The story below is a work of fiction. It may contain erotic or sexually explicit behavior between males. If you find this work offensive or are too young, please exit now.

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

Dedication: To my sisters, who love me just the way I am.

If you’d like to comment or say ‘hi’ my e-mail address is John Tucker


Chapter Thirty-Five

That evening, Friday, the foothills northwest of Las Vegas

The youth staggered to the wall of masonry with wrought iron panels. He grabbed the vertical iron bars with his right hand to keep from falling. His left arm hung useless at his side. The hand that grasped the ironwork was covered with blood, the same blood that continued to flow from the multiple stab wounds on his torso. His tee shirt, once white, was now crimson mixed with dirt. The face that many had said was cute was now purple with bruises, with a cut on his right cheek and his left ear nearly sliced in half. His left eye was nearly swollen shut.

In the distance he saw a pair of headlights from a car that had turned onto the road. He knew that he could go no further. His body had lost its strength from the beating and the loss of blood. When the vehicle was about 100 yards away, he released his hold on the bars, turned toward the approaching lights, took four steps toward the road and raised his right arm in an attempt at a futile wave. His knees buckled almost at once, and he sank to the ground on them, still trying to keep his arm up as a signal. The lights in his mind clicked off as his knees touched the ground. He pitched forward unconscious.

“What’s that?” Jeffery who was driving the Escalade asked as he pointed ahead toward the side of the road.

Robert who was riding with Jeffery on their trip to pick up Ron, his brother and their two partners at the airport looked to the side as the SUV slowed, and passed the lump by the side of the road.

“It’s a person! Stop!” Robert shouted. “I think it’s a kid!”

Jeffery slammed on the brakes, and made a quick U-turn, coming back on the wrong side of the road so the headlights could illuminate the dark shape. He quickly turned on the flashers and stopped 10 feet away. Robert was first out of the large vehicle and rushed to the side of the youth.

“He’s bleeding badly but alive,” Robert said as he looked at the blood soaked clothing and checked the pulse of the youth.

“We’ve got to get him to a hospital,” Jeffery said.

“Shouldn’t we call 911?” Robert suggested instead.

“He doesn’t have a broken neck or back,” Jeffery quickly concluded. “Look at the trail of blood. He walked to where he fell. I don’t think we can wait for an ambulance. He’ll die first!”

“Ok then,” Robert agreed. “Let’s see if we can get him into the back seat of the Escalade. I’ll ride back there with him. We can call 911 on the way.”

The two young men rolled the youth over to get him in a sitting position.

“God!” Robert said in shock, “Somebody tried to kill him for sure!”

“I can hardly stand to look,” Jeffery agreed. “Grab his arms and I’ll take his legs. Watch that one arm though, it’s hanging funny and probably broken”

Robert stood at the youth’s head, grabbed him under his arms and lifted him into a sitting position. “Open the door as wide as it will go,” he ordered. “I’ll back in and we can slide him across the seat.”

Jeffery did as he was bid, then returned grabbing the youth by the ankles. “Ok, now LIFT!” he said.

Both boys carefully lifted the unconscious form and began moving toward the SUV. Robert carefully sat on the back seat, pulling the unconscious form with him. Pulling, then sliding, he continued across the seat until his back was against the opposite door. By this time he had pulled the youth’s back against his chest in order to get his legs in through the doorway. Even so, Jeffery had to bend the boy’s legs and place his feet on the seat in order to close the door. Running quickly to the open driver’s door he jumped in, slammed the door shut, grabbed the cell phone from its cubby and handed it to Robert before he threw the large vehicle into gear and stepped on the accelerator.

Robert reached up to click on the dome light in order to see the numbers on the darkened phone. He pressed the three emergency keys and the phone began to ring.

He quickly told the operator of their discovery, described the victim and his wounds, then gave their location. After a quick argument with the operator, who told them to stop and wait for an ambulance, which he refused to accept, he described their vehicle. Getting the license plate number from Jeffery who was pulling onto the Summerlin Parkway racing toward the lights of downtown Las Vegas, he repeated the numbers. Following the instructions given by the operator, he informed Jeffery that they had been directed to UMC, the only facility in town with a fully staffed ER operation.

Shortly after merging onto US 95, the freeway leading to the heart of the city, a Highway Patrol car pulled alongside, and indicated with hand signals that the SUV should follow him. Sirens blaring, the two vehicles picked up speed, headed toward the Rancho exit.

