Chapter Fifty-eight



It seemed all too soon that Walker had to bid adieu to his long-time associate. “You have our letters and the list I gave you for your next trip, don’t you, John?”

“Yes, everything is in order. Rest assured I’ve forgotten nothing, my friend,” Captain Birmingham responded, a smile creasing the weathered skin of his face. A final round of handshaking and the boat was pushed off the sand to make its way back to the ship waiting further out in the bay.

Many of the men had watched the supply ship’s departure with mixed feelings, while others had simply turned their backs preferring not to be reminded once again of their exile.

Earlier, Larry had been handed a heavy leather bag with instruction to distribute the contents after the ship had set sail but not a minute before. He had also been given some parcels. So while the other four members of the Council held a brief discussion to determine sleeping arrangements for five more men, mail was handed out to those fortunate enough to receive news from home.

Letters were delivered to Yancey, Brodie, Aiden, Lakota, Quentin, Wes and Wayne, Galen, and Preston. There was also one for Larry. In addition Brodie, Galen and the twins each received gifts from home; Galen being exceedingly blessed with not only two parcels but also a fair-sized wooden crate.

It had been decided that work would move at a slower pace for the afternoon, so the lucky recipients went off in search of a private place to read their letters and open their containers. Others assisted the newest members of their community with getting settled.

Nathan, Alfred and Wallace returned to the tailor’s shop where once again Wallace lay down to sleep off his ill-humor while the other two men continued with the unpacking.

Haly immediately sought out Quentin only to discover the man had taken off to parts unknown to peruse his letter in privacy.

Raythe took Shay and Jay under his wing, showing them a few of the fun places nearest the compound and introducing them to a couple of the younger men he himself felt most comfortable with. 

Yancey and Brodie sat side-by-side on a cot in the new infirmary and opened their letters, sharing the news inside. Yancey’s was from his mother and sister; Brodie’s from his grandmother and his parcel contained three new books. 

Aiden, Larry and Lakota were more than pleasantly surprised to hear from old friends. Preston was totally shocked to receive news from two old acquaintances.

The twins stared at the two identical wooden cage-type crates, feelings of joy making their stomachs somersault.

“Wow,” Wes softly proclaimed. “Whatever made our parents think to send us these?”

“I have no idea, but I’m glad they did. Shall we open them now?” Wayne whispered, unable to believe his eyes.

Wes smiled. “I think I’ll wait until Nathan is available so we could do it together. He is spending a bit of time getting re-acquainted with his family. When are you gonna open yours?”

“I really want to open mine right away. Besides those little critters sure seem anxious to get out and I want to play with mine.”

“You’re right. It’s not fair to keep them pent up any longer. Let’s go surprise our partners with them.” Wes got down and undid the latch on his crate to free the Collie pup inside.

Wayne happily agreed and released his new pet. “I’ll go see if I can find to Samuel. Bet he’s going to have as hard a time believing this as I am. See ya later!”

The twins merrily went their separate ways, matching Collies running at their heels. They now spend a lot of time together, much more than they used to and their bond had greatly improved from the time they first set foot on the island. 

In due time the twins would learn that as well as their surprise puppies, there were numerous letters from family members and fans, as well as a parcel containing sheet music and several new songbooks.

Galen sat on his pallet which was now placed along the back of the mess hall. He had already opened the crate to discover much to his delight that it contained two dozen bottles of his family’s finest wine. Presently a parcel sat on each side of him but he chose to ignore them while excitedly tearing open the envelope that had been attached to one. He picked up the small article that fell out and stared at it in confusion. Why had this been sent to him? Something was not right. Suddenly his chest tightened in dreaded anticipation. He quickly perused the letter and gasped at the words written in it.

Forgotten were the two packages as he got to his feet and ran in search of Thomas. Finding the man in conversation with Aiden didn’t deter Galen from pulling on Thomas’ shirt sleeve. His need for his fiancé’s support took precedence over anything else.

Thomas glanced at Galen about to scold him for interrupting when he saw a look of devastation on the young man’s face. “Galen, what’s wrong?”

