Dooby Rhymes with Scooby

                                                                                        by Jamie Haze 

 

 Part 25




Carl met the new boys at the side of the bed amid the clamber of the
whole group settling in on the air mattresses. If the four were goggle
eyed in the kitchen looking at so many fine young male bodies casually
nude and obviously all gay, they were thunder struck as the group began
to pair off, form threesomes or foursomes and begin doing whatever gay
young men did with each other on the comfortable mattresses. When Carl
saw that their attention was elsewhere, he motioned to Zack and Billy
with Alex and Daryl to lead the boys away toward the big indoor pool
where it would be quieter since no one it seemed had fully explored the
field house's other amenities and had found it yet.

Carl led the group to a comfortable sitting area near the shallow end and
asked them to sit down while he went behind the bar to retrieve soft
drinks for them all. "I think, my new young friends, that we should talk
before things go any further and before you decide to stay or perhaps
return to the city. If you wish to, a car will take you back tomorrow
morning. I am an old man with two grandsons to raise. I discovered that
my grandsons were gay some time ago. I watched them as lovers, which
triggered an old memory of myself and my own red-headed lover when we
were barely teenagers like you," all eyes shifted to Daryl. He grinned
back at them. "Obviously I can afford my whims. I found Daryl in
Scotland and brought him home to stay with me since his father rejected
him."

Kurt piped up, "What is it, exactly, that you like to do, or what will
you do to us?" he asked with some trepidation but less afraid than the
other three.

Carl blushed as he answered, "Frankly, I very much like eating a boy's
recently filled boy pussy, one filled by another boy, hopefully while I
watch and, if permitted, touch as they are engaged."

Kurt smiled, "Frankly, I can deal with that." He looked at his partner,
sixteen-year-old Carl, "Couldn't you?" he asked hopefully.

Carl nodded eagerly "Can we make it with your grandsons and these other
hot guys we'll be living with?" he asked, charging on with his
thoughts. All he saw from Zack and Billy, and Daryl and Alex were smiling
nods in the affirmative.

Carl shrugged. "I'd imagine if you don't try, that they will try to
make it with you. I assure that they are all eager beavers, as you
youngsters say. But, if there is any kind of force used on another
individual, you will find yourself back on the streets." With that
unsmiling warning, which extended to Daryl, Alex, Zack and Billy with a
brief look. Then to soften the warning, he smiled, "Now let's get back
to the bed and see what the Rebs are up to with our fellow Yanks." Carl
and his boys led the four newbies to the makeshift bed where they found
the others in the form of a sea of naked boy flesh in action on both
sides of the men's raised king size beds in the middle.

Carl led the new boys over to meet Auggie and Zeek, who were then
occupied with each other. Auggie lay on his side and was enjoying Zeek as
the black man rolled his hips rhythmically behind the fat man. Auggie
grinned at the four boys who watched the joining with their mouths
hanging open. Auggie explained, "This here is Zeek. We played together
from when we was rug rats when our families sharecropped on the same
farm. We bumped bellies the firs' time when we was a mite younger than
you kids. Once we started neither o' us could get enough o' each other.
Now we been together all our plum lives, an' it still all good. Yo'
boys last as long as us an' it be good fo' you too." Auggie reached
for a double old fashion glass, which, except for ice, was empty.
"Trasker Boy!" Auggie shouted.

"WHAT?" Trasker asked even louder. Both enjoyed the echoes resounding
around the cavernous room.

"What yo' doin'!" Auggie shouted, "Yo' busy?"

"Nope. Ryan and I are arguing over which of us is going to eat out Logan
and Cory. It didn't matter at first but then Stevie and Dooby arrived
and added to the mix, but only in their lovers."

Auggie giggled before suggesting, "Mayhap yo' could eat one or t'other
an' just switch half way through. Whilst yo' ain't doin' nothin',
how `bout yo fetch us another Bourbon an' branch? I sure am needin'
the extra fuel," he added plaintively.

Auggie jumped when he heard Trasker and Ryan both laugh at him as they
looked down on the busy couple while Zeek never missed a stroke. "Man
Unc, Mattie goin' to kick both our asses when we get home an' has you
climb on that freight scale an' yo' gained weight this weekend."
Trasker accused.

Auggie attempted to look contrite while he explained to Carl's new
boys," This here is my nephew, Trasker Boy, he the Chief o' the Food
Police whilst we on this here vacation. I is on ah diet `cause my whole
gang thinks I is overweight somewhat."

Little Kurt's changing voice rang with peels of laughter at Auggie's
explanation, which set off everyone else within hearing no matter what
they were doing. His giggles also brought him from behind the younger
Carl and he got Auggie's wide-eyed attention.

"Holy shit boy, yo' hung as well as James Boy an' yo' ain't as old
by a damn sight. Yo also as handsome as all get out. Yo' be a boy an'
man killer right now!" Auggie exclaimed.

Suddenly Carl pulled his young lover back against his body possessively
to frown down on Auggie. He reached to Kurt's heavy erection and wagged
it at Auggie. "Forget about it Sir. This meat is virgin and tonight I'm
taking care of that at least four times."

Kurt jerked his head to the side and up to look at Carl. "But Carl
you're older you should always be on top."

"NOT!" Dooby sang as he dragged Cory to his feet to tug him along.
"Cory and I went through the same shit argument at first. Now we enjoy
each other about equally. Hey, speaking of shit, come on you guys, we
need to get you all ready before anything happens." He grabbed Kurt's
hand and Cory took Carl's. "Zack! Billy! Alex! Daryl!" he screamed,
"Stop whatever you're doing and report to the showers! Your new
brothers need some first time education." He looked at David and Alan,
"Well come on guys or do we need to carry you?" He waited a whole
second before ordering the grinning foursome he'd called from the beds,
"Administer some tickle torture until they agree to come along
quietly."

Alan and David dropped into crouching defensive postures wearing grins of
acceptance. Alex carried both to the floor by simply raising his long
arms and diving at them. The other three pounced but included Alex since
they knew he was extremely ticklish. It wasn't long before Alan and
David had joined Zack, Billy and Daryl in tickling Alex. Finally Alex
gasped out, "Had enough yet guys?" The new boys giggled, nodded and
pulled Alex to his feet. He surrounded their shoulders with his arms and
pulled them close. "You know I want a rematch?" he asked with a laugh.

It seemed that word spread that a virgin was about to be deflowered while
the group was in the showers, so that when they returned the mob had
collected on one side of the higher beds and were waiting to watch. Carl
knelt on the far side and patted the space in front of his knees. Zack,
Billy, Daryl and Alex joined him. Alan and young Carl lay down in front
of them. Neither erection touched their hard guts, but throbbed and
wobbled impatiently obviously looking for attention.

"Hold it!" Dooby boomed from the darkness surrounding the beds. "If
they do it like that, we won't be able to see David and Alan behind Kurt
and Carl," he complained. Audience frowns at Dooby changed to nods of
agreement. Auggie solved the problem by patting the space next to he and
Zeek since they sat up to watch the action on the opposite bed.

"Davie Boy an' Alan Boy, heist over here." After the boys moved, Alan
lifted his legs smiled up at his lover, David, and pulled him down
without hesitation. David began thrusting slowly without waiting as he
was surrounded by Alan's arms and legs and began using his legs to lever
his body up to meet David half way. Auggie arched an eyebrow. "Yo' boys
done this befo'." That wasn't a question. Both boys nodded
imperceptibly. Auggie grinned and ran a soft hand over David's sleek
hard butt cheek. When his fingers reached the boy's tight crack, his
long plump middle finger dove unerringly. He immediately began massaging
the boy's prostate. David arched his body and moaned loudly. "How that
feel Davie Boy?"

"Don't ever stop." David whimpered.

On the other bed Carl bent to guide Kurt and once the bulbous head
penetrated it's target, Kurt watched Carl's face carefully until he
smiled and nodded. Kurt sank slowly inch by inch until their torsos
touched. Carl reached up to pull Kurt's head down to give him a soul
searching kiss. When Kurt pulled back with his mind solely on where his
cock was in Carl's body, Carl whispered, "Okay, let's start moving. It
feels so great."

Just then everyone including Gramps Carl heard David moan and when they
saw his body arch up, there were questions. James answered them all with
a giggle. "Auggie's using his magic digit to work over Dave's button.
He'll double his load when he comes," he assured them from experience

When Auggie saw Gramps Carl looking at him in question, he raised his
other hand and gave Carl the finger and pantomimed insertion. Carl smiled
his thanks, looked at his long middle finger and slowly ran it along
Kurt's crack until he felt the boy's well-oiled wrinkle. His finger
sank. He wiggled it in exploration until he felt the bump. Kurt sighed in
pleasure, shivered, drove his cock into Carl and froze in place. Gramps
Carl thought he was about to have his finger cut off as Kurt clenched his
tight muscles. He knew he wouldn't be able to remove it until Kurt
calmed down.

Kurt grinned hugely, looked up at Gramps Carl and asked, "Could you do
that some more?" He didn't wait for an answer as he resumed his gentle
thrusts into his surprised but very willing new lover.

Cory tugged at Dooby's arm. They remained standing in the background
because they had to get to the kitchen to finish making the new deli
salads plus baked beans. Only Dooby was hot to trot. Tom and Christian
saw and heard the growing confrontation. They sighed and regretfully
nodded and put aside their unspoken plans for each other in the interest
of business. They stood together and removed choice from Dooby just by
grabbing him by his arms and lifting him until his feet left the floor.
Dooby went limp, resigned to losing the argument.

Cory snapped his fingers. "Shorts, we'll need shorts."

"Yeah," Tom agreed, "get ours too, we'll have to keep guard."

Dooby grinned, "Bullshit, if you guard me you'll have to be on camera
to keep me there so just plan on helping out."

