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The Leapling

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 1

"I have more memories than if I were a thousand years old."

(Charles Boudelaire)

The roadside sign, posted at the entrance to the drive into the parking lot, announced

Mudpuppy's Saloon and Steakhouse
Fine Dining, Good Spirits
Just Where You Want to Be!

I wasn't so certain about that, considering the type of day I'd had thus far! I was hungry, tired, and mighty damned discouraged! It'd be just my luck I'd walk up to the door and the establishment would either be closed or only serve dinners beginning at five o'clock. I looked at my watch, noticing it was only four in the afternoon, but I pulled into the parking lot anyway. There were three other vehicles in the lot; two pickup trucks and a four door sedan. Well, adding one more pickup truck to the collection wouldn't make much difference, so I pulled up close to the front entrance of the "Saloon and Steakhouse" and shut the engine off.

The drive to Morgan's Landing was a pleasant one, the highway drifting through lush corn, soybean, and alfalfa fields, with pastures of grazing cattle and hog lots interspersed, and accentuated by low ridges, densely covered with various species of trees. The road itself wasn't altogether flat; I encountered sections of hilly, winding concrete highway tucked up against limestone outcroppings on one side and railroad tracks and the mighty Mississippi River on the other. Beyond, out from the low ridges and hilly section along the river, lay broad, flat open expanses of farmland, rich in dark brown soil, fertile with the additions of time and man's inclusion of nutrients, ripe for the production of crops of significant proportions. Between the railroad tracks and the river were broad expanses of forested bottom land. From the looks of the rings or high water marks, around the trees, the area experienced yearly flooding.

A large curve, extending for several miles, swept me to the west, putting distance between me and the river; a gentle climb put me on relatively level ground and back closer to the river until I again had the railroad tracks and the river on my right! I crossed a fairly wide creek swirling and meandering on its journey through low limestone escarpments and fertile soil as it scoured its way to the river and the Gulf.

Probably four or five miles later and as many minutes, I spotted the small river village I sought in the distance. My first impressions were very favorable, in fact more than very favorable! Picturesque would be the perfect word if it were on a postcard, but it wasn't; it was more than that! The little city (Population 1735, according to the sign) rested on a large, expansive bench overlooking the river; low enough to easily access the water and appreciate its beauty, but high enough to escape any of the ravages of flooding.

The streets were clean, the businesses appeared to be well maintained, and the houses, from the looks of them, were taken care of with pride! It bespoke of "home-town" pride and said "Welcome" in every way as far as I was concerned. I really had no idea if strangers were welcome or if they were merely tolerated, but I fell in love with Morgan's Landing and so wanted it to be where I'd live.

It appeared, this late June afternoon, it was not to be!

Sitting a minute, trying to get my thoughts together, wondering what the hell I was going to do? Everything I owned was either in the front seat, passenger compartment, or in the bed of the pickup truck covered by the topper. Morgan's Landing was the fourth little community I'd visited in the last three days and in each I'd drawn a blank in satisfying my wants, or better yet, needs. A visit to the small realty office at the end of the main street here proved no better, although I'd hoped against hope it would. I needed a fucking place to live! For the past two nights I'd slept in a small tent in one of the county parks, taking advantage of the hot showers and restrooms. That's all well and good, but not to have on a permanent basis, especially when winter arrived. Granted, it was only early June, but what the hell, no sense waiting until the last minute.

Morgan's Landing was by far the nicest of the communities I'd visited; resting on the banks of the Mississippi River, affording a view across the very wide body of water dotted with islands, big and small, I was certain it wouldn't only afford recreational opportunity, but housing as well. I guess I was mistaken there! It was a typical small river town, yet atypical in many almost indiscernible ways! The main highway meandered along the river, dissecting the community of seventeen hundred or so, with businesses on either side of it and the majority of the residential area behind the businesses on the off-river side. There were houses on either end of the community, but there were no sub-divisions of newly constructed homes. I'd noticed, at various locations along the river on my way into town, cabins and homes constructed along the river. Each was set up high so as to avoid spring floods, I imagined. Otherwise, the forested land along the river, groves of trees scattered throughout the country side, and large swaths of open farm land comprised the landscape. As in many river communities, the river side businesses were separated from the river by a set of railroad tracks.

The community had most of the necessities of small town life, unlike many others I'd seen over the years where the small communities slowly withered as big box stores and shopping malls in neighboring larger cities offered more choices and sometimes better prices. The death of many communities began shortly after the local school closed due to falling student numbers and eventual consolidation with other districts. Morgan's Landing's school was in fact closed and had been for a number of years, but for some reason, from what I could see, it had little effect on the community. Their small district, when closing, became part of the Northeast Hamilton Community School District, comprised of Morgan's Landing and the three other small communities I'd visited. The new school, comprising all twelve grades plus kindergarten, was constructed on a new site, centrally located to all, yet still would be a fifteen mile drive from here.

My ride through town to the realty office and back to here, indicated it was a neat, well-kept community with a bank, post office, IGA grocery story, a variety store, two gas stations, a car dealer with shops, one large marine sales, a couple of bait shops, municipal building and police station, a fire station, a locker plant with a meat market, and several other small businesses, including a barber shop and a beauty parlor. I was certain there were more I missed, but trying to drive and sightsee can be difficult, if not downright dangerous at times! I was reminded to obey the speed signs and other traffic signs when I drove by the police station and saw two Morgan's Landing police cars and a county sheriff's squad sitting out front.

