stench, Shane didn’t hesitate to crawl up into the camper. He
felt Bobby's pulse, and it was low. “You done the right thing,
Mrs. Biddle.” he whispered to the large black women who was holding the
small, frail boy whom she was trying with all the strength of her
considerable might to will him to fight for his life, but she was
growing weary and losing ground. She knew she needed help.
She smiled, wiped away another
tear and nodded to Shane knowingly.
“He be burn’n up
wid’ ‘da fever, healer-mon. You gots to git his temperature
down.” she said with conviction.
Biddle watched in astonishment as she saw something come
over Shane that completely changed him from a meek and mild mannered
humbled ex-slave into a man of commanding strength and focused
purpose. In an instant, Ms. Biddle watched the big man shed all
his inhibitions and transform into a powerful entity. She, above
all others, could see the glow that surrounded his physical
persona. The brown-dirt cowboy before her was plugged into the
omnipresence of the universe. He was no longer just an ordinary
man of any station, far more than just her healer-mon, he had become a
representative of the greater consciousness of all the goodness and
knowledge of the ages. Shane turned, jumped down from the
camper and started barking orders to everyone around him like it was
the most natural thing for him to do, and he did it hundreds of
times before. His aura was a commaning presence that left no
doubt he was in charge and his every word was to be obeyed without
“Cole, bring our
truck around.” Shane tossed him the keys, and Cole ran for the
truck. Boss man, I need two old blankets, a wash cloth and two of
them big towels.”
Son!” Potter exclaimed and was on his way. Potter knew exactly
what Shane wanted and hurried away to the big house. By the time
Potter returned, Cole arrived and was waiting in the cab for further
instructions. Shane let the tailgate down and hollered to Mrs.
Biddle to bring the boy to the door of the camper. He took Bobby
in his arms and laid him on the tailgate. He climbed into the bed
the truck and ordered Gil Morris and several cowboys to get in with
him. He thanked Potter and told him to give the quilts and towels
to one of the cowboys, and to see to Mrs. Biddle. Take her to his
house. Show her to the bathroom so she might clean herself.
Get her a big sheet to rap around her to wear and show her where the
washer/dryer are on the back porch.
“Get up here,
Mr. Morris, and hold your boy.” Shane barked with the voice of man in
charge. Morris jumped like he was shot at and set with his back
to the cab of the truck. Shane gently transferred the boy to his
dad. “Drive us slowly
to the swimming hole, Pa.” Shane hollered to Cole. The cowboys
smiled at each other at Shane’s slip. Morris was so worried about
his boy he didn’t notice. Shane started stripping as they were
traveling until he was stark naked sitting in front of his cowboy
slaves and Gil Morris. He pulled his boots back on.
“Get his clothes
off of him, Mr. Morris.” Gil didn’t even bother to ask why.
Shane’s command was strong with enough authority it didn’t require
explanation nor did it leave room for any. Morris had the boy
stripped by the time they arrived. Shane jumped down from the
tailgate, walked around the side of the truck and opened his arms for
Mr. Morris to give him the boy. Morris didn’t hesitated and laid
Bobby across Shane’s massive arms. Shane walked to the water’s
edge, kicked off his boots and waded into the creek. He gently
lowered Bobby into the cool water and slowly washed the shit and vomit
from him. One of the cowboys threw him a wash cloth, and he began
to use it to gently wash Bobby’s face. He began to give more
“Otis, you and
Lester find that roll of heavy duty plastic we used to cover the
tractor in the new barn. Take enough of it to cover that big bed
in the downstairs back bedroom of our house. Go in the backdoor
so’s you won’t disturb Mrs. Biddle. Cover the bed with it, put a
mattress pad over the plastic. Put the sheets and covers back
on.” the cowboys took off on the run. Shane continued to wash
Bobby. He started coming around. He saw Shane holding him
and started crying.
gonna’ be all right, cowboy. You’re just frightened right
now. Don’t chu’ worry none, yore’ cowboy bubba ain’t gonna’ let
nothing happen to you.” Shane gave him a kiss on his forehead, “Mrs.
Biddle and yore’ daddy done the right thing when they brung you to me.”
“The cool water
feels good.” he said, “It makes it easier for me to breathe. I
know you can heal me, Mr. Goodnight. I have faith in you,
trust you. I love you, Shane.”
“I love you,
too, Bobby. We's bubbas, you'n me. Hold on to your
faith. Your trust in me only
makes me stronger for what I need to do. I’ll do my damnedest for
you, Son.” Shane promised him. Gil Morris was
watching Shane and marveled at the big man’s tenderness and sympathy
for his boy. He somehow knew he did the right thing.
Shane barked more orders. “I need to get
his temperature down, but when I bring him out of the water, one of you
cowboys have my boots ready for me to step into and have one blanket
folded in half on the bed of the truck. The other is to throw
jumped at his order and got everything ready. Shane floated Bobby
in the cool water for a little over an hour until he felt the boy begin
to shiver. He knew it was time to get him out of the water.
Phil Pie was right there waiting for him when he stepped out. He
helped Shane with his boots then took a towel and tried to dry Bobby as
best he could in Shane’s arms. When Phil was finished Shane told
him to put the towel between the boy’s legs and wrap it like a
diaper. Phil knew about diapers. Shane got into the bed of
the truck and lay down with the boy holding him close to his body and
his faithful cowboys threw the other blanket over them.
“Get in the
front with Cole, Mr. Morris. Tell him to take it slow and drive
us to our house. Have the backdoor open for me. You cowboys
get in the crew cab.” Shane ordered.
“I’m gonna’ ride
back here with you, Master.” Phil Pie stated flatly. He raised
Shane’s head and set it in his lap. Shane grinned at him.
grin for, cowboy?” Phil demanded as the truck took off.
“You smell good
enough to eat, slave.” Shane chuckled.
Just don’t! You’re gonna’ make me git a hard-on if you start
talk’n shit like ‘at, and I jes’ might have ta’ stick ma’ dick in yer
ear.” Phil laughed.
here, Poppa Pie.” Shane smiled at him.
nowheres else, Master fun-buns.” Phil chuckled.
As the big truck
slowly pulled away from the creek, the big cowboy happened to look back
at the place where Shane walked barefoot into the water and
exited. He did a double-take. He was stunned. Why
didn’t he noticed before? In the exact spot, running down and
into the water was the most beautiful clump of calla lilies in full
bloom. How could he have missed them? He convinced himself
his mind was playing tricks on him.
They arrived at
the foreman’s house and everyone was waiting for them. Mrs.
Biddle was there, too, dressed in a large, dark blue Hawaiian style
muu-muu, with vivid, electrically iridescent yellow and red hibiscus
flowers. Her hair was done up in a big towel. Shane learned
later it was one of several dresses Potter
got out of his wife’s closet and set out for her. In fifteen
years since her death he never had the heart to clean out her
closets. Shane was still naked as he got down from the truck with
Bobby in his arms wrapped in a towel. He saw Mrs. Biddle turn so
she wouldn’t look upon his nakedness. He smiled to himself and
wondered. Only a few days ago, she looked into the very depths of
his naked soul, yet now she turned her eyes away from its temporary
The cowboys did
a good job fixing up the big bed as he instructed them. He lay
Bobby down and got in next to him. He called for the blanket to
be put over them and the cowboys followed his order. He
positioned Bobby so he would face him with his chest up against
Shane’s. Now they were covered, Mrs. Biddle came into the
room. Shane spoke to her. “Mrs. Biddle,
you will find some old torn sheets in a cabinet on the back
porch. They’re clean. Tear them into diapers for the
boy. He won’t be able to use the bathroom for a while, and I need
them to protect him and me if he needs to go. Thank you, my
faithful cowboys. You done good. I want you to return to
the bunkhouse except
for Phil. Stick around for a while, Poppa Pie, I may need
wished him well and went off to the bunkhouse. Only Cole, Potter,
Mrs. Biddle, Phil and Mr. Morris were left in the room.
“Mr. Morris, do
you believe in the cowboy way?” asked Shane boldly.
“I try to
practice it in everything I do, Sir.”
“I know that to
be true from my dealings with you. You told me earlier you would
become my slave if I saved your boy.” Shane put to him.
“I give you my
word. I will commit it to paper if you wish, Sir.”
“I will hold you
to your word, Mr. Morris, and your word is good enough for me. I
require your absolute trust, dedication and your solemn oath you
will never reveal to anyone outside this room what you are about to
witness. If you agree, swear it!” Shane said with such force
there was no doubting the seriousness of his intent.
Morris, so swear my life, trust and total dedication to you, Mr.
Goodnight. No one will ever hear from me what goes on in this
room or anything pertaining to you healing ma’ boy. I promise, so
help me God.” said Morris.
“You don’t need
God’s help to be a good man or do the right thing, Mr. Morris.
You’re perfectly capable of knowing right from wrong. It is with
that thought in mind I accept your sworn oath to me.” Shane
continued, “Phil, you’re already my slave, and I know your
heart. I know you love me and I know you’re savvy enough to know
when to keep that big cowboy Pie hole of yours shut.” Shane winked at
him and smiled.
talking about, Master, you got my word as a cowboy what loves you and
your devoted slave.”
Captain Shane. I’ve seen all. I have alerted Jesse and
Utah. Indigo/Blue and Basil Troubadour. They are here with
me awaiting your command.” boomed Kyron in his best voice-of-god
imitation. Kyron loved doing that, he loved to see the look on
people’s faces who didn’t know about him. Potter and Cole looked
at each other, grinned and stifled laughs remembering only a short time
ago their first response to Kyron. Now his booming voice seemed
almost comforting. Phil Pie looked like he was going to drop a
big one in his Wranglers. Gil Morris looked all around but
couldn’t see anything. Mrs. Biddle got the biggest grin on her
face. “I know’d ju’ be more than you appear, healer-mon.” she
accused while shaking a finger at him. Shane ignored her.
“Please send ma’
brothers, Kyron, I need them. I’m not yet strong enough to do
this alone.” Shane pleaded.
