We were just finishing breakfast when Mrs. Dawkins pulled up a chair, "Brahim and Allie, I have a great idea for your next show. We have time to practice it a little bit at a time, so it won't be so rushed."
Jim spoke up, "We aren't going to be in it, are we?"
Mrs. Dawkins shook her head, "No, not this one. You may be in one later with just Allie and then Brahim will have one by himself."
Both guys reacted, Brahim started, "Haven't you heard, Mrs. Dawkins, they're shipping us back to Algeria this morning?"
Allie started complaining, "Daddy, I'm feeling rather poorly. Will you carry me to our cabin?"
The young man from the Tour Excursion Office stopped at the table, "Mr. Safi, your transportation will be arriving at ten-thirty. I'll meet you at the disembarkation area. You will have room four twenty-four passengers."
Allie answered, "Thanks, Alonso. Mrs. Dawkins, you will come with us and we'll discuss any future performances while we're on the tour."
Everyone was laughing as Mrs. Dawkins scrunched her face, "Well, I guess I should probably go, since I need to make sure that you don't get into trouble. I also can make sure that the shipping company isn't being gypped out of their money."
When we met Alonso, he took us to a bus that was parked away from the other tour buses. Alonso introduced the driver, "Ladies and gentleman, this is Vidar and his son Jon. They will be your guides today. I'm certain they will make sure that you have a good time."
Vidar helped us to board the bus. When he was in the driver's seat he put on a speaker, "Jon is with us today because I'm babysitting him while his mother is on holiday with his sisters. I can't trust a ten year old at home by himself."
Jon turned around from his seat, "Don't believe my Dad. He brought me along to make sure he didn't fall asleep, since he worked all night. My mother and sisters went to the North Pole to see if they could steal some things from Saint Nicholas so we can afford to eat."
Vidar was laughing, "Jon exaggerates, so you will have to excuse him. His mother and sisters went to London to buy some clothes that are different from the limited merchandise that is available here on our lovely island. I will be explaining the sites as we travel to the Old Square, and Jon will explain the sites once we arrive there. He probably knows more about them than I do."
The tour of the Old Square area was a success. Jon was fast becoming one of our ten year olds. After the tour, we boarded the bus and Jon announced, "We'll be stopping at our McDonald's for lunch."
A groan went up from the Americans on board the bus. Jon turned around, "Not the Golden Arch McDonald's but our McDonald's."
We stopped at a neat restaurant that had patio with a canopy with circular tables. When we arrived, there was no one on the patio. Jon looked at us, "I guess it's too hot for the natives to sit on the patio. That's great, because we'll have the area to ourselves."
When we walked in, we were met by an older lady. Jon hugged her, "Hi, Grandma. There are twenty-three of us and we're going to sit on the patio. We'll have the fish burger baskets and you'll need to have someone find out what everyone wants to drink. I'll have a beer."
When we were seated on the patio, Allie challenged, "Why are we having fish burger baskets. Some people might not like fish?"
Jon responded immediately, "That's the only thing they serve at lunchtime. People from all over the city come here at lunch time to have the fish burger baskets."
A young woman approached the tables and started taking drink orders. When she got to the table where the six boys were seated, Jon looked at her, "Guys, Aunt Enid will probably screw up our orders, so why don't we all have a beer?"
The waitress nodded, "Six glasses of milk coming up."
Having never had a fish burger basket before, I had no idea what to expect. I think we were all very pleasantly surprised. We did have a fish sandwich, but first we had a cup of wonderful vegetable soup. The basket came with fries, not the kind that you get at the fast food restaurants, and a fresh vegetable salad.
When we got up to leave, Khalid tried to pay the bill and Jon's Grandma shook her head, "No, it has already been paid for."
Allie looked at me and I put some money on the table and I noticed that some other people did as well. I slipped Allie a $20.00 bill and he slid it under his plate.
We went to the restored village and that was another experience. Allie was enthralled but the other ten year olds would rather have been doing something more exciting. As we were touring the complex, Allie was asking, "People didn't really live in houses like these. They are even smaller than what Brahim and I lived in and we each had our own bedroom."
