The story below is a work of fiction. It may also 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 the permission of the author.

Dedication:  To Ritch Christopher, author of “Whence Cometh My Help.” This is a fine work full of love and laughs. (Gay male/adult friends). Thanks for the good read, my friend.

If you’d like to comment or say hi my address is


Chapter Twenty-Two

Wednesday evening, Thornton Center

Cody and Michael Thomas sat in their room at the Thornton Center. Cody was at his desk, finishing his homework, and Mike had just finished his shower, having completed his schoolwork a half-hour earlier.

Looking at Mike, Cody said. “I sure wish we were in the same grade. We could hang out together.”

“Hey, Cody. I’d like to hang out with you. I don’t care if you are younger than me. Besides, I saw you leaving the other day with that Pete guy, and he’s a lot older than either of us.”

“Yeah, he’s a cool guy. We had lots of fun together when I was living with him. I wish I still could, but I’m sure he’s glad I’m gone.”

“Did he act like he wanted to get rid of you?”

“No, he really didn’t, but I have only seen him a couple of times since we moved in here a week ago. ‘Course his apartment got blown up and all that, so I’m sure he’s busy. I saw him working on house number 4 today when I first got home and we talked a minute. He told me he got a promotion and a raise. He’s an assistant superintendent now and Mr. Ron even bought him a new truck, and helped him get a new apartment. I’d sure like to see it.”

“Why don’t you give him a call?” Mike asked.

“Nah, he said he was going to Mr. Ron’s house for dinner. I guess Mr. Friday is gonna be there too, with his dead son’s old boyfriend from California. I’ll bet that’s kinda spooky.”

“I know it would make me nervous,” Mike agreed.

“I feel kinda bad that we haven’t had time to get to become friends yet. I thought that maybe you didn’t like me, or somethin’”

“It’s nothing like that,” Mike said quickly, then slowly went on.” I guess I’m still in shock about my folks dyin’.  I know my Mom’s been gone a long time, but I was just getting used to being only with my dad, when he died. I felt like I just wanted to curl up and hide. Nobody wanted me when he died and I didn’t know how long I could go on. I only had one good friend and when his dad ran me off, I was really lost. Good thing I found the shelter and this place. I’m still kinda empty inside though. I don’t mean that anybody’s treated me bad or nothin’ and Tom and Shirley have been nice to me. I just don’t know if they really care or are just getting paid to see that I don’t get into any trouble.”

“Well, I care about you, Mike,” Cody said sincerely. “I’m not sure that means much to you, but I’d really like to be friends. I know what you mean though about being lost. When my dad found some gay stuff on my computer, he threw me out. I lived in this tiny little farming town in Nebraska, and all the people there hate gays. I knew I couldn’t stay unless I was willing to get beat up all the time. Nobody woulda given me a job anyway, so I had to leave. I know it’s tough with your folks gone, but at least they loved you. That’s more than I can say about mine.”

“I’d like to be your friend too, Cody. I just thought that you and that Pete guy were boyfriends or something.”   

“I wish that were true, but I know I’m really too young for him. He’s cool to hang out with though, and he taught me a lot.”

“Oh?  What did he teach you?”

“Oh you know. Sex and stuff.”

“You had sex with Pete? Wow!”

“Yeah, but don’t tell nobody though. He could get in lots of trouble. He told me not to tell anybody, but I think I can trust you.”

“Yeah, you can Cody. I never had sex with anybody. I’m still growing and I hope I get bigger, down there. Ya know what I’m talkin’ about?  Even though I want to, I’m kinda shy about doin’ anything with any body.”

“It’s none of my business, but how big are ya?  Hard I mean.”

“Well, I measured it not too long ago and it was about 5 inches. I seen pictures on the net about some guys that make me look like a midget.”

“Hey nothin’s wrong with 5 inches. Being big ain’t all it’s cut out to be. Ask me if you don’t believe it. Sometimes it’s a nuisance. I mean, guys look at ya in the shower at school like you got two heads. I guess I should be proud, but I’d just like to be regular size, like everybody else.”

“How big are you?” Mike asked with curiosity.

“Well the last time I measured, it was pushin’ 9 inches.”

“Wow! That’s huge!”

Cody blushed and turned away. “I knew I shouldn’t have told ya,” he said quietly.

“Heck, Cody. It’s ok. I’m not making fun of ya or nothin’.  I wish mine were bigger. I just never saw one that big for real.”

“Well, I’m sure you’ll have plenty of opportunities if we’re gonna be roommates for long. I mean it’s kinda hard to hide that thing.”

Mike giggled. “Yeah, I guess that’s a ‘fer sher’.”

