By the time Jimmy arrived back at the Sullivan farm on the stolen ATV, he was still mad as hell about what happened to him. The fact was, he was furious with everyone and everything. He was mad at Fred for making him apologize to Ricky. Fred should have known what his buddy was like and how he would take advantage of his city cousin. He was mad at Tom, Junior, Fred, the twins and Damien for allowing him to think this sex thing between boys was normal. He was pissed at Tom as the eldest cousin for not protecting him from the evil country boys. And he was irate at Ricky and Dustin for taking advantage of him. Jimmy had only put himself in that situation because he had been going out of his way to make friends with the local kids and apologizing for being mean and calling him a queer. But the punishment Ricky demanded was way out of proportion to what he did. He had often used more expressive "colorful language" (that was what his 6th grade teacher, Mr. Andrews called it) about kids at school in New York. Far worse stuff. And as it turned out, "queer," had actually been far too kind. Both Ricky and Dustin were assholes of the lowest order. He would certainly never use such kind words about them as just "queer" in the future. If he never spoke to them again, it would be too soon.
Jimmy was also still super pissed at his parents for leaving him here in this hell hole. What were they thinking? Even suffering "house arrest" at their condo in New York would have been a far kinder punishment than what was happening to him now. On the farm he was an unpaid worker with all these chores and now they wanted to make him a sex slave as well. It was modern day slavery like they talked about on the news channel. Well that was all ending now. But most of all he was mad at himself for getting into this situation in the first place. Jimmy was an alpha male, and he was used to being top dog. It was his role in life to manipulate others. Not the other way around. Whatever possessed him to volunteer to suck off three other boys, he couldn't understand. Even a week ago, he never would have dreamed of doing that in a million years. It must be something about the air, or the heat, or the country people here in South Carolina. He couldn't think of any other reason why he'd do it. It's not as if he was gay. A wave of nausea hit him at the prospect. Ricky was cracked in the head if he thought of Jimmy as "one of us." No, he'd never be one of 'them'. Never! He wanted to kill Ricky for even suggesting that.
As Jimmy parked the ATV in the machine shed, 15-year-old Tom came roaring up on the second vehicle.
"What the hell is going on Jimmy?" the older boy yelled at him before even turning off the engine.
"Nothing!" the city kid yelled back. "Just leave me alone."
"Leave you alone? Are you crazy? Have you any idea how dangerous it was for you to drive back here by yourself. You don't have enough experience yet and these can be dangerous machines. And you didn't even wear a helmet. What were you thinking?"
"I wasn't thinking anything. Just leave me alone," screamed Jimmy with tears in his eyes. Then he took off at a sprint out of the machine shed.
"Jimmy wait! I haven't finished with you yet," yelled Tom, but he was wasting his breath as his younger cousin disappeared out the door and headed towards the open fields of the back forty.
Tom considered giving chase. He could easily have run the kid to ground on the ATV. However, it was clear Jimmy was upset about something, and he would need to find out the rationale behind this behavior before being hasty. He also knew he should tell his dad about the boy using the ATV without permission and driving without a helmet. These were both definitely spanking offences in their dad's book. But again, Tom figured that could wait until he found out more. The whole thing was regrettable. Until lunch time, it seemed the New Yorker was actually making good progress in settling in around here. Fred would be the person with the answers, or perhaps the twins. Tom stood at the entrance of the machine shed as Jimmy appeared to wander around aimlessly in the alpaca field number two. He took the key from the second ATV and put it in his pocket, and then started heading back to the swimming hole for the explanation he needed.
