Patient John Doe

Chapter 26

I was a little surprised as I looked around while we waited for the gate to open, the pasture was empty of horses. The kids also picked up on this quickly, their heads craning out the windows. Cindy's Suburban, along with Sanchez' Hummer and Mary's car were all in the driveway, as were a couple of Billy Ray's construction trucks, but the house was equally empty when we went inside. After looking around a minute I saw Mary on the back deck, at the barbeque pit.

"Where is everyone? Where are all the horses?" I asked as Jay and I joined her.

"They all went to the Sanchez Ranch," she answered, giving me a cagy grin. "They left a few minutes ago, following your young Trail Boss." She gazed down toward the pasture for a second before adding, more toward the land than us, "I wonder if Cindy has strangled him yet? Or either of them?"

"Even my father?" Jay asked.

Mary snickered in answer. "I was surprised I talked my way out of going, I had no idea my young student could be so assertive!"

Mark, Ronnie and Junior right behind, rushed onto the deck as she spoke. "Where is Hera and everyone?" Mark asked, pushing his back against my stomach.

"What about Steve?" Ronnie asked the smoking pit, as he squeezed between it and Mary. "But, its empty!" he whimpered, looking wide eyed at his Nanny.

"So is your mouth, where is your appliance?" Mary barked at him.

Ronnie's face blushed crimson as he jerked his hand over his mouth. At the same time Mark pulled from under my arms. I turned back toward the house just in time to see his and Junior's backsides, both tightly clad in new Levis, disappear into the house.

"Damn, I wonder what Johnny is wearing, maybe we should have a rodeo, or a western dance!" I snickered as Ronnie darted inside, also wearing tight jeans.

"Angelina's new jeans are shrinking in the washing machine, the Texas washing machine," Mary quipped. "What's this, rebellion within Johnny's remuda?" she added as she looked out toward the pasture.

 Or telepathy? I asked myself as I saw Hera, Zoe, Zeus and a couple more horses running at full gallop toward the fence.

The now headgear clad boys were about halfway down to the pasture gate when Johnny and Steve galloped into sight. Angelina, Cindy and Miguel appeared a minute or so later, riding at a slower pace.

"Now I know why everyone in the old west movies walks bowlegged," Miguel said as he joined us. "It has been far too long since I rode last," he added as he gingerly settled into a lounge.

Jay and I teased Miguel about being over the hill as we sat down next to him and listened to his description of his riding adventure.

"Here you are!" Mary interrupted us, setting a glass in front of the elder Doctor, and a beer in front of Jay and I. "It is a little early, but you looked like you might enjoy it," she said toward Miguel.

My guest straightened in his lounge as he took a sip from the glass. "Bailey's, on the rocks! How perfect!" he exclaimed. "No one has served me this since, since Luiz. God how long ago was that?" he asked the ice cubes. Okay, whatever! I thought as he exchanged a glowing smile with Mary.

Cindy talked to the boys for a couple of minutes before walking up the hill to us. "You didn't kill him?" Mary asked her.

"You're the one that told him he was in charge!" Cindy replied.

I found myself shaking my head as they described their earlier adventure. When they arrived home, and Cindy and Ronnie had announced that they were going the Sanchez house, to meet the furniture delivery truck. Angel, then Angelina insisted on going, anxious to see the house. When Steve begged to go riding Angelina was torn between, wanting to do both, but mom objected, wanting her kids to ride with an adult for awhile, until she was comfortable with the animals.

Somehow the kids convinced the adults to ride to the new house instead of drive. Johnny immediately took Mary's statement that he was in charge of the horses very seriously, all but ordering everyone to the pasture, assigning each person a horse as a major league baseball manager would prepare his batting order; even ordering who was to saddle who's horse.

"I was going to kill him when he inspected my horse's rigging, but I was sure Steven would do it for me," Cindy snickered.

"I thought Steven was going to rip his head off when the boy ordered him to re-tighten his saddle strap," Miguel chuckled.

"Are you talking about my Johnny? The same little boy that is afraid of his own shadow?" I quipped. Their faces told me they were. "I'll talk to him."

"Maybe you should talk to Ginger too, she was almost as bad as he," Cindy tittered.

"I'll speak to Zeus, I'll asked him to discuss it with her," I answered before I realized it.

"How was it you described your property earlier?" Jay teased, stifling his snicker.

"Well, maybe I should have Zeus talk to Johnny and Ginger, I'll let him handle it," I countered.

