, brother!” Sonny hailed him.

“Howdy, Sonny, Mr. Steele.” Jack returned. “Good to see ya’ll again.”

“Looks like you got over your shyness with the strange critters.” Warren observed.

“Ah, hell, they’s a great bunch once you git to know ‘em.  This damn Bigfoot was about to wipe ma’ cowboy ass at poker, and the little miss with wings cheats like a two-bit buffalo gal.  The big’un don’t say much, but he don’t have to playing poker.  He’s too good at take’n ma’ money.” Jack laughed.  I’s about to lose ma’ shirt a while ago when the cavalry arrived.  These two pretty little ring tailed critters ain’t given me a wrong suggestion yet.  I’d like to take ‘em to Vegas with me for a weekend.” Jack grinned and winked at Sonny.  They laughed.

They stayed for a minute, wished Jack well and then followed Charlie and Lazarus to the Canteen for a cup of coffee before they went home.

“By the way, gentlemen, Lazarus promised the Stamper boys you met at our Sunday Grange meetings he would give them a ride into space, but he’s been putting it off because so many things been happening.  We’re finally gonna’ do it the first weekend in August.  That’s Thursday afternoon through Saturday evening late.  It’s sort of like a three day cruise of our solar system.  We’d like to invite you and Vivian, Sonny, and you, Warren, to go along with us if’n you’d like.  We don’t have room for your boys this time, Sonny, ‘cause there’s some other folks we need to invite.”       

“‘At’s all right.  They don’t need to be doing everything we do.  I’m just pleased we’re git’n to do some things with ma’ dad.  He’s looking so much better these days, and I'm feeling a hell of a lot younger.  Hell, yes, we’d love to join you men.  I don’t even have to ask Vivian.  I know she’d want to go.  We’ll make arrangements.  Is there anything you need us to bring?”

“Naw, we got ever’ thing planned.  It’ll be a sleep over, but you’ll have proper stateroom facilities and privacy.  Bring an overnight bag with a change of clothes if you wish.  Nothing fancy.  Western clothes will do nicely.  Food and drink will be provided.”

“Will we be taking the big ship out?” asked Warren.

“No, it’s pretty much anchored in the blue granite mountains.  We took it out once when Lazarus first got here, but it caused all sorts of problems.  There were government men all over the ranch looking for something.  I don’t even know if they knew what they were looking for, but we just played dumb, and they went away.  We’ll be taking one of the smaller crafts, a puddle jumper, but it has all the comfort and capabilities of the larger ship.  It’s plenty big for our purposes.  It’s called the Buttercup.”

“We really appreciate you and Captain Long’s generous invitation.  We’ll look forward to it.” said Warren as he shook Charlie’s hand.

They left and returned to the small barn on their ranch.

“I don’t know’s I’ll ever git used to that.” said Sonny to his dad after they walked through the gate.

“It shore’ beats the hell out of a horse and buggy, doe’nit?” Warren laughed.

The men walked into the ranch kitchen just in time for supper.  Vivian let her slave lady go for the evening and told her she’d clean up.  There really wasn’t much to do but load the dishwasher and turn it on.  They held hands and said a prayer, then started to eat.

“How’d our boy react to the Grange’s offer?” she asked.

“A lot more enthusiastically than we expected.” Sonny declared.

“I thought he was gonna’ kiss Ramrod Long.” Warren chuckled.  Vivian laughed wickedly at her father-in-law.

“Well, it is a pretty spectacular offer no matter where it came from.  Maybe he’ll begin to see the light?” Vivian sighed.

“I wouldn’t bet on it, Darling.” Sonny told her.

“I won’t.” she replied.

“Set aside Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the first weekend in August for a small trip.  We’ve been invited to take a three day tour of our solar system in one of Captain Long’s puddle jumpers.”

“Are you serious, Sonny?  Is he making this up, Dad?” Vivian almost choked on her Chicken Kiev from Sprawl-mart.

“Naw, he be tell’n you the truth, daughter.  Pack an overnight bag and one change of clothes.  Nothing fancy, we were told.  Casual Western wear.”

“Oh, my God!  I was holding out for one of them Mexican Riviera cruises.  Why the hell would I wanna’ see Mexican tourist traps when I can see our solar system up close and personal?  Eat your heart out NASA!  To hell with Mexico!  Count me in, gentlemen.” Vivian exploded with laughter.  

* * * * * * *

Jack Hall had never touched another man’s private parts in his life; however, being as big as he was physically, he sometimes would grab hold of a rambunctious stallion’s cock and help guide him into a mare when they were breeding the horses on his dad’s ranch.  That was different.  It was an animal.  He’d had a couple of cowboys give him blow-jobs in the bed of his pickup truck after the bar closed when he was so drunk he could barely stand up.  What he remembered about it was pretty good.  It felt warm and wet.  He really never thought much about it.  He didn’t have to do much but lay there with his Wranglers open and let them suck.  Why not?  They were willing and he was horny.  He didn’t mind a little charity work.  He never felt sorry or guilty he did it.  Jack did pretty much what suited his fancy within reason.  He never forced a woman to have sex with him.  He didn’t have to, there were too damn many who wanted to wake up in the morning with his boots under their bed.

One afternoon Cable was taking his blood pressure and checking his temperature.  He was generally moving around trying to make Jack as comfortable as possible.  He wasn’t paying much attention to Jack other than tending to his needs.  He changed his catheter when it needed and after he didn’t need it anymore would hold his penis for him to urinate in the plastic bottle.  Cable, David and Jonathan bathed him regularly.  He’d never been so pampered in his life.  Jack never seemed the least self-conscious about Cable touching him on his private parts.  Did it have something to do with the bio-mechanical men being naked all the time?  Cable sat bedpans under him and changed them without comment or registering distaste until Jack could get up and walk to the restroom by himself.  Jack was impressed; Cable and his men were very professional.  They were good at what they did and made people comfortable.

“Cable?” Jack said to get his attention one afternoon when no one was around.

“Yes, Mr. Hall, is there something I can do for you?”

“Ranger Gibbons told me you might let me feel you if I asked right nice-like.  Is that true?”

“Certainly, Sir.  I’m not shy.  My master never allowed me to be programed to feel shame about my person, Sir.  None of his bio-mechanical family have been programed to be self-conscious.  He likes to see us naked, and we like for him to see us this way.  He is very good to us and we are a part of his  family.  We think on him as our ‘father.’  My body is just a utility for me to function in.  I’ve been told it’s quite nice as bodies go.  Mr. Gibbons seems to like my body.  He fucks me once or twice a month.  Good man, Mr. Gibbons.  Considerate partner and an exceptionally fine fuck.  I enjoy his visits.  I feel really good after he fucks me.”

Jack stifled a laugh.  He wasn’t expecting such an honest and open answer.  Cable moved closer to the bed to the cowboy’s hand and without hesitation placed his handsome cock and balls in it.

Jack smiled and felt them.  Cable began to get erect and soon stood at full salute.

“You’re really one hell of a good looking buckaroo, Cable.  Thank you for letting me feel you.  I see you responded to my touch, are you programed to like men for sexual partners?”

“I’m programed for both, Mr. Hall.  I do equally well with either sex.  Do I prefer one to the other?  Not really.  I find both quite satisfactory, and before you ask, yes, I’m programed to have anal sex both ways.  Would you care to feel my rectum?  You could check it out to see how tight I can be.  You might like to make note of it for future reference if you ever care to use me.”

“Uhh, no, that won’t be necessary.  Perhaps another time, but thank you for offering.  You mean your master farms you out to have sex with anyone?”

“No, Sir.  I don’t think you understand.  I’m a free agent, Mr. Hall.  My master doesn’t insist I do anything against my will.  I’m free to participate in sex with anyone I chose, as long as they’re within the limits of man’s laws and both parties are willing.  Also, I must not neglect my job to be off enjoying sex without having another android or bio-mechanical to cover for me.  That would be irresponsible of me.  I would consider it an honor to serve you, Mr. Hall, if you ever wanted to try my anus, or I’ve been told I give a pretty decent blow job.  Either way, I would do my best to please you, Sir.”