Taking a deep breath, not too deep since I had to piss like a race horse and didn't want to appear with wet pants, I unstrapped my seat belt, climbed out of my truck, shut and locked the door, and walked up to the front entrance of the restaurant. Saints be praised, the front door sign listing the hours of operation indicated they were open from six in the morning until midnight, although the kitchen did close at nine each evening.

I hustled myself into the establishment and with a quick look around, spotting first the bar since it was unavoidable when coming in the front door, located the "Men's" and made a mad dash – well, more like a quick step, through the door, and up against one of the urinals. I was so desperate, I thought I'd rupture myself unzipping and pulling my dick out to piss! I did piss however without rupturing myself and felt much relieved and lighter once I jiggled the last drop into the basin and farted! Nothing like a good, healthy fart when you're done I figure.

Returning to the main part of the restaurant, I took a good look around this time, surveying the place. The bar was centered, as I noticed scooting past it in my haste to void my bladder, up against a back wall with doors on either side of it I assumed led to the kitchen, in the main part of the fairly large room. Although there was a scattering of tables as I entered prior to the bar, there were dining tables, on either side of a wide aisle leading to the bar, in separate rooms, although it'd be a misnomer to so describe them as "rooms". There were no walls, so "dining area" would be more appropriate, but on one side of the "dining area" there were two separate areas with what appeared to be "movable walls" so those areas could be isolated into rooms for small private parties or left open to accommodate large crowds of dining guests.

The bar was a lovely wooden masterpiece; quite old, shining with careful attention, and well maintained with a dozen or so bar stools in front, two of which were occupied by older gentlemen clad in bib overalls and seed corn dealer baseball caps adorning their heads shielding somewhat their tanned, wizened faces. They turned to stare at me for a moment, evidently sizing up the stranger who appeared in their midst, and turned back to their glasses of beer and conversation, none of which I could hear but certain now I was the current topic rather than crops, hogs, or weather.

In one section of the dining area, seated at a table, were four other individuals; one older, maybe between seventy or eighty; two, one an Asian, maybe fifty or sixty and the other Caucasian, approximately the same age, and one about my age, perhaps a year or two older. I chose a table not far from them, giving me the opportunity to see them as well as them seeing me. I was barely seated when a waitress appeared suddenly, pad in hand, smile on her face, asking pleasantly, "May I help you?"

I indicated I was extremely hungry and she recommended "Chance's Big Burger Special."

"It'll be just the ticket," she said as she wrote it down even before I said I'd like it. "You get a huge burger with all of the fix n's, large order of fries, coleslaw to either eat separately or put on your burger, and up to three draws of tap beer; all for three dollars and fifty cents."

I couldn't turn it down so nodded my approval and she left, but returned quickly with a cold glass of beer. I took my first sip, savored the slightly salty, malty taste of the brew and took another look around. The four gentlemen at the other table were giving me the once over! I smiled politely in their direction and finished my beer.

Now, I'm not a very big guy, standing five foot, eight inches and weighing around one hundred forty pounds or so, and not a very good fighter. I favor my mother in stature, not very tall or heavy, and have a lightly, sun-tanned complexion, fading somewhat from the winter, dark brown hair, hazel eyes, and a mild (most times) temperament. Thank god I'm not like my father; homophobic, racist, xenophobic, and one mean son-of-bitch! But, these four really didn't look aggressive, just curious.

My waitress reappeared with my burger special and another beer. I had at both with gusto! It was the best damned burger I ever ate – bar none! Finished, I contemplated having another beer, but thought the better of it. I still hadn't found housing and would probably have to spend another night in the county park. I didn't want to take a chance of smelling like a bar fly and get stopped by one of the cop cars I saw parked in front of the "cop shop" up the street. I don't have the newest pickup truck and, as a stranger in town, I could be prime meat for a ticket. I knew how some of these small towns operated, I thought! So instead, I waved my waitress over and asked for my check.

"Oh," she responded, "That's already been taken care of?"

"By whom?" I asked, surprised someone would buy my lunch for me.

"Avery," she answered, pointing at the table with the four men at it, "Avery Morgan!"

I looked over in their direction and responded to the older gentleman waving me over, by joining them. By way of introduction, I said, "I'm Vic Nelson but folks call me 'Nelson."

Now this isn't necessarily true; my full name is Isaac Victor Nelson, but my father and mother insist on calling me "Isaac" while my siblings, all eight of them, call me "Ivy" (get it, I.V.), in high school my classmates used "Vic," and in college I used "Nelson" which I much preferred.

"Which one of you fine gentlemen do I extend my thanks to for the fine meal I just ate?"

Three fingers pointed silently to the older gentleman at the table.

"That'd be me!" he responded with a smile and twinkling blue eyes which accentuated his dark tanned, more Mediterranean would better describe it, complexion and full head of snow white hair. His eyes sparkled like blue sapphires on a snow covered field. Over all, he had a distinguished, yet warm, grandfatherly demeanor and appearance. He was one I felt instantly comfortable with! I quickly thanked him for his generosity to a complete stranger.