I noticed some motion next to me, and turned my head in time to see Mary pick up my beer and gently shake it. "And he's only had about half a beer!" she teased.

Steven joined us a few minutes later, informing us the furniture had arrived, and his wife and brother would be a few minutes behind him. "Your stallion is a quite a piece of horse flesh," he told me. "We should test them, but I think either five, or six of your mares are pregnant."

"Are either of mine?" Cindy interrupted.

"Again, we would have to give her a test, but the one your son is riding almost certainly is," he responded after she pointed out her animals. "We can get the test kits at a Veterinary Supply, or the feed store we shopped at during our last visit might offer them. It's almost like a home pregnancy test for humans, I can show you how to perform the test yourself," he added.

I had to grin as I watched the business side of Cindy spread across her face. "Carl and Jenny are coming out here in an hour or so, they could pick one up!" she answered. I didn't bother waiting to be asked, and went to my bedroom, retrieved my PDA, and pulled up the feed store's number.

I wasn't surprised when, five minutes or so after Mary and I put the first load of meat on the pit, a flock of kids raced through the pasture gate toward the house. "Gee, I wonder what they want?" I snickered toward Mary.

"I wonder," she laughed. "And what brought you guys up here?" she asked Ronnie and Junior as they pushed against her and gawked at the grill. Johnny, Mark and Steve all but pushed me out of the way to get a better view as she added, "Go wash up, there are some icebox cookies and fruit bowls in the frig." "You too, young lady, and your new jeans are inside," she told a wide eyed Angelina's gaping face, standing just off to the side.

"Does Mary have a passport?" Miguel asked me after she followed the boys inside. I think Cindy more than I was initially enthused as we listened to his idea; that when Cindy and/or I needed to travel and wanted to take our kids, she travel with us as their tutor.

"I feel sure she would be thrilled, an excellent idea. Let me talk to her," Cindy answered.

"What's wrong, Pumpkin?" I asked when Johnny came out of the house wearing his shoulder immobilizer. "Is your arm bothering you?" I added, gesturing him toward me.

"It's okay, maybe it was getting a little mad is all. I can still ride and everthing! I mean every thing. It is Dad!" He twisted into my hug as I wrapped my arm around his hips before adding, "Mary gave me a couple of them pills, and she said its okay!"

I carefully probed his shoulder and arm with one hand while I cuddled him with the other. Finding nothing I was concerned about, I answered, "If you think your arm is okay, and if Doctor Nanny says its okay, that is fine with me. Go have some fun with your guests!" I told him, popping him on his bottom.

He responded with a wide silver grin, pushed against me for an instant, and darted away. He had only run about ten feet when he turned back and pushed back against me. He glanced at my face a couple of times, spending more time looking at the deck, before whimpering, "Are you mad at me? Ginger said you're mad, sir."

A pair of very penetrating eyes from the pasture caught my attention. When I started to pull him against me, he climbed into my lap and squirmed against me. Yeah, go ahead, nail him, you can do it! I teased myself.

"No, Turkey, you are not in trouble," I countered. I enjoyed his snuggle for a minute or so before standing up, scooping him into my arms. He wrapped his arm around my neck and his thin legs around my hips as I tucked him against me, cupping his little bubble butt under my arm. After shifting his weight until I had him balanced, I started walking down toward the pasture.

How to put this, I wondered. My little rat had actually crawled out of his terrified, mousy shell to other people, probably for the first time since I first met him that horrible afternoon in Central Baptist's emergency room a few months (or few hundred years?) ago. His people skills were as poor as was his language skills had been earlier, but even his rudeness was a step forward I could not have dreamed of.

"I understand you, , , were very thorough in helping everyone go for their ride to the new house this afternoon," I began. "When you helped everyone choose a horse, and saddle them." He stiffened in my arms.

"Mary said I was supposed to, , , sir," he whimpered.

"And you were, I was told you did a great job, too!" I answered. Come on fool, you went to school for this, I told myself. Thankfully we reached the pasture fence, Ginger's head and neck pushing between the fence rails toward us, giving me a little more time to considered how to continue. I managed a quick hug before Johnny pushed out of my arms and rushed toward his horse. Oh, great, I thought when Zoe poked her head through the fence rail, and I saw Zeus standing right behind her, staring at me.

"I see you are using Ginger's new bridle!" I said as I joined Johnny and his horse. "I think I better check how you fitted it before I allow you to ride her."

