The Only Way to Fly
Daley was beside himself when Billy told him about his mother's murder and who the killer was, and it fell to Trilby to phone the cops on Billy's behalf. Tough on Ken for not recognizing Billy. Now that same kid who watched him kill his mother would be the instrument that put him in jail. Daley just wandered around the place with his hands to his face muttering, "Oh My God!" to himself. He was no good to anyone in that state and when his dad phoned, Trilby had to take the call. He listened, scribbled something on a piece of paper, put the phone down and held out the paper to Indian. The big man took it and glanced at what was written, looked at Rob, and walked to the lounge door. Rob signalled to Todd and Digger and held out his hand for my keys. I tossed them to him and they followed Indian out of the room. No one said anything, but minutes later we heard my 405 roar into life and speed away from the house. The rest of us spent the day comforting Billy and Daley, supporting them when the police came to talk to Billy and take statements from him and Daley who had been Bill's lover at the time of the murder.
Pete drove us back to the hospital the next day for our check-ups, and the doctor said that Billy's internal injuries had healed well and he could gradually go back onto solid food. My spleen and kidneys were okay and I had no need of further treatment, but Billy needed a visit to Crimptons for a head scan, in case the beating he had received had done any damage to the site of his operation. The Doctor also took a look at his throat to make sure things were okay there and congratulated him on getting his speech back. Before we left, the doctor stared at both of us, frowned thoughtfully, and said, "You're gay aren't you?" When Billy nodded he added, "Just be careful for a while. Just because I've taken you off liquid food, doesn't mean it's safe to resume your sex life in full. I had planned on performing a colostomy if you hadn't stopped bleeding, a temporary one of course, but necessary for your rectum and the lower part of your colon to heal. So think yourself lucky, young man. We don't want you ending up with a colostomy bag do we? Nasty things they are."
I got Billy out of there as fast as I could before he hit someone, especially that patronising doctor. What did the man think I was; a rutting bull?
Billy was sore and he was angry. "I'm bloody sure he thinks it's fun looking up my arse and shoving all those instruments and stuff up there," Billy fumed as we hobbled to the car. "I wouldn't have minded only I'm still pretty bruised down there and all the damned stitches are really tender." I called Billy's doctor on my mobile and explained the situation, and he agreed to see us on our way back from the hospital. Doctor Finchly took us into his examining room and asked the nurse to wait outside while he had Billy strip his pants off and lie on his side on the treatment couch. He asked Billy to bend his knees and move his bum to the edge of the couch, and then gently drew Billy's briefs down. I hadn't touched him since the attack, except to hold him while we slept, and the only bruises I had seen were on his torso and limbs. The Doctor parted his cheeks with gentle fingers and I was horrified when I saw the bruises around his anus and on his lovely bubble butt cheeks, along with the freshly healed stitches. No wonder he was sore. Finchly traced the edges of the bruising and placed a fist closed against them; one of them had been aimed right at his hole. "The bastards!" I heard him breathe, and watched him grab a camera out of a cupboard. We counted eight separate fist shaped bruises and I wished Indian had seen them before he went to see Ken.
Billy craned his head round to stare at the Finchly with sightless eyes. "Is it bad?"
"Too right, it's bad. What were those hospital medics doing, discharging you in this state? I know the bruises wouldn't have been too mature when they examined you but they should have kept you in and monitored them. Someone slipped up somewhere. I ought to have you re-admitted."
"No way. I don't want any more poking and prodding. Just give me some painkillers and cream or something. I'll be okay." Finchly was surprised the hospital had not given Billy anything for the pain or his bruises, and gave me a prescription for an anaesthetising cream for us both and told me to apply it to his backside and elsewhere at least three times a day, which I was more than happy to do. He also loaned Billy a ring cushion to sit on, with a warning to get back to him if the bruises didn't begin to fade soon. As an afterthought, he said he would pay us a visit in a few days, and he started taking pictures. At least we found some good news waiting for us when we got home. There was an email from Indian. 'Mission accomplished; Team Wigwam heading home.'
They arrived back at the house sometime after eleven o'clock, Todd had a black eye and Rob had a nose twice its normal size, but all of them were smiling.
"Any problems?" Daley asked Indian.
The big guy gave us a rare grin. "Not really. We just went to the address your dad gave us, knocked on the door and asked 'pretty please' if we could go in. They said no but they meant yes, didn't they? We talked a bit, and we persuaded them it would be best if Ken paid a visit to his local cop shop."
