My Brother's Keeper 1

No way I would have pegged things to work out this way. My fucking parents chose a shit time to get killed in a car crash. It’s like they picked this moment to fuck up my life and saddle me with a burden that would nail my foot to the floor in a little shit hole in the Free State when I was just ready to spread my wings and fly the fucking coup. 

I sat across from the little shit in the bus. His name is Shawnie. Shawnie. I ask you. What kind of a dumb-ass name was Shawnie? At 14 he was a scrawny little sucker. Yeah he was my “brother” that I didn’t know I had, until a week ago. 

Ok so I sucked at comms and my parents didn’t know where I was for the last few years, so maybe adopting a strange little Snot Nose helped them to get over the fact that I wasn’t the family type. 

At his age I had run away to Johannesburg to escape the humdrum of farm life. I looked at my dad and the milking of the cows and the fucking harvesting of the corn and I almost tossed my cookies more than once. If I had to end up like that I would shoot myself and if I couldn’t find a weapon I would eat broken glass. I was a city kid born into a farm family. 

Now, at 22, after having saved my ass off doing shit little jobs in the city, I eventually had enough cash to get out of this third world country called South Africa and wouldn’t you know it, the fucking attorney manages to track me down and tell me my mom and dad were dead and I had a brother to take care of. I wouldn’t have paid any attention if it wasn’t for the fact that I had inherited the farm and I wanted to see if there was anything that I could sell to make my trip easier.

There was a pathetic sniffing noise coming from the direction of the little shit across from me that reminded me what I was doing. 

“What the fuck’s the matter man? Can’t you stop crying for even a moment?”

The kid just looked at his hands and I could see tears drip onto his lap from under his fringe. He had longish blonde hair that covered his face when his head hung forward like that so I couldn’t see his eyes.

He didn’t answer me and just gave one last long sniff and wiped the tears from his cheeks one last time. Then he lifted his face up at me and stuck his chin out. He pushed his girly lips out at me in a pout. I could see the muscles in his jaw tense up as he tried to find the words to say what he felt without bawling again. He took several deep breaths and then finally managed to open his mouth.

“Why did you come here?”

That was it? What was I supposed to do with that? The fucking kid had no balls at all. He couldn’t even come up with a decent diss if his life depended on it. 

“I came here to take what is mine and get the fuck out of here again, that’s what. At least this farm will hopefully be good for something. Once I am done selling it I will leave you and your small-town life here alone and you will never have to see me again.”


Shit, another lame-ass reply. I was gonna have to teach this loser how to stand up for himself or his life was going to go down the pooper very quickly. 

We sat glaring at each other for another minute or so and then he seemed to melt and tears came into his eyes again. He dropped his head and started quietly crying. I give up.

“Listen, Shawnie,” I said quietly, my voice kinder. I did feel for the little man. It wasn’t his fault that he had landed up with me. 

“I’m sorry about and dad. They were good people. The lawyer says they never stopped looking for me. It’s just like them too — dad would always go out and like dear Jesus says, look for the one last lost lamb.”

I felt something stir in me, and my voice caught in my throat. I didn’t hate my parents. I just hated their life and I saw what it did to people like them.  

The kid looked up and curiosity trailed across his puzzled brow. This was the first time that I had shown any emotion. He made as if to get up.

“Sit the fuck down!” I yelled at him and the other people in the bus turned to look at me.

He sank back in his seat and his little face went bright red.

“What the fuck you staring at?” I yelled at those who didn’t look away quickly enough.

I turned back at the boy and  my heart beat with the anger I was feeling.

“It’s ok you know?” I barely heard his little voice over the noise of the bus.

“What did you say?” I growled through my teeth.

“Nothing, just leave it,” he whispered again.

“Speak the fuck up man. You got something to say?”

The boy looked up at me and breathed deeply, staring me in the eye. His voice was soft and reasonable.

“It’s ok to feel sad you know. They were your dad and mom too.”

I would have told him to shut the fuck up but I couldn’t find my voice. His eyes, tearful as they were, were kind. Not the little boy eyes that you’d expect, but nice, kind eyes –  soft and full of love. I felt the thing stir in my heart again and I assumed it was feelings for my mom and dad and that I’d never see them again.

He leaned forward and put his hand on my knee before I could stop him. I found my voice.

“Get your little fucking faggot-hands off me before I break your fingers one by one, you get me?

He leaned back again and he had a small smile around his mouth. His eyes were still kind.

“Yeah, I get it, Big Brother.” 

Big Brother. Why did I like the sound of that, even though he managed to make it sound like it was something that I would have trouble living up to?


I have to say I felt like shit. Earlier when I had threatened to break Shawnie’s fingers one by one, even as I said it, I knew that I was being an asshole and that the kid was just doing his best to be family to me. After all, that is what we were now. The kid had nobody else –  in fact he’d been passed on from foster home to foster home before finally landing up with my folks. The lawyer made sure he told me the whole long sob story. Dunno if he thought that he could appeal to my decency or something. I suppose I couldn’t blame him – he didn’t know me from fuck. Well I had news for him: I wasn’t the bleeding heart brigade.

When I ran away from farming I hitched a ride, doing my best to get as far away from home as possible. I was picked up by an innocent young farmer who seemed to have more goodwill than brains because I stole the money out of his wallet when he got out to take a piss alongside the road. I never pictured myself  being a thief but I knew that I would have to bend the rules if I wanted to survive in the big city.