Ginger pulled her head back between the rails so fast she bumped the back of her head as Johnny turned and cut me a shocked glare. "I did it right, I did JUST like you taught me!" he proclaimed, his face expressing his indignation. He flushed pale as Ginger pushed her nose against his thin chest. "I did it just like you taught us! I did, I done it on her a hundred times and its okay, it is!" he cried.

"I have fitted it, not done," I corrected. "I'm sorry to humiliate you, and Ginger. I wonder if Mrs. Roberts, and Doctor Sanchez, Doctor Steven, felt the same way earlier when you did the same thing?" A stillness seemed to settle over our part of the pasture even silencing the gentle breeze we were enjoying as my young son stared at his filly.

"If I had worded that differently, let's say, Wow, Ginger is wearing her new bridle, it looks great! Her nose strap looks a little loose, can I adjust it for you? Would that have hurt anyone's feelings?" I asked.

Jay's wording was accurate, a Nut Ranch! I told myself as Zoe pushed her head against Ginger's neck, and Johnny seemed to silently compare notes with his young horse and her, or their, foster mom.

"We're sorry sir!" he whimpered. "I'm sorry I screwed everthing up, we are sir!" he added, his voice raising an octave. "No, PLEASE DON'T, PLEASE, PLEASE! I'M SORRY SIR" he cried as I reached out toward him, wanting to comfort my little angel. He slammed against the fence, positioning his thin body between Zoe and Ginger' heads before melting down to his knees and covering his face with his left arm, his thin little body tense as a could be.

"It's okay son, I promise it is! Hey, it's Dad, I won't hurt you, you know that!" I begged as I bent toward him. I almost wet my pants as I reached toward him and his right, injured, arm jerked upward against his splint, moving his right hand to cover and protect his face and forehead.

"You are not in any trouble, Dad would never hurt you, you know that," I whispered, hoping enough air passed over my throat to make myself heard.

I somewhat leaned against the fence and dropped to my knees. "I love you son. God, I love life!" I proclaimed as I pulled him against me. I cupped his right hand in mine, then brought it up and kissed it. "Thank you son, thank you more than I can ever express."

He squirmed a little, but relaxed into my cuddle. "Ah, we're not in trouble?" he risked. "We're sorry, I won't be bad to adults ever, we won't sir! Ginger said so too!" A wet horse nose pushed against my neck as if offering her agreement.

"Thanks, Pumpkin, thanks Ginger," I answered. "But, what's this?" I added, pulling his right hand out in front of us. "I know your arm is shy, but you just used it, and gave me a wonderful hand squeeze with it!" He looked down at his hand and blushed. "Can I have another squeeze?" I asked.

He studied my face for a second or so before taking a deep breath and looking back at his hand, his face tightening in concentration. After the better part of a minute he exhaled and looked back up at me. "It don't wan. . ." he stopped in mid-sentence when Ginger pushed her muzzle in front of his chest, sniffing his arm. "But," Johnny replied to her snort. "Okay, I guess," he added as she pushed the side of her long face against his.

The pasture became so quiet I would have sworn the wind stopped blowing as Ginger, Johnny and I turned back to his hand. "Wow. Oh God, thank you," I gasped as I felt him squeeze my finger. "Lift my hand, you can do it," I whispered breathlessly. "Come on Son, you can do it,"

"God, this is more wonderful than I could have imagined," I gasp as he lifted my hand and arm three or four inches off his stomach. He held it in the air for at least a second before dropping it. "Wow, that is wonderful, more than I can express," I told him. "We have to show Doctor Jay, he will freak!"

"But he's mad at me!" Johnny exclaimed. "Everyone is!" he added as he pushed against me.

"No one is mad a you, like I told you, you are NOT in any trouble," I answered, trying to get my brain back into gear. "You just got a little excited, and, well, was being a turkey is all." Shit, I'm learning their language! I chastised myself as I digested my last statement. I picked him up and propped him on his feet.

"But I was bad and everthing," he whined. "No one's gonna like me now!"

"No, no Pumpkin. You are completely wrong, everyone here loves you! I promise everyone on this ranch loves you as much as I do!" I tucked him under my forearms, pulling his thin back against my stomach and kissing the top of his head. "YUCK! Bridle straps!" I howled. "I wanted to kiss my kid, not his bridle!" I teased, pulling the overhead strap of his headgear slightly away from his had and letting it snap back.

"Pop!" he screeched. "That was fuc, , , I mean, ah, I mean mean sir!" he exclaimed, squirming to turn and face me.