"You're most welcome," he said humbly, "I'm Avery Morgan. You looked hungry, tired, and thirsty so who am I to turn away from a weary traveler?"

The other three laughed softly and when I turned slightly, my eyes focused on the youngest of the four. My original assessment seemed to be fairly accurate concerning his age and slim, but well-proportioned stature, but closer examination revealed an extremely good-looking man, clean-cut, with a tanned complexion similar to Avery Morgan's; black hair, clear blue sparkling eyes seeming to dance with excitement and a bit of mischief, and was impressive, as far as I was concerned!

He extended his hand in greeting; a hand with long, slim fingers, but a hand used to work and I accepted it warmly. We held the shake, perhaps longer than necessary, but I waited until he said softly, "Aidan Morgan, his great-nephew," pointing at Avery. "They call me 'Aidan," and grinned at me, making my heart skip!

"He's the shy one," Avery laughed, "but we love him!"

I could easily see why and so could my now swelling cock!

Releasing his hand, reluctantly since I was impelled to maintain contact with him finding his touch warm, breath-taking, comfortable, noticing the same hesitancy on his part as well, I turned to the Asian gentleman and extended my hand.

Grasping it, giving me a welcoming smile, I took notice he was dark haired; hair flecked with gray, dark eyes, smooth, soft hands, with small fingers, slim build, and about my height, perhaps a couple of inches shorter.

"Tom Watanabe," he greeted, and pointing to the man on his right, "I'm his partner and lover."

"Oh boy, what's going on here?" I thought to myself. I swallowed nervously! Tom Watanabe made the statement concerning his relationship with the other man as if it were the most normal thing to say in the world, quite unlike the experience I'd had recently!

The other man quickly secured my hand in his, but before he could introduce himself, Avery interrupted:

"That handsome man who has your hand now and who Tommy is so much in love with, is my nephew, Chance Morgan."

"Like in 'Chance's Burger Special?" I queried curiously.

"Yeah," he grinned, "Uncle Avery named it after me since I love a good burger."

Before I could ask any more questions concerning the burger, him, or who owned the restaurant, Chance inquired, "What brings you to our fair city?"

I didn't dare tell him of the row with my father and mother this past Easter left me without a home or a place to stay – no, not yet anyway! As luck would have it, one of our neighbors two farms down the road, offered me a bed until the semester ended and I graduated from the university. The older couple, whose children were grown and moved on, understood the problems I was having at home and were quite sympathetic to me.

I wanted to go to college, but my father insisted a high school education was sufficient in the world he wanted me to live in. It wasn't the same world I desired for myself. I defied him and enrolled in the university about twenty miles from us. He, of course, blew his fucking stack with the admonishment, "any costs, fees, or otherwise, you're responsible for."

I'd been raising some hogs, littered from four sows I kept, since high school started, again against his wishes, setting the money aside from the sale once they reached market weight, minus what he billed me for feed, water, and shelter for the critters, for future use. I had enough for my first year of college and a used pickup truck for transportation.

His revenge came when he ordered me to "remove your livestock; I need the room!" which was a blatant lie, so I scrambled around trying to find a place to keep them. The older couple down the road happily obliged me. In the next four years, I increased the number of sows I kept, purchased some feeder pigs to boot, and even raised some beef cattle, all with the support and help of my neighbors. I continued to live at home, albeit the atmosphere was quite tense, and hired out during the summer to other farmers who needed extra help. Obviously, this didn't set well with my father; he tried to make life miserable for me, but I refused to let him, ignoring his blustering and threats! He was cautious around me when it came to hitting me ever since I was a senior in high school. I'd done something he didn't like and marched me to the barn where he ordered me to drop my pants so he could scald my bare ass with his belt. I refused and he smacked me across the mouth with his fist, knocking me to the barn floor. As I stood, I noticed a three-tined pitchfork, picked it up, and held the tines gently poking his chest.

"If you ever touch me or my little brothers again," I threatened, "I'll either run you through with a pitchfork or sneak into your bedroom some night, cut your balls off, and leave you to bleed to death!"

That was the last time he decided to confront me physically. Even though I was smaller and lighter than he was, I guess he figured I meant ever word of it. I did!

The final straw came at Easter! My father and mother called me into the living room, dismissed the rest of the family present and announced it was time I was married. In fact, they had already chosen a young lady from a family who shared the same religious views as my parents. Plans were being made for me to begin courting her in a couple of weeks and the wedding would be in the fall. Evidently, everyone agreed concerning this union, except me!

I was dumbfounded and fucking mad! I looked at him and mother, who put her head down, unable to look me in the eye, and said, in a very determined and resolute voice, "I don't think so! Unless she has a cock and enjoys taking it up the ass, I'm not interested."

I'd never, ever had any relationship with another male but always hoped to, knowing I was gay from early on, but staying so deep in the closet, all the lights on the high school football field wouldn't have been able to find me! He ordered me out of the house, boxed up all of my stuff, and set it on the front porch. It was then I moved in with my neighbors.

Nope; I couldn't tell Chance Morgan that, so leaving all of that out, I announced, "I'm the new Biology and General Science teacher at Northeast Hamilton High School. I'm in town hunting for a place to live."

