By "Mike"

Text Reader:


"I know. I'm sorry Coop - Mr. West. I was treating your father's horse at the vet clinic. Couldn't help it.", Justy replied, out of breath from the fast drive and running as fast as he could from his truck.

"Three minutes. Three licks. Get up here!"

"Cooper, I was helping Dr. Bristol jack off your dad's stallion. We have to jack him every three days and freeze the sperm." The rest of the guys laughed quietly at the idea and the mental picture it produced.

"Your problem. Not mine. Let's go!" He was holding the paddle impatiently.

"ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!" Justy demanded. He had had enough of this pledging shit.

"It's four licks now!"

"WELL LET'S MAKE IT FIVE", Justy shouted, making his way to the front of the bar. "BECAUSE YOU ARE AN UNGRATEFUL, DRUNKEN PIECE OF SHIT!"


It was the week four pledge meeting. Cooper wasn't drunk yet, although he was well on his way. The board members had talked to him about the drinking and laying off Barney, Grady and some others, to stop the verbal insults and to "stick to paddling". There had to be a reason they couldn't just remove him, but no one knew what it was.

Justy took his wallet and his dip can full of chili petines out of the back pockets of his Wranglers and slammed them down on a table. He bent over sideways to his pledge class, shaking his head.

"Grab your ankles, Phelps!"

Justy spread his legs, bent over, put his fingers in the loops of his boots and steadied his stance.


Justy rolled his eyes and grabbed the ankles of his boots. This was a show of power. The position was slightly less stable, more vulnerable and more humbling.

"You know, Justy, technically I should give you ten. It's double lick night, but as usual, I guess I'll let my sympathy get the best of me."

"I thought you were supposed to call me 'Phelps' ", Justy said angrily, bracing for the licks to come. Suddenly, hands went up from several of the pledges and a few of the actives in the back of the room.

"I'll take one of his licks!" The offer was repeated several times.

"Thanks guys. But I want to remember all five of these ten days from now.", Justy shouted, glaring back at Cooper.

Cooper knew well what Justy was talking about. Immediately after the chaps ceremony at the picnic, when the pledges become actives, it was customary for the pledge class to overpower their pledge trainer and deliver a good-natured revenge chapping. Chapping is an old west custom among ranch cowboys, where a junior cowboy or new hired hand is wrestled to the ground by the group and held down while another cowboy takes a pair of leather chaps folded at the waist, and swings it overhead, landing across the restrained cowboy's backside. The number and severity of the licks depends on the "offense", most likely a birthday or an "initiation". The custom is seldom if ever used as a punishment, as it was in olden days, but is kept alive annually at the Wrangler picnic.

Woody came out from behind the bar for a better view. Always a treat to see Justy get paddled.

Cooper took a swig of his bourbon, slammed the bottle down on a the table next to Justy's wallet and dip can and lined up the paddle on Justy's butt.

"Count these out!"

"Yes, sir" Justy replied sarcastically over his shoulder.


Justy was used to how much it hurt. But it was always a shock.

"ONE, sir!"


"TWO, sir!"


Justy took in the full effect of the third lick, waiting a few seconds to count it.

"THREE, sir!"

Cooper could feel the anger in the room directed at him. Even the actives in the back of the room were shaking their heads. The room was with Justy and against him, and for once, he knew it. He moved away from Justy to the middle of the room.

"I think we'll leave it at the original three. You can get up." He said generously, in an effort to play to the crowd.

"The deal was FIVE, Mr. West!" Justy shouted back, through clenched teeth, still bent over.

"Have it your way", Cooper replied, once again moving into position.


"FOUR, sir." Justy was energized by the massive support in the room.


"FIVE, sir. THANK YOU, sir", standing up and glaring at Cooper as the words came out, firmly shaking Cooper's hand. He retrieved his wallet and dip can and moved back to his seat on the bench, channeling the pain as he had learned to do. There were tears in his eyes from the pure pain of the five hard licks, but he could also feel the admiration from the other guys in the room. He sat down as though he didn't feel it, refusing to react to it, as he slowly ground his flaming ass into the wooden bench. His jiggling legs were the only outward sign that his ass was on fire.

