"When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one!"
Chance laughed, chortling to himself over his own naivety at such a young age!
"Hell, I didn't know this guy from Adam, so I asked him his name; "John Snyder" was his response. Well, that certainly reassured me! It still didn't give me a fucking clue, excuse my language, boys," he said apologetically to the three teens sitting on the floor listening to the story, "but I'll probably use language you've already heard before and more than likely use, outside of in front of your mother or grandmother, but you have to understand how it felt at the time also!"
"Anyway, John Snyder could've been the a local auto mechanic or a store clerk, although I doubted it considering the quality of the suit he was wearing, so I figured I better check and see if he could prove who sent him so I asked him if he knew my nickname."
"Why am I called that?"
"Because your daddy wrote to your Uncle Avery and said you were their last chance to have a baby!"
At that point, Chance was fairly certain the man was on the up and up, but rather than assume, he thought he'd press the man just a little further to see if he couldn't get increased confirmation of his bona fides.
"What's the name of my uncle's furniture store?"
John Snyder laughed, "It's not a furniture store, its a supper club named, 'Mudpuppy's Saloon and Steak House."
"Mr. Snyder," Chance beamed, "when do I get busted out of here?"
"It's really not quite that simple, Chance," he explained slipping back into Pidgin English and Hawaiian. "The President authorized martial law on the Islands immediately after the attack, and "habeas corpus" has been suspended. There are some powerful people making your release happen, but this captain out front seems to be an obstacle. I think it's because of the fight you put up, if I heard everything correctly, and the fact you are so fluent in Japanese. It means regular law does not apply so we have to work around it. I want you to be polite, non-confrontational, and in general be a good boy until I get you out of here! You have to learn when it is wise to fight and when it is wise to wait. Revenge is a dish best served cold. This is the time to be patient!"
Chance had no choice but to listen to and do as the attorney instructed. Snyder put his arm around the boy and the three of them approached the military policemen guarding the door, showed the release papers signed by the Commanding General and Countersigned by a Colonel Green, and asked to be allowed to leave. One MP indicated he had to check with the Captain, left, and returned a couple of minutes later.
"The Captain said for you to wait in the outer office until he can confirm the orders and receive a copy of them from headquarters."
They waited until a messenger, bearing a leather attaché case, hustled into the building and into the Captain's office. The three of them were invited in after the messenger left.
Standing in front of the Captain, Snyder waited for him to speak.
Finally, the Captain said rather derisively, "I don't know who you think you are or how you managed to get these orders, if they're legitimate, but that little brat inflicted physical damage and hurled insults at my soldiers and me! His fluent use of the Japanese language is unnatural for most white boys, so I think I might have to hold him for another couple of days to make certain he really is the son of one of our soldiers and therefore a dependent of one."
Snyder smiled, almost menacingly, certainly threatening! "Captain, I'm an attorney representing this boy; yes, he is a dependent, yes, he is going to be evacuated, and, if you read your orders closely, you'll notice he is to be provided with a personal escort up to and including the time custody is handed over to a Mr. Avery Morgan, in Morgan's Landing, Iowa. I'd advise you, unless you want to be standing guard over some frozen shit house in northern Alaska, you not set any obstacles in our way. If you doubt for one minute my influence or of the ones who hired me, just give it a try."
The Captain shuffled some papers on his desk, looked at the still smiling Snyder, sneered at Chance, and said, rather than take any chances, "Get the little shit out of here!" and picked up a pen to countersign the order. As he handed it back to Snyder, Snyder said, "Captain, you better make arrangements for the escort to be in Honolulu three days from now to board this ship leaving for the mainland," and gave the Captain a sheet of paper with liner name and pier number.
Walking out to the car in the parking lot, Chance wondered what Tommy was doing. Had he been going to school? Would he be home when they finally left here?
"We have to go to my house," Chance explained, "there are some papers and stuff Dad said I had to get if something every happened and I'll need some clothes and things."
Snyder nodded and once in the car, he instructed Jimmy to drive them to the Morgan home. The ride there was a quiet one, Chance had many questions, but wasn't certain if he wanted answers to them. He did know he needed to find out what happened to his parents!
Using the spare key hidden in the garden Gnome in the front flower garden, Chance unlocked the front door of his home. The three of them entered, Jimmy first as if checking to see if there were people inside waiting to surprise them, and finding no one, motioned them to come in. The silence in the house was almost overwhelming to Chance, no radio, no talk, just silence.
All of the beds were made, the dishes put away, everything tidy as if someone wanted to leave it in pristine, well-cleaned condition! Chance knew it was Mrs. Watanabe who'd do it for them; she had as long as Chance could remember. A frightening thought then hit him and he raced outside to the Watanabe's residence, shook the door, found it locked, used the key he used to open his house, since the locks were the same, and rushed in!
His fears were realized; the house was empty- totally, not a stick of furniture, picture on the wall, or even a note explaining where the family went. The house and everything about it left Chance with the distinct impression the Watanabe's never lived there in the first place for so many years. With no one to greet him, Tommy not there to hug him and tell him how much he was loved, the warmth of home in either house, the feeling of total, complete, aloneness, isolation or separation from those most dear to him, rolled over him like a steam roller, flattening his spirit, shaking his young resolve, and sinking him toward a deep depression.