Shane no sooner
got the words out of his mouth when the room was filled with a bright
light. Instantly, there were four handsome men standing before
them. They were dressed in long, flowing white robes. Utah
took on human form at the request of his master. Phil moved
in close behind Cole because his ramrod didn’t seem frightened of the
men. Cole stood like a rock; he didn’t even flinch. Mrs.
Biddle moved behind Judge Potter. Gil Morris pissed his
and it ran down into his boot. Indigo/Blue and Basil moved around
the bed to the other side. Jesse and Utah took the opposite
side. The four men knelt by the bed. Shane adjusted Bobby
so he was lying flat on his back on Shane’s huge, massive chest.
He pulled Bobby up so his head was lying on Shane’s shoulder next to
his head. Jesse turned down the blanket to Bobby’s waist.
He instructed Utah and Basil to place their hands close to his on the
boy’s chest. Indigo/Blue took his hand and held it over
theirs. A strong, bright blue light began to emanate from beneath
his hand and flooded the area. The light seemed to set up a
harmonic resonance and the three men’s hands began to glow and pulse at
the same harmonic frequency.
“The rest is up
to you, Captain Goodnight. You can do this, Son.” Jesse
spoke quietly to Shane. Shane placed his hand next to the three
to close the circle and his began to pulse at the same harmonic
level. They remained that way for almost thirty minutes. He
could feel Bobby’s body slowly starting to respond to the repairs
taking place within his heart. Shane could feel the oxygen rich
blood begin to surge through the boy’s body as the valve assumed its
original shape and purpose. As his blood pressure rose so did
Bobby’s color. He turned from a light, pale blue to a deep rosy
pink and his lips became the color of a summer’s rose.
Dis’ be a miracle I be see'n wid’ me own eyes.” Mrs. Biddle said
Biddle,” the judge corrected her. “It’s a misunderstood form of a
natural science, of which, we have no concept and therefore it appears
miraculous to us. These men know what they’re doing, and it is
far less invasive and safer than our present day medicine can
understand; but from what I’ve observed recently, it is neither a trick
nor is it divinely based. It is as basic a part of their nature
as the turning of a leaf in the fall of the year.”
Judge.” said Jesse Watkins quietly. “I think we have done all we can,
gentlemen.” Jesse spoke to Utah, Basil and Indigo/Blue. They
removed their hands and stood. Shane kept his on the boy’s
chest. It was still pulsing but beginning to slow. “You know what
to do from here, Captain?” Jesse asked almost like it was a rhetorical
“I do, Master
Jesse.” Shane forgot for a minute he wasn’t still a slave. Jesse
smiled at him and said, “Forty-eight hours, Son.”
Thank you men for coming. The Ancients have spoken to me.
special. He is like the coyotes. He will help lead the next
generation. Because of his heroism, he will be given the honor of
being the first man to set foot on the new world. His name will
be recorded in the annals of a thousand races and remembered in the
hearts and on the tongues of thousands more. ”
marveled at Shane’s words to the attractive men who seemed to come from
nowhere. Who spoke to Shane? Why did he compare Bobby with
coyotes? How could this man know of Bobby’s future? What
new world was he talking about? He remembered his oath to Shane
and his admonishment he didn’t need help from God. It came over
him, if he was meant to know these things, his new young master would
tell him. Everyone watched as Indigo/Blue, Basil, Utah and Jesse
put their arms around each other. There was another bright flash
of light, and they were gone. Gil Morris hadn’t bothered to clean
himself. He knelt by the side of the bed and looked onto the
healthy colored face of his boy and wept. He lay his head next
to Shane and Bobby, and as he sobbed his heart out he felt a small hand
on his head. He looked up into the eyes of his beloved son.
daddy. I’m gonna’ be all right now. Angel-like men came to
me and told me they would repair my heart, but Captain Shane would have
to do the rest. You must leave me with him for two days. He
has given me a part of himself. He has given my life back to me,
Dad. We have become as brothers. We now belong to
him. We owe him a great
Gil Morris broke
down and cried again. Cole and Phil took him away to get him
cleaned up, a cup of coffee, a bite to eat, and to wash his
Wranglers. Cole told Phil, before he poured the piss out of
Morris’ boot to be sure and read the instructions on the heel.
Phil didn’t think that was very funny, but it got a smile out of Gil
Morris. Mrs. Biddle allowed Mr. Potter to pull her away and walk
her up to the big house. She got busy in his kitchen and fixed a
wonderful dinner for the men. Shane dismissed everyone and said
he would have to stay in bed holding Bobby for forty-eight hours.
Bobby’s diaper would probably have to be changed, but Shane would use a
bedpan and a piss bottle Potter found which Mrs. Potter used when she
was dying. The cowboys took turns sitting with him and taking
care of Bobby and Shane’s needs. Shane refused food for the
entire period, so he wouldn’t have to void. They began to feed
Bobby spoonfuls of strong broths Mrs. Biddle made for him. She
was staying in three large rooms in the downstairs off the kitchen that
were originally meant for a housekeeper or maid. She immediately
made good friends with Maxine, and they fell in love with each
other. They became best girlfriends. They had coffee
klatches together, shared sticky buns Essmee made, and talked for
about sending for Jack and Jill to give him and Bobby a shot of their
wonderful relaxing sleep pheromone which always left him refreshed, had
no side effects or sleep hangover the next morning, but he needed to be
alert in case anything began to go wrong. He wished he called
his nephew and had him bring Ox with him. He could sure go for
some warm lummox milk straight out of the tap. He knew if Bobby
could stay awake long enough he would benefit greatly from some lummox
* * * * * * *
An hour later
all hell broke loose in the kitchen of the big house as Waco Goodnight,
followed closely by his giant lumbering lummox slave, walked into
the kitchen. Mrs. Essmee Fay Biddle began to yell at the top of
her voice, “Oh, sweet Jesus, dear God in heaven, protect us, ‘der
be monsters in my kitchen.” she yelled. Judge Potter
heard the commotion from the dining room off the kitchen. Essmee
fixed him a nice cup of tea to drink while going through his
mail. He smiled to himself and remember how he felt the first
time he saw a lummox. He got up from his chair and started for
Essmee!” Maxine shouted to her, “Ox is Master Waco’s slave and my
personal friend. He won’t do us no harm. He’s come to visit
his brother, Captain Shane.”
“Don’ chu' be
joking with Essmee Fay, little girl.” she admonished Maxine.
“I wouldn’t lie
to my friend, Essmee. Watch!” Maxine ran full out to Ox and
leaped into his huge arms. He caught her in mid flight, and she
proceeded to give him multiple kisses. Ox moved his head about
“Dear Lord, what
a’ my gonna’ see next? One healer-mon; four angel-mon come from
de’ realm of glory to heal my sweet baby boy; a dog what talks better’n
me; and a furry monster wid’ a mon what be the spit’n image of one a’
‘dem angels.” she clasped her hand to her breast, rolled her eyes like
it was all too much for her and moaned. Waco laughed.
Potter came through the door to the kitchen with a big grin on his
face. He went directly to Waco and shook his hand.
Goodnight, welcome to my humble home,” then he took Ox’s huge
hand in his and shook it, “and Ox, it’s so good to see you again.
“You must be
Ms. Biddle.” Waco said, “I’ve heard good things about you. I’m
Waco Goodnight, Captian Shane’s nephew. My dad is his older
brother, and this huge critter, I call Ox, ain’t no monster a’ tall,
but I affectionately call him my beast sometimes. He’s my slave,
my friend, my brother and my protector. You must have been
visited by my cousin, Indigo/Blue. He may be my cousin, but
I count him among my brothers. Folks say we look enough alike to
be twins, but I consider him much better looking than me.
Unfortunately, I don’t possess the healing powers of my brother.”
calmed down and decide it must be all right. They were talking
with her like it was an everyday thing, and she was an old
friend. She introduced herself and returned to her cooking.
Boss Potter and Maxine volunteered to show Waco and Ox to the foreman’s
house where Shane and Bobby were. When Waco and Ox came through
the door to the downstairs back bedroom, Phil stood to pay homage to
Master Waco’s boots, but Waco waved him off. Phil met Ox many
times before. Gil Morris looked like he couldn’t decide to bolt
for the nearest window or piss his pants again. Instead, he just
“It’s all right,
Mr. Morris, they be friends. They’ve come to help.” said Shane,
“Waco Goodnight is my brother Charlie’s son. He’s my nephew and
his handsome slave is, I’m proud to say, one of my many brothers.
Welcome, you handsome creature.” Shane addressed Ox and stuck out his
hand for him to come to Shane. Ox mouthed a friendly growl at
Shane, walked over to him took his hand in one big hand and placed his
other on his brow. He knelt by the edge of the bed, moved his
hand behind Shane’s head and positioned his mouth right on his huge
tit. Shane didn’t need a second invitation and began to suck away.
doing?” asked Gil Morris.
nourishment, Mr. Morris. Lummox milk is the most wholesome,
completely nutritional food in the universe. Captain Goodnight
needs his strength to continue the healing process for your boy.
It will give him the strength to do what needs to be done for
Bobby. After he
drinks his fill, my slave will crawl into bed with Captain Shane and
offer your son some of his milk. It will heal him twice as fast
and give his brain and body the knowledge to help the healing process.”
helpless, but Shane must have known that’s how he would feel or he
never would have demanded he swear an oath to have complete faith in
him. He wouldn’t betray Mr. Goodnight’s trust. He could
already see great progress with Bobby. He was only coming
around for a little while at a time, then lapsing back into a deep
sleep, but his color was much better. Shane pulled away from Ox’s
teat. The big critter slowly walked around to the other side and
got into bed with Bobby and Shane. Shane kept his arms around the
boy at all times holding him as tightly to his big chest as
possible. Shane maneuvered Bobby where he was facing Ox’s massive
chest with one big teat close to his mouth. Shane gently squeezed
Ox’s teat and got some milk on his finger.
whispered gently. “Wake up, cowboy. Taste this.” Shane put
his finger to the boy’s mouth, and Bobby licked the warm liquid from
Shane’s finger. He suddenly engulfed Shane’s finger with his
small mouth trying to get more. “We got us one a’ the biggest
damn teddy bears in the universe in bed with us, and he wants to feed
you some of his milk. Can you suck on his big teat for me,
cowboy? If you’re very good he might even sing to you.”
weakly, “I think so, Shane. Just suck on his teat?”
right. ‘At a boy.” urged Shane. It didn’t take Bobby long
to get the hang of it, and he was like a new born shoat sucking at his
momma’s teat. He couldn’t drink fast enough. It was so
good to him.”
