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A High Country Tale: XV

By Zachariah Jack All Rights Reserved ©

Erotica / Romance

Blurb

Luke Cevennes, M.D. He liked the way it sounded even after a decade and a half of wearing the mantle. Jeremy Kell, Ph.D. That rolled over Luke's tongue with more flavor than any name in his world. The sexy Jamaican immigrant actually swept him off his feet nearly two decades before. The two fit each other. Luke and Jeremy's best friends, Jake and Calumet, likewise professional and accomplished, lag in years by a decade but the bond between the four: as deep as the Mariana Trench. Traversing the 21st century as a new age American family, the two interracial couples complement each other in ways the majority of people could only look upon in wishing. Hi-jinks, ribaldry, a touch of activism plus candor and humor, all souffled with a smattering of profundity, gel into a roving epic, from America to Europe to the Caribbean, on the shores of WWII Normandy, to Blue Mountain in Jamaica, up the wuthering heights of the Rockies, and down the alluvial plains of the American deep south as these self-deprecating, refined yet lusty menfolk wend their way, together, while luring the flotsam, jetsam and A-listers of Humanity along, on the sojourn that is the Tree of Life. Enjoy the Final Chapter.

Of Odin and Ovid


The low moan escaped my lips before I could stifle it. As I lay cuddled up into Cal’s armpit, relishing his scent, my fetal position and the exposure of my naked ass allowed for an intrepid gatecrasher’s invasive access into what had been vacated only a scant hour before. Following Cal’s copious eruption.

This wee hour of our first February night in Telluride found us snugly holed up in the rustic log home of Jeremy and Luke. The Kell-Cevennes branch of our family. More specifically, in a shared and coveted spot amidst our closest friends: their king-sized cypress-hewn bed. Nestled between my husband and our friends’ semi-permanent guest and new acquaintance, the dreadlocked Jamaican. He had been introduced to us as one Ambergai Gee of reggae music renown earlier in the evening.

The unfamiliar intimate had been quite comfortable in his nudity around the fireplace-warmed home for the entire evening of our arrival. While forewarned, we hadn’t been too well fore-armed for the actuality of the package the man carried around. The eleven-inch plus piece had both startled and enthralled we two newly-landed houseguests.

Luke had described the behemoth more than once, but like Helen of Troy’s historic beauty, this man’s beast was only fully appreciated upon the picture supplanting words. The mind’s eye picture now provoked a certain wariness as the thing enquiringly prodded my rounded buttglobes, protruding beyond Cal’s protective cover. Cal’s continued even breaths confirmed his slumberous state. The giant dick was unfurling gradually upward and inward, determined to know my insides in addition to my external self.

While I very much desired the dick to get it, the increasingly firm girth presented formidable challenge to plugging in. Discreet elbow grease application helped: where the man got it was a puzzle. He must have been a reggae boy scout, I surmised. The involuntary moan as the huge head squeezed through my sphincter was only rudimentarily acknowledged amongst our other bedmates, none of whom awakened to it. Only reflexive rearrangement of the other three bodies registered the discrete shift in the status quo.

Ambergai Gee pushed the big thing forward in its quest, having visually and audibly indicated intent prior to this night foray. My untested white booty had been sized-up on several occasions over the previous hours. Once, even testing the cakes by the old finger-squeeze-and-thump method. The action had brought me up short, halting midstride as the older man’s long fingers wrapped around my husband’s main-squeeze butt--- mine, that is--- in inquisitive delving. No one else had been within sight upon descending the staircase from unpacking suitcases. I looked over my shoulder at the touch, not needing to gaze too far downward to view the humongous dick that was, by extension, thumping the ‘fruit’.

Apparently, mine proved ripe enough, for he had then commented, “Mi a’gonna be a-getting’ a bit o’dat booty, now, ma’new friend Dr. Jake-mon, an’ in only a li’l while, so don’ be a-keepin’ ‘dis here Mon a’waitin overlong for de’ taste-testin’, a’ight boi?” The implication was not subtle, I had inferred.

We had arrived at the house only an hour before that squeezing, being introduced simultaneously to Ambergai Gee and the adorable other half of the handsome Adolpho, whom Cal and I had been knowing for a year or more during previous visits. The ‘straight’ young sommelier. His new lover, a blond ski bum named Bryce Canyon, had surprised us. We had accepted and presumed Adopho’s straight-world predilection because of the Italian boy’s own insistence. Until Luke had told us of the news downland in Rome, Georgia… hmmm. Welcome to our world… and family.

Having just departed the lowland environs of the Broadhearst brotherhood, I was well prepared for the blitzkrieg technique commonly employed by men-of-color when they choose to take their pleasures. Both Luke and I reveled in the proximity of desirous men and their proclivities at common junctures, yet the materialization of this homunculus was not something for which I could ever have been quite prepared.

At least an additional one-plus inches longer and ‘girthier’ than my own ten-inch Calumet, the beast now entering my asshole defied credence. I had thought that the size of this dick existed only in fantasies dreamt up by fiction writers. But here it was. Back-door knocking. Yes, strictly speaking, I had been forewarned. But, I was adding another meaning to the concept of fore-armed, what with the arm-sized cock now familiarizing itself with my colon. Like other residents of this house had already been. First hand.

So, I just inhaled my man’s muskiness from the inside of his deep pit and luxuriated, between winces, as I was stretched wider than I had been. Oh, wait, with the exception of Mr. Jumbo. At the Atlanta pleasure house to where Cal had escorted me months before. That one rivaled this. I stood corrected.

Musk aroma filled in for poppers nicely as the menacing anaconda slid slippery up into my warm chute. After a seeming eternity and two miles of depth perception, I felt the hot sizzle of the tall man’s ballsack against my perineum. Older men had such patience.

Sighing in both relief and ecstasy, the exaggerated breath finally roused my unsuspecting husband. He sleepily extended his rangy arm down my back in an arc that reached my ravaged hole. At the recognizance of an enormous presence where his own cock had just recently spent itself, Cal awakened more so, fingering the connection. My man loved that particular action, commonly doing it when he and I joined together. He prized the fingering feel of dick-in-ass. The streaming three-dimensionality of it turned him hugely on.

My hand reached down to his fast-arising tens, certain what I would find. Tumescence along with the soft, seductive whisper into my ear augmented already enormous delight, “Ooooh, my baby mandingo-pleasin’ boi. You been getting’ plugged like you know I like feelin’, right here inside of my daddy-shield, haven’t you, now? How’s that big dick fillin’ your sweet pussy, J-Man…you likin’ that thing I’ve been watching you drool at all this evenin’? The big’un ain’t been real shy, boi.” I turned my head up to stare into his searching bedroom eyes, transferring my enjoyment through to him by locking on them.

His lips found mine as we tongued in unison. The being pushing the still-swelling elevens behind me noticed. “Dese two lover-men jus’ joinin’ dis home bein’ right up de’ alley along wi’ de rest o’us, now. We all glad t’welcome ya’ both, men. Mi been tol’ ya’ matchin’ up ta de rest a’our ways, so all’s a’gonna go vera nice, now, I am a’tellin’,” the Jamaican dialected us up a notch in eroticism through that accent.

Cal’s tongue went into higher gear during the sensuous talk and his fingers wrapped around the piece taking what he had just been stuffing. I got the best of it all but nobody felt slighted. I slowly stroked my man’s uncut dick the way it liked. Matching the rhythm Ambergai Gee set showed us three that we would mesh well in the coming times together. The man’s animalism scorched us.

Luke and Jeremy lay entwined in subliminal concupiscence, casually caressing Cal on the other side away from we threes’ conjoinment. While not apparently conscious of the ardor unfolding so close by, the communality of their bodies against Cal’s gave connection to us all even without their active involvement. We knew each other that well, having shared beds many times over years… shared lives for even longer.

Ambergai had pinpointed our connection with Luke and Jeremy in his intuitive manner, continuing to steadily stroke my ass, “Mi be a’knowin’ now tha’ ma boi-pussies over a’next to you’s new mens gonna be a’likin’ da facts o’de matters, mi just be a’sayin’.” And with the saying, the giant dreadlocked elder man erupted voluminously, flooding a baby-rich load all inside his newly staked claim.

Though he instinctively knew of the preclusion from dominating Cal’s ass in the way he did other inhabitants of the high mountain lodge, by using my ass, Gai extended his dominion over the younger generation. Cal got it, endorsing the act without a single misgiving, deriving pleasure instead. He respected elders like no other man I had ever known. The willing precept of this giving-over did not diminish anything he and I had, it only expanded the field. The family grew, then and there.

The high country home absorbed the fact in tacit acceptance as Cal climaxed, tongue-locked as he was with me. Feeling the link between us and the elder musician, my own peak reached massive, fulfilling release. Welcome us, again, to Mountain Village.


“Boy, I slept like a baby, guys,” Luke was refreshed the first morning of Telluride Gay Ski Week. “It is so good to have you two back.” It had been since the boys’ marriage last July that Cal and Jake had stayed with them and the new situation was starkly different. Ambergai Gee was out before dawn doing nobody-knew-what, per the man’s wont. The Island man was a profound presence in the mountaintop home. Bryce and Adolpho came bursting from their bedroom off the great room at just that moment, pummeling each other in the heedless carousing of twenty-somethings. Uninhibitedly toweled and wet-haired from a post-coital shower, the two infused the house with youthful enthusiasm. Yes, the circumstances were accented by cha

Coffees were prepped for each and the five sat around the long marble island in the kitchen discussing the upcoming frivolity which marked this week’s annual festival. Already, the village below and Telluride overhill were filling with a plethora of eccentric personalities coming for the fun and great skiing. Over four feet of powder and packed powder presently covered almost the whole 2000 acres of ski terrain. Fully 80% of trails now open and all lifts running full bent. Bookings for the week were overflowing and ski lift passes were in extreme demand.

The group watched as early prep teams groomed the higher trails down below the house, the upper ski lifts reaching to within a hundred yards of the Kell-Cevennes’ property lines. The pond was thickly frozen for their own private skating pleasure when anybody was ready. Resident elk were bedded down away to the far rock overhang where Luke had replenished their warm hay cushion two days before, so all knew the bear population was safely asleep for the winter. The elk were always good bellwethers and bear-alert guardians. With their gathering where they were, the boys could bet on good new powderfall within the next two days. The weather forecasters were all in for a long snowy, El Nino-induced winter. With the coming ski festival, spirits were high.

Jeremy came blustering in from jetting up and stoking the heaters for the cedar hot tub, an amenity everyone adored for outdoor enjoyment through the winter season. This was Bryce and Adolpho’s, as well as Gai’s, inaugural winter season in the log home and their anticipation was torqued with the added family. Over five feet of hard dickmeat graced the log home now and the tub would be fully filled by seven soakers. Lucky they all liked each other… The bundled black man stamped feet and disrobed in the adjacent mud room, appearing in a few moments, winter spandex body suit the sole remaining body cover besides thick, wicking socks. His sexy array of hunk-factor was almost impossible to hide, now proving no exception.

“It should be 104 F within the hour, and jets are on standby mode whenever anyone wants it. What’s for breakfast, my cookin’ wench?” He grinned at Luke, figuring the jibe would provoke a response. Everybody knew that Jeremy was the chef of the household. A withering smile greeted him as Luke gestured at the full breakfast underway on the counters and cooktop. The bacon aroma pretty much rendered the sarcasm moot and Cal swatted Jeremy in his passing.

“JK, don’t be insulting the sous chef. This be a class establishment, and we will just have to bend your ass over my knee for a full spankin’ if you don’t quit, homes.” Everyone feasted on that hypothetical. “So… did you sleep as sound as your ‘slept-like-a-baby’ man, too?” Cal was fishing.

“Well, duh, yeah, dude,” Jeremy sniggered, “at least until I got my booty call at dawn. The standing order. Did you by chance miss it--- ya’ll were kinda sacked out when we ‘got up’.” He smirked, fishing as well, “Late night?” He had actually awakened to the cum-rumbles in the dark hour, sensing his best friends’ demonstrative eruptions. With his free hand grazing Cal’s butt, he had hardened in vicarious enjoyment but remained stock still due to his husband’s continued deep sleep through the whole thing, not wanting to disturb him. He liked watching Luke dream. The morning ‘booty call’ inside Luke had satisfied a belated rejoinder to the wee-hour hot action so silently perceived. He hoped he had returned the relayed third-party favor.

Jake picked up on the allusion but was curious, “Was the Jamaica-Mon there at dawn when you woke up? He was with us one minute and the next thing we knew, he was gone.” The newcomers had experienced what Jeremy and Luke had noticed for months. The man was a wraith. The two wondered at the disappearing act following on the heels of the hot session shared with the older gent. Informed that it was pretty common, the couple was pacified.

Bryce came and sat next to Jake at the barstool beside him, interested in the presence of yet another white boy doctor and the one of whom he had been hearing so much. Luke was so effusive in praise of his bff, Bryce figured the handsome curly-haired man couldn’t be all that. The two bent together like old buds, comparing and contrasting notes. Bryce couldn’t even fathom Cal’s five brothers and their clone-like qualities. As much as the boy loved the mountain, the lowland population and in particular that of Rome, Georgia, sounded pretty damned inviting. Jake equated some stories that failed to dispel the fantasy. All the while, the blonde’s eyes kept creeping over toward the tall stud known as Jake’s husband.

The hot breakfast hour was filled with more acquainting, catching up on each other’s past month and discussing the festival unfolding down from their home. The appearance of screaming gay men and drag queens cavorting over the trails this February week had been enlivening the mountainside for several years, to date. From the boys’ high vantage point, the view promised to be exceptional. Only Jeremy and Luke had first-hand familiarity with the perspective.

After cleaning up the kitchen, everyone regrouped. Adolpho announced he needed to spend at least the morning hours in the bodega, bookwork calling the young man’s attention away from the gaiety. He knew that in light of the coming week’s wine consumption his triple-stock inventory maneuver in the previous months should provide a monetary bonanza with which to start off the year…something he planned to ensure. The books wouldn’t wait what with the orders pouring in from hotels, restaurants and bars in the community. Luke loved the young man’s work ethic, his own mindset similar. Not many twenty-somethings would stick to the set plan as the huge party overtook the village and township. Besides, he thought, doing the work now would pay off later in the week when the Italian boy could sit back and watch the profits roll in.

Bryce aimed to shadow his soulmate and upon making it known, Adolpho shot him down almost immediately. “Baby, I would do nothing but fuck you all day long if you came along…no, you gotta be in your element now. Go play with the mountain boys out on your ski slopes. I’ll catch up to you. Besides, who’s gonna be watching all these horndogs out in public? We know they are like to all be in trouble before the first day is out. I saw Luke takin’ inventory on the magic drawer yesterday so you just know what’s about to happen. Go play, boi.” And with that, he kissed him, clutched the succulent buns, slipped out the front door and disappeared downhill.

The young Italiano wasn’t far from wrong, as it turned out. Luke and Jake were conspiring in the bedroom by the magic drawer after a shower with their men, giggling over the different modes of ‘high-mindedness’ available for the extravaganza on snow. Not surprisingly, the green-cross inventories in the township were dwindling. Shortages were being discussed already. It was said there were emergency runs into Denver happening for re-stocking purposes. Everyone always underestimated gay men and in particular, drag queens’ partying penchants. The collective exemplary work ethic was balanced by an equally hard-partying reputation.

The variety normally so widely-ranging on the apothecary shelves in Tride town had the entrepreneurial class concerned for the medical mj patients, finding their managers had held precious little back for filling prescriptions. Jeremy chuckled that the elderly neighbor nonagenarian ‘love-children’, the Chastains, were likely to be caught short.

“Ha, that’ll be the day, JK. Those two stockpile more weed and magic goodies through the year than the stores do. They are usually vapin’ with the kids back and forth on the gondola--- don’t worry too much on their account, honey. We’ll be beggin’ from their stash if a shortage comes down. What a laugh.” Luke was well aware of the lovable older couple’s ways, having seen their antics and habits over the years. “Hell, Pearl, they told me once that if a nuclear holocaust hits, they’ll be hunkered down high.” Missing his own oxymoron, he and Jake lit up a cannon-sized doobie as they continued their count.

Cal came out from the multi-person shower, drying off, mouthwateringly nude. Now wearing the second largest organ in the household, he was as at ease in his skin as Jeremy and the Jamaican. Rubbing his head, the big thing wobbled to the brisk toweling. Bryce, just walking in, was captivated by it. While used to Gai’s hugeness, seeing the sleeping tens this similarly tall, slim, muscled man was packing set the small blonde’s mind to considering.

