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Subject: Left (Gay Relationship) Left �MCVT2017 MCVT2017 May 22, 2019 Brothers come to terms through the guidance of an older man. Examination of lives in the shadow of a can of Rotel. Reach in your hip pocket and send a few notes to Nifty fty/donate.html Adult Content: 100% Fiction, Gay, bb, Mb, inc, cast, life. ============================================================================= “Leave me alone! I’ll start screaming.” “I don’t care.” He slapped me and picked me up by my belt loops. His rod was hard. If I could get my hand on the zipper of his jeans, I’d try to shove it up and get his skin pinched in the teeth and run away. His other hand grabbed my hair and he shoved my face into his dick. “Suck it!” I shoulda bit him but I was afraid to start a war. … Being only around five, I was still overly-concerned about the grossness of pee and poop, probably a good thing — I was a curious kid. But Jimmy shoved his tool in my mouth – I could die of pee-germs! Jimmy was eleven and he was a brutal older brother; first born, favored and, a force I feared. Saturday mornings were awful. Dad was usually working, Mom went to shop — Jimmy stayed with me and my little sister Angie. Always tried to find a way to leave the house those days — walk along the railroad tracks or down to the bayous looking for crawdads. Winters were the worst because the weather was bad — he always cornered me and I had to service his cock at least twice on those mornings. I hated it. He held my head and fucked my face, pulled my hair and then pushed me on the floor and left me there as he walked away. Now days he’d be hauled into counseling; back then, “boys will be boys.” My neighborhood boundaries expanded as I grew, I met my friends behind the strip mall on Saturdays — we all had bikes or skateboards. We did boyish things; jerked off together, examined each other’s pubic hair as it came in. Didn’t mention my cock-sucking experience, that came in high school with the other boys in the marching band. One skinny kid played the tuba — looked too big for him, but the size of the horn correlated with the maturity of his dick. A kid with a man’s equipment — he taught me how to finger his butt. Then, he worked my ass — I could’ve died it was so good. … High school graduation came, I was accepted into the local college. By this time, Jimmy the jerk had finally gotten into the military after reapplying several times. Couldn’t pass some of their tests. Knowing other guys who’d gone into the military on their first try, I realized what an idiot Jimmy really was. Mom planned a big Sunday dinner to celebrate my brother’s hallowed rank of Pvt. First Class, and my graduation. During dinner, Jimmy started his bullshit saying he was going into special forces or become part of the military patrol and described the big guns he’d have to carry. His diatribe veered to the political realm; kept going on about killing all the `rag heads’ and `I-sissies.” Angie rolled her eyes; our parents were smiled genially between bites of roast beef when I asked Dad if he could borrow the company van where he worked for me to take my things to the dorm. “College isn’t as demanding as boot camp, but intellectually challenging.” I shot to Jimmy – couldn’t help but toss a little sand in his shorts, “My dormmate’s from Iran, another from Dubai — great guys. Got these beautiful prayer rugs…” His face turned red and he was spitting as he spoke, calling me a traitor to our great nation, a nerd, a wimp, “Good riddance, pinko.” “Pinko?” I chuckled, he was sitting there in his uniform at our family dinner, acting so high and mighty. “I happen to like pink. You do too — especially cock-pink.” I grabbed the bowl of mashed potatoes and helped myself to a big mountain of white, buttered paste. “Fucking queer.” He muttered. “Boys, let’s watch our language.” Mom commented. Angie started giggling. By this time in my life, I knew I was entirely gay. Parents never talked about sex, so I figured they’d let my decisions be my own without comment. But Jimmy just flipped my switch: “I may be a queer, I may out-queen Elizabeth, I may be a handsy-fancy fag, but this man will never have your cock forced down his throat again, Mr. Sargent-Major Asshole.” I gave him a long, hard stare and the stooge salute. In unison, my parents laid their forks down and wiped the corners of their mouths, examining the mini-marshmallows in their gelled salad closely. Angie was still giggling, “And I won’t suck your cock again either!” What an unexpected revelation from Angie, perfectly timed — followed by dead silence. Finally, Dad tried to take the reins before a screaming match started, “Jimmy, you know better…” Blunted disappointment colored his mild admonitions asking him to leave the table and cool off. Nothing, really. During that Mom whispered, “Did he screw you?” to Angie. “He tries, but I get out the window. That’s why the screen’s broken again.” Angie continued eating, so I joined her, glancing at my thoroughly outed perv-bro. Jimmy stared at his food, then stood, grabbed his `diddle’ bag and left. He’d just admitted to attempted rape and sexual assaults when the screen door slammed behind him. That dinner turned out great. Angie was going to the High School for the Performing Arts, I was going into Veterinary Medicine. We were, for the first time, able to speak about ourselves and our lives without it becoming a political diatribe on how liberals destroy democracy or space aliens manipulating international monetary systems. Mom and Dad were even smiling and asking us about all kinds of things. Chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert — dee-licious! Later, Dad took me to the porch, “You’re homosexual?” “Yeah.” I held my head up and looked him in the eye. “Did your brother make you gay?” He was serious. “Don’t think it works that way — it just happens.” “Be careful — you could get hurt.” He fumbled for a moment then shook my hand – the best fatherly response he could muster. … On campus, ah! Sweet freedom. There were plenty of gay men on campus, some out, some not. Hard to decide whom to hit on, until I got a hit. From my Biology professor, no less. Short, stocky, bald and all-male, I could smell his pheromones from down the hall. Met at his old house on the weekends and I was introduced to every kind of pleasure, including the chemical kind. I found that mens’ nipples have an incredible function in life! My professor had a huge water bed requiring I learn a new skill set, better coordination, and rhythm. I didn’t like it so much but in the heat of summer, the cool water beneath us felt good. Learned a lot about anatomy from that man and moved in with him the next semester. Half house-boy, half-fuck bud, and half-host, we held parties and I found out more than any undergraduate ever needed to know about male-on-male sex. Whew! I wound up with a low B average, but a satisfied student. Before I moved to Austin, I looked back and found out something important. My professor’s lifestyle gave me a place to live, and an erotic education, and it would never pay the bills — as much as I hated giving it up, I had more important things to do than fuck my life away. I’d spent too much time in the student health center getting tested and leaving with antibiotics. At this point, I’d never hold a 4.0 GPA but I was capable of it. Four more years ahead of me, then an esteemed, I hoped, professional position. Professional vet in a rural area, probably. … Austin — I fell in love with that town, easygoing place. Buckled down, worked on campus in the labs as I studied microbiology, genetics, all the super-intensive courses and kept the mice on the weekends. Lab rats — the white kind that were used for experiments. Working alone every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, I learned a lot about animal behavior — those rats knew me. At first, they all looked alike, but I got to know some of them and their personalities. That job trained me to treat animals gently, speak softly and wait to gain their trust. Having a treat in your pocket didn’t hurt either. During these years, Jimmy became frustrated with the military’s lack of appreciation for his mindset and didn’t re-enlist. Said he was going to marry when he found a woman with a tight pussy and could make biscuits for him every morning — the perfect wife. “Going back to the simple life on a farm.” Good luck. Farming is a round-the-clock job, and labor-intensive. Weather, and pests, varmints and bugs, changeable weather conditions, then there are regulations, chemicals, fluctuating markets — chancy career income-wise. Jimmy bought a plot of land in the Ozarks and found a woman, took her to his farm and commenced to enjoy her wifely biscuits. Seems like the local authorities and several others explained the laws in a way he could understand after she came back the third time — I believe they threatened him with jail time. She gave him their first child but was wary — couldn’t imagine why, but she took her child and left. … Angie, Mom and Dad came to my graduation in Austin. With Jimmy out of the picture, our family seemed more normal, in a suburban, hands-off sort of way. My current `friend’ was with me and we all went out for a big Mexican dinner — mariachis, margaritas, the works. Dad was proud and Mom kept calling me “Doctor Tom.” I was proud, glad to get out of college-induced poverty and into a real job. Already had one lined up in Kilgore, Texas — north east Texas near the border with Arkansas and Louisiana. Not the biggest place, but the vet there needed help immediately and was willing to pay a great salary — needed someone who would deal with small animals. That was me — one of my professors got us on a conference call together — got a full benefit package. I packed my bags, loaded my truck left. … The vet was a middle-aged guy, his wife ran the office — nice couple, no pretense. Two other vets `ran the route,’ they worked out of their trucks doing exams and vaccinations outside town. I wanted one of those positions because they were seldom in the office, though they worked with larger beasts — the cattle and horses and one visited a wildlife refuge for rescued circus and exotic animals. It was my job to stay in the office and deal with dogs, cats, miniature ponies and pigs — all kinds of pets and a few owners who inflicted their personal problems on their small companions. “No, a fifty-pound tabby is just a bit over the line…” I told its three-hundred-pound owner. The county I lived in had a rather hard-nosed state representative — one who touted that he would “gladly execute a convicted sodomite.” So, Bozier City, Louisiana was right over the state line and I frequented their bars and found more of my brother’s ilk — young service men with a definite hard-edged attitude, and I found a few hot evenings among the crowd. These guys seemed clumsy and foolish after living with my professor. But was with one of those young men I found a military strategy that I could use. “Hiding in plain sight.” There are men with all kinds of preferences all over, I simply hadn’t looked close enough in Kilgore. I strategized on the drive home. Upped my game, a little more out-going in the office and around town. Sleek hairstyle, tight jeans, boots, buckle — couldn’t do the big hat thing, but I drew more looks. I politely turned down the women and started visiting the `liars table’ at the local coffee shop in the early mornings, sitting close by checking my phone or reading the local rag until one of them invited me to join them. Of course, they talked livestock, breeding and things like that, but they were checking me out; I was checking them out. Don’t think because these guys looked ragged in their faded overalls and muck boots that they were dirt farmers. No. Kilgore and the area grew cotton years ago. On Juneteenth one year, all their darker-skinned workers left northward where they could build lives for themselves. Kilgore died until oil was found in the area and it became a raucous boom town for a while. Being close to the old land-grant college, there were plenty of retired professors, oil men and their families in the area now. I handed out my card and told the good ol’ boys to let me know if they had any problems with Fido or Fluffy. Somehow those old guys had a radar and I surmised past or on-going proclivities. The strangest parade of men started showing up in the vet’s office with the most unusual pets, maybe they borrowed a ferret or a kitten as an excuse to size me up. I always felt there was something odd about reptile owners, so I had to dismiss those two, but I struck up an oblique conversation with the owner of a French Bulldog — he made sure that his lavender tee shirt was visible at his opened collar making a perfect triangle. Discretely, I slipped him my card with my personal cell phone number on it and continued checking the dog’s eyes and ears as he fondled the dog’s nut sac. Found out later he ran a small puppy mill. Didn’t return his calls. Kilgore is a small town, but there were a small number of datable men in the area. `Bout half were married, and the other half weren’t home often — took jobs out of town or that required travel. What was left were a mixed bag of drunks, and conflicted souls struggling to pull alongside the myths popular in the bible belt. Damn. I thought all was lost until I met an older rancher who brought in a goat, beautiful white mixed-breed nanny thick with kids. Went out to his trailer behind the office for an exam. Bruised hoof pad — not serious, no cut. I stuck her hoof in a bucket of warm salt water and gave her a quick exam. Well-kept, healthy, part-Nigerian goat, bleating like crazy. I took the owner aside and complimented on her care, asking a few questions. As we were speaking my boss pulled in behind Mr. Tate’s trailer with the goat. Seemed they knew each other well. I took the goat’s hoof from the bucket and gave it a cushioned bootie. In the office, Tate settled his bill and continued talking with my boss and his wife. After he left, I was told my presence was requested at a cook-out on Sunday at Tate’s place. Fine with me — that old guy was hotter than an Austin in August. Stubble like his face was salted, tall, slender and moved fluidly for a cowboy. Even had a small butt, wide shoulders. His hands were smooth with long fingers. A little rough around the edges but I could overlook that to end my sexual drought. He’d kept his sunglasses on, but his face was long, square and sported a thick gray and white moustache. Made great scenery. What a layout — Tate’s place was huge, two large barns, acres and acres with oil pumps — a number of the old grasshoppers stood rusting in the sun. Big house, with a Hispanic couple and their two boys to take care of things. Immediately I took one of the boys and asked him to take me to the barns. They were empty. “You’re not running cattle or breeding horses?” He sat on a hay bale and explained that the county gave them a stipend to keep the stalls empty. “Emergency rescue — we keep the stock for people who get flooded, or their place burns down. Anything like that. We take their stock until they can decide what to do.” Nodding, “Happen often?” “Almost every year when we get hurricanes. Lotta work. The stock is upset after getting herded into the trailers and coming to a strange place — takes almost a week to calm them.” He took me to some large stalls in the other barn, “If they’re hurt or sick, they come in here.” “Did the county or the state erect these barns?” “Nah. We used to run cattle, but prices fell — that was a long time ago.” “What about the goat?” “Mom only likes goat milk, we keep a nanny and have her freshened over in Temple.” “Where’s Tate’s family?” “Milan, I think.” It was a serve-yourself affair and I carefully limited myself at the keg — the boss’ wife gave me a frown when I went for a refill. Tate and my boss walked into a barn, hot in a discussion on Brucellosis and shared a few bowls with me. Good stuff and we all walked back as the musicians were setting up for entertainment. Everyone lined up for the dancing. Tate was out there leading the troupe, grinning and everyone but me was turning, snapping their fingers and grinning as they stepped to the nasal, sing-song music. Went home early after shaking hands and `lean-together hugs’ with the women. Nice afternoon — the Hispanic housekeeper sent me home with several foil packets of ribs and a tub of coleslaw. … Through the next week I passed out information on flea infestations, tick removal and the business card from the local dog trainer — she shared a booth with us at the county fair. Boss’ wife scheduled us in shifts while they went off to judge livestock. As I answered questions and handed out distemper and vaccination brochures, here comes Tate. He’d brought his housekeeper to show her goat. Pulling out a fifty, he handed it to the dog trainer and asked her to go get us all a drink and a kebob. She was off like a flash, he sat down next to me smiling and nodding at people who passed that called his name. “Need the specs the feds use for stalls and pastures. You got them?” “I can look `em up for you.” “Need the info for an inspection. Why don’t we talk this evening?” “Sorry, I’m stationed here till ten tonight.” Ten o’clock, he came back by and asked me to meet him at the Old Gin, a local watering hole. I pulled in the sandy lot and went inside to hear Willie on the jukebox and saw Tate standing at the end of the bar. We got a table and he leaned over to speak, it was so loud I only shook my head and pointed to the door. He slugged the rest of his bourbon and we left. Outside I asked him to follow me to my place, “A few blocks away.” This all seemed way too easy. He saw my place and left, went for beer and came back, hell-bent on getting drunk, I guessed. Sitting on the couch side by side in front of my laptop, popped several as we reviewed the Department of Agriculture regs and drank the entire six pack. He leaned over close to the screen while he slipped his arm on the back of the sofa behind me. “Heard you studied in Austin.” “Yep. Great town.” I was