"No shit!" I heard Aidan exclaim, sounding surprised and somewhat saddened by my announcement. I turned to face him and he continued unhappily, "Mr. Jenkins must have retired; I had no idea he was going to!"

"I don't know," I countered with a shrug of my shoulders, "all I know is it was a late opening. I applied and got the job."

"He was my favorite high school teacher," Aidan continued, "in fact, he was the one who really encouraged me to go to college."

Now it was my turn to act surprised; "Really?"

"Yeah; received my bachelor's degree in Agriculture with emphasis in Agronomy and Animal Husbandry."

"By the gods," Avery snorted, "Aidan's said more to you," pointing at me, "than I've ever heard him say to anyone he didn't know!"

Aidan's face blushed, although it was hard to detect beneath his dark tan, and cast his head and eyes downward, obviously embarrassed!

"Have you found a place to live yet?" Avery asked with concern. "I know housing is damned tough to find now, but you'll have all summer to look," up-speaking at the end of his sentence and raising his eyebrows, looking deeply into my eyes for my reaction.

"Now was the time for truth or dare," I thought to myself.

"Unfortunately, not!" I lamented. "I fear I've burned my bridges behind me."

All four men focused their eyes and attention on me! Aidan, however, had a distressed look on his face, searching my face with his eyes, trying to ascertain the depth of my problems and empathizing with me.

I gave them a very brief synopsis of my altercation with my parents concerning my "lifestyle" without delving into detail, my father tossing me out of the house, and my living with the neighbors until I graduated two weeks previously to arriving here. Not one of them stopped me while I spoke or asked a question!

"Evidently," I thought at the time, "they accept my story."

I take that back; Avery did ask one question when I finished.

"Chance," he asked, "what's the dinner special tonight?"

Chance thought a moment, answering, "It's Wednesday, so it's All You Can Eat Chicken Wings, fries and drink extra, or Porterhouse steak with salad bar, and the rest of the usual menu items."

"Excellent," Avery said, tapping the table with a finger for emphasis. "Nelson, where's your vehicle?

"In the parking lot."

Turning to Aidan, he instructed, "Take your truck, lead him home, help him unload and bring him back for dinner. Put him in the room next to yours."

I protested, letting him know I wasn't telling him a story just to gain sympathy in order to get a place to stay. "I've spent a couple of nights in the county park and a couple more won't hurt!" I stated strongly.

Avery looked at me and with a snap in his voice, responded, "Do I look like I can be played for the fool?"

I shook my head no!

"Then, there's no further discussion of the matter; you'll live with us and that's that!"

He smiled (thank god, I thought I'd angered him), adding, "You're lucky, Nelson; you've landed on a ship of patriots adrift in a sea of pirates. Besides, we can use the help this summer." With a wave of his hand, "Off with the both of you!"

Aidan's truck was one of the newer ones I'd seen in the parking lot when I drove in. I followed him out of town some five or six miles, hooked a left turn down a gravel road, passing fields of corn, soybeans, and alfalfa. The alfalfa looked as if one crop had already been cut and baled by the looks of it. We drove over some railroad tracks, past a couple of pastures holding black angus and Holstein steers of various weights, a small orchard with perhaps a dozen or more trees just prior to stopping in front of a large, white, wood frame, two story house with a one story addition towards the back, setting in a large farm yard with a medium sized barn, chicken house and yard, a hog house and pen which didn't seem to be used, and a huge garden, well fenced to keep the critters out. Behind the barn, sloping down a long hill and extending far to the left and to the right was a large tract of wooded land accessed by a lightly graveled lane. I assumed, if one were to walk into it and down the hill, one would come to the river; at least it looked like river bottom land to me from where I sat in my truck.

The house was well-maintained, it appeared, with a porch extending across the front and about half-way down two sides. I climbed out of the truck and waited for Aidan to join me.

"I'll show you inside and where your room is, before we unload," Aidan said pleasantly.

"Who lives here besides you?"

"Uncle Avery, Chance, and Tommy."

We stepped into the house, Aidan pointed to a large staircase in front of me, gave a wave of his hand to follow him, and we went upstairs. I hesitated a moment, did a quick reconnoiter of what I could see and saw a large dining room to the left and a large living room to the right. My first impressions as we ascended the staircase was, this was an older home modernized through remodeling yet keeping the charm and ambiance of an older home. It was a very comfortable home and felt lived in.

In the hall at the top of the stairs, Aidan pointed out four bedrooms; his was the first on the right; Chance's and Tommy's just across the hall, a spare bedroom just down the hall from theirs, and a bathroom at the end of the hall I assumed was used by all the bedrooms. The next door on the right, down the hall from Aidan's, was to be mine. I raised my eyebrows in question, but before I could ask it, Aidan did; "Uncle Avery's room is downstairs, just off of the living room! There are also two spare bedrooms in the wing as well. He added the wing to the house a few years ago."

"Uncanny," I mused to myself, "it's almost as if he could read my mind or at least anticipate my actions or words."

He opened the door for me and we stepped in. It's a large room, windows on two sides, a large queen-size bed, dresser, easy chair and end table with a lamp, nightstand; desk, chair, and lamp and a large closet with plenty of hanger space and extra storage.

