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    Mark Arbour
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Gap Year - 11. Chapter 11

January 24, 2004

Uluru, Australia



“Who did you talk to about this?” I demanded.

Tom pulled out his phone and looked at his call log. “This guy,” he said, and gave me the guy’s name and number.

“Alright. Now go back in there and if they ask, tell them everything’s fine,” I instructed Tom. “Tell them I just had a call to make.”

“Alright,” he said, a bit disappointed that I’d taken over the situation, but this was a big deal, and there’s no way I was going to delegate it.

The first person I called was Cecil. “Good evening,” he said icily.

“Cecil, It’s Will Schluter,” I said. “I understand there was an incident at the condo.”

“An incident,” he said with dread in his voice. “I am terribly sorry about this.”

“I appreciate that,” I said soothingly, “but I’m more interested in making sure this doesn’t turn into a big story.”

“I can fully understand that,” he said.

“What do the authorities know? Do they know who was staying there?” I asked.

“When Randy was discovered, the security firm called me and I was able to arrive at the condo prior to the police,” he said. “They asked multiple questions about Randy which I fielded, and they asked multiple questions of the security guard who was there.”

“Was there anything damning in his responses?” I asked.

Cecil paused, and I almost snapped at him, but then gave him the benefit of the doubt and calmed my ass down. “I think the police and other security people accepted his statements at face value.”

“What are you thinking?” I asked. He hesitated again, so I continued a bit more aggressively. “I need to get a handle on what’s going on, so tell me.”

“I think Randy brought the taipan into the condo, and I think he planned to release it so it would be a danger to you and Mr. Conway,” he said.

“I understand,” I said, even as my blood ran cold at the possibility of being bitten by a poisonous reptile. Snakes didn’t bother me like they bothered most of my other family members, but I had no desire to be killed by one.

“It wasn’t clear to me how the serpent got out of his bag and bit him,” Cecil observed. In other words, he was suggesting that when the security guard discovered that Randy had the snake, he somehow created the ‘accident’ that killed Randy.

“Let’s hope they aren’t as astute as you are,” I said. “This is probably difficult for you. I’m sorry about that.”

“That is most gracious of you, but rather I am angry and embarrassed,” he said, both emotions clear in his voice.

“Did the police ask who was staying there?” I queried.

“They did,” he said, then paused for suspense. “I told them the house was vacant.”

“That was very well done,” I said, heaping praise on him. “You were thinking very quickly.”

“Thank you,” he said a bit smugly. “They did not appear to notice your items in the condo, so as soon as they left, I packed everything up and removed them. There is now no trace that you were there.”

“Cecil, that is truly excellent work,” I said, sounding a lot like I was his age. “I really appreciate it.”

“I was just doing my job,” he insisted with false modesty.

“I think you did much more than that, exceeding my expectations by far,” I said. It annoyed me that when I dealt with him, I started talking like Grand.

“That is kind of you to say,” he said. “And what will you do now?”

“I was pondering that,” I said. “I certainly can’t go back to Bondi.”

“That would not be my recommendation either,” he said. “I have a possible plan.”

“Go on,” I said.

“You had planned to spend some time in Byron Bay and also to visit Hayman Island on the Great Barrier Reef,” he said.

“Yes,” I said, since that was true.

“It seems that perhaps you and your party would be best served by being away from Sydney for a bit and rearranging your holiday so you go straight to the Reef,” he said.

“That’s an excellent suggestion,” I said, pondering his plan. “It would get both Connie and me away from Sydney while this whole thing blows over.”

“Exactly,” he said. “I hope you do not think this is presumptuous, but I took the liberty of making sure you had a room available at Hayman if you choose this course of action.”

“Thank you so much, Cecil,” I said sincerely. “I’ll make this up to you the next time I see you.”

“Mr. Schluter, I appreciate your generosity,” he said. “I want you to know that my motives are to make sure you suffer no ill-effects from the actions of our employee.” That meant he still wanted a massive tip, but he wanted me to think he had some honorable, customer-service motive that was driving him more than the money.