In the kitchen, Dooby went to the deep sink used for washing pots because
it was equipped with an over-head hose and spray head. Scott, Artie,
Dooby's older brother, Spook and Johnnie Be Good were already there and
set up ready to begin shooting the first part of the tailgate party
segment. Everyone watched Dooby wet his whole body down while standing
over a floor drain. Before anyone could ask, Dooby answered, "We need a
plausible excuse for not wearing shirts. The excuse is that we were
swimming when lightening here," he tossed a thumb at Cory, "decided
that Spelling's needed to improve their deli salads so someone would
actually eat them at their tailgate parties even though its already nine
o'clock at night, so here we are," he concluded.

Tom nodded and grabbed the hose from Dooby before he could start a
one-sided water fight. He wet himself and then Cory and Christian. Dooby
scooted to behind the island counter and looked to Johnny for his cue.
Johnnie grinned, flipped a switch and nodded. "PLACES!" Dooby screamed
followed quickly by, "ACTION!" and looked disgusted as Cory, Tom and
Christian scurried to his side.

Dooby began his contrived explanation with a mouth full of pearly
white's, "Hi there folks. This show is kind of an emergency. We got
invited to a tailgate party at an annual charity steeplechase event to
benefit the local hospital and we decided it would make a good show that
should have been done at the start of the football season. Our host Mr.
Carl Bradley was going to have the bash catered by Spelling's, at least
the salads and finger foods." Dooby put on his sucking lemons face
before he returned to normal.

"That's when I dipped my oar in the conversation. Personally, I won't
eat Spelling's salads because they currently use the cheapest
ingredients and a recipe from when Gramps Spelling started the business.
Tonight we, that is my best bud Cory Spelling is going to change all that
and I get the stool." He looked up suddenly as if he just realized that
Tom and Christian were standing dripping beside him." This guy, my
cousin, Tom Paterson, he's the President and CEO of Spelling's after
Gramps Charley retired and Tom bought into the better salad idea. When he
does that he thinks the change should be instant and dragged Cory and I
from a pool party into this kitchen to prove that what Cory makes is
great compared to the spit they sell now. Oh, this other guy staring
daggers at me is Christian Dunn. Christian is a fantastic artist and does
all the new art work you've probably noticed in the stores along with
Spelling's weekly circular. We all go to the same school, although he's
a senior. Now that's pretty extraordinary isn't it? With all that spit
being said, I yield my stove to Cory Spelling." Dooby looked to both
sides of the counter and frowned, "Hey where's the stool?" He asked
with a moan.

"Tonight there isn't going to be one. You'll be way too busy and no
fooling around or I'll break something," Cory warned.

"Yes Sir." Dooby answered contritely and then watched Cory produce a
ten-pound bag of potatoes, which he placed between Tom and Christian.

"Here guys peel these and pop them into a pot. We'll dice them after
they're cooked," Cory explained before turning to Dooby, "Here Doob
you can slice up the cabbage for the slaw."

Dooby took the two plastic sacks; one in each hand and his shoulders
slumped temporarily until he recovered. "Spit Cory, there must be twenty
pounds in each bag I thought we only needed ten pounds total."

Cory grinned and pointed to a counter where a professional looking slicer
reposed in all its glory. "We don't, I ordered this stuff by phone and
I didn't know how big they were but you can use that if we can figure
out how to adjust it. Come on let's see." Dooby followed Cory. Dooby
was first to find the adjustment knob.

"Which way?" Dooby asked.

Cory shrugged and picked a large chef's knife off its magnetic holder
and used it to slice one of the oversize cabbages in half. "Look Doob,
see this hard core at the bottom?" Dooby nodded. "Cut it out and toss
it." After that was done Cory flopped the half cabbage on to the slicer
deck and reached for the safety holder to pull it in place.

In a split second Dooby saw that Cory wouldn't be able to reach the
handle and pushed him out of the way. "Hey chef get away from here, if
you want me to do this, then let me do it. This looks like fun." He
pulled the safety handle down, turned on the machine and pushed the slide
forward. He looked amazed when pieces of cabbage leaves fell to the
counter. Cory deemed the pieces as being too thick. Dooby adjusted the
dial and tried again. Cory nodded and Dooby went into high production.

Cory began to walk away, very thankful that Dooby saw the reaching thing
and covered for him instantly. "Wait Doob put a pan under the slicer to
catch the cabbage."

Dooby shut off the slicer, put his hands on his hips and asked, "Got any
idea where they keep the pots and pans?" Cory shrugged and promptly
disappeared from the camera's view. Dooby took up the slack by saying,
"This kitchen is obviously not ours; we're staying here for the weekend
with school buddies Zack Bradley and his cousin Billy Kidd, they're Carl
Bradley's grandsons, so the kitchen is his, that would be Gramps Carl. I
call him and Charlie Spelling both Gramps because both of mine passed
away a long time ago." Dobby looked around hoping that Cory would
reappear with a pan quickly because he was running out of things to say.

"We taped our Thanksgiving show today, so Cory and I were working. We
stayed over here tonight because we plan to go horseback riding tomorrow.
Billy Kidd is very much into horses, jumpers, and is even entered in
three races at the steeplechase races next weekend." Suddenly there was
a loud clatter of pots and pans hitting and bouncing on the quarry tile
floor.

"I found them," Cory called out.

Dooby giggled before he answered, "It sounded more like they found
you!"

When Cory reappeared with a low pan, he too was laughing. "They have
pots and pans stacked all willy-nilly in the pantry and this one was on
the bottom of course."

Two hours later all the salads were done and refrigerated and the oven
where the beans simmered would stay on overnight, "CUT! THAT'S A
WRAP!" Dooby shouted. To which Scott complained before the sound was
switched off. There was loud cheering and clapping behind the cameras;
Dooby and Cory were so intent on the cameras that they didn't notice the
rest of the gang as they entered the kitchen to watch the taping.

Dooby hugged Cory and then went into the Dutch uncle mode. "Look Sprout,
you're the cook from now on, so don't ever walk away from the cameras
that are on you. You did that not once but twice. The first time you went
looking for a pan and the second time you went to find a new bottle of
fucking catsup leaving me to create some instant bullshit. I was so
desperate I started babbling about Bradley's Bank and wondered what kind
of banking they did since they didn't offer checking or savings
accounts. If it doesn't get cut I thought maybe there might be a few
sharp investors watching that would put two and two together and add it
up to an impending Spelling's IPO."

Tom laughed and swept Dooby off his feet to swirl him around the kitchen.
"That piece will get edited, but never cut. That was a stroke of genus.
You're right, next Friday morning, business analysts will begin
speculating when the release will take place, not if it's ever going to
happen." Tom paused, saw that Dooby's head was even with his and
planted a very uncousinly kiss on his mouth.

When Tom pulled away, Dooby was panting. He looked around and
manufactured a totally bogus and very loud yawn. He looked at Tom with a
grin. "Ready for bed now?" he asked while humping Tom's gut. Tom
nodded and began moving toward the door. "Come on guys, back to the
field house!" he called out. The parade began.

Tom stopped suddenly when he felt a small hand caress his thigh. He and
Dooby both looked down. A small hand had wiggled between their bodies to
boldly clutch Dooby's hard cock. They saw that the hands belonged to
Alan. David looked on anxiously. "Can we come with you guys?" Alan
asked hopefully "We need to collect some presents for Gramps," he
explained.

Dooby moaned but grinned, "Sure, but get your hand off me for now. Man
Alan, you sure have the `touch'. We'll send you back to Gramps with
all the presents you two can hold." He looked around and spotted Cory,
"Sprout! Get over here and bring your oranges! These guys need to
collect some presents for Gramps!" Cory looked up from the ingredient
lists he was double-checking, he dropped his pencil and started jogging
across the kitchen, unmindful of his rapidly growing erection and the
stir it caused as the mighty prong bobbed and swung violently from side
to side.

***

The Sunday morning meeting began in the dining room over an elaborate
breakfast buffet. No one from Bradley's knew what Carter looked like so
it was a natural mistake when Bradley's Senior Vice-President crossed to
the doors as Wilson and Willingham's Managing Director entered the room
with Carter at his side; Carter was wearing shorts and no shirt. Five
younger guys followed. They all stared at Carter, at least at his back.
Three were Junior Partners and two were CPA's from the firm's
accounting division. None of these young men, until they were all
introduced a few minutes earlier, had ever seen Carter before. So it was
a natural error when the Bradley VP offered his hand to the gray haired
Managing Director, assuming that he was Carter Willingham. The man
laughed, shook his head and introduced Carter. The VP blinked and
apologized.

Carter giggled, "No problem, I'm rarely up here to work and I must
admit that only a few folks in the firm know what I look like." He shook
hands with the VP and then both began introducing others on their staffs.

Jim Bob accompanied Carter at his request although Jim Bob remained in
the background intentionally people watching. His job that morning was to
use his gaydar to identify any gays on either side of the two groups. He
found four, two, an accountant and a Junior Partner weren't just staring
at Carter generally they stared intently, particularly at his tight
little bubble butt although they did so independently seemingly unaware
of the other's interest in Carter's shorts. Carter caught two of
Carl's junior staff member's eyes roving over his body somewhat
wistfully after he was introduced to them. He glanced back at Jim Bob
with a raised eyebrow and received a confirming grin and nod.

Suddenly Auggie and Carl appeared, both were walking. Zeek attended
Auggie on his other side, ever ready to steady the big man if required.
Ryan brought up Auggie's rear ready to catch him should he start to
topple backward although he remained very carefully out of range of
Auggie's gold-knobbed cane. The two principles introduced each other
and then Auggie pulled Ryan to his side.

