The story below is fiction. It also may contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this offensive or are too young to read it, please leave.

The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced except for personal use without permission of the author.

Dedication: To Ry and Don with special thanks to my editor and friend, Bill H.

If you’d like to comment or say ‘Hi’, I’m at John Tucker


Chapter Forty-two

“Are ya gonna be a good boy?” Matt asked grinning as he slid his naked body between the sheets and snuggled close to Ron.

The house was quiet at last. After the sumptuous meal the friends had remained on the pool deck for after dinner drinks, getting acquainted and enjoying each other’s company. A half-hour after rising from the tables all the guests had adjourned to the inside of the ‘palace’ as the outside air temperature dropped to an uncomfortable level. The younger guys had gone into the game room for rounds of ping-pong and pool. Around 10:30 the married couples from Ron’s office had said their goodbyes and departed. Mary and her houseboys had been attentive to their guests, and shortly after the office “crew” left, Ron suggested that the house staff call it a night. By midnight even the most die-hard succumbed to the fatigue of travel or had more intimate adventures that they wished to pursue in the privacy of their rooms.

“I’m always a good boy,” Ron said grinning as he pulled Matt close.

“You know what I mean, silly. We’re gonna have to take it easy with our lovemaking for awhile. I don’t want you back in the hospital ‘cause we got too rambunctious.”

“Don’t worry about that, my love. I could be happy just holding you in my arms, but I’m sure that the doctor didn’t mean to be that restrictive.”

The lovers kissed and parted, looking at each other with knowing smiles before Matt’s head began its journey, tasting and nibbling Ron’s neck and torso, the journey toward his partner’s stiff cock that awaited his attention.

            *        *        *

Pushing the door open the 46-year-old attorney stepped through to meet his newest client. The casual, but immaculately dressed criminal defense lawyer surveyed the room quickly and walked toward the bedside of the young patient who watched his approach with cautious eyes.

“Tony?” the man questioned as he looked at the young man expectantly. Then receiving a slight nod in the affirmative he continued, “I’m your lawyer, Steven Bartholomew.”

“Who sent ya?” Tony asked, remembering Ron’s instructions.

“I was retained by Terry Cannon, Ron Turner’s personal attorney.”

“Ok then,” Tony said with relief, “have a seat.” Ron had kept his word.

“I know that this isn’t going to be easy for you Tony, but I’ve got to know exactly what happened with the pimp known as Fat Charlie. You’re going to have to trust me. You have to know that whatever you tell me is just between us. The law protects you from anyone else knowing what you tell me. It doesn’t matter to me whether you are guilty or not, it’s my job to defend you and get you off, if possible.”

“Nothin’s ever been easy fer me Mr. Bartholomew, “ Tony said dejectedly. “It’s a switch with the law protectin’ me against anything though. In my life it’s always been the other way  ‘round. Even when my step-dad beat the shit outta me before I ran away from home, the cops took his side.”

“I’ll need to know all the details about your past before we go to trial Tony, but for now I’d like to know just two things: What is your relationship with your parents, and what are the facts surrounding Fat Charlie’s death?”

“I’ll tell ya, but I ain’t sure what difference it’ll make,” Tony responded with despair written across his face. “They’re gonna hang my ass out to dry anyhow.”

“Tony look at me.” Steven commanded. Tony raised his head and looked into the sincere gaze of his attorney. “I never want to hear you say that again. First, and I don’t know why, but you have a great benefactor in Ron Turner. People in this city think he walks on water. He is known, at least by reputation, by all the important people in this town, and that includes the Sheriff, the District Attorney and most of the judges in the criminal justice system. You couldn’t ask for a better friend on your side. Second, you have me working for you. You should know that I hate to lose and that I rarely do. I don’t anticipate that having you for a client is going to spoil my record, but in order to give you the best defense I need to know everything. We were able to get an arraignment hearing for tomorrow morning so we have to discuss how we will plead. Until then, the DA’s office has agreed to allow you to stay here in the hospital so you won’t have to spend the night in jail. If we’re lucky we might be able to get you released on bail. I don’t want to get your hopes raised too high, but I’m going to give it one hell of a swing.”

“Ok, Mr. Bartholomew, I hear ya. I’ll do what ya say. I just never had nobody that give a shit whether I lived or died before ‘cept for maybe my momma. I hope you’ll excuse me if I git a little untrustin’ now and then. Trustin’ is a new thing fer me.”