too zipped to say much more, but I could feel the heat from his body and smell a whiff of goat and sawdust behind his woodsy-scented deodorant. “Ever been to the spa down there?” He mentioned several gay bars and the name of the spa. “Been to one of the bars, never had time for the spa.” I turned to look at him as he gave me a small smile. Not so subtle, but clear enough. I think I was grinning as he pulled my face toward his and gave me a brief kiss, “You’re as cute as a spotted pup.” Then he kissed me, tongue big and strong snaking through my mouth to the nerves attached directly to my dick. This man was as expert as my professor was. Should I play the innocent? That might be fun. “You know I have to be careful — you have a family.” “Have you met my wife yet?” “No.” “Don’t worry about it.” His hand was on my belt buckle, pulling the stem out of the belt hole and I leaned back, big hands began undressing me. We were naked in a few moments and on the edge of the bed, this man was ready to go. He gave me a thorough rimming — the moustache was great, added a new dimension, almost painful at times, but I courteously kept my mouth shut about that and relaxed into one of the finest fucks of my life. Tate sported an erection the size of a fence post, he had a methodical entry, slow, deliberate until he was half way in, then he adjusted himself — he was half-way in and I was sweating and holding my legs open for him when he moved my left hand and put my knee down then slapped my erection! “Hold up, pretty boy, we’re not in Waco yet.” He grabbed my foreskin and pulled my erection with it. Being a little zipped, I giggled. He was kneeling on the floor, my butt at just the right height and he turned me on my side, dick still half inside me. He did the strangest thing, he grabbed the base of his log and started exploring inside me, “Oh, yeah, right there…” Could he feel my prostrate with his glans? Damn! This man was intentionally pressing his glans against my prostate and telling me not to cum? I could only moan with every stroke. He made a point to torture me, and it didn’t work. I came all over myself, the bed, what a rush — a sudden, rapid emptying and I went limp. In my relaxed state, he grabbed my thigh and my waist and pounded into me — I was stretched inside to the max when I felt his hot load hit the far wall of my rear and it was almost a spiritual moment. Peeking out half-open eyes, I watched as he turned me over and almost got on the bed, “You weren’t supposed to cum yet.” I grinned, what could I say? “Clean it up.” He almost yelled, frightening me for a moment. He stood, then inspected my butt, stuck his finger in and pinched the stretched muscle! “That’s for shooting while my pistol was still in your holster.” Grabbing my cum rag, I wiped my chest and the sheets. Then, he lay beside me and told me I didn’t have enough self-control for a really good time, but he’d let it go since I was new in town. We dozed for a while and he left while I was still sleeping. When I woke, I decided this wasn’t the cowpoke for me. Later, I found out that his dance card was more of a composition book, though he had unusual technique, he was too busy to give me what I really wanted. … Through the next few years there were some highlights: Young farmers group were a fun bunch of kids with a lot of energy and some beautiful animals. We showed them at several local events and traveled the area to meet with other groups. Hurricane on the coast brought cattle and horses to Tate’s place — went out and took care of a lot of cuts, scrapes and respiratory infections among the rescued animals. Finally met Tate’s wife — she was much older than him. Widowed early and pounced on her ranch hand Tate like a cougar. Their two boys looked like Tate — Mrs. Tate’s face looked like she’d stood in a wind tunnel too long. Plastic surgery, but extremely classy woman. They were “swangers.” I only nodded and smiled. … Angie visited a few times. She came in her jeans and a pastel plaid shirt — red mane of curls and a big smile. Heads turned all over town. Came into the office with me and helped with the kennel work. Though she was a city girl, she didn’t mind getting dirty and got along well with the boss’ wife. On her third visit, I came to hate her coming. She and the boss’ wife went out for the entire afternoons leaving me to handle the whole office and the cat owners alone. Still, it was good to have Angie around for a while. Mom and Dad came to visit one July for the fireworks. My boss, his wife and wouldn’t you know, Angie hosted a big grill-out. Tate and his family came, and Tate made a bee-line over to Angie. Had to grin when his wife joined them. Their business was theirs, I was `busy’ for the weekend treating hemorrhoids in an armadillo, so I said. My boss was going on about how good I was with the pet owners, and how I’d worked with all the different groups, “Your boy’s bringing in the business.” He told Dad. My parents smiling with pride for all I’d done. Their `hands off’ parenting style had resulted in some good. Mom was trying to learn to line dance while Dad took me over between the oleanders and told me my brother Jimmy wasn’t doing so well on his farm. Seems he’d been caught growing a weed patch — saying it was the contemporary version of moonshine and his right because it was his farm his private property. You know how that went with the gendarmes. “Spent a few days in the pokey.” Dad said, looking away. “A few days?” “Well, nine months but it was his first offense. On probation now — he was guarding it, carrying a shotgun.” He sighed, “Let a few rounds off, resisting arrest…” I didn’t want to hear anymore, traces of the smell of a blunt being lit a few bushes over wafted around us. Dad didn’t even recognize it. “Wondering if he could come stay with you for a while, get cleaned up and straightened out. See how well you’ve done in your life. Maybe he could catch on — get his life in order.” “Nope.” I walked away. Asking me to take in Jimmy after all that had happened? Nervy as hell, but I had to understand — his first born was still the big deal in his life. Not mine, but his. Angie began visiting often, decided to move to Kilgore and set up a small beauty shop; tired of working for someone else in the dirty air of the city. She was good with big hair, and the spray along with the gel made for some real balloon-headed women. What could I say? She was out-going and skilled in her `arts.’ Stayed with me six months while she found a place and got everything in order. Dad helped her out and they visited often. My place felt like a bus station at times, but it was good to have family around. They got to know a lot of the locals. … My life continued on with the fairs, livestock shows, youth groups and discreet trips to Bozier City, yearly conventions and state-required workshops on new regulations. Annual floods and tornadoes called me back out to Tate’s — he made no more moves. I figured I was his easy lay for a few hours the night of the county fair. Kind of embarrassed about that incident. Angie opened her beauty shop. “Fair Hair Lair.” She opened a small boutique in back and sold all kinds of imported junk. I went in every month for a style — refusing to use any of her stiffening products but examined her supplies for use on some of the rabbits and goats that the kids showed, but they were heavily perfumed — dead give-away to a sharp judge. The beauty salon was attractive with plants and soft music, subtle lighting, wine bar on Fridays. She stole business from all over town when she advertised manicures and pedicures. Good for her — upscale salon for well-heeled and probably round-heeled clientele of Kilgore. Mom and Dad came for the opening of the Fair Hair Lair and brought Jimmy. They took him in, hoping to get him cleaned up and back on the right track. Looked more like Dad but he was still the bully. Even with my hospitality, he kept making cracks about having to stay in “fag city.” With all the graciousness I could muster, I told him he was free to find himself a hotel room if he thought my gay cooties might sneak into his boxers and raid his jewel box. Dad got a hotel room for them, though Angie and I missed talking with Mom and Dad without Jimmy around. The opening went well, lots of people I knew. Posed for pictures with Angie and various local politicians, Mom and Dad. The town seemed to welcome all of us warmly while Jimmy walked the sidewalks not wanting to be seen in a `girly-shit’ store. Angie, Mom and my boss’ wife made the front page of the newspaper in a cute pose. My parents were Poping with pride. Two outta three ain’t bad. … Business was booming in the office and life seemed good in Kilgore — got better when a new salesman came into the office. The older guy that represented one of our suppliers was retiring and brought in a new guy with him — Ernesto. Quiet kind of guy, young, had a degree in business from UT Lubbock and spoke Spanish fluently. As the older salesman spoke with the vet, I asked Ernesto if he had experience with livestock and small animals. “Not much, but I’ll figure it out from the product information.” He smiled and reviewed my vaccine inventory, making notes and trying to get me to buy double the stock on a special deal. Come to find out Ernesto was from the panhandle, Lubbock area and was planning to move up in the veterinary supply company where his uncle was employed. He’d grown up in a small town, not on a ranch so I stepped forward in a subtle move, “If you run into a problem on one of the ranches, send me a pic. I’ll give you some ideas.” He nodded and took my personal number. I had a plan in mind. Before he left I told him he needed to visit Tate’s place and make sure he had the antibiotics and all the disinfectants for the next disaster. He left smiling as I heard him tell his mentor they needed to visit Tate’s place to make sure the place was stocked, “Hurricane season coming.” … I bought half of a duplex, three bedroom and a patio. Nice place after Angie decorated for me. Simple furnishings and some very hot art on the walls — bright colors and bold lines, no chuckwagons or cowboys in the sunset. She had a four-person hot tub installed on the patio and a nice breakfast bar by the patio door. Ernesto was on his own the next month traveling the east side of the state — big territory, but I’d give him the name of the different youth groups, telling him to make a presentation to them showing his products. He seemed to like that – always thanked me and sent a photo. Occasionally I got a photo from Ernesto from a ranch or farm. He was always some kind of sloppy place that hadn’t been maintained when he hit a problem. I’d send him the specs on the sizes of hutches, or enclosures, the possible vitamin deficiencies and the name of the local vet. Sometimes a rancher had used the wrong kind of paint or sealer in the sheds where the livestock could get to it… After several months, he sent me a photo of a horse with odd hooves: “He needs a farrier right now!” The horse had been penned in the stall for what looked like more than six months. “Call the ASPCA if the owner won’t, the beast is in pain.” I phoned him and told him how to deal with the owner who obviously knew nothing about horses or how to care for them. Then, later I sent a text telling him that after that he needed a longneck and suggested my place next time he was in town. He sent me the date he’d be back in the area. Yeee-Hiii! I got a hot lead on a cool date. … Well, Ernesto’s visit was a month away. Went to Angie’s and asked her for some ideas for a dinner. I’d try to lure this young sales rep closer with food. She gave me some ideas for simple things — seemed they all involved plastic cheese and a can of Rotel, but I took the ideas and figured I could improve on them. Got a manicure and a nice style. Man, I was feeling good about this young dark-haired guy. He was pensive, but when he spoke it was usually a salient thought, I liked that about him and that he called and asked for advice. That showed ambition. I was in the exam room with a pot-bellied pig and his owner. He needed to be neutered — he was itching for a girlfriend and the family dog was insulted again and again to the point of scuffles. I tried, through allusion to explain the `peace of the eunuch’ in East Texas terms but she was adamant about keeping her pet in his all-natural state. The pig started snorting and had to get on the floor, charging my leg and grunting, spoiling for a fight with me, it seemed. Leaving the room for some air, an adult, male pig has a distinctly heavy musk, I excused myself to find a brochure for the owner to see Ernesto sitting in the waiting area. I was surrounded by a cloud of horny pig stink but reached through it to shake his hand, “Good to see you…” Damned pig ran past my legs and started humping Ernesto’s leg followed by the owner screaming for the pig to stop. An entertaining melee ensued as she knocked the furniture over trying to catch the critter. The pig was adamant about getting himself off on this demure man who sat very still with a small smile playing around his lips. Ernesto reached down and scratched the pig’s head. “We have a medication to help with this… porcine needs can get out of control in young adulthood.” The pig continued hunching while we talked about the raging hormones of teens and how they correlated to the pet — the heightened defense of territory and struggles for hierarchy among males of the group. Ernesto kept his eyes on the woman who seemed to listen to him more intently than me. “Our hormone-neutralizer is only seventy-five dollars a month, but it’ll help him control himself and enjoy the life you give him.” He went on to explain how the medicine worked and the pig moved to his other leg rubbing off again. “In the end, he’ll live longer and be a more loveable boy — that’s what he really wants.” Ernesto’s voice was calm and he appeared undisturbed by the frenzied sexual favors of the mini-swine. The woman looked at Ernesto and looked at me. “How long do pot bellies live?” She was calculating seventy-five times how many months and years she’d have to buy the medication. Well, that conversation turned the corner and she made an appointment for castration before she left the office. What a relief but the office smelled awful! … Finally got Ernesto to my place and immediately asked him to take off his jeans, “We can sit in the hot tub while they wash.” He came to the laundry room with several a whole load admitting it was hard to get things washed while he was traveling, then went to the kitchen washing his hands. I noticed he was in his briefs — small, tight and black. “Did he wear those for me?” I thought and kept it to myself. We had beer in the hot tub and I sliced the brie alongside French bread and fruit. We ate at the breakfast bar watching the sun set behind the pines and talked animals, vet stuff and I kept trying to swing the conversation toward more personal areas, but he dodged. Brought out his phone and reviewed our messages about problems on the ranches. Had to wonder where this was going, but I found out. Ernesto hated sales — after he worked his route to the big chicken and pig farms, he decided he’d rather work for the state or in the regulatory process. On the couch, I pulled out my laptop and we found the job descriptions for state jobs in various departments. I listened as he described the conditions for the animals — that was bothersome at least, but the impact on the food chain he explained carefully. This guy had a good mind for integrated systems, their weaknesses and their fallout. Sure, the farmers were in business for the money, but their shortcuts would eventually cause more problems with pollution and the public health department. He felt that could be avoided. “Let’s sleep on it. Stay the night?” He agreed, but paused, “Are you just being friendly or are you a man with distinct preferences?” He paused, “I got nothing against gays — are you?” “Gay would be me.” I smiled and decided to take the co-pilot’s position in this relationship, letting it spin in the direction it would take under Ernesto’s direction. “Good.” He chuckled, “Wasn’t sure. But glad to know.” He seemed comfortable. We had a few more beers and he slept in the guest room while I jerked like a mad man after I had a glimpse of his slender, muscular form walking down the hallway in only a towel. Shoulders not too broad, small hips, rounded butt and that smooth, caramel skin. But it was his mind that intrigued me. Saturday, he had off, so I took him to Angie’s for a trim and a manicure while I enjoyed a pedicure. We were grinning, enjoying the ladies’ banter and they openly flirted with Ernesto. He was a jewel sitting there in the middle of them blushing a ruby red. Angie gifted him with a deep green and gold kaftan from her boutique and matching slippers. “Be good to my brother, he’s the only one I got!” Well, she’d dismissed Jimmy long ago, but I had to wonder why she didn’t offer me a robe or kaftan. I took him down to Texas Agricultural and Mechanical in Longview and told him they had courses on all kinds of animal care, all that. “If you need to take a few more courses, you can stay with me.” I offered. “I’m thinking of a new specialty — a consultancy to help some of the farmers. Advise them on how to improve their profits — and improve the conditions as well. Not sure yet, but I think the company I’m working for might need someone who can connect the business end to the farming end with the regulation elements of their work. Streamline things — dovetail everything for the right outcomes…” I wasn’t sure what he was talking about, but I hoped he’d need more courses and A work was good, relationship moving forward, family doing well, until they brought up Jimmy again. Perv-bro moved back to his farm and seems to have gotten in with the wrong crowd. Had a bunch of yokels and hustlers living with him on his farm. Mom wanted me to take him in, but I was planning to get Ernesto closer. “No, Mom, please. I’m not a rehab center, and he’s just a knot of problems. I’m a vet, not a shrink.” She didn’t say anything more. After they went home I heard they’d asked Jimmy to come live with them again. kocaeli escort bayan Good thing. Ernesto made plans to attend two classes at A new to me. I wasn’t going to push Ernesto and risk pushing him away. Things jumped on the right track when he asked if I’d like to visit his parents. We flew into Abilene and rented a car for the rest of the way. Angie sent me with a coupon for a free `sh’poosy’ along with a bottle of some fancy hair stuff. I had sent flowers the day before and on Ernesto’s instruction, I brought a bottle of Cointreau. Up a long drive, we saw them sitting on the flagstone porch of an older ranch-style house waiting for us. They stood and came to the car, shaking my hand and hugging Ernesto. Had to look twice — his dad was almost old as my grandfather would be, and his mother much younger. His mom helped me with the gifts and bags asking about Angie — `sh’poosy?’ “I think she means shampoo and curlers and a comb-out with the wine bar included.” Inside, I showed her a photo of my sister and my parents. Ernesto’s mom was a delightful woman who had me charmed in a few moments, I noticed her hair was long, black and in a chignon — no big hair thing. Ernesto and his Dad were embraced on the porch, whispering and smiling. Damn, why didn’t my father treat me like that? They were a beautiful couple, welcoming and gracious. I thought I would encounter some resistance, Ernesto was eight years my junior but nothing was said. Instead we swam in their pool late into the night sipping orangey cocktails. Saturday afternoon Ernesto and his dad took off to the oil fields, I stayed helping his mom with the patio furniture for the cookout and hauling the ice — lots of things. Angie called and had a video call with Ernesto’s mom while I scraped the grill and started the mesquite logs. This was going to be a great dinner. I found out how to make fresh tortillas — I could run the press fairly well, but my flour tortillas looked like angry clouds. All the while she asked me about Angie and what her shop was like, where we grew up, all that info. Checked me out. Ernesto and his dad came in grinning — both of them looking like Cheshire cats. They carried big racks of ribs and chicken — sausages and loaves of bread, couple of cases of beer. Great food, great time, music and laughter. Later Ernesto’s mom took me to Ernesto’s old bedroom — posters of planets and models of spacecraft swung gently above his old student desk. I thanked her and hit the shower to wash the mesquite smoke off and got in bed. Slept alone that night. Dang! Ernesto spent most of his weekend with his dad; what a great relationship. The old man openly kissed his son’s cheek making Ernesto blush and grin. Ernesto was affectionate with his father, keeping his arm around his dad’s waist, touching him lovingly. Have to admit some jealousy there, but whatever they had going had made Ernesto into a fine man. Great weekend. As we left, I asked Ernesto’s parents to come and visit Kilgore. “We’ll make room for y’all anytime.” … When we got back to Kilgore, Ernesto was readying his room for his studies and I went back to work. Things were working out, and I was still waiting for Ernesto to make the first move toward the bedroom — he’d come in his own time. I was getting antsy, though, so I tried putting a treat in my pocket like I did for obstinate creatures. Bought him some chocolate knowing he loved the stuff — bought the dark kind with a touch of cinnamon in it. Found some at a local gourmet store, got a big bar. Ernesto came in from work, tossed his bag in his room. I slipped the chocolate bar in the front pocket of my jeans and acted nonchalant, putting the dishes back in the cabinet. “Good trip?” “Yeah, it’s raining down south – coming this way.” He said, searching the refrigerator. I turned so he could see the chocolate bar. “Tornados?” “I don’t think so.” His eyes found the gold foil wrapper at the end of the chocolate bar, “Is that Ghirardelli in your pocket?” I glanced down, “Could be — want some?” He stepped closer. When his hand reached out for the candy, I grabbed him gently, “If you want some, you’ve got to give me some of that candy you give your dad.” To my surprise, his right arm encircled me and his left hand went for the chocolate. “Cheap trick.” He pulled the candy out and looked into my eyes. “I’ve been waiting for the right time.” I checked my watch, “Yep, it’s the right time.” I grinned, but I had him in my arms and kissed his cheek. I remember the sound of him opening the end of the chocolate bar and the crack as he took a bite, then he kissed me — chocolate-cinnamon kiss. Like the flood gates were opened, I pressed him against me, not wanting his lips away from mine and carried him to the bedroom. He still had the candy in his hand and put it on the night stand as we undressed. In his arms, I reached around him and pulled his body against mine — he was warm with a light coating of sweat. Smooth body, only a ring of a few hair around his dark nipples. Rubbing my face on his, it’d been a long time, and this man was not pushing me away. First times need to be really easy, very tender. I was laying a foundation for a long-term relationship and had to make sure the slab was smooth and level before I set any studs. “Slow down, old man,” I thought, but I didn’t need to put the brakes on. With a bit of the chocolate bar in his fingers, Ernesto asked how I found out about him and his dad. I wasn’t sure what to say or what he meant, so I was honest: “Your dad’s so affectionate — I was asking for a little of what you give him.” He looked at me. “That’s all?” Of course, I suspected more at that point, “Yep, my dad wasn’t so, well, demonstrative.” “I love my dad…” His eyes went dreamy and he leaned back. “Yeah, I noticed.” “My dad loves me more than anything.” He said softly. He was still dreamy thinking about his dad but I had to get this action back in the bed between us. Taking a chance, “What does your dad do that you like the most?” Without hesitation or embarrassment, he mentioned several elaborate sexual practices as he rubbed bits of the chocolate bar on his nipples. I went for it, licking and sucking as he explained how his father twined his love with a kind of a very pleasurable sexual education. Wasn’t going to mention my professorial sexual education — that would stay my secret, but I was rock hard and dripping within moments. He wasn’t. This was a world-class lover I was lying next to if his father had done his job correctly, which I’m sure he had by Ernesto’s descriptions. “Dad says he likes you. Maybe he’ll visit.” Finally, he turned to me and held my head, and came to kiss me. His body was relaxed, still not hard, I wondered if he was aroused, then I caught on, “Son, this old man needs you. Put out, boy.” He looked in my eyes and grinned, he leaned into my neck and asked if he could suck my `pá ‘ha roe.’ What? I smiled and nodded, he could suck anything on my body he wanted to and call it whatever suited him. “Daddy loves you so much…” But things didn’t unfold as I thought. Ernesto bit off a bit of chocolate and then a smaller bite, put it on his fingertip and began rubbing it on my ass, hand between my legs. It burned a little at first, but I kept my eyes on his, then as he lowered his face to my torso, finger still on my hole, I closed my eyes, leaned back and offered myself to him. Rubbing my ass with the chocolate, he gave me a light riming before he licked upward to my balls, sucking each lightly while he continued rubbing then, with perfect timing, his middle finger penetrated me while he tongued my slit. I had to gasp, then hold myself back to take more of this art he performed on me. More fingering with the cinnamon felt warm, good, rich. Then his expertise with my cock was incredible — my body shook with excitement. I was ready to cum, more than ready after so many months of waiting. He looked up at me and smiled with my cock in his mouth, then shoved my glans in to his throat several times. I relaxed and let it happen — hot, deep and exquisite. My balls emptied themselves in a few seconds. He took it all and sucked for more. Had to push him away I was so overwhelmed with the sudden burst of cum, pleasure and release. Took a few moments, but I stayed in character, “Good job, son. Nobody better than my little sweetheart.” I was still high on my seminal explosion. “Thank you, Popi.” That was all I remember him saying as I drifted into sleep with an incredible man beside me. … Remaining respectful and careful, I wanted to keep this one. He was everything I wanted in a man. Angie said so, too. She came often for dinner with us when Ernesto was in town, and of course she had to style his hair, do his nails and flirt. I let them play together but made the it clear he was mine — shot her a few hard looks. She laughed at me and continued her silliness. My lover thought it was fun to flirt back with her. Had to ignore all that. One weekend, Ernie Sr. visited, and we had a great time taking him around town and to Angie’s place, then we went out to eat together, joking and laughing around the table. Ernie Sr. joined us in bed, though nothing happened, it was good. He smelled different, like an older man. Ernesto and I enjoyed his sense of humor and warmth — Ernie Sr. was so easy-going and kind. The ways he treated Ernesto were endearing, I enjoyed vicarious delight watching their interplay. … Just as Ernesto was finishing his classes in Longview, I got a call from Mom and Dad. Jimmy had gotten out of line with Mom, and he needed to stay with me. Angie had definitely refused him. “Mom, can’t you find a program for him? How about the mental hospital?” “The first two weeks he was in the hospital, they kept him in seclusion and restraint he was so angry, then they loaded him with tranquilizers and sent him home after he calmed down. Dad takes him to the counselor every week — but nothing seems to work. Jimmy loses control and can’t stop himself. He refuses their meds — says he has to stay at his `fighting weight,’ so looks like he’s planning on getting into trouble again. I really don’t know what to do. He’s started drinking…” “I’ll drive him back to the farm, but I’ve got my career going, I can’t chase him down day and night and bail him out of trouble. What about his wife, can’t she help? Doesn’t he want to see his kid grow up?” “They’re on the north side of town now, but don’t tell Jimmy. Dad and I help them with a check every now and then. She’s finishing school. Our little Maggie is a beauty, but it’s hard in a single-mom family… She’s still afraid of him, doesn’t want him around Maggie. I don’t either.” Bad news on top of worse news. That’s how that conversation went. My parents were a little older, and I couldn’t reprimand their parenting now — it was all past tense and keeping their home tense. Time – I needed time to think about this and find some kind of place, maybe a group home or a television intervention. I was open to anything to keep Jimmy away from me, and especially Ernesto and Angie. Unfortunately, Ernesto heard my end of that conversation. Being as evasive as I could, I explained that I had a brother with problems that appeared to have started early and were unaddressed. Now they were out of control. “Need some of that medicine you were trying to sell the owner of that pot-bellied pig — my brother acts the same way as that pig before the operating table.” “We sell the clamps and the bands, and a chemical castration kit. There’s no testosterone-neutralizing pill, I just made that up to get you out of a bad situation. Sorry, I lied to your client.” “Probably better you did.” I hesitated but, “My mom wants me to take him in — I don’t want him here or around Angie. He was abusive since we were young. Going to research some group homes, but because he gets violent I doubt if anyone will take him.” We were both quiet, thinking until Ernesto asked me to wait. “Let’s think about it. I’ll call Popi, maybe he’ll know what to do.” I was several steps ahead of him, it would be risky, but it would probably work considering how stupid Sergeant-Major Asshole Jimmy was. … Ernesto’s mom sent the names of several group homes, but advised us that because of my brother’s age, people who couldn’t manage themselves usually rehabbed in jails and prison, “Is he on the sex registry?” “No. He qualifies, though.” I didn’t mention his assaults on Angie and me. They went to check out some programs in the panhandle while I wrote out several checks to pay Jimmy’s back taxes, hoping I’d get him back into the Ozarks before he caused any more trouble. Ernie Sr. came up with a plan, “Let’s get him into that cult out on the desert — you know, they have a big compound. They deal with their own.” “They’ll put him back out on the road.” I thought, but a cult was a good option. Mom kept calling, Dad was in tears, Jimmy was terrorizing them. I called a huddle with Angie first. She was all-in, even offered to help. Didn’t want her around when I did the deed, so I asked her to help me refine my plan — everything had to be in place and timed perfectly. Along with Angie, I began pulling things together and loading them in my trunk. Through all this, I kept one thought in mind — “In the end, he’ll live longer and be a more loveable boy — that’s what he really wants.” To salve my conscience, I considered that humans are mammals, like that pig that frantically humped Ernesto’s leg in my office that day — they’re all different and they have mental and emotional problems as well. I figured somehow my brother had an over abundance of testosterone and it didn’t seem to level-off through his years. He was worse than ever. … Ernesto’s parents were concerned; kept calling me. My parents were climbing the walls; kept calling me. Angie was giggling as we packed bags and boxes into the back of my truck and tied the tarp down. I made arrangements to get everyone together on Saturday. Ernie Sr. and Ernesto were coming with me and Jimmy — taking him to his farm in the Ozarks. We’d fix up his old house, I’d make arrangements for his disability checks to be delivered and get him a few supportive services. Express-mailed Mom a small vial of medicine along with plans to get Jimmy to take about a teaspoon of liquid mixed with spaghetti sauce as a `sample,’ then get him into the car with my dad. Jimmy should still be sleeping by the time they arrived in Kilgore. When Jimmy got here, I’d give him a few bowls and a slip him another mickey if he needed. Ernesto and I would get him in the truck with Ernie Sr. driving us up to the Ozarks — I warned them both about his attitude first. Dad and Jimmy arrived that night, Dad was tired so Angie came and took him to her place for the night. The rest of us left for the hills, by dawn we were on the dirt road leading to his farm. Not a big place, good land, run-down and overgrown now. We’d arranged two weeks to fix up the house and the out buildings — get Jimmy propped up and going. The first morning on his place, we were tired. Jimmy was slow from the medications we’d given him. He looked at the three of us, “Are these some of your queer fuckin’ friends?” “They’re my friends,” I introduced them and said we were going to get him all set up. “Call the extension agency — you could make a mint growing ginseng, maybe some of those gourmet crops for the restaurants up on the Ouachita.” Ernesto and I went to the truck and began unloading all the furnishings Angie packed. Sheets, towels, all the things he’d need. I watched as Ernie Sr. offered Jimmy a stick of gum from a yellow packet. He put his arm around Jimmy’s shoulders and pulled him toward the truck; Jimmy hesitated for a moment, not sure what this fatherly affection was about from the kindly older man. But he went and soon they were unloading and sweating in the heat of June. Ernesto and I assessed the water and electricity, with a few repairs it would be in working order. Roof and windows looked alright. At noon we stopped for lunch. The old iron double bed frame now had a mattress, sheets and pillows. Blankets and spread still sat on the chair. Angie sent all that and even packed us two ice chests full of food. Damn if she didn’t put a microwave in the back of my truck as well. We ate like kings, even had cookies. “Why don’t you boys get into town and bring back some ice cream. We’ll celebrate tonight, kind of a house-warming.” Jimmy snarled but got in the truck with them. Ernie Sr. went to the utility company to get the power turned on and settled some past lapses in payments. This was costing me a mint, but not if it worked. I knew they’d come back with beer along with whatever else, but that was part of my plan. Ernie Sr. and Ernesto were good at placating Jimmy as the tranquilizer wore off, boosting his spirits and giving him some comfort — I think they knew his extreme fear and reactionary ways were destroying him. Jimmy tried to pull his `high and mighty’ on them but it didn’t work like before. They simply smiled at him, giving him a pat on his shoulder or a manly fist-bump. I guessed that he’d want to get drunk and stoned if he could and blow on about politics and space aliens again. I’d planned for that. Had a bottle of pills in my pocket as a treat — it was actually insurance. After we’d swept and cleaned around the old house, we settled back for dinner. Yep, cookies and melted ice cream, and it was good. We sat on the front porch in the cool of the evening, Jimmy going head-on through the beer when I pulled the pill bottle out of my pocket — it only had two pills in it. Carefully stuck my finger in the vial where Jimmy could see me. “What’s that?” He was looking for a high. “Out of weed. This is a `chill pill.’ Gives me a buzz then a smooth high.” I pinched my fingers together, put them on my tongue and took a slug of tea. “Gimme some.” I handed him the bottle, he looked at the label for a moment, but I imagine he couldn’t understand it — written in Latin. Took the lid off, tapped out the pills and tossed them in his mouth. “This better be good.” “It is.” He finished his can of beer and continued his denunciation of `free floating radicals.’ Then, back to the liberals destroying democracy. Ernesto and his dad went inside, we were tired. Put Ernie Sr. on the old couch in a sleeping bag. Ernesto and I made a pallet on the floor. I heard Jimmy peeing off the porch and go to bed. When I heard everyone snoring, I grabbed my jeans and found what I needed in my pockets and lit a candle and went to Jimmy’s room. He’d fallen asleep on the bed fully clothed. Carefully and quietly I pulled off his boots and his jeans, reached into his boxers and pulled out his package. In the quiet room, I began. He’d taken enough drug to make him dead weight. Damn, he stunk, but I carefully pulled out the filled syringes, warmed two alcohol swabs over the candle flame, opened them and placed them on his testicles. As they disinfected his skin, I warmed the benzocaine over the candle, dripped some on the lower part of his balls where I’d placed the alcohol swabs. He hadn’t stirred yet. I only hoped he’d taken enough K with the alcohol that he wouldn’t move his hands to his groin. As slowly and gently as I could, I injected his left testicle with the chemical. One done, then I waited, watching his face — he was out. I grabbed the other and injected and looked up. Ernesto was standing on the other side of the bed. He nodded at me, helped me put Jimmy’s sac back into his boxers and we tiptoed out of the room with the candle. I shut the door behind us. Ernesto and I went out the back door in the moonlight, away from the house and peed on the old fence, “What are you going to tell him? His balls are going to shrink and disappear.” “Let me handle it. We’ll blame it on the water — heavy metals or something.” Heard a hissing sound to turn and find Ernie Sr. pissing nearby. “You boys okay?” “Jimmy hit his limit last night with the drugs and alcohol — gonna be a bear in the morning.” “I suspect so.” He looked at me. “So it’s like he’s cut now, right?” How did he know about my plan? “You’ve blessed him. I’ve never seen such a sorrowful soul as your brother. When we were riding up here, I watched him jerking and balling his fists — even in his sleep he was fighting his devils.” It never occurred to me that Jimmy’s entire life was a battle; “It’s over now.” We went in the house and he kissed us both and joined Ernesto and me on the floor. Air mattresses aren’t so great, but we were able to sleep for a few hours but the heat of dawn woke us. Jimmy was still asleep while Ernesto took photos around the inside of the house and sent them to Angie. She’d share them with my mom and dad to figure out what else he needed and bring it in ten days. By then, Jimmy should have calmed a little. Ernie Sr. and I went to the old barn. It was leaning to the side, but we figured out a way to shore it up and get it cleaned out. Went into town with Ernesto and ordered a new refrigerator. Stopped by the extension agency and talked with them a while, got a few brochures. Then we went for groceries and more beer. Got the low alcohol kind though I knew he would bitch. We returned to the house and I woke Jimmy gently with a cup of coffee. “Up, bro. Let’s go check the fence — see if it’s still standing.” Took him a long time to get up, but he took a piss off the porch and came in the house, reheated his coffee and I asked if the septic tank was still working. He didn’t know, so I asked Ernesto to find the service to come and check it. Ernie Sr. was busy caulking the windows and doors on the outside. Actually, working with Ernie Sr. and Ernesto was great, they stayed on task, did slow, careful work. Coulda been they were avoiding Jimmy who kept tugging at his balls and grunting. “Got crabs?” I asked, “Some of those hot women got crustaceans.” I grinned and wiggled my eyebrows. “Balls are sore.” “You been hit down there? Maybe they’re swollen.” He couldn’t remember. “Let me know if you want an exam.” “Fucking fag.” He muttered. “You won’t finger my junk.” Over a small lunch of sandwiches, he got into the beer, “This crap? I’ll have to drink twice as much.” He said when he saw the brand I bought. “That’s all they had till the truck comes through. The vacationers going up to the lake bought it all out.” “Why didn’t you get some gin?” I didn’t answer, reviewing the brochures from the extension agency. “Says here, bees are a good investment — you rent the hives to farmers during different seasons. Goats are great. Rich milk, easy to keep and if you get a kid, they follow you around like a dog. Great companions. Have you thought about selling the trees for lumber off the lower plot, using the money to start a garden? Mm-mm. Roasted sweet corn with hot sauce and popcorn in the winter. You’re going to live like a king.” That distracted him from the beer for a while as he grabbed a brochure about raising minks. … We struggled through the next week, coddling and sidetracking Jimmy from his beer often — I had to monitor changes, the alcohol would make it difficult. His old well had good water, strong with the taste of iron — sweet and cold. Ernie Sr., Ernesto and I stood on the porch and rinsed off naked in the afternoon sun. To my surprise, Jimmy joined us that humid afternoon, keeping his back to us. His balls were still sore, dissolution had begun. The medication said it worked immediately stopping the testosterone and would take several months before the excess tissues inside his scrotum were resorbed into his body. Ernie Sr. softened hearing Jimmy’s small moans and came to shampoo his hair gently while Jimmy stood very still. He accepted that affection. Ernesto and I slipped away to the side of the house enjoying the sun drying our skin. We heard them speaking softly as we went inside through the other door to dress. They were on the porch for a long time together in quiet conversation. … Mom, Dad and Angie called when they were in Texarkana, on their way with a trailer. Ernesto and I chopped wood, stacking it on the porch while Ernie Sr. and Jimmy walked off into the barn, then into the woods. Wasn’t sure what that was about, but they weren’t upset, and Jimmy seemed to be able to listen to the old man. Ernesto and I said nothing. Wasn’t but a few hours we heard my family pull in with a trailer. As they got out of the truck, I went to hug them, and whispered that all was calm for now. Everyone hugged and kissed; Jimmy put his arm around Dad for a moment. That was all, but first time I’d seen that. They brought all kinds of things for the house, and Dad brought paint and brushes. Angie and Mom brought cowpoke paintings and household things and began their duties. Big candlelight dinner that night around an old genuine formica table, and it was good. Afterward, we sat on the porch, everyone catching up on their lives. Jimmy watched, I could see he felt somewhat left out listening to the lives and progress of Angie and Ernesto. Dad had become a supervisor, Mom was taking a part-time job. Sitting beside Jimmy, I tested the water and put my arm around his shoulder, “You’re going to be our farmer now — noble profession.” “I’m no queer — get your arm off me.” At least he didn’t yell. “I’m not recruiting — just a brotherly hug. Life’s been tough, but your back on your land now. If you need me, call.” Then I asked if I could call a social worker for him, “They can visit if you need something — they’ll help.” “Gotta get a woman first. My balls feel like they’re going to explode, kinda buzzing — strangest thing.” “Get your farm up and going first, they’ll come when they see your success.” I suggested and told him that because of his past, Angie and I could have his name put on the sex offender registry, “The cops can find your ex and see what she has to say. You got a long history, brother but a good start now.” That was the nail that I hoped would keep on his farm until his treatment would complete. I could see the anger in his eyes as he shoved me away. He stood and left. Before we left, I made him promise to call me or Dad every day and tell us what he was doing. He nodded, but I wasn’t sure. Ernesto drove us into town and I stopped at the sheriff’s office, told them my brother was living alone on his farm. Got several smirks but told them to check on him and if he needed help to call me or a social worker first. “He’s had health issues, they’re clearing up now.” “Is he armed?” One asked. “Didn’t see a gun. Don’t know for sure but give him a chance — he’s trying to farm again. Getting back up on his feet.” It was a quiet trip home. I was thinking of Jimmy’s balls dissolving inside his short red sac, wondering what it would feel like. We stopped several times for gas and change drivers. Sitting alongside Ernie Sr. I asked what he and Jimmy talked about. “Family — how lucky he was to have good people around him. I think he’s going to be fine with the, well, his treatment.” I realized in that moment, that I hadn’t been alone but for those few moments in the candlelight altering Jimmy. There was a ring of strong people around him, around us. We came together to give him some peace and us some peace. … Jimmy called every night, usually Dad or Angie. Seemed to be going well, finished painting the house, starting on repairing the stalls in his barn — thinking of renting his pastures out. Looked like all was going well when I got a call while I was at work, I expected this news. He hemmed and hawed for a while and finally came out with it, “My balls are — uh, they’re smaller.” He was whispering. “It can happen, sometimes. Our bodies age and all that.” I lied, penises usually stay the same, balls often get longer but not bigger. “No. I mean my balls — they’re shrinking and feel, well they feel mushy. What’s happening?” “I’m not sure. Did you ask your doctor?” Lied again. “I’m not letting some guy play with my package.” Doctors are authority figures to him — they were there to defy — he had no idea how to negotiate his medical care or take advice. “Hmmm. Let me research online. I’ll call you later.” I expected this dilemma; already planned my response. I told him it could be something in his well, “Could be heavy metals, or maybe someone used DDT on the land and it just hit your water table. Are you feeling alright? Got a fever or a cough, something wrong with your stomach? Headaches?” He was quiet for a moment. “I feel okay, not so much energy.” Long pause followed by, “Can’t get it up.” “Stress. Does it to me but could be a lot of things. Relax, enjoy your life — it happens to guys all the time. Don’t get hung up on it, that’ll make it worse.” Another long pause, “Do you think this is some kind of punishment?” “No. Not at all, just one small blip on the radar of life. You’ll get over it. By the way, I heard you asked Angie to come for the holidays, Mom and Dad, too. Why didn’t I get an invite?” “Ernie can come, but you and your queer friends aren’t welcome. No fags in my house.” Somethings couldn’t be changed, “Okay. Do you want me to invite Ernie for you?” “Yeah.” … That year, Ernesto and I stayed in town and had friends over. Made the rounds of the parties and enjoyed ourselves without worry while Angie took our gift to Jimmy’s house with all the family. Ernesto and I gave him an Australian Shepherd pup along with the training manual from the dog trainer lady. I sent photos of parties and the lights, Ernesto and I in red hats, goofy stuff. Kinda wondered how Jimmy was doing, but not for long. Angie sent photos of Ernie Sr. and Jimmy holding the pup between them, smiling. Photos of Mom and Dad decorating Jimmy’s tree, making that plastic cheese and Rotel dip — seemed like they were getting along. Gave my Ernesto his gift under the tree and video taped it. Damn if he didn’t enter the shot with a bow on his hard dick with mistletoe drawn on his shaved groin. That was our memory, I’d savor that when he traveled. He was celebrating more than the holidays – his company had decided to allow him to start up a new division under their research and development division. He and two other older guys would help him develop his consultancy through the company’s contacts and soon, he would lead that department. Lot of travel, but I couldn’t have been prouder. … I’d never met my ex-sister-in-law, never. Never seen my niece either. Jimmy had kept us all in our corners, backs to the wall with his ways. When Angie came back after her visit, she told me she was going to keep our niece over the summer. “We’re uncles.” I told Ernesto over dinner. He was excited, saying his mother had to come and meet her, and he started making plans. “Hold up.” I told him, “Better go through Angie.” He grinned, he and Angie were close. “This is going to be great! I never had a neice.” … I went back to the office working with small animals and called my lover every night he was on the road. Jimmy had started calling Ernie or Dad, cut me out of the picture until I found out he’d actually used the dog training manual and trained that pup. I knew Australian Shepherds were smart, but I’d bought him from more for companionship and as a guard dog. Mom sent me a photo of Jimmy whistling and pointing as the dog went through his tasks in the back of the house. In the background of the photo was Ernie Sr., smiling. That summer we met Maggie, a pip of a niece, full of spunk and fun and a head full of light brown curls. She came to the office with me and petted animals, helped the boss’ wife and developed a deep affinity for some of the animals that came in. Warmed my heart — being a vet is good work, steady and pays well. Though Ernesto couldn’t come, Angie and met Mom and Dad in Texarkana to take Maggie to meet her father. Yeah, Jimmy would see his kid for the first time in years. I wanted to see if he had the full peace yet. Seemed he did. Jimmy took to his girl like white on rice. Maggie was wary. Didn’t know what mom said about their relationship, but he’d calmed down enough to realize what he’d lost all those years. They got along well, everyone picnicking and going fishing on the lake together. My brother was loveable now. That’s what he wanted all along. … My man! Was I ever proud when he opened his consultancy with the company. Three-piece suit and new snake skin boots, Ernesto stood proudly with his co-workers celebrating their accomplishments. He was immediately transferred to Austin. Some months he was gone for three weeks. Not the relationship I’d imagined, but I knew he was ambitious and smart. Still the travel was wearing and he said he missed being with me, he missed home and our friends and family. We took our holidays with his family, I missed Ernie Sr. I hadn’t gone through all the trials of my life to live like a monk most of the time. I took the reins in my relationship and asked my man to try to find a way to stay at home. He countered with asking me for a year to get things in line at work, his was a new venture and he wanted it to shine. I understood that and because I’d made my needs known, I gave him a year. “Next October we’re going to make some major decisions.” Through that year, my family was peaceful. Jimmy wasn’t causing any problems, his criminality seemed to have vanished. Angie’s business did well, we had a niece and a sis-in-law that I still hadn’t met but emailed often. Nice gal, working on her certificate as a tax preparer. I had a part-time lover and what felt like in-laws, close family and a good job. I started a new tradition with Ernesto — the first night he was home, I welcomed him with a great meal. Took a few hours off the next day to take him to Angie’s for a trim, shave and manicure with wine. The last night he was home was devoted to romance. I made sure he was satisfied completely and sent him on his way with a bar of chocolate in his suitcase. Wasn’t really worried about him finding another guy — he was carving out a new career field. … All was going well until Jimmy decided he could go to a doctor without any confrontations. His social worker and Mom had convinced him that no one would order him around, the social worker from his town went with him as an advocate or maybe keep things calm. Instead of balls, Jimmy only sported an empty bag of flesh between his legs. Doctors at the Vet’s hospital did a cursory exam and decided he needed to see a specialist — this was not a service-related injury and sent him to another doctor. He had medical assistance along with his social security benefits from being deemed disabled after his stint in the hospital. Blood tests were run and it was found he needed testosterone! They started him on hormone replacement therapy, baffled about the loss of his testicles. You can guess the results of the medications — his anger, fear and irrational behaviors began again. Confrontive and growling, he hung up on us when we called saying that the aliens had taken over the world order and were eliminating the real men — only fags and bitches left. Wasn’t too much longer he got in trouble with the law when he picked up the bottle again; off to the state mental institution in Little Rock. They tried the sedatives but kept him on his hormone replacement therapy. Didn’t work out, they went to electro-convulsive therapy — shock treatments. I kept my mouth shut. Mom and Dad had to catch up on the parenting they skipped over when we were young and were appointed his guardians. Looked like a long-term stay for Jimmy My parents asked if Jimmy’s ex-wife wanted the farm, it would rightfully belong to them; Jimmy had never paid or offered any child support. The ex jumped at the chance and moved, tax preparers certificate in hand to the small town, leased the house and land, and looked like she was finally able to build her life into what she wanted. She bought herself and Maggie a home of their own. She was the only tax preparer in town and would do well. … That October, Ernesto and I made a major decision — I would leave the job that had started my career, the veterinary practice would go to my boss’ children who were still studying but would graduate soon. We decided to move to Austin — a pricier city now but get a house outside of town. He’d be near his work, and I sent out feelers for a position, but decided to get on with the state as an inspector. Difficult leaving all the people I knew, but with help we kocaeli sınırsız escort found several acres outside of Austin and lived in the existing