Dooby Rhymes with Scooby

                                                                                        by Jamie Haze 

 

 
Part 38


Dooby went hyper as Trasker's jet neared New Jersey to drop him off. He was
returning from Athens, Georgia after a quick side trip to Daytona Beach,
Florida. He began running from the cockpit back to the cabin to report on
the planes' progress based on what the pilots told him with straight faces
as they pointed out landmarks like state borders and the Mason-Dixon Line –
things that no one could see from the air, especially from above the
clouds, but Dooby believed them anyway.

Dooby had invited the whole plane load of friends to overnight at High View
Farm, see the new giraffes and return to Florida the next day or whenever,
but Auggie declined. Having talked to Charlie, he knew about the other
animals in addition to the giraffes and he didn't want to add a bunch of
strangers to the probable chaos, not to mention four more dogs to the
animal count.

"DOOBY BOY," Auggie barked, "y'all set your ass in a seat an' stay put
until this here airplane stops! Then when it stops, the boys is gonna fly
yo' overhand to the car without yo' touchin' no ground."

Dooby sat, but as an act of rebellion, he sat in a seat closest to the
hatch on the very edge and was prepared to run as soon as the steward
opened the hatch and the steps deployed, although the steps weren't
needed. He jumped to land on his feet, already running to his new Christmas
limo's open back door.

The twins, Kevin and Kyle struggled to hold the dogs back at the open
hatch. They were intent on following Dooby. Stevie and Trasker also stood
at the hatch watching until Dooby entered his truck before Stevie shouted,
"Hey asshole, y'all forgot your stuff!" With that said, he and Trasker
threw Dooby's bag and his all-important briefcase out and down on the
tarmac. Then they closed and slammed the hatch on everyone's laughter both
from inside the plane and from the limo while they watched irrepressible
Dooby wearing a sheepish grin, race back to collect his things and then
retrace his steps.

Cory released Chuckie and Laurie into Dooby's arms after the door was
safely closed. The dogs gave him a few happy kisses before they noticed
that he'd dropped his gym bag, so they assumed that since it was where they
could get at it, it was theirs. The bag was obviously a large chew toy that
was equipped with two opposing handles, ideal for tug of war in the limited
floor space.

With the dogs occupied, Dooby was allowed to greet Cory with an
affectionate, but not too affectionate, with Laura and Charlie watching,
kiss on the lips before he offered his briefcase to Cory after surrounding
him with an arm. Cory opened the case to begin shuffling yellow papers that
had been torn from a legal pad.

"This isn't your writing," Cory complained with a frown, "but I can't read
much of it either. Who wrote this?"

"Carson," Dooby said absently as he looked out the truck windows to see
that it wasn't moving while Trasker's school jet had begun to taxi to the
end of the runway.

Dooby caught Deacon watching him from the rearview mirror. He asked, "Why
aren't we moving?"

"You and Carson should go to medical school together, and then you guys
could set up a nice practice in Greece, since you guys already know how to
write that language," Cory grumped about the impossible to read
handwriting.

"What?" Dooby asked with a frown at the back of Deacon's head.

"You're the boss, Boss, where do you want to go?" Carson asked Dooby.

"Dooby, you'll have to read this to me," Cory interrupted.

"What are you guys, a comedy team?" Dooby accused Cory and Deacon.

Charlie laughed at Dooby's frustration. He handed Dooby a black pillow
slip. "Here Dooby, put this on if you want your other Christmas gift."

Dooby looked puzzled at first. Then it dawned on him that he was to put it
on over his head. He hastened to comply before he said, "You can drive now
Deacon and hurry up. Hey, where are we going anyway? Aren't we going home?
Aren't the giraffes in the field with the deer? Why do I have to wear this
pillow case?"

"Because you're too nosey for your own good so we made this a complete
surprise. Now no more questions, but I have some. What do these papers
say?"

Dooby sighed pitifully, "Okay, one is a combination quit claim deed for the
property and a receipt for payment in full, signed by the Vice-President
Banker dude. The typed copies of everything are on the way for adult
signature. The second one is a receipt for the David business, the contents
of the building and all improvements. You know some of the statues are
really good marbles according to Carson, once we got rid of the damn grass
skirts so we could see their junk," he giggled. Then he lurched off topic
to report on how the four pups were doing, living with Auggie and company
at Coral Place before switching to Trasker's new house in Athens. "Are we
there yet?" He concluded suddenly.

The county airport where the plane landed was only a few miles from home,
High View Farm, the Spelling estate, but Cory and Charlie told Deacon to
take a `scenic route' for at least an hour to confuse Dooby to the maximum
extent. Since Dooby had never been to the barn on the back of the estate he
wouldn't know where he was after the blindfold was removed.

Dooby was trying to be patient, but he was bursting to know where they were
going. To calm down he asked Deacon, "Say Deacon, did Mark decide to locate
his veterinarian business here or did you scare him off?"

"How could Deacon scare him off?" Laura wanted to know.

Dooby couldn't help giggling after Deacon warned him about answering,
"Remember you saw Deacon at the pool the first night we met him? Well, what
you didn't see was Deacon when he was, um, all grown up."

"DOOBY," Laura scolded.

The warning caused Dooby to laugh harder. "You did ask," he reminded Laura.

"That will teach you to ask Dooby questions like that. Deacon can't help
being blessed." Charlie put finger quotes around `blessed' as Deacon sank
as far as he was able, into his seat and still see to drive.

"Do you guys know I'm sitting right here?" Deacon squeaked. He wished he
could disappear totally. Then he tried to change the subject by explaining
that Mark had completed his internship and was moving into the area very
soon.

"That's great news. Did you find him a big barn or something he can use as
an office and big animal hospital Laura?"

Charlie answered that question, "We sure did, right close by too," he
assured. Since the old barn on the back of the property had been remodeled
for short term use by the new large pets and it had its own gated entrance,
it would be an ideal vet's office and clinic. Charlie was also aware that
Mark wouldn't have enough to do working as a vet solely for him, just
taking care of Dooby's animals, plus he wanted to keep Deacon around since
he'd played at match-making – successfully so far, he assumed. He also
assumed correctly that Deacon would go wherever Mark went to be a
veterinarian.

"Are we ever going to get there?" Dooby lamented. "If my giraffes live an
hour away from home, I'll never get to see them."

"Do you realize how difficult it is to get special permits to keep big
exotic animals privately?" Charlie countered Dooby's complaint while trying
very hard not laugh.

"Maybe I could bring them home on weekends, kind of like convicts on work
release?" Dooby proposed sorrowfully. That caused everyone in the car to
start laughing as they entered the estate through the new gate. Deacon
stopped about 50 feet from the corral. As soon as the truck stopped, Dooby
went hyper and tried to remove the blindfold. Cory slapped his hands away
with a warning not to try that again until he was given further
instructions.

When Dooby first entered the limo, he was so excited, he was less observant
than usual and didn't see the tiny video camera that had been carefully
aimed at the seat where he had to sit next to Cory, and he didn't question
the absence of Scott with his cameras. (Everyone realized that there would
have to be considerable editing.) Scott had the cameras rolling as Deacon
parked and Cory carefully helped Dooby out to the ground. Dooby sucked in a
lung full of air and sighed. "Wherever we are, the air is pure and it's
really quiet, so we must be in the country, not some dumb zoo," he guessed.

Meanwhile, Mark was silently leading plump Kim Kardashian, the zebra up to
blindfolded Dooby while pregnant Khloe K. followed without being led. Both
zebra had an ulterior motive. Deacon positioned himself behind Dooby and
was silently waving irresistible fresh carrots by their succulent green
tops in front of Dooby, over his shoulder. The competition between the
girls began touching their whiskers against Dooby's face and of course he
experienced `Zebra breathe' for the first time. Plus he already figured out
that the close by crunching sounds was probably an animal eating.

Dooby couldn't resist any longer, he tore off the pillow case to stare down
on the beautiful little pony-like zebra. They weren't the anticipated
giraffes but they were just as beautiful in their own way. (Dooby loved
animal eyes and eyelashes.) Cory had been standing at his side and was
grinning at Dooby's wide eyed reaction. Dooby wrapped his arms around his
smaller partner, lifted him off the ground and gave him a deep throated
kiss without caring who was watching, (yet more editing). Dooby thanked
Cory every time he came up for air.

However the zebra didn't like being ignored, so they began to search both
boys, hunting for more carrots. Dooby became aware of where he was and who
was watching when Mark whistled suddenly. He was actually calling the other
animals out of the building where they were being held back by their
handlers. Dooby saw movement from the corner of his eye, and heard
snuffling as the four animals rushed each other for their share of fresh
treats. Meanwhile the dogs were begging `soft touch' Deacon for their
carrots since they'd demolished Dooby's gym bag.

When Dooby looked up and then way up at Emily and Olivia he looked like
he'd just come in his pants. Cory offered the contents of a milk crate
while Mark introduced everyone to Dooby. "I get it!" he screamed after
checking the width of Kim K's hips and the size of her butt.

When Cory told Dooby that the animals and the limo were joint gifts from he
and his parents, Dooby once again hugged and kissed Cory before he moved on
to Laura, then to Charlie, who hugged him back, but thought a kiss, even
from a gay son-in-law, was going to bit too far; a heartfelt thank you
combined with the hug was more than enough.

When Dooby looked around he noted the elevated hay rick that was attached
to poles that were also longer fence posts so hay could be loaded from
outside the enclosure. This feeding station was for the giraffes, so they
didn't always have to spread their front legs and bend their long necks to
eat from a more conventional ground level feeding trough intended for use
by the camels and pony-size zebra.

Everyone, including the animals followed Dooby through the open gate into
the corral, then into the heated barn through the clear plastic strip door
intended to keep some of the heat in the barn, provide additional light,
and allow the animals to look outside at the limited view or go in and out
as they pleased. When Dooby heard a noise from across a wide hallway inside
the barn, he looked to see an ostrich looking back over a fence and all the
emus watching the humans from a lower board fence and he forgot that he was
supposed to be making animal friends by bribing them with carrots and
apples taken from a box that Cory was still holding.

Emily and Olivia did not seem to mind Dooby's lack of service. Emily's very
long tongue lashed out to grab three carrots out of the box while Olivia
grabbed the whole box from Cory's hands and dropped it so the rest of the
treats spilled out with Kim and Khloe busy competing with Mildred and Elise
to see who could eat the most from the wood shavings that served as
bedding, something the animals would not eat.

Mark was about to warn Dooby of the danger getting in the bird pens before
the birds recognized him as a friend when Dooby climbed over the ostrich
pen fence to drop on a radiant heated bed of sand that both species
hopefully would use as nests and begin laying eggs. The bird handler
quickly offered Dooby a bucket filled with grain to feed the big male who
was the only one standing, guarding his birdie wives who were already
comfortable, hunkered down in the warm sand, possibly already laying eggs
that the warm sand would incubate. In all cases, Dooby was interested in
raising babies and never considered eating giant bird eggs for breakfast.

When the hens saw that hubby was eating something, they hastened to join
him so Dooby called for more feed. Then when the emu saw their cousins
eating and they weren't, they cast doleful eyes over the fence partition,
primarily at the new guy with the food buckets as well as their
handler. Dooby suggested that the handler feed the emu while he finished
with the ostrich so none of the birds would feel left out.

By the time Cory managed to pull Dooby away from his pets, he and the
animals were almost `kissing cousins'. They even watched him from the fence
as he boarded the truck and Deacon drove him away. The other humans didn't
seem to count even though they were paying the bills.

Of course Dooby was nearly hoarse from chatting with the animals nonstop
for nearly two hours, although it was mostly a one sided conversation not
counting snorts, grunts and the occasional fart. He didn't fare as well
with the birds. The big aggressive males remained intent on keeping Dooby
away from their feathered wives even after Dooby finally threatened to make
the ostrich the guest of honor at Christmas dinner and his once desirable
plumage into show girl fans and Victorian hats.

Dooby was totally depressed as he waved good bye to his animals because he
naturally thought that since it took an hour to get to the new zoo
compound, it would take another hour to get home. He was shocked to
recognize the big open pole barn where the deer herd was fed hay and where
at least 50 deer already were lounging and munching.

