5 – Blog 08 – Downer Dad

“How we gonna deal with Doug tonight?” I change the subject, not wanting to regret leaving on Monday.

“Fuck that droopy old booty,” Jimmy shouts,   just as Doug walks up and sits down.

“What’s up boys, complaining about the lack of talent for your teen genes?”

“Yeah,” I answer. “But I know the solution – four-way mad fucking,” as I wink at him and the boys.

“Yeah,” the other two agree. “Let’s blow this place.”

Doug shakes his head no, while his face blushes with excitement. “You know I have to close out and pay the bands.”

I look at the stage, where the band is droning on with no one paying attention. “This band was done years ago. Kick ‘em off the stage. The action is in your big ol’ bed tonight,” I smile at him. Tony and Jimmy are laughing at me.

“Hang on. I’ll be ready in thirty minutes.”

I stand up. “Com’n boys we’ll just do it in the office if he don’t want to join in.”

“All right. All right. I’ll get the bartender to close and lock up.” His face is really red. Old guys need to be reminded of their youth to tweak their lust. Some things never change.

Five minutes later all four of us are in the back of a cab traveling up Doheny. We all attack Doug at once. I’m kissing and licking an ear. Tony is massaging his back and butt. Jimmy, once so shy and innocent, is going down on his dick. The Armenian cabbie glances in the mirror, shakes his head, and never looks back again.

At the house we drag Doug up the walk. I whisper, “We’re gonna fuck ‘til yer balls turn inside out.” Tony has his hand down the back of his pants, stroking his butt cheeks. Jimmy is dragging him inside by his long, skinny dick. Doug’s embarrassment disappears once we all are behind closed doors.

“You want some smoke?” Doug asks.

Jimmy stops sucking him. “The only thing getting smoked is yer dick,” he answers him.

Doug lays back as we go at him. The stimulation has Doug writhing on the bed. Tony begins rubbing his asshole, to Doug’s surprise and apparent distress.

“Appears we have a virgin bottom here,” I grin.

“I’ve tried before. It never really worked.”

“I’ll do the work, you relax. This’ll really work out,” Tony takes charge.

Doug rolls on his side, to provide easy access for Tony, while Jimmy moves to keep Doug’s dick busy. I start kissing Doug on the cheek then licking his lips like I used to tease Tommy. I hold his head in my hands, while his breathing became ragged and uneven. He moans regretfully when Tony pulls his fingers out of his ass. Soon he gives out a quick gasp, as Tony’s dick replaces the fingers. Doug is craving it. Tony thrusts strongly as our four-way fuck package rocks back and forth.  Doug becomes frantic, trying to get away from Jimmy’s bouncing head on his dick, while pushing himself onto Tony’s thrusting dick. I pull Jimmy away, repositioning him at Doug’s mouth, while I lightly stroke Doug’s dick, just not enough to let him cum. Doug’s whole body starts to shake involuntarily as Tony’s quick, short stroking drives him crazy. My fist grabs a tight hold on his dick. It slows his shuddering, forestalling an imminent orgasm. He continues kissing Jimmy whose  legs are wrapped around Doug’s hip as his dick thrusts against his side. I suck both of Doug’s balls into my mouth, squeezing and licking them simultaneously. I’m raking my dick against Doug’s inner calf, leaking pre-cum all over him and on the bed covers.

“Let me cum. Let me cum,” Doug yells, frustrated by our teasing seduction.

“No fucking way,” Tony orders, just as he pulls out and geysers all over Jimmy and me, as well as Doug.