"An this here's my CEO, Ryan Bronson. If yo' got a question an' I
ain't aroun' yo' ask Ryan Boy, he speaks for me anytime." With that
said Auggie flopped in a side chair, looked hungrily at the buffet and
then up at Zeek hopefully. Zeek grinned and nodded, realizing that the
morning was not one to fuss about calories. Carl sat beside Auggie
briefly while waiting for the business guests to begin serving themselves
when he was surrounded by boys, all dressed, even wearing shirts and
clamoring for the honor of serving Gramps Carl and Auggie. Alex loomed
over them all and whispered instructions. The boys spread out around the
table and began taking orders.

Kurt remained standing between the two men. "Can I take your orders for
breakfast?" he asked them both, slightly apprehensively.

Carl nodded to Auggie to begin. "I just gave my order to Zeek here
little one. Why don't he jus' go with yo'? Yo' tote the plate an' he
fill it an' yo' bring it back."

Kurt sighed in relief, "Thanks Auggie," he whispered, "I guess you can
see I'm new at this."

"Yo' doin' fine fo' ah first timer. Now skeddale." Kurt giggled,
turned and ran, barely avoiding Auggie's big hand aimed at his bottom.

Kurt carried a huge dinner plate with both hands when he returned. It was
piled with breakfast entrée's. He carefully placed the plate in front of
Auggie and then just stayed to watch Auggie begin to eat. He'd never
eaten anything that looked like what the men at the table were eating.
"What's that stuff?" he asked impulsively just as Auggie lifted a
forkful from his plate. Auggie diverted his first bite to the boy.

"Here, try it. Mattie, my cook makes this occasional. She say it too
rich fo' little ole me. It some kind o' Frenchified stuff, but it some
good eatin'."

Kurt chewed tentatively at first and then ambitiously while rolling his
eyes with pleasure. "Man, that is good." He agreed as he looked down on
Auggie's plate again. He pointed, "What's that?"

Auggie grinned, "That there's biscuits an' gravy. That there is ah
down home favorite, an' no you ain't gettin' none o' mine." His
eyebrows shot up with suspicion. "Say Boy, my boy's didn't set yo' up
to eat my breakfast did they?"

Kurt looked confused. "No, Sir. I wouldn't do that. It's just I've
never seen any of this before."

Auggie smiled and looked at Zeek. "Zeek Boy, how about yo' fix this boy
a plate an' then shuffle down one place. We have breakfast together."

Kurt shook his head. "No Sir, I couldn't do that, I'm supposed to
serve you guys."

Carl intervened, "It looks to me like you've already done that. All of
you boys fix a plate and join us. We won't be talking any business until
after we're done with breakfast."

When Zeek returned, the plate he carried looked exactly like Auggie's.
He placed it in his former place and then pushed Kurt into the chair.
Ryan leaned forward to look around Carl. "The stuff you liked so much is
called Eggs Benedict. There's an English muffin, Canadian bacon, poached
eggs and Hollandaise sauce on top. Pretty good huh?"

Kurt could only nod since his mouth was full and his face appeared as if
he was about to have an orgasm while he swallowed. When Auggie and little
Kurt finished, both plates were clean. Kurt couldn't hold back the gas
in his stomach and burped loudly. He immediately slid down in his chair
until only the top of his blond head remained visible. "Excuse me," he
squeaked.

Auggie swallowed some air quickly and forced a louder belch. "Excuse me
Kurt boy, but mine was some louder. You lose. Now set up there like a
little man. Yo' know in some places if yo' don't belch, it considered
an insult to the cook, so we just did right by Chef Andre."

As Auggie was comforting Kurt, he saw from the corner of his eye a look
of displeasure cross the face of a young man across the table. He frowned
slightly, "Somethin' yo et didn't set well with ya'll?" he asked,
actually giving him an `out' if he cared to accept it. He didn't.

The man flushed at being caught wearing his thoughts on his face. "No,
well, yes. I was surprised at your belching contest, that's all." He
added as an after thought, "I'm sorry."

Auggie nodded and turned to Carter, "Carter boy, yo got one o' them red
booklets handy?" Carter nodded, opened a case and slid the requested
binder down the table. Auggie missed stopping it but Kurt didn't. "Good
catch boy. Slide that sucker over to the red-faced dude. I reckon I need
to bring everyone up to speed about me an' my companies before we start
talkin' turkey."

Auggie took a sip of hot coffee after Alex refilled his cup. He leaned
back and clasped his hands over his still ample belly. "I was born an'
raised on a big farm or plantation as yo' might call it, my family an'
Zeek's were share croppers. If yo' don't know what that means, it
means we rented land from the owner an' paid the rent in the form of
givin' over a big share of our crops. In good years, there was plenty to
share an' get through the winter wi' plenty to eat. How-some-ever, in
bad years we still had to pay the rent first off an' the landlord never
cared if we was left with little nor nothin to see us through to the next
harvest. I got as far as grade eight before my pappy put my ass to workin
wi' my brothers an' him on the farm. Zeek here, my best friend back
then, an' still got no schoolin' cause they wasn't no schools in the
back country for negras at the time, so as I learned my letters an'
numbers, I taught him though secret like so the Klan wouldn't take
notice. At the time, niggers what could read were considered uppity an'
those could find themselves hangin' from a tree.

"When I turned eighteen, I was in the town general store to buy a new
pair o' breeches since I was hangin' out o' the ones I was wearin'.
They had a radio playin' some music an' I thought it was the most awful
sound ever. It was all Yankee songs, but at the farm the music we all
liked was backcountry stuff. Some made up on the spot, an' I wondered
why that station didn't play the stuff we all liked or would listen to
assumin' we had a radio. First things first, I went down to that there
radio station just outside town that was in a shed behind the owner's
house an' I asked if I could get a job wi' him sellin' advertisin'.
That good ole boy nearly died o' laughin'. When he recovered enough he
said somethin' like, `I'll jus' go you one better boy, I'll take
fifty bucks an' yo' own the whole station.' Auggie grinned at the
memory. "The fool even gave me terms; pay him when I could. We shook on
it an' I ran all the way back to the farm I believe without touchin' no
ground. I got ever' one together who could play somethin' or sing, even
gospel singers from the church. I tol' `em all what was up an' asked
if they'd play live music for three hours on radio. They was all
flattered as shit an' agreed.

"Next, I ducked chores that afternoon an' hightailed it to town and I
went to ever business there, even the undertaker. I up an' tol' em all
to listen to the radio station on Saturday afternoon to hear some good
down home music an' I'd give `em all free plugs. But I tol' `em all
that I'd be back the followin' week to have `em pay for advertisin'
the next Saturday. The charge was goin' to be a buck per spot.

"Saturday mornin' about ten-thirty all the musicians an' singers
showed up with their families in tow. The shed was too small so Zeek ran
an extension for the microphone out back under a big old Oak tree. The
audience spread out on blankets to have picnic lunches. Zeek threw the on
switch at high noon an' I suddenly found out that I was the host since I
forgot about that position. Meanwhile Zeek discovered that the good ole
boy who sold me his station also had bought but never used a real record
recorder. Zeek put in a blank and nodded to me to get to talkin'. I
welcomed the listenin' audience an' tol' `em all to get ready to
enjoy some real country music. The first to play were two brothers who
could make their banjos talk. Zeek turned on the recorder befo' I
introduced them. Them boys was proud as Peacocks an' they played fifteen
minutes straight when I pushed them away from the microphone. I started
plugging the businesses as promised while a group of about ten guys, both
white an' black set up to play behind me. They played nothin' but jazz.
The next group sang gospel. The next were blues men, an' so on. That
first concert ran on `til six-thirty when every one was played and sung
out. By then I done gave all the town merchants at least three plugs.

"Monday rolled round an' I headed for the gate. My daddy stopped me
with a push backward that was hard enough to land me on my ass. He told
me to get back to work or else. Now yo' got to understand that at
eighteen I was six feet tall an' I was totally muscled up from doin'
farm work. Daddy on the other hand was only five-six an' skinny as a
rail although as powerful as all get out. I tried to walk past him when
he sucker punched me in the kidney. I saw red but as calm as I could I
told him if he ever hit me or any of my brothers and sisters again an' I
found out, that he'd end up bein' a walkin' advertisement for cotton
bandages, if he could even walk. I also told him my future was in radio
an' that I was done wi' farmin'.

"Zeek an' I walked into town an' were actually rushed by the merchants
I plugged. It weren't so much as they'd gotten any more customers, they
already had all that lived near there or in the town except o'course the
undertaker. No sir it was just that they were flattered as all get out to
hear their names and their businesses mentioned from the radio. Zeek an'
I walked out o' town with over a hundred dollars in cash money that
afternoon. When we got back to the farm, it were near dark so all our
performers would be in from the fields. We gave each an' ever one a
silver dollar an' a promise of another each an' ever week they showed
up to the station on Saturday afternoons. They all promised and they
showed up. At Zeek's gate I gave him seven dollars. Five to give to his
pappy so's he'd be free of no more farmin' and two for hisownself. The
same I was payin' my Daddy an' myself. The next mornin' an hour
before sunup we were on the road to the next town with a radio station.
The general store owner owned that one, an' that fool never thought to
plug his own store. I paid thirty dollars for that station, got free rent
for a year to keep the station in a back room an' hired the man's son
to host all the shows for three dollars a week.

The first year I bought twelve of those little local stations an' in
each one we used the same format to get advertisin' usin' local talent
mostly an' playin' recordin's as needful as fill-ins. By then we about
worn out locals we could walk to in a full day an' another walkin'
home. I had a good cash flow by then so we broke down an' bought a car,
nothin special, an old Model `T', but it ran mostly an' was easy to
fix if it broke down." Auggie grinned at Zeek. "Zeek here was kind of
tired of tryin' to put his foot through the floor boards to brake with
me drivin' the first day, so he just pushed me aside from the driver's
door an took over the drivin' from then until now. With him at the
wheel, I started writin' copy for our advertisers an' more copy for
hosts to read between acts or recordins'.