Jon was so stoic, "Allie, this is a house like we live in. I have to sleep in the attic and we don't have any heat or air conditioning so I'm either freezing in the winter time or dying of heat prostration in the summer. My sisters have to sleep in the basement and Dad and Mom sleep on the kitchen table so the rats don't get them."
Vidar finally intervened, "Jon, you're going to be so sore on a certain part of your body, if you don't stop prevaricating, that you going to be sleeping on you stomach for a week."
Jon got a funny look on his face, "Okay, so we live in a big house and my Dad teaches English at Reykjavik University. My parents still treat me as if I'm a church mouse."
Darryl was chuckling, "Jon, me thinks you doth protest too much."
"Okay, so I'm a spoiled brat."
Vidar looked at his watch, "Me thinks we need to be getting you people back to the ship if you are going to there on time to sail."
Jon was now sitting beside Allie and they were talking but I couldn't hear what they were saying. When we got to the dock area, the area was cordoned off and the tour buses were unloading away from the ship. Allie started to shake. Khalid and Amir got off of the bus and Khalid ordered, "Don't anyone get out of the bus until we find out what's happening."
Allie came and sat on my lap, "Dad, please tell me that they aren't still trying to kill us."
I thought Allie was about to start to cry, but Khalid returned to the bus, "This has nothing to do with us so you can get off of the bus, but stay outside the roped off area and don't ask questions. Just get on board the Paradise as if nothing happened."
I watched as Mrs. Dawkins kissed both Vidar and Jon as she got off and shook their hands. She put something in their hands and I heard her say. "Gentlemen, don't even say anything. This was one of the most fun shore excursions I have ever been on."
When we got to the suite, we went to the veranda but we were on the wrong side to watch what was happening on the dock. Brahim and I sat on the double deck chair. Allie decided to make it a triple deck chair, "Dad and Bra, can we just sit here and be a family. I was really scared when I saw all those police."
The three of us had fallen asleep and were awakened by Khalid and Amir. Khalid started talking, "Gentlemen, it's nearly time for dinner. I suggest that you wake up."
Allie crawled over me and announced, "I need to go to the bathroom."
When Allie crawled over me, he reminded me that I needed to go to the bathroom too. Khalid laughed, "We'll see you in the dining room. You need to put on some long pants and that's all since tonight is a casual night.
As we were eating in the alcove, Allie asked, "What's the entertainment for tonight?"
Grandpa Darrell answered, "They're going to show the movie 'The Titanic' since we're scheduled to see icebergs breaking off the glaciers in the Prince Christian Sound as we sail by tomorrow."
Allie looked concerned, "I've already seen that movie. We aren't going to sink are we?"
Captain Brower was standing behind Allie, "Allie, we have navigation equipment on the ship that helps us maneuver around such obstacles as icebergs. We can even maneuver around the large number of whales and schools of fish that seem to be following the ship."
Brahim looked at me and started to smirk. I leaned over and whispered, "We'll need to make sure we feed them tonight."
When the five young guys were finished they asked to be excused since they weren't having dessert until later. Allie announced, "We'll be in the suite if you need us. We're going to stop and check out some games."
As we were leaving the dining room, Mrs. Dawkins approached Brahim and me. "Brahim, I talked to Alan and the theatre will be free in the morning. The orchestra will be available to practice with us in the morning. We'll practice from 9 until 11. The production staff is going to be rehearsing for their show for the next formal night during the afternoon while we're cruising in Prince Christian Sound."
She added, "I've already started to work on the contents of the show. We'll call the show 'See The USA'."
Brahim started to laugh, "Mrs. Dawkins that should be interesting seeing as how neither Allie nor I have ever been to the United States."
"That's what makes it so perfect. I even have the song picked out for your curtain call."
Brahim shook his head, "Mrs. Dawkins, aren't you being a little premature in your planning. We could lay an egg."
"I doubt that. I'll see you and Allie in the morning at nine sharp, if not before."
