The Apprentice

by Sahypo

Chapter 50

Isaac and Pat dropped Dennis off at his house, and arrived back at Isaac's place just before four o'clock in the afternoon. Lizabeth was busy preparing dinner.

Pat and Isaac decided to have a beer in the pool, and relaxed in the cool water. Isaac would take his last test in the morning before interviewing with the Sherriff's Department at the municipal airport at the county seat. His appointment to see Detective Walsh's friend was at 1 pm, giving Isaac plenty of time to take his final in the morning.

They got out after an hour or so, and had dinner. Sean came over about eight o'clock, followed soon after by Peter, and they played cards with Lizabeth, Pat and Isaac until almost eleven.

The next morning, Pat and Lizabeth took Isaac out to breakfast. After they arrived back at the house, Isaac gathered his resume and references and put them in a folder. It was a strange feeling to drive to Technical College, knowing this was the last time he would be commuting to the school as a student. His next trip to the campus would be to attend his graduation.

He pulled into a parking space in the front row of the lot, and looked at the non-descript two story building that had begun its existence as military barracks. Technical College's aviation department was housed in a closed military base hangar and several adjacent buildings, all of late forties to early fifties vintage Cold War Era design, sensible and stout, but utterly devoid of style or aesthetics.

The only students here this morning were taking final exams, there were no lectures, and people were leaving as they finished their tests. Isaac walked inside and saw several doors open down one hallway, and glanced into each one until he found his instructor. He was a few minutes early, but the professor waved him to a seat, and said

"If you would like to start now, that's fine, Isaac. You have ninety minutes, starting when you log in."

"Thank you, Sir."

"Good Luck, take your time."

Isaac sat down at the computer and logged into a website with a passcode given to him by the instructor.

He read the questions and rapidly selected the answers that he was sure of, and moved on to the next question. The ones that he had to think about he skipped and would come back to in his next sweep. In less than half an hour, he had gone through about eighty percent of the questions that he felt the strongest confidence in, and went back in for the remainder. In the end, he missed one question. He knew he would likely give up one to the testing gods, and hoped missing that one question wasn't the margin to make Rick the head of the class. Then again it wouldn't be the end of the world to be .003 of a GPA point behind Rick, either, he thought.

With that thought in mind, he shook hands and pleasantries with his instructor and another graduating senior before leaving the campus. He had time to kill, so he headed back to the house to relax until he had to leave for his interview.

He found his parents gone, but Sean was in the pool. Looking around for indication of where they might have gone, he slid the patio door aside and stepped out onto the slab.

"Hey, Sean."

"Hey, Isaac, they took off to look at your other houses, said they'd be back later."

"Oh, thanks…I'll make you lunch in a bit."

"Oh, not for me…I'm gonna get out and go over to Dylan's in a bit. How did your test go?"

"It was downright awful, Sean. I missed one." Isaac replied, making a show of hanging his head.

"Damn, and the way I brag about you all the time, too!" Sean joked. Isaac giggled and went back in the house.

Sean climbed out of the pool nude, and began to dry himself. His clothes were on the deck in a small pile. Isaac opened the door and asked

"So, did Mom get the free show?"

"Hell, no…I charged her regular price!" Sean shot back as he slipped his briefs on. Isaac giggled and asked

"You need in the house for anything? Lock up when you leave."

"Nah, I'm gone too. See ya later."

"If I don't see you before you leave in the morning, have a good camp and have fun, Sean."

"Thanks, I will. Did you see that guy about the job yet?" Sean asked, pulling his shirt on.

"One o'clock." Isaac replied and turned to leave.

"Go get it, dude!" Sean replied.

"We'll see how it goes." Isaac said as he locked the sliding door and front door, and went out through the garage.

He checked to make sure his papers were still in the folder and took off on the twenty-mile trip to the airport where the Sherriff's Department aviation unit was based. He had no trouble finding the hangar with the Sherriff's helicopters and airplanes out front, and several of the vehicles parked in front of the hangar bore official plates.

Isaac grabbed his folder and went into the building through a door with a large Sherriff's department logo stenciled on the door, and found himself in a small lounge with several chairs and a coffee bar. A very trim and fit looking man in his forties was mixing creamer in a cup of coffee and looked up at Isaac.

"Yes, Sir, may I help you?" the man asked. He wore a dark green military flight suit, and looked like he just got out of the Marine Corps.

"Thank you, …Sir. Um, Isaac Daniels? I have an appointment to see Mr. Reiman?"

The man stuck out his hand and replied "I'm Chris Reiman …heard all sorts of scurrilous stuff about you from Ron Walsh." He said, winking at Isaac.

"I just hope he didn't hold back the good stuff, then, Sir." Isaac replied, grinning.

"Good to meet you." Reiman said, pumping Isaac's hand. "Let's get to it…Grab some coffee if you drink it …. Do you have a resume?"

"Uh, Yes, Sir, I do." Isaac said, handing Reiman his folder. "Some references too."

