Chapter Ten

Wednesday 3:45 PM, approaching the new home of Tyler and Dan

The five boys, Ronnie, Jerry, Douglas, Nathan and Carl, passed through a wash that separated the property owned by Ron and Matt from that acquired by Ron for Tyler and Dan’s new home. Ron and Jerry stayed close by Douglas, often helping him where the terrain was steep or the footing questionable. The progress was slow as the boys recognized that the adventure through the desert was difficult for Douglas, and there was plenty of time before they needed to return home before it got dark. As they climbed the steep opposite bank of the wash and topped the hill on the other side, the first glimpse of Tyler and Dan’s new house came into view.

“Wow! That’s neat!” Carl exclaimed.

“Wait ‘til you see it finished,” Ronnie said. “Dan and Tyler have a picture they call a rendering in the guest house showing what it will look like. It’s really cool. Ron told Tyler that his construction guys are pushing to finish the reception building, the garage and the ‘owners’ quarters. There are two other buildings that they’re also working on, but not pushing so hard, since they aren’t necessary for daily living. They are the guest building and the recreation building.

“Man, look at how different it looks from Ron and Matt’s,” Douglas exclaimed as he rested at the top of the knoll. “Ron and Matt’s looks like it is clasping the mountain and the rocks that it clings to, and yours,” he said to Jerry, “appears to be part of the mountain.”

“Yeah,” Jerry replied. “There was a famous architect who built a similar place in Arizona. He died but Tyler and Dan had his people design this one to look like it. See how the stone walls are made? When we get closer I’ll show ya. Ron said they take the rocks and wire them to the wood forms laying flat on the ground, then they stand them up. Then they do another form the same way and stand it up next to the other with the wood on the outside and the rocks on the inside. Then they pour concrete in between the rocks and when it dries, they cut the forms off, leaving the rocks stuck in the concrete.”

“Yeah, it’s cool,” Ronnie agreed. “Let’s get closer.”

The boys continued their now uphill climb to the three buildings that had roofs on them. The first building they approached was the reception building. In it they explored the rooms where they could gather with family and friends. The entrance was called the loggia, Jerry explained as he led the way, going to the formal living room and dining room. Behind the dining room and connected by a walk-through butler’s pantry was the kitchen which itself opened to a breakfast room. Beyond the breakfast room was the ‘great room’, a huge room where the family could gather in an informal atmosphere. A small game room was nearby and running along the future pool was a huge room that could be used for large gatherings, and had a small stage at one end. On the other side of the formal living room were a library and a home theater room equipped with the latest in video technology. Facing the screen area would be stepped up tiers of reclining lounge chairs with holders in the armrests for drinks and snacks.

The boys ogled the nearly finished spaces, being careful not to trip on the construction material that was scattered around the rooms.

“When is it gonna be finished?” Nathan asked Jerry, who seemed to be the expert on the construction.

“Ron said that the first three buildings should be finished in about three weeks. We could move then if we wanted,” Jerry replied. Tyler and Dan have been talking about moving a couple weeks later than that. By then the pools should be finished and it will be a lot less of a mess. The other two buildings, the recreation building and the guest building, will be about as finished then as these first buildings are now. The big mess and noise will be over, with just finish work going on.”

>“Are we gonna live here or at Ron and Matt’s?” Carl asked Nathan.

"I don’t know, my friend,” Nathan responded. “Maybe we’ll be living at that Thornton place that Tyler told us about. I just don’t know anything since Matt has been hurt. Maybe if Ron comes back tonight we can ask.”

“Let’s sit down and rest a little,” Douglas suggested. “I’m kinda tired. If you guys want to, you can go look at the other buildings and I’ll stay here.”

“Nah,” Ronnie said with a smile. “We’ll stay with you. Let’s go outside and sit on one of the planters. They’re the right height for sittin’.”

The boys moved outside and sat on a raised planter in the central court area where the pool had been dug.

“Wooo, look at that pool!” Carl swooned.