I slide up Doug’s side and replace Tony’s dick with mine in Doug’s throbbing ass. He relaxes and sighs until I bottom out. My size surprises him. He gasps and whines at its girth and how deep inside him I go. I stay as deep as possible, barely moving as he squirms and adjusts to my size. Doug’s breathing becomes less ragged as his ass starts to fuck my rigid dick. His mouth reaches out to mine. We’re kissing and fucking together. Jimmy moves to Doug’s dick and happily returns to sucking him off. Tony has cuddled up against my back, sound asleep, while I’m fucking Doug on my other side. My feet stretch forward and back as I push slowly into Doug. Jimmy positions his dick so my feet can grabit as they stretch. Doug’s thighs have a firm grip on Jimmy’s head while he vigorously sucks Doug’s long, skinny dick. I began rocking harder and firmer into Doug’s ass, as he begins shuddering. I stop kissing Doug to tell Jimmy to slow down as Doug is ready to blow. Doug frantically searches for my lips, thrusting his tongue inside my mouth. His whole body arches before letting loose down Jimmy’s throat. Jimmy’s dick spasmodically stroked by my feet, lets loose as Doug’s dick is released from his lips. His tall pole blasts stringy streams of cum all over us.  My dick has long since done its peremptory turn at the tip. I cum deep inside Doug, as the four of us all climax almost simultaneously.  We each shudder as our climaxes slow and end. Doug has a new outlook on life and lust..

Falling asleep, I don’t wake up until morning. Luckily none of the cum has glued us together. We lay in a heap on top and beside Doug, who snores contentedly on his back. I extract myself from the heap and go take a shower. I’m running on farm-time, up with the sun to milk the cows. Refreshed and cum-free, I return to collect my clothes.

“You awake, Doug?” I whisper, suspecting he’s feigning sleep.

“Yeah,” he whispers back. “But I just want these moments to last. I’ve never been so completely fucked.”

“Ya likes it, don’ts ya?” I giggle.

“Shh. You’ll wake the others.

“Okay to use your office? I need to arrange Joey’s escape from the authorities.”

He nods and goes back to sleep.

First, I call Helen.

“Hi, Tim. Did you see Joey?”

“He’s okay and ready to be released. The doctor wants to put him in rehab.”

“I spoke with him. He thinks Joey should leave LA.”

“Yeah. We even found him a job in Northampton. Can you deal with him doing his rehab in Stockbridge?”

“That would be so wonderful to have him home.”

Yeah, for how long I think.

“What does Uncle Bob think? He’s been on Joey’s case for so long.”

“He understands. Your dad is flying from Miami today to escort Joey home.”

What! My weekend in Lotus-Land LA is about to come to a crashing halt.

“Oh no?? That’ll be a disaster. You know how hard he is.  He had me locked up for drinking a sip of beer. Just think what he’ll do when he finds out Joey was arrested for doing hard-core drugs?”

“Well, he insists. He wants to help.”

“His help always involves the police and jail. Can’t you convince him not to come. I’ll escort Joey to New York and you can meet us there.”

“I doubt he’ll listen to me.”

I know my only chance is to get Mom to stand up to him. I call Ames. Molly answers.

“Hi, Andy. How’s your cousin? When are you coming home?”

“Joey’s doing better. We hope they’ll release him tomorrow. I’ll fly with him to New York. His parents will take him home from there.”

“Will you get back to Ames tomorrow?”

“Well, there’s a hitch. Dad insists on coming here to escort Joey back. It’ll be a disaster. The doctors convinced the police to send him home. Once Dad finds out the police are involved he’ll ruin the whole plan. He’s such a hard-ass.”

“Language, Andy.”

“Sorry. I need your help. Do you think Mom is ready to stand up to Dad? I’ve tried but he just won’t listen to me when the police are involved.”

“She does seem stronger. I’ll get her on the other phone. It would mean so much if she can assert herself.”

“Not her strong suit.”

“Well, she has to stand on her own feet eventually. This may be a good test. Explain why your dad can’t bring the boy home.”

“Joey’s 22 and as head-strong as Dad. They’ll fight. Joey won’t be released, or, if he is, he’ll take off. He won’t listen to a word Dad lectures him.”

“Sounds like a disaster in the making. Let me get Wendy.”

Amy comes on while Molly finds Mom.

“Hi, Andy. Having fun? ‘Gator says Bessie misses you. Who’s Bessie?’

I laugh. “She’s my favorite cow.”

“Is it great in Hollywood? Meet any stars?”

