by Nick Brady
It was Christmas Eve at the Tulsa Boys Home and spirits were high. School was out and a party was planned for that afternoon with special treats and gifts for everybody. For some lucky boys it meant a few days leave with approved family or families who had volunteered to host some residents for the holiday. The privilege had been earned by good behavior and good school work. Danny had earned a visit with his grandmother for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Despite his borderline school grades, Justin was allowed to go stay with his grandmother in Bixby and had already left. Jermaine had no approved place to go and was left in charge of his room which was just Tony.
Bobby and Tony were not qualified to go anywhere because they were too new. A boy had to be at the Home for 9 months before they were eligible for a leave. Thomas had been there long enough but had no approved family member to visit, so Tony had at least two friends with him for the holiday. Different sorts of friends to be sure, but a friend is a friend.
Jermaine and Tony were in their room after breakfast and Bobby had joined them. They were discussing the injustice of being stuck there for the Christmas holiday.
"How come Justin got to go somewhere and you didn't?" Bobby asked.
Jermaine shrugged. "I don't know."
"It doesn't seem fair. You make good grades and don't get in trouble."
"You've got to have somebody who's willing to take you," Jermaine explained.
"But couldn't you go to a volunteer family?" Bobby suggested.
"Well, there aren't many black families who volunteer to take somebody."
"Does it have to be a black family?" Bobby wondered.
"No, but there are even fewer white families who are willing to take a black kid from the Boys Home."
"That's not fair," Bobby complained.
Jermaine laughed and shrugged again. "Maybe I just wanted to hang out with you guys."
"What is there to do here for Christmas?" Tony asked. "Me and Bobby just got here."
"We get our Christmas dinner today so the cooks can have Christmas with their families tomorrow. It'll be a nice dinner," Jermaine told them. "Then there is a party later this afternoon. We will get cake and ice cream or something like that, and some guy dressed up like Santa will pass out stuff. Everybody gets the same thing."
"What, like presents?" Bobby brightened up.
"Yeah, like a bag of fruit and some kind of game maybe," Jermaine explained. "And some clothes, usually. It's kind of nice."
"How do they know your size?" Tony wondered.
"The home knows your size I guess. They make posters with Christmas trees drawn on them and put tags on it like ornaments with a kid's name and sizes on it. They put them up in churches and people get stuff, wrap it up and put the kid's name on it. Then Santa calls out your name."
Tony nodded. "Hey, that is kinda nice. That is more then I got at home."
Jermaine looked skeptical. "Were things really that crappy for you at home?"
"Yeah, pretty much. I never get no present, no birthday cake, no nothing." Tony nodded.
Bobby looked sympathetic. "Christmas was nice when my Daddy was home. I was lucky."
Tony smiled at Bobby. "You had a good father. I am sorry you lost him. As for me, this is better, I think."
Jermaine sighed. "It is for a lot of us. I bitch about stuff, but they try to be good to us here."
"I don't know man," Tony shrugged. "Maybe this is my best Christmas ever. It never mean much to me before."
"So what happens after the party?" Bobby asked.
"That's about it unless you go to the chapel service. Most guys go just because there's nothing else to do. I usually do," Jermaine recalled.
"I'm going," Bobby declared. "Mr. McNab will be there."
"Who's Mr. McNab?" Jermaine asked.
"He was the preacher at church yesterday. He is real nice and can sing good." Bobby said. "I like him. Tony met him, didn't you Tony?"
Tony shrugged. "Yeah, he was OK I guess."
Bobby looked a little annoyed. "He is very nice. You shook his hand."
Tony shrugged again. "Yeah, if you say so. I don't know much about preachers. You like him 'cause you a good singer."
Jermaine grinned. "Are you a singer?" he asked Bobby.
"I like to sing," Bobby nodded.
"He is a real good singer!" Tony said with more enthusiasm.
"Are you going to the Christmas service with Tony and me?" Bobby asked Jermaine.
"Do you want me to go?" Jermaine teased.
"Yes!" Bobby said. "It will be nice. I bet you will like it."
Jermaine laughed. "Sure, I'm just kidding. I'll go with you."
"How come you like the chapel so much?" Tony wanted to know.
Bobby shrugged. "I don't know." He said quietly.
"Because it is the only thing here that looks familiar to him, and it reminds him of his father," Jermaine surmised. "That's reason enough."
"Hey, I'm sorry. I guess you are right," Tony said. "We are going, right Bobby?"
Bobby stretched out on Tony's bed. "Can I take a nap here? I feel kind of tired."
"Sure," Jermaine said.
Bobby did not turn away from the wall, but he asked quietly. "Can Tony lie down with me?"
