The author reserves copyright privileges. This work may not be reproduced, except for private use, without the permission of the author.
Dedication: This Chapter is dedicated to my friend Bert in the Netherlands. What a caring and colorful guy!
If you wish to write my e-mail address is JETjt@aol.com, John Tucker
RON AND MATT
“Why did you come for me?” Pete asked Tyler, as they left the Thornton Center. “I was praying for help, and like an angel of vengeance you appeared out of nowhere.”
“You can thank Cody. When you didn’t appear in a very few minutes, he asked if he could go looking for you. I asked him why he was worried, and he told me of the two guys who harassed you at work. He was afraid the cars in the parking lot might have been theirs. I told him to stay with the others, because if there was trouble I didn’t want him involved. Turns out he was right on all counts. Glad you have someone who worries about you,” Tyler concluded.
“I’m glad you came instead of him. I’m bigger than he is, but compared to those guys I’m a lightweight.” Pete said. “Thanks for all you did for me. I can’t believe that you took ‘em both on and won!”
“Well, I was lucky, and when Ron, Matt, Bryan and Alan showed up I knew Tracy and George would never escape. It sure chewed up all of a good morning though and cut short the visit to the Center.” Then changing the subject, Tyler asked, “ Hey Cody, nice facility, huh?
“Yeah, I’m sure I’ll be happy there.” Cody answered. “Pete has promised that we’ll spend plenty of time together when we can. I like Jason and Darryl too,” he said, turning and winking at them in the back seat of the Escalade. “At least I’ll know someone when I move there in a couple of weeks. The facilities are great, and the houses are nice too. With just two guys to a room it won’t seem like a dormitory, and if the house parents are nice it should be fine.”
“Yes,” Tyler agreed. “You know that you guys will be welcome at Ron and Matt’s house too. You can come up on weekends and horseback ride or whatever. Just make sure you clear it with Ron or Matt first. They might have other company.”
“That would be fun,” Pete said. “I’d love to do that. Those guys have been so nice. I’m not sure why they take such an interest in us.”
“I’m just beginning to comprehend them myself,” Tyler said. “You may all know that I’m going to court in the morning to have my last name legally changed to Turner. The name of my natural father, who was also Ron’s father.”
“That’s cool,” Jason and Darryl both said together.
“Yeah, and you guys are all invited, if you can come.”
“You can be sure Cody and I will be there,” Pete promised.
“Us too!” echoed two voices from the back seat.
“Great! I’d love to have you there, but Pete, I think you and Cody had better talk to Ron when we get back to see if you can get off work.
“Yeah, you’re right Tyler,” Pete said. “I just got so excited about it that I forgot tomorrow is a work day.”
“Ron’s the boss,” Cody responded. “If he tells Terry to let us off, he’ll have to do it.”
“Ron doesn’t work that way,” said Tyler. “If you take a job working for Ron he expects you to be reliable and responsible. He relayed to me that our father once told him when he was young and wanted to work, ‘Take care of your job and your job will take care of you.’ It may seem that he has a good time and lives well, but it’s only because he earned it by paying attention to his business. He still does. One of the reasons that he is successful and has so much flexibility is that he has people who work for him who have a good work ethic for their jobs.”
“I still don’t see what’s such a big deal about cleaning up trash, hauling in furniture and putting it together,” Cody responded.
“Let me asks you a question. ‘If you were the boss, would you give a guy a promotion or a raise if he didn’t care about the job he was already doing? Would you reward him if he didn’t show up for work, or did a poor job?’ ”
“I get the point,” Cody said. “You have to treat every job like it’s important if you want to be rewarded.”
“It’s true, what he said,” Pete added. “When I went to work for Terry a few months ago I was handed a shovel and told to dig. It may not have been very glamorous, but I did it and I worked hard. Since then Terry has given me two raises, and now I get to do more fun and responsible things like make deliveries and help some of the skilled trades people. I’m learning a lot, but it all started on the end of a shovel.”