He failed to see or hear Snyder walk up behind him until he felt the man's arm across his shoulder, pulling him closer to him. Chance shuddered, trying to stifle the sobs and tears of grief roiling up inside him and spilling out, but to no avail! Mr. Snyder slowly led Chance back to his own house, set him down on a living room couch, hugged the boy close to him and let him sob his grief and terror at being alone.
Chance slowly calmed, looked at Snyder and said simply, "Mom and Dad are gone too, aren't they?"
Chance stifled another sob, choking out, "What am I going to do?"
"Chance, you heard me tell the Captain you're going to be on a boat three days from today and be on your way to your uncle's house! It'll take you about a week on the ship and probably four or five days on a train to arrive there. What you need to do now, is find those papers, pack clothes enough for the trip plus to wear when you get there. I know you don't have any winter clothes so we'll have to see if we can find something half-way warm; it's winter in Iowa and cold and snowy."
"We have a couple of days so you can decide what personal items you want to take with you such as pictures of your parents and other items. My instructions are, after you've done that and you're on your way, to lock up the house until I receive word on what to do with it."
"Do you know where my folks …… are?" Chance asked not wanting to say "bodies."
Again, Snyder nodded. "We'll go there once I've seen the papers you find for me."
Listening to Chance recall and tell the story of the tragedy so long ago, I realized a nine year old boy was forced to suddenly grow up and make adult decisions. It was difficult for him, but life is hard and if he was to survive as Mr. Watanabe said and as he knew his folks wanted him to, he decided to do the best he could.
I watched our three boys, listening carefully, absorbing every word Chance was saying, understanding they'd been through this as well, although not to the extreme Chance had been, after all, they had their grandmother and aunt or mother. Moving here, to Bend in the River Farms, with Avery, Chance, Tommy, Aidan, and me, afforded them the opportunity to have an extended family; an extended family which loved them very much and would protect and sacrifice for them.
For some reason, observing our boys stretched out on the floor, covered with blankets, comfortable with themselves and each other, Efrain snuggled up tight against Javier, appearing to be partially covered by Javier's body under the blanket, and Concepcion laying there all alone, but on the brink, I decided, of discovering physical male-to-male sexual interaction with someone not a family member as his friendship with Montgomery Haynes grew and blossomed, I couldn't help but think of my two younger brothers; Micah at age eight, the same age as Luis and Simon, the same age as Carlos.
I wondered how they were doing; did they think of me often? Did they experience the same lack of love and understanding our father afforded me, unlike my overt and heartfelt feelings toward our boys? How were they doing in school? They're extremely bright, I thought, but of course, they're my younger brothers. Hell, they didn't even know where I lived or what I was doing or how Aidan and found each other and mutual love; or how we now had eight beautiful boys to care for and love! Did they know how I was becoming not only a teacher but a confidant of some very generous, caring, and intelligent men?
These thoughts struck me in the heart, saddened me, and brought a trickle of moisture to my eyes, the mistiness clouding my vision. Aidan sensing my reactions were something other than Chance's story, put his arms around me and whispered,
"I love you so much, so don't look so worried and upset. Whatever it is, all will work out. The boys and I will always care for you and be with you."
Quickly stifling a sob, suppressing it deep into my being, I smiled and nodded my head. I thought it was unnoticed, but Avery did, as I would later discover.
"Jimmy kept watch at the front door, evidently anticipating company or trouble," Chance said, "as Snyder walked with me to my parent's bedroom."
Entering it, Chance could still smell his mother's cologne and his dad's aftershave. He looked in vain, knowing they weren't there, yet, he still looked around, disappointed and down-hearted! Looking in the closet, he saw several of his mother's nursing uniforms and some of his dad's military uniforms, including his dress uniforms. Touching each, feeling them, absorbing in his mind what they looked like when his father or mother wore them, shaking his head slowly, first in almost disbelief and then in finalization! Behind the clothes were two large suitcases and a small backpack or "daypack" as his dad called it. He placed all three items on the bed.
He then continued to walk around the room, touching the dresser, picking up the pictures of his parents, pictures of him and his parents, and a wedding picture of them, lifting the pillows on the bed, inhaling any lingering scent, opened the cedar chest at the foot of the bed, looked in, closed it, and turned to Snyder and asked him to please leave him alone.
Snyder assumed Chance didn't want to reveal where the documents were hidden. With Snyder gone, Chance moved a picture on the wall, exposing a small wall safe. Flipping through the combination, he opened the safe and emptied its contents on the bed. The packet of papers Snyder needed to see was placed to the side. He picked up the day pack, walked over to his dad's side of the dresser, pulled out two pair of his calf-length socks, walked back to the bed, where he picked up his mother's jewelry box and emptied it into one of the socks and placed it in the day pack; picked up a small stack of currency, bonds, and a couple of bank books and put them in another sock which he also put in the day pack. The third sock was stuffed with a holstered .38 cal. Snub-nosed Police Special revolver and two boxes of shells. The fourth sock was filled with three very thick letter sized envelopes, each marked with his name.
