My Father, My Son
(Revised)
by: Tom Borden

© 2000-2008 by the author

 

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

 

"I'll take my chances, Josiah. It's yer life and you can come and go as you fuckin' please. Nobody's gonna tie ya down. If ya wana git the fuck away, you can git the fuck away. Nobody's gonna go lookin' fer ya."

Driving on to the ranch with Josiah, Jake almost felt reborn. He had nearly put out of his mind completely the thought of the drastic deed he had almost committed. He had truly been moved to help this young man, who seemed so lost. He knew now, though, that, although he wanted to take Josiah under his wing, so to speak, he could not allow himself to try to dominate him in any way. Josiah was obviously open to having a friend, but definitely not a keeper.

 

Chapter 14 

 

As Jake drove his truck into the yard behind the main house, he thought to himself that this was a sight he had not earlier expected to see again. He sat in his seat and looked around the area, wondering how he could have thought that his life was no longer worth living. It was late evening and several of the ranch hands were sitting around on the steps of the bunkhouse drinking beer.

"C'mon Josiah, git out and let's go and git you fixed up."

As Jake and Josiah walked up the steps to the back door, Jeff came out to greet them.

"Well, Jake," said Jeff in a friendly tone. "Who do we have here?"

"Jeff, This here's Josiah, and he's gonna work fer us for awhile. He's had ranch experience and I think I can keep him busy. Do ya think it would be okay with Michael if I hired him fer a bit? Ya know, we're short three guys on the work force."

Extending his hand to Josiah, Jeff said, "It's mighty nice to meet you, Josiah. I can speak for Michael. He's my dad. Whoever Jake here recommends is fine with us. Have a seat here on the verandah, Josiah. I need to talk with Jake for a minute."

Jeff led Jake out into the yard. "Jake, this boy doesn't look like he could do any work. He looks like he's starving. He's so tall and skinny. Look at those skinny arms. Are you sure you want to hire this guy? I don't know that he could be of much use to you."

Jake said, "Leave it to me, Jeff. He jist needs some buildin' up. I bought him a hamburger down the road and he et it like a fuckin' hungry animal. I think he's had a fuckin' hard life and I think he could use a friend. Trust me, Jeff. I'll do my best with him."

Patting Jake on the back, Jeff said, "I trust you, Jake. Where are we going to put him up?"

"Well, Jeff, if we can rustle up another fuckin' cot, he can sleep in my room. I think there's some extras in the storeroom."

As Jeff and Jake walked back to the verandah where Josiah was sitting, Jake noticed that Enrique was looking at them through the kitchen window. He smiled at Enrique, who quickly disappeared from view.

After Josiah's cot was set up in Jake's room, Josiah threw his backpack onto the floor and lay down.

"Hey now," said Jake, "I think you better git in the shower before you go to sleep."

"Listen, mister," murmured Josiah. "I don't need no shower. I jist gonna stay here tonight and then be on my way in the morning."

"Suit yerself. And the name's Jake. Remember? But I think ya need to git the crud off yerself before ya git on yer way. C'mon, I'll show ya where it is. And here's some fuckin' soap and a towel. C'mon, Josiah."

Josiah had the feeling that Jake was not a guy who would tolerate disobedience. So with a groan, he slowly threw his feet over onto the floor and stood up. "Okay, mister. Er, Jake, I mean. I gotta find the crapper, too. I gotta take a crap."

Jake led Josiah across the grass to the latrine that adjoined the bath house. As Josiah disappeared into a stall, Jake watched through the space under the door as Josiah's pants fell to the floor around his ankles.

When they arrived at the shower room, Josiah said he would take a shower, but, "I don't take no showers while nobody's watchin me."

"Josiah, all of us who work here take our fuckin' showers together. Don't ya see all them fuckin' shower heads? How 'bout them other ranches ya worked fer? Didn't ya ever take a fuckin' shower with the other workers, or did ya jist stay cruddy? Anyway, I gotta take my shower, too."

Jake began to take off his clothes and laid them out on the locker room bench. "C'mon, Josiah, git outta them clothes. The sooner we git clean, the sooner we can hit that fuckin' sack."

Slowly and reluctantly, Josiah took off his t-shirt and jeans. He waited until Jake took off his undershorts before he took off his own. Then he moved toward the shower room.