Jack Hall was flabbergasted.  He didn’t know what to say.  

“Well, . . . thank, you, Cable.  Thank you very much.  I’m sure you would please me.  Oh, yes, and one more thing, . . .”

“You’d appreciate it if I didn’t say anything about this to anyone?” Cable asked rhetorically.

“Yes, . . . yes, I would appreciate it.” replied Jack blushing.

“No one will know, Mr. Hall.  If you decide you would like to feel my rectum sometime, please let me know before hand.”

“Certainly, Cable, and thanks again.”

“You’re welcome, Mr. Hall, glad to be of service.”

Jack lay there and pondered long and hard; so long and so hard, in fact, it pulled his catheter from his penis, and he had to call for Cable.  Cable fixed it, smiled at him and told him to stop thinking about nasty things.  Jack blushed.  He felt like an idiot.  He’d been gently chastised by a beautiful bio-mechanical man.  It started Jack rethinking his sexuality.  He’d never actively participated in sex with another man; however, he thought he just might be able to with Cable.  He would have to take it up with Ranger Gibbons.  
* * * * * * *

Induction into the corps of the Holy Semi-vestal Virgins was light on substance and heavy on bullshit.  It was a crash course in fundamentalism and stilted history of the new Theocratic regime.  It was heavy on the solid and exemplary leadership of the first great Sainted leader of the new Theocracy, referred to as his Holiness Saint George the first, and his ultimate takeover of the American government from the hands of the Godless heathen liberals.  It was explained in lurid detail how Saint George (G. W. Bush) cleverly wrenched power away from congress by ignoring the Constitution and adding signing statements to every bill that passed during his administration.  The politicians just allowed it to happen.  His own party rubber stamped everything he did and the Democrats never confronted him even when they had the chance after winning a majority in November of 2006.  None of this information was whitewashed for public consumption.  The Theocrats were quite smug and proud of what they accomplished.  Why disguise it?  There was nothing the general public could do about it anyway.  The conscience of history stops with those who write it.  Like the smirking chimpanzee before him, Scudder ruled with an iron fist and was so outrageous the bizarre became accepted as commonplace, but by that time the main stream media was little more than the ultimate spin tool and official organ for the government.  Today they could proclaim something black and tomorrow make a retraction, there was a mistake and it was, indeed, white.  The only news source anyone could trust to be honest and open was the internet.  There were still enough subversive, die hard, liberals who, at the risk of their lives, cranked out the truth.  Their only problem was getting anyone, who wasn’t brainwashed by the man behind the green curtain, to believe it.

If Stan didn’t know better he could’ve easily allowed himself to become  brainwashed along with the others in his class.  Stan wasn’t surprised to find out the position of being a Semi-vestal Virgin wasn’t a lifetime opportunity.  As soon as you reached eighteen, or the Holy Prophet tired of you, whichever came first, they found you another position in the government; usually some inconsequential, minimum wage desk job in an out of the way place nobody ever heard of.  Stan didn’t plan to be around long enough to be reassigned.  Nor did he plan to be around long enough to have to participate in one of the H.P.’s audiences, as his sexual evenings were known.  

There was one other young man in his class who Stan could tell came from a rural community.  He was a big young man, much bigger than the average boy in the induction class of eight.  He towered over the other boys a good foot and a half.  He was a couple of years older than Stan, and a lot more hostile about being there.  He was a star athlete on his high school football team.  His family was taken for re-education the end of his junior year.  The following year he would be a senior, and it was going to be the greatest year of his life.  Suddenly he found himself ripped up out of his comfortable life for no good, discernable reason, or at least no reason he could understand.  His name was James Robert Dodge.  Jimmy-Bob, as he introduced himself at Stan’s impromptu birthday party a couple of nights before, was every inch an Oklahoma cowboy.
To make matters worse, his younger sister, by two years, was taken to one of the Holy Prophet’s Temple Virgins induction centers, and was in indoctrination somewhere within the Holy City’s Tabernacle Plaza complex.  He couldn’t find out where.  No one would tell him anything.  He wanted to get a message to her.  He was really angry and wasn’t interested in cooperating in anyway with the people connected with the Holy Prophet or the semi-vestal virgin program.  He was miserable.  Because they were the only two men who wore cowboy boots, Jimmy-Bob slowly gravitated to Stan.

He would sit at the back of the room during orientation and watch everyone with a big menacing scowl on his face.  He watched Stan out of the corner of his eye.  All the young men appeared to be scared or cowed by the hyper-religious freaks leading the induction.  It was part brainwashing, cheerleading, prayer meeting, and a crash course in social interaction and etiquette.  Jimmy-Bob noticed, while Stan didn’t seem to be taken in by the people doing the inducting, he appeared cool, calm and collected, like he had an inner peace, wisdom and strength unusual for a kid his age.

Having grown up with the stigma of being a slave, Stan Edmunds quickly learned to be less assertive than his fellow school mates.  Ole and Hattie never treated him as a slave.  They patiently, yet painfully, explained to him the only way they could keep him and raise him as their son was to tell everyone he was their slave.  That’s why football and sports became so important to Stan.  He could assert himself without fear of reprisal.  At home, in private Ole and Hattie called him ‘son’ and he called them ‘ma’ and ‘pa.’

One morning at breakfast Jimmy-Bob asked Stan if he cold sit with him at his table.

“Sure, sit down.” Stan told him.

“Where you from?” Jimmy-Bob asked Stan.

“Reason County, Texas.”

“Figured you was a country boy.  You don’t fit in with the rest of them freaks no more’n I do.  We stick out like two sore thumbs.”

“Yeah, I guess we do.” sighed Stan.

“Where’s Reason?”

“West Texas area.  Just before the badlands heading West toward El Paso.”

“Where you from?”

“Ada, Oklahoma.  South central Oklahoma.  Only claim to fame is the birthplace of that idiot preacher Oral Roberts.”

“Why you here?” Jimmy-Bob asked him.

“I hear the H. P. likes young cowboy footballers.  I was a slave to some good folks who loved me, and I loved them.  They raised me from a toddler.  We was more like family than master and slave.  I lived with ‘em and worked for ‘em because I loved ‘em.  They’s the only family I’ve known.”

“Yeah, I got me two uncles what bought themselves a couple of slave kids to raise.  Well, one was ma’ uncle the other was his mate.  They was family until they got hauled away for being a gay couple and their kids was sold again to some worthless family what treated ‘em like shit.  They’s like ma’ cousins.  They’s in my school and come to school all dirty, no shoes or boots, no jackets or winter clothes; they’s half-starved most of the time.  The kids in our school would pitch in and buy them lunch to make sure they had one decent meal a day.  I was more fortunate.  I was a free-boy.  Me’n ma’ little sister lived with our parents.  They were good church folks, but they weren’t fundamentalist.  They was active in community projects, but all that got took over by the Christianists government.  It went to shit with what they called faith based initiatives.  It was little more than a huge drain of government funds for the fundamentalist churches to pedal more of their right wing religious propaganda.  Very little of it went to the poor.  My parents, they got rounded up for re-education by the Swing Low Sweet Chariot Jesus Roundup squad.  Me and ma’ little sister got sent here.  When ju’ git here?” Jimmy-Bob asked.

“About three days ago, the night I met chu,’ on my fifteenth birthday.”

“That’s rough.  I just turned seventeen in May.”

“Wanna’ stop by my room after supper this evening.” Stan offered, “I still got me some birthday cake and ice cream left over from the party the officer what arrested me and his boyfriend brought me the night of my birthday.  I’d be right proud to share it with you.”

“Yeah, sure.  That’ud be nice.  Thanks, Stan.”

“No problem.  Us cowboys gotta’ stick together.”

“I hate this place.  I wish we could figure a way out of here.”

“Not to worry.  Stick with me and I’ll git us out of here.”

“How?  They watch us around the clock.”

“I got some connections.  I’ll tell ya’ later, but you gotta’ trust me, Jimmy-Bob, and keep your mouth shut.  I promise you, I give you my word as a cowboy, I won’t never lie to you.”