Reiman sat in one of the chairs, and Isaac turned to the coffee pot as the deputy opened the folder and began to scan Isaac's resume. Everything in the resume was known to Reiman already, as Walsh had already done a standard law enforcement hiring background check on Isaac, and filled Reiman in on some of the details of Timmy's story and adoption.

Isaac's other sheet was his character references, including Walsh, Mr. Connors, several teachers, Judge Bailey.

Reiman studied the pages for a few seconds, then closed the file and asked

"What is it that we do here, Isaac?"

"Operate and maintain the Sherriff's Department aviation assets in a mission-ready condition … Sir."

"Exactly…I see you visited our website. Besides the usual air support to enforcement activity, we also perform search and rescue ops, some high-risk prisoner transport, and assist in county disaster response …and whatever else the board of supervisors decides that we do." Reiman stood and said

"Follow me, I'll give you a tour of the place."

They walked down the hall, and Reiman tossed the file through an open office door onto his desk. He opened a door with a large NO UNAUTHORIZED ADMITTANCE sign screwed to it, and they stepped into a large hanger with an immaculate gloss white floor, bright lights and several glittering helicopters in gold, white and blue livery parked inside.

"We have two MD530F helicopters, one Bell 204. Our fixed wing assets are a pair of Skylanes."

Reiman said, referring to the Cessna aircraft tied down outside the hangar. Isaac's eyes were wide, taking in the condition of the aircraft and the facilities, which were spotless.

"How many mechanics does the department have?" Isaac asked.

"Four in air support besides me at present, and there are five pilots on staff besides myself. I'm looking to put on two additional mechanics."

They walked through the hangar as Isaac looked around.

"Do you fly as a deputy?" Isaac asked.

"No, none of us are sworn officers. I do the maintenance check flights." Reiman replied.

"You were military?"

"Marines" Reiman confirmed.

"How heavy do you get into major overhauls and things like that?" Isaac asked.

"Basically, it's routine maintenance on-schedule, and inspections around here. Props, engines and transmissions we snatch and send out to an overhaul shop we use in Dallas, although we do the Lycomings in the Skylanes here in the hangar. I would say ninety percent of the job is to look for hate and discontent that shouldn't be there like leaks, cracks, loose items and wires, and so on."

Reiman walked Isaac outside to the two aircraft, and showed Isaac around. The Skylanes were immaculate, like every other part of the operation, although Isaac knew the aircraft were close to thirty years old.

"I am curious as to how much use your fleet sees." Isaac asked.

"Well, everything gets flown at least two hours a week. None of our assets just sits, unless it's down for a grounding issue. The worst case is the guy who flies four times a year, and the rest of the time his plane sits in the hangar, or worse, tied down on the flight line. The oil sits in the engine getting acidic, his fuel tanks are collecting condensation, and the tinworm never sleeps. But to answer your question, the helos fly an average of a hundred hours a month, depending on the number of calls for assistance."

"I see.".

"How often are the helicopters replaced?" he asked.

"Well, the standard practice is to excess the machine when the amount spent on the maintenance is half of the purchase price of the unit. Keep going past that point and your spending money that can't be recouped by selling the asset. Depends heavily on how budget conscious your maintenance program is, and what the market is for the aircraft at any given moment."

Isaac nodded in agreement.

"What is the tool policy here?" Isaac asked.

"We don't allow personal tools here. We use the kits that come in the plastic cases that the pieces snap into, so you can tell instantly if something is missing. And the specialty stuff is all in cases with foam too."

He and Reiman walked back into the hangar and back to Reiman's office. They sat down and Reiman looked across the desk at Isaac.

"You have a very thorough and relentless, if I can use that word, cop friend, Isaac." Reiman said, picking up a file folder and opening it.

"Um, really?" Isaac asked, somewhat surprised.

"Uh-huh. He came to see me a while back about positions for new hires, already had your background check done and ready to go. He was very insistent that I look at you for this spot."

"Uh, yeah, some time ago he asked me for a resume, told me I should come see you. He was there with us for a lot of stuff that was going on at the time in my family."

"I heard a bit about that from Ron …he thinks a lot of you boys." Reiman said.

Reiman peppered Isaac with dozens of questions, the answers to which he had already learned from Walsh. He asked Isaac about Timmy, and Isaac had to suppress a chuckle before answering. He wondered what else Reiman knew. The questioning felt more to Isaac as if he were being interviewed for a newspaper story, than for a job.

The questioning then became more technical, focusing on Reiman's expectations of a new mechanic.

"What do you see yourself doing the first thing if you're hired, Isaac?"

"Hitting the books, getting familiar with the maintenance manuals and records. Shadowing the senior guys until I get up to speed."

Reiman nodded and took out a flyer from a drawer in his desk. He passed it across the desk to Isaac.

"That's the announcement for the positions I'm trying to fill. The salary is set by the county, and is in the low forties, I think…You'll get a call from the people pushers from the bee-hive…that's administration on the third floor of the county courthouse in town. We have medical, dental, paid time off, and county employee retirement plan. No one gets rich on the pay, but the bennies are pretty good."

