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The Leapling

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 8

"Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die, and it is youth who must inherit the tribulations, the sorrow, and the triumphs that are the aftermath of war."

(Herbert Clark Hoover)

I waited patiently while Chance refilled his wine glass, declined an offer to have mine refilled, but noticed neither Avery or Tommy refused and refilled theirs as well.

"Man," I thought to myself, "if I'm to run with this wolf-pack, I'd better sharpen up my beverage skills and pay closer attention to their cunning use of law, people, and society in general!"

It really meant, if I was to succeed where Avery, Chance, and Tommy intended me to, I'd best pay attention and keep my wits about me!

Settled back on the setae with Tommy leaning against him, Chance sipped some wine, and continued;

"After the attack, there was no school, power was off and on, with black-outs every night. It seemed as if sirens were wailing twenty-four hours a day, chasing here and there, signaling the approach of fire trucks or ambulances; smoke spiraled up into the heavens as firefighters, military people, and civilian forces tried extinguishing flames so people could be rescued, property saved, or bodies retrieved!"

"We listened to the radio trying find out what the hell was going on, but most local broadcasts had little information and were only on the air for short periods of time. Supposedly so the enemy wouldn't be able to fix on them, I think."

"Too damned fucking late by then!" groused Tommy!

"We did hear Roosevelt's broadcast when he addressed Congress asking them to declare war on Japan," Chance offered. "Tommy's folks, as many in Hawaii, had distant and close relatives in Japan, China, in the Philippines, and elsewhere in the Pacific. It caused all of them great concern."

The Watanabe's checked on their parents, both sets living on Oahu, to make certain they were fine. They were concerned how the "Americans" would act toward them since they were of Japanese ancestry. Fear seemed to be the right word, although most of the second and third generations didn't see themselves as anything but "Americans;" after all, they were born in the United States and were citizens!

Once most of the local phone lines began operating on Thursday, Mr. Watanabe called the hospital to see if he could find out anything concerning Robert or Melissa Morgan, hoping to relieve Chance's distress, but was told since he wasn't a family member, they couldn't release any information to him. He figured he'd get the same response if he called the army base so he had Chance call.

"I called Base HQ; Dad had the number next to our telephone, and got through to a young guy, probably an aide, I wasn't certain, and tried to explain to him who I was and why I was calling. He kept interrupting me, wanting to know more information, asking for more specifics concerning my Dad; wanting our address, Dad's rank, serial number, who his commanding officer was and so on. Shit, I didn't know! All I knew was he went to work and didn't come home."

"Finally, sobbing with grief and frustration, I shouted into the phone, 'I just want to know if my Mom and Dad are alive, asshole!' and hung up."

"The next morning, I was awakened by a loud banging on the front door; hoping it was news of my parents, I leaped out of bed and ran to living room, just as naked as when I went to bed! Mrs. Watanabe was answering the door and I heard a very gruff voice demanding,"

"Who are you?"

She answered softly, "The housekeeper and who are you?"

The soldier who seemed to be in charge asked, "Is this where Robert Avery Morgan lives?"

"Before she could answer, I popped out of the bedroom and saw four very stern military policemen standing in the living room. As I scampered up to Mrs. Watanabe, I heard one exclaim with incredulity,"

"My god, the kid's naked!"

Mrs. Watanabe, wanting to be polite, nodded, "That's correct; now what is it you wish to see Robert Avery Morgan about?"

"At that moment, Tommy, who'd been comfortably asleep snuggled up to me, ran up and stood beside me; now there were two naked nine year old boys, their peckers wobbling in front of them, facing the soldiers. It must've been quite a sight because one of the MP's muttered,"

"Shit, he's naked too! What the hell in going on in this house?"

Mr. Watanabe stepped from the kitchen and was met with the same gruff, impolite, demand; "Who the hell are you?"

He hesitated a moment, shrugged his shoulders and responded, "The gardener and what might we do for you?"

"We're here for the Robert Avery Morgan," the MP who seemed to in charge informed him.


"He's to be taken to HQ?"

"Why and where is that?"

Chance was now worried it was his telephone call from the day before now had him in trouble.

"None of your business!" was the response.

"I realize," Chance said, "in retrospect; everyone was quite tense, frightened, and angry over what happened on Sunday, and understandably so, thinking another attack might be eminent, perhaps directed by spies and saboteurs, but what happened next I thought was inexcusable!"

"I turned to Mr. Watanabe and asked, in Japanese, what I should do."

Mr. Watanabe, thought a moment, and responded in Japanese telling Chance to get dressed and he'd accompany him to wherever they were supposed to take him and moved in his direction.

The Military Policemen evident saw this as a threat, not understanding a word of Japanese, and all four of them un-holstered their pistols and pointed them at Mr. Watanabe, with the one in charge shouting, "Not another step, you Jap bastard!"

"It was at that point I decided there was no way in hell was I going to go anywhere with that bunch of clowns willingly," Chance declared, "so I responded with -Watch how you talk Mr. Man With a Gun; he's a U.S. Citizen, so fuck off!"

That didn't set well with the MP's. One ordered Chance to get some clothes on, Chance gave him the finger; another grabbed him by his arm, lost his pistol in the kicking, biting, uniform tearing dustup, reeled back to catch his breath, and Chance ran to the bedroom, being chased by a third MP!

