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. and to Dan (wink)

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


Chapter Forty-Four

Tyler had flown aboard the Citation II into Huntington, West Virginia the nearest reasonable sized airport near the small point of Ohio where Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky’s borders merged. There he rented a non-descript Ford full-sized sedan for the trip over the rather short distance into Weedville, Ohio. This tiny town near the southern edge of the Wayne National Forest was not much more than a general store, a bar, a tiny church, a small elementary school and a cemetery. It was surrounded with small, poor farms where generations of families eked out a living.

It was nearly 5 o’clock when he pulled into the dusty parking lot of the general store. The proprietor of the store had obviously no love lost for Luke Kendricks and was curious as to the stranger’s business with the maverick as he was described. Tyler made up the story that he was a second cousin of Mabel Kendricks, and had promised his mother that he would look her up on his next trip in the vicinity. With a warning about Luke’s volatile temper the shopkeeper said that he wished Tyler luck. Tyler said that if he had any trouble with Luke, he’d simply call the Sheriff’s office. The older man broke down laughing at the prospect, telling the young investigator that the Deputy that ruled that part of the county was the biggest crook within 50 miles. He told the young man a couple of stories about Tommy Raulings and said that he was as dangerous as Luke and to top it off, they were friends. He warned Tyler again, and suggested that he make his trip as short as possible.

Twenty minutes after entering the store, Tyler emerged with a small cooler filled with iced-down soft drinks, directions to the Kendricks’ farm, and some thoughts that he jotted down in a small notebook as soon as he was seated behind the wheel. The small farm was only three miles from the town, but the last half-mile was down a winding dirt road that separated patches of forest from the meager farms.

It was beginning to get dark when he pulled past the broken down fence that had once marked the front of the property. Pulling up to the house he could see through the dimming light a house with peeling paint, broken front steps, with a barn toward the back that was even more decrepit. A rusty old pick-up was parked in front of the house and various pieces of discarded junk littered the drive/yard.

True to Luke’s word, a woman and two young boys sat on the porch amid several cardboard boxes, which Tyler assumed contained their belongings. Climbing out of the car, Ron’s brother approached the porch.

“Good even’n,” Ron  said smiling at the huddled trio, “My name is Tyler Jacobs. You’re Mrs. Kendricks, I assume?”

“That’s me, and the young’uns’ go by Petie and Georgey. Hear y’come t’take us t’Tony. Thet right?”

“Yes, that’s right. Is Mr. Kendricks in?”

“Yep, ‘e’s indoors. I’m thinkin’ ‘e’s gittin’ hisself lickered up, so I’d reckon ya better gitcher bizness dun wit’im quick-like. In a ar ‘e’s gonna be ded drunk.  Be keerful in thar. Luke gits mean when’e’s bin drinkin’.”

“Thank you ma’am. If you’ll wait right here, I’ll go in and take care of things. I won’t be long.”

Knocking on the door and stepping inside Tyler saw a light from what he assumed to be the kitchen. He headed in that direction, calling out, “Mr. Kendricks?”

“If ya brung th’ money, cum on in,” Luke said.

Tyler stepped into the room, which was illuminated only by a bare bulb dangling from a wire. Luke was seated at a table with a glass filled with an almost clear toward brownish liquid that had probably come from the gallon crockery jug beside it. He was unshaven, unwashed and smelled badly. Dressed in dirty bib overalls he slouched in his chair glassy eyed.

“I’d offer ya a slug o’ this here ‘shine, but Ah know’s yer in a powrful hurry. Sides, soon‘s  Ah lay muh hands on some o’ thet cash, Ah gotta go git me s’more. This jug’s ‘bout  tuckered out. Le’s git on wif it.”

Tyler sat down carefully on the rickety chair across from Luke and pulled from a small valise a pile of legal documents, placing them in front of the man who was obviously quickly getting ‘into his cups’.

“Whar’s th’ cash?” Luke asked belligerently.

Tyler reached again into the valise and placed 10-one hundred dollar bills on the table but left his hand on top of the small stack.

“Would you like to read the documents before you sign them?” Tyler asked as he handed Luke an inexpensive ball point pen.”

