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 as of June 2004. This work may not be posted on any other website, nor reproduced, except for personal use, without the written permission of the author.

Dedication: To those we love, and those who love us.

If you’d like to comment or just say ‘Hi”, my e-mail address is John Tucker.


Chapter Forty-seven

Wednesday, Ronnie’s school cafeteria
Ronnie walked to the cafeteria alone. He had not as yet made friends among any of the students in his short tenure there. He was not really concerned about new friendships, as his thoughts were consumed with the welfare of his friend Jerry and of the pending ‘contact’ with someone from the evil Senator, Ben Young. He stuck his hand in his pocket as he entered the cafeteria, absentmindedly grasping the “panic” button that he carried with him, always mindful not to depress the button that would signal nearby rescuers that he was in danger.

Pulling some money from his other pocket, he got a tray and entered the serving line. He was happy to see that “Chili-Fritos” was being offered today. It was his favorite meal that was served and consisted of a bed of Fritos, covered with chili, then topped with shredded lettuce and tomatoes and garnish with grated cheese. He indicated his choice, put the plate on his tray, got a glass of milk and a piece of pie, paid for his lunch, then found a small empty table in the corner of the room away from the groups that congregated in the main part of the room.

The janitor was cleaning a spill nearby, and had just finished with a quick mop of the spot, as Ronnie began eating. Unknown to anyone on the security team this was Orville, who had been hired by Ben Young to keep an eye on Ronnie and get messages to him.  Orville replaced the mop in a rolling mop bucket against the wall near the youth and began to wheel it to a janitor’s closet located behind a wall on the opposite side of the large dining room. As he passed Ronnie’s table, he placed a note next to the youth’s tray, and simply said, “Read it” before continuing across the room.

Ronnie opened the folded piece of paper and began to silently read:

“Kid. Now is the time. Today or tomorrow you must go to the school’s office and deliver on your promise. I will know what’s going on, so don’t try to pull a fast one. If you do as I direct, you will be protected and provided for. If you don’t, you know what will happen!”

Ronnie shuddered at the threat, and almost wished that he’d not told anyone. Down deep however, he knew that he could not trust the man who had picked him up off the street. He really believed that the man would hurt him if he didn’t do as he promised, but also believed that the man would never protect him nor provide for him, if Ron and Matt were convicted of molestation. He was sure he’d made the right choice, but wasn’t convinced that he could really be protected from harm. After thinking for a moment, he picked up his lunch and dumped the remaining food in the trash, before putting the dirty tray, dishes, and utensils on the short conveyor belt that led to the dishwashing area in the cafeteria’s kitchen.

Stepping outside he found a secluded spot where he was somewhat hidden but could see anyone approaching, then reached into his backpack for his cell phone. While it was against the rules to use it while on the school grounds, he felt that it was important to tell Ron or Matt what had happened. Calling up his phone’s phonebook, he moved the highlight to Ron’s cell number and pressed the “send” button. When the phone rang and Ron answered it, Ronnie began to speak.

“Ron, I got a note from a janitor in the cafeteria. It’s from that bad man,” he said in a voice choked with emotion.

Ron asked Ronnie to read the note.  Ronnie did as he was asked and read the note to his new dad. When he was finished there was a slight pause before Ron replied.

“Go on with your classes like nothing has happened,” the older man advised. “I’ll pick you up after school, and we’ll plan our next move. Do you have your panic button with you?”

“Yes sir,” Ronnie replied.

“If you get too scared, go to the office and call me. Tell them you’re sick or something. I’ll be there in nothing flat to pick you up.”

“Ok, I’ll do it.” Ronnie agreed. “I don’t know whether or not I can pay attention to the lessons.”

“Try your best. It will keep your mind off of the note. Try to stay around other kids too. No one will do anything to you as long as you are around others.”

Ronnie looked around and realized that he had put himself in danger by going to the secluded spot and quickly stepped from behind the bushes, heading for a group of kids in the distance.