Galen was clutching the letter tightly against his chest. “I w-want to go up on the cliff, Thomas. P-please take m-me,” he stammered his plea.

Thomas knew this request was not made lightly and could see his fiancé needed him. He turned to Aiden. “My friend, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll finish this discussion with you later.” He wrapped his arm around Galen and pulled him up tightly against his body. “Alright, let’s walk.”

Galen maintained a death grip on Thomas’ hand as they made their way along the path leading to the cliff overlooking the ocean. The ship had already disappeared leaving the view from shore to horizon undisturbed.

They sat silently staring out to sea for several long minutes before Galen agitatedly waved the paper in his hand. “I got a letter from home.” Another few minutes of silence passed by when the younger man suddenly blurted out in a voice overflowing with pain, “M-my Pappous is dead. He died last m-month and I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye. It’s not fair! I hate it here!” he wailed as he threw himself into his mentor’s arms.

Thomas wrapped his arms tightly around the love of his life. He wanted nothing more than to make Galen feel better. He would give anything he had to have given his fiancé a chance to have seen his grandfather one final time. Now all he could do was provide love and comfort here in this place of exile. “Oh my love, I’m so very sorry. I know you loved your Grandfather. You can only to take comfort in knowing he is at peace now in a better place.” He gently stroked Galen’s back. 

As he held the sobbing young man, a thought came to Thomas. “Galen, what would you think if we had a memorial for your grandfather? It would give you a chance to share his memory with your friends here on the island and also give you a chance to say goodbye. We could hold it this evening after dinner.”

“Kind of like we had for Kelby? Even though nobody here knew m-my Pappous?” Galen looked up with a thoughtful expression as he played the idea over in his mind.

“Yes, sharing the memories of your grandfather with your friends is a good way for you to celebrate the man he was and keep that memory alive.”

Galen relaxed against the broad chest of the man holding him. He took his time to think over Thomas’ suggestion and come to grips with his pain. He knew he would always miss his family but he did have many good recollections of their time together. He also knew deep in his heart that he did like his life here on the island. “I don’t really hate it here, Thomas,” he whispered, knowing his declaration would be understood.

After taking several deep breaths, he dried his eyes on his shirt sleeve. Memories of the most wonderful grandfather anyone could ever hope for had worked to sooth him. “I think Pappous would like the sharing of his m-memoirs,” he softly declared, slowly nodding his head.

“I’m sure he would, my love. He had to have been a very special person. After all, he helped raise a very special young man.”

Galen lifted his head to study this man who he knew to also be very special and smiled through the last of his tears. “I got something here, Thomas.” Galen dug into the pocket on the bib of his overalls and pulled out the wide gold band. “It w-was in with the letter and b-belonged to my Pappous. I’d like you to wear it after we get m-married.”

Thomas looked at the band being held out to him and the large watery eyes looking up to him. He felt his heart constrict at the love being offered. “Oh my…Galen, are you sure? Wouldn’t you like to keep it?”

“I am keeping it, Thomas.” Soft gray eyes lit up as the words were softly spoken. “I am keeping it on your finger, if it fits that is.”

“I’d be honoured to wear your Pappous’ ring.” He pulled Galen back into a tight hug. “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Mou Dynami.” Galen enthusiastically returned the hug.

“What does that mean, Galen?” Thomas sounded somewhat perplexed at the unusual words.

“A close translation w-would be ‘My strength’,” Galen murmured. “Because that is w-what you are to me.”

The explanation left Thomas completely tongue-tied but with a warm feeling inside.

After holding Galen for several more minutes, he pulled back a bit. “How about we go back down and join the others? We can let them know about the memorial this evening.”

“Alright, and maybe we can open my parcels together.” Galen reluctantly left the security of his fiancé’s arms. “Did you get any parcels, Thomas?”

“No, love, I didn’t get any parcels. But I got a lot of my own animals and farming equipment back. It all came with the ship today.”

“Does that m-mean the rest of our harvest will be easier?” With his usual happier frame of mind slowly returning, Galen began showing interest in seeing something new. 