pre-fab while we had a simple, one-story built on a small rise. Pool, patio, four-bedroom, three bath and a big kitchen/den. Of course, Angie had to approve our plans, “Why four bedrooms? You planning on adopting?” “Who do you think is going to take care of Mom and Dad?” It felt strange to say that, as though I could feel our roles changing in that moment. We moved. I took six months off waiting for the state to review my credentials and to keep an eye on the contractors while Ernesto continued gaining fame in his emerging field. He often flew across Texas and the country to speak. Had a great slide presentation, I didn’t understand all of it, but he was doing exactly what he said — streamlining from the farm, through the regulations and ranches to the consumers in a safe way. Ernesto had an office near the capital building, I was hired by the agriculture department and worked off-site usually, but got my work organized to inspect during the first part of the week, send in my samples then reviewed and reported the lab results at the end of the week. Finally, we got things worked out well enough to have our weekends together. Now, we were the hosts for barbeques and all kinds of events. Plenty of room, big grill, patio but it was the nights with my lover I enjoyed. That didn’t last long. Ernie Sr. was older, and Ernesto’s Mom was concerned. Wasn’t long before they moved into the pre-fab and we had company every day along with fresh tortillas. Ernie Sr. had to come check on what we were doing. He and Ernesto were closer than ever and the old man often sent me to the guest room to sleep while they held each other and talked into the night. What could I say? He loved his boy first. Ernesto’s mom was a firecracker, took temp positions and worked with a caterer on weekends. Life was busy and we were cutting our hay while the sun was shining. Wouldn’t you know Angie couldn’t stay put. She sold her shop and moved close by, buying another salon — unisex this time. She’d cut anyone’s hair and stayed open late with a crew of four. Mom and Dad came to vacation with us, help out around the acreage, and we’d video phone Jimmy. He was doing well, heavily sedated but he’d joined a small group of men in the hospital who sang together. All of us kept in contact with him, including his daughter and ex. Burned on my conscience to see him so lethargic, speaking with slurred speech, but he was safe. … After all those tribulations and career moves, Ernesto and I decided to go on vacation. Tried to keep it a secret, but Ernie Sr. found out I was planning to take my lover to Mérida, in Yucatán. Ten days on the beach, cold drinks, parrots, some hot night life. We needed a break, but it didn’t happen the way I wanted. Ernesto’s mother had a big family in Chiapas — they had to come, along. Angie, Mom and Dad decided to swing a package deal together. Another big family affair, though I was grateful that Ernesto and his parents spoke Spanish. I fell in love with Mexico as we got off the plane. Ernie Sr. and his wife flew on to Chiapas to visit relatives, the rest of us stayed on the beaches or at water-front cafes. Very historic place, Mérida and Yucatán — we toured the sites with brochures in hand. Open air markets and mariachis, and several visits Ernesto arranged to local farms to see how they were handling things — we learned a lot on that vacation. The people of Mexico were welcoming and warm, it was good to get away from Texas and the bureaucracy of the government and see how easy life could be though Mexico has a different set of problems. The treasure of that trip wasn’t the colorful blankets or the jewelry we bought, but the smile on Ernesto’s face walking though the streets, talking to the children and the vendors. Hadn’t seen him that happy since I our first night together. … Got a little gray at the temples, I saw a few strands of silver in Ernesto’s hair. Angie could get rid of it for us and kept asking but we refused, settling into our middle years comfortably, readying for our role reversal with our parents. Unfortunately, Ernie Sr. was the oldest and the first to become weak, his joints hurt and he took numerous medications for a number of diagnoses. We had carers come to their home, but moved him into our house, and Ernesto took off work to stay on his bed with him during the last few weeks. That wonderful man died in his son’s arms. Fitting. Ernesto’s Mom stayed with us, but I had a feeling that wouldn’t last long. Strangely, Ernesto and his mother argued in Spanish. I knew enough Spanish to know they were talking about Chiapas and the drug trade. He didn’t want her to go – too dangerous to travel alone in a rural area. They continued for several days, no screaming, but a lot of insistent repetition. My lover enlisted me in this, but I couldn’t sway her by telling her she was our family now. What could we say – her parents were older, she wanted to be with them and her sisters. Veterinarians are aware that migration happens among animals and humans. Vets watch for diseases that could infect local herds, farmers and potentially contaminate the food supply. When people cross borders with any animal, the animal needs a permit showing a clean exam. Native animals are the wild card in spreading problems, not as rare as you might think. This relates to the drug trade – greed and guns force the migration toward the cash spreading the disease of addiction and Ernesto’s mom wanted to go to one of the most dangerous and least secured areas of Mexico. She said she would come back every year after the holidays. Leased her home in Lubbock and we took her, reluctantly, to the airport. Came home to an empty house — that felt odd after years of having that loving couple so close. Though I didn’t like the idea, she wanted us to visit Chiapas. I told her we’d think about it, “Get settled first, we’ll have to work out our schedules.” … Once again, I had my home with a lover and plenty of private time for ourselves in the pool naked in the moonlight, dinners on the patio, and slow, rich sex that felt even better every time; sex changed from frantic discharge to a profound sense of satisfaction with ourselves. Angie opened her second hair salon and boutique, doing well. Wondered why she never married, but she took Maggie every summer and was preparing her to attend UT. Mom and Dad had their peaceful home, enjoying life from what I heard. Jimmy. He got lucky. A perceptive doctor in Little Rock cut the hormone replacement therapy and he got sprung from the hospital and was living in a group home. Looked different, spoke softly, and seemed to be enjoying the outings to local attractions around Little Rock. We all kept in touch, and life was smooth. Ernesto had friends from work over, we met at bars and upscale cafes, visited the spa several times. Even went to some of the huge music events, but what a traffic jam! The year after his mom left, we went to Europe, then to several international conventions on climate change and its impact on the animals and food chains. Interesting touring some of the farms and ranches abroad, especially learning the halal way to process meat. Through these affairs, I focused on the animals, Ernesto reviewed the processes and asked about regulations and such, but we made a good team in our Stetsons. Long way from being alone, scouring the countryside for a decent man. Longer way from my professor and undergrad days. Much longer way from the assaults from my brother, and his past wrongs still disturbed me, what I did to correct the situation had worked. That disturbed me as well. When articles came out on men’s hormones, I read all of them. Maybe he had an autoimmune disorder — allergic to his own hormones, or a head injury… Couldn’t figure why he had been so angry and fearful for so long but the mammalian body is a combination of complex, delicate systems. … The next fall, Ernesto and I were holding a decorating party — Mom, Dad, Angie and lots of friends coming to help decorate the tree and overeat. Had the affair catered, house in perfect order. Mom brought ancient tree ornaments from our childhood. Silver styrofoam doves held candles floated on the pool bobbing gently. People began arriving, and the music played softly. Candles lit the buffet, the place smelled like fir boughs — typical gay holiday event. Ernesto set up the television to show photos of our years together, family, all the good times. Angie brought music from years ago put it on showing everyone how to do the Peppermint Twist, then surprisingly Mom and Dad got up to show us how to `Stroll.’ At about one, everyone started leaving. We sat in the living room watching the photos appear on the screen reminiscing. Dad was telling me he and mom were going to retire and move into a bigger place with Angie, help her with her businesses while Ernesto took a call and started speaking Spanish, he went into the kitchen. “You picked a good man, with a good family. I miss Ernie Sr., learned a lot from him.” Dad commented softly. “Yeah, me, too. Loving family — very loving.” “I noticed that.” He paused, “Ernie took me aside one day and said that it was love that binds the family together, kisses, touches — all that touchy-feely keeps the family strong. Signals to kids that they all we have on the earth — have to help each other. Nice concept — seems it worked for him.” He had a glum look on his face. It was in that moment we were both thinking about Jimmy, and I recalled Dad’s handshake after I came out at that delightful dinner when I graduated from high school. We looked at each other. I moved beside him and put my arm around him; felt like Dad needed fathering. Not pushing me away he apologized into my shoulder softly and patted my thigh. I leaned over and kissed his thinning hair. Angie and Mom always sat closely, “Gender thing,” I thought but Angie was demonstrative in lots of ways — she could get away with it. Reminded me of a parakeet — too cute to reprimand for her flittery-flirty ways. We sat watching the screen of Jimmy on his farm after his alteration, Angie cutting hair and Ernesto and his dad… Good memories. Ernesto came and sat beside me and kissed my cheek. He’d been crying. “What happened? Is your mom okay?” Dad looked up at Ernesto, “What happened?” “I’m leaving for the capital — may have to wait around on standby, but I’ve got to get to Chiapas as soon as I can.” He stood. By saying the capital, he meant Mexico City. With my annual report due and a video conference with the poultry raisers in the valley, I was booked the next week, I’d have to cancel. “You can’t go alone. I’ll start packing.” “You stay.” Ernesto gave me an odd look, that felt distant. “You have work and if something happens…” “I’ll go with you Ernesto, I owe your dad.” He said, stood. “C’mon, honey, gotta pack a bag.” My parents left to the pre-fab. Angie wanted to go, I nixed it immediately. This was the time of year the narcotraficantes were in hard migration for holiday cash in the US. On my phone I found flights and talked to the agents begging for seats in response to a family emergency. Angie took the guys to the airport while Mom and I waited, she brought a bag to stay in the house with me in case anything happened. Mom was dithering about what to do, worried for Ernesto and his family. There was nothing to do but wait. Dad and Ernesto would have to handle whatever they found between them. That week I went to work distracted, waiting for word, but finished up all my reports and the conference. Mom and Angie did find something to do. They decided to make gifts for the women at the migrant shelter program — took boxes of things to them, gave a number of shelter residents hairstyles with mom taking care of the children while their parents were groomed. They went back three days in a row so everyone at the shelter was ready for the holidays. Yeah, I tossed in more than several bucks to help with the packages — the only gift I wanted was to have Ernesto and Dad back. Angie wanted to go visit Jimmy in his group home. “Send him a package and we’ll call. Mom and you have to be here just in case…” I had a feeling something difficult was going to happen. Four days passed, then a week and we didn’t hear from Ernesto and Dad. Wouldn’t answer our calls but Mom got a text on the tenth day. “All okay.” From Dad. On the twelfth day, I called and continued calling until finally — finally Dad answered Ernesto’s phone. They were in Matamoros — across the border from Brownsville. “Dad, why didn’t you call me? Is Ernesto and his mom okay? What’s going on?” Irritated and afraid, I sounded like some of the pet owners I’d dealt with in Kilgore. “When are you coming home?” “We’ve got it under control — had to make some changes down here. We’ll call later. Give us another week. By the way, you’re getting some visitors. I’ll send a pic.” He hung up. Hung up on his son! I called Mom and Angie immediately, and forwarded the photo he sent. There was Ernesto’s Mom looking red-eyed and frazzled with a small boy and even smaller girl. “They’ll be here in about a week.” Angie went off like a rocket to the department store to buy small bathing suits, I pulled her back. “Let them get accustomed first. They don’t need suits. They can swim in their underwear or naked — that’s not important. No fussing over them, we don’t know what’s happened to them so let them get comfortable in their own time.” I remembered that from all the sheltered and abused animals I’d dealt with. “Keep a treat in your pocket…” … I got a photo of Ernesto, his mom and Dad on the plane, Ernesto’s mom was sleeping while Dad held a small figure on his lap under a blue blanket — could only see the top of the boy’s head. Straight, black hair that fell over the blanket. Ernesto held the girl who had a long, black braid — she wore a bright pink sweater and pair of faded, worn jeans. Ernesto was kissing the girl’s hair. Angie and Mom swooned, trying to hold themselves back, but I figured they’d come up with something behind my back. They started planning a big dinner and helped me ready the house for kids and Ernesto’s mom. Mom picked our travelers up from the airport and brought them home, sending photos and telling me everyone was tired from the trip. I stopped by for ice cream on the way home and came home to a quiet house. Everyone was sleeping, so I slipped into my bedroom to kiss my lover — damn I’d missed him. There he was, next to Dad, spooning and snoring. What the heck? Sneaked out to the kitchen to find nosy-butt Angie starting dinner. On the cabinet sat three cans of Rotel. “It’s too spicy for kids.” “I know what I’m doing. Go start the grill, then come in and cut the chicken.” She was treating me the way she treated her errant employees. Followed her instructions, and we had grilled drumsticks. She was making mac n’ cheese and had a big cobbler in the oven. In the den I found baskets filled with bubbles, and plush toys, all kinds of coloring books and crayons, all wrapped with cellophane and bows. Another sat on the table for Ernesto’s Mom filled with lotions and creams. We waited quietly till everyone woke when they were ready. The young man woke first, his name was Andres and though he’d come from Mexico, he was an American citizen, his sister woke up a few moments later, Nati, Natasha — she was a US citizen as well. Because they looked bedraggled, we offered them sodas and chips as I finished the chicken. We ate with the children. They devoured the food like they hadn’t eaten in days but appeared physically healthy. Quiet and shy, they roamed the house looking around. Soon Angie had them on the patio playing with their new toys. I went back in the bedroom unable to wait much longer and crawled beside Ernesto, kissing his neck, “I love you, I missed you.” He didn’t move but smiled. Reaching over him, I rubbed Dad’s arm, “Grilled chicken if you’re hungry.” That got him up. They both went to the bathroom together to pee. In the kitchen I started fixing plates and thought I heard them in the shower. Went back in the bedroom and saw the bathroom door shut. Were they showering together now? Ernesto’s mom slept for almost twelve hours. The rest of us went on with dinner. I became a `tio’ that night, an uncle again. `Tio’ seemed to fit, and soon everyone was calling me Tio Tom — I’d like to think it was from pride, but maybe that sense of close family had rubbed off from Ernie Sr. onto them somehow. … Turns out that the children had lost their parents — bodies couldn’t be found. So many families in the area had lost their young people to activity by the gangs of organized crime bosses in the area. Twenty-six young people disappeared in one day; Andres’ and Nati’s parents were among them. The young family lived in Colorado and had returned with degrees in education to teach at the rural Chiapas school for several years. My niece and nephew were orphaned by the cruelty of the drug trade, but the weren’t without family. Ernesto and Dad rented a van, took Ernesto’s mom and grandparents and the children along with several others from Chiapas to Matamoros to stay with other family members. The grandparents didn’t want to fly. In Matamoros, they rounded up the necessary equipment and a few things for the comfort of the grandparents and called when things were in order. Never imagined I’d have to take family leave, but I jumped on the chance to get away from a liver fluke outbreak around Corsicana. Took the kids and Ernesto’s mom to the clinic, then the school, interspersed with a few stops at the ice cream place and then to Angie’s salon for cuts. Nati and the grandmothers stayed to get their nails done and shop while I took Andres to get him a bike. He could ride all over our lot. Of course, we found a smaller, pink version for Nati and two bells for the handle bars. We came back to find Dad in the pool. He got out and had to put the bikes together. I heard Ernesto’s truck pull in and went to meet him. “Do you think the kids need counseling after losing their parents?” “Let’s wait and see, I think my mom is talking to them. Children are resilient and these two have traveled and seen a lot — they’re observant; smart. Get them into a schedule and see how they