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Life in The Village, through the eyes of Tom Grant, the only teacher at the remote school.
This is an original work of pure fiction (just an expression of a fantasy)
(re-written from my 2013 version)
The resemblance of the characters by action, name, location or description to any real person is purely coincidental.
If it is illegal, or offensive, for you to read stories involving interactions of a sexual nature between adults and youths, then what are you doing here?
From Chapter 47:
“It looks like you”ve got yourself a real treasure, love,” Julie Smith says.
Will is standing alongside me. “What do you mean, Mrs Smith?” he asks her.
“Hasn”t he told you yet, dear?” she says.
“Told me what?” Will replies, then looks at me, puzzled.
“Tom is the new owner of this property,” she replies.
Will stands with his mouth open. I push his chin up. “Close your mouth. You”ll catch flies!” I tell him. It was one of my mother”s favourite sayings when I was little.
Chapter 48 � The Beast
Will”s next utterance consists entirely of `what?”s, `how?”s and pauses. No words of any sense are strung together.
Julie Smith explains the resolve of The Village”s inhabitants, decades ago, that the first person to `discover” the house after the last murdered aboriginal was avenged, should be given ownership it and the surrounding property. “And Tom discovered it. So, he owns it all, just as soon as the papers are signed.”
Will”s fly-catching mouth falls open again. I move to close it but he manages to do it himself before I make contact.
I think of the potential for a great murder mystery called, `Who Killed Thomas Grant, The City-Slicker Schoolie?” The motive might be obvious – jealousy, and, of course, in the plot, he would die prior to the ownership papers being signed and registered. Just about everyone in the district could be a suspect!
Still talking, everyone files downstairs and heads for the front door. Marty says to Will and the twins, “Did you guys go around and close all of the doors down here?” They look at each other and deny doing it. My skin creeps. That”s twice!
I”m the last one out and, just as I close the door, one of the men says, “Sorry, Tom, I left my hat on the stand just inside the door. I won”t be a minute.” He grabs the handle. The door is firmly secure and won”t budge. “Not this again!” he says.
I walk to the door, simply lay my hand upon the handle, and it opens with ease. I shrug, “It likes me!”
He retrieves his hat, looks at me strangely, almost with suspicion, sidles past me, clutching his hat to his chest in both hands, and heads for one of the cars.
Questions! Questions! Why was I the only one who could open the door? And what about the open/closed doors inside? Why is everything preserved precisely as it might have been on the day of the murders? Who cleans it? Somebody must!
There is something very weird about this place! Scary even! I”m not sure whether I”d be comfortable living here!
On the trip back to town, Marty, Will, Karl and Kurt ply me with their own questions, to most of which I can provide no logical or sensible answer.
While I go into the pub to make good on my offer to buy everyone a drink, the boys head back to Karl and Kurt”s place.
The mood in the pub is euphoric. There is celebratory singing and even dancing. Alcohol-removed inhibitions. The curse has ended and people will no longer live in fear of their lives or for those of their loved ones.
However, I think that talk of a public holiday is a bit over the top. Julie Smith suggests that next Saturday she will provide free food and beer for the day and that people in the district from hundreds of kilometres away who weren”t here today will all want to come and celebrate and to meet the owner. I think, `and primarily to get a look at the place”. Why not? No problem!
Julie Smith says that she will invite local council officials and police to witness and ratify the signing of the ownership document (probably Chad O”Brien and potentially Helen O”Sullivan). The day will be the biggest event that The Village has `seen” in living memory.
I suddenly think, `Acacia is going to be furious! The greatest occasion in her lifetime and she will be among the last to know!”
I share my thoughts with Marty, who slaps me on the back, begins to laugh, almost manically, then manages, “Furious nothing! She will be absolutely pissed off, big time!” Then he cackles, trying to contain his mirth, “Let”s not tell her! At least, until everyone else knows! I want to see her face each time that she tells somebody, only to hear, `Yes, everybody knows that”.”
His laughter is contagious – especially when the reason for it spreads around the bar. Acacia”s reputation of `grandstanding” with new information is, apparently, legendary. This could be people”s perfect opportunity for `payback” and genuine one-upmanship. Imagine getting one up on Acacia O”Brien!
Taking the coward”s line, I say to Marty, “I think that I”ll just lie low and keep out of her way! I”ve seen her with dog bones in her hand. Her aim is awesome! I wouldn”t want to be around when she finds out, especially if she is carving meat at the time.” That starts a new round of guffawing.
I hear a spoon or knife tapping on an empty glass – the traditional call for silence. The patrons respond immediately to the chiming sound.
Davo, The Village”s senior resident, says, “Good people, today we are indeed privileged to actually witness the end of the Jintabudjaree curse, something that our parents and grandparents had long anticipated and wished for. They and we have lost many a good friend to its sinister repercussions. I would like to propose a toast to the brave young man who has delivered us from its domination of our lives, to the man who can open locked doors without a key, and who might even be prevailed upon to use his influence in high places to break this drought!” There is laughter at his last comment. “To Tom!” he calls, raising his glass high.
“To Tom!” they all chorus in response, then drain their glasses.
As if the deities want to add their affirmation, there is an immediate long peal of thunder, which silences everyone. Looks of disbelief are exchanged.
“Oh my god!” somebody says. “If it rains, we”ll probably have to make him the Mayor of The Village too.”
