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The Leapling

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 2

"Can anybody remember when the times were not hard and money not scarce?"

(Ralph Waldo Emerson)

The night seemed terribly short! I struggled, in my sleep, to understand how I could still feel the soft touch and soothing voice of Aidan Morgan. His hands, fingers, and then his thumb seemed to delicately caresses my cheek, my forehead; velvety in contact, warm, feathery, his voice audible, yet quiet and pleasing to my ears as it flowed as a warm breeze on a cool morning beckoning, urging the sun to awake and greet all living things, especially all those human!

It was Aidan's voice, not one of my brothers, not one of the older couple with whom I'd just lived, urging me to wake up, and not the sun as he continued to softly caresses my face with his delicate, most tactile fingers. Opening my eyes slowly, attempting to adjust them to the dim, predawn light in the room, I met his welcoming smile with one of my own.

"Time to get up!" he urged softly, not ordering me to "get your ass out of bed" as my father would've done for so many of the years I lived at home, but offered his urging as an invitation to join him in the new day.

"We have a busy day ahead of us, Nelson!" he gently admonished.

"What time is it?"

"Shortly after five; get dressed, just jeans and clothes you don't mind getting some dirt on them and come down stairs. Uncle Avery has breakfast ready for us!"

"My god," I thought, stirring around, reaching down under the covers to give my rampant erection a bit of a pull, "the man is seventy-four years old, came home at who knows what hour, and is up before the crack of dawn making breakfast? He must have the vigor and stamina of a teenager!"

Stretching, still covered, expecting Aidan to depart while I dressed, but hoping he wouldn't, he just stood there smiling. Tossing back the covers, my morning Woodie seriously tenting the front of my boxers with just a peek of my uncircumcised cock head poking at the boxer slit, when I stood, considering a moment my next move, I decided to drop my shorts and allow Aidan to view what I assumed he wanted to see! Standing in front of him, I stretched again, raising my arms high, flattening my stomach, all having the effect of making my penis bounce and appear larger than it really is! Aidan's eyes never left my stiffness while I did so.

From what I'd seen the day before in the bathroom, although I didn't study it that closely, I gathered Aidan and I were somewhat similarly endowed; both uncircumcised, fairly thick in girth, but I thought, just maybe, I might be an half to an inch longer when fully erect, although I'd never seen his in a turgid state, only my own. If he was six inches, perhaps I might be six and a half plus! I walked to the dresser, selected clean boxers and socks, turned and carefully, almost sensuously slipped my boxers on, taking a moment to direct my cock to an upright position when enclosed and covered.

Aidan unconsciously adjusted his own crotch and its bulging prominence, coughed and said in a husky, throaty voice, "I'll meet you downstairs," and left hastily!

I suppose I shouldn't have exposed myself to him in such a wanton manner since we'd only met the day before, but I wanted to; I needed to! Prior to my confrontation with him when I was in high school, my father would've had me on my knees begging forgiveness for my "sins of the flesh" right after he'd given me a hiding with his leather belt.

Shaking my head sadly, I couldn't help but think how unforgiving, unaccepting, rigidly homophobic, xenophobic, and religiously right wing conservative way of life he had and tried to force on all of us! I vowed never to be like him, if I possibly could! He was and is a bully, who preys on those he feels are weaker and offer no resistance; a person who wouldn't share any of his abundance, albeit there was very little mainly because of his life-style, or accept any offers of assistance from others as well, insisting it was "welfare" and he didn't want other people's charity or the governments intrusion into his life (evidently ours as well).

The heavenly, salivating prompting aromas drifting up the stairs from the kitchen was like the siren's call; it definitely wasn't cooked oatmeal or fried cornmeal mush, but smelled of bacon, eggs, potatoes, toast, and hot coffee.

Avery and Aidan were at the table, once I found the kitchen by following my nose and hearing their muffled voices as they visited, and when I entered, Avery invited me to join them.

"Help yourself," he said happily, "Aidan wouldn't start until you got here and I don't want it all to get cold, although," he added with a wink toward Aidan, "he's been pretty hot since you got up!" and laughed!

Aidan just blushed, then smiled at me! My heart almost melted there, but I took a deep breath and joined him at the table. I heard the toaster "pop" signaling toast was done, took the plates and flatware from Avery, gave a setting to Aidan and put the other in front of me. Allowing him to serve himself first, although he was insistent, temporarily I should go first since I was a guest, I reminded him what he said the night before; "I live here, now, remember?"

I couldn't imagine being hungry after the vast quantities of food I'd ingested the night before, but I was! I commented on how perfectly the bacon was cooked, not too crisp with just the right amount of flexibility to allow one to chew it, not break it into little pieces with one bite; the creaminess of the scrambled eggs, the crisp American fried potatoes, the light browned, buttered toast, and the hot, hot coffee, to which I added a dash of cream as I noticed Aidan doing the same! We did have much in common, I was happily discovering.