"Sure. I'll check on you before dinner," Jermaine gave Tony a straight look. "Be careful, OK?"
Tony nodded. "OK man."
Jermaine left and closed the door.
Tony lay down behind Bobby and put his hand on his shoulder. "You OK Bobby?"
Bobby whispered. "Please hold me."
Tony wrapped his arms around the boy and pressed his face into the back of his neck. "You're OK Bobby. I got you," he said very quietly. In a few minutes they were both asleep.
At 11:30 Jermaine eased open the door and saw the boys sleeping together very peacefully.
He jiggled the mattress with his foot. "Wake up you guys. You don't want to miss Christmas dinner," They stretched and Tony got up, leaving Bobby on the bed.
"You hungry?" Tony asked.
"I will be," Bobby said. "I hope this will be a nice day."
Tony smiled at him. "It's gonna be real nice, you wait and see."
They went to the bathroom, peed and washed up, then went down to the dining room. The tables had little Christmas tree decorations, snow men, and Santa Claus figures in the center. It smelled really good and anybody who was not hungry when they walked in, got that way quickly. Tony and Jermaine sat on either side of Bobby and Thomas found an empty seat across from them.
The cooks brought out platters of sliced turkey, sliced ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, bowls of cranberry sauce and assorted goodies. It was the best meal of the year. There was enough for everyone to have seconds if they wanted. Mr. Johnson was there and walked around from table to table chatting and wishing everyone Merry Christmas.
When the superintendent got to their table he put his hands on Tony and Bobby's shoulders and asked them how they were doing. "Are you getting enough to eat? He asked Bobby.
"Yes Sir. This is good!"
He patted Tony on the shoulder. "Look after your friend here," he said, then walked on to the next table.
There was no hurry to finish and go anywhere so lunch lingered on for some time.
Mr Johnson clapped his hands for attention and the room grew quiet. "We have a treat for you today," he announced. "We have some special entertainment."
He started clapping and all the cooks walked out wearing red and white Santa caps. They looked at each other and giggled for a minute then began to sing. "Jingle bells, Jingle bells, Jingle all the way," they did a slightly off key version of the familiar song, broke into "Here Comes Santa Claus" almost remembering the words, then concluded with "We Wish You a Merry Christmas."
What they lacked in talent they made up for in enthusiasm and received thunderous applause. Boys almost always appreciate the people who feed them.
When they finished, the head cook shouted. "Come get your pie!" and pointed to the serving line which had been restocked with pie; slices of pumpkin, apple, and cherry pie, each with a dollop of whipped topping. "Line up now, no pushing," she shouted as boys rushed the chow line. There was enough for all.
Nearly unlimited access to food was a new experience for Tony. He ate a big dinner then had two pieces of pie. He was stuffed.
During the meal he had talked a little with Thomas who had chosen to sit across from him. Nothing specific was said but they both wanted to spend more time together.
After they had finished, many of the boys had notions of stretching out and digesting their meal. "I think I need another nap," Bobby said. "You coming?" he asked Tony.
"No man, I think I need to walk around," he joked. "Maybe all that food will shake to the bottom, you know?"
Tony gave Thomas a nod when he stood up and the two boys put on their coats and met outside. "Hey Thomas, I think I ate too much."
"I know I did," Thomas answered. "Want to walk it off?"
They ambled off around the quadrangle, in no hurry to get anywhere but Thomas directed them toward a utility building on the southeast corner.
"We had fun the other day," Tony said.
Thomas smiled. "I had been wanting to do something with you since that first time in the shower."
"I was afraid we were gonna get caught in there."
"The classroom is a little safer, but we need a better place to get together."
"Yeah man, but I don't know this place so good. Too many people."
"I do," Thomas grinned. They had come to the utility building.
The shed had a roll up door with a ramp to drive the lawn tractor in and out. On the side next to the street was a regular door with a window in it. Thomas pulled a small square of plastic from his hip pocket and slid it in the jam next to the knob and shoved it in while he pulled out on the doorknob. The door swung open.
Thomas stepped quickly inside and motioned for Tony to follow, then shut the door behind them. "Damn, you're good at that," Tony said with surprise."
"Why do you think I got sent here?" Thomas laughed.
"What'd you do?" Tony asked.
Thomas sat down on some quilted pads. "I was part of the family business," he said.
"What kind of business"
"My dad and his brother both had jobs, but at night they broke in places and helped themselves to tools and things, then pawned them. They made pretty good money at it."
"So what did you do?"
"When I was little I could crawl through tight places to get in, then let them in," he explained. "When I got bigger they showed me how to open doors."