Cody got caught up in Mike’s giggles and started laughing along with his roomie. In minutes as tears poured out of their eyes Cody reached over to his bed and grabbed a pillow.

“Laugh at me will ya,” he said still giggling, “take THAT!”

He swung his pillow smacking Mike soundly over the head.

“Now you asked for it!” Mike said grabbing his pillow for retaliation. He took a swing landing a blow to the side of Cody’s head.

Jumping to their feet both boys took mostly futile swings at each other. They were laughing so hard their blows were neither well aimed nor had any force behind them.  
Mike took a swing, missing his target but instead wrapped the pillow around Cody’s arm. Pulling back to retrieve the pillow for another swing, he caught Cody off balance, pulling the taller boy into his arms as they fell on Mike’s bed.

Looking into Cody’s eyes, Mike released his hold on his pillow and wrapped his arms around his bigger, but younger roommate. Cody dropped his pillow in response and pulled his new friend close, placing a soft kiss on Mike’s lips.

“Wow!” Mike said as they parted.

“You think that’s something,” Cody responded. “I’ve got something that you might like even better.”

Taking Mike’s arm from around his shoulder, he guided the older boy’s hand to his straining crotch.

Mike’s eyes opened wide as his hands explored Cody’s generous, now fully stiff endowment.


            *        *        *

Thursday 11:30 AM, RET offices

Tyler approached Margaret’s desk outside of Ron’s offices.

“Hi Margaret,” he said smiling. “Is Ron in?”

“Oh hi, Tyler. Sure he’s in. Are you getting settled in your new office?”

“Yes, it’s very nice. It’s really good to be here. That commuting back and forth from LA every weekend was becoming a drag.”

Margaret picked up her phone and buzzed Ron.

“Ron, Tyler is here to see you… Ok.”

“Go on in Tyler.”  

“Thanks Margaret.”

Tyler turned to Ron’s closed door and pressed down on the lever handle, swinging the door inward.

“Hi bro,” Ron greeted from his desk. “You getting settled in your new digs?”

“Yeah, it’s nice. I must admit though, it’s the first time I’ve ever had a male secretary.”

“We’re an equal opportunity employer, ya know,” Ron said smiling. “I haven’t met him yet, but I’m told he’s a real looker.”  

“Yes, he is handsome. All the more reason for Dan to get his butt out here, if you ask me,” Tyler said grinning. “He looks like he works out regularly too. You’d never guess that he’s a secretary. I must admit though, he’s organized. My desk and files were all set up and ready to go when I walked into the office.”

“I’m presuming he’s gay,” Ron guessed.

“That was my first thought, but now I’m not too sure. He has a picture of a really cute girl on his credenza. I haven’t had a chance to ask him about her yet.”

“Maybe it’s just camouflage.”

“Your guess is as good as mine, but if I leaned toward women, it would be hard to find one cuter than the one in the picture to pursue.”

“Just ‘cause a guy is gay doesn’t mean that he can’t appreciate an attractive woman,” Ron commented. “What’s on your agenda for the rest of this week?”

“I don’t have too much planned. I thought it would take me a couple of days to get organized, but Wayne has taken care of that.”

“Oh, Wayne is your new admin, I take it?  In case you didn’t know, we usually don’t call them secretaries these days: they are administrative assistants. Though I must admit that I often incorrectly call them secretaries as well.”

“Yeah, Wayne Templeton is his name. He just moved here from St. Louis. I may take him with me the next time I go back there. I really don’t know my way around, and it would give him some exposure to our other operations. I was thinking of going there and then on to New York next Monday or Tuesday. That way he could see both operations.”

“And you could see Dan.”

“Well, yeah, there is that too,” said Tyler, smiling.

“When you go back, make sure that Alan knows you’re coming. I know that it’s only a couple of weeks before our cruise, but I’m curious about how the Friendship Trust operation is going.”

“Sure, I’ll let him know when I’ll be arriving. With all our offices in the same building, it makes it a lot easier to make the rounds back there,” Tyler remarked. “ The Aztec/Turner office is really growing fast there. We now have 35 employees and could use more.”

“Turner Consulting is doing well there too. Jack and Lonnie are really doing a good job. That office now has 28 people and that’s not enough to handle all the work they’re getting,” Ron said. “I think the New York consulting office will have 100 people by year’s end.”

“Aztec may have 200 in New York, the way things are going. The security business is really booming there. I’m sure that 9/11 has had a lot to do with people being security conscious. Our acquisition in St. Louis was really fortuitous. They have offices in Chicago, Miami and Atlanta in addition to the office in Missouri. They had a small operation in New York but we just merged them with our people.”