"Sounds like you're offering me the job, Sir."

Reiman pushed a form over to Isaac.

"Think it over…if you decide this is for you, sign and date this paper and we'll go from there."

Isaac stood and shook Reiman's hand; with that, the interview was over. Isaac took the form and walked out to his aged red Volkswagen and drove back to the house. He figured that the benefits package from the county would beat anything he would find locally for entry level jobs in aviation, and the airlines wouldn't hire him without some experience. But he would look around for a short time and take Chris Reiman up on the offer if his hunch was true.

That evening, Pat and Lizabeth took Isaac and Peter out to a steak house to celebrate. They talked a bit about Isaac's interview and the offer. Pat felt that Isaac probably wouldn't find a better package of pay and benefits. Peter was happy to hear that Isaac wasn't going to have to move.

When they got back to the house, Isaac excused himself and went next door to find Sean.

"I wanted to tell you that I got the job."

Sean smiled, and began to say something but Isaac continued.

"So, nothing is going to change, and everyone will be here when you get back from camp, okay?"

Sean nodded and said

"I'm glad. That's great, Isaac. I'm happy you got it."

"Thanks. What time are you off in the morning?"

"We have to be at the bus at four"

"Ouch. Better get as much sleep as you can then. See ya when you get home."

"See you later, Isaac."

Sean got a fair amount of sleep but the alarm going off at two thirty in the morning was still a system shock. He had packed his things in Melanie's car before going to bed, and all he needed was a shower to wake up and dress in the clothes he had laid out. After a long shower and breakfast, Melanie and Sean arrived at the school parking lot with plenty of time to spare. A gleaming charter coach was idling in the lot, and a good crowd of students and parents had arrived and instrument cases were everywhere beside the coach. Students were placing instruments and luggage in the brightly lit cargo hold, as the driver conferred with the music director over paperwork and release forms. Sean carried his gear and guitar case into the crowd and made his way to the hold as the students in front of him loaded up and stepped aside. Melanie gave Sean's paperwork to the music director and the driver checked Sean's name on the passenger list.

The coach had all the amenities of a private jet, spacious leather seats, a lavatory, reading lights and air vent jets like an airplane. Sean took a seat next to Brooks, a boy in the eighth grade that played violin. The boys had never really spoken, but knew each other by reputation and having seen each other perform musically before Sean left middle school.

"I didn't know you had signed up to go on this trip too!" Sean said, offering his hand

"Oh, I put in for this as soon as it was announced. Been thinking about this trip forever!"

His voice was high and clear and hadn't yet changed. Brooks was the smallest boy in his class, barely five feet tall, and not yet eighty pounds. His hand felt small and delicate as he shook Sean's.

The skinny freckled red-head blushed and looked down when Sean looked directly at him.

"Um, everything all right?" Sean wondered.

"Er, no…It's just that, well, I think you're really good…maybe the best guitarist in the school, and stuff. I just wanted to tell you that, but I was…"


"Wasn't sure you would be interested to talk to me and stuff. I'm really shy." Brooks blushed and looked down again.

"Well, I promise not to bite…unless you let me." Sean said and gave Brooks a leer when he looked up. Brooks blushed again and looked nervous.

"It's just an expression to get you to relax. Can I sit next to you on the way there?"

"Oh, uh, yeah, I'd like that, sure."

"And you're no slouch either. I heard you play Für Elise and Blue Danube like first chair. I can't do that. And those were your own arrangements, weren't they?"

Brooks nodded.

"Do you play other styles?"

"Um, Celtic, Irish, that sort of stuff. I feel that this bluegrass camp can help me be a better violinist. But I have to call it fiddling while I'm there, you know." Brooks giggled.

"I guess you know I'm really into the blues, but I'm going for the same reason. I'll pick up new ideas from the other people."

"Yup, can't stay in a bubble, right?" Brooks replied.

"I don't get how you play perfect notes without frets." Sean offered.

"You learn where the notes are and practice muscle memory. It's not hard but you have to put the practice in."

"When did you start?" Sean asked

"I was six, I think. You?"

"Nine or ten."

"You don't play sports either?"

Sean shook his head. "Hate that stuff."

By now, the coach was moving with thirty students aboard for the nine-hour trip. The sun was beginning to come up over the east Texas cotton fields and very shortly the coach would be making time through Louisiana. They would cross Arkansas in a southwest to northeast direction, and reach their destination in Tennessee that afternoon to early evening. The bus would stop for one hour for lunch, but that was several hours ahead.

Brooks and Sean talked for a few hours and found that they had a lot in common. Brooks lived with his father after his parents divorced, and Sean gathered that the boy was quite lonely and had few friends. Like Sean, his ability meant that music would probably be his life's work and the legacy he would leave.

He had fallen silent, and his eyes closed as he drifted off to sleep. Sean stood up and stretched his legs and went back to the lavatory. It was much bigger and nicer than the one on the airplane he had ridden to Texas, and smelled a lot better as well.