“The Village doesn”t have a mayor,” somebody reminds him.
“It will, if he makes it rain,” the reply comes, causing great mirth all `round.
There is another rumble and crash from the sky and, for the second time in as many minutes, the bar quietens.
One of the men who is drinking just outside the pub doors yells, “Hey! You”d all better come and see what”s happening out here!”
There is a surge of bodies towards the double doorway. I join them. What we observe could hardly be called `rain”, as I know it from back on the Gold Coast. However, the fine mistiness is definitely precipitation!
There are cheers, hurrahs, laughing and even some tears.
“Hey, Tom, do you slay dragons too?” a voice calls to me.
“Show us your magic wand, Harry Potter!” the now-quite-inebriated young guy declares loudly, sitting alongside me.
“Leave him alone, Jacko!” I hear Marty say. “He”s not showing you his magic wand, and we don”t want to see yours again either!” Then he adds, “Come on. I”ll drive you home to your mother”s place.”
“It”s OK Marty. He came with me,” one of his friends says. “I”ll take it from here. Righto mate! Time to go!” he says to Jacko who staggers to his feet to compliantly follow his pal. Before he leaves, he grabs me in a hug and plants a kiss on my face. “Bless you Harry Potter!” he mutters then is quickly `escorted” outside.
“Sorry, Tom!” Julie Smith apologises. “He didn”t mean any offence. He won”t even remember it tomorrow.” Then she announces, “Order your last drinks gentlemen. We”re closing promptly today! I hope that your wives and girlfriends won”t have heart attacks when you arrive home before dinner time!”
There are some groans! I”m not sure whether they”re for her humour, or in protest at the turning off of the grog.
As people drift out, I endure much back slapping and hand shaking, despite my protests of `innocence” at contributing to the start of the rains, the signs of which have been around for a while now, as everyone has previously discussed.
Marty calls to me, “See you at home, Mr Mayor!” and leaves, laughing.
I head for the door. One guy bows and addresses me as `Your Worship”. Another repeats Jacko”s reference to Harry Potter”s wizardry (without the `magic wand” jibe).
When I arrive at Jan Andersen”s place, I”m surprised that Karl, Kurt and Will are all fully dressed and displaying no chunky evidence of their favourite adolescent pastime.
They are all seated around a Monopoly board on the dining table.
“Thank goodness!” Will exclaims. “These two were taking me to the cleaners!”
“Would you like to play with us, Mr Grant?” Karl says, swivelling on his chair to face me.
Kurt, from directly across the table, grins cheesily at the innuendo in his brother”s words (most probably, totally unintended by Karl). I give Kurt a quick frown of warning then address his brother, “Thank you, Karl, but maybe some other time. OK?”
“Sure, Mr Grant,” he replies cheerfully, “But, we”ll take that as a promise.”
As Will drives us home, he says, “I caught the frown that you gave Kurt, virtually saying that you didn”t want to play around with him. He really wants you to. I”ve told you that before. I”ll bet that you”ve REALLY upset him now.”
“It”s complicated,” I tell Will.
He replies, “Just so you know, Kurt is always asking me why you won”t do any fun stuff with him.”
My hasty contemplation is that Kurt is a master of this charade and he”s got both Will and Karl fully convinced that his lusty feelings for me are totally unrequited. I realise that he”s protecting me. What a cherub! If I could love somebody so young, he would definitely be near the top of my list (second only to my little brother, sorry, younger brother. LOL).
Will continues, “I”ve even seen him crying and saying, `Is there something wrong with me?” And he wants me to jack him off every afternoon and tell him how great and sexy and smart he is � because you won”t.”
Again, I think, `Will, you don”t know how smart he actually is!” So, my little cherub is getting it from both Will and from me, eh? Who said that Karl was the hornier twin? I just hope that Kurt doesn”t overdo the acting!
“Are you listening to me, Tom?” Will asks.
“Yes, I am,” I tell him. “I”m just thinking about what you”re telling me. Like I said, it”s complicated.”
“How?” Will asks, throwing me a quick sideways glance from the driver”s seat.
“Well, mucking around in the weir was easier because… because… It just was! Doing stuff at school is harder. Maybe because it was easy to play games in the water where our bodies weren”t totally exposed.”
“Then keep your clothes on. Who said that you had to take them off?” Will says, again looking at me. “You don”t have to get naked to just play with him!”
“I”m his teacher and he”s one of my students,” I say, with genuine feeling.
But who am I trying to convince? Him or me?
“You”re MY teacher and I”m one of your students!” Will retorts, seeking to invalidate my argument.
“You”re my young, sexy brother,” I tell him. “It”s different.”
“Yeah, well, we didn”t know that when we first `got lucky” together,” he replies. “Did we?”
He”s got me there!
He adds, “Do you remember that first day? When I came into the school room after swimming in the weir?”
“How could I forget the day that we met?” I ask, smiling.
“Just about the very first thing you did was check out my `stuff”. Didn”t you?” He taunts.
“Yes, well, your wet shorts were almost transparent, and I didn”t see the `little willie” that I was expecting. When I think ordu escort about it now, it was almost as though you wanted me to look at your cock,” I tell him.
He is silent.
“Oh My God! You did want me to look at it, didn”t you? That”s why you came in wet, isn”t it?” I ask, almost shocked.
