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    Houdinii
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15 And Life To Go - 10. Chapter 10

With sleep came dreams… lots of evil and twisted dreams. The gleam in Jack’s eyes when he issued his warning is etched permanently in my mind and my subconscious had it on repeat as I slumbered. All night long I could see his face as he tracked each and every one of us down and gutted us with a machete, taunting us with jeers and insults. I doubt that Jack is that violent, but you never know. This is still prison even if it seems more like a summer camp. One things for sure, I’m keeping an extra eye peeled on Jack for now on. That boy cannot be trusted.

With my eyes still closed, I felt a kiss on my forehead and my boyfriend’s warm breath on my neck as he cuddled closer to me. At least one good thing came from Jack being a creepy little twerp. Now I get to bunk with my babe without having to worry about any repercussions from Mark. I wonder if Brandon and Casey are jealous. I suppose we should share our bunk with them so they get the same opportunity sometime. As I pondered my potential good deed for the day Jeff woke up with a yawn and a stretch.

“Good mornin’ Babe!” I greeted with a kiss, “How was your sleep, lover?” Instead of answering he pulled me close again and simply gave me the sleepy smile that still runs chills down my back. I can’t be sure what time it is, but it must be early ‘cause it’s still dark out, so I pitched an idea. “Jeff, what do you say we go for a walk in the woods? The weather’s nice and the view from the bluffs is beautiful at this time in the morning.” Still too tired to communicate in words, Jeff nodded his head while he stretched himself awake. Forcing ourselves out of our comfortable bed, we threw our clothes and shoes on and headed for the door.

I was correct in assuming that the weather would be gorgeous. It was in the low eighties and the sun was barely on the horizon. The crickets were chirping a cadence and our footfall naturally fell into step to the beat of their music. We didn’t hold any conversation as we walked. Instead we enjoyed each other’s company, hand-in-hand, in complete silence. After about twenty minutes we both paused as we heard someone walking through the brush behind us. Panic stricken, neither one of us knew what to do. Of course my mind instantly knew that it was Jack coming for us with a hand-fashioned weapon and that Jeff and my own lives were in immediate danger. Spotting a log large enough to crush Jack’s skull into a pulp, I hurriedly scooped it up ready to swing on the intruder.

The footsteps slowly approached where Jeff and I stood cowering like a couple of babies. We both were shaking from the fear, hoping our fears are without warrant, but expecting the worst. The final moment has arrived and the intruder is about to show his face. I raised my makeshift bludgeon and as soon as I seen the first sign of our attacker I let out a battle cry fit for a warrior and lunged forward swinging at… a little doggy.

Dropping the log, I melted as the puppy backed up in fear from the crazy human that just screamed at it. Judging from its matted down fur it must have been in these woods for some time. One could mistake it for a miniature bear if they didn’t know any better. Amazingly, the dog wasn’t shy at all instantly running up to Jeff and me begging for attention. Jeff picked him up and hugged him instantly reminding me of a teddy bear, and consequently earning our new pet his name, Teddy. I just hope Mark lets us keep him. I’d hate to have to give him up to the humane society or something, and I’m sure the other boys would fall in love with him, making him the camp mascot. Since we were close to our destination, we carried him to the old school area overlooking the lake. Searching through the equipment shed I found a length of rope that I could fashion into a leash for our new found friend. I doubt we would need it as Teddy followed us around like the puppy he is, but I didn’t want to take any chances.

Finding Teddy was all it took to forget about the events of the previous evening. I had an idea that just might make Tony feel better about things, but I had to run it by Jeff first. “Babe, what do you say we give Teddy to Tony to look after? He needs a friend, and he needs to take care of something as well to take his mind off his brother.” Jeff took no time at all before agreeing with me and grabbing my hand to lead me back to camp. As expected, the leash was unnecessary as Teddy stayed at our heels the entire time.

By the time we made it back the rest of the campers were beginning to wake up themselves slowly crawling from their cabins to face the challenges of another day. It didn’t take long for Teddy to be the center of attention as all the boys came over to pet and play with the new pup. Tony must still be sleeping, ‘cause he’s nowhere to be seen. He had a rough night, so that is to be expected, I suppose. Before we could introduce Tony to the newest camper, Mark spotted us and rushed over to find out what all the commotion was all about.