“Okay, I’ll trust you.  Ma’ dad taught me the cowboy way.  I won’t never tell nothing you don’t want me to.”

“Good man.  First thing you gotta’ do is make ‘em think you’re going along with their shit; all the crazy crap they’s trying to teach us.  Just ‘Amen’ ever’ damn thing they say.  They love it when they think you’re buying into their garbage and they’s convert’n you to their way a’ thinking.  They’re persistent, but they ain’t real bright.  How intelligent can they be to swallow the shit they believe?”  Stan drawled like it was just an accepted fact.  Jimmy-Bob thought it was funny.  It was the first time Jimmy-Bob laughed since being there.  He stuck out his hand to Stan and they shook.  They each understood it was their cowboy word to one another.  It was their bond.

* * * * * * *

Later that evening the two men were alone in Stan’s small space.  Jimmy-Bob noticed Stan locked the door after he came into the room, but he didn’t say anything.  Stan retrieved from his fridge what was left of the birthday cake and ice cream and split it equally between him and Jimmy-Bob.  Jimmy-Bob looked at his and then at Stan’s portion.

“You gave yourself more’n me.” he said like a little kid, then laughed.

“Here, you can have mine.” insisted Stan.

“I’s jes’ fool’n witcha.’” Jimmy-Bob laughed, “You ma’ buddy ain’t cha’?”

“You bet, cowboy.”

“Buddies can kid with each other, right?”

“As long as it don’t git serious.”

“I won’t.” said Jimmy-Bob a little embarrassed.  “How come you locked your door?”

“Don’t want no unexpected visitors coming in unannounced.  This way they gotta’ knock.  I ain’t try’n to keep nobody out; I jes’ don’t want no surprises.” explained Stan.  

It sounded reasonable to Jimmy-Bob and Stan seemed sincere.  After all, they had very little privacy.  The men sat enjoying their cake and ice cream when Jimmy-Bob could swear he heard a dog bark softly.

“‘At’s why you locked yore’ door, you got a dog in here, don’cha,’ you rascal?” Jimmy-Bob perked up and grinned real big.

“Well, yes and no.  It’s my little pup, ma’ buddy, ma’ cow dog, what I had to leave behind in Reason.  He comes to me ever’ evening about this time, and we have a few minutes to be with one another.”

“Okay, you’re git’n back at me for fool’n witcha,’ ain’t cha’?” Jimmy-Bob pointed his spork at Stan.  

“Naw, you promised to believe me if I promised to never lie to you, right?”

“Uh, ‘at’s right!”

“Okay, Moe, you can show yourself now.”  Stan spoke softly.

The three robo-cams were capable of producing a limited three dimensional hologram.  All of a sudden there was Moe, big as life running in circles around on the floor of Stan’s room.  He stopped and sat looking right at Stan.  Jimmy-Bob’s mouth dropped open.

“Howdy, little brother.  Damn, I been think’n on you all day.  It’s so good to see you again.” Stan spoke to Moe.

“Yes, yes, yes!”  Moe jumped up and down on his front paws emphasizing each word.  “It’s your little brother, Moe, Master Stan.  I’m so glad to see you.  Who’s this big cowboy?” he asked.

“This is my new cowboy brother, Moe.  His name is Jimmy-Bob.  He’s in the same boat as me.”

“Howdy, Mr. Jimmy-Bob.  Great to meet’cha’!  Ya’ll got boats there?  I love boats.”

Jimmy-Bob and Stan laughed.

“Uh, no, Moe, that’s just an expression.  It means we share the same situation.  Neither one of us wants to be here.  Where’d ju’ come from?” asked Jimmy-Bob.

“I’m back in Reason with Master Waco and Master Stan’s cowboy brothers.  They let me come to him ever’ day about this time so’s he won’t get too lonesome for home.  Master Stan’s ma’ buddy; he’s ma’ big brother.”

“How ju’ learn to talk?” Jimmy-Bob asked.  He couldn’t believe he was carrying on a conversation with a cow dog.

“I’s born this way.  Master Lucas, he’s one of Master Stan’s cowboy brothers, taught all us pups to talk and sing.  Master Stan’s been teach’n me to become a cow dog.  I love working cattle.  Ma’ daddy done told me it was in ma’ blood to herd.  I guess he’s right.  I ain’t never happier than when I’m out herding cattle with Master Stan.”

Jimmy-Bob looked at Stan, grinned real big and shook his head like he couldn’t believe it.
“Listen, Moe.  Is Master Waco there?”  Stan asked.

“Yes, Sir, Master Stan.  You wanna’ speak with him?”

“Just for a minute, and then I’ll tell you ‘goodbye,’ little brother.”

Moe wasn’t there anymore.  He just vanished.  Instead, there was a handsome young cowboy standing before them.  Stan could see Jimmy-Bob out of the corner of his eyes and could tell he was impressed.

“Howdy, brother.  We was gonna’ let you have the whole time with your little buddy.” Waco said to Stan.

“I appreciate that, Master Waco, but I need to ask a question.  How do I get a DNA sample of my new cowboy brother back to you?”

“Well, just a small piece of his hair would do, but a tiny blood sample would be better.  One of you got a straight pin?” he asked.

“Yeah, I found some in my desk drawer.” said Stan.

“Take one, prick his finger, get some blood on it, and I’ll make one of the robo-cams visible for a couple of minutes.  Press the small button on the right side and a small drawer will open.  Drop the pin into the drawer and that’s all there is to it.”

“Could you locate his sister from his DNA?”

“Shore,’ ain’t no problem.  We can locate anyone in his family down to first cousins with his DNA.”

Stan went to his desk and got a small straight pin and handed it to the big cowboy.  Jimmy-Bob smiled and looked at Stan like he was crazy.  His eyes got real big.

“I don’t think I can do it!” he moaned.

“Give it to me!” Stan demanded.

Jimmy-Bob handed him the pin.  Stan grabbed the forefinger of Jimmy-Bob’s left hand and quickly stabbed it.  Jimmy-Bob yelped.  Moe barked.  Stan and Waco laughed.  Stan squeezed a drop of blood from the pin prick and generously coated the pin.  Jimmy-Bob watch as a small round camera-projector-like object materialized in front of him.  Stan punched a small button on the side, a drawer opened, he dropped the blood coated pin into the small compartment, it closed and the robo-cam disappeared.

“Thanks, Master Waco.  Can I say ‘goodnight’ to my little brother?”

“Sure, goodnight, from all of us, brother.  We’ll talk with ya’ tomorrow evening.”

“Goodnight, all.”

Moe came back and was running around the floor again.  He just couldn’t stay still.

“You feel’n better, little brother.”

“Oh, yes, yes, yes, Master Stan.  Cable and Master Blue take good care of me.  Ms. Hattie and Master Ole feed me good and treat me even better, but it ain’t the same without you here with me.”

“I’ll be home as soon as I can, little brother.  I got something I gotta’ do, but I’ll be back home with you soon after.  I love you.”

“Oh, oh, oh, I love you, too, Master Stan.  Goodnight!”

“Goodnight, little brother, you be a good pup and mind Master Ole and Master Waco.” Stan said softly.

“I will!  I will, I promise, Master Stan.” Moe said and then he was gone.

Stan looked up and saw tears in Jimmy-Bob’s eyes.

“I’m sorry if I hurt your finger, brother.” said Stan.

“I ain’t crying ‘cause of that.  I’s crying because of Moe.  He loves you so much.  I could jes’ feel it.  I know you love him.”

“I really do, Jimmy-Bob.  Now, will you promise me again to trust me and believe me, I won’t never lie to you.”

“Oh, God, yes, Stan.  I’m sorry I ever doubted you, but you gotta’ admit all this is a little new to a cowboy like me what ain’t never seen nothing like ‘iss in his life.”

“I understand.  I’ll explain as we go along.  It ain’t nothing miraculous, but it is technology, of which, the folks around here have no knowledge or concept.  It’s the reason I made sure the door was locked.  It’s all based on solid physics and science.  Some of it’s pert-damn advanced though.”