I started out stealing for a living but I soon developed into a Fagan of sorts, recruiting the little Olivers, the ones that had run away, younger (and stupider) than me, to steal for our common good. I don't want to romanticise what I did, and I knew it had an expiry date, so I made sure to save my money and invested it in other ventures that I knew would deliver longer-term benefits. I moved from small-time thieving and bought myself a carpet cleaning business. I employed a few guys and eventually had four teams. I made a decent living and started a handyman business for rentals. I had more work than I knew what to do with, couldn’t keep up, and I was stashing the money away, to leave for greener pastures. I avoided getting emotionally involved with anybody because women just wanted to use me. So I fucked and fled, leaving a trail of broken hearts behind me, but it suited me, because I didn’t want any baggage when I got the fuck out of this country.

Then, out of the blue, came the call from the Lawyer. He hired a private eye and the guy traced me. In that moment he undid all my years of planning, making me come back to the life I had escaped. In the years I was away I carefully avoided thinking about my folks. Like a fool I never considered that I might not see them again, although I was planning to leave without doing so. But then they would always be there, the option to go back and see them before they got too old and died, open to me. I’d return from somewhere exotic, and they’d see that the life of a farm-boy was never an option for someone like me.

Well that didn’t work out. I was confused by my feelings. I felt so guilty. I felt guilty because I’d abandoned my folks, people who’d never done anything wrong except be from the wrong place and hoped that I would like to be from there too. And I felt doubly guilty about being so nasty to Shawnie. He was a giant fucking fly in the ointment. I was going to have to sort him out good before I could leave, ‘cos just letting him go back into the system was too low even for me.

Now Shawnie and I were sitting in the foyer of the lawyer’s office, waiting for the reading of the will. I’d come straight from the bus stop from Johannesburg, onto the  bus into town, where I’d met Shawnie. One of the farm help had driven him to the bus stop on a tractor because the kid was too young to drive and none of the farm help were allowed to drive dad’s bakkie (ute). 

Shawnie had introduced himself to me, sticking his hand out like a good farm boy and I had ignored it. The trip from Johannesburg on the bus gave me enough time to stew and be angry about the fucking responsibility of burying my parents and having to deal with the selling of the farm and the bloody orphan I would find there.

The peace in the plush office was disturbed by the sharp clicking of heels on the gleaming wooden floors. The woman standing in front of us looked ten feet tall on her six inch stilettos. 

“Gentlemen, mr. Geldenhuys will see you now. Follow me, please.”

I got up and slouched after her like a sulking teenager, not the young businessman I left behind in Johannesburg. I heard Shawnie get to his feet and I heard the squeak-squeak of his sneakers on the shiny floor. The woman stood to one side and ushered us into the carpeted room. The hum of the aircon was the only sound that disturbed the funereal quiet. It looked like we were the only people in the room. I didn’t know what to do, whether to stand or sit, feeling like a naughty boy called in by the principal.

“Take a seat gentlemen.” 

The voice came from behind us. I looked around and mr. Geldenhuys the lawyer, who I’d only spoken to on the phone, walked his expensive suit over to us from the bookshelf behind and to the left of us.

He stuck his hand out at us and his smile almost blinded me.

“Sorry for your loss, Dawid,” he said, using the afrikaans pronunciation of my name.

“David,” I corrected him. 

“David,” he said and walked over to Shawnie who was standing next to me and slightly behind. His voice sank to a low murmur and I could hear him exchange some words with the kid. I heard a loud sniff and then he appeared again, walking behind his desk and sitting down, like he was afraid to put a crease in his perfectly pressed trousers. He undid the button of his jacket like a politician on TV and leaned forward, fake trustworthiness rolling off him like bad cologne.

The two of us sat down across from him in the leather chairs that squeaked and farted as we lowered our weight on the slick surfaces. 

"Your parents died very suddenly. It was a shock to all of us." He looked as if he meant it. He gave his head a little shake and looked down at the desk pad in front of him.

"They had all their affairs in order. Your dad was a thorough man and unlike many others in his situation, was able to run his farm profitably. Most just throw money at it, ending up deep in debt. Your dad died a rich man."

I felt a wave of greed wash over me, followed not too long after by the serpent of guilt that coiled in my belly. The situation was pushing back all the defenses I had built over the years that I spent away from my parents. Many nights I had fallen asleep with their beloved faces dancing in my mind's eye, followed by the inevitable mental shutter that I lowered to obliterate the feelings of loss and longing that bubbled up against my will. I felt myself blush as the attorney shuffled the papers on his desk. Glad he wasn't looking at me, I looked in Shawnie's direction to find his knowing eyes resting on me, not with condemnation, but with understanding. He gave a wise little purse of the lips and when he looked back at Geldenhuys, I felt a small sense of reprieve. This kid was much too wise for his and my own good.

“Let me read you what the will says.”

"Do we have to go through all this rigmarole? Didn't you say that it was all left to me?"

"Well yes, more or less. But it's not all cut and dried. There are some conditions."

"So you lied to me to get me to come back to this shit hole." My voice was thick with foreboding.

"I didn't lie. I wasn't at liberty to share the details until this moment – the reading of the full will."

"Just get on with it mr. Geldenhuys."

"Here follows the last will and testament of Christiaan Hermanus Gouws. I declare that I am of sound mind..."

My mind wandered as he carried on, the drone of his voice receding to the back of my awareness. Pictures of my dad and I on a tractor, riding the fields, being safe in his arms and with his rough cheek next to mine as he held me securely with one arm from behind, wrenched at my guts. The smell of his sweat in the hot Free State sun, which reflected off the polished red curves of the tractor's mud guards blinded me as I heard my name, returning me to the present. Only it wasn't sunlight that blinded me but tears.

Geldenhuys paused.