The rest of the meeting was brief - there were no missed questions and no licks given. Apparently, paddling does work.

"Are there any questions?" a staggering Cooper stammered out. Barney Dobbs raised his hand.


Barney stood up and turned away from Cooper and turned towards Justy, directing his question to him.

"J-Justy? How do you j-jack off a horse?" The room erupted in laughter. Everyone but Cooper.

Justy rose from his bench, the fire raging in his ass. He refused to rub it.

"It's easy. You actually don't touch anything. You pen him behind a mare who's ready. When he tries to mount, you slip in a fake horse vagina with a container inside. He never knows the difference. Then we label it and freeze it."

Foreman Andy moved to the front of the room, shaking his head and smiling from Justy's story.

"Gentlemen, the actives have something special planned for you tonight."

There was a group groan throughout the room.

"It's Game Night! We've got pool, poker, darts, dice and other amusements for you, and refreshments at the bar. The actives will direct you. Have a good time, and good luck!"

The actives gathered around them and directed them to various stations in the bar. Justy was invited to play pool along with an active. He was not especially good at pool, but accepted the invitation.

"Winner plays the next challenger, Justy.", the active said.

"What does the loser get?" Justy asked, fairly certain of the answer.

"Loser gets a lick. From Woody."

"Shit", Justy said, glancing over at Woody, his arms folded, with an evil grin on his face. "So your ass is on the line too?'

"That's right. You break."

Justy started the game, as Woody watched all the activities from behind the bar. Justy's ass was still on fire from the five licks and Woody knew it. He had the hard on to prove it, as Justy bent over the table to make his shots. Justy knew the active well, and took an early lead. It was a friendly game despite the consequence of losing. At about five minutes into the game, the sound of a hard swat rang out, as a pledge brother took a swat from an active. Soon there was another one from somewhere else in the room. It came down to Justy's winning shot, which he sank easily, bending way over the table.

"Woody!" another active yelled, "We need you at the pool table!"

Justy worried that he was not supposed to win, as the active removed his wallet and prepared to bend over the pool table. Where's the catch?

"Good game, Justy" he said as Woody approached them, a shot of bourbon in one hand and his paddle in the other. He set the shot down, stood to the left of the active and


laid one of his signature hard swats on his ass. The active slowly stood up and accepted the bourbon shot from Woody, shaking his hand.

"Nick. Was I not supposed to do that? Are pledges not supposed to win any of these?" he whispered to the active, who was feeling the swat's full, fiery effect. "I figured I'd get the lick no matter what."

"No. Don't worry". Nick said, trying to concentrate. "This is a fair competition. It's supposed to be a bonding exercise. SHIT THAT HURTS! Congratulations."

The two shook hands, as Justy felt another active lead him to a seat at a poker table. It was the same poker table where the swat had rung out earlier, and Justy took the other pledge's place. Justy ordered a bourbon and coke to nurse the pain in his ass. The game was called "Red Ass" and was a simple seven card draw hand, with a mean twist. The low hand left at the table got a swat from the winner. Justy folded on a full house, not wanting to risk it. He saw later that he would have won had he taken the risk. The dealer bluffed his way to the very end with a ridiculously low hand, and ended up getting a lick from another active who took a chance on a weak hand, before sitting down and dealing a new hand.

Justy drank several more bourbon and cokes through various games, including poker and a mean dice game someone called "Swatzi", which was a take on "Yahtzi", where two dice were rolled. If you rolled doubles, you lucked out and got no swats and could pass the dice to the next man. Otherwise, the dice were added together and you got anywhere from three to eleven swats. This game produced the most swats by far, and was also the most popular game with pledges and actives alike. Justy played it late into the evening, both giving and receiving swats, rolling doubles, and drinking bourbon shots.