Aidan pointed out an open door on one wall, saying apologetically, "I hope you don't mind; we share a bathroom."

I peeked in and noticed it was spacious with separate enclosures for bathtub and large shower. There was both a toilet and a urinal, along with a large mirror, vanity with sink and cupboards beneath, and a linen closet where towels, washcloths, toilet paper, and other items were stored.

"Nice!" I commented. "Much nicer than what I had living at home."

"How's that?" Aidan asked as we started down the stairs.

As we unloaded and carried boxes and bags up the stairs to my room, I really didn't have that much, I told him what home life was like as I grew up, of being one of nine children, with two younger than me, Micah and Simon still at home, my father's attitudes, overbearing strictness, and prejudices, and finally, the real reason why I was kicked out of the house!

"I sort of figured it was something like that!" he commented softly.

On our final trip up the stairs, his arms wrapped around a large box, while I juggled a laundry bag and my guitar case, he asked casually, "You play?"

"Sort of," I confessed. "I'm not that good I don't think! Just enough to entertain myself."

I didn't tell him the one thing my mother insisted on was each of her children had to learn to play a musical instrument to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" as she would put it. I started with piano, but enjoyed the guitar much more. Simon, my next younger brother played the piano and my youngest brother, Micah played the violin (he enjoyed playing "fiddle" music more but didn't dare around the house).

We stacked and piled things around the room; my intention was to put it away at a more convenient time. I sort of sniffed my armpits and asked, "Mind if I take a shower?"

"You don't have to ask," he laughed, "you live here now. You and I are the only ones to use this one; Chance and Tommy have their own and the one at the end of the hall is for the spare room."

I certainly hoped so! Aidan was so easy for me to talk to, I just couldn't imagine being anywhere else. I felt so comfortable around him, but how long I was able to stay depended on a number of things; first and foremost would be my rent and my meal costs; second would be if I could get along with the others in the house. I figured that might not be a problem; after all, I'd spent most of my life, up to this point, with my father.

"I'll be in my room," Aidan said, leaving as I began stripping, preparing to shower. I rummaged around in my boxes hunting for clean underwear, socks, slacks, and shirt. I realized I'd need to improve my wardrobe with some dressier clothes for classroom use if I was going to look like a teacher. I also discovered I didn't have any bedding that would fit a Queen-sized bed; everything I had was for a twin bed.

"Oh, well," I thought, "I can use my sleeping bag until I get somewhere to buy sheets and blanket."

Locating the box with my towels and wash clothes, wrapping a towel around my naked waist, I picked up a washcloth and another towel, picked up my shaving kit and headed for the bathroom. I noticed the door to Aidan's room was closed, but I left mine open.

The shower felt absolutely super! I was busy drying myself when Aidan's door opened and he stepped into the bathroom, just as naked as I was.

"Oops!" he apologized quickly, "I thought you were done."

He didn't turn away however, instead his eyes zeroed in on my crotch where my flaccid, uncut member was hanging loose from the hot shower, and my eyes locked on his crotch as well. Uncut, like mine, only a little longer, but not much, with a thick, black pubic bush adorning the base of his brown cock. His equipment was similar to mine, except my bush was brown and skin fairly white compared to his brown skin. The major difference were his balls; they hung large and pendulously in a smooth sac, whereas mine, even after the hot shower were relatively close to my crotch by comparison. To say they were lovely to look at would be an understatement, as well as Aidan himself!

"No problem," I replied, "it probably won't be the last time we see each nude!" smiled, winked, and walked into my room, knowing Aidan's eyes were now focused on my firm, round ass cheeks.

By the time I finished dressing, Aidan was done in the shower and I could hear him humming softly to himself in his room. He sounded happy and so was I! It wasn't long until he rapped on the door jamb of the connecting door and asked if I was ready. I nodded I was and he announced we were taking his truck to town. On our way into town, I commented he didn't ever seem to lose much of his tan.

Aidan laughed, a relaxed, contented laugh; "We're Welsh and I'm told we're naturally dark. Almost all of the Morgans are who live around here and there's quite a bunch. We are a large family."

I couldn't help but ask what he did since it was apparent Chance, Tommy, and Avery had the "Mudpuppy."

"I'm Farm Manager for Uncle Avery's farms," he responded. "I took over a year ago after I graduated from college. The man who was manager, he wasn't family by the way, got caught skimming some of the cash from livestock sales and Uncle Avery shit-canned him! I grew up around the business, having worked here, and had a college degree in the stuff so he hired me."

With a grin and a wink, he said, "Not doing such a bad job of it either, if I do say so myself."

"So," I inquired, "you must be about a year older than me?"

"How old are you, Nelson?"


"Me too!"

Before I could ask how he happened to graduate from college a year before me, we arrived at "Mudpuppy's." I quickly glanced at my watch and noticed it was seven o'clock and the parking lot was full!

"It's like this almost every night," sighed Aidan pulling into a "reserved" parking space.

Tommy was standing just inside the entrance, behind a reservation pedestal, holding menus in his hand.

"Busy tonight!" Aidan commented as we walked by.

"Yeah!" Tommy grinned. "With the reservations and the walk-ins we're keeping the wait staff and cooks busy."

"Does he work here, too?" I asked once past Tommy.