"Hey, Josiah," shouted Jake. "Ya gotta take off yer boots and yer hat before ya git 'em wet. If yer in bed fuckin' somebody, ya can leave 'em on. But not in the fuckin' shower."

Josiah stood facing the wall as he lathered up his body. Looking at Josiah's slim, almost milky white body brought Jake to full erection. He didn't care if Josiah saw it because the boy would have to get used to the sight of erections on others when he would eventually have to take his showers with the other hands. Josiah had a delicate look to him, almost child-like. His buns were perfect small orbs, and extending below them were two very slender, but perfectly shaped legs. His shoulder blades, combined with an unbelievably tiny waist and hips and broad shoulders created a sight that made Jake literally tremble with erotic excitement. As Josiah leaned over to wash his lower legs and feet, Jake could see his rather large ball sack from behind.

As they both dressed, Josiah was unable to hide the front of himself from Jake's view. A perfectly smooth chest could be seen with nipples so large they almost looked female. Josiah had a large bush of dark blond pubic hair and a circumcised penis.

Back in Jake's room, Jake gave Josiah a pair of his own clean undershorts, as well as clean t-shirt and socks. Jake then lay on his bed completely naked. "Josiah, I don't know 'bout you, but I always sleep bare-neked."

Josiah kept his undershorts and socks on and slipped beneath his blanket, quickly falling asleep. Jake turned off the light and lay there looking intently at the soft, youthful innocence of Josiah's face, his features lit exotically by the yard light streaming in through the window. Jake thought that, as hard and tough as this boy tried to act, he had, in his sleep, a face almost of an angel. It was the full lips, the high cheekbones, the slender nose, the large dark eyes, the beautifully arched eyebrows, and the wisps of blond hair that curled down over his forehead.

As Jeff was closing up the house and turning off the lights for the night, he passed through the back parlor where Enrique slept each night on the sofa. Jeff could tell that Enrique seemed to be crying. Going over to him and kneeling on the floor beside him, Jeff brushed the hair out of Enrique's eyes.

"Enrique? Are you awake? What's the matter, my little man?"

"Oh, nothing."

"C'mon. You and I are buddies. You know that. You can tell me. What is it now? You've been sleeping here for a long time now. Do you miss Jake?

"No, I don't miss him. Besides, he has a new friend now."

"What d'ya mean, Enrique?"

"I watched them through the window a few minutes ago. They went into the shower together and then came out with most of their clothes off and walked over and went into Jake's room. Then I saw the light go out."

Enrique turned his head toward the back of the sofa and again began to cry.

Jeff put his arm under Enrique's back and pulled him toward him, pressing Enrique's cheek against his chest.

"Oh, Enrique, that boy is just a new ranch hand we hired tonight, and we had to find a place for him to sleep until we can make other arrangements. Besides, that boy doesn't look like he's going to last around here. He looks too weak and sickly."

Jeff looked at the rumpled sheet on the sofa and the lumpy cushions and began to feel very badly that he had thoughtlessly allowed Enrique to sleep there in such discomfort.

Holding Enrique's head away from him so he could look into his face, he said, "Enrique, I want you to come into Michael's room tonight and sleep in a good bed with Paul and me. And then we'll get you a real bed to sleep in starting tomorrow."

As Jeff brushed the tears off of Enrique's face with his fingers, Enrique began to smile. "It sure has been kinda lonely out here. Can I really sleep with you and Paul?"

Paul had already climbed into bed and was reading and grading some test papers he had brought down with him from Austin.

As Jeff and Enrique, who had been sleeping naked, came into the room, Jeff said, "Paul, I told Enrique he could stay in here and sleep with us tonight. He's been feeling kind of lonely, and that old sofa ain't fit for human beings to sleep on."

"Hi, you little fucker," said Paul. "I hope you don't mind me calling you that. I know that Jake always called you little fucker."

"No, I don't mind," said Enrique, looking down at the floor. "He doesn't call me that anymore. He doesn't even talk to me anymore."

"Well, Enrique," said Jeff. "You know he has been feeling very badly about what he did to Corky. And I think he apologized to Corky. And he also feels very badly that you moved out of his room."

"C'mon, Enrique," yelled Paul. "C'mon in here. You can sleep right here between us. It's a real chilly night and we can all keep one another warm."

As Enrique leapt onto the bed, Paul grabbed him and hugged him tightly. "See, Enrique, how cozy and warm we can get?"