Chance made it to the bedroom first, reached behind the door, grabbed his "Louisville Slugger" baseball bat, and connected a homerun swing at crotch level as the soldier ran into the room! The soldier writhed on the floor, clutching his balls, moaning and crying out, bringing the soldier Chance fought earlier racing to the room and was joined by another! Between the two of them, they manhandled Chance to the floor, twisted his arms behind his back and handcuffed him. Rolling him over, they noticed his nose was bleeding heavily, dripping down his face onto his chest, from the hard contact with the floor! Chance, not wasting an opportunity to add insult to injury, spit a bloody, slobbery mess at the two men!

"Now, that really pissed them off!" Chance added with a laugh.

"One of the guys, muttered 'fuck the clothes' and dragged me out of the bedroom, and as they did, I shouted to Mr. Watanabe and Tommy, in Japanese, to contact Uncle Avery right away! Out the front door, my toes dragging on the sidewalk, where they threw me in the back of a jeep, like a sack of oranges! I heard the soldier in charge shout at the Watanabe's, 'we'll be back!' I was glad then they hadn't given him their names. Shit, those dolts couldn't have found their asses with both hands, much less the Watanabe's! To the haole's, every Asian or Islander looks alike."

Tommy, not to be left out of the fun, ran to the bedroom grabbed a pair of shorts, slipped them on quickly, and two baseballs, and ran around the side of the house. Barreling around it, coming close to the two jeeps, he let fly with one fast ball and the other, shouting, "Hey Assholes, hit this pitch!" and beaned the head man, who just had to turn to see what was going on, with the first pitch and broke a windshield on the other jeep with the second!

With a shout, "I love you, Chance," this time in Hawaiian, Tommy took off running behind the house.

"That was the last I saw of Tommy for many years," Chance said sadly. "At the time, I didn't know if I'd ever see him again!"

It was a quiet and extremely tense ride to the Army Base Headquarters. As they neared where Chance knew Base HQ was located, he could see part of the destruction the attack by the Japanese wrought. At that moment, at that place in time, Chance knew his parents couldn't have possibly survived such an attack or they would've found some way to contact him! The thought saddened him, angered him, knowing he was alone, far from any family, and separated from his best friend and his family. He thought he'd probably end up in some foster home until his Uncle Avery could find him, if he ever did!

Chance remembered, among many things, his father saying one time, "You look and act so much like Avery; cute, quiet but a deep thinker, smart, agile, dangerous when crossed, and most importantly, a survivor, able to deal with adversity and come out on top." At the time, he wasn't certain what "adversity" was, but it was now apparent, he was in the midst of it.

He was still pissed off as hell over the way he and the Watanabe's were treated, vowing to either get an apology, be sent home, and get some answers concerning where his parents were or become the most obstinate, non-cooperative, devious, son-of-a-bitch of a kid they'd ever had in their care!

The two jeeps arrived at a different building, one not damaged, a block or so from where Chance remembered the original HQ building was located. He was frog-marched up the steps, hands still cuffed behind his back, still naked, and into a reception area where various army personnel were working behind desks, typing, or on phones; they all stopped what they were doing as they watched one naked little boy with a bloody nose and chest, being escorted by four big MP's, all of whom suffered injuries in various degrees, from the results of an altercation.

Stopping before a door with a sign reading "Commanding Officer," one MP gave a sharp rap and was told to enter from someone inside the room. Sitting behind the desk was a captain, a young captain, who, upon seeing the strange entourage entering, answered the salute from the MP, a corporal, in charge, shouted,

"What the hell happened to you?" and started around the desk.

"Don't get too close to him, Sir!" cautioned the corporal.

Chance thought the Captain was addressing him and started to say, "Well, Sir,' but was told to shut up in a very angry tone of voice!

"It was then," laughed Chance remembering the episode, "I determined it wasn't me he wished to talk to but the four bozo's who brought me in!"

Chance wasn't a bit happy with the Captain's attitude and when the Captain asked the group what happened to him, Chance tried to explain, but was shut up again. Not a happy camper!

The Captain returned to his chair behind the desk, listening as the Corporal detailed the entire incident up to that point. Chance noted it was entirely true. When the Corporal finished his oral report, Chance, still pissed, demanded, in a rather loud, authoritative voice (for a nine year old whose voice had yet to change) to see the commanding officer in charge of the base.

"The Captain looked at me and said he was about as commanding as I was going to get! When he emphasized, 'understand, Buster?' it did nothing to ameliorate my anger! I asked to see my father and received no answer so I asked to talk to someone from the Judge Advocates office and received no answer."

"I tell you," snorted Chance, "after all of that bullshit, I figured I'd give the little tin-pot captain something to really get pissed about! I would've earned an Oscar with the performance I put on. Conjuring up my best pouty face and hurt, teary-eyed look, I pointed my head at the private who's uniform I'd shredded, and said to the Captain, 'Sir, I fought as a hard as I could, but I was smaller than they were but I lost when he (again indicating the private) decided to fuck me, and he ( swinging his head so it was in the direction of the Corporal) held me down so he could! Once the private was done, the Corporal took his turn and it really hurt because HE HAS A BIG FAT COCK!'"

