Dooby Rhymes with Scooby

                                                                                        by Jamie Haze 

 

  Part 36




Carson Powers, Realtor, and Trasker Bligh's newly appointed property
manager for Trasker's real estate interests in Athens, Georgia, thought it
was somewhat strange that he was being sent to the Florida Keys on a
working vacation after less than two days on the job, but who was he to
question one of the wealthiest men in the Country. Such men were entitled
to their eccentricities, even 18 year old billionaires. While the sale of
the plantation hadn't closed yet, Trasker already paid Carson his promised
$750K bonus, both his standard percentage fee for listing the Rigby
property and his full commission for selling the property, except for his
father's percentage as the real estate broker so there was no chance that
his father could screw him out of any part of any commissions.

Carson was supposed to fly back to the Keys with Trasker after flying up to
New Jersey to drop off Dooby and Cory, but he decided that he would enjoy
driving his shiny new truck instead so he was delivered back to the Athens
airport. Neither Trasker the owner or the passengers even thought about how
costly it was to land the jet and then take off five minutes later.

The real business part of the trip was to meet Trasker's uncle, Auggie
Bligh and review the accommodations and amenities of a high end gay resort
from the viewpoint of an outsider, much like fine restaurants and chefs
were awarded coveted Michelin stars by undercover diners sent out around
the world by the French tire company since the turn of the last century,
almost before there were automobiles or roads for them to drive on. The
rest of the week would be spent engaging in monkey business; deep sea
fishing, diving, parasailing, working on his tan and generally screwing
around with a bunch of friendly, fun loving guys.

The `outsider' reference was right on target. That got Carson laughing, he
admitted to himself that he was so far `outside', he'd never knowingly been
inside a gay bar either in Athens if there were any, or relatively close by
Atlanta where he would never be recognized although he would most certainly
be `hit' on by like-minded guys. Since he decided to drive and was being
handsomely paid as an undercover agent, he decided to stop in at Daytona
Beach, just off I-95, and spend the night at The David Hotel. There, he
could review the hotel and look at the struggling luxury condominium next
door since Dooby and Cory offered him a job selling and managing the condo
and helping them buy the hotel as well, and he wasn't about to burn that
bridge and lose additional fees and commissions.

Since Carson wasn't an experienced traveler, he didn't think about making a
reservation in advance so he was shocked when the desk clerk apologized for
The David being fully booked – except for one of their bridle
suites. "BRIDLE SUITE, are you puttin' me on?" He exclaimed a bit too
loudly and began to laugh at the thought. Although he was aware that gays
were getting married more frequently, such unions generally required a
significant other and he was alone.

The clerk, Barry, began an excellent job of up-selling along with calling
him `Sweet Thing'. The suite was ocean front on the top floor (all the way
up on the third floor), featuring a round bed and a red heart shaped spa
pool in the room. There was also a mirrored wall and of course, the
mirrored ceiling over the bed was obligatory.

"Carson? Carson Powers?" A voice from the past, standing close behind him
asked.

Andy Candy was passing through the lobby on his way to begin his job of
securing the door to the club although it was early evening, two hours
before the hotel bar became a club; there were always teens to be bounced
who thought to gain entrance by arriving before the DJ, Candy, the chief
bouncer, or others of the security contingent, in the hope that they would
be forgotten as the club, the hottest gay night club on the beach, got
really busy and they could party the night away. There was always a chance
that they could make a `connection' with a guy who would buy them drinks
and whatever else could be negotiated.

Andy had been admiring Carson from the rear, the new check-in standing in
front of the desk; the tight, firmly packed jeans and short leather jacket
that emphasized the width of the dude's shoulders, whether they were wide
or not. Candy had heard that soft Georgia drawl before, over four years
earlier from back home in hick town, Athens, Georgia.

"Carson?"

"What are you doing here?" Andy and Carson asked together, before laughing
nervously.

"What are you doing in this hotel?" Andy asked Carson because Carson was
registering to stay in a gay hotel. Andy had admired Carson from afar in
high school but at the time he was in casual relationships with two
teammates on the football team and several girls in his class, none of whom
was really aware of the other intimate relationships because they were all
in the same clique and joked about relationships constantly. Carson
however, wasn't close to anyone, contrary to his desires but he was a keen
observer, especially unattainable Andy the prom king, so he thought he knew
exactly whom his idle was screwing and/or which of his teammates was likely
to be screwing around with him. The net result was; Carson knew that Andy
was bi or gay but Andy did not know about Carson's love life or the lack
thereof since he didn't have one.

Carson looked around the lobby décor and shrugged before he said, "This
joint is a little tacky but I'm just staying overnight. I'm on my way down
to the Keys on a little business trip and have some fun for a couple of
days."

"Yeah, but how'd you manage to drive by 50 other joints and wind up here at
The David?" While Candy was asking, the old acquaintances were shaking
hands as well as rubbing shoulders and squeezing upper arms with their free
hands in a touchy feely kind of way to be sure that their opposite was
real, as well as admire the physical changes for the better that had taken
place since they'd parted.

"Oh, that's easy, I'm a realtor and I might represent a couple of guys who
want to buy this joint and turn it into a high end destination resort." He
revealed without knowing whom he was talking to or who was listening to
every word.

The gregarious, outspoken desk clerk let out a whoop of joy on hearing that
bit of news. "It's about time," he enthused, "that someone realized that
this place has potential and sent Moe and Curly packing! Sweet Thing, our
savior!"

Candy rolled his eyes at the eavesdropper, "Barry, that news was supposed
to be confidential and if Moe or Curly hear what you call them, they'll
fire you – again," Candy warned from the side of his mouth. "Be very
cool with that info and you might still have a job after the dust settles
and this joint reopens after renovations, if it happens," he added. He took
Carson by the arm. "Come on, I'll buy you a drink far away from the hotel
gossiper."

"I don't understand," Carson said, "How do you know about someone buying
this place, correction, maybe buying this place?" He asked as Candy towed
him across the lobby toward the bar.

The desk clerk wasn't finished, he called out after them, "Moe and Curly
live in Margaritaville! There are still four rooms that haven't been made
up from two days ago! How am I supposed to rent rooms I don't have? You
should do something Candy, you Wild Thing!"

"Sweet Thing," Barry shouted to Carson, "do you want the bridle suite or
not, now that you have Wild Thing to share it with?"

Carson turned red, but he enjoyed having Candy's hand holding his arm along
with the additional squeeze and hopeful grin to encourage him to answer
Barry favorably. "Yes, I'll take it!"

Suddenly, Candy dropped his hand from Carson's arm just inside the large,
nearly empty nightclub. He pointed at various patrons, one at a
time. "You, you, you and you; OUT; I told you not to come back until you're
21 or until you buy some good photo ID that doesn't look like your mother!"
There were unnecessarily loud protests as the teenagers exited that caused
Andy to say, "They were warning the guys hiding in the men's room. I'll be
right back." He padded over to the door and waited. The door opened a
crack, Andy pushed it open and shouted "BOO!" and got some high pitched
screams in response. "Come out of there ladies," he said sweetly with a bow
and a hand flourish.

Carson couldn't stop laughing once he started. The two `ladies' were
obvious teenage boys who were struggling to find their identities by
experimenting with women's clothing and makeup. One had the body of a
wrestler or gymnast packed into a short party dress that looked expensive
to the untrained eye. His wig was slightly askew, his makeup was poorly
applied and it looked like his boobs were over-inflated or stuffed. The
sleeveless dress couldn't hope to mitigate the size of his arms and his
sheer stockings tended to accentuate the muscles in his legs below his very
short dress.

The second boy was black, wearing a beautiful long flowing wig. His perfect
makeup made him appear to be a beautiful young woman – from the neck
up. However from the neck down his slim six foot-four inch body to which
he'd added men's size 13 or 14, six inch heels made him look like a very
pretty, walking, talking monster stick figure.

"What do you think Candy?" The black boy asked hopefully.

"I think you're both trying too hard. You're good looking guys without
cross dressing. You're both jocks, you should look and act like young men
and you'll have no problem finding all the boyfriends you want. Then after
you find one you really like, ask him flat out if he minded some roll
playing; like he'd be the guy and you'd be the girl, if he laughed then he
probably wasn't very good boyfriend material. Now without further stalling,
wiggle your pretty boy asses out of this bar."

Both offered Carson a winning smile and a defeated shrug as they walked by
him. "I have another idea, I bet you haven't tried," Cason volunteered,
"Have you thought about dating each other?" He asked and allowed the two
boys to consider the possibilities. The boys giggled and left the bar
holding hands. "I guess they hadn't," Carson said to Candy.

"Never mind about them, I think we should compare notes about the sale of
this joint, but first we need to get up to speed on each other over the
last four years," Candy said, "You first; I didn't know you were gay. You
weren't when we were in high school," his tone was accusatory.

"How would you know? You never so much as looked my way in the hall. Maybe
I didn't appear to be gay, even to the few guys who came out. I was trying
to be careful because I didn't want to be hassled by guys I wasn't
interested in or bible thumpers. The one guy that I was interested in, as I
said, never looked my way."

"You are very wrong there Carson." Andy argued, "Maybe I looked when you
weren't looking back," he grinned, "and I'm very happy to report that you
still have a very nice ass; but at the time I had a reputation to
maintain. My love life with guys was a secret which meant I couldn't be
seen with a good looking but geeky bookworm like you; I needed to be seen
with the beautiful people, mainly girls, especially the ones who enjoyed
getting poked on the first date; that alone saved time and a lot of money."
He sighed, "If you want the truth; I was suffering an identity crisis
myself at the time, I was not particularly happy about being gay back
then. If there was ever a misnomer, that's it. Of course I've adjusted,
except I'm kind of picky about who I make it with. I guess that's because I
have too many opportunities working at this dump. What about you? How's
your love life?"

Carson flashed a huge smile. "Truth to tell, up until I sold my first ever
property, I was a bona fide virgin; now, not so much. That Rigby sale was
where I met two of the guys who want to buy this place and already are
partners to sell the condos next door."

"You must've met Dooby and Cory since Tony and Joe are in Italy," Andy
deduced via the process of elimination.

"Yup. Have you met Trasker Bligh?"

"Nope, but the name was mentioned. He and Tony own their own jets and that
my friend, is some heavy money."

Carson laughed, "Dooby keeps calling Trasker's jet his school jet or his
dime a dozen airplane just to piss him off. He got the dime a dozen bit
from Trasker's uncle. He rationalized the jet's cost by saying that now
executive jets cost a dime a dozen because of the recession but he didn't
say exactly how much he paid for a Gulfstream G650 complete with a crew but
you can bet about 25 million bucks or more it was more than a dime divided
by 12."

"Dooby is a piece of work, always messing with other guys, until something
important comes up, then he's all business. Like I sold Trasker the old
Rigby place and Dooby sat down and did a great job planning the renovations
in about an hour, right down to a cost estimate. Trasker handed it off to
me and said, `git her done', then he said, `no budget, I expect to move in
lock, stock and barrel for the start of the next semester so whatever it
takes'. Then he turned around and sent me down here, not here but down to a
resort called the Rainbow Club on Marathon Key."

Andy blinked in surprise before he asked, "Was my name mentioned while you
were with the guys?"

"Well of course, we had lunch at your parent's Justa Pizza. Cory's dad
founded Justa Pizza and he and Dooby are major stockholders and teenage
vice presidents for quality control. Talk about serious, they even counted
the pepperoni! Your parent's restaurant not only passed the test with
flying colors, Cory arranged for them to buy out the corporate store on the
other side of town." Carson got serious, "When are you going to tell me why
y'all left town so suddenly?"

"I told my parents about my little problem after we graduated. Mom looked
shocked at first but then she adjusted, shrugged her shoulders and gave me
a kiss." Then Andy looked pained, he said, "Dad wouldn't even look at me
when he asked me if I would go away for a while, and I haven't been back
home since, although I understand from my mother that Dad admitted that he
made a mistake and I should come home and join the business."

"Too bad, I haven't faced my father about my problem yet, and if he keeps
pissing me off about money, I won't have to. I can work for Trasker up
there and move into a house on the farm or move down here into a free condo
next door. I'm actually wondering if I can do both jobs and keep all the
guys happy."

"You know Carson; I think they were setting us up to get together. We were
supposed to meet at the Rainbow Club because I'm scheduled to go down there
too. I got a week off and leave tomorrow so we would have met up down there
if you hadn't stopped in here first."

"Do you have to work tonight?" Carson looked hopeful. "Because I'm ready
for dinner and then maybe you could show me to the bridle suite." The last
was accompanied by a blush.