Jeff then jumped into bed and pressed his body up close, squeezing Enrique between him and Paul. Jeff couldn't resist taking hold of one of Enrique's small ass cheeks and squeezing it. "Boy, we really are being cozy and warm here, aren't we. Can you breathe okay, Enrique?"

Enrique felt so warm and comfortable with his face buried in Paul's chest hair. He felt his penis get hard and press against Paul's thigh. Paul reached down and ran his finger lightly around the head of Enrique's hard penis. Jeff let the side of his hand slip off of Enrique's bun and slid it down through his ass crack. Enrique started to moan softly. Jeff's forefinger slowly found its way into Enrique's pink puckered hole. He could feel the sphincter muscle snapping at his finger, and then relax completely, allowing Jeff to run three fingers deep into Enrique's rectum with ease. Enrique began moving his ass in and out to enhance for himself the feeling of Jeff's fingers inside of him.

Enrique slowly slid down, bringing his lips and tongue down through Paul's chest hair and down over his navel and into his tangled briar bush of pubic hair. Paul's cock was now hard and throbbing as it brushed against Enrique's neck , and then his chin, and then enveloped in Enrique's warm, wet lips and tongue. Jeff pulled his fingers out of Enrique's asshole, and lifted Enrique's hips so that his pink rosebud asshole was clearly visible. Jeff looked at this little asshole for a few minutes and then slowly lowered his face into the waiting trench between Enrique's buns, touching only the very tip of his tongue to the hole, and running it ever so lightly around on the puckered rim that surrounded it. It caused Enrique to let out a little squeal of pleasure. Jeff could back off a little and see the hole clench and unclench. Jeff had quickly arrived at a state of almost sheer carnal frenzy. Thrusting his tongue into Enrique's welcoming hole, Jeff pushed and pushed, and sucked and sucked as hard as he could, allowing saliva to pour freely form his mouth onto Enrique's throbbing hole.

Paul pulled Enrique's head off of his penis and said, "Hey, Jeff, let's lay off a little while. We invited Ricky here to have a good sleep in a decent bed. Maybe we need to let him do that."

Enrique rolled over on his back, while Jeff and Paul lay on either side of him, both propped up on their elbows and smiling down at Enrique.

"I love you guys so much," said Enrique, running his hands over both Jeff's and Paul's chests.

Jeff began to run his hand very lightly over the velvety brown skin of Enrique's chest and stomach, while Paul slid down and ran his tongue lightly over Enrique's slender legs.

"The skin on your legs is so soft on my lips and tongue, Enrique," said Paul, "it feels like satin. You have such beautiful slender legs, I could suck on them all night."

As Paul and Jeff caressed Enrique's body with their hands, lips and tongues, Enrique's hard penis stood straight up, jumping and throbbing. Jeff leaned over and gently kissed Enrique's full lips, running his tongue over them, and then pushing it slowly into Enrique's mouth, where their tongues whipped and slashed at each other. Jeff then moved his mouth up to Enrique's eyes, allowing the boy's long curly eyelashes to tickle his lips erotically.

Paul's tongue soon found its way up over the very soft layer of hair on Enrique's inner thighs and then to his balls. Sucking each one into his mouth separately, he gently fondled them with his tongue. He then brought his tongue up along the underside of Enrique's gorged penis and swirled it over the head, sucking in long strings of pre-cum semen now running out of Enrique's pee hole. Enrique was now lost, as though in a deep trance.

Enrique finally said. "I know you guys want me to go to sleep, but I can't. You make me feel so good. I get so tired of just jerking off by myself. I just want you guys to make me come. I want it so bad."

"Ricky, you can fuck either one of us if you'd like," said Paul. "We'll take your hot penis any way you want to give it to us. We'll take it in the mouth or up the ass. It's your call. Tonight, we want you to be happy and, for once, fall asleep contented and satisfied. You deserve it, Ricky."

Enrique said, "Would you sit on my cock, Paul, and let me fuck you that way?"

Paul stood up on the bed and straddled Enrique's hips. Slowly, he lowered himself down, guiding his asshole down upon Enrique's hard cock. He slowly pushed lower until Enrique's entire cock had disappeared into Paul's rectum. Paul rose up and down, making Enrique groan with pleasure. As he did so, Enrique asked Jeff also to straddle him and lower himself down so that his crotch was pressed onto Enrique's face. In this way, Jeff and Paul were facing each other. As they kissed deeply, Enrique explored Jeff's crotch with his tongue, taking in the wonderfully masculine odor of Jeff's sweat. He was able to force his tongue into Jeff's asshole, as well as suck on Jeff's ball sack.