"The bacon is from our own hogs," Avery offered, "butchered, cured, and smoked at the locker in town. The eggs are fresh this morning from the hen house near the barn."

We loaded our dishes in the dishwasher, but when I offered to help clean up, Avery waved me on to join Aidan.

"Show him the farming operation, Aidan," he instructed, "and anything else you'd care too!" and laughed!

Aidan blushed shyly, flicked his head in the direction of the kitchen door, grabbed a cowboy hat from a hat rack, and bade me to follow him. It was then I noticed he was wearing brown cowboy boots.

I assumed we were going to take his truck, but instead he led me around the house toward the barn I'd seen when I first arrived, and toward a large wood framed metal building with three large garage doors and one smaller entry door. Man, I was totally not observant when I arrived the day before, not noticing this building and the chicken yard next to the barn when I could hear roosters crowing and hens clucking! I did take notice, at this time, of the large fenced in area I assumed was or is a garden but failed to notice the "cave" Avery mentioned the night before. I wondered how much else I'd missed in my haste to either secure a place to stay or my fascination with Aidan's cute bubble butt.

Entering a very comfortable office area, I noticed it was well equipped with a couple of desks, telephones, a small conference table with chairs, a door leading to a restroom, a small kitchenette area with a small refrigerator, a sink, and coffee maker. Most noticeable to me, was the radio transmitter/receiver on a shelf and about a half-dozen hand held transceivers in chargers.

"This is my private office," Aidan explained, "it's where I usually start my day and where I do most of my paperwork. I also hold periodic meetings here with the crew chiefs and section foremen."

He said little else, but picked up two of the two-way radios, attached one to his belt, handed me the other, and walked through another door leading to the equipment or vehicle bays in the main part of the building. There were three white four by four pickup trucks, each with the logo "Bend in the River Farms, LLC" on the doors.

After hitting a door opener switch on the wall, he climbed in the driver's seat of the nearest truck, flicked his head indicating I should join him on the passenger side, and we drove out, closing the door behind us with a remote in the truck.

"Bend in the River?" I asked, wondering how the farms got the name.

"Yeah," he answered, "because of a bend in the river just south of town," and laughed at the obvious!

As we drove the gravel roads, to where I didn't have a clue at this juncture, Aidan explained we were going to the main office and equipment complex for the farms. He'd planned a seven o'clock meeting with all of his supervisors, crew chiefs and section foremen, and wanted me to sit in on it so I'd become familiar with their duties and the areas they supervised.

"Bend in the River," he explained, "owns a little over three thousand acres and leases another two thousand. We grow grain and hay crops and feed out cattle and hogs."

The property extended south, west, and north of Morgan's Landing with the location and soil type deciding what crops would best be grown on the land. The feed lots and pasture land generally lay south of the town. Angus and Holstein steers were grazed, but finished for market with grain in the feed lots. The hogs were in fenced in pastures, but were brought into smaller, confined finishing lots before market.

The grain crops consisted of field corn and soybeans; the excess, of which there was considerable, not fed to the livestock, was marketed. There were large metal storage bins scattered though out the farm land for drying and storage until Aidan felt the market basis was right for a sale. He tried not to carry a large inventory of old-crop grains into the next harvest year, preferring to make the sale when the grain was graded number one rather than let it deteriorate.

"It might mean selling at a lower price, but if I watch the market, I make up for it on earlier sales. I cash-flow each operation on a monthly basis so as to maximize our profits."

I was rapidly coming to the conclusion Aidan was one smart cookie and I could see why he might've finished college a year before me even if we were the same age!

"We also contract with one of the large seed corn producers to grow seed corn for them. This means having a de-tasseling crew when the corn needs to be done, but that's no problem. The company supplies the crew for that."

"Last year, I contacted a cereal company and we've contracted for five hundred acres of white corn for this year; it's used mainly for cereal and who knows what else?"

"So," I asked, "the bacon we had for breakfast came from hogs you raise here?"

"Yeah," he answered, "along with all of the beef and pork, including hams, used at 'Mudpuppy's and one other bar you'll see today! I cull out the stock we think we'll need for the food business and they're butchered and cut up at the locker plant just outside of town. They also cure and smoke the bacon and hams, along with some pork chops, and grind up the breakfast sausage we use as well."

He went on to explain when school starts, "Bend in the River" supplies all of the sausage at no charge for the breakfast program and gives the school a special price on ground beef.

"Avery feels it's important for kids to start the day with a good breakfast and this is his way of contributing to it. We generally have more ground beef than we can use so the school reaps the benefit along with some others that need it."

"How long has this been going on?" I asked, curious if this was just a recent development or long-term.

"You'd have to ask Uncle Avery about that," he conceded, "it's been going on as long as I can remember."