“Damn, look at
him go.” said Phil Pie softly.
pert-damn good stuff. I drank it for years. Still do.”
declared Waco. “Once you taste it, it seems like you can’t never get
enough. It’s probably the only addictive thing what’s good for
“Is it addictive
like a drug?” asked Gil Morris.
It’s just so good you’ll never pass it up if a big male lummox is kind
enough to offer you some. My daddy drinks it regularly. All
my brothers were raised on it.”
produce milk?” asked Morris.
“Both males and
females of their specie produce milk, but the male is, by far, the
major producer, because the last several months, before he’s fully born
to the world, a baby lummox lives in his father’s pouch and only comes
out to feed from his daddy’s teats twice a day.”
“Are they like
Bigfoot?” Morris asked.
same specie, Sir.”
The room became
very silent when the giant creature began to sing to Bobby. It
wasn’t a recognizable tune, but anyone who heard it could understand it
was a song. It rumbled deep in Ox’s gut and rolled into higher
pitches as he went along. It was mesmerizing to the people
watching, but to Bobby it was a personal message of healing and well
being. It told him to gather his strength like a young warrior
and concentrate it on the weakness in his body. Last but not
least the song spoke of giving up his discomfort and illness; let it go
from his frail body and let the giant’s milk fortify his courage.
Shane gently rubbed Bobby’s tummy as it began to fill up like a
balloon. He sucked and drank until he could drink no more and
collapsed back into Shane’s arms in exhaustion.
“Thank you, my
friend. It was so good.” he said, then promptly dropped off to
sleep. Shane could tell by Bobby’s breathing his sleep was more
relaxed and deep. He was healing. Waco and Ox returned
several times in the forty-eight hour period as Bobby grew
stronger. Shane had many well wishers, from cowboy slaves to
Shane’s brothers. Charlie held his baby brother’s hand and cried
at his heroic effort to save the boy. Angus was nervous but
deeply moved by the actions of his younger brother.
“Kyron let me
see them videos of your rescue and repair of them bladder whales,
boy.” he spoke softly so no one else could here, “I’m sorry I
ever laughed at you, but I was right about one thing. You’re more
like Charlie than me. You deserve all the good things that come
your way, little brother.” Angus said like it was ripping his heart out
to say the words. It told Shane just how deeply Angus loved and
evening Phil Pie, Cole and Gil Morris were sitting around the bed
quietly visiting with Shane when Kyron spoke to him.
Kryscellians wish to offer their help. They’re asking your
permission to come
“I would be
deeply honored, Kyron. Their help would be greatly
appreciated. They will speed Bobby’s recovery and give me more
“I am sending
them now, Sir.”
another bright, almost blinding flash of light and the traveling home
of the Kryscellians appeared in the room. Shane was one of
the designers and builders of their mobile case.
“They are with
us, Kyron. Thanks for your assistance.”
welcome, Captain Shane.” Kyron replied.
Once again Gil
and Phil were gobsmacked. Cole just smiled. He met the
Kryscellians on several occasions and marveled at their beauty.
gentlemen. Let’s us move back so they may get nearer the bed.”
“What are they?”
asked Gil Morris.
form, Mr. Morris.” Cole told him. “We humans are carbon
based as you know. The Kryscellians are a silicon based life
form. They are basically highly intelligent crystals, but they
possess great healing powers for us carbon critters.”
ornate case designed by JR and built by his cowboy brothers including
Shane slowly floated beside the bed. Shane lowered the covers so
he and Bobby could most benefit from their rays. The men watched
in awe as the beautifully colored crystals began to glow and spread
their rays over the bed, dancing on the surface of Bobby and his big
cowboy brother’s bodies. They heard what sounded like
singing. It was singing but in a language they never heard
before. It was strange because the longer they listened the more
words they began to pick up meanings for until they were understanding
more and more. Shane could feel Bobby responding
immediately. He awoke and tears began streaming down his face as
watched and listened to the beautiful creatures sing him back to
health. Gil was moved beyond words. What had he gotten
himself into? He didn’t know. Shane was living up to his
of their bargain, and he swore by all the angels in heaven, he would
live up to his. When they were
done, Shane thanked them graciously, and they departed the same way
“Are there more
wonders, Master Goodnight?” Phil humbly asked.
“More than you
can imagine, cowboy.” answered Cole.
more, Ramrod?” Phil asked Cole.
but a hell of a lot, Phil. Enough to knock this old cowboy out a’
his boots and saddle. I’m amazed every day.” Cole replied.
“One day soon,
it will all be revealed to you, Poppa Pie.” Shane smiled at him. “Until
then, be happy being my cowboy slave. Let it be enough for now to
know I love you. I know you and Eli will
work hard for us, and trust us to take good care of you. We’ll
share more with you as time goes by. How could we keep anything
from you and Mr. Morris? We done flung wide the barn doors.
Ain’t no git’n them critters back in now.”
hours passed and Bobby was staying awake for longer periods.
Shane got him up, out of bed and started walking him around the
room. When Bobby got tired, Shane would pick him up and put him
back into bed. Shane carried him to the shower and set with him
in his lap on a stool as Cole and Phil bathed them, while other
cowboys changed the bed. By the third day Shane didn’t have to be
in bed with him anymore, but Bobby told his dad he missed Shane holding
him. Shane still slept with the boy for several nights and held
him close. By the fifth day he didn’t need his diapers
anymore. He was still weak but with assistance he could walk to
the bathroom and use the facilities. Gil Morris was beside
himself with joy. Shane saved his son’s life. He was ready
to sign anything, to even become Shane’s slave for life if he would
only take his boy and raise him as his own.
“No, Mr. Morris,
I won’t do that.” Shane stated flatly.
“You won’t, Mr.
Goodnight?” Morris looked perplexed.
“No, it won’t be
necessary, because you’re going to raise him yourself. Bobby
needs his dad. I never had me no dad, and it cost me ten years of
my life as a salve. I know what having a good dad can mean to a
boy. We need us a man in our family with your education
and abilities as an accountant, procurement and purchasing agent, tax
accountant, ranch management consultant, and all round man
Friday. We have projects we want to get underway, and it will
fall under your responsibility to estimate the cost, see to it they get
funded properly, and we have the materials necessary to start a project
git it running smoothly. You will be working closely with me and
my partner. It’s a job a slave can’t do, so you have to be a
freeman. I know you’re a man of your word and a handshake would
be enough to bond you to any verbal contract, but this is business, Mr.
Morris, and I want it spelled out your commitment to work for our
outfit for a minimum of five years. If you’re happy here we’ll
renegotiate after that.
Now, here comes
the slave part. You will basically be working for slave wages for
the first two years. I can only afford to pay you a thousand
dollars a month, but you get a two bedroom cottage for free including
utilities, plus you and Bobby will take your morning and evening meals,
family style, in the big house with us. I think Boss Potter has
hammered out a deal with Mrs. Biddle to live in his maid’s quarters and
be his housekeeper and cook for the management staff on our
ranch. For lunch you’re on your own and Mrs. Biddle may get one
day a week off. So we’re on our own for one day, but we can pitch
in and make it a family affair. Me and my partner will be joining
our cowboy slaves for slave chow most days for lunch. We’re both
used to it. It’s reasonable and nutritious. You and Bobby
are welcome to join us in the slave’s mess if you like.
We’ve come to
believe meeting in an informal atmosphere over breakfast, lunch and
supper will keep everyone up to date on what’s going on at the ranch
and what we need to consider or reconsider. If we turn a profit
the first year, which, as you know, is almost an impossibility, we will
guarantee you five percent of the net profits over and above your
salary. The same for the second and third years, but if you work
hard for us and make money for us, we’ll guarantee you ten percent of
the net profits for the last two years. Oh, yes, and did I
mention— free health care for you and Bobby. Are you interested,
interested? You’re offering a man who has practically no options
in life, who is facing homelessness with a young boy, to become a
member of your extended family? You’re offering me an oasis in a
desert of nothingness, when I was sincere about keeping my word and
becoming your slave? Hell, yes, I’m interested. A thousand
a month slave wages? Not to me it ain’t. Bobby and I have
learned to get by on a lot less than a thousand a month. I’ll
gladly accept your offer. Where do I sign, Mr. Goodnight? ”
“I know you were
sincere about becoming my slave, but you’re more valuable to us as a
freeman. Beside I need to protect our investment in you and
Bobby. As time goes by, you will see more strange things like you
witnessed with the healing of your boy. What better way to secure
loyalty than to make you and Bobby a part of our family? This job
will require you to live two lives. A life as a member of an up
and coming young ranch family, and the other part you just don’t talk
about with anyone outside our ranch. Part of our deal is you must
join our Grange. I promise, there are a number of advantages I
won’t go into right now. There will be a few times when Boss
Potter, me and my partner Cole will be gone from the ranch for short
periods of time. We need a freeman here to watch things for us
while we’re away. And we need to get you settled in, up and
running because we may be away for three days, week after next.”
“How do you know
I’m the man for the job, Mr. Goodnight?” Gil Morris asked.
brothers can find out anything about anybody in a matter of minutes on
the web and the Free-net. I have a folder on you an inch
thick." Shane grinned at him, "I know you graduated with
from Texas A &
M with a degree in ranch management and accounting. I know you
went on to get a master’s degree in agricultural husbandry and product
development. You did your thesis on ranch consulting
techniques. I know you’ve been published several times in
prestigious agricultural journals. One article I remember
‘Advanced Cultural Techniques In The Care Of Apis Mellifera.’ I
had to look that one up. I thought surely the man weren’t
training no apes to be cowboys.” Shane laughed at his own nonsense. “I
know you were a successful rancher yourself until family health
problems sucked you dry, and if that weren’t enough, I have the sworn
word of two fine cowboy slaves and one Mrs. Essmee Fay Biddle you be an
honest, good hearted, dear, sweet mon.” the men shared a laugh.