Leaving everything on the bed, he closed the now empty safe, put the picture back in place, picked up the packet of papers for Snyder, and walked to the door, smiled at Snyder sitting on the couch in the living room, and walked over to him. Chance handed him the packet and sat down beside him. Snyder opened the envelope and spread the documents in it out on the coffee table in front of the couch.
"This one," he explained picking up a document, "is your parents' last will and testament, and," he said quickly scanning the document, "it names you as their sole beneficiary and your Uncle Avery as the executor. It also mentions he is to be your legal guardian until you reach the age of majority."
Sorting through some more papers, he picked up the guardianship papers, and confirmed the instructions in the will. He pointed out to Chance his birth certificate, the deed to the Hawaiian property, some life insurance policies, now invalid since death was caused by "an act of war," and an envelope marked "Burial Instructions." Opening it, Snyder wrinkled his eyebrows, and read it. He placed it aside when he'd finished, and said to Chance,
"Your parents wanted to be cremated and their ashes to be buried in the family plot in Morgan's Landing. This may be difficult for you, Chance, but I have to ask you if you wish to honor their instructions?"
Chance nodded, understanding what his parents wanted since, as the conflicts increased in the Far East, his parents discussed this with him, if it was at all possible. They thought it might be better to be cremated and have their ashes in Morgan's Landing, rather than go to the expense and time shipping bodies to the mainland.
"Now," Snyder said carefully, "comes the most difficult part. I've located where your parents remains are; your father was identified by his army dog tags and his body is in an army temporary morgue on the base; your mother is in the hospital morgue. You will have to confirm the identities since you are the surviving child. Are you up to this?"
Chance stopped his narrative again, but this time stood and walked out to the kitchen and mixed himself another brandy. He returned, sat back down, and I noticed Tommy scooted closer and put his arm around him, much like Aidan did to me earlier, giving support and reassurance of his love!
"It was the hardest thing I ever had to do," Chance said. "I sort of expected them to be, well, to put it bluntly, in pieces considering all of the bombing that went on. Instead, they were both fine, dead, but with the sheet covering them up to their necks, looked like they just laid down and died. I knew better, but tried not to think of what horror must've gone through their minds during the raid and as they died, wondering what happened to me as well! I showed my birth certificate to the people in charge, and Snyder, acting as my attorney, showed the burial instructions, and received assurance the instructions would be carried out. Snyder said he'd stop back when the cremation was complete and the remains placed in urns. He made arrangements for them to be shipped to Morgan's Landing. They arrived about a month after I got here."
Personally, I couldn't imagine what Chance went through; nine years old and having to face those decisions, not knowing what lay ahead of him, orphaned by war, heading to a country and a place he'd only heard his parents talk about, among strangers who were relatives, and an uncertain future. Chance Morgan was hardened by loss, tempered by war, and strengthened by his own resolve, premature maturity, and quick wits.
"After we finished and returned home, Snyder helped me decide what I needed to take with me to wear on the journey, what personal family items I wanted to save, and what needed to be left behind for future decisions."
Snyder told Chance he'd be aboard the ship for five to seven days, a day or so in San Francisco, and three to five days on a train to Rock Island, Illinois where his uncle would meet him. He'd arrive in Iowa sometime around January second or third. It'd be cold and snowy in Iowa in the winter; weather Chance never experienced before and had no winter clothes!
"You'll have to buy some warmer clothing when you reach San Francisco," Snyder said to Chance. "Hopefully, your escort will have some experience with winter weather and not some soldier from Florida, and help you shop for what is needed."
Chance packed the few long-sleeved shirts and pants, along with a couple of light jackets and sweaters, sweatshirts, in the day pack. Underwear, socks, handkerchiefs, tee-shirts, shoes and tennis shoes, and the rest of his clothing was carefully packed in the day pack and one of the suitcases as well. He really didn't have that much to pack. He did, however make certain he'd packed his shorts since he figured Iowa had to have summer too.
A couple of his dad's uniforms, a couple of him mom's nursing uniforms, some of his dad's long-sleeved shirts and sweat shirts, handkerchiefs, and socks (he thought they might fit or at least fit over a pair of his to add warmth) and socks were added to the suitcase. As he rummaged through the closet, he spotted a fleece-lined jacket of his dads and put it in the daypack.
The second suitcase became the repository for family mementos; family pictures from the dressers and walls, and other items. The cedar chest already contained his baby blankets, baby books, his mother's wedding dress, some baby clothes of his, a quilt his grandmother Morgan made, and the family bible. He added the family photo albums, several packets of letters from his dad to his mom before they were married and when he was separated from them, the family silver dinnerware, several silver dishes, and wrapped carefully in towels and a blanket, his mother's good china. There were also several items peculiar to Hawaii his parents purchased over the years. He also added his dad's shaving kit and his mother's makeup case.
Satisfied it was all he could pack in the chest, he asked Snyder to have it crated and sent to him at Morgan's Landing. He wandered through the house, noting to Snyder there were many things he'd like to keep, but it just wasn't practical.
