The following story contains descriptions of graphic sexual acts.†
The story is a work of fiction and has no basis in reality.
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By the time the Tuesday after Memorial Day arrived, my next group of drivers was ready to take their road tests. Ricky was the first of that bunch to drive the road course, followed by Cole, Jay, and then Pat. Each young driver did fairly well and passed their test on that one try, though Jay came closest to not getting his license. He had a minor problem with the parking and he took one corner a little tight, but it wasn’t enough to keep him from passing the test. Afterward the trooper, who had tested all of them, came over to speak to me.
“Are these all your sons?” he asked, looking quite confused.
“Well, all except for the red-head. He’s just a very close friend of the family.”
“So three of them are you sons. Haven’t I tested some other Curries in the past too?”
“It could be. I do have five others who have their driver’s licenses now.”
“Five others? Damn, how many kids do you have?” He looked shocked by that comment, but really interested.
“Well, I have fourteen sons at home, two others who live with me, and Jay there, who is a very good friend and constant guest in our home.”
“Are they all really yours?” He didn’t ask this is a mean or derogatory manner, he was just sincerely curious.
“Well, they were adopted. They aren’t my biological children, but I love them just the same.”
“Wow, and I thought I had my hands full with just three sons.” At that point he just laughed and looked at me. “Well, you’ve done a good job teaching them manners and how to drive. I found each of them to be very nice young men, and pretty good drivers too. A couple of them have had some minor problems, but overall they do very well and know the rules of the road.”
I thanked him for his kind words of praise for the boys, and then we chatted a bit longer about parenting skills, as he must have thought I had some secret inside information about how to work with kids. Once I explained to him my basic approach, he thanked me and said he’d try a couple of the things I mentioned. I told him they weren’t magic or anything, and that they might work, but then again they might not, but he thanked me anyway, saying he was always open to suggestions.
I took the four boys out to celebrate their success after that, listening to them tell about their experiences. I heard their accounts of their nervousness, things they thought they did well or screwed up on, and what they thought of their own efforts that day. Then they critiqued each other’s efforts, making jokes about things the others had done during our lessons or about things they knew that specific driver always seemed to have problems with. It was kind of humorous, with the various boys telling these wild stories, and we all had a good laugh while we ate. After that I took them all home, ready to take their place as the newest drivers and senior members of our household.
As the end of May approached, Ricky got ready to leave for Australia. It was now Wednesday, and Ricky was flying out the next afternoon. I could tell he was excited about going, yet he was sad to be leaving. This was actually the first time he had left me, or his brothers, since he came to live here, and that was nearly five years ago. I knew he was starting to feel some separation anxiety, even though he would probably be the last to admit it. I just hoped that he’d be able to cope with what he was going through, so it didn’t overwhelm him and ruin this experience for him.
I did try to spend extra time with Ricky that afternoon, by taking him out to lunch, so we could talk alone. He wasn’t saying much, so I finally decided to bring the issue to him. “Are you a little nervous about this?” I asked him. He looked up at me and gave me a weak grin.
“Well, maybe. I’m not sure what I’m feeling, it’s just different.”
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked, just to make certain he hadn’t changed his mind.
“Oh, yeah, I do. It’s a great chance, one that I might never get again.”
“So you do want to go?”
“Yes! It sounds like a neat place and I’ll probably get to do some cool things there.”
“I think you’re right about that, but you still seem a bit nervous about going.”
“Not really about going, it’s... well, it’s just... you aren’t going to have another heart attack or anything while I’m gone, are you?” When I looked at him now, he had a look that appeared to be a cross between anxiety and sadness.
“Well, I’ll try not to,” I answered, adding a little chuckle to relieve some of the tension, but it didn’t seem to work. For that reason, I took a different approach. “Look, Ricky, I can’t promise anything like that, but the doctor has given me a clean bill of health and we don’t foresee any problems. I don’t want the possibility of something happening to me to stop you from going or enjoying yourself.”
“But I don’t want to go if you won’t be here when I get back.”
“Well, let’s not think about that, because it probably won’t happen that way.”
“I hope not, and I’ll try not to worry, if you’re sure.”
“I’m fairly sure.”
