The Courtship of Levi Moore

by Nicholas Hall

Chapter 9

"There was a boy
A very strange enchanted boy.
They say he wandered very far, very far
Over land and sea.
A little shy and sad of eye
But very wise was he."

(Eden Ahbez from the song "Nature Boy")

Cracker or Mattie or whatever the hell his name is, looked up at me anxiously, evidently concerned for either my welfare or fear I was going to collapse on him and perhaps break one or two of his limbs. Remember, he's not very big, but I'm not very heavy either so I saw no danger of injuring him severely or of such magnitude to create a life-long disability.

Clair, bless her heart, stepped forward, leaned up against me, and muttered a soft, but menacing warning,

"Levy, take deep breaths and calm down. If you pass out on me, I'll kick your ass up those stairs in front of you so damned hard you'll have to open your shirt to shit and piss out your nose. It's not as bad as you think; probably worse!" she cackled witch-like at her own humor.

Mattie, still clutching me around the waist, from the front, rolled his eyes fearfully, and watching Claire warily, never taking his eyes off of her, inched himself around to my side, without ever letting go, hanging on to me for either support or protection. I think, hoping if she did decide to take a kick at me, she'd be certain to hit me and not him. I'd have to speak to him about that later, if there was a later.

Having duly warned me, Claire bathed her face in friendly smile, turned slightly toward Bill, waving her hand and pointing at me ordering him to step up, before stepping forward to introduce herself.

David or King, depending on the moment I should gather, concerned for my welfare, asked, "Is Levi okay? Perhaps he needs to sit down?"

"Oh, he'll be fine," Claire said reassuringly and hopefully, "although I think a sip of brandy would be welcome. I suspect he's just overwhelmed with actually going off to college. He has talked about it for years, either that or something he ate at lunch is rocketing through his gut and he's fearful he'll mess his pants and embarrass himself further."

It was all King could do to smother a laugh and Mattie or Cracker, slowly released his grip on me and took two steps backward, away from me. Perhaps he thought if the shit hit the fan or my pants, he was too close to escape the deluge and wanted a better chance of dodging any chunks or spray! That's what I like about my cousin; so soft spoken, diplomatic in her approach, concealing her true emotions. I love her, I truly do! She should've been a doctor of some sorts, probably behavioral since I calmed down pondering how I'd open my shirt to shit since I was wearing a polo shirt.

"I think you might be correct, Mrs. Patterson; or should I call you Claire?" King suggested. "I can offer you coffee, soda, tea, or water. I'm not certain if I have any brandy handy."

"I know where it is, Poppa," Mattie quickly offered scampering away from me. "It's in the cabinet in your office. I can go get it!"

Claire quickly stayed his trip to retrieve the booze. "No need, Mattie, we have to go back home today and I don't want Bill sloshed to the gills and unable to drive. Thanks anyway."

She smiled at David, commenting, "Helpful young man isn't he?"

'You have no idea," David responded with an almost weary exasperation.

Claire was doing all of the talking to this point so, when we were invited to sit down in the living room, I just sat like the Plymouth Rock in a rising tide, silent and overwhelmed. I could tell Claire was growing irritated with me wanting me to speak up, ask a question, or least pop a fart, anything to break my silence!

She sighed, looked back at David, asking, "Your wife?"

"I've never married, Claire," David replied and offered no more.

His answer helped me break my silence. With a shy wave of my hand and smile, I said, "Hi, King."

He smiled back, the same friendly, welcoming, warm smile he often displayed when I entered the church tent for breakfast or saw me walking toward his joint in the carnival.

"Hi, Levi. I've been excited as Mattie waiting for you to arrive. Sorry we mislead you on our names, but those are our carnival names. I also was fearful you may not take our offer of a room when you realized it was us."

I already knew how Cracker got his name, but I had no idea how King got his, so I asked.

"Years ago, an older carny worker claimed he could remember my name by thinking of King David in the Bible. It stuck and I've used it on the road ever since."

"I know," he continued, "Claire, you and Bill will want to get going, so why don't we show you Levi's room and the rest of the house. Mattie will be your guide. When he's done, we'll help unload Levi's things from the car and move him in."

Mattie grabbed my hand and we headed up the stairs. My room was across the hall from his and next to David's. David's room shared a common wall with both of our rooms and was large. My room had a single bed (already made up), a large closet, desk and chair, book case, large dresser, night stand with lamp, a full length mirror on the inside of the closet door, and an easy chair with a floor lamp beside it. The one window overlooked the back yard where I could see a brick patio, a three car garage, and a hip-roof barn. The bedroom next to mine was currently without an occupant, but Mattie said he'd show up before the weekend.