"The clothing, bedding, towels, and other linens should be given to those who need it," he instructed. "There'll be many who'll need these things because of the war. Do the same with the furniture."
He stepped into the bathroom to take a piss and while doing so remembered the medical kit his mother kept in the linen closet. He remembered his mother often said she could treat anything not requiring surgery or hospitalization with it. Since she had access to all sorts of medical supplies and medicine, in most cases she was correct. Shaking his little pecker, he washed his hands, took the medical kit from the linen closet, and secured it to his day pack.
It was growing late and he begged Snyder to allow him to spend the night in his own bed, for the last time! Snyder reluctantly agreed, but told Jimmy to stay in the house as well since he had some business to attend to, promising Jimmy some help.
Chance cried himself to sleep that night, alone in his bed, missing deeply his parents and Tommy. His parents were always there to give him guidance, love, and understanding and now would be no more! Tommy, his best of best friends, was not only his playmate, but bedmate on many occasions as well! Whenever things went awry, Tommy always seemed to be there for him to pour his heart out to.
"I really missed him that night," Chance said softly, leaning over to give Tommy a hug. "I had no idea where he'd disappeared to, how to find him, or how he'd ever find me. I knew he a ton of relatives on the Islands, but with martial law in effect and the strong anti-Japanese propaganda spreading all over, I figured they went into hiding somewhere!"
The next morning, before Snyder arrived, Chance, Jimmy, and another man who arrived during the night, walked down to the beach. Chance wanted a last look. While there, he picked up a couple of seashells and put them in his pocket. He'd have that much at least.
Suitcases and day pack loaded in Snyder's car, the Chance, Jimmy, and Snyder drove to Honolulu, spent the night in a hotel, and headed for the docks the next morning.
"I had copies of my birth certificate, the wills, and the guardianship papers in an envelope in a side pocket of the day pack in case I needed them in order to board the ship. We waited at the pier for my escort and watched an army Military Police jeep drive up with three people in it. They parked, and walked toward us, a uniformed MP on each side of a uniformed enlisted man, carrying a duffel bag, in between them. Reaching us, one of the MP's asked for my identification and I showed him the birth certificate. He looked it over, nodded, and said,
'This is PFC Anthony Wilson, your escort. He's to escort you from here to Rock Island, Illinois where you will be released to the custody of your Uncle, Avery Morgan."
The other MP then handed Wilson a .45 caliber army issue pistol and Wilson placed it in the empty holster secured to his belt. The first one handed him a sealed envelope and they walked away!
Pfc. Anthony Wilson was a very young looking African-American man, light colored (more tan than dark), black eyes, five foot ten inches or so, probably weighing one hundred fifty or so, and extremely handsome or as Avery would put it "well-fit" in all ways. Chance thought he just might be mixed race, like many other people he saw on the Islands, and later was to learn he was correct. Wilson was the product of a white mother and a light, black father.
The MP's left and after a moment or two, Jimmy asked the young man, "What the hell you doing here, Pookie?'
"I was goin' to ask you the same," came the response.
Jimmy just shook his head, smiled, and said, "You remember Fat Louie on the South side?"
"Yeah; did he send you here?"
"Sort of," Jimmy laughed, "he died suddenly and I had to leave the States for a while; been here about a year and a half. I was planning on going home and then got caught in all this war shit!"
"How about you, Pookie? How'd you end up with this duty? You ain't hardly old enough to be in the army."
Pookie looked at Chance, raised his eyebrows in question, and after Jimmy said it was fine to speak in front of him, answered,
"Well, about three weeks ago, on a Saturday night, just before the Japs attacked, I was hiking my way to base and was just about there, when I spotted a kid standing on the street corner hustling, I figured. He wasn't very good at it so I figured he was new and just wanted a blowjob or to get fucked. I figured I could do both!"
Pookie approached the kid, they felt each other up for a couple of minutes, Pookie asked the kid how old he was and if he had a place they could go fuck!. The kid said he was fifteen and they could go to his house; his folks were gone and wouldn't be home until after midnight. Pookie figured he had just enough time to ream the boy good, blow his load, and head back to base.
Once at the kid's house, Pookie stripped him naked, took a look at the kid's cock and bush and decided he was younger than he said. He bent the boy over, nudged the head of his cock at the rosy portal, and gave it a push! When the head popped through the ring, he asked the kid how old he was and the kid groaned, "fourteen!" Pookie pushed hard and seated himself deep, asked the kid again, and he bellowed, "LAST WEEK!"
"I had him on his belly, with me buried as deep into him as I could burrow, and was fucking him hard! Just as I started to cum my load into him, the bedroom door busted open, and his old man shouted, 'what the hell is going on in here/'"
"Not wanting to lie, I answered, 'well, Sir, I'm fucking him, Sir!' How the hell was I to know he was a fucking general's kid?"
Pookie figured because he forgot to stand and salute, pissing the general off, is what landed him in the lockup!