“I feel kinda dumb now about what I said,” Cody responded. “Maybe we shouldn’t ask if we could get off?”
“Nah,” Pete answered. “See if I’m right. If we ask Ron, he will either call Terry, or tell us to. And if I know Terry, if it will make a difference in his completion schedule he won’t let us off even if the request comes from Ron. If it doesn’t mess up his schedule, he will let us off. He’s a nice guy. Of course, we won’t get paid either.”
“Oh, I forgot about that!” Cody said looked grim.
“Hey, I’ve got an idea!” Pete said smiling. “What time is the thingy at the Judge’s, Tyler?”
“It’s at 11 o’clock in the morning.”
“Why don’t we ask Terry, if we can come in early or stay late, then take a two hour lunch break? We can meet everybody at the Courthouse. It’s a lot closer to the job than Ron’s house. We might be a bit smelly, but nobody has to sit close to us.”
“You can sit as close to me as you want, stinky or not.” Tyler said. “I think you have a great plan. Matt and Tony may want to do that too. Cody, you can be proud of your friend Pete. He’s gonna go far!”
Pete blushed, but Cody smiled. He took the older youth’s hand into his own and looked into his eyes proudly. The gates to Ron and Matt’s Las Vegas estate swung open and the two-car caravan entered.
* * *
“Mr. Jacobs,” the Judge said looking up from the papers before him, “I have examined your petition, and the documentation you have presented. I find it all in order. I might say that in this town, the name Turner is an especially good one. Both Ron Turner and, before him, his father, have borne it proudly, much to the benefit of the community. This is a particularly pleasing duty for me since Ron Turner has acknowledged you as his brother and has joined in your request. Therefore, it gives me great pleasure to grant your petition. Henceforth, your legal name will be recorded as Tyler Jacobs Turner. Congratulations.”
“Thank you, your Honor,” Tyler said smiling in the midst of applause from
his new family and friends in the room.
“You’re most welcome. This hearing is closed. There will be a 10 minute recess.” He banged the gavel.
The Judge stood and the bailiff shouted, “All rise.” The Judge smiled at the two Turner men as he exited the courtroom.
The group of guys stood and after the Judge was out of sight, all gathered around Tyler, distributing hugs and offering congratulatory handshakes to Ron’s brother.
“Come on guys,” Ron said at last. “Matt’s buying lunch. My contribution will be a joke!” He grinned. “Afterward we’ve got to hustle back to the house if Alan, Bryan and Dan want to make it aboard their plane by 2 o’clock.
The men broke up and began to walk up the center aisle toward the courtroom exit.
Ron looked at the group of handsome men that were such a part of his life. ‘This is what living is all about,’ he thought with a happy heart.
* * *
The dark sedan moved slowly down the dimly lit street one block off of Fremont. California license plates adorned the front and rear of the car. The driver was a man in his 30’s wearing shorts, a golf shirt and sandals. His rugged but handsome face was highlighted by blue piercing eyes that scanned both sides of the street. He spotted a youth at a freestanding pay phone who looked as if he might be waiting for a call. As the car approached, the young man reached for the receiver and raised his hand to the pay slots. Eyes met as the car moved past and turned the corner. Rounding the block the driver again approached the youth. This time the youth nodded as their eyes met. The driver again turned the corner, but pulled into a parallel parking space a third of the way down the block. He pushed the button that rolled down the passenger window and glanced into the rear view mirror. The youth, after hesitating a moment, replaced the receiver and began to approach the parked car. Golden oldies of rock and roll were playing from the car’s speakers as the youth came parallel with the opened window and bent over looking in at the driver.
“Looking for something?” The youth asked.
“Might be, if you’re interested,” the man replied. The man’s eyes made no pretense as he checked out the full pouch of the youth’s crotch and he smiled. “Get in, and we’ll talk about it.”
“Thanks,” the youth replied as the reached for the door handle, and seated himself inside. “Can’t stand on the street too much, there’s cops everywhere.”
“Yeah, I’ve seen ‘em too. Ya can’t be too careful.”