Andy made one fast phone call before he asked Carson, "The Chinese food is
great here, is that okay with you?"

"Yeah, fine but the restaurant menu says Continental Cuisine can't we just
eat here? That would save time."

Andy took Carson's hand with a giggle. "We are eating here. The whole
kitchen staff is Chinese. They cook the official menu because that's what
Moe and Curly want, but they cook Chinese for themselves. Come on, I'll
introduce you to my little buds."

Andy took Carson through the busy dinning room into the kitchen where his
sudden appearance set off a friendly hue and cry of welcome; "Lyle Ting,
Lyle Ting!" The white clad Asian kitchen workers cried repeatedly
including touching Andy's arms or patting his back if they were close
enough. None of the workers failed to notice that Andy, aka Lyle Ting, was
holding Carson's hand. This was the first time Lyle Ting brought a guest in
for dinner so Carson must be a very special guest indeed. Of course the
couple was discussed openly with smiles, frank appraisals and giggles but
in a language the two whites would not understand.

By the time Andy and Carson reached a long table in the back of the
kitchen, they were being followed closely by a man of indeterminate age and
no less than three assistants who set about clearing and cleaning off two
spaces on the back of the table that faced the kitchen. Andy was about to
introduce Carson to Chef Fong when he grinned and substituted Sweet Thing
for Carson's name. That was confirmation enough for Chef Fong; he turned to
his staff and made an announcement. He introduced Lyle Ting's boyfriend,
Sweet Ting, to the bustling room amid cheers, congratulations and best
wishes for a long and happy life together.

"Did you figure it out yet?" Andy asked Carson.

"No, except they think my name is Sweet Thing, thank you very much."

"Remember Barry the desk clerk called you Sweet Thing? Well he calls me
Wild Thing. Barry, the little prick, eats in here too. Fong or someone
heard Barry call me Wild Thing, and the name stuck..."

"Let me guess, Lyle Ting is as close as they can get to saying Wild Thing,
so now they think I'm Sweet Ting, your boyfriend or partner?"

Andy looked seriously hopeful. He asked and held his breath "Is that such a
bad ting?"

"Would they mind very much if we rushed dinner? I believe you were going to
show me to the bridle suite." Carson boldly put his hand in Andy's lap,
"And then this ting needs a workout."

######

The twins, Kyle and Kevin woke the denizens of the Coral Place master
bedroom at the crack of dawn. They had a schedule all worked out between
them, but no one else. From dawn until 10 they would fish for bait and from
10 until noon they would go to `school' with the older guys and after lunch
they would attempt to wheedle the afternoon away as a recreation period
just like middle school, although at that school the learning period was
considerably longer and the recreation period did not stretch from the
lunch period into dinner time.

They had to wake everyone because there was one small snag in their
planning; they no longer had the johnboat or any boat to fish from. The
four dogs woke with the twins when the twins first stirred because one
species or the other served as pillows for each other at various times
during the night. The four pups first went outside through the open window
wall to do their morning business and when they returned, it was before
breakfast play time with the boys that were faking sleep or not faking, it
really didn't matter; everyone was up inside of two minutes.

"Auggie, Mattie, get away from Uncle Auggie and Uncle Zeek before you piss
them off," Kevin ordered two of the Labs who were up on the real bed
rousting Auggie and Zeek. The twins named their dogs after the actual real
owners; Auggie, Zeek, Mattie and Jimmy although the names seemed to be
interchangeable, that is, call only one dog by name gets you all four.

"We're awake an' not pissed – yet. Why you boys up so early?"

"We were goin' to go fishin' real quiet like and take the dogs, but we
forgot we don't have a boat anymore," Kyle said.

"Maybe we could borrow the ski boat?" Kevin suggested.

"Here we go again," Auggie mumbled. "We told yo' you' don't need to earn
money by fishin', just go be boys, go ride bikes or somethin' quiet like,
startin' tomorrow since everyone's up this mornin'," he amended.

Kevin got everyone's attention when he said, "We never had bikes to ride
and now we'd look like idiots tryin' to learn how."

"The hell you say, we'll just fix that right after breakfast, then the boys
will teach y'all how to ride `em an the first one to laugh will be feelin'
my cane to their backsides." Auggie promised with a frown at the other
boys. Then he sent the twins off to the kitchen to make coffee although a
chef was due, before he said to the others, "That there come close to
gettin' me some teary eyed. We goin' shoppin big time for them boys. If
y'all had other plans, they cancelled." He told Keith it was a marina
holiday, and the boys that school was closed.

While the twins were excited about getting bicycles, they definitely
weren't too excited to eat breakfast. They steadfastly refused to talk
about previous foster homes, but if the most recent home was typical, the
boys were not fed properly on a more or less regular basis and they were
intent on making up for lost dinners while they had the opportunity. Of
course at Coral Place, they were encouraged to eat all they wanted.

When it appeared that the twins had eaten their fill, Zeek went out to get
the bus started so it was cool. He sat waiting for the mob when he saw the
twins running as fast as they could go while carrying a five gallon pail of
fish food between them and carrying pairs of shorts in their outboard
hands. Zeek just laughed; feeding Dooby's fish was one of the chores they
were being paid for in an effort to get the bait fishing business out of
their heads. However the twins considered all their collective chores as
additional sources of income.

When everyone and everything; the coolers, the snacks AND four very happy
dogs who loved to ride were onboard, Auggie watched the twins pull on their
shorts just as Zeek was entering Route 1 or the Overseas Highway, heading
toward Key West. "Where at's your shirts and shoes?" Auggie asked although
he knew the answer. They almost never wore shirts and he imagined that
they could walk on broken glass or sandspurs with bare feet, which
explained the lack of shoes.

"Do we need to wear shirts and flip flops just to buy bikes?"

"Nope, but I was just wonderin' about how y'all was gettin' into a
restaurant to eat lunch. The place we goin' to has all you can eat fried
chicken or catfish an' they don't pack that food to go so I guess y'all
skip lunch today." It was obvious that the twins hadn't thought about
lunch; they both looked like they'd been slapped. After a 60 second delay,
Auggie made a suggestion; "O' course we could always stop somewhere where
they sell boy's clothes before we get to the Rotten Lobster.

The twins thought buying shirts was an excellent solution except both of
them balked at the thought of eating anywhere that was called Rotten
Lobster. Stevie and Logan joined to explain how Auggie regularly abused the
English language and changed the real name of an excellent restaurant that
he wouldn't go near if it was anything less than excellent.

The dogs interrupted the explanation in their effort to see out the windows
by pushing the boys off the sofa so they could stand on the seat with their
paws on the back. "Why don't y'all go look out the front window?" Kyle
suggested. The black Lab, who was not accidentally named Zeek, seemed to
understand and went to sit beside the human Zeek. Zeek the dog attracted
the other three when he found the view far better by standing on his hind
legs with his front paws on the dashboard.

The twins thought Auggie would take them to Walmart or some other similar
store to buy bikes, but Stevie directed Zeek to a small shop that only sold
better bicycles with not one Huffy in their inventory. The twins admired
the five bikes the guys used to race back and forth between Coral Place,
the short distance to their school house just outside the gates, but didn't
know they were called mountain bikes with special suspension systems, gear
ratios, carbon fiber frames and were built to withstand the rigors of
climbing or descending, steep hazardous mountainsides in races, and they
knew nothing about prices. Stevie and Logan, the two boys long used to the
finer things in life, zeroed in on a pair of 27 inch Devinci's, one red and
one blue at Auggie's direction. He liked the colors and wasn't interested
in the quality. While Stevie and a sales guy explained the many features,
Logan adroitly snatched the price tags and took the liberty of moving the
decimal point two places before announcing that the bikes only cost $69.50
each. A price the twins thought was reasonable but only if Uncle Auggie
agreed.

Uncle Auggie agreed and sent Trasker in the shop with his Bligh platinum
plastic to quietly pay the bill while he, Zeek, James and Little Zeek held
the dogs in check outside. As the most inquisitive, Mattie seemed to be
very interested in her surroundings, even finding a careless gecko
nearby. Little Zeek allowed her to sniff out a rental bike that was one of
about 25 lined up on the sidewalk. Naturally sniffing included the bicycle
seat that could only be properly checked out by jumping up to get her nose
closer. The row of rental bikes went down just like dominoes and Mattie was
so frightened, she pulled free from Little Zeek and scooted back to and
onboard the bus before the shop owner got outside to see what the problem
was.

He looked at the fallen bikes and then at the three remaining dogs that
looked equally perplexed while the guilty party watched the crime scene
from behind darkly tinted windows. In the end he shrugged the incident
away; it wasn't every day that he sold $14,000 worth of bikes before 10
o'clock in the morning. By the time the new bikes were safely stored under
the bus, the mall was open and it was time to buy shirts for the twins –
officially.

Unofficially, the guys were instructed to buy the twins wardrobes from the
skin out including shoes in every style, along with a dozen pairs of
sandals and flip flops. The boys went into the mall by themselves while
Auggie and Zeek waited in the bus with the four dogs that were frantic to
join the boys until Zeek managed to slam the door on the last boy's ass and
the dog's noses.

What began as a quick trip, slowed when the boys stopped at the first store
to look at a display of skateboards. But not just plain old fashion or
traditional boards, the store also had electric and gas powered boards and
scooters that impressed all the boys, even Logan and Stevie who had some
limited experience riding the old fashion kind because skateboarding was
more of an urban and suburban pastime wholly dependent on the presence or
absence of paved surfaces to use them. Little Zeek, James and Trasker had
never tried to ride one and the twins just looked wistful.

Trasker whipped out the Bligh credit card and invited everyone into the
store. He told them all they would find a vacant parking lot to
practice. James and Little Zeek were elected to deliver their considerable
purchases to the bus. "Them boxes don't no how look like clothes," Auggie
observed from a cracked open window that one of the dogs was trying to push
its nose through to open the window all the way.

James explained that they bought the twins skateboards and scooters first
and held his breath while he waited to see if Auggie believed the story. He
didn't want to say that all of them bought at least one plain manual style
and something that was powered in some way.

Auggie pointed out a Mexican restaurant that had a shaded patio at the edge
of the parking lot, "We'll be over yonder; call us when y'all are done." He
slid the window closed and Zeek drove off before one of the brothers could
remind the men that the men didn't have a cell phone with them, as usual.

Auggie sent Zeek with one dog to the restaurant door to ask if patrons with
pets could eat on the terrace. He opened his elevator door after Zeek
waved. The dog's leads were hooked over the steering bar so there was no
chance they could escape. They sat alongside his scooter and enjoyed the
five foot ride down to the pavement, much to Auggie's surprise, but all
bets were off after the ride as they struggled to join the two Zeek's, the
man and the dog at a table on the terrace.

A waiter approached the group cautiously until Auggie waved him in using
the tried-and-true method of waving a $100 in his direction, "This here's
an advance for your aggravation and no small amount of dog slobber." After
that the young man put his order pad, the $100 and pen away, he got down on
the doggie guest's level and the dogs took him down the rest of the way to
his back and soon had him trying vainly to keep tongues away from his face.

"They sure are a friendly bunch," he told Auggie while he dried his face
with a napkin. "Now what can I get you this morning?"

First, Auggie wanted water for the dogs. He suggested stainless steel bowls
from the kitchen unless they had bowls they didn't mind getting
broken. Next, he and Zeek needed drinks. The best top shelf bourbon the bar
had, to be served in double old fashion glasses. He explained measuring out
four fingers before ice was added, followed by just a splash of water. The
waiter nodded his understanding and went to get the drinks while Auggie and
Zeek perused the menu.

He had the good sense to bring the dogs their water first in kitchen bowls
as Auggie suggested so they were temporarily distracted. The old fashion
glasses were a reassuring clear, medium brown and brimming full. The men
judged the drinks to be lip smackin' good. Then Auggie and Zeek ordered one
taco dinner each for themselves and two each for the dogs or a total of 10
dinners to start the day.

The waiter was in seventh heaven. It was only 10:45 in the morning and he
was serving the only customers in the restaurant. He'd made $100 already
with the promise of an additional regular tip definitely implied. He didn't
mind refilling the dog's bowls and even added a few ice cubes just to see
what the rambunctious dogs would do. (They ate the cubes one at a time as
if they were dog biscuits that were not as hard and far more plentiful,
although tasteless.)

