It Came from Outer Spice
|Yea, the look on my Dad’s face was classic. Happy to see me. Happy to see De’. Not sure what he was going to do about my having Rich and Tak and Stoney and Richardo with me. He knew we were coming and what we were like. Pumped up muscle guys in our prime. Sure I might be the biggest and he’s used to me, but the others don’t let up when it comes to hitting the gym either. Certainly my De’ needs to stay pumped to be in shape for his football scholarship. Even Ricardo being just over 4 feet tall, it’s mainly his arms and legs that didn’t grow proportionally. His chest, abs and ass will give just about any ‘average’ size person’s to shame. I just don’t think Dad was ready for 6 big boys coming at him all at the same time. With this much luggage.
“It’s like Ah’m car pooling your High School wrestling team again. Only more pumped up. Ya look pale.” Dad said grabbing me and going in for one of his patented bear hugs. He was pushing mid 60’s and some days looked it and other, well the other days were the days you didn’t want to get in his way. I think that he was proud of the fact that of all his children, his only son got the looks from his side of the family. Got that hawk of a nose from him like it was freakin’ cloned. Didn’t mind myself except for the male pattern baldness. Which I’ve begrudgingly come to accept. Guess you get a boyfriend who like it and then everything OK with everything. Dad’s hugs were classic. Bear like arms just wrapped around you, and the slight extra squeeze right before the break. This was home. This was safety.
“Dad come on. Ah haven’t lost that much of ma tan yet.”
“It’s that lousy Chicago weather. Even in the summer you’re too far from the sun. De’Andre son, you look well. Given any thought to dumping my son for a more stable guy? Wouldn’t blame you.” Mr. Funnyman says going in for a hung from De’
“Yea, fuck you Dad” I said starting to throw the luggage in the carrier on top of the SUV.
“Isn’t that’s what you brought De’Andre along for son? Doesn’t he get this whole gay concept yet?” One thing the guys kept asking me over and over again…. well they kept asking if there would be snakes all over the place but besides that, they were asking if I was sure my folks wouldn’t have any issues with our all being gay. And, you know, any trouble with us expressing that. My folks are more children of the 60’s than they are children of the reservations. They didn’t have 7 kids because they felt there was a need to restrain love making. I told Tak and Rich we better not all gather in the kitchen for breakfast to find them fucking on the counters, but it was OK to be gay around my folks. Besides, Dad loves De’. A football player for a son in law? Better than anything my sisters ever brought home.
“I’m sorry sir, I’m sticking with him, afraid its love.”
“That’s a shame. Still, good to have you in the family. Remember, you call me Clyde. And you…” Dad said grabbing Tak. “Still need to call me Mr. Talltrees.”
“Oh we’re going be to loving these southern boy accents all week. Am I ever going to get off your shit list sir?”
“None of the cows pass out when they realize your back… Ah’ll take it under consideration. And you must be Rich, and Stoney and Richardo. It’s so nice to finally meet you boys. Welcome.”
There was some general how do you dos then the march to the car. Thankfully Dad traded in his old pick up for a giant SUV about the time I left for school. Don’t tell me that wasn’t planned. 7 kids to take care of and all the man had was a pick-up. His last child, namely me, leaves for college and suddenly he splurges on a car that will seat 15. When he did car pool my high school wrestling team, most had to sit in the flat bed and hold on for dear life. Yet oddly, compared to my Mom, he’s subtle one. But even so, a two and a half hour drive in a cramped SUV started off with...
“So who does what?”
“Like what Dad, their Majors…?” I said not too sure what he was referring to.
“No, like your powers?”
“Oh, we thought you meant sexually. Cause Rich and I are pretty versatile so saying who does what is hard to pin down.” Tak said proving that if something shouldn’t be said, he can say it anyway.
“Thanks for the info Ito but Ah always figured you to have your ass in the air and your ankles pointed at the ceiling the second the door closed….if you even wait that long. Feel free to share other uncomfortable amounts of info during your stay. Getting back to polite talk, Ah know all about Spice’s Shaman powers, trust me ma Father would never let me forget, and because of what happened with the cows, Ah know about Takashi’s lighting. But what does everyone else do?”
“What happened with you and the cows?” Ricardo asked from the back of the SUV.
“Nothingshutup.” Tak mumbled.
“Well De’s still working on finding the depth of his powers. Which is why instead of heading back to school with us, he’ll be heading back to Africa to complete his training.”
“They’re based on animals and a connection to them, but it’s also deeper into nature itself. And I’m not ‘completing’ my training just getting a good understanding. I’ll have to go back several times and NO ONE will have a trouble with my leaving this time or again will he?”
“No sir.” I was sitting in the front with my Dad, De’ in the back behind me. While De’ was talking he reached forward and started stroking my neck and playing tenderly with my ear. Subtle way to let me know that while the voice said one thing, the soul felt deeper.