“Yeah, and the hot tub will be up there in that rocky enclosure,” Jerry added. “It will be real private surrounded by all those rocks.”

“He, he, he” Ronnie giggled, dreaming of the privacy that the enclosure would offer.

“Ya know,” Jerry said. “We should think up some names for our houses. I was watchin’ the history channel the other day and I was lookin’ at some old houses that the rich people in the east built. One was called ‘The Marble House.’ It was all made of marble and was a vacation house for some rich people from New York City. There was another one called “The Biltmore” that one of the kids of a wealthy man built in North Carolina. Ron and Matt’s house was patterned after a famous house called “Falling Waters” in Pennsylvania.”

“I know,” Ronnie said with a giggle, “we could call our house ‘Falling Rocks!”

All the boys broke up in a fit of giggles.

“What was the name of the house this one was designed like?” Nathan asked.

“It’s some weird name,” Ronnie said scratching his head. “I think Dan said it was Tally Essen or something. I don’t know what that means.”

“How ‘bout we call our house here, Tylerrestin’?” Jerry offered with another giggle.

The boys laughed at the silly suggestion and then came up with four or five other names, some of which were pretty funny or suggestive, before the laughter died down.

“Let’s talk to the older guys about the names,” Douglas suggested. “I think that Jerry is right, the houses need names. I’m about rested up enough,” he continued and then changing the subject. “Let’s look at the rest of the house, then head back.”

The boys rose to their feet and headed for the owners’ retreat building. 45 minutes later they had finished their exploration and were ready to head back to ‘Falling Rocks.’

“Stick close to me, wouldya?” Doug asked Ronnie and Jerry. “I’m kinda tired and my legs are a bit weak.”

“Not a problem, bro,” Jerry said. “Do you want us to carry you?”

“Nah, I’ll be all right,” Douglas answered. “I just have to be careful that I don’t fall.”

“We’re on it,” Ronnie declared as they began the trek back.

The climb back down the hill was slow but uneventful until they reached the gully that separated the property. The bank was steep, though the wash bottom itself was covered in sand.

“I better go first,” Ronnie offered. “As I climb down Doug, hold onto my shoulder. Jerry can come behind and grab ya if you start to slip.”

“Ok,” Douglas agreed. “The ‘goin’ up’ side should be easier. Then it’s only a little ways to the jogging path where we left my wheelchair.”

The boys began the descent of the embankment when Ronnie slipped. Douglas, who was grasping his shoulder, tumbled over him as Jerry lunged to stop their fall. Only his fingertips touched Douglas’ belt as the handicapped boy pitched forward onto Ronnie, carrying both of them down the nearly vertical slope. Loose rocks tumbled alongside the two boys as they plunged toward the bottom.

“Look out!” Jerry yelled at Nathan and Carl who had just reached the bottom. “Get out of the way!”

Carl looked up at the plummeting bodies and jumped forward, shoving Nathan out of the falling boys’ path, and onto his stomach.

“Ooof!” Nathan gasped as he landed facedown with Carl crashing down on top of him.

The yells of the two falling younger boys, drowned out the sound of Nathan’s surprise.

“AAAAHHH SHHHIITTT!” Ronnie screamed as he and Douglas hit the sand with a thump.

The two youths lay in a crumpled heap as Jerry scrambled down the steep incline to their aid. Nathan and Carl also got up quickly and rushed to their side.

“Ya okay?” Carl asks as he reached Ronnie and Douglas first.

“I thinks so,” Ronnie said as he untangled himself and moved his arms and legs. “Looks like I just got a few scratches. I got plenty of blood left in me and I don’t think I broke anything.”

“My back hurts when I try to move,” Douglas said. “I landed kinda funny and something in my back snapped when I hit.”

“Don’t move!” Nathan said in alarm. “I know you had some back surgery. Maybe it’s broken. We can’t take a chance!”

“Nathan’s right,” Ronnie agreed. “Don’t move. Jerry did you bring the cell phone?”

“Yes, I have it clipped onto my belt.”