Thomas smiled at the change in Galen’s demeanour. “Yes, it should make things a lot easier for all of us, to say nothing of helping minimize crop losses.”

“Then there have been some good tidings along w-with some sad ones, haven’t there? After we see what else m-my family sent me, w-will you show m-me all you received today?”

“Yes, it’s been a day of change with news both good and bad for many of us. I’ll be happy to show you all that arrived today. Though I no longer have my family land, I have some of the things from it. More importantly, I have a wonderful new life here with you.” He stood and pulled Galen to his feet with him. “Now let’s go see what your family has sent to you.”

Together they walked back to the main camp and as soon as they entered the large gathering tent Galen made a beeline for his pallet. He sat down and invited Thomas to sit beside him while he tore open the first package.

His eyes widened as he pushed aside the tissue paper and carefully lifted out the outfit that had been lovingly wrapped in it. He held it up for Thomas to see. “Do you know w-what this is, Thomas?”

Thomas looked at the intricately embroidered outfit of white with a colourful vest. “No, I don’t know what it is but it is very beautiful.”

“It is a formal Greek costume w-worn for important celebrations like a w-wedding. This skirt is called a Fustanella. W-would it be alright if I wore it to be m-married in?”

“Of course it would be alright. I think you will look wonderful in it. Did your mother make it for you?”

“Mama m-made it for my brother when he got m-married; but she has cut it down to fit m-me. She w-wants me to have something traditional, even though she does not know that I am really to be m-married soon.”

“Well her perception of what you might need couldn’t have come at a better time. I can’t wait for our wedding day to see you dressed in it.”

“I can hardly w-wait either. The w-wine is going to be a nice thing to serve at that time.” Galen reverently returned the outfit to the box and reached for the second package. Excitedly tearing off the wrapping, he looked inside and crowed with delight. “Whoa, can you b-believe this? Starter p-plants for m-my very own vineyard. These look very sturdy and have been w-well packed so they should be very suitable for transplanting. If nature favors us, we just m-might have our own wine in a couple of years. And I know just where I w-want the vineyard to be.”

The two men continued talking over their plans for the future, finding a sense of peace deep within themselves and each other as they faced their future together.

“So what do you think of our island so far, Shay?” Raythe asked while dropping down to the ground in the shade of a large tree.

“It is better than I expected. So many fields planted and buildings erected. I think Jay and I are going to like it here.” Shay sat not too far from Raythe and tugged his brother down to sit beside him.

“I saw you brought tools of your trade with you. I’d like to watch you work once you get set up cause I’ve never seen shoes being made before.”

“Our father began teaching us how when I was only eight years old. It takes many years to become a shoemaker. The methods and tools we still use were his. We could not bring everything from his shop, so naturally we came away with only items needed for making men’s footwear,” Shay once again responded.

Jay seldom spoke so he neither agreed with what his brother was saying nor disagreed. He appeared quite content just listening and looking around. Having grown up in the cramped quarters of a large city, everything here seemed so open and foreign to him.

“For some reason I was under the impression there were more then only twenty-seven men exiled.” When Raythe merely shrugged, Shay continued, “Then again, I was also led to believe that things were a great deal more desolate and we’d be facing many hardships by coming here.”

“Yeah, I was also expecting things to be much worse than they are. One of the best things is that none of us have gone hungry since landing on this island. We don’t go without clothing either. Some of us have had to go without too often in the past. Nor have any of us been mistreated. It’s not allowed. We have a council and rules are enforced for everyone’s benefit.” Raythe turned to smile at the other two men. “If I sound like I’m quoting it is because I am mimicking my partner, Brock. He’s another giant and is the one who hunts and provides wild game for our table. Sometimes he is scary looking, but he can be very gentle too. You’ll soon figure out that many of the older men kind of watch out for the younger ones.”

“Ah, tell me, Raythe, are all the men here already matched up with others?” Shay quietly asked with the hope his brother had not overheard him. He was also hopeful he did not appear too nosey. He had to know if there was any chance of finding a mate meant just for him.