“I understand,” I said.

“The best way to get to Hayman is to fly to Hamilton Island and transit to Hayman by helicopter or boat,” he said. I knew about that when I’d originally made my reservations there, but I appreciated the reminder.

“Thanks for the advice,” I said.

“I would be most obliged if you would let me know that you have ultimately arrived safely on Hayman,” he said.

“I will do that,” I promised. I went back to the table where everyone was partying in a pretty rowdy way.

“You were gone for a bit,” Connie said, although it was more of a question.

“I decided on a change of plans for tomorrow,” I said. “We’re flying to Hamilton Island.” Tom gave me a knowing look.

The co-pilot looked at me with bleary eyes. “When do you want to leave?”

“Tomorrow when you sober up,” I said, making him laugh.

“What’s with the change in plans?” Connie asked.

“I’ll tell you in a bit. I’m fucking exhausted. I’m going to bed,” I said.

“Good advice,” the pilot said in an authoritarian way, then continued much more sincerely. “Thanks for the drinks and dinner. This trip turned out to be one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve done.”

“I’m glad,” I said. The pilots left, leaving me with Tom and Connie.

“What do you want me to do?” Tom asked.

“When we get to Hamilton, the pilots can head back to Sydney. You can go with them, or go on with us to Hayman,” I said.

“You want me to go to Hayman with you?” he asked incredulously.

“If you want to,” I said. I knew it would cost more money to have him tag along, but he was really efficient, and may be handy to have around. The fact that he was adorably cute was also a positive.

“That sounds like paradise,” he said.

“Let’s hope,” I agreed, smiling. “Can you work out our schedule with the pilots and arrange transportation for us to Hayman? Helicopter or boat, it’s up to you.”

“I’ll get it done,” he said, and got up and wandered off.

“You going to tell me what’s going on?” Connie asked. He was drunk and a little pissed off.

“As soon as we get back to the room,” I said. He started to get angrier. “I don’t want to upset you in public.”

“Upset me?” he demanded. I stood up and walked out of the restaurant, hoping he’d follow me. He did.

“Yes, upset you,” I reiterated. I walked quickly, forcing him to focus on keeping up his pace so I didn’t lose him, and that shut him up.

We got to the room and as soon as he walked in, I shut and locked the door. “Now tell me what the fuck is going on!” he roared.

“Do not yell at me,” I said severely, which knocked him down a notch. “Randy is dead.”

He blinked at me, and I could almost see his mind reeling as he first remembered who Randy was, then digested the fact that he was dead. “Dead? I mean, does that mean you’re going to have him killed, or that he’s already been offed?”

“He is dead,” I said, acting offended like I’d never contemplated having someone executed before. I led him over to the couch and sat down next to him.

“What happened?”

“He went by the condo and claimed he needed to get some of his things,” I said.

“The security people shot him?” he asked, all outraged.

“No, they didn’t shoot him,” I said, rolling my eyes at him. “He brought a snake with him in his backpack, and when he went to let it loose it apparently bit him instead.”

“A snake? A real fucking snake?” he asked, horrified.

“A real fucking snake,” I repeated.

“What kind of snake?”

“A taipan,” I replied

“That’s a bloody dangerous snake,” he said. “That’s the most poisonous here in Australia.”

“So I’ve heard,” I said, making a mental note to do some research on this reptile. “Looks like he was going to let it loose in the condo in the hopes that it would bite us.”

“What the fuck? How do you know that?” he demanded.

“Why else would he be there with a super-poisonous snake?” I asked. He pondered that for a bit, knowing I was right.

“Why are we going to Hayman?” he asked, a bit more calmly.

“Cecil did a great job with the police and told them the condo was empty,” I explained. “He packed up all our stuff and is having it sent out to Hayman. It’s best if we’re not around in the meantime.”

“For a pom, he turned out to be a good guy,” he grumbled.

“He did a really good job,” I agreed.