"I was in the lock-up, waiting for the general to make up his mind what to do with me when all hell broke loose! Yesterday, the general called me to his office and explained, with a promise to keep my mouth shut about what I was doing with his son, not wanting to go through the embarrassment of a trial and all, he was giving me this escort duty and a set of papers discharging me for medical reasons. He said if he heard one word or ever see me again, I'd be pissing through a rubber hose, just before he gut-shot me with a double-barrel shotgun loaded with double-00 buckshot! Sounded like a deal to me, so here I am."
"The last I seen you, you was standing on a corner with your pecker pooking out hoping to catch a john interested in either sucking you or fucking you! How in the hell did you end up in the army; you ain't old enough!"
"I lied about my age to get in!"
"My older cousin and I was working the railroad station downtown and I dipped a pocket, handed to him since he was holding, and walked away. When I dipped the pocket, I bumped into a shoulder holster holding a fucking gun!"
Pookie stepped up his pace to get away, but stopped when he felt someone grab him from behind. The man spun him around and demanded his wallet back; of course, Pookie denied knowing what he was talking about and offered to let the man search him, which the man did!
"He not only patted me down, but reached inside my clothes, down into my pants, felt all over my pecker, gave it a couple of soft jerks and felt over my ass crack, poking my pucker a couple of times, lifted my pants leg, and found nuttin'!"
The man apologized and walked away. Ten minutes later, Pookie met his cousin, and his cousin was having a shit-fit over their deed, holding the billfold waving it back and forth in front of Pookie! He was scared shitless and wanted Pookie to take the damned billfold and return it, quick, before they both ended up with concrete shoes in the bottom of the Illinois River!
"Whose pocket did you pick, Pookie?"
"Some guy named Morgan from Iowa! I didn't know him from shit, but my cousin lived in Rock Island and was spending some time with us and what he said scared the shit out of me too! He said this Morgan fella is the one who blew the brains out of one guy and gut shot a couple of others when they came to rub out his business partner, Lucky Leo Palmer, ten, twelve, maybe fifteen years ago!"
"That's just street talk Pookie!" Jimmy responded. "Besides, you're too young to remember that far back!"
"Yeah, well my cousin's not, so that's not street talk! Hell, he lived there then and everybody talked about it!"
"Still, street talk!"
"I suppose it's street talk when the two guys who raped and killed this Morgan fella's boyfriend ended up hung on a barbed wire fence, had their balls cut off, and then burned up like a piece of toast, too, huh?"
"So, what did you do?"
"I kept twenty bucks for postage, found his address on his driver's license, and mailed the damn thing back. Next I got ahold of a judge who liked to fuck my sweet ass on regular basis, and he got me in the army, well away from Illinois!"
Snyder pushed Chance forward; "Meet his nephew, Pookie – the boy you're to make certain he arrives safely and delivered into the care of his uncle!"
Javier, Efrain, and Concepcion slowly shifted their gaze and attention from Chance to Avery, scrutinized him carefully, deciding there was nothing different about him now than previously, or presented any danger, two of the three returned their gazes to Chance, only Javier continued to make eye contact with Avery. Avery looked at Javier, smiled reassuringly, and was rewarded with a very slight smile and a nod of the head in return.
There was no doubt in my mind a mental contract had been concluded between the older man and the younger teen; Javier was being anointed as the "keeper of the fire;" the one who'd serve to protect, guard, and guide this next generation of residents at Bend in the River! Alex may be the leader, the one who stepped forward, who finalized the plans, but Javier would be the enforcer, the one who maintained order, the mentor to others, and was the final arbitrator! He was a special young man, bright, extremely good looking, quiet with strong resolve, fair, and one whom others wouldn't want to mess with. He just might become the secret keeper after Chance, Aidan, and me when Avery was gone from this earth. Javier would most certainly be privy to all of the weapons Avery used, both physical and mental, using them in the most effective manner.
Snyder handed Pookie an envelope, explaining inside were two tickets for them providing them passage in a small port side cabin and meals for the trip across the Pacific Ocean in the passenger liner. Also were hotel reservations for two nights in San Francisco, and train tickets, including a private compartment and meals, across country to Rock Island, Illinois.
"Inside is also some cash, more than enough to cover any incidentals, plus to buy the boy some warm clothes to travel in, once you reach San Francisco. Don't skimp, there's plenty there with enough left over to make it well worth your while!"
Snyder paused, letting Pookie absorb what he said, before adding, eyes narrowing in warning, "Keep him close to you at all times; there may be those out there who really don't want him to be united with his Uncle! Understand?"
"I didn't know what to think at that point in time," Chance relayed to the rest of us, listening carefully as he spoke. "I wondered who this uncle, the brother of my father, the younger brother he spoke so highly of; who wrote wondrous letters to us of what was happening in Morgan's Landing, and who my father had entrusted his son to really was! I couldn't imagine someone not wanting me to arrive safely at Morgan's Landing and how would that pertain to my Uncle Avery? What kind of life was I heading towards?"
He sighed, "I thought, at the time, how thankful I was I'd packed the .38 Colt revolver in my daypack and my dad taking the time to teach me how to load and shoot it."
"Do you still have it?" interrupted Javier.