“Just about,” Raythe nodded. “Actually, Quentin is the only one who does not have a partner. But with the way he and that new fellow, Haly, have been pretending not to notice each other, I’d say that may be about to change. A couple of the men have even taken not one, but two partners. See that giant over there? Well he took two husbands. They were the first to get married and next month that man who Aiden is talking to will be getting hitched. It will be the first wedding in our new lodge.” Raythe, who usually was not much of a talker, warmed up to his subject. “Our cook, Walker, also has two lovers. Walker used to be a very important judge or something but that didn’t help him much when his sexual preference was found out. Nothing helped any of us.” Strangely enough, there was no sign of bitterness with this last statement.

That evening as the men finished up their supper Thomas approached each of the five new arrivals and asked if they would remain in the mess tent for a brief meeting with the island’s council. As the other’s left to carry out their evening chores, Thomas, Aiden, Larry, Troy and Lakota arranged seating for ten in a circle at the back corner of the tent. The new men were asked to make themselves comfortable as they joined the island’s leaders.

Thomas smiled and introduced each member of the council. “Gentlemen, the council wants to welcome each of you to the island. We’d also like to take this time to discuss how things are managed here and to answer any questions you might have on what roles you will play in our community.” He looked around at the five new faces, each paying attention to his words. “We don’t have a large number of laws here but those we do have, we strongly enforce. Respect shown for everyone and for everyone’s property is paramount. We will tolerate neither violence nor the taking of that which is not yours. If you have a problem with anyone here, we expect you to work out your problems with words, not fists. If you cannot come to terms with someone, then bring your issues before the council where all parties will be heard and the council’s final decision will stand. If your issue is with any member of the council, then that member will excuse themselves from the process. No one here is above anyone else; we work together as a community. It is our desire not only to survive, but to thrive and prosper. Each member of the community must work towards the greater good of all. Everyone here has an area in which they mainly work. An example would be Alfred’s nephew, Nathan. He works as our tailor, creating and repairing clothing for the community. Nathan has worked tirelessly in this area, trying to keep up with the demand and will benefit no end by Alfred’s assistance and the arrival of the new sewing machine he was showing me earlier. Lakota here,” Thomas indicated the man sitting to his left; “is a physician and surgeon. So of course, it is his job to care for the health and physical wellbeing of all the men here.”

Thomas paused to make sure he still had the newcomers’ undivided attention. Once assured that he had, he continued. “Now, on top of our main work there are communal jobs to which we all contribute. These jobs are assigned on a rotating basis by the council. A record is kept of each job assigned so that they are distributed fairly. These consists of such daily chores as laundry, chopping fire wood, washing dishes, etcetera. Also there are times when the whole community must come together such as our upcoming harvest. During this time, everyone will be expected to work together getting the crops brought in and then getting the bounty preserved for the winter. It is my understanding that a large supply of canning jars arrived on the ship today which will greatly increase our ability to store food, but a lot of work will go into that preservation method.” 

He smiled at the two brothers who were sitting side by side. “Shay and Jay, your skills as cobblers will be greatly appreciated by all. Many arrived here with only the shoes on their feet and those are now in great need of repair. We have tried to distribute the spare footwear amongst us but size has been a major issue. Nathan has attempted to repair some of our boots and shoes but he is not a trained cobbler nor does he have the right equipment, so some of us are walking around with the soles of our shoes flapping or tied together with string.”

Shay grinned. “Yes, I saw that. We are more than happy to make these repairs and to begin making new shoes and boots if a supply of leather is available. Isn’t that right, Jay?” The question garnished only a brief nod.

“Brock is our hunter. He’s been tanning the hides of every animal he’s killed since we arrived and has a nice collection of leather and furs that you can work with.” Thomas turned next to the young blond sitting across from him. “Haly, I understand you’re a fisherman. With your skill and the addition of your boat, we hope you can add to our food supply and provide more of a variety in our diets. We’ve already started salting some fish for winter but it would be very good if that supply were to increase.”