“Are you an angel, Stan?”

“Me, an angel?” Stan laughed, “No, I jes’ done told you ever’ thing you witnessed this evening can be explained in scientific terms; but, if’n you’d like to speak with an angel, or a close approximation of one, I could probably have one here for you to talk with in a matter of minutes.”  (Stan was thinking about Cable and how many folks thought he looked like an angel.)

“No, no!” Jimmy-Bob exclaimed. “That’s enough for one evening.  I’ve got to think about all this.  What did you want with my blood?”

“I wanted to get your DNA so when the time comes to have you raptured and to rescue your family everything will go smoothly.”

“Now, wait a minute!” exclaimed Jimmy-Bob.

“No, you wait a minute.  You made a promise on your cowboy word.  I made you a promise on my cowboy word.  Now, you gonna’ trust me or not?”

“I trust you, brother.”

“That’s better.  Now, I’ll answer any question I can without giving away too much.”

The men talked quietly for a couple of hours.  Jimmy-Bob wasn’t real sure he understood about the voices of the ancients talking with Stan and his brothers, but what the hell, it made more sense than the Christianist fairy tales he had shoved down his throat all his life by his fellow school mates.

“You told Moe there’s something here you have to do.  Do you know what it is and when it will take place?”

“No.  I wish I could be more definite, but I just don’t know.  Time frames are variable.  It’s difficult to tell the future.  You can make broad speculations, but when it comes to actually happenings, dates and time, it gets a lot more complicated.  I’ll know when it happens.  Then it will be my time to do what I’ve been sent here to do.  Then and only then, can I get you and your sister out of here.”

“You think you can get ma’ little sister out of here?”

“I’ll do ma’ best, bro, but you gotta’ trust me, and do like I tell you.”

“Okay, I trust you, Stan.  I don’t know why I do, but something deep inside me tells me I have to.”

The days began to pass and Jimmy-Bob began to settle down.  He didn’t give much back at first, but he could see how Stan was playing their game and begin to try his hand at it.  While Stan didn’t suck up to the leaders, he did give them little concessions from time to time to make them think they were making inroads into brainwashing him to their way of thinking; all the while, Stan couldn’t stand the people and saw them as little more than emotional and intellectual retards.  The group leaders were thrilled Jimmy-Bob was slowly beginning to come around and see the light and privately they credited his new association with Stan Edmunds as having a big influence on him.  They left the two men alone and allowed them to bond.   

The group leaders, who called themselves the Learned Apostles of the Holy Prophet and whom Stan and Jimmy-Bob saw as little more than neo-Nazi brown shirts, gave their class of young acolytes a timetable of a month and a half induction and three months practical religious education classes before they would be considered eligible for an audience with the Holy Prophet.  Stan and Jimmy-Bob decided the longer it took them to pass to the next level, the safer they were from having to ‘perform’ for his Holiness.  

* * * * * * *

Jimmy-Bob, who saw himself as a straight, cowboy stud couldn’t help wonder what was happening to him.  He was frustrated, because he was the older of the two men and felt he should be the dominant alpha-male between him and Stan; however, he found himself becoming more and more dependent on Stan for his strong, unwavering emotional support.  As a person’s years advance, it becomes less important between adults who is seen as dominant or subordinate in relationship to age; however, before the age of twenty-one a couple of years difference in age can mean a totally different understanding of the universe.

Jimmy-Bob just couldn’t understand how a younger kid, as he thought of Stan, could be so much more together, have a greater maturity and control of his world than he did, but the very worse thing was, of late, every time he was around Stan for any length of time, he would get aroused.  He got an erection every damn time he was with Stan.  He never had any feelings for another male before, but when he found out Stan was a slave, something clicked inside him.  He couldn’t understand what was happening to him.

Was this what happened to men who were in prison and deprived of female companionship?  He was around women every day in training, but he really didn’t have access to them, nor was he particularly attracted to them.  The thought of making love or laying down with one of the self-righteous, conservative religion spouting, born-again bubble headed girls was an anathema to Jimmy-Bob.  They represented everything evil and repressive he’d been taught all his life was at best questionable and at worst, downright wrong.  He imagined the ordeal of having sex with one of them was too strange to consider.  It would be like having sex with Jesus in a manage et trois; then afterward, they would want to say sentence prayers.

The same was true in high school.  He appreciated women, but he didn’t see a need to paw or maul them for appearance sake.  He was never what the cowboy’s in his school considered a rabid cock hound.*  Jimmy-Bob dated the most beautiful girl in school.  He was the school’s football hero, the captain of the team; he could have any girl he wanted, but he never did.  He was a good boy; he didn’t want to bring his family shame and figured he had lots of time for that sort of thing after graduation; however, now he found himself on the horns of a thorny dilemma.

All reason and understanding seemed to vanish when he was around Stan.  His mind would fly out the window, and he couldn’t think of anything else but what it might feel like to sink his big cowboy dick into Stan’s muscular, athletic ass.  Why would he think that way?  Just because Stan was a slave?  He knew lots of slaves.  There were a couple on his football team, but he never had any feelings for them that way.  It became a total frustration for Jimmy-Bob and only added to his feelings of masculine self-doubts and sense of sexual inadequacies.  In a nutshell, he wanted their roles to be reversed.  Above all, Jimmy-Bob wanted more than anything to be Stan’s hero.  He felt so confused and ashamed of himself he withdrew and began to avoid Stan; however, he couldn’t avoid him altogether without a confrontation.  Jimmy-Bob didn’t know if he could handle that.

Fortunately for Jimmy-Bob, Stan was a worldly wise young man and didn’t miss his cowboy brother’s gradual change.  He never let on he knew anything was different between them, but he could see the bulge in Jimmy-Bob’s Wranglers and the wet spot at his crotch.  He could actually smell the sexual pheromones his big buddy exuded when they were together, and it nearly drove him crazy sometimes.  He was simply waiting for his partner to take the initiative and become the alpha-male Stan knew Jimmy-Bob could be.  Because Stan knew and appreciated his own self-worth, he neither wanted Jimmy-Bob to think he was a slut just because he was a slave, nor felt compelled to lay himself at just any freeman’s boots simply for his pleasure.  Stan respected their age difference and really wanted his big, older, cowboy buddy’s physical strength and love to help support him through the coming days.  How could he make that happen?

* * * * * * *

Jack Hall was growing stronger every day.  He spent the month of July convalescing in and around the Bandersnatch.  By the first of August his wounds were almost completely healed.  No one was more amazed at his progress than Jack himself.  He seemed to undergo a change while he was recovering.  He gave up drinking and smoking.  He wasn’t allowed to smoke while on the Mighty Bee and after a while away from it, he didn’t see any reason to go back to it.  He secretly wondered if the healing powers of the beautiful crystals had anything to do with his decision to quit.

Jack was introduced to the wonders of the colonies on board the ship and would visit Blue and Keekepata often to take long walks in the countryside.  He became a familiar face among the colonists and he was welcomed everywhere he went.  He even seemed to be tolerant of the same sex communities and was welcome among them.  He didn’t seem to have any problems relating to them.  They admired, respected and welcomed him.

He was still convalescing for the annual Fourth of July Rodeo and picnic which was held at Angus’ ranch, but he was able to see everything from a huge video screen in his hospital room.  It was almost as good as being there.  He wasn’t alone.  He had several folks and critters keep him company as it was becoming increasingly difficult for the more exotic of the Grange members to be seen in public.  Keeke, Ping and Pong, Jack and Jill, and several others stayed behind.  Jack and Keeke struck up a nice friendship and she showed him several videos of her dances.  He was as enthralled and impressed by her talent as everyone else.

Then there were the pups.  Patty had become Jack’s favorite, and she began to herd him everywhere.  She was always by his side when she wasn’t working cows or riding herd on Bo and Jubal.  Jack was so far along in his recovery by the last week in July, Lazarus and Charlie asked if he would like to accompany them and the boys on a three day trip around the solar system.  At first he thought they were kidding.  