“A couple of rock n rollers. We’ve been partying all night long. It’s wild. I’ll tell y’all whens I gits back.”

“When’s that?”

“Hopefully tomorrow night or Tuesday. I need the moms to convince Dad not to mess everything up.”

“Here’s Wendy.”

“Hi Timmy.”

“Jeez. You havta call me Andy in Ames.”

“Is that what they call you in Hollywood?”

“No. I’m still Tim here. But no one calls me Timmy. Please.”

“Yes, Andy.”

“Mom. I need you to stand up to Dad for me. He insists on flying out here and interfering in getting Joey released to go home. You know how he thinks that the police are always right.”

“Aren’t they?”

“Oh. Mom. It’s never black and white. We have everything set. He’s gonna ruin it.”

“I can call him.”

“You havta put yer foot down. He won’t listen to me.”

Molly speaks up, “You can do it, Wendy. Andy needs you to stop Bert from bullying him and his cousin.”

“I’ve never been able to stop him once he’s made up his mind.”

“You should try. You’re so much stronger since you moved to Iowa.”

“I’ll try, Timmy.’

“Jeez, Mom.”

“Sorry, I mean Andy or Tim or whatever.”

I laugh.

I go back into Doug’s bedroom. He’s up and showered.

“We have a problem. My dad’s flying in today. He insists on interfering in Joey’s release.”

“You want him to stay here?” Doug looks concerned. I observe the two naked teens passed out in his bed and remember my role in last night debauchery.

“Jesus, no. I’m trying to get him to reconsider.”

“He can stay here. You three will havta to act like you’re my houseboys.”

“He’ll see right through that. I’m just going to havta stop him from coming.”

“Whatever,” as Doug slips back into bed. “I need to make this moment last.”

I go over and kiss him. I always liked the old perv.

I go back to the phone and call home in Coral Gables. Thankfully, Susan answers.

“Oh, Susan. I need your help.”

“Your dad’s flying out to LA to meet you.”

“But he’ll just mess up everything. Can’t you talk him out of it?”

“He’s worried you’re in over your head.”

At least they have been discussing it together.

“He doesn’t know that the police are involved. It’ll be just like when he had me put in juvie. He believes the police are always right. He’ll get Joey locked up. I have Joey doing rehab at home in Massachusetts. We even found him a job there. Dad will scuttle all the plans.”

“I have to agree with him that you must own up to the consequences, especially if the police are involved.”

“Drugs are a sickness, not a crime. Joey’s as hard-headed as Dad. Can’t you stop him? I know he won’t listen to me.”

“He’s trying to understand, Tim. I’ll get him on the phone but you’ll have to do the convincing. I suspect you’re better at that than I am.”

“He trusts you.”

“We both want to trust you. I’ll try,” as she puts the phone down.

“Dad, I need you to reconsider flying out to LA. We have it under control here.”

“You’re 17, Tim. You need an adult to deal with the doctors.”

“The doctors agreed to release Joey to his folks. I’ll escort him to New York where they’ll take him home.”

“It does sound like a good plan, Bert,” Susan stands up for me.

“Jesus. First Helen calls me in tears, so I volunteer to help. Then Wendy calls and acts like she knows what’s best. Now you are on Tim’s side. This is all too familiar. I’m going out there to find out the truth.”

Time for Andy to reveal the truth.

“It’s not just the doctors out here who are involved, Dad. Because Joey OD’d, he was also arrested. The police insist he go to rehab. He’ll do that at home in Massachusetts. We even found him a job near Stockbridge.”

“I knew you were hiding something.”

“I just told you the problem. I also know how you always side with the police. Now I have to rescue Joey and his rehab plans from you.”

Dad sputters. Susan interjects, “Bert, you promised to listen to Tim after all that trouble last year. He had to hide in the Everglades to prevent being declared mentally incompetent for life. I love you, dear, but you can be so stubborn. Just like Winston.”

“Your dog in the doghouse?” I shift the tone of our argument.

“Susan, it is the ‘spare the rod and spoil the child’ theory of child raising.”