“Where in the hell did you find this…this… mop with legs?!?” Mark exclaimed. You could tell that he was attempting to look concerned and full of authority, but he was fooling no one. We all knew how caring he is about us now, so we pretty much figured he’d be a softy about an abandoned dog as well. Before Mark could even attempt to object, Teddy walked over with his head held down, looking quite sad and pitiful. It was perfect, and there was absolutely no way that Mark would not let us keep him as a pet. “We’d better build us a kennel if we plan on extending the little guys stay, I take it.” Mark added as he walked off leaving us to play with Teddy.

It wasn’t much longer until Tony finally woke up and joined the living. He stumbled out of the cabin looking obviously well rested and ready for the breakfast that has just been presented. He didn’t even seem to notice Teddy even though he was running around his feet trying to get his attention. Tony grabbed his plate of scrambled eggs and sat down around the campfire to eat, and even began to pet Teddy before it finally dawned on him.

“Hey, we have a dog! Where did he come from? Can we keep him? What’s his name?” Tony started up the questions like a two year old. It was rather cute if you ask me. When we told him that Teddy was his to look after I could swear I saw tears in his eyes as he choked out “Do ya mean it??” Instantly I knew that we did the right thing as we sat watching Tony get acquainted with his new companion. Before we knew it Tony was stealing Marks hair trimmers and giving Teddy a haircut getting rid of all his nappy fur.

Jack stepped out of his cabin with his empty plate and silverware looking for seconds and Teddy went insane. Pulling on his leash until it almost snapped, Teddy was baring his teeth while growling at a now terrified Jack. It looks like Teddy is a great judge of character, I just hope he doesn’t bite the asshole and get sent off to the pound or something. It was nice to know that we would have another layer of defense around if Jack decided to pull any shit though. Our sweet little puppy can turn into Cujo in a matter of seconds.

With our bellies full we all started on our chores which were pretty easy today. Trash pickup and laundry. We all pitched in and had it done in nothing flat. As it turned out we still had over an hour until we had to head out to school so we all decided to go for a swim in the lake, an activity that proves to be torture to us gay folks here at camp. How could it be that damn near everyone here is eye candy? I’m not complaining, but every time my gaze lingers just a little too long, Jeff elbows me in the side, and since I have trouble keeping my eyes to myself, I’ve got quite the bruise forming. One thing I did notice, however, was the extra attention Henry seems to be giving Tony. It is plain as day that Henry has feelings for Tony, and Tony is simply oblivious to that fact. As much as I want to play matchmaker and speed up the process, I should just let nature take its course. As it is before we know it, we’ll have our third gay couple here.

Drying off, I shared my suspicion with my better half, who whole-heartedly agreed. We were swapping gossip like a couple of school girls when Henry came over and asked if he could speak to us in private. I grinned and nodded, telling him to lead the way. Jeff just shot me a knowing look ‘cause we both figured we knew what this was about.

“I seen you watching me and Tony, Nate. I guess that means you figured me out, right?” Henry asked me. The poor kid was shaking from all the nervousness and you could tell that the idea of being ‘outed’ scared the daylights out of him. Even approaching this subject was going to require a lot of tact, and Jeff and I both had to be very careful with our choice of wording.

“I think I know what you are talking about Henry, but don’t worry. “ I explained. “Jeff and I are the only ones that suspect it I think. I was only clued in because of the way you asked about him last night, you know. I could tell you care about him more than the others do. I think it’s sweet, by the way.”

“Thanks, Nate. I was just scared that everyone knew before I could ever approach Tony about it. I don’t even know how to go about asking him if he’d be interested in me. I’ve never had a boyfriend before and I don’t know the first thing about flirting and all that.” Henry was working himself up a sweat worrying so much. Luckily he had us to help him out. We may have to play matchmaker anyway.

“Henry, we’ll give you a hand with Tony. It shouldn’t be all too difficult. I mean, you guys get on great as it is, so liking you will go without question. I think you should give it a couple of days, though, and let all the drama settle down before pushing the issue. That way he won’t make decisions based on impulses and misplaced feelings. Other than that, I wish you the best, bro. You guys would make a great couple!” As I finished up, Henry was finally becoming relaxed.