Jimmy watched as Tom drove away. 'Good riddance,' he thought. At least the older boy was leaving him alone. But that left him with the problem of what to do now. He considered packing a bag and driving out to the interstate a few miles away. He could dump the ATV and hitch-hike back home to New York. The problem with this plan was that home was a long way away and people didn't give lifts to strangers any more. And he had heard that hitch-hiking kids could easily end up as prey to some pervert. As far as he was concerned, he'd seen enough queers for one day. So that was probably not a good idea. Maybe there was a bus in the nearby town of River Falls that went north. But that would be slow and Uncle Jack would probably have the police on him before he left the state. There might be alternatives, but he was too mad to think of them now. He just had to admit he was stuck here for the time being. But he didn't have to like it and play their games. Like the unionized garbage workers back home, he would "work to rules," do the minimum he could get away with and avoid contact with the other kids as much as possible. He liked reading and that could fill in hours and days if needed. He could also play video games when the others went to the swimming hole, or the caves, or whatever else they did. He wouldn't be part of it. Yes, that would be his life.
Jimmy headed to the bunkhouse to get cleaned up. He could use this opportunity before the perverts came back. Lord knows when he would get another chance for privacy. The shower felt brilliant. He turned the hot water up as much as he could stand and just stood there washing away Dustin's spunk that he imagined still clung to him. He rubbed and sponged his face until it hurt, and then washed his hair four times. He would eradicate every trace of Cousin Dustin from his DNA. Then he rinsed out his mouth and rinsed again. He knew the taste of Ricky's semen would always be there from now on, but the flushing water in his mouth helped.
After drying himself thoroughly and getting dressed, Jimmy grabbed the book he was reading, "March, Book 1" by Andrew Aydin and John Lewis, and headed to the main house. He didn't want to be in the bunkhouse when the others returned. He was sure Ricky would have told everyone what he'd done by now. He could never show his face again with the kids at the swimming hole. His cousins were a different matter. He couldn't avoid them, but he'd just have to tough that one out. He would play video games on the old Xbox 360 in the family room and read after the other guys got back. He would mind his own business and keep away from the others as much as possible. And he would give a lot more thought to the problem of how to get home to New York.
When Jimmy entered the family room he found the place deserted as expected. The other boys were still at the swimming hole, Uncle Jack was working in the barn, and Aunt Kate was in the kitchen. Finally, 9-year-old Sue would be at her pony club he remembered. Privacy was something rare and an opportunity to be savored around the Sullivan farm.
Jimmy plopped himself down. He just wanted to be absorbed by the comfortable arm-chair and remain hidden. It had to be one of the worst days of his life. He looked around. Typical! The Xbox 360 wasn't there. Aunt Kate must have moved it again. That meant getting up and finding it. But Jimmy was depressed and lazy and stayed where he was for now. He shed a few tears in self-pity.
"Why is life so unfair?" he said out loud. There was nobody to hear his words, but he felt better saying it.
Jimmy wiped his wet eyes with the back of his hand and looked around the room looking for the missing game console. He didn't see it. But for some reason, his gaze was drawn towards the crappy landscape painting. It was always there, of course, on the wall whenever he came in here. But he cocked his head in wonder as he looked. It was strange that he hadn't noticed that before. There was an old brown wooden shack in the painting that looked like it was about to collapse. Before he had only seen the blues, greens and browns, and wide strokes of color, but there it was. A shed of some sort. It had a muddy path running from its front door. Jimmy guessed that the people who walked on that path would be slipping and sliding and sinking into the mud. Then he noticed the boat-dock and pond behind the shack. At first he thought it was just more mud, but maybe the light was hitting it differently now. It was definitely a boat-dock. But that looked like it was about to fall apart too. "What an ugly painting!" Jimmy thought. All those pretty colored leaves on the trees in the background were soon going to fall and make an even bigger mess, if this scene had been real.
He got up from his seat and went to the cupboard at the back of the room. He found the Xbox 360 on one of the shelves, pulled it out, and connected it to the old television. At least he might have an hour of fun before the others came home.
Meanwhile, Tom arrive back at the swimming hole and started looking around for Fred. According to some of the other kids, his brother had gone off into the woods with Ricky. Tom cursed under his breath. He could guess what they'd be doing and he'd probably need to wait a while for the answers he needed. However, the twins and Damien were playing on one of the rope swings, so he went over to find out what they knew.
