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The Leapling

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 15

"All things are filled full of signs, and it is a wise man who can learn about one thing from another."


So far, I thought, this has been an extraordinary day and not really all that pleasing! Chance just voiced what I suspected shortly after arriving at "Bend in the River"; Avery was Chance's biological father and Chance just vocalized to all his knowledge of the fact! If it came as a surprise to anyone in the room, there was no visible or audible sign given by any of them; all remained stoic, carefully watching Avery for his reaction!

Avery was a master at masking signs of emotion and Chance's revelation was no exception.

Looking at Chance, he asked softly, "How long have you known?"

Smiling, Chance replied, "Ever since I unloaded the safe at our house in Hawaii. The boat trip was long and I had time to read through all of the paperwork I brought with me, including the letter from Dad to you concerning me, asking for a forged birth certificate naming him as my father, and the real, original birth certificate naming you as my biological father. All of this, as I understood the correspondence, was to prevent anyone who might challenge the guardianship papers if something ever happened to them."

"You never said anything!"

"No, there was no need; we got along fine and no sense worrying you any."

"How many of the rest of you knew this?" Avery asked.

Well, I suspected it, but didn't KNOW it so I didn't raise my hand. The only one who did was the one with his head on my chest –Javier!

"Thought you'd figured it out sometime back," Avery said with some satisfaction. "Just like your Uncle Francisco, pretty damned smart and closed mouth."

Avery stood, walked over to Chance and when Chance stood, the two men embraced, not at uncle and nephew, but as father and son. It was an embrace, although given often for years, now meant something different and was a long time in coming.

This time, when Avery sat down, he positioned himself next to Chance and continued his story of his trip to Japan and eventually to Hawaii after Chance was wounded.

"Some Congressional friends of mine spread their influence and paved the way for me to have unfettered access to the base where Chance was hospitalized. A young corporal met me at the airport and chauffeured me to the hospital. Chance was having surgery again and I sat, waiting and waiting much like Javier is now; wondering about Chance's recovery and feeling sad, not wanting to face life without him if he didn't make it!"

"After several hours, a surgeon came to the waiting room, explained the procedures they'd performed, and his belief Chance's recovery would be good, although slow. I spent some time with him questioning the extent of the original wounds and what might be expected in the future. I was pleased they expected a full recovery, albeit not without some scars and other handicaps. I really didn't care how long it took, I was prepared to stay as long as needed or go where they'd send him. I just couldn't leave my son to suffer alone or me be without him."

It seemed longer than it actually was to both Chance and Avery until Chance was transferred to Hawaii for recuperation and therapy. He was confined to a wheelchair at first, although the therapist did have him up and walking a little more each day.

Once Avery learned Chance was going to Hawaii, he wired ahead to the attorney he'd used when getting Chance released from the Brig at the start of the War and who watched over the house and property Robert, now Chance, owned. He instructed the lawyer to have the agent managing the property prepare it for use since he intended to live there while Chance recovered to the point of being able to return home to the States. Most of the furniture was still in the house, as well as bedding, and other furnishing even though Chance once said to give it all away. All had been carefully packed away and stored and regularly aired and laundered as needed. There was actually little to do in readying the home.

"I just couldn't sell the house and property or give away the furnishings," Avery confessed. "Somewhere in the back of my mind, I thought Chance might like to use it to vacation in or perhaps retire to someday. I'd never been there, but from the pictures I'd seen, and the close proximity to the ocean, I thought I'd just keep it. Good thing I did!"

"I did rent out the caretakers house, however. Two cousins agreed to do the upkeep and maintenance on the property for half rent, so it was a win-win for both of us. I paid no more attention to it, allowing my agent to handle everything. I just paid the bills and happy to do it."

With Chance in the military hospital, Avery took up residence in his now empty house, using the master bedroom for his own. He was pleased to see what good shape the house and furnishing were in. The agent evidently was tending it well and prepared it for Avery's visit. It was, in his mind, almost as if Robert and Melissa never left it. It saddened him, knowing they were gone, but he had Chance.

The third night he was there, coming home after spending the day and evening with Chance, he met one of the two young men, John Nakahara, renting the caretaker's house. John explained his cousin was visiting his parents elsewhere on the Island and would be returning in a couple of weeks.