He sat down next to Luke, accepting the blunt in quiet reflection. Still glancing in Cal’s direction, the boy posed the soft query to his guru, “Are all giant black daddies hung that way, Luke?” he sucked on the roach as he contemplated the black residents in the house and mentally extrapolated to the stories of the Rome brotherhood…all were well over six feet tall and every one of them packed at least nine inches.

Cal guffawed, overhearing the question, ’No, boi, we are not all hung the same. In point of fact, the white race claims some of the biggest endowments. There are plenty of lines of genetically diminutive black men, just like there are over-sized other races. It’s just a myth perpetrated by black females to fend off white girls from stealing ‘their mens’. Big dicks scare women.” His poker-faced demeanor left the surprised kid flummoxed. By firstly being overheard, and secondly over the novel idea. He didn’t know Cal well enough yet to apprise the man’s sense of humor. The poker face threw him.

A sudden big grin dispelled the nerves edging into Bryce’s face and he sniggled in high-pitched relief. “Actually, Bryce,” Jake cut in, expelling a cloud of sweet smoke, “the Bourbon Kings of Charlemagne’s lineage were purported to average fourteen-inch dicks. For several centuries, the men of that genetic line petrified the women throughout the kingdom. It’s thought by quite a few historians to be the reason so many Christian women wore wimples and veils: to avoid attention from the king. The one man who could take anyone, man or woman, whenever he desired. Can you imagine a worse reason to get religion and ‘frock up’? In that time, absolute rule and the ‘Divine Right of Kings’ were paramount and French kings were notoriously lecherous. More than one succumbed to syphilis by their wandering eyes, a slow death sentence back then. Check out King Francis I. The man fucked sheep and turtles, for God’s sake.”

Cal looked curiously at his husband as he quantified this. “Jake, you’re telling me that those French dudes were out-sizing the Hottentots, too? Those ‘Tot pygmies are supposed to be sportin’ the hugest pieces in the world, now, at least that’s what I’ve read… fourteen inches was an average, you say?”

“Well, I’m just quoting from medical diaries of the times,” Jake added, “Centuries and changing social mores can fog things--- look at the Bible, claiming that Methuselah lived to 969 years and all of his line lived to at least 800 years of age.” The doctor made a good argument and the group took in the information.

“The Hottentots gotta have twenty-inch dicks just to get within strikin’ range of those women of theirs. Ever seen those butts? They cover the front as well as the backsides. Unbelievable. But, evolution provided. Those ladies didn’t starve or die of thirst in the droughts of Africa where they lived…and still do live. They store all the fat and fluid and energy right around there, like damn camel humps, and still stay fertile.” This came from Jeremy, who had just listened to that Methuselah point. He slapped his own hard glutes to accent the point. “Remember the National Geographic spreads on the tribes back in the sixties and seventies? Those booties could kill someone. It physically took twenty inches to get into the females for consummation. Google it. There are accounts from the Enlightenment and Age of Exploration when Europe imperialized the world. The drawings that came back to Western Kingdoms then were disbelieved by everyone. No one could comprehend booty that size.” Jeremy, the doctor of Philosophy in the family, had studied anthropological and ethnological characteristics more than anyone, and all believed him. He addressed the blonde, “You just don’t want to be droppin’ the soap around those shortys. The three-legged myth started because of those little dudes. Nature can be oddly disproportionate, now.” He took the roach and joined in the morning inhale before the slopes were to be negotiated.

Luke, the original addressee of Bryce’s question had been silent up to that moment. “Well, boys, all I have to say is I don’t want to meet up with any horny blue whales. Those big boys pack dicks longer than we are tall…and they’re made of bone. My med school anatomy prof used one for a pointer.” Everyone stared at him. “Just sayin’.”


Luke, Cal and Jake shlooshed to a halt at the base lift together on their skis. Hoisting goggles up on heads, they surveyed the run just navigated. The three had been separated from Jeremy and Bryce where Peek-a-boo Run had swept away from the Humboldt Draft turn-off halfway down the mountain. Jeremy’s decision to join the young ski bum Adonis on a snowboarding morning left the two careening down the committed path ahead of them. The trio had employed their superior edges in slicing crisply to the side trail. The mogul challenge of the Draft run had called and they now reveled in the accomplishment.

The blonde had enticed Jeremy by joshing him of his over-the-hill status which had whetted the competitive ebony stud’s appetite to meet the whippersnapper’s challenge. Snowboarders, the trick skiers on snow, required a different skill set than classic downhill skiing and the novelty of the method drew the younger generation like moths to a candle. Jeremy had reached the middle-age crazy plateau of 44 years absent the slightest physical evidence of the fact. Yet by the simple truth of chronological climb, he felt the pressure somewhere in his athletic being to ‘hold court’. The distinct duo had missed the turnoff and was now probably contesting one another, breakneck style, in a competition of generational pride. Luke smiled at the mental picture.

The exhilarating run down Humboldt Draft had left Luke’s vital signs racing. The altitude accentuated the stoned state they were experiencing from the shared joint at the summit, suffusion expanding during the descent. “Wow, Luke, Tride is easily the equal of Ajax trails, boi,” Cal gushed, “those moguls were gnarly!” Jake and Cal were accomplished skiers, having spent countless hours not only on the downhill slopes there, but regularly trekking cross-country trails for cardio fitness. The results of the exertions were evident in the extremely fit couple, thought Luke. He and his man kept pace what with their own fitness regimens and both had sailed easily into their forties with the retained vigor of mid-twenties compatriots. As evidenced by Bryce and Jeremy’s present sortie. In general, mountain people tended toward physical activity more than lowlanders. Statistical evidence bore it out. Perpetuation of active lifestyles well into the nineties was not an uncommon feat. Coloradans were well aware of the facts. Besides, keep moving and keep warm: the adage was true.

Turning toward the base gondola and Mountain Village Piazza, the friends stuck their equipment into storage lockers and meandered toward a favorite new lunch spot, The Village Table. Opened by a Swiss family a few years before, the place radiated charm. The pre-planned meeting site put the boys at the bar with hot sandwiches, soup and the most deliciously crispy steak fries on earth in the following quarter hour. Raspberry lemonade washed it all down. The trio chatted amiably, still in catch-up mode. Feet propped toward the open fire pit outside afterward, they sipped hot cocoa. There was still no sighting of the black-white duo of snowboarders. They must have gone backup for big-dickery boasting rights, the three concluded.

As a young lesbian couple waltzed by, Cal overheard a snippet of their conversation. The girls were excited to have sighted Oprah at the gondola station as they finished their run, “Can you believe that woman? She looked so damn delicious. And, helping the trauma crew load up that cute black man with the blonde boyfriend is just so…Oprah. The woman is always involved with regular people. It is so cool here, with all these celebs wandering around in the middle of the gay community—Wren, I am blown away that you brought me,” the pretty woman pushed open the restaurant door for her friend and they disappeared inside.

Cal jolted at the allusion and was up in a flash, hustling the white boys into their jackets, “Did you hear them? They mentioned loading up a cute black man by trauma responders and a blonde boyfriend…you don’t think…?”

It served to push them into a headlong rush across the piazza. Upon reaching the gondola station, Luke ran to the nearby info window and asked about any incident or injury episodes in the past minutes. “Well, yes, sweetie, as a matter-of-fact, there was an injury load-up about twenty minutes ago. A young man with a broken neck was braced up and taken over to County Hospital. His little boyfriend was beside himself. They should be unloading on the townside station right now. We can sure tell it is ski season, all right. The injuries are piling up. It’s the third emergency lift just this morning. Two last evening, too.” The helpful lady was still talking, but only to empty space, as the boys jumped on the next rotating car.

Forty minutes later found the three rushing through the doors of San Miguel County Hospital. Heading directly to the Emergency Room, the experienced young Texas ER doctors grilled the surprised reception staff. Reaching past their heads, they punched the emergency door-open button on the inner wall behind them and entered the treatment bays. Luke was familiar with the clinicians on the small high country hospital staff. One looked up from the medical records area, recognized Luke and wordlessly pointed toward the fourth bay. It was a separate room from the rest. He nearly busted down the door in his haste, Jake and Cal on his heels.

The scene nearly melted them. There lay Jeremy with his head swathed. Neck secured in an orthopedic brace, his shoulder hugely bandaged. Bryce was talking quietly into his ear, affection and concern waxing his features. The main conclusions drawn, however, were that the patient was conscious and cogent.

Upon sighting his husband along with both friends, Jeremy fairly beamed at them. “Word travels fast on this darn mountain, doesn’t it?” He was clearly not in pain and seemed to be almost enjoying sitting center of attention. Luke’s tears changed the man’s demeanor just like that. “Oh, baby man, I’m good. Don’t worry, I’m just fine.” He saw the immense consternation mixed with relief and started blubbering himself. Luke closed the small gap and sized up the man of his life in seconds, concluding no death knell emergency.

“Jeremy Kell. What happened?” Luke demanded as he gently examined the shoulder and checked the fit of the neck brace.

An authoritative voice from the doorway answered, “Dr. Cevennes, we’ve been expecting you.” The articulate voice came from Stan Stevens, the attending clinician on the floor and head of the ER here in the hospital. “Your better half is, as you can already see, stable, aware and pretty much pain free. Reduced subluxated shoulders are rather predictable that way. No fractures, no CNS involvement, good neurological signs. We plan to observe a couple more hours for concussive signs but no overt fears at this time. The man is hard-headed enough to weather a triple somersault into an embankment, I do believe,” he smiled. “Though, next time, I would recommend waiting the passage of fellow skiers: it might make the landing a bit more predictable.

That synopsis along with two sheepish grins from Bryce and Jeremy were sufficiently telling. Luke settled on to the bed next to him, taking the hand resting there. Bryce moved back a bit, leaning over into Jake and Cal, obviously full of unspoken words but saying none. Just knowing all was well negated any need for the moment. Dr. Stevens approached closer, flashing a penlight back and forth across alert eyes and rested his hand on Luke’s shoulder. “You know, Luke, if this young man hadn’t been in the stellar shape that he is, I fear things could have turned out quite differently. The conditioning made the difference.”

The patient savored the praise and at this, Bryce piped up, “Dr. Cevennes, he was amazing! The hot-dogger came out of nowhere while he was in midair and he still changed his trajectory somehow, landing in the snowdrift instead of smashing that tree. That woulda been…real…bad…” his voice trailed off as he saw Luke’s look, realizing he may have offered too much, too quick.

Both Dr. Stevens and Luke zeroed in on the blonde. “Tree?” they expressed, simultaneously. The boy reddened and shrank behind Cal.

Jeremy chimed in at this point, “Settle down, men. Nothin’ happened. Just like you said, Doc, my amazing conditioning prevented anything worse from resulting. Looks like that conditioning provided for avoidance of that tree, right? No harm, no foul, isn’t that the maxim?” His logic couldn’t be questioned; the truth bore it out. Luke and Doc Stevens backed off. Argumentation was the patient’s forte, after all, Luke reflected.

Nevertheless, Luke cringed inwardly at the thought of the alternative possibility. He grasped the hand harder. Jeremy reassured his soulmate, drawing his face upwards with his good hand, “Honey, you’re stuck with this man, come Hell or high water, so just hold on tight. We got a long road ahead of us. Channel a little Bobby McFerrin, now, how ’bout?” He hummed the tune to ‘Don’t worry—Be Happy’ at his husband. His tender reassurance settled the atmosphere. “Besides, baby, you are always lookin’ for excuses to get your damn hands all over this,” pointing at himself, “so just look at the upside. I’ma needin’ plenty of massagin’, now…to keep my ‘conditionin’ up.”

The hangdog grin won the debate.

“I’m sorry I scared you so bad in there, Luke. It’s just that I was so happy to hear he’s OK, I didn’t think. That’s what always happens when I’m nervous and excited. My mouth loses my brain,” Bryce was walking with me to the restroom a few minutes later. Cal and Jake had been allowed by the ER staff to sit with Jeremy a little while.

“It’s OK, Bryce, I get it. He is good and that’s all I really care about,” my relief truly was there, even though the call had been close. The antics my crazy, athletic man put me through made my psyche lose its grip on occasion. The thought of life without the man left me cold. But, all good and no bad was a prescription for mundanity, so, by rationalization of a lifelong principle, I actually recognized the need for accepting good fortune and leaving the chaff behind. Jeremy and my agreement early on. Time to practice the preaching, I figured.

“So, tell me, what in the world was he thinking--- a triple somersault? On a snowboard? Isn’t that a banned move in the Olympics because of the danger level? You know: Broken necks. Permanent disfigurement. Quadriplegia. Brain death. Or even a serious condition. What were you guys thinking?” My exasperation level rose just by the voicing, sarcasm unavoidable.

“That’s just the thing, Luke, we weren’t doing anything like that. Just jumping moguls on the way down. When we rounded the last curve, we saw where the snow combers had banked the extra on the sides and a halfpipe had been built up. We both went right at it. Jeremy hit it calling out ‘Cab 720 Stalefish’! And, he nailed it, Luke. He nailed it! That’s an Olympic move, dude.” The boy was again all worked up by the feat. “I’ve never seen anybody try one except at the Games and no one did it that clean even there. That man is a stud, Luke.”

“Don’t I know. But what was Dr. Stevens talking about? He’s the one that said somersault.”

“A Cab 720 isn’t a somersault. It’s a move dreamt up by Steve Caballero and is mostly a two-full-circle twirl move, Luke. I think the doctor musta been kidding, ’cause nothing like that happened. He had already finished the 720 and was turning the landing when that idiot came outta nowhere. Jeremy was just jumping a spread eagle ‘cause he had stuck the motha’. He was in the air doin’ that when the guy nearly t-boned him.” Bryce was making sense of the whole thing for me now. It helped. I should have known. And trusted my man better. Although I was still curious to know when he had picked up that move--- I had never seen him attempt it. Things that make you go ‘hmmmm’.

Coming out of the bathroom, we turned down the hallway toward the ER when we were hailed by a velvety feminine voice from behind us, “Luke, is that you?” Annalise Chastain was standing in the doorway halfway down the cross hallway corridor, in-patient section of the hospital. She was dressed in her typical flowing hippie attire with multiple layers and colors, looking very little like an elderly woman. Her evanescent smile beckoned us and we altered toward her.

The first thing in my head was whether old Mr. Chastain had been admitted for some reason, but she dispelled the thought, leaning back into the room, “Bart, dear, come see who is here, too.” The old-world gent appeared almost immediately, beaming from ear-to-ear as he beheld the two of us.

“Well, Annie, maybe our favorite young doctor can shed a little light on things, what say you, my love?” He was still so head-over-heals besmitten by his lady that I always induced his every conscious thought began with the woman. He stepped forward as we drew near to wrap me in a manly hug, acknowledging Bryce as he did so.

“We came over again today to be with old Elmer. You remember, don’t you, Luke, the aged man who lives up on the divide? You and Jeremy were over to dinner when he was with us awhile back if memory serves.” I was in awe of the couples’ lucidity and genteel manners but mildly amused by the reference to their decades-long confidant, Mr. Edgewater. The man was younger than the couple by their own previous admission.

Nobody was entirely certain how old either of the couple was, timeless in their existence and portraying the essence of human entwinement. I was relieved for their personal well-being. “Oh, of course, I remember him well. Has he developed a problem?” Their looks bespoke concern and we turned into the room.

“We hadn’t been able to raise him these past days, Luke, and finally made our way to his eyrie there, only to find he had taken a fall several days before. A compound tibiofibular fracture. He hadn’t been able to get to the telephone. We were compelled to call in the high country corps. They evacuated the poor thing, broken leg and all, down here to the hospital.” Passing the corner into the room, we beheld the elderly man, meta-splinted leg elevated and face miserable in a troubled sleep. “I am afraid he may not judge our decision as proper as we thought it to be, but so far up the mountain, we knew there could be no way aid might be obtained. So there it is.” Bart was noticeably torn by the decision, fully knowing that were the positions reversed, it could have been he or Annalise bearing the challenge from a prone and hospitalized position. But, of course, they had each other.

Mr. Elmer Bruce Edgewater, former hockey star, World War II veteran and presently distressed patient, exuded forlornness through a sedated slumber. An ingrained expression of angst bathed the man’s deeply lined countenance. He was a known recluse with an irascible persona, yet all who knew the man recognized a sometimes endearing facet. The person was mercurial. One minute amiable, the next unapproachable. One could never tell which incarnation was in charge. Annalise had once enlightened Luke about a troubled past love affair which, to the present day, saturated the highlander’s personality with deep contradictions.