With that said, we arrived at the main office and complex for "Bend in the River Farms." It was a large complex with several buildings and a number of large, metal round storage grain storage bins and two large LP tanks to store the fuel used in the grain dryers. One large metal building with several large overhead doors marking the various bays, was the Maintenance and Repair facility; several other equally as large of buildings appeared to be used for equipment and machinery storage, and a smaller building was the office building. I refrained from asking about it since the sign over the door, read "Office." Pretty obvious, right? Behind the buildings were several large grain trucks and at least six pickup trucks parked off to the side of the office.

I followed Aidan into the office building where we were met by the office secretary seated at the reception desk and with a wave and a smile at us, announced the others were in the conference room waiting. Stepping in behind Aidan, I noticed five men seated at a conference table, each drinking coffee. We joined them, declined the coffee, and Aidan introduced me to the group.

"Vic Nelson," he said pointing at me, "but he prefers Nelson."

He proceeded to explain to the men I was working this summer as his assistant, I'd be the new science teacher at the high school in the fall, and spent my life on a farm.

"Adding the contract for the white corn this year and the fluctuating commodities markets might take more of my time and rather than burden you guys with my problems and extra work, so," nodding his head in their direction, "I hired Nelson!"

Each man stood, offered his hand in greeting, and introduced himself; Kenneth Morgan, the shop foreman and the oldest of the five; Larry Blevins, Cattle Management and Production foreman; Dan Meyer, Swine Management and Production foreman; Loren Fleming, Row Crop Cultivation and Production foreman; and David Donovan, the youngest of the five, Forage Crop and Extra Board foreman. They were all married and with families, except for David. Larry's children were all grown and either in college or on their own.

I inquired what "Extra Board" consisted of and David explained he was in charge of hiring the extra help the others needed throughout the year, including hay production, harvesting, deliveries of grain, and "de-rogueing" crews. He indicated there was a great deal of "rogue" corn sprouting in the soybean fields that needed to be removed. I knew if the corn was allowed to grow into maturity, it'd affect the quality of the bean harvest and could very easily force a sale as number two or three beans!

"What did you use for a herbicide?"

Loren named the brand, a systemic post-emergent; I thought a moment, and asked, "Was it a pre-emergent, spray, or wick?"

"Wick," he responded, "but evidently we either missed or did it too soon or contact was not made with the corn stalks."

"Not necessarily so," I commented, "I've read there's a growing resistance to that particular herbicide. You might try something different in another year."

Those few comments raised my stature among the foreman. I learned, as we visited, they were all related to or were Morgan's, and were cousins. Kenneth was indeed the oldest and was an extremely experienced and accomplished mechanic. David was the youngest, only about three years older than me. I really enjoyed my visiting with them as they set about planning the day and the next couple of weeks work, coordinating schedules and projects. The second cutting of hay was on the ground drying and once raked, David would bring on a crew to begin baling and storing it. Extra help would be hired to "catch" the bales and stack them on hay wagons to be hauled to covered storage shelters where they'd be accessible during the winter for cattle feed.

As we visited, I noticed more than once, David's eyes drifted to me and then to my crotch, as if he were deciding what he wanted to do or say. A soft cough from Aidan, brought David's attention from me to him, and with a slight shake of his head, David got the message to "back off." Clearly the message sent was "he's taken!"

"Speaking of temporary help," David announced, "I heard a vehicle drive in; I think it was the van with my crew," and left the meeting.

I excused myself to follow him out, curious to see how he handled the new crew. A "stretch" passenger van which would hold up to twelve passengers was parked in the lot.

"I asked him to see if he could get a crew from Blanchardville," David explained. "There's usually some Mexican migrants workers there hunting for work. It depends on who else is short of help."

Blanchardville, one of the small towns in the school district, has a significant but small population of Latino migrant families who work the various farms and vegetable fields during the summer. The "permanent" migrants live there year around, while the majority move on, once the crops are in, to warmer climates where they continue to harvest everything from cabbage to oranges, peaches, and a plethora of other crops. I guess I hadn't paid much attention while I was seeking a place to live to notice any racial diversity in the community. Frankly, I hadn't really given it much thought or even cared!

"The Hispanic Community Center building is usually where those seeking work will gather on a morning and people who need temporary help can stop there, tell anyone what they need, what they pay, and about how long the job will last. We generally pay better than most so we usually don't have any problem getting help." David continued.

As we watched the workers climb out of the van, David commented almost inaudibly, "I hope they can speak English!"

I gathered from his comment he didn't speak any Spanish!

Overall, the twelve Latinos who emerged were a young group of males, with the oldest probably twenty at the most and the youngest, the shortest one of the group, maybe fourteen or fifteen at the most. He'd have to be at least twelve to work in the fields and cutting corn out of beans would be a job he could handle. Of the dozen, they seemed to divide themselves into two groups; one group of six were the older ones and the other group of six, other than the shorter one, all seemed to be around fifteen or sixteen years of age and knew each other quite well if their smiles and conversation, in Spanish, was any indication.