"Justy, I think you need to get a ride home", Woody told him as the crowd started to thin.

"Okay", Justy slurred. "I'll call Randy. It'll make his night."

Randy pulled up in a few minutes to drive Justy home.

"How was tonight? You're almost through it. Did you have to roll dice?", Randy asked, smiling.

"Oh yeah. I don't know how many licks I got."

Randy smiled, sympathetically.

"That's where the licks really mount up. We had guys getting twenty and thirty in a night".

"You remember I told you Doc Bristol and I are having to jack Mr. West's stallion every three days?"

"Yes", Randy said, laughing.

"Well, I was three minutes late because of it and Cooper gave me licks for it."

"You're fucking kidding me."

"That's what I said."

"Asshole. Are you guys going to chap him after the picnic?"

"Of course we are!", Justy slurred, "Though he'll probably slip out the door before we get the chance."

"I didn't say this," Randy said cautiously, turning onto the road, "but my guys let the air out of my tires so I couldn't leave before they cornered me. Once they got me, they held me down while they took turns taking swings at my ass. I don't know how many licks they gave me, but I deserved every one. I was such a prick to those guys. One word of advice..."

"Yeah?" Justy slurred sleepily.

"Don't use your new chaps, they're too stiff. Take the ones that are hanging over the fireplace at Woody's - the ones with the past pledge trainers' signatures on them. And, trust me on this, saddlesoap them good so they're flexible. Makes a huge difference."

"Thanks. Will do."

Randy continued driving, finally looking over at Justy as he pulled into his driveway. Justy was sound asleep against the window. He gently shook his leg to wake him up and sent him in to bed.

"Thanks for calling me." he said. "I worry about you guys."


"So just how straight is this Justy guy?"

It was Tom from LA in Woody's apartment, the morning of the picnic. Tom had picked up a load going to Jacksonville, Florida and timed it so that he could get in a two-day visit with Woody. He had pulled into town mid morning, rented a car at the truck stop, and was checked into the Motel 6. Tom was staring at Justy and the other pledges through binoculars, as they worked to get Woody's back yard ready for the picnic in a couple of hours.

"As an arrow. Hands off all these guys. I told you you could watch from my apartment, but that's it. This is members only. I'll bring you some barbecue." Woody cautioned.

"Bullshit.", Tom said, focusing the binoculars on Justy's bare chest and back, flexing in a snug pair of Wranglers as he lifted ice chests and helped set up kegs of beer. "You can't be that good looking and be a hundred percent straight "

"He is.", Woody assured. "My radar has picked up on a couple of the others but not him."

"He's a fucking Ken doll," Tom said, tugging at the crotch of his jeans.

"Only he's got genitalia." And Woody knew just how impressive that genitalia was.

Tom continued watching the picnic late into the day as the yard began to fill up with guys. The actives and the alumni didn't wear their chaps, to make the chaps more special for the pledges later. Woody had been smoking brisket with all the trimmings, and there were big containers of corn, salad, beans, and desserts. Tom focused his binoculars on Justy and Grady, carrying their plates to an empty table.

"How can you eat, Justy? Aren't you nervous?", Grady asked.

"Sure. But I'm more excited than nervous. This shit is over, Grady!" Justy shouted.

"It's not over yet. Look at all these guys. Woody said there'd be over seventy guys here. That's seventy licks!"

"Randy said it's not as bad as you think. Most of the guys go light."

Grady pushed his food around a while longer, until the crowd got quiet and the big brothers found their pledges and guided them over to the fence. It was just about dusk after a full afternoon of drinking beer and eating.

"Let's go, guys. You ready for some chaps?" It was Miguel and Walt, Grady's big brother, who guided them over to the rail. They were not next to each other, as they were arranged in alphabetical order. All the pledges were directed to a waiting saddle, as a line of actives slowly started to form on the right. The big brothers stood across the fence to support their pledges. Foreman Andy continued speaking to the crowd.

