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Monday, August 25, 2014

Chapter 21

“Thorn, as hard as it is for you to tell your story, it’s going to be hard for me to tell mine.  Not for the same reasons of course but …” 

“OK, just tell it.” 

It took him a minute to spit it out.  “Mom … she had never wanted to get pregnant again when she got caught with Alex and me.  She was getting older and wanted to focus on her career.” 

“She should have thought of that when she started banging so many kids out.” 

“She and Dad did.  They had an agreement.  They’d have their quiversful and then she’d go back to her career full time. Vicki was five , Mom was forty when her luck ran out.” 

“That’s not what ran out.  Sounds more like they ran out of condoms.” 

“Er … no.  The church my dad grew up in and he and Mom attended back then really didn’t believe in … uh … artificial birth control.  And that’s fine for people that really feel strongly about that sort of thing.  Mom … didn’t.  She went along with it originally because … well for Dad and because she liked being pregnant when she was younger or so I’ve heard.  But she drew the line after Vicki, it wasn’t fun anymore.  Dad kept promising to go get fixed but never did and Mom didn’t want to take the time off work declaring that Dad could be responsible for it.  Dad really didn’t want more kids either because he’d looked around at the world and didn’t like the direction things were going.  He got involved with … with some people.” 

“Became part of something bigger?” 

“It wasn’t at the time.  Mom says mostly they were just a bunch of good ol’ boys having BS sessions to relieve some stress.  The big stuff grew out of that later.  Basically Dad didn’t want any more responsibilities than he already figured he was going to have with a career wife, seven kids, and the hog farm and hunting club he ran.  Plus there was the economy, stiff regulations, and fruity animal-rights people to deal with.” 

“But your mom got knocked up anyway.” 

“Yeah.  Plus she found out it was a two for one sale.  Fast forward and things are ok … even great in their eyes.  Alex and I were two and he starts reading and showing signs of being a genius.  They kept waiting for me …” 

“The twin.” 

“Yeah.  They kept waiting for me to catch up or show some other extraordinary talent.  All of my brothers and sisters started school early and excelled in school, sports, socially … you name it.” 

“But not you.” 

“Nope.  They finally gave up and … just … I was like the one no one ever talked about.  A lot of kids in school didn’t even know I was related to the big Beauchamp clan with all the great kids.  I even wound up going to a ‘special’ school for a while.  You have any idea what it is like to be a boy and not even being able to take the written driver’s test, fill out a job application … even read the stupid eye chart?  I dropped out of school as soon as I was legally able to and wound up a field hand on Dad’s farm … but … I can’t even read a list of chores.” 

“You must have a really good memory.” 

“Whu …?” 

“I said you must have a really good memory since you don’t write anything down.” 

“Uh …” 

“What next?” 

“Oh.  Er … I had already dropped out of school by the time the revenuers – backed by the IRS and the government – started confiscating assets of farmers and cattlemen.  The first time it happened in our area it was a good friend of Dad’s who ran a fish farm.  They used some crappy environment laws and shut his operation down and put him and his brother and son in jail for contempt … eventually convicted them of assault on federal officers and we never heard from them again.  But you know what?  That place reopened less than a month later; it had been bought at auction by some environmental group who ran it into the ground in less than six months.  While that was going on it seemed the revenuers were picking farms off one by one and putting them under new management and instituting price controls and things like that.  I’m not going to give you a history lesson but Dad was hooked in deep with … like-minded people … and he started taking action.  By the time they came for us there wasn’t anything but the land to take.  Dad and David had even dismantled all of the outbuildings and the main house.  A few years earlier Dad and some friends had created a shell company and bought this old derelict logging land and in the guise of rehabilitating it for the forestry service.  It fooled enough people for long enough that we fell off the radar and were safe … or as safe as you could get … so long as we were careful.  And we’ve stayed that way.  The revenuers are still a problem but because their activities are no longer sanctioned politically or legally – though they still operate pretty much how they want to – we can keep them under control using the same methods you talked about for those dust bunnies you mentioned.” 

“Ok.  What has all that got to do with you?  It sounds like you’re involved in something big … and maybe important.” 

“Who me?  Heck no.  Pretty much I’m still just a field hand … a gopher for whoever needs one.  It was going to change if I had hooked up with Patty because her and Fletcher’s uncle runs the construction end of things in the enclave and that’s where I was working at the time.  Mr. Devlin even used to say I had potential.” 

“Used to?” 

“Like I said, I didn’t take the break up too good and burnt a few too many bridges.  Fletcher is still a damn good friend and back then is who kept me from totally self-destructing by getting me this place to rehab.” 

“Wait, you built this place?” 

“No.  My job was to make it livable for when someone would need to move into it.  No one has yet so it just sort of sat here and I’d work on it whenever I was at loose ends or needed to get away.  Needs work again but mostly just cleaning.” 


“Wow what?” 

“What do you mean wow what?  I’ve never lived in a place as nice as this and you’re the one that did it.” 

“Er … anyway …” 

“But your family must have thought you could keep an eye on Alex.  You were on him like white on rice.  He hated having to be careful when you were around.  You should have heard him cuss.  It really cramped his style.” 