Bill and Harry were arguing about something when the older boy walked over. Damien was standing on the right side of Bill with a big smile on his face. There were a bunch of other local kids waiting in line for a turn on the swing. No one noticed Tom as he walked over.
"Bill, Harry, and Damien, could you walk with me. We need to talk," he said. Tom had no intention of talking about family business in front of others, even if a lot of them were relatives of one sort or another. Not now anyway, until he had more facts.
The twins looked up startled, but they did as they were told and followed their older brother as he walked away from the swimming hole towards the unofficial car park. Damien tagged along behind appearing a little concerned.
"What happened to Jimmy to make him so upset?" Tom asked.
"We don't know," claimed Bill who was usually the spokesperson for the three 11-year-olds.
"Honest!" Harry added. "We didn't do anything to him."
"We saw him yelling at everyone," said Damien. "We were on the second swing then. But my brother can be a prick. He just does weird stuff sometimes."
"He went off into the woods with Fred and Ricky when we arrived," Bill put in helpfully. He was happy to ensure his own brother got the blame. "Fred was saying Jimmy needed to apologize for calling Ricky a queer."
"But Fred came back alone a few minutes later," Harry said. He was much less sanguine about the idea of getting Fred into trouble. The kid fought back hard and bore grudges.
"Yeah, that's right," Bill said, perhaps reconsidering things himself. "But a few minutes later Ricky came and got Dustin and Alex and they went back into the woods. I reckon Jimmy must'a been in there too."
"That's all we know," Harry implored. "Honest!"
All three 11-year-olds held up their right hands in a kind of boy-scout swear gesture and repeated, "Honest," again.
"So where's Dustin and Alex?" Tom asked.
"They both went home a few minutes after Jimmy cut out of here. Did Daddy whoop Jimmy's butt for driving the ATV?" Harry asked.
"Never you mind about that," said Tom firmly. "As soon as you see either Fred or Ricky, tell them I need to talk with them urgently. I'll be waiting over by the rocks."
Ten minutes later Fred showed up with Ricky in tow and the two boys made their way over to where Tom with sitting with some of his buddies.
Without a word to the two 12-year-olds, Tom turned to his friends and said, "Would you guys excuse us, I need to talk to my little brother." Then he stood up and walked back towards the woods. It was clear he expected both the younger boys to follow which they dutifully did.
It only took a minute for Fred to give his side of the story.
"I had no idea Ricky was gonna make Jimmy suck all those cocks to get forgiveness," he stated. "I already told Ricky that was a real mean thing to do."
"You told me he sucked Bill off in a game at your place yesterday," the other 12-year-old defended. "You said Jimmy sucked like a pro. I figured he probably liked it."
It took Tom another 5 minutes to get all the details of what Ricky, Dustin and Alex made the city boy do.
"I'm really disappointed with you boys," Tom said finally. "Fred, you pushed your cousin way too far. There was no way he was ready for that type of sexual activity so quickly. Remember, just 2 days ago he wouldn't even get naked in front of us guys in the shower."
"Don't blame me," Fred defended again. "I didn't do any of that stuff. It was all Ricky's idea." But he looked suitably guilty and had his eyes downcast.
Tom ignored Fred's claims of innocence. "You two have put me in a real difficult position. I should tell Daddy about Jimmy using the ATV without permission. And he didn't even put on a helmet. The twins have already mentioned it."
"Well, a good ass whopping, wouldn't do Jimmy any harm," Fred suggested.
"Yeah, maybe not. But what if he tells Daddy why he drove back home without permission?"
Tom waited for that to sink in for a minute.
"You know the adults 'round here have a long tradition of ignoring what us kids do together. In fact, Pa told me once how his great, granddaddy told him all about the corn-holing the kids did back then. But you know the two rules Daddy gave us on our 10th birthdays?"