"My god, Chance," I muttered aloud, suddenly wishing I had taken up his offer for more wine, and started to chortle aloud, imagining the chaos in that office so many years before.

"What happened next?"

Chance, laughing, caught his breath, answering, "The Captain jumped up from behind his desk, demanding, 'Why the hell would they do that?"

"I spun around, hands still cuffed, aimed my sweet, young, tan butt cheeks in his direction, aiming my little wrinkle at him, wiggled my ass seductively, and said, because I have such a lovely, fuckable ass? Want a turn, Captain?"

Chance turned as the Captain exploded in a series of expletives, walked up to the Captain's desk, slapped the handcuffs, now off of his wrists on the desk, saying, "If you believe that line of bullshit, you're just as fucking dumb as these clowns who'd put adult cuffs on a nine year old boy!" pointing over his shoulder at the four soldiers.

The Captain popped out from behind his desk faster than a gas-propelled kernel of corn out of a fat rat's ass, but he wasn't quite as quick as Chance, failing to notice in his haste to mete out punishment, Chance grabbing something from the desk top.

"You, you insolent young man, have a filthy and smart mouth; perhaps a good ass warming will show you the errors of your ways and correct your manners and behavior!" grabbed Chance, sat down and bent Chance over his knees, Chance's bare ass available for a good thrashing.

"I wouldn't do that if I were you, Captain," the Corporal cautioned!

"Why the hell shouldn't I?" he growled loudly back.

"Because," Chance said, looking over his left shoulder and flashing a small, evil grin while watching the Captain's face, "You can smack my ass and experience the joy of having me shove this pencil through your balls and cock allowing you a career of singing tenor in the Vienna Boys Choir the rest of your life or stop right here, tell me where my dad is, and I'll be on my way!"

The Captain's face turned white, small droplets of sweat began appearing on his upper lip and forehead, and his hand, still upraised ready to strike, began to quiver, as he felt the increasing pressure of something against his balls. He stood up quickly, dumping Chance, holding a sharpened yellow wood pencil in his right hand, on the floor, and ordered the Corporal,

"Lock him up until I find out what we're supposed to do with him!"

Chance, stopped his story, yawned, looked at his watch, commenting, "It's getting late or early, depending on how you look at it," stood up and motioned for Tommy to join him.

For the life of me, I don't understand the Morgans; just about the time they get to a really, really, good part of a story, they stop, leaving me waiting for God know how long before resuming, assuming I'll remember where they left off! I hope it doesn't rub off on me or our boys, although they're not the most talkative bunch as it is. I was about to ask Chance just to finish the damned story, when Avery, with a nod of his head, said,

"Chance, take a day and show Nelson the duck camp before school starts. He and Aidan and probably the boys, if they're anything like you were growing up, might want to use it this fall and winter for hunting or something!" and he stood, adding, "I'm going upstairs to my room," leaned over, reached in a desk drawer, and tossed me a ring of keys.

"Lock up for me, would you Nelson? The keys on that ring will open, as well as a master for all the locks, all farms and businesses we have."

"By the way," he said seriously as he walked through the doorway, "other than the set I have and the one I just gave you, Chance and Tommy are the only other people who have that particular set of keys."

"Oh, just fucking great!" I thought to myself. "Not only are they trusting me with the family secrets, but now the "keys to the kingdom," literally."

I was starting to wonder how I could teach, help raise eight boys, and handle the responsibilities Avery was placing on me! Of course, I had Aidan helping me, along with Chance and Tommy, but I knew in the long run, Aidan and I'd be the surrogate father and male parental figures in the boy's lives. The boys would accept that; in fact, they already did.

Upstairs, in our bedroom, I noticed Aidan was alone, evidently Luis and Carlos decided they'd finish the night in their own beds. Looking at my watch, I noticed it was going on two-thirty, dropped my shorts to the floor, lifted the covers, saw Aidan's beautiful, naked body stretched out, looking so inviting to me, and thought, "what the hell," and wiggled my own nakedness in next to his.

I was boned up before I leaned my head down to his soft, curly bush, nuzzled my nose on his flaccid, warm, soft, so succulent todger, taking the sweet length of him into my mouth, where, using my tongue and lips, gently, slowly slipped his foreskin back, exposing the broad head. My tongue massaged the glans and the little valley on his plum-shaped penis head, tickled the slit through which all things good emanate, and felt that special fluid gift, the precursor of abundance I knew was produced in his low-hanging, large testicles, waiting for me, begin to well, distinct and familiar in pleasure to my palate! Using my tongue I scooped up each drop as it oozed forth, letting it linger there before I sucked more.

A hand on my head signaled Aidan was awake; a gentle sigh of encouragement and soft thrust into my oral cavity, told me he was certainly enjoying my ministrations. After a few minutes, he stopped me, turned slowly to his side, brought forth the tube of lube from the nightstand, and handed it to me. Once properly prepared, spooning him close to me, allowing the end of my horn to nudge his waiting entrance, he pushed back slowly, settling himself until his buns rested securely at the base of my stalk. Wrapping my arms around him, clasping his own rampant, erect, love weapon with one hand, I began rhythmically, gently, sliding, it up and over the twitching, swelling tip, slicking over the sensitive glans of his glorious member, and back down, keeping my own movements forward and back in his depths in sync, tickling his love-button on each pass forward and back!