The third week of hospitalization, therapy, and exercise, Avery received permission to take Chance out for an afternoon ride and visit. He knew how much Chance loved seeing the ocean and beach area and figured a visit to his old home would be just the ticket! Chance was somewhat reluctant when first approached with the idea, but became more enthusiastic about it as his day of "liberation" came closer. He thoroughly enjoyed the ride in the sun and soft breezes coming from the ocean.

Avery stopped in front of the house, gave Chance a few minutes to gain control of his emotions, helped into his wheel chair and pushed it to the front entrance. He helped Chance with his crutches so he could walk inside. Chance was happy, sad, excited, yet almost overcome with his emotions on coming back to the house where he'd spent his childhood, now without his parents!

"My emotions were so powerful," he remembered as he spoke, "I almost expected Mom and Dad to step out and give me a hug! Avery held me upright as I sobbed into his shoulder. In my mind I thought I could even hear Tommy shouting my name, but I just knew it couldn't be so!"

"It was," chimed in Tommy grinning, "I'd just gotten home from visiting my mom and dad and was standing in the kitchen visiting with Johnny and looked out the window. I saw the car drive up, an older man push another man in a wheel chair to the front door, and, as the man in the wheel chair was helped onto his crutches, I was certain it was Chance, but didn't quite believe it to be so. After they went inside, I decided to walk over to satisfy my curiosity. I heard him sobbing and calling the other man "Uncle Avery" and I knew it was Chance."

Avery didn't know Tommy by sight or sound, only from what Chance relayed over the years in terms of physical description and traits, all of which changed as both Chance and Tommy matured. There was no doubt, however, in Chance's mind when he heard Tommy's voice shouting his name! Lifting his head from Avery's shoulder, turning best he could, saw his long-lost best friend and lover and grinned; a welcoming, heart-felt, release of all tensions, all worries gone. Tommy walked towards him with open arms and Avery watched the smaller Asian man passionately and joyously embrace his taller nephew as they kissed!

Chance, commenting on their reunion kiss, said, "I did have to caution Tommy to take it easy, since there were parts of me still healing. I was plenty damn sore but doing much better."

"I knew," Avery laughed, "my time as nursemaid and chief worrier was over. Never have I seen two more devoted and loving young men, other than Javier and Efrain. All would be well."

I felt Javier stiffen in my arms at the mention of Efrain's name. Clearly he was worried and fearful for his boyfriend. A surgeon entered about that time and asked if we were Efrain's family, concerned who he might share medical information with. Estele gave him permission to share with all of us.

"He's going to be fine, eventually, if he doesn't pick up an infection or suffer some other complications. He will have some difficult days ahead of him, but I'm fairly confident he'll be able to handle them. He's in recovery now and will be transferred to a critical care unit soon."

Javier murmured, "Thank god!"

The doctor smiled at him asking, "You must be the Javier he asked for the moment he was awake enough so we could understand him. Fortunately, one of our recovery room nurses speaks Spanish, since he wasn't speaking English!"

He paused, looked at Javier again, "Before you ask, Javier, it will be a little while before you can see him, but you won't have to wait long, okay?"

According to the doctor, Efrain was badly beaten, suffering face and head trauma, broken ribs, and a broken leg, evidently from a hard kick or being struck by a solid object.

"We discovered," the doctor continued, "two knife wounds, one in the chest and the other in the stomach area. One, if it had been a couple of inches closer, would have punctured a main artery in his stomach and he could've died. I've notified the sheriff's office and they want to interview him, however that's not going to happen until I've decided if he's strong enough to withstand the questioning."

The knife wounds apparently were the most concerning to the surgical team and required some careful and time consuming surgery to repair the damage.

The knife wound concerned all of us! This could be attempted murder rather than aggravated assault. I looked over at Aiden when I heard him mutter, "I'm going to locate a phone and tell Keith to look for a knife anywhere in the area where the fight took place!"

A nurse came out in about fifteen minutes and informed us that a "few" could visit Efrain for just a short time. I accompanied Estele, Carissa, and Javier to the Recovery Room. Efrain was somewhat conscious, but grinned, as best as he could, when he saw Javier and teared up when Javier leaned over the gurney, kissed his forehead, expressing his love and devotion, and pledging not to leave!

"I'll be there when you're in your own room; I promise!"

Estele and Carissa both expressed their joy in seeing him and their love and support as well.

We returned to the waiting room to report our observations to the others. Javier announced he wanted to stay at the hospital with Efrain for as long as possible.

Luis, ever practical, asked, "What'cha going to do for clean underwear, if you have any on?" and snickered, waggling his eyebrows, and receiving a gentle poke on the shoulder from Javier. Javier would stand naked for the whole world to see as long as he could be with his beloved.