Over coffee one summer morning at the Chastain’s home, Elvee and Suture napping beneath the table, the lady had imparted the sad sojourn of a young Elmer. His fate had been met and set by falling hopelessly in love with an Austrian alpine ski champion during the 1948 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The first Olympiad held in the post-World War II era, it was called the ‘V Winter Olympic Games’. Elmer had been a member of the amateur hockey squad, sent to the Games by the U.S. Olympic Committee. The squad was made up of American AAU, or Amateur Athletic Union, members. A second squad had been sent to represent the USA by the AHA, Amateur Hockey Association. It was a misnomer, as the members were professional players named by a rival group from the International Ice Hockey League.

The Ligue Internationale de Hockey sur Glace---LIHG--- had challenged the newly re-emerging IOC in the first games since 1936, when Hitler had notoriously attempted hijacking the Berlin Olympics for propagandist reasons before WWII. The same ones a certain black American Phenom named Jesse Owens had singlehandedly crashed. The international league had usurped IOC power during post-war confusion and charged itself with naming the national teams to the Olympiad, intentionally at odds with the IOC’s and USOC’s prime loyalty to the goal of amateurism.

The AHA sent the team of professionals under the aegis of the rival organization and nearly derailed the entire Olympic effort. While the IOC-sanctioned team was finally allowed to participate by the Swiss, as host country, they were not permitted to compete for a medal. Elmer, as part of the true amateur team, found himself with extra free time. His wanderings through the Olympic Village had crossed fateful paths with a beautiful young Austrian skier.

Trude Beiser, from Vorarlberg, Austria, double medal alpine champion in both the combined and giant slalom events, fell hard for the young American athlete during the international sports symposium. In the course of winning both downhill events, the young Austrian had pursued a torrid affair with a supremely handsome Omaha Beach first-waver from the momentous pre-dawn Allied Invasion of June 6, 1944, at Normandy, France. D-Day.

On the heels of the calamitous WWII, a loosening of traditional morals pervaded world society. A teenage Elmer had affected world history by surviving the stormy D-Day invasion, acting in heroic fashion to take out a cliff-sniper nest full of Nazis. Risking his life while hand-delivering a grenade into the enemy post, the shy youthful hero then followed it up by marching through Normandy, assaulting and taking Cherbourg on the way to liberating Paris. He and his platoon had sloshed their way to wet victory while being compelled into early manhood, wooing receptive French girls by the dozen during the effort. As veterans of both war and love by the 1948 Games, Elmer and the young beauty had acted out in ribald fashion, leaving little doubt as to their extreme attraction for one another.

Unfortunately for Private Edgewater, Trude’s attraction had been purely physical, whereas his had been rooted far deeper. After St. Moritz, he had desired to bring the glamorous vixen home for a stateside life. The girl celebrated in her newly won acclaim, opting for the alluring course now open to her. She had behaved the ‘bon vivant’ then returned to the 1952 Olympics, winning further approbation and Olympic medals on her way to marriage and then a shopkeeper’s quiet life with a husband from her home country. She and the young veteran had not spoken again.

The American soldier never understood, returning home to Denver in deep depression. Acquiring a parcel of land high up in the remoteness of the San Juan Mountains had been his solution. He constructed a lodge for himself far up the lonely heights of a then-undeveloped Telluride Mountain and wallowed in discreet, and discrete, rejection.

Decades passed before the Chastains and he intersected during the Love Revolution in the 1970’s. A close friendship had been unexpectedly forged and the three bonded in beatnik fashion, shacking up together in a free-wheeling ménage-a-trois. The arrangement somehow worked for the better part of a decade when a sudden schism had developed. The loner ascended once again to the divide. Reverting another time to a hermit’s existence, he had passed the intervening years in solitude to the present day. The epitome of a brokenhearted loner. And now, a disabled nonagenarian with very few options.

Annalise had persisted in the erstwhile relationship with Elmer Edgewater by her intuitive abilities for reading the poor man’s psychological imbalance as no other person had been able. Bartholomew Chastain rose to the challenge by his unconditional love for the woman of his life, overlooking the side-effects left from the faltered entanglement. He even shaped a lasting, if tumultuous, relationship with the difficult old soldier.

Now, standing bedside to her grumpy ex-lover, the worldly woman viewed him with a mixture of emotions plainly apparent in her classic visage. “I just don’t know how he will respond to this turn of affairs, Luke,” she softly evoked. “He is not capable of dependence on anyone and with this badly broken leg and hospitalization, I am not at all certain how he can adjust.” A tear trickled down her smooth cheek as she mulled over the scenario now unfolding. Old Bart wrapped his arm around his soulmate’s still trim waist and drew her into him, affording her succor by simple strength of will.

“We will just move him into our place, Annie. It is ready for just such a predicament, dear. We have planned on such events for ourselves and are able to afford him the necessary aid. Don’t you worry, my love, we will make it work.” Bart attempted rationalizing the situation, in full knowledge of the battles sure to result by trying to help the old curmudgeon before them. Pride did, indeed, come before a fall. And persisted afterward, as well.

Bryce turned to Luke, tearing up himself, sensitive youth that he was, “Luke, we have you and Jake, both, and with Adolpho and Ambergai, we can all pitch in to help out, right? We are gonna be nursing Jeremy anyway, so why can’t all of us just add Mr. Edgewater to our help list?”

“I agree with your compassion, Bryce, but it may not be that simple an answer. You have to understand; Elmer is a very private person who doesn’t accept much of anything from anybody. The decision resides with him.” I was trying to stay pragmatically detached, especially in light of the Chastain’s own independently prideful ways. But, the fact remained that an effort had to be made. I had always maintained that the gay community’s existential manifest lay in the way our kind were present in the world for the function of filling needs. For the orphans, the disabled, the destitute, the elderly of society. And such. It appeared our birthright and tenor may be soon tested.

Annalise broke in on us, “Boys, you are so dear to us. We treasure your friendship and familial ties. But this is Bart’s and my cross to bear. We must meet it head-on. Elmer isn’t going to allow for intervention by what he imagines to be ‘strangers’ and anyone except myself and Bart, here, classify as that in his mind.” She was right. My previous words along with hers rang true. We all stood, contemplating the endless ‘Circle of Life’ as it now rounded another boundless corner in its continuum.


“Honey, I am not the invalid you make me out to be. Stop hovering. And, the itch is two inches higher and three to the right…” Jeremy smirked as he teased my efforts at nursing him. While he dearly loved attention, he had been bordering on defensive since we had gotten him home and propped before a roaring fire in the great room. Pride. He now lounged comfortably on the sheepskin cover over the recliner, big, sexy, two-toned feet propped on the raised portion of the rock hearth. He was delectably naked and the sheepskin lay partially draped over the half-hard shaft of the man’s ever-ready endowment. My hands were massaging their way up his muscled left thigh. Notably, three inches to the left of his smooth scrotum. And two inches below.

Cal strolled in with a mug of hot-buttered rum in each fist. Hearing the patient’s instructions, he pulled up short, laughing at us. His own package was stretching the pouched front of the baggie boxers barely covering his own crotch. Jake was following with two additional libations and he bumped square into his man’s bare back. Froth and warm liquid spilled on the hunk’s ebony dorsum and he jumped at the contact. Putting the drinks down on the rock surface, he turned, took the drinks from Jake, set them down too, and then spanked the spandexed buttocks escorting the spilling hands. Jake’s peals of laughter filled the room.

God, how I loved these men. The four of us meshed so well that it seemed we had shared a womb. Able to read each other’s moods, the four of us weathered good and bad in ways that most friends only wished to do. It crossed my mind at that moment to wonder at the Chastains and Elmer Edgewater’s relationship. The three had lived together happily for close to ten years before their falling out. Even so, they had kept one another covered through thick or thin ever since. I hoped they could weather the present difficulties and conjectured, in tandem, whether these three men of my heart would complement me throughout my life in like manner. Excepting any fall-out, it occurred to me. I never intended our bond to wane. Jeremy was my rudder. That would not change. The other two people here were way too integrally important to my existence for separation of any sort. At least I willed such. Luckily, I knew these personalities enough to realize nothing could ever come between us and thanked whatever powers-that-be for the cognizance.

The sun was setting as we gathered for the hot drinks, weak sunbeams wafting through the big picture windows. Gai was asleep upstairs in the master suite after a long night out. He had arrived cold and bleary-eyed an hour before but hadn’t shared with us where he had been. Hearing of Jeremy’s mishap and assuring himself all was good now, the dreadlocked man ascended to a hot bath and warm bed. Adolpho had returned home to worry awhile over JK, too, but as he realized all was OK, he departed with his boy, Bryce, for dinner down the mountain. The boys had a date after being apart most of the day. The dog-boys, Suture and Elvee, were sacked out on their own sheepskin rug, soaking up the fireside warmth, tuckered from traipsing the property for several hours.

The four of us had changed plans due to the hospital run, choosing to hunker down for the evening while the festivities proceeded without us down-mountain. We knew we would not be missed. I was concerned for the Chastains and their friend, Elmer, so was content to lounge with my confidants in case their need came up. Actually, what with the trauma of Jeremy’s scare and the vicarious psychological ordeal of Mr. Edgewater’s situation, I was secretly very glad to not be out partying. It would seem my three boys were of the same mind. We spent the evening conversing many subjects, coming back several times to the fickleness of Life, with its twists, turns and unexpected cliffs. Home and snug was just what the doctor ordered… Before the eve was old, we were joined upstairs with our Jamaican, safe amidst the bond we all shared…


…I started awake to the clash of my surroundings. Having retired with my husband and best men to the downiness of our communal bed, it was discombobulating to wake up amidst a silvery scene of fluttering gossamer window curtains, puffing inward on a warm, moist night breeze. The distant echoing of thunder filtered in with the wind and struck me as aberrant in light of the lower edge of a full moon outlining the room in moonshafts by Artemis. A sterile smell of Ivory bath soap and pine sol cleaning solution returned me to an earlier time: one reminiscent of college days in Austin, Texas. Faint night sounds came to my ears and I fixed on the discernable dreamscape. It must be. My sensate being seemed intact, though on edge, while my musculoskeletal frame felt groggy and unresponsive. I had to be in a dream. The coldness of the room’s atmosphere belied the warm moistness I could smell and feel. After a minute, I identified the chill as aloneness.

Rather than pinch myself, however, I answered curiosity and took further stock of these surroundings. The large open room had six windows. It was nicely appointed and there appeared to be an open bathroom door leading to where the smells arose. The place was sterile and without hominess or charm. A staging company from the home and garden TV channel could have been responsible for it. Not a single knick-knack or personal photo graced the setting. It left me even colder.

After this perusal, I sensed my hand wrapping the arching hardness of the throbbing boner there and slowly caressed myself, enjoying the tactile stimulation. Heavy balls were pendulous between my runner’s legs and metaphysical inner self called to me. I was horny as shit. Noticing a pair of familiar ragged jeans hanging over a bedside chair, I rubbed bleary eyes to clear them along with my mind. Arising and donning the pair that I recognized as a favorite grunge fashion set which I had treasured throughout college, I took stock of my younger lithe form in the silvery mirror. I looked hot.

In another recollection, my mind kept playing the med school cadence familiar to all medical school students: On Old Olympus’ Towering Tops, A Finn And German Viewed Some Hops…the mnemonic method for remembering the cranial nerves. Olfactory, Optic, Oculomotor, Trochlear, Trigeminal, Abducens… the strange discordance added to my separation from coherence yet provided a cadence for pressuring my piece. I deftly buttoned the old 501 Levi’s, slipped on my Tigers, tied on a headband lying next to them and headed down the moonlit staircase.

It took me into, of all places, my Spartan med school apartment. All of the windows were open here as well, and the visible full moon lured me toward the door. I felt an odd mental angst for the neuro exam I knew to be scheduled in the coming day, but in this dream I recognized my opt-out clause through pinch-ability and went with my hormones. Something unheard of, had I actually been in real time. My school-era blinders had been solidly secure, keeping me on the straight and narrow then. Excepting sporadic sexual experiences, the mindset pushed any form of social life to the perimeters, in my desire to succeed. Inhabiting this dream scenario, I determined to virtually explore what I might have missed by the obsessiveness from that time. My conscience was temporarily null and void. Hmmmm.

Intuitively aware, somehow, what would be outside the front door, there was no surprise at finding the darkly close, after-midnight scene. Dim streetlights cast a dreamlike glow, only intermittently reaching me due to the craggily spreading oak tree branches lining the familiar street. I knew that down a block and to the west four and a half more, there would be a clandestine aperture through the hedges by which to gain entry to the community park with Shoal Creek running through it. Over on the far side of that, there would be the tributary Hondondo Creek feeding into Shoal with the elliptical trail way marking it. The entire area was hilly and densely wooded.

A notorious late night pick-up spot known by common gossip, I intended to see what went on there in the virtually realistic setting I now traversed. Floods of defunct memories rattled about my brain, invoking a long-ago world as if still extant. An alter-ego version of myself held ascendance over my actual persona. I was ready to explore the illusion. And break rules.

The warm summer midnight breeze wafted over my bare torso caressing my erect nipples as I sauntered through the darkened and seemingly deserted community park nestled beside the bend of Hondondo Creek. The favored well-worn and ragged 501′s hugged my slim hips, rasping against my body in just enough of a sensual manner to augment my hormonally heightened state.

Nothing more than the tattered denims, running shoes and headband adorned my taut body and I experienced a sexual strike of oncoming erogenous expectation as the clinging crotch of my jeans nuzzled my prodigious and anticipatory endowment. Oh, I had at some point slipped on an oversized metal cockring to enhance my proud, party-sized phallus and egg-sized smooth balls before leaving the bungalow, so there was that, too. Nasty as I wanted to be.

The comforting cylinder of the Rush bottle in my front pocket rolled erotically up and down my thigh, reminding me of the hoped for coming rapture. A quasi-dangerous effect of the unknown only amplified my tumescent state as I circled the old oak be-studded park, prowling for other similar-minded denizens of the dark this late vernal eve.

I reached up and grasped the inexplicable rolled joint balanced behind my left ear and retrieved the bic lighter from my back pocket, flicking a flame to enlighten my mood by the complementary effect of Bob Marley’s iconic legacy. As the aroma emerged from the lit doobie I rounded a corner inhaling the cloying smoke and envisioned a vaguely silhouetted picnic table off to the side of the lane adjacent to the brook.

The babbling of water over river rocks provided a susurrus of background sound. It almost obscured a throaty moaning as the nocturnal wind currents eddied around the wooded setting. My senses peaked as I centered on the primal source of the rhythmic plaints arising from the barely discernible glade by peripheral night vision. Honing in on the table, I gradually fixated on a locus of intense eroticism rendering an outline of two bodies melded in the ancient exercise of hedonic coupling.

One body was bent over the smooth cement surface of the table. Small, round buttcakes arched upward to meet a sizeable glistening protuberance protruding from the second body positioned behind the bowed form of the greedy recipient. Both bodies blended with the shadows. As I silently approached the scene while inhaling another pleasurable toke from the joint, the beautiful swarthiness of the duo’s forms came into a bit more focus.

The smaller, hooked participant bore the compactness of a bulldog. Velvety dark skin enwrapping a sexy torso and extremities punctuated muscular brevity. The black male was limned in sweat as he inhaled from a lidless bottle of poppers presently raised to a flared nostril. Short-cropped black hair under a skewed baseball cap crowned his head. Eyeglasses reflected in the intermittent moonlight as puffy night clouds wafted past just above and beyond the rutting pair.

The second figure was the incarnation of Mr. Marley himself, long dreadlocks cascading from his head down his muscular ebony chest and backside. The locks rocked in synchrony with his body movements. Athletic buttocks and legs moved in an undulating fashion thereby enabling a truly stunning ten-inch, blood-engorged member entry into the proffered ass before it.

One hand slowly massaged a pliant buttcheek. The other hand scissored a large blunt to his lips as he inhaled its rich scent. Holding it in his lungs, the satyr methodically slow-fucked the bubblebutt partner of the moment. A lazy cloud cleared the moon at that moment, revealing this wanton act in all of its animalistic glory. I gazed, mesmerized by the carnal scene. Just then, the sturdy topman cocked his head to notice my infatuation with his perfectly cowled manhood as it retracted momentarily from the well-greased and welcoming asshole.