“Don’t worry Tony, I’ll remind you if you get out of line. Now before we get going, I’d like to ask you to call me Steve. We’re going to get to know each other real well in the next few days. Now let’s get started. Tell me about your parents.”

“Ok Steve, I might as well tell ya the whole thing, so here goes.”

The lawyer was writing on his legal pad as the youth started to tell his story.

“When I was little my mom, dad and two brothers were livin’ and workin’ a little farm in Ohio. It wasn’t much and we had a helluva time makin’ it, but we were ok. One day my dad was killed in an accident when our tractor turned over and crushed him. I was only eleven and my brothers were younger than me. My mom jis’ ‘bout fell apart. We went through all the funeral stuff, but it took all that we had in money. The good thing was that we was ‘bout ready fer the harvest. We had us a hired man named Luke. Between him, me and some really good neighbors, we was able to bring in the harvest and put a little money away to live on.”

“We worked our butts off fer the next year, tryin’ ta keep our heads above water. Ol’ Luke, he stayed with us, and purty soon was hangin’ ‘round the house a lot, gittin’ close to my mom. He was nice as pie to her, and treated the rest of us purty good too. Well, after ‘bout a year or so, my momma and him decided t‘git married, so they did. It was then that things started t’go ta hell. The bastard started drinkin’ and actin’ like he was the king shit. He worked the hell outa us too, even the li’l guys. If anybody said anything he din’t like, you could count on gittin’ a slap, or worse. That included his hittin’my momma. I could stand it myself, but I really got pissed when he’d pick on my li’l brothers or my mom. Things stayed like that fer ‘bout the next three years. My momma, the boys and me were real unhappy, but there wasn’t nothin’ I could do ‘bout it and my mom just didn’t care anymore ‘bout us or herself after my dad died.”

“’Bout the only good thing that happened ta me during that time was my friend Johnny who lived on the next farm over. I met him at school and we was best buds. He lived with his grandma ‘n grandpa who was both kinda old. I guess his mom got knocked up when she was in high school and soon as she could, she hi-tailed it ta Cincinnati, leavin’ Johnny t’ be raised by her folks. Anyway, we was the best o’ friends like I said, and we was t’gether whenever we wasn’t workin’ or goin’ ta school. We used ta sneak away when we could and go down by the creek and go swimmin’ buck-ass nekkid in the summers. When we was ‘bout fourteen we started ta grow and sproutin’ hair and our dicks started gettin’ bigger too. Next thing I knew, we was springin’ woodies whenever we was alone t’gether. At first we would jis’ beat-off ourselves, but after while we was doin’ it fer each other. One day we was in the hay loft in the barn. I thought that ol’ Luke was in town and we was alone. It wasn’t long before we was nekkid and I just knew that I had to taste that big boner that Johnny was sportin’.  We was nervous as hell, and no sooner had I got a lip lock on that monster, than who should stick his head up outta that ladder hole. Yep, you guessed it. It was that asshole Luke.  I knew I was in fer it f’sher. Johnny grabbed his pants and took off like a cat with turpentine on his butt, when Luke started screamin’ and yellin’ at me. I tried ta shield myself from the blows that I knew was comin’ but it wasn’t no use. He kicked the shit outa me, both with his boots an’ with his belt. I still got me some scars from that whuppin’. He tol’ me that if he ever saw me with Johnny agin, he would kill us both.”

“My momma heard all the screamin’ and cryin’, got scared ‘n called the Sheriff. They sent out ol’ Tommy Inman, who was a cop that was a buddy o’ Luke’s. Tommy, he stopped inta the house and got my mamma all calmed down and tol’ her ta stay there while he went out ta see what the noise was all about. When he showed up, I thought fer a minute I was saved, cause ever’body in town knew that Tommy was queer as a three-dollar bill. Not that it made no differnce though, he was the Sheriff’s wife’s brother. So Tommy stuck his head up into the loft and seen what was goin’ on. Ol’ Luke was jis’ sittin’ on a bale o’ hay, watchin’ me cry and groan. He was pooped from beatin’ on me. When he seen Tommy, he jis’ grinned an’ said he was jis’ beatin’ some sense inta me fer queerin’ with Johnny, but mostly fer bein’ so stupid as t‘git caught.”