"I know how he feels," Tommy said, "I was so happy to see Chance again I would've done the same and more. There was no one I knew who had any idea how to get ahold of him. After the war, about a year or so before Korea, Johnny, my cousin, rented our old house next to Chance's. Johnny had been there before and asked if I wanted to share it with him. My folks had no desire to return; besides there was nothing to return to as far as they were concerned. The house held a special place for me and I thought just living there'd give me some comfort after all we'd been through."

Tommy and his parents, along with many others, were caught up in the raids on people of Japanese ancestry, or ISSEI and NISEI as they were eventually known. Tommy's dad studied in Japan and evidently was targeted for "internment" although he was an American citizen.

"We were rounded up and shipped off to "relocation centers" or "internment camps!" They were nothing more than fucking prison camps!" apologizing to Estele and Carissa as he spoke.

There were those who believed, and probably still do, there were dangerous spies of our enemies in the Japanese-American community. Stories of the mass arrests and imprisonment of Japanese-Americans in California, Oregon, and Washington have been written about and probably most known. Between 110,000 and 120,000 people in the United States, approximately sixty-two percent citizens, and between twelve hundred and eighteen hundred on Hawaii were arrested under Executive Order 9066 issued February 19, 1942 by President Roosevelt ordering the internment of people of Japanese Ancestry.

Tommy and his parents were interned in a camp not far from Pearl Harbor. Once they were released, sans jobs, money, furniture, and everything they owned, they had no desire to return to their old home. The pain and hurt was just too deep so the family relocated!

"We were imprisoned for no other reason than racial reasons," Tommy declared. "My father was no danger to anyone yet my whole family was ripped from our home, jobs, families, and trucked off like war criminals!"

The hurt applied by those who passed, signed, and enforced the Executive Order thundered down on those of Japanese Ancestry and is felt even now! It was a shame on our country, the application of government sponsored racial discrimination through edict, adding to the already present prejudices against African-Americans, Native Americans, and Mexican-Americans to name a few; xenophobia against peoples because of national origin or ethnicity. I could only hope it wouldn't happen again, but knowing the human animal as I do, I fear, sometime in the future, some place in our country, a leader or group of politicians will rise up and do it again.

Avery, deciding Chance's recovery was progressing nicely with Tommy's presence and devoted assistance, reluctantly decided to return home to Morgan's Landing. Chance couldn't be in better hands or in better spirits than he was with Tommy. They both promised to join him as soon as Chance was released. Both wanted to further their education through college and Chance thought their choices and prospects might be better at home, especially with University of Iowa at Iowa City and the other public and private colleges in the area. The climate would be a significant change for Tommy, but he soon became used to it once they returned.

Chance and Tommy remodeled the bedroom they occupy now, tripped off to Iowa City where Chance earned a business degree and Tommy a degree in Accounting, settled down in Morgan's Landing where Chance took over the operation of "Mudpuppy's" (with Tommy's help), and Tommy (when he wasn't helping Chance) opened an accounting office and began handling all of Avery's business and personal accounts.

I checked my watch, noting the time, and I persuaded Aiden and the others to go home. Avery, Javier, and Estele decided they'd stay with me at the hospital. Within an hour after the others left, a nurse announced Efrain was in his own room and we could visit.

We approached the doorway, left there by the nurse, and could see Efrain laying, covered with a light blanket, on his bed, tubes leading to bags of liquid, and wires leading to instruments attached to various parts of his body. Javier was curious concerning a bag hanging on the bed frame, a tube going into it, dripping a yellow liquid. I quietly informed him it was a catheter, inserted to drain his bladder. He grimaced and fondled his crotch when I told him.

Standing in the doorway, absent the nurse who escorted us there, watching Efrain, we were confronted by a rather harsh, brusque,

"Family only are allowed!"

I turned my head, saw a rather stern faced, not very friendly nurse standing with her hands on her hips.

"His chart says his grandmother signed him in and," pointing to Estele, "I'm assuming that's you; so you can go in and the rest have to stay out!"

I thought she could really use a refresher course in people skills and, about to say something I'd probably regret, Javier turned, peering at her with his steely, piercing eyes, eyes cold enough to freeze the balls off of a brass monkey, with words cutting enough to slice hot bread without disturbing one crumb!