7 minutes later, the patrol car pulled through the UMC emergency drive canopy, and stopped, leaving room for the SUV behind to pull close to the ER doors where ER staff waited with a wheeled gurney. Quickly opening the side door and sliding away from his charge, Robert let the hospital staff take over, extracting the prone form, placing him onto the gurney, and after strapping him on, rolled him quickly over the ramped curb into the building.

Robert, soaked with blood, followed the ER team into the receiving area. Meanwhile, Jeffery pulled the Escalade forward to a nearby parking place, jumped out and rushed back toward the door through which Robert had disappeared. As he hurried up the walk to the wide doorway his stomach demanded an emergency detour to a planter, where he deposited the soupy remains of the dinner Mary had served only an hour before. Wiping his mouth on a bloody sleeve he resumed his trek to find Robert.

Inside, the gurney had been moved to a cubicle where a nurse, a technician and a doctor worked over the boy. Robert stood at a distance and watched, then was joined by Jeffery and the policeman who had led their vehicle in its mad dash toward help.

“Guys, I’m Stan Unger,” the officer said. “There will be a Metro detective here shortly to take your statements. In the meantime, I suggest you find a restroom and clean up a bit.”

“Thanks officer,” Robert replied. “I’m sure I must look as bad as Jeffery here.”

“Worse,” the officer said with a smile, “though you smell better,” he continued, getting a whiff of the ‘ex-contents’ of Jeffery’s dinner.

Jeffery, embarrassed, began looking for a restroom sign. Seeing one off of the waiting room he thanked the officer, and the two young men hurried to the room to remove what they could of the carnage that had destroyed the neat appearance of the two young heroes.

After scrubbing away what they could, and after Jeffery had rinsed his mouth, they dried themselves and were just exiting the restroom when the cell phone in Robert’s pocket began to chime.

“It’s Ron,” he said, recognizing the caller ID number.

“Damn, we were supposed to be there 15 minutes ago,” Jeffery said as Robert pressed the ‘talk’ button.

“Hello Ron, this is Robert,” he said. “We ran into some trouble.”

Robert quickly told Ron of their finding the boy, and transporting him to UMC, and that they had to wait for a Metro detective in order to give their statements. Ron in turn told them to forget about coming to the airport, that the foursome would take a taxi to UMC to join them.

30 minutes later, a yellow cab pulled into the parking lot next to the ER entrance to the hospital. Four men got out, with three of them joining the driver at the rear of the vehicle to unload luggage from the cab while the fourth pulled his wallet from his pants pocket and extracted three ‘twenties’ to pay the driver. Looking around, Ron spotted Jeffery leaving the public entrance doors headed to their location.

“Hi guys,” Jeffery said grimly. “The Escalade is over there,” he said pointing. As he approached and grabbed two pieces of luggage, he continued. “I’m afraid the back seat is pretty bloody. I’ll clean it up while you go inside. Robert is giving his statement now.”

“Thanks Jeff,” Ron replied. “You guys can take it in to be professionally detailed tomorrow. Just get it clean enough to get us home.”

The five men, luggage in hand, quickly walked to the vehicle, and stowed their luggage in the rear cargo area after laying down the rear-most seat. Then turning back toward the building, Ron asked, “How’s the kid?”

“The doc came out and told us that he’d live, thanks to our getting him here quickly. He’s pretty cut up. I don’t think he regained consciousness yet,” Jeffery answered.

“Have his parents arrived yet?”

“The cops asked us if we knew him,” Jeffery responded. “Apparently he had no ID and no wallet. The officer asked us specific directions as to where we found him. I guess they’re gonna search the desert.”

“Where was he when you found him?” Tyler asked.

“He was on the road about 100 yards from the northeast corner of Ron’s and Matt’s property. I guess he saw us coming as we left the gate. He passed out just as we got within the range of our headlights. If he’d fallen 10 seconds earlier, I’d have missed seeing him for sure. He’d have bled to death before we got back.”

“Yeah,” Ron agreed. “That road’s not used too much, especially at night. He was lucky. I guess we’d better find Robert. Where are they taking his statement?”

“There’s a small office room down the hallway from the ER, just past the waiting room. I’ll go get some wet towels and clean up the car while you find him.”

“Good idea. I know the room you described,” Ron said looking at Matt. “I’ve been there before.”

“When was that?” Matt asked.

“When Alan’s son Mitch fell into the Grand Canyon, I spent a few hours in there with Bryan and Alan,” Ron replied. “It was not a fun time.”