I watched his emotions fly off again. “Fuck,” he said a bit loudly. He got up and stormed out of the room, slamming the door behind him. I shrugged, because I’d dealt with this kind of shit before with Zach. Maybe that’s why I ended up getting together with closeted athletes: because I understood them and I was willing to put up with them. Or maybe it was because of their incredibly sexy bodies, I thought, then giggled.

I got task oriented and looked at the clock. It was 4:30 in the morning at Escorial, but I decided to go ahead and wake them up to explain what was going on. I picked the person who was least likely to give me shit and would not be dramatic. He answered on the third ring. “Hello,” I heard Grand say. It didn’t sound like he had been sleeping, but then again, a phone call in the middle of the night usually brought him to full attention.

“I am sorry to bother you so early in the morning,” I prefaced, useless words on my part.

“It is good to hear from you,” he said pleasantly. “But since you have called me this early, and since my conversation will no doubt wake up Stef, I am assuming you have a reason for calling.”

“Please apologize to Stef for me,” I said, then chuckled when I heard him groan in the background. “I didn’t know when you were planning to get here, so I wanted to let you know of a change of plans.”

“Oh?” he asked.

“I’m at Uluru now, and tomorrow we’re heading to the Great Barrier Reef,” I explained.

“How is Uluru?” he asked.

“It is really incredible,” I said. “But there are flies everywhere, and they suck.”

“No doubt,” he said, then got serious. “You didn’t climb it, did you?”

“No, I didn’t climb it,” I said in a smarmy teenager voice. “It pisses off the Aboriginal people, and even if I wasn’t with Connie, I’d have honored their wishes.”

“I am not surprised you made the right choice, but I am glad to hear it,” he said. “My understanding is that you were going to be in Bondi, and then in Byron Bay around the time we arrived. What changed your plans?”

“There was an issue, and if it’s alright with you, I’d rather just explain it when you get here,” I said. That wouldn’t have placated me, but I was hoping it would work with him.

“That is fine. We are planning to leave in three days, so we will route ourselves first to the Great Barrier Reef,” he said. “I am not sure Stefan is willing to snorkel or dive, but we will see.”

“The hotel has an excellent spa, and the whole island looks like paradise,” I said. “So there are alternatives.”

“He will probably appreciate the chance to relax,” he said, making me think there was some reason for Stef to be more stressed than normal.

“Probably,” I agreed. “I’m working to make sure there’s lots of eye candy for him.”

He chuckled. “I suspect that will help his mood. I will contact you and let you know when we plan to arrive.”

“I’ll see you soon,” I said, and hung up the phone. Connie still wasn’t back yet, so I took a shower, got into bed, and pulled out my laptop to send the emails I’d worked on earlier during our flight.

I heard the door open and stared at the door, waiting for Connie to appear. He looked in sheepishly. “Sorry I just ran off.”

“That’s fine,” I said with a smile. “I’m sure that was a lot for you to digest.”

He relaxed and smiled back at me because he probably thought I was going to be a drama queen and throw a tantrum. I probably would have two or three years ago and gave myself credit for maturing a bit. “This whole situation has been a disaster.”

“With Randy?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, as he sat on the bed next to me. “I was an idiot for getting involved with him in the first place, and I hated him over the way things ended.”

“So how do you feel now?” I asked.

“I’m glad he’s dead,” he said, and looked at me with a pleading expression. “He made my life hell, and he was plotting to kill one or both of us, and it really didn’t seem to matter which one of us got it.”

“Could have bitten Marla too,” I said. “Guess he wasn’t much of a friend to her either.”

“What a douche,” he said, shaking his head.

“So now you’re feeling guilty because you’re happy he’s dead?” I asked.

“That’s a bit of it, yeah,” he said.

“Don’t,” I said firmly. “That guy was a complete asshole, and its poetic justice that while he was plotting to kill us, he ended up killing himself. I’d say that’s karma.”

“Karma?” he asked.

“He got what was coming to him,” I said, simplifying it. “So I think we should just stay away for a bit until the authorities close out their investigation, and be thankful that asshole is out of our lives.”

“You know, being with you scares me,” he said, even as he looked away.

