Eric had never been to Kyle’s house before. It turned out to be at the far end of a quarter-mile driveway that itself branched off the end of a dead-end road out in the countryside, with the next nearest house nearly a mile away. Kyle’s house was a large three-story house nestled inside a small clearing totally surrounded by tall trees; putting it completely out of sight (or earshot) of anywhere else; even from the lonely road. There was also a large barn in front of a pasture, a smaller shed, and a fairly sizable garden across the driveway. The house itself was surrounded by a spacious porch on all sides, and flanked by a well-mowed yard.
“There must be a lot of chores to do in a place like this,” Eric pointed out; hoping he would not be called to do any of them. He’d worked at a farm once, and definitely had not liked it.
“We have a few chickens, a couple of cows, a few pigs, and a dog,” Kyle replied. “But don’t worry; my brothers and I handle all the gardening and feeding the livestock.”
Eric followed Kyle through the front door. Considering that there were four males living here with no one to pick up after them, the place seemed strangely tidy. In fact, it was far neater than Eric remembered his own house even being when he grew up. He smiled; at least he apparently wouldn’t have to help with the housework either!
As Eric and Kyle entered the house, they heard the voices of three younger boys in the back of the house on the second floor. “It sounds like they’re in Chris’s room playing a video-game,” Kyle told Eric. “Let’s go upstairs and introduce you.”
Eric followed Kyle upstairs, and followed the sounds of the three boys’ voices. There, they found a shirtless blond boy – looking very much like a younger Kyle – being bound to a wooden chair by two younger boys; also blond. The older boy was protesting; not about being tied up but the fact that the two younger boys were evidently doing a very bad job of it.
Eric found himself almost hypnotized by the sight of the two young boys tying up the third.
Danny (playfully tousles Alan's hair): Don't sweat it, Alan. Maybe someday I'll let you try to tie me up. But you'll have to learn how to tie me up better than you can now if you expect to hold me long enough to sit on me.
Alan: That's not fair!
Danny: Why isn't it fair?
Alan: You're older'n me. You got a head start.
Danny: But unlike me you have a big brother to show you the ropes!
Alan (sounding happy): Oh. That’s okay then.
Corey (off-camera; sounding sarcastic): Aw, how sweet.
Danny (turns to face Alan): So, you want to tie me up, huh?
Alan (boldly): You bet I do!
Danny (starts tickling Alan under his arms and along his ribs): Are you sure about that?!
Alan (writhing and thrashing): Bwaahahahahahaha! Stop it! Bwaahahahahahaha! You know I can't stand being tickled there!
Danny: Then answer my question! Do you really want to tie me up and sit on me?
Alan (still laughing, writhing and thrashing uncontrollably): YES!
Danny (tickling Alan more vigorously): Are you sure about that?!
Alan (hysterically): NO! Hahahahaha! NOOO! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Stop! HAHAHAHA I've changed my mind! HAHAHAHAHAHA! I don't HAHAHAHA wanna HAHAHAHA tie you up!
Danny: Not now and not ever?
Alan: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Not now and not ever! HAHAHAHAHA! Now please... hahahhaha... stop tickling me!!!
Danny (finally relenting): I knew we could reason this out together.
Eric had managed to hold onto the same job as a prep-order cook at a so-so restaurant for about six months – an unusually long time at one place for him. He made a few friends during this time. His best friend was Kyle; who at age 21 was four years younger than Eric. Kyle was six feet tall, athletic, blond, an apparently genial disposition, and very good looks. After work they tended to share a beer or two together at the bar at work, and Kyle regularly gave Eric a ride to work and back home again once he learned Eric had to walk two miles each way. After a while they spent some time together at Eric’s modest apartment; drinking beers and watching TV.
But Eric was only so-so at his job and missed too many shifts without notice or reasonable excuses; and one day he found himself being fired by the boss. He was already overdue on his rent and was about to get tossed out onto the street with what few possessions he had. He decided it was time to move on yet again.
That evening, as he and Kyle drank a beer prior to his going home and packing, he explained his dilemma. “It was nice knowing you, Kyle,” Eric said to his friend. “But I guess this is going to be the last time I’m going to see you.”
“Wait a minute!” Kyle said to him as an idea that evidently delighted him suddenly occurred to him. “Why don’t you stay with me for a while until you can find a new place of your own and a new job? You see, I have three younger brothers at home. Our mom died when my youngest brother was born, and dad abandoned the lot of us over a year ago and hasn’t been seen since. I got the house and three younger brothers to care for. I could really use your help keeping an eye on them while I’m at work, and you can have free room and board while you stay over.”
“I don’t know,” Eric said doubtfully; even though the offer sounded very good to him. “I’m not very good with young kids.”
“We’re not talking rug-rats here,” Kyle replied with a laugh. “Chris is 15, Kevin is 13, and Clark is 11, almost 12. They’re all pretty self-sufficient anyway, and they’re very easy to get along with. You won’t even have to do any work around the house; they’ll take care of it all. All you have to do is keep the peace; break up any arguments or fights, maybe fix occasional meals, play videogames and watch TV with them when I’m out, and so on. It’ll be easy, and you won’t have to worry about food or rent in the meantime because dad’s old room is vacant. C’mon; what do you say? You’d be doing me a favor keeping an eye on them when they’re home, and even more importantly looking after the place when they’re all in school and I’m at work!”
“Well… okay,” Eric finally replied; sounding like he had to be talked into it whereas he was secretly ecstatic about the idea. Hopefully he could stay at Kyle’s house for a good long time before Kyle and his brothers finally got sick and tired of him and gave him the old heave-ho like everyone else he had ever stayed with ultimately did!
“Great!” Kyle replied; sounding as happy as Eric felt. “Let me call home so my brothers know you’re coming. Then we’ll get your stuff and get you settled in! You’ll love it there. In fact, I’m willing to bet that my brothers will like you so much they’ll never want to let you leave!”
Kyle drove Eric to his apartment, where the landlord was already in the process of dumping Eric’s few worldly possessions out onto the sidewalk and changing the locks. It was a simple matter to collect it all and load it into the trunk and back-seat of Kyle’s car. In twenty minutes, Eric had turned in his keys to the grumpy landlord and the two drove to Kyle’s house.
And from there Eric's life changed forever...
Danny: No I didn't lie to you. It's not my fault you didn't hear what I said right!
Corey: I thought you said you liked being tied up and sat on anyway, Alan.
Alan: I do... but I thought I was finally gonna get a turn doing it to Danny, 'cus I bet I'd like that even better!
Danny: Fine; when the Devil's Dominion sends out a distress call for snowplows, you and I can switch places.
Alan (goes silent in thought; apparently trying to puzzle that one out). Something tells me what you said is just another trick!
Alan: So when do I get to tie you up and get on top of you for a while?
Danny: HUH?!? Who said that was ever going to happen?
Alan: You did. When you tied me up, you said I could tie you up when the sprigs start flying.
Danny: I said pigs, not sprigs.
Alan: (pauses)... But pigs can't fly.
Danny: Which ought to tell you when you and I are switching places!
Alan: (long, thoughtful pause; then suddenly getting angry): HEY! YOU LIED!!!