"Nobody is forced and nobody is hurt," Fred supplied.
"Right on!" said Tom.
"But nobody forced or hurt the city kid," Ricky protested.
"Yeah well, maybe in your view," Tom added, "but I doubt his folks back in New York share that idea. You've both seen those TV shows where even the mention of kids and sex causes lynch mobs to form. Could you imagine what the Yankee newspapers would say when they hear three good old boys from the south forced a boy to do all that sex stuff? And then when he runs away to escape the 'abuse' our Pa whips his bare butt."
"We didn't force him," said Ricky defensively. "And we didn't 'abuse' him neither. Truth is Alex and Dustin promised to blow him after. I didn't say, but I would have owed him too. You know that."
"Yeah, I get it. I live here too and know how things work, but I'm guessing Jimmy didn't." Tom said. "The thing is that kid's been a powder keg ever since he got here. His brother's fine, but Jimmy is like a coiled snake, ready to strike, and he'll cause grief to everyone, believe me. So Fred, you need to tell the twins – tell everyone - never to mention anything about Jimmy and the ATV. Daddy didn't see it, and it's best he doesn't find out. I'll work on our city cousin and try to calm him down."
"I reckon he's gay," said Ricky out of the blue.
"What?" asked Tom in surprise.
"Yeah, I reckon so," answered Ricky. "He denies it, but I'm pretty sure he is. I didn't have to push too hard to get him to do all that stuff. And, oh, he was boned up the entire time he sucked us. Well, until Dustin shot all over his face. I think he just wasn't expecting that. If you like, the three of us could show your cousin a good time. A real good time. You know what I mean. He's a good-looking kid, so it'd be no problem. I'm pretty sure Alex and Dustin wanta. A sort of apology for what we did."
"Well, that might be an idea, but let me deal with the kid first. Give him a day or so to calm down."
Before any of the Sullivan boys returned to the farm, Tom warned each of them not to mention anything about Jimmy taking the ATV without permission. But Fred had already spoken to them.
Initially, Damien and the twins kicked up a fuss. They all rather liked the idea of watching Jimmy getting his butt spanked.
"Okay, tell Daddy if you like, but I'll have to confess that it wasn't me who took his Ruger 10/22 Takedown, loaded it with CCI Stingers, and shot the coyote out by the chicken tractors last month. Now, let me see, who might have actually done that. Was it you two? The thing is, I'm allowed to use the rifles in an emergency. Daddy was in town that day if you remember. But I can't recall whether that permission extends to you guys."
Of course, Tom knew perfectly well that the twins didn't have authorization to access the gun safe, or to use any of the weapons, without their father or another adult present. He also knew that using the guns without permission was a definite thrashing offence. And we are not talking about a hand spanking in this instance. The strap, or worse still, the switch, was always threatened for boys who ignored that rule.
But guns were an important part of the culture here in the South. That was something northerners would never understand. From the time the Sullivan kids turned 8-years-old, they went hunting with Daddy and some of their uncles. Luke was already counting the days until he would be invited along. In the season, hunting was a commonplace pastime everywhere in South Carolina. And on a farm, the hunting season ran all year long, when it came to protecting the livestock. The truth was all the older Sullivan boys were well trained and experienced in handling and shooting all kinds of long guns. Tom, Fred, and Bill were extremely good shots, but Junior and Harry were in a league of their own and both had gold or silver medals in local shooting and archery competitions.
After Tom laid down the law with his threat about them killing the coyote, the twins grabbed Damien and went off with their tails between their legs. Nothing about an unauthorized ATV trip would ever be mentioned again.
"Anyone who teases or says anything mean to Jimmy for the next day or so will have me to deal with," Tom added as an additional warning to all his brothers. After that he was pretty sure none of his family would be an issue.
But that still left Tom with the problem of what to do about Cousin Jimmy. He would need the wisdom of Solomon to fix that. Sometimes it sucked being the oldest boy.
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