“That works? Did that when he was a kid and he just did the opposite of what I wanted you to do.”
“When he was a kid he didn’t have 6 friends who’d beat the crap out of him if he puts us, and himself, through what he did the last time De’ left for Africa.” Rich asked
“Nah that can’t be all of it, his sisters were tougher than any of you guys, and there were usually a couple of ranch hands waiting in line to get a kick too.”
“Rich have you ever been able to define your powers?”
“Good change of subjects there. Still trying to pin it all down. Might be some spell casting but haven’t found anything yet. I’m rather good at the use of knives and sharp objects. Comes naturally. And considering I’m a direct descendant of Sir William Gull, the prime suspect of being Jack the Ripper, kind of puts an interesting spin on it, don’t ya think?”
“Talk about sharing unexpected things.”
“That doesn’t put you off does it Luv?”
“Are you kidding, If you’re good with sharp objects, let’s start looking into getting piercings.”
“Strangely though, even with that information Ah’m still more concerned about Ito there. How about you Ricardo? Hey, you ever notice you got a Rich and a Ricardo in the group. How do you keep the names straight, if you don’t mind my using that term?”
“We add an ‘Ardo’ to Ricardo’s name Dad.”
“Oh, that would work.”
“I really have no idea sir. Not really that interested in finding out. I’ll get around to it one day.”
“You move really quick. You’re incredibly nimble. That’s got to be something connected to it.”
“Yea, but I’ve seen you in your wrestling matches Spice, you’re incredibly fast and flexible for someone your size so, it could just be… that I’m fast. I just try to stay limber due to it helps keep my joints and muscles from acting up. Hopefully stay off some of the health issues that hit dwarves later in life. I’m in the doctor’s offices enough now.”
“And Stonewall’s our resident weird shit expert, charm creator and all around Mother Earth.”
“I got you Mother Earth right here Tak. I’ve been working on this since I was a child sir. There’s a lot tied to classic voodoo but not the stuff that the movies and media always report about. No chicken killing or sticking pins in dolls.”
“Wow look at that!” Tak suddenly yelled.
“Nothing. There is absolutely nothing out there but miles and miles of nothing. Are we there yet?”
“Going to kill this kid before the week is up.” Dad muttered.
“Are we stopping for lunch?”
We arrived at the ranch in the middle of the afternoon. The sun was shining pretty hard and I’m afraid not all the guys were quite used to it yet. We’d have to take it easy the first few days. August in New Mexico is not for everyone. Our homestead was a mixture of the original house and additions made over the years. Certainly with as many children and Mom and Dad had, more bedrooms were a must. The focus of the ranch changed from cattle to pecans years ago, I think around the time Dad took over. Again, being the ex-hippy he couldn’t face putting so many animals to death, and growing pecans seemed more along his speed. Certainly more lucrative. We still had a few cows and a couple of horses, but not really as part of the ‘ranch’.
“By the way, as I was heading out this morning to pick you boys up, that showed up.” Dad said pointing to my casting stick which was hovering in the front yard area. Thankfully we’re far from the main road and no one would have seen it. Kind of looked like an ornamental piece for the garden, so they might not have even questioned it if they did. I reached my hand out and it flew over to get caught. It was warm from the sun, and whenever I’m home, it always feels like it’s vibrating a bit more. Closer to its source of origin.
It’s weird how uncomfortable around the casting stick my Father gets. It’s strange that it’s not that I get the feeling he’s jealous that I got the power from his Father, and he didn’t. Sometimes I get the feeling he’s glad he didn’t get the powers, and is worried that I did. Sometimes I don’t blame him. Then again, sometimes I wonder if he was worried about heredity, why didn’t he worry about my going bald so young.
We all got settled in. De’ and I took my old room. Tak and Rich took the guest room my Mom created years ago out of one of my sister’s bedrooms. And we found a way to subtlety, or not subtlety offer Stoney and Ricardo the old, rarely used servant’s quarters on the main floor. The important part being, the main floor. Ricardo does not handle stairs well and we didn’t want him having to climb up the flight and a half several times a day while he visited. So the folks made up these old servant’s quarters the original, original, original owners of the house had put it, which is almost like an apartment on its own. We used the excuses that it was the only room with two single beds, since Stoney and Ricardo were not a ‘couple’.
Not sure how what happened next got started. But the discussion turned to where to have dinner, and that Mom was going to be at the college a few hours more in meetings for the new year. She taught physics at the local community college and was gearing up for the fall semester. Yea, don’t know where that one came from either. Dad, ex-hippie grows tasty pecans. Mom ex-hippy, college level physics teacher. Anyway, it was decided that we would cook dinner for everyone, and surprise Mom. Yea I know. But come on, the kitchen’s gigantic, there’s always tons of food and you know, 6 queers in the kitchen, how could we come up with anything less than yummy. If not overly carb concuss. We were so into it we didn’t even hear her pull up a while later, not till she came in the back screen door with another armful of groceries.