"Perhaps you misunderstood the doctor's orders concerning visitors or perhaps you are presumptive to be of superior knowledge and skills of the doctor. I suggest, Madame, you either read them again or contact a doctor to assist you. For you see, I'm going to visit him, so would you please leave and quit disturbing me!"

"See here, young man," she sputtered, "you either leave or I'll summon security."

"Oh, would you please," Avery piped up. "And while you're at it, inquire about the condition of the three thugs this 'young man,'" pointing at Javier, "so deftly rendered helpless by splitting skulls, slashing faces, and breaking limbs with something as simple as a garbage can lid. He can be quite upset when someone bothers his boyfriend!"

Instead of waiting patiently while she hustled off to summon assistance, we stepped into Efrain's room. Javier quickly approached the bed and gently, lovingly, soothed his hand and fingers across Efrain's face, bringing a smile, such as he could from his injured lips and face, from Efrain. A kiss from Javier to Efrain's forehead, a blinking of four eyes struggling to hold back tears, spoke more emotions and feelings of love than words could ever express.

Estele joined them, adding her own kiss to her grandson's head, and proceeded to seat herself in a nearby chair giving anyone one who'd dare, question her place there! I quickly pushed a chair to Efrain's bedside near where Javier stood, indicating he should sit there, close to Efrain. One look on his face told me he was a resident next to Efrain as long as Efrain was in the hospital, ready, and willing to endure all in order to be with him!

Our little gathering was interrupted by a male nurse and a doctor, who quickly explained the previous nurse was assigned elsewhere, and the new one would be Efrain's for this shift. The doctor also informed us we'd be permitted to visit Efrain, but we had to use good judgement.

The only one who refused to leave Efrain's side the rest of the night and the next day, was Javier. Estele dosed in the chair while Avery and I sought some relief in the waiting room. Before Estele, Avery, and I left in the afternoon, after being reassured Efrain was doing well, I pulled some cash from my wallet and gave it to Javier with instructions I'd be back in the morning with clean clothes and a room for him at a nearby motel so he'd have a place to freshen up.

Javier spent the next two weeks living in a motel room and Efrain's room. The motel gave him a place to shower and change clothes, but he took his meals with Efrain. Released from the hospital, Javier became his nurse, chauffer, bathing assistant, and all things needed to care for him at home. The upstairs bedroom was unhandy, but there were bathrooms with showers there, so Javier would troop to the kitchen, carry a tray with their meals on it to their room, help Javier with the meal, and carry the dishes back to the kitchen. Bathroom duty was probably not one of Javier's favorite duties, but he did it without complaint. It certainly gave him a different perspective on Efrain's ass!

Javier had plenty of help in his duties as nurse to Efrain. All of the boys joined in whenever they could; Carlos and Luis were always quick to help Efrain dress or with his exercises as part of his physical therapy and rehabilitation or bring him little treats from the kitchen. Since they weren't quite old enough to work in the fields and did the chores at home, they were available most of the day. As his recovery progressed, more than once in the evening, we'd find Carlos and Luis cuddled up next to him sound asleep, after having a story read or told to them by either Efrain or Javier.

Chance, Tommy, and Avery weren't immune to the desire to help either. Avery started and ended his day checking on Efrain and Javier, visiting, encouraging, and sharing his life and business with them. Chance and Tommy, before leaving for work in the morning checked on them and often, even late after "Mudpuppy's" closed, I'd hear them walk down the hall, open the boys door, just to make certain they were okay.

School started and Efrain was more than willing to go, although his doctor did limit some of his activities, such as physical education. The one activity, not related to school, he really wanted to enjoy was sex with his boyfriend, although it didn't stop them from pleasing each other with hands or mouth! Finally, a frustrated Efrain outright asked his doctor if it'd be okay to have anal intercourse with Javier! The doctor, now fully aware they were boyfriends and were very active before the assault, said it'd be okay, although have Javier be gentle and take it easy. If the doctor ever saw the size of the cock flopping between Javier's legs, he might've told them to delay or perhaps not at all! Once that massive torpedo started up the tube, it couldn't be considered gentle by most definitions of the word, but to Efrain it was heaven on earth, stretching, fulling him as his beloved bred him and claimed him.

We thought the trial for Efrain's attackers wouldn't begin until late May since we'd heard very little concerning it. The boys hoped it wouldn't interfere with graduation. There was some difference in ages between our five graduates with Efrain and Javier the youngest but due to their moving around as migrants following the crops, Alex, Julio, Concepcion, Javier, and Efrain would all graduate the same year. The boys were in the upper ten percent of their class so if they did miss a day or two, it wouldn't make much difference.