The bus stopped for lunch at a large truck stop that had a big restaurant. The music director led the group inside, and the hostess waved them back to a dining area that had been reserved for their party.

Everyone sat down and several waitresses began to hand out menus and leave water on the tables. The music director then stood up and made an announcement.

"Okay, everyone. Let me have your attention for a moment. As you know, the housing at the camp is two to a room, and some of you have turned in roommate requests already. There are some campers who have not been assigned a roommate, so if you have a roommate, pass this form to the person next to you, you don't have to do anything. For the others, if you have a person in mind, put your names on the form when it comes to you. Any questions?"

Sean looked at Brooks.

"Got a roomy yet?"

"Er, uh, no. I didn't know who would be going."

"Me neither. What do you think?"

"Er, uh, sure, why not. Wait! Do you snore?"

"Tell me if I do." Sean grinned.

Brooks blushed, shook his head and whispered "Shit…"

Sean cracked up in laughter. Soon, the clipboard was passed to Sean and he wrote his name on one of the two spaces in an empty block. Brooks printed his name on the other space and passed the clipboard on. Conversations around the table paused as orders were taken, and shortly after that food began to arrive. Most of the students were finished eating in about twenty minutes, and people began to drift in and out of several conversations going on in the group.

Twenty-five minutes later, the music director checked her watch and announced

"The bus leaves in fifteen minutes, everyone. Be on it!"

Sean and Brooks got up to bum around the truck stop store to stretch their legs a little before they had to be back, and Brooks assured Sean that he was aware of the time, a huge men's chronograph watch on his skinny wrist looked almost comical.

"What the hell is all that stuff, Brooks?" Sean asked, referring to the myriad sub dials and hands on the complex timepiece.

"I got no clue. I thought it looked cool the last time I went to WallyWorld." Brooks replied. "My dad figured out how most of it works."

"What's he like?"

Brooks smiled and let out a small laugh. "He's cool. I'm glad I get to live with him. I didn't get to wear this watch until he figured out what at all it does."

The music director settled the bill with funds from the fee that each camper paid to attend camp.

Soon, it was back to the bus and after a quick roll call confirmed that all were present and on board, the journey resumed.

Both boys drifted off to sleep as the after-lunch slump hit them and the early wakeup took its toll. Most of the other riders were asleep as well, with the occasional passenger making their way to the lavatory and back to their seat.

Around five in the afternoon, the coach was passing through heavy forest and at intervals lakes were visible on the sides of the road. The coach made several turns onto secondary routes as they got farther from the main highway, and at the end of the trip, a large complex of buildings came into view at the end of a long private driveway. The buildings were on the shore of a large lake, and looked like a two- story motel wing on each side of a huge lodge in the center. The bus came to a stop in the parking lot in front of the resort, and the music director stood and began to address the students, as the coach driver got up and left the coach to open the holds.

"Welcome to Cedar Ridge resort, and Bluegrass band camp. I have worked out the room assignments, and will issue keys to everyone shortly. When you get off the bus, please collect your gear and stand with your roommate until I come by with a key for each of you. You will have time then to move in to your rooms. Meet in the main dining room at six o'clock for supper and an orientation to camp. This resort has a pool which you are free to use after orientation until eleven pm. Are there any questions?"

After a short silence, the campers began to file off of the coach and unload the holds. Brooks found his gear and waited for Sean to pull his stuff out of the hold, and stood together until the music director returned with a fist full of access cards. She made her way through the crowd of campers giving cards and room numbers to each pair.

"Sean and Brooks, room 214. It's upstairs in the wing on the right"

"Thanks, Miss Anderson." Sean replied, and the pair picked up their gear and walked into the lodge. It looked like a log cabin the size of an airplane hangar, and was breathtakingly beautiful. A wagon wheel style chandelier eighteen feet in diameter hung from the peak of the rafters on four chains. The boys could see meeting and conference rooms off both sides of the main lobby, and the pool beyond a wall of windows on the far side. Elsewhere in the complex was a fitness gym and a sauna. They looked around to the right and found an elevator, which they took to the second floor. There were several other pairs of teenagers that the boys didn't recognize in the hallway unlocking rooms and moving luggage in. They found room 214, and Brooks inserted his card in the lock.

The room was a luxury suite with a view of the lake and woods, and had two queen size beds, a pair of dressers and a marble tiled bathroom with a large shower with a clear glass door an oval tub next to the shower and on the opposite wall, the toilet and sink. Brooks gasped, giggled and blushed when he realized that the shower had two heads and two sets of controls.

"What's so funny?" Sean wondered from the other room, uncasing his guitar to check that it arrived safely.

"Er, um, you'll see." Brooks stammered as Sean stood at the bathroom door. He looked to see what Brooks was staring at.

"Cool!" Sean exclaimed.

"Is it for, um … you know…?"

"You have a really dirty mind, Brooks."

"I, er, no, I don't!" Brooks began to protest, almost becoming agitated.

"I'm teasing, don't get mad." Sean giggled.