“We’re quite serious.” said Charlie.  “Lazarus promised the Stamper men a trip into space sometime ago, but we haven’t had time.  We set aside the weekend after next to take them for a ride.  We’ve invited a number of folks who have been active member’s of the Grange for the last couple of years and would like for you to come with us if you like.”
“If I like?  I would love to go.” he replied.

* * * * * * *
The trip around the solar system was going on as planned.  Lazarus would leave certain key players behind, like Cable to run sickbay and to act as Captain of the Mighty Bee while Lazarus was away.  He wasn’t concerned anything would happen with Stan while they were away, but better to be prepared than to have to break off their trip and return abruptly.  Cable, and Kyron along with Ping and Pong and the Kryscellians could handle anything that might come up of an emergent nature while they were away.  Then they had a host of Grange members they could call on.

Lazarus planned to take  David and Jonathan along as hosts and maitre d’s to direct the other caretaker androids.  Lazarus and Charlie made up a rather large list of folks to take.  Of course they planned to take those closest to them.  Waco and his crew were included except Gavin and Jerry who were gone for the summer to visit their family on the Archimedes, and Bron took Bronc and T’sgan, kicking and complaining, back to the wilds for part of the summer.  They hadn’t returned yet.  Waco’s crew included Lucas as his second in command, JR, Travis and Little Bear; and of course, their Sergeant-at-arms, Ox.

They didn’t take some folks who went with them the first time.  Some they did.  They invited Angus, but he didn’t want to go.  There were too many things going on at his ranch, and he just felt better about staying around checking on Charlie’s place for him.  Furthermore, Charlie and Lazarus agreed with a suggestion from Angus to reschedule the Sunday Grange meeting to be at his ranch in case something unforeseen happened and they needed a little more time to return.  That way they would have a cushion of time and no one in the Grange would be overly concerned.

Angus allowed Shane and Bill Birdsall to go.  They jokingly began to refer to it as their second honeymoon cruise of the solar system.  As mentioned, Lazarus and Charlie invited Sonny, Vivian, and Warren Steele.  They also invited Jack Hall.  They included, Hank and Ida Mae except Ida Mae decided she didn’t want to go.  She said she would go if she ever had to leave the planet, but for now, she didn’t want to go gallivanting about the solar system.  Besides, she insisted, someone had to stay behind and take care of the ranch, the twins, and the critters.  She insisted Hank go along because she thought it would be a great bonding experience for him and JR.  She was right.

They invited Jesse and Utah to go along and they agreed.  Jesse claimed it would be his and Utah’s first trip into space in a very long time.  They invited Ranger, but he felt he should stay home with Mary and be close if she needed to see Cable again.  While she was doing really well, she wasn’t up to full strength yet.  She encouraged Ranger to go.  She knew she couldn’t, but she knew how much Charlie, Lazarus and the boy’s comradery meant to him.  Ranger insisted he could go another time.

Charlie and Lazarus made it a point to invite the old Chief, who wasn’t looking so old these days, to go along with them.  Chief Tin Penny jumped at the chance to see his grandson acting as part of the crew of a spaceship.  He couldn’t wait for the afternoon to come.

Of course, their main guest’s were the Stamper boys, Blake Tindell, Hoot Austin and Cotton Daniels.  The adults were going to leave Keekepata behind; however, the boys felt so bad about it, Lazarus gave in and included her.  Blue gave his word as a cowboy, he would be responsible for her.  He had a long, serious, brother to sister talk with her before he was satisfied she would mind him and not argue.  She agreed.  It turned out to be a fortunate thing to take her along.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth for Bo and Jubal.  They were left behind in the care of Ida Mae.  They were barely walking and not yet totally housebroken, but they knew what was happening, where their family was going, and they wanted to go in the worst way.  So did Ranger’s son, Ranger Jr., and the Jessup’s boy, Cable.  Lazarus didn’t want to take care of babes on a pleasure trip nor did he want his or Charlie’s men having to take care of them.  They would have their hands full being crew and hosts to their guests.  Besides, it was a good chance for Arlen and Bryce to come to the ranch and get away from the jungle to be with the boys.   

Jesse made a request of Lazarus and Charlie they consider inviting the Kodaly’s oldest son, Johauk.  They had no problem with Jesse’s suggestion; however, they didn’t tell Johauk exactly where they might be going and told him to pack as lightly as the rest of their guests.  He could get nothing from his brothers, except they encouraged him to come with them, he would never regret it and would remember it the rest of his life.  They were going somewhere very special.

The boys requested their teacher, Lyle Chambers and Strom, be included.  They were two important folks to the boys who helped them considerably during the year.  Lyle was spending quite a lot of time with Strom on the weekends, and they would get away to the abandoned farm in Parsons.  It was becoming their second home.  Strom was looking into buying the farm from the town.  Lazarus told him he would back him if he chose to buy it.

The boys wanted to ask Leon Olsen to go along and Lazarus had no problem with it.  There would be plenty of room.  They also wanted to ‘lift’ Stan and his new cowboy brother to take them along.  Lazarus thought about it and thought it just might be amusing to pick them up and have them disappear for several days and for them to suddenly reappear.  For a man over two thousand years old, Lazarus had developed a wicked sense of humor; however, he wasn’t sure.  He told the boys he’d think about it.

Jack and Jill wanted to go, but their parents said absolutely not.  The youngsters were very upset and depressed until the boys and Jack Hall came to Ping and Pong and interceded on their behalf.  Jack said he had a long talk with them and they promised to be good and stick close to him.  They befriended Jack during his convalescence, and he grew quite fond of them.  He reasoned  they would be good company, and they could stay with him and his constant companion, Patty, in his cabin.  Ping got a look of great doubt on her usually expressionless face, but Pong had a look of exasperation with her.  He told her mentally she had to stop being so overly protective of their children.  She reluctantly agreed.  Jack and Jill were ecstatic.  Jack just laughed and swung them up onto his shoulders.  They were all over Jack Hall, hugging and kissing him.  They were thrilled to be included.  Poor Ping looked at Pong and frowned.  Pong took life very seriously; he rarely smiled or laughed, but he did that evening.  Ping threw a small book at him, but he ducked just in time.

* * * * * * *

The Fourth of July was a great dog and pony show in the Holy City.  It was such a hypocritical farce; however, all but a handful of people continued to celebrate it.  All the Dominionists and Christianists had big parties full of patriotic chest beating, tears and great, empty bloviator speeches about liberty, freedom and the American way.  It was all such a sham as the U.S. had become something totally unrecognizable from what it was even twenty years previous.  It was a total dictatorship run by a few unimaginably wealthy corporations who only allowed a scumbag like Jerry Scudder to rule the country.  He was no more than a religious icon, a figurehead to keep the poor masses in their place with fear and trembling.  There was nothing free in America anymore.  The sacred Constitution was actually removed from its case and destroyed.  Anyone found with a copy of the document was immediately arrested and sent to a detention camp as a liberal seditionist.  Many were executed for their diehard beliefs in democracy.   

Brick and Tim decided to give a Fourth of July party and barbecue for some of their friends and a couple of the newer vestal virgin inductees.  They  struck up a friendship with Stan and Jimmy-Bob.  They invited them to Brick’s apartment several times for pizza and a movie and once took them on a tour of the Holy City.  Because of Brick’s position he even managed to give them a tour of the White House and the Holy Prophet’s apartments.  It all seemed overly sumptuous to the two young cowboys compared to what they knew in the communities from which they came.  They wondered why these people should live in such excess when others were barely getting by or starving.

Brick and Tim’s Fourth of July party was a quiet, laid back affair and everything was comfortable.  Brick had his own small pool and deck area off his condo-apartment.  It was very nice for entertaining.  It was hot that day in the Holy City.  It was also very private and no one could see into the pool area.  Brick encouraged their guests to enjoy the pool au natural.  No one seemed shy about being around each other in the nude.  