Chance winked, raised his right pant leg just enough to reveal an ankle holster, filled with a pistol, attached to his right leg. Javier switched his eyes to first Tommy and then Avery and each of them raised their right pant leg a little as well, revealing weapons attached to each.
Avery, reacting to Javier's questioning look, said, "Those days are long gone, Javier, but sometimes it's just hard to break a habit; besides, we do handle a great deal of m oney from our business, so it's best to be prepared."
I know Javier was just chomping at the bit to ask about the .410 pistol, but hid it well and refrained. He'd probably ask Avery sometime when they were alone, I thought!
Pookie looked in the envelope, whistled through his teeth in amazement, commenting "this little trip is costing somebody a hell of a lot of money!" The ship's whistle sounded, signaling everyone was to board. Pookie showed our tickets to a ship's steward and he escorted us to a stateroom on the port side of the liner.
Chance and Pookie stowed the duffle bag, the two suitcases, and Chance's daypack on the double bed in the stateroom and after the steward left, looked the room over. It was nicely appointed, bed, dresser, closet, private bathroom, small couch, small table and two chairs, two easy chairs, and a nice window affording a pleasant view of the ocean, or in this case, the port harbor.
The cruise ship they were on was one of many liners owned by private cruise/travel companies providing luxury cruises to South Sea and Pacific ports for people's vacations and also was one of the many now being used to evacuate civilian dependents and others, along with the original cruise passengers in some cases, pressed into service to transport them to the mainland United States. Over thirty thousand people were evacuated from Hawaii immediately after the outbreak of hostilities. The liner was crowded, hammocks strung up in cabins to accommodate more people than originally intended. Chance felt fortunate he and Pookie had a stateroom all to themselves.
A blast of the ship's whistle and a quickening "thump, thump" of the ship's engines and revolution of propellers gave notice she was about to be underway. With the assistance of two tugboats, she was eased from the dock and out into the harbor where the liner was underway under her own power. Exiting the harbor, she was immediately escorted by two destroyers, one taking up station off of the port bow and the other starboard amidships. They would remain there for the entire voyage!
Chance and Pookie left their stateroom to tour the vessel. Before leaving and securing the door, Pookie checked his sidearm to make certain it was loaded and cautioned Chance to stick close; "as close as a john buried to his crotch in boy's bubble butt!" was the way he put it! Chance understood that okay, but didn't comment! He wasn't certain how he should really act toward Pookie, although he was beginning to get some pretty good hints the way Pookie looked at him.
Everywhere they strolled, there were people; in the dining room, the ball room, the recreation room, everywhere! All were nervous, frightened, apprehensive, and those who'd made Hawaii their home for many years were in tears, saddened about leaving their homes. Those who still had loved ones, either in the military or government jobs, were saddened by the prospect of knowing they might never see their loved ones again and they too were crying! Children understood the gravity of the situation as well and anxious parents, usually just the only one with them - the mother - were trying to comfort them.
Even though his loss was as great or greater, Chance felt so sad for all of them. He wished he could just make it all go away and declare it a bad dream, but it wasn't possible! He shuddered back a sob and when Pookie placed his arm around him and pulled him close, Chance leaned into the young man for comfort.
The weather was nice the first day out of port; the food was good, but even though there were many opportunities for entertainment, Pookie and Chance spent most of their time in deck chairs watching the people, the porpoises cavorting off of the bow, the destroyer escorts, or just snoozing. Well, Chance did; Pookie took his job seriously!
When they turned in for the night, after obeying instructions to pull the blackout curtains over the window so no light would be visible to aid an enemy ship or submarine, Chance stripped naked and crawled into bed. He half expected Pookie to join him but Pookie stripped to his boxers, lay his sidearm on the floor beside the couch, climbed on it, and covered himself with a blanket.
The next morning, when Chance woke, he noticed Pookie, still in his boxer shorts, sitting on the couch, blanket around his shoulders, and not looking very happy!
"Didn't sleep well?" Chance asked.
"Not worth a shit!" Pookie growled, stood and dropped his shorts, before heading to the bathroom.
Chance took notice of the uncircumcised cock, the tip of the pink head peeking out from the foreskin. It wasn't the largest he'd ever seen, but not the smallest either, wondering if it got really, really big when fully erected or not! Pookie emerged from the bathroom, still naked, and rummaged around in his duffle for clean underwear. Turning around before slipping them on, he noticed Chance staring at him.
"What?" he asked. "Never seen a black cock before?"
"Yeah," acknowledged Chance. "There were a couple of boys in my class at school, but theirs weren't as big as yours; of course they're still kids."
"Well, it ain't the biggest as far as black goes, but it'll do!" Pookie said. "Has served me well so far!"
I'll bet, thought Chance, figuring Pookie probably would top out about seven or so inches in length at the most and about the size around as a toilet paper roll, and vowed to make certain Pookie had a more comfortable place to sleep tonight. He wasn't certain if Pookie was up for a romp with a nine year old, but Chance, after being locked up, wasn't a bit adverse about accepting the older lad's pleasure pole, no matter the length or girth! He remembered the conversation Pookie had with Snyder and Jimmy and figured he wouldn't pass up the opportunity – depending.