“Why do I scare you?” I asked, slightly annoyed.

“Because you make it seem like I could actually be with another bloke, I could be happy, and it wouldn’t destroy my career,” he said.

“It’s probably possible,” I said. “You just have to be careful, and before you get too involved, make sure the guy isn’t a complete asshole.”

“You’re saying I should take things slow,” he said.

“You can fuck him right away,” I said, making him chuckle. “You just have to slow the emotional and relationship pieces down.”

“Makes sense,” he said.

“In three days, you’ll get to meet my grandfathers,” I said. He tensed up and I put my hand on his chest to chill him out. “Do not worry about it. They’re awesome guys. You have nothing to worry about.”

“Alright,” he said.

“But both of them are sages on this kind of thing, especially Stef, so you should ask them about it,” I said.

“It would be incredible if you were planning to stay in Australia for a bit longer,” he said, which was sweet.

“But I’m not, and that’s probably a good thing,” I said, and saw him look all hurt. “Your season starts soon, and the last thing you need is me hanging around.”

“Probably right, especially after you scorched Strider,” he said, making us chuckle.

“I think you should just enjoy the time we have together right now,” I said, and ran my fingers slowly down his chest. Before I got to his abdomen, he was on top of me, and we had yet another amazing round of sex.


January 25, 2004

The Great Barrier Reef, Australia



The Gulfstream seemed to slow a bit, a sign that we were approaching Hamilton Island. I looked out the window and took in the islands and ocean all around us, and the sheer beauty of it made me smile. The captain called me and confirmed that we were landing. “We’ll be on the ground in 20 minutes,” I told Tom and Connie.

“I opted to get a helicopter to take us to Hayman,” Tom said. “I thought it would be easier than tackling the waves.” I laughed at that, since I was the only one who wasn’t hung over. Tom was the worst, but that may have been because the pilots were just better at hiding it.

“That works for me,” I said. It would also be faster, and I was anxious to get settled into this new place and check it out.

“We got you booked into the same place you had planned for later,” he said. I cringed at his grammar, then internally rolled my eyes that one conversation with Grand made me think about shit like that.

“The beach house?” I asked.

“The beach house,” Tom confirmed. “Three bedrooms and bathrooms, a central area, an infinity edge pool and private pools for the bedrooms, all overlooking the beach and right next to the resort pool.”

“Sounds top-notch,” Connie said, raising an eyebrow.

“I’m trying to book a different room for me, and they’re checking availability,” he said nervously. I looked at Connie with a question mark for my expression, and he gave me the slightest of nods.

“You can have one of the rooms in the beach house,” I said pleasantly, as if I just hadn’t had an intense non-verbal exchange with Connie.

“You’re sure?” Tom asked excitedly.

“I’m sure,” I said, smiling at how much he was ginned up to check this place out. I was so wrapped up in our conversation I was surprised when the plane touched down. The pilots taxied over to the FBO and wound down the engines. Tom was the first one out of the plane, anxious to make sure everything was organized for us, while Connie and I were more deliberate.

The pilot and co-pilot were waiting for me as I got ready to exit the plane. “It’s been a pleasure flying you around,” the pilot said. “Can’t remember a trip that was more fun.”

“I’m glad you enjoyed yourself,” I said. “You guys were a blast.”

“I’m still feeling the effects of last night,” he grumbled, making me laugh. “Managed to pick up a return fare, so that will save you a bit on your bill.”

“That’s always a good thing,” I said. Connie told them to contact him for some free Roosters tickets, and by the time that conversation was finished and we’d left the plane, Tom was waiting with our bags already loaded in one of those golf carts they used to shuttle people short distances.

“This will take us to the helicopter,” he said proudly, so happy his arrangements were working out. They loaded our stuff and us into the helicopter, but this time I took the front seat. The pilot chattered on and on about the Whitsunday Islands and the reef, pointing out various things as we went, and his melodic Australian voice was like a balm. That, combined with the absolutely gorgeous scenery, made the entire trip a kind of Zen experience.