“I could see the look in Tommy’s eyes, and I knew I was really in trouble. He come over t’me and tol’ me that I was gonna go ta jail where th’other prisoners would probly gimme a good fuckin’. I started pleadin’ with him, and beggin’ him not ta take me. He said that he wouldn’ if I’d help him out a little. At first, I couldn’ figure out how I could help him ‘til I saw that he’d unzipped his pants and pulled out his pecker. I din’t wanna do it, but Luke picked up his belt and started walkin’ over and I knew  I din’t have no choice. That Tommy, now he’d din’t have much of a dick ‘cause I took the whole thing and it din’t hardly fill up my mouth. He seemed t’like it though, ‘cause in a coupla minutes, he was grabbin’ onta my head and humpin’ ta beat the band. Purty soon he let loose with a big shot o’ cum right down my throat.  I gulped fast as I could, and was cryin’ all the while. He seemed ta get a big kick outa me havin’ ta eat his dick.’

“No sooner was he done, than ol’ Luke whipped his out. Man, he was big! I thought I was gonna throw up when he shoved that sucker down my throat. I started ta gag, ‘n he started ta slap the shit outta my head ‘til I swallowed the whole thing. He kept jammin’ that thing in ‘n out. I thought I was gonna pass out from havin’ no air. It wasn’t long before he started groanin’ real loud and thrashin’ his hips, slammin’ that stiff rod in ‘n outta my throat. Fin’ly, he grabbed me by my fuckin’ ears and dumped his whole load down my gullet. I thought he was gonna fall on his ass when he got through. He jus’ kinda staggered over to a hay bale and sat down.”

“Tommy and Luke started laughin’ and talkin’ after a coupla minutes. They tol’ me t’come over to ‘em , where they was sittin’ on the hay bale. I did as I was tol’ ‘cause Luke said he’d whup me some more if I din’t do what he wanted. I knew he would too. They made me stand in front of ‘em while they played with my peter. I din’t wanna git hard, but I couldn’ help it. Before I knew it Tommy was suckin’ on my dick and ol’ Luke pulled down Tommy’s pants and was fuckin’ ‘im from behind. Tommy was moanin’ and groanin’ like he was in heaven. I couldn’t stand it very long and just dumped my own load in a hurry inta Tommy’s mouth. You woulda thought it was ice cream, the way he lapped that stuff up.

Luke was still poundin’ on Tommy’s ass when Tommy grabbed me ‘n turned my ass around. He took his fingers ‘n slicked ‘em up with some o’ my cum that was in his mouth. After that he made me bend over ‘n he shoved  ‘em inta my asshole. I must’ve made ‘im mad when I jumped, ‘cause he give my ass a powerful slap.  I never had nothin’ in there before, ‘n it hurt like hell. I was bawlin’ my head off ‘n that just seemed t’make both of ‘em that much happier. In a coupla minutes, Luke started slammin’ Tommy’s ass ‘n Tommy was gettin’ all glassy-eyed. He was reamin’ my ass with his fingers ‘n my pecker was startin’ t’git hard, even with me cryin’ ‘n all. Luke, he was sweatin’ ‘n’ huffin’ ‘n’ puffin’. Then Luke kinda went crazy-like ‘n was poundin’ Tommy’s ass like a fuckin’ sewin’ machine. He let out a big-ass moan when he shot his wad up Tommy’s hole. After five or six shots he kinda held still fer a minute with his pecker still in the depity sheriff, then he pulled out ‘n jis’ plopped his butt down on a hay bale.”

“Bout that time, Tommy pulled his fingers outta my hole, ‘n give me a shove on the ass cheeks. I went sprawlin’.  I lay there cryin’ ‘n whimperin’ while they grabbed their pants ‘n started gittin’ dressed. Then they started talkin’ ‘bout doin’ it agin t’me later that night. Luke tol’ Tommy that he’d let him fuck me like he’d just fucked him, but it’d be only after he had me first. They agreed t’meet at the pond where Johnny ‘n me went swimmin’ at ten o’clock. Luke made me git dressed, ‘n threatened t’kill me if I said one word ta my momma. I was so scared that I promised I wouldn’t. He ‘n Tommy climbed down the ladder ‘n soon Tommy drove off in his patrol car. I lay there thinkin’. There wasn’t no way I was gonna let Luke give it t’me in the ass with that huge dick, so I decided ta run away.”