“Actually, I wasn’t supposed to.  Alex wrote Dad and said I was creating problems for the business and that it was my fault revenue was going down.  I was impeding his ability to do business.  I called him a liar; something just felt off.  I was able to get some evidence on him but Alex claimed that I had hired someone to fabricate it for me.  Then that thing with the loan shark and I reported it to Dad and David and got blamed for that too because apparently Alex had been forced to put his personal safety on the line to meet other contracts.” 

“Sounds like someone BSing their way out of trouble if you ask me.” 

“Did to me too.  And not just me.  A couple of people the family acts as middle men for heard and got concerned.” 

“Also blamed on you.” 

“Also blamed on me.  I was ‘stirring trouble’ to get back at Alex over Patty or something stupid like that.  And that’s where Fletcher comes into it.  He’s a real good guy and thought I had some grounds for concern.  Plus he’s training under Saul and has business experience from working with his uncle.  Everyone agreed he was just the guy to prove how wrong I was.” 

“Only he proved the exact opposite.” 

“And then some which really made things worse and harder and somehow that was my fault too.  Especially from what I hear when they learned about you … and then about Bean.  Dad and David are under some serious pressure.  People they’ve done business with for years are asking to see our books, questioning our loyalty to the enclave, questioning how long the problems have been going on.” 

“Are they right?” 

“No.  Things look ok until about six months ago.” 

“About the time that Alex …” 

“Thorn, did Alex rape you?” 

I laughed but it wasn’t cause things were funny.  “You can’t rape a whore.” 

“Like hell.  And don’t call yourself that.” 

“Roman this is old news.  It is what it is.  If anything it just proves my point that ..” 

“Don’t start that again.  What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m at the end of my rope and I don’t have too much reason anymore to tie a knot at the end and hold on.  I loved my grandfather but I don’t want to wind up like him and I’ve come damn close to picking up a bottle the last few months … feeling like I did after Patty chose Alex.  And every time I feel it coming on the feeling is harder to get rid of.  I honestly like the oblivion a good drunk gives you.” 

“You’re saying … uh … that saving Bean is saving you.” 

“Pretty much.  I’ll never be what my brothers are.  It just isn’t in me.  But the road my grandfather took isn’t the answer either.  I gotta find something different.  I tried the city; it isn’t for me.  I’ve tried working with the family; I’m tired of being everyone’s less man.  I feel … I feel like this is the last solid opportunity I’ll have.” 

He got up and went to go stand and look out the window.  “We could both start over.  I know you’ve got a lot of crap to deal with.  I don’t expect you to just suddenly flip the switch and be ok with everything that has happened to you.  And no I don’t like to think about it and I may say dumb things sometimes … but I’ll try and do it as little as possible.  And I know I can’t make what happened just go away and it’s going to take time to figure out the bedroom stuff.  If you want to know the truth of it I feel kind of desperate and pathetic about coming to you like this.  How the hell am I supposed to measure up against all those men that paid for the privilege of having you?” 

“Roman?  If you’re keeping tabs, that was a dumb thing to say.” 


I sighed.  “Men weren’t paying for the privilege of having me.  They paid by the minute to use me.  And it wasn’t me they paid but Mother Mary … my pimp.  I might be all used up.  I may have willingly accepted the contract with Alex at the time but that’s before I found out I was going to be locked up even worse, only by then it was too late.  I was relieved when he stopped using me.  Sometimes it was a relief just to be forgotten even if it meant going hungry.” 

“They’re predicting a bad year.  Winter might last all the way into May.  It’ll mean spending a lot of time together indoors.  You think you might could handle that?” 

“If I can put up with my own company I can stand yours.  But what would we do?” 

“Fletcher talked his uncle around and they’ll let me take the worst of the broken furniture off their hands to rehab and make of it what I can.  I also run trap lines and work hides and furs in season.” 

“Where’d you learn to do that?” 

“On the farm.  Health codes kept us from being able to use the most effective poisons so a lot of the infestations had to be taken care of and controlled by hand.  Then some of the hunt club members only wanted the meat and I watched videos on how to tan and things like that … you know … grunt work.  But lately it has been a way for me to be independent.  I’ve got enough to set us up but it’ll be tight.” 

“I don’t want to be a kept woman no more.” 

His shoulders slumped.  “Oh.” 

“I’ll only do this if one of the conditions is that I’m not just kept … but that … that I’m a partner and get to have a say in things.  ‘Cause I can buy my way in.” 


I was taking a chance Bean, a real chance.  I know it.  But Roman had dealt fair and square to that point so I decided to.  I got my bag.  “First off, I never paid for the food I used up.  Here,” I said handing him what I’d set aside to pay for things.  “Next, it’s not much of a buy in because Emerald said Alex was cheap but here, this is what I could save back once Emerald got her cut.  She owed me the last month’s accounting but I’m thinking I can forget ever seeing it.  Is this enough for me to buy in as a partner in this deal?”


  1. Oh my gosh I already want moAr lol. Dangit! Your way of writing always makes me want another page to turn arggghhh!

  2. I love how I am loving this story. I'm amazed at how I'm loving this story. Thank you again!

  3. Fantastic story Kathy I'm really enjoying it, A LOT!!