“So how many employees does Aztec have all together?” Ron asked.

“Around 250,” Tyler answered, “and my guess is that we’ll be at least twice that number by Christmas.”

“Have you seen Phil Thompson and Jeff Davis since you’ve been here?”

“No, not yet. They’re a couple of my favorite guys. They’ve done more to integrate the St. Louis acquisition and to increase the bottom line than anything I’ve done. I wish I could steal them from you.”

“Hang on for a sec.” Ron asked.  Picking up the phone he asked Margaret to find out if Phil and Jeff were available for lunch. Returning the phone to its cradle he continued, “I think they’ve got another surprise for you. As for stealing them: fat chance! I’m thinking of opening a Chicago office of Turner Consulting. I may offer it to them. I plan to make them both millionaires before they’re 35.”

“I guess that will be a little hard to turn down,” Tyler chuckled.

“For sure!  Right now they are working with Jan on recruitment. We could use another 20 couples just like them. If we can find good enough people, I’m not worried about keeping them busy. I’d blanket the country if I could find the qualified staff.”

“Maybe you should think about acquiring some of the competition.”

“Now you’re beginning to think like those two,” Ron said smiling as the phone rang.

After taking the message and saying a few words into the hand set, Ron said, “Let’s go. They’re gonna meet us at my car.”

            *        *        *

Thursday noon, Black Angus Restaurant

“So we think that Zeckendorf is a plum waiting to be picked,” Jeff said between bites of sandwich. “They are heavy in the south, from Charleston to Houston/Dallas. An acquisition like this, along with the Atlanta office, would make Aztec/Turner a national force to be reckoned with.”

“How do you propose that we proceed?” Tyler asked.

“Emmett Zeckendorf, who founded the company, retired two years ago. His son, Peter, now runs the company, but honestly his heart is not in it. He is more interested in the arts and the trappings of being raised in a wealthy family. He tolerates the work involved, but has really let the company slide downhill. Younger employees are looking for more progressive companies to go with. In the event that a purchase is not doable, we’re sure that you could make wholesale raids of their staff adding to your newly acquired Atlanta office, making you very competitive to their company, especially in Atlanta. They do have a large client base, but are relatively stagnant in both modern management methods and technology. We feel certain that their client base is vulnerable too. It is our thought that you might meet Peter socially. His office is in their headquarters in Atlanta, and he is very active in the social circles there. He belongs to the Opera Guild, the Fine Arts society and a number of those types of things. It would not be difficult to become sufficiently involved to meet him.”

“What do you think, Ron?” Tyler questioned his brother.

“From what Jeff and Phil have come up with, I’d say it was a perfect marriage,” Ron responded. “In the short month that you’ve taken over Aztec you’ve worked wonders. If you’d like to take a crack at it, you know that Matt and I will support you.”

“What do you think we can get the company for?” Tyler asked the two young analysts.

“Based on earnings,” Phil responded, “the company should be worth between $100 and $150 million.  Our guess is that $125 million would be a good target price. Anything less would be a steal, and anything more would be a premium price. Anything over $150 million would be a bad deal, and it would be cheaper to build from the ground up. They are in 15 cities, and only Atlanta is common to both companies. It would be a job to expand from scratch in that many cities.”

“Well, there are only two weeks before the wedding and the cruise. I could do it next week or the early part of the following. Otherwise it will have to be postponed until after the cruise and after allowing some time to get back in the swing of things. I’ll send a couple of my investigators to Atlanta tomorrow and see what they come up with. If an early trip is worthwhile, I’ll do it. Otherwise we can take our time.”

“Boys?” Ron asked. “Do you think that the father, Emmett, will be an obstacle?”

“Very likely, ”Jeff replied. “He was a mover and shaker in his day. He still holds controlling interest, but his health is not good. It would be advisable to be prepared to deal with him. We’re sure that if Peter wants to keep the company, he would never sell. If Peter does want to sell the company, he may still resist. We think that Peter should be approached first, then if he is amenable, the two of you can work on Emmett.”

“Well, I guess that lays out our game plan,” Tyler said. “Once again, I can’t thank you enough.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Ron said laughing. “If the deal goes through, Turner Consulting will present Aztec with a large bill.”

“Oh?” Tyler asked. “Like how much?”

“If you look at the analysis that has been presented, you will see a line item labeled Turner Consulting. The fee is 5% of the purchase price.”  

Tyler looked at the sheets finding the item in question.

“I think that 5% is more than reasonable,” Tyler responded. “Heck if it wasn’t for these two, there never would have been the possibility of a purchase.”