We had one hell of a party for the boys at the house after graduation! Avery had a big tent erected on the lawn where it'd be held. Everything was catered by "Mudpuppy's" courtesy of Chance and Tommy, the Morgan Family Band played so there was dancing, plenty of food, and presents for the boys. The migrant kids in school with the boys were invited along with their families to celebrate along with us. With all of the moving, it was often difficult for migrant children to complete high school, so this was a real reason for celebration. Carissa and Estele made certain there were foods there for those who wanted Mexican dishes or American found what they wanted. They both spent a great deal of time visiting with old friends so the mixture of languages at the party was great.

Avery, in his never ending generosity and love for his family, gave Alex and Julio a newer pickup truck for them to share, another for Javier and Efrain to share as well, and Concepcion received one for himself since he'd be commuting from Monty's house to college.

"Just to make certain they come home once in a while to visit!" he explained, as if we could keep them away.

Each of the boys also received undisclosed monetary gifts as well. The large house he purchased not far from campus would serve as their home away from home while in school. The surprise for all of us at the party, but we shouldn't have been, were the engagement rings Alex and Julio gave Beth and Megan. I suspected Chance and Tommy were behind it, supplying the funds for the purchase of the rings. Evidently, they also had a heart-to-heart talk with Megan's parents since there was little objection coming forth from that camp. The boys received gifts of money from all of us, except Estele and Carissa; they gave them framed separate portraits of the two of them. This led to a lively discussion concerning us having a family portrait! I reassured all of our boys we'd have it done before school started in the fall so they'd have them to take with them. Besides, I wanted a picture of Aiden and me, Chance and Tommy, Avery, and one of Avery and Chance.

The day after the graduation party, Avery received a very disturbing phone call from the district attorney. We didn't know much about him since he was relatively new. He was a political appointment made by the governor when Avery's cousin retired January. He asked Avery to come to the Court House, where his office was located, to discuss the case pending concerning the alleged assault on Efrain.

Personally, I thought he wanted to explain why the case was so long in being brought to trial, since it was an active and pending case when he took over.

Avery thought otherwise!

"I don't like the smell of this, Nelson," he growled as we sat in his office.

"I think the slippery little bastard's up to no good!"

"There's only one way to find out, Avery, and that's go to the meeting."

"Nelson, you're absolutely right; that's why you're going with me!"

The meeting with the district attorney wasn't what I'd call pleasant! He informed two of the alleged assailants claimed they were innocent bystanders and were attacked by two young boys with clubs; the two holding Efrain were merely retaining him until authorities could be summoned; and the fifth person, the one we knew was Efrain's accoster, claimed he was attacked and was injured defending himself. All three of them, according to the district attorney, claimed they were viciously attacked by Javier. The district attorney said he was considering turning Carlos and Luis over to juvenile authorities, Efrain and Javier charged as adults for felony assault, and the other boys involved with misdemeanor assault.

"You may want to advise the boys to secure legal counsel and have their counsel meet with me in order to discuss pleas before I make my final decision," he said in a conciliatory and condescending manner.

Avery smiled, benevolently it might seem to others, but it wasn't and this young smart ass would soon know the difference!

"I thank you for you kind advice and do beg you to hold off on any decisions until the boys can do as you suggest. If you'd give me a week to find lawyers for them, I'd appreciate it," Avery said quietly, as we stood and took our leave.

In the truck, on the way back home, Avery snarled, "That fucking hypocritical, racist; he may think I'm just a senile old man who can't see through his prejudices, but I think I've been to two parish picnics and a county fair!"

We drove a bit further and Avery announced, "When we get home, pack a bag for a couple of days stay and include a couple of dark suits. Have Javier and Efrain do the same. If they don't have suits, we'll buy some on the way. We are going to take a trip to see some attorney friends of mine and maybe some other old friends as well."

Avery made several telephone calls once we were home and assured me we'd be well taken care of once we returned from our trip.

"I knew they'd want to meet with us as well as visiting with Javier and Efrain, sort of getting a feel of who they are and how to defend them!"

Since it was early when we left, breakfast was our first stop a couple of hours into the State of Illinois. We stopped at a small diner in a small town. The restaurant was well kept and, by the looks of the number of cars in the parking lot, relatively popular as well. Entering, a very attractive, young, light-colored African-American male met us with a smile and very personal greeting.