The waiter drafted the rest of the servers to bring out the dinners all at
once so the dogs could be served their dinners at the same time while he
served Auggie and Zeek personally. By then the men needed a drink
refill. He hovered nearby while the men ate and the dogs went about licking
each other's plates to be very sure all were empty. That was when Auggie,
Zeek and the waiter sniffed the air and looked down to see where the dogs
were laying down resting, but not asleep. One or more of them farted.

Auggie reached into his pocket and extracted another $100. "This here is
yours if you take `em fo' a walk over to yonder bushes," he offered.

"Yes Sir," the boy agreed at once. After the second bill joined the first
in his pocket, he stepped over to the leads that had been hooked over the
cart's handle bars. The dogs were standing instantly, watching and waiting
expectantly with their tails pounding the air and each other. With the
leads in hand, he made the mistake of asking, "Does anyone want to take a
walk?"

"I reckon they did," Zeek guessed with a laugh. The dogs and the waiter
disappeared into the large island planter that had been left in its natural
state. All the men could hear were occasional curses that were somewhat
louder than useless pleas not to get tangled up with each other or the
vegetation.

In the mall, shopping for shirts officially, finally, the boy's first stop
was Abercrombie & Fitch. The twins ogled the four young men standing just
outside the store entrance wearing Santa hats and jeans. Those boys were
not wearing shirts either and they also had their ratty old jeans pushed
down dangerously low on their stunningly fine bodies, definitely as low as
they dared without displaying their dicks.

"They ain't wearin' shirts," Kevin was quick to point out, "So why do we
have to?"

Stevie pulled an excuse out of his butt when he said, "I think those guys
are modeling the jeans, no shirts needed so we can see the jeans better."

"Do you guys get paid to stand out here wearing those old jeans?" Kyle
asked the models directly. Of course they did and they were also part of
the A&F sales force intent on luring Christmas customers into the
store. One assured the twins that the jeans in question were brand new and
just made to look old and ratty. The twins decided they didn't need new
jeans; they each owned a pair just like the ones the models were wearing.

"If you guys were a few years older you could get a job here too," one of
the sales guys promised. Then he looked at the older guys, "Now you guys
could get jobs here right now. You've got the right faces and bodies to
step into A&F clothes as soon as you fill out the applications."

The job offer was politely declined as the gang made their way into the
store accompanied by one of the shirtless salesmen. The twins stayed close
to Logan since he was close to their size and they were already wearing
pairs of his shorts but no one's shirts, that was the reason they were in
the mall in the first place; to buy shirts so the twins didn't miss lunch.

Logan got into the shopping trip and began buying clothes that he liked for
the twins and himself. Gradually the other guys began buying for themselves
as well, just like every other well-dressed gay boy ever born. They agreed
to halt the buying spree when Trasker looked at his watch, but they were
really there to buy the twins wardrobes so they still needed to make a few
additional stops. The next stop was American Eagle, then Hollister,
J. Crew, Old Navy, Champs for sports shoes and athletic wear and they
finished at a beachwear/surf shop to buy all kinds and colors of board
shorts and other bathing suit styles including tiny tank suits the twins
already refused to wear and whatever else took their communal fancy.

The shopping adventure really ended when they could hear some sort of
disturbance out in the mall proper. The noise was caused by Auggie shouting
at the mall security guards that he lost a passel of kids somewhere in
their mall and he was going to find them by using the dog's noses. The mall
personnel on the other hand were arguing that no dogs except service dogs
were allowed inside the mall.

Once again, Auggie had the dog's leads hooked over his handlebars and at
first glance it looked like the pups were happily pulling Auggie and his
scooter by running in tandem much like a dog sled, only they were running
on marble, not snow. The boys ducked behind some surfboards in the hope
that he would pass them, which would give them time to get outside and make
like they were looking for him and the dogs.

There was one small problem with that plan however; the dogs were actually
hunting the boys and utilizing all their youthful faculties. The right
scent was everywhere but fresher in the store they were about to run past,
the place where to boys were hiding. All four suddenly changed course by
turning left. While there was skidding, they corrected and pulled the
scooter's handle bars left out of Auggie's hands and he very nearly upset
before he released the speed control and hit the brakes.

The clothes buying mission was declared a success since none of the boys
had enough hands to carry anymore purchases. Auggie reversed course and
shouted at mall security more than he did the boys for taking so long but
he assumed that the clothing bags and shoe boxes were several larger sizes
that the twins could grow into, also called good advance planning.

Health code or not, there was no way the pups could be left outside the
Dead Lobster. Fortunately the time was well past peak lunch and more
fortuitously, all the owners were out on their boats diving or fishing, so
they weren't there to defend their property if they even objected to
allowing four fury friends inside their restaurant.

Of course the entire wait staff knew Auggie and had benefited from his very
large roll of greenbacks, so they had no objections to serving his
dogs. The twins took charge of the pup's leads from the bus into the
restaurant. Somehow a miracle occurred just outside the bus, the dogs
suddenly walked sedately as if they had been trained, or remembered that
they had been trained in how to walk properly while on a lead.

Once again they got the big round table in the corner with windows on two
sides. The boys got Little Zeek to lift one table leg and they slipped the
hand holds under so the dogs had a view of the restaurant from under the
table or they could look out at the boats docked nearby with the twins,
with the dogs standing on their hind legs (nose prints on the glass were
ignored).

The twins and the dogs didn't know which way to look; watch the activity on
and around the boats, and in the canal, or watch filled plates as the
servers delivered food to the other tables. Brenden had the same
problem. None of them were accustomed to eating in a sit-down restaurant
and of course the menu prices were mind boggling, there was nothing `cheap'
that they could order.

Little Zeek decided the issue by recommending half the entrees on the menu,
but only after they tried Auggie's oysters and/or oysters on the half shell
that he was starting his lunch with. He whispered about adding lead to
their `pencils' by eating oysters and swore it was true. Oysters were
another item that Brenden, Kyle and Kevin hadn't eaten, but having seen
others eating the slimy things, they weren't sure they wanted to. After
Auggie encouraged them, they ordered whatever Little Zeek ordered. In
addition to oysters two ways, he ordered all-you-can-eat fried chicken. He
explained his thinking with a straight face.

He was tempted to have a big rib eye, but he reconsidered because they
might have steak for dinner. He knew they wouldn't have fried chicken since
they generally went to the Club for chicken so it was fresh from the
pressurized deep fryer, but they couldn't take the twins to the Club; they
were five years away from being 18 and they could never pass. Plus after
one look at the twins they were likely to have the chicken hawks among the
guests (if any), circling the sky before they stooped on the fresh,
delectable prey. No one but Little Zeek and the three boys were having
appetizers with their lunches since they were in fact eating lunch not a
many course dinner so the four boys got the dog's attention because they
were the only ones eating at first.

The dogs begged by resting their big heads on someone's lap and looking up
with a hopeful yet sorrowful expression and no small amount of drool that
was guaranteed to generate a handout. Kevin looked down, "Don't be feedin'
oysters to them..." Auggie started to say.

"Hey, Uncle Auggie, Little Auggie likes raw oysters, don't that beat all!"
Kevin announced. It was no accident that he used one of Auggie's favorite
expressions or that `Little Auggie' was the first dog to sample an oyster.

Auggie looked like a proud father when he said, "Well o' course, them dogs
all got good taste. Just not too many, an' don't be feedin' `em no shells,"
he cautioned.

Kevin tried his first oyster after he saw that the pups seemed to like
them, particularly after they ate them with hot sauce. After the three
oyster `virgins' decided they liked eating them from shells, Little Zeek
suggested that they try Auggie's Oysters or cold oyster soup; especially
the spicy tomato soup. He also whispered to tell them the soup just `might'
be laced with a `little' vodka.

"Little," Kyle gasped, "is right; this soup is some good Uncle Auggie! I
think we should cancel the chicken and order more of this soup."

"Like hell yo' will boy, you two just eat the oysters and push them there
bowls aside," Auggie countered although he noticed that each spooned oyster
was swimming in the forbidden soup.

Kevin pointed out a broad beamed, shallow draft boat that was motoring up
the canal; he called it a flats boat. He explained that the whole outboard
could be raised hydraulically while running, the boat could be propelled by
poling silently or there was a small electric motor attached to the
bow. The boat was ideal for catching game fish such as tarpon, trout and
red fish that prowled the shallow grass beds on the Gulf side, Kyle added,
"One of those would be perfect for our bait fishing business."

Auggie was about to explain the twin's new circumstances once again, when
Brenden spoke up, "One of those would have been handy for me too for
cleaning boat bottoms. If I had a boat like that I would have invested in
a gas powered compressor. I always had an electric motor and the heavy
motor and compressor to drag around so I couldn't leave the marina and
expand my business to boats at customer's houses. Say, you guys can take
over my boat bottom cleaning business and make a lot more money than
catching bait that is if you want to."

"Can we Uncle Auggie?" The twins almost chirped together with changing
voices.

Auggie saw the die was cast, he could not refuse. On reflection he decided
that if they worked around the marina, there was always someone around to
keep an eye on them, as opposed to them going out, only God, and they knew
where to catch bait fish. "That there's a great idea, but you ain't gettin'
Brenden boy's equipment fo' free so I'll front the startup money an' y'all
can pay me back when yo' can," he agreed.

He decided he would have to find the twins one of those flats boats. It
would be disguised as a Christmas present instead of new clothes that no
boy considered to be gifts, and be something substantial that they could
call their own. It would be ideal for them to use for traveling back and
forth to the marina by themselves, plus it might be fun to go flats fishing
with light tackle sometime soon with the twins as guides since they seemed
to know about flats fishing and the area on the Gulf side.

Kevin and Kyle dragged Brenden into the bus' bedroom with the four pups in
attendance to `talk business' all the way home while the well fed doggie
`advisors' occupied the bed and slept.

While Auggie considered the twins' bait fish business over and done with,
he was unware that in the meeting, Brenden divulged the source of his
equipment and that he had his eye on a gas powered air compressor that he
would have someday put in a boat that could still be used around the marina
as well as anywhere else locally where a boat bottom needed cleaning. The
twins planned to get their `escape fund' from Ms. May-Ellen and use that to
pay off Brenden immediately. Then they would start a new fund that would
be used to buy a shallow draft boat AND a gas powered compressor to expand
their business exactly as Brenden envisioned plus continue fishing for bait
as a sideline.

While Brenden was occupied, Auggie had Keith call the marina to see if all
their planning had come to fruition. Keith whispered, "Brand new engine and
outdrive as instructed, of course they also put on a fresh coat of
anti-fouling paint while they had it out of the water. The mechanic said
Brenden's boat is a classic, just like your Chris Craft."

By the time they drove back into Coral Place, the twins were anxious to go
with Brenden to the marina where he would give them the keys to the dock
box where he stored his equipment and actually get a lesson in how the
equipment operated by diving under a boat. The pups sensed the twins'
excitement and ran the last half mile between the bedroom and the bus'
dashboard. Then they were the first to jump down the steps after Zeek
opened the door before they seemed to realize that they didn't know why the
twins were so excited, so they disappeared behind the house where humans
rarely walked and where they regularly did their serious business.

Brenden froze in place as soon as he glanced out at the cove and the
dock. Somehow H.i.t.W., his houseboat had been moved and was the first boat
tied up to the dock on the left. He shed his shorts and ran. He didn't stop
until he was in the water inspecting the new outdrive. He surfaced with a
wail, "This outdrive is too big for my engine! It shouldn't even work!"

"Y'all should look at the engine befo' yo' start up cryin'," Auggie
suggested.

Once Brenden scrambled aboard, was joined by the twins and the four pups,
he opened the engine hatches; just glanced down and wailed again, joyously
this time, "This is a Volvo Penta diesel, oh wow! Who, I mean how, when did
this happen?"

"Merry Christmas!" the gang sang.

"We don't want no broke down boats tied up at this here dock," Auggie
added, "So we had the old girl fixed up good as new. Now when yo' gonna
take us fo' a ride?" he asked and stepped aboard with Zeek and promptly
frowned, "Now where in hell's bells has them critters got to?"

That question was answered when a black head and two paws appeared above
the sundeck's canvass shrouded railing accompanied by a very proud juvenile
woof. Brenden pointed through the interior to the galley just in time to
see Jimmy's blond ass and wagging tail climb to the sundeck from the ladder
in the galley where he joined his mates in looking down at the humans from
the stern rail.

The guys climbed to join the dogs on the sundeck, while Brenden and Keith
stayed at the control station on the main deck with Auggie and Zeek. Auggie
just managed to sit on the second fixed high stool beside Brenden at the
controls. Brenden was almost in tears when the new engine roared to life
and settled down into a deep throated gurgling purr. The old engine was
gasoline powered and sounded more like a kitten's purr compared to the
Penta diesel. When Auggie was satisfied he lumbered out to the forward deck
and got comfortable on the bench seat before he shouted, "Which one o' yo'
dimwits is gonna cast off our lines?"