A lascivious grin relayed his sanction of the watchful presence. Never missing stride, only the fleeting delay in re-entry to the pleasure hole proclaimed the black man’s pride at my envisioning the pair’s salaciously conjoined state.

He slowly exhaled as he pressed back into the begging cavity. The lucky boy receiving the donga dick succumbed to yet another penetrating stroke into his popper-relaxed butthole, noisily expelling a breath full of the high-inducing concoction. With the incoming push, the slut’s head turned away from me. His enjoyment continued, wholly ignorant to the voyeurism.

Not so, the Rastafarian. The stud beckoned me forward through the leering grin, angling his amazingly proportioned body to that which maximized my view. Every nuanced gesture flaunted the piercing in-and-out intrusion of the high, round, globular masses servicing him. His perception of my interest obviously magnified the intensity with which he hit that bare hole.

My own dick had long since rejoined the scenario, snaking down the leg of my jeans provocatively. He noticed it, also, and reached out to familiarize with the contours. Quickly tiring of the denim obstruction he popped the buttons open and adroitly exposed my throbbing 8+ inches, sporting a big, perfectly cut mushroom head. Well aware I was hung, for a white boy, he tacitly acknowledged the fact, pushing my pants down below my ass and gathering my hairless balls in his palm, all the while stroking the unsuspecting sybarite bent before him with that greased pole.

The young man writhed pleasurably on the picnic table, loose sockless cross-trainers bumping off the ground with each impalement. The small man suddenly began vocally accessorizing the expanding episode, begging for the huge dick to fuck him, fuck him good, like a bitch. Give him that big load… Dredds Man abruptly spit onto his appendage as it again entered to its total 10-inch length, then positioned the fat blunt inwards in his mouth and leaned toward me, offering a power hit as inducement for my further involvement with the two.

I accepted by meeting his lips and sucking slowly on the barely protruding tip, inhaling deeply from the extra-potent delivery of his own tasty creeper weed. We separated after the sensuous lip-lock, holding the hit as deep in our lungs as possible.

Again exhaling slowly, he curtly complimented my fully engorged manhood through smoke-suffused breath then bounced it with his fingers as he moved back to squeeze my own round buttcheek. Excitement overflowed as he did so and my cock erupted in an unexpectedly volcanic release of cum directly on to his ripped hairless belly, dripping down as he amusedly snickered his surprise.

The boy-toy was finally made aware of my presence by the ricochet of baby-laden cream over his derriere. He turned toward me and stiffened in recognition. It was a current infrequent sex-partner interest! A home healthcare nurse of unquestionably libidinous appetites with whom I shared a steamy, if detached, quasi-relationship. We had spoken earlier that day in an attempt to hook up.

A liaison had been aborted, purportedly due to his claim of a night-long working gig at a geriatric patient’s residence. Reality indicated he was getting pummeled before my eyes by the truly sexual being fondling me... the little liar reflexively pulled loose from all 10 inches per one fell swoop in astonished consternation. A tantalizing slurping sound ended with a distinctive “splop” upon extracting himself.

In timely happenstance, Dredds Man ejaculated long, ropey dollops of pearlescent cum both into and all over the abruptly vacated cheeks. A concomitant masculine grunt evinced the black demi-god’s exhilarative release for all of us to see and hear--- and feel, in the little nurse’s case.

Mildly guilt-tinged, irony-laced contentment ensued for two of us. A thoroughly rattled boy-bitch mutely faced away, squatting on the edge of the picnic bench to grasp and raise his ankle-bound shorts while attempting a modicum of decorum in the current questionable circumstance.

Both Dredds Man and I sardonically observed his discomfiture as we spied large globs of the fuckee’s own jism beneath where his sizeable piece had so recently hovered. This gave reason for his vexation... he cast himself, after all, as a consummate “topman”. Caught in the fucking act. Busted, ignominiously.

Grasping the tarnish to his masculinity by the passive role in the orgasmic deed, he quickly vacated the debasing scene. Mortification mixed with fatuous hope for later denial summed up his departing expression. Fat chance, I thought, filing the mental video away for future cogitation. As he disappeared into the safety of the darkness, Dredds and I bemusedly contemplated the present state of things, languorous in post-coital repletion. Guilt be damned. That was good...hell, that was too good. And I hadn’t even been actively involved.

Not bothering to clean up the sperm-drenched evidence too much, we simply wiped sticky fingers across exposed skin. Reclining on the picnic bench to gather abandoned wits, the partaking of the fucker’s residual blunt allowed discussion of the erogenous happenings in the previous half hour.

Unable to ignore the persistent semi-dilation of his humongous endowment, I reached out tentatively and hefted it in my palm. Removing my headband to clean off the exudative remnants from it, he acquiesced without withdrawal. Seeing the thing swell and bloom slightly, I stood and dropped my already lowered pants to the ground in front of him, pulling them off over my running shoes. This left me butt-naked, my own piece now rising for the significant stud relaxing in front of me.

Relighting the remaining roach from my stroll before our encounter, I offered him a reciprocate power hit to which he readily acceded. We both held the syrupy smoke for a time then breathed out in tandem. His dick was now standing at handsome attention between his muscled thighs, foreskin sensuously rolling over half of the pretty head. The big, smooth ball sack nestled beneath in a picture of sensuality. As I watched, he slowly spread those long sinuous ‘tennis-player’ legs, inviting further attention.

I didn’t need more prompting. Spreading my jeans on the ground in front of him, I knelt down on them to minister to his obviously un-slaked need. Remembering my poppers, I retrieved them, inspiring a deep hit and then handing them up to him.

Engrossed attention was then bent toward familiarizing myself with this stud’s full-staffed boner. Slathering the head in spit, then working my way gradually down the phatness until lipping the flared base. I worked my tongue slowly around the entire circumference of the thing, taking pleasure in its pungent firmness as I wallowed in ecstasy. The act whetted his appetite for a long, slow, deep blowjob.

Coming back up to the spongy head, I engulfed the whole of it abruptly in one long dive, allowing entry to my esophagus, tongue still swirling around the shaft. My lips and teeth carefully bit down on the root of that beautiful dick with pulsating repetition, holding it and my breath as I massaged the beast contentedly via slow rotating action.

Pulsing the light teeth-clamping technique while enjoying his groans of pleasure, I actionably informed him this represented a future repeatable offense. I backed off the shaft slowly and teethed on the sensitive head right up to the moment an approaching climax forced him to slap my head to cease the action. The short reprieve delayed a premature second cumming.

My own nice whiteboy dick patiently treaded time in a state of fixation between my own well-muscled legs. I remained ensconced before the magnificent piece eyeing me when I took the time to release it from my mouth for visual perusal. I loved the way it throbbed at my face as it anticipated my lips, lightly bouncing off my nose and cheeks.

Not desiring interruption of my preoccupation, Dredds Man took to feeding me hits of poppers in between his own partakings thereby perpetuating both our pleasures. I was enjoying sucking this huge dick as much and more than he was enjoying the reception. The man definitely liked good head... we neither one noticed as two or three other people happened upon our picnic table hotspot, keeping their distance but nevertheless surveilling our uninhibited show.

Beginning a slow, deep rhythmic stroking after a triple popper hit, I set to satisfying the both of our appetites with abandon. Going up-and-down from root to tip, my tongue massaged the tubal protuberance beneath the shaft until both of us nearly came before we desired the episode be over.

Abruptly ceasing all motion on that elastic shaft, both our dicks throbbed their pleasure in unison. I willed the eruptions back down to a controllable level. Then, began the motion all over again. This action went on for a good twenty minutes. I finally couldn’t deny either of our crescendos any longer so kept the luxurious rhythm going past the point of retreat. He ejaculated first, scorching cum juice all into my expectant mouth and throat. My own dick reached the pleasure peak, releasing of its own accord, dumping my second load all over those worn jeans I loved to wear when horny.

Holding that dick inside my mouth, I swallowed. His guttural expletives and climactic pelvic thrusts slowly subsided while my own dick suspended in an ethereal cocoon of tingling sensation. During this recovery time, still impaled on the beautiful dick, Dredds Man suddenly muttered through his euphoria-induced haze, “Dude, we are so busted”. Assuming reference to the busted nuts, I continued massaging the beast. Unmoving, he continued the post-eruption quivering but I sensed a new tenseness not present until now.

Finally coming up for a breath of fresh air after a seeming eternity in dick-filled oral nirvana, I took quick stock of our surroundings, noticing for the first time the company that had surrounded us. Two shirtless younger guys with dicks-in-hand and pants at knee level were on the periphery of our moonlit creekside clearing. While startling enough, it was not cause for consternation, so looking up at the Dredds Man I glanced in the direction of his stare and quickly surmised the source of his concern.

There, just out of sight of our two voyeurs, stood a cop. Legs planted, hands on hips, handcuffs on his belt alongside a holstered Taser...hard eyes silently surveyed our situation. We existed there, hedonistically unclothed, pot-smoke infusing the air, popper aroma redolent, quavering dick next to mouth with connecting streams of cum-evoking innuendo. Only explicable one way-- all probably soon to be described in front of a judge, no doubt.

My dick still arched proudly over my flat stomach as I leaned backwards in bent-knee pose, chin sperm-smeared. The sated centaur before me sat in thrall to the linger of tingling just savored. I totally lent credence to a mythic satyriskoi caught in the act. All that was lacking was a streaming video. Hopefully. Lacking.

Both of the obsessed jack-baiters followed our looks. Grasping the gravity of the odious offense, the two raced off into the gloom of trees away from us. We two were stunned enough to find neither the wherewithal nor justification for moving, viewing our predicament as a dead end.

The nightshift officer had left his cruiser a fair way away. The ostensible objective: surprising nightime lawbreakers. The ploy had met with success, at least by his take. Slowly, deliberately straightening, the officer set a measured gait in approach to our ‘lair’. A smirk of derision bathed his countenance as he closed upon us, one hand over the cuffs.

His words began as a remonstration for the magnitude of our misdeeds. Through our once sought-after state of buzz, we reckoned with the scene he was beholding. Multiple offenses long-listing the path to amends. Not to mention besmirched records and various legal consequences. As Dredds Man had said, “dude, are we sooo busted”.

Removing his deputy’s cowboy-style hat, he sidled up to us and took transparent note of the ardors and odors of the sexualized ‘eau de euphoria’ enveloping the site. He spoke out loud enough to make himself heard over a distance, admonishing the vacating voyeurs to make good their exit or face a fate of legal purgatory.

While he enunciated it, I registered his physicality. Slimly tall with caramel skin, clean-shaven visage and head, hairless forearms of well-muscled proportions. Minimally, a size 12 shoe. I couldn’t believe this was what I was focusing on under the dire circumstances. But it was difficult to avoid noticing the rugged virility, even through my mental fogginess.

Then is when I noted the distinctly prominent bulge in the crotch of his well-creased trousers. He addressed Dredds Man first, making note of the state of arousal persistent in the stud’s nether regions. And on full display for whoever happened to be gawking. In this case: The Law. The still-dripping string of sperm from the partially cowled head staged everything for what it certainly was.

In my spinning head, I thought I heard him order me to the floor...the floor? It was outdoors, well past midnight and my grunge jeans lay stretched out beneath my bent knees. My bare-assed position was within close proximity to one of the prettiest cocks I had ever had the privilege to make come. What a way to end it, I thought.

Bizarrely, I sensed that Dredds Man had again lounged back against the picnic table, still spread-legged on the bench where he had delivered cum into my ready mouth just scant minutes before. Did I detect a stoic resignation to our dual fates of jailtime with hard labor? If so, I prayed we would be cellmates. He reached into his sweatpants laying still bunched where he had tossed them for the earlier bitch-boy action. I was amazed when he withdrew a sequestered cannon of an unsmoked joint from a pocket.

The deputy repeated his comment. What the Rastafarian had correctly heard actually transmuted to “We’re goin’ for four”... my ears had deceived me. Servicing this officer was to pave our way toward redemption. The deputy’s astute evidence-gathering vigilance of my meticulous ministrations over that big ole’ black dick might yet provide extrication.

Proof of my abilities had not been lost on the aroused lawman. With all the visible symptoms, the man was now wanting some of his own. A huge hand rose to the bulge tenting that uniformed crotch. Slowly unzipping the fly, he managed to loosen the briefs underneath enough to allow for the escape of another beautiful black dick this late night. The pendulous thing waggled its way over to us, balls bumping. I felt a familiar tugging in my groin.

My fleshy piece again presaged the anatomical machinations of yet an additional event in this eventful night. In less than an hour and a half, I had happened upon a professed top man fuck bud of mine taking bare dick all up in his ass until it lewdly miscarried him a load, next expanded my felonious fantasy by Snoopdogg-toking with an ultra-hot dreadlocked stallion, then slow-sucked his monster dick until he came while three people watched me do it. Unbeknownst, yet unabashedly.

Now it seemed I would get to suck yet another over-sized cock under the purview of a law enforcement badge...freedom and liberty on the line. Un-fucking-believable.

Throbbing abounded. Dredds Man stood up, watching the deputy shed first his trousers and then his briefs, folding the former carefully on the back side bench of the table next to those size 12′s and Dredd’s sweatpants. He moved aside for the deputy to sit his fine, bare, tightly round caramel butt on the spot the Rastafarian himself had been settled. The man spread his smooth, fleshed-out legs in an explicitly plain summons for what he expected.

The big, cut, helmet-headed penis curved 9 haughty inches into the late night air only inches in front of my hungry mouth. Salivating at the boner now confronting me, I felt a weight on my shoulder and glanced to find Dredd Man’s 10 inches once again proud and full, buoyantly bouncing on my bare skin while he looked inquisitively at the athletic deputy. In response, the lawman unbuttoned his pressed khaki shirt and threw his tie back over his shoulder, exposing a stunningly sculpted chest and stomach, which boasted no less than an eight-pack.

This proved to be all Dredds Man needed to light up the fat joint and offer me another power-hit, to which I gladly, if a bit nervously, succumbed. The deputy simply held the shirttail up to his nose to avoid inhaling any of the noxious weed as we blew it out.

My mouth and mind then set to the avoidance of handcuffs, repeating my oral technique for this upward-curving, fat-headed cyclops. Expertly swallowing the nice curve in one plunge down to hairless pubes and nosing the appealing crotch, I clamped on it with painstaking care, munching just to the limits of titillation.

Deputy Dawg was not shy, readily informing me of his boundaries. My fingers explored the silky stomach ripples and nipple-tipped pectoral perfections while my tonsils tickled the sensitive, spongy crown. I rotated roundly on it. Noisy declarations of incredulity punctuated by sexy gurglings punctuated my mission. The venality and Dredd Man’s sweetly tangy dick jouncing on my shoulder kept my own thick piece rigidly happy.

As the bigger black dick had done, this piece took delight in being led to the peak without cresting. Tapping of my temple signaled me when to stop short of eruption. By careful attention to his gestures I not only luxuriated in the turgid mass quaking inside my immobile mouth but we prolonged the shared gratification. Until I felt a finger probe my asshole.

Ahhh... the Dredds Man was ready for another trip up into a tight hole after toking the big blunt he had shared with me 5 minutes before. Well, what can be said? My round buttcheeks levitated by instinct. As I arced upwards the deputy locked his hands over my head to keep my throat fully attentive, anticipating the distraction of the Dredd’s uncut monster dick sliding into my ripe ass.

I felt dreadlocks brush my back as a big hand reached under my flat stomach, encouraging further arching elevation of my butt for better exposure. After sharing a popper jolt, which Deputy Dawg surprisingly accepted too, we became a triad of trembling slipperiness. The cum-soaked corona of that great phallus slid steadily up and into my spitted sphincter.

The much smaller hole being invaded fought in vain against the thickness that was Dredd’s priapic breadth. The thing tightly wended a pathway up into my guts in one deep stroke, implanting with hegemonic dominance.

I shuddered silently as it pressed inward. The deputy pressed his pretty piece simultaneously all the way past my tonsils. A forever bookmark of the moment will endure as the two tantalizing ebony hunks consummated the bi-ended plugging...to the hilt.

The studs compared vocal notes regarding the sensations of their respective endowments and Dredds Man accorded my ultimate fantasy by encircling deputy dawg’s hard-on with his fingers at my lip level.

We all three entered a state of harmonious rapture, rolling in unison amidst our shared tasks. My duties were succinctly outlined by both of them as we pumped and swallowed and surged in the euphoric verve immortalizing that brief eternity.