Aidan shivered delightfully, accepting, loving, urging me in my loving him, pushing back, forcing more and more of my cock deep as it'd reach within his hot, moist, clutching tunnel, pushing his hips forward and back, assisting me with my pleasure while increasing his by fucking his fat, long cock up and back through my closed hand as I jacked him.

Feeling his anal muscles began to clench, his balls, instead of hanging, drooping in their hairless sack, tightened closer to his crotch, with soft moans and small, pre-orgasmic shivers cascading up and down his body. I knew he was a close as I was to cumming, so I increased my speed; he reciprocated and within minutes we both were spewing our thick, white, tapioca – me, deep within him where it'd mix and be absorbed by his fluids and body and, his – into my waiting hand, where I lifted it to my mouth, and ingested it!

Embedded, hard, ready for another round, having dozed for a moment, I pushed forward signaling my desire, but felt the bed sag, the covers lift, and a naked, body slide in next to me! A face leaned over me, an extremely long, smooth, and hard cock nudged me in the back! I sighed, knowing Aiden and I were done.

"What, Javier?"

"It smells like sex in here, very recent sex, maybe still going on sex!"

"That's because that what it is! Where's Efrain?"

"Here, El Jefe!" as he rolled over his lover, giving Javier a kiss in the process, and wriggled across me, and onto Aidan! Settled front to front, he gave his Uncle Aidan a good morning kiss.

"What is it," I beseeched quietly, "with you boys, always wanting to crawl into bed with us and snuggle, not that I'm complaining, usually?"

"Because we feel safe with you!" Javier responded solemnly and sincerely.

"Yeah," echoed Efrain, "Safer than any other place in the world; we all know you'll always take care of us and protect us!"

Not that they'd ever need protection from what I'd witnessed thus far, but how, may I ask, can you ever be upset with trust and love such as that?

"Uncle Aidan," Efrain asked, almost begging, pleading, "it's still raining; if we don't' have to go to work today could we go shopping for school clothes?"

As he talked to Aidan, I felt Javier's hand extend down my stomach, reaching the point where Aidan and I were secured to each other, wiggled it around in order to insert it between us, encountering my still hard cock, kept that way by Aidan's flexing his pucker strings around it keeping it engorged, tried encircling that thick member with a thumb and forefinger, found it impossible, and said softly, "Nice!"

I looked up quizzically, and he responded with, quite seriously, "Don't get any ideas; I already have a boyfriend!" but he didn't let go right away either. There was really nothing sexual or inviting about what he was doing, more like one young male taking the measure of another, but in his case, a familial touching, determining if the young family member measured up to the older family member! He finally released me, smiled, gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek, told me "we all love both of you," motioned to Efrain it was time to leave, and crawled out of bed.

"Well?" Efrain asked.

"Okay, tell the other boys!" Aidan responded.

Our clothes shopping trip was fun, as everything seemed to be when with the boys, otherwise uneventful, expensive but uneventful. They were judicious in their choices of school clothing; fashionable but durable and, I think, with an eye for hand-me-down status in the future. They also chose some dressier shirts and pants for use for special occasions such as school dances or dates or just dress-up affairs.

In the case of the little boys, as we referred to Carlos and Luis, the clothes weren't chosen for "dates" but just sort of dress-up. I was impressed with the way Alex helped them with choosing clothing and assisting them with trying them on. If it was something they really looked good in (everything looked good as far as Aidan and I were concerned), he'd complement them, saying how handsome they were. Once all the selections were made, they each gave their big brother a hug and a kiss. I thought at the time what a wonderful, loving father he'd make someday.

Javier and Efrain helped each other and did a fine job; Javier often deferred to Efrain's better judgement however, and hence his clothes really accentuated his natural good looks. However, the last thing they tried on, after they both entered the small changing room, seemed to take forever! When they emerged I overheard Concepcion say quietly to Javier, "You fucked him in there, didn't you?" Javier didn't answer, but Efrain grinned and bobbed his head up and down!

A couple of days later, Chance and I rode the ATV's to the duck camp or as Chance referred to it, "The Lodge." At the end of the graveled lane leading from the farm yard to the boat ramp and where Avery kept his boat, a dirt lane veered to the left through the timber. I was pleasantly surprised after about three blocks when we began riding up a slight hill to a ridge setting about twenty-five feet or so higher than the banks of the river, with a gently slope down to the river bank and a small boat house. Located at the top of this small ridge, which extended back into the timber, sitting on concrete pilings about four feet high and skirted around the entire structure, was a rustic, but well-constructed and attractive cabin.

Ascending the steps to an enclosed, three-season porch, I was afforded an excellent view of a relatively large slough in front of the cabin and across the slough, a spit of land extending to the left where it seemed to connect to the mainland, and to a point jutting out toward the main river channel to the right.

"One of our duck blinds is on that point," explained Chance, "giving us access to both the slough and the main river. At the upper end of this slough," pointing off to the left, "is a nice marsh and a cut leading to Pond Lily. Pond Lily provides some great local and Wood Duck hunting early in the season and later, when northern ducks start to come down, great Mallard shooting. Off of the point and a couple of the islands, the diving ducks tend to congregate, adding to the fun."