"Actually," Aidan responded, "he's Uncle Avery's accountant. His office is just down the street, but he works nights helping Chance."

I looked around, saw Chance talking to one of two bar-tenders, turned and spotted us, gave a wink and a wave, and scooted into the kitchen.

Avery was sitting at a table toward the back along one wall where he could not only watch the river and the activity on it but the guests in the dining room. Aidan explained it was his favorite table. He went on to explain there used to be an old warehouse next door, but blocked Avery's view of the river. Pissed off about it, he bought the building and lot and tore the building down.

"He poured a concrete slab, fenced it in, added an outdoor BBQ pit and charcoal grill and now it's where we have our whole hog roasts and rib fests. There's a portable bar they set up and access to the large group meeting room downstairs in case of inclement weather."

Avery spotted us and with a wave, encouraged us to hurry up and join him. Seated at his table, I noticed a "reserved" notice in the middle on one of those little "clippie" things and supposed it was there on a permanent basis. Why not; he owned the damned place!

"Welcome back and I hope you found your accommodations and the companionship satisfactory?" he asked with a grin and a wink.

"Excellent on both counts!" I responded enthusiastically. I was more than pleased, especially with my companion.

"I love watching the river," Avery said nostalgically, gazing across the wide expanse of water flowing by. "It always gives me a comforting, secure sense of being. This place, this river brings back so many memories – most of the good." He sighed, adding, "although there were some not so good." and laughed.

Our conversation, or rather his musing, was interrupted by a young table waiter asking, "Uncle Avery, are you ready to order?"

Avery smiled, "Yes, we are Timmy, but first how about a bottle of wine? Burgundy, perhaps?" looking at me inquisitively.

I shrugged my shoulders in a non-committal response; we never had alcoholic beverages in the house at home, so I never tasted wine before. In fact, I had my first beer just a couple of months previously. I blushed with embarrassment and was about to respond it made no difference, when Avery quickly spoke up,

"Burgundy it is- slightly chilled!" and Timmy scurried away, soon returning with a bottle, and ice bucket, and three wine glasses.

He spun the bottle around in the ice for a minute or so, opened it, and poured a little into a glass, and proffered it Avery. Avery swirled it around in the glass, sniffed it lightly, and took a small taste, nodding his head in approval.

As Timmy poured each of us a glass, Aidan noticed my confusion, and whispered quietly in my ear, "It is proper etiquette to offer a taste to the host; he or she swirls the wine around in the glass to allow it to 'bloom,' releasing its essence and enhancing its flavor. That's what Uncle Avery did."

I carefully tasted the wine and decided I liked it! We visited a few minutes more and I determined this wasn't a good time to inquire about my rent.

Timmy returned again with an order pad, inquiring if we were having the Porter House Steak special.

"Yes, we are and you know how I like mine!"

Timmy grinned, noting aloud, "and Aidan prefers his the same."

Turning to me, he asked, "How would you like yours grilled?"

My throat constricted, as much as I tried not to, my eyes welled in moisture, as I was again totally embarrassed in front of my host and Aidan! I'd never eaten steak before, so how was I to know how I wanted it cooked? I sort of shrugged indifferently and Aidan, noticing my distress, quickly said, "Just like mine- medium rare!"

Timmy left with our orders, I pulled out a handkerchief, wiped my eyes, and blew my nose, commenting, "I feel like such a fool!"

Neither Avery nor Aidan commented, although Aidan did place a hand on my thigh in reassurance! Choking back my emotions, I proceeded to tell them because of our large family, we couldn't afford steak even though we raised our own beef and hogs. We sold almost all of what we raised, roasts, hamburger, pork chops, sausage, and a few hams were the main stays we derived from those we kept for our own use. Besides, my father thought steaks, along with numerous other things in life, were tools of the devil and could only lead to more sinful ways! They laughed heartily when I told them the story of the reaction of my youngest brother Micah, age twelve at the time, commented in the privacy of our bedroom, how he had, "a tool of the devil the old bastard could nibble on" and grabbed his crotch.

Aidan his one hand still on my thigh, reached out with the other, clasped my shoulder saying reassuringly, "There's nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about; you're among friends. I learned the first time I had a 'real' talk with Uncle Avery when he assured me all would be well and I shouldn't be apologetic for who I am or who I love!"

Out of curiosity and changing the subject while we waited for our dinner, I asked Avery how long he'd owned the "Mudpuppy."

"Oh dear," he sighed, "this is nineteen-eighty six; let's see- I was born in nineteen twelve and the youngest of seven children. My older brothers and sisters were Robert, Chance's daddy, born in eighteen ninety-six, Elizabeth in eighteen ninety-eight, she married Andrew Blevens; Albert in nineteen hundred, Mildred in nineteen-three, she married Jim Owens; Lawrence in nineteen six, and Kenneth in nineteen eight, he's Timmy's great-grandfather, and me."

"That's so long ago," he continued wistfully, "the only ones left, beside me, are Mildred, Lawrence, and Kenneth, and Lawrence is not in very good health."

"My parents, Harold and Rachael married in eighteen ninety-four; they had one other son, Edward, who died shortly after birth in eighteen ninety-five."