“It would be
great to be working with Mrs. Biddle, Jack Hamil and his mate, Spencer
Gaether. As you saw at the funeral, they’s about the only family
Bobby and I have. Essmee has become like a godmother to
Bobby. I think she wouldn’t hesitate to lay down her life for my
boy, Mr. Goodnight. Jack and Spence took care of Bobby when I had
away so much with my wife in the hospital for so long. He loves
them and looks up to them like big brothers. They practically ran
the ranch by themselves. Bobby and me ain’t no strangers to slave
chow, Mr. Goodnight, and we ain’t too proud to sit down and eat with
the cowboy slaves neither. I learned a lot from my slaves, and
I would never deny my boy the experience of learning from them. I
hated to go off and leave my little Apis buddies behind. Damn,
I’d give my left nut to bring them here. Sometimes the food they
shared with us was all Bobby and I had to eat, and many times they
provided us with pocket money by selling their work product.”
“Why can’t you
bring them? Them real estate vultures don’t give a rat's ass
bee hives, no ways. How many are there and how many trucks would
it take to transport them?”
thirty-five or forty hives. It would take two, maybe three pickup
minute. I got me a better idea. Let me speak with my
nephew.” said Shane.
That night Shane
and Cole went through the gate in the old barn directly onto the
Buttercup. Waco and Lucas were waiting for them. Waco
cleared a little journey with the Admiral earlier in the day, and they
were off. In a great flash of light, forty apiaries disappeared
from the old Morris ranch and within ten minutes reappeared in a flash
in the meadow on the Potter ranch. They returned to the
Bandersnatch and docked. Shane and Cole went back through the
gate to their old barn. Round trip was under an hour. The
next morning at breakfast in the big house, Gil asked Shane if he’d
given anymore thought to collecting the bee hives. Potter and
Cole got big grins on their faces.
sorry. Yes, I did, Gil, I took care of it last night for you,
before we went to bed. Yore’ little buddies are waiting for you
in the meadow beyond the bunkhouse.”
exclaimed, “You’re...” Gil was going to say ‘shit’n me’ but
remember he was at a family table, and his boy was sitting right beside
“He ain’t josh’n
with you, Son.” said Potter, “If Captain Shane tells you they’re
waiting for you in the meadow, you can take it to the bank.”
“Is this one of
them things we ain’t suppose to talk about, Sir?” Gil asked.
“Yes, I’d say
this one definitely qualifies, Mr. Morris. Now, I’d like to talk
with you about that left nut you promised me.” Shane winked at him and
* * * * * * *
When Shane, Cole
and Potter showed Gil the old foreman’s cottage he broke down and
wept. It was too wonderful to be believed. If he had the
slightest doubt of accepting Shane and Potter’s offer they disappeared
completely. It was perfect for him and Bobby. They would
have their own separate rooms. There was a small kitchen but a
large living room/family area with a good size study or office off the
big room. It would be perfect for an office for him to work out
of and keep records. He and Bobby moved in immediately.
Everything they owned or could take with them was in the camper.
The camper was on hydraulic jacks. Gil could park anywhere, jack
it up off the bed of the truck and drive away. He decided to move
everything out of the truck and let it air out from the stench and
clean it up later. He immediately went to work getting organized
and finding out what records the men already had. Gil Morris was
no novice to hard work and his efforts began to pay off for them.
Gil liked Shane’s ideas of the cowboy slaves becoming self sufficient
and co-operatively working together to better their lot in life.
He was a big champion for the humane treatment of slaves.
They did the
best they could with the limited number of cowboy slaves they had, but
slowly started gathering slaves from many different sources. Hoot
Austin and Cotton Daniels always had their ears open for a good deals
and knew how to get the best bargains for other slave owners.
Somehow they managed to purchase two slaves who they were not only
willing to give to Shane, but because the men were new to slavery, they
would throw in two more of their best slaves if he would only accept
the first two. One was several years younger than Shane by the
Louden Austin and the other was only a couple of years younger
named Faustus or Fuzzy Daniels. They were the younger brothers of
Hoot and Cotton.
Since Hoot and
Cotton were close relatives of the men, they couldn’t legally own them
so they needed someone they knew to accept ownership whom they could
trust to be decent to their little brothers. To sweeten the deal,
they offered two of their finest, seasoned cowboys they knew would keep
their little brothers in line, Bart Swinson and Telly Ferguson.
Shane knew Bart and Telly well. They were huge men. They
looked like lumberjacks from the far North. He worked with them
many times and knew them to be honest, respectable, hard working
cowboys. Their size was more than a little intimidating, but for
the most part they were gentle, soft-spoken, peaceful men until you did
something incredibly stupid and got them angry. If any men could
ride herd on Hoot and Cotton’s little brothers, Shane knew it was
four men immediately, made Bart and Telly his final two lead cowboys,
gave them the room across from Phil and Eli’s and gave Loud and Fuzzy
the first cowboy slave room next to theirs. Loud and Fuzzy were
young and full of piss and vinegar. There were a few incidents
with them, but Shane or Cole never had to worry. Bart
and Telly gave the boys major attitude adjustments. Phil
Pie laughingly told them later,
“After big Bart
and Telly got through with them boys they began to settle down right
nice-like. For a year or more them boys wouldn’t take a shit
without Bart or Telly’s permission.” Phil slapped his knee and laughed.
Four more cowboy
slaves came from a most unexpected source. There were four men,
two couples, who were cowboys before they got shipped off to a Cheney
work camp who weren’t happy in the colonies because they were cowboys
at heart, but there was no work for them. The men begged them to
let them hang out and work with Charlie’s cowboy slaves. It was
dangerous for them to be outside the protection of the Bandersnatch
without proper identification chips implanted in them, but with Lazarus
as their ramrod they could get away with it for periods of time.
With robo-cams on them around the clock, Lazarus could instruct Kyron
to transport them back to the Bandersnatch at a moment's notice.
During those times, for all practical purposes, they lived the life of
a cowboy slave for weeks at a time, but still they weren’t satisfied or
happy. They just didn't feel like they belonged.
“Once a cowboy,
always a cowboy.” was one of Lazarus’ firm beliefs. He based his
opinion on two thousand years of trying to deny his own past and his
love of the cowboy way, but he was never fully successful.
they came to him with their plight and asked if there was someway they
could become cowboy slaves? Time and again, Lazarus tried to
talk them out of it, but they were persistent. Finally, Charlie
got on Lazarus’ case to interceded for them and told him he thought it
could be done. He told Lazarus to ask their new member, the
judge, what it would take to make everything appear legal. The old judge
was fount of information for Lazarus and even helped him obtain some
documents in a questionable manner to ‘process’ them without leaving a
suspicious paper trail. Lazarus was firm with the men and told
them he would only go along with their wish to become slaves if there
was a time limit involved like an indenturement. Lazarus based
their time, five years, on the amount of time he thought the Grange had
left on the planet. Furthermore, to protect the Grange and the
men’s past association with the Bandersnatch, they would have to go to
another ranch and work for Captain Shane and Judge Potter.
readily agreed and everything was made to look as legal as
were chipped and given to Shane and Judge Potter. They became
four of their best cowboys. Two were fine cooks and took over the
kitchen of the bunkhouse. There wasn’t much to cook for the first
six months, but as the slave’s garden began to produce and different
foods became available, Potter, Shane, Cole, Gil and Bobby could be
found taking their meals in the bunkhouse with the men on Mrs. Biddle’s
days off. Most days, Gil and Bobby joined Shane and Cole for a
lunch of slave chow and nutrient biscuit with the cowboy slaves.
In the early
days, Shane, Cole, Gil and Bobby would be out in the gardens working
along side the cowboys to make their first garden plot
successful. Even the old man would walk over the hill and pick up
a hoe to help from time to time. He was feeling better and had
more strength and energy every day. When it came time for the
trip to Venus the men went with little trepidation about leaving the
ranch in Gil Morris’ capable hands. The trip to
Venus was yet another eye opener for Boss Potter and Shane’s pa.
They enjoyed themselves enormously from attending a Visallian warrior
Tao'mac and watching Shane along with his cowboy brothers perform as
excellently as the huge warriors. They particularly liked the
coyote cowboys. Potter mentioned to Shane and Cole how much he
wished Bobby could have come on the trip with them and met the
coyotes. Venus was another experience in culture shock for the
men. Shane’s family marveled at the bladder whales and couldn’t
believe how popular their cowboy foreman was on another world.
Shane’s appearance at many functions skyrocketed the sale of his action
figure and Darryl had another million to give him. Darryl already
gave Shane two more briefcases with half a million in each.
Captain Goodnight had two and a half million socked away on his
ship. Likewise, the coyote cowboys made their parents and
themselves very wealthy.
On the trip
over, Shane had a chance to take Mr. Potter and Cole to the large
theater. Their was no one there and Shane could call up any video
or film he wanted to show them. They expressed a desire to learn
more about lummox/human bondings and reproduction. Shane showed
them the Trong-Fielding video which had them squirming in their seats,
but they didn’t want it stopped. He then showed them the video of
Arlen Jones giving birth to the coyote twins and them crawling into
Strom’s large pouch. When the video came to an end and the house
lights came up they suddenly realized they weren’t alone. The
place was filled with people who came to watch the videos with them.
When it came
time to return, the new gate worked perfectly and they simply stepped
through to ‘Goodnight Station’ at Mars port, and from there took
gate back to the Bandersnatch. The men were happy to get
home. Potter left Maxine behind with Mrs. Biddle. Ms.
didn’t want to be alone even though she was still cooking for Mr.
Morris and Bobby. After they returned, Potter, Shane and Cole
were enjoying a lazy afternoon at the swimming hole by themselves when
gonna’ happen, ain’t it, Son?” he spoke to Shane.
Boss.” Shane replied.