“That afternoon, Luke took my momma inta town t’git supplies. They took my two brothers with ‘em, but left me at home as punishment fer being bad. I was glad though. I got an old cardboard suitcase, ‘n stuck my few clothes in it with some o’ my other things too. I made up a coupla sandwiches ‘n took three apples ‘n poured me a jug o’ water. I wrote my momma a note sayin’ that I couldn’t stay there no more, ‘n that I loved her, but had ta leave. I took off ‘cross the fields an’ headed east ta the big city.”

“Steve, now ya know how I came ta be in the City. If ya wanna know how my step-dad is gonna react if ya have ta tell ‘im ‘bout me, you can guess. He’s glad ta git rid o’ me. Ya can’t expect no help from him. I can tell ya fer sher though, that I’d rather go t‘jail than go back there. I just feel so bad fer my momma ‘n’ brothers. I hate ta think o’ what he’s doin’ with them.”

Steve shook his head in disbelief. His heart went out to the youngster who had been forced to seek his own way in the world or face a threatened future with his family. He needed to talk to Ron Turner. They needed to deal with that situation. Tony was technically still a minor and his parents still had legal control over his life.

“I’m sorry you have to relive this, Tony. I know it’s hard for you. Let’s take a break for now,” he suggested. “It’s time for them to bring your lunch, and I can go downstairs and grab something from the cafeteria. I’ll come back in an hour and you can tell me about Fat Charlie. Don’t be discouraged. What you’ve just told me could help us.”

He smiled at the youth, whose eyes had shed new tears during the telling of the story. Uncharacteristically for him, Steve stood, leaned over the bed and giving Tony a warm hug, said to him reassuringly “It’s going to be ok, my young friend.”

“Thanks Steve,” Tony said softly.

As Steve stepped away and turned to go out the door, Tony added. “Hey Steve, when ya git outside, would ya ask the guard ta come in? I gotta pee.”

“Sure, Tony, see ya in a while.”

A few minutes later the police officer came inside, unlocked Tony’s handcuffs and indicated that he could go into the bathroom. When Tony finished, he stepped out of the small room and saw that the officer was standing with his back to him, talking on the telephone.

“Now’s my chance!’ Tony thought, looking at the door into the corridor. Then the image of Ron and Steve appeared in his head. These were the only guys that had ever helped him. Running now would irrevocably throw away the trust that they had given him. Gritting his teeth with determination not to give in to the temptation to run, he walked back to his bed and climbed in. After being cuffed again, the officer left the room. As the door swung wide, Tony saw Steve standing in the corridor smiling at him. He had been set up. He knew now that he had passed Steve’s test.

            *        *        *

The New York guys stood in the executive terminal ready to board the corporate jet that would take them home. Ron, Matt, Jack, Robert, Tim, Hans, Jeff and Phil stood amongst their friends, feeling sorrow in their hearts to be parting from the guys they had come to know so well during the previous week together. Ron no longer had his wheelchair and took a moment to speak to each couple, before they boarded the plane. At the end of his rounds accompanied by Matt, he came finally to Bryan and Alan.

“Alan, Bryan?” he said as they turned toward the sound. “I want you to know how much we love you guys. It was only a few weeks ago that we met, but it has changed my life. When we met in that New York restaurant, I was one lonely guy. Now I have all these friends, and the love of my life beside me. Much of it is due to you. You guys have shown us both how great love can be between two guys.”

“Thanks, Ron, “ Alan answered. “You don’t have any idea how nervous I was about Bryan meeting you. Internet friendships can be very scary. You’ll never know how close I came to talking Bryan out of going. We had a bad experience once and vowed never to repeat it, but I’m happy to say that this time it turned out to be better than we could have ever dreamed.”

“We’re happy about it too, friends. Now we have a whole new adventure ahead of us with the Friendship Trust. I have great confidence in both of you making it successful. Doggone, I see the Captain is signaling it’s time for you to go.  Have a great trip. I expect that we’ll be coming back to New York soon. We have some unfinished business to handle for Matt’s moving to Las Vegas. I’d like to see your dad too, Bryan. I wanna check up on how he’s doing.”

“I’m anxious to see him too, Ron” Bryan said. “You can’t believe how much joy our reunion has brought to me. Well, I guess we’re off. Thanks so much for the great trip. It was more fabulouser than I could have imagined.” Ron grinned at his funny friend and his abuse of the English language.