The large bathroom at the end of the hall had a large shower, sink, toilet, long vanity where the sink was located and backed by a large mirror. There was a rack attached to the wall with several clothing hooks on it for hanging a robe or clothes on while showering. Beside it was a narrow cabinet containing toilet tissue, paper towels, and other essentials for the room. At the bottom of the cabinet, was a plunger.

"Just in case you pop a rather large turd," Mattie explained. He further informed me there was a wooden, collapsible clothing rack in my closet for hanging my wet towels on.

I noticed another door in the hall, between my bedroom and the next. I asked Mattie about it and he said it was the stairs to the attic. With a giggle and laugh out loud he declared it was where Poppa kept the bodies of unruly little boys and nasty roomers.

Claire just rolled her eyes in disbelief, Bill sort of chuckled, but I suffered a couple of trepidations.

Claire wanted to see the rest of the house, so Mattie and David, who was waiting down stairs, gave us a quick tour of the dining room, the living room (we already knew where it was since we'd been sitting there earlier), the study room where a door led to David's office, and another to the large kitchen. All in all, she seemed quite satisfied I'd be fine living there.

It didn't take us long to unload the car. I had two suitcases, used from St. Vinnie's, with most of my clothes in them, two cardboard boxes containing my towels and wash cloths, winter clothing, jackets, sweat shirts, extra shoes, and other clothing items I couldn't get in the suitcases, and a smaller box with school supplies in it, such as notebooks, pencils, pens, my slide rule, collegiate dictionary, thesaurus, and small abacus I'd learned to use. A paper bag contained my razor, tooth paste and brush, soap, deodorant, and shampoo.

Two trips and we were done.

The time came for Claire and Bill to leave. I fear I grew quite melancholy when Claire hugged me goodbye. I was excited to be actually going to college, but so sad about seeing her go. She'd been my rock, my best friend, my prime defender, and I feared I'd be lost without her!

Claire felt my tears on her face and my chest swell attempting to hold back a sob.

"You'll be just fine, Levi," she said softly. "It's a nice house and I think he's just as special as you described. You write as often as you want and you know I'll always answer. Okay?"

I nodded, gave her a kiss on the cheek, and pulled away. Bill hugged me tight, wished me well, and offered to come get me anytime I wanted to visit. I overheard Claire thank David for his hospitality and then tossed him a warning and a wag of her finger, "Treat him right or you'll answer to me and it won't be pleasant, understand?"

I waved goodbye to them and stepped back into the house, ready to begin a new life.

Taking a deep breath, knowing I had to put things away in my room, I hesitated at the bottom of the stairs, and overheard Mattie pleading with David to allow him to go upstairs and help me.

"But," he pleaded, "I really, really like Levi, Poppa, and I want him to like it here with us!"

"I really like him, too Mattie, a whole bunch, but Levi needs some time to settle in and become acquainted with us and his new home. I'm certain he'll like us as much as we like him."

"But, Poppa," Mattie continued, still trying to make his case. "He already knows us."

"Not as Mattie and David, Mattie. He only knew us with our other names from the summer. I know we're the same, but still it takes some getting used to."

"Can I have a pop?"

"In the refrigerator, Mattie."

Evidently Mattie acquiesced and decided to have a beverage instead.

I walked up the stairs and down the hall to my room. It felt strange to think of it as "my room" even though I rented it. At least it gave me some degree of possession compared to living at my folks the past few years. There, it seemed like I was only tolerated and it was a place to sleep and do my laundry, nothing else. This room, was a place where I'd live and study and enjoy the pleasant company of others, others special to me.

Unpacking the suitcases first, I removed the bank bag containing my entire savings, in cash, from working at the market and the carnival, I put it on my desk temporarily until I could decide where to hide it. I'd have to pay my tuition and books from it and have cash money available for meals and other incidentals. I figured if I watched it closely I could have sufficient left from this year to do another year, but I'd take no chances and continue to work during the summer. I did decided not to work, at least the first semester of this year. The letter from the manager at the market recommending me for employment was with my money as well.