handle it first.” Went in the bedroom to shuck those damn boots and found a new bed. Someone had ordered us a king-size bed, practically took up the whole room. Went back out to ask Dad who got the new bed. He put his index finger to his lips telling me to be quiet. Were he and Mom moving in from the pre-fab? Did we need to add on? … Why is it a kid will jump in a swimming pool, but balk at a bath? Andres balked at me giving him a bath but followed Ernesto into the shower without a word. He was a beautiful boy, seven years old — mentally going on thirty. Should have known Ernesto would father him the way he’d been fathered. That’s what the new bed was about. That night I came in to find a squeaky-clean, naked boy bouncing in the middle of our big bed, tiny pecker slapping against a dark scrotum. Damn cute! In bed, we turned the lights off, Ernesto had the boy snuggled next to him, I believe they were whispering about Andres’ parents. Wanted to go snuggle with them, but this wasn’t the time. Ernesto was explaining the difference between bodies and souls, kissing the boy and stroking him gently. I turned on my side to watch them in the dim light of the moon through the window. So incredibly tender — Ernesto was his father in a younger body. Precious conversation. The bed shook as they continued talking and I felt another person on the bed with us. I expected Nati but found Dad’s hairy chest. “Shhh.” He told me softly as his arm came around me. Kissing the back of my neck softly, his hand rubbed along my chest. Did he just pinch my nipple? I froze, keeping my eyes on Ernesto and Andres. Ernesto smiled and winked over the tiny body that was falling asleep. The smell of my father’s sexual anxiety or excitement was followed shortly by his hard cock at my cleft. I reached around and pulled his cock out from between my legs, “You’re married.” I whispered. “So are you — ain’t it great?” “Dad!” “Shut up. I have a few years to make up for. Be still.” He put his leaking cock back and moved his hand to my dick, “Got the best of me. Good for you.” I glanced over at Ernesto. He closed his eyes, pulled sleeping Andres close and smiled. Strange feeling your father’s stubble rubbing your neck and kisses from his thin lips, but I stayed still, not erect — he needed this more than me, I guessed. His hips hunched and he slid his cock back and forth between my legs, bumping into my ball sac while he fingered my tool, manually inspecting. My body couldn’t help but respond, my rod was hard and twitching smelling his musk and feeling his slippery heat between my legs. “That’s my good boy.” His breathing became quicker. He stopped and positioned his glans against my hole, smearing his pre, held his shaft and pushed. In one sense, feeling his entry was good, strong, manly, and on the other hand, there was something a shade repulsive about it. Overcame my revulsion when he whispered he was going to cum deep inside me, “Like your lover does — I love you too.” Long, slow strokes, he was built for deep release. I grasped his hand that was stroking my erection — two hands felt better than one… “Am I in the right place?” He whispered. “I’d say so.” I stuttered, feeling a bit awkward telling my father that. “Tell me you love me, Tommy.” “Dad, I love you.” That pressured feeling increased in my groin, I was ready. A few fast humps and I felt his sweaty balls on my thighs as he pushed himself hard, grabbed my hips and stayed still so I could feel him cum. His body tensed behind me, damp with sweat. Didn’t pull out, but put his hand back to my dick and began stroking fast, “Gimme that love-cum.” He squeezed harder and rubbed faster. I closed my eyes and fell into a lengthy release as he kept stroking, I was empty and still aching for more to come out but had to stop him. Followed me into the shower, caressing me with suds. I looked into his eyes, “Dad — why?” “Don’t need an explanation now, just know you’re my special boy.” “Yeah, it needs an explanation — isn’t this incest?” “Not incest if you’re over eighteen, it’s consensual. Our private family business.” He took my face in his hands and kissed me the way he kissed Mom, then leaned over a little, sucking my nipple while his middle finger went to my ass, he stuck his finger in through the slippery soap and gave me a quick rub on my sweet spot. “Fine ass you got there.” Was my dad on drugs? We fell asleep in embrace, though I was confused and conflicted, Dad seemed to glow. … Our holidays changed. House filled with kids and their noise now — never figured out how to stop a sleepover from happening — and it’s non-stop noise. I hate the idea of a blindfolded person with a bat swinging at a piñata in a crowd, so Dad and I put the big, fluffy cartoon figure on a rope and pully and swung the flimsy box of treats over the drive without anyone being blindfolded. Our friends came and joined in all the children’s games, parents and co-workers. This time, I stood to the side and let Ernesto lead the events while Dad and I stood back taking photos and wiping dirty fingers trying to sneak some icing. It was a grand affair with Ranchera music playing loudly and kids whizzing by on the narrow bike trails my Dad and Angie made around the property. As a vet, it is imperative that you never lose your humility – some suffering creature will be sure to have explosive diarrhea in your direction and take you down several notches – no uppity allowed. I learned that wearing a new white cashmere sweater — it attracted someone’s younger sibling with an overflowing diaper. Clean up was easier on a smaller butt with the nice smelling wipes. I was grateful for that, and more grateful for the laughter of children in full-blown joy though I could never wear that sweater again. The `two grandmothers’ made sure the kids were well-socialized. They all were, and the pain of their loss passed as the children played in the pool or in the tree house Dad built for them. Nights were a quiet, personal time between the men — on the bed talking male topics like women. Andres attracted a number of young beauties with his dark features shining with a Mayan cast — full, pink lips, black, flashing hair. Gorgeous boy — straight body with dirty knees and a ring of tiny sweat and dust beads around his slender neck. Couldn’t think of a more masculine boy — he was in charge when he was around. Always trying to get the kids organized into some game he liked and the girls balked, they had other plans on him. Ernesto tried to ease some of Andres’ brashness to the side at night. Dad usually lay beside me listening to them, chuckling softly. Dad began initiated sex about once a week — he became more relaxed, open — reminded me of Ernie now and then, experimenting with his brand of touchy-feely parenting, or that’s what he said. Couldn’t help but notice Dad’s body hair, he was a beautiful, manly animal and treated Ernesto much better than me — he even asked Ernesto what and how he wanted to be loved. I got to watch, but I was a felt a little envious as I stroked a hard load onto both of them and didn’t wipe it up. … That next year, Dad, Angie and the grandmothers took the kids to a theme park, and all the local attractions. I was thinking of sneaking Ernesto off to a hotel room for a night but Dad and Andres had a little game of fondling each other as they drifted toward dreamland before he fell asleep and the adult games began. I got over my envy when I told Dad I needed some bed-equity — he was good at three-ways. … Well, I was working on a report on several cases of rabies outside New Falcon, figured the coyotes came across some infected rodents when I got a call from Jimmy. That surprised me. The sedatives through the years had damaged his heart and kidneys, the group home couldn’t handle his level of medical care. He was being sent to a nursing home. His voice was calm as he explained he was worried about living in a hospital-like place with a bunch of seniors. “Let me call you back when Mom and Dad are on the phone. Yeah, I’ll get Angie on the call, too.” All afternoon I thought about him — small room shared with a roommate that changed every several months, all the meds and rules. Here I was sitting living in a swirl of beautiful people, working hard and spending fast. I had everything I wanted and more — retirement with the perfect partner, Mom and Dad close by, Angie was doing better than ever. Ernesto and his mom, my niece and nephew and the hot Texas sun and the heavy rains growing the pecan trees we planted together. Incredible, wonderful times together. We got on a conference call that night. I let Jimmy explain his situation. Dad just shook his head. Mom asked for his medical records to see how serious things really were. Angie asked if he needed anything. I interjected that Dad and I would call the group home supervisor and ask for his records. Sounded like we thought he was lying, but he didn’t say much more than that. We were his last chance before the nursing home. The next day, the two grandmothers researched group homes, private and a few state-operated facilities that specialized in helping people with drug and alcohol problems. He might qualify there. We kept searching and found there wasn’t much out there for people needing his level of care after seeing his violent past. Took my lunch break to call around in the social services department of the state, assistant director of mental health services. Got one of his underlings, and she turned out to be more valuable than the blowhards above her. Round Rock had a rehab facility for people with head injuries, spinal cord problems — mental and physical problems. They recently opened a small program, “Only five or six people, I think.” Also found out that he had to be a resident of the state for at least a year to become eligible for a bed in any state group home in Texas. I called immediately and made an appointment the next morning — I’d take Mom and Dad, check this place out. Dad didn’t want to go, and nosy-butt Angie had to tag along. Ernesto kissed me and wished me well, “I’ll tell Ernie to make it work out for you.” Ernie Sr. had changed my life and a lot of other lives around him. He was so kind. If his kindness changed us so much, I was going to be as kind as possible to everyone I met that day. We pulled up early, Angie needing to pee because she had to have a twenty-ounce cup of coffee on the way. Dropped the women at the door and parked, remembering Ernie Sr., glad we could keep him at home — it was difficult, but we made it work out. The place had a huge campus, secured, and a low-slung yellow brick building — looked like it was built in the seventies. Landscaped with huge pin oaks lining the drive and around the grounds. Mourning doves and sparrows feasted at a bird feeder near the front door. Looked like a hospital lobby inside, cool, lots of white and beige everywhere. At the front desk I was joined by Mom and Angie and asked to speak to the director. I gave the woman my card, she chuckled. “We got plenty of asses `round here we call MDs.” Mom had a briefcase and opened it after we shook hands with the director. Nice, middle-aged guy that looked like he worried too much. We explained our situation with Jimmy. He nodded as Mom handed him Jimmy’s medical records. He flipped through the summary, “Does he have a head injury? Where are the results of his MRI, did he get a CAT scan?” Mom began frantically searching through her copy of the medical records, but I put my hand over the papers, “Probably not. He’s been in another state — Arkansas. They wouldn’t spring for that.” Then Mom spoke up, “He was admitted in Houston. Only stayed a while, but I don’t think they had the equipment back then, been a long time.” “I can show you our program, it’s small, and I’m not sure if he’ll qualify, but I’m proud of what we’re doing.” We walked the corridors among people in wheelchairs and using walkers. The place didn’t stink, though I’m sure a lot of people were in adult briefs. That was encouraging. Leaving the back door of the building, we approached a wide, low ranch style house. Several residents sat on the porch and nodded as we entered. Most of the space was open — clean and simply furnished. Television, piano, big dining table. A hallway went from the living area to the bedrooms, “Shared bedrooms?” I asked. “No. We found it’s better, well, more respectful to give our residents their privacy. This is their home.” Angie and Mom went off to the kitchen and check the bathrooms. “I saw where your brothers had violent episodes and drug use…” With the kindest voice, “My brother is a eunuch. Now that he’s off the HRT, he’s calm, very calm and he’s been living in a group home, working in a sheltered workshop. Not the greatest job, but he’s done well until these medical problems got to the point that the state is going to have to transfer him to a nursing home. We have a houseful — I don’t think we can care for him the way he needs. My parents are older…” He pressed his lips together, “I understand.” As we walked back toward the kitchen, “Do you think you’ll have a place for him?” “Not today, but our population is fragile, there could be an opening anytime.” “If I brought him when you had an opening, could I pay cash until he establishes residency?” I had a good feeling about this place — quiet, music and a calendar of activities on the wall. The residents who were there were smiling and it was small. He lifted an eyebrow, “Not sure. These are state beds, but I’ll ask.” “I’d like to bring my father to look around.” “Let the staff know when you’re coming.” We shook hands and I went to find the ladies — they were in the kitchen talking with a couple of the female residents, laughing and having a good time. On the way back to the truck I asked what they thought about it. Well, they jabbered on for a while, but in summary, they liked it. “Do you think Jimmy will like it?” “I think so, their brochure says they have a dialysis clinic and physical therapy in the main building.” Mom was reviewing the paperwork for any imaging done on Jimmy’s brain — like she’d find it. We called Jimmy that night and he wanted to hop on a bus immediately, “Wait up! You need to turn in a change of address tomorrow. Can you do that?” He didn’t answer me. Since he had to sign it himself and write in tiny letters, Mom said she’d go online and do it for him. Jimmy was returning. Staying with us until a place came open for him. … Remember that week well. We were hustling around getting all Jimmy’s paperwork in order, readying for the trip when a hurricane hit in the gulf — way to the east but we got the brunt of the swirling clouds of rain. Colorado and Brazos overflowed — that meant the sewer treatment plants were washed out and non-functional, shelters opened in public buildings for humans, and livestock headed for higher ground, swimming — trudging through high water for their lives. Texas would lose a lot of their smaller stock, then the health department would have to deal with the carcasses around their homes along with the trash and crap washed from upstream. I called Ernesto, “What can I do to reach all these farmers? About half the state is in crisis mode.” “Call you back later.” He did — he got me on the phone with the state health department director and the director of human services. My boss was a good ol’ boy and ugly as a horned toad, he didn’t want to do this, and assigned me to get it done. Ernesto had called the television and radio stations for blurb on the news to help out. Ernesto got us all together in the rotunda of the capital and had us prioritize the issues we’d have to address. “The three of you will be standing together to let people know we’re on top of this emergency. When you go back to your offices and put an alert on the front page of your websites with the detailed information…” Looking over his shoulder, I saw a crowd of reporters making their way in their raincoats and umbrellas covering their equipment. My department had emergency procedures for farmers and ranchers, I called my assistant to change the website. “Bring them up to the front page, use some of the photos you can find on the net. Yeah, yeah. Hurry, our department has to show we’re ready.” Lights lit, cameras buzzed and reporters clambered but became silent as we spoke. Each department had a dignified presentation, rather blah. When it came my turn to speak I encouraged people to go to our website. “Texans are strong, we’ll get through this and come back stronger. Move your livestock to high ground if you didn’t build your sheds and barns there in the first place. Check our website for the information…” I tried to be informative and encouraging when a short gal from Palacious jostled her way through the crowd: “Yeah, well what if people don’t have electricity or can’t get online? Lots of power outages along the coast.” Over her shoulder I could see Ernesto’s face — “Take care of your families first. Let the stock fend for themselves the best they can. Animals have strong instincts to survive. They may be afraid and skittish, — gonna be hard to handle so approach slowly.” I explained some animal behaviors. “But it’s the humans who are going to have to manage this — prioritize and make hard decisions. Shelter, clean water, food — that comes first then start taking care any medical issues and raise the flag for help.” I went on for a while about cleaning water with a porch screen and using chlorine if they had nothing else. When the questions were finished, they got a shot of the directors and me and when we shook hands I understood fully what Ernesto was doing. We had to work together, because our work was as intertwined as the lives of all Texans. Didn’t go home that night. I stayed late on radio interviews as my director listened and nodded, grateful his squeaky voice wasn’t blasting across the state. At midnight I got a call from Angie, she and Mom were going to get Jimmy. Before I hung up, I told them I loved them and silently izmit anal yapan escort asked Ernie Sr. to watch over them. Ernesto came in my office later, he’d been working with several feed companies to increase supply from the Midwest immediately, and got the drug companies