“I gotta go,” Ronnie said. “The first bell just rang and I’m by myself. I need to get to class.”

“Good boy Ronnie. Don’t worry, there is someone close.”

As Ronnie hurried down the walk, a hand reached out from a doorway recess and pulled him into the alcove. Orville, the janitor who had dropped the note, grabbed his shirt and pulled him close to his burly frame.

“I hope you got the message,” the man said roughly.

“…Yes…Yes sir,” Ronnie stammered.

“Just remember, it’s all over for you if you don’t do as you promised.”

“WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?” Another man in janitor’s garb asked forcefully as his large muscular body appeared from the walkway.

“If ya gotta know,” the burly man said, “I just saw this kid throwing trash on the grounds. I was just givin’ him a talkin’ too.”

“Is that right?” the new janitor asked the youth.

Ronnie nodded his head ‘yes’ as the first janitor increased his grip.

“Well, don’t do it again,” the younger janitor said. “Now the bell’s rung so you better get to class or we’ll all be explaining your tardiness to the principal.”

The hand grasping Ronnie’s shirt relaxed and released its hold.

“Yes sir,” Ronnie agreed. “I’m sorry. I’ll go right to class.”

He stepped away from the other man and after a few steps, began to run toward his class.

“Darn kids,” the younger janitor said to the burly assailant. “They just make for a lot of unnecessary work.”

“Yeah,” the other said. “I don’t think he’ll do it again if he knows what’s good for him.”

                                    *                      *                      *

2 PM, Ron’s office

Margaret barely had time to announce Tyler’s arrival, when the door to Ron’s office opened.

“Any more news from Ronnie?” Tyler asked with a concerned look on his face.

“No,” Ron answered. “Any news from your end?”

“Yes,” Tyler answered. “The guy we have planted as a janitor, found another janitor with Ronnie, pulled back in a doorway. He was able to get the other guy to release Ronnie and send him off to class without losing his cover. He called in a report along with the guy’s name. We’re checking him out now.”

“I probably should have taken Ronnie out of school,” Ron responded.

“No, he wasn’t hurt, just a bit scared. I think Ronnie realized that the second janitor was our man, and went along with the scam. He was really thinking on his feet.”

“I’m going to leave in about 10 minutes to pick him up after school,” Ron informed his brother. “I think we need to have a strategy session as to our next move.”

“Agreed,” Tyler said. “Let’s do it at home just in case the office is being watched. I’ll let Matt and Dan know and I think I’ll ask Wes Harper and Gary Franklin over too. We’ll meet you at home in an hour.”

“Good,” Ron approved.

“Oh,” Tyler said. “I wanted to tell you that Metro has captured ‘Abe’, the guy that conked bel. He’s down at the lock-up singing like a canary. Metro called and said they’d let me know later what they’ve learned.”

“If they call here, have the call forwarded to your cell phone,” Ron said. “I want to know who’s behind that attack.”

“How’s Mabel doing?” Tyler asked.

“She was released from the hospital this morning. I had Jeffery pick her up and take her home. That Abe character had better never get within eyesight of her. She’ll have his balls hanging from the rafters,” Ron laughed. “She’s a tough old bird.”

“Yeah with three boys and that asshole she used to call her husband, she has to be,” Tyler agreed. “I’ll see you at home in an hour.”

“K, laters,” Ron said to his brother’s back as he headed for the door.

                                    *                      *                      *

An hour later, Ron and Matt’s house.

The five men and Ronnie settled down for a pow-wow in the family room after getting themselves some refreshments at the bar.

Ron began by reviewing, for the two agents’ benefit, an abridged version of what he knew about the Senator and his involvement with Ronnie. He followed up with the note that the youngster had received earlier at lunch.