He began frowning and grinning at Cory when they crossed the river on the
seldom used bridge to pop out on the main driveway that led up to the house
with the big open field and more deer on the left. "You asshole," he
accused Cory and pounced to wrestle him to the floor to be joined by the
dogs, "Man, you got me good, I've never been on that part of the property
and I didn't dream that we were already home. Correction, the animals are
already home. Can we release them into the field tomorrow to see how they
get along with the deer?"

Charlie vetoed that plan before Cory could answer. He told Dooby that if he
and Cory went to public school, they'd have been expelled for chronic
truancy; Dooby and Cory were going to school for the rest of the week, no
ifs, ands, or buts. Dooby didn't argue. He just remained sitting on the
floor congratulating the dogs for their help in tearing open his gym bag so
he didn't have to use the zipper.

At dinner, with Deacon and Mark, the new full-time Veterinarian, Charlie
explained that the newly winterized barn would become Mark's office and big
animal clinic as soon as a new barn was built on the edge of the field and
all the animals could be relocated to their new permanent home where they
could wander the field with the deer during the day then find food, shelter
and warmth at night in their barn if they wished.

Dooby got involved in planning the office wing and how the barn interior
needed to be reconfigured to make it into a big animal clinic complete with
a surgery suite and recovery spaces, all connected by an overhead track
system with a chain hoist that could move patients in slings around as
necessary. The new clinic would be tightly fenced with an additional
electric gate to and from the rest of the estate to keep out tourists and
snoops, once word got out that Charlie Spelling was building or had built a
private zoo.

######

Cory woke up very early in the morning, the regular time for Dooby to be
watching Judge Judy shows that the DVR had recorded, but the TV was off and
Dooby was not in the bed, nor were Chuckie and Laurie. He just assumed
Dooby went to the bathroom and the dogs went along. He rolled over and fell
back asleep.

Cory woke up with a start by Charlie pulling him rudely by the arm out of
bed at daylight, an hour before it was time to get up regularly for
school. "Dad, no, I can't get out of bed right now." Cory was more
embarrassed by Charlie seeing his morning wood than he was about why
Charlie woke him so early.

"I've seen that before my son, no worries there; but what I don't see in
this bed is your partner. Get over to this goddamn window," Charlie
demanded, "and look down in the field."

Charlie even opened the window so Cory would have an unobstructed view from
the second story window. Cory looked and looked again. The field was still
in shadow, but there was no mistaking the giraffes' long necks and heads,
standing tall among the deer herd, plus two larger lumps that resolved into
being the camels. The zebra were too small to be seen but Dooby's bright
yellow ski parka stood out occasionally as the whole herd began moving
slowly up the hill toward the house.

Cory could not resist laughing. Then he whistled and waved to get Dooby's
attention. Dooby looked up to see Cory hanging out of their bedroom window
and waving his arms. Dooby started running up the steep hill. The giraffes
just walked a bit faster to keep up, likewise the camels, the zebra broke
into a trot and the dogs raced back and forth up and down the slope. Then
the main deer herd began to disperse. Most turned in a walking pace to
cross the bridge. They were going to have hay for breakfast at the pole
barn and there was no need to get wet by splashing through the river. The
only deer that continued to follow Dooby was Rudy the opportunist, and his
four obviously pregnant girlfriends.

"Well, now we know that the new guys are going to get along with the deer,"
Cory said to Charlie.

Charlie sighed and shook his head. "Just get dressed and get down stairs to
help get out a few bags of feed. Since they're up here, they may as well
have something to eat. I'll make breakfast. You just tell Dooby that he's
going to school today if we have to drag him behind the truck," Charlie
huffed.

Charlie detoured to wake Laura before he went downstairs and when she
looked out the window to see the reason, she hurried to dress while Charlie
made a phone call to wake Deacon and Mark. As Laura walked out of her
dressing room, she heard Charlie say, "You won't think it's so goddamn
funny if they won't follow you back to the barn. Dooby didn't put their
leads on." Breakfast was forgotten when everyone was outside on the terrace
watching or helping carry feed bags, Charlie noticed that Dooby not only
didn't put the animals on their leads, he took their halters off so no
leads could be attached.

All the animals naturally gravitated to the first trough with food in it
and began eating. Dooby saw a problem. The bigger animals, Emily and
Olivia, the giraffes, and the camels, Mildred and Elsie, had bigger heads
and the advantage of height so they were hogging the trough. Dooby went to
the second trough, patted it, called them by name and told those four girls
that this trough was theirs alone. Emily was first to step over to
Dooby. She sampled the food by using her tongue like a grain scoop and
after swallowing; she stayed and continued to eat. Olivia apparently
noticed that her friend was eating without competition so she relocated
too.

Mildred and Elsie looked but continued to push smaller deer and zebra heads
out of their way. "Oh no you don't," Dooby stated, "you need to listen when
I tell you something," he warned. He went to Mildred's side and gave her
leg a shoulder bump with his shoulder. "I said move over there," he pointed
when Mildred looked down on him.

"Dooby, be careful," Mark warned, "She'll bite or kick your ass down the
hill if she feels threatened."

Dooby looked shocked, so to apologize, he jumped up to surround Mildred's
neck with his arms while he told her again that she really needed to move
to where there was far more food before the giraffes ate it all. Whether or
not she understood Dooby, she glanced to the side in time to see the
giraffes using their tongues to best advantage. Mildred moved over and
Elsie promptly followed her friend. That left plenty of space for the deer
and zebra to spread out and eat more placidly.

After the troughs were completely empty, the deer wandered away with full
bellies but the new girls decided that they were suddenly in an
astoundingly safe position. They were high on a hill with an unobstructed
view down the hill, to across the river where the trees began and a massive
obstruction, the house, blocked the way from the rear. Since they were safe
they decided to enjoy the view by laying down as best they could in their
delicate conditions. Apparently they decided that they were truly home.

"We should get another trough for water," Dooby decided.

"Nope," Mark vetoed that idea. "If they have water up here in addition to
all the food they want, they'll just hang out here permanently."

"Is that such a bad thing?"

"It will be, when you have to clean up their crap every day, plus they'll
wear out the turf and maybe make a mess and in the summer you won't want to
open the windows. That would be if they have water up here, without it,
they'll have to go down to the river to drink and socialize with the
deer. Never fear though, they'll be back to see if there's more food in the
trough now that they know where it is," Mark forecast.

Charlie was just herding the boys into the house to gulp down some
breakfast before Deacon took them to school when a low flying TV station
news helicopter flew over the house. It was heading to the Interstate where
a semi had jackknifed, the trailer split open and spilled its load, so the
east bound lanes into New York were closed to rush hour traffic.

The chopper was nearly above the river when it turned and flew back toward
the front of the house. Apparently the pilot and the news caster just
wanted to be sure they really didn't see wild African animals lounging in
front of Charlie Spelling's mansion.

"Shit," Charlie lamented, "it didn't take long for the news to leak out."

The chopper really wasn't that low, but it was low enough that they could
see the camera that was fixed under the body, swing toward the animals who
were still lounging and watching the hovering helicopter watch them. Dooby
waved, then factitiously told Cory that they were going to be on
television.

During breakfast, Charlie asked when Dooby left the house without anyone
hearing the truck start or the garage door being raised. Dooby didn't make
any noise when he left with the dogs for company at 2:30 and he and the
dogs walked to the barn because he planned to walk back up to the house
with the animals. The animals were happy to follow the human that jabbered
constantly because the noise was soothing and reassuring. He had no idea
where Rudy was sleeping so he tried to call him by singing the `Rudolf the
Red Noise Reindeer' song and Rudy popped out from under some pine trees
with his girls to join the walk up to the house. It was apparent that all
the species recognized that no one was a meat eater so they could safely
become friends or at least tolerate the other's presence. Dooby admitted
that his thoughts on the subject were pure supposition; however Mark later
agreed that he'd guessed correctly.

Charlie went into the library while the guys ate pop tarts. He really hoped
that there would be lots of morning news, but that was not to be; while the
station reported the Interstate accident with live aerial footage, there
was plenty of time to report that wealthy grocer, Charlie Spelling, had
started a private zoo on his luxurious 1000 acre estate in suburban New
Jersey where only the very, very rich could afford that much land to call
home. Charlie sighed; the news would force him to reschedule the plan to
install gates at the main entrance, fences in some areas not buffered by
the river and 1000 NO TRESSPASSING signs all around the property line.

######

Johnnie Driscoll, the former manager of the corporate–owned Justa Pizza
store in Athens, Georgia and the first manager of the same store just
bought by the Candy family, found himself in New Jersey at corporate
headquarters to help perfect his dessert pizza. When he first developed the
dessert, he did it so it tasted good without regard to unit cost since he
was paying for the ingredients out of his own pocket. That was the main
reason Tommy called him to come up for a visit as well as pluck his brain
of any other new food ideas he may have been thinking about.

Tommy took Johnnie into the kitchen that Charlie used to taste test new
products that vendors were attempting to get into Spelling's grocery
stores. Before Tommy left him he simply said that a guy named Charlie, who
mostly approved or disapproved foods sold in the chain, would be around in
a few minutes. Tommy didn't tell Johnnie who Charlie really was because
Charlie didn't want the young guy to go all nervous and jerky because he
was talking to the guy who founded two major retail chains and was the
Chairman of the Board of both companies.

"Good mornin' son," Charlie greeted Johnnie in his country mode, "the
name's Charlie, are you the guy that came up with a dessert pizza?"

"Yes sir, I tried, but I don't know nothin' about quantity costs, my pizza
might wind up costin' too much to sell at a reasonable price point,"
Johnnie said honestly, exactly what Charlie wanted to hear.

"We'll work on that later, but first I'm thinkin' we should have just plain
breakfast. Are you up for some biscuits an' sausage gravy? We got some new
pets an' they caused such a ruckus this mornin', I didn't get nothin' but a
damn pop tart," Charlie said with a shiver at the thought of taking one
bite; his first and his last. "I'll handle the gravy if you can whip up
some butter biscuits," he proposed.

"You got it Charlie, if y'all can point me to the flour bin."

During the course of preparing breakfast, Charlie steered the conversation
to what Johnnie wanted to achieve during his career. Johnnie said that he
hoped to use the management of Justa Pizza as a stepping stone to
eventually manage a really good sit down, tablecloth restaurant. He majored
in hospitality management and hoped to use his education for something
better than just managing a pizza joint even though he thought Justa Pizza
was by far the best of the pizza chains and with the move to serve
breakfast and other new dishes they were definitely the most progressive.

Deacon and the dogs entered just in time to see the tray of biscuits come
out of the oven. Charlie introduced Johnnie and the dogs introduced
themselves as their noses zeroed in on the bowl of sausage gravy.

With breakfast just about finished, Johnnie revealed an interest. He knew
that the Justa Pizza Company had begun opening high end restaurants and he
wondered how he might go about applying for an assistant manager's job
while he was in the office. He wanted to gain experience, and then he hoped
he could to be considered for a manager's position as more units were
opened.

Charlie said to Deacon; "Think we'd have time to run into the City and get
back in time to pick up the boys?"

Deacon shrugged, "Morning rush hour is over, so I don't see why not."

"Good, let's go if we're all done here."

"Shouldn't we clean up the dishes?" Johnnie asked innocently.

Deacon turned away. Charlie said, "I been workin' here so long, they
finally hired a dude to clean up after me. Road trip critters, if you want
to take a ride." The dogs did.

"Aren't we goin' to get in trouble for leavin' the office without tellin'
anybody?"

The dogs absolutely loved the automatic outside doors, and by the time the
guys got outside, they had taken leaks and were waiting impatiently for
someone, anyone, to open a truck door. Johnnie balked when he saw the
stretched Navigator they were going to ride in.

"Y'all remember Cory an' Dooby; well Cory bought this thing for Dooby for
Christmas this year. Deacon here drives them when they ain't in school an'
he drives me an' the dogs around when they are. That would be with the
boy's permission, of course." Charlie said with a perfectly honest looking
face while Deacon disappeared into the driver's seat. After Charlie and
Johnnie were seated in the back, the dogs were delighted to find that they
could either sit up front with Deacon or in the back so they kept switching
until Charlie warned them to calm down. They continued to switch seats;
they just went slower with a guilty glance at Charlie until Chuckie chose
to curl up on the passenger seat and Laurie stretched out on the seat next
to Charlie using his lap for a pillow so he could scratch her.