Socks, underwear, tee-shirts, shorts, handkerchiefs from the suitcases went into the dresser and I still had a couple of drawers left. I put my jeans and the two pair of cotton pants I used for "dress up" in the bottom drawer. The half dozen polo shirts and some light cotton short-sleeved shirts, along with a couple of stocking caps, ended up in another drawer. However, I had no room for my towels and wash cloths from one of the cardboard boxes. They'd have to go in the closet, along with long sleeved shirts, sweat shirts (pull over and hooded), a light jacket, a lined- jacket, winter coat, and shoes. I'd spotted a couple of heavy, knitted sweaters at St. Vinnie's and bought them, figuring they'd come in handy in the winter. Claire suggested I have a robe so I wouldn't parade around in just my skin on the way to the bathroom, so she picked one up for me. There was a hook on the inside of the closet door, so I hung it there.

Before I put the suitcases in the closet, I put my bank bag in one, deciding I'd ask David if he'd recommend a bank nearby where I could open a checking account and a savings account. In the meantime, I figured the money would be safe in my room.

I unloaded the smaller box with my school supplies on and into the desk. It was a single pedestal desk and had ample room for everything. I'd packed my toilet items, razors, shaving cream, and so on in a paper bag, but had nothing to keep them in. Some sort of shaving kit would be one of the first items I'd need to buy. I guess I never thought of it before. I just carried my stuff from the bedroom at home to the bathroom and kept everything in a shoe box.

Sitting at my desk, sorting out pencils and pens, I heard a gentle rapping at my door.


"It's me, Mattie. Can I come in?"

"Come ahead, I'm decent."

Mattie carried a wrapped present in his hand and gave it to me. "The lady, the one who's your cousin, said to give this to you after they left."

I opened it and inside was a new zippered shaving kit from Claire and Bill with a small note. "Best wishes for a successful year. Think of us every time you try to cut your throat shaving, knowing we'll give you a decent send off. Love, Claire and Bill."

I laughed, only Claire could say they loved me so eloquently.

Mattie hopped up on my bed, sat staring at me, and absent-mindedly swinging his feet.

"Thanks for delivering the present, Mattie. What else is happening?"

"Poppa asked me to invite you to supper with us. We're having hotdogs and hamburgers he's going to cook on the grill. We're also going to have his homemade potato salad, it's really yummy, and baked beans. Would you please, Levi?"

I hadn't thought of supper as yet. I just supposed I'd find a place to eat nearer campus. This saved me the trouble of looking.

"I'd be happy to, Mattie."

He damned near turned himself inside out, he was so happy. Mattie, with a giggle I was going to find out as a lovable characteristic he had, asked, "Levi; do you know why they only put two hundred and thirty-nine beans in a can?"


"'cause if they put one more in it'd be two farty – get it, two hundred farty," and roared with laughter, collapsing onto his side, holding his stomach so delighted at his joke, on my bed. Okay it's an old joke, but at his age it was new and absolutely hilarious.

I shook my head and quickly changed the subject. "Any idea where I can store my towels and wash cloths?"

"In your bottom dresser drawer."

"My jeans and other pants are there."

"Those should hang in the closet," he offered knowingly, "on those wooden clothes hangers with the wooden cross piece. At least that's where my cousin, Jack," pointing at the room next to mine, "who lives in the other room, puts his." He thought a moment, before adding, "I think that's where Lee, another cousin who used to live in this room, put his too."

With that pronouncement, he scurried over to my closet, opened the door, and pointed up at a shelf on one side of the closet. "See, there up there on the shelf."

I never really noticed. There were plenty of wire hangers in the closet and I used some of those for my shirts, jackets, sweat shirts, and winter coat.

"Good idea; I'll move things around later, okay?"

Mattie led the way down the stairs and into the kitchen, half skipping, half walking, and at the bottom of the stairs, slipped his hand into mine. David was in the process of putting hamburger patties and hot dogs on a tray, readying them for the grill on the patio. His smile when we entered the kitchen was wide, warm, and sent a shock to my system. He had the same effect on me now as he had during the summer after I met him. At least I hoped it was for me, but maybe for Mattie; only time would tell. "Don't get your hopes up," I thought to myself. "You've been disappointed before." But why did he have to be so damned handsome?

"Join me outside," he said with a tip of his head as he picked up the tray of burgers and hotdogs.

Following, I noticed he had a gas grill, something relatively new in those days for home use, located at the edge of a brick patio, overlooking a well-kept, fenced in back yard. The fencing only separated his property, on both sides, from neighboring homes, but the long, wide drive beside the house leading to the garage and barn was not gated.

Mattie scurried out behind us carrying a Brandy Old-fashioned for David. "You forgot your cocktail, Poppa," he said as he proudly presented it to David."

