"My god! He's, my brother! What can I say? What can I do? My heart, my soul grew heavy with dread, fear, and sadness! He always thought I could do anything, fix anything, cure anything, but for this I can do nothing except love him and do as he wishes, hoping to relieve sadness with joy; turn promise to resolution and reality, and; provide a home and a life for those he loved, by Hardy and me."
It seemed every letter thereafter, Johnny included a picture or several, of "the housekeeper's" son or the three of them doing something, indicating someone else took the picture at Johnny's request. I began a photo album, keeping it, along with his letters to me. For some reason, I thought someday, someone will want them. Hardy, bless his heart, agreed with me. No matter how many times we looked at the pictures, we still felt the boy looked like Johnny, albeit with an Asian flair! Cute kid and good-looking parents!
In 1979, I noticed more of a draw on Johnny's accounts. Hardy and I discussed this it at great length, deciding some event of some sort occurred causing him to increase his need for funding.
"Perhaps times are tough in their village," Hardy conjectured, "and he's trying to help out."
The line of reasoning would seem logical to most people, but it just didn't quite make it as far as I was concerned. I suspected Johnny let his pecker do the thinking again and he and his "housekeeper" were expecting or had another baby to care for.
Yep! About three months later, a picture arrived in the mail with Johnny holding a baby number one on his lap and his "housekeeper" holding baby number two in her arms. I had no idea what the children's names were so I just called them one and two until I found out otherwise. We decided not to show the pictures to Kenny. There was no doubt in our minds both babies were Johnny's progeny. Both had dark hair, dark eyes (with an Asian epicanthic fold), light brown skin tone, but each, even the little one, had other facial features of their father.
I wrote back, extending our congratulations to the "housekeeper" having another son and wished them well. The letters were going to an address in Bangkok where his friend lived and forwarded to Johnny. I didn't address them to "Father Johnny" but only to "John Marchetti" as Johnny previously instructed.
"No sense calling any special attention to my status," he stated, concerned there might be recriminations because of his religious affiliation or citizenship.
Johnny's letters began to express an uneasiness concerning the political situation in Thailand and his own discomfiture with his chosen vocation. Yes, he did enjoy the outreach to the communities, especially those less fortunate, dealing mainly with social and medical needs. He could assist in each, although his medical attentions were limited by his medical corpsman training from the service and the experience he gained in the war zone. His knowledge grew as he continued to treat the sick and injured in the poorer communities. The spectra of past coup attempts and the possibilities for more, seemed to be the main reason for his concern.
In 1980, we received another series of pictures, only this time there were three youngsters include. One appeared to be only several weeks old. No names, just "my housekeeper and the boys." Two of the boys, the older ones, stood beside her and neither of the boys were clothed. Obviously, it was easy to determine their sex, especially the older one; his little, uncut pecker was as stiff as a small nail and pointing north.
"Jesus," snorted Hardy, "don't they ever put clothes on those boys? Maybe we need to send him some more money so he can buy some. Good thing Kenny's not here; he'd shoot his wad with just one look!"
The news in 1981, sometime around the first of April, reported an attempted coup in Thailand which was quickly put down. In 1984, Johnny suddenly arrived at his grandparent's house to see them and spend the night. He did give us a call when he arrived, informing us he'd see us the next day and tell us what was happening.
At lunch the next day, we had lunch at our house since Johnny didn't really care to have our conversation in a public place. First encountering me, all he could do was cry and hug me, allowing me to hold him, comfort him, and reassure him of my love.
"I've missed you so!" he sobbed. "I could always count on you not to steer me wrong!"
I never tried to, just give him the opportunity and encouragement to sort it all out, whatever it was. My first impression, however was one of quiet concern for his health. He was thinner with a drawn look on his face, yet tan from the sun and the general climate, but his smile, when he calmed down, was typically Johnny. Maybe, I thought, he was just overworked and filled with anxiety over his current situation.
Over our meal, Johnny confessed he'd made a mistake in choosing the priesthood and was on his way to the Order's headquarters to resign.
"As you've probably already determined, I have three sons."
To which Hardy and I simply nodded, acknowledging we'd surmised that already and made no comments.