The lodge has a kitchen, dining, and living room all in one large room across the front portion of the structure and a doorway leading to a long hallway, again extending the same length across the cabin, where three bedrooms, perhaps nine by twelve foot each, were located. In each bedroom was a double bed, dresser, and a window at the backside.

I raised my eyebrows when looking at the beds; Chance laughed, "We usually we don't come down here to be alone."

I knew very well what he meant; they not only hunted here, but fucked like rabbits as well! At the end of the hall was an outside door.

"You use that door to exit in case of fire or to use the privy," Chance mentioned in passing.

The Lodge is heated with a wood stove and a LP gas furnace, used as a back-up. The kitchen range is propane and the refrigerator is an electric/propane. The propane is stored in one hundred pound cylinders and several are kept full and on hand for use, ensuring there'll be adequate supplies available. Avery had electricity brought in years before from the line extending to the boat ramp and dock.

"How about water?" I asked noticing there were no faucets on the kitchen sink.

"We bring our drinking water with us, but otherwise we use the water from the artesian well for washing and other needs. The well was drilled years and years ago, according to Avery, and flows year round, no matter how cold it is. It flows out of the pipe, extending some four foot above ground, into a small pond, and from there into the river. The water's good, but does have a bit of a Sulphur smell to it sometimes. Avery said the government drilled a whole series of these wells up and down the river many years ago."

"Don't know why, though," he added thoughtfully.

"It won't take much to get the place in good shape," he said, looking around. "Tommy and I, along with some friends, hunted ducks here last year, but haven't used it since. I think the boys may want to use it more often."

In addition to working the farm and their chores at home, Alex, Julio, Javier, Efrain, and Concepcion were working part-time at "Mudpuppy's," at least until school started, then Chance said he'd work a schedule so the boys would be able to earn some cash, provide him with the help he'd need, and still give them time to study and attend school events. Alex and Julio seemed to want the Saturday night shifts and I soon found out why.

Beth Morgan and Megan Rogers, the girls the boys met on the Fourth of July and then at the lake, worked at "Mudpuppy's" as well on Saturdays. The boys were in hot pursuit of the young ladies, there was no doubt in that! Julio had the driver's license so he drove to work, at least until September 8 when Alex would get his license, and the two of them just had to make certain the girls got home safely after work. I don't know how "safe" they were from my two randy boys, but I could only hope!

Javier, Efrain, and Concepcion took Friday's and Sunday depending on when Chance needed them and were quite happy with it. I was certain there'd be some changes when school started. Additionally, Avery was still talking about getting feeder cattle and hogs for the boys to raise and sell, providing them a financial base for college.

The first day of school, I was nervous as hell, getting ready for my first class. I left the house before the boys boarded the bus (Aidan and I insisted they ride the bus for a few days before we let them drive, but gave them each a hug and a kiss, wishing them a good day, before leaving. The first class I taught went better than I expected, but it was an advanced Biology class and the students in it were all the better students, including Javier and Efrain, both who grinned, wide happy grins as they entered the room! They were great, always remembering to address me as "Mr. Nelson" and never giving one indication they lived with me. I knew it wouldn't be long, however, before everyone in the school knew who lived where.

I was assigned lunch room duty since I didn't have a study hall assignment. I found a place in the lunch room I could stand, observe both the lunch line and the tables in the cafeteria, as well as being readily available to assist students if need be. As the students filed in, took their places in the line, and moved along it, being served, I noticed there were quite a few Latinos in the student body. That was good, I thought, since my boys wouldn't be the only ones.

I was joined by John Finch, the football coach. He stopped, stood by me, extended his hand, introduced himself, and added, "You're the new science teacher, right? Nielsen or something right?"

"Nelson," I corrected pleasantly.

"Whatever!" was his response!

Sorry, but I didn't like his blasé, flippant, and disrespectful response, thus couldn't help but think he looked like the stereo-typical football coach; a jock, dressed in tee-shirt, sweat pants, tennis shoes, and a whistle on a lanyard around his fat neck! Speaking of, his neck wasn't the only fat on him; his belly hung out, resembling a huge watermelon stuffed under his shirt; probably brought on by overeating, lack of exercise, sitting his ass on the couch too much, sluffing down large quantities of beer, or all of the above. He definitely was someone I'd invite to join my social group-HAH!

He looked around, muttered, evidently for my benefit, "More of those Mex's again this year." He sighed, "One good thing, they leave before Thanksgiving and go pick pickles or something somewhere else until they come back in the spring."

I didn't respond, instead noticed Manny, the brown-haired boy (who he appeared to made friends with) and a mixture of Latino and white boys go through the line and settle themselves at a table overlooking the student parking lot. Shortly, Alex and Beth, and Julio and Megan came through the line, walked over to a table a couple over from Manny and were joined by several other couples.

"Hate to see that!" growled Finch.


"Wet-backs dating the white girls! Don't know enough to stick to their own kind!"

Now that really pissed me off! I was about to respond, when six big boys walked by and each let out a "Hi Coach!" and walked toward the table where Manny and his group sat. The six big, husky high school boys must be football players I assumed the way they greeted Finch. Wasting no time, but not hurriedly either, they walked, with the air of "kings of the castle" toward the gathering of Manny and friends. The six stood, looking at the smaller boys, and one of the largest ones said something to the brown-haired boy, who, I noticed wore glasses. The boy said something in return and earned a swat on the back of his head, dislodging his spectacles.