David thanked him, inquired if I'd like something, which I declined, and nodded to Mattie he could have another soda. I had a million questions to ask, but David so successfully manipulated the conversation so it pretty much revolved around me. Mattie listened intently, as if trying to absorb everything he could learn about me. I did notice, David, whenever close to me would find some reason to touch me or lean up against me sending electric shocks to my cock, causing it to stiffen in my jeans. There wasn't much about me they didn't already know from our short time together this past summer, but David seemed quite adept a discovering things I'd not mentioned.

The conversation carried over from the grill, to the dining room as we ate. The potato salad was the best I ever tasted! I mentioned I had to find a bank to open some accounts and David promptly volunteered to drive me to his bank downtown and help me with it. During that discussion he discovered I had a considerable amount of cash upstairs and suggested we put it in his safe in the office until we went to the bank in the morning. I was going to protest taking him away from his work, whatever that might be, to help me run errands, but he waved it off.

"We have some shopping to do for Mattie, don't we Mattie? He needs some new school clothes since he's growing like a weed, so this'll give us a chance to get that done."

The conversation moved from the dining room table to the kitchen, where we loaded the dishwasher, to the living room. I sat on the couch with Mattie snuggled up against me, while David sat in a chair where we could face each other. I raised the topic of places to eat near campus, as much as I appreciated the meal this evening and thanked them for it, I just couldn't expect it as a renter. There were plenty available, according to David, and within walking distance of campus.

"Tell you what, though," he proposed, "after this week, when Mattie is back in school, I'll be spending more time working outside the home. I need someone to be here in the mornings, if I'm gone, to see Mattie off to school, not that he needs it," with a wink toward Mattie, "and someone here when he comes home from school, help him with his homework, and fix supper if I'm running late. If you're willing to do it and your schedule allows it, I'll furnish breakfast and dinner. Lunch would be on your own."

Man, yes I'd take it! I couldn't imagine my schedule preventing it, but I hadn't registered yet. That would occur on Wednesday, if my letter I received from the college was correct. This would give me an opportunity to save money on food and more so, more contact with David and Mattie, especially David.

His mention of work outside of the home, prompted me to inquire just what he did when not working the carnival circuit.

"I can't imagine you earn enough during the summer to maintain this house, educate Mattie, and pay the bills," I commented hoping I was not overstepping myself with such a personal inquiry.

"Levi, people would be surprised the amount you can make capitalizing on the human animal's desire to win or get something for nothing, even if it costs them an entire paycheck to do it. They spend to win and be entertained. In your case, they paid exorbitant prices for something they could make at home for little or nothing, yet paid you to make it for them. So, I suppose you wouldn't be surprised about the money to be made since you worked the circuit all summer as well."

I had to agree with him since I made considerably more than I ever anticipated this past summer and I didn't even own "The Popper."

"The rest of the year, after we close down for the summer from the circuit, I work part-time for an older brother who owns a very successful real estate firm in Waterloo. We deal in commercial property, farm land, some rental properties, and a few private homes."

From what I could gather from our conversation as it continued, David was extremely successful in his business ventures, even at his young age. He continued his summer carnival work since it had, in the past, provided the funds for his college degree and for his initial investments and subsequent ones. David appeared to be one of those who, as Claire would put it, "fall into a shit house and come up with a gold watch in each hand." Definitely one who could turn a buck into a half dozen, invest four of the half dozen and return dozens more. It was more business savvy than good luck, although David did admit it was luck he was in the right places at the right times.

"So," I asked unwilling to give up my questioning in order to learn more about David and Mattie, "I thought you were from Minnesota."

"I am; born and raised there on a farm south of Brainerd. In fact, we were just up there visiting Grandma and Grandpa, weren't we Mattie?"

"Yeah," he said, suddenly raising his head from my shoulder, "and Grandpa took me fishing, Poppa and I swam every day, and Grandma fed me all the brownies I wanted to eat. They're just delicious and my favorite."

"Okay; so you were from Minnesota. What brought you to Iowa?"

"Family ties."

"My mother and father's families live in Iowa as do many of my relatives today. It was my great-grandfather Coleman and his brothers who were the original movers and shakers, giving the basis for the family's growth and positions."

David's great-grandfather and his brother, were very successful bankers and investors. His other two great-uncles were a lawyer and a land agent. David's father, born in 1890, was the middle of three sons. He married David's mother, Letitia or Lettie, in 1918 and was ten years older than her. Her father was a very well-to-do farmer and well-seated financially.