"Welcome back, Mr. Morgan; it's always so nice to see you!" and led us to a corner table. With an eye on Javier and Efrain, he seated us, gave us menus, and announced he'd return with water and menus.

In just moments, a handsome, African-American man, eyes twinkling, hair salt-and-pepper in color, and a broad, happy smile hurried over to our table! Avery stood and they hugged each other like long-time friends, which they were, I was to discover!

"Pookie," Avery exclaimed as they broke their embrace, "You just get better looking every time I see you!"

So this was the legendary Pookie, the young soldier who escorted Chance back to the States and Morgan's Landing so many years before. We all stood and instead of shaking hands, Pookie hugged us as well. From the expressions on Javier and Efrain's faces, he copped a feel of their crotches in the process.

Our breakfast was fantastic, the service great, and the conversation lively and informative. Pookie and Avery kept in regular touch, I found, since Avery had, according to him, a great deal to thank Pookie for. Of course, it didn't hurt any Avery had a 'small' interest in the diner. Pookie was happy, prosperous, and had as his lovers several attractive young men, who he described in vivid detail, much to the delight of Javier and Efrain amazed at the openness of the admissions and descriptions.

The next stop, before lunch, was at a men's store in a medium-sized community when we purchased two dark suits, one blue and one brown, white shirts, neckties, black socks, and new dress shoes for Efrain and Javier. A lunch stop was made at another small restaurant where Avery was apparently also well known. After lunch we were finally heading toward our final destination, a law office in one of the rather affluent suburban areas some distance from downtown Chicago.

The law office building was nice, not opulent, but evidenced careful planning for not only utility but for security as well. The receptionist led us to a private conference room where we met and were introduced to three of the senior partners in the firm, all three very well acquainted with Avery. We were greeted warmly and professionally with a demeanor and personal approach setting Efrain, Javier, and me at ease and comfortable in their presence.

The meeting with the attorney's lasted approximately two hours. They listened, questioned, listened, and questioned some more before collectively agreeing Javier, Efrain, Carlos, and Luis were subjected to racial prejudice and, in the attorneys' opinion, deserving of a strong defense, leading to acquittal! They were most intrigued when Javier explained how he used a garbage can lid to defend Efrain.

"Without your intervention," one attorney commented, "your friend could've suffered even more grievous harm than he did. Lucky you had the quick-wittedness to grab a garbage can lid to shield him with. It's unfortunate the assailants couldn't contain their anger and ran into it."

It should be an interesting trial, if it ever comes to one, which I now doubt!

We left through the outer office and while passing through it, the receptionist handed Avery a note.

"It appears," he announced, "we've been invited to dinner, courtesy of an old business associate of mine from long ago."

Our motel, where Avery reserved two suites, one for himself and the other for Javier, Efrain, and me, was a half hour ride from the law office. While visiting a short while in Avery's suite where Avery suggested we wear suits and ties for dinner, we went to our own room to shower and dress.

I showered first and Javier and Efrain decided to shower together when I was done. I heard the water stop after they were in there for a bit, and returned to the bathroom to retrieve my deodorant which I'd inadvertently left in there. As I entered, Efrain was bent over, hands on his knees, with Javier behind him ready to mount and pay homage to Efrain's beautifully proportioned and welcoming ass! Propriety dictated I should've left immediately, but alas, I failed to heed the warnings of propriety and instead, watched as Javier inserted his very generous, massively thick and long, shivering cock!

My own hardness increased and rather than continue watching the erotic act of love occurring in front of me as Javier's belly rested on Efrain's back while his own butt muscles flexed and pumped, fucking Efrain, bring me cause to fear I might explode in my own boxers, I quickly retrieved my deodorant and scooted out of the bathroom!

Avery called, informing us our ride was here and deciding he'd ride in it and the three of us would follow. Javier shrugged and raised his eyebrows wondering, as did I, why Avery didn't want us riding with him. We followed, with Javier at the wheel of our truck, the black car to a private club, located on a private golf course, about an hour's drive from our motel. Avery was standing near the entrance when we walked over from the parking lot.

Entering the club, we were greeted by four smiling, courteous, but experienced and determined men in suits who quickly searched us. The simple fact the four of them wore concealed weapons under their coats was strongly persuasive in our decision to comply with their searches without an argument.

"Could be an interesting meeting," I thought at the time. I just didn't know how interesting it was to become.