“Oh my heavens what a sight. You boys are just adorable. Nothing can be sweeter than coming home and find my own personal army making dinner for us all. De’ dear how are you give me a kiss, sweet thing. And Tak nice to see you again, what is that cologne I must get some for Clyde, he needs some don’t you know. Let me see if I can guess, well, I’m sorry but I know who Ricardo is wonderful to meet you, you let us know if you need anything to feel more comfortable dear. And this HAS to be Stoney, what wonderful hair, oh dear how long did it take them to ‘locke this, it’s incredible, and so soft. Which leaves Rich, with a smile to light up the room, and a perfect match for our Tak with all those colorful tattoos, like a walking Monet. I declare. And Spice dear BETTER GET HIS ASS OUT SIDE THIS INSTANT!!!”
With that I was grabbed by the ear and thrown out the back kitchen door, moved across the patio and out its screen door. I thought that might be all I rated but when I turned around I saw that Ma had grabbed her broom. Shit, the broom. I did it this time. “Come on Ma let’s talk about this...”
“We’ll talk over by the barn, keep moving.”
Great, BY the barn. I might survive this after all. If I was going inside the barn, I’d be done for. Outside at least there’d be witnesses so she couldn’t off me and hide the body without the guys seeing it for the kitchen window. I turned around to see if she was calming down any only to catch glimpse De’ heading out the screen door after us, only to be pulled back by my Dad. Got to love a man for thinking he could save my ass but I’m on my own out here.
“Do you mind telling me what went on in Chicago? What happened and WHY?”
“Ah don’t know what to tell you. It was….like an accident. Ma stop it with the broom.”
“An accident had you seeking out sex with other men and living in the sewers for a week or more!!”
“YEA AND AH ATE SOME CATS WHILE AH WAS DOWN THERE TOO!!”
“HOW IT THAT???”
“Ah just…ah just had a bad reaction to De’ leaving all of a sudden. Ah love him Ma. Ah don’t know what was going through my head. Ah was afraid of losing him and being alone again.”
“But Spice, really. How did you become so dependant on one person for your own self worth? Is that how we raised you?”
“Ah don’t know Ma. Is it? Or is that how you raised Henry? Which is the real one? It’s been a tough year Ma. Gone from being a 35 year old straight lawyer to a 19 year old gay Shaman/Student. Ah have memories of Henry and how desperately lonely he was and I have memories of Spice and how closeted he was. Either way, De’s been my life line and with him gone, maybe Ah didn’t have a good enough hold on being Spice yet and Ah can’t go back to being Henry so….Ah searched out others to tell me who Ah should be.”
We talked for a long time. I got her point right away but, even though I think everything of my Mom, sometimes words are words. I know to be proud of myself and to be happy with who I am. That what others think does not define me. But I don’t think what happened in Chicago a few weeks ago would have if I truly believed all of it. The sky was a deep purple and a few stars were bringing to come out when she made her wrapping it up move by asking me to show her the infamous tattoo. I turned around and lifted my shirt.
“Do you own any shorts that your ass doesn’t fall half way out of?”
“Had Ah gotten real boy shorts as a kid and not hand-me-downs form ma sisters, I might not have even learned about these. So, whose fault is that Ms. Pennypincher?”
“Mrs. Talltrees!” De’ screamed from the back porch. “Tak won’t let anyone use the toaster and he’s making the toast too dark!!”
“Going out to a restaurant really would have been fine with me.”
“We meant well.”
I got up early the next morning, after carefully making sure not to wake De’ but leaving him a note as to where I’d be. I had to head off to my space, my refuge. What’s commonly called, The Old Barn, but was converted years ago into my work out space and art studio. It was the original barn built when the ranch was first built, but is now far too small for a modern use. What’s called the ‘New’ barn is more than twice its size and holds the few animals we have along with a lot of the pecan gathering equipment. In my ‘old’ barn though, half of it’s taken up by my weights and the other by any ceramic and clay work. I even had an ancient clay wheel to make pots. Not motor, no metal, just gears, strings and rope tied together with a foot pedal to spin the base. It’s what I learned on, and I wouldn’t trade it for a million bucks. This was where I went to get away from my sisters and the world. And it’s still the one place I feel more at home than any other. In the cool of the morning I could get some painting on a few old pots done. If I was going to be here longer I might go into town and pick up some clay but, it would just dry out before I could use it all. But I always had some of my older work that needed some paint and glaze.
“Can I come in?” I heard from behind me, as De’ quietly opened the large barn door.
“Oh sure. You found my note?”
“Didn’t have to leave one. I would know you were out here no matter what. Working on something?”
“Just an old bowl that needed some paint and love. Might do some of these older bowls up and give them to Stoney for all his herbs. Trying to match the glaze to the color scheme of is apartment. Ah can place them in the kiln before we leave today and they should be done when we get back.”