Paul was pounding his hips onto Enrique's penis harder and harder, and faster and faster. He could feel Enrique's cock suddenly get harder and larger. Enrique could feel his orgasm building and let out a yell as he pumped his sperm into Paul's rectum. Paul could feel the force of the hot thick sperm as it flowed into him. To have Ricky inside of him had been one of his most erotic dreams.

Enrique lay panting and totally spent, as Paul and Jeff rolled off of him. They began to caress Enrique passionately. Enrique knew then what he owed both of them. Without a word, he raised both his legs up to his chest and, pointing to his asshole, said, "Okay, this belongs to you both guys. Which one wants to go first?"

Both Jeff and Paul smiled and leaned over and kissed Enrique. Jeff motioned to Paul to go ahead. Paul's gorged cock slipped into Enrique's hole with ease. Paul made no more than a half dozen thrusts into Enrique's rectum before his orgasm overcame him and he shot his load of sperm into Enrique. Rolling off, he yielded to Jeff, who quickly mounted the brown-skinned boy and just as quickly shot out a second load of sperm into him. After Jeff dismounted, Enrique kept his legs in the air for a few minutes while Jeff and Paul stared at the erotic sight of thick white sperm slowly oozing out of Enrique's asshole. Paul leaned over and swiped his tongue over it sucking up a good amount of the sperm. Then Jeff did the same. With white sperm running down their chins, Jeff and Paul looked at each other, smiled, and kissed deeply.

The three were soon lying still, huddled together with Enrique's small, slender body nestled between them, all with their own thoughts. Enrique thought about his growing love for Corky, Jeff prayed that Michael would soon come home, and Paul worried just a little that Jeff's overriding devotion to his dad might soon come between them.

The sun was barely up when Enrique awoke to the sound of Maggie's dinner bell, which she rang to signal the workers that breakfast was ready. This morning it was sausage gravy on hot biscuits, a favorite of all the hands. Enrique slipped on a pair of shorts and wandered sleepily into the kitchen. Paul and Jeff were already dressed and seated at the table finishing their biscuits.

Maggie said, "C'mon, Enrique. Help me get the rest of this food outside."

Enrique helped Maggie carry out the large urn of coffee to the serving table by the bunkhouse. Enrique returned to fetch several pitchers of orange juice and a crate full of milk jugs.

When Enrique returned, Jeff looked at him and, while mopping up the last of his gravy with a biscuit, said, "Enrique, help yourself to the biscuits. But eat fast because Paul and I are headed for the hospital in a few minutes, and you can come with us if you want. We're not going to stay long because I want to get up to the knoll and search for anything salvageable from the rubble of dad's house. And then I want to get in touch with a contractor about rebuilding it. The place was fully insured, so we shouldn't have any problem there."

When the dinner bell had rung earlier, Jake awoke with a start and glanced over at the cot. He fully expected that Josiah would have gotten up earlier and left the ranch as he had said he would. Instead, the young man was still on the cot with the blanket up around his neck and obviously sound asleep. Jake quietly arose and put on his jeans, his boots, and his hat. Having to pee very badly, Jake tried to open the door quietly, but was afraid that the loud squeak that he had intended for so long to fix would wake the sleeping beauty. But Josiah remained motionless, still in a deep sleep.

When Jake had taken his pee and returned to the room, Josiah was awake, staring at the ceiling.

"Hey there, young man," chirped Jake. "Are ya ready to earn some money today?"

"I don't know. How much do ya pay?"

"If yer work is good, I'll give ya ten fuckin' bucks an hour."

A look of surprise came over Josiah's face. That was more money than he'd ever seen for a day's work. "What d'ya want me to do?"

"Well, first of all, git them clothes on and git out there and git ya somethin' to eat. Yer gonna need it."

Josiah looked at the oversized jeans and denim jacket that Jake had thrown on the bed and shook his head.

"Go ahead, kid," prompted Jake. "They're too big fer ya now, but we'll get old Maggie to take a few tucks in 'em tonight so they won't be so fuckin' baggy. Go on, now. Git dressed."