The small dining room we were ushered to contained a rectangular table, behind it, with their backs to the wall, were four men; an older, white-haired man and to his left, a younger man of perhaps twenty-five years of age. On the older gentleman's right, a middle-aged man with graying hair, and next to him a man approximately forty or so years old.

They rose, Avery reached across to the proffered hand from the older man, greeting him with "Eddie" and nothing else. The response was simply "Avery."

Eddie introduced the young man to his left as his grandson, Michael, and the other two as his son (no name given) and the other as an "associate" with no name given either.

There was some small talk as we ate a very delicious meal with prime rib as the entrée. I had the distinct feeling, however, Avery and Eddie met previously, perhaps on the way here. Finally, after we finished our main course, before dessert was served and the dinnerware removed, Eddie smiled and asked,

"So, which one of you put three men in the hospital using a garbage can lid to do it?"

Javier raised his hand, but offered nothing more. I could feel Javier growing apprehensive and suspicious, as was I concerning the purpose of this dinner meeting!

"I would very much like to hear of this."

Javier gave a simple and brief account of the encounter, explaining it was more luck than sense, along with help from his cousins and brother bringing the incident to a close!

Michael, when Javier finished, leaned over and whispered something in his grandfather's ear.

"You're right, Michael," he answered softly with a nodding of his head, "he is a very pretty boy!"

It was then things began to get more than just a little interesting! Looking at Javier, seated at the end of the table across from Michael, I noticed a tenseness in his face and his eyes focused on Eddie.

"My grandson," Eddie explained, "would like to get better acquainted with you," pointing at Efrain, "and requests you join him in one of our private rooms. It shouldn't take more than an hour and give us the opportunity to enjoy our desserts while he enjoys his!"

I rose from my chair, objecting, with a smile.

"I think you misunderstood our purpose here this evening; we didn't come to provide entertainment for your grandson, but to engage in pleasant conversation and enjoy the dinner."

I looked toward Avery, but his eyes were now focused on me, watching each and every move I made, listening carefully to every word.

"I think you understand me quite well, Nelson, but my grandson wants to fuck that young man and I give him what he desires, so please sit down, allow him to leave, and enjoy his pleasures!"

Still smiling, I responded, both hands on the table; "My sincere regrets, Sir, perhaps I was unclear. If your grandson or any of you lay a hand on Efrain, your grandson will be enjoying his own balls as desert! A desert I will personally feed him, once detached from his body, one morsel at a time!"

Again, Avery said nothing, offered not one word but continued to watch me!

A firm hand on my shoulder from a man who stepped behind me, cautioned me to it sit back down in my chair, "if I knew what was good for me!"

I hesitated, seeing from the corner of my eye, Javier shift his chair back slightly!

"I'm afraid that just won't be possible," Javier explained politely but resolutely, raising from his chair just slightly, with a forced smile on his face. "In fact, we were just preparing to excuse ourselves and leave since we're quite tired."

"I don't think you understand young man, this was not a request; it was a statement of fact!" Eddie responded. "Surely one more cock up his ass won't harm him any since it's apparent to me he's your lover," and motioned to the man behind me and another one who stepped up as well.

"Take him!" he ordered, pointing again at Efrain.

No sooner said than done! The two men yanked Efrain from his chair, dumping it over in the process, and secured him, each holding one of Efrain's arms. When they did, I quickly spun around, intending to enter into the fray, but I wasn't as quick as Javier who literally leaped around the end of the table, grabbed Michael by his necktie, holding him in place and slightly choking, and held a steak knife up against the back of Michael's neck!

Eddie looked at me, told me to sit down, which I refused to do, and turned his attention to Javier.

"Let Efrain loose," Javier demanded quietly, but firmly, "and we will leave peacefully forgetting anything happened this evening!"

"Oh, I'm going to let him go, but only after my grandson has had his pleasure! I find it difficult to deny my only grandson! I'd advise you, young man to put down the knife and not do something reckless!"

Javier smiled, pushed the knife a little harder against Michael's neck!

"I think you misunderstand my intentions, Senor Eddie! I do not intend to do anything reckless; I will do it deliberately! Perhaps you've never taken a Biology class, but if you have, you will understand what 'pithing' a frog is. If not, I'll explain. In order to do certain experiments, it is necessary to paralyze the frog while keeping it alive. You insert a steel probe," indicating where his knife was located on Michael's neck, "hit the spinal cord, wiggle it around, until you've severed it. The frog can then no longer move its legs, nothing; only its eyes. It breathes, pisses, shits, and the heart beats."