“I think he’d like that. So. Your Mom really tore into you yesterday. Do I need to guess why?”
“Anything you want to talk about?” De’ grabbed one of work out benches I had and moved it over to sit across from me.
“No, well……, no...” I couldn’t really even make eye contact with him just now. Too embarrassed. Kept concentrating on my stupid bowl painting.
“Did it include something about me or us?”
“Not exactly. It’s more….she thinks Ah rely on the approval of others to approve of myself. That Ah think that because Ah have a relationship with you, or that because Ah have the Shaman power, it’s what makes me who I am and a good person, not that Ah’m a good person AND Ah just happen to have a relationship with you and can do all this weird shit too.”
“Umm, I see what you mean. Well, I see her point too. I don’t think you’re that bad though but I think it’s a natural thing. This doesn’t go for you or the guys but there are people on campus who I know only like me because I’m on the football team. Which, admittedly, isn’t as deep as what you’re talking about. But sometimes I think if I stopped being on the football team, would they give me the time of day? Do you think if you didn’t have the Shaman powers we all wouldn’t be your friends?”
“No, that’s not what’s going on in ma empty head. We were friends before everyone’s powers came out. And there’s this whole Spice/Henry – Henry/Spice thing. Don’t know if Ah can listen to someone who tells me Ah should just be myself when she was partly responsible for me being someone else for most of ma life. Not to forget the fact that they’re making me feel that to make them happy Ah need to be happy with myself…. but would Ah be really happy with myself for myself or to make them happy… head starts to hurt again. ”
“Ok ok, slow down, big guy.”
“At least Henry didn’t get headaches every time he tried to think beyond what color grass is and counting higher than 10.”
“Try not to be hard on her and don’t let her be that hard on you. Right here, right now, we’re teenagers. Almost in our 20’s but still teens. And trying to find out who we really are is what being a teenager is all about. We’re not the only ones with all these questions, we just have extra questions to work with. With some weird ass answers sometimes. But more importantly, right here, right now and forever more, I will always love you.”
“And I love you. You want to stop all this stupid second guessing what we’re doing and make out for a while?”
“Put the bowl on the table.”
A split second after I placed the bowl I was working on safely on the table next to me De’ launched himself off the bench and tackled me, throwing me back so I hit the ground with him on top of me. He leaned in and gave me a fairly rough kiss for this hour in the morning, but instead of pulling away he gently but firmly bit my lower lip and pulled on it slightly. Sometimes this whole Hyena Warrior Magician came in handy.
“So we’re showing off the skills are we, Mister Football Player.” With that I wrapped my legs around is waist, gave a twist and sent him flying backwards till we were in the opposite positions, De’ on his back and me sitting on his stomach.
“Ow, this floor it hard.”
“And dirty.” I said pulling the zipper down on his Northwestern hoody sweat, exposing his bare chest. “But we like hard and dirty.”
“We’re to Princes of Hard and Dirty.”
“Princes. I like that.”
There’s not a lot of light in the barn and the sun was still a ways off from rising, so De’ chocolate brown skin was all the darker in the dim light. Shadow’s played off the muscles and danced as he breathed. Even if I was blindfolded I could find his nipples in an instant. Big round half dollars that gave some when my mouth reached them. Slight sweat and soap taste from his shower the night before. And a few stray hairs around the rim. Returning the favor I flicked the nip a couple of times with my tongue before biting down slightly and pulling back. De’ gritted his teeth slightly and gave a hiss of breath. I bit harder than he had bit me. I had meant to.
Not the best time to think of it, or maybe the perfect time, but we had to remember that while my first test came back negative, it was going to be a while till I was in the as safe as could be determined. This meant we had to play it safe. But there’s plenty of things to do while playing safe.
“That shower still on the side of the barn?”
“It’s going to be cold.”
“We’ll heat it up.”
Getting off the floor but not out of each other’s arms we left the barn and made our way over to the far side, facing away from the house. A shower had been installed years ago when there were more workers. One of those classic outdoor deals, with only a midriff fence of planks between who ever was inside the shower and the entire outdoors on the outside. There wasn’t even a drain for the water to go down, it just ran off into the grass around the barn. Main drawback was the shower was meant for people to use near the end of the day’s work, when the water in the tank could heat up in the sun all day. Even with our massive privates, there was going to be some shrinkage.
“Shit that is cold.” I said after I’d shucked my clothes and ran my hand under the water. De’ piled his clothes on top of mine and joined me with a bottle of liquid soap and a rag. “Why did you ask if the shower was still here if you came prepared?”
“Stop thinking so much.” He said pushing me under the water. I grabbed his hand so he could join me in the cool spray. But he was right. After a few moments and after we started making out again, the cold no longer mattered. Given our background and our power base, doing it outside only added to our heighten senses. He poured some, well a lot, of the liquid body soap all over me and started in with the wash cloth.