"He didna want t' go at first," Rob said, "but Indian showed him a few techniques his tribe used' ta use on rowdy scallywags who wouldn't toe the line.
Todd chuckled. "Ken decided he would have better treatment at the police station than staying with us any longer."
"What about the other two?" I asked.
"Och, they were no trouble at all, laddie," Rob replied. "Once they heard what Ken had done to a tiny laddie and his mother, they soon decided Ken was no friend of theirs, and they cooperated very well, especially after I showed the two lump heads my prowess at caber tossing. Somehow I dinna think they liked being used as cabers. Being tossed on your head disna' do y'r brains any good."
"So how come Todd's got a black eye?"
"Och, man, he was stupid enough te get in th' way of Ken's fist when the wee man tried to escape. Mind you, Ken ended up with two black eyes so it was even, I think."
"And your nose?"
"Well, ye canna help getting' a few bruises when ye dinna quite get the throw right and the caber gets free, 'specially when it's got steel toecaps."
"Where is Ken now?"
"Having supper with Peterborough police no doot. Ken did his duty and confessed to all his crimes. I was very proud of him in the end."
We all went to bed laughing, and Billy was satisfied his mother's death was avenged at last.
Billy felt he was ready to have a shower, and we helped each other undress. With the water running comfortably hot, I washed him as gently as I could while examining his bruises. We finished our showers and I helped him get dry, wrapped him in a monster-sized towel and managed to carry him to the bed. I finished drying myself and put on a robe, then fetched the cream. I removed the towel and laid him on the bed on his stomach. I squeezed some of the cream onto his back and he jumped. "Aaagh! That's cold."
"Sorry, I should have warmed it on my hand first." I began to spread the cream over his back, starting with his kidneys where the bruises were the deepest.
I worked slowly with feather-light touches, and Billy groaned with pleasure. "I knew your fingers would work their magic. That feels great!"
"It's more likely the anaesthetic in the cream."
"Plus your fingers, you modest man."
I worked up his back and across his shoulders, hoping the doctor had given me enough cream for the job in hand, but it seemed to spread far enough once it was warm. When I moved to his bum, I had to be so careful here, with him being so tender. I put some cream on my right index finger and ran it slowly down his crack. I felt him stiffen. "Easy, Babe; I'll be as gentle as I can." I had an idea. I grabbed a pillow and helped him put it under his hips. "Now, spread your legs, Babe; pretend you're going to receive a nice present." Billy laughed at this but did as I asked. With his legs spread and his butt open to me, I applied the cream to all the bruises. I even managed to get to his hole and pushed in a little.
"Oh, man! That feels so good," he groaned. "I could do with this more than three times a day."
"That's only the minimum."
I leaned forward to kiss his back. "You have such a lovely bum, Babe. I could do this all night."
"Me too, but I guess I'm bushed. Let me know when I can treat your bruises. It should be fun."
"Not so fast, Romeo. Let's do your front."
"Spoilsport." Billy rolled over and I treated his torso and limbs with the cream then handed the tube over. I helped him kneel and I lay close to him, on my stomach with my hips on the pillow. He reached out to find my kidneys and proceeded to apply the cream. It had a wonderful numbing effect and the superficial pain faded to a bearable ache. Billy was very good at the old massage business and I wondered how much he had learned from his father. We were soon finished and lay down under the duvet. We cuddled close and enjoyed long, loving kisses before I turned him over and drew him back against me. As I started to drift off, I heard him ask, "Do you think Daley would let me sing with the band?"
"I've always wanted to be a singer. Not as much as playing the drums, but I know all the songs by heart. I've listened to them often enough."
"Why don't you ask him yourself?"
"Yeah, I might." Billy yawned, shifted into a more comfortable position against my stomach, and relaxed. That cream was more than an anaesthetic; it put us to sleep as well.
The next few days were spent nursing our bruises and dealing with the police who seemed to be at the house every day with endless questions or to take some statement or other. The band got back to rehearsals, their next gig looming up in a few days, and Daley wondered what was going to happen about the smashed drum kit. He didn't want Billy to be without one and offered to give Bill's drum kit back, but Billy solved the problem by asking me to help him browse the internet for a replica kit. He had the money to buy one so why not? When it arrived, he gave Bill's kit to Daley as a gift. Daley was in tears. We set up the new kit in the barn and Billy resumed his drumming sessions, but with the added bonus of a good voice. He gave Pete a few more lessons and the two of them became good pals. Pete was an older version of Billy, and not just in the looks department. He smiled a lot and loved joining in any fun stuff the band thought up to keep Billy from thinking about all that had happened.