“I couldn’t agree more. You should know too that if the purchase goes through, they will split 10% of the fee as a bonus.”

“Wow, that could be between $500,00 and $750,000. That’s a nice reward for a couple young guys.”

“We try to treat our folks properly,” Ron said smiling. “We want all our key employees to get rich.”

“Yeah, I can see that,” Tyler said with a grin. “Well guys, wish me luck. I’ll try my best to give you a boost in the earnings category.”

“Thanks Tyler,” they both said.

“I guess, under the circumstances, we should buy lunch.” Phil said pretending to grit his teeth.

“The gesture is appreciated,” Ron replied sincerely.

            *        *        *

Friday afternoon, RET Offices.

Matt and Leonard arrived together from the Thornton Center after Ron had called an emergency meeting of the Center’s Board of Directors. Ken Friday arrived at the same time, spotting the two staffers in the lobby of the RET offices.

“Hi Matt, hi Leonard,” he said after catching the attention of the two men walking toward Ron’s office.

“Hi Ken,” Matt said as he and Leonard shook hands with their friend and fellow Thornton Board Member.

“Do you know what this meeting is about?” Ken asked.

“I’m not sure,” Matt said as they continued toward Margaret’s desk. “My guess is that it has something to do with Ben Young. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen Ron so upset as when he read that newspaper article.”

“You’re probably right,” Leonard said. “It certainly got his blood boiling.”

Approaching Margaret, who had seen them come in, they paused in front of her desk.

“You may go on in, gentlemen. Ron is expecting you.”

“Thanks Margaret,” Matt replied.

Opening the door for his two companions, Matt saw that Ron, Tyler, Wes Harper and the attorney, Steve Bartholomew, were already at the conference table.

“Come in guys,” Ron said in greeting.  “Leonard, Ken, I think you know everyone except for Wes Harper and Steve Bartholomew. Wes is the manager of our Aztec/Turner Security office here in Las Vegas and Steve is a renowned attorney here in town. They’ve been working on the Ben Young problem. Wes, Steve, this is Leonard Johnson, the head of the Thornton Center. The handsome guy over there with Matt and Leonard is Ken Friday, a good friend and a board member at Thornton.

“Nice to meet you,” the men said, as handshakes were exchanged
“Please be seated.  Margaret will be in momentarily with drinks and snacks. We will be recording this meeting, as I want a record of our actions.” No sooner had he spoken than Margaret arrived with a tray of drinks and, after distributing them, sat next to Ron.

Once everyone had settled in, Ron began. “As Chairman of the Board of the Thornton Center for Boys, I call this meeting to order. The chair would entertain a motion to dispense with parliamentary procedures.”

“So moved,” Matt said quickly.

“All in favor say aye”

The ayes filled the room.

“The ayes have it. Now, let’s get down to business. Have any of you,” he asked looking at Matt, Leonard and Ken,” read the paper or listened to the news today?”

The three men shook their heads indicating a negative response.

“What’s up Babe?” Matt asked.

“That son-of-a-bitch, is at it again!” Ron said in a raised voice.

“I presume you’re referring to Senator Young. What has he done this time?” Leonard queried.  

“Besides making another speech slamming the Thornton Center with numerous charges and innuendos, he’s been putting pressure on the Mayor to shut the Center down, and is pressing for an investigation of the facility through the State Child Protective Agency.”

“What can we do?” Matt questioned.

“First,” Ron began, “I have to say that this lunacy is not totally unanticipated. When bigots in the name of religion take on a crusade, it’s unlikely that they’ll give up easily. In politics, name recognition is the key to political success. He’s going to play the press for all he’s worth, if only to keep his name in front of the public.”

“He may have caught us flatfooted the first round, but we’re better prepared this time. First, I’d like permission to hire Steve to represent us in a civil lawsuit, for defamation. Understand, it’s difficult to win a suit like this with a politician as they have considerable immunity. Nevertheless, Steve thinks we have a good case. I really want to reserve filing the case until we see if he backs down. I’d like to give him one chance to escape. Second, he, like most people, does not have a spotless life. Even though our investigation is fairly new, we have some very damaging evidence that could end his political career.”

“What did you find out Ron?” Ken asked.

“I’d like Wes to tell you,” he replied Ron as he turned to Wes.