"That was about the time I set my sights on `lanta, the big city. We
hauled a radio along with us an' set up in a flophouse to listen to
every station we could find. We found one that was so bad they had almost
no advertisin'. They started up at nine in the mornin' an' signed off
at ten at night. We drove out to the edge of town an' found a pretty new
building with a huge tower that could reach listeners in three counties.
We walked in to find the reception area empty, just a push bell. Zeek
pounded that bell five minutes straight before we noticed a head appear
in ah dark window in the back wall. When the dude decided we weren't
cops or creditors he showed his self fully and when he found out I was
interested in buying his station he started droolin'. The dude admitted
that he was in dire straights and was about to lose everythin' like
tomorrow to satisfy his debts, but since he owned the land, building and
station free and clear so far, whatever he got for the whole shebang was
one hundred percent more than he'd get when his creditors moved in.

"I made him an offer of one thousand cash money an' he accepted then
an' there. He produced a property deed from his packed valise an' wrote
a transfer of ownership for the station. I also got him to scribble out a
statement to the effect that I was buying assets only, no liabilities.
The dude giggled at that because his Buick was packed and parked behind
the building. He was ready to take off for parts unknown. I turned that
station around inside o' three months. We went to a twenty-four hour
format an' to fill the time brought in know it all type guys for call in
shows. We had talk shows with local guests an' we played our country
music. Then we started gettin' requests to buy records. I started a
label and began selling mail order. I bought more stations in other large
markets always for distressed prices.

"Finally, in the forties television was introduced. I had to squint to
see through all the fuzz but realized TV was the future at least at home.
People prophesied that TV would be the death of radio but I didn't see
it that way. People were buying cars and payin' extra for radios they
could listen to just drivin' around. I began gettin' licensed for TV
stations, building studios and a network of transmission towers so that a
live program broadcast in New York could be viewed by someone livin' in
Florida almost simultaneous.

Auggie sighed, remembering the good times, "I started a production
company out to L.A. to create our own series fo' our stations, then got
into feature length films. I needed to advertise some an' started
puttin' up billboards along the main roads, an' soon other companies
wanted to rent our signs so they could advertise. Now I think we got us
about twenty thousand of them signs all over the country.

"When cable came out I was ready for that too." Auggie suddenly slapped
his palm down on the table. Everyone jumped. He glared at the young man
across the table. "Yo' gettin' all this pipsqueak? I admit I'm still
a redneck and no claim to havin' manners, but if you open that red
booklet to the last page you'll find in the southwest corner what my
companies is worth today according to an audit my accountants finished
last week. If you can read numbers that high, please do so out loud."

"Ninety-three billon dollars?" the boy squeaked as a question.

Those around the table and standing around the room sucked in their
breaths waiting for the other shoe to drop, it wasn't long in coming.
"Fucking right." Auggie declared proudly and continued, "I believe
that all gives me the right to belch or fart or swear at my table or
anyone else's an' those in hearin' can just haul ass if they don't
like it. Ain't that right Kurt?"

"Damn straight Uncle Auggie!" Kurt answered at once while staring at
Mr. Manners across the table. Auggie blinked, surprised and pleased that
Kurt had adopted him as an uncle.

Carter spoke softy, "I think Mr. Collins that you are excused. You can
wait in the car until we are finished here and the others are ready to
return to the city." Collins stood up woodenly and bent to retrieve his
briefcase. Carter stopped him; "You can leave that for now. Any personal
items in there or in your office can be picked up at reception tomorrow
after eleven in the morning."

"Damn Auggie, aren't you ever going to finish breakfast? We're
starving." Dooby whined while rubbing his gut.

Auggie turned to the side and was surprised to see that the rest of the
guys were standing behind him and all of them wore expressions of extreme
malnourishment. "How long yo' boys been standing there?"

Dooby grinned, "Long enough to hear how much you're worth. You know
that could be useful when Cory and I renegotiate our contracts."

Auggie groaned, "Once ah carpetbagger, always ah carpetbagger."

"We are not," Dooby protested, "remember we were initiated into the
Cause, so now we're both ole Johnnie Rebs for life and that alone should
be worth another hundred grand per show to start."

"Okay, I give up argufying. Just you wait `til next Thursday. I started
up a new channel called the fun channel since we went way outside the
food out takes long ago. If the first show works yo' may go to more
nights each week since we got so much footage without too many fuzzes."
Auggie rolled his eyes.

"Exactly when were you planning on telling us?" Dooby asked with a
frown. Cory nodded his agreement with Dooby's question. Dooby didn't
wait for an answer before asking another. "What time?"

Auggie grinned, "After yo' bedtime, eleven o'clock. Sorry boys I'll
let you know how yo' did after the polls come out Friday."

Suddenly Dooby looked like a light bulb blinked on in his head. "Wait
just a fucking minute Auggie, if the show is set to air Thursday night,
then that means it's already finished. Did you bring a copy? Can we see
it right after breakfast if you guys will ever get out of here so we can
eat." He looked at Carl and grinned, "You should know Gramps, that
Andre is getting pissed because he says that Eggs Benedict doesn't save
and needs to be served hot and fresh. He's already tossed two batches of
Hollandaise."

Carl gulped dramatically, "I guess we can take a hint. Come on guys,
this way to the library." He turned back to Carter and snapped his
fingers. "Oh, Carter, I almost forgot," he singled out two guys and
motioned them over. The two looked a bit apprehensive. "This is Mark an
accountant, and this is John an attorney. Carter asked for two of our
people to liaison with two of his guys so we can all keep abreast of
progress without making ten phone calls to ten different people." He
explained. Both men were relieved and very surprised that Carl Bradley
even knew their names.

Carter shook their hands and then introduced his guys already standing at
his side. "This is Luke a CPA and this is Matthew a Junior Partner."
The four young men shook hands as Dooby's laughter increased.

"You guys are kidding right? Mathew, Mark, Luke and John, like the four
apostles! Like that's unreal but easy to remember." Dooby giggled,
grabbed a plate and got in line behind Zack and Billy. There were no
longer hosts and guests, they had become friends and when it came to
eating, the first in line was the first to be served. Kurt and Carl got
in line behind Dooby and Cory. Dooby hoisted an eyebrow, grinned and
pushed them away. "You guys already had breakfast."

Kurt took on a pained look. "But Dooby, that was over an hour ago," he
protested.

"Was it? Well, okay then." He and Cory laughed and collared the two
with their arms to pull them back in line.

Carl looked out the big windows and saw that it was raining. He nudged
Kurt, "I guess no horse riding this morning."

"Shit," Kurt moaned. "I only ever saw horses in person, in a parade."

"Lucky you, I've only seen them on TV." Carl answered.

Billy overheard and reassured them, "Don't worry guys, you'll still
get to ride, just not outside." He looked the two new boys up and down
and then at Zack, "Did you ever get rid of your riding clothes?"

Zack shrugged, "I guess they're still in my closet but they probably
don't fit anymore. Why?"

"If these four are going to learn how to ride, they may as well learn to
dress properly. I know I still have stuff from when I was Kurt's size."

Zack agreed, "After breakfast we'll raid our closets. You better call
the stable to get some saddled so they're ready when we get there. Just
count me out," he rubbed his once broken arm, "I'll just watch."

Billy giggled, "Man you sure hold a grudge a long time." He looked
around the table. "Who wants to go riding?" he called out. Dooby and
Cory's hands shot up, Stevie and Logan raised theirs with grins that
didn't escape Billy' notice. Of course it was a foregone conclusion
that the other two city boys, David and Alan wanted to try it as well.

Dobby nudged Cory when he saw Scott whisper to Artie and the rest of the
film crew. They all finished eating in record time and began to leave the
table. Zack noticed as well and called out, "We'll be in my room. Up
the front stairs, turn left, the double doors at the end of the hall
leads to our wing." Scott nodded and hurried to catch up to the others.

All the boys detoured into Billy's room and his huge closet where he
began pulling hanging clothes encased in plastic bags from one side of
the closet, "I've outgrown all this, and these shirts, jackets and
these boots. With all this stuff and all of Zack's we should have enough
to outfit you all."

Zack's big room quickly turned into a circus. The cameras arrived and
started without Dooby hollering `Action' or even acknowledging their
presence. First everyone who wanted to ride stripped to the buff by just
pulling off tee shirts and pushing down their shorts. When the lack of
underwear became apparent, Billy ran back to his room and returned with a
fistful of tightie-whities. The riders-to-be balked until Zack explained
the need for some support to keep the family jewels from being mashed
each time a rider bounced on the saddle. After they'd all tried on a
pair. Dooby and Cory pushed through the mob to stand in front of a full
length-dressing mirror to stare at each other's crotches. Dooby's cock,
always half hard stood straight up his abs and his balls were divided to
stand sentinel on each side of his root while Cory's oranges were
bunched together and his longer flaccid cock pointed prominently at his
left hip. Both decided they liked the look so far and returned to where
Billy and Zack were busy sorting the special trousers they were to wear.

Kurt stood between the cousins trying to help without knowing exactly
what they were doing, so he became the target of a little joke. Billy
handed him a pair of soft boot socks and told him to put them on first so
his pants covered them down to his ankles. While he was donning the
socks, Zack buttoned the buttons that closed the split that ran from each
ankle up to just below the knee. The buttons were there for a purpose.
When unbuttoned the wearer could slip both feet into the knee area and
pull up the pants easily, but if closed there was no way the foot would
fit through the tight tube intended to hug each calf tightly to be
covered by tall riding boots. The cousins had Kurt sit on the bed so he
could slip both feet into the leg openings at the same time. His feet
reached the restricted area below the knee and stopped. The more he
pulled, the further his feet were jammed in place. He tried to stand up
to push the pants off but since he stood on the constricted area he only
succeeded in falling backward on the bed. The others noticed Kurt's
dilemma, the reason and began laughing.