“Call the house and see if Dan is there. If not, have Parker find him and have him call us right away.”

Jerry unclipped the phone and punched the directory, then after finding the house’s phone number, pushed ‘send’.

“Turner residence,” he heard Parker answer.

“Parker this is Jerry. We were on our way back from the new house when Doug fell down into a dry wash and hurt his back. We’re afraid to move him. Are any of the older guys there?”

“No sir, both Ron and Dan are with Matt at the hospital.”

“Can you have them call me on my cell phone right away?”

“I’ll try to reach them,” Parker answered. “If I’m not able to contact them, I’ll call you right back.”

“Thanks Parker,” Jerry said. “Bye.”

A few minutes later, University Medical Center.

The door opened to Matt’s room and the floor nurse stepped through the opening. She saw two men sitting beside the sleeping patient. One was holding the patient’s hand.

"Mr. Turner?” the nurse inquired.

Ron twisted in his seat to bring the nurse into his field of vision.

“Yes?” he replied.

“A Mr. Parker called the nurse’s station. He’s trying to contact you. Apparently one of your boys was involved in an accident and is injured. He wants you to call someone named Jerry, then call him if he can be of help.”

“Thank you nurse,” Ron said as he turned on his cellular phone, quickly punching in the number that was recited by Dan.

“Jerry, this is Ron. What’s happened?”

Jerry quickly told Ron a vastly abbreviated version about the trip to the house and the accident on the way back. He described Douglas’ pain and assured Ron that they had not moved the injured youth.

“Good thinking, Jerry,” Ron complimented the boy.

“Oh it wasn’t me, it was Nathan that shouted that he shouldn’t be moved. Ronnie agreed so we left him lie as he is.”

“Where are you exactly?” Ron asked.

“We took the jogging trail as close as we could get to Tyler and Dan’s house, then we cut cross country to the house. We were on our way back and were climbing down into the wash near the property fence, when Douglas fell. It’s about 50 yards from the jogging path.”

“Stay there,” Ron ordered. “I’ll get help there as soon as possible.”

“Okay Ron. I’ll call Parker and let him know that help is on the way.”

“Thanks Jer. Bye.”

Ron disconnected the call. He quickly dialed the number of his aircraft storage office at McCarran Airport. The phone rang five times, and then the voicemail came on. He listened to the announcement, then recorded his message, “Butch, this is Ron. We have an emergency. It is five o’clock. If you get this message in the next 10 minutes, call me on my cellular phone. If not, I’ll have made other arrangements.” He again disconnected the phone then dialed 911. Ron quickly gave the operator the information for dispatching an ambulance to his home and then told the woman that he’d get there as soon as possible too. He hung up his cell and turned to Dan.

“I’m sorry Dan, I have to go. Can you stay with Matt?”

Dan who had overheard Ron’s end of the conversation said without hesitation, “Of course, what happened?”

“Douglas has injured his back in a fall on the way back from your new house. The boys are afraid to move him.”

“Go!” Dan agreed. “I’ll be here. If anything happens here, I’ll call you.”

“Thanks Dan,” Ron said as he headed for the door. “I’ll call you once I know how Douglas is.”

20 minutes later, near the entrance of Ron and Matt’s estate.

Ron’s car closely followed the ambulance that had passed him on the U.S. 95 freeway leading to his home. He’d also called Parker, directing him to bring the electric maintenance cart around to the house’s entrance and to remotely open the iron gates securing the property. Then calling Jerry, he told the lad that he was coming with help that should arrive within a few minutes. Now as the ambulance turned into the drive, he impatiently followed the boxy vehicle as it slowly climbed the hills to the house. Around the vehicle, he saw Parker waiting beside the maintenance car which was a small vehicle similar to a golf cart except that it was equipped with a forward drivers seat and a small box-bed behind, useful for hauling material and supplies around the 400 acre property.

The ambulance responded to Parker’s waving arms, stopping near the older man. Ron stopped 15 feet short of the front vehicle, to allow room for removing a stretcher from the rear. Quickly taking charge, he jumped from his car and drove the cart to the rear of the ambulance.