The pilot buzzed around Hayman Island, which was small and dominated by a small mountain and the resort, which was located next to a beautiful beach. The pilot made to land at the heliport which was right next to the marina when I stopped him. “Fly over that yacht,” I said, pointing at the biggest ship in the harbor. “Make sure we can see the name on the back.”

He gave me a dubious look but did as I asked. We drifted slowly over the big boat and I smiled as he did. Emblazoned on the back was the single word “Tonto.” Stef had renamed the ship some time ago after his grandmother, who was, to all accounts, an incredible woman. “Nice ship,” Tom noted.

“It’s my grandfather’s,” I said, shocking the shit out of all of them. Stef must have had them travel down here so it would be available during our stay. It was a major extravagance, but these days Stef was more into comfort and convenience than saving money. Then again, he pretty much always had been. “That’s going to make diving the reef a lot easier.”

“No shit. You have your own floating city,” Connie joked, cracking me up.

The helicopter touched down, and while the rotors slowed, I signed off on the invoice. I’d been so focused on the paperwork that when I got out, I was surprised to see about 20 staff people waiting for us. “Welcome to Hayman Island,” a dapper older man said. “I am the hotel manager.”

“Will Schluter,” I said. “Nice to meet you.” I shook his hand, and he introduced me to the staff there, many who worked at the restaurants and other places on the island, which was a pleasant way for them to market their services. Fortunately, the staff who was also assigned to our beach house was there as well, so we got to know them a bit and answer a few of their questions about what we needed. They used a cart to haul our luggage while we strolled along the pretty path to the resort. The manager pointed things out as we went, and then led us to our beach house. It was pretty spectacular. The main room was a combination living and dining area with doors like those in the pool area at Escorial, doors that slid open making the entire wall almost disappear. The doors led out to the outside area, where we found another table and some lounge chairs, along with a gorgeous infinity edge pool that made the eye wander beyond it to the beach.

“This is nice,” Connie said appreciatively.

“Indeed,” the manager said. He showed us the master bedroom, which had floor to ceiling windows with a view of the beach and access to the pool, and the second bedroom which had its own private plunge pool. Tom was wrong, in that the third bedroom didn’t have its own pool, so I made him take that one. He didn’t complain. Everyone finally left us alone, and I noticed that it was only four o’clock.

“I think I’m going to unpack and then explore a bit,” I said.

“I’m going to find the fitness center,” Connie asserted. He was probably getting a bit more nervous about being in top physical condition what with the season about to begin, although he seemed pretty fit to me.

I put a few of my things in the master bedroom but unpacked most of them in the second bedroom, where he was ostensibly staying. “I wonder if Tom’s figured out that we’re sharing a room on purpose?” I asked him.

He looked at me with a terrified look, then mellowed. “Not sure,” he said as he re-folded a T-shirt.

“You think we should just tell him?” I asked.

“You want to out me to him?” he demanded.

“Come on,” I said, chiding him. “There are a lot of guys who know you’re gay.”


“The ones you fuck,” I said, making him chuckle. “I may be wrong, but he seems pretty trustworthy. I don’t think he’d use that information to hurt you.”

“I’ll think about it,” he said. He put on his workout gear while I put on my bathing suit, T-shirt, and flip-flops. He gave me a sweet kiss, then vanished.

I found Tom dressed almost like me and laughed. “Great minds think alike.”

“They do,” he agreed, and smiled at me. He was really attractive; he looked like what you’d expect a typical Australian stud to look like, only his hair wasn’t light enough to fit the stereotype.

“I’m going to go hang out for a bit, then you and I can go wander around,” I told him. I got out my dugout with the weed I’d bought in Sydney and went out and sat by the pool, then lit it up. I hadn’t gotten to smoke since I started hanging out with Connie because he couldn’t partake. Tom came out and sat with me, grinning at me knowingly. I finished my hit then loaded the bat and handed it to him.

“I probably shouldn’t,” he said, even as he took it from me. “They randomly drug test us, but not all that often.”