David approached the driver and asked if he had any problem in hiring workers. The driver shook his head no, but I did hear him say, "Dave, I don't think any of them speak a word of English; I heard nothing but Spanish all the way out here! When I tried to explain what the work would be, all of them just looked at me, smiled, and nodded their heads up and down. I don't know how they'll work out!"

I watched the six younger members of the crew as they stuck closely together watching the exchange between the driver and David. Their attention was too intense, I thought, for those who didn't speak or understand any English. Walking closer to them, almost casually so as not to cause them alarm or suspicion, I heard David ask loudly,

"Anyone here speak English?"

One of the young men in the group I was standing near said in Spanish, "He won't get an answer on that question with those guys."

"Yeah," snorted another, "if he's as big an asshole as the last guy who hired us, he won't hear a goddamned word of it!"

"That last fucker wouldn't pay what he promised," spat out a third young man.

David pointed to one person, who he assumed was the oldest in the group, motioned him forward, and asked him politely if he spoke any English. The young man just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

"He won't get anywhere with him," the youngest in my group snorted, and the rest all laughed!

"Why is that? I asked in Spanish.

Without looking in my direction, checking to see who asked, he replied, "He just crossed the border last week and doesn't speak a word of Ang………" and suddenly realized I was the one who asked the question. The fact I understood and spoke Spanish hit them all at the same time, only it was the youngest who moaned, "Oh shit!"

"Buenos dias, Muchachos," I said with a smile, and continued in Spanish; "My name is Nelson; welcome to Bend in the River. That man over there," pointing at David, "is David Morgan, your foreman and the other man in the doorway," pointing at Aidan, "is Aidan Morgan, the Farm Manager and I'm his assistant, so," switching to English, "why not just cut the crap and get to work, okay?"

Smiling to myself, I found I was more than thankful for the high school teachers and my college advisors who encouraged me to take a second language, pointing out to me the fastest growing minority in our society was Latino or in this case Mexican-American, Hispanic to some. I wasn't certain I'd ever use it, but now really realized the value! My language skills just opened up another world of friendship and communication I never would've had otherwise.

I pointed to each young man, asked their names and ages; Alejandro Calderon, age 15; Concepcion Velasco, age sixteen; Efrain Guevara, age fifteen; Mani Calderon, age fourteen; Javier Montoya, age fifteen; and Julio Lopez, age sixteen. By the looks of them, I still wasn't certain of their ages, but had to take them at face value, for now.

"Alejandro, I assume you prefer 'Alex?', as he nodded, continued, "why don't you scoot your butt over there and help your foreman with translations?"

He grinned, "Si, El Jefe!" and dashed off.

It wasn't long until they had big water coolers loaded in the van, corn knives, and sharp, short-handled hoes for cutting corn out of the beans.

"You guys," I said indicating my little group of teens, "use the hoes; I don't want to hear of one of you losing a finger or toe or worse," waggling my eyebrows signaling a meaning they clearly understood I was referring to the most sensitive part of their anatomy. It brought an embarrassed, but hearty laugh from the boys!

Manny ended up standing beside me, waiting for the word to board the van, and I heard his stomach rumble.

"Did you have breakfast, Manny?"

"Uh huh!"


"A bean and cheese burrito."

"Anything else?"

"No, El Jefe!"

I walked over to Alex, called him aside, and asked him if any of the workers packed a lunch and was told they hadn't. None of them really expected to get work today, so none were prepared.

Saying nothing more to him or Manny, I walked over to Aidan, relayed what I learned, and watched as he walked back into the office. When he returned, he said he'd ordered lunches for all of them and Chance would have them delivered to the worksite.

Before David took off, Aidan reminded him to make certain he filled out the employment sheet with names and social security numbers so Tommy could do their payroll.

"Have it in to him by Monday!"

David nodded his understanding.

We spent the rest of the morning touring the livestock pastures and feedlots. Aiden explained he tried to market at least once a month if the market and critter weights were in market range. It kept a steady income rolling in and it provided opportunity to take advantage of market fluctuations.

"Sometimes, if the market sucks and would eat deeply into our profits, I might delay selling, but if I wait too long, the gains in weight the stock makes can offset our profits, not only from additional feed for the animals but the differences in prices. Heavier livestock doesn't mean increases in profit. Overweight animals pull lower prices so I try to avoid it, if I can."

Lunch for us was at the "Tanglewood Bar and Marina." Driving across the tracks, about four or five miles south of home (I noticed it didn't take long to use the term), down an excellent gravel road built high above the natural lay of the bottom land in order to avoid the spring floods, it twisted and turned about a half to three-quarters of a mile through the timber to the bar and marina. Along the way, huge metal culverts tunneled under the roadway allowing flood waters to rush through, preventing the road from acting like a dam or washing out. The embankments were lined with huge limestone boulders to assist in preventing any damage from high water. I was assured, however, if the situation looked ominous, the residents were evacuated.