The only admitted dimwit was Little Zeek. He jumped to the dock tossed the
lines to Keith and gave the bow a push before he jumped to the forward deck
to sit by Auggie. Then it was his turn to wail; "We didn't bring anything
to eat or drink and we didn't have anything on the way home from Key West
either!"

Zeek shook his head sadly at his namesake nephew, "Yo' is a dimwit, pure
an' simple," he judged.

"Now that yo' a big time private prep school student, yo' forgot all about
chores an' one of `em, yours, is drinks and snacks for road trips," Auggie
groused, "Y'all are some lucky I'm a big time business type who thinks
ahead like a proper Chairman o' the Board. I figured we'd take a test run
so I asked Ms. May-Ellen to stock us up. There're two coolers an' the
galley cabinets should be packed up. WE'LL HAVE OUR USUAL!" he had to shout
to Little Zeek's ass.

Brenden backed H.i.t.W. into her old slip and he'd barely shut the engine
down before the twins were pulling on his arms to take them to his
equipment dock box. "You boys just hold up there," Auggie said, "This
mornin' it was shirts now its missin' shorts." Only Brenden, Kevin and Kyle
had stripped off their shorts, the rest of the guys were still
dressed. Brenden handed out old board shorts that were still in his clothes
locker. They were a bit too big for the twins but they took pride in
allowing them to droop exactly like the A&F sales guys wore their jeans so
Auggie couldn't say anything.

Of course when the boys abandoned the sundeck to watch Brenden's
demonstration on the dock, they were reminded by whines and yips that they
also abandoned the dogs. "Should we just hand them down through the
hatch?" Trasker asked.

"Nope." Kevin answered, "If we do that, they'll expect help every
time. We'll stuff Zeek through the hatch butt first after we show him how
we back down a ladder. If they can't learn how, we'll tell them not to
climb any more ladders," he decreed.

"I got a grand that says the critters will learn how," Auggie was first to
suggest a bet to Zeek so he had choice of positive or negative.

"Done." Zeek agreed, "Win or lose we give the money over to them boys to
hep `em out with their new business," he added. Auggie agreed with a nod.

The diving/boat bottom cleaning demonstration was put on hold. Everyone
went inside to watch the twins instruct the dogs in using a slanted wide
tread wooden ladder to climb down since they figured out how to climb up on
their own. Zeek the dog was first to climb up, so he was forced into being
the first to climb down. Little Zeek stood ready to catch him when he
slipped and each time unhappy Zeek the dog was handed back up to the
sundeck to try again. At first the remaining three pups seemed interested
in watching Zeek but apparently they determined that their turn would come
so they sought the limited safety provided by hiding under Brenden's lounge
chair as if they couldn't be seen.

Ten minutes later, Zeek's hind paws hesitantly touched the deck without
assistance and he was allowed his freedom amid some hugs, lots of petting
from the boys, a bowl of ice water and some Ritz crackers as a
reward. Mattie was next in line. Zeek sat by Little Zeek and watched her
struggles for a while before he decided to show off by showing her how
climbing down was done properly. After that demonstration, Mattie succeeded
after two more tries. Then with two dogs showing off their new found
climbing skill, Auggie and Jimmy learned quickly.

Then it was back to the dock after Zeek handed the twins $1000 cash money
which they promptly offered to Brenden. Brenden accepted $500, the agreed
price and Auggie became the twins' temporary banker to hold the rest until
he saw May-Ellen, their permanent banker.

She had tried to convince the twins to open a regular bank account since
their circumstances had changed for the better so drastically but they
refused. They told her that they wanted to remain `fluid' and `liquid',
terms they learned from hearing Ryan and Auggie discussing money. They
assumed definitions would come later.

May-Ellen was extremely busy in the store even with two additional sales
girls, both her nieces, after she was allowed to stock the store the way
she wanted with the addition of one temporary walk-in freezer positioned
just outside the back door, and additional coolers to hold a larger
inventory of liquid refreshments and foods that required refrigeration. She
happened to look out at the docks and saw that Brenden had returned with
H.i.t.W., just the boy and the boat she did not wish to see that day. She
had tried calling Coral Place but she just talked to an answering machine.

May-Ellen hurried out to the dock. "Hi Ms. May-Ellen!" The three boys
greeted her happily until they saw the expression on her face.

Something was wrong or something bad happened and she was the bearer of ill
tidings. It didn't take her long to tell Brenden that his father had
returned that morning just in time to see H.i.t.W. leaving the marina basin
on its way to the dock at Coral Place. He was drunk and he became
belligerent when she wouldn't tell him where Brenden was or where his boat
was going. She finally got him to leave by threatening to call 911. Then
she said he left extremely fast with a promise to return that evening after
dark, and when he returned, he wanted to see his boat tied up at the dock
because he planned to sell it as fast as possible. She didn't say the
obvious; that he didn't care what happened to his son Brenden.

While Brenden turned as white as a sheet, Auggie's face turned as red as a
beet. Zeek and the guys who knew Auggie best recognized the signs of
outrage which meant the old adage; `don't get mad, get even' went right out
the window. Auggie didn't want to get even; he wanted to beat his adversary
of the moment, Brenden's father, far enough into the ground to bury him if
possible (late at night without witnesses preferred).

Auggie ordered all of Brenden's equipment loaded on H.i.t.W. "Call in the
dogs boys an' let's head for home. Ms. May-Ellen, thank you kindly for the
heads up. There's gonna be a deputy sheriff in street clothes hangin' out
here within the hour until this here problem goes away for good," he
promised.

"Keith boy, y'all still have Deputy Barney's phone number? You know him
best. What kind of information was he wantin' about them two Las Vegas
assholes?" Auggie asked.

Instead of answering directly, Keith turned to Brenden at the controls, "Is
there anything onboard that your dad may have touched or handled that
hasn't been touched by anyone since he left?"

"There's an old coffee mug in that cabinet that he used every day, but
never washed; he just rinsed it out. I wouldn't use that skanky old thing
so it might have his finger prints on it, if that's why you're asking;
maybe even some of the bastard's DNA too, if that helps."

Keith was careful to lift the mug by using a fork through the handle. He
placed it in a zip lock bag and once the bag was closed, he left it sit on
the galley counter. After he finished he began rubbing Brenden's shoulders
and murmured words of comfort and encouragement while Auggie borrowed his
phone to call Barney.

"This here is Auggie Bligh. Did y'all get them bonus checks for takin' care
of that problem over to the Club?"

"Yes Sir, Mr. Bligh. Thank you most kindly. I probably shouldn't say this
but you're about as subtle as a bulldozer. Now that the formalities are out
of the way how can we help you today?"

After Auggie stopped laughing he agreed that he wasn't the most subtle of
arm twisters. Then he explained the problem. He had the problem's name and
his fingerprints that someone could collect at Coral Place at their
earliest convenience. Then if he was wanted somewhere for some sort of
minor legal infraction, Auggie would decide what was to be done about the
dude and who was to do it, but he was hoping for serious breach of the law
that would send the dude away for enough years until his son reached his
majority and beyond.

Barney agreed to those terms with the veiled promise of unspecified rewards
without hesitation and decided he would pick up the fingerprints himself
because he wanted to meet Auggie for the first time. He'd seen him from a
distance and knew Auggie was taller than he appeared because of his
weight. There was no question of his intellect that was well disguised by
his country mode of speech until some business associate underestimated his
ability to close a deal.

Auggie sent Brenden, the twins and the boys out to Fishin' Boy to clean his
bottom for starters to keep Brenden occupied. Brendon's system included two
hoses and a pair of full face masks with regulators and the boys broke out
their extensive inventory of scuba gear so everyone could watch the twins
earn their first fee for cleaning a 65 foot bottom at $3.00 per foot and
just maybe feed Dooby's fish while they were under there.

Deputy Barney arrived with his best bud, Deputy Daniel, in what would have
been an unmarked SUV if he'd left off the flashing Christmas tree lights
that were hidden by heavily tinted glass, but at least he wasn't using the
screaming siren to further announce his presence at Coral Place. Auggie was
surprised to see two additional young men in the back seat that Daniel had
to let out of the car because there were no door handles in the back.

Auggie wondered who they were, until he remembered that the FBI still
maintained a presence at the Club. The rookie Agents were being kept out of
sight and/or maybe being rewarded for their discretion in handling a
dereliction of duty case that was pending against their immediate superiors
since there had been no publicity, adverse or otherwise, concerning the
case.

The reason the Agents were there was made clear when one opened an
equipment case he carried. The rookie agents had been left with all the
high tech equipment they brought with them when they first arrived. The
small case they brought along was used to transmit fingerprint evidence to
the massive FBI data base for almost instant analysis. They would soon know
if Brenden's father, Brian, had been up to no good during his sudden one
year absence from Brenden and the Marathon marina.

Auggie and Zeek watched the Agents after one of them fetched the mug from
H.i.t.W. First, they dusted the handle and sides carefully with what looked
like soot without regard to the small table surface they were messing
up. Then they used a clear tape to lift each likely specimen. They
explained that a complete print wasn't necessary; just enough so they or
the machine had a sufficient number of identifiers or distinctive
traits. The tapes were then stuck to a lighted glass surface inside the
fax-like machine and the suspect prints were sent with the touch of a
button.

Auggie and Zeek watched the machine intently expecting a prompt answer
until one of the Agents laughed before explaining that the results, if any,
could be returned anytime up to a half hour into the future. "Well then I
expect it's time for a drink," Auggie surmised, "if you ain't on duty," he
added.

Auggie didn't think the men could be on duty since they were wearing board
shorts and tee shirts. There was nowhere to conceal a handgun and they all
carried their cellphones in their hands, like most young people who were
fearful of not answering some idiot text message with more of the same
although worded differently but not spelled any better.

Bourbon was the unanimous choice. Zeek ran to get the drinks while Auggie
continued to watch the machine. Zeek brought back a bottle, glasses and an
ice bucket. He said to save trips, but he really didn't want to miss the
damned machine belch an answer so the wait became a self-serve affair. They
found that the four law officers were not the least bit bashful about
drinking Auggie's very fine 12 year old bourbon.

It was revealed that Barney and Daniel had seen Brenden working on boat
bottoms around the marina and they also knew of his help to the Club by
calling in advance of the hit men and Ollie's aunt and uncle's
arrival. Brenden was obviously a fantastic worker as well as a survivor
since they just found out that he'd been abandoned. If they'd found out
earlier, they would have been duty bound to call DCF.

"Speakin' of that there bunch of assholes, the case worker in charge of
them two teens needs to be strung up by her balls if she had any. Of course
the twins tell us she'd be some hard to catch since she ain't been around
to see `em in a month o' Sundays. That bitch needs to be charged with child
neglect an' maybe child endangerment." Auggie's rage bubbled up again which
forced him to drink his drink in one swallow to calm down and surprise; he
made his own refill.

"If you have a name, we can find her address, then we might tail her for a
week from her house to all the clients she's supposed to see and find out
what she actually does during her working day," Barney suggested.

"If y'all find the bitch's address, I'll put a private detective with a
video camera on her ass," Auggie countered, "Then when there's enough
evidence for an hour show, I'll just play it on my TV stations at the same
time I send the Governor his copy. If he don't do nothin,' quick like a
bunny, I'll just pony up to pay for the campaign for the guy that's runnin'
against him in the next election," he threatened.

"Mayhap we could tail the governor too," Zeek suggested, "he could be
takin' bribes or diddlin' some of the help."

Auggie laughed at that thought. "That there man takes right after his pappy
an' the name `Swift'," he used finger quotes, "ain't in that there family
tree anywhere."

"Ouch," Barney said.

"You know Mr. Bligh, Gene and I have been told to stay down here for the
next 30 days without anything to do," Chuck, one of the FBI Agents
said. "We have audio and video equipment you wouldn't believe. Maybe we
could work as your detectives to catch this bitch. We could also run a
background and security check through the Agency just like we do for top
security clearances. It would be nice to have something to report other
than how the fish are biting to prove that we haven't been idle, although a
state agency is out of our jurisdiction."

"Chuck boy, y'all talked you an' Gene boy into a job o' work."

Two drinks later, the boys returned from the dock naked as usual. They
rushed into the great room with the very happy twins in the lead to report
to Auggie that Fishin' Boy now had the cleanest boat bottom around
Marathon. "Now it's time to present your customer with the bill," Brenden
prompted. "I expect you can safely extend credit to Auggie and some friends
of his, but no one else," he warned.