"Gentlemen, you have completed your pledge ship, and it is our pleasure to welcome you each into the Wrangler organization, in the traditional way, as you have requested. Our thanks to Cooper West for training an excellent group of pledges!"

There was polite applause from mostly alumni, who didn't know Cooper or his methods.

The process proceeded without much fanfare. Every man at the picnic knew what the custom was and was familiar with it, having experienced it. The big brothers were exempted from this custom, as their pledges knew their licks from pledging.

"It's time, Justy. Bend over the saddle.", Miguel said compassionately. Justy saw that beneath the saddle, a pair of brown leather chaps was hanging over the back of the rail. He was a little over halfway down the line, Grady was a few men closer to the front. A loud, sharp lick rang out


followed by some conversation. Shortly afterward, another lick rang out, quickly followed by another. As the actives and alumni moved down the line, more and more paddles were in action. Justy felt his paddle on his butt.


"I'm John Woods, class of '74". Justy rose and shook his hand, as the alum handed Justy's paddle back to Miguel.

"Welcome to Wranglers."

"Thank you.", Justy said proudly, as the sound of licks, some of them hard, landed across the butts of his pledge brothers.

As the line slowly moved to the last pledge, there were as many as twenty one paddles in use at the same time, resulting in a crescendo of loud whacks. Randy looked over to check on things, not wanting to get in line yet. He noticed a middle-aged guy he did not recognize, and knew he had never seen him at a picnic before.

"Do you know who that guy is?", Randy asked a couple of alums he was talking to.

"No," Ivan Parker, Sr. said. "But he's swatting the hell out of these guys."

Randy ran over to investigate, and unfortunately got to him just after he gave Grady an usually hard swat, especially for the picnic. Grady let out a loud yell when it hit, and the big brothers to either side looked over to see who in the hell would hit the pledges that hard.

"Excuse me, sir. I don't think I recognize you.", Randy said, pulling him from the line.

It was Tom, wearing a pair of Woody's boots and one of his hats. He had no answer.

"What year did you graduate?"

"1986", Tom said, looking him in the eye. The line slowed down during the confrontation. That's when Woody saw him and came running.

"Who was Foreman that year?" Randy asked, knowing they had a party crasher.

"I, uh, can't remember." Tom said. Randy calmly pulled him away from the line.

"Listen," Randy said in a low voice. "I want you to walk over to your car and leave quietly. If you leave quietly, there will be nothing further. Otherwise," he said, patting his gun, "I will arrest you for trespassing. Do you understand?"

"Okay." Tom said sheepishly. Woody was pissed, but said nothing as Tom quietly moved to the car he had rented and left without incident. The last thing he wanted was to be connected with Tom.

The pace of licks picked up again, as no less than fifteen hundred licks were delivered in about forty five minutes. Randy joined the line near the end, making sure the party crasher was gone for good. He knew that the pledges were nearly spent, as their big brothers held their shoulders and encouraged them as they met and shook hands with the actives following their licks. Randy gave each pledge a "six", pausing at Justy, and giving him a "seven" that he'd remember him by. The two embraced afterwards.

Foreman Andy Tilden was the end of the line, as was customary, giving a traditionally hard swat. Once Andy reached the end of the line, the crowd broke into applause as all of the new members slowly rose from their saddles and turned around. As the pledges faced the applause, their big brothers removed their chaps from beneath their saddles and crossed the low fence. They fastened them around their waists, and turned them around to buckle them at their thighs. Justy smiled with pride even as the fire raged in his ass. He looked down the line at Grady, and the two exchanged an enthusiastic thumbs up.

There was a period of drinking and toasting until the attention shifted toward Cooper, who was walking angrily toward the growing group of pledges.

"Which one of you fuckwads let the air out of my tires?" Cooper yelled.

"Going somewhere Cooper?" one of the pledges yelled.

"We're not fuckwads anymore. We're Wranglers. Just like you.", another one yelled, as the gang of former pledges circled around Cooper.