“The question now is what we do about this,” Ron continued. “I’d say the first option is to simply have Ronnie fail to keep his promise, then protect the hell out of him, hoping to catch any attacker. We could take Ronnie out of school if necessary, put him on the PT-II and isolate him from any would-be attacker.”

“The disadvantage of that is that he’d fail to finish the semester and probably have to be held back because of all the school he’s already missed, but he’d be in danger if he stayed. No matter how well protected he might be, a determined professional assassin can reach anyone. I have no doubt in my mind that the Senator is evil enough to hire such a person.”

“What’s the next option?” Matt asked.

“We could set a trap by having the Senator think Ronnie has accused us of molesting him, then try to ‘flush him out of hiding’ so then we could add another count to his already sordid collection of crimes and misdemeanors,” Ron replied. “I like the idea, but it means more exposure for Ronnand might not be successful.”

“I like the idea too,” Tyler concurred, “but somehow we need an ‘ace in the hole’ to bring it off. I have no idea what that might be.”

“ ‘Scuse me for interrupting,” Ronnie said politely, “but didn’t you say he had a son that he was mean to?  Maybe he could help.”

“That’s an interesting idea, Ronnie,” Tyler complimented the youth. Then turning to Matt, he asked, “Matt, would you call Jessie and ask him to bring Benny over?”

“Guess I’d better tell Mary we’ll have a couple more people over for dinner,” Ron said grinning. “This is getting interesting.”

Matt got up to phone the Thornton Center as the men continued talking. He didn’t miss the smile that had appeared on Gary Franklin’s face.

                                    *                      *                      * 

Thursday Noon, the apartment, Houston Texas

“Hi Tyler,” Dan said in greeting as Jerry sat nearby. “How’d it go last night?"

" Hi to you Babe,” Tyler responded. “Sorry we didn’t get to talk for long last night. It was the wildest night I ever spent.”

“Oh?” Dan asked, not sure whether or not to be offended.

Tyler, who was not slow on the uptake in spite of his unintended gaff, quickly replied, “I didn’t mean that, silly.”

“Just checkin’,” Dan responded with a chuckle. 

“No really,” Tyler said still with a hint of apology, “We had contact with more people than I ever thought possible. I was really worried that with all the people involved, we might have a leak of our plans.”

“Like who?” Dan asked full of curiosity.

“It started out with Ron, Matt, me of course, Wes Harper, Gary Franklin and Ronnie. Even before dinner the number had swelled by two, those being Jessie and Benny Young from the Thornton Center.”

“That’s a bunch,” Dan agreed.

“That was just the start,” Tyler continued. By the time dinner was over, a plan had started to unfold, but it involved a lot more people. I never thought much of Ron’s connections, as he, at least officially, is apolitical but incredibly it all came together.”

“Tell me more,” Dan requested.

“By 7:30 the District Attorney and the Sheriff had arrived with two detectives. Once they were filled in on the plans and were in agreement, Ron called the Governor, who was in town from Carson City, the Senate majority leader and Justice Abernathy from the State Supreme Court. They were there by 9:30, as well as Ronnie’s Principal, Daniel Bargnesi who about fell over when he recognized the august company he found himself in.”

“I can believe that!” Dan exclaimed. “Mr. Bargnesi seems so retiring and conservative. I met him at the school when I went with Matt to enroll Ronnie.”

“I hate to mention it, but I think he’s a member of ‘the club’,” Tyler chuckled. “I mean he was careful not to let on, but my ‘gaydar’ was working well.”

“Yeah, he’s so circumspect,” agreed Dan, “I bet he’d close his eyes if he had to wipe a young boy’s ass, even though he’d sprouted a woody.” 

Tyler roared at the visualization.

“I don’t know how we got off on that subject,” Dan said, returning to the main subject. “So now you had all those people in the house; what happened?”

“Then we invited the press. We got John Halston, the ace political reporter from the Review Journal and noted political columnist in on the action. He has a TV show as well as the column in the R-J, but we let him in as a ‘scoop’ with the understanding that as soon as he releases his story, we’d do a general press announcement about it. The politicians don’t want any bad press from his competitors.”