“And you won’t forget about me either, will you?” After this question, I was nearly brought to tears.
“Forget about YOU? How could I? You were my first son, the second time around, and you are more special to me than you could ever know. I couldn’t forget about you any more than I could forget my own name. I love you, Ricky. I always have and I always will.” By this time we both had tears streaming down our cheeks, and I was glad we had selected an isolated corner to sit in.
“Thanks, Dad. I love you too, and I know I’m going to miss you a lot, even if I do have a good time while I’m there.”
“And I’m going to miss you too. We’re ALL going to miss you.”
“Thanks again, Dad. That does make me feel a little better about this, but I do want to see you again when I get back.”
“And I want to see you too, and chances are, that’s exactly what will happen.” We ended our conversation there, drove back home, and I helped him pack the last of his things. Just before we were done, he did ask me to run to the store, to pick up a few last minute items for him, so I got in the car and went to the store alone, so I could get the items he requested. When I got back to the house, I took the things up to his room, watched him pack them away, and then I helped him carry his baggage downstairs, so it wouldn’t take as long to load it up when we were ready to leave.
Ricky spent the rest of the evening saying good-bye to his brothers and spending some final quality time with them, so I left them alone and Jake and I headed to bed. We were back together in my bedroom again, seeing the other problems were now behind us and we weren’t so worried about the allegations made about us. We pulled back the covers, sat on our own side of the bed, swung our feet up and under the sheet, but our legs didn’t seem to go anywhere. We both looked at each other, and then pushed with our legs some more, but still nothing gave. Now we both looked at each other again and spoke almost in unison. “Ricky!”
I hadn’t had my bed short-sheeted like this since high school, so I threw my legs back off the bed, slipped my feet into my slippers, and... damn, he must have put shaving cream in my slippers too. What the hell, my feet were already covered, so I just pushed them the rest of the way in, having shaving cream forced back out the opening, and then I went to the door to go look for Ricky. My hand slipped on the doorknob, as I tried to get out, so I gripped it again, but it slipped once more. It appears that he also put Vaseline on that, making it more difficult to get back out of the room. By now I could hear chuckling on the other side of the door, so I grabbed a dirty article of clothing off the floor and used it to wipe the greasy substance off the doorknob, and then I exited my room. There was Ricky and a few of the other boys standing there, with big grins covering their faces.
“Having problems, Dad?” Ricky asked me, once I opened the door.
“And I suppose you were the one who set this up?”
“Who, me?” he asked, with that mock innocent expression plastered across his face. I didn’t answer him, but just glared in his direction. “Well, I wanted to make sure you remembered me while I was gone.”
“Oh, you don’t have to worry about that,” I told him, a bit sarcastically. “In fact, I have the ‘room for rent’ sign all ready to put out.” Now he shot me that feigned hurt look.
“You really think you can replace me?”
“Not replace, maybe improve upon,” I told him, trying to sound and act serious. At this point neither one of us could keep a straight face, so we both started laughing, and then I grabbed him and gave him the biggest, hardest bear hug I could. “Ricky, there is absolutely no way I could ever replace or improve upon you. Damn, I’m going to miss you. Just give your host parents a break while you’re there, remember it’s their house and they can throw you out.”
“Oh, Dad. What do you think I am?” he pleaded. “A total idiot?”
“Well, maybe not total,” I answered, quickly, and then he punched me in the arm.
“And all this time I thought you said you loved me,” he mocked, again flashing that famous Ricky ‘I’ve been deeply hurt’ expression.
“I do, so count your lucky stars, or the response would have had more of a punch to it.”
“Dad, you’re awful,” he told me, as he leaned his head against my arm. “I hope my host dad isn’t so mean.” This time I could see him sneak a look at my face, trying to get even with me by making that comment.
“If you’re lucky,” I said, simply, and then I wrapped my arms around him and hugged him again. As I did this I thought about something else. “Did you really need those things you sent me to the store for, or was that just an excuse to get rid of me, so you could do all that?”
“No, I really needed that stuff,” he said innocently, “it’s just that I waited until then to ask you to get them for me, so I had time to pull my last pranks before I left. I had the other boys distract Uncle Jake for me, so he wouldn’t catch on either.” Now he flashed me the Ricky grin, which let me know it was all done out of love, so how could I be upset with him? After that, we all went to our rooms to get some sleep, but not until after Jake and I had fixed the sheets on our bed.