On the same day as he bought the drum kit, Billy received word that he had been accepted as a recipient of a guide dog. That meant him being away from home for a month while he trained with the dog. The centre was in Bolton so it was easy for me to visit, but he didn't want me to. He wanted to be independent and show he could cope on his own. It wasn't as if he was not going to be cared for. I gave in with good grace but had no fingernails left by the time he came home. I drove to Bolton to pick him up, and was astonished at the change in him. His face had healed; his hair was a neat close cut cap, and his sightless eyes shone out of a face alight with life. He said goodbye to his trainers and took hold of the harness of a beautiful pale gold Labrador retriever. Walking up to me he put his hand up to touch my face. We clasped hands and he said, "Hi, Mags. Meet Sheba. Here, Sheba, meet Mags."
We got home in time to bid the band a fond farewell with a promise to keep in touch. Once they were out of sight down the lane, and Sheba had been seen to and was resting contentedly in one of the many baskets we had bought, Billy and I made for the stairs. We emerged from the bedroom two hours later, tired but happy, and went to make some tea. What pleased me most during this 'welcome home' session of loving sex was that I could hear Billy as he moaned and groaned under me and made me know, vocally how much he wanted me to be rough with him, and ram him hard. Once the dishes were washed and put away, we took Sheba for her evening walk, and went back to bed. And the harder I made love to him, while I explored new positions and holds, the better he liked it.
I must say I admired Billy for his determination to get back to school and gain those all-important GCSEs. With the help of Mr Stevens and his teaching staff, Billy sailed through his schoolwork and by the time the exams came round he was confident he would get at least B's in most subjects. Now he was fully recovered from his op and the attack, he started hanging out with his schoolmates, who thought him a real cool dude in his black gear and sunglasses. He worried that I would feel left out, but I insisted it was good for him to get back into normal life and to do what his mates did. At least I had him to myself when he was at home. His mates got used to him having Sheba with him and they treated him no different to themselves, even when they found out he was gay and that I was his lover. This would never have happened when I was a kid, and it showed how times have changed.
The exams came, and Billy came up against his first problem. He couldn't very well sit in the examination room and dictate the answers to the questions aloud in case the other pupils used his answers to their own advantage. Mr Stevens solved that problems by having a young teaching student sit in an empty classroom with him. The student asked the questions and Billy gave oral answers which the student entered into a file on a computer. The file was printed out and used as his exam paper and handed in to Mr Stevens. All we had to do then was to wait for the results. Meanwhile we had the summer holidays ahead of us, and Billy was getting restless. He hung onto every phone call we had from Daley, and I knew he was missing the guys. By August he had slipped into a gloomy mood, often going for walks around the farm with Sheba or just sitting down under a tree and staring into space.
One day, Billy was out with Sheba when I got my weekly call from Daley. After the usual pleasantries I asked him how the tour was going. "Well, not as good as in the past. We're not getting the same response any more. The boys and I had a pow-wow the other night and we agree we need to inject some younger blood into the band to give ourselves a more modern sound. But getting the younger talent to join us is getting to be a problem. Kids don't want to tour with a cover band; they want to join boy-bands and rock groups. Even Pete has said he wants to do something different. He'll be leaving for college in September as he's already had a year's break in his education, and I won't be sorry to see him leave. Since he's been out, he's shown himself to be anybody's, and the band is starting to feel uncomfortable with him. He's even made a pass at Indian and got his butt chewed off, but to his credit he uses protection all the time."
"How's he doing on the drums?"
"He hasn't the aggression that Billy has, and has a lighter stroke. He's more suited to a small band or a three man group, and he admits it."
"So, what are you going to do meanwhile?"
"I don't know. Carry on until we don't have the audiences, I suppose. The trouble is it's getting to the band, and to our sponsors. It isn't nice when you set up at a festival and see your audience move away to watch some other band. I honestly don't know how long I can keep the band together, Mags. Am I getting old, or the audiences getting younger? Indian's been talking about visiting his folks and chasing up his ancestors in the States and it might end up with just Trilby and me again. The boys haven't said it out loud but what happened to Billy took a lot out of their sails."