David's father, John, apparently was influenced in his choice of career by the uncle who was the land agent. John learned his lessons in business and the skills of evaluating land and its possible future value well. After the birth of their second son in 1922, his father saw opportunity in the North. Land was relatively cheap, underdeveloped, and abundant. The population was growing amidst an economic boom during and shortly after the First World War. John was successful as a land agent in Iowa, capitalizing, as did the entire Coleman Family, from the profits to be gained from the War and decided to expand that capital.

Several trips by train to Minnesota prospecting for investment opportunity, landed him in Brainerd. It was a growing community and he figured there was the chance to make a buck or two there. Plenty of lakes, forest land, marginal farm land, and resorts, and the boom for lakefront property had not yet hit. There were private homes and some cottages on the lakes, for those who could afford them. The farms in the area could only be described as marginal in profit, although there were those who did well, depending on the crops they raised. The climate was best suited for hay crops, oats, potatoes, and other similar crops.

He located Spirit View Farm on Big Spirit Lake, noted it was for sale since the old gentlemen who owned it lost his only son in the war, was not well, and wanted to rid himself of it. John bought, with cash, the one hundred eighty acre parcel fronting on Big Spirit for, as he put it to Lettie, "pittance." Two days later, he opened a land office in Brainerd and telegraphed Lettie to get ready to move.

Lettie, ever the farmer's daughter, saw the chance to feed her growing family from the neglected farm and contacted the local agriculture agent. With the information she received and her own experience, she had the garden plowed and enlarged, hired some neighbors to help repair the hog house and pens, the chicken house and pen, and get the barn ready for a couple of milk cows. She birthed a daughter in 1923 and another son in 1925. By then the farm was feeding her family just fine, and well it did. John's business flourished and they were judicious with their money, not spending it foolishly or investing it unwisely. When the market crashed in 1929, she and John were able to provide for their family and help the neighbors as well.

The bank in Iowa, managed by Coleman relatives who owned a great deal of the stock in it, remained sound, although there was some doubt for a while. David's great-grandfather Coleman made certain family members, who needed it, were delivered of their assets in cash. He'd convinced his brothers, early in 1928, he didn't feel the market could continue to sustain itself and proceeded to convert stock and bond assets and the bank held to cash. Their loans were always low risk and convertible if need be. They could sustain some losses without becoming insolvent.

John used his assets, once the depression deepened and foreclosures began, to begin buying properties he saw future value in, for ten cents on the dollar in some cases. He extended his holdings east to the Mille Lacs Lake area and west to Wadena and sat on them. His actions would prove to be wise and provide financial returns many years into the future.

David showed up in 1932 during the midst of the Great Depression, unplanned, but not unwanted or unloved. With seven years difference between his next oldest brother and twelve years from his oldest sibling, it almost made him an only child, at least that's how his older brothers and sisters treated him. Spoiled, indulged, yet his behavior was corrected when necessary, David wasn't a trouble maker. He excelled in school, especially mathematics, and loved to read. He also seemed to have a natural affinity at turning a buck, much like the rest of the Coleman family.

Even at an early age, he understood the value of a dollar and how to increase his collection of them. During the Second World War, using a small mare horse and cart, he went around the countryside hunting scrap metal to sell. He wasn't the least bit adverse to scour through abandoned farms and houses to expropriate or "liberate" as he preferred to say, various items for his own resale efforts. David didn't see it as stealing, only his way to help the war effort and line his own pockets.

An older cousin of David's, Thomas Coleman, asked John if David could come to Iowa and help run the gaming joint he operated during carnival season. At age thirteen, thinking of great adventure and travel, David wanted to leap for joy and beg, but he held back, waiting to see what his father decided. John knew well what the financial opportunities were since his brother's boys glommed on to the possibilities of turning a fast buck running games of chance; games of skill as they described it and entered into the business some years before. No matter how it was described, it was gambling, taking money from willing suckers with little hope of winning. Seventy-five cents of every dollar taken in went into the joint owners pockets.

With his father's permission, David, once school was out for the summer, eagerly rode the train to Waterloo and joined the workforce of Coleman Brothers Enterprise. He continued to work for his cousin throughout high school and, when his cousin decided he wanted to sell, David bought him out. He'd carefully saved and invested the earnings from his summer employment over the time he worked there, knew the business well, and could see the possibilities in the future. He fervently believed P.T. Barnum who said, "there's one born every minute," deciding to take advantage of it. At the same time, deciding he wanted to go to college and the Waterloo/Cedar Falls area suited him just fine, bought the house he now lived in, and received a business degree from the college in Cedar Falls.