“What do you like?” The youth asked as the car pulled away from the curb and continued it’s slow drive.
“I like what I see,” the man replied. “What are you offering?”
“Well, if you want a quickie blow job, it’s 30 bucks. If you want more, then the price goes up from there.”
“What will $100 buy?” the man asked.
The boy hesitated before he answered. “If you have a place, …I’ll let you fuck me or I’ll fuck you. But it’s gotta be with a condom.”
“I was wonderin’ about barebackin’?” the man asked.
The youth looked at the man, and paused. “I, I don’t do that, sir,” the youth said. “Sorry.”
“Hey man, it’s ok. As for the other, yeah, I have a place. My name is Officer Chestnut. You’re under arrest for soliciting. The place I have is called City Jail.”
“Damn,” the youth mumbled, his body slumped in the seat as tears came into his eyes. “Can’t you give me a break, Officer? This is the first time I’ve ever done this!”
“Yeah sure, kid. And my name’s Betty Crocker.”
“Please sir! I just got into town a half hour ago! Look, I’ll prove it.”
He reached for his back pocket. The car swerved to the curb and screeched to a halt as the officer pulled out a revolver from beneath the seat. The youth leaning forward was thrown off balance and crashed into the dashboard.
“Put your hands where I can see ‘em,” the cop ordered.
The youth, dazed, placed his hands on the dashboard. In one hand a folded paper was tucked under a thumb. The policeman pulled out a pair of handcuffs and snapped them around the thin exposed wrists. The officer reached for the paper and looked at it in the dim light of the street lamp. It was a bus timetable. Circled under a heading of Las Vegas, was a departure and arrival time. The arrival time read 7:30 P.M., 40 minutes earlier.
“Where are your things?” the officer asked.
“I hid ‘em behind a dumpster in an alley, a little ways from where you picked me up,” the youth replied. “I was out of money, and I was tryin’ to get enough to pay for a place to stay, that’s all. If I coulda made a little extra, I was gonna get something to eat. I haven’t had any food since yesterday.”
“I don’t know why, but I tend to believe you kid. Let’s go get your stuff. If it’s there, then maybe I’ll know you’re telling the truth.”
The car pulled away from the curb and two minutes later stopped beside a dumpster in an alley a short distance from the phone where the youth had stood.
The officer removed the keys from the ignition, and ordered the youth to leave his hands on the dashboard where he could see them. Stepping out of the vehicle, he circled the green dumpster. In the narrow space behind the large metal trash box he saw a black shoulder strap barely visible between some empty boxes that appeared to have fallen off the overfilled refuse container. Squeezing his much larger frame between the wall and the dumpster, he reached down and snagged the shoulder strap, lifting the modest sized pack then carrying it out into the open. Laying the pack on the hood of his car he began to unload the contents. He was pleased when he examined the sole possessions of the youth, as there were no signs of drugs or other illegal contraband. Instead he found clothing and three books, Moby Dick, a Bible and the science fiction classic, Stranger in a Strange Land. He replaced the contents and, opening the rear door of the vehicle placed the backpack on the rear seat. Closing the rear door, he climbed again into the driver’s seat.
“Ok, you can sit back in the seat now,” the policeman offered. “Just keep your hands on your lap.” The policeman picked up a phone receiver from the dashboard and pushed a speed dial button. “Hi Joan, this is Perry Chestnut,” he said into the receiver. “Will you connect me to the youth shelter? …I’ve got one for ‘em ... Yeah, ring me back.”
“I don’t know why I’m doin’ this, kid. I should just take you in and book you, but I think you’ve been honest with me. There’s a shelter for homeless youth here in town, so if they will take you, I’ll let you go. But you’d better understand this: if I catch you out on the street again, I’ll pick you up and press charges. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, sir, I understand. What if they don’t have room?” the youth asked.
“Well then I guess you’ll have to sleep at the jail. I’m sorry kid, but I’m not going to put you back on the street. By the way, what’s your name?”
“It’s Sterling Beck, sir,” the youth replied.