“Hospitals rarely host fun times,” Tyler said stoically.

“You can say that again,” Ron agreed.

Entering the building then walking down the hall, they arrived at the door leading to the room where the interrogation was being conducted. Ron knocked on the door and opened it.

A plain-clothes officer sitting at a desk facing Robert looked up from his paperwork.

“This is a police investigation,” he said curtly. Then seeing Jeffery, he said, “Oh sorry, Jeffery, these must be the guys you were going to pick up.”

“Yes Sir,” Jeffery replied. “Detective Turnberry, these gentlemen are Ron and Tyler Turner, Matt Davidson, and Dan Barnes.”

Recognizing Ron’s name at once, the officer stood and offered his hand. Ron and the others shook it.

“Mr. Turner,” he said smiling, “I apologize for not recognizing you. The Sheriff asked me to offer you every consideration.”

“No problem Detective,” Ron said smiling. “The Sheriff’s been very helpful in the past too. Are you about done with Robert’s statement?”

“Yes Sir. I just read it. Once he signs it, we’re finished,” he replied handing the statement back to Robert, who quickly wrote his name at the bottom.

“Any new news on the condition or identity of the victim?” Tyler asked.

“We have a team of investigators with flood lights going to the site now,” Turnberry said, “If we have no luck in finding any identification, we’ll continue the search when it gets light. The latest word from the doctor is that the youth’s condition is critical. They were getting ready for surgery just before we started with the statements.”

“I’d appreciate your keeping us informed, Officer Turnberry,” Ron said. “First the crime apparently occurred just outside our property, second our employees found the victim, and finally we’re licensed by the State Welfare Agency to handle youths under their jurisdiction, if such turns out to be the case.”

“Of course,” Turnberry said. “I’ll keep you abreast of the situation.”

“Here’s my card.” Ron said, handing the small card to the officer. “I’ve written my personal cell number on it. Please call me, day or night if there is any news. Thanks very much for your courtesy, and thank the Sheriff also.”

“You’re most welcome Sir. Goodbye.”

Ron led the others out the door into the hallway. Stopping at the admission desk on their way to the exit, he smiled at the receptionist.

“Hello, I’m Ron Turner,” he said handing her his card. “I’d like to be kept informed of the condition of the youth with the stab wounds that was brought in about an hour ago.”

“Are you a relative?” the receptionist asked.

“No, we work with the State Child Welfare Agency. His identity is not yet known so, at least temporarily he’s under the Agency’s jurisdiction. If you have any questions, I suggest that you click ‘public relations’ on the main page of your computer, then click on “Friends of UMC”. You will see my name at the top of the list. My name is also highlighted. Click on my name. You will see that any requests made by me that require special attention are to go directly and immediately to Mr. McInerny, the Administrator, or in his absence, the Chief of Staff.”

Quickly following the instructions that Ron had given, she clicked through the screens, confirming exactly what Ron had said. She looked at Ron, in awe. “Yes Sir.” she said taping Ron’s card to her computer monitor.

“Thank you, “ Ron added as he turned toward the exit.

As they passed through the doors to the outside Matt asked, “Ron, how did you know all that stuff was on the computer?”

Ron laughed.

“I donated their computer system and Turner Consulting programmed it. I had our boys slip in that little bit of ‘special instructions’.” Paul McInerny and Davis Clark, the Chief of Staff, are the only other ones who know it’s there.”

Ron laughed again as they approached the Escalade where Jeffery waited.

                                    *                      *                      *

Saturday, 5:30 AM, Ron and Matt’s estate

The phone next to Ron’s side of the bed began an ear-piercing ring designed to wake the dead, which pretty much resembled Ron’s feelings as his arm waved toward the offending instrument.

“Yeah,” Ron groaned into the receiver.

“Is this Mr. Turner?” the voice asked.

“Yes, this is Ron Turner,” he replied finally waking up completely.

“This is Detective Turnberry, Mr. Turner. I’m sorry to wake you, but you said to call day or night.”

“It’s perfectly all right Detective,” Ron quickly replied. “I really meant what I said.”

“The surgery was finished a couple of hours ago and the young victim is in the ICU,” the officer reported. “He regained consciousness for a moment after being brought into the recovery room, but just as quickly went to sleep. The Doctor said he expects the boy to sleep all day as his body needs time to recover from the shock of his injuries and the surgery.”

“Have you had any luck with his identity?” Ron asked.