“Your call, dude,” I said, even as he took a hit. We did a few more hits each, until we were totally stoned and giggling like freshman girls at Menlo. We kind of zombied out until I remembered we had yet to explore this awesome place. “Let’s go.”

We wandered all around, checking out the place and the people. We sat down at the bar by the pool and ordered drinks and some appetizers while we watched the people. My big objective was to try and figure out who he was checking out: the men or the women. It was pretty tough to see where his eyes were going with his sunglasses on, but he didn’t seem to focus on one gender or the other. I decided that maybe it was because he was stoned. “Even if I get fired after I get back, this is worth it.”

I laughed. “You won’t get fired,” I said, although I wasn’t sure if I could make that guarantee. “How long have you worked there?”

“About six months, since I left the uni,” he said. “Didn’t like being stuck in a classroom. Wanted to do something more productive.”

“Don’t tell my grandfather that,” I said. “He’s a professor.”

“Thanks for the warning,” he said, cracking me up. “Anyway, I got this gig, mostly working security.”

“How’d you end up as my travel agent?” I asked, making him laugh.

“They needed someone to watch out for you but they knew you wouldn’t go for it unless they packaged the job as an assistant as well, so they picked me because I’m the most organized and told me I had to make all your arrangements for you,” he said.

“Sorry you got stuck with that gig,” I said.

“Fuck that,” he said, then got nervous until I laughed. “I love doing this. I love planning and making sure things go like they’re supposed to.”

“Yeah, but the big challenge is when things don’t go like they’re supposed to,” I said.

“I got that, but for me, that’s like an adrenaline rush,” he said.

“You’re a good problem solver,” I pronounced.

“I guess that’s it,” he said, and pondered that.

“There’s lots of opportunities to work for people doing this kind of job,” I said.

“You know of any?” he asked hopefully.

“I’ll work on it,” I said. I paid the bill and we started walking around again. “You know, if you work for someone, one of the most important things will be your ability to keep your mouth shut about what they do.”

“I don’t run my mouth about what other people do,” he said, acting offended.

“You hear about people who work for celebrities and then write tell-all books about their employers,” I said. “They may make some cash doing it, but after that they’re a pariah. It’s one of those deals where if they sell out, they have to make sure the money will last.”

“That’s a shit thing to do,” he said adamantly.

“I’ve never had that happen to me, and the people who have worked for my family in that capacity have usually been able to move on and become more successful when they were ready, if they wanted to,” I said.

“You said usually,” he said, more of a question.

“There was this dude who was my driver and guard when I was 13, and the dude he’d done that for before me accused him of molesting him. I helped him with his legal issues,” I said, thinking about Pat.

“But he got fired anyway?”

“No, he got hooked on crystal meth, went to New York, and I haven’t heard from him since,” I said. I paused to wipe a tear from my eye, and Tom put his arm around me in a supportive way.

“That’s not you,” he said, meaning it wasn’t my fault.

“I know, but he stuck with me through some tough times, and I just didn’t know how to help him when he got hooked,” I said. “On the other hand, one of the guys who worked for Stefan is on track to graduate from USC, and the lady who guarded me after Pat left is singing country music in Nashville.”

“Maybe I should work for you,” he said, and winked at me. We were walking on a trail that went off into the woods.

“Dude, the extra duties would wear you out,” I said in my slutty way, making both of us laugh.

“Or not,” he said, and before I knew what was happening, his lips were on mine, I was responding, and I found myself absorbed in one amazing kiss.

Copyright © 2020 Mark Arbour; All Rights Reserved.
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Chapter Comments

1 hour ago, rjo said:


Thank you so much for the AWESOME birthday present!!  Having another chapter of the Gap is the best. Again Will has handled himself with the maturity beyond his years. The old Will would have freaked out with the death of Randy and not handled Connie as well as he did. I think his change of plans will turn out good. And as usual Mark throws a twist in the end with Tom's kiss. 

Happy Birthday!

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You brought Tonto back to us even if only in spirit.  Thank you. She was one of my favorite characters.  Will has certainly taken a major leap forward in maturity gauging by his measured reactions to Cecil and the way he handled things. But it's nice that the old Will is still there smoking weed and sucking face with a new guy.  LOL.  I'm thinking a 3-way is coming soon. Thanks for the great chapter Mark.  