He paused, smiled, pulled harder on Michael's necktie, who now had broken out in a sweat, "It can't even fuck!"

"You can put the knife down now," Eddie said, "You've made your point!"

"I don't think so!" Javier responded, looking at the two men still holding Efrain. "He is still being held!"

"Listen my little border jumper," Eddie said in a steely voice, "I said, put the fucking knife down before something happens you'll regret!"

The men released their grip on Efrain! Javier noticed, saying to Efrain in Spanish,

"Take their guns!"

Efrain asked, politely, "Senor's, your guns please!"

"Go fuck yourself, kid!" one man snarled, yanking Efrain's arm!

"Take him, Efrain!" Javier ordered.

As quick as a cat, Efrain swept the man's feet out from under him, cracked him on the jaw with his elbow, while deftly slipping the pistol from under the man's jacket, cocked it and shoved it in the other man's crotch with the admonition, "Carefully hand me your guns or your cock will be doing a waltz with your asshole!"

I could only silently thank Tommy for his lessons and practice with Javier and Efrain in the finer arts of defense and attack, however, I had no idea how we were going to get out of here alive!

"Efrain, get over here next to me!" Javier asked,

Efrain took his place next to Javier, handed one of the pistols to Javier, and when Javier said, "If shooting starts, kill the old fucker and the son while I haul this piece of shit out with us as a hostage!" stepped behind Eddie, leveling the pistol at the back of his head.

I hoped Javier had more than a plan just to walk out of here! So far, Avery had said nothing or even moved, just sat quietly in his chair, watching all going on around him. The atmosphere was so tense, you could cut it with a knife! I preferred that to cutting young Michael or killing Eddie and his son or shooting half of the guests at the table!

"Javier," Avery admonished softly, pleading, "please put down your weapons and step back. This little game has gone far enough, perhaps too far! Eddie was testing Nelson, checking on his resolve. It will end now, once you put the guns down and step away. I'd advise you all to laugh, make a joke of it, okay?"

Javier thought a moment, smiled coldly and with no humor in his voice, replied, "As you wish, Uncle Avery! We'll not laugh or make a joke of this bullshit, but we will put the guns aside once we are out of this shit-hole, but I do not apologize to this old fucker or to anyone in this room!"

Laughing softly again, but menacingly, almost threatening, as a silent threat he could just as easily resume where he'd left off previously, un-cocked his pistol, as did Efrain; both of them put the pistols in their belts and stepped around the table, nudging Michael ahead of them, to stand next to me.

Eddie nodded his approval, his son smiled slightly indicating he was pleased it ended, but Grandson Michael was just plain relieved he wasn't skewered like a laboratory frog or had his brains scattered across the room!

Smiling almost, but not quite benevolently, Eddie, addressing me, said, "You and your young friends may have a future in our little family after they graduate college!"

"I think not," I responded, "nor do we desire one! This little game wasn't a game to us!"

Turning to Avery, I continued, using a sharp, clipped, accusatory tone, "You knew this was going to happen, yet you failed to trust enough to warn us!"

Javier, no smile on his face either, added, in Spanish, I love you very much, Uncle Avery, but never do this to Efrain, my brothers, my cousins, or me again! We thought you loved us! Family is built on trust not on betrayal! We would hate to see it come to a tragic end!"

"If you're ready, Poppa Nelson, you may leave with Efrain and me since we intend to leave now, or ride home with these people. But, as Grandmother Estele always told us, 'you go home with the one who brought you'!"

I noticed he made no offer to Avery. His reference to Estele was clearly intended for Avery and Avery wasn't invited to accompany us. I decided it'd be best all the way around if I rode back with Javier and Efrain.

"How about our guns?" one of the men who'd held Efrain asked Javier.

"You want the whole thing at once or I can give it back to you one piece at a time, bullet by bullet, metal part by metal part?"

Hearing no response, Javier said simply, "These are ours; do you understand?" and Efrain and he started toward the door with Michael between them, but Javier hesitated, turned to Eddie, cautioning, "When you have strangers for guests, you dumb fuck, serve pasta, not steak; knives are sharper than noodles!" and hurled the knife over Eddie's head, sticking the knife in the wall!

I quickly stood and was going to follow, when I heard Avery say to me, "I fucked up big time, didn't I, Nelson?"

"You got that right, Avery!" I answered as I hustled out behind the boys!

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