"So," he concluded, "the rest is history. I'm not wealthy, yet, but someday, if I play my cards right, I will be."

Mattie yawned, bringing forth a suggestion from David it was ready to get ready for bed before he fell asleep. Mattie nodded, sat up, but took my hand in his, requesting I come along.

Walking up the stairs, David explained once Mattie fell asleep, he was the very dickens to wake since he slept so sound. "He's getting too big for me to carry up the stairs anymore so I try to get him to bed while he can still navigate on his own."

Mattie merely nodded his agreement while he stripped off his clothes. He slept naked, as did I and I assume David as well. Mattie turned to give me a hug and say goodnight and I couldn't help notice how small and slender he was. He really wasn't a very big boy for being fourteen years old. His light brown skin was hairless, except for few sprigs of black curly pubic hairs at the base of a flaccid, uncircumcised, three to three and a half inch penis. His testicles had begun to drop and were decent sized in a smooth sac. I did notice, on his back, buttocks, and on his legs, some small (and some perhaps two inches or so in length as well) white scars contrasting with his light brown skin tone. I wondered where and how he received them. Some look like they may have hurt terribly at the time of injury. Considering his physical size and sexual development, I thought at the time he was either a very slow developer or not the fourteen years of age I thought he was.

David hugged him, gave him a kiss, and asked if he wanted him to sit with him awhile. Mattie nodded, so David placed his hand on Mattie's head, and sat on the bed beside the sleepy boy. Not two minutes passed before Mattie was sound asleep. David rose from the bed, leaned over and gave him another kiss, and motioned for me to leave with him.

In the hall David said, "Every now and then Mattie walks in his sleep so don't be surprised if you wake some morning and find you have a bedmate."

Bidding David goodnight, I retired to my room and my own bed. Slipping under the cover, unconcerned about my own nakedness, I relaxed and felt confident all would be well.

The next week seemed horrendously busy! David and Mattie took me to the bank, I opened a checking and savings account, reserving enough cash to pay my tuition and fees and buy textbooks and other required items. I convinced them to stop at a St. Vinnie's in Waterloo where I picked up a small radio, a thermos bottle (to carry my coffee in during the day), a boy scout type backpack (to carry my books, lunch, and whatever else in), a couple of long, heavy, woolen scarves, two pair of woolen mittens, and two pair of lined gloves, all for less than ten dollars.

Jack Coleman moved in on Saturday and I found him to be quite likeable, very much like David, only younger. He was a senior and would be graduating at semester and planned on moving to Des Moines to find work and join his boyfriend.

Classes started for me the same day Mattie returned to school and entered ninth grade. He begged me to walk with him to school, so, since my first class was at nine, I did. He was excited, but somewhat fearful. He confessed he was probably one of the smarter ones in the class but also one of the smallest by a "head at least" and "most of the boys have bigger dicks and hair."

"Well, I guess that's something to be concerned about," I acknowledged, "but you mustn't look down on others just because you have more smarts than they do."

"Not smarts!" he snorted indignantly, "I mean hair around their cocks and balls."

"Oh!" I smirked and he gave me a small jab on my arm.

"You were just foolin' me Levi, weren't you?"

"Yeah, I was, Mattie, but not to worry. When I was your age I was pretty much the same.'

My remarks and reassurance brought a smile of satisfaction and confidence to his face and boosted his ego. I failed to mention I was thirteen years old at the time and just entering eighth grade.

"Think it will grow anymore?" Mattie asked, hopefully.

"Your hair?"

"No, you doofus, my dick!"

"I'm certain it will, Mattie."


My classes weren't as difficult as I thought they might be, but challenging; much different than high school. There were many more outside readings and research. I loved it! Almost a month elapsed and everything was going great I thought. Mattie became more and more like a little brother and David became more and more familiar with me; never hesitating to give me a hug, put his arm around me, or engage me in conversation concerning classes, how I liked it living here and so on. It all increased the feelings I had for him, but was hesitant to express openly. He never tried to make an overt move on me sexually, but never-the-less, when I was around him for very long I got hard as concrete!

Jack was gone this particular weekend, snuggled up in Des Moines with his boyfriend. Mattie, with a knowing smile and particularly wicked expression and conspirator tone to his voice, told me, "Confidentially, Levi, I'll bet Jack's boyfriends ass is stretched and sore by Monday."