Thomas looked finally to Wallace. “Wallace, I’ve been told you’re a reporter and photographer. I’m afraid that at this point in time, those skills are not in demand here but there are many tasks that an able-bodied man such as yourself could work at. Although I am sure I speak for all of us when I say we look forward to an additional supply of honey to enhance our diets. Aiden, here on my right and his partner, Larry, who is seated beside him, are in charge of manpower distribution so you and either one or both of them can talk later about what other areas you might like to work in.”

Wallace appeared about to argue but an unspoken signal from Alfred had him closing his mouth and merely glowering at the various members of the council.  

Thomas decided it would be best to ignore the sign of dispute, putting it down as the man still being overtired. “Along with the work, gentlemen, we also offer a chance for anyone who wishes to further their education. Troy, seated next to Lakota, is a teacher and offers classes a couple of afternoons a week in reading, writing and science for those who want to learn those skills. He also offers a very interesting history class and under the supervision of our young librarian, Brodie, we have a literature discussion group as well. Our quartermaster, Quentin also provides lessons in mathematics. Most evenings at dusk, weather permitting, we have a campfire gathering where we talk and sing and enjoy each other’s company. We also try to set aside some leisure time every Sunday afternoon for personal pursuits, as every man deserves some rest after a long week of work.” He paused once again and glanced at the man on his left. “Now, I’m going to turn things over to our good doctor, Lakota Evans.”

“Thank you, Thomas.” Lakota looked at the new men with a warm smile. “I’d like to request that each of you come to the infirmary tomorrow for a physical examination. In order to maintain the health of this community, I must know the current health of all of its residents. I follow the oath of Hippocrates and swear to your privacy. Only myself and my nurse, Yancey, will be present for the exams so you can feel free to discuss any problems you might have with me without fear of your personal information becoming known to the community at large.”

Lakota set up times for the men to have their exams. He quickly noted the look of fear and hesitation from Jay and assured the young man that his brother would be more than welcome to stay while he was examined. 

Further discussions about jobs and workplaces were quickly finished and the new men were welcomed to join in building the campfire where this evening a special memorial was to take place. 

The next morning after breakfast, Lakota made his way to the new infirmary. He smiled as he looked around the examination room. Aiden had made a beautiful table with a padded top that Nathan had created. There was a desk each for Lakota and Yancey, and they had supply cabinets with proper locks. The other room was made for patients requiring a stay in the infirmary. They had six sturdy cots which had been built with backs that could be raised, allowing the patients to sit up in bed. Lakota had been very impressed with Aiden’s skill, as he’d only seen such beds in the finest of hospitals. 

He was also very pleased with the medicines and new equipment that had come on the ship. There were even new medical journals which he was anxious to read. He set to work starting a fire in the small wood stove and soon had it going well. 

Yancey arrived a few minutes after Lakota. “What a joy it’s going to be working here after what we’ve dealt with in that tent the past half year.” He was carrying a covered pail of water which he poured into a kettle on the stove. “We should have some hot water for washing up soon.” Much to the medical staff’s delight, a new heating stove had been set up in each of the rooms; two more unexpected gifts from their group of benefactors. The pot-belly stove they’d used previously was being re-located to the tailor’s shop, while the former kitchen stove would be put to good use in the future bath house.

“Thank you, Yancey. You’re right; it’s going to be wonderful to have a solid building with real furniture for our patients.” 

The two men quickly got things in order for the first examination. Lakota had just finished washing his hands when Alfred and Wallace arrived at the door. Alfred explained that he and Wallace preferred to come together for their physicals and that he would go first, thus allowing Wallace to see everything that would be done before being examined himself. 

“Good morning, gentlemen,” Lakota extended his hand to Alfred and then to Wallace. “Please come in and have a seat. 

Both men readily took the seats offered and looked around. They glanced at each other and unspoken messages were exchanged. Both were equally impressed with what they could see of the infirmary.

“We’re pleased to be here, Doctor. Please ask any question you wish,” Alfred invited.

“Thank you. I need to ask about your current and past health, and then we’ll perform the physical examinations.  If at any time you have questions or feel uncomfortable, please feel free to speak up.”