"Aw shit!" growled Josiah.

"What's that?" snapped Jake.

"Nothin'."

When Jeff, Paul, and Enrique arrived at the hospital, they found Karl, unshaven, and standing by the bed holding Michael's hand. The three visitors each leaned over and gave Michael a kiss.

Karl said, "I was giving Michael a kiss earlier this morning when that fat ugly Nurse Dracula came in and screamed at me. She yelled, 'What the shit are ya doin' kissing that man?' And I said, 'Nothing!' And she said, 'I saw you kissing that man!' And I said, 'Would you rather I kissed you?' Then she said, 'Don't be pertinent!' I think she meant 'impertinent'."

Paul said, "Well, what the fuck is wrong with kissing him. We just got through kissing him and nobody thought anything about that."

Michael held up his hand and said, "Well, guys, this was a little different. Karl was kissing my chest and my nipples when she walked in!" This brought on so much laughter that it brought Nurse Dracula back into the room to see what the disturbance was. She gave all five of the occupants a look of unmistakable disdain.

Presently, the doctor came in on his rounds and reported that Michael could be discharged in a day or two, but he would have to remain at home and at rest with no strenuous activity whatsoever.

Michael smiled at the doctor and said, "How about sex? Can I have sex?"

The doctor responded, "Well, Michael, I didn't know you . . . I mean . . . I didn't know you . . . ." Looking about and noting the expressions on the faces of the others in the room, the doctor seemed to understand what was unspoken. "Uh, Michael. You can have sex if . . . you know . . . if you're not the one who . . . you know . . . if someone else does it . . . to you . . . or rather . . . you know . . . you don't do it . . . actually . . . someone else . . . you know . . . ."

Paul spoke up relieving the doctor's embarrassment. "What you're trying to say, Doc, is that if he doesn't do the fucking, but just lies there and gets fucked, that's okay. Right?

"Er, yes," said the doctor as he departed quickly.

Just as Nurse Dracula re-entered the room, Jeff looked around and said, "I wonder how that doctor figured out we were a bunch of fuckers?" At this, Nurse Dracula spun around and fled the room.

Enrique told the others that he was going up to see Corky on the floor above.

"Hi, Corky!"

"Ricky! Good news! The Doc told me I can go home today!"

"Oh, Corky, I'll run and tell Jeff and Paul. They're here in Michael's room. You can ride home with us when we go."

Corky held onto Enrique's arm. "Sit down for a minute Ricky, will you. Could you tell me how Jake is? He came to visit me yesterday and apologized for what he did. But, even though he acted kind of carefree and jolly, I could tell there was something bothering him underneath. In fact, there was a kind of despair written all over his face when he left. That kind of worried me. Is he okay?"

Enrique looked down at the floor and said, "I guess he's okay. He hasn't said anything to me." Then after a long pause, Enrique looked up. "We got a new worker at the ranch and he's sleeping in Jake's room."

"Ricky, does that bother you? You know, you're the one who decided to move out of Jake's room. I guess there's no law against him taking a new roommate."

"I guess not." Enrique's eyes turned to the floor again.

"Ricky, didn't we plan for you to move into my room when I got home? Would you rather stay with Jake now?"

Enrique stood up and laid his head on Corky's chest. "I want to live with you, Corky. Anyway, Jake doesn't care for me anymore."

Corky and Enrique remained silent for a long time as Corky stroked Enrique's head and shoulders. Eventually, Jeff and Paul arrived to fetch Enrique. When they learned that Corky could now go home, they waited for him to check out and all three drove back to the ranch.

Earlier that day, as Maggie was clearing away the remains of the breakfast food, Jake and Josiah climbed into the jeep and drove off to the northern part of the ranch.

"Josiah, we been stringin' new fuckin' barbed wire all along the north boundary. I'm gonna teach ya how to do it. Then I'm gonna leave you out there. The fence has four strings of barbed wire, and once ya git the hang of it, ya oughta be able to do about five hundred feet before lunch."

Jake gave Josiah a pair of very heavy leather gloves needed when handling barbed wire and strung about ten feet of wire to show Josiah how it was done.

"Okay, Josiah, I'll be back around noon to bring ya yer lunch."

About four hours later, Jake returned to find Josiah sitting on the ground eating biscuits. Only about twenty feet of barbed wire had been strung.