"Can I ask where we're goin'?" Johnnie finally asked when Deacon swiped a
key card to get into a special part of the parking garage without getting a
time stamped ticket, then up two levels to park in a space reserved for
`The Spelling's'. Charlie reminded that Cory was a Spelling. His parents
bought an apartment in the building that was almost finished, Spelling's
already had a Spelling's Supermarket in operation on the first floor and he
recalled that they were also building a high end restaurant in the mall
that Johnnie just might be interested in working at.

"Call it a ground floor opportunity for you lad," Charlie joked, but when
Johnnie looked blank. Charlie had to add that the new restaurant was also
on the first floor.

Before anyone got out of the truck, Charlie asked Johnnie if he had a pair
of sunglasses with him, a question that caused Deacon to break out laughing
while he rooted out a pair of spares from the glovebox. "These are
officially service dogs for as long as we're here. Laurie is yours, I'll
take Chuckie and I imagine Charlie will make believe he doesn't know either
of us, as usual," Deacon informed Johnnie cryptically. When Johnnie thought
to look at Charlie for confirmation, he found Charlie wearing his usual
disguise; sunglasses and a baseball cap already and offering him Laurie's
leash.

"Up or down?" Deacon asked after they boarded a small elevator car.

"I guess up to start with. I'll invite Marjory to lunch if she's free."

Johnnie kept looking between Charlie and Deacon and grinning. "I'm not sure
what's goin' on here, but before they take us to the slammer, I want y'all
to know I'm havin' fun as long as you brought along enough bail money."

"I guess the jig is up," Charlie said. He offered Johnnie his hand, "My
last name is Spelling."

Charlie explained that he preferred to meet people the first time when they
didn't know who he was, particularly in the office where there were plenty
of ass kissers. He felt now he really knew Johnnie the person, not Johnnie
the Justa Pizza manager, although one of the rare managers who could walk
and chew gum at the same time.

Marjory was standing in the penthouse lobby when the elevator door
opened. She giggled and pointed to the lobby security camera before Charlie
could ask. After Charlie introduced her to Deacon, Johnnie and the dogs,
she invited them to lunch, once again before Charlie could ask. She told
them facetiously that there was a new restaurant downstairs in the mall
named Charlie's, that just opened for business a week ago, with the grand
opening scheduled for December 31st, New Year's Eve day, and when she saw
them arrive on the building CCTV, she made a hasty reservation.

"Damn," Charlie grumbled, "the kids never tell me anything, or maybe they
did and I wasn't listening. I do recall something about management. We
planned on promoting someone from Charlie's Number 1 but I ended up firing
that whole mob." He looked at Johnnie as if he had a revelation, but didn't
say anything.

Marjory gave him a tour of his new apartment that was all but finished. She
told Charlie, "Now remember, when Laura brings you in to give you the grand
tour, you better look and act surprised as well as pleased with what she
and Christian have done with the place. I'm sure she didn't know you were
coming into town this morning or she would have been here too."

Johnnie took one look at the saltwater aquarium and exclaimed, "Wow
Mr. Spelling, this is beautiful!"

Charlie frowned, "See, there you go gettin' all formal as soon as I told
you my last name. I'm Charlie to you, and don't forget it,"

"Right, I'm sorry Sir, I mean Charlie," Johnnie said over his shoulder as
Laurie began to tow him to the kitchen with Chuckie following and pulling
Deacon along.

"Call the critters anything but late for dinner; or in this case lunch,"
Charlie observed.

"Will we lock them up in my apartment?" Marjory asked about the dogs when
they reversed course after not finding even a sniff of food in the new
apartment; they thought they would demonstrate their door opening skills to
hunt for food elsewhere.

"Hell no Marjory, I couldn't afford the repairs," Charlie half joked,
"We'll just take them along since we have these two fine young men wearing
sunglasses."

"You wouldn't dare," Marjory said when she realized the significance of the
young men wearing sunglasses.

"Oh yes he would," Deacon assured with a giggle, "believe it or not, it
works, at least it works in Charlie's restaurants," he qualified.

Just before they left the new apartment, Deacon suggested that it would be
prudent to take the dogs out to pee. He asked with a meaningful look at the
terrace. Charlie agreed with a nod. Since the dogs were likely to be
regular visitors, the terrace was theirs to use when needed. Pee could be
hosed off and there would always be someone younger to wield a pooper
scooper as soon as one was purchased.

Outside, Johnnie asked Deacon who Mrs. Thurston was while the dogs set to
work marking the virgin territory theirs. Deacon pointed across Central
Park at the new tower under construction. "That tower is this one's mate;
Mrs. Thurston owns them and lots of others here in New York and all over
the Country. Cory and Dooby call her Granny. From what they said, I gather
she's into real estate in a very big way. She's like a very quiet Donald
Trump."

On the way down in the elevator, Charley told Johnnie to keep his eyes and
ears open in the restaurant. There was no manager officially so the
assistant managers were doing their own thing, but Charlie reminded the
restaurant was open and operating even though perhaps limping along. Tommy
hired a chef/grill master, who hired his own kitchen brigade, but was not
interested in managing the whole store.

The reservation was in Marjory's name, so the hostess was unaware of
Charlie's identity, although she did look askance at the two blind guys and
their guide dogs, who she noticed were not wearing the usual guide dog
harnesses. She shrugged her concerns away because everyone on the serving
staff knew Mrs. Thurston and her habit of paying cash, and tipping very
generously, made her a highly valued customer.

Marjory began dining at the new Charlie's the first day it opened. She
fancied her position as an undercover agent. She was reporting nightly to
the company's royal taste testers; Vice-Presidents, Cory and Dooby by
methodically ordering her way down the menu.

The dogs and the blind guys followed Charlie and Margery until they saw the
table facing the grill and all but surrounded by a banquet just like the
other two Charlie's. Both scooted under the table and spun around to sit
with their noses lifting the tablecloth to expose their eyes in two places.

When the server arrived to take their drink orders he couldn't resist
smirking and looking over the blind guy's heads. The guys forgot they were
blind and were studying the menu! "If you don't see something you'd like
for lunch we can special order it providing we have the basics," he advised
the diners.

"Is that a restaurant policy," Johnnie asked.

"Nope, but I think it should be. Someone decided that we open mid-morning
and a couple of people I served wanted steak and eggs for a kind of late
breakfast or brunch. Otherwise it's slow until noon. It was a nice touch
and I saw the same guys come back for a regular menu lunch the next day. I
like building a list of regulars," their server, Barry, concluded.

Charlie and Marjory ordered bourbon on the rocks with a splash, Deacon
wanted ice tea and two bowls of water. Charlie told Johnnie he could order
a drink since he wasn't driving, unlike Deacon. That's when Barry broke out
laughing, "The sunglasses are a neat trick to bring your dogs into the
restaurant. Have you pulled it off before?" He asked and bent down to pet
the critters that were always happy to make a new friend especially one who
was likely to bring them food, based on previous experience.

"Guilty," Deacon admitted, "recognizing our little scam usually takes
longer."

"Well my lips are sealed. If they eat under the table, no one will even
know they're here until you leave. Then it will be too late for anyone to
complain. Do they need anything special?"

"If you could dice up the two prime rib dinners including the baked
potatoes, we would appreciate it." Deacon looked under the table, "What,
oh," he said to the server, "They both want sour cream, butter, bacon and
chives on those potatoes," he added with a straight face.

Charlie's eyebrows shot up when the drink order arrived. The two bourbons
were a nice dark brown and filled to the top. "Mrs. Thurston likes 12 year
old and a full glass to save trips," the server said and winked at
Marjory. It was obvious that she was one of his `regulars'.

Charlie stretched his neck to look around the room. He was looking for one
or two assistant managers who he assumed would be supervising the front of
the house during the day shift. He found six young people, four guys and
two girls, who were wearing neckties and blazers standing just inside the
open kitchen out of the chef's way, but exactly where the servers had to
excuse themselves each time they needed anything like glassware, napkins,
silverware and/or nonalcoholic drinks.

"Look around Johnnie, and tell me what you see," Charlie instructed with a
smile.

Johnnie surprised Charlie with an immediate answer; "I looked around when
we walked in," he grinned, "although I'm visually impaired. This place
should be staffed with six assistant managers who would work in pairs
during two daily shifts. One would be posted at the hostess desk to handle
reservations, greet guests and seat them if the hostess is busy. That
position should never be..." he stopped in midsentence to shout, "WOULD
SOMEONE ANSWER THE PHONE!?"

The phone had been buzzing insistently and to Johnnie, annoyingly. His rule
at Justa Pizza was; `Answer within three rings.' The hostess ran and three
out of six supposed assistant managers came alive to rush the phone and
incidentally obey whoever shouted.

Charlie slipped off the seat so Johnnie could get away from the table. "Do
you think you can straighten this mess out a mite while we're here? We'll
keep your food warm," he promised with a laugh at Johnnie's angry
expression.

Johnnie raised his sunglasses to his hair with Laurie happily accompanying
him to the hostess desk since he still held his end of her leash. The
second half of the management team decided to join their brothers to see
what was going on with the angry blind customer. Charlie, Marjory and
Deacon couldn't hear what Johnnie had to say but they could see lots of
finger shaking at individuals before he pointed to what he thought were
vital areas where they could make themselves useful.

The managers seemed to be electrified. One went to the busy bar to work as
a bar back, one began expediting orders, two began seating guests, offering
menus and taking primary drink orders with the hostess and two ultimately
put on coats and left the restaurant. Then Johnnie spent a few minutes at
the door greeting guests as he opened it for new arrivals. That was a
mistake because it created a jam up as guests stopped to greet Laurie who
was beside herself with joy at meeting so many new humans.

"If you're going to make him your manager," Marjory said to Charlie, "and
you better," she added, "I have a small furnished model on the first
apartment level you can use for as long as you need it. I'll send down
sheets and towels with someone to make the place liveable."

"Thank you Marjory, I believe you've got a deal, if the boy wants the job."

"You're joking right?"

Barry arrived with a food laden tray just about the time Johnnie and Laurie
returned. Johnnie sat down on the end so Charlie had to shuffle over, while
Laurie began nosing Johnnie's balls as a reminder to serve her food. After
all, she worked up a hunger as Charlie's first ever canine ambassador.

"How'd you get their asses in gear so fast?" Charlie asked Johnnie as Barry
first satisfied the dogs, then served the humans.

"No sweat," Johnnie giggled, "I told them you were Charlie and you asked if
they were on the payroll or working as unpaid interns."

Barry froze, holding Johnnie and Charlie's lunch plates six inches above
the table in front of them. He looked at the brick wall where a collection
of antiqued family photo portraits were hung. Christian had everyone pose
wearing Victorian garb and looking very serious and formal in keeping with
the Victorian era interior décor of all Charlie's Restaurants.

Charlie was photographed twice; once alone, wearing an old business suit
with a stiff detachable collar, holding a bowler hat and walking stick and
the second as part of his family. Laura was the only one who looked
remotely serious. Dooby could not resist smiling, while Cory would not stop
looking at Dooby and smirking. Charlie looked like he was related in some
way to Mona-Lisa. No one knew if he was smiling or not.

Charlie got even with Christian by forcing him and Tommy to pose in costume
as well as a half dozen of the boy's friends who made the mistake of being
present and laughing at the subjects. The portrait wall was a rogue's
gallery, although no one was identified; Charlie's portrait was centered
and surrounded by family and young rogues.

"Ah, are you going to fire me too?" Barry asked. His expression indicated
he thought he was a goner although he finished serving before standing at
attention to face Charlie, the judge, jury and he thought his executioner
in return for his revealing his `server secrets' without knowing who he was
talking to.

"The only thing I see wrong with you young man is your missing name tag,"
Charlie judged.