"You know guys, I, uh, I was just doing my job! No hard feelings.", Cooper stammered, as two guys grabbed each arm. Cooper put up a fight, but was easily overpowered. The group threw him to the ground, forced his legs apart, and pinned him by his arms and feet. Justy took the chaps from over the fireplace that he had carefully saddle-soaped the day before. The chaps had started out stiff and hard, but soon were soft and flexible, like a big double-thick strap. He handed them to Roy Oatman, the pledge that had taped the photo of Cooper to the back of the urinal a couple of weeks before.

"Cooper, sorry you didn't like your portrait. Thanks for being a total shit about it."

Cooper struggled against the ground as Roy raised the chaps over his head and sent them flying back down across Cooper's defenseless ass in a mighty

"WHOMP". He sent a second swing as Cooper struggled against his bonds.

"Wait a minute. What the fuck..." Justy shouted. He's got padding on!"

Cooper struggled even more as a pair of hands jerked his shirttail out of the back of his jeans.

"One, two, three, FOUR! He's got four pairs of underwear on!"

Two guys on either side each grabbed the back of the underwear and began a huge wedgie, pulling the wad of jockey briefs several inches above the waist of his Wranglers. They continued to pull until the tops of the leg holes were exposed. One of the guys took a buck knife from his pocket and cut through the leg holes, up the sides and through the four waistbands before handing the knife to the his partner. They each put a boot flat on The backs of Cooper's thighs and tugged at the underwear as Cooper yelled, until it slowly advanced and the front half made the trip through Cooper's legs and came out the back of his jeans. The pledges waved the four pairs like a flag before throwing it over the fence. Cooper went from four pairs of underwear to none. Even his shirt tail was up his back.

Roy took the chaps again and raised them over his head, returning them in a mighty swing across Cooper's ass.


Cooper kicked and yelled, taking in the full impact of the swat.


'THAT'S better!" Roy yelled, handing the chaps to the next man. The chaps were passed from man to man, with each man laying two, three, or even five licks across Cooper's ass, as he yelled and cried into the dirt from pain, anger and embarrassment. The chaps were handed to Barney Dobbs.

"Here ya go Barney! The moment you've been waiting for!" came a voice from the group. Barney raised the chaps, before shaking his head and handing them to the next guy. He would get no satisfaction out of making Cooper suffer, even as Cooper had humiliated him so many times, letting Cooper's conscience, if he had one, go unpunished. There was a lesson in there somewhere, but the chaps passed to the next man and the heavy chapping continued. Finally, the chaps were given to Justy.

For a moment, Justy thought about declining the offer as Barney had done, but he had thought about this moment for too long. He was enjoying the sight of Cooper's tears, snot and spit turning the dirt into mud beneath his face.

"Hey Cooper. Thanks for giving me a break for being three minutes late while I was jacking your dad's stallion. He's going to be a father, by the way!"




This was supposed to be good natured and all in fun. But a lot of anger was transferred from those guys across Cooper's butt. When it finally ended, the group left Cooper on his knees, wiping the mud off his face. A short while later, Barney Dobbs walked over to him to see if he was alright and placed a hand on his shoulder.

"GET AWAY FROM ME!" Cooper yelled.

Barney picked up the chaps and replaced them on the nails above the fireplace.

Randy caught Justy and Grady together later in the evening, congratulating them on their chaps as the crowd slowly started to shrink. Woody had been strangely quiet, not knowing what to do about Tom. Randy left quietly, hoping the party would continue in place if the sheriff left, rather than moving to a more remote location.

An hour later, Randy and Sandy were sitting on the porch, splitting a bottle of wine when Sandy stood up and got ready to go inside.

"Are you coming to bed?, she asked. Randy took a long time to answer.

"I'll feel a lot better when I hear his pickup pull into his driveway."

"You're a sweet man, Randy Green." she said tenderly, bending down to kiss the top of his white hair. "Your friend would be very proud of you."

"I couldn't love him any more if he was my own son" Randy said looking up at her.