"What the fuck are you doin'?" roared Jake. "Is that all the fuckin' fence you strung? What the fuck have you bin doin' all morning?"

Jake looked into Josiah's open back pack and saw a least a dozen biscuits. "What the fuck did you steal them fer? Ya coulda had all ya wanted fer breakfast. Ya didn't have to steal 'em!"

Jake looked at the barbed wire that Josiah had strung. It was not pulled nice and taut as he had been instructed, but was sagging badly. "This is the shitiest job I ever seed!"

"Jake, I just couldn't pull that wire very tight. I ain't strong enough. Why don't you just have me shovel horse shit and cow shit all day. That's the only kind of work I'm suited for."

"Christ, Josiah, git in the jeep and let's go. Yer useless out here."

On the way back to the bunkhouse, Jake kept cussing under his breath, and Josiah just remained silent and stared at the floorboard.

That evening, Jake told Josiah to take his new clothes to the house and have Maggie re-fit them to a smaller size.

"What's the matter, Josiah?" inquired Maggie as she knelt behind him, pinning in the seat of his pants. "You don't seem very happy to have this job. It pays pretty good."

"I can't do the job. Jake gets real mad at me. I ain't gonna do no good here."

"Listen, Josiah, Jake had enough faith in you to hire you in the first place. You can learn a lot from Jake. And besides, he took you in from the cold and fed you. He even got you cleaned up and gave you some new clean clothes. That shows that he cares for you. Do you hear me, Josiah? Jake cares for you. From what I hear, you don't know what it's like to have someone care for you. I know that Jake expects a lot from his workers. But he's the kindest man you'll ever know. Give him a chance. You wait. You'll see how much he cares."

Enrique spent the evening moving his things into Corky's room and getting settled. Corky found that he was still a little stiff and was terribly tired from the trip back to the ranch. Lying down on his bed, he beckoned Enrique to come lie beside him. As soon as Enrique did so, their lips met and they kissed deeply. As Corky put his arm around Enrique, he slipped his hand down the back of Enrique's pants and felt the boy's firm round buns. They felt like satin and Corky had the overwhelming desire to kiss them.

"I love you, Ricky, and I'm so happy you and I are going to be roommates. We'll have a lot of fun."

Enrique sat up and removed his shirt and then his pants. Throwing them on the floor, he unbuckled Corky's belt, unzipped him and slowly pulled Corky's jeans off over his boots. Corky's nine-and-a-half-inch hard-onóagreed by all to be the longest on the ranch from careful observation in the showersólay solidly against his stomach, with the head a good two or three inches above his navel. Enrique positioned himself to tongue bathe each of Corky's well-shaped and tanned legs, sucking lovingly on the soft light brown hair that covered them. Enrique's position allowed Corky to do what he desired most at that moment. He had Enrique's little round ass right at face level, and he gently kissed and licked with his tongue each of Enrique's sweet and firm round buns. The taste of Enrique's satin smooth brown skin that covered those two luscious round ass cheeks sent Corky into an absolute swoon.

Soon, Enrique brought his tongue up to the soft, fleshy part of Corky's inner thighs, just teasing Corky's balls with the tip of his tongue. Corky's cock started to bounce and slap against his stomach.

"Take it, Ricky, take all you can!"

Enrique sucked in as much of Corky's gorged cock as he could. The feel of Enrique's tongue swirling around the head of his cock sent Corky into waves of ecstacy.

"I'm cumming! I'm cumming, Ricky boy!"

As Enrique then forced two fingers into Corky's asshole, Corky exploded with a powerful orgasm and thrust his hips upward, forcing his penis farther down Enrique's throat, almost choking him. Enrique felt at least five powerful surges of hot cream against the back of his throat. When it was over, Enrique slid up and kissed Corky on the mouth, allowing the remainder of the cum in his mouth to run into Corky's mouth. They kissed long and hard, but soon collapsed beside each other in a deep sleep.

The next day, Jake took Josiah into the barn and told him to start pitching hay from the loft into hay wagons. He needed to fill six wagons before lunch. Josiah worked for about an hour before his back began to ache. His small arms were becoming so sore, he could hardly lift the pitch fork. By noon, only one hay wagon was filled. Jake was furious and ordered him to climb down.