There were several Temple Guards by the pool.  Three were members of the elite Knights of the Holy Order and were clipped.  They were completely smooth at their crotches.  They had no penis or testicles and the pubic hair had been removed to accentuate their baldness.  Their urinary tract was relocated to just a small opening about an inch from their anus.  Jimmy-Bob irreverently referred to them privately as glorified eunuchs; which, was exactly what they were.  There was nothing holy about them.

It was difficult for the boys not to stare at them, but it didn’t seem to bother the big men.  They actually seemed to get a thrill out of exposing themselves to everyone.  It was like a social thing, a symbol of honor or a badge of courage, that set them slightly above and apart from the common man.  They claimed they didn’t feel nude at all, because they had nothing to hide.  The shame of their genitals was taken away from them by the Holy Prophet.  There was a ceremony each year in the Tabernacle for all the Temple Guards, especially to introduce to the congregation of God the newest members.  All the Temple Guards were completely nude at these services and great emphasis was given their return to a more natural state acceptable in the eyes of the most Holy.  (The fact they really turned the Holy Prophet on was not considered.)  Supposedly, they regained the original innocence man was supposed to live his life with before the original sin against God made man aware he was naked, and he tried to hide himself from his maker.  They no longer felt they had to hide themselves or their gloriously developed bodies from anyone.  Stan thought they had a good point even without their penises, but their logic was hopelessly flawed.  

At the party, Jimmy-Bob wouldn’t leave Stan’s side.  He didn’t seem particularly shy or uncomfortable, he just felt more comfortable with Stan around.  Both young men had fine young athletic bodies and were well endowed.  Jimmy-Bob was one of the best hung men there, but he was also one of the physically largest next to the Temple Guards.  In fact, the three who were complete eunuchs tried to encourage Jimmy-Bob to consider volunteering for the Temple Guard training program.  They felt he had great potential.  The thought completely revolted Jimmy-Bob, but he’d learned a lot from Stan in the couple of weeks they’d been in the Semi-vestal Virgin Induction Program.  While he was reserved, he remained polite, and smiled a lot.  Stan like Jimmy-Bob just the way he was.  He thought his buddy was the epitome of what a cowboy should be like.  He cringed internally to think of Jimmy-Bob as an overblown Temple Guard.

Brick sat down to talk with Stan for a minute when Jimmy-Bob decided to take a quick swim to cool off.

“I think you have an admirer,” he told Stan, “but, I also think he’d like to be more than an admirer.” Brick added.

“I wouldn’t mind, but I ain’t real sure about him or how he feels about things.  I know he gets erect when we’re alone together.”

“You mean he ain't parked his Dodge in yore' garage?” Brick grinned.

“Now, Officer Brick, you know cowboys don’t never kiss and tell.”

“After getting to know you, I’m well aware of that fact, and thanks for not saying anything to Tim about . . . ?” Brick trailed off.

“Why would I?  I ain’t the kind a’ man what needs to go around hurt’n people.  I like Tim.  He’s been a bigger help to Jimmy-Bob and me than all them stupid induction Apostles put together.”

“I didn’t hear that.” grinned Brick.

“I’m sorry, I know you’re a company man.”

“Yes, and no, but I have to keep up appearances.  I have a feeling I’m not going to be offered a position in the Holy Order.”

“Maybe that’s a blessing in disguise, Sir.”

“I don’t know.  Maybe.” Brick said like he really didn’t care one way or the other.

“You’n me, we needed something from each other and we shared what we had.  When I offered, I didn’t really count on nothing.  You were the arresting officer.  I figured if you wanted to kick me out, you would.  I tried and jes’ got lucky.”

“I’d say we both got lucky. I enjoyed it, Stan, but thanks for not saying anything to Tim.”
“No need for thanks.  I got what I needed and so did you.”

“The way that big cowboy looks at you, I doubt seriously he’d turn away if you offered.  We have an extra bedroom available for the evening.  You and Jimmy-Bob could stay over and have some privacy.  I can fix it so you can spend the weekend with us.”

“That would really be nice, Master Brick.” Stan answered.  

“You don’t have to call me ‘master,’ Stan.  Mister Armstrong or Officer Brick will do if you feel you have to be respectful; otherwise, just call me ‘Brick.’”

“Thanks, Sir.  I’ll try to remember.”

“Do you call Jimmy-Bob ‘master’?”

“I done it a couple of times to see how he’d react.  He didn’t respond, but his dick got harder.  I don’t know what to do.  I want him to be the leader.”

“You have a strong personality, Stan.  You can be intimidating.  I get the feeling the cowboys you grew up with and ran around with treated you like one of their brothers and not as a slave.”

“They did, but I knew my place.  They knew theirs, but they never lorded it over me.  If anything they was the first to come to my aid or defense if some free-boy was picking on me and I couldn’t fight back because I’s a slave.  After Master Waco and his brothers warned a bully they never tried it again.  If they did, they’d wish they hadn’t.”   

“That’s the way it is in small towns.  They take care of their own.  I think Jimmy-Bob knows and appreciates that.  Why don’t you talk with him this evening?  You two can have some privacy.”

“Thanks, Officer Brick.  Maybe I will.”

“Do you want me to say something to Jimmy-Bob?  I’d be happy to, or I could have Tim say something to him.  Tim can be pretty subtle.”

“I don’t know.  I’ll leave that up to you, Sir.”

“Fine.  I hope you enjoy yourself today.”

“I am.  I thought it would be a lot different, but the people seem nice.”

* * * * * * *

Stan and Jimmy-Bob stayed over that evening with Brick and Tim.  Another couple from out of town were going to stay with them, but they got a call from home, one of the men’s sisters had taken ill and they had to go.   Only Brick, Tim, Stan and Jimmy-Bob remained.  After the guests left the men helped clean up the place, but it didn’t take long with four people.  Afterward they sat in Brick’s living room and watched some of the Fourth of July concerts in Washington.  The Boston Pops and the fireworks.  There were fireworks all over the Holy City which lit up the sky.

It was still very warm out; however, Brick pulled on some khaki shorts and Tim pulled on a nice pair of white polished cotton shorts.  Jimmy-Bob and Stan just put on their Wranglers and boots without shirts.  They were sitting on Brick’s huge, black leather couch.  Tim settled into Brick’s huge arms to get comfortable.  They shared a quick kiss.

“If you guys wanna’ get cozy with each other, don’t be shy.” Brick offered. “No one makes any judgements around here.  Tim and I have been a couple for sometime now.”

Without saying anything, Jimmy-Bob put his arm around Stan and pulled him over onto his big chest.  He leaned down and kissed Stan gently behind his ear.  Stan glanced at Brick and Tim and got a big grin on his face.  He turned his head slightly and his mouth met Jimmy-Bob’s.  They kissed a long, deep, but gentle kiss.  When they finished Stan looked Jimmy-Bob in his eyes.

“Thanks for that, cowboy.” he said.

“You’re welcome.  Been want’n to do that for a while now.”

Nothing more was said, but after a while, Brick and Tim decided to go to bed and left Jimmy-Bob and Stan alone on the couch.  

“You wanna’ watch more TV?” Jimmy-Bob asked Stan.

“Not really.  I’m sort of TV’d out.  What say we go lay on the deck chairs, talk and enjoy the evening.  It’s about time for my buddy to visit.”  

“Sounds good.  I ain’t talked with Moe in a while.  You think it’s wise for him to appear here?”

“Why not?  They’ve gone to bed.  Know’n how crazy them two are about one another, they ain’t gonna’ be checking on us.” Stan allowed.    

“Would you like to have somebody that crazy about you, little brother?”

“Depends on who it was?” Stan replied.

Stan was kind of sad Jimmy-Bob didn’t continue with his line of questioning.  They lay down on the comfortable deck lounges and looked up at the moon and the sky.

“Beautiful night.” said Jimmy-Bob.

“Great.  Even if everything smells like gunpowder.”

“You’d think it would’ve gone away by now.  Probably because there’s little air movement.  It’s still hot.”

“You wanna’ take another dip in the pool, cowboy?”

“I wouldn’t mind.”  