That night did not pass quickly for me. All I could do is think of Ricky and about his going on this trip, the long flight he had ahead of him, and then about his being thousands of miles away for eight months. It’s not easy for parents to let their children grow up and flex their independence, and this was one of those times. My instincts told me to keep him home, as long as I could, but my heart told me I had to let him grow up and become his own man. What I told him earlier wasn’t a lie. He is very special to me. All my boys are special to me, in different ways, but Ricky was my first foster-son, the start of my new family, and for that he would always hold a special place in my heart. I think I’m going to find this harder to cope with than I first believed.
The next morning we got up, showered, ate, and loaded the car, and then I had Ricky say his good-byes to his brothers before we left, as I had decided that just Jake and I would be taking him to the airport. I thought it would be better that way, giving us some final time alone and without the hassle of worrying about the others too. It was a long drive to Philadelphia, but we talked the whole way, with me giving him words of warning and Ricky telling me he knew all that already. Once I stopped my ‘worried mother routine’, he told me what he hoped to see and do there. Once we arrived at the terminal, we walked him to the counter and checked him in, along with his luggage, and then we walked him to the departure checkpoint, where we had to part. Ricky hugged Jake first, telling him to help take care of everyone while he was gone, and then he hugged me. I kissed him on the forehead, before I let him go, and then he turned and walked down that corridor and out of sight. The last thing I heard him say as he walked away was, “Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll write and stay in touch.”
After we watched his jet take off, I let Jake drive us home, as my eyes were a little cloudy from all the moisture that had collected there. I also did this because I wanted to think about other things, not focus on the driving, and I wasn’t sure I could successfully do both at the same time. My thoughts were primarily on Ricky and his trip, my mind raced over scenarios of hijackings, plane crashes, and other catastrophes that weren’t likely to happen, but I just couldn’t help myself. Damn, why does loving someone have to hurt so much? I mean, this wasn’t a severe pain or totally unbearable, it’s just that when you know you’re going to be separated like that, by so many miles and for so many months, it just leaves an emptiness and ache in your heart until they return. This wasn’t the first time I’d ever experienced anything like this, nor would it likely be the last, but that didn’t mean it was any easier to get through. I guess that loving someone so much brings certain responsibilities with it, to offset all that pleasure. I think one of those responsibilities was be to make sure that yours wasn’t a stifling type of love, one that smothered the other person completely and prevented them from really living or enjoying life. You had to make sure that it was a sincere and complete love, one that would allow the other person the opportunity to grow and flourish along the way. That’s the type of love I hoped I had provided Ricky and my other boys, and thinking about that offered me a little comfort, to ease the sense of loss I was feeling now.
The next couple of days seemed to drag along, as I waited to hear from Ricky and to make sure he had arrived at his destination safely. I even spent an inordinate amount of time watching the 24-hour news channels, making sure that there were no hijackings or plane crashes during that period. I also took short breaks to say a prayer of protection for Ricky, as he seemed to dominate my thoughts during this time. Finally the telephone rang and it was his angelic, yet devilish, voice on the other end.
“I got here okay, Dad.”
“That’s great. I’m so glad you called.”
“Well, you only told me a thousand times to call when I got here, even reminding me I had a 1000 minute calling card in my wallet, which I was to use to make the call with.” I could hear him laugh after he said that. “Do you want to use all 1000 minutes now, or do you want me to save some?” He was laughing even harder now, still my little clown.
“We can use some now, but I don’t think I can stay on the phone for that long.” He laughed a little more. “So how was your flight?”
“Long, but not bad. I watched a couple of movies and listened to some tunes. I slept a little too.”
“Well, I’m glad you got there safely. Was your family there to meet you?”
“Oh, yeah. They were waiting for me, holding a sign with my name on it. They’re really nice, and I think their son and I will get along well. It’s really different here, but I’m going to try to see and do as much as I can while I’m here.”
“You do that, and keep in touch. Do they have a computer?”