Randy slowly dozed off, but was soon awakened by the welcome sound of Justy's diesel pickup. He looked at his watch. It was 11:00. Early, he thought, but the guys were exhausted and worn out.

"Wrangler Phelps!" he shouted to him. Congratulations!"

Justy crossed the driveway, his new chaps flapping against his legs just as Randy's phone rang.

"Hi Judy" he said, in a serious voice. There were a lot of guys out there still.

"Sheriff, there's a group of cowboys gathering in the parking lot at the Motel 6. The night manager is worried. Doesn't look good."

"I'm on it!" he said moving to the patrol car. "Send Dave too. I want two sets of red lights on this"

"Oh shit that's probably Grady!" Justy said.

"Get in and tell me what's going on." Randy shouted, as the two backed out of the drive and Randy turned on the emergency lights.

"Grady and some others are pissed off at that guy who crashed the picnic and busted their asses."

"Is Grady drunk?"

"Probably. He threw up a couple of times at the picnic."

The crowd of about six cowboys, all in brand new leather chaps, were pounding on a motel door when they saw Randy's lights.

"YOU GUYS CALM DOWN AND STOP POUNDING ON THAT DOOR! YOU HEAR?" Randy shouted. The pounding stopped. Grady seemed to be the one in charge.

"Grady, what the hell is going on?"

"It's that guy from the picnic, Sheriff. There's his car."

"NOW YOU LISTEN TO ME. I gave this man my word that if he left quietly, that nothing more would come from that incident. GRADY! Stop banging on that door! Come over here."

"Sorry, Sheriff" Grady said, his face turning into a grimace of tears. "It just hurts so damned much." he sobbed, unable to hide his tears from the other guys.

"I know it does, son. I know it does. NOW I WANT EVERYONE TO GO STRAIGHT HOME. UNDERSTAND?"

"Yes, Sir."


Grady started to say something but instead, moved away from the group, turned his head away and threw up a third time. Randy noticed he was limping.

"Grady, how much have you had to drink, son?"

"Nothing Sheriff. I was too nervous to eat or drink at the picnic. I just started throwing up afterwards."

Randy moved to him as the crowd dispersed. He grabbed the back of his neck in one hand and his forehead in the other.

"You've got fever. Have you been sick all day?"

"No sir, just after I got my chaps." he wiped his eyes with his shirt.

Randy turned to Grady, Miguel and Justy and motioned for them to get in the patrol car. He reached for his phone as he drove out of the parking lot.

"Judy, get me Doc Shepherd, please. Non emergency."

"Roll down Grady's window, Randy." Justy said cautiously. "He might blow again."

"Shep? It's Randy. I need you to take a look at one of the new members from the picnic today. I think he might have gotten injured."

"Injured how?" the doctor said."

"I need you to check his balls."

"Dammit. Of course. Bring him by. Kitchen door."

"Sheriff, my balls aren't what's hurting." Grady said, nervously.

"Not right now they're not. Dr. Shepherd was at the picnic today. You'll probably recognize him."

Soon the four pulled into the driveway and drove up to the kitchen door. Dr. Shepherd was waiting for them and led them into the family room. He had thrown his clothes back on with house slippers on. Randy quickly introduced them.

"Shep, we'll give you guys some privacy" Randy said, moving back toward the kitchen.

"Actually, Sheriff", Grady said, "I kinda need Justy and Miguel to listen to what the doctor says. I don't care about privacy. I don't have anything you all don't have."

"I'm gonna check the other two anyway", the doctor said.

"It's just me, Dr. Shepherd", Justy said. "Miguel over there is my big brother."

"You guys, Shep here was my big brother." Randy said smiling.

"Okay. You two drop your britches. You might have to unfasten those chaps you're so proud of."

Grady and Justy unfastened their chaps and slid their Wranglers down. Randy was shocked at the dark blue bruising and the deep red color and shook his head at the throbbing sight before him. They each had white impact bruises in the middle of each cheek. The doctor shook his head in disgust.