"Oh…right" Brooks replied. "So, what do you think it's for?"

"Hot and steamy sex, of course!" Sean retorted.

"Hmmpf!" Brooks snorted in exasperation, as Sean left the bathroom and returned to his unpacking, a huge grin on his face. A moment later, Brooks turned to look at himself in the mirror. He wondered how noticeable his blushing was. He smiled as he turned the bathroom light off.

"Which bed do you want?" Sean asked.

"Er, this one." Brooks replied, taking the one next to the bathroom.

"Damn, I wanted that one!" Sean pouted, acting crestfallen.

"Oh, um, well…"

"I'm just messin' with you. I wanted the one by the windows anyway."

"Er, what if I had picked it instead?" Brooks wondered.

"I woulda said the same thing." Sean winked.

The skinny redhead looked incredulous, then grinned. "You're doing it again, right?"

Sean smiled and nodded, unzipping his suitcase and flipping the top back on the bed near the window. Brooks watched Sean place a stack of carefully folded briefs in the dresser, as he reached into his own luggage and took out a full set of pajamas.

It would be decades until autism was a commonly misused word, and children like Brooks were just considered slightly odd, or awkward, or said to dance to a different drummer. He felt that difference between himself and other people was due to his extreme shyness, and his small stature made him self-conscious around his peers who were athletic. He was fully aware that he was often slow to pick up on humor, irony, sarcasm or satire. His father fully understood the boy, and had learned to be very direct and literal with Brooks. He had a vast patience and never lost his temper. His son was different from a very early age and would never be an "ordinary" kid.

Normally, Brooks might suspect the motives of people who teased him of having malevolent intent: He felt something different about Sean. He deeply respected the guitarist, and felt honored that Sean had complimented his playing, and arranging abilities. Brooks felt that Sean probably understood him, because Sean bore the same burden of prodigy.

One day, Brooks was snooping through the accumulated junk in the basement of their house, and found his father's old student violin that he had taken up in middle school. It hadn't been played in over a decade. Brooks took it out of its case and tried to play it. He was unaware of tuning, or the need to apply rosin to the horsehair on the bow. When his father came home from work at his usual time, he heard strange noises in the basement after failing to find the boy upstairs.

The six-year old was sitting cross legged on the basement floor creating horrible train brake squeals making the man grimace as he walked over to the boy. Brooks looked up at his father.

"Daddy, this is hard." Brooks whispered. His father sat on the floor next to his son and said

"Wow, I forgot that old thing was still down here. It needs to be tuned, Brooks."

"What does that mean?"

"Give it here a second. I'll show you."

Brooks handed his father the instrument, and his father plucked the strings as he gently broke the stuck pegs loose as Brooks watched.

"We used to tune our violins to a piano with the teacher, but I think that's close." The man told the boy, as he sounded each string separately for the child.

He placed the violin in Brook's lap and took the bow out of the boy's fingers.

"Your bow has to be rosined and the tension set on the hair too." He stood to look for the violin case, and sat back down with a small amber colored block of rosin. Brooks watched intently as his father tightened the hair on the bow, and held it out to his son.

"Feel how tight that is."

Brooks complied and nodded.

"That's how you want it. Now, you have to rosin it up before the string will sound right." Brooks watched as the rosin block began to shed powder on the strings as the man rubbed the little block up and down the horsehair.

He took the violin out of Brooks' hands and said

"Let's see if I can still do this."

Brooks eyes went wide, as his father remembered his fingering and got comfortable recalling the notes to a country song he had learned in band class called "The Green, Green Grass of Home." He played the first four bars haltingly at first until he got the groove back and made it sound reasonably close to what he recalled.

"It's still out of tune, most likely. Come here and sit in my lap." Father and son sat together in the basement, as he put the instrument into the child's hands and showed the boy how to hold the bow and violin. After a few minutes, Brooks understood how much pressure to put on the bow, and could make a smooth and steady draw as far as his short arm would allow.

"It looks like this will be yours now."

Brooks carefully cased the violin and bow and gave his father a hug before taking the instrument up to his room. The man stayed behind and studied the stack of stuff along the wall to be sure that there was nothing Brooks could find that would be dangerous. He didn't know that Brooks had any interest in the basement before now, or how many times he had snooped around down here. There was a lot of stuff that his ex-wife had boxed and left behind. He would have to get her to decide what to do with it. But that was a fight for another day. He didn't look forward to that, but getting rid of all of it without her knowledge would make her even more explosive.

Once Brooks coaxed his first smooth note from the violin, he "took off" and gained skill rapidly. He learned all of "Green Green Grass of Home" in a few days.

Four years went by and Brooks had taken up classical music and been invited to join the children's symphony which played over the summer months. His father bought Brooks the best instrument his salary could afford, for the boy's tenth birthday. He explained that they would no longer have cable TV. He didn't tell him that the violin cost more than their used car had. The tiny boy just shrugged and said

"I don't watch TV much anyway, Daddy." As he wrapped his skinny arms around his father's waist and hugged him.