“You’re beating Winston?”

“Just a spanking when he misbehaves.”

“How’s that working for you?”

“Not well. But we’re talking about Joey. I’m coming out there. We’ll fly Joey home once he’s released.”

I groan. “You havta promise you won’t talk the police into keeping him here.”

“If the doctors recommend that, I’ll be 100% behind their decision.”

“And if the police don’t?”

“I’ll support whatever the courts say.”

I give up. “Please just let events unfold. I’m not asking that we skip out on the police but you havta keep your own opinions to yourself and not drag out his release.”

“We’ll see. I arrive at 3 pm your time.”

“I’ll be there. And, Dad, I really am happy to see you. It’s been too long, over a year.”

“Really,” he acts surprised. I thought only Mom was oblivious.

I run into Doug’s bedroom and jump into bed with him and the two boys.

“Dad alert. Get yer butts up. My dad will be here this afternoon.”

“I thought you were going to stop him,” Doug complains. I’m well aware he was not looking forward to explaining to a parent why his son and nephew are living there.

“He listens to no one. Let’s just clean up so there are no drugs or porn in the open.”

Doug looks pained, while the boys are in a state of panic. The housekeeper is called in from her day off. By 2 pm the place looks decent and somewhat normal. The rogues gallery of Doug’s past boyfriends is replaced by photos of the rock acts that normally hang in the Club’s office.

“He knows you’re gay, right?” Doug asks.

“After being in denial, he asks which of my friends are boyfriends. He’ll never be comfortable. The fact that my mom has a girlfriend now probably makes it even harder for him to accept me.”

“So no gay coming-out drama?”

“Don’t worry. This trip is all about Joey.”

Clean-up done, we lounge by the pool. I even do a short workout to clear my head while the others hit the bong to stay scrambled. I realize we are hanging out full-time with Doug. At 49 he’s just an elderly teenager that day.

Tony drops me off at LAX. I figure Dad can pay for a cab back to West Hollywood. The Datsun may not be up to his standards. Waiting at the arrival gate, I decide to relax and not fret about our first meeting in a year. Soon after the door opens I see a muscular dog pulling an older man up the jetway corridor. Dad brought Winston. I have to laugh.

“Dad,” I cry out. “Is this Winston?”

Hearing his name, the dog makes a beeline for me. I’m on my hands and knees roughing him up. He is a happy puppy, even though he must already weigh a hundred pounds.

“Winston, sit,” Dad orders. The dog instantly obeys.

I jump up and gave Dad a big hug. He submits to my affection but demurs when it looks like I’m was about to kiss him.

“I thought you didn’t want me to come?”

“No. I’m over that as well as you firing me as best man in your wedding. I just don’t want Joey’s release to his parents to get messed up. They could put him in jail.”

“Maybe that’s where he belongs.”

I just shake my head. “Are you really going to make things difficult?”

“No. I just know it’s unlikely that the police will release him to a 17-year-old.”

“Then it’s good you’re here. Doug says you’re welcome to stay with us at his place.”

“I got a room at the Beverly Wilshire. And who’s Doug.”

“He owns a famous Hollywood nightclub.”

“Like the Brown Derby?”

“I have no idea what that is. His club showcases rock acts. He’s a good businessman. You’ll like him. He’s older than you.”

“Is he one of your ‘boyfriends?’”

“No, Dad. Jack is still my boyfriend. Joey has lived with him since he moved here from New York.”

“Yeah, Helen told me why he had to leave New York.”

Winston is whining as we verbally spar. Dad leads us down the concourse and outside, where Winston looks to relieve himself, finding a fire hydrant for the first time. I hold the leash while Dad retrieves his luggage.

In the cab on the way to Beverly Hills, Dad and I catch up. I had forgotten that a conversation with Dad is more interrogation than verbal exchange.

“So, how’s school?”

“We won the Iowa State Championship in bowling. Since it’s the first year of high school bowling, we were declared National Co-Champions as well as Jack’s team from New York.”

“I thought he was living with you at Mom’s.”