“I needed to know!” he answers.
“Whether…, perhaps…, whether you might be more like me than just in looks. It wasn”t just to confirm what I saw from the river that I wondered about. Then when I caught you checking me out, I knew. You were like the secret me, in that way too!”
“You little devil!” I mutter.
“Hey, no `little” words, remember?” he replies.
I slip my hand onto his thigh and slide it up to his crotch. He parts his legs, giving me fuller access.
“Yep, definitely not little!” I laugh, cupping his manhood.
“You wanna get lucky tonight?” he asks.
“Let”s see how long we can keep our clothes on,” I suggest.
He thinks about it and agrees. “That could be fun.” Then he admonishes, “So, why can”t you do that with Kurt?”
“I suppose,” I tell him. My mind immediately races beyond this simple enjoyment, to the pleasures that Kurt and I have already experienced.
“Tell you what,” Will says, turning off onto the road to Marty”s. “Why don”t I pretend to be Kurt tonight and you can practise what to say and do with me? I”ll even help you to get it right.”
“So, the little brother, sorry, the `younger” brother, is the teacher and the older brother is now the student?” I joke.
“Hey! Even better,” he quickly suggests, “let”s swap roles. You can be Kurt and I”ll be you. That way I can actually show you what to do instead of just telling you.”
“Yes, sir, Mr O”Brien,” I answer.
He laughs, then stops the car in that very memorable spot where we first fondled each other to confirm our mutual feelings.
“I will forever remember this place and that day,” he tells me, initiating some memory-induced thigh rubbing and crotch fondling which I, of course, reciprocate.
We are both really stiff when, unlike that day, I lean across and kiss him. “Let”s save it for tonight,” I whisper seductively to him.
“Why?” he asks, obviously turned on.
“Because if I”m Kurt then I can”t cum twice in the same day, you know! You said so yourself!” I reply, reminding him of his (erroneous) assertion previously.
He lowers his hand, squeezes my leg just above the knee, hard, as I have done to him on previous occasions. I jump.
He drives on.
The 3-way discussion over dinner is all about the homestead, the curse and what I might do with the place. There are many unknowns.
Will”s mood is very upbeat. Marty picks up on it and says, “Do me a favour, guys. Please close your door tonight when you go to bed.” Then he adds, “I”d like a good night”s sleep.” The three of us laugh, cognisant of the unspoken reasons.
“OK, Cuz. You got it!” Will says, “but maybe you”d better close yours as well, if you don”t have any ear plugs.”
I thump him. Marty does the same from the other side.
Will”s bedtime lesson for me in how to `seduce” and play with Kurt is hilarious. I play dumb and exasperate my instructor. But we do have a lot of fun, especially with all of the re-takes!
Finally satisfied that he thinks I”ve `got it”, as Professor Henry Higgins would say of Eliza Doolittle, we pile into bed, naked, and enjoy each other”s body, already over-stimulated and horned up. He enjoys punishing me for my `slowness” in learning something so simple.
Monday morning. I drive past the pub, and those on the verandah bow to me. With one arm extended through the open window, I give them a `mayoral wave” in return.
Will reminds me, “So after school, Kurt is going to stay with you and you are going to do what we practised. OK?”
I make a show of swallowing hard. “Umm…”
“Hey! Don”t back out on me now,” Will continues. “He wants you. He needs you. You can do this. Forget that you”re his teacher after school and just do it! It”s not as though you”re being asked to rob a bank. He”ll enjoy it, and so will you, if you just relax. Just think of Andy and Joey at the beach.”
What I am really enjoying is the comedy of Will coaching me to do things which Kurt and I have already surpassed! Kurt will be thrilled that his acting has had this result – Will tutoring me in how to do simple stuff with him! My brother seems to have overlooked the fact that I”m somewhat experienced in this area!
Kurt stays after school. I explain to him what I am supposed to say, in case Will (or Karl) asks him. Then, following Will”s instructions, I have him stand next to me while I explain a Maths problem. Then I move him to stand between my legs while I continue. Then I sit him on my knee. Then I move him to my lap. I put my hands around him and rest them in his crotch. He gets hard. End of maths lesson. I play with him. I slip my hand inside his shorts then his underpants.
“End of Will”s lesson,” I tell Kurt. “He didn”t say whether I had to continue to jack you off. So, you can tell them everything up to this point if they want to know.”
“This is so funny,” Kurt says.
“And just so that you can tell them the absolute truth, I”m not going to jack you off,” I say. He looks disappointed. “But, we know another way of achieving the same result, don”t we?”
He understands what I”m saying and he beams in anticipation.
He needs no further encouragement to strip naked and lay himself on my table after clearing everything, except the box of tissues, to one end.
I stroke his pubic hair then hold his fat young spike up away from his body. I lower my mouth onto him and he gasps. “I love this,” he growls. Then he adds, “Would you please take off your clothes too, Mr Grant? I”d like to hold yours while you are sucking mine.”
His touch, and stroking, is so tender that I almost cum before he does. I swallow his and he catches mine with the tissues.
He stands and we share a naked embrace as our cocks soften. He has his arms around my chest. I have my hands on his backside.
“I need to pee,” he tells me, with a restrained grimace.
“Me too. Let”s go and hang out together!” I say. He laughs at the double meaning.
We do remember to get dressed first!