“The injured boy can be reached quickest by this cart,” he told the two EMT’s. “Put the stretcher on the back and jump in. There are some ropes back there we can tie it down with on the way back but in the meantime, just keep it from falling off.”

The two men loaded the stretcher onto the cart and grabbing their medical equipment bags climbed into the back.

“Hold on!” Ron shouted as he drove the cart down the drive and onto the jogging path. 5 minutes later, Ron saw Nathan standing beside the path waving his arms to get their attention. He pulled up to the older youth and stopped, setting the brake.

“He’s this way,” Nathan shouted as he headed back through the desert toward the wash. Ron took the folded stretcher while the two EMT’s grabbed the other medical equipment.

Scrambling down the slope of the nearby wash, Nathan led the older men to his companions. Squatting quickly beside Douglas the two medical technicians began their work. After taking his vital signs, talking with the accident victim and conferring by radio with the doctor at the hospital, the two men carefully applied a neck brace and rolled Douglas onto a backboard and lifted him to the stretcher that had now been locked open by Ron and placed nearby. They then lifted the stretcher and carried it the 50 yards to the maintenance vehicle, loading it onto the bed while Ron found the ropes that had been stowed in a lower compartment. As the two men tied the stretcher securely to the vehicle, Ron turned to the boys who had followed the men back to the jogging path.

“Boys, I’d like you to go back to the ‘big house’ and wait.”

“But we wanna go with Douglas,” Ronnie complained.

“We don’t know the extent of his injury or whether he’ll be able to have visitors,” Ron explained. “I’ll call you the minute we know anything, and if he has to stay at the hospital and can have visitors, I’ll ask Parker to bring you there.”

“Well, okay,” Ronnie reluctantly agreed.

Seeing that the EMT’s were ready to leave, Ron concluded with, “I’m really proud of you boys. I promise I’ll call as soon as I can.”

The boys waved as the cart was turned around and moved swiftly off in the direction of the house.

                                    *                      *                      *

An hour and a half later, University Medical Center

Ron walked into Matt’s room, finding Dan still at the bedside of Ron’s partner.

“Hello Dan,” Ron said somberly. “Any change in Matt’s condition?”

“He woke up for a few minutes after you left, but was groggy and went right back to sleep. I didn’t think it was worth calling you since I knew you had plenty on your hands. How’s Douglas?”

“He’s here and in surgery. He had a nasty fall but fortunately the boys didn’t move him. It may turn out to be a mixed blessing. I spoke to his orthopedic surgeon a few minutes ago. When they operated the last time, they debated altering one of his vertebrae that had grown misshapen with a knob that caused Douglas’ back to be a bit stooped. They had decided not to do it, as the improvement would be relatively minor considering the risk. When Douglas fell, the knob was broken off and is floating. They’re going to remove it and reshape the bone below it. It may turn out for the best, though the risk is still there.”

“How long will the surgery be?” Dan asked.

“The surgeon though it would be about an hour, possibly an hour and a half.”

“Whaa…happen?” said a slurred voice coming from the bed.

“Matt Babe!” Ron said as he rushed to Matt’s side with a smile. “You’re awake?”

“Yaa… heard you talk. Who hurt?”

“Douglas had a fall and hurt his back,” Ron said quickly. "He’s here in surgery. He’ll be fine. How are you feeling, love.”

“Feel like shit,” Matt said truthfully. “Gotta pee.”

“We’ll take care of that,” Ron promised looking under the bed and spotting the long-necked urinal.

“Uh… I think I’ll take a break,” Dan offered.

“Okay,” Ron agreed. “Bring me back a cup of coffee, would you? It’s going to be a long night.”

“Cream, right?”

“Yep, thanks,” Ron answered as Dan exited out the door.

“All right Babe,” Ron said as he pulled back the Matt’s sheet and lifted the bottom of the hospital gown. “We’ll get you fixed up pronto.”