“You are the most incredible man on the face of the Earth. Fuck, I forget how big you really are sometimes. Has the underside hang of these pecs even see the sunlight in the last year? And these guns. Got guys on the team who would kill for these. All as smooth as silk. Not a blemish or hair to be found. But shit, man, this cock.” De’ quickly wrung out the cloth before wrapping it around my dick. Gave it a little more traction for his strokes up and down. “How I take this up my ass is beyond me. But trust me babe, once things are set with your health, this hose will be fucking me again, won’t it.”
With that I shot my load like I hadn’t in a while. All the tension all the stress just left me. I think De’ tried to say something like “That’s my Baby...” but I was on him in a shot. Pushed him against the barn wall and started grinding myself into him as our lips met. There was no room left between our bodies so his cock was burning hot even under the cold water. Tight against my groin I could feel its muscles shift as De’ shot his load between us. Mixed with the soap and water it soon washed away. Across the ranch at the ‘new’ barn, one of the cows gave a ‘Moo’ and the rooster crowed at the site of the morning sun.
“There’s a milking and rooster/cock joke in here somewhere.” I said as we stopped making out and started washing each other.
“Next time you have any doubt who you really are down deep? Just look in the mirror and think ‘I’m the best lay in the world’. That’s a perfect starting point.”
The sun hadn’t fully come up but even with our eyes being adjusted to the low light, it was pretty bright out by the time we toweled ourselves off, got dressed and made our way back to the house, arms wrapped around each other. When we got to the kitchen we found a couple of the guys had already gotten up.
“I don’t fuckin’ care how you made this with your Barbie Easy Bake Oven, you don’t need toast to make French Toast.”
“So you’re saying there’s NO toast involved?”
“I’m saying it’s not even French” Stoney said yanking the loaf of bread out of Tak’s hands.
“Does your obsession with toast have anything to do with what happened with the cows?” Ricardo asked from his place at the kitchen table where he was flipping through the morning paper.
“Shut up. Going to go wake Rich up. He’ll back me up that you need toast to make French Toast, if he knows what’s good for him.”
Hours later, after the comedy of breakfast and the comedy of Mom finding we made breakfast died down, I had gotten the horses ready for today’s trip while De’ loaded up my old Jeep. I love that old piece of junk but a car without a top in Chicago, not a good idea, so she stayed home. But more than riding around in that Jeep I loved to saddle up Silver and ride him out into the desert. He and I spent a lot of time out there. Pretty easy horse to talk to. I was tying him and his lady, Mary, to the back of the Jeep when Dad came out of the house.
“Son, those friends of yours…..”
“Are they being too annoying Dad? Should I get them to tone it down?”
“No, no. House hasn’t been this alive in years. Not since all you kids were around. Ah miss it. It’s just that…Ah mean this nicely….there’s not a normal one of you in the bunch is there?”
“No sir there isn’t.”
“De’s fairly normal and Ricardo seems quite, but normal...”
“Ricardo is dating twins who couldn’t join us. They’re on the wrestling team with me. As for De’ do you want details?”
“Lordy no. So anyway. You boys heading out to Crying Woman today? Going to be pretty hot so make sure you’ve got water for the horses as well as the guys. Cell phones don’t work too well out that far so make sure no one gets dehydrated or hurt because getting help will be tough.”
“Ah won’t Dad. We won’t spend that long. Just want to show the guys and let them use the waters for a while. Got a couple of shade tents in here for us to use too.”
“And they’ll be respectful, right?”
“Yea. They understand it’s not orgy at the baths time. That it’s a tribal hot springs we can use but not abuse.”
“ ‘Orgy at the baths’ what does that mean?”
“Well….Dad there are these places…”
“Didn’t grow up under a rock, Son. You boys have a good time.” Dad said chuckling and walking off to start his day’s work.
The guys finally wandered out of the house and we got going. Stoney had surprised me that he too wanted to ride one of the horses out to the hot springs we were visiting today. Figured we’d just cram everyone else into the Jeep, but he was eager to do it. Seemed a natural and Mary accepted him so that was the main battle.
“OK, everyone set? Everyone got a hat to shield the sun? Not leaving till Ah sees a hat on each head.”
“Did you pack the snake bite kits?”
“No Ah packed extra snakes incase there weren’t enough poisonous ones out there.”
“Before we leave may I comment you make the sluttiest cowboy I’ve even seen?” Rich asked digging into a bag and pulling out his hat. Not going to have blondie here get heat stoke on me.
“Because Ah’m only wearing my cowboy hat, Daisy Dukes and ma boots…and that’s ALL Ah’m wearing Bitch. Everyone else bring their swim suits?”
“How come we have to wear suits and you can go buck naked?”