Kurt looked up at Zack and Billy to shout, "I'm going to get you two
motherfuckers as soon as you get me out of this straight jacket!" he
warned.

"Relax little bro, it was just a one time joke," Zack soothed as he
began undoing the offending buttons on one calf while Billy worked on the
other. With his feet free, he pulled the trousers up and began
laboriously buttoning the unfamiliar fly. Billy waited until he finished
before handing him a snowy white shirt. It was obvious that there was no
way the shirttail could be tucked in the waist of the form fitting
trousers without first opening the fly.

Kurt glared at Billy, snatched the shirt away and stomped to the mirror
to admire his body stuffed into the riding trousers. The buff colored
thigh area ballooned out comfortably before tightening slightly at his
groin enough so he could see the outline of his package clearly. Leather
padding was stitched along the inside of his thighs and ran to his crotch
and up his ass where he assumed (correctly) it would come in contact with
the saddle.

Carl's arms surrounded Kurt. "You look sexy enough to eat," he
whispered in Kurt's ear.

Kurt looked up and back while fluttering his big blue eyes, "Hold that
thought until we're done riding `cause I'm not taking off these pants
until we're done."

"They're called jodhpurs," Carl explained.

"Whatever, they're a bitch to put on. Help me unbutton the fly again so
I can tuck in the shirttails please," Kurt asked.

Carl sank to his knees in front of Kurt. He looked up and grinned, "This
will be good practice for later."

"Yeah!" Kurt agreed.

Once everyone was booted and even wearing ties and jackets', they jogged
to the stable through a light rain. All but the four New Yorkers had been
at the stable before and ran for the big open doors across the courtyard.
The new boys stopped briefly to admire their surroundings. The stable
complex was also built in the Tudor style and it appeared to be huge and
didn't really look like a stable. Shouting from the others got them
moving again into where the horses were housed in box stalls on either
side of a very long hallway. Grooms had saddled sufficient stock based on
Billy's instructions earlier. He tried to match horses to the individual
rider's ability, so even tempered more docile mounts awaited beginners,
while larger more spirited horses awaited experienced riders like Stevie,
Logan and Daryl.

When Billy looked for Kurt to introduce him to his waiting mount he found
that Kurt had wandered up the hall and seemed to be in a conversation
with a coal black gelding who was still in his stall and the horse seemed
to be talking back by nodding and nickering. Kurt was already stroking
the horse's nose. Kurt saw Billy coming and asked, "Can I ride this
one? We already like each other."

Billy handed Kurt an apple and a carrot. "Here, feed him these and
he'll love you. Just keep your hand flat so he doesn't nab a finger,"
Billy instructed. "You can ride him after you learn how to and then
learn how to jump a horse over a course." He saw Kurt frown in
disappointment so he explained further. "You see Lightning, that's his
name, see the blaze on his head looks vaguely like a bolt of lightning."

"Hey yeah, it does! Pleased to meet you Lightning, I'm Kurt with a K."

Billy continued as first the carrot and then the apple disappeared and
the horse began to snuffle Kurt's body searching for more treats. "See
Lightning's problem is that he loves to jump, and he's kind of high
spirited. He was my favorite mount when he was in the pony class, but
he's growing and now he's fourteen hands two inches."

"Huh?" Kurt asked.

"A hand is four inches measured at the withers," he patted Lightning's
shoulder. "You do the math."

"So, why not just say fifty-eight inches?"

Billy shrugged, "Beats me. Anyway, there are jumps set up in the ring
and if he decided to play he could get away from you and you could end up
on your ass with something broken."

"But you said you were just going to lead us, so if you do that what can
happen?" Kurt argued.

Billy gave up, "Okay already, you win." Billy saw old Charlie the groom
watching them and motioned him over. "Charlie, unsaddle Pippin and get
Lightning ready to go." He lowered his voice with his back to Kurt,
"Oh, and Charlie all these guys are off limits as far as you suggesting
corn holing one of them. If you try, you'll be looking for a new stable.
Understand?" he asked with steel in his voice.

"Yes Sir! But I'd never^Å"

"Good." Billy interrupted and walked off toward his mount. Speckles was
a huge dappled gray that he planned to ride in one of the races. After
Charlie gave Kurt a leg up and adjusted the stirrups he led horse and
rider to Billy and offered him the reins. The experienced riders; Billy,
Daryl, Stevie, and Logan, led Kurt, Carl, David, Alan, Dooby and Cory
into the indoor ring. All the chatter died as they studied the huge area
that already held twelve jumps with ample room along the walls for them
to ride two abreast.

"Man," Dooby enthused to Billy, "your great grandfather really knew
how to live, this whole estate is fantastic. It seems like whatever you
want to do, if the weather is bad and you can't do it outside, you just
move indoors." He giggled and looked at Cory. "Except for drag racing
on the driveway," he amended.

Cory laughed, "Yeah, but we won't be allowed to do that again until we
get our own cars. It's a good thing that I won the first and last race
until then."

Dooby cocked his head, "You didn't win motherfucker, I did. My side
mirror was always two feet in front of yours the whole time!" he
retorted.

"Fuck you too," Cory argued; "you couldn't see my mirror because Tom
was twisted around in his seat trying to get at you to strangle you." He
giggled suddenly and added, "Thank God for seat belts."

Dooby agreed and was about to continue the verbal joust when Johnny Be
Good's voice echoed throughout the giant room, "Hold the `f' words
down please."

All the boys looked around trying to spot the soundman. Cory finally saw
him leaning over a balcony railing with his dish pointed in their
direction. Spook stood beside him with his camera mounted on a tripod and
the telephoto lens aimed down at them. They found Artie perched on top of
an eight-foot stepladder in the middle of the jump area just before Scott
popped up from behind a jump with his Stedicam to begin pacing the
walking horses. He had to twist his body to get the boys from the side or
walk backward to film them moving forward.

After a dozen laps all the new riders were growing bored and began a
united campaign to hold their own reins and guide their mounts. Billy
looked back at Kurt and Lightning. Kurt was carrying on a one sided
conversation with the horse who answered with an occasional nod, wicker
or snuffle. Billy saw that the horse showed no interest in the jumps they
passed and so reluctantly agreed. After another lap Billy looked back and
announced, "Okay, now we'll move up to a slow trot. There will be more
bouncing, but you can mitigate that by using your legs to lift your asses
off the saddle slightly in rhythm with your mount, this is called
posting.

"Mitigate?" Dooby asked.

"Look it up in the dictionary." Billy answered.

"What's a dictionary?" was Dooby's come back.

When Dooby saw that Kurt and Carl both seemed to have gotten the rhythm
and were posting, he moved up beside them without thinking about how he
did it. He watched them for a minute and then began to match them. After
a few more laps with everyone trotting, Dooby called a halt. "Hey Billy,
how about if you put Speckles through his paces over the course? That
would be more interesting than watching us trot and Scott looks like
he's about to collapse any second."

Scott agreed with a nod of thanks in Dooby's direction. Billy also
agreed but first directed the students, particularly Kurt, to hand their
reins off to an experienced rider so none of their mounts would decide to
join him on the course. Kurt gave his reins to Logan. The boys lined up
at about midcourse to watch Billy. Lightning's ears went up as Billy
took the first jump flawlessly and proceeded to do as well with the rest
of the jumps all set at five feet. The boys all cheered.

Logan piped up, "Hey Billy, can I try? I haven't been on a horse for a
couple of months but it would be neat to give it a try."

"Sure," Billy agreed at once' "your mount can take five feet easily
but we can lower them if you want."

"Nope, five is good." Logan answered turned his mount and tossed
Lightning's reins back to Kurt. Billy accompanied Logan back to the
starting point and wasn't watching his students.

Kurt leaned down over Lightning's neck to whisper, "I can feel that you
want to play too, so if you want to I'm game. I'll just hold on real
tight while you do your thing." Kurt turned Lightning's head and the
horse began to follow Billy and Logan as they approached the starting
point. Then as Logan turned his horse to the first jump, Lightning broke
into a gallop until he was just in front of Logan. Lightening made a
skidding turn to face the jump and took off. Kurt stood in the stirrups
and leaned over Lightning's neck and let out a "YAH HOO!" as they went
airborne over the first jump and raced toward the second.

"Holly shit!" Logan mumbled in awe.

"My thought exactly," Billy agreed, "but if anything bad happens my
ass is grass for letting Kurt mount that independent nag."

Lightning, with little help from Kurt finished the course in what would
have been record time, if anyone had a stopwatch. Lightning approached
the cheering boys at the side of the ring and actually bowed, which was
the only time Kurt was almost unseated since he wasn't expecting the
move. Kurt was beside himself with delight and kept patting the horse's
neck congratulating him for a fantastic ride. "You beat a roller coaster
any day."

Billy couldn't help but grin as he and Logan approached Kurt and his
ride. Kurt knew he was in trouble, and it seemed the horse did as well.
Kurt stopped laughing and looked guilty while Lightning kept sidestepping
away from Billy and Speckles. Billy attempted to frown at the two but
couldn't maintain it, "Okay you two, you're both forgiven, but for
your penalty Kurt, you'll be out here with Lightning saddled and ready
every day after school because you're going to riding school. There are
still two shows this fall and you'll be entered. It won't matter
whether you win or not, but you'll gain experience for spring."

"I agree," Gramps Carl shouted from the ring entrance while walking
toward them followed by Auggie in his scooter with Zeek at his side.
"Starting tomorrow Billy, a car will be waiting to bring you home so you
have more time out here. I should have done that when school started but
I didn't think of it and you didn't ask.

Kurt protested, "But Gramps, I'll never learn enough. I almost went
over his head when he did his thing at the end. What was that all about
anyway?"

Billy giggled, "That was a dressage move. Lightning bowed to the
audience. He knows all the moves already, just like he knows how to jump.
I'll just teach you what to expect, when to expect it and how to keep
your seat, Lightning will do the rest."