“Nah, s’long as Ah git t’ keep th’ farm an’ ya git that ol’ bitch and her git off my farm.”

Tyler rose and returned to the porch asking Mrs. Kendricks to come in.

“Whut we need her fer?” Luke asked when they returned.

“We need a witness,” Tyler answered. “Otherwise these documents could be found to be illegal.”

“Jis’ show me whar t’sign and git. Ah’m gittin’ a powerful thirst!”

Tyler turned pages pointing to where Luke should sign, briefly explaining each document. Moments later when they had finished, he again opened the documents and asked Mrs. Kendricks to sign as the witness.

Concluding the signing, Tyler laid one copy of each document on the table for Luke.
Then placing the pile of money in front of Luke, Tyler indicated to Mrs. Kendricks that it was time to go. Returning to the porch, Tyler picked up the largest box and carried it to the car, placing it in the trunk. Mrs. Kendricks picked up a box and followed, telling the boys to bring two smaller boxes. Tyler returned to the porch to get the last box as Luke staggered out the front door.

Tyler picked up the box and deposited it in the trunk with the others in and closed the lid.
He opened the rear door and asked the boys to get in. Mrs. Kendricks nodded and the two cute, but shabbily dressed boys climbed in. As Tyler escorted Mrs. Kendricks to the passenger door, Luke started swearing and yelling at his soon to be ex-wife. He moved toward the car and grabbed her arm as she passed by the front of the car. He raised his arm to deliver a blow.

As his arm descended it was stopped in mid-air by a powerful hand that clamped onto the arm, twisting it, causing Luke to fall back.

“Ya fucker!” Luke screamed as he picked himself up. “Ah’m gonna kill ya, fer messin’ wi’ me!”

He charged Tyler in a rage. Tyler easily sidestepped the charge and stuck out his foot, which Luke tripped over and went sprawling.

Shaking his head as if to clear his drunkenness, the burly man again stood and again charged. Tyler dodged the fist that was thrown, and landed a solid blow to the bully’s gut. Luke folded like a tent. Tyler grabbed him by the arm and told Mrs. Kendricks to get in the car as he half-dragged Luke to the porch. Releasing his winded burden, he turned to go to the car when he saw another vehicle pull into the yard. From the lights mounted on top of the car, he assumed that he was about to meet Deputy Tommy Raulings.

Tyler stood his ground by the side of his car as the Deputy got out of his car.

“Whut’s goin’ on here?” Tommy asked.

“Thet fucker ‘tacked me,” Luke shouted from the porch. “Arres’ thet bastard!”

“That’s untrue officer. It was Mrs. Kendricks who was attacked. I simply defended her.”

“Yer under arrest, Yankee,” Tommy said threateningly.

“You had better think twice about that, officer.” Tyler warned.

“Put yer hands buhin’ yer back,” Raulings ordered as he reached for his pistol.

The pistol never cleared leather before Tyler moved. Grabbing the officer’s arm, he placed him into a hammerlock pushing him toward the porch extracting the revolver from the holster, throwing the weapon on the porch roof. He pulled the officer’s handcuffs from their leather holder and snapped the cuffs over the deputy’s wrists, behind his back after he dragged him to the porch post and encircled his arms around the wooden support. Tommy was screaming and threatening. Luke was in a daze and stood up to take on Tyler once again. Tyler again avoided his blows and in rapid succession landed two blows to Luke’s chin, the last of which was sufficient to knock the big man cold. Luke lay in a heap on the ground.

Tyler moved quickly. The officer had left his keys in the patrol car, so Tyler threw them on the porch roof also. Raising the hood of the Deputy’s car he quickly removed the two batteries and taking them out and unscrewing the caps, placed the batteries upside down to drain their fluids onto the ground. The Deputy was still shouting threats as Tyler drove off.  They had an appointment with an airplane. Tearing down the road at a fast but safe speed, Tyler saw a sign at the entrance archway of a farm. He asked a question of Mabel, who answered with a nod. He quickly applied the brakes, stopped the vehicle, backed up and turned into the drive beneath the arch.