“Yes, they do, so I’ll be able to send you all emails. I have all your email addresses, so don’t worry.” There was a slight hesitation here, and I knew he was getting emotional again. “Dad, I want you to take care of all my brothers for me and take care of yourself and Uncle Jake too. I want both of you to behave while I’m gone, and that means no new little brothers before I get back.” He laughed at that, and its weird implications, but I knew this was only his unique sense of humor coming through. “I’ll talk to you again when I can. Love you.”
“I love you too, Ricky. Have fun, but be careful.”
“I will, Dad. Bye.”
Well, now I knew he was safely there, so I guess I could start relaxing a little and focus on other things too. I was sure thrilled to hear from him. I passed word along to everyone else that he was there and everything was going well, so the other boys wouldn’t worry either. I was sure some of them were a bit uptight about his safety too, so I wanted to ease their fears as well. I could see them relax a bit when they heard the news, and now we could go back to things as normal.
A few days later, I opened the local paper and saw something that caught me totally off-guard. The Superintendent of our local school district had resigned and was leaving to take over a larger school district, some miles away. I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I generally heard the scuttlebutt about things like that before they had a chance to be publicized, as I still had many connections in the school district, but no one had warned me about this happening. After calling around and checking with my contacts, all of them told me that NO ONE had seen this coming, and the Superintendent himself only went to the interview for the experience, but he never thought he’d get the job. When he got the offer, he was somewhat in shock, but he did manage to accept the offer, and that’s why he was leaving so soon, and with very little notice.
Later that day I received a phone call, from the President of the Board of Education, and I couldn’t understand why he’d be calling me. After all, I was retired now and had nothing to do with the district, other than as the parent of a larger than normal percentage of their student body. He soon answered this question for me, though. “Josh, the board met last night in an emergency session to handle this situation with the Superintendent. I take it that you read about that by now?”
“Yes, I have.”
“Well, the other members of the school board have authorized me to offer the job of Superintendent to you, if you’re interested?”
“But I’ve never even applied for that position. Why not offer it one of the other administrators in the district?”
“Because we don’t feel they are as qualified as you. You know the issues confronting us, you’ve shown that you are willing to do what’s best for the district at all times, and we really feel that you are the best man for the position.”
“Well, I’m honored, but I’m also retired.”
“We’d make it worth your while, financially that is.”
“That sounds nice, but I’ve really enjoyed being here for the boys when they needed me. I’d really hate to give that up.”
“We’re willing to be flexible, if you need extra time off or if you would need to rework your hours or whatever for the summer. This shouldn’t be a problem during the school year, though, as your boys will be in school too. You are our first choice, and we really want you to take this job.”
“I don’t know. I’d have to talk it over at home first. I couldn’t possibly accept it without seeing how the boys would feel about that.”
“Fair enough. Would you be able to let us know, say, within 48 hours?”
“I suppose I could do that.”
“Great, and I hope you accept our offer.”
We parted, and then I waited at home to talk this over with Jake and the boys. I waited until we were all gathered around the table, and then I brought this news to their attention. “I talked to the President of the School Board today,” I began. “He called me to offer me the job of Superintendent.”
“Wow, that’s really neat, Dad,” Danny told me.
“Yeah, that’s great, Pop,” Nick added. “Then you’d be the big boss.”
“Can you do that, without us having to worry about you having another heart attack?” Kevin wanted to know. He looked very concerned as he asked this question.
“Yes, I believe I can. The doctor has given me a physical and told me that I could do almost anything I wanted, as long as it was done in moderation. I’d just have to make sure I keep my stress level down, so as not to provoke another episode. Does anyone prefer I NOT take this job?” I looked around to see if anyone was responding to this question.
“Well, I’d rather you didn’t,” Jake told me, bluntly. “I know the stress level of that job is very high, and you really don’t need the money. I think the boys and I need YOU more than you need that job.” He showed little extra emotion on his face as he told me this.
“What if I just took it on an interim basis, just until they had time to post the job and go through the interview and hiring process?”
“I guess that would be all right,” Jake told me. “That would only be for a couple of months, right?”
“Yes, something like that.”
“Well, it is summertime, so not so many stressful things should be happening during that time. I guess we could live with that, right, boys?”