"So you were a burglar?" Tony asked.
"Well, maybe a burglar's helper. One night they got busted and got sent up. The court decided I was better off here. That was two years ago," Thomas explained.
"Where are they now?"
"In prison somewhere, I'm not sure which one."
"So where is your mama?"
"I don't know," Thomas shrugged. "She was gone a long time ago."
"You don't care that you here?" Tony asked.
"It's OK I guess. Better now that you are here."
"Why is that? I mean you don't know me very long."
Thomas paused for a minute. "I don't much like girls, you know? I been wanting a friend like you ever since I got here."
Tony nodded his head. "Yeah, I guess I know what you mean. I think maybe we are the same."
Thomas put his hand on Tony's thigh. "Want to jack off?"
Tony felt himself rise a little at Thomas' directness. "You just wanna jack off? That's all?"
Thomas smiled and ran his hand over Tony's crotch. "Sometimes it's just nice to jack off together. Give each other a hand, you know?"
Tony laughed. "Yeah, maybe I ate too much turkey to do any more."
They unzipped their pants and pushed them down, then sat down and each took the other's cock and began to stroke.
"That feels nice," Thomas said.
"Yeah," Tony said. "You're hand feels better than mine, I think."
They sat in the little utility shed that smelled like oil and damp earth, and felt the other's dick in their hands.
"You got a fat one," Tony said.
"My daddy's got a real big one."
"You play with your daddy?"
"Yeah, and my uncle too. We jacked off all the time," Thomas recalled.
"You just jack off? Nothing else?"
"Sometimes they let me suck them, but mostly we just jerked off. When we first started I couldn't cum but it still felt good."
"You suck your daddy?" Tony asked.
"I always liked it. I did my uncle too. But mostly we just jacked each other."
Thomas was turning Tony on. "My papa made me suck him when I was real little. when I got bigger he started to fuck me. He fucked my brothers too. I didn't like it when I was little. It hurt my ass too much."
"Did you like it when I did it?" Thomas was getting very hard.
"Yeah, I like when you fuck me. I like you," Tony admitted.
"Did you and your father ever jack off together?"
"No. He never did anything for me. He just want to fuck me. He don't care if he hurt me," Tony remembered.
"I'm sorry if I hurt you. I didn't mean to. I just, you know how it is."
Tony leaned his head back. "I gonna cum, man. You making me horny."
"Go ahead," Thomas leaned over and put his free arm around Tony's waist and leaned into him, stroking faster.
"Oh man, that feels so good," Tony moaned and spooged in Thomas' hand. The long strings of white cum shot across the dirty floor and onto Thomas' fist.
Thomas jerked him until Tony stopped shooting, then let go and slung the cum off of his hand, smiling at his friend, then he gripped Tony's dick again an stripped the rest of his cum out, pulling the foreskin forward over the end of his dick. "I wish I still had my skin," he said. "It feels nice in my hand."
"Tony laughed. "You can play with mine any time you want."
Thomas sat back. "Now you do me, OK?"
"OK man," Tony gripped Thomas' fat cock and began to stoke him fast. "You like that?"
"Oh yeah. Jack me off Tony."
After a minute Tony leaned forward. "I wanna suck you. I like it," he took his friend's cock in his mouth and bobbed up and down, playing with his balls. He liked the nice bush of pubic hair tickling his face.
"Oh shit," Thomas sighed.
Tony sucked the end of his dick and stroked the rest of it very quickly while he rolled his tongue over the head, making Thomas groan.
"Oh, I'm cumming Tony," he gasped.
Tony held on tight and let the semen spurt into his mouth, sucking it out and swallowing most of it. When Thomas stopped cumming, Tony pulled off and smacked his lips.
"I like it. I like you taste." He said.
Thomas turned and kissed Tony on the mouth. "Mmm, thank you," he mumbled.
They leaned back on their elbows and rested a minute, then pulled up their pants and zipped up, looked at each other and laughed.
"That was fun!" Thomas said.
"Yeah, man," Tony agreed. "Hey, let's go see if the party is starting."
"OK," Thomas agreed. With no more discussion they slipped out and circled around to the dorm.
Once they went inside, Tony told Thomas he would see him later and went up to check on Bobby. No one was in Tony's room so he went down to Bobby's room and found him, Jermaine and several other boys were killing time before the Christmas party.
"Hi Tony, where have you been?" Bobby wanted to know.
"Hey Bobby. I was walking off that turkey. I ate too much," he answered. "When is the party?"
"Soon. We might head down that way," Jermaine suggested.
"I was just waiting on you," Bobby told Tony.
"I'm here now, let's go," Tony said.