I couldn't venture a guess, nor did I want to.

Mattie came home from school Friday afternoon and instead of the chatty, bubbly, overflowing with enthusiasm boy I expected each day when he bounced in the door, he was quiet, unnaturally so; withdrawn, offering very little in the way of conversation as he drank his hot chocolate and munched on a couple of cookies. He didn't drop one clue what it might be was bothering him, but something was, of that I was certain.

David came home from a meeting with some potential property buyers in time for supper and afterwards I mentioned Mattie's demeanor after school.

"Could be a long night or a short one, depending on how you look at it," was all he'd say, leaving me to wonder what the hell was going on. I found out around midnight, awakened by screams of terror and wails for help coming from Mattie's room.

"Poppa! Poppa! Come quick! Help me, Poppa!" he shrieked, amid loud, anguished sobs.

"Hold it right there!" Ray ordered, one hand with a death grip on the crotch of his shorts, squeezing his pecker tight, "I have to piss and I don't want you stopping the story, telling us you'll continue it another night. I want to find out what made Mattie scream."

"Me too," echoed Carl, standing and doing the little, "if I don't piss soon, I'll piss my pants" jig.

With that all four bounded out the porch door and made it just as far as the edge of the sidewalk before cocks popped out of pants and strong streams of urine began watering the lawn. Of course, someone just had to fart! The culprit was identified when Elgee said disgustingly, "No more all you can eat chicken for you, Ray. It rots your asshole."

Cocks tucked back into their resting places, the boys wasted no time high-tailing back onto the porch.

"Man," Rick complained, "the mosquitoes are vicious!"

I had to agree. Minnesota has its share of the nasty bastards. With all of the water around, it was a perfect breeding ground. Everyone settled back in place, I raised my eyebrows, and inquired, "May I resume where I left off or have you lost interest?"

Four heads wobbled vigorously from side to side.

"I take that as a 'you may continue, dear, sweet, Uncle Levi?" engendering a snicker from Carl.

The first scream brought me wide awake and bolt upright in my bed. The second scream caused me to rocket from the bed as if I had springs in my ass and heading toward the door with the Wings of Mercury seemingly attached to my feet, speeding me, naked, my todger bobbing up and down, through the doorway into the hall.

David was just a few steps ahead of me, but not far enough or swift for me not to notice he was naked as well; very naked and almost breathtaking. His naked front, trim, narrow waist, well developed, and relatively hairless except for a few chest hairs and a dark, narrow treasure trail leading from his navel down to a black, moderate bush of relatively straight pubic hair at the base of a very nice, large, and thick uncut cock. As he turned, his back presented no less of portrait of a man whose body was well honed in lean definition and tone from hard work. Every inch of him, bare and exposed to my eyes, was all male; a male I desperately desired and wanted to be with. It was at that moment, that moment of terror, that moment of realization I wanted him more than life itself, I decided to pursue him until he was mine and I was his.

Mattie was standing up on his bed, arms outstretched, reaching for his "Poppa" to come rescue him from whatever night terror and demons galloped through his sleepy mind bringing him to this state of turmoil and torment!

David swept Mattie up in his arms and sat on the bed with Mattie cradled on his lap, strong arms around the terrified boy, pressing the quaking, crying lad close to him, as he cooed softly, "Did the bad guys come to visit, Mattie?" knowing well what was happening.

Mattie nodded, stifled a sob, and cuddled himself closer, resting his head in the crook of David's neck, and reaching both arms behind him, to order to secure his nakedness to David's, seeking his warmth and protection. Kissing his forehead, his own arms pulling Mattie's trembling body close to his, rocking back and forth, David murmured, "Go back to sleep, Mattie honey, Poppa's here to fight the bad guys and keep them from hurting you anymore. I brought Levi with me, so there's now two of us and you need not fear how much we love you and will save you from harm."

Mattie nodded slowly again, sighed, and seemed to relax, savoring the heat and closeness of David and hearing the reassurance all would be well while he slept. David continued to rock him back and forth, singing a song so softly, I couldn't understand what the words were, only hear the lilting cadence and soothing tone. Mattie began to relax more, his legs drooped, hanging over David's lap while his arms slowly slid down David's back and lay limp. Soon a soft, snoring began with each deepening, sleepy breath.

"I usually sit and hold him for a few minutes before I put him back under the covers and wait a few more until I know he's settled down for the rest of the night. It gives him the assurance of security and he's not alone."

Waving toward the chair by Mattie's desk, requesting, "Pull up a chair and join me- please?"