I muttered, "Trouble!"

"Don't bother yourself, Newman," Finch said with a laugh, grabbing my arm,…."


"…whatever; my boys will clear the riff-raff out from their table!"

I shook loose and started in the direction of the impending conflict, because conflict it would soon be, of that I was certain!

The brown-haired boy stood, got shoved aside and tumbled to the floor. From the corner of my eye I saw Concepcion on the fast trot, accompanied by Javier and Efrain, toward the group! Manny started to stand, got shoved back down on the table bench, and Alex and Julio jumped up from their table and headed in that direction also.

"This was not going to be pretty," I thought to myself, "if Javier gets there before me!"

He beat us all to the fracas, stepped between Manny and the big thug who pushed him and the brown-haired boy, while Concepcion helped the brown-haired boy to his feet and, with one hand, eased the smaller boy behind him, protecting him from further punishment!

Javier, with Efrain standing just behind him and to the left, smiled and said something to the big thug. The football player evidently wasn't pleased with what he heard because he grabbed Javier by the shirt!

"Shouldn't have done that!" I muttered to no one in particular as I came closer.

I was probably less than twenty feet away from Javier when it happened; it happened so fast it left me and everyone watching wondering if we saw what we did!

Javier gave five or six hard open-hand slaps across the face of the football player, causing blood to spout from the guy's nose and his lips to split, and just as fast, I saw Javier lift his right knee and connect with the big guy's crotch! With a loud, "Ohhhhhhh, shit!" he collapsed to the floor! Another player decided he'd take on Javier, roared and raced toward him and got smacked in the face with a lunch tray Manny conveniently handed to Javier. The second guy joined the first on the floor! Manny was right, Javier didn't really fight fair, only to win!

Alex, Julio, and Efrain quickly took up defensive positions, but I shouted in Spanish to my boys,

"Stop; enough boys, back away!" and to the other young Spanish lads who were getting up from their seats to join in, "All of you stay where you are, now! – I'll handle this!"

In English, to the remaining four football players, pointing at the two on the floor, "Want some of this action or want to step back, your choice!"

They stepped back, extended their arms toward me, hands palm out, indicating they wanted no part of what was to come if they decided otherwise. By then, Finch huffed and puffed up behind me and demanded, "Grab that kid," pointing at Javier, "he just assaulted one of my best linemen and my star quarterback. I'll have his ass out of school before he ever learns to spell it!"

I was mad, no, more ice, cold furious at the callous, prejudiced racial remarks, and bias Finch demonstrated rather than the actual fight! His attitude portended a climate which might exist in this school I neither liked, wouldn't tolerate, or allow to be fostered! I turned quietly toward him with a look Manny later described as "ten times worse than any Javier has just before he's gonna cut somebody's balls off, shove-em up their ass, and plug it with a huge watermelon!"

"Listen, Finnegan," I growled, jabbing my index finger into his chest!

"Finch!" he corrected.

"Keep out of this or you'll lose much more than just your job," and slowly traced my finger down his chest, over his fat gut, and stopped just below his navel.

He grunted, "Just who the hell do you think you are, Nestle?"

"Nelson!" and jabbed him a little harder!

Manny spouted, loud enough for many to hear, "He's El Jefe; my Uncle Avery Morgan's main man!"

Finch swallowed – hard, his face blanched pale, pasty white, and the pupils of his eyes widened!

The Assistant Principal and the school Resource Officer appeared and the Assistant Principal asked what the problem was. I quickly explained what I saw take place, without taking my finger from Finch's stomach or my eyes from staring at his. Finally, breaking the contact, I turned to some of the other boys who'd been sitting at the table, including Javier, Concepcion, Efrain, Manny, and the brown-haired boy, who by now was snugged up tight to Concepcion and said in Spanish,

"All of you go along with the Resource Officer and Assistant Principal and tell them exactly what happened. I'll attest to what happened and push for punishment for the guys who started it. I'll stop in the office later to check on things." Turning to Concepcion, "Tell your new friend what I said, please!"

Beth Morgan walked over to join Alex and greeted the Resource Officer with "Hi Kevin!"

Answering, "Hi, Sis; you see what happened?"


"Anything different from what the boys and Mr. Nelson said?"

"No," she said, "but," pointing at Finch, "Coach said some pretty nasty things about Latinos," and smiled at the man she just tipped a bucket of shit on!

I sent Alex and Julio back to their tables to join their "amiga Femenino's."

It was late when I finally arrived home. Our family was just gathering for dinner. Chores finished, washed up, and heading toward the table, the boys looked at me, but said nothing! Setting my bag down containing my books and other school material, I quickly washed up and joined them at the dining table, sitting next to Aidan as I usually did, with Javier on my other side, as he usually did.

Failing to notice Chance and Tommy when I first entered, I was pleasantly surprised they were joining us for dinner. Usually they worked the dinner hour at "Mudpuppy's" and came home afterwards. Tommy usually shut down his office and joined Chance at the steak house. Aidan slipped his hand under the table, gave my leg a small squeeze, and a reassuring smile! Other than the sounds of eating, the room was quiet – too quiet, I thought! I would've expected the boys to be chattering about the first day of school, but considering what happened, perhaps not!