The boys finished filling their respective dressers with clothing, until the last thing left was swimming trunks.

Sean pulled out a pair of black shorts with red stripes up the sides. While not as skimpy as a Speedo, boys didn't wear baggy board shorts yet. That would be a bit in the future. He left them on the bed for later when he hoped to hit the pool.

"What time is it now?" Sean wondered.

"About five minutes before we have to go downstairs." Brooks replied, consulting the huge watch.

They were surprised to see almost a hundred teens gathering in the lobby for the meal and orientation. They were led into a large conference room with twenty round tables that sat six at each one, and soon, everyone found a chair and sat as a man approached the speakers stand and the PA came up.

"Good evening, everyone!" the man addressed the room.

"Good Evening, Julian!" about half the room shouted back, and the man chuckled.

"All right! We have an eager crowd this year! That's great!, Well, welcome everyone to bluegrass camp, I see a lot of new faces in the crowd tonight, and some of you returning campers from previous years, welcome back…For the new people, I am Julian, your camp director…

Um, how many pickers do we have? All banjo pickers, raise hands….Wow, we may have enough of y'all this year to start a third circle…

Fiddlers….how many fiddle players?"

Almost twenty kids raised their hands with Brooks. Brooks looked around the room and made eye contact with a few kids who were also looking at the others with hands raised.

"Guitar pickers?" Sean raised his hand with about fifteen others.

The man called for mandolins next, and twenty four students raised their hands. After the bassists identified themselves, the man began making announcements, introducing camp staff and musical guests who would lead workshops. The camp staff wore yellow t-shirts, and the musical guest tutors had blue name tags to identify themselves.

"Okay, I see the servers are going to get started. There are two choices for dinner tonight, fried chicken and fixin's, or spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread. They'll start you out with a salad…Now they are going to serve just tonight. All meal service from tomorrow morning til end of camp will be buffet style, all you can eat.

The first two days of camp will be workshops for your particular instrument with your tutors. On the third day, we will put together groups and each group will work on a tune to play for the finale on the last day of camp.

We will start at nine in the morning, and break for the day at six. Lunch break will be eleven thirty to twelve. Again, welcome, and if there are any questions, just grab a staffer and they will help you. After we eat, we will gather in groups so you can mingle and meet each other."

With that, the salads came and ninety-six campers chose their meals. An hour later, the tutors had set up meeting places for each group and the campers began to drift over to their areas, and meet each other. Sean found his tutor in one corner of the ballroom, and when all the guitar pickers were present, the tutor announced that they would be working in the Cedar Room. He then asked each camper what genre of music they focused on, and several people were surprised and interested that Sean was a blues guitarist.

"I woulda figured you for a heavy metal guy or a rocker" one boy said to him. "It just seems to be what everyone takes up guitar to do."

"You?" Sean asked. The boy nodded. "But I like country too, weird, huh?" the kid laughed.

The tutor polled each camper as to why they signed up to come to a bluegrass music camp when only two of the fifteen had played bluegrass.

Sean's answer was simple. "Blues guitar is almost all lead, Bluegrass guitar is almost all rythym. I'm bound to learn something by stepping out of the bubble."

The rocker/country kid had cousins and an uncle that played bluegrass, and he wanted to get better at it for family jam sessions.

After everyone had a chance to mingle and talk, the group broke up and the campers had the rest of the evening to themselves.

Brooks had a similar session in his corner of the ballroom, and most of the fiddlers at camp were accomplished classical violinists, which isn't surprising considering how most students of violin are taught to play. His group would be meeting in the Pine Room.

Sean looked around the ballroom for Brooks, and assumed he had left after a few minutes search of the dwindling crowd was fruitless. He was eager to hit the pool and went up to their room.

He opened the door and let himself in, and found the bathroom door closed with the light on inside. He crossed the room over to his bed and began to unbuckle his belt and kick his shoes off. Squirming out of his jeans, he just shed his shirt when the bathroom door opened and Brooks burst out, quite nude.

His thin, circumcised member looked enormous on his small body, hanging flaccid five inches. He didn't realize Sean was standing there, mouth agape in amazement taking in the scene as time seemed to stand still. Brooks realized Sean was there, and his eyes went wide in horror. He quickly covered his hairless crotch, and began to stammer.

"I, I-I l-left my t-trunks on the b-bed." He snatched up his swimwear and backed into the bathroom, mortally embarrassed.

Sean had been completely surprised by what he had seen, and took a minute to gather his thoughts before he shed his briefs and put his trunks on. He stood next to the bathroom door before softly knocking.

"Ready when you are. Can you get a towel for me, Brooks?" he called through the door.

There was a long pause, then the door opened and Brooks came out with a sheepish look on his face, holding the towels in front of him. Sean took the towel Brooks handed him. He wouldn't make eye contact with Sean. His swimwear was the kind with the net inside, baggy and revealed nothing.

"Brooks… you okay?"

Brooks nodded.

"Me too." Sean replied softly.

Brooks didn't respond and continued to look down.