Breakfast, in one of the main salons, was served cafeteria style. Chance and Pookie stood in line holding trays and eating utensils waiting for the line to move and just happened to stand behind a boy and a girl, being shepherded through the line by their mother, Chance went to school with. From them he learned schools on the Islands had been canceled for an indefinite period by the military acting through martial law; everyone except small children were being required to register with the army; and some of their Japanese-American friends suddenly seemed to disappear!
Chance asked how they got to the docks and on the ship and the kids told him their father, a government employee, made the arrangements and drove them there. They were going to stay with their mother's sister somewhere in Montana. Neither had been to the States before and didn't have a clue what to expect; of course, neither did he! Both teared up wondering when they'd ever see their dad again. Chance offered no information on his situation or why a soldier was traveling with him, only he was going to be staying with an uncle in Iowa.
Plates full, balancing their trays on their hands, Pookie and Chance looked for a table to sit at. Chance spotted a teenage boy, about fourteen years old he knew from the beach, seated with his mother, a younger brother, and two younger sisters sitting at a table. There were two empty places so, with a flick of his head for Pookie to follow him, joined the family. He took the seat next to Taylor, the teen; a young man who, with a couple of his friends, would meet Chance and Tommy on the beach for a bit of carnal pleasure! Chance liked Taylor, not like Tommy, but just casually; besides Taylor was gentle, had a nice cock, took his time, and unloaded bunches! Taylor, unlike others, loved to receive as much as give and welcomed Chance's three and a half inch stiffy up his rear anytime!
Taylor's dad was a navy man and when Chance asked where he was, Taylor merely shrugged. His mother, answering for him, told Chance he was on a "flattop" or aircraft carrier somewhere and wasn't in harbor when the raid happened. As far as she knew, her husband was still safe. He'd told them if anything should happen, because of the increasing tensions, they should head to the mainland. He made arrangements for them to go to some relatives in Burlington, Iowa. Another navy man brought them to the dock and helped them board.
Chance hoped Taylor was on the same train going east from San Francisco as he was, but said nothing. From Taylor he learned even more about the situation developing on Oahu and throughout the Islands while he was imprisoned. On hearing what happened, he hoped he could understand what he might look forward to while the war was being fought. Pookie Wilson just wanted to get back to Illinois, although he did dread facing Avery Morgan when his nephew was delivered to him.
According to Taylor, from what he heard on the radio and from another one of the "beach boys" whose dad was in the Provost office, all Japanese language newspapers were closed; all persons of Japanese ancestry, including aliens and U.S. citizens, would be required to turn in all of their guns, flashlights, cameras, and portable radios; and many citizens of Japanese ancestry were going to be rounded up and imprisoned somewhere on the Island. He also heard Japanese-Americans weren't allowed to take out their fishing boats so they could fish for a living!
"Everything is really S.N.A.F.U.," muttered Taylor, "you know, situation normal, all fucked up!"
"Don't you mean F.U.B.A.R.", quipped Pookie. "Fucked up beyond all repair!"
Chance was really frightened now he'd never see Tommy again! The conversation was winding down as well as their breakfast; Taylor reached over, under the table, and cupped Chance's package, giving it a little squeeze.
"I have to go to the head," he announced removing his hand.
"Me too!" chimed in Chance.
"You boys be careful," cautioned Taylor's mother.
"No problem, Ma'am," reassured Pookie, "I'll be close enough to touch them at all times," and left the table with the boys.
Pookie saw Taylor's hand slip under the table and fiddle with Chance's package and if something was going to happen, he wanted some of the action! He found Taylor an extremely attractive boy and was just the age he preferred for a nice long suck or a prolonged or short coupling! Actually, he really wouldn't mind doing all three, but he didn't think there'd be time.
As the boys neared the restroom, Taylor whispered to Chance, "Does he go everywhere you go?"
"'Cause he's supposed to!"
Chance had no more need to piss than did Taylor so when they entered the men's restroom, he headed for the far toilet stall. He heard the door to restroom "click" so he knew the lock was secured and dropped his pants and underwear, bending over the toilet, rear port ready for a liner to berth. Taylor waddled up behind him, pants and underwear down around his ankles, his stiff, young, teen cock twitching with every move, heading for the home port!
Spitting a couple of loads into to his hand, lubricating his stiffness, preparing it for entry, and reaching around behind him to pull the stall door shut, his hand encountered not the handle but another larger, velvety hard, smooth, dripping penis! Shrugging, indicating he wouldn't be deterred in his efforts and goal; one push and he was well seated! Chance sighed, Taylor groaned in pleasure, and Pookie exclaimed "Yes!" and without lube, drove his own rampant thick cock into the sweet pucker of the teen he'd found so attractive and now available for a satisfying, orgasmic encounter.
Belly over back, belly over back, and it was a 'Piggy-in-the-middle" or in the vernacular, "a real cluster fuck!" A white boy being fucked by a white boy being fucked by a young, horny black man! It didn't take Taylor long to shoot his load into Chance, clenching his ass cheeks as he did, massaging Pookie's thrusting instrument, causing it to swell and Pookie to push as far in as he could and hold it there as he deluged Taylor's bowels with his own vociferous and voluminous offering.