"Josiah, I thought you had a lot of fuckin' ranch experience. Ya gotta work harder. Yer gittin' paid good money and ya gotta earn it."

"I can't do this shit, Jake. The work's too heavy. Don't ya have some easier jobs?"

"Not fer the dough we're payin' ya. Now I need to have all them fence posts unloaded from that there truck and carried over and stacked neatly by the side of the fuckin' barn. Now git busy!"

By supper time, Josiah had thrown all the fence posts off the back of the truck, but was having trouble carrying them over to the barn. Once again, Jake came to see how it was going.

"Come over here, Josiah. We gotta talk. What's the matter with you? Don't you wanna work? "

Josiah's eyes welled up in tears. "You're makin' me do stuff I can't do. Yer just doin' it on purpose."

"Why the fuck would I do that, Josiah?"

"I don't know. Maybe it's because I interrupted what you were doing the other night. And you hate me for doing that."

"What are ya talkin' about?"

"It was pretty obvious what you were gonna do with that gun you had in your lap."

Jake sat motionless and speechless. When he tried to speak, he said, "I don't hate ya, Josiah. I love ya. I mean . . . I care for you Josiah. Ya needed help, and I . . . . Well, ya just needed help and . . . I was there and . . . I just wanted to help ya."

"You're not helping me! You're killing me! I don't need this, and I don't need your money. I'm not ready to kill myself . . . like you were. And I can do easier shit jobs other places and get all the money I need.

"C'mon, Josiah. I'll try to be easier on ya. I know yer not very strong. I'll try to be easier on ya."

That night in bed, Josiah waited for Jake to go to sleep. He put on his clothes, picked up his backpack, and opened the door.

Jake woke up and said, "Where you goin?"

"I'm just goin' to take a shit."

Jake knew that Josiah was leaving. No one got fully dressed and put on his backpack just to go out and take a shit.

Josiah walked the dark gravel road for the three miles leading out of the ranch to the main highway. He had on only his t-shirt and a flannel shirt. It was cold and he wished he had brought along the heavier jean jacket. It was now eleven o'clock and he walked down the highway for an hour before a car went speeding by. Josiah knew that hitchhiking in the middle of the night like this was almost futile. At about one o'clock, after several more cars passed him by, a car stopped to pick him up. The driver was an older man who was on his way from Corpus Christi to San Antonio.

"Where you headed, young man?"

"I gotta get to El Paso eventually."

They drove in silence for awhile until the driver looked at Josiah and said, "Don't you have no family? Are you just alone?

"Yup. I ain't got a family, and I'm just fine the way I am. I just get what I can get where I can get it."

"Well, young man, I'd say that's pretty tough. Everybody should have someone who cares for him. You don't have nobody that cares for you?"

"Nope."

Very soon, the old man slowed down and pulled off to the side of the road. "That's sad. That's very sad," the man said. Looking intently at Josiah, he moved his hand across the seat and placed it on Josiah's thigh. "Yep, that's pretty sad, not having nobody to care for you. You know, I could care for you."

Josiah lurched to the side, opened the door and jumped out. He started running a short distance into the darkness. The car then started up again and sped off. Josiah sat on the ground, not knowing what to do. He didn't know where he was. Suddenly, the most horrible lonely feeling came over him. He never felt lonely before. Why now? What was that man talking about? It never mattered that nobody cared for him. He was a loner, a drifter; why would anyone care for him. Tears started streaming down his face. He began to wish he was back sleeping in the warm bed Jake had provided for him. For several years before that, he always slept in the hay in ranchers' barns. Maybe Jake cared. But why should he? He wondered if Jake was out looking for him, or even worrying about him. Josiah stood up, and something made him start walking back in the direction from which he came.

Two hours later, he came to the gravel road that led into the Walker Ranch. At about four in the morning, he was back and walked toward the bunkhouse. Jake was sitting on the steps outside of his room, huddled in a blanket wrapped around him. Josiah walked up to him. They looked into each other's eyes, but neither spoke. Josiah slowly sat down on the step next to Jake, then leaned over, exhausted, and rested his head on Jake's shoulder. Jake pulled the blanket around Josiah. He could feel the slight motion of Josiah's body and knew that he was crying. The faint rays of dawn began to appear and, as they sat in silence, Jake reached up and gently stroked Josiah's hair and said quietly, "It's alright, son; it's alright."


To be continued...

 

Posted: 08/29/08