"You said he was too small to compete." Kurt argued.

"Too small for me, but not too small for you in your age group." Billy
looked down on his grandfather and said, "We better clear out some space
in the trophy room Gramps, because we're^Ö or I mean Kurt and Lightning
are going to need it."

***

The following Saturday, the day the annual Steeplechase event was to be
held to benefit the Bradley Memorial Hospital, dawned clear and cool,
perfect weather for racing. Carl, like his father and grandfather held
the post of Chairman of the Board of Trustees in perpetuity since the
family founded the hospital and added new wings as the surrounding
population grew and the need increased proportionately.

The Steeplechase also continued to hold with old traditions. Carl's
grandfather began arriving at the course riding in a coach pulled by a
team of four matched horses. A young boy sat in a roof seat waving the
Star Spangled Banner enthusiastically while that anthem was played by a
brass band. Everyone who rode in or on the coach wore period costumes.
Zack and Christian were chosen to be footmen. They rode on the back of
the coach standing up and they found that they needed to hold on for dear
life when Carl's old coachman, in full livery, whipped the team into a
gallop by cracking his whip harmlessly over their heads as they rounded
the one mile course. Cory and Dooby sat topside with Kurt (who was in
charge of waving the flag), Carl, Daryl, Alex, David and Alan. The boys
were dressed in their riding clothes and only had to substitute short
jackets for hurriedly tailored tail coats. Gramps Carl rode inside the
lumbering vehicle with three invited Trustees. One of those was Charlie
Spelling.

The coach slowed dramatically as it approached the four parking spaces
opposite the start/finish line on the inside rail that were reserved for
Carl Bradley's tailgate party. Zack and Christian jumped down before the
coach stopped completely. They ran to opposite sides of the creaking
wooden antique monster, opened the doors and unfolded the built in steps
so passengers could alight in a dignified manner. The boys used a ladder
until they could safely jump clear without risk of injury. Dooby and Cory
both wore remote microphones and Dooby promised to keep swearing to a
minimum as there would be ladies present and Scott explained there were
far too many bleeps in the sound tracks, mostly Dooby's unless he and
Cory became embroiled in a spat on camera. Cory ended those quickly by
getting Dooby in a wrestling hold that had him crying uncle almost
instantly.

Everyone who rode the coach without exception rubbed their respective
butts as soon as they could. Only Gramps Carl used one hand briefly to
wave to the cheering mob in response to being introduced over the PA
system. A hinged portion of the rail was open in front of Carl's space
so everyone could walk into the area. Dooby distained the opening and
vaulted the rail. Kurt was about to follow Dooby until Zack grabbed him.

"Dooby! Catch!" Zack shouted and tossed the screaming, laughing boy.
Dooby turned just in time and barely caught Kurt in his arms.

"How's your ass feel twerp?" Dooby asked as he set Kurt back on his
feet and replaced the boy's top hat on his head at a rakish angle.

"It's numb and has been all week. Lightning is not exactly a rocking
chair ride. Each move in dressage is telegraphed from the rider to the
horse using his knees so the judges can't see my moves^Å"

Dooby looked at his watch and interrupted Kurt, "Look, we just have time
to drink something cold before we have to start our show," he looked
around, caught Cory's eye, stuck his tongue out and panted like he was
dying of thirst. Cory nodded. Dooby lowered his voice, "Want a beer?"
he asked Kurt.

Kurt's eyes lit up. "Shit yeah! Can you get one for Carl too?"

"Sure, find Carl and meet Cory and I over at the step van across the
lane."

Once the four boys had gathered behind the van, Dooby disappeared inside
through the open passenger door. There was the sound of bottles tinkling
together and ice clinking on glass. Dooby returned to offer the bounty of
his successful fishing expedition. Kurt was first to successfully twist
off the cap of his bottle and, shaking his hand, take a long refreshing
pull. Carl watched him looking amazed. Kurt noticed. He asked, "Haven't
you ever had a beer before?"

"Yeah right. In my house, alcohol is almost up there with having a queer
son." Carl answered and then took an experimental sip. He grinned and
tipped his bottle back further. His Adams apple moved as he chugged half
his drink. "I could get used to this stuff," he admitted.

Dooby giggled, "Looks to us like you already have."

Suddenly a voice came from above, "What exactly are you guys doing?"
Artie asked. He was laying prone on the roof of the van peering down on
them.

"Having a beer," Dooby shrugged looking up at his brother. "What are
you doing up there anyway? You want a beer?" he asked both questions
together.

Artie lifted a small cooler so the boys below could see it. "I'm good,
but thanks," he said in answer to the second question. To the first, he
explained, "I'm up here so I can tape you guys close up. Spook is on
that scaffolding across the course with his trusty telephoto." Artie had
a thought, "Say is there going to be a pool?"

Dooby grinned like a Cheshire cat, "Of course there's a pool, two of
them for each race. One is ten bucks to pick the winner and the good one
is a hundred bucks."

Artie whistled, "Heavy, too bad I didn't bring much cash," he
lamented.

"I'll stake you," Dooby volunteered, pulling a roll of cash from his
inside coat pocket. Artie's eyes widened but Kurt and Carl's bugged out
while staring at such wealth. Dooby noticed and included them in his
offer, "You guys too, you probably haven't been paid yet."

"Paid?" always outspoken Kurt asked. "What would we be paid for? We
just do a few chores during the day and at night in bed is fun. Gramps
said we start school Monday, so the chores will be even fewer." He
looked at Dooby soulfully and asked, "Do we really have to wear ties and
uniforms to school?"

Dooby paused in counting hundred dollar bills, "Yup, we all do so get
used to it." He handed out three thin stacks of cash, one, went up to
his brother on the truck roof, the other two to Carl and Kurt. "Do you
guys want to help Zack and I take bets?"

"Sure, what do we need to do?" Kurt asked. He noticed that Cory was not
included for some reason. "What are you going to do?"

Cory rolled his eyes, "I'm going to run the show, which won't be much,
just ask the people feeding their faces how they liked the food since it
all came from our stores." He explained simply.

Suddenly both Dooby and Cory heard what sounded like whispering close by.
Both looked around them until Cory saw Dooby's ear bud dangling from his
shirt collar. He inserted his first and laughed as Dooby put his in as
well.

Both heard Scott shouting at them through the tiny receivers, "Stop
guzzling beer behind the van and get to work you assholes. Fifteen
minutes to the first race! Oh, Dooby, put me, Spook and Johnny in for a
hundred each on Billy."

"Okay," Dooby answered. He grinned at Cory, "He's such a fucking
grump when we're shooting a show."

"I heard that," Scott replied.

Dooby handed Kurt a red Post-it pad and Carl got yellow. "Here, when
someone places a bet you guys write down the race number and the number
of the horse. Yellow is ten dollars and red is for hundred dollar bets.
Zack knows all these people so he'll do the talking, I collect the money
and you guys hand out the slips of paper. Come on let's find Zack and
get busy."

"Billy is number three. What if everyone bets on him?" Carl asked.

"Can't happen," Dooby asserted. "These people are all power brokers
but not very many know that Billy is racing or that he's Carl's
grandson. Most of them are just Gramps' business associates; they
aren't close friends, so there should be a lot to split up between
winners. Then consider that he's only running in three races, so
there's five that are anyone's guess."

The local so-called `high society' mob and those that bought spaces
year after year were the closest to Carl and the start/finish line, all
the tailgate spaces were reserved well in advance. The best that
newcomers could look forward to was on the backstretch. All guests
attending parties were allowed to park in the infield after showing
special passes dangling on strings attached to a button somewhere
visible.

Just before the boys left Artie, he gave Dooby a hundred to bet on Billy
in the first race and Kurt stretched to hand him a red Post-it. All the
tailgate parties were in full swing by the time the boys walked across
the lane. Guests were free to visit any party and partake of the food and
drink if they wished. Carl's space was packed, as was Charlie's
neighboring double space. Cory split away from Dooby, Kurt and Carl. His
attention went to the tables groaning with food and more importantly who
was eating what.

Nothing served required a knife to cut it up first since everyone was
standing up. One hand had to hold the plate while the other held a fork.
Both men employed the same caterer, who was delighted to have the most
profitable part of catering; the open bars but without having to prepare
the food. He did have to supply three bus boys whose duties were limited
to keeping the bars stocked, the food trays full and the trashcans
emptied.

Zack rushed Dooby and their eager helpers, thrusting a small steel
moneybox into Dooby's hands while he kept a small clipboard and pad.
Dooby saw that Zack's pad had been numbered one through twelve. When
Dooby looked quizzical he explained that he would keep track of bets on
each horse so at the end of each race they would know how many winners
there were and could divide the pot quickly so when the slips were handed
in, money could quickly be handed out. Karl wrote red slips for them all
and each placed a hundred dollar bill in the box. Dooby counted on his
fingers and added the necessary money for the crew up on the scaffolding.
Kurt wrote slips for them and stuffed them in his pocket.

All hell broke lose when Zack shouted, "Anyone want to get in the pool
for the first race? We have two pools, ten bucks or a hundred." A line
formed instantly as bettors reached into pockets or purses ready to
contribute to the box Dooby held open. Kurt wrote red slips furiously
while Carl mostly watched until Kurt halved his pad so Carl could help
him. Only a few ladies placed ten-dollar bets. The horses entered the
course and were announced by name of the jockey and horse as they crossed
the start/finish line. Some bettor's waited on betting to see the horses
and jockeys make a complete circuit around the course.

"That big dappled gray looks good." One man opined as Billy and
Speckles walked by. Others agreed and turned to Zack

Gramps Carl raised an eyebrow in Charlie's direction. Charlie nodded and
answered, "Yeah, he is, but the jock is only fifteen, I think and this
is his first time up."