With henry taken care of, Jeff and I slowed our pace back to camp to soak up each other’s attention before we were forced into a classroom for the remainder of the day. We talked about our plans for the future and what we wanted to do when we are freed from our prison here. Surprisingly we both agreed that we would like to stick somewhat close to the program and use it as a launch board to bigger and better things. Jeff figured that if we help get the new program off the ground that it would look great on a resume, and his grandfather has been hinting that he wouldn’t mind funding a startup venture if Jeff ever got serious.

While Jeff’s plan seems more realistic, my plan sounds a lot more fun. I plan on keeping the band around for a while and use that as our source of income while we attend the local university. If we are good enough we could make decent cash playing all the area festivals and picnics. The way that everyone oohs and aahs over us means that it shouldn’t be difficult to become at least semi-famous as it is.

When we finally reached camp we were rushed into the truck. We must have spent a lot more time dreaming about the future than we thought. The mood in the bed of the truck was rather reserved. With the events of last night still fresh in our minds, and the new romantic tension between Tony and Henry, there wasn’t much conversation going on. It didn’t help that Jack was sitting in the back with us with a permanent scowl on his face. Why couldn’t that kid just lighten up a bit and have fun with the rest of us?

Ricky on the other hand looked like he couldn’t wait to get to school. Ever since he met Allison, our Aussie friend has been daydreaming his way through camp. I bet underneath all that party boy attitude and sarcastic exterior that Ricky is a true gentleman underneath. He probably opens doors for his date, and would show up with roses and poorly written love letters. With any luck, Allison will accept Ricky’s advances although I have no idea how they would be able to go on a proper date. We seem to be a smart group of guys, though. I’m sure we can figure something out to help our buddy.

We pulled up to the school half expecting a bunch more people to meet us like they did yesterday, but we were on our own today. It seems as if everyone else is already in class. As we were headed there, we were met my Mary, who happens to be our teacher for the day. I can’t tell ya how happy that made me. That meant that we didn’t have to deal with Miss Hancock, the uber-bitch. After Mary made her introductions she began a group discussion which seemed to please the other kids in our class. I’m assuming they are used to monotonous drills and homework that the other teachers force on them. By the time we were to break for lunch our entire class was on their feet arguing their respective points. The kids that have already been going to class here seemed like they were finally having a little bit of fun for a change.

For lunch we had another home cooked meal from the two elderly ladies, who I now know as Esther and Gwen. Today they made us corned beef and cabbage. At first I thought it would be disgusting, but when I saw everyone else digging in, I had to try it. Boy, am I glad I did. Jeff on the other hand did little more than poke at it. He’s lucky we had a big breakfast. I was more than happy to help him clean his plate. For the rest of the break we just sat around shooting the bull with each other. We did find out one interesting thing about our new classmates. Apparently they are all troublemakers that didn’t ‘fit in’ at the public school in town. Instead they attended classes at the church in a program called ‘Saved’. I would have never guessed because they all seem so normal. I actually assumed that they were serious church freaks.

The topic eventually traveled to the church’s plan to extend the camp into the church. The Saved kids are pretty much in charge of everything, from getting contractors to build the housing building to forming all the rules and regulations. Their ideas seem doable, and it should be interesting to see how it all turns out. It’s too bad Mark can’t see us right now, ‘cause I am sure he would be extremely proud to see us all working together at a common goal. I brought up me and Jeff’s idea about sticking around after we are paroled from the program. That created a whole discussion about using part of the housing building as a halfway house of sorts for us when we successfully complete the program. That way we can try to find employment or take classes at the local college without attempting to do so from the same environment that got us in trouble in the first place. For Jeff and I that meant that we could stay together when we are through. Just the thought of living with my babe makes me feel all warm inside.