The young man in question dug into his pants pocket and produced one of
those throw away name stickers normally used at meetings; the preprint
said, `HELLO – My Name Is'. Their server's name was indeed Barry,
printed with Magic Marker. "This is what I was given to wear. I thought it
was more unprofessional than not wearing any name tag," Barry defended his
actions.

Charlie agreed with a nod, took Barry's name tag and tore it up. "Now why
did you think you'd be fired?"

Barry blinked in surprise, "Didn't you hear me cheering when this guy,"
indicating Johnnie, "fired two of the assistant managers."

"I didn't fire them, I sent them home. They'll be back to work the closing
shift, while these four will work in pairs to cover the two shifts
tomorrow, so now there's some kind of schedule," Johnnie explained in his
soft Georgia drawl, more to Charlie than Barry, but his eyes remained on
Barry in a sort of appraising kind of way.

Once again Charlie nodded his approval, this time accompanied by a phone
call. "Hey Tommy, I'm in New York having lunch at Charlie's," he said as a
preamble. "The reason I'm calling is I'd like to know why there's no
general manager."

Tommy thought he head hunted a guy from another restaurant, but the guy
backed out the day he was supposed to start because his current employer
gave him a humongous raise and bonus for staying where he was. Tommy hadn't
found a replacement yet but he had people looking.

"I think I found us a good guy this morning right in my test kitchen,"
Johnnie looked shocked. "Johnnie's with me now. He just organized a flock
of assistant's who were just standin' around with their thumbs up their,
ah, butts. I don't know if he wants the job yet," Johnnie began nodding his
head and mouthing PLEASE! "But it's lookin' good so far. If he accepts,
then Deacon won't be around to collect the boys from school, so could you
or Christian handle that for us? In fact you might bring Laura, our new
Vet, Mark and them in for dinner tonight if you guys aren't busy. It's time
them two yahoos earned their keep at this Charlie's."

When Margery heard Charlie say that, she made a hasty call to Cory to
advise him and Dooby about the planned spontaneous dinner.

After Charlie disconnected, he looked at Johnnie. "Where do I sign?"
Johnnie asked. Even Barry was excited and went so far as being the first
person to shake Johnnie's hand and welcome him aboard the newest Charlie's
Restaurant. While Charlie was turned toward Marjory, Deacon noticed that
Barry and Johnnie's handshake was far longer than necessary or normal. Shy
smiles and eye contact told the rest of the tale.

"Do you have any strings back in Athens?" Charlie wanted to know if there
was going to be a package deal to make arrangements for.

"Nope, not any more, it's been too long," Johnnie said with a trace of
sorrow without explaining further.

Charlie did smile inwardly when he saw Barry's huge smile that was
disproportionate relative to a stranger accepting a job as Barry's
supervisor. He made a mental note to ask the boys about how he could
acquire what they referred to as `gaydar'.

With lunch concluded, Marjory stopped in at the condo sales office to get
keys before they took a regular elevator up to the first floor apartment
level that was six stories above the street so the view from the million
dollar apartment of Central Park was like the view from the upper floor of
a townhouse. Johnnie didn't understand why Marjory handed him the keys
until Charlie played like Johnnie was Dooby and cuffed him on the back of
the head. He had to reach up to connect because Johnnie was a big boy and
former football player in high school and college

"Duh, the job comes with somewhere to live that's close to work so no snow
days for you, my boy," Charlie explained.

"Where to now, Boss?" Deacon asked.

"You take the dogs up to the apartment, while Johnnie and I visit my tailor
by taxi. He needs some work clothes. My tailor doesn't think I know it, but
he has rooms full of suits that are finished after a few snips and
tucks. It normally takes a few weeks to get a delivery, but I'm pretty sure
he can be hurried," Charlie rubbed his fingertips together; the universal
sign for money.

Marjory wouldn't hear of Deacon and the dogs waiting in Spelling's
apartment with nothing to do, so they wound up being entertained or
entertaining Marjory in hers when the pups were free of their leashes. Of
course, the dogs had to sniff out the new territory. Deacon warned Marjory
to lock any doors where she didn't want them to go but she wanted to watch
the very clever dogs and didn't object when they opened her bedroom door
and didn't follow them.

She realized her mistake when they ran out of the room straight to Deacon
to show him the toys they found; a pair of very furry slippers. Both lay
down at his feet and held their slippers in their paws with their open
mouths inches from the new toys while casting sly eyes up to his; they
wanted Deacon to attempt to steal from them so they could have a tug-of-war
or retrieve the thrown toys.

"I'm home," Michael, Marjory's personal assistant called from the front
door. Of course the dogs took their slippers to the door to greet the
stranger. "Hey, hi guys. Where'd you two come from?"

"Michael, come in and meet a friend of Charlie Spelling's," Marjory called.

Mike strode into the lounge, holding one of Marjory's slippers over his
head while Chuckie jumped futilely trying to retrieve it or get the
ignorant new guy to throw it. He was wearing gym shorts and a muscle shirt;
obviously he'd been to a gym somewhere close since he was not wearing a
coat and still looked wet from sweating.

After meeting Deacon, Mike told Marjory that he'd met Ben, who was Bernie's
assistant, in the fitness center and he'd just come back for his tennis
gear to have a match with Ben. To prove his statement, Laurie ran back into
the room, having traded her slipper for Mike's tennis racket made
vulnerable when he opened the entry hall closet as he called out to
Marjory.

"She'll trade you your racket for a tennis ball you no longer want," Deacon
suggested. Chuckie dropped his slipper and ran at Laurie, intent on
stealing the larger toy amid much growling and tail wagging. "Um, you
better make that two balls," he added while Mike began to stalk the
critters to regain ownership of his racket before it was too late.

Mike ran to the closet and returned with two tennis balls. He was about to
throw one but was stopped when Deacon cautioned that every bit of furniture
in the room was at risk. Marjory suggested that Mike take Deacon and the
dogs downstairs to the tennis courts and play ball there. She cautioned
that rough housing in her immaculately furnished lounge was not a good
idea; in fact she was politely forbidding the game.

Mike traded the tennis balls for his racket and with the balls secure in
their mouths, the dogs looked to Deacon to take them outside for their
regular after lunch play time.

The dogs didn't need their leashes on the private penthouse elevator
because the door opened directly into the condo building's fitness
facilities including the tennis courts and pool. Of course they rushed
ahead to begin checking the equipment before a tennis ball bounced off the
window wall separating the courts from the exercise equipment area to get
their undivided attention, but they couldn't find a way to get to the
bouncing, rolling ball.

Ben was practicing his serve and hit a ball at the window so Michael would
join him. Michael opened the door into the courts and shouted, "We're
playing doubles today!" The other team, Laurie and Chuckie, nearly bowled
Ben over when they greeted him running full speed. He recovered from the
fall but managed to tip over the wire basket full of balls that he had been
using.

The game was on. The dogs didn't have a side; they were anywhere there was
a moving ball. Deacon watched the fun until he could see his charges were
beginning to tire. At home playing ball was mostly done in the pool but he
realized that continuing while swimming was not going to happen that
day. The game really ended when Chuckie and Laurie lay down in front of him
with gentle wagging tails and an optimistic look.

"Is it okay if the critters get in the spa pool?" Deacon asked the guys as
he began removing the dog's harnesses. The increased wagging rate indicated
that Deacon guessed correctly. They would get in the spa as soon as someone
realized that the door needed to be opened again and then the door into the
pool area.

Deacon blinked when Ben and Michael quickly shucked their limited wardrobe
and joined the dogs. Then they invited fully dressed Deacon to strip and
join them. They explained that while the elaborate fitness center was an
amenity always open to residents, it was rarely used by anyone. The reason
seemed to be that owners already were members of even more elegant health
clubs or they weren't interested in being fit.

Deacon shrugged. He carefully folded his clothing as he stripped everything
and placed it all on a bench well out of splash range. Michael said, "Don't
worry about those clothes; Charlie's requires a jacket to wear to
dinner. We're close to the same size, so we'll get you fixed up when we get
back upstairs."

Meanwhile the tired dogs were content to cuddle with the guys without
regard to where they stepped and kiss their faces; their way of thanking
the guys for a wonderful play period. During this relaxed time, the guys
traded their life stories, at least recent history of how Deacon came to be
employed by the Spellings and how Michel, Ben and Danny, a friend who
worked for a third woman who lived near Atlanta in the same capacity as
they did for Marjory and Bernese. The guys did not say what their duties
were as personal assistants for three mature ladies; they allowed Deacon to
use his imagination.

When Marjory counted the guests coming in from New Jersey she dispatched
her helicopter (Christmas present to herself) to land at High View Farm,
before she called Cory her `master spy handler' and one of the company food
tasters to advise him to spread the word to the others. With transport
arranged, she called her favorite caterer to set up a cocktail party in
Laura and Charlie's apartment. The party would serve as a spontaneous
housewarming gift.

#######

Auggie invited charter fishing guide Jim-Bob Longfellow to come up for a
few days to get the twins established as fishing guides using their new
flats boat, Double Trouble, to seek game fish from the nearly endless Gulf
of Mexico grass flats. When the twins, Jim-Bob, his partner, Carter
Willingham, and the four dogs returned from the Gulf in late afternoon and
Double Trouble was meticulously cleaned and securely tied up for the night,
the guys didn't immediately come into the house as Auggie expected.

Auggie saw the four boys standing on the dock, looking, pointing and
apparently talking about Fishin' Boy, Auggie's 65 foot sport
fisherman. "Now what," Auggie mumbled to Zeek with a feeling of
foreboding. It seemed there was yet another new twins' business in the
making that involved Fishin' Boy or another sport fisherman somehow.

Auggie gulped the last of his drink and made another on his own while Zeek
chuckled and shook his head. "Yo' a soft touch when it comes to them twins,
Boss Man. Want me to open the safe since you ain't likely got enough in
your pocket?"

"What's the problem," Stevie wondered, "a new sport fisherman won't cost
near as much as Trasker's dime a dozen school airplane," he jabbed with a
laugh. That comment brought forth middle fingers from Auggie and
Trasker. Trasker was getting tired of jokes about his jet even though he
thought the gift was a bit over the top, also referred to as
ostentatious. Of course fighting back verbally would only extend the joke,
so he couldn't say anything.

The jousting ended when the twins burst into the room proceeded by the four
dogs and followed by Jim-Bob and Carter, who just happened to have their
mouths covered with their hands to hide their amusement. "Uncle Auggie we
got a business proposition for y'all," Kevin the red cap announced with
enthusiasm.

"Investment or partners?" Auggie asked immediately.

"`Even Steven' partners Uncle Auggie, you put up the use of Fishin' Boy, we
pay all expenses from the charters and we split what's left over. We could
make a heap of money; more than we could from fishin' the flats."

"I could use the extra money," Auggie stated with a straight face as if he
was thinking out loud. Anyone who couldn't keep from laughing left the room
until they calmed down.

"Now Uncle Auggie," Kyle the blue cap scolded, "no need to be cryin' poor
mouth around us family. We all know you're rich. The thing is y'all don't
have to lay out no money for startup."

"Blue water fishin' charters is different from the flats. You know the
flats but y'all don't know a thing about deep water. You got to find fish
out there without fail or excuse every charter or you'll be out o' business
in no time flat," Auggie warned. "Is Jim-Bob goin' to give yo' some of his
places?"

"Nope, no way," Jim-Bob answered that question, "but what I will do is
refer conflicting charters to these hungry birds rather than give them to
other boats. People down here on vacation can't sit around waiting two
weeks for an open date. After you guys get the charter, it's up to you to
catch them some fish," he warned the eager twins.

Surprisingly, the twins laughed when they should have been
disappointed. Kevin sort of explained, "Captain Jim-Bob already did. He
pointed out some of his favorite areas on a chart, but what y'all don't
know is that my baby brother got him a good eye for rememberin' numbers. He
got the coordinates right up there," Kevin took the liberty of rapping his
brother's head several times with his fist.

"If you call me a baby one more time I'll be givin' you the choice of a
black eye or fat lip," Kyle warned before adding, "We also occasionally
sold live bait to charter captains out on the water. We always ask them
where the big ones hide out in the Stream. They mostly answered two punk
kids like us because they figured we'd never get out there or remember what
they told us. So is it a deal?" Kyle the closer went for the kill.

