RUFFIN IT: BOBBY WAYNE AND THE FEMALE COUSINS
There are those stories that linger with us as evidence that oftentimes the mild and meek of the earth may indeed end up directing the future of it.
This story was told me by Dr. Walter Yorkshire Mason, retired Houston physician, who settled along the river at Segovia, Texas, a decade ago not far from where he grew up, having found even the sparsely traveled streets of Kerrville a bit too busy for his blood.
It was on a Thanksgiving many, many years before, and all was well upon the hill where three generations of the Mason clan had gathered at the family ancestral home, a sprawling ranch house above the river valley, except for a problem with Bobby Wayne, shining child of his doting parents but a steadfast thorn in the side of the female cousins.
Having reached the age of fifteen much alive and little scarred, his system charged–nay, brimming with hormones–Bobby behaved as if he knew no wrath could fall upon him that his smile and pale blue eyes would not render helpless the one who spent it on him. And so it was that when he crossed the lines of staunch decorum, little was done to set him straight, this single son with no female siblings.
“It is only Bobby Wayne being a boy,” his father would say, proud of his fine lineage. “Only Bobby Wayne.”
“Just Bobby Wayne,” his mom agreed, stroking his blond hair and placing a kiss upon his cherubic cheek.
Bobby was the only boy among the grandchildren, and he rode this distinction hard and heavy, falling so soundly into the graces of Grandpa and Grandma Mason that they brushed his little indiscretions off like flies and shooed them hither, assigning him his own room in their house, the only child to have one.
The aunts and uncles loved him too, this blond and blue-eyed prince.
“Just a boy,” they said. A thorn he was to the girls, but one the others gladly suffered. Who knew what he might grow into?
Ah, but Bobby was far from a favorite among the lithe and lovely cousins, daughters of the aunts and uncles. Three of them there were this time–Molly, Brenda, and Sarah–one with long black tresses, two lighter-haired sisters, the older other two electing not to come and have to deal with Bobby Wayne, so great was this scourge upon them.
Alas, they were not even near Turkey Time when Bobby Wayne laid his hand on a place on Molly that shall go unnamed–but for purposes of anatomical identification, these places come in pairs on the human female. The four of them were sitting in the barn loft playing Scrabble on a table made of a bale of hay when Bobby reached across the board and touched what he little understood but knew he must be fond of in order to be a Big Boy.
Molly squealed, but not from pleasure, and knocked his hand away and retreated from the scene, whereupon Bobby turned his attention to the sisters, using every word he’d ever heard that he thought might nigh impress them and pinning Sarah against the straw until she wiggled loose and followed Brenda down the ladder.
This time it was, as they say, the last straw for the girls. They ran and hid behind the house until Bobby shambled down toward the dry creekbed, then went back to the loft and put their pretty heads together, one of raven hair, two of tawny, and alas, a plan was born whereby Bobby might be dealt with.
The grandest folly of the male is to underestimate the female, at all levels, as he is wont to do. Bobby Wayne Mason had had his way with the lovely cousins so long, lording it over them, touching as he would, saying what he liked, that not even the strayest of notions that he might have a price to pay ventured into his vacant head.
This is too often the case for a boy, blessed as he is with an intellect that should set him well above the hooved and horned and hairy, but with an arrogance and hormonal rage that drives all wisdom from him.
So there was Bobby Wayne Mason strutting up the hedged drive of the old homeplace, not a quarter of a mile from the new, in search of the female cousins, known to gather in the weathered house once for games and little parties involving tea and dolls but now for talk of boys. And he was, after all, BOY, almost MAN, cousin or not, and in his head strange notions danced from ear to ear. He had felt faint stirrings near and far, now gathered to greatness in him, a surge to be obeyed rather than allayed. So he would act upon them.
Ah, but Bobby Wayne knew not what dreadful fate awaited him. He had crossed the cousins a time too many, and now he must be punished, only how could he know this, being swamped by hormones and bereft of common sense?
“Oh, Bobby Wayne, Bobby Wayne,” a voice came from out the hedge, low and sweet and thrilling, smooth as panty silk and soft as summer butter, “would you like to see me now
with all my clothes from off me and touch me as you might, sir?”
What boy or man could resist this call, cousin or not, sir? Bobby dove into the hedge,
like plunging into water, and found himself enjungled there–six sets of claws unsheathed, three mouths howling, three racks of fangs upon him.
And when at last he surfaced, a shocked and trembling thing, weak and mewling like a baby–striated, torn, and bleeding–his pride stripped bare of what it was, ravaged soul and body, poor Bobby limped off to his room and huddled there, resisting all entreaties, though the sun passed across the sky and settled westward red and swollen. Word was he had gotten lost in a great patch of briars and endured a terrible shredding.
Next day, as the others talked and watched TV and surfeited on Thanksgiving plenty, Bobby Wayne lay sullen in his room while across his window dashed the girls, shrieking gaily, “Catch us, Bobby, if you can, and you may be our master. We are but little Gypsy girls, harmless as the wind and ripe now to be taken.”
Poor Bobby winced at their cries and wept and snuffled–forlorn, ashamed, and shaken.
The boy grew up to become a successful county politician, with dreams of ascending to the legislature, and word is that to this day when he is around the female cousins, now broadening into middle-age, with children of their own, he treats them with utmost respect and the reverence that is due their kind. So sayeth the good doctor.