Auggie saw that Kyle had kept one of his hands behind his back and it
probably held the bill, "But Uncle Auggie is taking care of us now, we
can't charge him for anything," Kevin protested to Brenden.

"If y'all want to be successful in business when yo' just startin' out, yo'
got no friends whatsoever," Auggie announced and held out his hand. He
winked at Zeek, "I might have to finance this here bill, so stand by Zeek
boy. Now give it over," he demanded.

The bill in question had been written under protest by one very wet
hand. The twins did not generally use towels. They preferred to air dry, so
the paper was falling apart. Wet ballpoint pens didn't like wet paper so
there were more skips than writing but $195.00 was clearly legible after
the third attempt, while `65 feet at $3.00 per foot' was not.

Auggie made like he was having an attack by thumping his chest and rolling
his head, while he fished out his bankroll and peeled off three
bills. "Y'all keep the change as a tip," he instructed when Kyle tried to
return one of the $100 bills.

It was at that time that Chuck's cellphone began playing that famous old
standby (If you were a patriotic Federal Agent.); `The Battle Hymn of the
Republic'. "We got the son-of-bitch," Chuck announced after looking at his
phone, "The dude was a mule."

Auggie and Zeek frowned at the innocent fingerprint fax machine, "How come
we're settin' here lookin' at that dumb ass machine an' the answer comes in
on your damn phone; an' what in hell's bells is a mule?"

"The machine just sends, it doesn't receive and a mule is someone who
transports drugs and is considered kind of a throwaway."

"It sounds like you're talking about my father; throwaway is about right,"
Brenden injected into the conversation sadly.

"I mean if the mule is caught, he or she is on their own. If you have a
printer I can print the report," Chuck said.

Auggie glanced at Ryan, which was enough to get Chuck into the study that
also served as Auggie and Ryan's office where even the boys didn't go
without knocking first. While Ryan and Chuck were away Auggie and Zeek
continued to glare at what they considered to be the FBI's dumb ass
fingerprint machine.

Chuck returned with the report a few minutes later. He was so preoccupied
reading, he walked into a chair. Ryan corrected his course with a
laugh. "Well, Drug Enforcement nailed this guy with 50 kilos (220 pounds)
of coke on a boat almost a year ago and he's been working for them as a
confidential informant ever since with a promise of immunity from
prosecution. That would be because the alternative for him was up to 20
years in the slammer. This group of importers is using small fast speed
boats equipped with extra fuel tanks on runs from the Bahamas into anywhere
from Palm Beach, south to here in the Keys, that were scheduled to arrive
late at night.

"Drug Enforcement continued to allow the loads in the Country until they
could identify everyone in the distribution system. Meanwhile they had this
Brian guy trying to find names of the top guns, the importers, while the
importers thought Brian was a wonder boy because he was so successful. And
because he was successful, the size of the loads grew. Two weeks ago the
size of the shipment was like 1000 kilos or 2200 pounds so the main men
came down to the dock to see Brian off. He made the mistake of calling his
DEA handler to say he had the names, but he didn't give the names. Then
something happened, maybe he was overheard or the bad guys found out he was
working for the DEA some other way, but he obviously got away with the
load. The Coast Guard found the boat drifting with its load intact near
here, but no Brian. Now he's come home. Now the DEA wants him and maybe or
probably his bosses want him before the DEA gets him. The only reason the
DEA released this info to us is so we take him into protective custody
since we just sent in his finger prints.

"Have y'all got your boat's documentation Brenden boy?" Auggie asked.

Brenden was disgusted, "Yup, but all it shows is that H.i.t.W. belongs to
my father, damn him. Why did he have to come back now?"

Auggie didn't answer; instead he asked Brenden to go and get the
papers. Then he asked Ryan to open the safe and bag up all the cash they
had on hand. He directed Ryan and Zeek to drive H.i.t.W. to the marina with
the cash and then buy it from Brenden's father and pay him off AFTER he
transferred ownership to either one of them. Then the FBI and the Sheriff's
Department could take him into custody from the marina and hang him for all
anyone at Coral Place cared.

Gene, the second Agent spoke up, "You know if he testifies against these
big guys, the DEA will give him a new identity and set him up somewhere way
far away from here, but those big guys have a very long reach, even from
prison and if they're found not guilty, it will be someone's full time job
to find this guy. It could take them years to find him, but they will
eventually then..." he made a slicing motion across his neck.

"I don't care what happens to him," Brenden said with finality, "as long as
one of you guys owns the boat officially."

Auggie rolled his eyes, "Boy you're workin' at bein' another dunderhead of
which there ain't no shortage around here.

"Meaning?" Stevie challenged.

"Meanin' if the shoe fits; least ways you boys have matured somewhat, yo'
ain't full time dunderheads. Now as I was sayin', as soon as the papers get
back here, we sign that there boat over to you. We'll just have to postdate
`em to your eighteenth birthday, an' that's that."

"I'll pay y'all back, every cent," Brenden promised with a radiant smile
and a shoulder hug for Auggie.

While Brenden ran to fetch the boat papers, the rest of the guys including
Trasker and Keith, Auggie accounted as `level heads', gradually disappeared
to somewhere else in the big house. What they were really doing was
dispersing, finding shorts to wear, going out another doorway and
regrouping aboard H.i.t.W. Auggie watched from deep inside the room, "See
what I mean? They dunderheads; if they asked I'd have let `em go `cause
y'all may need backup if cash don't do the trick."

"Well, we've got 150 grand on hand. Y'all got an upper limit befo' we bust
the dude's head?" Ryan asked in dialect just to be annoying to Auggie and
Zeek. Zeek was already slapping his new telescoping Billie club in his hand
in eager anticipation.

"Nope, just get `er done."

The boys on the houseboat thought they'd gotten one over on Auggie until
Zeek and Ryan emerged from the house carrying an ice chest between them
with Auggie following, walking with his cane and carrying a new bottle of
bourbon. Little Zeek was the first to realize that they'd made a dreadful
mistake. No one thought about drinks or anything to eat on their one mile
journey, not to mention the unknown length of time they'd have to wait for
Brenden's father to show up to claim the houseboat.

"Make believe the boat won't start before we get back," Little Zeek told
Brenden, since he alone was not about to leave `his' boat while he still
had possession. Little Zeek was leading the pack back to the house to
stock up on food and drink but they had to be prepared to overlook Auggie
calling them names such as `dunderhead' `dimwit' and `dunce' as they ran by
him, although he promised to wait for them if they returned `quick as
bunnies'.

The boys found that they were in luck; Flynn had just arrived packing a
complete pot roast(s) dinner that had been slow cooking the day away in the
Club kitchen. It was therefore easy to carry everything with a cooler of
beer to H.i.t.W., along with the necessary plates and cutlery and enjoy a
dinner onboard. A simple solution, but when they got back to the houseboat,
only Ryan and Zeek were aboard with the engine running, while Auggie,
Brenden and Keith were waving at them from Fishin' Boy.

After Auggie counted heads, there were too many guys; H.i.t.W. would have
been overcrowded so he decided he and the boys would drive Fishin' Boy
where everyone would be comfortable as they waited and be out of sight in
plain sight while they watched Ryan and Zeek complete the buyout. They were
also eager to intervene if necessary if there was a problem so they docked
Fishin' Boy in one of the vacant guest slips close to H.i.t.W.

Meanwhile, Barney and Daniel, the Deputy Sheriffs, parked out in the
recently cleared `north 40' with FBI Agents Chuck and Gene. They were ready
to swoop in and make their `collar' also more commonly referred to as
`arrest' Brenden's father as soon as the sale of the houseboat was
complete.

After it got dark and Brian hadn't showed his face, Ryan and Zeek and the
four cops were invited in to Fishin' Boy to have dinner while there was
still something to eat. As the men were eating, Barney's handheld radio
crackled to life. A Sheriff's deputy drove through the airport parking lot
and was stopped by an open car door. It appeared to be vacant so he thought
he would close the door as a courtesy. The interior light showed that the
driver's seat was bloodied and a glance into the back seat showed the
reason. There was a man's body there that recently had his throat cut,
quite possibly the cause of death, although that would be determined by the
County Coroner. While the deputy was reporting his discovery, a small jet
screamed down the nearby runway to disappear, heading east, possibly to the
Bahamas.

Barney took Brenden to the crime scene for a positive identification if the
body was indeed his father Brian. "Well, I expect that be that," Auggie
pronounced after Barney and Brenden had left. "Somethin' you two boys might
look into," Auggie said to the Agents, "Is to check out if this Brian boy
had any assets over in the Bahamas. He must have made him some pretty
handsome money if he was one of them mules for a whole year."

Kevin spoke up, "If he had any money, why was he wantin' to sell
H.i.t.W. out from under Brenden so fast?"

"Because havin' a boot full of money outside o' this Country don't do him a
lick o' good if he can't lay hands on it without his whereabouts bein'
announced to the world," Auggie explained.

#######

The boys had driven by the Club entrance several times before Trasker,
driving the Rolls, turned in the driveway. Brenden was following driving
his beautiful new `Trasker's Marina' crew cab truck. They'd been looking
for a parking lot to try out their skateboarding skills with all their
brand new equipment and two bicycles loaded in Brenden's truck. The airport
would have been ideal but they didn't even bother asking. The Rainbow
Club's parking lot and driveway were newly paved and there wasn't all that
much traffic even with a dozen guests in residence.

By the time Brenden, Keith and the four dogs joined the group standing at
the far end of the lot, there was a discussion going on about whether the
twins should or shouldn't be on that particular property. Keith and Brenden
had already stripped off their shorts and when the twins saw them naked
they dropped their shorts too.

Trasker pointed at the twin's very handsome identical bodies and matching
junk, "That's the reason they shouldn't be here; they're only 13..."

"Almost 14," the twins corrected with scowls. They thrust out their hips
for good measure to show one and all that they were not standing behind the
proverbial door when God handed out dicks, which in their minds proved that
they were not too young.

"Okay, well if anyone tries to grope you, you let us know."

"No, if anyone tries anything with any of you guys you let ME know," Keith
asserted, "All you guys are jailbait around here until you're 18, like it
or not, so the `do not touch' sign is out."

Trasker and James had the same thought and began laughing and pointing at
Keith and Brenden. James said, "Wasn't that sign out for you too? You broke
your own rule."

Keith couldn't quite hide his grin or his blush, "The rule doesn't count
between fellow employees, shit happens," he amended quickly. That started a
friendly argument and discussion about anyone of them messing around with
strangers, which they hadn't, and Keith's ability to make up rules to suit
his and Brenden's relationship.

The twins ended all that by selecting a pair of simple foot powered Razor
scooters because of the handle bars; they could hold on to provide a sense
of balance after they got the things rolling, before they attempted
skateboards or their new bicycles. Naturally the experiment turned into a
race between the two boys with each other and the two boys together against
the four dogs.

Three of the Labs stayed on the pavement with the twins while Mattie the
dog fancied herself as an experienced gecko hunter and was already busy
searching the lush new tropical landscape plantings against the long
building. It was always easy to see where she was because the bushes and
larger plants shook or moved when she nosed her way along. Fortunately the
little lizards were faster and perhaps smarter. They either disappeared in
dense foliage in advance of her approach or scooted just a bit higher than
Mattie could reach long before the `hunter' got anywhere close enough to
catch but were still visible to look down on their adversary with
unblinking distain.

When Mattie reached the flower bed at the Club's front doors, the doors
whooshed open to release a whole bunch of new sounds and smells. A single
woof from Mattie the dog ended the race when the three dogs changed
direction and ran into the lounge with Mattie. The twins followed riding on
their scooters and the rest of the gang showed up shortly after. Everyone
but Keith was carrying an alternate form of locomotion, while only Keith
was actually an experienced skateboarder so it was he who had the
misfortune to almost run Mattie the woman and her husband, Jimmy, the
Club's co-owners down.

The boys had told the newest additions to the extended Bligh family about
Mattie's corn broom and her fondness of wielding it whenever she felt
necessary for the slightest transgression, such as reaching for a freshly
baked cookie or three that were still on the cooling racks. Of course those
same new guys didn't believe the stories. Until naked Keith bent down to
pick up his skateboard.