The man shook his head, "Too bad, the pro's out there will eat him
alive by the second jump." With Billy dismissed, the men began looking
at other horses before making their decisions and placing their bets
before the horses returned to the starting line.

What very few knew about Speckles was that he tended to be a
front-runner. He hated following another horse. Billy had a one-mile
course laid out in a field and whenever he raced Speckles against a groom
riding another horse in practice, Speckles always took the lead by the
second jump and maintained the lead to the finish line.

The first race began with a gunshot. The field of twelve started off
evenly with the muted thunder of hooves impacting earth, leaving clods of
sod flying high behind them. Three horses lagged slightly behind nine at
the first jump. The nine were almost nose-to-nose as they galloped toward
the second. Speckles, with little help from Billy began maneuvering,
actually pressing the horse who held the inside most coveted position.
The professional jockey on the horse being pressed took umbrage and
lashed out with his riding crop slashing Billy on his back. The pain
Billy felt was transmitted to Speckles by the sudden change in Billy's
seat plus he stopped his constant words of encouragement to scream out in
pain.

Speckles could see the offender's flaring nose as they approached the
second jump. He felt Billy recover his seat and retake control and hear
his soothing words ready for the jump. That was when Speckle's whole
body veered into the inside horse's side knocking it out of position
toward the inside upright. If left to its own devises the horse would
have simply run around the jump but had to contend with the will of an
unfamiliar rider. The jockey overcompensated as he hauled the horse's
head over to take the jump. The big horse baulked before crashing into
the upright by locking his front legs straight and digging in to brake.
The surprised jockey though had no brakes and unceremoniously completed
the jump headfirst and very alone. Billy and Speckles took the lead at
that point and held it easily through the last jump and the finish line.

Just before the race began the men crowded the rail until they were ten
deep. While Zack was swept up with them Kurt, Carl and Dooby were left
behind. Kurt complained to anyone within hearing, "Fuck this, I can't
see a thing!"

Charlie was busy filling a plate. He was hungry and everyone was watching
the course so the food tables weren't crowded. He heard Kurt's
complaint, turned and saw a kindred spirit jumping up and down trying to
glimpse the course over taller bodies. He handed his plate to a surprised
busman. "Hold this for me would you please?" The boy nodded. Charlie
turned and then said over his shoulder, "You can eat that if you want as
long as there's another one just like it waiting for me after this
race." Charlie tapped Kurt on the shoulder, "Come on boy, you're going
to help me get us to the rail. Now stiffen up."

Kurt bent his head to look at his bulge, "Huh?" he asked.

Charlie rolled his eyes and giggled. "Not that, I meant your whole body.
Stiffen up like stand at attention."

Kurt blushed, "Oh! Like this?" He stood ramrod straight with his hands
at his sides."

"Yup, just like that. Hold like that. You're going to help me get us
both to the rail. Here we go!" With that cryptic warning, Charlie picked
Kurt up and held him chest high with the boy's head aimed squarely
between two men in the back of the crowd. He walked forward steadily and
butted the two men apart, and then two more until they reached the rail
just as the race was about to begin. Charlie aimed for Zack, "Climb up
this big strong back and sit on his shoulders." As Kurt began his
scramble, Charlie said to Zack, kind of after the fact, "You don't mind
do you? Kurt couldn't see."

Zack giggled as Kurt snuggled into the back of his head to get
comfortable. Zack gripped Kurt's ankles to hold him in place and then
tipped his head back several times before he almost shouted to be heard
over the crowd, "You know you're going to pay me for this service
right?"

Kurt giggled and grabbed two hands full of hair before leaning down,
"Anytime, and you pick the service," he mumbled in Zack's ear. He sat
up suddenly at the start and after the first jump began announcing the
pack's progress since he enjoyed a view over everyone's head. He
stiffened when he saw the riding crop come down on Billy's back. "Hey,
that motherfucker just fouled Billy! Get him Billy!"

"Who's Billy?" Someone asked.

"My riding instructor on the big gray." Kurt answered absently. He
didn't see the grins some men wore and he didn't see the grins turn to
frowns when he reported, "YES! Billy took care of his ass. The other
horse, number five, just balked at the jump!" He began laughing with
glee. "Don't worry though, the fucking jock made it over." He also
didn't see five men tear up red slips. Kurt became more professional as
he sang loudly, "Number three is in the lead and pulling away!" The
horses became strung out by the backstretch. Kurt went berserk when Billy
and Speckles disappeared behind the step van. "Can someone move that
fucking van? It's blocking my view!" he complained, but stopped when
Billy and Speckles came back into view. "Number three is still in the
lead and it looks like the rest of the pack are two jumps back."

When Billy crossed the finish line he slowed Speckles dramatically and
walked to in front of the course officials up three stories so they had a
commanding view of the entire course. Billy doffed his helmet as Speckles
bowed. Billy then crossed to the infield in front of his grandfather and
the small mob standing around him. Speckles bowed again.

"Great race Billy!" Carl shouted along with the boys.

Billy giggled and answered, "Thanks Gramps!" and proceeded to take a
leisurely victory trot around the inside rail.

"GRAMPS?" one man frowned up at Carl. "You told us not to bet on
him!" he accused.

"I did no such thing. Charlie merely told you Billy was fifteen and that
this was his first steeplechase competition. You, my friends, made your
own decisions."

"Goddamn it," the man grumped and looked around until he found Charlie
eating his lunch. Of course Charlie couldn't help smiling. The man
grinned. "Okay Charlie, I plan to get even with you at the club next
Saturday, if not on the course then in the card room.

"Yeah," another man agreed. "In fact how about if we play for five
hundred a hole?"

"Are you sure?" Charlie asked.

"Absolutely!" both men agreed.

Charlie shrugged, "Okay by me, but I'll just ask our fourth to see if
he agrees. Now where did he get to? Oh Christian?" he sang. He knew
Christian was in the line of winners waiting patiently to collect on his
bet.

"Yes Gramps?" Christian asked as he jammed fifteen one hundred dollar
bills in his pocket while strolling toward Charlie. After Charlie
explained the higher stakes in Saturday's golf outing, Christian got a
grinning gleam in his eyes and agreed without hesitation.

The man who had raised the stakes looked at Christian as if he might
strangle him on the spot before his expression changed and he shrugged.
"You improved Charlie's game and Carl's too but at a hundred a hole,
so if I have to pay nine thousand for the same advise, you better give my
game your undivided attention, AND you better plan on joining us in the
card room afterward. Is that a deal?"

Christian grinned and nodded, "Yes Sir!" he agreed. Charlie had already
told him that at some point he had to join the game to give the guys a
chance to win some of their money back and the time had arrived.

"Can we play too?" Dooby asked while he handed out hundred dollar bills
to Carl and Charlie and looked over at Cory, who nodded.

Zack glanced around and saw that while Kurt, Carl, David and Alan looked
hopefully at each other, they were still too new and weren't about to
ask the same question. "Do you guys want to try golf too?" the four
nodded bashfully. "We all want to play Gramps," Zack told his
Grandfather, "Daryl and Alex too," he added when he saw them nodding to
be included.

Gramps Carl shrugged, "Well, okay you guys will have to make up your own
foursomes though. Let me know how many and we'll get you tee times
around ours." Later he instructed Zack to take the guys to Golf World
after school to buy them sticks, shoes and anything else they might need.

"I can't Gramps, Lacrosse remember, but Billy can after you send the
car, oh, Billy will want in too since the rest of us are and then after
practice I'll take Cory and Dooby. Daryl already has a set of clubs, but
he can take Alex during the day."

With more than hundred and fifty people between the two parties, there
was a constant swirl of activity. The second, third and fourth races were
up for grabs. Some of the betters won and some lost, but no one really
cared, everyone was having a good time. The bar was busy constantly and
the groaning food tables only slightly less so. Dooby, Zack, Kurt and
young Carl were hard pressed to pay out the preceding race and collect
bets for the next before the horses were called to the starting line.
Fortunately, they improved their routine and got faster as the race
program progressed. When the horses appeared for the fifth race, the boys
had just finished. Dooby declared a beer break for everyone and fuck the
cameras and Scott's screaming in his ear that they couldn't drink on
camera. He gave both cameras the finger and handed out the frosty
delights.

Dooby and Zack found Kurt and Carl standing at the rail and handed them
their well-deserved drinks. Kurt took his absentmindedly and handed it to
Carl to twist of the cap. Carl complied and handed it back while rolling
his eyes at Zack and Dooby. "Twist offs hurt his hands," Carl confided
in a whisper.

"I heard that," Kurt snorted and giggled

Dooby frowned looking at Kurt. "Is something wrong little buddy?" he
asked.

"Well, yes and no," Kurt answered. "I want Billy to win this race, but
at the same time I really like that little black guy, number eight, that
looks so much like Lightning. Do you think Billy would mind if I bet on
him and not Billy?"

Zack knelt down to offer some council, "He wouldn't at all. You're
betting on the horse not against the jockey. Just remember that number
eight is the smallest horse in the pack. He might be able to take these
jumps without trying but between jumps he'll have to gallop twice as
fast to keep up with the bigger nags," he explained.

Kurt nodded, sighed and handed Dooby a crumpled hundred-dollar bill.
"Number eight please," he whispered.

Dooby took the money and hissed, "You have to write yourself your own
slip duffus, that is your job remember?"

"Oh yeah."

Zack giggled after looking at his clipboard. "You know that if that
horse wins you'll take the whole pot since no one else bet on him. It
seems like just about everyone else bet on Billy."

Dooby mopped his brow after taking a long pull on his beer, "Wow if you
win I won't have to do so much fucking counting," he grinned down on
Kurt just before Zack lifted him to his shoulders so he could announce
the race as he'd done with the previous four races. Almost all the men
who had placed bets gathered closer to Zack so they could hear about what
they couldn't see despite the loudspeakers announcing the race
everywhere.