        *        *        *

Steve had entered Tony’s hospital room at eight o’clock sharp. In addition to a brief case which he clasped in one hand, a small suitcase containing clothing and shoes purchased by Parker dangled from the other.

“Morning, Tony,” Steve said in greeting.

“Howdy Steve,” Tony replied. “Whatcha got’n thet bag?” He asked, indicating the small suitcase.

“Just some clothing for you to wear at your arraignment. I’m afraid the stuff you were wearing won’t do. It’s being held as evidence anyway, and I’m sure you don’t want to visit the judge in your birthday suit or your hospital gown.”

“Gawd no,” Tony said in agreement. “Whoever cum up with this li’l bib ya hav’ta wear in this here hospital, should be whupped. He fergot ta put cloth in th’ back!”

Steve laughed. “I agree with you. Has the doctor been in to see you?”

“Yep, Ah heered ‘im tell th’ policeman that Ah was fit ta leave this place.”

“Good, I’m afraid that the police will have to transport you to the courthouse. I’ll be there and so will Ron and Matt.”

“Who’s Matt?” Tony asked.

“Matt is Ron’s partner.”

“Ya mean like they work together?”

“No, they live together,” Steve said, hoping he didn’t need to go into more detail.

“Oh, ya mean lak boyfriends?”

“Yes, you could say that.”

“Jes’ did,” Tony said smiling.

Steve explained what was going to happen in the courtroom that morning. They were simply going to plead, and the judge would decide whether or not to grant bail, and if so how much the bail would be.

“Not much good thet’s gonna do me,” Tony said with a frown, “Ah coun’t bail myself outta a small boat.”

“Leave that up to Ron and me,” Steve said with encouragement. “I have a surprise for you too. You’ll like it.”

“Y’all a’ready got me them new clothes. Don’t know whut els’ ya could spring on me.”

“Your Mother will be in the courtroom.”

“What! How in hell……?”

Tony’s jubilant expression suddenly changed. “S’pose that asshole Luke’s gonna be there too, “ he said with a defeated expression.

“No, he’s gone for good.”

“Jeez! Thet’s great! Wha’dya have to do, kill the sum’bitch?”

“Nah, let’s just say that Luke’s not feeling too good today. Ron’s brother Tyler, that you met with Ron on Saturday, brought them to Las Vegas last night.”

“Them? Ya mean Petey and Georgey is with muh ma?”

“That’s what I mean.”

“Halleluiah, they’s safe!” Tony said full of gratitude.

“Yes they are, and they’re going to stay safe. You can thank Ron for that.”

“Shit!  Fer doin’ thet, I’d kiss ‘is ass in front of the judge ‘n ever’body!”

Steve laughed and said, “I hardly think that will be necessary, no point in giving the judge a stiffie.”

Tony roared with laughter at the thought. ‘Mebbe ther rilly is a chance fer me,’ he thought. ‘Man! If Ron cud git mama away from Luke, he cud do en’athin.’

“Let’s get you dressed,” Steve said. “We’ve got a date with a judge.”

        *        *        *

At the same time that Steve had entered Tony’s hospital room, Ron, Matt and Tyler were sitting in the breakfast room with Henri, the captain of the P-T II, having their morning coffee.

“…Yes, it was very late when we got in last night,” Tyler said after repeating in detail, the tale of his trip, which he had only briefly related to Ron and Matt in the wee morning hours when they returned. “Everyone slept on the plane, but I’m sure everyone will be tired today. I know that I am.”

“Tyler, I hate to give you more to do but could you keep an eye on Petey and Georgey while we’re in court? I’m sure that Tim and Hans could occupy them for a while too.”

“Sure Ron, I’ll look in on them in a while. I’m sure they’re still sleeping.”

“And Henri, Parker can get you the keys to the jeep. Feel free to take it when you go to the office to see Jan to plan the next cruise. I’m sure that Tim and Hans will be fine here with Tyler. I don’t think we’ll be very long in court. Unless I miss my guess we’ll be back here by lunchtime.”

No sooner were those words out of his mouth, when a tired looking but attractive woman, who appeared to be in her early forties, walked into the room accompanied by none other than Dorothy, Ron’s housekeeper.