“So what’s the plan?” Dan asked.

“I really can’t say over the phone,” Tyler said. “Let’s just say that it takes Ronnie out of the loop. I’ll tell you more as soon as I can.”

“I understand your caution,” Dan replied. “I wish we could be there, but Jerry has to stay here for another day.”

“Hopefully it will be all over by then,” Tyler said. “What’s the latest on Jerry?”

“The doctors are amazed at his condition,” Dan reported. “About the only reason to stay here is to monitor the return of his strength, and to assure them that it’s not a fluke.”

“You must know how happy that makes me, Love.”

“I know. I feel the same way. In the meantime, I’m taking him to the Six Flags amusement park tomorrow as a little reward for his patience.”

“He’ll love that!” Tyler responded. “I hope you’re up for it. If he starts getting tired though, I’d not let him push it, even if he’s having fun.”

“Don’t worry Babe. I’ll be with him every minute. I don’t want to risk the great progress he’s already made.”

“I’ve got to go Dan,” Tyler said. “The fireworks are about to begin.”

“Ok Love. Know that I’m praying for you all and that I love you.”

“Thanks Babe. We’ll need all the help we can get.”

“Bye. Call me when you can.” Dan requested.

“Bye Sweetheart. I love you too. Give my love to Jerry.”

“I will. Bye.”

                                    *                      *                      *

At the same time, Senator Young’s home office

The phone rang on Ben Young’s desk. He had been waiting impatiently for a report from Lorraine, the clerk at the school and one of the Senator’s supporters, that Ronnie had gone to the office for his ‘revelation’ of Ron and Matt’s sexual attack. When the phone rang, he snatched it off the cradle, thinking that it was the news he was expecting.

“Ben Young,” he said.

“Ben, this is Charlie Caldwell.”

“Hello Senator,” the surprised man responded quickly to the Senate Majority Leader, “to what do I owe the honor of this call?”

“Listen you bastard,” Charlie responded abruptly. “I’ve been studying the matter of the charges against you and I’ve come up with a plan for you to beat the rap. Yesterday I got together with a couple of the ‘boys’ and we’ve got a scheme that will spring you.”

“I’m all ears Charlie,” Ben said with sudden interest.

“We’re setting up a ‘fix’ with the judge in your case. We’ve reviewed the charges and evidence with your lawyer through the records subpoena power of the Ethics Committee. He has no idea what is going on and must be kept in the dark. The fewer people know about this the better. It’s going to cost some real money though.”

“How much?” Ben asked.

“$50,000, in cash.” Charlie responded.

“I can lay my hands on that amount,” Ben promised. “Who’s the judge?”

“You don’t need to know,” Senator Caldwell answered. “I can also quash the Ethic Committee investigation, once your case is dismissed.”

“I don’t understand,” Ben said. “We’ve never been friends or even close political allies. Why are you doing this?”

“I want your vote. Period. You’re going to owe me your ass. When the ‘roll is called up yonder’ you’d better be there for me. There is a lot of money resting on some legislation that’s coming up in the next term. You’d better be in my camp.”

“It’s a small price to pay,” Ben agreed with relief. “You have my word on it.”

“And listen!” Caldwell ordered. “You’d better keep your hands clean! I mean if there’s any bad publicity, even if you get arrested for jaywalking, it’s all over! Personally I think that you’re a slime ball, but politics makes strange bedfellows.”

Ben immediately thought of his plan to sink Ron and Matt and his ulcer began to hurt.

“Ok I’ll be careful,” he responded in a panic. “Don’t worry.”

“I’m not worrying,” the Majority Leader replied. “This is a delicate thing. I mean, leave that center for queer boys alone, and stay the fuck away from Ron Turner. That guy will have your ass, and he doesn’t care what it costs! Any bad publicity, even if it’s speculation will sink your fuckin’ boat. If that happens, I’ll be pumping water into your sinking ship myself! Do I make myself clear?