Having disposed of the tissues, we stand side by side and let fly together. He smiles up at me and I ruffle his hair then put one arm around his shoulders and hug him to me.
We go back to the school room and I raise one blind as the signal to Will.
It”s more than five minutes before I hear my car purr to a standstill. I can guess why it was delayed! Will is the first through the door. “Everything OK?” he asks.
“Yep,” is all that Kurt says, although I can tell that Will wanted to hear the details. He doesn”t get them from Kurt. Nor from me!
I drive back to the twins” place and they both get out.
“Thanks for the extra help with the Maths, Mr Grant,” Kurt says.
Will and Karl look at each other. Will jumps out. “I think I left my, umm… something… inside,” he tells me and follows the twins into the house. I know exactly what he”s doing! Asking Kurt questions! Grilling Kurt for the specifics, in case I backed out and stopped at the maths!
He returns to the car. The boys wave us off from their verandah.
“That wasn”t so hard, was it?” Will queries me.
“What, you asked him?” I say, feigning ignorance and indignance.
“Of course, I did!” Will says. “What did you think?” There is a pause before he adds, “So why did you stop there, without jacking him off?”
“Well, I did everything that you told me to do. Everything that we practised!” I say, perhaps slightly overacting my stupidity.
“You”re hopeless!” he mutters. “I think that you need another lesson tonight.”
“No argument from me!” I reply, resting my hand in his lap.
Tuesday. I explain to Kurt after school that today I”m supposed to continue everything from yesterday except I have to jack him off as well. Kurt giggles his agreement.
On our own initiative, we undress first.
For the sake of the retelling, I ask him, “What”s 1 and 1?” I explain to him why the answer could be 11, and the Maths lesson”s over.
We repeat our positions and actions from yesterday. It”s much better without his shorts and undies and without me being constrained in my clothes. When we get to the point of him being in my lap, the only comfortable position is him sitting on my pubes with my cock protruding from below his balls. He doesn”t object and neither do I. Today I complete the task, and he does me, concentrating on my cock head between his legs.
“That was fun, too, Mr Grant,” Kurt comments, still breathless from his orgasm.
“Let”s save some other things for tomorrow,” I encourage him. We raise the blind. Will drives over.
“He”s happy!” Will tells me on the way home, after another debriefing session with Kurt.
“You must be a good teacher!” I tell him. “Any more lessons tonight?”
“Just do more of the same. He”s not ready for anything else at the moment,” Will replies.
“No, but I am!” I tell him. “We”d better get Marty to close his door again tonight. I think it”s my turn to punish you!”
“Oh, Yeah,” Will says almost apologetically. “I was forgetting about you!”
Each night brings more drizzle. Not enough to turn the dust into mud. Most of it soaks straight in.
On Wednesday, I suck Kurt off twice. His wish!
On Thursday, he wants to try sucking me as well. I let him, but he can”t get more than my head and a bit more into his mouth. Then he finishes me off manually, and appears incredibly happy.
Friday. No school. It”s the day of the funeral. Everyone knows the reason that the school is closed. Many have expressed that their condolences be passed on to Uncle Bill and the family.
It takes us a couple of hours to reach Cunnamulla and I drive straight to the `airport” as arranged with Uncle Bill.
A Lear jet lands and taxis to within 50m of the small `terminal”. It takes a few minutes for the door to open and the stairs to swing downwards.
Uncle Bill steps down, sees us, smiles and waves. I really don”t expect him to maintain this same level of composure for the whole day.
Someone else emerges from the plane. I choke up.
Uncle Bill offers her his hand as she descends the stairs. He didn”t tell me that he was bringing her. Apart from some obvious weight loss, she looks well. “Hi Mum!” I call excitedly across to the plane. She waves and blows me a kiss.
Another lady emerges. I don”t think that I know her. She descends confidently then turns and looks back into the plane. Somebody else appears in the doorway. I instantly recognise him. OMG!
“Hey! Look! It”s Andy!” Will shouts, waving.
Young Andy as well as Mum! They”re both here!
I”m overcome with emotion. I lose it and burst into tears. I”m glad that Mum insisted, when I was young, that I always carry a handkerchief.
Will and I remain behind the gate, obeying the sign affixed to it.
Andy walks with much less confidence than how I remember him running up the beach! His hand waving doesn”t stop as he calls, “Tom! Tom!” I blow my nose, although it”s really my eyes that need the handkerchief.
Meeting us at the gate, Uncle Bill shakes our hands. “Thanks for coming guys. I appreciate it.”
Mum throws her arms around my neck, hugs and kisses me. Then Will.
“Why…?” I begin to ask her.
“Danny was my friend too,” she says. “Nothing that Bill or your father said could have stopped me from coming. Mrs Thompson, Enid, wanted to come and assist me, like I”ve been supporting her. Then, when we mentioned that you”d be here, no way was Andrew going to be left with somebody to mind him, or go back into the hospital. `I wanna see my friend, Tom,” he kept pestering her. Arguing with him was futile. It was osmaniye escort much easier to give in, even though he has one arm still in plaster, and the doctors thought that coming to see his friend could also be positive and useful in aiding his general recovery.”
Andy latches on to me, wrapping his arms around my body, as far as the plaster allows. “Hello, Tom!” he declares, with a drawl. “You”re my friend. I missed you!”