The "Tanglewood" bar and the owner's home were built on a significant rise in the land but elevated even higher perched on reinforced concrete foundations. The land to either side sloped off to lanes leading to a row of private cabins lining the banks of the river. All of the cabins were elevated on concrete or wooden pilings as well.

"Chance owns this place," acknowledged Aidan, "and my cousin Cameron and his wife Judy run it. Their three high school sons work the docks and marina all summer and after school."

There was a nice boat ramp and berths for at least fifty boats. I noticed big power boats, run-abouts, and several houseboats moored in some of the berths as we walked up to the steps of the screened in front deck of the bar.

"Helps keep the mosquitoes and other biting bugs off when you're trying to eat or have a beer," I was informed by a smiling man, middle-aged, who introduced himself as Cameron Morgan, but said before I could do the same, "and you're Nelson, the young man I've heard about."

I didn't ask him where or from whom, but I'm assuming the family network had been busy since last evening when we had dinner at "Mudpuppy's!"

The lunch was pork tenderloin, thin, big, and deep fried, with a side of French fries, and a cold beer. Again, Aidan insisted on paying!

By days end, we'd inspected corn and soybean fields, looked over the alfalfa crop, including the present cutting laying on the ground waiting to be raked, met Aidan's parents, Steve and Marianne, nice people who made me feel more than welcome and pleased he now had a "friend," learned he had three older brothers, Michael, Colin, and Darren and one sister, Karen; dropped my social security number at Tommy's office and bought myself a straw cowboy hat like Aidan's at the local general merchandise store. The boots would have to wait until I could make a trip to a Big Bear or Tractor Supply store in one of the bigger cities located some miles away.

During our afternoon foray around the large farm operation, my mind wandered, reflecting on the crew presently rogueing the soybean field. They were young, thin, looking almost mal-nourished or at the very least, some sort of privation, but seemed to have bodies hardening from work and exercise. I couldn't say they looked unhealthy, but more "on the edge" of it, suffering from hard times and lack of financial and other resources. It bothered me thinking without the boys working, how little they might have at home.

Over a light salad for supper, I discussed my concerns with Aidan, He suggested I check periodically with David to see how the boys were doing on the job and make a personal check on them as well. I didn't get a chance to get back to them until Friday. Aidan was busy with livestock and had me working row crops, since I appeared to understand the uses of herbicides and other factors. A phone call to Tommy put me on their vehicle insurance, so I now had a company pickup to drive.

Each night, after a long, hard day of work, Aidan and I, eating our supper meal, would discuss the day's activities and set our plans for the next day's work. We'd spend a short time together, after the dishes were cleaned up, sitting on the couch in the living room watching television. Avery usually spent the evening in town at "Mudpuppy's" so it was just the two of us. What I hoped for was not happening! After I'd showered and lay in bed, my last action of the day was fixing the image of Aidan in my mind, naked, impassioned, and wanting me as I relieved myself into a soiled handkerchief.

I longed for him to join me in my bed, but he didn't! I knew my attraction for Aidan and my desire for him grew day by day and hour by hour. I wasn't certain how long I could control my libidinous desires before I acted them out, other than on myself, in the most concupiscent manner!

Picking up a box lunch Friday at "Mudpuppy's" I drove out to the soybean field the crew was working in, timing my arrival at what I anticipated would be their lunch time. I guessed it correctly, climbed out of my truck with my lunch in hand, intending to join David so he and I could visit. My presence didn't go unnoticed! I hadn't taken six steps until I heard someone shout,

"El Jefe!"

A mad dash of half-naked, sans shirt but retaining the straw hat on their heads, teen boys raced toward me! The first to wrap his arms around me was Manny! Hugging me tightly with his arms wrapped around me, his face buried in my chest and snuggling me with affection, gurgled happily,

"Thank you, El Jefe!"

No sooner had he completed his greeting, than his brother, Alex, the top of his head reaching my chin, hugged me just as tight, rested his head easily into the crook of my neck, and murmured,

"Thank you, El Jefe; we owe you so much!"

In fact all of the boys greeted me in the same manner, expressing their thanks, and how they'd do anything for me! There were only three of the older workers, instead of six, now in the crew and they shook my hand firmly and with appreciation, except for one, who hugged me tightly and longer than the boys had, as they too, expressed their thanks for the lunches and the job. Thankful the close contact finally ceased, as the crew returned to their happy, animated, talk as they ate, since all of those naked torsos pressing up against me did cause a stir in my crotch.

I joined David, sitting the shade of the van, he was all smiles. "Since the first day lunches arrived and it became known it was you who made it happen, all they," waving a hand at the whole crew, "could talk about was 'El Jefe'."

I shrugged and quickly asked, "Only nine now?"

"Yeah, three decide not to return when I said I needed social security numbers!" adding quickly, "You know something, Nelson? This is by far the best and hardest working crew I've ever had. I know some of them may be small, but I'd like to use them for putting up hay and some other jobs we have this summer!"