Lifting Matt’s arm from his side and draping it across his chest, Ron placed the urinal against Matt’s hip pointing the spout at the base of Matt’s generous organ.

“Good thing you’re a ‘shower’ babe,” Ron said with a grin as he placed the head of Matt’s dick into the neck of the urinal and held it. “Let ‘er rip!”

A moment later Ron could hear the sound of fluid shooting into the container. When Matt was done, he gave the organ a shake to remove any remaining drops.

“Mmmmm,” Matt said with a slightly crooked smile. “Kee’ tha’ up an’ you gonna ha’ sumpin’ else to clean uh’.”

“In your dreams, Babe,” Ron grinned as he replaced the gown and sheet over the torso of his lover.”

“Awww,” Matt said feigning disappointment.

“We’ll worry about that tomorrow,” Ron promised. “Tonight you need to rest and to get well. The doctor has high hopes for a speedy recovery”

“Sorry to be trouble,” Matt said slowly.

“I love you man,” Ron said sincerely looking into Matt’s eyes. “There is nothing I wouldn’t do or give for you.”

A tear emerged from each of Matt’s eyes, running down his cheeks. Ron took a tissue from the bedside box and wiped Matt’s face dry before leaning over the bed and placing a soft kiss on his lips.

“Thank’” Matt said with a grim smile. “Where are boys?”

“They’re at home. I’ll call there in a minute. I wanted to check on you first and give Dan a break.”

“Call now,” Matt suggested.

“Okay,” Ron agreed as he took his cell phone out of its holder and punched a button, then said, “HOME.” The phone placed the call.

“Turner residence,” came the voice of Parker on the other end.

“Parker, this is Ron.”

“Yes sir,” Parker replied. “How are Douglas and Mr. Matt?”

“Douglas is in surgery, and we’re hoping for the best. I’m with Matt now. He’s awake and as feisty as ever. How are the boys?”

“Mary has fed them and I insisted that Ronnie and Jerry get their homework done. They just finished it. Everyone is worried about the guys in the hospital and the boys ask every ten minutes if we’ve heard from you.”

“Sorry Parker,” Ron apologized before he cupped his hand over the mouthpiece speaker.

“Hey Babe,” he asked Matt, “feel well enough for visitors?”

“Sure, can’t talk too much.”

Ron removed his hand from the mouthpiece.

“Parker, would you bring the boys down to the hospital for a quick visit with Matt?” Ron asked. “I’m sure Douglas will still be in surgery, but maybe we’ll have news of how he’s doing. They can’t stay long since it’s a school night, and Matt needs his rest.”

“Yes sir,” Parker said, “I’m sure they’ll want to come. We’ll be there in about 45 minutes.”

“Thanks Parker,” Ron concluded.

“Goodbye sir,” Parker said before hanging up.

“They’re coming,” Ron reported.

“Good,” Matt responded, his word spoken without a slur but with some obvious effort.

Ron smiled, knowing that already Matt was fighting to recover his diminished physical capabilities.

The door opened and Dan appeared.

“Are all weapons put away?” he asked with a grin.

Ron and Matt both chuckled at the successful attempt at humor.

“Here’s your coffee, Ron.”

“Thanks bro,” Ron replied taking the offered foam plastic cup and removing the lid.

“Guess we should check in with the house,” Dan suggested as Ron sipped the coffee.

“Just did Dan,” Ron responded. “Parker is bringing the boys down for a short visit with Matt.”

“Good. I think I’ll go back with them when they leave, if it’s alright.”

“Good plan,” Ron agreed. “You’ve been down here for hours already. I think I’ll stay until they throw me out.”

“Don’ stay for me,” Matt disagreed. “Jus’ for Doug. I’ be okay. Jus’ nee’ rest.”

“Whatever you say Babe. I told the doctor to look for me here. It’s going to be a while before we know anything.”

“I talked to Tyler while I was out getting the coffee,” Dan reported.

“How are things in Arizona?” Ron asked, glad for a change in subject.