to increase the antibiotic supply without price gouging. He knew what he was doing. We slept in a make-shift area for state workers on narrow cots, exhausted, but before I went to sleep, “I love you.” Couldn’t muster the words for thanks. … Dad made it into the capital when the water went down the next day, still a soupy mess out there. Ernesto’s mom stayed with the kids — schools were shelters for a few more days. Granola bars, cookies, a box of frozen waffles — Dad brought food. Frozen waffles? I sent him and the waffles down to the make-shift shelter to help to find a toaster. Took an hour for him to return, but he had an empty paper box lid filled with breakfast sandwiches and hot coffee. He ate all the waffles himself. He told he was proud of me being on TV and radio. “Since we met, Ernesto has been preparing me for that interview.” I winked at Ernesto. “Well prepare yourselves for Jimmy, he’ll be here on Friday.” “He’ll be in the guest bedroom, next to ours?” “As long as he doesn’t act up around the children, he can move to the prefab with us, I think it’ll be okay.” Ernesto nodded and went back to his office in a wrinkled suit and slow feet. He was as tired as I was. … Out of curiosity after the doctor asked about an MRI or a CAT scan on Jimmy’s brain, “When we were kids, what did you do to Jimmy when he got out of line, did you spank him or anything?” I asked Dad. “Just let him cool off by himself. I never spanked any of you kids, couldn’t bring myself to.” He thought for a moment, “But if I tell Andres I’m going to spank him, he runs away and hides. Makes me find him by making little noises. When I catch him, we have a tickle fight. That boy’s a real pistol.” Nodding, “Well, when Jimmy comes, let’s go easy on him till he gets settled in. Did you get all the alcohol out of the house?” “Yep. Cleaned out all the medicine cabinets — it’s all in a bag under your bed.” “Thanks.” … Spent two more days in the office dealing with stock rescue and vets from across the impacted areas. They’d be in overdrive for the next month as the flooding inland drained through to the coast. Clean up would take a year at least, if we didn’t get another hurricane. With trepidations, I went home on Friday, stinking and still in the same clothes I’d worn for days, tired to the bone. The two grandmothers were with the kids watching the television, Jimmy was sweeping the crud off the patio into several big piles. I went to him, “Hey, bro — ” He turned and hugged me, saying nothing. “Glad you’re here, got enough to eat yet?” “Saw you on the news. You’re famous all over now.” I put my arms around him, as carefully as I could, pulling him against me, “Got to be careful around the kids, promise me you will.” He began sobbing. Didn’t know why, but my eyes burned and filled with tears. We stood under the cloudy skies and mist, in the cold breezes on the patio holding each other, our hearts beating closely and cried. Cried for a family torn apart but kept coming back to salvage this one part of us who’d destroyed so much love and trust through the years. His problems had pulled us closer and with the help of Ernie Sr., we’d healed into different, but more loving people. So many gay men, lose their families — Jimmy and all his crazy problems had made our family stronger. He’d accomplished the opposite of what he said — diminished my difference by his delusions. But I was here, now, holding a brother who had appeared to hate me intensely, and his body was warm against mine, sobbing as though our tears would rinse the painful years away. My stomach began talking — hadn’t eaten in a day or so. “C’mon, I’m hungry.” We slipped into the kitchen, but he went to watch movies with everyone. I ate a few chips, drank a glass of milk and went to shower and go to bed. Ernesto said he’d be in later that afternoon. Well, wouldn’t you know — here comes Andres and Dad, breathing hard after running from the pre-fab in the rain. They shucked their wet clothes and shoes and jumped in bed with me. Taking Andres in my arms, I hugged him hard, kissing his hair and giving him a wedgie — he was chattering about a movie and wanting to go ride his bike in the flood water making it splash. “Don’t play in the dirty water.” I was on the verge of my diatribes about water-borne microbes but Dad cut me off. “We’re making kites. Gonna fly `em after the rain stops.” I nodded, he got in with Andres between us. “I saw you on the news. I’m going to tell everyone in school my tio is on tv telling everyone to take care of their families first.” “That’s right.” I took a deep breath of his boy-smells and wet hair. What a jewel this boy is. I pulled him closer, “Are you guys going to let me sleep?” “We were up late last night…” I heard Dad saying and as my eyes closed, I saw Jimmy standing at the bedroom door, turning to leave. … The bed shook later as Dad and Andres finished their nap. Couldn’t move, still so tired. Remembered hearing Ernesto come in and shower. He came to bed and cuddled closely, his warmth was so welcomed, but I simply lay there and let him kiss my shoulder before he fell asleep. Two tired men, nothing sexy, only the comfort of each other close. Finally woke up at midnight, the house was dark and quiet. I was hungry — opened the cabinets to find several cans of Rotel. Angie’d been here, the little budgie. Made a sandwich and went back to bed. As I walked down the hallway, I heard the snores and breaths of my family as they slept. Light as a mockingbird’s flutter, and heavy with love. Got back into bed after having to push Andres and Dad aside and found my way back to sleep beside my lover, and my mentor in a lot of ways, “Thanks, Ernie. I loved you, and still do.” Sunday morning, I jumped on the computer and checked my health insurance to see if I could get Jimmy an MRI or a CAT scan. Then, I checked his medical benefits, if I found the right doctor, they could request one be done. Ernesto came in and sat beside me in the quiet before everyone got up. He told me it didn’t matter if Jimmy had brain damage or not. Either way, the reality was that he was ill, weak and not in any shape to become violent again. “You told us to give him a chance, so we’re going to see if he can rebuild some trust. I think he’ll make it.” He was right. … That Sunday at noon was the first full-family dinner, and it went well. Angie was trying to convince Ernesto’s mom that Nati needed a `permie.’ Nati wasn’t going to get her braid cut. Her braid hung down to her tiny rear now. Mom sliced the turkey as Dad passed the plates around, and Ernesto gave the kids small helpings of everything on the table. I poured the iced tea and we finally sat down. Noisy bunch. Seems Jimmy and Mom were planning on a row of rose bushes around the front of the house and a garden behind the pre-fab. I let them go on, and when my man sat beside me, I rubbed his thigh, “Thank you.” Great dinner, and the kids ran away early to check their bike trails, “Wear your boots!” I hollered knowing full-well that mud was much more fun squishing around your flip-flops. The adults sat around the table when Ernesto’s mom spoke up. “Ernie would love to see this.” “Where is Ernie?” Jimmy asked. That started a tearful conversation and everyone was silent, but Ernesto lifted his glass of tea. “To my dad, and all he gave us.” Well, that toast seemed to open the floodgates of all the good things Ernie’d done in his life. Centuries ago, Ernie’s family was granted land in Texas from Spain. Through the years, the family had grown cotton, then went into oil, sold some of the land and Ernie’s dad had raised Arabians. Beautiful, sleek horses, very smart and a little touchy but a highly prized beast and Ernie had worked the horses with his dad. “He grew up in the saddle, sat in front of his Dad when he was just a baby.” She added. After dinner, she came out of her room with a box of photos. We sat in the living room passing the old sepia-toned scraps of paper with images of two men, cow hands and horses. There was Ernie’s father, holding his boy, loving him and realized how strong the tradition was in their family. Happened to notice there wasn’t one photo of little Ernie when he wasn’t smiling. Now I knew Angie and Mom had told Jimmy we found a place that might take him, and he’d stay with us until he could get a bed. I took him aside and told him he’d have to go to the local clinic for his heart medications and keep tabs on his kidneys. He thanked me, and seemed like he wanted to say something, “Look, Jimmy, I’m not the expert on your medical care, if you have a question we’ll look it up on the computer. Okay?” We were at the computer looking up some of his medications, “Dad and Andres sleep with you and Ernesto?” “Every night — Ernie Sr. taught us that.” He was quiet, then, “Did you turn `em gay?” “Please, Jimmy. I can’t make anyone gay. In bed, we talk to Andres. He hears us talking about our days and our lives — it’s like a personal education from the men in his life. Andres is learning that men don’t have to be macho bastards — that we’re all weak at times, tired and lonely — even sad. In the middle of Texas, there’s a boy learning how to be a human first. He’ll be his own man, but he’s heard a lot about the life he’s facing through listening to Dad and Ernesto. He’s smart as a whip, have you noticed?” “Yeah, I saved up some money. Gonna get a bike and ride around the lot with him.” I almost saw him smile. “Fine by me. One of Angie’s stores is about two miles from the end of the drive, you going to work for her? Ride your bike over there?” “I’m gonna try.” His voice was slow. We were quiet for a long time, looking over the information on medical treatments, I showed him the clinic where he’d go. “Got to keep your appointments.” He nodded and, “I got balls now.” He explained that the group home he was in had petitioned the state to give Jimmy implants to boost him from the deep depressions he’d experienced from time to time. “Wanna see?” Really didn’t want to see the damage I’d done, but I nodded and he stood and pushed down his jeans and boxers. My mind went back to the night I’d injected him, and his desperation when his testicles began shrinking. I looked. The implants seemed a little large, but aesthetically alright. His hand went to his groin and he lifted them as though my approval would indicate acceptance. “Fine set you got there. Lucky you.” He tucked and buckled up leaving a cloud of his musk. “Still can’t get off.” He was fidgeting for a while and came out with it finally. “There was a guy in the hospital — he told me he could get me off by putting his finger in my butt.” He looked at me. “Yeah?” “If it’s not any kind of faggy stuff, can you show me what he was talking about?” Whipping the computer mouse into action, I showed him with diagrams, and where his prostate was located, some porn of men with dildos, some using their fingers… “Like that?” “That’s why you guys like having a cock up your ass?” “Part of it. It’s more about intimacy, feeling close…” Didn’t want to discuss sex with Jimmy. That arena was cluttered with painful memories with him, Angie, his ex — that might agitate him or me. Sighing deeply, “Do you want one of these vibrators?” I showed him an adult toy. “Will it work?” “Won’t be like when you were a kid, but yeah, it works. You got a good imagination — give it a try.” I ordered the device for him and we went to bed. … Along with a herd of others, Ernesto and I were recognized for our work during the last flood. Being a smart man, Ernesto took his certificate and pried a raise out of the company he worked with and started a pod cast. Every week, he was online recording suggestions for ranchers and farmers on how to streamline their work, news of changing regulations and how they would pan out on the ranch. I got a plaque and made it clear to my supervisor that I wanted my name in the pot for becoming the next director. He wished me luck — Texas bureaucracy was based more on nepotism and oil money than quality of work. He was the director’s nephew, and that was honest enough to make me start looking for another job. Jimmy kept a low profile around the house helping Mom with the chores, and Ernesto’s Mom with the kids. Started working with Angie as a stocker and from what I heard, he was polite to customers — not too much breakage. At home he was genial and smiled, swung the kids around again and again on the patio. He got on his bike and rode the little trails along with them. When I felt he was calm and settled enough, I asked if he’d like to see the place that might have a room for him, “Nice place — you’ll like it.” I made an appointment for us to visit. Jimmy didn’t want Mom or Angie coming, though they wanted to. Taking a morning from work, we went into the hospital, and I asked to see the director. Jimmy was starting to tense, his muscles flinched and his mouth was tight. “Jimmy, this is the medical area, you won’t be here, there’s a nice brick house out back — it’s a home. Very different from this.” We went into the office of the worried-looking man I’d met before. I shook his hand. The man extended his hand to Jimmy — no response. “Well, have a seat. Good news, we’re going to have an opening in the house in about two months. Could I ask a few questions before we tour?” We sat, and as polite as the director was, Jimmy was concentrating on something else and went almost completely silent as the director made some polite talk, then asked Jimmy, “What is it you want in a home?” Jimmy lifted his head and looked at the director, “Whatever.” We toured the house. Smelled like something Italian cooking in the kitchen. Residents were clean and smiling, everything neat and clean. Jimmy didn’t say anything even when a nice young woman resident introduced herself. The director watched Jimmy but said nothing. Silent drive home. When we pulled into the garage, I grabbed Jimmy’s arm, “Tell me what you’re thinking. Did you like that place?” He jerked his arm and got out of the truck, standing by the door. I got out, hoping he wouldn’t rage — he didn’t seem angry though. I got out and went to him, “Tell me what’s going on.” He looked at the floor for a while and told me he didn’t want to be left in a hospital to die alone with strangers. In a squeaky voice, his nose running, “I always get left high and dry, left out, left alone, left behind, left for good. I got left. You got everything that was supposed to be mine.” He cried into my chest. Pulling him against me, I handed him my kerchief, and rocked him for a few minutes in the dark, still air. I could hear Ernesto’s mom soap opera in Spanish blaring inside, the phone ringing and Mom in the kitchen. Sounds of a family, a home. Brother hadn’t had much of that. He’d left us a number of times, but I didn’t bring that up. “Let’s go check your garden.” Instead of going through the house, we left through the back door striding silently behind the prefab where he’d dug the dirt and put in rows — tomatoes, corn, crowders, cucumbers and a row of lettuce and greens. He’d done a good job, nine rows about twenty-five feet long. “Used the shovel and the pick, did it all myself.” He fingered a leaf of a tomato plant releasing the strong, green smell. We walked the rows, pulled a few weeds, found some snails. Though the shade was cool, the day was hot, but we stayed outside sweating, listening to the cicadas. “Jimmy, maybe you weren’t left, but we left. There were some times when you were a little out of control. There were times you left us — joined the military, moved to the Ozarks, and when we were young, it was like you were pushing me and Angie away. That’s the past, I imagine who got left and who left, well those leavings evened out — it’s a wash. We’re all back together now, so we’re going in the house and be brothers again, we’ll be Dad’s sons and Angie’s brother. You’re a brother-in-law of and an uncle now. We’re going to hold our heads up and do the best we can.” “Does that mean you’re going to let me stay?” “Not sure. That’s a decision I can’t make alone.” I looked him in the eyes, the same color as mine, “A moment at a time, brother.” I hoped Ernie heard that and he’d help me, but it was in that moment I realized that in the center of the melee of my home, and all the people, Ernesto and I conducted this symphony of lives, led the music of our lives or simply made and protected a place for it to happen. Not sure which, but I could sense the deep empty silence inside my brother — the same emptiness I felt about my parents when I was growing up. Someone important was not there, someone I needed to help me. … Life rocked along and I became frustrated at work knowing I’d never climb the ladder to where I figured I needed to be, but veterinarians aren’t usually loud or showy people. With all the gumption I could muster I asked Ernesto to help find me a more supervisorial position in one of the companies he worked with. Left the thought with him. Angie and the two grandmothers were readying for Independence Day, being secretive about the doings. I suspected an ice cream freezer and a big picnic on the patio. On the third of July, Maggie and Jimmy’s ex drove up the drive, at around ten at night. This might be the test that would decide if Jimmy would go into the group home or not. I held my breath. He’d been on task working, helping out around the house and in the garden. Not the most endearing man but seemed happy with his new prostate massager after several classes administered by Ernesto. The kids didn’t have any problem wallerin’ all over him as he sat on the sofa. The other adults in the house were still reticent in their ways. Maggie was a young teen now, looked like Jimmy in some ways, and beautiful. The ex was a striking woman now — almost chic in a gingham sort of way. Then, a man came in — her new husband. Didn’t know how this would sit with Jimmy, but he sat back and listened to the conversation, smiling occasionally, and spoke softly with his daughter. The next day, Dad and Ernesto took everyone around town, into Austin showing them the sights. Angie and the grandmothers were in the kitchen, probably opening cans of Rotel. I approached Jimmy and asked how he was doing and took