"I've told Grandma and Grandpa of my decision to resign," he said. "They are disappointed but understand and seem to support me. I told them I intend on marrying and that I have three boys by the woman I love. I think that was the clencher; they weren't real happy about me having children when I was a priest, but Grandma seemed to be most understanding. I've got some things to take care of when I get back to Thailand, but eventually hope to move my family here. The problem will be with Maalini since she is a Thai citizen."
"How about the boys?" I inquired, concerned there might be problems in getting them here with temporary visas.
"No problem!" Johnny responded. "You see, a Thai law, passed in 1972, when children are born as a result of a foreign father, are forbidden to have any of the benefits of a child born of two Thai parents. They have a most difficult time. I guess there were, well, I actually know, American soldiers who left children behind as a result of their recreation. There are others whose American fathers are trying to find their child or children and bring them here. Proving the parentage can be difficult and hence establishing citizenship as a result of his or her father being an American citizen."
"So, again, Johnny, how about your sons?"
"They are all citizens of the United States. Maalini was attended by an American doctor, the birth certificates show me as the father, and I made certain they were registered with the American Embassy as my children and hence citizens. I also have passports for each of them so they can travel."
It sounded as if he had everything pretty well thought out and arranged for. He did make it a point to make his fears known to us, however, because of the political situation over there.
"If anything should happen to me, Maalini and the boys are to go to the Embassy, contact my friend, and head to the United States and you. I have named you, Billy, as their guardian, signed over power of attorney should I not be able to act for myself, and my Will makes you trustee of any estate, to manage for my family until the oldest, William, I might add, is of age, I might have."
His concern was basically financial, wondering if he had enough to live on as an expatriate until he was able to move his family here.
"I have no idea how long it might take," he confessed, "but somehow we'll get it done. The question is, do I have enough to support my family and myself if we make it back to the States or, if we can't, enough to live overseas the rest of our lives? I won't leave Maalini and the boys."
It was the right time to bring him up to date on his financial situation and how we managed it for him.
"No need to leave anyone," I assured him, "as far as money goes. You have enough to live quite comfortably."
Hardy, my ever sharp financial mate, spent about a half-hour reviewing investments, cash accounts, and annuities forthcoming.
"We can set it up," he continued, "so you can draw a monthly annuity for as long as you authorize us to have it done. We have your various funds invested in liquid assets and capital assets. Your name is included in several of our LLC's so you have the same income coming in as we do from them. Over the years, Bill has invested those revenues in accounts where the principal is secure. He currently had your financial power of attorney and has had since you came to live here. You have a great deal of assets available for your use. You're not overly rich, but you are moderately wealthy."
Flabbergasted, Johnny shook his head learning of his financial situation. I could see relief spill over his face and general demeanor. I thought then he was thinking of the boy's and Maalini's future if he should not be around to take care of them.
We wouldn't see him again until 1985, although we shared many letters and received many pictures from him. One we especially loved was one taken on his wedding day. It was of Maalini and him and the three boys. His grandparents also received the same picture. The picture did cause me to wonder the state of Johnny's health. He looked even more drawn and thin than he had in previous ones and, in actuality, when he'd been home. One letter we received hinted he was trying to make arrangements to leave, along with his family.
"The political situation is not good!" he confessed. "I fear more trouble will erupt and I want to get my family out of here."
September 10, 1985 there was another Coup attempt and, according to the news reports we received here in the States, it was not entirely bloodless!
I heard nothing from Johnny for almost a month and then it was not by letter but by cablegram. In essence, it revealed Maalini died, he and the boys were leaving, he was not very well, and to meet him in San Francisco. He gave the date, the time, and the flight number so I made arrangements, after I cabled him back indicating I would fly to San Francisco to meet the boys and him.
I arrived a couple of hours ahead of Johnny's scheduled arrival. According to the status board, his flight was on time. My mind was jumbled, adrift yet focused on my mission, trying to determine what the hell was wrong and what happened to cause him to come home. The sickness he said he had? What caused Maalini's death? If he was unwell, was it mortal, an injury, or a disease or condition which there was a treatment?
How were the boys? How would they react to me? What would I say or do to comfort Johnny and the boys, my nephews?
I finally resigned myself to settle down, allow the events to play out, and confront it all with love, support, and getting Johnny and his boy's home. Perhaps on the way home, Johnny would reveal what happened.
Johnny hadn't booked a through flight to Chicago, so I booked first class seats for the five of us. First class would give us more room to sit, fewer passengers, and certain benefits coach class wouldn't. With Johnny sick, I thought we'd need it. The plane to Chicago would leave about an hour and half after Johnny's arrived, if it was on time. There should, I thought, be enough time to make it to the gate where the Chicago flight would leave.