Avery's father was one of a long line of Morgan's who settled in the area long before Iowa became a state. The name of the little community where we now sat visiting came from the family name and the simple fact the steamboats used to unload cargo here because of the accessibility to a good wharf and roads.

His parents farmed about six miles west of town and were fairly successful. As they g rew older, they added additional land when it became available in hopes of providing the opportunity for their children to farm as well, but not all did. In the beginning the children were all educated in the one room school house about a mile from the farm house, until the new school, providing an education up to grade ten, was constructed in town. Kenneth and Avery were the only two to take advantage of it.

When World War I broke out, Robert joined the army, served overseas, and at war's end, decided to make a career of it. He really didn't want to farm. Robert married a lovely young lady, Melissa Davis, a Welsh lady from New York who was a nurse.

"My heart just about broke when he went in the army," Avery confessed. "I was so afraid something would happen to him and I'd never see him again. You see, Robert was the one who took care of me when I fell, when I cried, or had bad dreams at night. He was sixteen years older than me, but I loved him more than my own father. I vowed, when he left for the service, if he returned safely, I'd do anything he ever asked me to do, and I did!"

"Melissa was so much like him; I could visit with them about anything when they came home to visit when Robert got leave. They never laughed or ridiculed me for any of my thoughts or how I felt about other boys."

Aidan and I sat back, had another glass of wine (and ordered another bottle) as we listened to Avery speak. He spoke in low tones but with strong conviction and memories as sharp as if the events happened just the day before.

Prohibition arrived in Nineteen twenty when I was eight years old. I was too young to really understand what was going on, yet knowing my father was pretty damned mad he couldn't go to Charlie's Tap and town and have a beer or a shot of whiskey. It was too much for the owner of Charlie's to manage financially and he closed it. The tavern sat empty until Nineteen twenty-two.

It was in the spring of Nineteen twenty-two, my life really changed; Leonardo Palestrina, later changed to "Palmer," arrived in town and bought Charlie's Tap and the three hundred sixty acre farm along the river, where I now live.

Leo arrived with what seemed to be an unlimited and endless supply of cash. He remodeled and rebuilt "Charlie's Tap" and renamed it "Mudpuppy's." Where he came up with that name, I'll never know, but it was catchy and people liked it. He carefully removed the ornate wooden bar and reassembled it downstairs where he remodeled the basement into a "private living and reception room." Extending under the existing parking lot, he had a large (very large) wine cellar carved from the limestone. The cellar was protected by a heavy locked door; and case after case of wine, from his private stock purchased before Prohibition, was delivered and stored there!

The farmhouse, on the three hundred sixty acre piece of property, was remodeled and modernized. Leo also had contractors construct a large storm shelter or "cave." It was accessed from the outside through a thick wooden door leading down a series of steps where a metal door stopped your progress unless you had a key. The storm shelter was carved from the limestone rock bed, roofed with thick, reinforced concrete, and stayed cool all year round. Anything kept in it wouldn't freeze, even in the coldest part of the winter. The strangest feature, which was known to very few, was the hidden entrance and tunnel from the main house to the cellar, as Leo once put it, "in case there was a storm and you needed to get there in a hurry."

The upstairs of "Mudpuppy's", where the tavern with the long bar once resided, was remodeled into a very nice family restaurant, serving breakfasts, lunches, and dinners. It took some time, but eventually, once it became known locally what "specials" he had and served down stairs. Prohibition really meant you couldn't buy, sell, or make alcoholic beverages, with the exception of sacramental wines; but if you owned the beverages, such as wine, liquor, or beer before the enactment of Prohibition, there was nothing stopping you from drinking it or offering a drink to your friends. Leo had a lot of friends.

Leo never charged, but strongly hinted his "friends" should leave a healthy donation in the tip jar on the bar in the "private living and reception room." His private stock seemed to never diminish, replenished on a regular basis by night truck deliveries. "Mudpuppy's" was never raided, the county sheriff never lacked for donations for his political campaigns, and the town fathers saw their own lives prosper as well! If there was a wedding, a bottle of champagne arrived, courtesy of Leo; an anniversary warranted a bottle of wine; the birth of a child warranted another bottle of wine, and so on. Everyone was happy, especially Leo since the cash just seemed to roll in. A few years later, I discovered the real sources of his income, although "Mudpuppy's' did show considerable profit every year.

Saturdays my parents would often go to town to do their banking, shopping, or visiting. If it was shopping, then mother would take care of that, while I'd accompany my father to "Mudpuppy's" for a cup of Leo's special coffee (coffee with a shot of whiskey in it). It was one of those visits, when I was about eleven years old, I came to the attention of Leo Palmer.

He spotted me the minute we came in the door, stepped over quickly, asking, "Harold, where did you find this perfectly, handsome young man?"

I blushed as he gently laid his hand on my head, slid slowly, almost unnoticed by others except me, down the back of my neck, softly caressing a cheek as it moved by, traveled further down my back, until it reached the curves of my pert, little butt cheeks, and began massaging them in the most subtle, erotic way. I was hooked right there!

"He's my youngest," my father replied. "Cute little shit, isn't he?"

"Yes he is," Leo replied, smiling at me, "he most certainly is!"