"But, I got'cha! Didn't I, Bridle Boy!" I teased as I pulled him against me. I slipped my hands down to his bony chest and tickled his ribs. "I love you Turkey, so does everyone else here," I added above his giggles.

"If you want to make it up to Mrs. Roberts, and Doctor Steven, tell them you, you didn't mean to upset them. Use your magic weapon. Tell them you are sorry, give them one of your magic hugs," I suggested.

He seemed to digest my advice for an instant as his giggle softened to a chuckle. "Thanks Dad," he mumbled, turning around and hugging me.

"Wait!" I called out as he pulled out of our hug and turned toward the house. "Go for your ride, talk to Cindy, Mrs. Roberts and Doctor Jay later. Just wait until you have a minute and talk to them."

Ginger let out a soft neigh as I pulled Johnny back against me. "Thanks Dad, you're smart! Well, sometimes!" he informed me before darting through the gate into the pasture.

I didn't realized I still hadn't changed out of my work clothes until I started to follow them into the pasture and saddle my stallion. "Sorry big fellow, you go check on your kids, I'll go change, maybe we'll ride later," I told him. Yeah, well, I thought as he turned and trotted to join the kids and his herd.

The patio deck and the house were a bundle of activity when I returned to it after watching my youngest ride away. Mary and big Ronnie tending the pit and mountain of meat on it, as my other adult guests floated around the pool. I didn't snap that he and Angel had returned from the new house until our guest chef handed me a Margarita.

"Forgive me if I am meddling, but as we walked by you, your conversation with Johnny looked very intense. Your face was ashen," he said. "Is anything wrong?"

"I'm still trying to believe what I witnessed," I answered after taking a long sip of my drink. "Let me change my clothes, I have to share this with Jay, with everyone."

Everyone had climbed out of the pool and clearly waiting for me when I stepped back onto the deck, now in my swim trunks. The deck was silent as I relayed to everyone Johnny's newly discovered progress, choosing to leave out the boy's panic attack.

"Amazing," Jay gasp. "He is an remarkable young man. And you, and you," he added holding his glass toward Mary and I, "Have performed a miracle with him."

"You are the one that made it all possible," I countered, offering my drink toward him in salute.

"Don't sell the boy short," Carl added. "It wasn't long ago I was all but certain I would be signing his Death Certificate." My little finger twitched as I digested his comment.

"We mustn't forget Ginger," Mary chuckled.

Ronnie poured everyone a fresh Margarita as we exchanged kudos. I managed to remind everyone during our animated chatting that Johnny, or his arm, was 'shy', and to let him reveal his newest improvement in his own way.

"Yeah, he was so shy earlier!" Cindy quipped. "How did that discussion go, I hope you were not too harsh on him."

"Oh, actually, I just relayed the situation to Zeus, he said he would talk to both of them," I replied.

"I think I better take that, Doctor," Mary tittered, reaching for my glass.

We talked and relaxed in the pool for an hour or so. Only a couple of minutes after Cindy and Mary began setting out some snacks for everyone to enjoy, a group of riders appeared over the the horizon, galloping at full speed toward the house.

"Radar equipped stomachs?" I joked to the others as they boys dove off their rides and darted through the pasture gate. All the kids attacked the snacks in a feeding frenzy, inhaling what had to be twenty pounds of chips and snacks in what seemed like seconds.

I was so proud of Johnny it was hard to keep from picking him up and kissing him as I watched him after he finished his snack. Being as discreet as a polished diplomat, he spent a minute or so talking to Cindy, then Steven and the other adults, getting a wide smile and hug from each of them.

After talking to what seemed to everyone else, he pushed against the side of Miguel's chaise lounge and whispered something to the elder physician. Wow, I silently beamed as Miguel wrapped his arm around the boy's thin waist, and Johnny squirmed onto Miguel's lap, planting a facebow laden kiss on Miguel's forehead. Miguel quickly returned the peck.

As they kids cleared the table and loaded the dishwasher after we finished supper, I couldn't help but notice Angelina dashing around in a flurry, trying to do her part of the kitchen chores while at the same time darting to her mom for split second whispers.

The plot seemed to thicken when Angel walked her down to the pasture when the boys went left to herd the Sanchez horses to their corral and feed them. After what looked like a summit level meeting at the pasture gate between Angel and her daughter, they walked back to the house, arm in arm.

I was sipping on some wonderful Cappuccino big Ronnie had served us when I felt a presence next to the lounge I was sitting in on my deck. Angelina was standing next to me when I turned, her face slightly red, her young body so stiffly rigid that her pony-tail seemed to jut out behind her. When I cast her a smile her face flushed a little pale and she pulled her hands behind her back.