The men shucked off their cowboy boots and Wranglers and hung them over a couple of deck chairs.  They dove into the water and swam around for a bit.  They were standing up to their shoulders in deep water.  The water was warm and felt good.  Jimmy-Bob came up behind Stan and folded his arms around his front, pulled him close to his big, warm body and gently kissed him behind his ear. He was sporting a full erection and it came to rest right in Stan’s crack.  Stan wiggled his butt so his could wrap his cheeks around Jimmy-Bob’s big cowboy dick.

“What if that someone who was crazy about you, was a cowboy from Oklahoma?  Do you think it’s possible for an Oke cowboy and a Texas cowboy to find a little happiness together?”

“Hell, I ain’t prejudice.” shot back Stan, “Weren’t chore' fault you weren’t born in God’s country.”  he laughed and leaned back into Jimmy-Bob’s embrace.

“I should drown you right now.” Jimmy-Bob growled.

“Oh, oh, oh, don’t do that, Mr. Jimmy-Bob” came a small voice from the side of the pool.

“Moe?  Is that you?”  Stan called to the pup.

Moe suddenly appeared by the side of the deck, except this time he didn’t seem like a holo-projection.  He looked real.   
“Master Waco found out how to project someone from one place to another using the robo-cams.  He didn’t know about it until he asked Kryon, and he told him how to do it.  I can be with you and Mr. Jimmy-Bob for a few minutes, Master Stan.”

The men couldn’t believe it.  Moe was actually there, for real, on the side of the pool.  They swam over and petted Moe.  Jimmy-Bob was beside himself and Stan had tears in his eyes as he was hugging Moe.

“This is a great Fourth of July surprise.  I know Master Waco is behind this, ain’t he?  It’s jes’ the kind of man he is.  He’s s’damn thoughtful.  He knows how much I miss you, Moe.”  said Stan.

“He set it up, but Master Cable is monitoring my visit.  If anything goes wrong he’ll pull me back in a second.  So if I suddenly disappear don’t be upset.”  warned Moe.

“We won’t, little buddy.  It’s so great to see you again and get to touch you.  You don’t know what this does for my spirits.” Stan told him.

“Mine, too, Moe, to finally git to meet you in person.”  added Jimmy-Bob.

“Can I come in the water, Master Stan?  I ain’t sure I know how to swim, so don’t let me sink.”

“All dogs know how to swim.” said Jimmy-Bob.

“Not so, cowboy.” laughed Stan, “I had me an old hound-dog once who I had to teach to swim.  He fell in the water by mistake one time and sank right to the bottom.  He didn’t even try to swim.  He didn’t know how.  I had to jump in, clothes and all, to save his life.” assured Stan.  “Once I taught him how to swim he never had a bit of problem after that.”

Moe jumped into the water and Jimmy-Bob caught him and held his hand under him to support him.  

“Move your front paws like ‘iss.”  Stan instructed Moe and showed him what he meant.   Moe started dog paddling and everything followed naturally.  He was swimming.  He was so proud of himself.

“This is great.” yelled Moe as he headed for shallow water and the steps.

“Don’t try to swim and talk at the same time, Moe.” Jimmy-Bob chastised him and laughed.

* * * * * * *

Brick and Tim were laying together making love in Brick’s bedroom which was upstairs over the pool area.  Tim thought he heard something, excused himself for a minute and went to peak out through the mini-blinds.  He couldn’t believe what he saw.  Jimmy-Bob and Stan naked in the pool with what looked like a beautiful, young Border Collie swimming with them.

“Brick, I think you better come take a look at this.” he whispered to his mate.

“What is it, love?” Brick asked.

“Remember Stan telling us about his pup, and we heard it bark?”

“Yeah, ‘at was a neat trick.” Brick said.

“Uh, I don’t think it was a trick, dear heart.  His pup is swimming in your pool with them.” Tim giggled.

“No!” said Brick as he ran to Tim’s side.  He parted the blind a little higher up and looked out.  “Son of a bitch, he wasn’t kidding us.  He really does have a pup come to him.  Who’s that talking with them?”

“Uh, watch the dog’s mouth, sweetheart.” Tim urged Brick.

Brick watched as the three of them lounged in the shallow water together with Moe sitting on the bottom rung of the concrete stairs.  He saw the dog’s mouth move and words came out.

“This is really nice, Master Stan.  It’s good to finally meet you, too, Mr. Dodge.” the dog said.

“Son of another bitch, a dog that talks.  What is this?  This it too much.  I’ve gotta’ check this out.”

“Wait, Brick.  Didn’t Stan say something to you about having faith in him?  And didn’t you make him a promise you would trust him?  Do you know exactly what he meant by that?”

“I assume he meant for me to believe in him.  What he told me was the truth.”

“That’s right.  Now, are you gonna’ do what you gave your word to him you would do?”

“What?  You mean just trust him and not investigate?  You mean not say anything about it?”

“Exactly.  He didn’t lie to you, Brick.  He told you the God’s honest truth.  We can see it with our own eyes.  He told you his pup came to him every night and they talked with each other.  We jes’ never considered the dog might be able to talk back to him.” Tim giggled again.

“You don’t think I should say anything?”

“No, I don’t unless he wants you to know more.  There’s something special about that young man.  I felt it the first time I met him.  He’s an old man in a young man’s body.  He has the wisdom of the ages within him.  Besides, I’ll bet you a blow job, if you go barreling down the stairs and rush out there onto the deck that dog will disappear in an instant.  Then you’ll be embarrassed, and they won’t get to enjoy the visit with their friend.”

“I’m beginning to think he ain’t the only one what’s got the wisdom of the ages, my love.” Brick said to his lover.

“You mean me?” Tim asked surprised.

“Sure.” affirmed Brick. “You’re plenty smart.  You’re smarter than I am by a longshot.”

“Naw, I ain’t.  You just got a different kind a’ smarts.  What I told ju’ is basically what Stan told you and me the night of his birthday.  Trust is a two-way street.  It’s too bad more folks don’t practice it.  I have a feeling if you just trust him, he’ll share with you anything you wanna’ know about him and his pup.”

“You might be right, Tim.  We’ve shared a couple of things that surprised me about him.  He saw right through me.  I was gonna’ have my men shoot his pup, but he begged for my mercy.  He could see I have a soft spot for slaves and animals, so I jes’ told ‘em just to bring him back if they could catch him.  They didn’t find him.  Said there was a drifter in the barn cleaning stalls who told them his dog took off into the badlands.  I guess he was hurt pretty bad when Lou kicked him real hard with his steel-toed boot.  The pup cried, landed in a prickly-pear patch and ran off yelping like he’s really hurt.  Looks like he recovered pretty well.”

“I didn’t know about that.” Tim said sadly.

“The dog was going to bite Ansel.  Lou was just protecting his partner.”

“That sounds pretty hollow to me.  From the looks of him, he ain’t even a full grown dog, Brick.  He’s still just a pup.  I’m surprised Stan trusts you at all.  It tells me a lot about his character.  He’s able to forgive.  That’s some’um what’s difficult to teach folks.  Slaves and poor folks learn forgiveness to survive.  They first learn to forgive themselves for sometimes being unable to forgive others.  That sounds like a riddle, but it ain’t.  Forgiveness grows from there.  Soon they’re able to forgive those they never thought they could.”  

“I apologized.” Brick looked sheepish.   

They continued to watch and after a while they got out of the pool, Moe shook himself.  Jimmy-Bob and Stan lovingly toweled him dry.  They hugged and kissed him, told him ‘goodbye’ and he simply vanished.

“Woah!  Did you see that?” Brick asked rhetorically.

“That’s impossible.  That sent chills up my spine.” allowed Tim

“I gotta’ change ma’ shorts.” laughed Brick

* * * * * * *

Jimmy-Bob and Stan decided to head off to the bedroom.  They both showered, but Stan took a little more time than Jimmy-Bob.  When he returned to the room Jimmy-Bob was already in bed.  He smiled at Stan as he finished toweling himself.  Stan crawled in bed into the arms of his big cowboy brother.  He reached up and kissed Jimmy-Bob again.  Jimmy-Bob returned his kiss with gentle passion, but there seemed to be part of himself he was holding back from Stan.