“Because Ah’ve been coming out there since Ah was a child and Ah’m used to it. But there are far too many hot spots that will burn if you’re not careful, and the suit will help protect you. Ah think Rich would like to do more on the trip than continually kiss the boo-boos on your burnt ass to make them better. And we’d all like to do more than watch him do it. We’re here in my territory so, Ah have to lay some ground rules.”
“I thought De’ was here for you to lay?”
“Joke never gets old. OK, let’s head out.”
We headed out the back way from the ranch. I rode over quickly to say Howdy to some of the guys but was able to join up with the group before they got too far away. De’ was driving my Jeep and we’d been out here before, so he sort of knew the way. Out our back fence it was a 20 minute ride out of the grasses, into the desert and into the mountains to Crying Woman. It’s a series of hot spring my people have used for years. Not on Talltress land but the former land of our tribe so, there’s some give and take with the government on its use. Legend has it that on still days and nights you can hear a woman crying, and the hot springs are the pools of her tears. Why they’re hot, not covered in the legend. But they’re refreshing and relaxing.
The area was beautiful too. Set in the bottom of a narrow valley that once had a river flowing through it. Now all that was left was the hot springs. It wasn’t more than a five minute walk to either side of the mountain walls. Great rock formations and various varieties of cactus. Long shadows soon passed though, and at noon it could get pretty hot.
“Now, you should know, the smaller the pool the hotter it’s going to be. Let’s head back to the larger pool. There’s plenty of room back there and the water’s just hot enough to notice but not burn.”
“Is this place sacred enough that you need to say a prayer before we jump in?” Tak asked while lifting his shirt off over his head, exposing the maze of black tribal tattoos that covered his pumped up upper body.
“Ah just pray you don’t pee in the pond.”
“Is there anything alive down in there?” Ricardo asked leaning over and running his hand through the water.
“No, no. Once in a while you’ll see a tiny little fish, about the size of an eyelash, maybe. But nothing else. No snakes.”
“How’d you know we’d ask?”
“Is your obsession with snakes connected to what I did to the cows?” Tak said in a jokingly mocking voice.
“What happened with the cows already?!?!” Ricardo yelled.
The guys being THESE guys, no one bothered to wear their swim suits under their shorts for the trip. So for a few minutes the semi sacred hot springs had 5 naked teen guys hanging around them.
“Tell you want” Rich said giving me a look that I knew meant trouble. “I think we need to experience this in its truest fashion.”
“Seriously man, some of the areas near where the water flows in get REALLY hot, you need those shorts...”
“No, I think we should be members of the tribe.”
“ACES. Do it! Indianize us.” Tak said stretching his arms out like I was going to hit him with a ray or something.
“What, no seriously, no way.”
“I don’t know Spice. You’ve become a member of my African ancestry enough times. And we have talked about my trying out your side of the hereditary pond. I think it would be fun. No one will see us and if they do, we’ll be who we should be to enjoy these pools” De’ said freaking me out by going along with these goofs.
“OK, to start with A) Ah get enough shit from the afterlife already. Don’t know how this will play with the not too quite dead. And 2) Ah’ve taken a lot of shit, justifiably so, for using my transformation powers on you guys lately. Ah know you’re asking for this and agreeing on it, but maybe you can see where my tiny little psyche might take this as a mixed message.”
“Then 1) SPICE’S GRANDFATHER IS IT OK IF HE TURNS US INTO INDIANS!!!” Tak yelled into the open air. After waiting a beat. “There you see no…”
“Like he said, don’t pee in the pools ya’ Yutz. Anything else is OK by me.” Grandpa’s voice echoed back.
“If I was wearing pants, I would have wet them just now.” Rich said continuing Tak’s response. “Well then, and B) we’re asking you to do this. Things are OK when we ask. That’s one of those things your subconscious needs to learn.”
“You’re still going to have to wear the suits guys. I can change your asses but I can’t make then heat proof. Then you’re all agreed? Oh wait, Ricardo...”
“Yea, count me out but, go right ahead. Should be fun to watch.” Ricardo and I had a long talk a while back, him asking me never to use my transformation powers on him. As tough as it’s on some of us, like myself, to remember who we were in the illusion of life we live for so many years, apparently Ricardo remember what it’s like to be a ‘normal’ sized person haunted him some time. He’s happy being who he is, and proud to be a dwarf, but does not want to ever again experience being someone else, or going back to ‘full’ size, only to return to his normal state again, and having something vivid to compare it to.
“Sounds like fun. Do it man.”