I can tell that his language and speech ability have been greatly affected in his ordeal.
“Hey, buddy!” I tell him, returning his embraces. “Wow. You”ve grown! What did they feed you in that hospital?”
As I had previously noticed, he reminds me so much of Kurt that it”s uncanny.
“Hello, Tom,” Andy repeats, holding me tightly. “You”re my friend. I missed you! Lots!”
I hug him. His infirmity makes him all the more endearing to me and heightens my resolve to help him, as much as is possible, in his recovery.
“Hey, buddy,” I tell him, “I”m so glad that you”re here. So is your friend, Will.” Will nods.
Andy lets go of me long enough to give Will a quick, one-armed hug and a “Hello Will,” then he returns his attention to me.
“We have a lot to talk about,” I tell him.
“I like to talk to you, Tom!” he replies. “You talk good!”
“He”s improving daily,” Mrs Thompson says. “The doctors are very hopeful. I”m sure that being here and spending some time with you are going to help him.”
“That”s why I”ve booked two nights” accommodation for us at the pub in The Village,” Uncle Bill says. “Helen Smith was very helpful. Apparently, there”s some big shindig on out this way tomorrow and nearly all of her rooms were taken. You and Andrew can spend some time together. He”ll appreciate it.”
“So will I, Tom,” Mrs Thompson adds. “Would you please?”
“Of course,” I tell her. “It will be my great pleasure.” Then I add for everyone”s benefit, “They tell me that the shindig could be the biggest celebration in The Village”s recent history. I”m sure that you”ll hear all about it from the locals, seeing that you”re staying.”
I look over at my recently-cleaned and polished pride and joy, the set of wheels that I bought after graduating from university. Then I count heads. I assumed that I would be providing transport only for Uncle Bill today; I hadn”t counted on six bodies. “Umm, there”s six of us, and my car only…”
“Don”t worry!” Uncle Bill cuts in. “I do plan ahead, you know! Unless I”m mistaken, that shiny silver people mover standing over there is for me. It seats seven. Tell you what,” he continues. “Why don”t we all just use that one during the day then I”ll follow your car back to The Village after the funeral.”
While we walk across to it, Uncle Bill says, “I”ll just duck inside and pick up the keys, as I have arranged.”
We walk around it. Not a scratch on the silver paintwork. I admire the chrome, the `roo bar with a strip of four huge spot lights attached, the rear checker-plate bumper with tow bar, the large communications aerial attached to the “roo bar, and running boards. It”s a 4.5 litre turbo diesel, according to the chrome letters on the rear-opening door. Neat! Perfect for country driving.
Will utters a “Hell, Yeah!” then he adds, “What a beast!” I have to agree with his assessment. `Beast” is a perfect description for it. I”ll bet that it growls!
I ensure that my own good-looking vehicle is secured, although I have been so impressed by the honesty of country folk that I feel I could even leave it unlocked with the windows down, and it would remain untouched when I return later.
We quickly decide on some pairings for the day. Mum and Mrs Thompson, Will and his father, Andy and me. I look at Mum almost apologetically, torn between having time with her or with Andy.
“Don”t worry, Thomas,” Mum says, “I intend spending time with you too!”
She lays her hand on Andy”s back, while he is clutching my hand, “Andrew, would it be all right with you if I spend some time with Thomas some time? Then you can have him back!”
He replies, “Yes. That is OK. We can share.”
Mrs T. smiles and I hear her faint comment to Mum, “I can already see a difference in his confidence. Bringing him was a brilliant idea.”
During the funeral service, Mrs T. stays by Mum”s side, Will lends support to his emotional father, and Andy clings to my arm albeit in the back row of the room.
Mum and Uncle Bill both speak, honouring their friend. Uncle Bill”s eulogy is a mixture of humour and tear-jerking emotion. I”m really proud of him and I can tell that Will is, too.
“Why are some people crying, Tom?” Andy asks, as though he is failing to comprehend the significance of the `funeral”.
“Their friend died, Andy. That”s why they are all upset. Sometimes our friends die.”
His bottom lip contorts and he bursts into tears, almost succeeding in suppressing a wail, which draws a few quick glances from those near us. “You”re my friend, Tom. I don”t want you to die!” he chokes out.
I hadn”t anticipated that response! And I don”t want to broach the issue of his own near-death experience, without talking to him about other things first. “I”m not going to die Andy,” I console him. “I want to spend a lot of time with you and to help you get well. Will and I want to do some body boarding with you again at the beach.” Then I add, “And some tandem runs.” I throw in, much more discretely, “Then we can wash off all of the sand in the showers.”
There is a moment of silence, followed by some clapping and a broad grin, as if some locked-away memories have been released. He mimics my discrete voice, “That was good fun. I can remember. I like you, Tom. You”re lots of fun!”
Mum and Uncle Bill spend almost an hour after the funeral service, talking to Danny”s family and friends in the local hall, utilised for the wake. Will stays beside his dad, and Mrs Thompson goes back and forth between Andy and Mum, spending some time with each in turn.
“I need to pee,” Andy tells his mother upon her next return to him.
She looks embarrassed, and turns a pleading eye in my direction. “Could you take him, please, Tom? Sometimes he still needs a bit of help with the zipper.”
“No problem, Mrs Thompson,” I tell her. “Come on, Andy, the `Gents” is over in that corner!”