“Long story, but he’s living in New York and going to school there.”

“I suppose the Stones want him to go to some fancy college.”

“Yeah. He’s already in at Harvard.”

“And you? Will you graduate this year.”

“Of course. I even applied to Harvard too.”

“Who’s going to pay for that? And, Harvard accepts criminals?”

“I’m not a criminal. I was locked up for being unsupervised.”

“At least you don’t use that sip of beer excuse.”

“Dad. We’ve got to get over what happened. I know exactly how you see it and know you acted in my best interests. But the Miami juvenile justice system is corrupt. They really came down on me because they hate what Mike Antonio has done to force desegregation in the City.”

“Okay. Okay. I admit I was too hard on you. But you seem to be thriving now. National Champs, huh?

I break out in a big grin.  I hug him. All is forgiven.

The hotel room is pretty luxurious. We order room service – hamburgers and fries, of course. I haven’t eaten since Oki Dog.

“Pretty posh, Dad. You travel in style now. The promotion paying for this?”

“Yeah. Last time we shared was at those NRA conventions. Pretty bland rooms.”

“Remember when Mom, you and I shared on the trip to Miami. I had stopped wearing underwear and Mom wouldn’t let me sleep in my clothes.”

“I’ve erased that memory.”

“And when we stayed in Miami Beach, I came in after being thrown in the pool by my Puerto Rican friends. I told you I was soaked from the rain. It wasn’t even raining but you never went outside while there.”

“You are a devil. We blamed it all on Joey for being a bad influence.”

“I tell everyone I get my sense of adventure from him. Remember when he cut my hair. I did it on a dare.”

“I hope you can see the error of his ways.”

“Okay, Dad. I do the best I can. I get that from you. We need to go visit Joey before too long. And I have to call Doug and tell him you’re staying here, not at his house.”

Soon we’re in a cab on the way to Hollywood-Presbyterian. For the first time, I notice how rundown East Hollywood is. I’m seeing it through Dad’s eyes.

“Uncle Bert,” Joey is surprised. “What are you doing here?”

“Come to save your ass, buster.” I’m not sure if he is just joking or if he needs to bust Joey’s chops.

Joey’s face falls. I nudged Dad.

“Okay. Okay. I just want to help. I hear they’re going to send you home tomorrow.”

“Tim has it all arranged.”

“Well, has he arranged who they’re going to release you to. I doubt they plan on releasing you to a teenager. That’s why I’m here.”

“I think it’s better, Joey,” I lie.

He just pouts, which is a sure way to inspire Dad’s nagging. After a long lecture on standing up, taking responsibility, making something of himself and having pride, Dad relents. Joey says nothing, looking exhausted.

“You wore him out, Dad. How about we leave. You okay, Joey?”

“Don’t worry ‘bout it. I’m fine”

Once we’re out of there, I try to explain to Dad that he is messing up. “Joey just tunes you out. Kids have no respect for authority. They’re not in the military.”

He looks at me and nods. “Sometimes I can’t stop myself. It’s just what I know.”

“Maybe it works in the military. Did I ever tell you about Joey and me visiting burned-out Viet Vets living out in the woods near Stockbridge. They thought I was an MP, even though I was only fourteen. We had a fire fight in the woods and ended up hog-tying ‘em from a tree limb. We blew up their ammunition dump and watched the fire department come to the rescue.”

“No wonder you’re so ‘odd.’ I should hog-tie Joey and leave him here.”

“I’m not that strange, Dad. Just because I have a boyfriend, it doesn’t mean I don’t like chicks.”

“Mom says you’ve settled down.”

“I have. My best friend’s a farm boy, captain of the football team. I help him milk the cows every morning and night.”

“And that’s not strange?”

“You’ve got to stop judging people, Dad.”

“What makes you think others won’t judge you.”

“Jace taught me to be open to others and recognize those people too hard-hearted to be open back. We call them ‘haters’ and ignore their ignorance.”

“You act like he’s still alive.”

“He died but his spirit lives in my heart. He was so loving that many people hold him in their hearts.”