Auggie wouldn't agree on the spot without a proper challenge. "We'll go
fishin' tomorrow at first light. You two birds will run the boat just like
Jim-Bob and Carter boy does without no help from us guests. If we catch
enough good fish to have our pitchers took over to the marina sign for
ever' one to see, then we have a deal."

The twins looked at each other strangely for 30 seconds before they began
to run out of the room with the four dogs racing each other toward the dock
to jump aboard Double Trouble without a word being said. "Where the hell
you boys goin' in the dark?" Auggie questioned.

"LIVE BAIT," Kevin shouted back over his shoulder.

"SAVE US SOME SUPPER," Kyle added to his brother's explanation.

"Oops," Little Zeek said while speed dialing the club. He was reminded
about food with the mention of supper. He asked the chefs to show up to
cook breakfast an hour earlier, then added that they also needed a lunch
packed for the fishing trip. After he put his phone down, he went into the
bedroom full of clothes and returned wearing shorts. Then he began looking
at each licensed driver while they looked back.

"There should be a boat load of snacks left over from our trip to Key
Largo," Stevie said although he very much doubted his statement.

"Nope," Little Zeek countered, "I didn't want anything to get stale and
maybe draw bugs inside the boat."

New guy Brenden looked shocked, "Tell me you didn't throw all that stuff
out?" He was not in the habit of wasting food on his previously limited
budget. "We could have eaten it all."

Little Zeek grinned, "That's what I did. Now, damn it, will someone take me
to the market!?"

Sometime during the night, Auggie woke up suddenly when he was able to move
in the bed without any obstructions. Obstructions, caused mostly by one or
more dogs who preferred to sleep on the bed so they could monitor the boys
asleep on air mattresses on the floor around them. Flashes of light out on
the dock drew his attention. Every light on Fishin' Boy was burning
brightly and he could see someone on board moving around. He sighed after
counting heads; the twins and the dogs were missing and it was just 3:00
A.M. There was no question that the twins were double and triple checking
everything on Fishin' Boy to be certain that the first ever charter fishing
expedition would go faultlessly because their first ever customer was also
going to be Double Trouble Enterprises charter fishing boat's silent
partner.

"If I had me them two twins when I was just startin' out, I swear we'd be
zillionaires by now," Auggie thought with pride as he made his way
carefully to the bathroom to shower and dress for the day.

There was little doubt that they would catch fish that day. After all Kyle,
with `a good head for numbers' as Kevin referred to his brother's eidetic
memory had any number of map coordinates plucked from other charter boat
captain's heads as well as Jim-Bob's preferred areas, stored in his head
ready for instant recall. All that was needed was a fishing boat of
sufficient size.

He wondered if the time was right to buy a new fishing boat, custom built
of course, that had all of the modern improvements that Fishin' Boy just
didn't have because he bought it used so he had it in his possession the
day money changed hands. Then he had another thought. Since big boy toys
like jet airplanes could be had at bargain prices due to the recession; it
was very likely that yacht builders would be in the same `boat'. There must
be boats under construction, especially big, Auggie size boats, perhaps
just or almost completed that buyers could no longer afford. There had to
be some that could be easily and quickly modified to his specifications.

When Auggie stepped from the shower, he was greeted by the smell of coffee
and the divine fragrance of waffles that got stronger as he hastened to the
kitchen after he dressed. Jim-Bob and Carter were already at the table and
still grumbling about the wily twins being too smart for their own good,
purloining their most favored fishing area GPS map coordinates just by
glancing at a chart.

Auggie needed Jim-Bob's expertise to find and buy a new sport fishermen and
he also needed to pay for Jim-Bob's chartering time, so he offered him a
deal. Auggie would pay for a full seven days of charters; a full boat, six
fishermen per day. This while Jim-Bob used Trasker's jet to visit the
Hatteras, Viking and Bertram boat yards to shop for Fishin' Boy II;
something 70 to 80 feet in length, either completed but not delivered or
almost complete but no longer sold.

Jim-Bob and Carter were surprised by the offer, but that wouldn't satisfy
the charters already booked for the following week. Auggie chuckled and
pointed to the twins that smelled breakfast and were just then galloping
into the kitchen.

It seemed the twins already gave the dogs instructions to be sure everyone
else in the house was awake when they veered into the open bedroom window
wall from the terrace without first checking their food bowls in the
kitchen. Flynn had obviously been there a long time because he took a
platter stacked with waffles from the oven as the rest of the boys
straggled into the kitchen. Then the dogs were rewarded with their bowls of
kibble mixed with waffle and sausage.

"These here boys will handle all your charters, usin' Fishin' Boy to be
based over to Trasker's." Auggie corrected himself when he noted the twins'
heads begin to swell. "That is, y'all will get them charters if we catch
fish today. If we don't, then it's back to your grass flats," he warned.

"THAT'S A DEAL!" Red and Blue screamed together with their mouths full of
waffle.

"In return, we'll make you a promise Jim-Bob," Kyle added, "we talked it
over and we won't use your coordinates unless we have a referral from you
guys onboard, and we'll never give those numbers away to anyone," he
promised by crossing his heart with a last forkful of waffle.

There was a brief wait while the dogs went out behind the house to take
their morning dumps. There was no question that they were going out on the
boat because they were already wearing their special order highly
reflective personal floatation devices that made them look like giant land
bound lumbering fireflies if there was even a tiny light source nearby.

As usual, all the boys pitched in to clean up the kitchen before they went
to find what clothes they planned to wear if needed. "Whatever did you pack
for lunch, Flynn boy?" Auggie asked.

"I was going to make up a bunch of hoagies with some potato salad and baked
beans but your captains wanted me to come along and make lunch on board, so
I guess I'll be coming along with you."

"Yeah Uncle Auggie," Kevin added, "what other charter fishin' boat has a
private chef aboard? We thought Flynn would bring in more high class
business so we can charge more."

Auggie rolled his eyes, something he did frequently when dealing with the
twins, "Well, if you want a chef, we'll have to find one y'all can
afford. Flynn boy has a job at the Club but I'm sure he can find a friend
who's a chef and can also double as a mate."

Flynn grinned at Jim-Bob and Carter before he said he thought someone from
the Dead Lobster would be willing to relocate so there was a chance of
moving into the new marina Dead Lobster when it opened. "You need to stop
raidin' our staff," Jim-Bob protested. "We'll let y'all look over our stack
of applications so you can train `em yourself." The Dead Lobster owners
didn't like training new employees only to have them move to Marathon.

"Come on everyone!" Kyle shouted from the fly bridge after starting Fishin'
Boy's engines.

The Dogs were ready to go as well. One after the other, they slowly climbed
the ladder like slow moving fireflies. Then they lay down together out of
the way so they wouldn't be disturbed during their sleep. They were still
growing pups and needed far more sleep than following around the
hyperactive twins allowed. They seemed to enjoy Fishin' Boy because the
twins were contained in a limited space and while they couldn't always be
seen, they could be heard over the engine noise and scented on the rare
occasions the boys were quiet.

#######

There was an older flush deck cabin cruiser that had been moored in a
protected area within sight of the boy's school house and the mouth of the
cove that served Coral Place. The boat had been there for a week, a not
unusual sight; it was a popular overnight anchorage for boats cruising the
Keys on the Atlantic side.

The only strange thing about the 35 foot boat was that it was towing a very
large inflatable as a tender and there were four men on board and one or
two of them were watching the mouth of the cove 24 hours a day. They were
watching for that one perfect time period of darkness, when the big sport
fisherman, Fishin' Boy, departed the cove loaded down with all of the Coral
Place residents. It was 4:15 A.M. when that perfect time began; it would
last until about 6:30, just before sunup.

There was plenty of time to paddle the inflatable into the cove, dock,
exchange one old painting for a new near duplicate and be gone. The Beverly
Hills art dealer and his partner were back and they brought along two men
that they'd bought art works that were from questionable, but not
traceable, sources. Whatever, the prices were `right'.

The four men paddled just like an untrained SEAL team. There was plenty of
splashing, some intentional, as a protest because the art dealer didn't
equip the big inflatable with so much as an electric outboard motor so they
had to paddle. In his defense, the art dealer argued that he didn't know
there was such a thing as an electric outboard motor. Traditionally,
electricity and water do not mix. They had to paddle longer and harder to
stay vaguely on course because no one knew how the fucking boat was
steered.

Fortunately, the Coral Place residents were not concerned with the cost of
electricity, so most of the lights were left burning and would remain on as
long as they were away, so the thieves had an easy target. After they
reached the dock, the two sneak thieves were pleased to discover that there
were no door locks to pick because the doors were also huge windows and
they were wide open.

They had no trouble locating the Picasso hanging in the dining room but
when they placed the original beside the forgery there was a considerable
difference in colors because the forger/artist had to use a 1930s photo in
an art book as a reference. The art dealer knew there would be a difference
but he didn't think the billionaire hayseed who owned the painting would
ever notice. While one set to work switching the simple plain wooden frame,
the second thief thought he would look around in the event that there just
might be something of value that was also small and portable and not likely
to be missed, or if missed, thought to be misplaced.

The shopping thief knew from experience that wealthy people would
frequently switch valuable items of décor with something new and
different while the `old' was relegated to a closet, so in shopping the
boy's communal clothes closet he discovered an open soft sided laptop case
that was sitting in the open just inside a real closet with just a pair of
shorts to conceal it. He was not interested in a laptop computer until he
pushed the case to the side and noted that it was heavier than it should be
as well as nearly packed full of something that certainly didn't feel like
a laptop.

While Auggie's first cousins, Argyle and Thurston (Thirsty) were away
developing the new distillery and traveling to existing distilleries in
Tennessee and Kentucky in an effort to buy any with salable inventory,
their illegal still in the Coral Place orange grove was still in full
operation. It was being managed by two of the cousin's local drinking
buddies, who, with unlimited quantities of powerful `white lightening'
moonshine to drink were as happy as clams, selling all-purpose cleaner on a
regular route up and down the Keys and even expanded into mainland South
Florida. Between generous salaries and all the booze they could drink, they
were completely honest and delivered a steady flow of profits to Trasker or
any of the other boys. None of the boys had any need of the money so they
began to refill the soft sided laptop cases that had been emptied, spent to
build the Rainbow Club.

The open laptop case was three quarters full and when completely packed
with cash, it would join four others that were already jammed full to
capacity and stored in the back of the closet. The thief found the other
four cases but knew if he took them, he would be overloaded and most likely
be questioned about what they contained, but hoped he could get away with
two. His employers knew he was a thief. Two cases would raise eyebrows and
frowns but with the painting in hand, his employers would be ecstatic and
less likely to question additional small thefts.

The thief was right, the art experts were so happy to see the special
fiberglass waterproof case that contained the original Picasso; they had no
interest in anything else. They were even tempted to open the case for a
look-see in the raft until they were reminded that if they didn't help
paddle, they would never reach the cabin cruiser.

######

The twins were true to their word, they took their first ever charter
fishing party to any number of other charter fishing captains favorite
areas other than Jim-Bob's, and they caught a variety of game fish. They
kept a number of bull dolphin, a medium size marlin, and a 200 pound yellow
fin tuna for photographs taken on the dock at Trasker's Marina for
advertising and just photographed everything else and then released them
back into the Gulf Stream to be caught another day. The twins did
everything that a typical captain and mate would do to fish the boat except
prepare and serve lunch and Little Zeek's unending snacks and drinks; Flynn
played chef, steward and mate when he had to help boat larger fish through
the stern doors.

Auggie was convinced; the twins could indeed become charter boat captains
using Fishin' Boy. On the way in to the marina, Trasker gave Auggie a fat
manila envelope. Zeek took the wheel while Auggie slowly and painfully
counted out $1000 per fisherman on board that day, while the twins watched
with widening eyes. He pushed the pile toward the twins and told them to
pay all their expenses first then give Trasker 50% of whatever was left
over. He added that Trasker's 50% included the dock fees at the marina.