“When we began the investigation at Ron’s request, we pulled out all the stops. We have had 6 guys working on this alone since the first article appeared. Two of the guys went to Carson City and began pouring over his records as a legislator. First, we concentrated on his personal stuff rather than his legislative activities. One of the things we reviewed was his travel records. A curious fact surfaced that caused us to wonder.  Many of his trips, to and from Carson City, were through Kanab Utah. Even though we discovered early on that he, like many of his church brethren, came from Utah, the frequency of his trips there seemed unusual even if he had grandparents, or siblings there. We dispatched an investigator there and began poking around. In spite of the fact that the burg is pretty small, the investigator was an ex-member of Young’s church, and so was able to blend in better than the average stranger. It was there he discovered an astonishing fact: Ben Young is a polygamist!  Or more properly, a bigamist, as the wives don’t cohabitate!”

“Wow!” Matt said, his amazed expression matching those of Ken and Leonard.

“No matter what you call it, it’s illegal.” Ron pronounced. “The irony of it all is that he’s using political influence through his church to attack the Thornton Center, the very church that outlawed polygamy nearly 100 years ago. I strongly suspect that when the truth comes out, his political support will vanish.”

“Will that help us in our lawsuit?” Leonard asked.

“No, it’s really immaterial to our case,” Steve answered. “It might however, make a lawsuit unnecessary.”

“I see your point,” Matt said, “then how are we going to use the information?”

“I’ll get to that in a minute, Matt,” Ron replied. “First I’d like to pass on a bit more information that we’ve discovered.”

“His wife in Utah is only 17 years old. He has a one-year old boy by her, and another child on the way. We discovered, and I can’t say how, that he has falsified his income tax, naming her and the son as dependants, as his children. Although that too has little bearing on the lawsuit, he could go to jail for falsifying his income tax forms. In doing so, he also falsified his Utah State Income Tax form, showing residency in Nevada, with a second home in Utah. As you know, Nevada has no personal income tax. He therefore avoided paying personal income tax in Utah. While all of this is none of our business, it is all illegal. By providing the information to IRS, our friend Senator Young will find himself in deep trouble with Uncle Sam as well as the State of Utah.”

“What do you intend to do?” Tyler asked.

“First, I’m going to invite him here for a chat. I also intend to take him to Thornton for a visit, so that he can see first hand what a fine facility it is. If he withdraws his allegations and retracts his statements and gives up re-running for office, I want to drop the whole matter. On the other hand, if he chooses to fight, I intend to release the information we have to the press and the IRS, file our lawsuit, and press charges for child abuse and abandonment. It will all be very noisy and very messy. As I said before, I don’t care what it costs. By the way, we’re continuing the investigation too.”

“You’re aware, I trust,” Steve said, “that he will try to expose you as a homosexual.”

“So what?” Ron said. “I am one and will never apologize for it. I have said this before and I will say it again. There are only two kinds of people. Good people and bad people. It doesn’t matter what your religion, ethnicity, race or sexual persuasion is, everyone still falls into one of those two categories. I choose to support good people and oppose bad people, regardless of what “other” group they fall under. You can’t be good and practice evil; it’s a contradiction in terms. I realize that my point of view is simplistic, but I choose to think that way.”

“ I don’t expect everyone to comply with my moralistic views either. I can accept them as they are and as they choose to believe and act, with only one reservation. If they hurt others, they will find me against them. I believe that an unforgivable sin is to force your will or viewpoint upon others, and I will fight to the last against those that perform such acts against the young, the weak and/or the helpless.”

“Senator Young’s first mistake was to abuse his son. His second was to abandon him. His third mistake was to use his power and influence to try to destroy the goodness that is embodied in the Thornton Center. Mr. Young, three strikes and you’re out!”

“Ron, what about Benny?”

“I’m glad you brought that up, Matt.” Ron said pausing.  “It’s one thing I haven’t fully explored. I must admit that in my rage at his father, I had forgotten the son. I apologize.”

Ron buried his head in his hands deep in thought.

“Could I make a suggestion?” Ken asked.

Ron raised his head and looked at his friend.

“Sure Ken, I’m sorry.”

“I think you and Matt should invite Benny up to your house and talk to him about the whole thing. I’d do it before you did another thing. It could save a lot of grief.”

Ron thought a minute before answering. “I’m sure you’re right Ken. Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll put all my actions on hold until after we talk to him. Leonard? Would you allow Benny to be our guest tonight?”

“Of course, Ron. Matt can bring him home with him. I’m sure he’d love to come. He thinks a lot of you both.”

“Ok then, that’s the plan. I’ll let everyone know what’s happening before I do anything.”

“Mr. Chairman,” Ken said formally, “I move for a unanimous vote of support for the plan you have outlined in this meeting, in the matter of Senator Ben Young vs. The Thornton Center.”

“I second the motion,” Tyler echoed.

“All in favor?” Ron asked.

A unanimous ‘aye’ echoed off the walls.

“This meeting is adjourned,” Ron declared.

            *    *    *    *    *