“I’m amazed with
the extended family we have. They don’t seem to have come
together for any purpose other than to live and work together to
survive. In all our dealings with the colonies and the recognized
leaders like yourself, I’ve never heard or witnessed a militaristic or
jingoistic word from anyone against our government, but in a more free
society the people ain’t afraid of hurting your feelings by letting you
know their dissatisfaction and disappointment with the current
regime. Mostly, I’ve seen passionate displays of fidelity and
brotherhood, but never anything that might suggest a threat to the
government of Earth. I’m convinced
Admiral Long ain’t the least interested in confronting our government,
but is here to save as many good people and the flora and fauna of this
planet as he can. If anything, he has the attitude of resigned
passivity toward our government. I’ve heard him say many times,
'Render unto Scudder what is Scudder’s.' As long as they leave
him alone, he could care less what they do, because he and powers
greater than him have given up any hope for Earth’s salvation, and you
know what? I think they’re right. I saw it coming
years ago but never wanted to admit it to myself. I always
thought the pendulum would swing the other way and we would once again
become the great nation we once were, but it never happened. The
pendulum got stuck on its swing to the right and never returned.
It’s a sad commentary on man’s religions when he has to go underground
to hide his true beliefs in himself and humanity. I feel so
fortunate to have met you and Cole and be given a chance to join your
Shane smiled at
him and nodded his understanding. Cole took Shane’s hand, raised
it to his now toothless mouth and kissed it. Both Cole and
Potter’s teeth began to drop out about the same time as their new set
of teeth began to grow in. Ms. Essmee Fay had a devil of a time
cooking for them because they could only eat soft foods and soups for a
while. She became more acceptant to the ‘unusual’ happenings
around the ranch and would simply roll her eyes, shake her head and
grin. She regularly gathered arms full of calla lilies from the
banks of the small creek where they seemed to grow in great
profusion. She would make simple but stunning arrangements and
place them around the big house. They were lovely and brought a
softness to the house. Boss Potter told her he had no idea
where they came from. He never planted them, and he knew his wife
didn’t. Mrs. Biddle smiled sweetly at him. She
knew from whence they sprang.
Slowly the men
included her, Mr. Morris and Bobby in the wonders of the Grange.
Mrs. Biddle began to see them ‘angel-mons’ at different social
gathering held at the Potter ranch. The one with the longer hair
and scruffy beard she just knew was Jesus; but, he was dressed like any
other buckaroo and accompanied by his faithful companion who was now a
beautiful Collie dog. Maxine brought Utah to her to explain why
he was in human form the day he and his master appeared to help
Bobby. Slowly she began to put the pieces together and feel more
comfortable around them. She became a fixture at the ranch.
She could cook creole food which, according to cowboy legend, would
have the men crawling on their
hands and knees, barking like a pack of dogs for a taste of her
File’ (Fee-lay) Gumbo.
Maxine and Bobby
became great friends and when she wasn’t busy with her main squeeze,
Judge Potter, she was with her girlfriend, Ms. Essmee Fay, her
boyfriend, Bobby, or her cowboy slave
buddies. She found her family, her place in the sun, where she
was wanted, needed and appreciated. She was happy and would only
return to Charlie’s ranch or the colonies when Judge Potter went and
requested her presence. She always went with him every week to
visit his cousin who would have treats for her as well as her cousin
Clarence. She would exchange pleasantries with Ms. Estelle, have
her treat, thank the sweet lady, then curl up on her nice carpet and
snooze until the judge was ready to return.
She would still
make brief, weekly visits to see Cable, David and Jonathan. They
were always thrilled to see her, and if they weren’t busy would sit
down to hear about what was going on in her world. Boss Potter
would take her once every three months to visit and be checked out by
Cable and his staff. They couldn’t believe how much she improved
on her sixth month visit. She gained almost all her weight back
and was as
full of life as ever, but they noted she now seemed to have a maturity
about her she never had before. She carried herself with a new
dignity as she felt befitting the companion of a great man.
Maxine was another matter Gil Morris reckoned was not to be talked
about, but he came to love and appreciate her as much as anyone.
heart was repaired he began to grow like a weed after a downpour on a
hot afternoon. Waco and Ox were frequent visitors to the Morris
cottage and Gil opened his arms to Captain Waco and his slave. Ox
would always offer Bobby more of his lummox milk and sing to him as the
boy nursed at his big teats. There was no denying the beneficial
effects it was having on his boy. Bobby was developing in ways
Gil could only wonder about. He would find the boy walking in the
meadow naked, wearing only his cowboy boots, petting and talking with
horses of the remuda. He would talk
his favorite pony, Stardust, into letting him climb onto her back and
ride for a while. She would do something Gil never saw another
horse do before. Standing, she was too tall for Bobby to pull
himself up onto her back without a saddle. She would drop to
her knees on her front legs to lower herself so Bobby could pull
himself onto her back; then, she would gently and smoothly get up being
careful not to upset his balance. Gil never worried about Bobby
when he was on Stardust. Bobby rarely used his saddle
anymore. He could talk any horse into doing whatever he
wanted. Gil would watch as he walked back to the house, the
horses would follow behind him to see him safely home. It was
like they accepted the boy as one of their own.
Gil missed his
wife, but he saw so much of her in Bobby and felt she was with him in
spirit through his boy. Gil’s job at the ranch was just what he
needed to keep him from going into a depression tailspin. He
didn’t have time to be depressed. He was busy from sunrise to
sunset. There was always something that needed his
attention. Shane was right about Bobby and him taking their meals
at the big house. It gave Gil a sense of belonging and a greater
sense of family. These men, as mysterious as they could be at
times, quickly became his and Bobby’s family. Potter and Cole had
to admit Shane chose well when he picked Gil Morris to become a part of
their family and ranch management. It was only
natural Shane and Bobby developed a close relationship. Bobby
worshiped and idolized Shane. He loved his dad and respected him,
but Shane became his role model. He wanted to be just like
him. Gil didn’t see that as a threat. He came to think the
world of Shane Goodnight. As time went on Gil received a knock on
his door one afternoon, and a fine looking young man he never met
was standing on his porch, but he knew the man from somewhere.
Mr. Morris, I’m Basil Troubadour, and this is my companion, Mr. Brett
Jones. Mr. Jones is the famous Holy Temple Guard you've
probably seen on
televison from the National Cathedral.”
“One of the four
men who came to Captain Shane when Bobby was ill? Yes, Sir.
That ‘ud be me.”
“Of course it
was you. Welcome, gentlemen. Come in. You are welcome
in my home anytime.” Gil Morris said.
“Thank you, Mr.
Morris. We’re here at Captain Shane’s request to see Bobby.”
Bobby was in his
room playing on his computer and heard voices in the living room.
Maxine was with him. She came running into the room ahead of him,
took one look and recognized her friends. “Basil! Mr.
Jones! Oh, this is great! So nice to see you again.” she
gushed. They made over her and called her by name. “Mr.
Jones don’t get to visit from the Holy City very often, Mr. Morris.”
“Bobby do you
remember this gentleman?” Gil pointed to Basil and asked his
son. Bobby recognized him immediately, went to Basil and slowly
put his arms around his waist and hugged him.
“Thank you, Mr.
Basil for saving me. I’d know you anywhere.”
“It was my
pleasure, Bobby. I’m glad to see you looking so much better, but
it’s been almost six months now and we’d like to check you out to make
sure your heart is still working properly. There are a lot of
folks around here who love you and want to make sure we done a good
What do I have to do?” Bobby agreed without first checking with his dad.
“Mr. Morris, my
partner and I are evolving into another species of human. It
would take a day or so to explain how it all came about, but we both
have healing powers. Mr. Jones, Brett, has another property that
is unusual. He can meld into another person and see the workings
of their body without invasive surgery or harmful scans. Do we
have your permission to check out Bobby’s heart?”
so. Sure, why not? I saw what you done for him. While
I don’t pretend to understand the methods, I can’t fault your
results. I don’t think a man what saved his life would be here to
cause no harm to my boy.”
Sir, but your reasoning is sound. Okay, Bobby, all you have to do
is close your eyes and breathe naturally.” Basil instructed.
Bobby closed his
eyes and heard his dad gasp as Brett Jones vanished in front of him and
his clothes fell into a heap on top of his cowboy boots. It was
like he dissolved into thin air leaving only a trail of dust particles
behind. They floated gently, but unthreateningly toward his
boy. Bobby continued to breathe naturally and Gil watched as the
dust began to enter Bobby’s body through his nares.
said Morris to Basil. “Is that him?”
I’m learning, but I ain’t as good as Brett.”
Soon Bobby heard
in his head, << Can you hear me, Bobby? >>
“Yes, Sir, I can
hear you jes’ fine, Sir.”
inside you, but your dad can’t hear me, just you. >>
<< I don’t
need to talk out loud then. I can talk with you like I do with
the ponies? >> Bobby
projected to Brett Jones.
way is fine. You hear the ponies? >> Jones asked.
“I been talking
with the ponies in ma’ head ever’ since I recovered. I can also
talk with Captain Waco’s lummox slave, Ox. I ain’t told ma’
dad. I didn’t wanna’ worry him none. I think it has
something to do with the lummox milk I been drink’n.” he spoke out
loud. Bobby heard a laugh in his head.
Son, he knows now. You jes’ spoke out loud. >>
Bobby. He heard Basil and his dad laugh.
“My partner is
communicating with him in his head, Mr. Morris.” Basil told him.
entering your blood stream right now, Bobby. Woah, what a
rush! You got good strong flow, boy. Excellent! I’m
just about to your heart. I’m through. Damn, that thing is
snapping. It’s like a little mouse trap. You’re heart is
strong and sound, Bobby. Ain’t a damn thing wrong with it.
I’ll be withdrawing from your body now. You can open your eyes
and watch me reform if you like. >> Brett invited him.