Javier would cast an occasional sideways glance at me as he ate, yet saying nothing! It gave me pause to think what happened had already been discussed and they were all waiting for me to say something, even the little boys. I so much wanted to hear of their first day, but it'd have to wait.

Carissa baked pie for dessert; apple, cherry, and peach- all from our trees in the orchard. She made the pies ahead, except for the apple, froze them, and baked them as needed. She and Estela canned and froze a great deal of the early fruit so we'd have it whenever we wanted it. They'd do the same with some of the apples, others we'd store in the cave for fresh use, and the pears.

Before dessert was served, I held up my hand indicating I had something needing to be said. There seemed to be a collective holding of breath, a nervous anticipation, and I wasn't unaware how the boys were looking at me, waiting.

"I'd like to offer my apology for being late in coming home and missing hearing of your first day," I began, "however, I spent considerable amount of time after school in the principal's office, along with the assistant principal, and the resource officer. The meeting would've been shorter but we were interrupted several times when the principal was called from his office."

"As you know, Javier wasn't blamed for anything that happened, and I was extremely pleased to hear it! I offered no apology for what he or any of the rest of you did nor did I apologize for my actions toward Mr. Finch. Instead, I stood in strong defense of your behavior; although I don't condone fighting in school, there are times when we must stand up for what we believe in, protecting others who might not be able to protect themselves, and defending ourselves, our family, or our friends. You know I won't tolerate a bully, of any age, and have encouraged you to stand up to them, which you did today. For that, I am extremely proud."

"We spent a great deal of time today discussing the need for sensitivity training and instruction for staff and students, helping all of us a better understand the diversity in our school community. The diversity we have includes not only ethnic and racial, but religious, sexual orientation, and gender identity."

"I know I can trust your judgement as you determine when it's the right time and place to stand up against injustice of any type! If it means to fight, then do so; we cannot permit aggression to impose on us those things we find contrary to our beliefs! We are all equal and deserve each other's respect, such as we do in our own home."

"Today, I was so proud of Javier, Manny, and all of my boys as you stepped up to not only defend each other, but to push aggression aside, even at peril of your own safety! No father could've been more proud of his boys as I was today and I'm certain Aidan feels the same way. We'll always stand behind you, supporting what you do, and loving you."

There were streams of tears of love and pride cascading down my face when I finished. Javier stood, motioned me to stand, put his arms around me, hugged me, kissed me, and said with pride, "We love you so much, El Jefe!" Each of the boys, the other seven, stood, approached me and did the same!

Avery, from the end of the table, nodding to Chance and Tommy, added, "We agree!"

Tension now broken, over dessert the boys couldn't chatter fast enough about school, the fight, the bus ride, everything!

Chance finally spoke up, "I heard at 'Mudpuppy's' around midafternoon, you really kicked the two kids asses, Javier. That right?"

Before he could answer, Manny did for him, "You bet he did, Uncle Chance; so hard they'll have to unbutton their shirts to shit!" and received a "Manny, watch your mouth at the table," from his grandmother!

The little boys could hardly contain themselves as they chattered to me about their first day of school; who their teachers were, what subjects they liked, who the dorky and non-dorky kids were, recess, and so on. If they were as exhausted from telling me as I was from listening, it wasn't obvious.

As I listened to them, I noticed Avery speaking to Aidan. I thought nothing of it until Aidan walked over to where his jacket hung and brought back an envelope and gave it to Avery. Avery patted him on the shoulder, evidently thanking him, and tucked the envelope into his own back pocket. I made a mental note to ask Aidan about it, as if it were any of my business.

The older boys were heading downstairs to the family room and watch movies or shoot a game of pool. Javier had the guitar in his hands so I was certain he'd be doing some playing and singing. Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity as often as I wished to hear him, although from what I gathered, his best audience, to whom he sang most of his songs, was Efrain!

"Homework all done?" I quizzed as they walked by.

To a person, they grinned and gave me the "thumbs-up!" I should've known better than to even ask; they were all good students and conscientious about school and taking pride in their school work. Generally, right after chores, if there was time, they did their homework; if not, then right after dinner. Concepcion lingered for just a moment before joining the others, giving me the opportunity to ask him who the brown-haired boy was I saw him leap to protect earlier in the day.

He blushed, tilted his head down before lifting it, eyes sparkling and a smile on his lips,

"Montgomery Haynes! He's pretty neat, huh?"

I had to agree, seeing Concepcion so happy! I hoped he wouldn't be hurt! Concepcion wouldn't be the first gay boy to fall for a straight boy and have his feelings and ego crushed.

"Haynes," Avery said thoughtfully after Concepcion left the room, "He'd be my sister Mildred Owens' grandson. Her daughter married a Haynes; teacher of English writing or something at one of the University's in the Quad-cities. They live over in Rockport; he commutes."

After an hour or so, Alex came upstairs with Carlos and Luis in tow.

"Bedtime," he announced, pretty much for our benefit, "and time for showers."