Mattie really did keep a corn broom in the lobby, behind a potted palm
close to the registration desk. And she really did show it to new guests as
she explained her rules concerning tracking dirt and sand on her clean
floors and Club hygiene in general; pigs were NOT welcome. At that very
moment the rule was extended to include all wheeled vehicles (excluding
Auggie's), no matter how small. The dogs, one and all greeted her and Jimmy
before they ran hither and yon to greet every other human they could see in
the lounge while they worked their way slowly but steadily toward and into
the dining room, hence into the kitchen, swinging doors, no problem and
lots of fun.

Meanwhile Mattie the woman slowly but steadily drove the bunch of
transgressors including her sons, who were just carrying something with
wheels, back outside and stood in the doorway until they left their new
toys outside. Then and only then she welcomed all the boys with open arms
and invited them in to have something to eat.

The twins were still uncomfortable walking around without a `stitch' in the
presence of a woman, so they attempted to stay behind any one of the other
guys. Mattie recognized their modesty and pulled them by their hands to the
forefront. A stern look kept them in place while she looked them over
carefully, particularly below the belt if they had been wearing belts,
before she grinned. "You two peas in a pod should never be
embarrassed. Y'all are better endowed now than some men you'll see walking
around here,"," she assured them, in a low voice, "and you're only 14, so
you've got a whole lot of growing to do yet, so walk proud boys, walk
proud." They fell in love after she granted them another year in age.

It was obvious that Kevin and Kyle were unused to compliments of any sort,
not the least of which was Mattie, a woman, praising their junk plus she
thought that they were 14 years old, the ultimate compliment. They
pointedly ignored the comments from their slightly elder friends standing
behind them. "Did you say something about getting something to eat
Ms. Mattie?" Kevin, it was Kevin. One of the benefits of clothes shopping
was buying new red and blue hats so Auggie could tell them apart. It didn't
really matter because they were rarely separated so in that regard, they
were much like the pups; talking to one was to get answers from both.

While the twins' old hats had been treated like dog toys and were
completely chewed up, the new hats were also targets if, or inevitably,
when, one of the dogs could find one that was unattended. "Hey you, where
y'all goin' with my cap?" Someone in the dining room shouted just before
Auggie ran into the lounge with a Georgia Bulldog cap in his mouth. He ran
full tilt across the room until he was safely behind the twins.

Carson forgot about his University cap when he saw Trasker, James and
Little Zeek. Then Andy backed into the room using his cap as a lure that
he held just out of the other three pup's reach. "I just found three more!"
He said with a giggle and when he turned to see who Carson was talking to,
he lowered his arm just a bit, just enough for Jimmy to snatch his cap and
run with the remaining two dogs in hot pursuit. Then the two caps very
shortly became the prizes in a pair of tug of war contests.

After lengthy introductions due to considerable explanations that involved
Andy Candy, Mattie and Jimmy as James and Zeek's parents and Jimmy as the
Chambers Bank president, Little Auggie yipped while standing in front of
Carson with most of Carson's Bulldog cap resting at his feet. The dog was
looking up hopefully and nearly wagging his ass off. Clearly, he was daring
Carson to try to pick up his cap before Auggie could snatch it away.

Carson stooped down instead of bending down to try to steal his hat
back. That to Auggie was a precursor to kneeling; an invitation to
wrestle. Auggie put his paws on Carson's shoulders so he got the first
points for a takedown and then the game evolved into a four against one tag
team match, until the twins and Andy joined Carson's team.

The bout ended suddenly when Mattie waded into the fray wielding her corn
broom once again while trying not to laugh, "Y'all just take this fracas
out to the beach!" She demanded while punctuating each word with a clout
with her broom, "We don't need any wrestling matches in front of guests."

"Now Momma, you shouldn't be exerting yourself like that; think of the
babies," Little Zeek cautioned his mother and succeeded in getting a swat
on his butt on the way out the door to the beach. None of Mattie's swats
hurt much, but they were humiliating to guys that considered themselves
grown men.

The dogs ultimately ended the bout when they saw water beyond the open
beachside doors. They raced each other into the water without any of the
boys. There was still Mattie's mention of `something to eat' to be dealt
with so the boys migrated into the dining room with Carson and Andy minus
their hats.

The dogs got in water deep enough to paddle and when they looked back
toward the beach, there were no boys to play with. Naturally they promptly
reversed course. The twins saw them as they left the water.

"Shit!" Kevin exclaimed.

"What was that?" Mattie asked.

"I meant shucks Ms. Mattie. We have to get out there and clean off them
dogs before they run in here on your clean floors and get sand all over."

"You certainly do," Mattie agreed, "The pool and shower is right over
there," she pointed.

Andy frowned after 10 minutes. "Those kids have been gone too long," he
said as he stood up, "I better go make sure they're all right."

Andy reappeared five minutes later shaking his right hand as if he hurt it
in some way. The twins were walking at his right and left sides, looking up
at him with awe and something akin to hero worship. The dogs preceded them
in a tight group sniffing the sidewalk as they walked along.

"You should have seen Andy..."

"Two older guys were hassling us..."

"Under the shower..."

"The dogs thought the guys just wanted to play..."

"They did but not with the dogs..."

"One kicked Zeek out of the way..."

"That's when Andy stepped in..." Kyle and Kevin always talked with
incomplete sentences if they were together and excited. They took turns.

"I think that's enough of the story guys," Andy said to cut off the two boy
explanation. "It's over and done with; those two guys made a mistake that
won't happen again while they're here."

"Point them out, so I can kick them out," Jimmy said.

"I wouldn't do that," Andy cautioned Jimmy, "You're running a gay resort
here; some of these guys have certain preferences and fetishes. What
happened was our fault; we let the twins go to the pool by themselves. They
can't be left alone while they're on this property. As long as we do that,
there won't be any problems in the future. If you bounce every guest that
acts out on vacation, you may as well just lock the doors now."

Mattie used the `hands on' approach to be sure that the twins were not
injured just like she always did to her sons, but the twins weren't used to
being handled; never before by a woman anyway, so they had to sit down
quickly to hide their junk under the table cloth after reassuring her that
they were fine several times.

The other guys swarmed the dogs, particularly Zeek, to make sure they were
alright too. Of course the dogs turned a negative event into a positive by
not having to beg bacon or sausage. "I guess you're right Andy," Jimmy
admitted, "I'm just not used to dealing with our special clientele."

At that moment two guys walked by the restaurant windows; one was limping
and the other was holding a towel against his eye. The twins couldn't
resist resuming their story between mouthfuls of what Little Zeek referred
to as `second breakfast'.

"The guy that's limping must have..."

"Hit his leg on the steps when..."

"Andy tossed him halfway across the pool..."

"Then he gave the other..."

"Guy a smack down with one punch in the eye," Kevin concluded the brief
story.

Andy shrugged the event away. He said, "What can I say, that's what I do up
in Daytona Beach; I bounce guys around that misbehave, but I never throw
them out if they're hotel guests."

With second breakfast out of the way, the guys went back to the parking lot
to resume manual and powered skate boarding and scooter lessons but this
time, they were not alone. Keith asked a few of the staff if they were any
good with a skateboard so they had lots of instructors plus an audience of
other staff and a couple of guests. The guys discovered that with all the
equipment they bought, they did not buy any safety gear such as helmets,
gloves, and knee and elbow pads; very important stuff for beginners. They
looked at everything in the store, but agreed that wearing the stuff would
make them appear to be pussies; somehow less than `manly', if that was
possible with everyone's dick swinging out in the breeze for everyone else
to look at.

The obvious solution was to go slowly and carefully to avoid road rash or
worse; injured knees and/or elbows the first lesson, until they could stock
up. Of course the twins had helmets, purchased with their bikes, but they
were not about being the only ones wearing any safety gear. That is until a
younger guest noticed the two Devinci mountain bikes in the
truck. Apparently he was a mountain bike enthusiast and recognized the
brand name. He managed to blurt out the approximate price after whistling
in surprise before anyone realized what he was talking about.

The twins were stunned and wondered to Trasker why Uncle Auggie would pay
that much money so a pair of homeless, down and out young men, not boys,
could have bicycles. Trasker appeared to get mad at them and what he
called a dumb ass question. He told them in no uncertain terms that they
were family, part of the Bligh family and no member would ever get less
than anyone in the family had, no matter how expensive anything was.

"Goddamn, Uncle Auggie must really be rich," Kevin surmised.

Trasker lowered his voice so no one could overhear, "You're goddamn right
WE are," he used `we' intentionally, "You guys could each buy one of these
bikes every day for the rest of your lives and we still wouldn't run out of
money, but keep that under your hats, that's family business, no one
else's." He raised his voice, "Since you two birds have helmets AND bikes,
it's time to ride." He did not say learn how.

The twins and everyone forgot that the they were adept at standing up in a
johnboat while underway, while looking for schools of fish and able to
adjust their balance when the boat was turned sharply while traveling at
full speed during chases to run down the same schools and throw a heavy
cast net. Therefore their sense of balance served them well on their new
bikes after they got moving, and then steering while moving. They stopped
the first time by crashing into one of the Club SUVs because everyone
assumed they knew about the brakes. After that feature was explained, their
confidence grew until they were racing through the parking lot and all the
way to Mattie and Jimmy's home and back to Brenden's truck.

After several of these practice runs, the twin's confidence knew no bounds
and they naturally wanted to ride a longer distance; they wanted to peddle
from the Club, all the way home to Coral Place. Kevin whispered a comment
to Trasker as Kyle nodded that he had exactly the same thought; "You know
Coral Place is the first place we've ever called home; the rest of the
dumps were just some place to sleep."

Trasker considered the request with a lump in his throat and decided that
they could as long as they were careful about crossing the highway at the
stop light. After they crossed Route 1, they could weave through side
streets and lanes all the way to the gates.

There were just four other problems to solve in advance; the dogs needed to
be lured into a truck with at least one person to drive, and the doors
closed before they could get back out. Kevin and Kyle shrugged, Kyle opened
one of Brenden's truck doors and Kevin whistled for the dogs. When they
were all in the back seat the twins ordered, "STAY!" together and gently
closed the door.

Kevin warned, "And don't you dare jump out of there until you get home."
There were a few whines of protest and unpleasant looks at the twins while
they mounted their new bikes and then dismounted to put on shorts before
they were really ready to go. Then as a form of protest, all four dogs
jammed their bodies into the passenger seat while Mattie, the last in line
to move between the seats had to balance her butt on the console and lean
against Brenden. All four looked rather determined when Keith thought he
should be the one to sit there, so he sat in the back.

Trasker and Brenden decided to follow the bikers just to be on the safe
side. Of course Brenden stayed just behind the twins to keep the dogs from
potentially wrecking the truck interior if they couldn't keep the bikers in
sight. The unusual convoy proceeded down Route 1 without incident except a
car horn or two from impatient drivers but all the traffic seemed to be
pleased when the Rolls and truck signaled a left turn at the first
stoplight just behind the twins.

There was one car that pulled up close to the Rolls and continued to blow
his horn and even followed when Trasker turned left and continued to toot
on the tiny narrow side roads that ultimately led to Coral Place. Andy and
the guys riding in the Rolls wanted Trasker to pull over to engage the
irate driver in a conversation that might also include a smack down as Andy
began flexing his right hand; getting ready to end the conversation.

Brenden opened the gates for the twins, who seemed to be tireless as they
peddled, going `hell bent for election' as Auggie would say, without
slowing except for the left turn. The twins happily parked their bikes in
line with the five other bikes and immediately stripped off their shorts to
be draped over the handle bars just like the other boys always did on their
return from the school house.

Of course the twins were swarmed by the dogs as soon as Brenden opened his
door without regard to any pain they may have inflicted on his reproductive
equipment. Trasker parked in the Rolls' garage bay and everyone piled out
as fast as they could go to confront the driver that even had the stupidity
and/or the balls to follow the old car into the heart of Coral Place. That
was a place that was guaranteed to get his lights punched out since there
were no witnesses.

The stranger was smiling as he climbed from his car until he saw the
unsmiling guys that were intent of meeting him halfway. "Wait," the man
said, "it's not what you think. This isn't a road rage case; I was trying
to get you to pull over because I want to make you an offer to buy that
very fine antique Rolls Royce."

That reason was anti-climactic. Everyone sighed with relief with perhaps a
touch of disappointment. The twins were the only ones who had seen Andy
demonstrate his bouncing skills on two misguided chicken hawks. "Sorry,
none of them are for sale," Trasker said and waved his hand negligently at
the open garage that housed the rest of the astounding collection.

The man's eyes literally bugged halfway out of his head when he looked
beyond Trasker. "You haven't even heard my offer yet son. By the way," the
man held out his hand, "the name's Ben Crossley. I thought I should check
out that resort I saw you guys leaving, since a group I belong to are
coming down to stay over the Holidays." Keith and Brenden winked at each
other when Ben introduced himself since they made the reservation for him
and his group.