“Mr. Jones said
my heart is in great shape, Dad. Said it snaps shut like a mouse
trap. He said I can open my eyes and watch him reform. What
did he mean by that? Where did he go?” Bobby looked around
and saw Jones’ clothes in a pile. The boy watched as the
particles left his nose and mouth with every breath he took. When
Jones extracted himself completely he reformed in front of Bobby and
his dad. Before them stood one of the finest looking humans
either one ever saw. The man was handsome in Western
clothes, but nude he was breathtakingly stunning. Everything
about Jones’ body was perfect. He smiled, bowed to them and began
to put on his clothes.
Gil Morris. “I’ve seen me some strange things since we came to
this ranch, but that was, by far, the strangest. If you’re
evolving into a new species what do you call yourselves?”
Evanescent.” replied Basil with authority.
Steele’s kids, Adam and Eve?” Gil asked. He’d been told they were
another race of people, but he never saw them dissolve.
Sir. That’s how Mr. Jones, here, became contaminated with their
DNA when Adam saved his life.”
happen to Bobby?” Gil asked.
Mr. Jones and I are relatives, meaning we’re biological cousins.
We have genetic markers in our DNA that allow us to absorb or mimic
other's DNA sequences. It’s what makes us healers. We can
mimic any persons DNA, repair them and restore their natural
balance. Normal humans like you and Bobby don’t have the
marker. Brett, unwittingly picked up Adam’s DNA sequence, and his
body started replicating it. Within weeks he disappeared one day,
and we had to get Adam and Eve to find him and teach him how to
reform. Because of certain activities we won’t bore you with, I
became infected by Brett. We are the only known carriers of the
special marker. Our people are working with highly advanced
computers to find out if this is an anomaly or if we were in the right
place at the right time for this evolutionary change to take
place. Captain Shane told us you would understand if we explained
the concept to you. He said you were a learned man of science.”
I like to think I am, but this is way beyond me.
On the other hand, what you say makes a lot of sense. Working
with bees, I’ve noticed certain jumps and leaps in some hive’s survival
rate over another with nothing to account for it but stronger
genetics. One day I’d love to take courses in advanced
genetics. I’d like to help my little buddies find resistance
factors to certain mites and viruses what plague them.”
“We have some
scientist you would probably benefit from meeting, Mr. Morris.
Men who could teach you what you want to know in far less time than you
could learn at a university or research facility. We’ll speak
Captain Shane and his boss. I understand they just haven’t had
the time to stop long enough to bring you and Bobby fully on board with
the Grange. I think they plan to do so soon. You must have
Gil. “I’ve never asked anyone, because it weren’t my place, but
why does everyone call Mr. Goodnight, ‘Captain?’ Is he part of
some secret military?”
Basil smiled. “Naw, Sir, there’s other kinds of ‘captains’
besides a military rank.”
“Like a captain
of a ship or a captain of a team?" Gil asked.
“Yes, Sir, but
you’ll find out about that soon enough. It will all become clear
you.” Basil wasn't giving him anything. Morris didn’t push
After Basil and
Brett departed, Bobby went to his dad and crawled up into his lap, gave
him a hug and a kiss on his cheek.
conscience, boy?” Gil grinned at him.
Jes’ wanted you to know how much I love and appreciate you. I
thought I was doing the right thing, Dad.”
“I know I been
running my ass off since we been here, but you can come to me with
anything, Son, and I won’t never turn away from you. I want you
to know that.” Gil said sincerely.
Dad. I jes’ thought you might think I’s making it up to git
you, Son. I seen what you can do with them ponies. Them
cowboys git a kick out of you running around without chore’
clothes. I think it’s kinda neat, too, but I know you do it for a
reason.” said Gil as a statement of fact.
ponies are less threatened by me. They accept me more as one of
their own that way.”
you talk with Maxine without using words. I can tell when you and
her are deep in conversation, ‘cause you laugh at the same time.”
sometimes Maxine and I talk late at night when I can’t sleep. She
sings to me from Boss Potter’s bed, and it always makes me
sleepy. Sometimes I talk with Captain Waco’s slave, Ox, and he
sings to me. I’m learning his songs. I can’t sing them, but
I don't know what they mean yet. I will in time.”
“What have we
stumbled into, Son? Does the strange going ons around here ever
bother or frighten you?” he asked.
“Naw, Sir, not a
bit. Why would they, Dad? I trust them men
completely. If Maxine knows ‘em and loves ‘em, they’s good enough
for me. Beside, like you said, a man what saved your life ain’t
too likely to do you no harm.”
you’re right, boy. All in all, for what we lost, we’ve had a good
half year together, ain’t we?”
“It’s been the
best six months of my life so far, Dad. I miss mom some’um fierce
sometimes, but I’m happy here.”
“I know you miss
her. I miss her, too, but I’m happy here myself. Don’t you
think she’d be happy for us?”
“Ain’t no doubt,
* * * * * * *
the visit by Basil and Brett Jones, Bobby was naked one afternoon,
except for his boots, playing in meadow with the ponies near the old
barn, when he saw Maxine running for the barn like she was on a mission
and her tail was on fire. He knew Maxine didn’t see him, so he
followed her. He hid to see what she was up to. He watched
as she scratched a four by four next to the rear stall in the
back and spoke her name. Suddenly, a strange, watery looking door
sprang up and
Maxine disappeared through it. Bobby didn’t even think about what
he was about to do. Like Alice down the rabbit hole, he ran for
the gate and passed through just before it shut down. He found
himself in a big room that smelled like a hospital and had equipment in
it he knew doctors might use. Before him was Maxine jumping
around and getting hugged, kissed and petted by three beautiful, naked
men; three of the most handsome, perfect men he ever saw. They
were even more perfect than Officer Jones of the Holy Temple
Guards. They stopped abruptly and looked at him. Maxine
turned and saw him. A look of horror crossed her usually happy
What are you doing here? How did you get here?” Maxine sounded
“I saw you run
through a wall of water and disappear. I was worried about you
and ran after you. Did I do something wrong?” he looked worried.
“No, not at all,
Son.” spoke the most perfect and handsome of the three naked men.
“I’m sure Maxine didn’t know you followed her, but it was awfully brave
of you.” The man’s words made him feel a little better.
Somehow he didn’t feel the least self-conscious being naked in front of
Maxine, don’t be mad at me.” he pleaded.
silly. I ain’t mad at you. Only a little surprised, but I
love you for thinking I might be in trouble.” Maxine ran to him and
gave him a big wet one.
“Where am I?”
Bobby asked her.
“In sickbay on a
wonderful ship, Bobby.” she answered, “These men are my friends and
doctors. Mr. Cable, David and Jonathan, meet my friend, Bobby.”
Bobby. You must be Mr. Morris’ boy.”
This ain’t no ocean ship. This is a spaceship.” he said.
Cable allowed as he took Bobby’s hand and shook it.
“And you men
ain’t like me.” he said.
Bobby. We’re bio-mechanical men.”
Captain Waco, and he came on the double to sickday with his faithful,
Waco! Ox!” Bobby exclaimed, happy to see them.
Bobby. Heard you found out our little secret. Good for you,
Son!” Waco hugged him and chuckled.
“Am I in
all. It was time your daddy and you knew about the rest of what
was going on with the Grange anyway. I notified yore’ big bother
Captain Shane and he, Boss Potter and Mr. Jenkins are on their way
now to talk with your dad. In the meantime, come with us, and
we’ll show you around.”
that. Do I need clothes, Captain Waco?” he asked.
“No, would you
be more comfortable if I took mine off?” Waco offered.
that’s okay. I jes’ didn’t wanna’ offend nobody. On the
ranch, ain’t nobody to see me but those what love me, and I can go all
day without my clothes and play with the ponies.”
“Before you show
our handsome young visitor around, Captain Waco. May we run a
quick test on him?” Cable asked.
“If he’s a mind
to. Bobby, these men are our ship’s medical team, and I think
they’d like to take a picture of your heart. Will that be all
right with you?”
Officer Jones said I was okay.”
“We know, Son,
we just want a picture for our files.” Cable said.
Bobby did what
Cable asked and lay still on the table. He made a quick scan and
shook his head. “Them men do damn good work.” Bobby heard him
say. “Thanks, Bobby, you can jump down now.” Cable told him.
Waco and Ox
showed Bobby the huge ship and then took him to the bridge and
introduced him to Kyron. He was thrilled to meet the Evolved
Intelligence whose voice he heard several times. Kyron was pretty
impressed with Bobby. As they returned to sickbay, Captain Shane
accompanied by Mr. Jenkins, Boss Potter and his dad came though the
gate. Bobby ran to his dad.
You won’t believe what I seen. Oh, Dad, it’s so wonderful.
This is better’n all them sci-fi movies you and I watched. I hope
you ain’t angry with me, Dad.”
boy. I ain’t angry with you. I have to say this is bringing
all the pieces of the puzzle together. I never suspected anything
like this, but I knew damn well these folks had some secrets we didn’t
know about. I’m proud of you, Son, for trying to help your
It was that day
Gil Morris and Bobby were brought into the Grange as full
members. Gil and Bobby got the longshot. When asked if he
wanted a new, full set of teeth, Gil asked if that was why Boss Potter
and Cole’s teeth fell out and new one’s miraculously grew in?
They assured him he was correct. They developed a perfect set of
“Can I take a
rain check?” he asked Cable. Cable never heard the expression
before. Waco explained.
can. Anytime you want.” Cable assured him.
“You people are
so advanced. No wonder you want to keep quiet about it.” Gil
* * * * * * *
The end of their
first year the ranch didn’t make a profit, but no one really expected
it to. Even successful ranchers planned on little or no profit
for the first three years of operation. It didn’t bother Gil
Morris because he had more time to work with his bees and did a good
business on the side by selling organic honey and royal jelly. He
could’ve made more money, but a portion of his honey he donated to the
cowboy slaves to make their lives a little sweeter. In return, he
and Bobby had a steady supply of fresh vegetables. Shane and Cole
were working their butts off with their farrier business. They
were gone from the ranch sometime two to three days a week and would
spend one day a month taking care of Shane’s brothers’ horses.
Those were usually short days because they kept them up and most of the
time they only had four to six ponies who needed their attention.