Carlos and Luis gave their grandmother and mother kisses and skipped along behind their older brother up the stairs to shower and bed, hoping he'd read a story after they were tucked in (which he would). It wasn't long after that the rest of the boys kissed Estele and Carissa and went upstairs to bed as well. Estele and Carissa excused themselves and went to their rooms as well.

Avery desired a brandy, as did all of us, and I was dying to hear the continuation of the story Chance was telling the night of the storm. Chance did the honors of fixing the drinks, parceled them out, settled in a chair with Tommy resting between his legs on the floor, and thought a moment.

"Well," he pondered, "where did I leave off?"

"The captain said, 'Lock him up until I find out what we're supposed to do with him!" Javier recalled from the staircase.

All four of us swiveled our heads in that direction and found Concepcion, Javier, and Efrain huddled there, covered in blankets, also waiting for the story to continue. Quickly scampering down to join the rest of us, they darted across the living room, situated themselves on the floor in front of Aidan and me, Efrain and Javier covered with one blanket and Concepcion with another.

With a twinkle in his eye, Avery jested, "Are you certain, Javier?"

Efrain answered, "Sure he is, Uncle Avery, Javier remembers everything he's seen, heard or read!"

Avery looked at Javier carefully, letting what Efrain said sink in, seeing Javier in a new light. Javier was a fascinating, intriguing, bright young man with talents just now being recognized by the rest of us, but apparently known by the other boys for some time!

"We were sitting outside the office, listening," confessed Concepcion. "Javier heard El Jefe get up, followed him downstairs, afraid he wasn't feeling well, and when he went down to the office, came and got us."

"Yeah," laughed Efrain, "we damned near got caught when Chance and Tommy came down the stairs too. We had to hide in the hallway to the tunnel!"

"Oh, my god," moaned Chance. "I suppose now, at some time or another I have finish the whole story?"

"Yep!" said Javier with a nod of his head.

"Two of the MP's, one on each arm, carried me to a small room in the back of the building. The door was of latticed steel and the one window in the room had bars on it as well. There was one bed, a sink, and a toilet in the room."

Chance, still naked as when he came into the building, demanded some clothes and was provided with a blanket and told to wrap up in it until they could find some clothes to fit him. Several hours later, one of the soldiers returned with a shirt, pants, and tennis shoes.

One day of incarceration led to two; two into three, until, after almost a week, he was still locked up. He was given the opportunity to shower each day, supervised of course and each time he would wiggle his little butt and cocklett at the soldier watching him, and holler out "Pervert" just to annoy him! No one heeded his continued request for his parents or an attorney or the opportunity to contact his Uncle Avery. Chance did decide, early on, to take Mr. Watanabe's advice and survive. He knew if he ever got out of here what he'd do! His parents always said if they were separated, to go to Uncle Avery's in Iowa. He had no real idea where "Iowa" was or what type of person Uncle Avery was or what he looked like, but he trusted his dad and mom and if that's where they said he was to go, he would. He also knew how he'd get there, if he could get home first. In a wall safe, hidden in his parent's bedroom, were the papers he'd need, plus money, and a few other items.

"I was absolutely fit to be tied," interjected Avery. "Momma and the rest of us knew Robert, Melisa, and Chance were in Hawaii and it just had the shit bombed out of the area they were living, so we had no idea what happened to them. After a week of hearing nothing from either one of them or from the army I decided to send a telegram to them. I never had the opportunity! Instead I received one! I dreaded opening it, fearful it was from the army telling me the worst."

"The telegram was from a school principal in Hawaii, reading, 'T. Watanabe says Chance held by MP's. stop Don't know where. Stop His mom and dad gone.stop.' That was enough for me," Avery snorted.

Tommy Watanabe was Chance's best friend, Avery knew from letters from Robert over the years. Something was terribly wrong! Avery finally made contact with his U.S. Senator and Congressman after considerable effort. Washington was in turmoil and the rest of the country was in chaos, tormented by fears of sabotage, secret agents, and in Iowa, fear the Japanese were going to bomb there as well! Most of it was pure hysteria, but the United States hadn't been attacked in this manner before and it really shook the population up since they had nothing to use as reference.

His request to his Senator and Congressmen asking why his nine year-old nephew was being held captive by the U.S. Army and where was he, as well as wanting to know the fate of his brother and sister-in-law received a tepid reply. The response to him was patronizing, offering reassurances it was probably all rumor or a simple mix-up of some sort, and all would be well. If he'd be patient, everything would work out and they'd get back to him.

"It was a bunch of bureaucratic bullshit!" Avery accused. "They had no more idea than I did what the answer was. I picked up the telephone and made a couple of calls to people I should've made calls to in the first place. I wanted that boy found and brought here and the fate of my brother and his wife uncovered. If they were dead, the boy better damn well show up on my steps, well and unharmed!"

"Eleven days after that terrible Sunday," Chance recalled, "two men in dark suits were admitted to my cell. They stood a moment, asked me my name, my father and mother's names, and if I knew an Avery Morgan. I most certainly did! I wondered what the fuck was going on!"

The older of the two men, evidently the one in charge, looked at the two MP's standing in the doorway, watching what was going on, and quickly switched to Hawaiian and Pidgin English, saying softly,

"Your Uncle Avery sent us to find you, get you out of here, and back to his house in Iowa. We're business associates of his and I'm an attorney, okay?"

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