I put my hand out, there was a rattle from the back of the Jeep and my casting stick flipped out and flew into my hand. A little concentration and the spell was triggered. Skin tone was first since I knew it was going to be what they were looking for. Thought the guy’s tattoos would mask the change to those quickly faded into nothing, leaving just beautiful satin smooth shin. Stoney and De’s dark brown/black skin started getting lighter and Rich and Tak’s lighter skin started getting darker. Various variations on my own honey brown skin washed over the guys. Not everyone the same shade but now from the same people. Didn’t want to play into too many stereotypes so I left everyone’s hair the same length but more what you’re find from my people, black and straight. Tak’s hair changed very little, Rich’s almost white blonde became black with red highlights from the sun and Stoney’s dreads stayed in place. De’ though, he was still my shaved smooth stud. OK, maybe a little stereotype thrown in. De’ hair started growing out, and out, till it was half way down his back. Almost blue it was so black. The smile on his face showed me he liked the change.
Didn’t do too much to the guy’s builds but shit, if I’m playing around, let’s get a bit more muscle in the gang. Legs filled in some and pecs rounded off nicely. Also didn’t want to totally redo everyone’s features but a bit more in the jaw, a lot more in the cheekbones and noses that got a lot larger in some cases and a little wider in others. Lips fuller where it was needed. Body hair withdrew till, like me, everyone was smooth from the neck down. Rich seemed to like this the most. Asses swelled just enough to make a difference and stretch the fabric of the suits they all were going to have a bit more trouble pulling on.
De’ though. He’s my guy, like I said. I’ve become black several times, and a big black muther at that. Time to return the favor. De’ shot up till he was looking me in the eye. His football player build filled out and out till he rivaled me in the beefcake department. I let his shoulders round off and his guns blast even bigger than mine. Might have gone a bit too wild on the calves but, something had to hold the rest of those legs up now. One last trick. His dick got just long enough and thick enough to make everyone think that was where I was going, then I let his balls drop and swell into tennis balls. Oh yea.
“Ya’ll being a little naughty.” The new De’ said with a smile. “Oh I like this voice. How am Ah suppose to fit into this swim suit? Gave me the accent too huh?”
“Do Ah sound like that, that’s adorable? Ya’ll said it was OK. And the suit’ll fit. ” I said kissing my man. For the first time we had to movie our heads a bit to the side to avoid bumping our noses together.
“From where I’m sitting, more than OK.” Ricardo said from the pool where he was trying to hide his obvious pleasure in watching the transformation.
Wasn’t the only member of the group popping a dark uncut boner. For the first time in generations the Crying Woman hot springs was visited by a tribe of buff natives Americans. Probably never had this many guys looking like this, but who knows how previous Shaman entertained their friends out here. After some respectful making out we were ready for some relaxing in the pools.
“This place is amazing Spice. I see why you come here to meditate and get in touch with your roots.” Stoeny said, lying back so his head wad resting on the edge, sunglasses on his eye looking up at the sky.
“And the Crying woman name is apt. Anyone ever find out what the noise is.” De’ asked bringing me a cold soda from the cooler and slipping in next to me.
“You don’t her that? Do any of you?”
A general round of Nopes followed, then we were all quite to listen closely, then more Nopes.
“It’s not crying or the wind but….it’s like a moderately high pitched buzz?”
“You turning on the Hyena doggy ears there De?” Tak asked getting out of the water and heading under one of the shade tents we set up for when the sun got too much.
“Very funny. Which makes it awkward that Ah have to pee and Ah’m guessing the only way to do that is doggy style?”
“You can lift your leg against any old cactus. # 1 is fine but if anyone has to do #2, take the shovel and bury it or it’ll attract coyotes. Ah don’t want to start anything but, De’ take a long stick along in case you come across some snake...”
“I TOLD YOU” Ricardo yelled.
“Oh my god.”
“Will do.” De’ said picking up a piece of dried up old branch and heading off for some privacy. I tried to relax some but, I couldn’t help but notice he sure was heading off farther than I thought he would. And wasn’t coming back too quickly.
“Everyone stay here. Ah’m heading after De’” I said getting out of the water and heading off in the direction he left.
I put my shorts and boots back on and headed off in the direction he left. Guess I was so concerned as to what was up with De’ I dropped the spell drop. Everyone turned back into themselves. Maybe that would be a clue to De’ that something’s up and he needs to head back. Luckily I saw him after a minute of running. His famous chocolate brown skin has returned and blended in with the valley walls well, but those bright red boardie swim shorts were a beacon at a distance.
“De’Andre Hardy!!” I yelled, my voice echoing off the walls. Even with him still being a distance away I could see him jump at the sudden sound of my voice. He turned around, saw me and waved me over. “Ah see you, you idiot, what are you doing.”
“Man, the spell stopped and my shorts almost fell man.”
“Well my boyfriend wandered off into the dessert to pee and didn’t come back quick enough so… kind of panicked.”
“Oh, yea, guess I could see that. Sorry. Spice I swear to you I hear something. It’s along here.”
“De’ it’s an echo or something bouncing off these wall. They’re not suppose to, but the local Army base uses the area for drills sometimes. You’re hearing a ‘copter or even a jet...”
“Don’t think so.”