Talking about the expanded program caused us to completely lose track of time. We didn’t even realize it until Ziggy J. had to hunt us down to get us in the music room. Of course we didn’t have to be told twice to get our asses moving. We practically raced through the halls to begin our jam session. This time we were much more productive after doing all kinds of planning the night before. When we started on Tony’s song we realized that we had an original hit right off the bat. It told our story perfectly, and everyone had a hand in it. Ziggy looked like a proud papa when we played the final notes.

“Bravo! You guys are on the road to great things!” Ziggy exclaimed. “All you need now is a name, and then you’re all set!”

Tony jumped into the conversation. “I have an idea for a name. The name of the new program is ‘Trough Their Eyes’. We can use that as our band name. What do you guys think?” We all loved Tony’s idea. It was all coming together. We had our band, we have our name, a few tunes under our belt, a kick ass producer, and our own talented songwriter in Tony.

Ziggy had us form a set list to start practicing. The entire set lasts about two and a half hours non-stop and we only have three weeks to make it perfect. The county fair is coming up quick and it’s going to be a big gig for our first. If we can survive that, we can survive anything. At the rate we are picking up the music, we will be ready well before the three weeks is up. So far we have about twenty of the songs down pat, with another twenty five that we still have to learn. Most of it is country music because of the event, but we don’t care. We plan on having a blast while we sing “Sweet Home Alabama” for the entire county to hear.

Just like we lost track of time earlier, we played well past our dismissal time. Mark had to throw the circuit breaker to the music room just to get us moving. When we were heading back to the truck we noticed that Jack was already sitting there waiting for us to hop in. It then dawned on us that he wasn’t there the entire time we were practicing and we hadn’t noticed. Most of the group shrugged it off as a good thing, but not me. Jeff is the only other person that knows about the threat he made last night. Who knows what he could have been off planning while we were all playing our tunes? I decided that I have to bring up the subject tonight.

When we made it back to camp we were greeted by Nurse Mandy and Jeff’s grandfather, who barely acknowledged us before he went back to rough-housing with Teddy. It was strange to see the rough and tough Sheriff rolling around in the dirt with our pet mutt. As soon as Teddy seen Tony he bolted over and knocked him right off his feet all the while trying to lick his face off. I guess Teddy already figured out who his official master is. It was great seeing Tony so happy playing with the canine. It seemed like all his problems once again disappeared into thin air.

While everyone else went about their business, Jeff and I went to visit with the sheriff and Nurse Mandy. I was especially happy to see her. She alone made the county jail bearable and I’d like to think I made an ally for life in her. Of course she had plenty of wisecracks at our expense, but it was worth it just to get a visit out of her. Jeff’s grandfather interrupted our banter, announcing he had some news.

“Jeff, now brace yourself for what I’m about to tell you son. I just got back from the court house after about a week of custody hearings for your brother. The judge finally made a ruling. As you know your brother James has been in foster care ever since that night. I’ve been trying to petition for custody but I was having problems because of my hectic schedule. The judge couldn’t grant me custody because I am rarely home. Nurse Mandy here volunteered to try for custody, which worked out perfectly because she is already a qualified foster parent with the state. So, starting tomorrow your brother will be back with us!”

Jeff looked shocked. Immediately tears began to stream down my babe’s face as the joy and relief overwhelmed him. I can only imagine the thoughts going through Jeff’s head right now. It has been months since Jeff shot and killed his father in order to protect his brother and he hasn’t been able to see him since. Now he’s being told that it is just a matter of days before he can see him again. I didn’t know what else to do, so I just scooped Jeff up into a bear hug and held on for dear life while the flood of emotions washed over him.

After the excitement of the news calmed down, the sheriff moved on to other news. He informed us that he’s been in contact with the church and they are starting the process of deciding how they are going to choose candidates for the extended program. The sheriff himself decided to take it upon himself to select the candidates from his district and personally oversee their cases. To me that sounds like a huge responsibility, but if anyone could do it, Sheriff Whitmore could pull it off. He made me blush when he said the only reason he is helping to spearhead this project is because he seen how much I had changed and that it was possible for a hoodlum to turn into a decent citizen. I wasn’t sure if I should be pissed off or happy with the statement, but I’m pretty sure it was a complement.