Shamelessly audible lip-smacking above me evidenced an additional shared erotic connection by the black dominators. My own impossibly rigid dick rhythmically slapped my stomach while Dredds Man matched the deputy man’s gymnastics. I ascended into an out-of-body Elysium while both forbidden acts roiled my sensibilities.

After a good quarter hour of proving prowess, the possessive Mandingos surrendered to communal epiphany. Gargantuan gushers and glottal groans heralded the two studs’ fire-hot jismic explosions down my throat and deep in my ass.

Only after a seeming infinity of involuntary thrusting did they slow to a steady rhythmic cadence. The pulsing forced my prostate to swell and dick to unload on its own in total submissive release. All motion subsided to a gradual halt as we spasmed in the post-orgasmic glow of avaricious, orgiastic indulgence.

No one moved a muscle. Then, I felt a tiny lessening of pressure in my rectum as the Dredds Man slowly raised himself off my back. He deliberately rolled his cum-slimed fingers across my cheek from their position next to my mouth.

Both of their still-engorged dicks regrettably tremored slowly from their respective orifices, causing me paroxysms of bliss. The three of us sagged in a tangle of sweaty contentment. Totally spent, we shared bodily proximity by mellow, exploratory kneadings which left the scenario without any other possible desirous moves. Soft thrills of mirth from nearby alerted us to the fact of our not-so-private, brazenly pornographic frenzy. While the jack-baiters may have returned, it could also have been woodland nymphs or the trees themselves, for all we knew.

Backing away in more conventional masculine interactions, we pulled ourselves together physically and mentally. The deputy man reverted to less responsive self-consciousness. He collected himself awkwardly, not addressing any wrong-doings yet making plain that nothing was to ever be rejoined again. Denial would hold sway once away from the in-situ setting. All would necessarily be relegated to a fantasy plane only replayable in somnolent ambivalence.

Departing the glen alone, I penetrated the woods. The humid breeze cocooned me and I basked in near nakedness. Unbuttoned and barely clinging denim teetered wantonly down my buttcrack, admitting soft poofings as the drafts caressed my anatomy. Crotch hairs corkscrewed as wafts of air tickled them. Post-coital sensations of the skin surrounding my groin perpetuated a diminishing rapture state. I juddered with after-flashes of sexual overload. Feeling oddly impervious to external dependency, exultance imbued my being in a perceived sovereignty. A keenness like that of a hunting animal catching the fresh scent of prey was in me. Nothing could assail the effect: I was legion in self-contained subsistence. It felt utterly empowering.

As my feet floated above the solid pathway beneath, unimpeded by dips or ruts, there came to my ears softly strange ethereal twittering. Exhilaration enabled the detection and I cocked my head in search of the ululative resonances. Perhaps nymphs of the night were attending my way back toward the deserted bungalow, I thought.

The trail rose before me and turned sharply upward, away from the creek. At the top of the rise, I found myself faced into a giant, gnarled century oak entrenched beside a supple, stately old-growth linden tree. The arborous couple was statuesque and regal in their paired state, exuding a profound connection bound by entwined roots. It made mockery of my nascent notions of self-sustained immortality. Awareness formed in me confirming the trees as the source of the strange twittering. Intuiting a surreal exchange amid Ents of yore, I perked my ears toward the fascinating emanations and realized the ability to absorb patterings of an arboreal jargon previously beyond my apprehension.

The natives of this woodland seemed to be addressing my passing. I perceived the two gargantuans gently admonish me. “Embrace your fortune, Luke…fate may be fickle…grasp the sureness of your humanity, young mandrake…roots must be deeply set and should shriek denial be they unearthed.”

Prickling of my skin made me certain of an Odinistic presence.

A cold, lonely blast of wind brought my exultation to an abrupt end. Silver moonbeams transformed abruptly to a roiling sky, ushering in a freeze-framed, strobe-like change. I held back a gasp as I watched time-lapsed enshrouding of the previously warm, welcoming, starry heavens by billowing, shape-shifting thunderheads.

Warned, my feet hit the ground running. Sprinting through the now biting gusts, piercing raindrops and recriminating branches, I made my way out of the park and through the wide spot in the demarcating hedge.

Now intent, I rushed through deserted blocks of darkened houses and burst through the familiar front door. The coldness of the empty, open-windowed apartment gave way to the stairway and I flew up the steps. Slamming the windows and halting the flapping translucent curtains, I reached the sanctity of the cold bed. Pulling the bedcovers completely over my head, I lay there shivering in the solitude of the well-appointed room, so silent and sterile. The previous impression of unassailable autonomy made my isolation all the more stark. There was no relief in shutting out the descending maelstrom.

Overwhelmed by yearning for warmth of human proximity made me forget to pinch myself as back-up for escape. Lost and imprisoned by aloneness, I felt tears well up, spilling over as I cried my way into a fretful torpor.


It seemed an eternity but consciousness did return, allowing me succor in Jeremy’s voice, “Luke, baby, it’s OK. It’s only a dream, wake up for me.” And with that, the tempest receded and the chill of ‘alone’ departed. I opened my eyes. The warmth of his arms around me flooded back. My head burrowed into his chest, his nose and mouth buried amongst my curls. Four eyes blurred by tears. No longer sad ones, though, as I surfaced from what I had known all along was only dreamscape.

The allure of the erogenous events had acted the Siren and held my spirit prisoner somewhere for a lesson in humility. Of that, I was certain, as I opened up to the exquisite reality holding me. The effervescent smile first beheld upon falling from a ladder into his arms years ago now greeted me once more. Jeremy tugged me closer to free me from the anxiety.

“Gosh, Luke, I was watching you sleep--- you were trippin’, somewhere way off, baby.” He reached and grasped my hard-on to make the point, “I saw this grow in the middle of it. You came in my hand. It musta’ been good…but then you started jerking and quaking and all those tears started up. You scared me, Luke. I couldn’t get to you. What was going on in there?” He tapped my head with a greatly curious expression.

It was still the deep of night, before cock’s crow as the Old Ones once called it. Everything was muffled here under our quilt. I began divulging the strangeness that had been willingly enjoined. As I reached the weird encounter in the woods, we recognized a very long-fingered hand curl over Jeremy’s shoulder and into our midst. Ambergai Gee was noting the nuances of my telling. Not speaking a word, we knew he would add counsel when requested. So I continued. The big hand clasped mine and held it. I proceeded to tell of the encounter at the trees with the surreal surrounds; it brought chills to me in the recounting. By relating my emotions, plus the interpretation with which I came away, I was granted some catharsis.

I was positive some level of power had absconded with my conscious self to convey something of import. The three-dimensional world in which we exist can only be but a miniscule sliver of the universe. The other fathomable and unfathomable realms amidst which we all swirl elude all but the most adroit minds of humankind. Our instincts are so dulled by technology and day-to-day interactive stimuli that we have become inured to knowledge of those spheres. Some amongst us must be able to perceive such concepts, I felt sure. It was up to the rest of us to appreciate those who may be trusted to equate the truth of it all by their comprehension.

“Vera good, ma’ distinctly divinin’ young Mon, Luke,” Gai broke my bemusement following the rehashing. His sotto voice and island twang gave some understanding to my experience. The wise and ‘in-tune’ elder almost never offered his deeper thoughts without prodding. Because of this, we were rapt in our attention. “Ya’ be a’best served, ma’ Mon, by a’writin’ dem words in ya’ head down on de’ paper, as ‘dey were well a’spoken and a’thought o’, now.”

Rarely verbose, the man went on, “Mi been a’tinkin’ ‘bout some tin’s dese past days, as da’ winds dey’ be a’blowin’ in some changin’ aroun’ of da’ ways of da’ world right now. Mi done seein’ a few o’dem and dey’s gonna be a’needin’ some unnerstannin’, if ya’ be a’seein’ da’ point, ma’ Mons. Mi bein’ glad for da’ seein’ you been doin’, now, Luke Mon. It bein’ some deep sights ya’ been havin’, to be sure. Keep ‘dem inna’ fronta’ ya’ mind for a time, mi be sayin’. An, be a’memmerin’ o’ da balances in ‘da world, mi just be a’addin’.” With that, he hushed and embraced the both of us long and deeply, wrapping those lengthy arms around us, pulling into his body. For once, there existed no sexual innuendo. We were frankly taken aback.

Beyond my backside, I felt movement. The boys had apparently awakened to our muted exchange. First one white hand then an ebony one inched over my back, joining in our ‘early service’. Yup, I was one very lucky man, no doubt. Family made it so. Though I could still feel the small core of a cold knot in the pit of my belly, the togetherness made me whole. We would handle anything that came along.


“She was there with her fireman husband. And that really old guy that sings with her sometimes.” Bryce always rose to the sight and smell of celebrities. This week, his inaugural Telluride Gay Ski Festival, was sending him overboard. Celebs were rife in their presence. Sightings had the boy fairly salivating in the rounding of corners all over town. Ironically, he hadn’t said a single word about Oprah’s involvement with Jeremy’s episode two days before. We were convinced he was simply respecting his hero, Jeremy, by the lack of comment. Adolpho and Bryce had been down in the village the previous night, and townside the night before, for dinner plus dancing amongst the congregation of alternative lifestylers. The magnetic effect of celebs toward edgy, hard-partying LGBT citizens was well known. Though commonly a basis for jokes, gay people did grasp the world of revelry.

“Do you mean Tony Bennett?” Luke couldn’t let this one go without comment, “Arguably the most renowned singer and entertainer of his era?” He wasn’t buying that Bryce might actually be unaware. This was gay suicide.

“Oh, is he the one Gaga let do a duet CD with her a few years ago?” The boy couldn’t be more incorrigible by his ignorance and the great room fairly erupted in faux disbelief at the possibility.

“Let him… do an album… with Her Highness? The lady who fashion-states raw tenderloin?” Jake opened up on the matter, also agog about the dearth of knowledge. “She is sooo lucky to have him as a mentor. Now she might actually learn to sing instead of just marketing herself. And she knows it, cuteness. You do know about his trademark, ‘I left my Heart in San Francisco’, right, Bryce?” That should put the matter to rest, he rationalized.

The blank look left no doubt, and we all ganged up on the boy. Even Adolpho looked somewhat mystified, “You are seriously saying you don’t, baby boi? That is an insult to both the great American icon and the great American city. The man is a first-gen Italiano, like me, and his family comes from the south of Italy. Reggio Calabria. Bryce, we have to educate you. For your own good, baby.” He was chortling throughout this ‘tirade’, making his boy know all was in fun. Mostly.

Cal interjected, “Ever hear of ‘The Way You Look Tonight’? Or ‘Stranger in Paradise’? Head shakes made it funnier. “Maybe, ‘The Best Is Yet to Come’?” Still nothing. We were all amazed. Some of the younger generations seemed so self-absorbed. The world was literally passing them by. Laughter was the best response, yes, but better yet was to begin the education. Cal went to the extensive music library Jeremy and Luke had collected over the years.

While Cal searched the racks, Luke expanded the conversation, “Mr. Canyon, are you aware that Gaga’s husband isn’t a real fireman? He is an actor on a fireman TV series.” When Bryce expressed surprise at the information, sans any inkling of embarrassment, all recognized that the coming ‘battle’ would be an uphill one.

As everyone thought about this, the strains of ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ filled the room. Bryce’s beaming grin said it all. Paydirt. “Why didn’t you play that first, dudes? Everyone knows that guy. You know--- Frosty the Snowman.” The collective groan drowned out the wrong-season song. We kept the banter good-natured. Bryce didn’t feel put upon and Adolpho determined to begin a mentoring role to bring the young ski bum and computer programming student into ‘the know’.

The landline trilled from the far side of the room and Luke went to get it. The rest went on to planning for the day’s activities. Jeremy was symptomless and back to normal. With skiing off his list for a week or more, substitutes were being planned. But the man was on vigil himself, over Luke, since the nightmare scenario. He became animated as he observed his lover’s body language from the telephone alcove. The young doctor had gone into professional demeanor and Jeremy saw it.

As Luke hung up the phone, Jeremy sidled over unobtrusively and received a look of both consternation and misgiving. “Honey, that was Annalise Chastain. She’s at the hospital and just told me that Elmer Edgewater is agitating for leaving. Against doctor’s advice, broken leg and all. She says his girlfriend just arrived an hour ago and the two are ‘going home’. What in Hell can that mean…?” His angst was evident. “Bart and Annalise are still trying to reason with him, but she even admitted to understanding his logic. I think the whole thing is about to blow up, or worse. Do you think we should go over and see if we can help?”

“Luke, y’know I’m behind you 100%, whatever you need to do. That said, baby, what do you think the old guy is going to do different because you or we show up? The man is a maverick and a hermit. And we’ve both seen what his nature is. When he sets his mind, it’s ‘Katie bar the door’, now. You know that is true. I gotta admit, though, I am awfully curious about the girlfriend thing,” he said with flavor.

In the end, the decision was to wait. Even should the old fellow decide to truly go home, he must first travel by way of the Chastains’ home. That was only a quarter mile over from ours. The two decided they might provide more an ace up the sleeve by being available there than in sterile and universally disliked hospital environs.

As the group left the lodge awhile later, Luke injected an omitted tidbit, “Oh, I forgot to mention. Annalise said that she and Bart were hoping they may get some added back-up. They had a call right before she contacted me and said that the girlfriend’s escort may possibly sway Mr. Edgewater. The escort is Oprah.”

“It is too Shemar Moore. He cut off his mustache and goatee to go DL. And that has to be his brother--- Shemar isn’t married.” The loud whisper reverberated through the glass cab.

Luke and I snickered together. It was a common mistake. Jeremy did carry a resemblance to the CSI actor, even though Luke’s husband was several shades darker. And Cal was regularly linked with JK due to their shaved heads and ripped physiques.

Luke elbowed me, pointing. The mustached drag queen passed the joint he was sucking on over to Adolpho in highland camaraderie. The Italian boy took it and whispered back at the queen conspiratorially, “Girl, that man has five inches more between his legs than Shemar could ever hope to. Give it up, girlfriend.” He winked, grinning at the heavily rouged and lip-glossed character in the chartreuse ski outfit. A long toke later, Adolpho offered it back, but the queen signaled to keep it going, so he passed it to Bryce instead.

Mustache lady’s travel companion was a leggy bleach-blond with candy-cane striped pink body suit. She wasn’t certain either way but continued undressing the black hunks regardless. ‘Honey child, I thought that was a prop pokin’ through it was so big, but if that’s real, he can put me down with it anytime he wants.” A curved pink fingernail pointed at the bulge resting between my bro-in-law’s sprawled legs and we laughed again. The Pink Lady licked lips in the saying and looked at me. “Boy, you picked your seat right, sittin’ next to that. Do me a favor and squeeze the snake for me, I wanna see if it is da’ truth.”

Just stoned enough for the challenge, I doubled-down on the queen’s dare. Turning to JK, I interrupted his and Cal’s chitchat and when he turned toward me, I reached up and pulled his neck down to my level, lipping and tonguing him lasciviously. My free hand went for the crotch and I fondled the banana as requested. Jeremy, surprised at the act, nevertheless responded in kind. I plainly shocked JK as much as the two queens. He was such a good sport, I thought. When the ripe swelling grew larger almost immediately, Pink Lady nearly fainted, fanning her face in mock shock, “It IS real Marty… my God, it’s alive.”

The quip broke up the entire cabin. Cal reached down to rub on the changing outline, as well, beaming a grin at the two girls, “Ladies, this junk has graced the thirteenth ass in line to the Throne of England, now, so beware…be very aware…”

JFK good-naturedly carried on the charade, spreading his legs even further. Taking the proffered blunt now making its way to him, he grinned toward the drag queens, “Cal, my man, don’t let them know that I am the short stuff between you and me. And that you always cum at least five times per lay-down. That’s the dope, now, big man, but they couldn’t handle the truth.” He replied to Cal’s caressing by a like maneuver, diverting the queens’ attention to the previously un-noticed silhouette. They were now officially dazzled. If all this weren’t enough, the two ebony studs next shared a power hit, sending the cabin into overexertion.

They didn’t back off for a good minute and as the cab was peaking at the summit station, the station lady caught the action. Captivated, the older lady remarked to her co-worker. She recognized Jeremy from a couple of days earlier as the injured black skier being expressed over the mountain, gurneyed and in a neck brace. The two pointed repeatedly, catching others up in the spectacle. The sensually expressive duo caused a contagion of response through the gondola summit in moments. “Dear, if that is any indication of how the young man operates with a broken neck, I am flat fearful for his partner when he is healthy.”