The fifth race concluded with Billy a respectable third while the little
number eight crossed the finish line nose to nose with another horse
although on opposite sides of the course, so the race became a photo
finish.

Everyone who held a number five ticket held them reverently, hoping that
the announcement would be in their favor while silently wondering how or
why the little horse turned out to be so fast. No small number of men
tore up their tickets since Billy had definitely lost, finishing in third
place.

After three minutes the announcer exclaimed, "And the winner is number
eight by barely a nose, Rocket! The little horse who could," he added
amid cheering from a very few and groans from the rest of the unlucky
betters. By then red confetti littered the ground near the rail in
Carl's area.

"Son-of-a-bitch!" the loudest man grumped as he looked down on Kurt's
smiling face. "I don't suppose you play poker?" he asked some what
jokingingly.

"Sure," Kurt responded at ounce, "I like draw the most but anything is
alright."

The big man smiled and mumbled, "I sure wish you was my grandson, you
take right after me, that's a cinch. My grandson's are ass kissers,
mostly mine," he explained while rubbing his butt and grinning. "Say,
after the races, why not come up to the house for more food and drink?"
the man asked hopefully.

Kurt looked around to see Gramps Carl nod his agreement. A sit down
dinner at Bart's was another race tradition, With Gramps Carl's
permission he nodded as well. "Sure," he agreed, "but where's your
house?"

The man pointed at the hulking Mediterranean style home that sat on top
of a knoll looking down on the racecourse. "Right there. This here
farm's mine, I live here when I'm in the New York area."

"It's too bad your grandsons aren't here, I could have given them some
pointers maybe about life on the other side of the tracks where I came
from," Kurt stated just above a whisper after looking around to be sure
his admission would not be over heard.

"Oh they're here, just not down here. If I know them they're watching
TV or playing games."

Kurt looked incredulous, "While they could be down here winning money?"
he squeaked before he was answered with a shrug. "I usually win at
poker, maybe we could get up a game?"

"Yeah," Dooby agreed, "just us young guys. I need to clean you out.
Your winnings are bulging out of your pocket."

Kurt giggled "That's not my winning's they're in my back pocket."

"Oh yea," Dooby giggled to minimize Kurt's sudden embarrassment even
though he turned his face away from Kurt with his giggles. The tight form
fitting jodhpurs left little to the imagination if one looked, and Dooby
not only looked but also admired Kurt's extensive resources that clearly
languished toward his left hip, which on second glance was not a short
roll of cash.

The dinner was a sit down affair. Bart seated Kurt on his left while Carl
sat on Bart's right. Kurt had never seen or tasted a lobster tail and
thought he whispered to the two men for help. Both demonstrated by
pulling the two succulent pieces of meat from the back of the split
shell, slice off a bit, dip it in hot butter sauce and pop the piece into
their mouth's.

Kurt heard some laughter from a few seats down and opposite his place at
the table. He looked at them with a frown, "You guys are rude
motherfuckers," he said loud enough to be heard by the two grandsons and
apparently by everyone else at the long table for thirty-six and others
who sat at round tables for ten around the long table. Conversation
stopped. "Would you like to play some poker after we finish?" he asked
the two boys.

"Sure," Brian, the older one answered. "Nickels, dimes, or quarters?"
he asked with a smirk on his face.

Kurt leaned forward and pulled a wad of cash from his back pocket and
another from his inside breast pocket. "Actually I was thinking about
five-hundred anti per pot but we can play for pocket change if you
want."

"I'll back them," their father declared as he pulled out a fat
billfold.

Bart leaned over Kurt to whisper, "Clean them out, the money is mine
anyway, rather my daughter's, just clean their clocks."

The men and boys adjourned to a massive game room after dinner. There
were even slot machines along one wall. Kurt spied the poker table and
moved to take a seat and then stack his neat pile of one hundred dollar
bills close in front of his chest. He counted out five and placed them in
the center of the table, "I'm in," he mumbled and looked up to see who
else was playing.

Bart offered a new still wrapped deck of cards. Kurt broke the seal,
withdrew the deck from its box, found and set aside the jokers and then
rifled the deck expertly and yet casually. "No jokers?" the younger
brother, Barry, asked.

Kurt actually smiled and answered, "We're playing for decent money
here. If you expected to have wild cards like deuces, jacks, kings with
an ax and a pair of sevens takes all, then you better dig out your change
and play with someone else."

Dooby slipped into a chair next to Kurt and announced, "Yeah, no wild
cards. Jacks or better to open and we play draw or stud but no silly
shit, anyone else care to join us?" he asked while slapping his wad of
cash against his opposite hand. Cory, Christian, Zack and Billy and
lastly Bart's two grandsons slipped into chairs. The men stood around
the table to watch the out come of the first few hands. The races, the
dinner and high stakes poker had become a tradition and the men planned
to play at another table since theirs was going to be occupied by a new
generation of poker players that evening.

"Eight players, a full table. Okay brothers lets play some draw," Kurt
announced as he began to deal. He stopped suddenly. "Shit there's too
many players and not enough cards. After someone opens I'll shuffle all
the discards with the twelve that remain. Does everyone agree?" he asked
with a look at each opposing player. They all nodded, eager to begin.

Dooby, sitting on Kurt's right, opened obviously with jacks or better.
Everyone except Zack stayed. He tossed his hand toward Kurt in disgust
with a frown at him as if the dealer was responsible. Kurt looked up at
Dooby to see if he could read any expression, but Dooby's face was like
a mask. "Cards?" Kurt asked the table after collecting all the discards
and shuffling. Dooby asked for one card. "Two pair," Kurt wondered,
"or four of a kind?" Dooby, who normally wore his emotions on his face,
remained expressionless.

"Two please," Cory stated. He also wore a poker face.

Kurt skipped Zack. It was Billy's turn. He was a bit more animated until
Zack frowned on him. "One please," he said meekly, and even managed to
look forlorn when he looked at his draw card but didn't fold.

"I want four," Barry demanded rudely.

"Tough shit," Kurt answered. "You could have had three, but since you
discarded four, I guess you fold. He began to whine until his grandfather
cleared his throat. Barry folded and looked at his brother to save the
day.

It was at that point that Bart's son-in-law, who was standing behind his
sons, began to lean down between them hurriedly after looking at Brian's
remaining cards. Bart was on him in a flash and escorted him out of
hearing with a painful grip on the younger man's arm. "You should have
taught them poker at home using pennies, but you were always too busy
socializing to spend time with your sons. Now it's going to cost you big
time and it looks like these other boys are goin' to teach them as they
go. From now on if you so much as twitch a signal at them, by the time
you wake up the game will be over and you won't have enough money on
hand to play with us big boys," Bart warned.

Brian looked at the other boys and asked for two cards with very little
confidence. His father returned to stand behind him, sighed and looked
away when he saw that his son's draw cards failed to fill his inside
straight and that he also failed to simply fold before the betting began.

Dooby bet five hundred with a first time smile. Cory folded with a frown
at his lover. "You should know I just tossed a small straight and if you
only have two pair you will suffer tonight."

Dooby giggled, "Good thinking, I won't suffer."

Having not received any help with the new card, Billy folded as well.

Young Brian not only matched the bet he raised another five. His father
was on the verge of apoplexy, only a warning glance from Bart kept him
quiet. Dooby smiled at Brian after everyone else folded. He shrugged
after glancing up at the boy's father, added another five hundred and
promptly raised the bet one thousand dollars. By then Brian became intent
on buying the pot from Dooby although he thought of his move as bluffing
and he was determined to see it through.

After several more raises back and forth, Bart finally stopped the hand.
"That's enough Brian, you've lost. If you'd been more observant when
Dooby drew only one card, you'd have noticed that he never looked at it
and still hasn't. You see it's damned hard to improve on four of a
kind. You two drop out and just watch for now, you'll stay with me for
the next two weeks while your parents take a little vacation and I'll
teach you how to play poker."

"What about their school?" their father challenged Bart.

"I'll arrange for them to temporarily attend the school these boys go
to." Carl answered for Bart.

"Public school?" The man asked incredulously in shock.

Suddenly Bart seemed to be kissing his son-in-law's ear. His whisper was
harsh, "The school these boys attend costs fifty grand a year for day
students and another twenty-five to board. Just remember which side of
the bread yours is buttered on and we'll get along."

Dooby shuffled the cards and was about to deal the next hand when he saw
Brian and Barry standing in the back and looking forlorn. "Pull up
chairs guys so you can see what's going on," he invited. "One thing
though, if you see our hands and react, even a twitch, you'll be
upstairs playing video games so fast your heads will spin. We'll explain
what happened after each hand so you'll be able to surprise your grand
pop later."

"Aren't you guys mad at us?" Brian asked as he moved a chair to
between Kurt and Dooby.

Kurt answered, "Nope, your father taught you to think that you were
better than anyone else and you just found out that you aren't. I bet
we'll even be friends by the time you head for home in two weeks." He
had a thought. "Say do you guys ride?" he asked.

"Are you kidding?" Barry exploded with a grin. "We live in Texas. Our
ranch is one of the biggest^Å" His voice trailed away when he saw
Bart's frown. "I mean we live on gramps' ranch and ah, it's pretty
big."

Bart grinned and gave Barry a shoulder hug. "You were right the first
time," he confided.

"It is OUR ranch, but from now on minimize the bragging, okay?"

"So do you want to come riding with Billy and me Monday after school?"
Kurt asked as he studied his cards.

***

Well guys I think this is long enough. It should however provide you with
some reading for an hour or so. I wish to thank my very fine editor,
Emoe, for his work and his rapid turn around. I wasn't expecting to see
this back for weeks.

As always if you want to get on my mailing list just drop me a note at
horti123@cfl.rr.com.

Jamie


                                                                                                                                                        

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