It was fine as far as I was concerned; it was his supervisory area, so who was I to object? I told him I'd notify Aidan and Tommy of his decision to keep the crew on standby and used as help when needed. It'd save having to go through the process of processing social security numbers again.

David's tone became serious; "According to Rafe," bringing my eyebrows up questioning who this might be until with a blush he pointed to the young man whose hug lingered on my body earlier, "uh, Rafael Delfino," he stammered, "times are really tough on the families of these six boys. What they earn here goes home to help feed the others and pay bills. You're going to about shit when I tell you the rest; it's almost fucking unbelievable!"

According to what Rafe told David, Alex and Manny Calderon lived with their single parent mother along with two younger brothers; they were cousins to Concepcion Velasco and Efrain Guevara, who were half-brothers, same mother but different father but Alex, Manny, Concepcion, and Efrain were also cousins to Javier Montoya and Julio Lopez who were also half-brothers, same mother, but different fathers, again. It really started getting me concerned when I learned Concepcion, Efrain, Javier, and Julio lived with their grandmother. Her husband died a few years before when Concepcion and Efrain were small. Concepcion and Efrain's mother never married and took off leaving the boys with her parents. Javier and Julio were living with their mother and her third "partner" in another state, moving around the country as migrant farm workers, when a traffic accident took her life. The "partner" dropped off the boys three years ago, leaving them with their aging grandparents.

"If I could find some sort of housing closer," he continued, "I'd move them all here and maybe Alex's mom could find some sort of work!"

"Let me think on that," I said reflectively but before I could say anymore, our conversation was interrupted by some good natured chatter in Spanish from the crew, teasing Rafe concerning something about his penis every time he got near David. I didn't mention to David what they were talking about or where Rafe was being accused of wanting to put the item in mention.

Aidan and I joined Avery that evening at his table in "Mudpuppy's" for what Aidan described as "the most fabulous fish fry in the state;" all you can eat deep fried catfish and hushpuppies served with rye bread and coleslaw. As we sipped our beer and snacked on the complimentary chunks of smoked carp and buffalo fish served as appetizers, if you ordered a pitcher of beer, while waiting for our order, I relayed to Avery what David told me concerning the Latino boys and their families.

Avery nodded in an understanding manner, answering simply, "Let me give this some thought."

"You know," he said, "I really understand what hard times can be for families and especially the children!"

Aidan and I settled back, waved the waiter over to replenish our now empty pitcher, anxious to hear Avery's tale.

Leo wasn't all wrong when he came to the conclusion the good times of the Twenties, even with the profits he was making from prohibition, couldn't last forever! He slowly began "diversifying" his investments and advising me aloud one night after a very satisfying, filling, and long-lasting coupling, leaving his large stiffness still embedded, resting his stomach to my back.

"I'm getting a large safe for the basement here at home," running his hands over my chest and down to my still oozing prick, "only you and I will have the combination. We're going to stash some cash against hard times."

"Where from?"

He peeked over my shoulders, gave me a gentle kiss on the cheek, responding, "From my business ventures!"

Leo was in one of his relaxed, compliant, post-coital bless type of moods and answered my soft inquiries concerning his "business ventures." I knew illegal booze was a part of it and I suspected gambling another part, but no way in hell did I even guess he was making big bucks from prostitution! I should've had some inkling considering his proclivity for young boys! I knew I was his favorite and would do anything for me, but I also knew I wasn't his only sex partner. Although he tended to fuck others with gusto (and admit his dalliances freely to me with absolutely no shame or need of apology), I knew his love and loyalty was with me and he'd stop if I insisted! I discovered, during out conversation, Leo provided young women and men, including prepubescent and pubescent teen girls and boys to those who desired them and were willing to pay the very high prices involved. The younger they were, the higher the price! For those who couldn't afford the "live" items, Leo and his cronies in Chicago provided, for sale of course, an assortment of very graphic photographs (and some movies, finding it was a growing industry) depicting sexual acts by all ages with each other, alone, or with animals. It was a very lucrative business.

"Sex sells," he mused, "but I don't do drugs!" giving his rod a couple of prods, testing to see if he was up for another round. He was!

In 1928, I was only sixteen years old, but far from naïve or stupid! I'd grown up fast around Leo and absorbed more than just his baby-making juice from him. After listening to his litany of "business ventures," I was determined to somehow turn some of those ill-gotten gains to some good and, if Leo was correct concerning some future financial crisis, begin squirreling away some assets for future use by me, and I did.