"Dammit, Randy. Look at this. When are we going to stop this shit?"

"We did stop it, Shep. Twenty years ago. These guys keep requesting it."

"We want what you guys got", Justy said. "Nobody wants to be the first class to go soft."

"This guy,", Randy began, "this guy busted my ass so damned bad it looked like this!"

"You're still mad about your birthday party, aren't you?"

"I thought I was going to Mexico to get laid" Randy said smirking.

"We did take you to Mexico."

"Yeah. Some party. Twenty one licks in the bar.

"Twenty two. We got the bar waitress to give him one to grow on.", the doctor said, laughing at the memory.

Dr. Shepherd's voice got serious again.

"Yeah, Randy, you were right." The doctor said grimly. "See this big red mark across the tops of his thighs? That's the one that got him."

"It was that fudge-packer friend of Woody's from the truck stop!" Grady said angrily.

"No Grady," Randy answered, smiling at the term, "I saw that swat. It was hard, but it was right on target. Sorry I got there right after it and not before."

"That guy didn't make it down to me," Justy said. "But we could hear his licks from down the line."

Justy backed up to get a look at the damage on Grady's ass.

"Jeez, Grady! Look at those things! You ought to have those things taken up!"

"What are you talking about?" Grady said, impatiently.

"Your balls! They look like two golf balls in an old sock. No wonder they got hit."

Grady did have an impressive set of low hangers, even Randy and Miguel could not get over it. The doctor later told Randy they were the lowest he had ever seen. Justy went on.

"I mean, when you get old, like Randy's age, those things are going to be banging against your knees." Randy couldn't help smiling.

"All guys have these." Grady said innocently.

"Not in Mexico" Miguel said, shaking his head in disbelief.

"Not me" Justy said proudly. "I am 'Mr. High and Tight.' The boys come down when they've got a job to do and they go back home when they're finished." Miguel and Randy laughed quietly to each other.

"Doc, am I some kind of freak?" Grady asked.

"No you're not a freak!" he reassured, glaring at Justy. "You just have to take care of them. Do you always wear boxers?" he asked, noticing the waistband inside the Wranglers.

"Yes, sir. My dad wears boxers and his dad wore boxers."

"Yeah Grady. And they also shake and kiss rattlesnakes in church." Justy said matter of factly.

"Well no more. You're switching to briefs. You need the support. Do you rodeo? What event?"

"Saddle bronc, some tie down roping."

"Shit. Always wear a jock with a cup." the doctor said, slipping on a rubber glove.

"Where are you going with that, Doc?" Grady asked nervously.

"Don't worry, son. I wouldn't do that to you after what you've been through. But I am going to check your testicles."

Grady stared at the ceiling as the doctor examined each of his testicles from behind, coughing as instructed. The normal reflexes when his balls were touched did not occur, indicating that they could not be felt over the paddling. The doctor gently pulled the scrotum sack downward, easily placing a loose fist around it, with the testicles tight and exposed at the bottom. Afterwards, the doctor removed the glove.

"No ruptures, but they are badly bruised. I'm writing you a prescription for some pain pills. Can you take it easy for the next day or so?"

"Yes, sir. The big brothers are cleaning up after the picnic tomorrow. We've got Saturday and Sunday off. I don't think I need any pain pills, doc. They don't hurt."

"They will. You just can't feel it over your busted ass. I'm giving you enough to share with 'Mr. High and Tight' over here. The pills don't care what hurts. You guys take two tonight after you get in bed. Then one in the morning and every six hours. Don't skip. Stay ahead of the pain. Call me tomorrow if you need anything for nausea."

He moved over to examine Justy, whose balls were clear but his ass was much worse. The deep redness was from dark bruises under the new paddling. Both young men pulled up their jeans and got buckled back in. He turned his attention back to Grady.

"Son, you may notice some swelling, that's to be expected, and you may see some color in your urine or other discharge. This will end after a couple of days. If it doesn't, come back to see me. No appointment, just come by the office."