By the time I was fourteen, I knew every detail of Leo Palmer's body. I'd become more than just a little familiar with his large (much larger than any I ever seen on an adult), thick sex organ and those soft, egg-sized orbs suspended in his low hanging sack where his copious sex fluids were produced and stored until injected and welcomed deep inside me! It was a struggle at first, but I soon became accustomed to his thickness dwelling deep in me bringing satisfaction and pleasure to both of us. I wasn't to be his first, his youngest, or his only, but I accepted that!

I finished tenth grade in Nineteen-twenty eight at age sixteen and moved in with Leo, working at "Mudpuppy's" and his farm. I took up residence there, much to the dismay of my parents, but Bobby never said a word. He knew what I liked and how he felt, although he didn't feel the same way, you know, wife and all, but he defended me quietly to my parents.

I gained more than just carnal knowledge from Leo; I learned what consisted of good business and how to profit from it. I also knew how to spot danger and read societal signs. I didn't, however, resort to carrying a large, automatic pistol in a holster attached to my belt behind my back or keeping a sawed-off shotgun within easy reach as Leo did! Why he did so, I learned as I continued to live with him.

One Sunday afternoon, after we'd slept late and eaten a late breakfast, Leo, reading the Sunday paper, made two very significant comments, both would affect our lives and really showcased his intellect and insight into financial, political, and world affairs.

"Avery, unless I miss my guess, this prosperity roaring through our country just can't last forever. I think I'll start setting some more cash aside and sell off some of my stock and bond investments."

I nodded knowingly, although I didn't have clue at the time, and listened as he read another article aloud concerning the growth of a man called Benito Mussolini in Italy and a man called Hitler and his NDSP political organization. I remember him shaking his head sadly and saying, "Avery, someday soon the shit is going to hit the fan, and we'd better be ready for it."

As it turns out, he was correct in both assumptions!

Avery's reminiscences were interrupted when Timmy delivered our entrée. Carefully, with careful attention to every detail regarding our service, comfort, and dining pleasure, he served each of us. Once satisfied everything was placed properly and his guests could access their meal with ease, he refilled our wine glasses and departed to serve his other guests.

"Great lad, isn't he," murmured Avery, "as are all Morgan boys," he concluded with a smile at Aidan and a conspiratorial wink at me.

The steak was beyond any description other than delicious! It begged, almost challenged, the diner to criticize either the meat or the chef's preparation, since a challenge, if issued, would be decimated in the front line of public opinion. Each mouthful seemed more mouth-watering, tender, and distinct in a raptured taste than the last. Oozing with the faint traces of hot juices from the deep, pink interior, my salivary glands were dripping with anticipation, as once ingested, each morsel seemed to melt in my mouth!

Our meal was spent in pleasant conversation with topics covering the Morgan Family, the river and its impact on the little community, the fun of college life, but no topic we discussed was terribly deep or intellectually challenging, preferring to just enjoy the moment and the company. I knew, as I listened to Avery Morgan, I was in the presence of a very wise and insightful man! He may've only attended school through the tenth grade, but his education in the university of life experiences and acquired knowledge was beyond the PhD level.

Our meal concluded at what I considered a relatively late hour, although my companions felt not the same! I was worn out, both physically and emotionally, which I accredited to final relief now my housing situation was satisfactorily, and perhaps only temporarily, taken care of. Of course, the fact I'd had several glasses of wine to drink and never having consumed any prior to this evening, could very well have been the real source of my tiredness instead! In fact, my mind was beginning to grow a bit hazy when I heard Aidan excuse us by saying,

"Uncle Avery, Nelson and I have a busy day tomorrow if I'm going to show him around. He looks tired and maybe just a little tipsy!" which brought a laugh from his uncle.

We stood, albeit with some care on my part, proffered my thanks to Avery for his hospitality and the fine meal, and with one of Aidan's arms around my waist, we walked out to his truck. I'd like to say I was good company on the way back to the farm, but I dozed off. The short ride to the farm did little to assuage my tiredness, but it did help somewhat, at least so I thought. We walked up the stairs to our rooms and opening mine, I remembered I hadn't gotten my sleeping bag out so I could bed down.

"Shit!" I exclaimed, explaining to Aidan I'd left the bag in my truck and would have to use it since I had no bedding to fit a Queen-sized bed.

"Not to worry," he quickly said. "It's my fault; I should have gotten out bed linens and blankets before we left."

Without further comment, he hustled to a hall closet, returned with blankets, sheets, and pillows and quickly made up the bed. I just stood there like a fucking idiot and watched!

"Thanks!" I said, really appreciating all he was doing for me.

"Just don't expect this every night," he giggled, stepped close so our bodies made contact front to front, wrapped his arms around me, hugged me tightly, and whispered in my left ear, "Good night; I'm glad you're here!" and left for his room.

I stripped off my clothes to my natural state and crawled into bed, my head swimming of thoughts of Aidan Morgan! Aidan personified Aphrodite, Adonis, Eros, and Bacchus, perhaps more, in one package; a male of magnificent proportions, filling my mind with the most salacious, erotic thoughts, taking possession of my very senses, capturing my heart in a snare so confining in a world of sensual desire, erotic, burning imaginings, and a cock-stand such as I'd never experienced before! One day, one date, one hug and I was lost to all others!

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