After Daley rang off I went to find Billy, an idea springing into my grey matter. I found him and Sheba playing with a Frisbee in the field at the back of the house. When I suggested we go for a touring holiday he shrugged his shoulders. "Where to?"
"Anywhere. Why don't we just get in the 405 and drive?"
While Billy went to pack a bag, I phoned Daley back and told him of my plan. We packed the car, settled Sheba on the back seat, locked the house up and drove away. Using minor roads, we drove though picturesque villages and had our meals in country pubs, and had a wonderful, leisurely journey south. As we travelled, I described the places we passed with as much detail as I could so that Billy could enjoy the journey as well as me. But I didn't tell him the names of the towns we passed through, as I didn't want him to guess where were going until we got there. He didn't twig until we were on the approach road to the festival ground and he heard the distant music. It grew louder as we neared the car park, and Billy's smile got wider. "You, fraud, you planned this didn't you?"
"Yup." I parked the car and helped him get Sheba out of the rear seat then I made him get into the back of the car and change into his black gear, complete with studded belt, wrist bands and dark glasses. Once I had retrieved my tenor and soprano saxes from the boot, we headed for the festival arena. It was an open-air affair with several sites round the edges where bands shared the stages and facilities. Sheba was like an open sesame for us, with people moving aside to let us through the crowds. I guided Billy to where Daley said the band would be, and we found them ready to go on stage. They welcomed Billy with bone crushing hugs and a few good smackers. I was treated with equal enthusiasm but Billy was special to them, and I knew it. I noticed that the boys had dragged Bill's drum kit up front and to the right of the stage so that whoever played them would be in full view of the audience. Before we went on stage, Daley drew me to one side. "You see that guy in the white bomber jacket?" He pointed to a man standing a few yards away, using a mobile phone.
"What about him?"
"He's what they used to call a talent scout. His name is John Barraclough, and I've known him for years. He's on the hunt for new talent for a record company he's got his teeth into, and I've told him about Billy. Who knows, with help from John our budding star could become a big name. What do you think?" I was lost for words. I didn't want to lose Billy to other influences, but then I didn't want to stand in his way if that was what he wanted. Daley guessed what I was thinking and said, "If Billy wants to reach for fame; who are we to stand in his way? I think we have another Gene Krupa here, and I'd hate to be the one responsible for him not getting the break he deserves."
"I don't know, Daley," I said with a shake of my head. "What would happen to me?"
"You'd go with him, of course, you dope. You're his carer as well as his partner."
"And the band?"
"Maybe we could change the band's name and become his backing group. I'd like to see him guest with other bands too. Wouldn't you?" When we were announced, there was muted applause from the audience, some people even moved away to other sites. Daley winked at me. "They'll be back. They just need a wakeup call, and I think we have that now."
The boys helped me get Billy and my instruments onto the stage and Rob led him and Sheba to the drums. Giving him a loving slap on the backside, the Scotsman said, "You've got the stage, laddie, so get drummin'. Wake us all up; never mind just those out there. We're startin' with 'The Bitch Is Back' and 'Crocodile Rock', and you're singin' the ditties."
Once I had my tenor out and ready to blow, Daley gave the count down and Billy let fly, grinning and bopping on his stool and singing into a mike the boys had placed above the drums, with Pete happy to join him on the other percussion instruments. As we played those two opening numbers, I noticed the crowd out front swelling as people gravitated back towards the new sound. By the time we finished our third number, 'Flip, Flop and Fly' our share of the ground was packed, and they cheered fit to burst our eardrums, and Daley had to plead for silence so he could make his carefully prepared announcement.
"Thank you, folks; we're all glad to be back here in one of the best festivals ever in the south of England. For those of you who remember us from a few years back, you will notice that my dear friend, Bill D'Marco our drummer, is sadly no longer with us, having passed away last year. But now we would like to introduce you to our new drummer, his sixteen-year-old son, Billy Junior!"
The audience went crazy and we had to make Billy stand and take the applause. Once the cheering died down, we let him lead us as he let rip with some of his favourite numbers, with our spot ending with one of Queen's best loved numbers, which I thought was appropriate for Billy to sing, "Don't stop me now, I'm having a good time…." As I watched him, looking so sexy, and in line for a life as a top line professional drummer, I dearly hoped he would never stop, and that our love would never stop. I didn't want it to end, ever.
But the story continues as Mags and the band join forces with Gypsy in The Bull Singer
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