“Yes sir,” Ben said humbly.

“Good!  Get that money together. I’ll let you know what to do with it, when and where. Don’t let me down!”

“I’ll have it tomorrow morning and will be waiting for your call.”

“Fine. Goodbye Senator.

“Good bye Senator.”

Ben hung up the phone and quickly found the paper on which he’d scrawled Orville’s cell phone number. He had to stop Ronnie before he went to the school’s office. Punching up the number, he heard “just a minute,” answered as Orville picked up the call.

“Sorry,” Orville said after a brief delay. “I was in a crowd of students. I went into an empty classroom. Go ahead.”

“Listen Orville. You’ve got to get a note to the kid. Tell him that the accusation is off! He’s not to do anything!

“Damn,” Orville responded. “I was just going to call you. He just went into the office!”

“Fuck! Fuck me!” Ben stammered. Then he had a thought. ‘I’ll get hold of Lorraine.’

“Just stay where you are,” Ben ordered. “I’ll call you if I need you.”

He disconnected the call, then quickly dialed the number at Lorraine’s desk.

“Garfield School,” Lorraine’s voice said over the line.

“Lorraine. This is Senator Young. Is Ronnie Turner in there?”

“Yes,” she replied. “He’s waiting to see Daniel Bargnesi, the principal.”

“Tell him…no let me talk to him,” Ben ordered.

“Yes, sir,” she responded. “Hold on.”

The phone was put on hold and music came on as Ben fidgeted nervously, impatient to stop the events that he had instigated.

“Hello, this is Ronnie Turner,” a higher pitched voice responded.

“Ronnie, you’ve got to forget about going to the Principal,” Ben said quickly.

“Who is this?” Ronnie asked.

“This is Ben Young, the man that helped you on the street,” Ben revealed.

“You don’t want me to tell the principal the lie about Ron and Matt?” Ronnie asked.

“No! Don’t say anything!”

“Well, okay Mr. Young. I’m glad ‘cause I didn’t’ really want to do it anyway, but I promised.”

“That’s fine Ronnie,” the Senator said. “Just tell the lady there that you really don’t need to see the Principal, that it was all a mistake.”

“Ok sir, I’ll do that. Goodbye.” 

The phone went dead.

Ben Young sank back in his chair, sweating from the tension. After a minute to regaining his composure, he reached for his phone book. He had to lay his hands on the money.

The court-ordered wiretap’s recorder had shut down as he had hung up the phone. Now it started again, as he lifted the receiver.

                                    *                      *                      *

Thursday evening, Sardis Restaurant, Las Vegas

Gary Franklin immediately saw Jessie as he entered the crowded waiting area of the posh eatery. Stepping quickly toward the athletic and handsome man, Gary extended his hand in greeting as Jessie smiled at his approach.

“Thanks for the invitation Jess,” offered Gary. “I don’t get out much socially.”

“You’re welcome Gary,” Jessie replied. He gave a nod to the maitre d’, who in turn raised his hand, giving the couple the ‘come on’, indicating that he was ready to seat them.

“Our table is ready.” Jessie said as he began to walk toward the host.

“Good,” Gary responded. “That was fast.”

“Yes,” Jessie agreed with a quiet laugh, then said in a hushed voice, “It’s amazing the power of a generous tip.”

The two men followed the maitre d’ to a quiet corner table overlooking a landscaped garden outside. After being seated, the drink waiter quickly arrived and took their order, disappearing just as quickly toward the bar.

“I’ve been looking forward to this all day,” Gary admitted, “though I must say that I’m a bit tired after the late night at Ron and Matt’s yesterday.

“I feel the same,” Jessie revealed. “I had no idea how influential Ron is.”