Hugs were exchanged and in parting Bryan said as he winked at Ron, “Don’t forget about Christmas.”

As Alan and Bryan waved goodbye to their friends and strode out onto the tarmac toward the plane, Alan asked his partner, “What’s this about Christmas?”

“Oh, nothin’ much. Just thought we’d have a party with all our friends.”

‘Yeah, sure.’ Alan thought. ‘I wonder what he’s got up his sleeve this time.’

The group ascended the stairway into the opulent jet and the door closed. The engines started their whine, signaling the beginning of the trip home.

After the plane began it’s roll toward the take-off point, the Las Vegas contingent left the building and returned to the waiting limos. There was still another stop to make before they left the airport grounds. Henri Larson, Hans’ father, was waiting at the commercial passenger pick-up area after his trip from Florida. The second limo would be going directly from the executive terminal to return Robert and Jack to their homes. Before climbing into the vehicles both of the young men hugged Matt and Ron, and again thanked them for the wonderful adventure. The young guests had a common bond that was now expressed in the sparkle in their eyes as they said goodbye to their hosts. They both had found love on the cruise and while their lovers were far away, they knew that each of them was held closely in the other’s hearts.

        *        *        *

 Jack unlocked the door to the home that he had shared with his lover Ted who had been killed not that long before the cruise. ‘What a difference a week has made,’ he thought to himself as he entered the living room. ‘I left here eight days ago feeling like a zombie, and now I feel ready to face the world again. The house has a new feel,’ he mused as he looked around. He no longer saw Ted’s image in every room. It wasn’t that he was gone, but rather that the image was shared with Lonnie who had stayed with him the previous night, and shared the bed that had provided the platform for so much love between Jack and Ted for the few short years they were together.

Jack thought about that wonderful night just passed. It was eerie. In spite of his initial reluctance to ask Lonnie to spend the night in the house, when it came about, he had the feeling that Ted was there too, smiling at his newfound happiness. ‘I must be losin’ it,’ he thought as he smiled. Then he saw a light blinking on his answering machine. Moving to the machine, he punched the ‘play’ button. A man’s voice was heard.

“Mr. Smith, this is Detective Sunderson from the Metropolitan Police Department. We understand that you have been out of town, but need you to call us as soon as you return. We have in our custody the suspects in the attack on you and Mr. Thornton. We need to schedule a line-up for you to identify your assailants as soon as possible, as the arraignment is scheduled for Wednesday of the coming week. Please call us at your very earliest convenience.” The message continued with contact phone numbers, including the detective’s cellular number.  

Jack picked up the receiver and began to punch in the numbers from the message. Upon reaching the detective, they agreed to meet on Wednesday at 9 a.m. downtown. Hanging up, Jack moved into the kitchen and opened the cupboard door. Inside was a bottle of gin that had been in the same place, undisturbed for over a year. He removed the bottle and its cap. Retrieving a small bottle of vermouth from the refrigerator and pulling a glass from the cupboard, he began to make himself a very dry double Martini. Cracking some ice cubes from the refrigerator, he dumped the chips into the glass, then picking it up walked again into the living room and sat in the chair that had been Ted’s favorite.

Thinking of the killers he had yet to identify and raising the glass in a mock toast to his dead lover, he said softly, “Just one last thing left to do my love. Just one last thing left.”

            *        *        *
The day had been difficult for Tony. After the morning session, he was tired. Toward the end of his revelations with Steve in the afternoon, he could hardly wait for this horror to be over. Mental and emotional fatigue were taking their toll on the youth as he got to the happenings of the morning after his rape by Fat Charlie.

“… I fin’ly got the ropes untied while I sat there on the floor. There was blood all over me ‘n I was nekkid as a plucked chicken. Seems like Charlie decided t’carve on me some after he fucked me. I was really weak, and my feet was so numb that I knew if I tried walkin’, I’d be back on my ass ‘fore I could take two steps. I sat there fer like ten minutes ‘til the feeling came back. I ached all over, but I wanted t’git outta there so bad. The only reason I din’t panic was I could hear Fat Charlie snorin’ away in the bedroom.”