There was nothing but smiles on all three faces as they wiped up the dripping residuals of their love-making, although Chance did give Taylor their stateroom number with the invitation to visit with him and Pookie anytime!
At bedtime, Pookie stripped naked and joined Chance in the bed. Chance thought he might have the opportunity to sample Pookie's cock and balls, but Pookie remained on his side of the bed, making no offer or effort to engage the nine year old! During the night, a rather bad storm rolled in, causing the liner to pitch and roll with the huge waves it was encountering. It wasn't long until Chance slid across the bed and ended up with his back up against Pookie's belly. Sex wasn't on his mind at this time, he was too damned scared! Pookie pulled him closer, held him tight, and tried to reassure him all would be well. Chance finally fell into a restless sleep, held tight in the arms of the man assigned to protect him.
The storm continued through the next day and although finally out of bed, they remained in their stateroom. One of the ship's stewards stopped by, offering them tea, water, soda, and a light snack if they so desired. Pookie and Chance were more fortunate than many others; they didn't get seasick.
The steward nodded he was pleased with how they were feeling. "The infirmary is full and many others are just staying in their cabins heaving their guts out. Don't worry, we've got a great captain and he's had us in worse storms and brought us home!"
Eventually, the storm and ship parted company and the voyage settled back into a relatively calm, compared to the tossing before, gently but pronounced dipping down and up again as they steamed on through the waves. Taylor made two more visits to the stateroom and on his final visit, the evening before they would be docking in San Francisco, spent several hours, leaving with his sphincter muscle well stretched and just a tad sore! Although he did enjoy himself, Chance overheard Taylor mutter, "didn't think anyone could get hard and cum four times in as many hours."
Chance, still not having experienced Pookie's pleasure pole, asked him why he didn't make any attempt to fuck him.
"Well, Chance," Pookie responded, "I'm so mighty tempted 'cause you got to admit you got a fine looking ass and a delightful little pecker, but you're not very big and I'm afraid me stuffing you just might hurt you! There's no way, if I did that, I want my balls cut off and me hung from a barbed wire fence! Besides, no offense, you're a little too young for me."
"But, Taylor's fourteen and you're older than him!"
"How much is not much!"
"I turned seventeen in October," confessed Pookie.
"No shit!" exclaimed Chance. "You said you've been in the army for two years already!"
"Lied about my age, remember?"
Chance laughed again, so many years later at Pookie's admission.
"He's quite the guy," he admitted. "We arrived in San Francisco in mid-afternoon and by the time we made our way to the Fairmont Hotel, where our room was, we had little time to go shopping for the clothes Pookie was supposed to buy for me. We did ride the Powell Street Cable car, went out to dinner, and wandered around. I had no fear of anything happening to me. Pookie was well armed and took his position as my bodyguard seriously. There were soldiers and sailors all over the city."
"We shopped the next day, but only managed to purchase a slightly heavier jacket, not what I'd need according to Pookie since it was 'dead winter' in Iowa then. He did find some heavier flannel shirts and bought three of them along with a stocking cap. I'd never worn a hat or cap of any kind and it really felt funny, especially over my long hair."
"The train trip was uneventful, except we left the warmth of California, traveled up and into the mountains, winding through passes, passing over rushing rivers, and through snow. Leaving the mountains, the train traversed the Plains, a snowy, wind-swept country-side, causing me to shiver just to look outside the frosted compartment window. Even with the heat on in the train, I could feel the cold. The train chugged on through day and night, stopping every now and then to either let off or take on passengers or take on fuel and water."
"I was impressed, almost overwhelmed, how vast and diverse the landscape of the mainland was! It seemed to go on forever, not ending at the ocean after three or four hours as it did at home. I wondered if an island nation such as Japan realized how big this country was and what it'd take to conquer and occupy it!"
"It was late afternoon, the sun low in the winter sky, when the train rolled into the station at Rock Island. Pookie bundled me up as best he could, pulled the stocking cap down over my ears, slipped my day pack on my shoulders, grabbed his duffle and had a porter bring our suitcases. I stepped off of the train onto the station platform into one of the coldest and snowiest places I'd ever seen."
"All I could think of was the Christmas Cards with snowy scenes on them, of Santa Claus and his reindeer flying through snowy nights to deliver presents, and it struck me; I'd missed Christmas! My Christmas day was spent aboard a storm-tossed ship at sea and it slipped by me. Standing there, on the train platform, remembering the Christmas's I had with mom and dad; Christmas's which would be no more, and I was the loneliest boy on earth! My heart was like lead, sinking fast to my stomach, my face about to washed with tears, my chest fighting to suppress the shuddering shakes of sadness, when I heard a voice, an almost familiar voice, shout,
"Chance! Chance, Honey, I'm over here!"
"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy," I screamed over and over again, dropped my pack and with arms outstretched, while I continued to scream for my daddy, sobbing my joy, raced toward him, his arms outstretched, bundled in a sheepskin coat, red, billed, flannel cap, covering his head, and earflaps protecting his ears, calling for me to run to his arms and be loved again!"
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