“You feel like talking, cowboy?” Stan spoke softly.

“Yeah, I jes’ don’t know about what.  I don’t understand what’s going on with me, . . . and you.”

“I thought it was because I’m a slave.  Your attitude toward me changed when I told you I’s a slave, and you get harder ever’ time I call you ‘master.’”

“You mean like now?” Jimmy-Bob grinned.  Stan moved his hand slightly and felt the cowboy’s roaring erection.

“E’aup.” agreed Stan.

“I thought on it a lot.  H’it ain’t only that.  Honest, Stan, I wanted it to be that, I really did, but now I know it ain’t.  There’s something deep inside me what yearns to be more to you.  It started with a fantasy of me rescuing you from all of this shit and taking you somewhere I could be your master, . . . I could own you and you would be mine to take care of for as long as you needed me, so I could love and protect you from people like the Holy Prophet.  I fantasized about me loving you like you love Moe.”

“Like I’s a cow dog?” Stan asked with a hint of indignation.

Jimmy-Bob looked hurt.  He was quiet for a moment, but he didn’t back down.

“Naw, ‘at ain’t right, and you know it.  ‘At ain’t how I meant it.  You’re more sensitive and intelligent than that, little brother, but if I must spell it out for you, I will.  Love is love, but unconditional love is the greatest love of all.  You love Moe, and he loves you unconditionally.  Less’n I’m so stupid I can’t see it, but I don’t think there’s anything sexual between you and Moe.  I’m only trying to tell you about where I am now and how I got there.”
“I’m sorry, Jimmy-Bob.  I’ll shut up.”

“Maybe that would be best until I finish; besides, you keep interrupting me, it breaks my train of thought, and I had this all rehearsed in my mind how I was gonna’ say it if I ever got the chance.  I was gonna’ tell you in the pool, but we got interrupted.  It goes beyond just an animal lust for your body; although, there is definitely that, plenty of it, and it’s very strong; just look!” Jimmy-Bob exclaimed pointing to the tented sheet.

“Then, several days ago an old song from the 1960's ma’ dad used to sing all the time started going though ma’ head, and I couldn’t get it out.  Still can’t.  Ever’ time I’m around you I hear it playing in the back of my mind.  Dad used to play it in our old pickup truck when we’d go hunting or fishing. ‘cause my mom didn’t like country music, but it was something dad’n me shared.  It was some old cowboy who had a pleasant enough voice; don’t remember his name, but that ain’t what’s important.  I could never understand what the words meant, and one day I asked ma’ dad.  He just smiled, sighed real big and told me one day it would strike me like a bolt out of the blue, and the meaning of them words would come to me.  Well, it did come to me the other day jes’ like he said.  The words keep running through ma’ head, and all I can think about when I sing them to myself is you, Stan.  I think I understand now what them words mean.  They’s simple words: ‘And I need you more than want you, but I want you for all time, and the Wichita lineman is still on the line.’

“Are you saying you’re in love with me, cowboy?”

“Afeard so, Stan.”

“And you wanna’ be my man?”

“‘At’s a good way a’ put’n it without any qualifiers.  I know my offer might have all the earmarks of being a dominant alpha-male thing, but I’m trying to be honest here.  To be your man says it all, cowboy.  I don’t need to be anything more’n ‘nat, . . . less’n you want me to be.  It rips me a new asshole ever’ time I think of you having to share your body with that awful old man or one of his cronies.  I don’t want you in the arms of any other man what you don’t wanna’ be, but mostly I’d like to think you could find a home in my arms, little brother.”

Stan was totally unprepared for what he was hearing.  He underestimated his cowboy.  He never considered Jimmy-Bob might be so sensitive.  Stan thought it was about the sweetest thing anyone ever said to him.  He started weeping silently and turned away from Jimmy-Bob.  It almost broke Jimmy-Bob’s heart.  He thought he’d really fucked up by being so bold and laying his cards on the table. 

“I’m sorry, Stan.  I didn’t mean to offend you.  The last thing in the world I wanted to do was hurt you.  Maybe I’m come’n on too strong.  I worried about that.”

Stan turned back into Jimmy-Bob’s big arms but continued to weep softly.

“No, no, . . . ‘at ain’t it a’tall.  You didn’t hurt ma’ feelings, cowboy.  It’s probably the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to me, and it touched me deeply.  I was unprepared.  I guess I was hope’n for something like ‘iss, but didn’t never think it would happen.  I’s jes’ surprised, is all.  I was happy jes’ being yore’ buddy and maybe act as a slave for you if’n you needed me.  I’m still willing.”

“Then gimme’ a kiss.” Jimmy-Bob demanded softly.

They kissed a long, passionate kiss.  Jimmy-Bob rolled over on top of Stan so the full weight of his bigger body was pressing on him.  Stan grew very excited.  Jimmy-Bob broke off their kiss.

“There’s only one problem.”

“What’s ‘zat, cowboy?” Stan asked.

“I ain’t never, . . . I mean not even, . . . .”  he stammered.

“That’s okay.  I’ll teach you.” Stan replied.

“I’s hope’n you might offer.  Teach me to be the man, master or cowboy you want me to be, little brother.  Show me how you want me to take you.  I can imagine some of it for myself, but if you want me to be yore’ man, teach me how you need me to take you.  If you consider being mine, in any capacity, I wanna’ take care of you.  I wanna’ be yore’ man, Stan.”

They kissed again but this time things noticeably changed between them.  Stan gave in and decided to let his cowboy take the lead.  He would direct and instruct until Stan got Jimmy-Bob into his saddle; after that, he would slap his rider on his butt and tell him to ride like the wind; break his new pony in like he wanted him.  Wants and needs are a two way street, but Stan knew all about that, he’d been well trained.  It excited him greatly to think he would be training his own cowboy lover or master to ride him like he needed.  Could life get any better?  How was it, in the middle of a pseudo-religious dung heap he found a pearl of great value?  What were the chances?  He tried to think about the odds, and he intuitively figured they must be staggering.  Indeed, the intelligence behind the forces of the universe sometimes move in mysterious ways.

Mysterious, hell!  Don’t you believe a word of it!  They wanted Stan and Jimmy-Bob to find each other.  They planed it that way; the rest, was up to the boys.  There was much frivolity and happy times that evening among the carriers’ of the Voices.  The music of the soul can be heard and enjoyed by the universe; one only needs a full heart to sing.  Quarks bang into anti-quarks and spill out into other unidentified realms, they ring through deep gravitic-wells amplified by large black holes, filling the void with their raucously gay cacophony, invading the usually silent ether with sounds of pleasure, love and laughter, they sing and cavort with one another in choruses and Rabelaisian dances of homogeneous delights.  They sing, “Grace, honor, praise, and then delight, here sojourns day and night, two sound bodies conjoined as one, but lined with two good minds a sultry sum, do here pursue with greatest might, grace, honor, praise, and more delight.  Sing forth ye carries of the Word, their Voices have, this night, been heard.  So let us praise their wisdom bright, be there no doubt, at least this time, they got it right.”  

End Of Chapter 33 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2007 ~ Waddie Greywolf
All Rights Reserved ~
Mail to: waddiebear@yahoo.com

* In the South and Southwest a woman’s vagina was often referred to as her ‘cock.’  Uniquely Southern, the phrase ‘eating cock’ is not meant to convey an act of homosexuality; rather, it refers to ‘cunnilingus.’  The term and its reference has its base in English literature.  See “Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D. H. Lawrence.  Needless to say, and not surprisingly, over the years the terminology has caused a good deal of confusion, misunderstanding and backhanded snickers from those who are not from the South.  If you find yourself in some out-of-the-way roadside tavern in the South, you never want to attempt to convince a three hundred pound drunken redneck, with a Confederate flag sewn into the overlay of his leather biker jacket, the error of his ways, when he stands on the bar and loudly announces to one and all, he just loves to ‘eat cock’!  Trust me, Bubba will not be amused.