His last bit of news was icing on the cake. Each year the Sheriff’s Department donates officers to work as security for the county fair as well as a monetary donation to help with a lot of the costs. This year it was decided that the monetary donation was going towards a bigger and better stage and sound equipment. Apparently the band used to play on a small stage underneath a beer tent, but by the way the sheriff is talking they will be moving it to the stadium. I thought he was doing that as a favor for us but I was wrong. One of the deputies’ wife works with concert promotions and was able to pull some strings to book Hank Williams Jr. and we were slated to open for him! With that little bit of information I went ecstatic running around the camp giving everyone the awesome news. Not only were we going to open for Hank, but just having him being there guarantees a sold out crowd. We’ll be playing in front of tens of thousands of people for our very first gig!

Not much else happened for the rest of the evening. With so much exciting news coming from Sheriff Whitmore a little calm was much welcomed. The sheriff and Mandy both seemed really comfortable sitting around the fire with us and it was nice to have a member of the law not talk down to us or judge us before knowing the first thing about us. He took the time to listen to each and every idea that we came up with for the new program and promised to give them all a lot of thought before the program goes live.

By the time the sheriff left it was already well past the time we normally turn in for the night. We were all too excited to sleep anyways so it really didn’t make much of a difference. I noticed that Jack was heading into his cabin so I decided to round everybody else and inform them of the threats Jack made the night before. One by one I found the campers except for two of them. Tony and Henry were nowhere to be found. I could hardly contain the smile that formed across my lips. I crossed my fingers hoping that I was right while I told everyone else what Jack had said last night. The threats really didn’t surprise anybody but his little absence at school now raised some new concerns among us. I still don’t know how we didn’t even notice him missing. It was decided that we would request that all teachers including Ziggy take role after every break. I just hope the prick doesn’t do something to screw it up for everyone.

Saying our ‘good nights’ we headed to our cabins for the night. Tony still hasn’t come back from wherever Henry and he snuck off too, but that was fine by us. I just hope it works out for the both of them. It’s kind of funny how things worked out here. We queers outnumber the breeders six to four. I guess the ten percent rule doesn’t apply here.

I climbed into bed with Jeff, but not without first reminding him of my love and stealing a kiss that still sends shivers down my back. As I lay next to him I replayed the day in my head. Not many days can turn out better than today. And by the way I can hear Tony outside giggling, I’d say that goes for all of us. As I’ve been for the past couple days I closed my eyes and said a quick thanks to the man upstairs. It’s getting hard to believe that there is no God when so much good is surrounding me. Maybe I was wrong. Either way, I have someone looking out for me and it feels great. As Jeff began to snore and my eyes started to droop, Tony walked in grinning from ear to ear. As he started to climb up on his bunk I said “Well?” and I got two thumbs up in response. It looks like we have a third happy couple now. Truly a great day indeed.

Copyright © 2013 Houdinii; All Rights Reserved.
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I love Teddy! He's so cute! What a great idea Nate had to give Teddy to Tony. Tony just needs something/somebody who will love him unconditionally.

 

Nate had another great idea: to turn some of that land or buildings into a halfway house for the kids who graduate from that program to make it easier to transition into the "real world".

 

But I would definitely keep an eye out for Jack; I don't trust him at all.

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Wonder how long it will before Mark finds out his hair trimmers are probably too dull to cut his hair anymore lol. teddy is cute and between him and Henry Tony should be doing just fine. Hope they remember to tell Tony and Henry about Jacks threats and they better keep an eye on teddy, I wouldn't put it past jack go try to hurt the puppy

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okay the story is very good up to this point, I want to go back a chapter where we discovered that mark and Mary are volunteers and the money they spend is out of there pockets. If they extend the camp and program surely money needs to come from some sort of funding imagine twenty boys running around how much will that cost.

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On 07/28/2013 03:59 AM, scotty94 said:
okay the story is very good up to this point, I want to go back a chapter where we discovered that mark and Mary are volunteers and the money they spend is out of there pockets. If they extend the camp and program surely money needs to come from some sort of funding imagine twenty boys running around how much will that cost.
Ah, your getting a little ahead of me as far as the financing goes. Marks money will be explained, but funding help is one of the reasons to be working with the church. Thanks for all your reviews, Scotty!
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