They all trooped down to the room with the Christmas tree and found most of the boys waiting for Santa. Under the tree was a big pile of packages and several big boxes holding brightly colored paper bags and more packages.
Promptly at 5:00 Mr. Johnson walked in carrying an accordion and began to play traditional Christmas music, encouraging the boys to sing along. He was pretty good. The boys needed little encouragement. They sang 'Frosty the Snowman', 'Jingle Bells', 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer', 'White Christmas' – all the favorites, even 'Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer'. Finally Mr. Johnson announced there would be just one more, and they sang 'Here Comes Santa Claus', as a stout man dressed in a Santa suit came out and danced around to the music.
He made a little speech, thankfully short, and began to call out names. Several staff members assisted and as Santa picked up a package and read off a name the boy ran up and took the package and was handed a bag from one box and another package from the other. To save time, Santa read off names faster than the boys could run up so they could line up and not have to wait for the last person named. Nevertheless, there was a degree of confusion which only added to the merriment.
The named packages contained clothing items that had been purchased individually for each boy from the Christmas posters placed in churches around Tulsa. The bags contained an assortment of apples, oranges, nuts, and hard candy. The other packages were nice games, often board games that could be played by several boys. When their names were called, Tony, Bobby and Jermaine retrieved their gifts along with the other boys.
There was a loud rustling of wrapping paper as the gifts were opened, and the sounds of mostly excitement with a few disappointed groans as they were opened.
Tony got jeans, an Oklahoma University sweatshirt, and a soccer ball. Jermaine got Khaki pants, a long sleeved polo shirt, and a Rawlings basketball. Bobby got jeans, a nice green sweater, and was thrilled to get a Monopoly game. Some of the boys immediately began putting on shirts and sweaters, some had to be discouraged from trying on the pants. It was an exciting event for them all, and for some, perhaps as nice a Christmas as they had ever had. In particular, Tony was delighted. He and Thomas compared gifts and shared their excitement.
When all the gifts had been distributed, Santa raised his arms for quiet, and after several minutes the noise settled down.
Santa said. "Merry Christmas to you all. I hope you are pleased with your gifts. I am told if the clothes don't fit you will be allowed to exchange them for something that is the right size. I want to thank you for allowing me to be part of your festivities, and I would like to invite all of you to join us for a special Christmas Eve chapel service. Once again, Merry Christmas."
Bobby shouted to Tony, "I know who that is, that's Mr. McNab!"
Mr. McNab heard him shout and shot him a grin, then disappeared in the direction of the chapel. The staff rolled out a cart with a huge sheet cake decorated with holly and little Christmas trees, and a vat of ice cream. Although still full from the big dinner at noon, the boys bravely consumed most of the cake and all of the ice cream.
After the party the boys had enough time to return to their rooms to inspect their new treasures, and most changed into their new clothes. Bobby immediately set up his Monopoly game and had to be discouraged by Jermaine from starting to play.
"We will have time after chapel," Jermaine told him. "We can get another guy to play with us."
They went down to the chapel and filed in to find a seat. There were extra chairs so the boys could be seated. Not all the boys came to chapel, but most did, and the room was filled, with some boys sitting on the floor around the walls.
Thomas stopped Tony before they entered. "Can I sit with you?" he asked.
Tony said. "Sure man, that's cool."
"Yeah, but I know you and Bobby are special, I don't want to get in the way of that," he said.
"Hey, you are my friend too," Tony said. "Maybe a different kind of friend from Bobby, but you're still my friend. Come sit with me, man."
They lined up together on one of the middle rows, Jermaine, Bobby, Tony and Thomas, side by side.
In a few minutes Mr. McNab came in and wished them an enthusiastic. "Merry Christmas!"
He was greeted by a chorus of "Merry Christmas, Santa!" to which he responded with a peal of laughter.
"I didn't fool many of you boys, did I?" more laughter.
Then he asked them to bow their heads, and he began with a prayer.
"Lord, we ask you to bless these young men, and the staff of this home. Bless their families and loved ones, wherever they may be. Grant us all peace and a blessed Christmas," he said more, but that was the gist of it.
He asked Mr. Johnson to read the Nativity story from Luke, then he led the singing of some favorite Christmas hymns and carols. Bobby's clear sweet voice rose up for all to hear. Mr. McNab gave a little homily on the true meaning of Christmas and the gift of the Christ child, then he closed with a nice prayer. The lights were dimmed and everyone sang Silent Night. It was a very pretty service.
After chapel the boys went up to their rooms and played with the games they had received as gifts. Thomas came up with Tony, Bobby, and Jermaine, and they played Monopoly until they got too sleepy.