Lakota placed two fresh pages on his writing table and wrote each of the men’s names at the top of them. “Starting with you Alfred, can you tell me of any past illnesses or injuries which you have suffered?”

Alfred had always been reasonably fit and answered all of Lakota’s questions, giving a history of good health. He had little to report of past illnesses, although he did mention having been in a riding accident in his teens. He humorously shared the tale of when he had attempted to ride his father’s breeding bull.

“Now Wallace, how about yourself?” Lakota asked solicitously. 

Alfred turned a warning eye to his partner. They had talked at length last evening and again this morning with Alfred making it perfectly clear that Wallace was to be cooperative and on his best behavior. Wallace rolled his eyes. He had every intention of informing the doctor of his limitations.

“Well unlike Alfred, I wasn’t blessed with a very strong constitution. I have a nervous stomach and catch colds easily. I also tire quicker than most.”

Lakota made a point of writing down everything he was told. “Now when you say you have a nervous stomach, do you suffer from vomiting or diarrhea on a regular basis?”

“Well maybe not on a regular basis; just if I am bothered by something or if I do not watch what I eat. Alfred says I’m just too picky for my own good, and that’s easy for him to say because he has a stomach of steel.”

Now it was Alfred's turn to roll his eyes.

“I think you’ll find our diet here to be healthy and not too hard for your digestion. We have simple but good food. However, I do have some herbs I can give you if your stomach does bother you. I make a tea from them which others have found to be very soothing.”

“That is so good to know, Doctor. I appreciate you offering me some relief when need be.” Wallace looked at Alfred as if to say ‘see, he knows I have a problem’ and then turned his attention back to Lakota.

Lakota smiled and winked at Alfred when he noticed the older man rolling his eyes. “As far as you tiring quicker than most, I think you’ll find that our lifestyle here with good food, fresh air and fulfilling work will build up your strength considerably.”

Wallace just grunted in response. “As long as no one expects more from me than I am capable of, I am willing to do my fair share.”

Lakota nodded. “I’m sure we’ll work things out just fine. Now I have one final question which is of a very personal nature. I do not ask this for any other reason than to ensure your health and if you would prefer to discuss this with me individually, that would be perfectly fine.” He looked at the two men for signs that either couldn’t talk in front of the other. When he saw none, he continued. “I understand you two have been partners for some years now. Do you engage in anal penetrative sexual relations?”

“Well of course we do!” Wallace sputtered while Alfred chuckled at his partner’s indignation.

“Yes, Doctor, we have been in a monogamous relationship for over twenty years,” Alfred declared, understanding what Lakota was getting at and fully aware that Wallace was not going to like it. “And Wallace receives my penetration exclusively.”

“Thank you. Then when we do your physical, Wallace, it’s important that I do an examination of your rectum. I will make it as quick and comfortable as possible.”

“Now just wait a minute...” a hand on Wallace’s arm promptly put a stop to his objections.

Lakota nodded his appreciation to Alfred. He got the distinct impression that Wallace’s examination was going to be much more trying than that of his partner. “Alright then, let’s move on to the examination. Alfred, would you please strip down to your skivvies and sit up on the table for me?”

The doctor soon finished with Alfred and Wallace’s physicals. He thanked the two men for their cooperation and sat to write up his notes while Yancey kindly took on the job of cleaning the exam room before the next patient was due to arrive. 

Lakota read through what he’d written before closing the folder. Alfred O’Sullivan: Age 50, 5’ 11”, slim build. Health history: mentions nothing more than the usual childhood illnesses with no significant injuries. Patient was cooperative and of good humour.

Wallace Henderson: Age 45, 5’ 9”, well-nourished build, heart and lung function are unremarkable, reflexes are good, rectal exam was free from scarring. Health history: the usual assortment of childhood illnesses but claims an unusual susceptibility to colds and to having a weak constitution. Patient was somewhat cooperative with the attendance of his long-term partner. However, I believe he would be of a challenging nature if left on his own.

Lakota had just finished with his notes when his next two patients knocked at the door of the infirmary. Yancey ushered the two young former stow-a-ways into the room. 