Keith pulled Brenden forward to introduce themselves as the two guys he
talked to when he first called the Club. Ben had the potential to make or
break the Club. If he and his group enjoyed their stay, the word would
spread among the national gay community who could afford to stay there and
its future would be assured.

Ben first looked Keith and Brenden up and down before he really looked at
the other guys and began to laugh. "Let's see here," he said. "I recognize
most of you even though you're all wearing shorts. I saw you all on the
Club's website, except everyone but Keith here had their faces fuzzed out."
He eyed the twins appreciatively and shook his head, "That would be, I saw
you all except you two; you have another year or two before you graduate to
that website. Now let's get back to me buying this whole car
collection. How much are you asking?"

"I think y'all better come inside and talk to my uncle; he can tell you no
sale better than I can," Trasker said with a grin and held open the kitchen
screen door for Ben to enter. Trasker liked the man and his brashness and
he thought Auggie would as well. He also knew that an individual reserved
most of the Club for the Holidays and based on Keith's reaction, Ben was
that man.

Trasker was correct in that Auggie and Ben hit it off as soon as they shook
hands and made eye contact. Auggie was sitting in his lounge chair in the
great room in preference to using his scooter and stood up to greet
Ben. He'd been walking with his cane more and more frequently and everyone
around him hoped the trend would continue.

Auggie had been reviewing a number of brochures Jim-Bob provided for new
boats, specifically flat bottom, shallow draft designs that were intended
for use in really shallow water. The models all had a raised platform built
over the engine from which the boat could be pushed or poled along silently
with a fiberglass pole, as well as use the additional platform height to
spot big game fish that liked to feast on the same bait fish that the twins
were always catching as well as nest on the Gulf of Mexico grass flats.

The twins ganged up on Auggie while he was still standing up. They gave him
hugs from the right and left and thanked him for buying them super nice and
super-fast bikes that they not only learned how to ride; they also rode all
the way home from the Club, they announced proudly. The twins' excitement
transferred to the dogs and they ran around to everyone to push with their
heads or bodies until they received a pat or a scratch.

Trasker began his defense before Auggie could do more than begin to frown,
"We looked for a big empty parking lot everywhere but the only one we found
was the Club so we had no choice. Nothing happened Unc, honest," he added,
which meant to Auggie that something almost happened but it was taken care
of and he wasn't going to hear any more about it until he talked with
Mattie and Jimmy.

Trasker also introduced Carson and Andy, whom Auggie already knew about
since he talked to Dooby almost every day. Then all the guys got
comfortable; meaning they shed their shorts. Carson and Andy looked mildly
surprised before they shrugged and dropped their shorts as well. Ben was
very pleased to see that the Rainbow Club's website was not a scam as some
unfortunately are. After drinks were served he got down to his reason for
following the gang home; he wanted to buy the Silver Ghost, if not the
whole car collection.

Everyone looked blank with Auggie the blankest at Ben's mention of `Silver
Ghost'.

"What ghost we talkin' about here?" Zeek was the first to ask after he
looked around the room. He didn't think he was superstitious or believed in
the occult, but his sister Mattie didn't just decide to get herself
pregnant with twins by two different white boys out of the blue without
some very special help.

"Silver Ghost is what Rolls Royce called the model car you were driving
today," Ben said to Trasker, "That is, someone did much earlier and that
name stuck because the engines were so quiet for the time and what looks to
you guys like chrome or nickel is really silver plating."

"Wow you're really rich now Uncle Auggie," Kevin advised happily, "you got
a car made of silver!"

"You two best keep an eye peeled on that there old car, an' don't tell no
one about that there problem else wise someone will be stealin' the
fenders!" Auggie sort of agreed with an almost straight face.

Ben commented, "I find it hard to believe that you actually drive that
Silver Ghost around as if it was a Chevy or Ford."

Auggie laughed, "Oh the boys don't just drive the Rolls; they favor that
one `cause they like to play at bein' the Pope. Stevie an' Little Zeek here
got the sign o' the cross just about down pat, whilst Brenden boy favors
the Duisenberg `cause of its convertible top, although that there top is a
bitch to raise an' lower in a hurry. An' no, there ain't nothin for sale on
this here island; if y'all look around you'll notice that we're kind of
used to havin' nice old stuff settin' around."

Ben's eyes flicked over the art work on the walls and got stopped at a
bronze sculpture of a headless woman with her tits clearly misplaced but
covered with a tee shirt. "I'm guessing it would be pointless to make you
an offer for the whole island and its contents." He made it a resigned
statement instead of a question.

"Y'all been over to the Club yet?" Auggie asked which effectively changed
the subject.

"Nope, I was just about to turn in when I saw the Ghost leaving, and here I
am."

"Well how about if we an' the boys go over with y'all an' we'll give yo'
the grand tour. Y'all can drive the Ghost or set in the back an' play at
bein' the Pope."

Ben didn't have the chance to answer when the twins shouted together, "Does
anyone want to go for a ride?" That set the dogs in motion out the window
wall, around the house to the parking court.

"Road trip!" Trasker announced, "And I'm NOT driving this time," he said
with a collective frown at the other licensed drivers in the house.

"I'd like to drive the Ghost," Ben volunteered as he got caught up with the
boy's rush through the kitchen to the cars and trucks.

The fun really got going when Auggie got Brenden to drive the Duisenberg
and him and Zeek would ride in that. Then the twins decided to ride with
Auggie which meant the dogs would ride in an open car for the first
time. Auggie the dog seemed to know who paid for the Milk Bones and chose
to sit on Auggie's lap. Fortunately the trip didn't take very long and when
they arrived, the car doors did not need to be opened before the dogs were
off and running straight into the lounge and on into the dining room. They
were not above begging from strangers and the guys on the staff would have
fed them the kitchen if it wasn't for the chefs. Mattie and Jimmy, James
and Little Zeek, gave Ben the grand tour as a family. He was so impressed
with the accommodations, he decided to stay overnight. When James and
Little Zeek went out front to join the boys, Jimmy went along to chat with
Auggie.

Meanwhile the boys resumed attempting to skateboard while Auggie and Zeek
sipped drinks and watched and marveled at the skill required to get a few
feet without falling on the rider's ass as the boys demonstrated
regularly. The twins decided to stick with the scooters, particularly the
ones that were powered by little 2-cycle engines on the back wheels. The
twins were just like all boys who weren't old enough to drive a car while
they enjoyed the advantage of driving boats for years, so the powered
scooters on land were as much fun, just different.

"What happened when the boys was here earlier?" Auggie asked, "I know
something happened because Trasker told me honest, nothin' happened."

"Dooby boy asked me to give an opinion of those two Georgia boys. I liked
`em before I knew that Andy boy was handy to have around if there was a
problem," Auggie said after Jimmy explained the incident.

This time Zeek was outraged, "Just show me the motha fucker who kicked my
dog!" he demanded of Jimmy while he felt his pockets futilely. He didn't
know he would need his `bonker' or his `toad sticker' knife, so he just
polished up his knuckles across his shirt.

"Not here an' not now," Auggie vetoed Zeek's impetuous plan. "But any
asshole who would abuse a dog might do worse to a boy. We'll just get them
dude's names and addresses for future attention when they ain't expectin'
anything," he promised to calm Zeek down.

######

"Why didn't you tell me Dooby's truck came in early Dad? How can we keep
him busy while we go look at it?" Cory said to Charlie. At the moment Dooby
had taken the dogs and gone jogging, the only reason Cory and Charlie were
holding their discussion.

"You just answered your own question my boy; I knew you'd want to see it
and Dooby would have found out because he's too smart for his own good;
he's hard to get away from. I need to remodel the barn it's hidden in and I
need to get it done in a hurry. The truck is in the way." Charlie hedged
his answer.

Cory arched an eyebrow and grinned, "What are you up to? Why an emergency
to remodel a barn I didn't even know was on the property?"

"Well...," Charlie began to confess, "I got to thinking about Dooby's
vision of having other animals grazing with our deer herd so your mother
and I bought a few different kinds for Christmas, and we need a place for
them to live while a big new barn is built down on the edge of the field
after Christmas."

"Holy crap Dad you sure got Dooby's vision. When he sees the animals he
won't even remember the new truck."

"I've been thinking about that and I propose a kind of joint venture, we
could give him the truck AND the animals as family gifts." Cory offered his
hand to seal the bargain before the discussion turned to specifics and
logistics.

`A few different kinds' of animals sounded like the beginning of a second
Noah's Ark, assuming there was a first. Charlie, with Tommy's help, found
an exotic animal farm where he arranged to purchase a `few' animals. He
bought a pair of camels, Bactrians, the kind with two humps that were more
cold hardy, they discovered. The list included a pair of giraffes, a pair
of zebra, four ostriches, three female and one male and a like number of
emus.

The remodeled barn would have temporary heating and be completely fenced
where the menagerie would be housed and contained until the new heated barn
on the edge of the big field below the house was finished after the big
Christmas reveal. When finished, the deer, in addition to the exotics
would be fed from the new barn so everything would consider the barn a safe
haven. Hopefully the exotics would with ample food and water, consider the
200 acre field, the woodland up to the house and the river, the extent of
their range and ignore or tolerate the deer herd and the deer would do the
same.

"Holy shit Dad you just described the open savannah at Bush Gardens if this
works, meaning providing the animals don't stray. I can hardly wait to see
Dooby at feeding time. Speaking of that, who's really going to take care of
these critters?"

"I called around to university placement offices looking for a new graduate
veterinarian who wanted to specialize in large animals, preferably
exotics..."

"Damn, you don't want much," Cory observed with a laugh.

"Oh yes I do. Anyway, I found a young guy that Cornell recommended and as
luck would have it, he's been interning at the big animal farm I bought the
critters from. That's how we found the farm. He named his price to move
here and I raised that by half so he's accompanying Dooby's new zoo in a
convoy of special trucks from Washington State to here. Everything will be
here next weekend sometime so we'll have to arrange for Dooby to be
somewhere else for that whole weekend.

"I'll suggest a trip to Daytona Beach..."

Cory had to stop when he heard Dooby shout "We're home!" Of course he was a
good ten seconds late since a pair of dirty wet dogs already tackled Cory
and would have gotten Charlie until he waved a rolled up newspaper at them
and smacked his hand with it. Chuckie and Laurie hadn't been hit but they
sure didn't like that threatening sound. Fortunately it was time to feed
the deer and then shower or have a bath depending on the species.

Cory and Charlie just had time to agree that they would present Dooby with
his new truck just before dinner at the local Charlie's Restaurant,
complete with a classic over-size bow on the roof that was ready and
waiting in the barn with the truck. Deacon was also anxious to really get
started driving the boys in the new limo. It was a stretched limo, not just
a slightly longer truck but Cory didn't know that yet, so he'd be as
surprised as Dooby. Charlie had been rehearsing his explanation to Cory
ever since Deacon first drove it to dinner. Cory was not into
ostentatious.

Charlie and Deacon waited until they were sure Dooby and Cory were in their
bathroom with the dogs before they dared to collect the new truck and park
it in front of the house with the bow just sitting on the roof before
Deacon went off to his apartment to shower and dress for dinner and
incidentally assume his new role as the boy's limo driver.

Up to that point, Deacon had been driving Charlie around in his Navigator
and had also assumed responsibility for the dogs during the day while the
boys were at school. This meant that wherever Deacon drove Charlie, the
dogs rode along. Deacon and the dogs were a welcome change of pace in the
Spelling executive offices and especially in the warehouse where young man
and dogs enjoyed the rare privilege of roaming the entire space. However
the dogs had to remain on their leads in the warehouse because of the fast
moving equipment but Deacon taught them it was easier to walk almost at
heel than to constantly pull in two directions. Naturally Laurie and
Chuckie's favorite place was the employee cafeteria, the only place where
Deacon allowed them to have a few snacks while they were off their leads.

Deacon had become a part of the family from the first evening Charlie took
him to the new Charlie's restaurant and he continued to eat all his meals
with them so he was always ready to go wherever Charlie and/or Laura wanted
to go. That evening he knew he would be expected to reprise his role as the
blind limo driver in order to get the dogs inside the restaurant once
again, so he polished up his sunglasses without being asked and this time,
the limo would be recognized. Deacon had also remained supplied with some
of Charlie's $50 bills so he would be as popular with the staff as Charlie.