"Do you need a moment, Dawid? It's not unusual for this moment to be a sensitive one."

"David!" I corrected him and fiercely wiped my eyes on my sleeve. "Just carry on and get this over with so I can get back to my life...!"

The lawyer continued and after my name, "Dawid Gouws", I listened with a growing alarm. This didn't sound cut and dried at all.

He paused and looked at me. 

My heart was in my mouth.

"Tell me what it all means in normal language," I whispered.

"To summarise: you inherit your parents' assets – all of them – with a few conditions. You are to remain on the farm, running it and continuing with daily and seasonal responsibilities, until your 25th birthday. You're 23 now, is that right?

I didn't know what to say. I just nodded mutely.

"Furthermore, you are to care for Shawn, ensuring that he completes his education, and tertiary education, if he should wish, until he comes of age. If you complete this task, there is a further part of the will that will be read at the time."

I looked at the lawyer in front of me as if he was the serpent in the garden of Eden. He held my gaze and his eyes were kind and understanding. My voice was hoarse when I spoke up again.

"And if I don't?"

"If you do not fulfill the conditions of the will as set out herein, all the assets will be disposed of and provision will be made for Shawn's care and education... and you will get nothing."

I got up and walked around my chair. I swept my hand over my forehead and into my hair. Blood thundered in my ears as cold rage overcame me. They had laid a trap for me.

"They can't fucking do this!"

"Dawid – David – they are perfectly within their rights to do anything they wish with their property. Your parents gave you your freedom, but they missed you. And when they took on the responsibility for taking care of Shawn, there was only one way to reliably ensure that he would be cared for. 

"When do you need to know...?" My voice was barely above a whisper.

"I'm afraid you have to make the decision now. If you decide to accept the conditions, you will immediately receive an initial amount of R500,000 as living expenses for the first year. The farm's costs will be funded from another account."

"But I know nothing about farming! I would screw everything up in the first month!"

"Your parents thought of that too. Just before they passed away they employed a farm manager who will teach you the ropes and make sure everything goes to plan. But you'll be in charge and make all the final decisions, with his guidance, of course."

I pictured a fat old man who would boss me around from morning to night, and I knew that I couldn't do it. Well, I was more or less ready to leave the country on what I had saved, so I guess that it was just to carry on with plan A as before. Just then the intercom on the lawyer's desk went off and the ten foot secretary's voice said: "Mr Geldenhuys, Freek Rossouw is here."

"Send him right in, Dina."

The door opened and Shawnie and I looked around at the young giant that walked into the room. Shawnie smiled and launched himself out of his chair, right into the newcomer's arms. I immediately recognised the young farmer that had given me a lift about 7 years ago when I ran away from the farm. Shawnie obviously loved the guy because he stood next to him with his arm around the man’s waist, looking up at his face with adoring eyes.

“David Gouws, meet Freek Rossouw, your farm manager.”

I stood up and stuck my hand out, waiting for the man to show he recognised the teenager that stole the money out of his wallet so long ago. There was no sign that he remembered me, and a kind half-smile made way for genuine sadness.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Dawid,” he said and I didn’t correct him. “I loved your parents like my own, after my dad died and we lost our farm. They took me in, much like Shawnie here, except I had to work for my food.” He lifted his hand off Shawnie’s shoulder and messed the beaming teenager’s blonde hair. All this time he held my hand in a firm and reassuring handshake that reinforced the sentiments he expressed. His amber coloured eyes held mine and I felt his genuine sadness at the loss of my parents – for both of us.

All the rebellious anger that I felt just a moment ago vanished. I recognized that it was fueled by fear of the unknown, and the terrible weight of responsibility that I felt when I heard that I was left to care for Shawnie.

I shook my head and dragged my eyes away from the warm brown eyes about a foot above mine across the space between us.

"I'm afraid I need your answer Dawid."

We all sat down and Geldenhuys motioned for Freek to take the remaining chair. I felt trapped. I could feel the plans that I had been working on since I was Shawnie's age, begin to crumble around me. The only way that I could see it working is I agreed and waited until I could get my hands on the R500,000 and then disappear as I originally intended.

"I'll do it." 

I didn't ask about the money although that question was uppermost in my mind. Would it come into my account? Would it be in another account, with me having access to it as needed? I would have to wait and see.


I looked straight ahead as the three of us, me, Shawnie and Freek walked out of the office. Freek took us over to the Twin Cab Bakkie (ute) that stood in the sun in the parking lot of the lawyer's office.

“I had your luggage put on the back, I hope you don’t mind,” Freek said as he clicked the remote central locking. Shawnie hopped in the back so I supposed it was my queue to slide into the front next to Freek. The inside was spotless and smelled pleasantly of a pine deodorant which hung from the rear view mirror. The interior was, however, stinking hot and Freek opened all the windows as he switched the aircon on. He put the vehicle into reverse and we were on our way “home”. 

Although the town had changed quite a bit in the seven years that I had been away, we were soon on the outskirts, where the old familiar road to our (my?) farm, remained exactly as it had always been. Freek took the opportunity to update me on all the latest farm news and although I did my best to keep up I felt my eyes glazing over. It struck me that Shawnie kept the conversation going with all the right questions and it became clear to me that he knew exactly what Freek was talking about.

When there was a lull in the endless stream of useless info (I would hopefully not be around long enough to have to genuinely take any of the day to day humdrum of farm living and management on board) Freek pulled the Bakkie over into the shade by the road.

“Sorry boys, I have to take a pee. I had far too much coffee while I was waiting for our appointment at the lawyer and I’m not going to make it back to the farm.”