Shane ran their farrier business as a separate enterprise from the
ranch, but Gil kept books for them. Shane’s deal was only with
Angus, but he took care of Charlie’s horses, too, and would only bill
him for materials. He figured since Charlie and Lazarus were so
good to him he needed to give back something. He and Cole also
took care of Waco’s giant Shire horses. Waco loved the big horses
and slowly built up a family of twelve. At the end of his Uncle’s
first year in business as a rancher and farrier he gave Shane a pair; a
colt and a filly. Not to mix bloodlines, Waco gave him one of
Ranger’s colts and a filly he bought from a man in another
One more of Judge Potter’s dreams came true.
anniversary of the death of Gil’s wife the men drove with him and Bobby
to the cemetery with Mrs. Biddle and Gil’s two slaves, Jack and Spence,
to put flowers on her grave. He and Bobby hadn’t been back since
the funeral, and they were pleased to see the headstone was set
into place. They didn’t pray or say any words, but Gil and Bobby
seemed to appreciate his extended family cared enough to come with
them. Gil made a small speech in which he thanked Mrs. Biddle,
Jack and Spence who faithfully stood by him and Bobby’s side during his
wife’s illness and death, and to Boss Potter, Cole and especially
Captain Goodnight for saving his boy’s life and giving them a second
chance. He said he and Bobby talked, and decided to tell them
they loved them. They also decided they were very happy at the
ranch and looked forward to another year.
* * * * * * *
The old farrier
truck was nickle-diming them to death and was growing increasingly
undependable. They were looking at replacing the engine and
transmission. It was Gil and Jack Hamil’s opinion they would be
throwing good money after bad. Jack worked miracles keeping the
old truck running as long as he could. Shane certainly had the
money to buy a brand new truck, but he was worried about a large
display of personal wealth. Leave it to Hoot and Cotton to come
through again. They heard of a plumber who was going out of
business due to a bad divorce and had a one ton Ford truck he bought
only three years before with a service bed they could adapt to a
farrier truck. He was only asking two thousand cash and for the
buyer to take over payments. He owed three thousand on it.
The men went to
see it, and Gil encouraged Shane to buy it. Boss Potter
agreed. Cole liked the truck. It was just too good a deal
pass up. The man threw in all his plumbing tools he had in the
truck with the deal. Shane paid off the note and they had a fine,
newer truck to work from. Everything worked including the
air-conditioning. Shane decided if they were going to get a new
truck they may as well invest in some dependable new tools. Their
old portable forge was on its last leg and Cole had to baby and pray
over it to get it working. Shane invested another thousand in
some fine, new tools for them and they returned the old truck with the
old tools to Angus. He signed off on their gentlemen’s agreement,
but still expected Shane and Cole to take care of his remuda for
another two years. They assured him they would. He asked
Shane to sign another agreement, but he refused.
“It’s about time
you started trusting my word, brother. I ain’t no lying, sneaky,
conniving, untrustworthy slave. Me and ma’ pa is working hard to
be reputable businessmen. We already done told you we’d live up
to our end of the bargain, and we will. That’s enough!” Shane
said in a tone that told Angus not to push him. He didn’t.
He never said another word about it, but later apologized to
Shane. Shane made damn sure he kept his word. Cole
laughed. He’d come to know Shane so well, he knew when he saw his
jaw tighten he was not to be fucked with. He had every bit as
much of a stubborn streak as Angus, but Shane’s was tempered with
compassion. He would show his brother his word could be trusted,
and he did. For the next two
years, he and Cole never missed their scheduled appointed time to be at
Angus’ ranch. Besides, it was like homecoming for them every time
they went. Most of the time, if they weren’t real busy at the
ranch, they’d holler to Phil and Eli to jump in the crew cab and go
with them. They would visit their buddies and spend the day
prepping the horses to be shod. Angus wanted to know if Shane was
spending his ‘freedom fund’ too fast. Shane laughed and assured
him, other than the check he wrote Angus for Cole, and one to Gil
Morris for the Potter Ranch remuda, he hadn’t touched a penny, and he
hadn’t. He told Angus he bought the new truck and tools from
money he and Cole made from their farrier work for the first
year. They did better than they expected. Shane never told
Angus about his other financial windfall and the two and a half million
dollars he had stashed away on the Bluebonnet.
“I think you got
the idea me and my slave live high on the hog, brother. You
couldn’t be more wrong. I bought ma’ pa a couple a pair of fine
new boots, some new Western clothes, and I bought myself a couple
of things to make myself look like a presentable rancher and
businessman. Beyond that we live close to the bone.” Shane
grinned. Angus picked up on Shane referring to Cole as his pa,
grinned to himself but let it pass.
* * * * * * *
insisted he didn’t try to commit suicide. He said he was
drinking, got confused, would wake up from the sugar in his system from
excessive alcohol intake and take more pills to make him go back to
sleep. He did it several times and just didn’t realize how many
he took. No one believed him, but it was his word against
the prosecutors, and he had enough men from the Grange stand up for
him. Angus swore he was a good man, and it was his and the
of the Grange’s opinion he would never do anything like that. He
barely got out of becoming an indentured slave for five years. He
returned to the ranch and tried to resume his duties, but none of the
cowboy slaves had much respect or faith in him anymore. They did
what he told them, but he knew they didn’t care to be working for
him. He would stay in his house when Cole and Shane paid their
monthly visits to the ranch. He would be miserable to get along
with for the rest of the week. He lost his temper several times
and took his rage out on one cowboy slave or another. He
deliberately hurt one of the baby slaves for no good reason. He
almost beat him to death with his belt. Angus talked with
Bill until he was beginning to lose faith in him
himself. Unknown to Angus, Birdsall put in an application to a
small, state run ag college in Brownsville to teach slave care
techniques and ranch management. He accepted the job, dissolved
his partnership with Angus, took a big loss, and left to join the world
of academia again. The next time Shane and Cole came to work on
his remuda, Angus set them down to tell them Birdsall dissolved their
partnership and left to teach.
“I don’t suppose
you men would be interested in the job.” he fished.
Shane looked at
Cole and almost fell on the floor. Cole had to bite his tongue to
keep from laughing.
“You know we got
family, brother. We's solidly entrenched where we's at.
Ain't no way we could jes' up a walk away from what we got. We
wouldn’t even think of leaving them good folks, but it
was awful damn nice of you to think on us.” Shane managed to get out
with a straight face.
“Yeah, well, I
just hope you men make it.” Angus added as a kicker like he had doubts
about their abilities. Cole saw Shane’s jaw set. It was not
a good sign. Shane wasn’t going to take it, when he felt Cole’s
hand on his arm. He understood his pa’s tacit message: ‘Don’t go
for his throat, Son. You know how I hate the sight of blood.’
worried, brother.” Shane responded in a relaxed tone, “We got family,
and we got each other. We’re growing ever’ damn day. We got
all we can handle, but most of all we’re happy. We ain’t where
you are yet, but when we go to bed at night and lay our head’s down, we
can sleep peacefully. I just wish the same for you.” said Shane
slightly condescending manner. That said it all, and he felt his
pa gently pat his arm in approval.
“Nice new set of
choppers you got there, Cole.” Angus grinned referring to Cole’s new,
perfect set of teeth. “You shore’ are looking a lot younger these
days. What’s yore’ secret, Son?” Angus grinned real big.
“Oil of Olay.”
drawled the big cowboy. Shane couldn’t hold it anymore and fell
out laughing. Angus wasn’t expecting such a quick comeback from
the usually stoic cowboy and bellowed with laughter. Cole nailed
him to the barndoor.
“Ah, fuck!” he
exclaimed, “I knew you two would make it, and by God I’m proud of you,
but if you hear of anyone who might be interested in the job, send him
to me.” Angus asked sincerely.
brother. That’s all you had to ask in the first place.” assured
Shane as he laughed again. Angus just grinned.
all the way back to the Potter ranch. He would look at Cole and
break up. “Oil of Olay?” he asked. He started Cole laughing
until he had to pull the truck over to the side of the road, and they
held each other until they got it out of their system.
“God, I love
you, Pa.” Shane told him.
“No more’n I
love you, boy.” Cole assured him. They stole a quick kiss and
continued on their way.
* * * * * * *
Angus felt out
Charlie about Blake Tindell becoming his foreman. Charlie told
him while Blake was living and working out of a small place on Hoot and
Cotton’s ranch, he was being salaried by Lazarus. He was still
the boss-man for the Stamper boys, and they were working sometimes two
and three projects at a time. They even took on more slave
apprentices to work with them. Blake was running three
crews and they were planning a fourth. Charlie said he even had
to wait six months to get Blake
and the boys to start work on his new bunkhouses. He didn’t think
Angus could offer him near as much as Lazarus. Charlie indicated
he paid Blake handsomely.
Admiral and me, we’s still slowly weaning him away from slavery.”
bet. You weenie him on one end while yore’ ramrod weenies him on
the other.” Angus laughed, “‘Sides, he’s been a freeman for damn near
three years now. If’n he ain’t learned to be a freeman by now he
should seriously consider giving his ass to some good master for
life. What you’re doing is agin’ the law, little brother.” Angus
“I know, but
what a’ you gonna’ do when a man comes to your door, with his hat in
his hand, with a needy look in his eyes, drops to his knees, cries and
begs for your help? Is compassion against the law? Charity
begins at home, brother. Jesus said to clothe the naked and feed
the hungry. Believe thee me, between me and ma’ ramrod, Blake
Tindell never walks away hungry or naked for that matter.” Charlie
laughed. Angus knew when he was licked. He gave up on the
idea of Blake Tindell.
* * * * * * *
Shane, Cole and
Boss Potter developed close friendships with Hoot and Cotton.
Potter saw them as uniquely gifted entrepreneurs of the new Theocratic
America. They knew how to wheel and deal but stay just above the
law. He found them fascinating and so did Gil Morris. He
enjoyed the men’s company. They began to socialize quite a bit
between ranches, and it was never a dull evening when the men got
together. Hoot and Cotton were addicted to Ms. Biddle’s creole
cooking. They shamelessly brought her little gifts and trinkets
to show their appreciation for her talents. Essmee Fay learned
what the men most liked and what they shied away from. She set
her menus according to the day. Friday was always Creole day and
no one missed it. Hoot and Cotton
were sitting at the table laughing with the men at a story Boss Potter
was telling about Bobby bringing a crawdad up to the house to ask Ms.