Charlie really liked the new limo and if Dooby and Cory turned thumbs down,
he planned to take it and Deacon over and order a second truck built to
Cory's original specifications. And if the boys liked the stretched truck,
he planned to order a second one for he and Laura and he would fight the
boys for Deacon's continued services.

At the moment of truth, Charlie opened the front door and stepped back to
allow the boys out first. It was obvious that the dogs had ridden in the
new limo before since they immediately ran to the single back passenger
door and looked at Deacon who was standing by, to open it for them.

"Wow, holy shit Gramps," Dooby exclaimed, "It's about time you spent some
of your money on yourself! This thing is beautiful! Come on Cory, let's
look inside."

"I thought I said just a few inches," Cory whispered to Charlie.

Charlie shrugged, based solely on Dooby's initial reaction, "Dooby seems to
like it," he whispered back.

Meanwhile, Dooby was already seated in the back flanked by a pair of dogs
eager to go for a ride. "MERRY CHRISTMAS!" Everyone but Dooby shouted.

Dooby frowned in response, "This is your Christmas present from us to you,
asshole," Cory said. He added `asshole' so Dooby would know who he was
talking to.

"It is, really Gramps? Are you putting me on?"

They were several hundred yards down the driveway before Dooby was
convinced after he took a poll and each family member and Deacon assured
him it was indeed his Christmas present. "Wow thanks everyone. Man, I can't
wait until tomorrow at school when the guys see us coming, riding in this."
He suddenly snapped his fingers when he was inspired to ask, "Can Cory and
I drive to and from the gate from now on?" Deacon answered that one. He
said that was part of the deal.

"We were concerned that you might think it was too ostentatious," Laura
ventured. She and Charlie were concerned when they first saw the truck's
ultimate length.

"Well I think it would be if I bought it for myself," Dooby said after he
thought that over, before he took on a cherubic look and continued, "But
who am I to turn down such a beautiful gift. You should buy one of these
for you and Laura to ride around in Gramps," he encouraged.

"Maybe I will," Charlie said with a wink at Deacon in the rear view mirror.

As was their habit, if the passenger seat was vacant for 10 seconds, that
seat was the dogs. Of course if Deacon was driving Charlie, they were
relegated to the back seat by themselves, so when they reached the
restaurant and a parking valet who won the race to open the blind driver's
door, the dogs were more than ready to debark over Deacon's lap and once
again race into the source of the wonderful smells and all that delicious
meat. Deacon was just able to catch their leashes although they managed to
pull him out of the truck seat.

"Good catch," the attendant complimented.

"Thanks," Deacon said as he offered one of Charlie's 50s, 180 degrees from
where the attendant was standing to further the myth that he was visually
impaired. "Could you please park it I under a light so I can find it if you
aren't around?" he asked.

Meanwhile Dooby and Cory were laughing too hard to climb out of the back,
while Charlie took Laura's arm and proceeded into the restaurant as if he
didn't know the boys, Deacon, the dogs, the limo or what was happening
behind him; all with a perfectly straight face.

A light tug on the pup's leads calmed them so they almost walked with
Deacon as if they might really be service dogs. Deacon followed Charlie and
Laura, ignoring Dooby and Cory's continued peals of laughter from the back
of Dooby's Christmas present. "We're with the Spelling party," Deacon told
the hostess while he stared at where she wasn't standing
intentionally. Naturally she pointed at Charlie just before he and Laura
sat down to disappear behind the banquet that screened the owner's table
from the rest of the room. "Thanks," he said and slipped her a folded bill
directly into her hand, then allowed the dogs to tow him to the table while
he appeared to be staring at the ceiling.

Cory and Dooby were still laughing when they sat down at the table 15
minutes later. They were recognized as soon as they walked in and had to
make a circuit around the very busy room signing autographs. As usual,
Dooby couldn't keep his big mouth shut and told everyone that the five
month old Lab pups were Christmas gifts from him to Cory and they were far
too young to be left at home alone. Then some of the diners made Cory
promise to bring the pups to their table, it seemed that everyone
considered Labrador retriever puppies to be absolutely adorable. Dooby
declined those requests because he said they weren't even supposed to be in
the restaurant, but he added Laurie and Chuckie would be on their cooking
show.

Cory added, "Yup, they'll be in charge of eating all of Dooby's mistakes."

Dooby turned haughty, looked down his nose at Cory and said, "For your
information Cory my friend, I don't make mistakes, those were all
accidents!" he declared.

Dooby was sitting on the end of the `C' shaped seat and Chuckie got his
attention by using a paw to thump his knee. He looked down at the front
edge of the table to see Chuckie looking up at him hopefully and then at
the nearby grill with its rib roast turning slowly on the rotisserie
spit. "Good choice Chuckie, that's what I'll have too," he agreed with the
pup's choice. Then he asked, "How about a baked potato and asparagus with
hollandaise sauce to go with that?" He got a yip that he took as an
affirmative answer so he ordered two rare prime rib dinners.

Just before dinner arrived, Charlie reminded the boys that they were
Vice-Presidents of Justa Pizza in charge of quality control and the chain
of Charlie's Restaurants were a new division, so they needed to go to work
to earn their dinners. Charlie was amazed to see how serious Dooby and
Cory became.

Both of them studied the meat and vegetables as Deacon cut up the pup's
dinners while the three of them were careful to fend off the over-size
puppy dog paws assaulting their crotches. The dogs were just trying to
speed the preparation of their dinners; while they couldn't be seen because
of the tablecloth; their presence could certainly be felt.

Cory took his time savoring each bite, but Dooby was almost as fast eating
as the pups. Of course he had an ulterior motive; he excused himself and
scooted into the kitchen area. He approved of the obvious cleanliness in
passing but he was there to borrow a pad and pen which the Executive Chef
rushed to provide. The Chef didn't know who Dooby was, but he knew very
well that he was sitting at the owner's table with the owner, Charlie
Spelling and his wife and Charlie's infamous blind limo driver, Deacon; the
man with the apparent endless supply of $50 bills.

"I bet he's going to conduct a survey," Cory said as Dooby ran by on his
way into the dining room. "This is going to be fun; he has horrible
penmanship that's just like trying to read secret code. He should study to
be a doctor. Either make him type it up or dictate it to a recorder or a
stenographer."

Charlie laughed and said; "I expect you'd call that job security; we'll
have to keep him around for a while longer. Oh, while he's busy; tomorrow,
Deacon is going to drop you two off at school, then officially drive me to
an important meeting, but he's actually going to Newark airport to pick up
our new Veterinarian. He has to look the barn over and then tell us exactly
what each kind of animal needs so a store construction crew can get it all
done in time."


"I am?" Deacon was surprised.

Charlie grinned at Deacon, "Yup and maybe the guy could bunk in one of your
extra bedrooms. Just tell Dooby he's a friend of yours from out of town;
staying with you for a few days."

"Okay, but what if the guy is a homophobe? I know he was hard to find. I
don't want to cause any trouble," Deacon said. Charlie already knew the new
guy was not a homophobe because in the `personal' section of his resume, he
said he enjoyed an `alternative lifestyle' without stating that he was
definitely gay. Charlie also appreciated the young man's photo and he hoped
Deacon would think so as well. He would find out what Deacon thought of
Dr. Mark Hudson, DVM, and vice versa, the next morning at the barn. Deacon
needed a friend; Charlie had his fingers crossed.

It was raining when they left the restaurant so Deacon ran ahead to open
the truck's back door and Dooby and Cory surprised the dogs by picking them
up and running so the interior would stay clean and dry. Dooby began
reading his survey results as soon as everyone was in the limo and
curiously, the dogs sat in front of Dooby and appeared to be listening
intently as they tipped and tilted their heads this way and that.

The dogs wanted out of the truck as soon as Deacon parked in the garage and
they ran back down to driveway for some unexplained reason. The reason was
explained 50 yards away. Laurie and Chuckie were intent on retrieving the
forgotten big red bow and bringing it to their humans amid considerable
growling and pulling the bedraggled wet bow back to the garage. After all,
they were official Labrador retrievers with impressive credentials and
retrieving was their specialty.

As soon as the dogs got into the light, sharing the job of carrying the bow
in their mouths, all the humans began laughing. Apparently the red bow was
not colorfast and blond Laurie was more red than blond. "I guess someone
needs a bath," Dooby suggested. Dooby said one of the magic words. The pups
dropped the mangled bow and ran for their door cut into the outside kitchen
door. They were inside, upstairs, in their bathroom and in their bathtub
before a mere human had time to open the door.

Dooby and Cory joined the dogs after the tub was full and then showed them
the spa features. The dogs thought the bubbling water was wonderful
although repeated applications of shampoo only served to lighten the red to
pink and spread that color uniformly.

#######

Deacon was a nervous wreck as he circled Newark arrivals for the third
time. Charlie showed him Mark's photo so he'd know who he was looking for
along the arrivals curb. He couldn't park because of Laurie and
Chuckie. Charlie also allowed him to read the `personal' section of Mark's
resume. He knew he shouldn't have, but...

"That's him kids," Deacon said to the dogs in the limo's front seat. He'd
gotten into the habit of calling the critters, kids because they were still
`kids' in a dog's life. "Holy shit, his picture doesn't do him
justice. Okay you two, get in the back seat and stay there," he told the
dogs. The dogs obeyed reluctantly then they sat on the floor and stuck
their heads between the front seats as an act of rebellion, and because
they wanted to meet the new guy they were sent to the airport to pick
up. They could sense that Deacon was nervous.

"Hi, are you Dr. Hudson?" Deacon asked when he stopped and lowered the
window.

"Well I'm Mark Hudson, the doctor part is still kind of new to me. Mark
will do. I hope your name is Deacon or else you're here just trying to pick
me up for other reasons."

Deacon relaxed, "Both," he admitted with a laugh. "Toss your bag in the
back with the critters." He looked back to see both prodding the bag with
their noses and sniffing it carefully. "That is NOT a chew toy," he
reminded the pups before either opened their mouths to begin working on the
leather handle and rawhide zipper pulls.

Mark was surprised when he really looked at Laurie's pink fur. "You guys
can come up here and meet me if you want to," he said. He didn't have to
ask twice. It was no longer often that a human invited them to sit on a lap
although they rarely waited to be asked. Mark arranged them so each sat on
one of his thighs with their paws on the dashboard just to maintain balance
since they were sitting higher. "There must be a story behind your new
winter coat," he said to Laurie.

Deacon explained the wet Christmas bow and Cory and Dooby's attempts to
wash it out last night as Mark looked around the limos interior. "I'm
guessing that Mr. Spelling is for real after all. I wasn't sure if he was
one of those guys that just struck it rich and started throwing money
around on stupid stuff until there wasn't any more," he asked without
asking who Charlie was. His hopeful expression announced that he wanted to
know exactly who his new, very generous boss was.

Deacon pointed up to a Justa Pizza ad on a Bligh-owned roadside
billboard. "That's Dooby, the kid Charlie's buying the animals
for. Charlie's son Cory, and Dooby are partners for life according to them,
and also very successful business partners. Cory hired me to drive this
thing around because I'm gay too," he admitted that was also an
availability notice. After they're old enough to drive, the plan is for me
to continue to work for them as a kind of executive assistant, also known
as a gopher, but so far, there hasn't been a dull moment. Working for
Charlie, Laura, his wife and the two boys has been a blast."

The Spelling success story with its many branches, so far as Deacon knew
it, took until they entered the Spelling estate. By then the pups had
gotten tired and abandoned Mark's lap for the back seat to take their
morning naps. That would be until Deacon slowed to turn into the
drive. Deacon was ready for them, "Oh no you don't," he said before either
dog had time to step between the seats. "Stay back there until we get to
the barn. Then you can get out and run around," he promised.

Deacon stopped along the river, where he thought there was the best view of
the house looming over the open field where perhaps 200 deer were grazing
with a few buck taking notice that they were being watched. This was the
field where Charlie hoped the new animals would stay without the need of
fences after the big new heated barn was built on the edge of the drive. He
pointed up to the house. "See that long wing on the right? The garages are
downstairs and my apartment is upstairs. Officially, you'll be an old
friend of mine, here to visit for a couple of days, so you'll be bunking
with me while you're here this time so Dooby won't find out who you really
are. Just be prepared for some serious ribbing from the guys because I told
them I've, well, I've kind of never had a good enough friend to stay over."

Mark arched an eyebrow at Deacon. "That point is easily correctable if
you're interested. How would you feel about really being friends?"

######

Thanks Emoe for another excellent read!

HAPPY READING!

Jamie Haze


                                                                                                                                                        

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