“Me too,” Shawnie piped up and hopped out as well. I had to be honest and confess that I was also bursting, so the three of us went behind a row of trees and stood next to each other and took out our cocks. I was a bit shy to urinate in front of the other two but Shawnie had no issues and while I was still trying to get over my piss shyness, he was sending a graceful arc of pee into the sunlit afternoon. 

Freek wasn’t to be outdone and tried his best to cross streams with Shawnie. Abruptly I was transported back to that moment seven years ago when Freek had stopped the car to take a piss, much like today, and I stared in fascination at the solid cock that he had pulled out of his fly. I remembered clearly how he had pulled the foreskin back and I had been fascinated by the fact, since I was circumcised. 

I glanced out of the corner of my eye to see if I could catch sight of his cock and found his eyes twinkling into mine. He had a broad smile on his dial and I couldn’t believe how brightly his amber eyes caught the sun.

I looked away quickly and felt blood rush to my ears. I closed my eyes and concentrated on getting a flow going but found that it was becoming more difficult due to the fact that the blood that hadn’t rushed to my ears seemed to be pooled in my dick, which was rapidly beginning to lengthen and expand.

“Nice piece you have there, Dawid! He seems to want to play in the fresh farm air,” he said, a friendly smile in his voice.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I stammered. 

“No worries, Dawid, mine gets hard all the time. Freek warned me it would be like that once I started to get ball hairs.”

“Look, mine is feeling frisky too. Looks like we will have to take some time to let them taste a bit of freedom!” Freek turned towards me and his impressive cock was beginning to point it’s moist head out at me from beneath it’s foreskin. I felt panic begin to rise in me and although I had as yet not succeeded in pissing, I tucked my cock away and hastily turned to all but dash back to the truck. I saw Freek shrug at Shawnie from the corner of my eye and they finished up pissing and soon joined me in the relative cool of the cab, although the heat in my face and ears didn’t allow me to enjoy it much.

“I’m sorry if I embarrassed you, Dawid,” Freek said kindly. “It was just a bit of fun.”

“My Name is David!” I hissed and we spent the rest of the trip to the farmhouse in awkward silence.


As we drove up to the house that I grew up in, my heart shut down. I think it was in self-defense, because the ghosts of my mom and dad were rising from the graves of my guilty conscience and threatening to eat me alive. Shawnie and Freek got out of the bakkie and although they were somber, they still chatted like two people who knew each other and got on really well.

Freek took my luggage off the back of the vehicle and walked around to find me still sitting in the passenger seat, staring straight ahead. I hadn’t even taken off my seat belt.

“Dawid...David, are you ok?” he said through the open window, his hand resting near my shoulder.

I shook my head a little but didn’t look at him. I felt frozen in the seat and couldn’t even move my hands, which lay on my lap like two dead pigeons.

“I can’t go in there,” I said when I could finally force my lips to move.

Freek just waited patiently for me to continue. Shawnie stood behind him and I could feel, more than see, the worried look on his face.

“I left them without even saying goodbye. I thought that I would always be able to come back if I wanted to but now it’s too late.”

My words rang like a solemn church bell. There was no denying it so Freek said nothing.

“I can’t go in there,” I repeated and looked down at my lap.

Shawnie’s voice, when he spoke, was kind and reasonable, like a lighthouse on the shore on a misty night.

“David, you know Ma and Pa didn’t blame you for leaving. They spoke about you often and although they knew where you were and what you were doing, they never spoke one bad word about you – well, not that I heard, anyway."

"They knew where I was? What I was doing?"

"Yes, didn't you know?" Shawnie's voice betrayed his surprise.

"Oh God, I'm so ashamed. Pa must have been so disappointed in me."

Freek's voice was even and kind.

"No David, he knew you were a successful businessman. When you bought your first one, they were so happy that they celebrated as if it was their own success."

"So they didn't know about...?" I couldn't finish.

Freek's continued gently.

"Yes, Dawid, they knew, but your Ma told me later that they knew you would pull yourself together. They believed in you."

"Oh God I'm so disappointed in myself. I can't go in there."

"You can stay with me in my digs in the manager's cottage. Shawnie has been staying there with me because he hasn't wanted to be alone now that the house is so empty."

That was a new addition. There was no manager's house when I was here.


I got out of the twin cab and let them lead the way to a small building just to the right of the big barn where I rode my first pony and played with my first lamb. It was a mark of how long I had been away, that the building didn't look new anymore. It was surrounded by young trees that managed to make it blend in with the comfortable farm feel of the rest of the "opstal" (farm house).

Like Freek, his cottage was tidy. There were nice touches everywhere, unusual stuff for a guy. There were flowers on the dining room table, intermingled with stalks of wheat from the fields and a bunch of eucalyptus branches lay next to the arrangement, filling the air with the fresh, cool fragrance.

Freek bustled in with my bags.

"I'm sorry Freek, I didn't think to help you," I said dully.

"Hey, boetie (little brother), I think you may be in a little bit of shock. You've just realised what's going on properly and it's not easy. Shawnie and I have had some time to process the news."

Suddenly I felt weak and I had to sit down. Shawnie saw I was collapsing and he slid a dining chair under my butt.

Freek brought me a glass of sugar water and put it in my hands.

"I don't know what's the matter with me," I mumbled, and my confused thoughts strove to arrange themselves into some logical order.

"Just take it easy, Buddy, give yourself some space. We got you."

Shawnie was standing just behind me with his hands on my shoulders and I felt him stroke my neck just above my collar. Goosebumps sprang up all over my body and I felt my cock stir in my pants. 