We walk at a reasonably slow, but urgent, pace. There is no urinal, but two stalls. “Hurry!” Andy pants. I select one and close the door. “Hurry!” he repeats.
“You want me to undo you?” I ask him.
“Hurry, Tom!” he declares, beginning to dance a little jig and to grasp the front of his pants.
I stand behind him, undo the zipper and fish out his penis for him. He lets fly instantly, spraying the back of the uplifted toilet seat before he manages to gain control and point it into the bowl.
“You want to pee too, Tom?” he asks.
I”m not sure whether it is said with child-like innocence or with some adolescent ulterior motive.
“We can share,” he adds.
“Yep, I want to take a pee too,” I tell him, then I unzip and let fly. We pee together, until his runs out first.
He takes a great interest in my activity, and makes no attempt to tuck himself in. I”m sure that his cock is slowly starting to thicken.
I do myself up then ask him, “Do you need help to put yours away, buddy? Or can you do it yourself?”
“Help, Tom,” he says, and thrusts his hips forward as if that will assist me. I gently stow everything discretely back in its rightful place and pull up his zipper.
“There you go, buddy,” I tell him. “Push the button, then we have to wash our hands.”
He flushes. We wash and use the air dryer for our hands, then return to join the others.
Mrs Thompson meets us. “Everything all right?” she asks.
“Fine, Mrs Thompson,” I tell her. “We made it in time. Just.”
I think that her eyes are past the beginnings of mistiness. “Oh, it”s so wonderful of you to help him. He”s always mumbling about you being his friend. I can tell that he loves being here with you. Look at his face.”
I look at his doting, puppy-dog-like countenance. It”s all I can do to not scratch him behind the ears! But I do ruffle his hair and rub his back.
We return to `The Beast” and Uncle Bill gives me the keys. “Want to drive it?” he asks.
Stupid redundant question!
We keep our pairs. Andy sits up front with me, Will and Uncle Bill are behind us. Mum and Mrs Thompson sit in the third row.
I start it up, and for the second time today I enjoy its throaty growl!
We take a little over five minutes to return to the airport. “What do you think of it?” Uncle Bill asks.
“Amazing,” I tell him. “But why would a rental company give you a brand new one? It only has a handful of kilometres on the clock.”
There is an unexpected duration of silence. It”s Mum who speaks. “It”s not a rental car, Thomas.”
“What? You bought it, just for this occasion?” I ask Uncle Bill, looking at him as though he has wasted a lot of money for one or two days. “What will you do with it when you fly back? You could sell it, but that could take a lot of time.”
“I”m not selling it.” Uncle Bill replies.
I consider what he has said. “Oh, so you”re just going to leave it here at the airport for when you come back?” I put to him, thinking that this is a more logical, however not very sensible, use of his resources.
“Nope,” Uncle Bill responds.
“Oh, for goodness sake, Bill,” Mum says, “Stop teasing him. Enough of your silly games!”
Uncle Bill turns and looks at her, then he says to me, “Thomas, why on earth would your parents and I even consider giving you an ex-rental car for your birthday?”
Birthday? I think. What”s the date? Oh, shit. I”d completely forgotten! I”ve been so wrapped up in everything and everyone else.
“What?” Will says rather loudly, startling almost everyone in the car. “When”s his birthday?”
“Tomorrow,” Mum says. “He”ll be 22.”
“You sneaky dog!” Will says to me, flicking the back of my ear, both of which draw a look of confusion and a scowl from Andy.
“He”s not a dog!” Andy almost reprimands Will. “Tom”s my friend. He doesn”t bark. He talks to me.”
I”m speechless, almost. Then what does come out is confused. “I”d forgotten. Car? I already have a car! Twenty-two! Wow, I”ll soon be as old as you two.”
I look in the rear-view mirror to see Will pounding one palm with his other fist and mouthing, “… nine … ten … eleven…” I know what he”s doing. The school tradition – `birthday bumps”. I try to do the mental calculation 22 times how many students?? I give up. The answer is `lots!”
Then, with a little more composure I turn and say, “Are you serious? But, why? My car is practically new anyway. I”ve only had it since I finished uni at the end of last year.”
“From what I have seen already, the children and the parents have really taken to you, and, with the construction of the house, we have the impression that you could be teaching here for quite a while,” Uncle Bill says. “So, we discussed it and agreed that you might need something more countrified, with a little more `grunt” than what you”re currently driving.”
“Wow,” I say, and grip the steering wheel, attempting to feel `right at home”. Then I add, “But what about my car?”
“Can you think of anybody who might like a late model, well-kept sedan?” Mum asks. I look in the rear-view mirror and see her pointing at Will, behind his head.
I can play games, too. “You mean give it to Amelia? She”s too young to drive.” I look at Will”s face and see an expression of positive expectation melt away. I”m cruel, and I cannot bear to see him upset. “Then again, I know somebody else who might appreciate it, if he guarantees to look after it!”
Will”s face brightens again.
“When”s his next birthday?”
“Thomas!” Mum chides. “You”re as bad as Bill!”
“Hey, bro!” I address Will, “I don”t suppose you”d like your own set of wheels to go visit Jake and the twins whenever you feel like it, ostim escort would you? No! Didn”t think so,” I add in the same breath, before he has any chance to respond.