“Hey” I heard from in back of us as the guys came running over.
“So when Ah say, ‘Everyone stay here’, that means…”
“Till we felt like following. What’s up?”
“De’ thinks he’s following that noise only he hears…where the fuck did he go?” I said turning my back on the goof for a second and losing sight of him. We ran along the wall and caught up to him as he stood facing what looked like a deep opening in the valley wall. The sides of the valley were cracked over just enough that a small path went deep into the side of the mountain. With the light overhead we could see that the path was even, but slopped down, but we couldn’t see how far back it went.
“AWH HELL NO!” Tak yelled. “Last time we did this, need I remind you, 10 foot tall vigina!!!”
“It was only 8 feet tall.” De’ said looking seriously into the path.
“THE DIFF BEING??!!!”
“Rich and I didn’t get to see the vigina.” Ricardo said joining De’ in his stare down the path.
“And you’re not going to see it this time, CAUSE WE AIN’T DOIN’ THIS!! Let’s go.” Tak said turning around and heading back to the springs.
“Spice, I’m telling you, there’s a noise coming from down there. It’s not human, but it’s not natural.”
“De’ there ARE going to be animals down there. There WILL be snakes who don’t want company getting out of the midday sun. And…….spiders!!!” I know my audience. This will end the search right then and there.
“I don’t think so. It’s coming in pretty damn high pitched in my ears. Any animal would be put off by the frequency. Even a snake would be put off by the vibrations. Just a little ways?” And he gave me that look. The look of someone who needed to do this. From the man who’s been more than understanding of the issues with my own powers of late.
“AH MEAN it this time. Everyone WAIT HERE. Ah’m going back to the jeep for a couple of things, like the flashlight and the rope. NOONE GOES IN.”
“We won’t” De’ said giving me a peck on the cheek.
Shit, shit, shit. Made it back to the Jeep and dug around in back while Tak fumed at me. I got the flashlights and a rope we could tie outside the cave and use as a guide to get back.
“Spice!!! It could be anything. LITTERALLY. From some long lost cousin of Cthulhu to a hiker’s IPOD that fell into a crack and the batteries haven’t run out yet. Meanwhile, people die every year by doing shit like this. I love De’ and I respect his use of his powers, but fuck man!!! Can’t we just tell him we’ll do it later, then when we’re back in town we’ll take him to the Vet so he can get fixed and spend his days sleeping on the couch like all good Hyenas do?”
“We’ll go slowly, just enough to show there’s no way in, and I appreciate the visual image of having my boyfriend’s balls cut off. Like I don’t have enough on my mind. ”
“This is crazy. I’m going back with you but I’m waiting at the entrance for 20 minutes then I’m calling your Father.”
“Ok, ok. But Ah need just one more thing for protection.” I said digging deep in the back where I didn’t want the guys to know I had this hidden.
“What are you digging for? Your casting stick is still out here.”
“Not what Ah need.” I said taking out my old shot gun and its extra shells.
“Holy crap when’d you get that?”
“For ma 8th birthday.”
“That’s when I got my Barbie Easy Bake oven.”
Thankfully the guys waited for us before going in and thankfully I only had to spend a limited amount of time explaining the shot gun. We tied off the end of the rope to a large rock just outside the entrance and, leaving Tak as a watchdog, headed in. I lead the way since I was not only the largest, but you know, I had the shot gun.
At first it looked like we’d head back home quickly as the passage got very thin about 40 feet in, but once past that squeeze, it opened up quite a bit. After a hundred more yards it opened up completely to an inner cave, complete with stalactites and a running brook. The flashlights worked well, lighting the place up. The temperature had dropped quite a bit. And as De’ said, no animals to be found. Which was strange given a cave like this would have been perfect for bats. Very odd.
We were able to chirp Tak on our cell phone and let him know we were OK. Left the line open so he could hear us and calm him down about all this. De’ got his bearing again and we headed off another path, trailing the rope behind us.
“OK, OK, we’re getting close.” De’ suddenly announced like a child finding where his parents stashed the Christmas presents. Hate to admit but I heard the noise now too. Kind of faint but there was definitely something there. De’ said trying to push past me, but I moved him back and still took the lead. Well, Mr. Shotgun took the lead but I was the first person. After a tight squeeze we found ourselves in a larger cave, and a much hotter one. There was no deigning that this is where the sound was coming from. It echoed off the walls so much you could feel the vibrations. We carefully entered and started moving around. It was when we turned the corner around a partially large stalagmite that we saw it.
Most of it was still exposed but it was clear that it had been there long enough that the mountain has grown up around it. Silt and mud covered most of the exterior so details weren’t clear, but with that shape it couldn’t have been anything else.
“Ya’ll thinking what Ah’m thinking? Were you thinking flying saucer, ‘cause that’s what Ah’m thinking. Like a giant clay covered flying saucer.”
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