Keith and Ryan came up to Brahim and me and Keith spoke, "If our two sons get on your nerves, you can always send them back to our cabin. They think that the sun rises and sets around Allie."
"Guys, Tran and Kim are no problem at all. I'm glad that they're here. If Allie didn't have the other four young guys here, he would only have adults around him. Why don't you come to the cabin with Brahim and me and we can check on the guys. It's too early to go dancing and I have no desire to go the movie."
When we arrived at the cabin, Khalid, Amir, Mr. Yates, Grandpa Darryl and Uncle Tom were watching the guys playing games. When we walked in, Allie looked up, "Hi Dad and Bra. How come everyone is here? Are you afraid we're going to do something bad, or are you afraid something bad is about to happen?"
Darryl answered before anyone else could, "What's happening here is more interesting than anywhere else on the ship. We heard you guys were going to play strip poker and we didn't want to miss the show."
Jim turned around, "Here's what we we're going to do. We're going to challenge you four newcomers to strip so we see if you're able to challenge the King of the Penises, Mr. Waller."
Kim almost choked, "You mean you've seen the others naked?"
John answered, "Yeah, we made them undress one night and Mr. Waller won, hands down."
Tran wasn't buying into this story, "You guys are lying. You didn't see their penises. We've never even seen our Dads' penises. They think it is wrong for us to see what they look like."
Allie looked up from what he was doing, "That's so silly. Their penises look the same as ours except they're bigger which is to be expected since they are bigger than us. They're penises have hair around them which we don't. They don't all look alike though. For instance most of us have been circumcised except for Mr. Amir. I don't know about the four new people. Now let's get back to playing our game."
Fortunately the conversation was stopped because the door chimes rang. Kate and JoJo were there. Kate spoke, "We're bored and need to go dancing or something."
As the adults were leaving, Allie looked up, "Dad, is it okay for us to go to the Lido for some pizza?"
"Of course, why did you even think you needed to ask?"
"Dad, I just wanted to make sure."
When we got to the Starlight Lounge, I started to get it from all sides. Ryan started it, "Why would you guys even think to bare your pelvic areas to the boys?"
Amir answered, "Look, it all started by accident. Allie, Jim and John have not been adversely affected by what happened. Ed and Brahim I think you need to tell these people the story of how you two even got together. Mr. Yates, there are probably some things that you don't even know."
Fortunately we were seated in an area away from the dance floor and the music, so we could talk. It was almost an hour later when Brahim and I had finished telling the tale of what had happened to us with Amir and Khalid's help. The unknowing people were sitting as if they had been hit by a stingray gun."
Lee Yates started to say something, "I can't understand why … oh never mind. I'm overwhelmed. I'm even more positive now that I need to have my two sons meet Allie and the other boys."
Keith and Ryan were having a difficult time with the information. Keith looked at Brahim and me, "Are you saying that you walk around naked in front of Allie all the time?"
I shook my head no, "Guys, we don't deliberately showcase our sexual endowment, but we don't lock our door either. I personally think that it is much better to have an open relationship so that the young people don't conjure up false ideas."
"When Brahim and I hugged and kissed the guys last night, they wanted to know why their parents didn't do what we had done. We were instructed to tell you that they needed to be told you love them even though they already know it."
JoJo interrupted, "Keith, would you have tried to do what you did if your father had been more open with you and had let you know he loved you unconditionally?"
Keith went white, "Oh my God, I never thought about that. Come on we need to go kiss the guys goodnight. They are already insecure enough because they know they've been adopted."
Kate laughed, "I think this needs to be a male thing. We'll see you for breakfast in the morning."
When we got to the suite the guys were just getting into bed after their dessert and brushing their teeth. I knocked on the open door to Allie's bedroom and asked, "Can we come in? We want to say goodnight."
Allie complained, "I suppose so, if you have to."
When we entered his room, Allie stood on the bed, "Dad, you didn't tell me that everyone on the ship was coming. I'll run out of hugs and kisses."
I looked at the other four guys, "Don't you understand the rules. When we come into your room you are to stand and get ready to be hugged and kissed."