"You have a beautiful house, Doctor Owens," she began, her voice shaking slightly. "Thank you for inviting me here. And for supper, it was wonderful."

She is either much more polite than I remember, or going to hit me up for something, I thought. "You are very welcome. Thank you for visiting, and your kind comments about our house!" I answered. "You are welcome here any time, as is your family."

"Yes Sir," was her response. She shifted her feet nervously, then glanced back at her mother. "May I, , , may I sleep here, spend the night here, Doctor? Like Stevie and everyone else gets to?" Her face reddened as she added, "Mom said it's okay, so did Stevie and everyone, if you do, sir."

I knew Jennifer was going home with her parents. I was wondering how to deal with a young girl sleeping in the same house with a nest of teenage boys when Angel's positive nod caught my attention. Fuck, that one bedroom apartment was so comfortable, why, why oh why, I asked myself. Tell Billy Ray to get off his ASS! I want Mary out here!

"Of course you may! I am sorry I didn't think to invite you," I answered. 'I don't think I invited Steve either, but, I'm sure someone has taken care of that for me', I silently added.

Everyone seemed completely comfortable a couple of hours later (except me!) as the boys built their nest, Angelina right of the middle of their activity. Gulp! I thought when she crawled up into the nest along with the boys, her mom kissing all six kids goodnight before Angel and the other adults left for their new home.

I tossed around in bed for an hour or so before realizing I wasn't going to get any sleep. Fuck it, I decided. I climbed back into a pair of shorts, grabbed a beer from behind the bar and stumbled into my study.

The files regarding the Brazilian kids I had been asked to review caught me off guard more than I could have ever expected. Lord, and I thought my little guys had been through the wringer, thought as I read.

Edwardo and Ruben were brothers, both thirteen years-old, only ten months apart in age. From their pictures they looked almost identical, almost as close as my two. I wondered if they were Portuguese or Hispanic, both with light brown skin and dark brown, but almost auburn hair and crystal blue eyes. Sixty, and sixty-two inches tall? Eighty four and ninety pounds? Not! I thought. I felt my stomach knot as I read they had been street kids, selling their bodies for over four years. Both boys had IQ's well above average, but were performing academically at a fourth grade level.

The third boy, Karl was equally shocking. My God, he a baby! I thought as I looked at his picture. Although he also was thirteen, his sweet, innocent face belonged to a ten year-old. Although the pictures were clearly snapshots from a hand held camera, his platinum blond hair and rosy red lips, accented by his light skin, came through as if a portrait photographer had made the photo. He is intelligent, and damn sure articulate, I told myself as I read his work-up. He is thirteen, and speaks four languages fluently? I thought. I have more degrees than I do underwear, and I stumble trying to order a beer in Tex-Mex Bar!

I had to down a healthy swallow of beer to keep from vomiting as I read his history. Miguel's case workers documented beyond question that he had served as a mule, smuggling drugs stuffed inside his little body, between South America and Europe for several years before being caught. After his third escape attempt from the police, he mysteriously disappeared. Six months or so later, the foundation discovered him in slave labor at a Recife brothel, and they virtually stole him from his captors at gunpoint. My stomach knotted as I scanned transcripts of interviews with him, and he described how a Recife policeman sold him to the brothel for the equivalent of one hundred US dollars.

Gears ground in my brain as I continued to scan the paperwork and computer files. Later on, after evaluating these youngsters, I was tasked with not only determining if they were good candidates for immigration into this county and adoption, but which two of them would be best suited for Jay and Ronnie to adopt. Why me Lord, I thought as I reviewed the data. The brothers were far too closely bonded, too dependent on each other much like my set of brothers, to separate. Given their IQ's, they could blossom in a nurturing environment. If the foundation's work-up is accurate, Karl could be a candidate for Yale, or John's Hopkins. Hell, with extra effort, possibly even A & M! I chuckled to myself.

I couldn't keep my eyes from drifting back to their photos as I halfheartedly reviewed their files, more searching my conscience for a solution than anything else. I hesitated before taking another swallow of beer as the pictures of these little guys seemed to fade toward images of Miguel's now grown sons, and their tales of life in the same hell hole these three little guys had just been rescued from.

From selling themselves as prostitutes and living in a land fill, a garbage dump, they became a Physician, a Vet, and a five-star Chef and CEO. I'm not sure how yet, but all three of you little guys get the same chance, I told the pictures. I glanced at the clock, then my computer. And soon, I will meet you little guys soon. I silently added. If Miguel doesn't fire me for spending all his money, I told my laptop as I began firing off e-mails.