His plane was on time and I waited patiently in the waiting area for him to de-plane. Coming down the ramp, the first thing I noticed was how frail he looked. The second, was one of the boys, the oldest, was assisting him while the other two were struggling with their carry-on luggage. Almost too many bags for two small boys!
I quickly waved to a Skycap and asked him to secure a wheelchair for Johnny. It was a moment until he appeared with one. I stepped forward, held out my arms, and hugged my younger brother, holding him close to me, my emotions all a-tumble. I felt him melt into my embrace and felt his sobs join mine as we reunited, sharing our love for each other and how much we missed each other. He was so thin, leaving no doubt in my mind something terrible had ravaged his body.
I heard him softly say, choking back his sobs, "I'm so sad, yet so glad I'm home with you! I just know everything will be alright with my sons!"
"Shh," I murmured in reply, "Whatever we need to do for you or for the boys, I will do. You know, I'd do anything you asked for or anything I was capable of doing for you and the boys. But right now, let's get you into the wheelchair so we can get to the next plane. I have to make certain your luggage will be on that flight or delivered to us in Frenchtown."
It didn't take me five minutes at the counter to get baggage transferred to our flight or make certain if it wasn't possible, then delivered to the house. I returned to where Johnny was seated and his three sons standing nearby. They eyed me warily, trying to figure out where I stood and where they stood. They were, naturally, suspicious of strangers, and I was a stranger. Oh, they'd seen pictures and heard their Dad speak of me, but they hadn't met me and sorted out my measure in their eyes and minds.
As each one was introduced, very politely and respectfully, each clasped their hands together as if in prayer, raised them to the level of their face, and a small bow, and said "Namaste" or something like that anyway. I assumed it was sort of a greeting. Hell, for all I knew they could be saying "And fuck you too," or "up your ass with vengeance," or, as I later discovered, it was a respectful greeting, much as I would say "good day" or "pleasure to meet you."
The three boys, hair black as night, eyes an obsidian black as well, tan almost olive skin tone, small stature, thin, but not malnourished, build, and absolutely fucking gorgeous! Apparently, they inherited their stunning good looks from their Father and Mother. Combined, they personified themselves in their children. There was no doubt they were Johnny's, as previous pictures indicated. Their eyes, Asian in shape, seemed to penetrate into my very depths, assessing and evaluating me and my character, helping them to decide if I could be trusted or could I cause them or their Dad harm.
Micky immediately took charge of the wheelchair, issued some instructions to his brother, again in a language I didn't understand, and asked me,
I gave a tip of my head, looked at the two younger ones struggling to pick up the carry-ons, secured the larger ones in my own hands, leaving a smaller one for each, and started walking toward the gate where our flight would board.
Once there, I checked us in, and sought a place we could wait. I noticed the smallest, Eddie, whispering something to his father. Johnny gave a nod before saying to me,
"My youngest needs to use the men's room and I do too. There's no doubt in my mind the other two will as well. Whenever one pisses, the other two seemed to determined to join him."
I walked over to push the wheelchair, but Micky beat me to it! He said something to his brothers and started pushing the chair toward the men's room. Inside, I asked Johnny if he needed any help but my request, before being answered by him, was replied to by Micky,
Eyes snapping, a determined and protective look on his face, announced almost defiantly, "I will help my father, thank you!"
Johnny allowed Micky to steady him while standing at the urinal and emptied his bladder. Assisting Johnny to the chair, Eddie then took a protective stance next to his father while Micky relieved himself. Micky shook his cock to rid it of any drips, tipped his head toward the sinks, and followed as Eddie and Jimmy wheeled Johnny over to them so all four could wash up.
Fastidious, I thought, but getting to know them, having them trust me, and having them feel comfortable around me could be another matter. I had to remind myself they'd lost their mother, moved from the only home they'd known in a warm clime to a much colder one, their father was ill, and in amongst strangers, all white at that!
Outside, Johnny apologized to me, adding, "If you'll excuse us, I must have a talk with my sons. It will be in Thai so I don't want to appear rude. It is important they understand everything I say, know I mean it, and follow my instructions, now and in the future!
Oh, boy! I think the shit was going to hit the fan!
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