“Only if it means he’ll be here with us through July and August, when Nigel and his boys come over,” Pat added. “I thought we planned a lot of things to do with them.”
“You’re right, and I almost forgot about that. I’ll make sure I can still take off the time to do those things too. Other than that, does anyone have anything else for us to consider?” No one responded, so I guess everything was fine with my going ahead with this. The next day I called the School Board President back, to discuss this with him further.
“Josh, thanks for calling me back. Have you made a decision?”
“Well, you probably won’t be totally happy with it, but you won’t be totally upset by it either,” I began.
“What is that supposed to mean? Should I start to worry now?”
“Well, that’s up to you. After talking it over with the family, I’ve decided that I’ll take the job on an interim basis, to give you the time to post the position and find someone permanently.”
“You’re right, it’s not what I wanted to hear, but it is better than your just saying no to us. Are you sure there’s nothing I can do to get you to take this job outright?”
“No, I don’t think so. The boys are worried about how the stress would affect me, and they’ve also reminded me we don’t need the money that badly.”
“Okay, I guess I can understand that. Would you also serve on the selection committee then? We could really use your expertise and your knowledge of the district to pick a successor.”
“Yes, I suppose I could do that much extra.”
“Great, though I would have preferred to have you just accept the job in the first place. I guess this will have to do, however.” I hung up and then told everyone what I agreed to, and they seemed fine with that. I wasn’t sure if I was thrilled about going back to work, but I have missed some of the diversion that work provided for me too. I love being with my boys and being there for them, but it’s nice to be around some adults too. Many of the teachers were more than just colleagues, they were friends as well, and now maybe I’d get to see some of them on a more regular basis. I’d be making scheduled visits to all the various school buildings, so I’d see them then, plus I’d get to see them at district meetings and other functions, besides seeing them at the other school related activities I would attend with the boys. Yes, I think this might be a good move for me.
It was less than a week before we received our first email from Ricky.
Have u forgotten me yet? J/k. It’s pretty nice here. My host brother is pretty neat. His name is Peter and he’s 15. We talked some, and he thinks he might be bi. We even fooled around a little, just for fun. He’s like Jay, natural. He says most of the boys r here, so he kind of likes that I’m not. He introduced me to this cute girl too, so I might go out with her sometime. I’ll have to ask Peter where I should take her, though.
My host parents are pretty neat too, it’s just that I’m not used to having a mother fussing over me. That can be a real pain sometimes, plus I have to watch that I’m dressed properly. I’m not used to that either... lol I almost goofed yesterday. I started to walk from my room to the bathroom with nothing on, but I heard her singing as she worked in there, so I ran back and grabbed my pants. I don’t know what I’d have done if she had come out just then, and I’d have had some tough explaining to do about why I was walking around naked. hehehe
So how is everything at home? I kinda miss all of you. I didn’t think I would that much, but I guess I didn’t realize how much I talk to my brothers and you when I need help or feel down. It’s just not the same here, but Peter helps some. I hope u r takin it easy. Remember what we talked about.
Sorry about those things I did to you and Uncle Jake before I left, but I thought you’d remember me better that way. Btw, I did that to Peter the first night too. Guess nobody’s done that to him before. He couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It was kind of funny. He went out and asked his mom what she had done to his bed, so she went in and checked it, and then she started laughing. I played dumb, like I didn’t know what was going on. You know I’m good at that... hehehe Now I’m just waiting for the weekend, so I can run into his room, jump on his bed, and wake him up like that... he doesn’t know what he’s in for.
Love you all, and please write back. I want to hear from all of you.
Your bestest son, Ricky
Well, that email was typical Ricky and now I pitied his host family, especially his host brother. I think they might all be happy to see him go, when his time is up. Then again, his little pranks and stunts might just endear him to them. I know it did to us. He’s just such a fun kid to be around. I was glad to hear from him too, and to learn that he was adjusting there, though I knew he would. He’s such an adaptable young man. Well, now that I don’t have to worry about him, I can move on to other things. I guess maybe tomorrow I’ll talk to Nick, Trey, and Vinnie, to see if they’re ready to start their driving lessons. They’re all old enough, and I’m sure anxious enough, so maybe I’ll start them on their lessons this weekend, if they’re interested.