It was decided that they would have a mahi-mahi fish fry or broil at the
club that evening since they had enough to serve guests as well as the
hungry fisherman. Flynn called the club to dispatch a couple of SUVs to the
dock where Fishin' Boy would be docked henceforth and he also asked if
anyone, a steward, server or anyone in the kitchen would be interested in
preparing food and other odd jobs working on a private yacht that was
docked at Trasker's Marina. He said that if anyone was interested, the
prospective employers would be in the dining room that evening.

Kevin maneuvered into the marina at dead slow while his brother Kyle sat
nearby looking as if he was lost in space. Finally Kyle shook himself and
began to count out some of the cash that Auggie paid them for the day's
charter. Kyle presented the stack of money to Trasker as his share of the
profits after expenses. He even offered to write out the accounting as soon
as he found a piece of paper and a pencil. Trasker declined and returned
the money to his envelope.

"Everyone best get some pants on," Auggie shouted as a first warning that
they had returned to civilization.

"We didn't bring pants!" The twins wailed together when they saw everyone
wearing shorts or pulling up shorts.

Trasker took the wheel to back Fishin' Boy into the slip where Brenden had
docked H.I.T., his houseboat before it was moved to Coral Place while he
sent the twins below to rummage in the stateroom's hanging lockers and
drawers. If they couldn't find anything, they could always wrap towels
around their slim waists until they got to the Club.

They found shorts that were a bit too big, but also shorts that were
obviously Auggie's. Kyle stepped into the front and Kevin climbed in behind
him and then the pair goose stepped into the salon. They looked like they
were partners in a sack race where someone had cut holes in the bottom of
the sack so they could walk together in perfect step until they began
laughing too hard.

The playful pair only forgot one thing; when Auggie wasn't using his
scooter he walked with his cane so he didn't have to call Logan, his
step-and-fetch boy to find it. Auggie couldn't swat Kyle but he got a good
lick on Kevin's butt, which caused them to fall to the deck. This caused
the dogs to join the fun by setting teeth to the shorts; the dogs pulled
one way while the boys tried to hold them right where they were.

"I believe you boys is way too hot," Auggie suggested as he picked the two
up with his triple extra-large shorts around their waists and carried them
out to the deck to drop them into the water, still half in and half out of
his shorts. By the time they surfaced, the shorts were drifting away while
the boys surfaced naked and laughing at the success of their joke on
Auggie.

"What are you two rascals doin' in the middle of my marina buck naked?"
Ms. May-Ellen asked from the dock looking down on the rascals in
question. "Just look at you, you're a scandal, I declare!" She was waving a
camera but wouldn't take any pictures until everyone was decent.

"We wouldn't be a scandal if y'all stopped lookin' at our junk," Kyle
retorted in a mumble while he and Kevin pulled on pairs of Logan's shorts.

"I heard that Mr. Smarty Pants. Now hang those fish up and everyone who
caught something grab a pole and don't forget to smile," Ms. May Ellen
ordered.

The guys that caught something were standing on the deck beside their
catch. Those that didn't sat on the fly bridge deck with the twins
positioned in the middle. Of course everyone was aping for the camera as
was to be expected. Just as the camera flashed, Brenden came running up the
dock. Auggie gave him a special mission to be completed by the time Fishin'
Boy docked at Trasker's Marina for the first time. He was carrying a box.

"Wait up Ms. May, you can't take publicity pictures if no one knows who the
boat Captains are."

Ms. May winked at Brenden, "How do you propose to do that? We're just lucky
I got them into shorts," she declared.

"Well maybe they would wear these for special occasions like this," he said
as if the twins weren't there listening. He opened the box and handed two
official US Navy Officer's hats complete with enough `scrambled eggs' on
the bill to all but cover the patent leather. The only items missing were
the military insignia so the boys couldn't be accused of impersonating an
officer. Auggie admired the hats and handed them up to the bug eyed
twins. Their expressions were priceless as they put them on and then rolled
their eyes up trying to see how they looked before they looked at each
other and made adjustments so their new hats sat at a more unmilitary,
jaunty angle just like fishing boat captains would wear them.

"Now you guys are official and since its Christmas vacation and Jim-Bob boy
and Carter boy are off on an errand for a week, Fishin' Boy is booked solid
all next week. Stevie or Logan can transport any customers from down there
to up here if they don't have wheels," Auggie advised the twins as a
surprise, "You two are goin' to make us a passel of money! Now let's get
off to the Club, I'm hungry for fresh caught fish."

That would be after more pictures were taken with the twins wearing their
new Captain's caps. After, the fish went into coolers packed in ice for the
short trip to the Club and with Ms. May-Ellen cajoled into attending. The
twins promised that she would not have to undress, she would sit with
Auggie and the club owners AND Kyle assured her with a wink that she could
look at all the guy's junk to he her hearts content. She nodded, giggled
and pinched Kyle's rosy cheek before she went to get her purse.

The twins had no trouble finding their chef/first mate. By evening, word
had spread around the Club full of underused, trained, if inexperienced
chefs plus everyone knew who owned the sport fishing yacht, a stepping
stone into the new Dead Lobster kitchen, if one could impress the
owner. The wily twins weren't as interested in culinary ability as they
were in a body type that resembled theirs; tall and willowy with long sleek
muscles and not incidentally hung as well or better since their primary
choice was a fully grown 21 year old and they were optimistic that they
still had more, or hopefully a lot, more growing to do.

They didn't think Auggie was aware of what they were up to when they
`pretty pleased' and begged him to sleep onboard that night using the
excuse of getting Fishin' Boy ready to go the next morning on their second
ever charter as well as showing their new chef around. Of course Auggie
appeared to be reluctant until they ran to the bar to get him and Zeek
fresh drinks neither man needed.

Then Auggie lowered the boom. "Thanks for the drinks boys, but there ain't
one chance in hell that I'm leavin' you two birds alone overnight with no
stranger; no matter how nice he looks. Y'all just go fetch the boy yo'
want, tell him to grab his tooth brush an' bring him along home with us
tonight. If'n he fits in then yo' got yo' a chef an' a mate. Now git him
picked out, I'm tuckered out an' want to get home."

While Jeffery Stevens was one of the first guys to apply for the unique
position of chef/mate, the dining room server didn't really think he had a
chance of getting the job. He was slender and wiry, not even close to being
considered a classic photogenic male model type of which there was no
shortage at the gay resort and there also was no shortage of applications
from those types of guys.

That night, Jeff waited on Auggie's table and knew from overhearing the
conversation that it was the underage twins, not Auggie Bligh who was
looking for help on Auggie's big sport fisherman. From what he gathered,
the twins were starting up a whimsical charter fishing business that
apparently was to be financed by Auggie, their guardian.

Jeff announced his name as he filled glasses with ice water before taking
orders for more serious drinks and by the time he reached the twins,
standing between and slightly behind them, he saw his handwriting on the
top most stack of applications on the table in front of them. The twins'
heads were turned back to him but they weren't looking up; they were ogling
his body from waist down but concentrating on his junk dangling from
carefully trimmed pubes.

Dinner went smoothly from that point until Jeff began clearing the table
and heard Auggie tell the twins to tell the guy they chose to grab his
toothbrush. Jeff turned to see one twin was whispering in Zeek's ear, while
the other was grinning up at him, "You heard Uncle Auggie, Jeff, grab your
tooth brush and meet us in the parking lot. We've got to get home and get
to bed; we have our first real charter tomorrow." The other boys stifled
their laughter when they noticed that while Kyle said, `get to bed' he
didn't mention anything about sleep.

Jeff ran as instructed after he was assured that the twins weren't joking;
he had indeed been hired by the twins. Jeff was so excited by the promotion
and the opportunity to be closer, perhaps extremely close to the beautiful
twins, he didn't think about grabbing shorts to wear or anything else. He
didn't want to keep anyone who lived at Coral Place waiting.

The crafty twins were just as impatient. They'd arranged with Zeek to drive
the SUV, which meant Auggie would ride shotgun as usual. The dogs had been
ordered into the third row of seats and commanded to stay there.

"We'll have milk to drink with our fish," the blue hat ordered with a lick
of his lips, without raising his eyes. "Nice tan," the red hat complimented
while casually running his fingers down Jeff's thigh from below the
tabletop so the caress could not be seen by others. Once outside at the
truck, Kevin was sitting in the rear seat behind Zeek, while Kyle remained
standing by the wide open backdoor. It was obvious to the men that the
twins wanted unsuspecting Jeff to be sandwiched between them for the short
ride to Coral Place.

Auggie and Zeek had just finished the initial battle for control of the
rearview mirror which Zeek won just by being the driver. He had the mirror
aimed down between the seats, exactly where Jeff had to sit. After he was
seated, Kevin and Kyle moved toward Jeff until their thighs touched and the
seduction began.

Kevin put his arm around Jeff's shoulders and immediately began to rub his
other hand up and down Jeff's thigh while Kyle began massaging Jeff's pecks
and nipples, quickly working down over his concave rippled gut. "Hey Kev,
check out Jeff's legs; he doesn't have any more hair than we do," Kevin
said.

"Nope, it looks like maybe we won't be very hairy either when we're old
like him," Kyle agreed after assessing the extent of Jeff's razor thin
treasure trail to just as the hairline disappeared into his pubes and kept
on going to grasp a hardening cock that rose to meet his hand. "Oh man,"
Kyle exclaimed, "our man Jeffery already has an easy seven inches! We are
going to be very well hung dudes!"

Auggie twisted around to look between the seats, "Didn't I tell you two
about makin' `old' jokes?" He questioned so he had an excuse to directly
observe what the twins were doing. He turned just in time to see Jeff slide
his butt forward and spread his legs as far as he could within the confines
of the seats.

The twins bumped foreheads as they both bent over Jeff's cock to be first
to cover it with their mouths. Kyle won the race while Kevin leaned in to
demand that his brother share. Jeff was in seventh heaven with his head
back, with his eyes closed and his hands fluttering around Kyle's head so
he wasn't aware of where they were until Zeek announced; "We home, ever'
one out."

Of course that was the moment when Jeff arched his body while holding
Kyle's head. Auggie rushed to open his door so the lights came on to
brightly illuminate the scene in the back seat. The dogs interrupted
painfully when they bounded over the boy's seat onto their laps before
climbing through the front seats and out Auggie's door. Jeff looked like
he'd died and mostly on his way heavenward when Auggie and Zeek closed
their doors.

After Auggie, Zeek and the boys returned to Coral Place, except for the
twins and their new `mate', spread out through the house to do whatever and
Auggie and Zeek were headed to the master bedroom shower to get the fish
smell and salt off their hides by showering. The men also took pleasure by
washing any of the boys who showed up to shower with them. Auggie stopped
in his tracks as he glanced at the Picasso that dominated one dining room
wall.

"Don't tell me some wise ass is startin' up turnin' that pitcher upside
down again," Auggie said to Zeek. When the gang first moved in it was fun
for one of the boys to turn the painting upside down, opposite the way
Auggie thought it should be displayed. Over time the joke just wore out; it
was no longer funny and Auggie, as the owner, got his way, which was
actually upside down.

"Hey Unc, I was just puttin' the extra cash back and the case wasn't
there. There's also a full one missing from the back of the closet,"
Trasker announced as he returned from the communal clothes closet to find
that Auggie was still staring at the Picasso. "I believe we been robbed."

"That there pitcher look right to you?" Auggie asked.

"Aside from being right side up for a change," Trasker challenged with a
grin, "the colors are all faded. How'd that happen? If I recall, it was
normal this mornin'."

"I believe some sonofabitch up an' robbed us whilst we was out fishin', an'
they stole that there Picasso pitcher, an' left that fuckin' thing hopin'
no one would notice!"

"Should I call those FBI dudes?" Stevie asked. "They're still at the Club;
I saw them at dinner," he volunteered.

"Damn straight," Auggie agreed, "an' tell `em to bring all their electric
detectin' junk if they still got it, if not, we'll buy `em some new."

"Remember when the Club first opened?" Ryan questioned. He didn't wait for
Auggie to answer. "Well, we were having a meeting in the dining room one
morning when the new club boats were still docked here. There was some
nervy guest who was going diving on Dildo because of the boat's name. He
thought he recognized that painting and was going to barge in here for a
closer look just like he owned the place."