"Yes, sir."

"Ice your crotch and then ice your butt. Alternate throughout the day, thirty minutes on, thirty minutes off. You too, Justy, your butt that is".

Grady looked confused and turned to Justy.

Justy grabbed his shoulders and spoke to him directly.

"Grady. You're junk is gonna swell up but it's okay. If you see any blood in your pee or jizz, that's okay too."

Randy, Miguel and Dr. Shepherd shook their heads at the floor as years of medical education and practice got reduced into two sentences.

"Thank you Dr. Shepherd.", Justy said.

"You guys can call me Shep now. Everybody does."

"That's gonna be tough for me." Justy said. "You know how I was brought up."

"I do. But you're Wranglers now. First names."

"Yes, sir. I'll try."

Randy pulled the patrol car into Walmart to get the prescriptions.

"You guys, I'm leaving my gun in here. I'll be right back."

Randy returned a short while later.

"Where's Miguel?"

"We saw a group of guys and he went with them to Woody's. Grady, why don't you crash at my house? My mom's out of town and left a ton of food."

Grady agreed, as Randy turned around and handed them the pills.

"Here you go Grady", he said, tossing him a three-pack of white Jockey briefs. "I figured a thirty-four inch waist."

"Thanks, Sheriff. I'll give 'em a try."

"I've been wearing them for fifty years" Randy said as he started to drive them back home.

"So who was that guy today, Sheriff?" Grady asked, staring out the window.

"I don't know. I guess he's one of Woody's friends from the truck stop. You guys... you know about Woody, don't you?", Randy asked seriously.

"Yeah we know. Everybody knows, but nobody cares.", Justy said.

"Good. He's about the best friend you guys have got."

Randy pulled the patrol car into his driveway.

"You guys take care of yourselves. I'll be by to check on you tomorrow."

As the last of the pickups went out the gate, Woody tried Tom's cell number for the third or fourth try. He answered this time.

"Okay. Look. I'm sorry!" Tom shouted into the phone.

"What the FUCK were you trying to do? You may have ruined my relationship with these guys!"

"Don't worry. They banged on my door for a while, then they moved on." Woody could hear the heavy rig and highway noise.

"Wait." Woody said. "Are you in your rig?"

"Yeah. I wanted to get out of there. I didn't want to stick around and make things harder for you. Plus, I figured you'd be pretty pissed off."

"I AM."

"Well, cool off for a few days. I'll be back again. Maybe we could spend some time together. I'll make it up to you."


The next day at about noon, Randy entered Justy's open back door to find him and Grady in the darkened family room, Justy in the leather recliner and Grady asleep on the couch. Daisy came out from beneath Grady's blanket when she heard Randy's voice. He opened the door to let her out. There was a baseball game on the TV.

"I thought you guys might be hungry", Randy said, carrying a large bucket of chicken. "How are you guys doing?"

"Sore. Everything hurts." Justy said, wincing as he shifted the ice in the recliner under his butt.

"How's Grady?"

"He's whacked out from the pills. How can something the size of a tic tac knock out a guy like Grady?"

"Well, it's a good thing. How's the nausea?" Randy asked, offering the bucket of chicken to Justy and taking a wing for himself.

"No nausea. He was starving earlier. He'll love the chicken."

"Have you heard from any other guys? Any sore balls? Shep said to call him."

"Nope. Just sore butts. And a lot of hangovers".

Randy was relieved that everyone had made it home safely. No other calls.

"Sandy called, She and your mom are staying an extra day at the conference, so you've got an extra day to recover."

"That's good. If my mama knew what those guys did to her baby boy she'd be madder than hell."

Randy smiled in agreement. He opened the door to leave, and Daisy came running in.

"Can Daisy stay? Grady likes having her under his blanket."

"Sure" Randy said smiling. "Call me if he's not better when he wakes up."

He smiled as Daisy jumped onto the couch and disappeared under the blanket as Grady wrapped an arm around her.

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