What kind of fucking monster was I? My parents were just dead – not even buried yet, and I was springing a boner cos my brother stroked my neck!  – 

"Don't do that Shawnie, it makes me feel uncomfortable," I whispered. "Do you guys mind if I take a nap? I feel really tired all of a sudden."

"Sure buddy. I'll show you where the bed is," Freek said and gripped me by the elbow to help me up. His hand on my arm also gave me goosebumps and I wrenched it away from him, too violently, which I immediately regretted.

“It’s ok, I can manage,” I whispered, hoping that I would.

His bed was a huge four poster. I was puzzled as to what a single man might want with such a thing. I was expecting the basics and he made his house a home. There was crisp white linen on the pillows and as I lay down with my head on one, Freek started to take my shoes off. I tried to stop him but he shushed me and I gave in. My last thought, as I drifted off, was that he smelled nice: of sweat, Ego and sunshine. 


I kind of woke to hear voices from the kitchen. It was hard to make out exactly what they were saying, and I wasn’t really trying, but the tone caught my attention. 

“I like him. He can be an asshole but I think deep down he’s like his dad,” Shawnie’s said.

“Baby, we must be careful around him, he might not understand.” Freek’s voice was gentle and… there was a quality that I couldn’t place, but I was still waking up. He sounded… intimate.

Wait a minute...Baby? 

Maybe I was still dreaming or maybe I didn’t hear right. I tried to get upright and the bed creaked. A head appeared around the door frame. Freek’s smile was friendly.

“Hey buddy, did you have a good sleep?”

The rest of his body appeared and he leaned against the door frame, his solid farmer’s body looking strong and reassuring. 

“Wanna join us for something to eat? Shawnie is trying to poison us with his cooking talents!”

“Hey, that’s  not fair – you know I’m a better cook than you ‘Freek the Freak’!”

Freek disappeared around back into the kitchen and a squeal reverberated through the building.

“I told you I’d tickle you to death if you called me that again you little shit!”

Shawnie’s breathless yells made me smile.

“Oh God, no, please – Oh God Freak, I mean Freek, Oh noooooo…..!”

There was a crash and I flew out of bed to see what the damage was. In the kitchen I found them on the floor, with Freek anchoring Shawnie to the ground, his face a mere millimeter away from the red-faced teen’s. He was sitting on Shawnie’s hips and pinning his arms on either side of his head. They were laughing their asses off.

The beautiful arrangement was a distant memory, amidst the shattered glass of the clear bowl where it had lived. It didn’t seem to matter – they looked beautiful together, and my heart contracted with sudden jealousy at their friendship. The words I heard when I thought I was dreaming drifted into my head. Baby?

Freek got off Shawnie and it was very clear to me that the teenager was sporting wood. Freek also turned away from me and adjusted himself when he thought I wasn’t looking. What the fuck was going on here? I couldn’t believe what my screwed up mind seemed to be telling me. Maybe I was just imagining it all.

“David, have some of my meatballs,” Shawnie said and then snorted and apologised.

“Sorry that just sounded wrong,” followed by a giggle. His face was bright red. The kid was pretty as a girl, his cute curly blonde hairstyle framing his soft pink lips and cheeks that were flushed with something or another. I shook my head to clear it of the weird thoughts that plagued me out of the blue and walked over to the sink.

“Do you mind if I have some water, before we eat Freek?”

“Sure, David, sit down and I’ll get it for you.”

He pulled out the chair that I’d collapsed on earlier and I sat down gratefully. He placed the water at my right hand and Shawnie put a steaming plate of spaghetti and meatballs down in front of me. It smelled wonderful and I realised I was ravenous.

“When’s the funeral? I asked in a monotone, looking straight at my plate.

“It’s tomorrow morning at 10h00. It will be held at the NG church in town and then your folks will be buried here on the farm, under the weeping willow by the stream."

I remembered that tree. As a family we used to sit there and Pa and I would fish and ma would feed the birds and knit. I never thought it would become a graveyard. I didn't realise that I had frozen in place until Freek roused me.

"Eat your food, David, you'll need your strength."

I scratched at the delicious heap and slowly developed a rhythm.

"Will you say something at the service?" Shawnie asked.

"Say something? Me, say something?"

I paused and gave it some thought.

"Say something about how I ran away and broke my parents' hearts by becoming a thief? You know, Freek," I said, for the first time looking up at the kind face that was across from me. "you were the first person I stole from, but you don't remember that, do you? You gave me a lift and while you were outside, pissing, I emptied your wallet and put it back."

With a small grimace Freek slowly nodded his head.

"I recognised you the moment I saw you."

"You did? And why are you so kind to me? Why aren't you making me pay back the money I stole from you?" My voice rose with indignation.

"Your dad paid me back although I asked him not to bother. When they started asking around who saw you on the day you disappeared, I eventually heard about it and came forward.That's how I met your folks. When my dad died and we lost our farm, your parents knew I was looking for work, and they offered me the job as farm manager. You were the reason we met in the first place. I should thank you."

I just shook my head and said nothing for a while.

"No, I don't think I should say something tomorrow. I'll just embarrass myself and everybody else."

Shawnie was sitting next to me at the table close enough to put his hand on mine, which he did. This time I didn't pull away.

"We'll be there with you ouboet (big brother)."

At last I felt a dam break in me and I cried bitter tears, my snot and spit drooling into my bowl of spaghetti. My shoulders hunched forward and it felt like my stomach tried to force itself out of my mouth. Neither Shawnie nor Freek said anything. Freek just put his hand on my other hand and the three of us just sat like that while I finally allowed myself to feel the loss of my beloved parents.