“We found his wallet, of course with no money in it, but it did have a picture ID. We contacted his father in California. The son of a bitch had thrown the kid out because he is gay. The bastard disowned a kid who’s only 13 years old! He refused to take any responsibility. I wanted to punch his lights out.”

“What about the mother?” Ron asked.

“The kid’s father said she was in rehab for alcohol and drugs. From what he said it’s not the first time, nor likely the last. He said the kid was better off because ‘his old lady’ got violent when she got loaded. He said he even had the scars to prove it.”

“Poor kid,” Ron said sadly. “What’s going to happen now?”

“The State Welfare Agency has been contacted. They’re going to assign a caseworker to the kid. I guess for now, the State will pick up at least part of the tab for the surgery and stay in the hospital, though the physician assigned by the State has to approve everything. From what I hear, it means that the kid will be taken out of the hospital as soon as possible because the State doesn’t pay enough, and the hospital is a border-line loser, having to take in welfare cases.”

“I can assure you, Detective, that payment won’t be a problem in this case. The boy can stay as long as the doctors say he should. I’ll speak to Paul McInerny, the administrator, later today.”

“I guess I should warn you,” the detective stated. “When I called the State Welfare Agency, I mentioned that you had helped with the youth’s rescue and had an interest. The lady I spoke with just said, ‘wonderful!’ I’m not sure what she was implying, but I’d bet you’ll hear from them.”

“I’m sure you’re right,” Ron laughed. “They can tell a soft-hearted sucker from a mile away.”

“I don’t know about that,” Turnberry responded. “From what I’ve heard and what I’ve seen myself, if I were in trouble there’s nobody I’d rather have on my side than you. Believe me, there was never a word spoken about you being a ‘soft-touch’, rather it was how tough you can be against an adversary, and what a good heart you have.”

“Thanks for the testimonial, Detective. But you know how these thing can get blown out of proportion,” Rod said playing down the praise. “You pat a dog on the head and suddenly you’re the head of the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals! It makes good journalism, but overstated I’m afraid.”

“I won’t argue with you Sir,” the officer replied, “but I’m not retracting my statement either.”

“Be that as it may,” Ron replied, “the important thing today is the recovery of the boy. By the way, what did you say his name is?”

“This will blow you away with the irony of the situation,” replied Turnberry. “His name is Ronnie Turner.”

“Oh Jeez!” Ron said as he shook his head.

                        *                      *                      *

Three hours later in the breakfast room

“You should have seen Ron’s face when Turnberry told him the kids name!” Matt said laughing, “I thought he was gonna fall right out of bed!”

Tyler and Dan laughed, watching Ron’s reaction to the retelling of the news of the young victim.

“Hey, the kid must be pretty neat, with a name like that,” Ron said in his own defense. “Besides, wouldn’t you freak out?”

“Are you going to go see him today?” Dan asked.

“Matt and I are going to meet McInerny and his caseworker at the hospital at 11 o’clock. We hope to see him then,” Ron reported. “You’re welcome to come along if you’d like.”

“Thanks Ron,” Tyler said, “But we have to pick up the guys from Taliesin at noon. There’s just not enough time to do both.”

“Are you bringing them back here?” Matt asked. “I’d sure like to see what they have planned.”

“Yes. We should be back here between 12:30 and 1:00. If you’ll be back around then, we’ll wait for the presentation until you get here.”

“I’m sure that would work out fine,” Ron said. “I’m rather anxious to see the renderings of your new house myself.”

“Good, that’s settled then,” Matt said agreeably. “We’ll be back here as close to 12:30 as possible.”

                                    *                      *                      *

11:00 AM, University Medical Center, Paul McInerny’s office

“Paul, it’s good to see you again,” Ron said as he and Matt were ushered into his private office. “How was the trip back from Florida?”

“It’s great to see the two of you too,” Paul said with a smile. “The whole trip was a class act! It was, by far, the celebration of the year.”

“Thanks, we enjoyed it too,” Matt said with a mischievous grin.

“Uh, we weren’t talkin’ ‘bout that, Babe,” Ron interjected.

Paul laughed and said, “Sometimes you guys make me wish that I’d tried your variety of ‘affection’.”

“Hey, it works for us, but there’s a down side too. That’s what we’re here to discuss: that poor kid that was brought in last night,” Ron said.

The mood in the room suddenly became serious.

“Who’s coming from State Welfare?” Ron asked.

“I am,” said a woman’s voice as the door to the office opened.

“Charlotte!” Ron said, rising from his chair.