“Great! He’s worried about Matt and Douglas, of course, but I told him that he needed to get the trip completed before he comes back. He’s interrupted his trip twice already.”

“I’m glad you did that, Dan,” Ron said. “Is he making progress?”

“Yes, his ‘front guys’ had done their homework. He had a meeting with the owner of a security company in Phoenix that has offices there, in Tucson, Yuma and Flagstaff. The guy is willing to sell and is willing to manage the operations on salary with bonuses.”

“That’s great!” Ron responded. “It will save a lot of startup time. Is the price reasonable?”

“Tyler thought that the business was a bit over-priced, but he’s not through negotiating yet.”

“Well, he certainly knows all the figures. I’m sure he’ll make the right decisions.”

“Don’t be surprised if he asks for a Turner Consulting team to go there pretty quickly,” Dan advised.

“I’ll call Will at the office first thing tomorrow and have him get a team ‘on alert’. We’ve been through this before, so it should be second-nature by now.”

“That’s what he thought,” Dan reported.

“Did he say when he’d be back?”

“Probably tomorrow night if all goes well. He can be back there in an hour’s flight time if he needs to return.”

“Yes,” Ron agreed, “But he also needs to remember that we’re committed to go to D.C. next week. With all that’s happening though, we may have to reschedule.”

“I guess we’ll just have to play it by ear,” Dan said.

“Yeah, being flexible is important in everything but sexual equipment,” Ron said with a wink at his lover.

“I’ sure that t’ing not broke,” Matt answered.

Ron, noticing a slight tent in Matt’s covers, agreed with him, “So I see!”

“Get a room!” Dan suggested.

“Got one,” Ron answered with a laugh. “When you and the boys leave, just turn out the lights.”

Matt giggled in anticipation and his tent became a bit more obvious.

                        *                      *                      *

An hour later

The boys had gathered ‘round the bed and had all shared their concern about Matt’s welfare, while trying to appear cheerful. Ronnie particularly stayed close to ‘his dad’ almost on the verge of tears as he thought of the handsome man whom he’d assumed was invincible. It was a good lesson on the frailty of the human condition, one that reminded all the boys that tragedy could happen even in the most secure environments. Ron was about to suggest that Parker, Dan and the boys head for home when the orthopedic surgeon arrived at the doorway of Matt’s room.

“Mr. Turner?” He said beckoning to Ron with a curled finger. “May I speak with you for a moment?”

“Of course doctor,” Ron replied, quickly standing and striding toward the hallway. “Be right back guys,” he assured the others in the room.

The surgeon stepped back from the door as Ron approached, backing a few steps down the hallway.

“How’s Douglas?” Ron asked, the concern showing on his face.

“The surgery went better than we could have hoped,” the doctor reported. “We removed the bone chip, reshaped the bone and attached a small synthetic cap to protect the weakened area. The slight hump he had in his back should completely disappear. Now, except for the slight bow in his legs, he should appear completely normal.”

“That’s wonderful,” Ron said gratefully. “I don’t think the bow in his legs is either detracting nor unattractive.”

“I agree,” the doctor said. “Unless as he grows, the bow becomes more pronounced or causes him problems, I wouldn’t advise corrective surgery. I think we’re done with all of that. Now we just have to get him through physical therapy and he should be fine.”

“You don’t know how much we all appreciate your skill and attention, doctor,” Ron said. “Where is he now?”

“Thanks. He’s in the recovery room. In another hour we should be able to put him in a room. Of course he’s asleep, so he shouldn’t have visitors until in the morning.”

“Can we put him into Matt’s room?” Ron asked. “They could keep each other company while they recover.”

“I don’t see why not,” the doctor said. “I’ll leave those instructions, but you know the hospital bureaucracy.”

“I’ll take care of that,” Ron said. “Is there anything else we should know?”

“No, I think that’s all. I’ll be around to see the patient in the morning.”

“Thanks again doctor,” Ron said in parting, “Good work.”

“My pleasure, Mr. Turner. Goodbye.”

Goodbye doctor.”

                                    *            *            *            *            *