The four guys jumped up and were standing as Allie was. I started down the line and hugged them and kissed them. Everything went fine until I got to Allie. He wasn't satisfied to be hugged and kissed. He put his arms around my neck and laid his head on my shoulder, "Dad, please talk to Jim and John's Dad and Mother. I'm guessing that you have already talked to Tran and Kim's Dads."
"Son, I'll try, but I don't really know the Thomases that well."
Keith and Ryan hugged and kissed their two boys and Tran uttered, "Dads, we sorta of know what happens when you are alone. Why do try to keep sex so secret. We hear talk at school about what guys do with their pricks."
Allie interrupted, "Tran, meant to say penises."
Tran looked at Allie, "Okay, I meant to say with penises. It doesn't bother us if you love each other, but why do you try to keep everything such a big secret. We don't want to watch you doing whatever you do. But why is it so bad for us to see you naked?"
Kim looked at the two dads, "Dads, would you ever even be willing to show your penises to the rest of us so we can see how you compare to Mr. Waller?"
I could feel the daggers coming from both Keith and Ryan. Keith sighed, "Tran and Kim, we'll talk about this tomorrow, while Allie is practicing for his next show."
Allie fell on the bed, "Dad, call Dr. Sorenson. I think I'm dying. Just throw my body overboard and give the whales some more interesting to eat than what they've been enjoying. Good night everyone. We need to get some sleep before the Wicked Witch works me to death."
I watched as Khalid and Amir hugged Allie and thought to myself, 'It's going to be hard for them to be separated from us. They are like part of the family.'
After we had exited Allie's bedroom, Keith started on us, "You guys planned this didn't you? Are you trying to pervert our sons?"
Grandpa Darryl spoke, "Guys, I don't think that anyone is trying to pervert anyone. It's obvious to me, and I'm just a bystander, that your two sons just need to know that you love them and want you to sit down and talk to them about sex. They have obviously heard about it at school."
Keith took a deep breath, "I guess I should have foreseen something like this happening. When I was sixteen, I realized I was gay and tried to commit suicide. My Dad found me in time and helped me to understand that it was okay to be different. I guess I was hoping that by not talking about sex or letting the guys see us naked would solve the problem."
Ryan took over, "My parents reacted totally different from the Hobbs. When they found out that I was gay they threw me out and it if hadn't been for Keith's parents I would probably be dead today.
They took me in and never questioned that Keith and I were more than friends."
Khalid looked at the two gentlemen, "Keith and Ryan, you're both professionals. I'm surprised that you haven't recognized the need to tell your two wonderful sons what happened. Be open with them and they will respond appropriately. Above all, let them know that you love them and will, no matter what."
Lee Yates looked at the rest of us, "I think I have some work to do in the area of parenting. I have left our sons' upbringing to my wife. I wish the boys could meet Allie and his friends."
I was beginning to think that the others were going never leave. When they finally did, I reminded Brahim that we needed to feed the hungry masses of sea life that were following the ship. We did the best we could for the night.
Once again, out of the mouths of babes, comes wisdom. It is so sad to know that so many parents, gay or straight,
tend to want to keep their children from knowing anything about sex. Guess what, folks; it is very likely that your children have heard more about sex than you have. That is not to say that what they have heard is correct or even rational. That is why trying to keep them in the dark on the subject is usually a total disaster.
If you make sex seem bad or some kind of dirty thing to the kids, and never talk about it at all, or even show them what they are curious about, they will be all the more curious about things. To top it off, they will sneak around and discover things that you might not want them to find. Be open and honest with your children. Let them know that sex is a beautiful thing. Also let them know that sex can also be a dangerous thing.
Teach them that the only way to be certain that they will not get any diseases is to either do it yourself, or do it with someone who has never had sex with anyone else.
Tell them about protection and show them how to use it. Let them know that there are deadly germs out there that people can pass to one another. Let them know that sex between two people that love each other is one of the most wonderful things that can happen to them.
Maybe we will find out more in the next chapter.