A forty-year-old woman, dressed in a business suit entered the room and gave Ron a hug before repeating the action with Matt, then extending her hand to Paul.

“Do you two know each other?” Ron asked Charlotte and Paul.

“Not yet,” Paul said taking her hand and giving it a welcoming shake. “I’m Paul McInerny. If being your friend means getting a welcoming hug like the ones you gave Ron and Matt, I’m anxious to be included in your list of friends.”

“You’re a charmer,” Charlotte said brimming with pleasure. “I’m Charlotte Webb, the case worker for Ronnie Turner.”

“Ronnie Turner?” Paul asked in confusion.

“That’s the youth’s name that was brought in last night,” Matt responded.

“I’ll be damned,” Paul said grinning. “That’s what I thought too,” Ron agreed.

“Please have a seat Ms. Webb,” Paul invited as he recovered his composure and indicating a vacant chair.

The three men and Charlotte took their places. Paul offered refreshments, but it was so close to lunchtime that everyone declined the offer.

“What do you know about Ronnie?” Charlotte asked Ron.

“Very little, except for what Detective Turnberry told me this morning. He is 13 and reportedly gay. Apparently he was thrown out of his home in California, and is not welcome to return. His mother has drug and alcohol problems and is abusive. His father is just an asshole, excuse my French.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” Charlotte said. “Unfortunately, in my job we’re forced to use language a bit more politically correct. Let’s just say he’s anally challenged.”

Ron laughed. “That’s good enough for me.”

“We’ll know more once I get to interview him,” Charlotte offered. “What is his medical condition this morning, Mr. McInerny?”

“Please call me Paul,” the administrator responded. “The initial reports are good. He seems to be successfully recovering from his wounds and contusions, and has regained consciousness. He’s been sleeping all night and morning. All of his vital signs are strong.”

“How long do you expect before he’s ready to be discharged?” she asked.

“Our initial guess is a week, maybe a bit less if there are no complications,” Paul responded. “His injuries include several knife wounds including those to his torso and limbs as well as to his face and ear. Fortunately, most of his knife wounds were not deep nor did they cause much damage to his internal organs. It took a long while to attend to all of them, but his surgeon believes that no vital organs were permanently harmed. His left arm has multiple breaks, which have been repaired and set. There are also multiple abrasions and contusions, but they will heal pretty much by themselves. We’re hoping that the State will allow him to stay until we feel he’s ready to be discharged.”

“I’m afraid it will be up to the State Physician,” Charlotte replied. “Our budget is very tight, and medical costs are astronomical.”

“Would it make a difference, Charlotte, if his medical bills were to be picked up privately?” Ron asked.

“All the difference in the world,” she replied. “We could keep the State Physician totally out of the picture.”

“Consider it done,” Ron said quickly. Matt nodded in agreement.

“I guess then our next discussion is where we’ll place him, when he’s released,” Charlotte said.

Ron looked at Matt. Matt again nodded, then said, “We’ll take him.”

“You mean the Thornton Center?” Charlotte asked.

“No, the Center is not equipped to handle convalescence,” Matt responded. “Ron and I will take him, personally, into our home.”

“That’s more than generous,” Charlotte said. “I know from your records that you are licensed for foster care.”

“We also have a very competent household staff and will get a private nurse if the doctors recommend it,” Matt offered.

“You want him? Sight unseen?” She asked.

“We already know he’s cute,” Ron said grinning, “and he has my name. What more could you ask?”

“Unless my interview with him indicates a problem, I’ll recommend that he be placed with you,” Charlotte said smiling. “Thank you.”

“No, thank you,” Matt responded. “Now can we go down and see him?”

The bundle of bandages and a cast that lay on the bed in the private room was far from cute, as Ron had suggested earlier. One eye was black and still swollen shut, and the other was closed in sleep, yet it too was surrounded with bruises and lacerations. Ron and Matt held hands as they looked at the boy. Before them was a boy just sprouting into the first stretches of manhood. His bruised and battered body revealed that not all the wounds were fresh.

“How could anyone do that?” Matt asked of no one in particular as he shook his head, his eyes swimming in tears. “That poor child. It just breaks my heart.”

Ron wrapped his arm around Matt, “I know babe. I promise, no one will ever treat him that way again.”

An eye flickered, then slowly opened. Ron sat down next to the youth.

“Hi. My name is Ron Turner, just like yours. I think we’re gonna be real good friends.”

The youth looked at the handsome face of Ron and at Matt who was beside him.

“Have I died and gone to heaven?” he asked.

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