In many ways, although the handwriting was on the wall according to Leo, 1928 was a good year for us financially! Although the deteriorating world political situation, with Benito Mussolini in Italy abolishing the right to free elections, Japan occupying Sjantung in April, and June, the president of China assassinated by the Japanese, our financial success and that of the United States carried forward into 1929. Leo continued to convert capital and stock assets into cash, but did begin purchasing property, including farm land and river bottom timberland. The "Mudpuppy" continued to show a profit, albeit better in one set of books than the other, helping to explain his availability of cash for his property purchases. I was surprised when he informed me one day all of the purchases he was making were in my name and his with provisions of joint survivorship on the paperwork.

I encouraged Leo to continue our charitable acts in our community knowing full well it'd increase the support and loyalty the local people would have toward us and our businesses! Leo saw the immediate value of my suggestions and gave heavily to the fire department, churches, and other charities. Our support of the police department, the county sheriff, and the district attorney came in the form of large campaign contributions as well as some rather large "gratuities" passed quietly, unbeknownst to others. Those contributions would prove invaluable time and time again.

September 3, 1929, the Dow Jones reached an all-time high. Leo made a statement I'll never forget!

"This market is overvalued and pretty soon the shit's going to hit the fan!"

It started October 24, known as "Black Thursday" when the market fell 12.8% followed on October 28 th when the market plunged 38.33% to 268.64. "Black Tuesday," October 29, the market crashed and "the shit hit the fan!"

In retrospect, I know there were those in Morgan's Landing who thought, after I'd moved in with Leo, I spent most of my time naked, flat on my back with my legs wrapped around his waist and his big cock embedded balls deep in my ass! Unfortunately for me, as much as I would've enjoyed it, this wasn't the case.

Leo's business ventures took him to Rockford, Chicago, and various other places. He was gone from home a great deal! While he was gone, I was busier than usual since I needed to keep my eye on the operations and doing the accounts at "Mudpuppy's" as well as handling my chores at home and on the farm. We rented out the crop ground, but I still had some chickens to take care of as well as a half-dozen steers and an equal number of sows I'd farrowed. The revenue from the farm, rents and livestock sales, was "blended" in with other dollars to make the farm appear more profitable than it really was.

Even in the midst of the work, I found I still had plenty of time to read, for which I was thankful for later, given the circumstances. The local Agriculture Agent had all kinds of books and pamphlets concerning beef production, swine production, poultry, row crops, home vegetable gardening and preservation, small businesses, and accounting. I usually wrote to Rob and Melissa once a week, keeping them informed on what I was reading and my plans for the future. He'd send me books or magazines he thought I'd enjoy and was always pleased after I'd read them and expressed to him, in my letters, what I'd gleaned from them.

He often expressed, in his correspondence, how much, if he and Melissa could have children, those children would enjoy their Uncle Avery. It saddened me, but I didn't know what I could do to help. If there was any way, I wouldn't hesitate! I could only wish and pray their dreams might come true some day!

After the market crashed, it didn't slow down Leo's travels, in fact, his time away seemed to increase! At first, not much was affected in Morgan's Landing; I read of some banks closing, people being so despondent they committed suicide, some major companies suddenly going belly up as their stocks were reduced to zero value, but not much happened until the last half of 1930. One thing I picked up in all of my readings concerned the availability of money; it seemed banks weren't lending, people weren't really borrowing as a result, instead, hoarding their savings, and there was much, much less money in circulation. It didn't take a genius, I thought, for people to realize times were really going to get tough – damned tough! It didn't seem to affect Leo's "business ventures" however; even in the face of ruin, "they still love to drink, gamble, and fuck!" he once said.

Life wasn't all that bad for us going into 1931; of course, one difference was we had money- cash money. Shortly after the first of the year, Leo came home from one of his "business" trips and gave me a snub-nosed .38 caliber revolver and a specially made double-barreled .410 gauge pistol/shotgun with a barrel length of just a little over eight inches and a pistol grip butt. The revolver held five shots and the shotgun/pistol held two shot shells loaded with 00 buckshot.

"Carry the pistol strapped to your hip under your shirt or jacket and the .410 in the special holster that fits on your back!"


"I think times are going to get really tough and desperate people go where the money is and we got the money!"

What he didn't say was, not only desperate people but also those who'd like to take over his lucrative "business venture" as well!

In early May, my father tangled with a large bull he was moving to pasture to breed some of his cows. For whatever reason, carelessness or what, the bull turned on him, and mauled him! The bull did some major damage and my father died! I suppose I should've mourned him greatly, but frankly, after I moved in with Leo, my father had little to do with me. He'd rarely speak to me when we saw each other so I soon figured, "Fuck him" and went about my own business! My mother was different and I'd see her every couple of weeks when she came to town and talk to her on the telephone several times a week.

As luck would have it, Robert, still in the Army but now working as an aircraft mechanic in the Army Air Corps, was on the east coast preparing to be transferred. He received a three week leave and he and Melissa arrived two days before the funeral and helped make the final arrangements. Even though the church was overflowing with relatives and friends, the service didn't last long. My father was buried in the family plot in the cemetery next to the church.