Of course I would! Swinging the chair around, setting it some four foot or so in front of him, I plopped my bare, skinny butt into to it. My eyes, now accustomed to the faint light cast by the nightlight in the bedroom, drifted from David's serene, handsome face down to Mattie nestled in his arms and lap, and scanning Mattie's young nakedness, then further, coming to rest on the spot beneath Mattie's naked, little butt where, between David's legs, focused on the admirable length and form of the declaration and evidence of his maleness visible even when partially obscured by boy butt cheeks. My, oh my, oh my; such a sight it was!

I could feel my own cock stiffen, thought to try to either hide it or think of something disgusting to cause it to deflate, but, with David sitting naked not four feet in front of me, I discarded the notion deciding it'd be impossible to retain any flaccidity if I could even get that far. It probably wouldn't be the first hard cock David ever saw and wouldn't be the last time he viewed mine given the close proximity of our living arrangements. Let's face it, you can't live in a household of males without getting a hard-on- at least I couldn't! Granted, I did have my own bedroom giving me some privacy, but why deny I was attracted to naked men, partially naked men, or fully clothed men. Let the fucker stick up in all of its six inch glory!

Speaking in hushed tones so not to awaken Mattie, I couldn't resist asking, "How old is he really? I've looked him over and physically and sexually he doesn't look like the fourteen going on fifteen he claims."

David chuckled softly; "He isn't. Mattie likes to say he's fourteen because he's going into ninth grade. He's so damned smart, they've moved him ahead a grade and still he tops out the class. He just turned thirteen in early February."

"Are you really his father, David?" I asked, adding, "You can just tell me it's none of my business if you want."

"To everyone else I am, since I have the paper work to prove it; signed, sealed, and so declared by a court of competent jurisdiction, but I'll tell you – no, I'm not!"

"If you haven't guessed, and I assume you have, Levi, I'm as queer as can be. Never had a sexual encounter with a female and never desired one."

"I hoped you were, but how in the hell did he," as I pointed at Mattie, "come about. I know you said last summer he'd been with you for three years after a pocket picking incident and some hustling in the street trade, but that still doesn't explain your parentage."

"Levi, Mattie was a foundling; a child three to five days old, wrapped in a blanket, and abandoned at a fire station in Davenport, Iowa. Inside the blanket was a note with his name, Matthew, written in bold block print."

Mattie was a healthy, considering the circumstances and the weather when he was discovered, but small, mixed race or bi-racial baby boy it was determined and entered the foster care system. Bi-racial or mixed race babies were not "in vogue" and most difficult to place in post-war America. Racism was alive and well in the country and white families didn't want a "black" child. If he was the product of a white woman's sexual adventure with a black man, she may wish to avoid the stigma and rid herself of the child. Lynching black men for sexual advances or relations with a white woman, real or otherwise, was not uncommon. If it was a black woman copulating with a white man, it could be different, but who was to say. "Your fault, my fault, nobody's fault," a child was produced. Mattie was abandoned to be raised by others, never adopted, and shuttled from foster home to foster home until he became lost in the system.

"When I caught him trying to rifle my pocket of my wallet, I took him to my camper to clean him up and feed him. I discovered not only was he filthy and hungry, but bore scars physically and emotionally. He began to talk and I listened, shocked and angry at his descriptions of what he was used for; the sexual pleasures of other men since he was about seven years old. I vowed he'd never go back to that life if I had anything to do with it."

David set out to right a wrong and give Mattie a home. A couple of good lawyers, cousins of his I learned, and a sympathetic judge who realized how difficult it'd be to now foster out or encourage someone to adopt a bi-racial boy with a very checkered history, listened and accepted David's tale of having intercourse with an older, black teenager when he was thirteen years of age. It happened when he was working with a cousin for Coleman Brothers Enterprises at a carnival in the Tri-Cities area. The records showed Coleman Brothers Enterprises did work a carnival about the time Mattie might have been conceived, David's cousins convinced the judge he was indeed more than capable of siring a child given his sexual development, and the judge accepted the explanation, without a blood test.

"As a result, I became Mattie's Poppa and he became Matthew Coleman."

"Did you ever find out how he escaped from his pimp?"

"I asked him how in the hell he did, and all he'd say was 'I forked him.' I never really figured out what he really meant."

We were to find out the start of the next school week.

I stretched and announced, "That's it for tonight boys, we're all going fishing in the morning and the next day we're going to celebrate the Fourth of July."

There was no argument this time.

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