“OMG. Me? My own car?” he manages to let out. He grabs me from behind and hugs me, then makes no pretence about kissing me on the side of the face. “Thank you. OMG. OMG.”
“Hey! You”re choking me,” I tell him. “Let me go. And, I think that you need some more English lessons to expand your vocabulary.”
He has the situation summed up rather quickly. “So, I”ll drive MY car back and Dad can travel with me. You can drive `The Beast” with Andy, Aunty Susan and Mrs Thompson. How does that sound?”
I had, momentarily, hoped to have Andy all to myself and to talk with him for a couple of hours on the way home, but, under the circumstances, I yield to Will”s suggestion, and contemplate how I might arrange some quality time alone with the young guy. “That suits me, if everyone else agrees,” I say.
“You know the way home?” I put to Will.
“Yep, not too many options. One road out of The Village; one road back. Easy!” he replies, and extends his hand for the keys.
“Better give me the ring with the school keys on it.” I tell him. “When you get back, pull up at the pub, and we”ll get everyone settled,” I tell him. “You can lead, and I”ll be just a few kilometres behind you, so that we”re not eating your dust.”
Will and Uncle Bill lead off, and I determine to give them a couple of minutes” head start.
Mum and Mrs T. remain in the third row, which gives Andy and me a measure of privacy.
While first exploring the colour-screen, multi-function sound system and GPS, I select a radio station (there aren”t many out here from which to choose, but the ABC reception is crystal clear) then I balance the sound output towards the back. That will make it a bit harder for the ladies to hear what we guys are saying.
During the trip, I talk softly with Andy about hospital food, nurses (male and female), animals that we spot on the way; lots of things; everything except his ordeal. That can wait until tomorrow sometime.
“I hope you don”t mind, Tom…,” Mrs T. says loudly from the back. I turn down the volume. “Andrew will probably need a nap when we get to the hotel. He needs to recharge his batteries every afternoon. Besides, I could use some rest myself.”
I think that that would allow me to spend time with Mum. “That”s fine Mrs Thompson. It”s not far now,” I say. I turn and ruffle Andy”s hair. “You gonna take a nap and then have dinner with me later?” I ask him.
I see some wheels turning in his mind. A nap is probably an integral part of his daily routine, and dinner afterwards will be his reward.
“That”s OK, Tom. I like to have a nap,” he says.
We pull up at the pub, only a couple of minutes behind Will and Uncle Bill.
`The Beast” draws a lot of attention, especially since people would have heard it coming. Uncle Bill has already gone inside, and Will is just parking HIS car at Karl and Kurt”s place.
“So, this is The Village,” I say to Mum and Mrs T.
I indicate the school then the road down to Marty”s.
Uncle Bill returns with room keys. I help him to unload the baggage.
“There”s not too much available for two nights” stay,” he says. “Julie Smith has gone out of her way to fit us in, but she just asked me if there is any way that we could make do with two rooms instead of the three that I booked. They have more visitors than they were anticipating for tomorrow”s festivities. I originally had a twin room for Enid and Andy, a single for Susan and a single for me.”
I think that it would not be a good idea for Uncle Bill and Mum to share a room, so I offer another alternative, “What if Julie Smith can swap the two single rooms for one twin? I”m sure that it would mean just moving beds around. And, if it”s OK with everyone, Mum and Mrs Thompson can share, Uncle Bill and Will can share, and Andy can come with me to Marty”s and have Will”s bed?”
“And Andy”s nap?” Mrs T. asks.
“Andy can nap in with you, Enid,” Mum says. “Then I can move in later and Andy can go with Tom.”
“That works for me,” she replies. Then she asks her son, “Andy, honey, would you like to sleep at Tom”s place tonight?”
Andy, obviously drowsy from the trip and needing his rest, replies. “Uh, huh! I like Tom. He”s my friend.”
“I might take Will”s car,” Uncle Bill starts, smiling at me, “and go and visit Acacia and Marty for a short while. You and your mother can catch up. Ring me if you want me to come back.”
He leaves and walks across to the Andersen”s place. I watch as the three young amigos come out to greet him. There is some discussion, nodding of heads, then both Uncle Bill and Will give me the `thumbs up”. Jan is still at work. The twins have been introduced to the re-commissioned WILL”S car.
I drive Mum across past the old church and, before giving her the quick tour of the school, I talk about the weir. We stroll across to look at it. “This is the one in Will”s painting,” I tell her. “Obviously done from the other side of the river!”
We sit on the fallen log and talk about her health, the treatment, Dad, Amelia, Aunty Doris and cousin Karen. She assures me that all is well and that she is regaining strength and has actually started to put some weight back on.
She reminds me of the family relationships with Doris and Karen, in case I”d already forgotten. Then, we somehow get into some family history, which I didn”t know.
“My grandmother told me that she was descended from an aboriginal girl and an explorer who travelled western Queensland looking for inland rivers and their legendary big fish. They ran off together and eventually settled back in the eastern hinterland behind the Gold Coast. Our family has been in the area ever since.”
Mum continues with her elderly gran”s memories. “Her recollection was that the girl”s nickname was `Gin and Barramundi” or something like that. She wasn”t sure whether the `Gin” was anything to do with her drinking habits or was because that”s what an aboriginal woman was called, a `gin”. The `Barramundi” was an obvious reference to the big fish. So, there was either a fish and alcohol diet going on, or it was the aboriginal girl who knew where the big fish were. Nobody ever knew for certain which it was!”