Auggie's frown deepened as he recalled the incident. "That there little
prick said he was some kind of art dealer or some such; out in L.A. or
there abouts. He was runnin' his mouth about that pitcher; said he knew the
painter was Picasso." He said cryptically as he looked a Ryan with a raised
eyebrow. "You best see that all the other stuff in the house is still
here."

Ryan nodded and disappeared into the office to get a file of photographs
that had been taken of each painting and sculpture throughout the house for
insurance purposes. If the twins ever found out how much Auggie paid in
premiums, they'd never let him forget that he was very, very rich. He knew
the value of the artwork from day one and intentionally disparaged values
and allowed the boys to dress the sculptures in tee shirts in an effort to
hide the nearly priceless art in plain sight.

Auggie called the Club himself to have Pete, Dildo's mate review the video
file of registering guests that was taken and maintained from day one so
they could identify and locate the `art expert'.

By then the rookie FBI Agent's suite in the Rainbow Club was laughingly
called the Keys branch FBI office in Marathon; more popularly known as
Agents Chuck and Gene's suite in the Rainbow Club. The young Agents were
still being rewarded (or hidden) with full salaries and all-expenses paid
vacations while FBI headquarters in Washington wrestled with the problem of
avoiding all adverse publicity concerning the disciplining of much more
Senior Agents.

The rookie Agents had to make two trips from their truck into the dining
room with all their equipment cases just as Auggie requested although they
had no idea why they were summoned, except Auggie wanted to see them
personally and they could tell he was pissed off about something or someone
as soon as they saw him. While Chuck and Gene were trained detectives, they
were also multi-disciplined scientists and electronics experts and both
were eager to go to work.

The young men handed Auggie a printout and a photo that Peter
supplied. "That's them thieving' pricks," Auggie declared as he smashed his
hand on the photo before he began to explain the theft with the
substitution of a fake that had been hung wrong side up.

Agent Chuck looked perplexed. "Isn't the painting insured," he asked. That
innocent question sent Auggie into another fit of rage. Chuck was implying
that if it was insured, why not call the cops and then notify the insurance
company of the loss and name the primary suspect to both?

Auggie admitted to having insurance but managed to mumble the dollar amount
with his hand over his mouth for good measure. "I thought you said $100
million," Gene questioned, "just for this one painting."

"He did," Ryan confirmed, "but we don't want to admit publically that
there's probably over a billion dollars' worth of art in this house..."

"If we did that we'd have to be lockin' up all the doors ever' time we
stepped outside," Auggie complained.

"So what do you want us to do?"

The room went silent. Everyone, including the twins, a very sexually
satisfied Jeff and the dogs looked to Auggie to announce what he wanted the
Agents to do. Auggie pursed his lips and rubbed his chin for a minute
before he asked with mischief in his twinkling eyes. "Can you boys lay
hands on some names of expert art forgers? Them boys would have to be out
o' jail right now; we ain't got time to wait."

Chuck looked at Gene, who shrugged and nodded, "Sure, no problem. We can
get that information without raising eyebrows. Do you want one to paint
another forgery? You could just use that one," Gene pointed to the
offensive canvas while Chuck began a search for fingerprint evidence.

"Not by a damn sight, that piece o' shit don't look nothin' like what was
stole." Auggie held up an eight by ten glossy photo of the real
canvas. "This here is what I want painted. See the difference in the
colors?" He didn't wait for an answer before he continued, "Then I want yo
boys to journey out to L.A. an' pull the old switcheroo without them
fuckers knowin'. I figure they didn't steal it to look at; they took it to
sell real quiet like, so I want to fuck `em up big time!"

Auggie explained that he wanted the boys to find out who bought the fake
and then just advise the very private buyer that he got taken to the
cleaners by the art experts and let nature take its course. He said it was
unlikely that anyone who had the money to invest millions to purchase a
painting of dubious provenance, would ever stop short of getting every
penny back plus interest, and if the dude was really pissed, he'd also
extract a pound or two of flesh to boot.

"I can't speak for Gene," Chuck began hesitantly, "we'll help you all we
can but you know we aren't too popular up in D.C. and if we get caught
moonlighting by going out to L.A., we'll lose our jobs sure as shit. I just
don't want that to happen until we have other jobs." Gene agreed by nodding
and rubbing his partner's back to sympathize with Chuck about their
problem.

Surprisingly, Auggie grinned. "We just might have y'all covered there if
you're interested," he said and told Ryan to explain further.

A major division in Bligh Media was signage, billboards; all over the
Country, along every major and secondary highway. These were built on
leased land or strips of land, purchased if possible to build the huge new
electronic signs that cost upwards of several millions of dollars each. The
perpetual and recently increasing problem was with vandals. Groups or
individuals, either for amusement or with purpose, cost the company
millions in damage annually by vandalizing the signs.

Auggie and Ryan wanted Chuck and Gene to begin identifying and
investigating groups or individuals causing the most damage at the same
signs or group of signs in certain areas. They did not want the young
agents to do anything else; just identify and move on to the next problem
signage. Ryan anticipated a question he saw coming. Stopping the vandals
was to be the problem for someone else that they did not want to know or
know anything about so they could always claim plausible deniability. The
men would in fact be unknown to Bligh Media's regular security division;
they would be Auggie and Ryan's personal undercover agents.

"But first, I want my damn Picasso pitcher back," Auggie reminded after he
shook the soon to be former FBI Agent's hands.

#######

Fully half the school watched the morning news and saw the segment where
Charlie Spelling had apparently started a zoo on his expansive
estate. However every student knew the animals were really Dooby's
anticipated Christmas present. Those students that did not watch the news
quickly found out by word of mouth through the student grapevine. All the
boarders wanted to see the animals for themselves so Dooby was surrounded
as soon as he stepped from his truck. Cory followed wearing a perpetual
grin.

Of course Dooby being Dooby invited everyone home that day, after school to
meet and greet the animals for themselves. Well over half the boarders
accepted without question and some of the rest announced that they would be
there if they could find transportation.

It was just after second period when Cory caught up with Doody to remind
him that he had most of the school coming home after school to see his
pets, and since he was the host, he needed to serve some refreshments; some
advance planning, he suggested, would be a very good thing. Whenever Dooby
panicked and Cory couldn't suggest a solution, he called Charlie.

`Heehaw, Heehaw', was a custom ringtone Charlie assigned to Dooby
exclusively. Dooby only called him if he had a special problem that he
looked to Charlie to solve for him, and there weren't many of those. Dooby
much preferred to charge ahead on his own and ask Charlie face to face,
what went wrong at dinner.

"Hi Dooby, what's the problem?" Charlie asked from the SUV on its way to
New York City. They had to make an emergency stop at an Interstate rest
area after Chuckie let go a particularly smelly fart; the pup's way of
announcing that a serious `dump' was in the offing. That was when Johnnie
asked if he could sit up front with Deacon because he was uncomfortable
sitting in the back of a limo. With the backseat to himself except for the
dogs, Charlie was busy trying to arrange for increased security around the
property. He could talk to Dooby without risk of identifying himself to
Johnnie prematurely.

"Well I kind of invited a few friends from school, out to see the animals
tonight; kind of spur of the moment and I just realized we don't have
anything to feed them."

"How many is a few?" Charlie asked, waiting for the `other shoe to drop'.

"Maybe as many as a 100," Dooby admitted.

"Or maybe most of the school if they can find rides!" Cory shouted so
Charlie could hear a more accurate estimate.

"Now that's more like it," Charlie told Dooby. "It wouldn't be right and
wouldn't be you Dooby, to leave anyone out of the invite. If I was you, I'd
run to the dining room to see if George is available on such short notice
to set up his pizza ovens out on our terrace. Then I'd call Bill over at
Justa Pizza and order enough pizza, all uncooked, to be delivered home in
time for George to start cooking them. Last, if I were you, I'd call the
warehouse to get a couple cases of apples and bundles of carrots put out on
the dock so you two can grab them on the way home this afternoon. That's
what I'd do. Now what are you going to do?"

"What you said," Dooby responded instantly. "Thanks Gramps you saved us!"

"US," Cory questioned with a loud giggle, "have you got that mouse in your
pocket again?"

Dooby grabbed his cock that always seemed to either stand straight up
boldly against his body or clearly point to one side or the other and
looked to first time viewers like he was erect. "This is not a mouse, it's
a snake," he declared archly.

In return, Cory grabbed his boldly outlined sausage that at the moment was
resting, dangling down his left trouser leg, "Wrong," he corrected Dooby,
"that sad little thing is a worm; this is a snake!"

"I can guess what you two are talkin' about," Charlie announced through
Dooby's phone that he forgot to shut off, "and I hope no one's around to
hear you."

Dooby had the curtesy to blush bright red before he stuttered; "Gramps, I,
I kind of forgot you were still there. I have to confess; your son is a
pervert! Now, I can't talk any longer; I've got to go see George. Thanks
for your help." Of course he said everything too quickly for either Charlie
or Cory to say anything before he shut his phone off and started running
toward the student union, the dining room and George, who hopefully was in
the kitchen.

"The snake will visit your ass tonight!" Cory promised Dooby before he got
too far away. Dooby waved his acceptance and kept on running. He looked
forward to a visit from the `snake' when he realized it had been days since
the last visit. He and Cory were beginning to act like some old married
couple. It was time to begin reversing roles much more regularly.

He was able to `kill two birds with one stone' because both George and
Bill, the Justa Pizza manager was in the kitchen. Dooby ordered the
uncooked pizza and impulsively ordered 50 pounds of fried chicken from
George as backup; running out of food when feeding an unknown number of
fellow teenagers would be unforgivable.

Next, Dooby called Tommy to have two boxes of apples and two bundles of
carrots placed on the warehouse loading dock so they could pick up the
animal snacks on the way home from school. That's when Dooby found out that
Charlie, Deacon and the dogs were in New York, that the new Charlie's was
open and Mark, Laura, Christian, Tommy and Cory and Dooby were all invited
for dinner at Charlie's – New York. Christian would take the boys home
and Tommy would meet them there with the snacks because he and Christian
were as eager to see Dooby's new pets for the first time just like everyone
else.

At lunch, Dooby was overheard telling Christian they needed to cut last
period class to get ready for the party and since they were driving into
New York for dinner, said party needed to end without fail by 5:00 P.M. so
everyone had time to shower and dress.

Dooby took off to circulate around the dining room to advise everyone that
the meet and greet had to end by 5:00 and the reason, so he didn't see Cory
drop his phone in his pocket then tell Christian that he just found out
that Granny was sending a helicopter to pick them up at 6:00 P.M. The news
about the helicopter traveled around the big room faster than Dooby was
talking. It seemed just about everyone planned hang around to watch the big
chopper that was someone's limousine that flew from building top to
building top instead of driving on streets and avenues and could also be
dispatched to pick up friends in the country and deliver them to the City
in minutes instead of a road trip that could take hours.

If the three boys cutting the last period thought they were alone, they
were very, very wrong. Any Blair Academy student who was 17 and affluent
enough to own a car, were ready to follow Christian's crowded red Corvette
as soon as the car left the off campus student parking lot. The first
inkling the boys had that they were not driving alone was when the `Bradley
bunch' ran to their SUV screaming, "Wait for us!"

"Do you want to ride with them?" Christian asked Dooby. Dooby had pushed
Cory into the car's passenger seat and was happily wiggling his ass into
Cory's lap; he claimed to get `comfortable'.

"Are you kidding?" Dooby responded while continuing his gyrations. "My ass
is expecting a visit from Cory's snake tonight. I'm just reminding him we
have a date."

"If you keep on wiggling like you are, I'm going to shoot a load in this
car and if I do, it will count as two pokes tonight because I'm going to
have to go change my pants as soon as soon as we get home," Cory warned.

Dooby froze in mid-wiggle. He planned on squeezing Cory's oranges dry or
trying to and he didn't need any limits on pokes. He settled down on Cory's
lap very gently and just happened to look back through the rear
window. "Hey look back up the campus driveway guys; there must be a bomb
scare; it looks like the whole school is evacuating. I can just see Steve's
Boxster behind Bradley's SUV, Steve is trying to pass and the rest of the
guys with wheels are right behind them."