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OK, I'm caught up, and so far Will hasn't had sex with anyone but Connie, so nothing to add to the list. But I can see Tom may be next. I wonder if Connie is up for a threesome ?

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2 minutes ago, Timothy M. said:

OK, I'm caught up, and so far Will hasn't had sex with anyone but Connie, so nothing to add to the list. But I can see Tom may be next. I wonder if Connie is up for a threesome ?

Oh you’ll be busy. 

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Truly adored this chapter; late getting to it as I am in Alabama for Spring Break with my youngest nephew.  

I loved how Will handled the initial situation and then at least advised JP that something was going on with his call, so if he needed back-up, some would be ready.  I do like Will and Connie, realize it is nothing more than a fling but they fit together well on several levels.  

Not sure that I like the idea of Will juggling Connie and Tom, even if they know about each other.  Will could use a personal assistant, and Tom might work for that but would need to keep it professional.

As several others mentioned, any even in passing mention of Tonto brings joy into my life.  This is truly one of the best sagas ever online or anywhere; but one of my wishes would be for us to have gotten to say a better goodbye to Tonto...

On 3/22/2021 at 7:59 PM, kbois said:

I think Tonto and Will would've been a formidable duo. 

Tonto was more than formidable all on her own; but I think she would have appreciated how Will has turned out.  She was a fighter and liked those that could stand up for themselves or others that needed help.

Can't wait for JP and Stef to join Will, even if it is just for a while.  Wonder what Stef has been up to that has him more stressed than usual???  

Can't wait for the next update, thanks so much Mark, you are simply the best...

Edited by centexhairysub
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47 minutes ago, centexhairysub said:

As several others mentioned, any even in passing mention of Tonto brings joy into my life.  This is truly one of the best saga ever online or anywhere; but one of my wished would be for us to have gotten to say a better goodbye to Tonto...

David and I don't always agree but on this point we do. I understand sometime gathering at a death bed is not pleasent but we never got to say goodbye to this wonderful woman who we all love so much

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As always thank you for a new chapter.  Can't wait to see how the family reacts when they hear about he snake.

Sadly, another year passes and you again break my heart by proving that you remain an unreconstructed anglophile by deliberately snubbing the Irish by skipping St. Patrick's day for a holiday chapter.  For Shame Sir, for Shame!

Erin go Bragh!


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6 hours ago, TheStoryReader said:


As always thank you for a new chapter.  Can't wait to see how the family reacts when they hear about he snake.

Sadly, another year passes and you again break my heart by proving that you remain an unreconstructed anglophile by deliberately snubbing the Irish by skipping St. Patrick's day for a holiday chapter.  For Shame Sir, for Shame!

Erin go Bragh!


Dammit!  Maybe next year. 

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, TheStoryReader said:


As always thank you for a new chapter.  Can't wait to see how the family reacts when they hear about he snake.

Sadly, another year passes and you again break my heart by proving that you remain an unreconstructed anglophile by deliberately snubbing the Irish by skipping St. Patrick's day for a holiday chapter.  For Shame Sir, for Shame!

Erin go Bragh!


I don't think that it was a deliberate snub, but rather that @Mark Arbour must start preparing for La fête du quatorze juillet very early on since it is such an important and all consuming yearly event. He simply overlooked it. 🤣

Edited by spyke
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12 hours ago, spyke said:

I don't think that it was a deliberate snub, but rather that @Mark Arbour must start preparing for La fête du quatorze juillet very early on since it is such an important and all consuming yearly event. He simply overlooked it. 🤣

Oh, I know it was not a deliberate snub of the Irish.  This is something I have been ribbing Mark about for several years (He never posts on St. Patty days).  Sometimes if I am feeling extra childish, I will look up the dates of chapters to see if they fall on really obscure holidays, and then give mark a hard time about posting a chapter on that day, but not honoring St. Patty's day.

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