Then she adds, “Can you imagine a nickname of `Gin and Barra?” Gee! That would be embarrassing.”
“Yeah,” I agree, then think, without saying it aloud, almost as bad as my `Virginia”.
Then I freeze. Mum”s last words trigger something deep within my mind. “What did you say just then?” I ask her, reconstructing the words in my head. “The last thing you said! What was that name?”
“Gin and barramundi,” she replies.
“No, you didn”t.” I tell her. “You said something that was a bit different.”
“OK, to be precise, I said, `gin and barra”. Everyone knows `barra” is short for `barramundi”. You did know that, Thomas, didn”t you?” she questions me, as if doubting my education or general knowledge.
I ignore the question and continue, “But you said something straight after that, didn”t you?”
She looks at me strangely and I can see her attempting to recollect her exact words.
“I don”t know. What did I say? `Gin and barra. Gee!”. What does that matter, Thomas?”
“That was it! Gin and barra, gee!” I repeat, loudly then again, in something above a whisper, “Gin-and-barra-gee! Gin-ta-barra-gee! Gin-ta-burra-gee! Gin-ta-budg-aree!”
“What on earth are you babbling about?” Mum asks. “Yes, I remember that grandma often added `Gee!” when she mentioned `Gin and Barra”. We were more accustomed to hearing her say, `Gracious me!” But, instead, it was always `Gee!” after `gin and barra” if it came up in conversation. I guess the `Gee!” just slipped out automatically when I said it too.”
“Gin-and-barra-gee! Jintabudjaree!” I say, almost fearing the coincidence of the similarity. The faster I recite them the more alike they sound. Again. Faster. Again. Great grandma could have misheard the aboriginal name and substituted words which she knew!
The next thing I remember is Mum shaking my arm and calling my name. “Thomas… Thomas… Thomas…!”
“It”s not possible,” I murmur.
“What isn”t possible?” Mum asks. Getting no response from me because my mind is racing, she asks, “Thomas are you all right? You look sick and you sound almost incoherent. Maybe you”re the one who should see a doctor.”
“Which doctor?” I ask, then burst into a fit of laughter at my own words.
Yes, maybe I should seek out a local witch doctor!
I regain my composure and say, giving her a kiss, “It”s OK, Mum. I”ll tell you later. It”s all good. I”ll give you a quick tour of the school and then I want you to come for a drive. I have something else to show you.”
I ring both Will and Uncle Bill and ask them to come and accompany us. I tell Will to walk over when he sees Uncle Bill come back with HIS car.
Mum sits alongside me in the front seat of `The Beast”; Will and his dad, our dad, are behind us.
Will soon picks up on where I”m heading. I haven”t mentioned the homestead to Mum or to Uncle Bill by email, by phone or even face to face. However, I”ve also asked Will not to say anything about it to them.
I pull up in front of the house.
Mum”s words for it are `simply beautiful”.
Uncle Bill, on the other hand, says, “What a magnificent example of early colonial grandeur. I think it”s the best that I”ve ever seen. Ash is going to love this!”
I reply, “Yes, I want him to see it before the final drawings are completed for the place in town. Come on, I”ll show you around.”
“Are you sure that it will be OK?” Mum asks. “Is the owner at home?”
“Oh, yes,” I assure her. “The owner”s here.” I wink to Will. He smirks.
“In fact, we”re allowed to come and go and let ourselves in, anytime,” Will tells Mum. “The owner is a very friendly guy!”
Mum and Uncle Bill look at each other. Their expressions are those of disbelief. I know that it all sounds fishy… at the moment.
Mum admires the roses and comments on their heady perfume.
Then we ascend the stairs.
“Look at these broad verandahs and ornate railings,” Uncle Bill comments, “And all of the decorative lacework above the posts. And did you see the gable fretwork ornamentation and the shingled roof?”
I say to Will, “Why don”t you knock first, then let us in?”
He bangs the brass knocker three times, lays his hand on the door handle and turns it. Nothing happens. The door doesn”t budge. He looks at me questioningly.
I step forward, turn the handle and open the door. Then I close it again. “What”s the problem?” I ask him.
“Uncle Bill?” I ask, indicating for him to open the door. He knocks, turns the handle and, again, nothing happens.
“It”s locked!” he says.
“No, it isn”t,” I reply. “You just saw me open it.”
“Then there”s a trick to it; a secret button or something. You”re having me on, Thomas, you cheeky pup! You”re playing one of your get-even tricks on me,” he says.
“Mum?” I say, and point to the door.
My heart begins absolutely racing in anticipation.
She steps forward, politely raps twice, and lays her fingers on the handle.
The door swings wide open. Gin-and-barra, Gee!
OMG! The hair on my arms and neck stands upright. My scalp tingles and I feel tears well up in my eyes. My almost-fearful contemplations have just been confirmed…!
As was great grandma, Mum and I must be distantly descended from perhaps the last remnant of the Jintabudjaree aborigines. Another coincidence? Fearfully unlikely! But…
The old house somehow recognises us both, Mum and me!
(to be continued)
There is a parallel version to this story, told through the eyes of Kurt.
Find it at https://www.//gay/adult-youth/kurt-series/
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