Dorothy spoke. “Gentlemen, I’d like you to meet my new friend, Mabel Kendricks.”

‘Wow,’ Ron thought, ‘a miracle has been performed. Dorothy’s been busy this morning!’

“Good morning Mabel,” Ron said smiling. “I’d like you to meet my partner Matt, and Henri Larson, who’s the captain of my boat. You’ve met Tyler, I know.”

“Mornin’ Genamen,” Mabel said, trying her best not to appear too much like a hick. It was obvious though that she felt a bit out of place.

“Please join us for coffee Mabel, you too Dorothy,” Ron offered. “We’re all friends here, and you’re most welcome.”

“Thank ‘ee Ron. Wow, Ah cain’t git over this place. Ah niver bin in a place this grand.”

“Thanks, Mabel,” Ron said as they were seated. He poured the two ladies cups of coffee, offering cream and sugar. “Dorothy, are you responsible for this stunning lady?”

Mabel blushed and Dorothy smiled and said, “Well, I had a little help. I brought over a couple of friends from the beauty salon that I go to. I thought Mabel might need a bit of sprucing up.”

“It war more thin a bit,” Mabel remarked. “‘N’take a look-see ‘t these here purty duds. Thet Dorothy, she cud put a shine on a rock!  Ah niver been this gussied up in all muh ‘mem’brance.”

“Well, however it happened, you look wonderful,” Ron said smiling. “Tyler is going to stay with the boys while we’re in court, Mabel. We have a couple of other boys here, too, that are around Tony’s age. You’ll meet them later, but I’m sure that they’ll show your boys around.”

“Ah lef’ the door unlocked ta th’ li’l gues’ house, Tyler. Ah ‘magine the’r gonna sleep fer a whal yet. Ah left ‘em a note t’git dressed and cum over t’the big house when they git up. Ah mus’ say Ron, ya sher take keer o’ your frien’s.”

“Thanks Mabel, we try. Well, it’s getting late. We’d better leave for court in a few minutes.”

“Ah’ll be ready any time you say,” Mabel said. “Ah must confess tho, muh nerves is purty jangled ‘bout this whole thang wi’ Tony.”

“Mabel, I can only tell you that we have a very good attorney, and Tyler is working on the case too. We’ll all do everything we can for your son.”

“If thet ‘ttorney guy is half the man thet Tyler is, then Ah ain’t worried. Ya got yerself, one o’ the bessis’ brothers I evah laid eyes on, Ron. Thet Tyler is one amazin’ guy. Ya shuda seen ‘im wit’ ol’ Luke and thet awful Tommy. If’n I ha’nt been s’skeer’d I’da laughed muh ass off.” Realizing that she had probably overstepped the bounds of polite conversation, she blushed. Her face was not as red, however as Tyler’s. Ron laughed.

Regaining his composure, Ron said, “I’m just beginning to find out how really great my brother is myself, Mabel. I’m sure though, that you are right. Well, we’d better go. Will you excuse us Dorothy, gentlemen?”

The men rose from the table with Mabel. She shook her head and thought, ‘Ah mus’ be in heav’n, these guys sher do know how ta treat a lady!’

        *        *        *
The courtroom was not crowded. Arraignments tend to be pretty dull affairs. Ron, Matt, and Mabel sat in the first row behind the defense table. Ron introduced Mabel to Steve before the proceedings began, and Matt handed the attorney the signed papers, which Luke had executed the night before. Steve smiled, turned around and looked again at his note pad, jotting down a couple additional notes.

Tony was brought in next by the bailiff. He was wearing handcuffs and leg irons. When they neared the defense table, the officer took a key out of his pockets and removed the handcuffs, but left the leg irons in place. As the cuffs were released Tony saw his mother, and his two friends sitting together. Neither the mother nor the son could believe the sight of each other. The grooming and decent clothing removed the hillbilly look that had characterized their daily lives. Both began to cry, but tried to smile encouragement though their tears.

Tony took his place beside Steve who softly spoke words of encouragement to his young client. When he had finished, Tony turned in his seat and smiled at the trio who were there to show their support.