At last I was empty. Freek got up and walked around to stand behind me. At first he just put his hand on my shoulder and then leaned forward and put his arms around me, hugging me from behind. I let him do it because it felt good and he was a strong guy that made me feel safe and protected. But then he put his face in my neck and I could feel his warm breath against my ear. His stubble scraped my skin and I leaned into his face with mine, my head thrown back. He gently kissed me in the sensitive skin under my ear, and then pulled back. 

He patted me on the shoulder in a companionable way and I 'came to' with a mild shock. I realised that my cock was hard in my jeans and that I was breathing quickly, my heart beating in my chest. He appeared in my line of sight and my confusion must have been evident on my face because he smiled kindly.

"Sometimes a little human contact is all we need to make us feel mench again. We have your back, Dawid."


We just sat around talking about nothing in particular until it was about 9pm. I was really tired, and was thinking about sleeping. It suddenly struck me that if we were all to sleep in here, there was only one bed and the couch might be big enough for Shawnie but neither Freek nor I would be able to fit on it.

"Um, Freek, maybe I'll have to sleep in the farmhouse after all..."

"Why Man? I thought you didn't want to?"

"Well, there's nowhere to sleep. Only one bed...!"

I didn’t expect Shawnie to be the one to answer.

“It’s a Kingsize extra length, so there’s plenty of space for all three of us.”

Freek left the room then to go and take a piss. I lowered my voice and looked at Shawnie like he was fucked in the head.

“Have you been sleeping in the bed with Freek? Man what would Pa and Ma have thought of that?”

“Oh, I did it all the time. When they went away for a weekend or they wanted some ‘alone time’ I would often skedaddle over here and hang out with Freek.”

“Dude, that’s just weird. He’s like twice your age. It’s not natural for a teenager like you to hang out with an adult guy like this.”

Freek walked back into the room and his jovial voice almost gave me a heart attack.

“Actually, I’m 27 Buddy, and age is just a number. Shawnie is quite mature for a 14 year old, or maybe I’m just immature for a 27 year old.”

“Or maybe both!” Shawnie piped up.

“Still, guys, what would the people say if they knew? It’s not natural.”

“Well you can go and sleep in the farmhouse if you want to, big brother, but I’m staying right here. I like it here. I don’t feel like the house is so big it has to be haunted.”

“David, Buddy, it’s cool. Whatever you decide to do, it’s ok with me. Maybe if you were going to be staying here a month it would get crowded, but if you’re going to move back into the farmhouse at some point, what harm is one night? The bed is big. If it bothers you that much I can make a bed in the lounge with one of the camping stretchers. We can even draw straws to decide who sleeps on it,” he chuckled.

Suddenly I felt foolish for making such a big deal about it but something niggled at the back of my mind. Besides, I wasn’t going to be around long enough to care what happened here or where I slept. As soon as I had the money I would be history. America, here I come! I couldn’t wait.

"Guys I'd like to turn in. I'm really tired from the bus ride and everything else. Do you mind if I use the bathroom – take a shower?"

"Sure," said Freek, "there are clean towels in the cupboard under the handbasin. Use whatever you want."

"Just not my toothbrush," Shawnie chimed in and giggled. "If you don't have one use Freek's."

"I have my own toothbrush, you moron," I growled and punched him lightly on the arm.

I dug my toiletries bag out of my luggage and went into the bathroom. First I just wanted to take a long piss and enjoy the feeling of relief at emptying my bladder. I was just about to finish when Shawnie knocked on the door and didn't wait to enter. He pulled his dick out right there while I tried to gather my wits enough to say something. I couldn't help but look at what he was doing and he looked up at me with a coy expression on his face.

"Do you like what you see, sailor?" he lisped and batted his eyelids. 'He has really pretty eyes,' I thought absently.

"Sheesh, Shawnie, can't a bloke even take a piss in private?" Then I saw the size of his dick. He was very blessed for his age. For any age, mind you.

"Shit, bro, I hope that thing doesn't get any bigger or you won't be able to walk without carrying it in a wheelbarrow."

He squealed with laughter and pulled the foreskin back and wiggled it in my direction.

"Be careful or it'll come and eat you in the night," he warned, his voice mock-ominous.

I couldn't help myself.

"Seriously, how big does that thing get? I hope you're a shower, not a grower, or you'll split somebody open with that thing some day."

"Some day?" he said and wiggled his eyebrows. "Why wait until then?"

He put out his hand and cupped my ass which was of course within easy reach.

“What the fuck, Dude? Get away from me!” In my haste I zipped up too quickly and fuck me if I didn’t get my foreskin caught in my zipper.

"Oh shit, fuck, shit shit shit shit SHIT! Now look what you've made me do you little pervert!"

Shawnie's raucous laughter changed to alarmed apologies. Of course Freek heard and had to come and investigate.

"What's the matter guys, is everything alright? What – ?"

""Dawid has zipped his willie up and he can't get it out!"

"Jesus, can't you remember I want to be called David?" I yelled, although the absurdity of insistence on my name change, at that very moment wasn't lost on me.

"Let me see, buddy, let me see if I can help you!"

"Get away from me, for fucks sake," I shouted as Freek put his hand on my shoulder to turn me to face him. I was desperately trying to dislodge my tender bits from my zip, but to no avail.

"Oh fuck it hurts," I all but cried. "Wait until I get my hands on you, you little shit," I hissed at Shawnie. He didn't seem at all intimidated and snorted.

"If you can ever walk again. Maybe you'll have to wear that same pair of pants for the rest of your life?" I feared he might be right as I still failed to remove my cock from the unforgiving teeth.