There was no call for lights out, but most of the boys were so tired that they went to sleep early. Since it was just Jermaine and Tony in their room, Bobby begged to sleep with them, although Jermaine insisted that he use an empty bed. He agreed, but in the morning he woke up snuggled next to Tony, which Jermaine pretended not to notice.
Breakfast was doughnuts and milk, with a group trip to a movie in the afternoon. Most of the day was spend playing with new games or playing basketball in the gym. It was a great Christmas, and the best that Tony ever had.
Since school was out until after New Year's Day, they were told that there was a special trip planned for the following day. It was going to be a good week.
The holiday was over, but school was still out and the natives were restless. They were kept busy in the morning doing a general cleanup of the facilities. The bunk beds and desk chairs were pushed to the side in each room, the floors were mopped, waxed, buffed, and then the furniture was moved to the other side of the room and the process repeated. The drawers and closets were emptied, wiped clean and re-sorted. When everything was put back in place the result was startling. The work was shared by Jermaine and Tony with Danny as crew chief. Danny was back from his visit but Justin had not returned.
"This looks different," Tony declared.
Jermaine laughed. "It smells better in here too."
"It's just like getting a new room. Good work guys," Danny complimented the effort.
They wrapped things up and broke for lunch. Once in the dining room, Bobby came to sit next to Tony with Thomas across from them.
"We spent all morning cleaning our room," Bobby reported.
"So did we. I think everybody did," Thomas agreed.
"We always do this after Christmas, and again in the summer," Danny told them. "It's not my favorite thing to do, but otherwise we would be living in a pigsty,"
"We are supposed to go somewhere this afternoon," Bobby stated.
"That's what I hear," Danny said. "Does anybody know where we're going?"
"I heard we are going to Gilcrease Museum." Jermaine shared.
"Where is Justin?" Tony asked.
"I don't know," Danny answered. "We were supposed to be back by 9:00 last night but he never showed. That's not good."
"So is he AWOL?" Jermaine wondered.
"What's that?" Bobby asked.
"Absent With Out Leave. It's what they say in the military when you skip out," Danny explained.
"OK, back to the room for our coats," Danny instructed. "Wherever it is we are going, we are supposed to be out front at 1:00."
The bus pulled up after lunch and a councilor named Henderson was checking names off a roster as boys got on board. When they were all seated, one of the other councilors stepped up and made an announcement.
"OK, listen up! Some of you may have heard a rumor that we are going out to Gilcrease Museum. (Pause) Well, you are right. (Cheers) Stay together, and no monkey business. We will return at 5:00 so be sure you are back out front before then, OK?"
Bobby had managed to sit with Tony, Danny and Jermaine were across from them, with Thomas behind Tony.
"What's at Gilcrease?" Bobby asked Danny.
"I have only been there once, but I thought it was a pretty cool place. Thomas Gilcrease was an oil millionaire back it the day when Oklahoma was in a big oil boom. He had kind of a ranch house out west of Tulsa when that was out in the country. He liked to travel and collected a bunch of cool stuff and when he died they made a museum out of it. There is a lot of sculpture and paintings of western and American Indian history. There's even stuff from South America. Wait until you see the collection of shrunken heads," Danny shared what he knew.
It was not a long drive to the museum and they exited the bus and filed inside while the councilors identified themselves to the attendants. They gave them a copy of the roster and got little pins for each of the boys, concluding with the admonishment to stay together and behave. Many of the boys picked up a little brochure with a map of the museum and began to look through the many galleries.
They soon came to a collection of portraits of older American Indians by George Caitlin. Bobby asked Jermaine, "Are you part Indian and part black?"
"Hey, that is kind of personal," Danny admonished him.
"Sorry, I just wondered," Bobby protested.
"That's OK, it is a reasonable question from a smart kid like Bobby," Jermaine reassured him. "To answer your question, I am part Creek Indian and part African American, from both sides I think. I never knew my father, so I identify as both."
"I think that's kind of cool," Bobby said.
"So do I," Jermaine smiled at him.
"I am just Mexican," Tony acknowledged.
"I'm supposed to be Scotch-Irish, but I don't know much about my family." Thomas offered.
"I think I am German and English," Danny added. "Most Americans are a mixture of a lot of things," he laughed and said to Tony. "You may be the only purebred here."
Tony grinned. "Yeah, maybe."
Suddenly Tony heard someone call his name, looked up and froze with astonishment. Two older Hispanic boys rushed over to him and began to chatter in Spanish, embracing him. The councilor nearest to them came over to see what was going on.
"Do you know these guys?" He asked.
"Yes! These are mis hermanos, my brothers!" Tony responded tearfully.
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