An hour later, down townside, seated in our favorite sidewalk bistro on Pacific Street, the six of us bantered happily amidst the afternoon bustle of out-of-town clientele. Awaiting the call from the hospital had been impossibly fraught, so the trip over-mountain to enjoy afternoon dinner together proved therapeutic. The gondola trip had loosened us all up and the relaxed atmosphere in the bistro aided the measure. We split a pitcher of 24K margaritas in anticipation of the meal-for-six of grilled tilapia filets served Spanish family style.

Jake cut into the conversation after finishing off his second salted glass, “Luke, don’t look now but here comes that cutie from The Late Show--- you know, the Stay Human Band leader…I can’t pull out the name…” he said, looking bewildered.

Sure enough, I turned around and caught sight of the sexy man he had noticed, “Jake, that’s not Jon Batiste, boyfriend, it’s that hottie that I told you about, Ezra Pound. He chefs here. Jeremy and Gai have met him a couple times--- here, and at the lodge. Remember, baby?” Jeremy was grinning at the man as he pulled up to our table with a huge tray of food.

“Yo, Pound Cake, how’s it draggin’ flyboy?” he greeted the bistro chef.

Recognizing us, Ezra had decided to make a rare delivery himself. Distributing steaming hot platters of Spanish tilapia over wild rice and picoso broccoli crowns with artichoke hearts around our table, the sexy man stood back and scanned our group.

Looking at me, he commented, “Doctor, you are a-workin’ it, boi. Dat set o’ bookends be growin’ by the looks of it. ‘Cept you be missin’ a couple. Where he be, now?” He fist-bumped JK and continued his scrutiny of the others.

I smiled that he referred to Ambergai Gee as ‘a couple’. Gai was that well-hung. “You know, Ezra, he is off on errands and we aren’t exactly sure what those are. He’ll find us when he’s ready. Boi, this all looks delicious. Are you going to join us?”

We introduced the lanky man with huge feet to Jake and Cal, then watched as the chef left no doubt about his likely aim should the chance arise for plugging my boy, Doctor Marshall. His weakness for educated white men had been made plain on several occasions. Firstly, down a deserted alleyway, upon introducing himself to me a few months before. Jake would be enjoying further familiarization. Cal appeared amused. Adolpho and Bryce filled him in on the details.

The busy bistro negated any possibility for Ezra joining us then but his interest in the whiteboy-loaded table assured a visit to our side of the mountain in the near future. He backed away toward the kitchen, kneading his crotch in insinuation. More than one white ass in our group tingled at the move. Bryce, particularly, took reminiscent note, which produced a knowing glance between Jeremy and Adolpho. The young ski bum was insatiable. It was certainly an advantage for him that he had alighted in our world, settling with Adolpho, what with our laissez-faire attitudes toward sex.

Over the scrumptious feast, we all speculated on the tack to be taken regarding the older trio over at the county hospital. Jake felt that Mr. Edgewater’s wishes must be respected at all costs, while the younger men felt intervention on the elderly man’s behalf was important. I found it enlightening to see how the younger generations missed the value of autonomy and independence in latter stages of life. Deducing the difference must arise from inability to fathom elderly priorities, and having experienced little more than the bubble of adolescence, I remembered my similar rationale from that stage in life.

My pocket buzzed an incoming call and I retrieved the device. “Luke?” It was Bartholomew Chastain. “We are wheeling Elmer out to the limousine for heading around to our home. The entourage is a tad disconcerting and Annalise felt I should call to request your and Jeremy’s meeting us there. To assess and discuss his plans. Might there be any chance for you to do so, young man?” He was always traditionally proper in his manners, yet the aloofness I now perceived made me concerned for that which was not being said. I nodded to my husband and his intuition kicked in right away. Assuring the genteel soul of our willingness, I ended the call and all of us finished, then settled up, making our way back toward the gondola station.

The trip over soon put the six of us at the Chastain’s front door. I had assumed the ‘limousine’ Bart had alluded to had been a shuttle van. The stretch limo in the round-about put that premise to rest. Sleek and black, it took up a full half of the curved driveway. Nobody was inside, as far as we could tell. The darkened windows rebuffed perusal, but no reaction to window-tapping had next sent us up the front steps. A minute following our knock, a liveried gentleman-of-color, looking every bit a chauffeur, opened the door. Apparently expecting us, he pulled the door wide. We heard a hoarse, blustery voice exclaiming something unintelligible from inside.

Ushered in and depositing coats in the foyer, we made our way into the cozily sunken family room. A big rock fireplace boasting a yew log crackled its welcome. The vision of a wheel-chaired Elmer Edgewater attempting to arise on old-fashioned wooden crutches while lambasting the group surrounding him evidenced that our welcome was not universal.

Beside the older man was a stately woman of regal bearing in ski apparel. Her long blond tresses hung almost to her waist but the two braided plaits made them more like hanging ropes. Next to her, we were surprised to see Ambergai Gee and Sheila E with her partner, Cat.

The Chastains were apart from the patient, over close to the fireplace, conversing with a small, compact, shapely woman in flowing black. Jeremy nudged me, “Honey. I cannot believe my eyes, but if that isn’t Chaka, then I’m going nuts. I swear, that is her!” He sounded absolutely certain. The rest of us honed in on the dark red-haired beauty, curls blossoming in a controlled disarray of wildness, falling in abundance about her radiant smiling face.

From behind us, the liveried man announced our presence, “Madam, the doctors have arrived.”

“I ain’t needing no more goddam doctors,” came another eruption from Mr. Edgewater. He sank back into the wheelchair, unsuccessful in arising. The braided woman cushioned his descent. Annalise turned our way, plainly relieved at our appearance.

“Luke, Jeremy, please… come in. We are so very pleased you could come,” her elegant, long-fingered hands matched her voice and she gestured to join them. Clouds of displeasure smoldered around the irascible Elmer but he held his tongue. A small degree of respect at recognizing who we were muted him. At least, for the moment.

Ambergai and the girls met us with hugs, “Mi tinks it be a’good timin’ for ya’ a’comin’, now, ma’ Mons,” including all six of us with the broad sweep of his hand, “der’ be da’ need o’ da’ addin’ o’ da’ calmness a’ready in da’ room. I do believe ya’ be a’knowin’ da’ ladies, here, an’ ma’ old friend, Miss Khan, now, mi bein’ correct?”

Totally blown down, we shook hands with the diva, her warmth and openness apparent. “I am happy to know you, boys. Mr. Gee and my girls, Sheila and Cat, speak highly of you.” She fixed on Jeremy, “Dr. Kell, I understand through Annalise and Bartholomew that you have been challenged recently, yourself. I trust that an athlete of your stature is mending well, especially under the guiding eyes of two doctors… following their orders well, I am certain?” The luminary smiled widely as she spoke, having surely been apprised of a few details. Her astute gaze roamed up and down my man in open recognition of his masculine good looks.

Like everyone, she was immediately taken by his winsome aura and toothy smile. “I am surprised nobody informed me of the magnitude of your handsomeness. And, much more, that your entourage here rivals your own sexiness…” this, as she took in Calumet and Jake, along with the youths accompanying us.

“Ma’ lady, da’ Khan, ya’ be a’knowin’ da better, now, an’ admit it all. Mi, did, in fact o’ da’ matters, be a’tellin’ ya o’ ma’ Mons’ fetchin’ selves, be ya’ a’tellin all o’ da truth. Mi jus’ be a’sayin’,” Gai dwarfed Chaka as he enwrapped her shoulder with his huge hand.

A distinct cough from old Bart broke the thread and we all focused toward the wheelchair. Annalise took my hand and led me to the stately blonde, “Dr. Cevennes, I would very much like to introduce you to Elmer’s friend, here. She has traveled far afield on very short notice to be here at this time. May I introduce Mrs. Trude Jochum-Beiser of Lech am Arlberg, of the Vorarlberg in Austria.”

I was again stunned, unable to even stutter. The tall woman extended her hand, like a queen to a vassal, aristocratic bearing weighty in its gravitas. I took the proffered hand, almost kissing it. My man came to the rescue, stepping in and ably welcoming the Olympic icon. He, in turn, introduced the rest of our family. She spoke gracefully, but without any sign of self-absorption, deflecting attention to Mr. Edgewater instead.

“It is my good fortune, and luck, to have been tracked down by Miss Winfrey and Miss Khan, along with these girls and the dear spirit, Mr. Gee, in my hamlet these recent days past. Being informed of the misfortune overtaking my dear old flame here in Telluride, I was glad to hasten here to be of whatever small service I could.” With that, she placed her hands on Elmer’s shoulders, endearingly embracing the old codger.

Disarmed by her touch, the old fellow peered upward, almost smiling. A different persona entirely from just moments before. No rancor or animosity was evident now as the man fairly melted in surrender to the fond display.

“I ain’t saying that I need any undue attention, now, Trude, but I will admit you are a sight for sore eyes.” A slight edge sounded in his next words but his manners held. “I am surprised your husband allowed you to come, for sure. I remember Alfred as quite the jealous husband, at least from the news reports.” The quizzical look bespoke much.

“Well, El, since Alfred has been gone these past three years, I must say that he did not raise much protest at my abrupt departure. And, you must admit, he had quite a reason for envy, in light of your and my slightly checkered history, you old dear,” she again squeezed his shoulders and leaned down to peck his shock of white hair.

Ambergai sensed the mood and nimbly herded all of us toward the kitchen. A dozen pairs of feet shuffled through the door to allow the couple some privacy. We compared notes and discovered our Jamaican friend’s idea to find Trude. Employing the far reach of Oprah and Chaka for the leg work. The two had worked together with Sheila E and her lady, bringing the plan to fruition in what seemed to be the nick of time. What might actually result remained the looming question. Nonetheless, Mr. Edgewater was about the only person with any answers.

Cal broached the elephant in the room, “Now that the two are in there together, what are their options? It would seem a given they both need some help. Is she thinking of spending time here with Elmer, and where would they be doing it, if so? Even a strong woman like Trude, at close to ninety years of age, herself, must be daunted by thinking of caring for him in the present condition. Won’t the two need home health care, physical therapy and skilled nursing, just for starters? And, again, where will everything happen?” All were poignant issues.

Old Bart again insisted that the gent could stay in their home during convalescence. Annalise was in agreement but had reservations. Especially now that Trude had arrived, they couldn’t know whether the two even desired help. Needed or not. The pride factor was a strong instinct, as she well knew.

Chaka intoned the idea which was probably most relevant, “You know, this whole conversation may be unnecessary, as none of us truly have any say in the matter. It looks to be a decision for the two in the next room. Maybe our plans should await their input before we get smacked right down by those very strong personalities…” She pointed at the door separating us from them. Ambergai added his agreement. None of us could gainsay the premise. So for the time being, we poured a couple bottles of wine around the Chastain’s table and ruminated.

Before we had finished settling other world issues, the door bumped open to the push of Trude rolling Elmer into the room. “We have pretty much made our decision how to go forward,” she said. “Elmer Bruce and I are going up to his home and settle in. Now.” The resolute faces told us they were not brooking any dissent. “Both of us deeply appreciate all that has been done in our behalf. Now, we mean to travel the path which we have decided is in our best mutual interest.” Elmer soaked up the presence of the one person for whom he had spent most of his life waiting. The look in his eyes was one which even Annalise had never encountered.

With our collective, if hesitant, blessing, the couple began their plans for the ascent. Travel up the steepness to Elmer’s eyrie was, in itself, an obstacle, due to the challenge of the patient’s ambulatory capacity. We all pitched in to help in what manner we were able. Over the next hours, provisions were packed and bundled, the limo was loaded and two snowmobiles were acquired from the village. In the present weather, transportation would prove a huge challenge, we knew. Luckily, Elmer had prepared his home in the recent years for contingencies like this should something occur. Having discussed this together, Trude and he felt they could manage. Our consternation aside, a cavalcade soon materialized and the trek began.

Before sunset, sixteen people, including the reunited paramours, arrived and settled the two in the very rustic environs where Elmer had spent most of his life. Solidly snug, Trude was enthralled with the place, feeling as if she had been transported back to her childhood in Austria.

The views were splendid. Craggy San Juan peaks surrounded Telluride Mountain in snowy majesty. Elmer had used his talents constructing the abode for fullest effect. We all huddled in the large, low-beamed room facing outward to the rugged snow globe diorama. No other homes or buildings were in sight; this was the highest edifice on the mountain. In the short time allotted for helping establish them, a wary level of comfort that maybe the duo could succeed in their professed aims had taken hold.

They acceded to our insistence of daily check-ins, nursing visits, and even with my and Jake’s promise for regular home doctor visits with an ease which surprised us. Pantry and pharmacy, plus provisions, had been stocked in excess.

We all tempered our misgivings and left the doting Trude cuddling with a semi-comfortable Elmer on the downy bed overlooking one of the grandest views the world could afford anyone. Elmer had planned well.

Descending the heights back to the Chastain’s home found us heaving sighs of hope and semi-relief that we had delivered and left the old-world chatelaine and her long lost lover to their private devices…nothing more could be done. At least, by any of us.

Unwinding to more good red wine and green-cross pharmaceuticals for the early evening hours, everyone ensconced before the roaring fireplace. We toasted the two, in absentia, with well-wishes for lives still being well-lived.

Chaka and Gai finally ushered in the end to a bittersweet day by announcing their resolve to depart. It broke the reverie. All of us gradually made our ways in divergent directions toward the village, Telluride town or respective homes.

I invoked physician’s privilege by escorting my reticent husband to our lodge. Cal and Jake decided to accompany the boys down-mountain for a bit of relief-by-merrymaking. Our old Black Forest cuckoo clock finally counted midnight with Jeremy and I laying snuggled together alone in our own private eyrie, whispering conspiratorially.

Listening to my man’s breathing even out to the deep breaths signaling his submission to Morpheus, my ears picked up the high country reverberations of wolves howling somewhere in the far, high peaks above us. My own eyes fluttered shut to the comforting hoots from the owl resident outside in the tall spruce guarding our balcony.

The world was where it should be.


“Riddle me this: Cauliflower must admit: it is really broccoli just trying to get an Oscar.” Adolpho was perplexed by the idea. He and I were the only ones up in the house the following morning. We were sharing coffee before the fireplace, watching fat snowflakes flutter past the windows in the early morning light.

The young sommelier was filling me in on the carousing he and Bryce had reveled in with Cal, Jake, Sheila E and Cat G late into the night. By his portrayal, the whole of Mountain Village must be painted in deep shades of crimson now. Cal and Bryce had apparently answered the call of the wild to entertain the packed ballroom in the Hotel Madeline.

From Adolpho’s telling, he and Jake, with Sheila and Cat rooting them on, had watched as Cal had enticed the shy Bryce, in youthful throes of stoned ebullience, to perform a cabaret-style impromptu strip-tease on the stage. Or a bar. I hadn’t quite determined that part yet. The two must have brought the house down, I surmised, knowing the sex-appeal of both the men. I envisioned them together charming the crowd. Cal was notoriously exhibitionist in his party-mode and the pent-up anxieties from the previous day had evidently psyched him well for an overdue release.

Adolpho related how another celebrity presence in the area for the festival, the star of the Broadway musical, ‘Kinky Boots’, Wayne Brady, had been talked into joining the drag revue unfolding about the time my boys had arrived. Thirty minutes into Brady’s donning of the drag queen MC’s thigh-high, red-sequined boots, Cal had been spotted near the back of the room. Towering over everyone, he had been power-hitting Jake.

It hadn’t taken much to coerce the tall hunk into joining Wayne on stage where an extra pair of boots had been produced. Cal had played the crowd, slithering up on the bar, extending his legs skyward while his pants were removed and the boots were pulled on him. All right there in front of the looney crowd. The mental snapshot of my brother-in-law up on the stage in speedo and thigh boots was an arousing one.

He had then literally collared and yanked the naïve blond bombshell, Bryce, up beside him. The two had camped the place, along with the Broadway icon, erogenously re-enacting Wayne’s opening scene and disrobing in strobe.

Ersatz kitsch and bombast had abounded, per Adolpho’s entertaining depiction. As it happened, by the end of the scene up on the adjacent long mahogany bar, Cal’s tens had somehow been coaxed awake. The enormous boner had apparently peeked past Cal’s speedo confines, which had rocked those queens’ world... I could just picture it all. Not the least of which was the image of my best man, Jake, hanging back on the wall, calmly taking it in. Content in indulging his alpha-man husband and no doubt happy in his own anonymity.