“Yes. It was quite a display of the raw power of money,” Gary agreed. “You’d never guess though, just meeting any of those four guys.”

“That’s for sure,” Jessie said nodding. “If I’d known then what I know now….” He mused.

“Oh? What do you mean, Jess?”

Jessie’s mind returned to the present and his lips formed a grim smile.

“Gary, I asked you out tonight because I must admit, I’m very attracted to you.”

“The feeling is returned,” Gary replied, “but I must tell you that I’m not completely over Barry Young, your predecessor at Thornton. ”

“Yes, I can understand that, and I’m not pushing. I wanted to let you know how I feel first, but then to be fair I have to tell you about myself and what you might be getting into.”

“It’s not really necessary Jess,” Gary responded. “I like the man I see.”

“That remains to be seen,” Jessie said. “Unlike Barry, I have a sordid past that I’m not proud of.”

“I’ll listen Jessie,” Gary agreed reluctantly, “but I’m not one to judge you.”

“Perhaps,” Jess said, “but you need to know, if we ever have the slightest chance for friendship or a relationship. Let me start. First I need go back a ways. A number of years ago, Ron Turner and I were lovers.”

“Wow!” Gary said in surprise. “Is that how you got the job at Thornton?”

“Only indirectly. I came to Las Vegas to find Ron, but I needed a job badly. I saw an ad in the paper for Barry’s job at Thornton, so I applied.  It was not until later that I discovered that Ron, and also Matt, who I didn’t know existed, were involved there.”

“Was he glad to see you?” Gary asked.

“No. He was shocked,” Jessie admitted. “You see we parted on the worst of terms. I dumped him for another man that I thought was richer.”

“I guess that was a mistake!”

“Yes, in more ways than one. I dropped the second guy too, when he ran out of money, then went with another who I also stiffed. Finally, I fell in love with someone I really cared about, and he dumped me after cleaning me out. I was devastated and began to think of Ron, the only truly honorable man I had ever known. That’s how I ended up in Las Vegas.”

“I must admit you have balls,” Gary observed.

“That’s what Ron said,” Jessie responded at the grim reminder. “He threatened to cut ‘em off if I made any move to get between him and Matt. It’s taken a while and a couple of apologies to convince him that I have no ulterior motives toward their relationship.  Matt was the first to accept me. With Ron it’s been understandably slower.”

“It doesn’t surprise me, with what you’ve said.”

“Yes, but I needed to tell you. I’m a different man than the one I was,” Jessie said with conviction. “I can no longer live with lies and deception. I see Ron and Matt, and also Tyler and Dan. I want the kind of happiness and relationships that they have. I’m hoping against hope that it might be with you.”

“Jess,” Gary responded taking Jessie’s hand, “I’d like that too. I must admit that my heart was deeply wounded by Barry’s death. I thought my life was over. Nevertheless, I know that he would want me to be happy. He was that kind of guy. Now I see hope for the future. I’d like it to be shared with you. You see, in spite of my own reservations and in spite of what you’ve told me, I think I’m falling in love with you.”

Jessie’s whole face radiated pleasure at the revelation.

“I’m sure I’m falling for you as well,” Jessie disclosed. “I will promise you though, that if we find that we’re destined for each other, I’ll cut my heart out before I’ll ever be untrue to you. When Ron finds out that we’re partners, I’m sure he won’t be pleased. He’ll want to protect you from me.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Gary said. “First of all, Ron is one of the most forgiving guys I’ve ever met. Second, I’m in the protection business. I can take care of myself.”

“Shoot, so to speak!” Jessie responded with mock disappointment. “I was hoping to take care of you myself.”

“Yeah?” Gary asked with a grin.

“Hey, don’t get the wrong idea!  It’s not like I was askin’ you to come over and spend the night tonight!”

“You weren’t?  Darn!” Gary said with a grin.

“Well, uhh…. On second thought…”

                        *            *            *            *            *