him to the patio. “Look at all I’ve lost.” He looked into my eyes, “I couldn’t hold onto myself and hold on to everything else at the same time.” Then he said the strangest thing, “I wish Ernie Sr. was still here. When he came to visit in the Ozarks, things started to slow down. Then I found some friends — they weren’t friends, they were using me.” “Right now we gotta get through the holiday like you’re doing now. Are you still taking your meds?” “I cut the sleeping pills — I’m tired at night, don’t need them anymore.” “Okay.” I grabbed his arm, “Let’ get some salad for the gals.” We went to the garden and came back with fresh vegetables and a basket full of sweet corn. Sleeping arrangements were a mess that weekend, I let Dad handle everything and wound up on the sofa with Nati on the loveseat nearby. What a fiasco, but we had a great time in the pool, and plenty of food. Fireworks on the front lawn and another piñata in the shape of a unicorn. Despite the red punch falling into the pool, all went well. … The time was coming for a decision about Jimmy going into the program. I kept all the adults at the table after dinner one night and brought up the topic. I knew Mom, Dad, Angie and I would chip in to cover his costs at the group home the months until he gained residency, then his medical benefits would start paying his bill. Money wasn’t the issue. It was Jimmy, and our family — were we willing to take on his health problems, medical appointments which would increase in the coming years. More importantly, did we trust him enough to keep him knowing the violent episodes he’d shown us before? The sedatives, and the `peace of the eunuch’ seemed to be working, and I couldn’t bring that up. The two grandmothers enjoyed having Jimmy around, Angie didn’t want to lose a good employee. Hadn’t considered that, but he had value to them, he had made a place with the women. Dad was concerned about the violence, though we hadn’t seen any indication. It was Ernesto who found the solution, “Keep the family together — tell the director we won’t take this opening, maybe the next one.” That would help me, financially, but I looked at Jimmy — he hadn’t said anything. “Jimmy?” “Either way, I’m glad to be here, and I’ll go if it’s time. It’s been good.” He was holding himself together again but didn’t know how to hold on to everything around him at the same time. Sounded like he wasn’t going to plead his case to stay. He stared at his lap. “Settled. Jimmy stays and we’ll move forward like we have been.” Decision made. … Things worked out better than I expected. Jimmy gained some weight and had to cut his hours but kept his appointments and helped Dad around the house. That gave me and Ernesto time to vacation and attend conventions, fairs and have a bed to ourselves. Jimmy and Dad began sleeping with Andres when we were out of town. Maybe there was some bonding going on, but they were all happy when we returned home. Two more holiday seasons passed. If our gay friends didn’t like being around children, that was okay, though most relished time with our family and brought way too many gifts for the kids. My Nati was getting ready for middle school and Andres! What a boy, he was almost ready for high school. That was the year Jimmy became seriously ill. All the drugs, alcohol, medications therapies had taken their toll. Jimmy increased his dialysis treatments. When he needed them three times a week, he had to quit his job. He was disturbed about that — he had favorite customers, and a few friends among the co-workers. Wonderful gift Angie had given him. Now, he stayed home in the lounger, dozing and waiting for the kids to come in and tell him about their days. He never commented much but was a great listener and looked over their tests and smiled. He took me to the garden one evening and thanked me. Eyes filled with tears, he told me he was sorry for all the problems he caused, “I thought if I made enough stink, I’d get what I needed — people wouldn’t leave. When I felt myself slipping, I acted up to get everyone’s attention. It only made things worse.” He looked at a clear, blue Texas sky, “Never thought I’d say this, but I love you. You’re a good man for being a fag.” Wrapping my arms around his shoulders, “I love you, Jimmy — you’re the only brother I got.” “Same here.” He flipped the seat down on his walker and sat, grabbing his hoe and we weeded and picked the squash and beans, corn and tomatoes. Quietly considering our love that had finally come into words. We were satisfied after all the turmoil. As I piled the produce in a slat-basket, I looked at it, “Jimmy, do you like Rotel?” “Hate the crap.” He said without stopping his work. “Me, too. Don’t tell Angie.” We chuckled, sharing our first brotherly secret together. … We had one more year together with Jimmy, he passed in his lounger watching out the window for the school bus. Our second memorial service, Jimmy was with Ernie now, probably ridin’ high on a strong Arabian in the clouds. That’s what I told myself. Ernesto and his Mom arranged for a small gathering with a local group of Mexican musicians. We buried Jimmy’s ashes near his garden, tearfully as the guitars played tunes in minor keys. Thirty people showed up, Jimmy had built a life with friends and his family close. For the time he was with us, we’d given him what he wanted — to be loved. Not the kind of love Mom and Dad gave us years ago but a close love we showed him nights and days. The memorial service moved to the patio after we’d shoveled the last of the red clay and sand over the urn. The two grandmothers took charge and managed the rest of the afternoon. I went into Jimmy’s room and began cleaning out his bureau. There was a rabbit’s foot on a chain, a beer bottle cap from a Shiner, a cuff link that I’d lost years ago, and pink rubber hair tie — must be from Maggie or her mom. Among the junk was a photo of me, small school picture, black and white. The little boy who wanted a brother’s love. Dad came in as I stacked Jimmy’s worn jeans, I held them to my face, taking the last deep breath of his acrid sweat. “I’d like to say he was a good man, but all I can say is he tried.” He said. “It wasn’t a moral issue, I believe it was medical, something wrong with his body or his mind. We’ll never know now.” I continued opening the drawers and stacking his clothes. “Soon as school’s out, I’m taking everyone to Six Flags. You and Ernesto want to come?” “I think we need some time alone, but I’ll ask.” Couldn’t hold myself back, “Dad, you waited too late to help Jimmy — you turned him away when he was a kid. Do you know how much he needed you when he was a boy?” “That’s how sons were raised back then — toughen `em up — make them into men. I was so distant, I never really knew my own kids.” We continued straightening silently, “You gave him some peace, thank you for that.” … Ernesto and I flew to Bali that summer, lounging on the beaches being tourists. My Ernesto, the solid, loving partner, had a head full of silvery hair that gleamed in the sun. Looked good against his warm, brown skin. My hair thinned, like Dad’s so I shaved it all off and grew a handlebar moustache that had a lot of white in it. But we recharged our hearts and our bodies on some delicious seafood on the islands, regrouped our thoughts for the changes that were coming. Silently, we embraced on the beaches, in the moonlight without a thought about system integration or parasitic infestations in the hinterlands. Met some boys on the beach, they enticed us into an evening in our hotel room. Didn’t ask how old he was, but this boy had very little body hair, and just a light dusting of dark hair over his upper lip. Incredibly arousing, him sucking my cock, then my nipples. Led me by the hand to a rattan chair on the patio and sat on my lap, stroking my dick. Damn, I was so hard, thought my skin would peel off my erection, “You want my big ol’ cock up your tiny little butt?” I grinned. He nodded, black eyes dancing. “Take all you want, boy.” He lifted his himself on the arms of the chair opening his legs, positioning himself while I fondled a small, dark package and manly four inches of hard, teen penis. When he was where he wanted to be, he leaned over, head on my chest and arms around my neck. His torso was short, so I reached around him and held his butt open, aiming my glans at his tight hole. It wasn’t working — he was tense. “First time?” I whispered, stroking his back. He nodded. Glancing toward the bed, I saw Ernesto with this boy’s brother, sitting on the bed talking. He hugged the boy against him and looked into the boy’s eyes as he spoke softly. Reminded me of the ways he held Andres all through the years, then my thoughts went to Ernie Sr. I held the boy’s head against my chest, stopping his motions. I remembered the moments I met Ernesto, waiting patiently for him and putting the chocolate bar in my pocket, then gently taking him into my arms. Glancing back to my lover, his silver hair falling over his face as he held the boy, listening while the boy spoke softly. I got up. “No fuckee-suckee?” The boy on my lap whispered, eyes wide. He wanted for moneyed dick, no love here. Wondered if he had a pimp that would take his money. A painfully sharp feeling rose through my chest almost closing my throat. Had I lived this long, worked hard, and survived so much to come half way around the world for a boy’s, tight hole for a few moments. Really? Because I had money and opportunity and used it well, was this the best reward the world could offer me? A quick fuck was here and gone, drugs, alcohol and food never thrilled me much, they were here and gone as well. Could I stay hard watching his face in pain? I was a man who was in it for the long haul who had a lover with the same mind set. There had to be more. “Get up.” “Ern, get up.” I told him I didn’t want these boys. They watched, wondering what we were going to do. “I don’t want this.” He nodded, giving me a quick smile, “They need their money.” I noticed he wasn’t erect. The boys started dressing, wondering if we were going to beat them. I pulled several bills out of my wallet and opened the door. Watched them leave. As they walked down the hallway, the boy who’d sat on my lap stopped, squatted by a pile of dirty dishes sitting in the hallway for the cleaning crew to pick up. He picked up a scrap of half-eaten bread. His brother jerked his arm, “C’mon.” “Get back here.” Ernie said. “Are you hungry?” The older boy looked at his feet, and the younger one nodded. We took them out for food and found they weren’t really prostitutes but separated from their family on a small island off the coast during the last typhoon. The brothers needed the money to get back home — been living from the trash bins until another boy told them how to work the beaches. Instead of massages and high balls, seafood buffets or blunts, we loaded ourselves into a rickety ferry with the boys and rode home with them. Had to walk quite a way off the road after a bus took us to their small town. When we were in their small village, the boys ran toward a small shack made of palm, screaming someone’s name. An old man came to the door, jumped down the steps and embraced the boys, kissing their heads and calling others. Ernesto and I stood to the side watching this but were soon drawn into a crowd of islanders with kisses and hugs. The women clapped and hugged the boys — eyes filled with love. Though we couldn’t understand their language, it was evident that these boys were loved. We turned to leave, but arms grabbed us to stay. Women cooked all kinds of dishes from the island, I could smell it all afternoon as Ernesto and I toured the village. When we told them, in very basic terms, that we worked with livestock, they had to show us their prized bulls, pigs, goats, chickens — primitive set-ups, but sufficient. Their animals were very much part their lives and were treated very well. As we wended our way toward the feast, I saw two boys on horses riding along the beach in the waves, dark hair flying along with the manes and tails of the horses. We feasted, sitting on the floor of a hut with the boys as the village watched from the doors and windows. Couldn’t have had a better meal anywhere on earth that night. We ate till we couldn’t stuff any more in ourselves and met one young woman after another — Ernesto and I didn’t wear rings. After a night on small hammocks, we left with gifts — small bowls made of cocoanut shells, carved and smoothed, necklaces of shells and a bag of fruit for the trip back on the ferry. I became violently sea sick as we hit rough seas about half way back to our hotel. Poor Ernesto, he had to go to a pharmacy to get something to calm my stomach. Gave me a pill and a club soda and lay down beside me, brought a washcloth and wiped my face, then kissed my nose. “Cruises are out now, huh?” I could only groan at the thought of it. … When we arrived home to our familiar comfortable lives, two teens, two grandmothers, Angie and Dad. Over dinner they said Maggie was coming, enrolling in UT in the fall — business major. We nodded and passed the tortillas. Damn if Angie hadn’t put Rotel and cheese on the squash. Everyone ate it without saying anything — why did she ruin good food like that? Looked like we’d have two college students, and Nati readying to graduate high school. Mom and Ernesto’s mom had often visited Matamoros, her parents passed with family close by. The grandmothers enjoyed each other and stayed in the pre-fab, kept Jimmy’s garden. Dad, bless his heart, began frequenting the local `liar’s table’ in the mornings met a few friends down there. Our nights remained ours, on our big bed with a bigger Andres. I’d miss him — there were a number of young women who where hot on his heels. He was studying Early Latin American History and Anthropology, wanting to scour the ruins for peeks into the roots of his history. After years of working for someone else, Ernesto followed Angie’s lead. He left the company he’d worked for and opened his own consultancy. Lucky me — I was his partner in business now as well as life. I had to learn a lot more about what he was doing — chasing the devils out of the details. He worked with state senators and others he’d met before in crafting legislation. Ernesto had an air about him — distinguished and diplomatic and clearly determined. I was his front man taking care of public contacts, he said I personified the `good ol’ boy.’ My role was working with the farmers and ranchers, producers and teaching them how to deal with the bureaucracy as well as their animals. Earned a good reputation together — other Texans knew we weren’t on the take. Companies and individuals came for advice on marketing, others came to get reports on potential resolutions before regulations changed. Lots of different ways to sell our expertise. Ernesto did a lot of public speaking, I tagged along with brochures and met with the ranchers and others. Lots of chicken dinners without any taste or any Rotel, and it was always good to get home. Eight years later, after all the chaos of college kids in the house and moving on. Nati and Maggie married with Dad in his wheel chair, giving them away. Ernesto’s mom passed — I missed her and all she’d done for me — giving me Ernesto and Ernie. Dad was melancholy; Mom morose. The house was empty, the bulk of our work raising children done. We wandered through the halls quietly. Mom and Dad drifted toward their deaths as Ernesto and I scheduled carers. After several tortured weeks of guilt and muddled confessions, Dad passed. Mom went a year later. Now, Ernesto and I were alone again, but satisfied. The kids all came back with their families, occasionally renting the pre-fab to one of their friends. Angie moved in with us, she moved slowly and quietly — her arthritis was painful. Ernesto took up the bowl and we sat on the porch swings in the late afternoons, all three of us, passing the pipe to relieve our aches. Out of the blue, or perhaps his inhibitions released, Ernesto asked Angie why she didn’t marry and give us a few more kids to love. “Never met a guy who would let me be myself, you know how these Texas men are. Why didn’t you two marry when the laws changed? Could have adopted, you know.” “Crazy years — the house was full.” I said. “We always made room.” Angie said. “Thanks, thanks for all your help making it work out.” Like a bad penny, Jimmy’s name came up again. After a long silence, Angie admitted she’d had an abortion — Jimmy’s child. She was only fifteen when he’d raped her. I froze inside as she told me about how she and mom had sneaked to a covert clinic, crying and hurt, they’d stayed together through it and came home to cover the secret in shame. “Couldn’t take the idea of being pregnant again — just too much trauma around it — been in counseling for years. Hope that treatment you gave him was as painful as what I had to go through.” Tears burned my eyes as I remembered my red-headed sister full of life and smiles and Jimmy being so brutal to her. Brutal. In my way, I’d been as brutal by castrating Jimmy — and it had worked, like it did on the farms and ranches, calmed him down to get on with his life. Cut a lot of sex, and he wasn’t cut out for being the stud; humans have to deal with relationships along with sex. Until he was fixed, he’d been unable to form any decent relationships with anyone, much less himself. Then I pulled myself off that morbid road and remembered Ernie Sr. He’d lead us with kindness through our changes. Angie abruptly jerked me out of that reverie: “But the fun was always around you, brother. Hell of a ride on a wild mustang for a while, but a great life we’ve had.” A few moments later, “I’m starving — how about burritos, I have a can of Rotel in my purse.” “Never liked that stuff.” I grunted thinking the Rotel. “Too bad, so sad.” She gave me that sing-song, smart-ass little insult she used. “Gimme some respect.” “You want respect or munchies?” Ernesto was chuckling softly, “Burritos, dear.” He stood and leaned to kiss my cheek. “I like Rotel.” He winked, “Makes me so damn horny.” Fin Left

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