"Shawnie, behave yourself. Let me see David." Reluctantly I turned around and Freek kneeled in front of me. Shawnie snorted again.

"While you're down there –  Just saying," he ducked as I took a swipe at him and I winced with pain as I mostly made my situation worse.

"I'm going to have to touch your penis, David, is that OK?"

"Just fucking get it over with. This is the worst thing that has happened to me in my whole fucking LIFE!" 

Freek gently removed my protective hand from in front of my fly, and tenderly took my dick in his hand. It was the first time that another man had handled my cock, but there was nothing sexy about it – only embarrassment and acute pain.

"Going commando has its disadvantages, hey bru?" Shawnie quipped again, stroking his dick absently, while looking appreciatively at the process that was unfolding in my trouser region.

"Shawnie, put your dick away and go and do something useful. Get me the first aid kit in the cupboard in the kitchen. You know where it is, right?"

"Okay, just keep your pants on," the teen snorted, "Oh yeah, right, you're never taking them off again, EVER!"

"So fucking help me, Shawnie, you are so fucking dead!"

"Just keep still, David, I'm going to have to just pull it out, and put some antiseptic on, because if I try and move the zip downward, it's just going to make things worse, is that ok?"

I just nodded and my stomach clenched in anticipation. Shawnie came back with the first aid kit and seemed to have come to his senses.

"Sorry big brother, I didn't mean for anything like this to happen. I'll make it up to you, I promise." 

I didn't say anything. Then he came up behind me and put his hands around my waist and when I was distracted by the sudden show of affection, Freek sharply yanked my dick out of the zip and I almost went through the roof with pain.

"Oh fuck shit fuck shit FUCK!!!!" I  screamed and if anybody was anywhere within ten kilometers they would think that somebody was being dismembered alive.

"Shawnie, pass me the cotton wool and the antiseptic."

The little shit complied and Freek gently dabbed the blood that was more or less pouring out of the gash in my foreskin, just below the frenulum, and then applied some bactroban on it with his finger. I didn't know what was worse: the embarrassment or the actual pain. Probably the former.

"No wanking tonight, doctor's orders," Shawnie the fucking comedian volunteered.

"Shawnie, behave yourself," Freek said and there was steel in his voice.

"I'm sorry, I just can't help it. But David, I think you should listen to the doctor, otherwise you could hurt yourself even worse!" He ran out of the bathroom into the kitchen. "I'm sorry I couldn't resist!"

"Ignore him. Looks like the bleeding has more or less stopped. I think your pride and joy will be ok." He gently pulled the foreskin forward and pulled my jeans down. 

"Step out of these. Shawnie, bring me one of my tracksuit pants...!" He called into the lounge area.

"Ok, I'll be right there." came the reply.

"You don't need to do that, the blood will ruin your pants."

"It's nothing. You have to have it swinging freely, so that it doesn't chafe on anything. I'll have another look at it tomorrow to see if there's any permanent damage although I don't think there will be."

Shawnie walked into the bathroom just as I stepped out of my jeans, buck naked.

"Did I miss anything? Shit, big bro, you have a nice ass. Just saying,"

I was so fucking tired that I didn't bother to reply.

I leaned on Freeks shoulder, and he helped me to step into the pants. He pulled them tenderly up over my ass.

"You know, he's right, you do have a nice ass," he murmured and looked up at me from his position kneeling on the floor in front of me.

'Jesus, what have I gotten myself into,'  I wondered and shook my head in exasperation.

"Just get the fuck away from me. I need to sleep," I said softly. Far too much excitement for one day.

But I had to sleep in the bed with them. 


I needn’t have worried. The big day got the better of us and before I had even put my head down on the pillow, Freek and Shawnie were already breathing deeply and regularly. I was on one side and Freek on the other with Shawnie in the middle. I did wake up in the night with Freek’s arm draped across me from behind, his soft cock against my ass, and Shawnie’s ass in my crotch, but nobody was getting up to no good so I just went with the flow because it felt good and safe and I was exhausted.

The birds woke us up just before dawn. I’d forgotten just how many and how loud they are on a Free State farm. The little fuckers cleared their throats and started shouting at each other long before any normal guy would develop a piss-hardon.

Talking of which, I was aware that my dick was feeling a bit sensitive. Nonetheless I was the first in the loo to relieve myself, followed not long after by  Freek.

“Hey Buddy, how’s it hanging?”

“Good man, just a bit tender, but I’ll be ok.”

“Let me take a look, David, I don’t want it to get infected.”

“Shit man, that’s kinda awkward, don’t you think? I mean, it’s kinda personal, you know.”

Freek just looked at me with his eyes twinkling.

“David, you gotta know, I am gay. I like dick, but that’s not why I want to take a close up peek at yours.”

“What the fuck, you’re gay? No way in fucking hell you’re touching my dick, or even looking at it. Jesus --  fuck man, that's disgusting!”

Freek stood up, looked at me and I could see that I’d really hurt him. His mouth was pulled into a little tight grimace and his eyes shone with tears.

“Shit man, I didn't mean it like that. I didn’t mean –”

“Yes you did, David. The same as my brother did when I told him – I don’t know why I do it to myself.” He turned around and walked out of the door.

I tried not to let myself feel guilty, after all, he’d sprung the gay thing on me right after asking if he could inspect my wiener. I mean any guy would be wondering what the deal was, right?

I didn’t have time to obsess about it. It was the morning of the funeral and there was a lot to do. Everything carried on as ‘normal’ between us all, except Freek didn’t joke around so much. Shawnie seemed unaware of what was going on since Freek was kind and caring with him as always. He helped the teen dress for the funeral, discouraging him from wearing his normal hoodie and takkies (trainers), opting instead for an open shirt and a pair of smart pants and shoes. 