My eyes were so tired an hour or so later, as I made my way back to my bedroom, I was about to climb into bed when the parent part of my brain alerted me that there was something wrong at the nest. What now? I asked myself as I stumbled back into the family room.

I woke up instantly when I looked down, what had been a mass of six, well six and a half kids under the covers, was now a much smaller lump. A small amount of Johnny's hair and pixie nose showed up in the moonlight, as did the lump tucked against him I knew was Mark. Angelina was right next to them, most of her innocent face visible. But no Ronnie, no Steve or Junior. Buddy too? I asked the moonlight.

At least part of my concern was eased when I looked around and saw Buddy laying at the bottom of the stairs, staring wide eyed at me. His wagging tail told me where to look.

I relaxed, and smiled as I carefully opened Mark and Ronnie's bedroom door and stepped in. Ronnie and Steve were cuddled against each other, their faces almost glued to the other's, and Junior was draped over Ronnie, his nose buried into the back of Ronnie's neck. I leaned against the doorframe, soaking in their beauty for what had to be a couple of minutes, before bending over the bed and gently kissing each of them.

I had just turned away from the bed when Junior's sleepy voice mumbled, "I love you Ronnie."

I was pulling their door closed when Stevie muttered, "Thanks, I love you too." I turned around in time to see him kiss Ronnie's nose.

Time to have THAT talk, I told I guess the staircase as I crawled down it. But what the fuck do Birds have to do with Bees? I wondered. Dad's do this shit when they are old! my ponytail contributed as I climbed into bed.

The boys' laughter and squeals interrupted my wonderful slumber. "Shit, why don't they sleep all day like normal teenagers?" I cursed toward the patio door, and the bright morning sun glaring through it at me.

Mary and Ronnie were in the kitchen, seemingly comparing notes over the stove, when I staggered in. "Good morning, , ," Mary bubbled. "Good morning Adam, may I bring your coffee to the patio?" she asked in a much softer voice. "Go on, I know you were up late," she added, turning me by the shoulders toward the deck.

Great, I thought as I stepped onto the pool deck. Miguel was sitting in one of the lounges sipping a cup of coffee while all my other new neighbors played in the pool with the kids.

"Good morning my friend, I see you worked late," Miguel said as I sat next to him. "Thank you so much for your efforts, my people in Recife are completing the tests and evaluations you assigned, and I have been assured the results will be in your hands by noon."

I grunted a response both to him and Mary as she served my coffee.

"I took the liberty of obtaining Visas for your sons and Mary. I would like Cindy to accompany you but of course who accompanies you is your prerogative."

Yeah, I thought as I began to wake up. "Thanks," I mumbled. I took a long sip of coffee, trying to decide how to proceed. "Miguel, I am a little concerned, unsure of what I got into. Maybe better put, I don't think I can do what you have asked of me." His concerned, grand-father expression told me to continue.

"I spent the better part of the night, and well into the morning reading the cases you asked me to. All three of the boys you presented, just from what I have read, are, well no, deserve the opportunity Jay and Ronnie adopting them would offer. I'm not going to make that decision, I don't think I could offer a professional opinion, an objective opinion. I think you should find another clinician. I'm not going to sign off on any two of those boys."

"I knew that earlier this morning, when Brazil called me," he began. "If, after you evaluate them, you feel the same way, I assure you all three boys will come to this country. If you deem them appropriate, I assure you they will be availed of every opportunity, to develop to their potential.

"If these boys don't work out for my sons to adopt, I give you my word they will move to the states, if that is what you recommend." I followed his eyes as they seem to drift away, toward the pool, and Jay and Steven tossing what seemed like a never ending line of skinny teenage bodies into the air, watching them crash back into the water.

"Oh, and I must explain, I did not wet myself as it appears," he said, looking down at the crotch of his walking shorts. "A very soaked little red head jumped out of your pool and sprang into my lap a few minutes ago, to give me a Good Morning kiss," he beamed. " He also hugged my neck, with both arms! He indeed squeezed my neck with his right arm. A firm, grasp too."

He paused for a second, glancing between the pool and me. "My Lear-jet will be here Thursday morning, would you like to leave for Recife Thursday evening, or Friday morning?"

"Thursday, ah Thursday afternoon," I mumbled, staring at my little carrot top and trying to believe I really heard Miguel's last statement.

To Be Continued…