When Steve had first entered the room, he had spoken for a few minutes with the prosecutor from the District Attorney’s office. It was quickly made clear to Steve that the District Attorney had no real interest in prosecuting his young client, but was in a dilemma due to the notoriety of the grisly death and the press coverage it had received.

The fourth estate was represented at the hearing too. Three reporters, one from the Review Journal and two from TV stations were in attendance. There were no TV cameras, for which everyone except the media was thankful. Judge Brand was known for his dislike of TV cameras and the distraction they posed in the courtroom.  The stations were astute enough not to request that cameras be allowed for the simple arraignment. That might not be true for the trial itself. However, they were stationed outside.

“All rise!” said the loud voice of the bailiff. Everyone stood as the judge enter the room. “Hear ye, hear ye. The 5th District Court of the State of Nevada is now in session. The Honorable Frank Brand, presiding.”

The judge took his seat and announced. “You may be seated.”  Everyone returned to their seats. “Read the Case and Charge,” the judge ordered.  The bailiff read the case name, number and the charge. Steve was pleased that the charge sought by the D.A.’s office was voluntary manslaughter. It was less than he expected, yet still carried a stiff penalty if Tony were convicted.

“Will the defense rise?” The judge asked, though more as an order.

Steve and Tony both stood. Tony’s legs were weak and his knees were trembling.

“How do you plead?”

Tony spoke as he had been directed. “Not guilty, your Honor.”

“You may be seated. Let the record show that the defendant has pleaded ‘not guilty’, “ the judge said. “Now, for the matter of bail…” Judge Brand looked up, and paused. “Ah, Mr. Turner, what brings you into my courtroom?”

Ron stood as he spoke. “As you might know, your Honor the man that the defendant is accused of killing had only a couple days before attempted to kill me, and nearly succeeded. I have reason to believe that the defendant is innocent, and am providing the funds for his defense.”

“Will you vouch for the return of the defendant to trial?”

“Yes, your Honor, I will,” Ron said clearly.

“You may be seated,” the judge offered, as he scribbled a note in his folder. “Bail is set for $250,000 and the defendant is remanded to the custody of Mr. Ron Turner. The court will accept a check from Mr. Turner, either personal or corporate, should he choose to provide bail in that manner.  Both the defense and the prosecution have asked for an early trial date. Due to an unexpected vacancy in my calendar, the case will be heard on December 17th at 9 A.M in this courtroom. Is that acceptable?”

Both attorneys said while rising, “It is, your Honor.”

“Very good then, this case is continued to December 17th at 9 A.M.  Court is adjourned”

The judge banged his gavel, and moved his chair back before standing. The bailiff again trumpeted, “All rise!”

The people in the courtroom rose as the judge exited the courtroom.

The bailiff removed the leg irons from Tony who had slid his chair back and swung his legs out so that the bailiff had easy access. Ron reached across the pony wall railing that separated the spectators from the participants, handing Steve a check made out in the amount of $250,000.  Steve and the bailiff left the room together.

Once freed, Tony turned to his mother, and wrapped his arms around her small frame.

“Oh, ma, Ah’m so glad yer here.” Tony said through his tears.

“I love ya, sonny. Everthin’s gonna be alright.”

After moments locked in their embrace, the two parted and Tony turned to Ron.

“I jes’ donno how ta thank ya, ‘nuf , Ron,” Tony began. “Not ony‘r ya heppin’ me wi’ this ’ere Fat Charlie thing, butcha got my ma and the li’l ‘uns away from ol’ Luke. If’n they lock me in jail, ‘n throw away the key, Ah’ll still thank ya.”

“You’re welcome, my young friend. It’s a ways from being over yet, but we have hopes for keeping you free. There are no guarantees, but we’ll do our best.”

“Wayl, s’fer your bes’ has bin danged good.” Tony said.

Ron smiled at the happy mother and son.

Steve had returned to the courtroom, and after gathering up his papers into his briefcase, turned to the small group who depended so much on his knowledge and skill and said, “Let’s go home.”

        *    *    *    *    *