“I knew if I left, Charlie would come after me, ‘n jis’ the thought scared the shit outta me.  I kep’ tryin’ to think of what t’do. I knew that I had t’git some clothes on too in order t’git by security in the hotel. Then I remembered the knife Charlie had when he let me outta the toilet room. If I could git that, maybe I could stab Charlie while he was sleepin’. I got t’my feet real careful and creeped toward the door of the bedroom. On a chair by the door was Charlie’s pants. I felt the pants ‘til I found the knife in one o’ the front pockets. It was a switchblade knife with ‘bout a five-inch blade. I pulled the knife outta the pocket ‘n looked at it in my hand. I pressed the thumb latch and the blade flew open with a ‘snap’. Real fast I looked at the bed and there was Charlie with his eyes open.

“ ‘ Whacha tink yer doin’, honey boy?’ Charlie said. ‘Y’all tinkin’ o‘ stabbin’ po’ ol’ Charlie, wit’ dat pigstickah?  Now y’all knows better’n dat, ya little pussy. Guess ol’ Charlie’s gotta teach ya some mo’ manners’,” Tony recited imitating Charlie’s voice as if in a trance. Then in his own voice he continued. “I was scared shitless when Charlie hauled himself outta the bed, stark nekkid, ‘n then started movin’ t’git me. I knew it was gonna be all over if he got near, so I threw the only thing I had in my hands, the knife.”

Tony stopped speaking and closed his eyes as if imagining the whole scene again.

“Charlie was comin’ ‘round the bed when he saw my throw. He grabbed the knife from the air, the blade an inch from stickin’ in his big ass chest. Jis’ then he tripped on the bed covers, that had fallen to the floor, and he went down like a sack o’ flour.”

“I started t’ run when I heard him holler. ‘Hep me honey boy, I tink I done kilt muhself!’ I looked back when I got t‘the door t’the hallway. I could see Charlie’s hand on the floor. It was covered with blood, ‘Hep me,” he hollered again. I froze with my hand on the door handle. Charlie’s hand was still there, the fingers were twitchin’. I moved back real slow toward the bedroom ‘n I saw Charlie layin’ there. His eyes was open.”

“ ‘I tinks I’s daid, pussy boy,’ Charlie said. He din’t move but he smiled at me, and he coughed some blood up that ran out the corner o’ his mouth. “Y’all was the bes’ ass ah evah did have, baby boy,’ he tol’ me. He coughed again, gritted his teeth in hurt, then closed his eyes. His face got all relaxed lookin’ ’n I was sher he was dead.”

“I said th’only words I could think of: ‘Fuck ya, Fat Charlie, roast in hell.’ Then, I got ta thinkin’ really fast. I grabbed Charlie’s pants again ‘n looked for the keys to his Cadillac. All I could find was the valet ticket. I needed that car t’git away, so I took the money from his wallet ‘n’ stuck it in the pockets o’ my jeans that I found in the bathroom. I wiped the blood offa me with a towel as best I could ‘n put on my clothes. I got outta there ‘n went to the valet desk outside ‘n handed him the ticket. The guy looked at me kinda funny, but seeing the $20 bill I handed him with the ticket, took off t’git the car. I gave him another $20 when he brought it ‘round and I got the hell outta there.”

“After I drove a little ways, I came t’a stop light. While I was sittin’ there I saw a piece of paper  ‘n a map on the seat. It had the name Ron Turner ‘n a address. The map had a  ‘X’ where I figured the hotel was, and another ‘X’ and some writing that said ‘house’. Thought I’d look fer Ron Turner ‘cause I had no place else t’go. When I was gittin’ close I started feelin’ like I was gonna pass out, so I pulled over ta the side o’ the road ‘n stopped. The next thing I knew, I was in this hospital bed.”

“Wow!” Steve said. “That’s quite a story.”
“It’s the truth Steve. I’d swear it on a stack o’ Bibles.”

“Well, that’s enough for today, Tony. Get some rest,” Steve said, seeing the weary look on Tony’s face. I’ll be here early tomorrow. We’ve got an appointment with a judge.”

‘Ok Steve, I am tired. See ya in the morning.”  

His eyes closed and he was asleep before Steve could leave the room. Minutes later, Steve took out his cell phone and dialed a number as he was walking to his car in the hospital parking lot. The number rang several times and was then picked up.

“Ron Turner please,” he requested. He waited for a moment, then hearing the expected recipient, he continued, “Mr. Turner, this is Steven Bartholomew. I’m Tony Mattussa’s lawyer. I need to see you right away.”

        *    *    *    *    *