"Let's hit the pool. We can talk later if you want to." Sean said, as he turned to the door. "I have a room key." He said over his shoulder to Brooks as he opened the door.

The boys swam for several hours, and met many of the campers in the pool as people joined and left conversation groups. The early morning and long bus ride caught up with most of the campers and Sean decided to get out. He swam over to Brooks and let him know he was tired and was going to return to the room. Brooks eyes were red from the chlorination, and he admitted that he was very tired too. They climbed out and found their towels and dried off as best as they could so they wouldn't freeze in the air conditioning. Brooks did seem to have recovered his good mood.

Once back in the room, Sean asked Brooks if he wanted the bathroom to change and hang up his wet swimwear. Brooks took his pajamas into the bathroom and closed the door. Sean slipped his wet shorts off and covered himself with the towel. He felt a bit of disappointment when Brooks came out of the bathroom in his pajamas.

Sean gathered his toiletries and took his towel into the bathroom. He arranged his things next to the sink, careful to leave room for Brook's stuff and stripped his wet trunks off and stepped into the shower. He worked quickly, and wrung his trunks out and hung them on the bath spout. Wrapping the towel around him, he went back out into the dark room.

"Shower is all yours."

"Thanks. I'll take one in the morning." Brooks replied, already in bed.

Sean sat on the other bed in the darkness and set the alarm clock for seven and combed his damp hair. When he was finished, he pulled back the covers and slid under the sheet and took the towel off. He pushed it to the edge of the bed under the sheet and let if fall on the floor beside the bed as Brooks watched.

"Is seven a good wake up time for you?"

"Uh-huh" Brooks responded.

"Good night" Sean said as he turned out the light.

"Night" Brooks replied.

Sean wiggled around and got comfortable and saw Brooks watching him as his eyes adjusted to the gloom. Several minutes went by before Brooks spoke.

"Um, about, you know, um…earlier."

Sean opened his eyes and sat up on one elbow.


"Well, I had a really great time today, and you're so nice to me and I didn't think I was gonna like camp or want to stay, and I'm afraid that I screwed things up…"


"And offended you, I'm sorry."


Brooks stopped speaking, and calmed down a bit.

"You didn't screw anything up with me. You're fun to be with and I'm having a great time, too. I feel better because you're here. It's my first time away from home too."

"But the look on your face…It…" Brooks pleaded.

"I had no clue you were that…big…down there. That surprised me." Sean admitted.

"I wouldn't know. Never seen anybody else's thing before." Brooks said quietly.

"Well…Trust me, yours is bigger soft than mine is hard. That's why I stared. Sorry."

"No way! You're older'n me and stuff."

"I can prove it when I get up to pee in the morning."

A pause ensued as Brooks considered that. He blushed quite red as he rolled onto his side facing away from Sean, so he could adjust the growing distraction in his pajamas. Would Sean be the first boy he had ever seen nude, and with an erection as well?



"Thanks for not laughing at me because I don't have hair."

"Sure. Good night, Brooks"

"Night, Sean" Brooks replied, a little confused by what he had been told. He drifted off to sleep thinking how nice Sean seemed to be, and that he might be willing to answer the questions that had been in his mind the last several months.

Both boys slept soundly until the alarm went off at seven o'clock, and Sean reached out by instinct to smite the annoyance into silence, and when that didn't work, he awakened to the realization that he couldn't find the snooze control where it usually was on his alarm clock. A quick look and he found the snooze button, buying the boys several more minutes of sleep.

Brooks eyes slowly opened as he looked over at Sean in the morning light. The minutes ticked away and the clock went off again. Sean roared and stretched and rolled toward the shrieking clock and picked it up as his eyes popped open. He found the switch and killed the racket and set the clock back down.

He smiled as he looked over and saw Brooks was awake and watching him.

"Morning" Sean said

"Morning. Do you have to pee?" Brooks asked.

Sean smiled. "Oh, you want proof."


Sean slipped out from under the covers and stood in front of Brooks between the beds. The smaller boys' eyes went wide as he stared at Sean's stiff five incher and the small bush of dark pubes.

"You have a lot of hair!" he gushed as he sat up in bed and gathered the covers over his lap. "I've never seen one before."

"Not even your dads, or boys at school or on the computer?"

"Nope. And we don't have a computer."

Brooks inspected Sean's tool closely, moving his head to get a closer look.

"You can touch."

"Oh, no, that would be gay, wouldn't it?"

"Being curious doesn't mean you're gay, Brooks. It's your first time, and I won't say anything outside this room."


I promise."

"Well…" Brooks' reluctance dissolved as his curiosity won out, and he took Sean's stiffness between a finger and thumb and gave it a light squeeze then shook it back and forth and giggled.

"It's so hard."

Sean stood still as Brooks ran his fingers through his coarse pubes, pulling the hair gently to puff up Sean's bush. His fingers worked under Sean's penis and Sean put one foot on the bed beside Brooks to allow the boy to feel his scrotum and testicles.