It was hot and I didn’t relish the thought of getting into anything formal but I knew that it was expected of me and I also knew I would be under scrutiny by all and sundry, as the son who had run away, leaving his parents to die in a motor wreck.

To be honest I was thinking of ditching the whole show. I wasn’t sure if R500,000 was even worth it. Just the fact that I had to face all the old townsfolk – my parents’ friends – was more than intimidating. They must hate me for what I did to my Pa and Ma. Two finer people you could never have hoped for.

Anyway, there was nothing to do now but go through with it. I had let too much time go by making up my mind. Now there was no option left but to go through with it. I took a deep breath and walked out of the bathroom where I brushed my teeth before we were due to leave.

“You ok, big brother,” Shawnie asked softly. 

As before I was struck by how beautiful his eyes were. His clean, blonde fringe swept down and to the right, framing his perfectly symmetrical face, and showing off his sparkling baby blues like two expensive sapphire earrings on a velvet cushion. I felt affection stir in my gut. I walked up to him and pulled him to me. His head came to a perfect height, his fragrant, just shampooed hair resting just below my nose.

“We’re going to be ok, little Bro,” I whispered into his crown, while being acutely aware that my heart was beating like a jackhammer at having him near. His whole body was making contact with me from top to bottom, and the warmth that radiated between us could have lit a furnace.

He lifted his face and looked into my eyes and his pink lips were moist and parted. There was a question in his eyes that was answered by the response of my body to his proximity.

Freek walked in and I was tempted to pull away but Shawnie sensed my intention and pulled me closer, hugging the breath out of me. Freek’s eyes were kind and warm when he looked at us. He walked closer and stood behind Shawnie and reached forward and hugged me around the teen. I looked at him, regret and guilt etched in my eyes, but he shook his head and warmth and forgiveness radiated from him. Shawnie sighed as he was sandwiched between our two masculine bodies, and I absorbed the muscular safety of Freek’s strong embrace.

Confusion threatened to ambush me from behind the wall of my preconceived ideas about myself, but I closed my eyes to the implication and just enjoyed the feeling of safety I experienced with these two.

“We’ve gotta go to the church, guys,” Freek whispered in my ear. My nipples contracted and I could feel the material of my shirt rub against them as Shawnie pulled away. He noticed them protrude and gave them a playful pinch. I slapped his hand away lightly and shoved him softly away. He pouted his lips at me and grabbed his crotch and wiggled the substantial basket at me. It was clear that his sausage was hanging halfway down his thigh and that the little shit was going commando.

“Fuck, Shawnie, don’t you have any shame? It’s a funeral for fuck’s sake.”

He pouted and I had an unwelcome picture of me sucking on his moist bottom lip. I took a strengthening breath and pulled myself upright. This was getting out of hand. I needed to play the game and keep the main thing, the main thing. There were too many unpredictable things happening to me – I needed to take the money and run, and getting attached to my “brother” wasn’t on the cards. Besides he messed with my mind and brought up all sorts of doubts that didn’t fit with my image of myself. Before it got too bad I needed to make like a Banana and split.

By this time we were at the twin cab and I made Shawnie sit in front. I needed to think and conserve my energy. The once familiar road to the church played by me like a movie and my mind went back to another chapter in my life: Sunday mornings when Ma, Pa and myself went off to the familiar building with the impressive steeple, to mingle with all the people that I assumed I would be seeing this morning. Like now, I had always felt uncomfortable dressed like an undertaker in my formal clothes. I hated the way that folks rubbed my head like it was their property. I assumed at least that would be a thing of the past, now that I was a man.

I felt a strong sense of deja vu as we drove up the tree lined drive towards the parking lot. As I feared, there were hordes of friends and well-wishers already there, and I steeled myself for the onslaught.  

When we got out of the bakkie and into the blazing hot Free State sunlight, the welcome chill of the aircon inside the twin cab was soon a distant memory. I felt my shirt instantly drenched with sweat that poured out of me, whether from nerves or heat, I didn't know. Maybe both.

As I walked up the gravel path towards the old stone church that shone blindingly in the morning sun, and with every step my heart sank deeper into my shoes. The edifice stood aloof, looking up at the heavens like a great, disapproving authority figure that wanted to avoid my gaze.

As we approached the front door to the church, Freek and Shawnie flanked me on either side. Freek had his hand on my shoulder as we walked in and Shawnie actually had his arm linked with mine. The three of us entered the cool room and organ music trailed mournfully through the air like mothballs when you opened a closet after a long time. 

The Dominee (minister) saw us and walked up to us from where he was talking to somebody else. He recognised Freek and Shawnie first, and when the realisation hit him who I was his face cracked into a warm, welcoming smile. His hand, when he gripped mine, was cool and dry, and he held on to mine with both his while he looked into my eyes with deeply sincere sorrow.

“David,” (I didn’t say anything) “it is so good to see you. I am just sorry that it has to be under such tragic circumstances. Dag Freek (good day Freek), goeie môre (good morning) Shawnie.”

He walked with us towards the front of the church, and quite a few people were already seated. They nodded at us and I could see recognition dawn on their faces as they saw me. Nowhere did I see anything but friendliness and welcome. 

The moment we were seated, the minister walked to the front of the sanctuary and cleared his throat. The organ music stopped.

"Brothers and sisters, it is with a heavy heart that we gather here today to say goodbye to our beloved friends..." His voice faded in my attention and I found my mind drifting.