“He was so funny. Remember the crème brulee?”

I can see Jace’s goofy grin as we talk about him. Dad and I have made up. Now I have to get him to cool his jets with Joey until we get to New York.

Dad says it’s okay to ask Doug and the boys to have dinner with us at the hotel. Doug is relieved there is to be no home inspection. Dad is surprised Doug is older. They talk business for hours while we keep ordering more hamburgers and fries. I finally realize Dad is not used to Hollywood socializing, as well as being three hours ahead. The boys love Winston, who apparently goes everywhere with Dad. We ‘walk’ the dog several times, which provides a chance to hit a joint. I test Winston for Max-like pot affinity and get a firm shake of the head. He’s definitely Dad’s dog, but he loves being with teenagers. He reminds me of Stu.

Before we say good night, Doug takes me aside. I know he will make a pitch for me to stay. He resigned himself to never possessing me years ago.

“I hope you’ll come visit as often as you can. Hollywood is the entertainment capital of the world. You have the talent to make it here. Let me help you, when you’re ready.”

“Sooner than you think. I doubt Harvard is ready for me. I hope you now know how much all three of us love you. Last night should prove that.”

“You’ve got that right. I’ve never been fucked that well. I may have to rethink my sexuality.”

“Ya ain’t gay if’n ya don’t likes bein’ fucked,” I declare.

“I never realized that until three teenagers were simultaneously fucking me. Tony and Jimmy are special, too. But you’re something else.”

I kiss him right in the Beverly Wiltshire lobby. I say good-bye to Jimmy and Tony. I decide to spend the night with Dad. We are actually getting along. I need to get him to cool it on lecturing Joey on the danger of his evil ways. I doubt I will make much progress. Stubbornness is a Castle trait. I call up to the room and suggest we walk Winston. He meets me in the lobby. The dog likes taking the lead. We talk about dogs and how some people are better with cats, but dog people are a special type. We walk up Rodeo Drive with Dad disparaging the wasteful ways of the idle rich.

“You’re rich now, Dad. The days of roadside motels and run down Miami Beach hotels are over.”

“Working for Teledyne has turned out well. It seems wrong that I get paid so much for pretty much the same work I did for low pay in the Air Force. I still have a solid sense of values.”

“I hope you weren’t upset that my friends are so boisterous and didn’t care how much those over-priced hamburgers cost.”

“Those boys don’t seem up to your usual standard. They seem like strays you picked up.”

“I really like them, Dad. I know they seem a bit clueless but they’re my friends. What do you mean by my usual standards?” thinking Robby and his gang as not exactly top grade. “You can’t judge all my friends by using Jack as the standard.”

“I’m still getting used to the Stones. I was actually thinking about your friend, Jace. He was so quiet and shy, yet had all that musical talent.”

Jace quickly appears at his name’s mention. He squats down and quickly has Winston’s affection by scratching his ears.

I cannot help giving Dad a big grin, although he flinches before I hug him.

“So, you liked Jace?”

“Well, he did train Max (Dad is unaware of Max’s pot habits) and defended him against that evil brother. That was very brave. I felt badly for a long time that I was unable to save him.”

“Jeez, Dad. You saved me. Jace put himself in front of Max. There was no chance to protect him. I would’ve taken a bullet for him,” I sniff.

Dad put his arm around me. I feel ten years old. Why not enjoy it?

We window-shop for something for Susan. No prices in the windows in Beverly Hills. We go to bed at a reasonable hour. I miss spending my last night with Tony and Jimmy. I think about Joan. She’s my age and already in a successful band, about to release their second album and tour Japan. She definitely turned me on, riding on my lap. She’s very butch for a girl, all in black leather. I wonder if her boyish looks are why I am attracted to her. She complained that Cherie Currie gets all the press because she’s girly and blonde. I told her how Max stole all the spotlight in our band. We are both just second-string guitarists. I fall asleep and dream I go on tour to Japan with the Runaways. After the first show all these 13-year-old girls are chasing me. The next show they make me wear makeup and a dress. All the teen Japanese boys chase me after the show. I figure I deserve that dream.