Brooks wasn't about to pass up this opportunity, but he clearly very nervous fondling Sean. His touches were tentative, and driving Sean insane. The sensations of Brook's tiny slender fingers touching the insides of Sean's thighs would have driven his erection to maximum rigidity if his full bladder wasn't already responsible for that.

"I have to pee really bad" Sean said softly and Brooks withdrew his hand.

Sean grabbed a pair of briefs and shorts and stepped into the bathroom and sat on the toilet to wait for his stream to start. Several long minutes went by before Sean was finished and flaccid and went back into the room.

Brooks threw the wad of sheets off his lap and stood. His pajamas looked like they would be uncomfortable as hell to sleep in Sean thought, but to each his own. Brooks took a change of clothes into the bathroom and closed the door.

"H-How do you make sperm come out?" Brooks whispered.

"You do this." Sean replied, giving his rigid cock a few slow strokes. "Until it happens."

"Is that what jerking off is?" Brooks wondered.

"Yeah. Do you do it?"

Brooks shook his head. "Don't know how."

Sean smiled. "Wanna learn?"

"Y-yes. Please." Brooks replied nervously. He had dreamed and fantasized about this moment since his body began to change recently, but he was afraid to approach anyone he knew with this. His mouth was dry and his heart beat rapidly as he tried to relax.

Sean said, "I'll be right back" as he turned and went to the bathroom and retrieved the little bottle of lotion from the countertop and a towel.

"You want to do it yourself, or want me to do it?" Sean asked.

"Er, you, I guess?" Brooks replied.

"You need to take those off, dude." Sean said patiently, as Brooks rolled the wad of sheets off of his lap and stood up. The tent in his pajamas was insanely obvious as Brooks slipped the top off and tossed it on Sean's bed. He slipped the bottoms down as he lay back on the towel Sean spread out on the bed. Sean got his first good look at Brook's erection. It was as skinny as a garden hose, about six-and-a-half-inches long with a curve up and a bit to the left. There was a prominent tan circumcision scar on the shaft, and the pink acorn glans featured a large round meatus in the center. The frenulum was still partially present and split into a pair of tiny lip-like structures on each side of Brook's peehole.

Brooks stared at the ceiling as Sean sat on the bed next to him, and opened his legs a bit when Sean touched him inside the thigh.

"A little more." Sean said, and Brooks gasped as he felt fingers lightly touch his perineum. His pecan sized testicles drew up in response as Sean began to caress his scrotum. His penis got harder and he moaned softly, and allowed Sean to push his knees up.

"When did it start to grow so much?" Sean asked as he began to run a finger tip up the underside of Brooks' shaft. Brooks gasped as he sucked in a breath and replied

"I really began to notice it was getting bigger two months ago."

"Did it always dangle over your balls?" Sean asked.

"Yeah…always. Ohhhh!" Brooks moaned loudly as Sean lightly circled the glans with a ring of fingertips.

Sean smiled, and teased the tiny ridges on each side of the peehole. Brooks groaned and arched his back.

"How old are you, anyway?"

"Just turned twelve, uh last month." Brooks grunted as Sean gently slid his fingers up and down the boy's glans, and rubbed the frenulum. He stopped for a moment to open the lotion, and Brooks tilted his head down to watch Sean.

Sean emptied most of the tiny bottle into his hand and began to massage Brook's long cock with the lubricant. Brooks groaned as Sean stroked his penis and squeezed his glans as he slowly slid his hand up Brook's shaft. Brooks bucked his hips up to meet Sean's strokes and Sean sped up a bit as Brook's breathing became rapid and a bit ragged. His eyes were closed tight and his head was cranked back. His hands were gripping the bed sheets as if he would fly off into space if he let go. Sean worked rapidly now, stroking outward, squeeze the glans, stroke inward, repeat.

Sean could see the boy's testicles pull up tighter until they gradually disappeared and all that was visible was a flat patch of wrinkles.

Brooks began to hold his breath and gasp every ten seconds or so. Sean knew he was there and just required a bit more to climax. He poured more lotion on the boy's rod, and the change in lubrication had an immediate effect.

"Something's…. something's happening…I have to…. pee. Stop!" Brooks panted.

"Relax, you're not going to pee. You're almost…."

"Gaaaaaahhhhh! Ahh! Ahhh! Oh my…Gaaah! Awwww yeaaaah!, aw yeah! Oh god!"

Brooks exploded, stiffened and convulsed like he had been electrocuted. After fifteen seconds of bliss, his penis went limp and he made Sean stop. There was no sign of any ejaculate, just a lotion mess.

"Shiiiiit!" Brooks slurred, suddenly exhausted.

"You okay?" Sean asked

"I…had…no idea. What the hell was that?" Brooks panted.

"Your first orgasm, Brooks."


"Now you know what jerking off is."

"If I forget, can I get a refresher lesson?" Brooks joked.

"Only if it wouldn't be too gay." Sean replied with a grin.

"I think I'm getting past worrying about that."

"If we take a shower together, we can get to breakfast faster."

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