Biddle what it was. He said she took one look and damn near went
crazy wanting to know where he got it and was there any more?
“She talked me
into promising Bobby a quarter for every crayfish he could catch for
her. Damned if he didn’t go down there to that creek and spend
all afternoon catching them things and brung back two big buckets full
a’ them bugs. He had to put ‘em in his wagon and haul ‘em up to
the house. There was over a couple hundred in them two buckets.”
Potter laughed, then continued. “But like any good businessman,
Bobby gave me a break and only charged me forty bucks for the lot of
‘em.” Potter was having a good time. “So enjoy your supper,
gentlemen. Tonight you’re having Crayfish Etouffee.” The
men cheered and complimented Bobby. Ms. Biddle’s Etouffee was the
stuff of culinary dreams. Everyman at the table had tears in his
eyes. It was so damn hot with spices they had to chase each bite
with a liquid, but there was no denying the flavor and texture was like
indulging in a sinful activity and getting away with it. They
loved it. They gave Ms. Essmee Fay a standing ovation. Ms.
Biddle was a happy camper. Much like her little sister, as she
had come to think of Maxine, she, too, found a home where she had a
purpose and was appreciated. Over
coffee the men set and talked ranching. Bobby went off to be with
Ms. Biddle and Maxine. The subject came up of Angus looking for a
foreman. Hoot and Cotton heard Birdsall left, but just assumed
Angus hired someone immediately.
“He asked if me
and pa would be interested in the job.” Shane laughed shaking his head.
“I was polite with him, ‘cause I knew if’n I weren’t ma’ pa would
a good lick’n when we got home.” he broke everybody up. “I hear tell he
approached ma’ brother Charlie about Blake Tindell but didn’t git very
far.” he added.
too wrapped up in Ramrod Long and Master Charlie. Besides, he and
Bryce Cannon are as happy together as two ticks on a dog. Blake’s
loyal cuss. He goes out of his way for us, and we’d do anything
for him.” said Cotton. “He looks on them Stamper boys as his
own. You gotta’ admire him though, he’s practically raised them
three younger boys single handed. They’s at the top of their
class in school ever’ damn semester and all fine athletes.” allowed
Hoot, then continued, “We got us a man what’s coming up for manumission
in a month. He was sentenced fifteen to twenty and was up for
manumission with probation five years ago. He fell in love with
the oldest Stamper boy, and the good Judge, here, granted his request
to remain our slave for the rest of his sentence.”
“Damn, has it
been that long? Twenty years? It seems like only yesterday
he was standing in my court.” said Boss Potter.
“Yes, Sir, come
next month, Jimmy Joe Russell will be a freeman.” said Hoot.
“He’s one hell
of a cowboy.” offered Cole. For Cole to say that about a man was
“We been working
with him, trying to motivate him to git excited about being a
freeman. As slave owners we understand it’s hard for a master to
let go of a good slave, but Hoot and me have been slaves and we know
what it’s like for a cowboy slave to get lulled into a sense of
complacency. If we didn't have a good master we would’ve never
made it on the outside. If nothing else we’re gonna’ try to keep
him on as a paid employee. Ramrod Long’s already done told us
he’ll underwrite anything we wanna’ do for him to see he makes
it. Trouble is, he and Burt Stamper are joined at the hip. Jimmy Joe is
hung like a Shetland pony and jes’ loves to give old Burt rides on his
horsey. For a slave what was so adamant he weren’t never gonna’
fucked as a baby slave, Burt can’t seem to get enough of ole Jimmy
Joe. Since he’s a short timer we have Jimmy run a lot of errands
for us in the old truck. Hell, Jimmy Joe will find some excuse to
drive by the job site at lunchtime where ‘em boys is working, and Burt
won’t git no lunch. He follows Jimmy Joe like a puppy dog on a
leash and they go off to a storage shed so’s Jimmy Joe can fuck him or
have Burt suck him off.” everyone laughed. Shane looked at Cole
and winked. They’d had their share of afternoon delights in the
hayloft. “Burt’s awful damn jealous of his partner and git’s
madder’n a wet hen if’n another cowboy even looks at Jimmy Joe, and a
lot of ‘em do. Ain’t no doubt about it, he’s a fine looking
cowboy.” declared Cotton.
Jimmy Joe may ask the judge to make him our permanent slave, and while
that would be jes’ fine with Cotton’n me, we don’t want that for
him. Cotton and me, we got us a little different attitude about
our slaves. We sort of look on ‘em as our kids. If we got
one like Jimmy Joe who’s a damn good cowboy, worked hard for us, what’s
made it and about to ‘graduate’ from slavery, we wanna’ do ever’ damn
thing in our power to see he makes it. ‘At’s what Master Charlie
done for us, but he didn’t have to. If’n it weren’t for him, we’d
still be slaves. We wanna’ give any salve his chance to make it
if he can.” Hoot said.
“Good for you
men!” allowed Judge Potter and seconded by Gil Morris.
“Wish there were
more men like you and the Goodnights in the world.” added Gil.
“I can take care
of the judge’s decision.” volunteered Potter, “Anderson will listen to
me and tell Jimmy Joe he ain’t gonna’ let him become a lifetime slave
until he makes a try as a freeman. After a year or so, if he
feels he can’t make it, that would be the time to
reconsider. A lot of judges are doing that these days.”
“Jimmy Joe would
make a hell of a ramrod for Angus.” Cole declared quietly, but with
conviction. Hoot and Cotton agreed.
“I gotta’ agree
with ma’ pa on that one.” said Shane. “Have you talked with Ramrod
Long? Maybe he would allow Burt his manumission to go with Jimmy
Joe and get started in the world working for my brother? Or maybe
he’d allow Burt to live on the ranch with Jimmy Joe and commute through
the gates? Better yet, maybe he’d give Burt to Jimmy Joe as a
manumission present under the condition Burt still works for
Blake. I learned it’s a big responsibility to own a slave, but
once you do, you wanna’ make damn sure you stay on the straight and
narrow, see to his needs and deserve to keep him.” Shane said.
“Amen to that,
brother.” said Hoot. Cole just smiled at his young master.
Hoot and Cotton
did talk with Lazarus, but he was firm he wanted Burt to remain a slave
for right now. He didn’t think it would be a good idea to give
Burt to Jimmy Joe as his slave. He explained it would be
different if it was like Shane and Cole where they were starting a
business together and the slave was an important part of the
equation. He didn’t mind the idea of Burt living on Angus’ ranch
with Jimmy Joe and commuting through the gates if Angus would go along
with it. He said he would approve the plan, but he wouldn’t
tolerate Burt being late or not showing up for work.
“It would sort
of be like Jimmy Joe having a wife who was home every evening, but went
off to work every day.” said Lazarus. He didn’t mean to be funny,
but Hoot and Cotton laughed at his analogy. Shane told Cole he
didn’t think his brother would go along with the idea, but Cole thought
“How long has
Angus been without a ramrod?” he didn’t wait for an answer, “‘Bout six
months. Right about now, I’ll bet that old man would sign on a
dance’n bear if’n he wore a cowboy hat and could ride a damn horse.”
they shared a laugh.
* * * * * * *
Potter’s dreams came true, but he continued to have more of them.
There seemed to be an explosion of prophetic dreams and signs coming
from all sorts of people and critters. Maxine had several she
described in detail which were quite unusual but contained a certain
truth. After Gil Morris and Bobby met the Coyote Cowboys, Gil was
able to associate the mysterious words Shane told the men who saved
Bobby’s life. These were the ‘coyotes’ he was referring to, not
an animal. Bobby enjoyed the coyotes, and while they were crazy
about him, he never seemed to have much interest in running with
them. He had his own vision of the world and the Grange with all
the wonderful advantages it had to offer. He was three years
than the coyotes and when you’re that young it makes a difference in
interests and communication. With the extra fortification from
the lummox milk, Bobby’s scope of the world tended to be just a little
ahead of theirs. He continued to grow and study the natural world
Shane and Cole
grew closer as the months and years passed. They rarely had a
disagreement. Cole transformed and regenerated until he looked a
good solid, mature thirty-six to thirty-eight years. His teeth
were perfect, and he was no longer afraid to smile. Potter
out to look about forty-five to fifty; just about the age Shane said he
would achieved. The ranch continued to slowly grow into a large
operation. The second year they actually made a goodly
profit. It wasn’t great and no one could retire on it, but it
make them proud and happy. It put a few more coins in Gil Morris’
pockets. The third year they made a substantial profit.
From then on, Potter’s dream came true; everything they touched made
* * * * * * *
Cole was right,
Angus gave Jimmy Joe Russell a chance, but Jimmy Joe wasn’t a
dancing bear. He was a damn fine cowboy and knew how a ranch was
suppose to be run. Angus had some trepidation about having Burt
live with him, but it worked out better than he imagined. Jimmy
Joe took to the ranch like a duck to water, and he made Angus money the
first year he worked for him. Angus wasn’t a miserly man or
stingy when it came to his employees. He rewarded Jimmy Joe
handsomely. The only problem was Burt had to get used to Jimmy
Joe as foreman/ramrod being the dominant, alpha-male cowboy and fucking
every slave suck him off. Jimmy Joe was much like Cole. He
was quiet and stoic. He didn’t talk a lot about business.
cool and never discussed his work with Burt, but continued to
reassure his love for him by fucking him regularly and feeding him all
the good, hot, rich, thick, ropey cowboy cream Burt could suck out of
him. Angus’ cowboy slaves allowed if Burt didn’t get pregnant, it
wasn’t from lack of trying. They gave their ramrod Jimmy Joe the
cognomen ‘Dr. Pepper,’ because on their days off, he fucked Burt
regularly at ten, two and four every day.
End of Chapter
58 ~ Waco’s Lummox
Copyright 2008 ~