Cory giggled, rolled his eyes and shook his head "Could it be that once
again, your mouth was as fast as the school grapevine? Someone heard you
say we were cutting last period so the rest of the school is skipping out
too. Don't worry though," he added, "when I get called into the dean's
office, I'll make sure he knows who's to blame."

"No poke for you tonight you squealer," Dooby warned playfully.

"Yeah, right!"

"Here comes Steve," Christian reported. Dooby looked back and Cory looked
into the rearview mirror. The little Boxster was drawing even with
Bradley's SUV. The little car wasn't noticed until it squirted ahead to zip
into the small space between the Vet's rear end and Bradley's front bumper
except three hands with middle fingers extended above the Boxster's
sunroof.

"WE HAVE A CONVOY!" Dooby sang happily.

It was a shock to see two uniformed security guards blocking the convoy
from entering the property until the guards recognized Cory and Dooby
jammed into the Corvette's passenger seat. "The guys behind us are all with
us," Cory explained the convoy of invited guests. He also said that there
might be a Blair Academy bus or two arriving in an hour. He asked, "Has
anyone tried to get in yet?"

"Only half the county since we got here at nine this morning," The guard
laughed, "Store assets protection has never been this much fun," he added.

Dooby invited the guards to come up to the house, take a break and have
some fried chicken and pizza as well as meet the critters they were
guarding. They agreed eagerly as soon as they were relieved in 15
minutes. At that point the conversation was interrupted by blaring horns
that seemed to stretch a half mile down the road.

Christian pulled directly into the walled area that screened the
garages. He didn't want to risk getting his Vet getting dinged by car doors
if he'd parked in the roundabout in front of the house that would be jammed
with students' cars very shortly. Cory sent Dooby back to the front of the
house to direct `his' guests around the other end of the house so no one
would be traipsing through the house to get to the terrace.

When Dooby protested that he didn't want to go alone, Cory threatened him
with one less poke. Dooby actually ran out front and then not only pointed,
he led the way. Dooby still didn't realize that Cory was always either
bribing him or rewarding him with pokes and didn't really care; he enjoyed
being poked by Cory as much as Cory enjoyed Dooby poking him.

Dooby was relieved to see that Tommy had driven around the house to the
terrace and was trying to unload the fresh critter snacks. Tommy's problem
was that the critters could easily smell the treats and they were trying to
open the boxes and plastic bags as soon as they were unloaded.

To help, Dooby ran to grab a box and took it to the other end of the
terrace, jabbering about the treats in the box all the way. When he turned
back while removing the box top he was greeted with six heads at three
different heights that were intent on getting their quivering mouths inside
the box. Here, the two heads that were naturally closest to the ground,
therefore closest to the open box, prevailed; Kim and Khloe, the zebra,
each snatched a head of Iceberg Lettice and ran out on the lawn so they
could eat the new delectable treat in peace.

"Hey Tommy," Dooby shouted, "I didn't order lettuce..." he began.

"I called Mark," Tommy cut Dooby off; "He said we could try other
vegetables, they haven't eaten before because of the cost." By then the
younger boys in the Bradley bunch, took over the box of head lettuce and
had given the camels and giraffes each a head. The four followed the
zebra's example; they stepped away to eat because the lettuce heads were
too big to eat in a single chomp and gulp.

By then the other boxes and bags were opened and the boys began serving the
animal's standard treats, carrots and apples, which disappeared at an
alarming rate until Tommy opened the first of two boxes he and Christian
held back. Each hand delivered bunches of celery to the zebra that were
intent though demurely eating every tiny scrap of lettuce leaf from the
lawn where they had chosen to eat. While the lettuce was a new taste, the
celery was far more flavorful as well as more challenging to eat since the
first chop in the middle of a bunch resulted in a shower of freed
stalks. They ate quickly, hopefully before the camels and giraffes noticed
and rushed to scarf up the loose stalks.

Tommy anticipated the bigger animal's move with four more bunches, while
the crowd contributed apples, carrots and the rest of the lettice heads to
the individual feasts, more than they could quickly eat. Just then, Rudy,
his girls and the rest of the larger herd arrived but instead of going to
their feed troughs, Rudy boldly led his harem directly to the open apple
boxes.

Then Dooby realized that he'd forgotten to direct some of the boys to the
garden shed to get feed bags to fill the troughs. The Bradley bunch, Steve
and Rodger quietly moved to the chicken and pizza. Like the rest of the
boys, they were still wearing their school clothes and had been
`privileged' by Dooby to lug messy feed bags before. Fortunately, there
were plenty of ignorant guys who wouldn't realize their blazers needed to
be cleaned until too late. Most were fascinated by being so close to truly
wild animals that they'd only seen previously from a distance and never
before in such large numbers in one place. The majority of the crowd didn't
even know about Dooby's tame deer.

After the treats were gone and the chicken and pizza soon followed, Laura
stepped outside to greet Dooby's and Cory's guests, Rodger and Steve first
realized to time and asked to use the restroom. They were soon followed by
the Bradley bunch. Laura's suspicions were confirmed when she heard the
clomping of big teenage feet on the stairs. Before she went back inside,
she tapped her watch meaningfully with a raised eyebrow at her son Cory.

Laura whispered to Dooby, "Remember, the helicopter leaves at six sharp;
you snooze, you lose," she warned.

Dooby looked at his watch and went into action. He signaled George, who got
out Styrofoam `to go' boxes and begin to load them with leftover chicken
and slices of pizza. "Sorry guys, but we have to dress for dinner and the
animals have to get into their heated barn before they get too cold. We'll
have to do this again when its warmer and then you can also meet the
ostriches and emu."

Cory pushed Dooby inside then herded him upstairs. "You know if that mob
gets in the shower with us, we're going to miss the chopper," Cory warned.

Cory was surprised to see Dooby shrug. "I've got it covered," he said, "I'm
going to invite them to go with us; they'll just have to drive so they'll
have to leave pretty soon."

"When did you start taking smart pills?"

"Fuck you," Dooby retorted.

"I thought I was supposed to fuck you."

"You are and don't forget." Dooby giggled and raced ahead upstairs to their
suite to head off their more `intimate' friends from taking a shower. He
knew it was too late when he heard the shower running and saw Steve and
Rodger's clothes on the bed. Fortunately, he caught the Bradley bunch in
time so that mob just had to put their outer clothes back on after Dooby
shouted, "ROAD TRIP if you all want to join us for dinner in the new
Charlie's in the City. We're going by chopper, but there isn't room for you
so you'll have to drive. If you leave now you should have plenty of time."

There was no discussion among the Bradley's before they all began to
replace their clothing. Dooby had been talking about a new Charlie's-New
York, dinner special for two weeks; a filet of beef and mixed seafood
extravaganza, all grilled to perfection over a mesquite wood fire. Since
someone else was paying the $200.00 per dinner cost, the boys had already
decided that they would have that `special' the first time they visited
that restaurant.

Apparently chowhounds Rodger and Steve heard Dooby's invitation over the
sound of the showers because the pair passed Dooby and Cory running into
the bathroom as they were running out to their clothes in the
bedroom. Since both Steve and Rodger were still magnificently erect, it was
obvious that Dooby invitation had interrupted the very, very good friends
before they'd finished the first round of their afternoon `exercise'
session. Steve had been playfully training up Rodger prior to Little
Zeek's, Rodger's new roommates' arrival after the first of the New Year.

Dooby whistled at Rodger, "Rodger, have you grown?"

"I hope so," Rodger laughed, "My personal coach has really been working me
out all we want, as well as giving me all the dietary supplement I can hold
that's either swallowed or injected." Roger pointed at Steve's perfectly
proportioned very hard cock; obviously the source of his life enhancing
supplement.

The Bradley's stopped in at their home to shower and dress while Steve and
Roger planned to stop in their dorm to do the same before both groups raced
into the city. The lure of free food was irresistible.

When the guests from High View Farm stepped outside to board the big
helicopter after the rotors stopped turning in difference to Laura's hair
do, they discovered that the students who had personal transportation
hadn't left the grounds as expected. They all waited to see the chopper
land and then take off again. While the majority of guys at Blair were the
scions of wealth, none of them or their parents had ever `just' gone to
dinner on any type of aircraft.

Laura took her husband Charlie's place in maintaining order on the chopper
during the quick trip into the city. She sat behind the boys intentionally
so if the need arose, she could reach over the seats and administer swift
clouts to the back of their heads. By the time they landed on top of
Thurston Residential Tower One, Dooby complained that he was sure that he
had a severe concussion and felt duty bound to report Mom Laura for child
abuse. Since he was taller, Laura could reach his head most easily.

Laura grinned at Dooby after his threat and issued a counter threat;
"Before you call the cops on me, be very sure you have your bags packed!"

Dooby dramatically felt his forehead before he raised his arms over his
head, "It's a miracle! My concussion has been cured!" He announced all the
while backing away from Laura across the landing pad to the stairway down
to the building's actual roof. Meanwhile Cory left the chopper on the run
after his mother took a last swipe at him for laughing at Dooby's antics,
so he was first to reach the bottom of the stairs and the first to be
greeted by his two pets.

Deacon was holding the dogs loosely as he didn't anticipate their
enthusiastic greeting of their master. Chuckie and Laurie pulled loose and
proceeded to land Cory flat on his back and proceeded to cover his face
with doggie kisses. It was Dooby's turn to laugh at Cory even if he risked
losing a poke.

Deacon told the group they would stop the elevator at the penthouse floor
so everyone could go down to the restaurant together. The impromptu house
warming for Laura continued to be a surprise until the elevator door slid
open and Charlie escorted his wife into their new apartment after he
administered a resounding kiss.

"Show Cory and Dooby your new trick," Deacon said to the dogs when they
reached the penthouse lobby. "Guys," he directed Dooby and Cory, "give
Laurie and Chuckie your hands."

The two Labrador Retrievers demonstrated their soft `bird dog' mouths by
gently taking the boys' hands in their mouths and tugging them across the
lobby, into the apartment and straight to the hors d'oeuvres table. Of
course the trick got both the dogs and the boys something to eat before
anyone else at the party.

When Margery discovered that Dooby invited some friends she met in Florida
she told Dooby to call the restaurant and tell them so they could rearrange
the table. When Dooby recognized Johnnie's soft Georgia drawl, he switched
to speakerphone so Cory could hear and join the conversation.

"HOW MANY MORE DID YOU SAY?" Johnnie shouted, having brushed Dooby's
congratulations away. It was his first night working as the general
manager. Charlie's was fully booked for the evening and there was Dooby
calling at the last minute to add 10 or 12 more guests to Margery's
reservation! Johnnie got over his shock quickly and said the party would
have to be happy with two tables crowded together, not just one.

There were too many people for the little penthouse elevator to hold, so
two trips were necessary. With the dogs towing Dooby and Cory the threat of
getting dog slobber and snot and their clothes and legs; there was ample
room in the first car. With the dogs always in the lead, they were among
the first to reach the restaurant.

The boys and dogs got in the doors far enough to congratulate Johnnie again
before they were recognized by some patrons; then the fun really
began. Cory followed Dooby's lead when someone asked for an autograph. He
handed the dog's leash to the fan so he had both hands free. It was funny
to see a woman who was wearing a designer original, with Chuckie's front
legs in her lap while he happily licked $50.00 worth of makeup off her face
while the lady laughed in delight.

By the time Dooby and Cory got to the table, everyone, including the gang
who drove, was already seated. As dinner progressed, talk among the boys
turned to what everyone was planning to do after Christmas, and before
school started again in the New Year.

Dooby and Cory wanted to go down to Florida and of course that's where
Little Zeek, his roommate to be, was to be found so Rodger was planning to
join them while Steve would go along to enjoy sex in the sun with so many
good looking young studs. The Bradley bunch was going to visit their ski
chalet in Colorado, but if the snow sucked, they would fly to the family
compound in Jamaica for the balance of their holiday.

"I hate to burst your bubbles guys," Christian interrupted the discussion,
"but on December 27th you all will be in Italy. Remember we're under
contract with Dom Orsini or perhaps you haven't checked your bank account
balances lately."

*******



                                                                                                                                                        

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