At least I now understood the mystery of all four boys bouncing into our bed at 2:30 AM, covered in some kind of oil and very little clothing. The ensuing orgy had pulled Jeremy and myself in and gooey loads later, we had all collapsed together. The sheets were going to need bleaching, I smirked to myself.

Presently, Adolpho and I were the only bedmates capable of rising and taking nourishment. Fleecy white bathrobes draped us following our wakeup shower and we mulled things over. The dogs lounged contentedly beneath us after a snowy romp.

I responded to the initial enquiry about the MC’s allusion to cauliflower. “Dolph, I think she must have been talking about the oversight by the Academy in nominating any minorities for Awards this year.” It seemed allegorically feasible, I thought, and a fitting joke given the alternative venue laced by celebs, as the place had been. We snickered over the clever witticism.

“You know, I think that Wayne Brady must be at least bi-curious,” Adolpho opined. “He was salivating over Cal the whole time. And come to think, it was him that singled out Cal from the stage to begin with. Jake and I thought it was just ramping up audience participation, but Mr. Brady sure kept ‘accidentally’ bumping and grinding Cal up there. It’s pretty obvious why Cal sprang a boner. That horn dog.” I wondered to whom the Italiano was referring.

Though Cal was extremely carnal, Wayne Brady was infamous for his gay innuendos in public forums. Many guessed his proclivity, even though he wasn’t ‘out’. That in itself was a stirring thought. The ‘new Monty Hall’ was a hottie in his own right. It was a wonder that the Kinky Boots star hadn’t shown up here with the boys last night.

Third cups of Blue Mountain coffee later found Dolph helping me crank up the hot tub heaters and jets. I figured everyone would enjoy the morning snowfall amidst the nursing of certain hangovers, and my husband needed heat application with massage for his aching neck and shoulder. The idea sounded great on both scores. There were already several snow rabbits, a doe and a couple of black squirrels hunting and grazing close by as the snow flurries thickened. The ambience was perfect.

Racing back inside, barefoot and freezing in only our robes, we found my man and Jake pouring mugs of fresh coffee. They were also sporting just robes and acted surprised when we burst through the door in the same. “You guys must be nuts--- or nutless, one of the two--- being out there like that,” Jake scolded, “Here, lemme check out those scrotums, boys.” He was still revved from partying, and we jested about the vaudeville performers shirking the morning upstairs. He playfully cupped us both in passing, sure enough palming shriveled, retracted ball-less sacks.

“Baby man, it sure sounds like we missed some performance last night. Did you hear what went on downhill at the Madeline?” Jeremy fucked me silly before we had fallen asleep and I knew he wasn’t complaining. I swatted him as I sat on him in the fireside recliner.

“What, the accommodations weren’t to your liking, JK? Is that what I’m hearing?” It was always fun ragging Jeremy, as the man took everything out of my mouth as gospel, even after two decades. The fact warmed my heart. His puppy-dog look appeared and the sore-shouldered patient surfaced. I rubbed everything except my man’s sore spots in making my tease points. He loosened up. The lack of cynicism was so endearing.

“No, my man, you are not. I ain’t ever gonna be gettin’ ee-nuf’ o’ MY bootilicious stuff,” as he slanged and squeezed my cakes. I nipped his lip, informing him about our plan for soaking outside. Basking in my luck…and his swelling lap.

Homemade granola with fruit and yogurt later, and after dragging the straggler dick-dancers downstairs, all six of us traipsed to the hot tub. Sharing a couple of joints, we played happily together in rejoining the Oreo Review, as Jake was dubbing it.

My best boy’s take lent even more nuance to the already lurid tale. It would seem that Bryce had pulled Adolpho into the bathroom afterward and the two had been caught red-handed there. Bryce went to begging his man’s forgiveness for acting out like he had, seeking atonement by blowjob. Not even necessary, Adolpho wasn’t turning down the attention. The two had been blitzed enough that they hadn’t bothered to break it off when accosted. iPhones had tallied an additional tale, and probable uploads to free video websites, for ski week adventurers to re-hash upon their return to the real world. Dolph had abashedly omitted the juicy tidbit and we all razzed the two mercilessly between tokes.

Pulling on heavy lined boots over waterproof outer wear in our en suite closet, Jake and I discussed whether to call for an update on the couple up at the summit before hiking down to dinner on the piazza. We were looking for more immersion with the festival mood what with the snowy onslaught but our need for the knowledge of well-being was bothering our consciences. “You know that the visiting nurses will let us know the status, and it’s still early yet, Luke. Besides, with the whiteout, they may be having trouble getting up the trail. We should just go ahead with the boys. We have our phones, y’know.”

Returning to the Madeline for lunch, on purpose, made for an exceedingly gratifying reception by the hotel occupants and staff. Jeremy and I had missed the entire thing. I suppose we were looking for vicarious fulfillment. Bryce and Cal were rock stars in the staff’s eyes, the streamed show having spread like wildfire overnight. We ate lunch amid adulative recognition, loving the attentive drag ski and party participants. Fettuccini, Colorado Bass filets and coq au vin went down deliciously with Oolong tea. Cal was fending off over-the-top men of all stripes and relishing every second. The man was in his element.

Bryce, not so much. He wasn’t seasoned at the art of deflection, unused to being center of attention. The previous night, he had been swept up in the party without much forethought. But now, he was obviously uncomfortable. Adolpho went into protective mode for his new other half but we watched the basically shy Italian get swamped by the attempt.

We more seasoned partiers coalesced around the two in big brother fashion, putting the young couple in our center and insulating them. They caught their collective breath and gradually deduced our strategy. Our ‘baby bro’ was hit by the strong, solid wall of caring he had gained in our family. The ‘coming out’ talk at Hallowe’en amongst us four flooded back to him, now permanently impacting his spirit. Faith was instilled. We had his back and he finally believed it.

Before we finished dessert, Bryce was already accepting he wasn’t alone and the pressure melted before our eyes. He seized on the overzealous crowd, maturing a little right there before our eyes. Cal and Jake caught on to his reaction and Jeremy grasped me tight in tacit acknowledgement. And Adolpho…well, he drooled on him. His boi was growing up.

The Art and Psychology of leaning on one another. The basic concept of Family. The gay community was coming of age through the allowance of equal rights. The harvest was ready for the reaping. Let it be understood.

While Cal signed an autograph, hat-size increasing as he scribbled, we strolled across the piazza toward home. As we walked, I felt the vibrating iPhone in my pocket. Answering it, I was astonished to hear Ambergai’s voice. The man rarely ever spoke telephonically. But it was his words which really threw me. In assent to his assertive instructions, I quickly hung up. “We are needed up at Elmer Edgewater’s place. Right away.”

Not aware of any specifics, I was unable to enlighten the rest. We took off for the house and grabbed both double snow mobiles from our shed. Three bodies on each slowed our progress but we made it up the mountain in twenty more minutes, finding two four-wheel drive vehicles with snow chains parked in the snow by the door.

Double stepping the stairs, we were greeted before we knocked by a tear-streaked Annalise, linen handkerchief to her nose. Bart was on her heels, wet eyed, too. We saw Gai, Susan, the home health nurse, and Miss Winfrey standing at the large bay window anchoring the front view in the house. All were statuesquely quiet; reverentially so. The aura of calamity hung in the air. And the house was freezing cold.

Hugging the old couple, we entered. From up the staircase there emanated the sound of Glen Miller’s Band playing ‘Moonlight Serenade’. No one said a word. We listened as the big band hit played on. Its haunting melody filled the old lodge.

Ambergai pulled away from Oprah after a few moments and approached us, unusually reserved. “Mi Mons, ‘der be a big change in da’ stars—dey been done realigned over da’ night. If ya be a’followin’, now, let’s us go up to da big room ‘der. Da couple done bein’ havin’ ‘der own private ideas for da’ future…”

At the ominous words, we followed as Gai took Oprah’s arm. The powerful woman smiled sadly at us and we trailed the two up the stairway. The music grew louder as we reached the landing. Topping the last step and turning into the roomy bedroom, our eyes beheld both Elmer and Trude. They were in the bed. Frozen in final embrace.

The scene shocked us but the serenity on their faces said everything. The two were cheek to cheek, but more, they were unclothed and holding one another close, in full body mode.

The couple appeared to have locked together in the act of consummation, now evincing unearthly beauty in expiry. Discernible ending moments in mutual rhapsody resided in their death masks. Arms wrapping tightly around one another, her long tresses had been unwound and brushed through, now caressing both of them in a golden mantle.

In amazement, we saw Elmer’s splinted left leg covering Trude’s right one: or the part remaining, anyway. Amputated at the knee, his disabled one protected her lost one. We found the Olympic athlete’s prosthetic propped next to the bed out of sight. No one had known of the Olympic skier’s obviously recent amputation. Metastatic disease was agonizingly consumptive.

The lovebirds had opened all of the windows throughout the house and shared their passion before the now smoldering fireplace. Two partly-filled wine glasses rested on the side table by the bed. Elmer’s empty opiate pain medication bottle lay next to those and an opened push-tab wrapper labeled, ’Tadalafil/20 mg’, close by that. Burned-down bee’s wax candles were positioned in profusion around the room. A smoked roach lay cold in the small ash tray. Fresh snow powdered the sills and floors.

Jeremy leaned into my ear, “Honey, there has never been a more moving sight…look at them.” He nuzzled my face and I felt his tears collide with my own. Each of us were totally stunned. Nothing would ever alter that etched memory for the rest of our lives.

Glen Miller finished the song. After a few seconds of static from the old Motorola turntable, set to endless repeat mode, there came another. ‘In the Mood’ soothed the room. An unmatchable sense of sangfroid and karma swathed us. I felt like an intruder, suddenly, as did we all.

Jake made motion to cover the couple but Cal stopped his husband, gently pulling his hands to his own, “My Jake, they left with their spirits together. Far be it for us to decide they would want to be covered now. Leave them in peace, baby.” We knew how right-on he was. Departing the love nest, we descended in deferential silence. Meeting the Chastains and Susan at the base of the stairs, we sought seats in the windswept living room, shivering on more than one level.

It was Oprah who noticed the envelope on the mantel. Fallen flat in a gust of wind it had gone unnoticed. She read the addressee and handed it to Annalise. The elegant woman carefully opened the seal. Pulling out the single sheet of paper, the elderly couple read together, more tears streaming.

The music ended again and Annalise looked up at us. Snowflakes settled on her head through the open window, carried in on the soft sigh of an alpine draught. She gracefully read to us as a new melody began. It was Glen Miller’s recording of ‘Elmer’s Tune’.

“Dear ones.

We regret the shock to your senses, but did, indeed, decide our course. Know that it is the right one for us and be happy. We are supremely so. Here in the heights, we are both certain our spirits will have a very short trek to our eternal spot.

Let it be said that we left on top of the world. Cry: it is cleansing. We miss you all already. But don’t be sorry for us. We will only be making up for lost time in a dimension where there is no sense of it.

Notice the bequest we leave for our woodland friends. A haven to be shared. Seek us just twenty yards to the southwest of this front door. Come and commune whenever you like.

Please grant us this one favor. Let this bed and this home serve as our bodies’ final resting site. And our pyre.

Forever at Peace, Elmer and Trude.

The fitting melody progressed into the lyrical reprise and as she finished, the words wafted over us:

‘Why are the stars always a’winking and blinking above?’

‘What makes a fellow start thinking of falling in love?’

‘It’s not the season, the reason is plain as the moon.’

‘It’s just Elmer’s tune.’

‘What makes a lady of eighty go out on the loose?’

‘Why does a gander meander in search of a goose?’

‘What puts a kick in the chicken, the magic in June?’

‘It’s just Elmer’s tune.’

‘Listen, listen, there’s a lot you’re li’ble to be missin’.’

‘Sing it, swing, any old way and any old time.’

‘The hurdy gurdies, the birdies, the cop on the beat.’

‘The candy maker, the baker, the man on the street.’

‘The City charmer, the farmer, the Man in the Moon.’

‘All sing Elmer’s Tune…’


Jeremy sat on the Adirondack chair at the edge of the ice. He watched contentedly as I pirouetted and twirled on the ice skates in a private show for him. My scarf trailed behind me as I carved designs on the pond outside our home. With a final turn, I skated across to him, slowing as I drew close. I ungracefully ended by collapsing in his lap and he applauded my efforts.

“Boi, you are making Apolo Ono jealous as shit right now. I should be streaming this somewhere to show you off, my man.” Never mind that I had been figure skating rather than speed skating.

More like Brian Boitano, I hrmmphed to myself. He and I had practiced on the pond over the preceding winters, strengthening our ankles in the doing. Since I wouldn’t yet permit my patient to risk himself falling on the ice, JK good-naturedly put up with my protectiveness with graceful aplomb. He pulled me down for a slow kiss and we snuggled in the last vestiges of the epic snowstorm.

Only fluttering snowflakes fell at this point, as Nature finally exhausted itself. An inexplicable weather system had sprung a surprise on the region’s meteorology experts, fostering an event which grew into a snowstorm of epic proportions, raging over Telluride mountain for three days’ duration. Paralyzing the mountain during that period, the Ski Festival had been forced indoors, as ski lifts and even the ever-running gondola system had been shut down.

Barely making it down from the divide following our impromptu wake at Elmer’s lodge, blizzard conditions had set in. The night of the couple’s deaths, as authorities pieced things together afterward, it seemed a combustive event had been triggered by a closed flue capping the big rock fireplace. Whether a tragic accident or a forethought stratagem, the ancient heartwood oak and spruce log home had caught fire and blazed through most of the night.

Without ability to get fire equipment up the steep incline during the blizzard, no relief had been possible. By three mornings later, the foundation and two fireplaces were all that remained. Officials had identified dental remains and announced that the elderly Olympians had succumbed to the vagaries and caprices of Mother Nature at her worst. Or finest. Tragedy had taken them and all had been deemed unpreventable by Man.

That night, the seven of us had hunkered down in our cozy abode as intermittent glimmers of an ongoing conflagration up on the divide flared through the maelstrom. Trude and Elmer had been safely sent on their way to eternity and there would be no interruption in their plans. It would seem that they had been bequeathed their last wish.

The truth of the matter, which would follow all of us to our graves, was this. The group celebrating Trude and Elmer’s ‘lives well-lived’ had closed the ground floor windows after listening to the swan song letter penned by Trude and built up a roaring fire to heal the coldness. Breaking out the pantry provisions and wine cellar stocks, we had paid tribute to the duo upstairs by holding a memorial wake as the two had requested and would have wished. The Glen Miller Band had serenaded throughout. In the middle of the fete, we had all trekked the twenty yards to the southwest as Trude’s letter had directed and come upon an exquisitely poetic discovery.

A secluded alpine glade had been carefully cultivated there. Snowdrifts insulated a sylvan setting where Elmer had long ago dug a fire pit, ringed it with large smooth pink granite stones and set a heavy, heartwood-oak bench to one side. The comfortable seat had been lovingly hewn from a single mammoth trunk. Large enough to seat four people comfortably, it had most probably come from the hoard of hand-cut logs used to construct the log home following the Olympic Games in the 1940’s. The old recluse had no doubt spent countless hours in reverie at the site over the years. Situated behind the fire pit, the bench faced outward, commanding a magnificent view of the valley for miles around.

To the side stood two mature trees which a young Elmer Edgewater had nurtured until they were self-sufficient. Both were imported as saplings. Not native to the area, it had taken years to be confident of their survival. Now, intertwined not only in their branches, but in their roots as well, the gnarled old Chinkapin Oak and the elegantly straight and tall, heart-shaped leaved Linden tree served as sentinels over the entire vicinity.

Newly carved into the bark of each, we encountered one half of a heart. In the oak, the initials E.B.E. were carved. In the Linden, the initials T.B. had been traced. Each set of initials were based by five interlocking rings. Olympic rings. An entire heart had been wholly etched in a nearby granite boulder, both sets of initials together there. The lovers had spent some of their final moments at this site, making their mark. A contagion of goosebumps proliferated amongst us during our visit to Elmer and Trude’s eternal dwelling. Their spirits were probably unpacking as we explored. Or making love. But surely laughing at us…

We had then made our way back to the lodge and closed everything up. Tight. But only downstairs. After sharing a commemorative doobie in the couple’s honor at Bart and Annalise’s insistence, the final act had been to stoke the fire and toss the healthy blunt on the flames before heading out the door. Nobody seemed to notice the first wisps of smoky backdrafts invading the common room. The tight downstairs closure had included the fateful clamping of the main flue. It would bode serious risk for the old lodge’s integrity, one that was fraught with danger of a fiery accident.