“Good morning, gentlemen,” Lakota greeted with a smile. “Please come in and have a seat.” He had been made aware of Jay’s mental limitations but wanted to assess for himself just what the young man was capable of understanding. He went on to ask the usual questions about health history. It took some persuasion to get Jay to answer but when he did Lakota found him quite easy to understand, though his answers were as might have been expected from a pre-adolescent child. 

“Now let me explain what will happen during the examination. I want you to feel free to ask me any questions you might have or to say stop if you feel uncomfortable.”

Shay noticed that his brother was no longer paying attention to what the doctor was saying. He sadly shook his head as he leaned closer to Jay and whispered, “He is not old enough, Jay. I told you that last night.”

Seeing a questioning look on Lakota’s face, Shay decided it might be for the better if he confided in the good doctor. “Jay is somewhat fixated with that big black man. I think his name is Mitchell.”

“Yes, that would be Mitchell. What about him is so interesting to you, Jay?” Lakota posed the question to the older brother but it was Shay who answered. 

“My brother has long harbored the hope of someday finding his biological father, even though neither of us has much information about the man who sired him. Since first spotting Mitchell, Jay has been trying to get up the nerve to speak to him. But I am afraid of how he will react when he is disappointed and again has to face the truth of no longer having any parents.”

Lakota smiled understandingly. “Although I know Mitchell isn’t your father, Jay, I’m sure he’d be happy to be your friend. He is a very nice man and a good workmate to all.” He patted the young man on the shoulder. “Now why don’t we finish up this physical business? I happen to know that Walker is trying out his new stove this morning and if I’m not mistaken, he was planning to bake some oatmeal cookies. I’ll bet there will be some warm from the oven by the time we’re done here.”  

As they proceeded with the physicals, Lakota had Yancey distract Jay while he examined Shay. Given the young man had confessed to a history of anal sex, Lakota didn’t want Jay to be upset by witnessing the rectal exam. 

When it came Jay’s turn, Lakota’s experience with dealing with children helped him to deal with the mentally disabled young man. He soon had Jay laughing and talking openly. Lakota was grateful that this young man had been raised in a loving home that had given him the chance to grown to his potential, rather than being institutionalized in an asylum as was the norm for those suffering from mental retardation. He’d always deplored the manner in which society treated those suffering from mental infirmities. He hoped that someday people would realize that such people could have a place in this world and did not need to be locked away. 

After the two young men had departed, Lakota finished up their chart information. 

Shay Liang Chen: Age 20, 5’7”, slim build. I have suggested he attempt to gain a bit of weight. I am of the belief that since his parent’s death, he has ensured that his brother was well-fed before taking care of his own hunger. Rectal exam showed no scarring. Health history claims few illnesses but no injuries to speak of. A shy but pleasant young man and very protective of his brother.

Jay Liang Chen: Age 24, 6’, robust build. Suffering from a mild form of mental retardation since birth, mental age estimated to be thirteen years. Health history is sketchy; half-brother claims he has always been very healthy. Lad is extremely attached to younger half-brother who has cared for him since the death of their parents. 

Lakota made a note to himself to have a chat with Mitchell about taking some time for Jay. It would do the lad some good to have a role model other than his brother in his life.

An hour later Lakota was writing up his final chart for the day while Yancey was setting the examination room to right once again. 

Halyard Spencer: Age 26, 5’ 8”, slim but well-muscled. Health history claims usual assortment of childhood illness; suffered broken tibia and fibula approximately at seventeen years of age, healed well. Teeth are slightly discoloured and I have strongly advised him to give up the unhealthy habit of chewing tobacco in order to clear up a mouth canker and prevent future breakouts. Has been sexually active, rectal exam showed minimal scarring; a very outgoing, friendly young man.

Once done he smiled at his ever helpful nurse. “Thank you for everything today, Yancey. What’s say you and I go get some of those cookies Walker’s been baking?  I can smell them from here.”

“I rather like that idea,” Yancey agreed and returned the smile. “Maybe we can round up our husbands to join us.”


TBC….

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