In the morning we walk Winston and find a jewelry store that is open. Susan gets a nice brooch with diamonds and rubies. I don’t ask how much it costs. We take a cab to the hospital and meet Joey’s doctor. Dad is vindicated when he has to show ID that he’s Joey’s uncle. After that formality, Joey’s release goes easily. We are soon on the way to LAX. I try nudging Dad every time he starts haranguing Joey on his evil ways. Joey soon goes into a sulk and never responds.  Families.

While waiting for our flight, I call Jack in New York. He’s over the moon that I’ll be at JFK, even for a short while. He insists on coming out to meet me while I wait for my flight back to Ames. Poor Winston is not up to Max standards and has to ride steerage in a crate. He looks sad rolling into the baggage chute. Little does he know he has to change planes at JFK. Dad looks distressed. He has the attendant stop the conveyor belt and pays for a ticket so Winston rides with us. He puts on my Raybans and pretends to be ‘Blind Willie.” Joey perks up seeing us having fun and not paying attention to him. He tries to make friends with Winston, to no avail. The dog knows exactly what Dad thinks of him. He snaps at him when Joey calls him ‘Winnie.’

“He’s not a bear, Joey,” as I calm Winston down with an ear rub. Joey goes back to being invisible.

We board the flight and take off for New York. Last time I flew cross-country with Joey, I fell asleep on his shoulder. This flight, the minute Dad resumes a tirade about his faults, he is asleep on mine, 

When we arrive at JFK, Jack is right there at the gate, but no Helen and Uncle Bob. We wait until everyone has deplaned. Happy reunion. Winston needs to go, so we find him a potted plant where no one can see. I tell Dad we will look for Helen and Uncle Bob. Sure enough, they are waiting at baggage claim, just like hicks from the sticks. We walk back to the gate.

“Where’s Joey?” I ask.

“He went to the Men’s,” Dad says as he greets Uncle Bob with a handshake and Helen with a swift hug.

I run into the bathroom. No Joey. I check every stall.

“Which bathroom?” I run over and ask Dad.

“The one you just came out of. He’s not there?” Colonel Castle goes on alert. Someone has messed up. No happy reunion for Joey’s family. No blustering on Dad’s part. He finds an airport security officer and organizes a man hunt for the escaped convict. No one questions his authority to order a search.

I tell Winston, “Find Joey! Go find Joey, boy.” Jace instantly appears, ready to give chase. He never met Joey. We lead newly deputized bloodhound/ bulldog Winston on a rambling search of the gate area. We feel optimistic when the first place he heads to is the rest rooms. It’s short-lived when we realize Winston just needs to go again. We drag him away from the urinals and back to the popular potted plant. The dog has a renewed sense of purpose. We race down the concourse toward the exits. I let Jace have the leash but it causes weird looks, so I unhook it. Several security officers stop us as suspects in the single adult male getaway caper, being two teenagers and a dog. They fail to accept that Winston is following Joey’s trail. After several walkie-talkie conversations, we are told to go back to the gate area.

An actual police officer has taken charge, discerning that Dad is not a real officer escorting a convict who has escaped.

“Look, Mr. Castle.  New York’s a big city. If he’s out of the terminal, he could be in a million places. You got him this far. He’s an adult, free to wander wherever. Typical LA, they just wanted to get rid of him. If he’s a druggie, he’ll mess up sooner or later. We’ll call you. There’s been no crime here.”

Dad is fit to be tied, mostly because he screwed up.  Helen says it was her fault for not knowing to come to the gate. Jack is a little chagrined for having distracted me. Winston knows that nobody blames him. Uncle Bob is just as angry as he always is about Joey.

Jack calls Mummy, who insists that everyone come to the Dakota. A car is ordered. We can make plans there. I’m pretty sure I can find Joey. Jack is ecstatic. I call Mom and explain that I am delayed.

Next: https://timatswim.com/5-blog-09-dakota-redux/