After the funeral, during the luncheon, Robert and Melissa took me aside for a confidential talk. They had several requests of me and I had no hesitation in agreeing to them. I'd do anything for Robert and Melissa and they knew it and were grateful! One request, however, I hesitated on, not because I didn't want to do it, but it involved money, perhaps more than I had available. According to Robert, who was now executor and sole beneficiary to my father's estate because of my father's peculiarity concerning women and finances, my father had several notes outstanding with a Tri-Cities bank and the bank, as many were, was calling in the notes, demanding immediate payments! The notes were loans against the home place for the purchase of the farms my sister Elizabeth and her husband Andy Blevins lived on and those my brothers Lawrence and Kenneth were on. In further complications, Robert informed me my other sister's, Mildred, husband Jim Owens lost his job in the Tri-Cities and were going to move in with mother so they could care for her and work the farm. Robert wanted to meet with Leo to see about arranging for a loan from him so the notes could be redeemed.

"How much are the notes?"

The amounts weren't terribly high since regular payments were made when times were good, but with the economic downturn, they were now in arrears and the bank wanted immediate payment in full!

I thought a moment, and answered, "There's no need to talk to Leo, I can handle this on my own, but I'll have to have some conditions attached and my brothers and sister have to be on board or I won't do it!"

My offer surprised Robert, by the look on his face, but he made no other comment except to say, "They will or they'll have me to reckon with!"

The next day, the deal was done, the paper work signed and the notes paid off! I became part-owner of the farms with Robert, with the proviso my brothers and sister could pay off the notes on a land contract to Robert when the economy improved. I wasn't going to fuck them over like my father did me.

Aidan and I were both tired, full of fish and beer, and had a dank, stale odor about us initially from work, but intensified by the press of people at "Mudpuppy's," and a yeasty, almost frothy scent of beer and hops. A shower was definitely in order we decided as I drove us home. I offered to let Aidan enjoy the warmth and cleansing effects of a hot shower massaging and scrubbing his body first, but he deferred, using as a reason, since I'd driven to supper, the least he could do was permit me to luxuriate first.

I didn't argue, instead, upon entering my room, stripped, tossed my clothing in the laundry bag, grabbed towel, soap, and shampoo, and stepped into the shower. It felt so good to wash away the grime. I was tempted to stroke myself to orgasm while in there, but decided to wait until Aidan finished his shower intending to join him in his bed. It was a big step for me since I wasn't certain what I wanted he wanted! I'd never made love to another man (or woman for that matter). I'd read enough and heard enough to know that sex between men, especially anal sex, can be painful, and realizing not all gay men enjoy it, want it, or practice it!

The advent of HIV-Aids sent shock waves and strong warnings throughout the gay community and I didn't really want to risk anal sex, even with Aidan, without the use of a condom. I was almost certain he'd never been with another man, but I really needed to know!

I lay quietly in my bed, my nakedness covered by the sheet and blanket, although I must admit the tent in the blanket was caused by my extremely hard phallus poking up from my crotch. I listened while the toilet flushed and waited another five minutes or so and heard it flush again. Within seconds, the sounds of the shower, the splashing noise of the cascading water undulating and swirling as Aidan moved about allowing the flowing water to wash over him, hit the shower wall, or splatter on the floor of the shower stall.

All was finally quiet; the connecting door between my room and the bathroom opened slowly. The big yard light in front of the house provided just barely enough illumination for me to make out the naked form of Aidan walking toward my bed. Reaching it, he lifted the covers and, as easily and gently as a warm summer breeze, slipped under, but with a much different effect on my body! I shivered with anticipation as he slowly meshed his body with mine, stretching himself on top of me, resting his lithe, beautiful body on me, hard cocks throbbing up against one to the other, his legs resting between mine, and engaged my lips with his!

I ran my hands down his back, beginning at his shoulder blades, tracing with the fingers of both hands his backbone, feeling the heat, the smoothness, the strength of his well-formed, but slim body, until reaching the firm mounds of his buttocks, slowly cupped and then gently kneaded and massaged them, loving the feel of him; finally allowing my hands to migrate into his valley of delight, encountering that special place, the muscular, round entrance to his inner core and carefully, lightly, flicked and rubbed my index fingers around and over it, tickling, tantalizingly, causing him to whimper, "I've wanted this ever since I first saw you at 'Mudpuppy's!'"

Engaging his lips more forcefully, teasing them with my tongue, begging entrance and finding it, I rolled him over on his back, raised his legs to my hips, and hesitated.

"I put some lube on the nightstand," he whispered, almost begging me to do what we both knew was going to happen.

"Please be careful and slow; I've never done this before."

Neither had I, but I certainly wanted to! Properly lubed, condom-less in the heat or our passion, I inserted my hard, hot love stick into my lover's entrance, felt the swollen head pop through the outer barrier, hesitated, allowing him to become familiar with it, pushed forward, and began what we both knew wouldn't be a singular event.

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