Or a funeral pyre.


“Gramps, do you think William knows I’m back?” Little Elle had proven adamant about the subject since her and her mama’s arrival to our eyrie a few days before. On every previous visit, the young ram had faithfully shown up to welcome the little tyke on whom he had an interspecies crush. Now, the pig-tailed girl was demanding information from her grandfather, the All-Knowing, and was not going to be put off any longer.

“Baby girl, William isn’t used to you and your mama coming this time of year. He’s up on the mountain looking for girlfriends the way most rams do right now. I think he’ll be around soon…your tree trunk is all warmed up and that boy can feel it, I am pretty sure. So, be patient, sweetheart.” Jeremy was asking the impossible of a six-and-a-half-year-old but the new nickname was still flummoxing the man so it was the best he could come up with at the moment.

‘Gramps’ was a shock to his system, I could tell, and even though the little sprite meant the world to the big teddy bear, as Big Elle continued to do, the timber of his voice betrayed JFK’s trepidation at the word. Walking away from our spot in the hottub, the little girl gazed forlornly at the spruce tree across the way.

“Well, Gramps” --- she emphasized the word--- “he better get his butt down that mountain soon, ‘cause he’s missin’ me.” I couldn’t hold in the smothered snicker and Jeremy elbowed me at the reaction. I was tickled by the sprite’s usage of the forbidden word, ‘butt’, however her grandpa was still focusing on the second intonation of the now officially detestable reference to his status, inferring my amusement as due to…that word.

I splashed him and pushed his head under the surface of the roiling hot tub bubbles. He responded by gripping my piece around its base from his submerged position. Though my trunks kept him from a good grip, his mouth followed the hand, and teeth next portrayed faux vexation by engulfing me through the material. I was surprised by his contact and almost shrieked in delight.

Not missing a thing, Elle Jr piped up, “Grandpa Luke, is he getting on your junk again?” I was shocked by her precociousness and gulped water in my sputtering.

“Well, Luke, is he?” This from big Elle’s mouth. Jeremy’s grown up daughter had exited the back door, carrying a tray of lemonade and a fresh bowl of hot popcorn. The two females were ganging up on us boys.

“Hey, Elle, I didn’t hear you,” as I tried extricating myself from the submerged piranha still teething. Not thinking his granddaughter could see, let alone know what he was attempting, he sure wasn’t aware that his daughter was now querying the same subject. I yanked my man away and pulled him topside to face the music.

Shaking his handsome head, Jeremy rubbed his eyes to clear them and visualized his girls. ’Oh, hi, Ellie… hey, that looks good.” He reached out for a tall glass and was playfully rebuffed by the dark beauty bearing the tray. Mock anger crossed her face as she berated her daddy, “Can’t I even leave you two alone one minute without you getting nasty in front of this innocent, boys?”

I nudged him again and he grasped the undercurrent of the unheard questions by looking from one to the other. In feigned state of embarrassment, he turned to me and planted a lip lock kiss over my mouth. Both girl’s ‘yucked’ in their dismay at his lack of humility. Finally backing off, he turned to them again.

“My girls. You two may as well pull yourselves out of the Stone Age and come to grips with the fact that this here is my…husband… and we love each other. He can’t keep his hands off of me.

A huge splash erupted from his submerged hand-swipe upward and hot water soaked them both. Their peals of laughter halted the allied onslaught. The two attempted fakery in the form of peeved insult. The front lasted all of five seconds before big Elle put down the drinks and now-soggy popcorn. Both of our ‘baby girls’ tumbled into the hot tub with us. In true collusion style, all three of us collectively dunked the big stud. Gramps succumbed in tickled defeat.

Toweling off in our shower room, Jeremy rolled his and popped my ass, “Boi, you are in deep trouble. Siding with that pair of harpies against me? I believe you are in line for a spankin’, now. So, I’ll be benevolent. Either get over this knee--- right this minute--- or get on this.” He pointed down at his swelling dick. Seeing my glance at the door, he added, “You saw me lock that door, you bad boi, so make up your mind.”

I chose both. It had been two days since we had shared pleasure, an unheard of period of chastity between us. Our collective desire was uncontrollable. Lifting me over his shoulder, my man hefted me out the en suite door. I was deposited unceremoniously onto our bed. He set to slaking his ardor in a series of moves which succeeded in satisfying our combined needs over the next hour. Laying exhausted after multiple climaxes, we were interrupted by loud knocking at the bedroom door.

Little Elle had been ignored long enough. “Are you two about finished in there? We have things to do and places to go out here, y’know. You old guys need to put it away and get back to me and mama.” We were dazed, again, at the little imp’s audacious display and smothered one another under pillows to stifle our mirthful disbelief.

The next sounds outside the door were hushed admonitions by Ellie, pulling the little big mouth back down the stairs. We did shriek from under the same pillow then, “My God, what is going on with that imp? She is Ellie on steroids!” We both remembered back to big Elle’s precocious ways at the same age. While she had been just as astutely observant, the young mama Elle had exhibited much more reserve in her delivery. Or were we misremembering? Could that be? Apparently coming to similar conclusions, we lay awhile longer in commiseration before rising and dressing.

Arriving in the kitchen a bit later, Jeremy took the reins of preparation for dinner while I set to laying a fire, picking up around the house, then getting Elvee and Suture situated with a romp around the property. Little Elle accompanied us. I was re-familiarizing with everything after being absent these past four months and reconnoitered with them.

Following the tumultuous February festival with all of the revelry and activity, punctuated by the trauma of loss, a period of quietude had descended on all seven of us in the household. For a good couple of weeks, we had recuperated. We sequestered ourselves away from the hubbub for refortification. The time had been salutary.

The Chastains had reconciled their consciences over the loss of their close cohort. The celebrity factor had vacated town along with the gay influence. Ambergai had finally felt comfortable that we ‘boys’ had healed enough psychologically and taken his leave back to Blue Mountain on the island for attention to some necessary issues.

Adolpho’s very successful wine business had needed inventory re-stocking and he had cajoled Bryce into switching his computer programming and coding courses to online status, enabling the duo to visit Tuscany and Florence again for several months. Our best men, Cal and Jake, had stuck with us until we four had decided the downlander world must be rejoined. For the past four months, Jake and I had shifted back to medical rounds at Brack, in Austin, and Jeremy had resumed his spring semester courses at UT. Cal left to tour all seven of his regional corporate offices for long overdue hands-on supervisory and organizational tasks.

The high country had pulled on us like sailors to the sea throughout the time. Finally, as May rolled into June again, Jeremy and I had answered the call. We had set a sojourn into sync with our girls and were now returned for the next months. The Elles were with us for two whole weeks and we were loving every minute. They both changed way too much and too quickly when apart, for our tastes. Though we knew Ellie was supremely happy in her life and wouldn’t try swaying her to change it, the interludes at the highland lodge were just too brief.

Well, I pondered, as I watched little Elle race with the boys on the far side of the pond, it was what it was and no matter preferences, some things simply couldn’t be different than meant to be. The profundity made me think of the glen up on the divide. Jeremy and I must visit there soon. And it would be good if we took the Chastains with us. Annalise had told me the two of them had not returned since the day of the fire that took away their friends’ reality. A visit would have proved too emotionally wrought, she had said. I would see if Jeremy and I could arrange the four of us going together. A good thing for us all, I figured.

The trio of exuberance suddenly surrounded me, snapping me to the everyday, and we made our way to the house for dinner.


“Jeremy, look there--- is that a Bighorn?” I pointed through the windshield up at a high peak as we rounded the hairpin curve. Having left our girls at the Montrose airport an hour before, we had been introspective on the return trip home. I had been perusing the landscape in silence and just spotted the curled horns on a cliff above.

Squinting upward through the windshield, “Yup, I think it is, Luke. Wonder if it could be W.C. That old goat…” My husband was still miffed that the big ram hadn’t ever shown himself while we had the girls in residence, ‘after all we had done for him’, as he had unfairly accused. Like the mature orphan owed it to us onetime fosterers. I smiled to myself. It had been a bit disheartening to see Little Elle’s disappointment at missing her friend, but she had experienced a dose of reality. The letdown would end up being a positive someday in the future. I chose to believe that.

My hope was that the magnificent beast was OK. We had heard a lot of clashing horns up in the heights since our homecoming. There were never any assurances when it came to maintenance of the status quo in Nature, and we realized our ram might have been successfully challenged in his supremacy. It was a sobering possibility.

The sighting once again reminded my intention for visiting Elmer’s glen. “Honey, can we plan to go see ‘The Trees’ now that we’re by ourselves? I really have had it on my mind that we should. Even if Annalise and Bart aren’t ready yet.” The innate tugging had increased over the past two days and I surmised that on some level there was a reason for it. Being but an ignorant human with diminished instincts, I tried to pay attention to my inner self. Lately, Sir Id had been much more insistent in his statements. I felt a need for action.

So we agreed.


The ruins of the place were mind numbing. As we stood before the skeletal remains of two lonely obelisks formerly known as fireplaces, the previous February’s wounds opened anew. Contrasting the picture of the former log home in its glory to this rubble stole my breath. Jeremy wrapped my waist with his arm, drawing me to him. “Luke, I didn’t think the sight would bother me this much. No wonder the Chastains haven’t come up yet. They understood.”

A powdery residue of ash still covered everything. Sporadic puffs of a faint breeze stirred little whirlwinds of the stuff, accentuating the mood of wistfulness. We climbed up what remained of the rock steps. Turning to take in the grand view from the former front porch, we became pensive.

The venerable old hand-hewn lodge had stood on land cut out of a nature preserve decades before. Elmer had somehow cajoled the state land office and the federal authorities to allow him the one-time privilege of procuring acreage under a defunct set of rules since changed. That was why the man had been able to erect the only edifice on the divide. The veteran’s G.I. bill and some other enigmatic justification had afforded him leverage, as cryptically notated on the Federal Bureau of Land Management application dated June, 1949. The exception for his construction, listed as ‘by executive mandate’, proved to be the only one ever certified. It was a true puzzle we were likely never to decipher. The idea occurred to wonder what Elmer might feel should he see what remained of his physical life here. Would he be bereft? Or satisfied?

As we descended again, a metallic glint caught my eye. Reaching under the edge of one of the foundation stones, I touched a small sharp object fastened in some way underneath the base layer. I had to dig a bit to loosen the thing. Upon doing so, I found that the sharpness comprised but a fraction of the object half-buried there. The two of us worked for several minutes undermining the gravelly base beneath but finally succeeded in freeing a small metal box. It had apparently been there some time. During the fire, settling of the foundation must have occurred, exposing it. The edges were rusted together as were the hinges. We sat on the step and examined the compact case.

“Do you think Elmer maybe put this here?” I was thinking out loud, and JK responded.

“Well, I think we should open it. If it was put here by him then someone should remember what he was about, don’t you think?” It made sense. The edges were mortared shut. Jeremy pulled out his Swiss Army knife--- I had long since ceased joshing him for carrying the useful tool--- and over five minutes, he whittled away at the crusts. The box made a clicking sound when he worked at the hinges and the lid moved a tiny bit.

Carefully breaching it, we finally visualized a lining of aged cobalt-blue silk. Set in the middle lay a medal. It was a gold five pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils. A green laurel wreath surrounded it. Suspended from a gold bar inscribed ‘VALOR’, the whole was surmounted by an eagle. In the center, a woman’s head was encircled by ‘United States of America’. When we examined the reverse side, it read: ‘The Congress to Elmer Bruce Edgewater, Private First Class. June 6, 1944’.

Prickles arose on my skin as we examined it, “Jeremy, I think this is a Medal of Honor. I haven’t ever seen one for real but from what I have read, this could be. The picture of the woman must be Minerva. She was the Roman goddess of wisdom and war. Her Greek counterpart was Athena. If this is, how amazing! Why do you think he would have put this right here? And if he did, it must have been done when he laid these rocks, all the way back in the 1940’s. That would mean he never preserved it, but buried it soon after it was awarded to him. Look here, below the silk lining. It reads: ‘Presented by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, U.S.A. In honor of bravery, your country thanks you’. We have to give this to Annalise. She should have it…or she will know what to do with it.”

Pocketing the box after carefully sealing it as best we could, we headed down the trail to the glade. ‘The Trees’ was the moniker I used for the place. A nerve had been struck in me regarding the two trees there. The same kind had populated my dream back in February during the ski festival. I remembered being touched, scared, awed and impassioned, among other emotions, when I had related it to Jeremy. The scare had arisen from the sense of aloneness. Ambergai had heard and advised me to write it down. I hadn’t done so, but it had remained in my memory more vividly than any other dream ever experienced. Strangely, having been aware it was a dream during its unfolding, I had chosen to follow it. Inherently, I had known it held relevance. For a long time, I figured it was a lesson in humility, because of the ‘hedonics-gone-awry’ involved. The characters in it had all mimicked my real life in some manner, though in a parallel universe. As if giving me a view of what things might have been. But after reflecting, I had deduced that the latter stages of it provided more import. The part where I had come upon the Oak and Linden trees and reckoned they were ‘speaking’ to me.

When we had been directed to the glen by Trude and Elmer’s letter, all took on new meaning. The guardians of this place were, in truth, the same as those in my dream. They were not indigenous to the area. Elmer had brought the two here, nurturing them. My inner self told me these were why I was frequently pulled this direction. There was a connection. I felt it. As we came near, Jeremy felt it too. He clasped my hand when we entered the small encircled glade.

There was the well-used fire pit with the round pink granite stones. And the painstakingly carved oak bench. And, of course, the august old trees. Nurtured for decades. The two soared toward the sky, tall and stately. They were now, in the summer, surrounded by volunteer purple and green oxalis. And a plethora of mountain flowers. Alpine Columbine flowers, with their elegant blue and white bells, wrapped the flares of each behemoth. The very flower chosen for our wedding ceremony the previous summer.

We were again engulfed in goosebumps. This place was one of the loveliest settings either of us had ever beheld. With the spectacular vista stretching out and downward, any Greek God in the vicinity must mistake it for Mount Olympus. My memory was prompted to Ovid’s fable about the ancient Phrygian couple, Baucis and Philemon, who had been transformed into an Oak and a Linden tree by favor of Zeus, so as to ensure the couple’s eternal togetherness.

Absorbing the panoply, there came to our ears a subtle bleating sound, arising from the leafy periphery. We were astonished to pick out the long white beard and curling horns of a mountain ram peering from amidst the riot of flowers behind the thick oak trunk. Lying sternally, feet enfolded beneath him, was William Canadensis Ovis, our no-show foster sheep. He gazed calmly at us, thoughtfully chewing his cud, seemingly unsurprised by our appearance. His coat appeared sleek, without any sign of damage or wounds, easing my initial fear. Upon stepping towards him, he rose, standing at an angle to us. His ears twisted forward in curiosity and greeting. His muzzle wiggled back and forth as if acknowledging reason for our presence. Those deep eyes never once left us. He didn’t move toward or away, simply holding his position, as if signaling us to get on with it.

’Well, I’ll be,” Jeremy was bemused. “He has been here for a while, honey, waiting for us. Look at the indentation in the undergrowth where he was laying. No wonder we haven’t had a visit from him.” Relieved incredulity permeated both of us. Freshly aware he was meant to be here, like us, we didn’t approach closer, but acceded his presence and turned away. He seemed to condone the action, continuing the methodical cud-chewing.

Sitting on the bench, we mused together. Leaning into my husband, Dr. Jeremy Fallsworth Kell, I reveled in his strong, bracing arm. Surely, the two Olympians, Elmer and Trude, were the denizens of this place. Their spirits flourished in the trees. In our shared reverie, a gentle highland zephyr caressed our skin. Through the shimmering rustle of the leaves, I thought I heard the poetic jargon from my dream once again. Softly, they spoke, “Young Mandrakes. Live your Lives and thrive together. Plant your legacies and root them strongly. Experience the World. We shall await you.”

I shivered involuntarily as the ethereal lyrics washed over me, but neither from fear nor aloneness.

Beside me, Jeremy turned my chin to his face,

“Did you hear that, too, My Man?”


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