As he finish speaking the squad car’s phone buzzed. The officer picked up the receiver.
“Perry Chestnut,” he said. “Oh! Hi Beverly. I didn’t expect you to be on the line. Don’t assistant directors get any nights off? … She did? …Oh, I see. …. Full huh? … Too bad he seems like a nice kid… Yeah, I picked him up soliciting. He just got into town, and of course is broke and has no place to go. I was hoping you might have some room so I wouldn’t have to take him in. ……. Just a minute, I’ll ask.”
The officer lowered the mouthpiece from his face and inquired, “How old are you Sterling?”
“I’m 16, sir.”
“I don’t know why she wants to know, but are you gay?”
Sterling blushed then answered softly, “ Yes.”
“16 and the answer is yes..…. Yeah… Well ok, but I can’t wait too long. Call me as soon as you can. Thanks.”
The policeman hung up the phone.
“What did she say sir?”
“She said that there is a new place opening for homeless gay youth. It’s not open yet, but she hopes that they might have a temporary place for you. She’s going to call and will call us back.”
* * *
Ron and Matt were sitting in the family room of their home sipping hot chocolate that Mary had made for them and for Jason and Darryl who were in the game room playing video games.
“Well, what do you think will happen between Tyler and Dan?” Matt asked.
“Personally, I think Tyler is smitten,” Ron answered. “I really like Dan and wish them luck, but it’s really up to them. I have no doubt that they are making it with each other, but I’m not sure how far the personal attachment has developed. I’m not such a prude that I would condemn them if it were only casual sex, or even only friendship with no sex. It’s none of our business in reality, but the look in their eyes indicates that it’s more than lust. But it’s always tough when you live that far apart.”
“Tell me, ya hunk,” Matt responded in agreement, “Do I remember, or what? I can’t get over Tyler’s surprise at your gift for his celebration”
“Our gift!” Ron corrected. “You know I used a portion of your money to buy it.”
“Yeah, I know you did, and we both agreed too. But ‘my’ money seems like phantom wealth. All I know is that my checking account is always full and my credit card is unlimited. The rest of it just seems unreal.”
“It’s real alright and growing too. Good thing. The 200 acres next door set us back nearly $10 million! Your part of it is $2 1/2 million and I picked up the rest.”
“Yikes! At this rate, I’ll be broke in no time.” Matt said laughing. “I hope your father doesn’t have any more skeletons! ….No, I really shouldn’t say that. If they are as great as Tyler, I wouldn’t care if there were a dozen.”
“Me either love. As for the expense, don’t worry about it. I had a deal last week that I pulled off that covered the whole cost of the land.”
“I’m impressed!” Matt said in amazement as the phone began ringing in the background. A moment later Parker appeared in the doorway with a portable phone in hand.
“It’s for you Ron. A Beverly Comstock. Are you in?”
“Beverly Comstock?” Ron asked.
“She’s the Assistant Director of the Shelter for Homeless Youth,” Matt whispered.
“Oh sure, I’ll take it,” Ron said extending his hand toward Parker.
“Ron Turner, ….Hi Beverly, what can we do for you this evening? …… Yes, it’s coming along fine. We went out to see it this morning. We should have the first dwelling unit finished this week. We’re hoping to start our initial operation within three weeks… You have 6 guys who are interested? Great! How ‘bout if Matt and I bring Tom and Shirley, our first house parents by sometime. We have another couple ready too, fortunately. I’m sure they would all like to talk to the boys. Ok, I’ll expect a call later this week. …Uh, Beverly, why is it that I think the Thornton Center is not the real reason that you called? … Oh? …Hmmm… Gee, that’s tough…. Well, we’re not really set up for it yet, but let me speak with Matt for a minute, hang on.”
“What’s up Babe?” Matt had been listening to the conversation.
“It seems that Metro Vice picked up a gay 16 year old for soliciting. He just got into town, and they called the Shelter to see if they would take him instead of booking him. The shelter is filled to overflowing, so they called to see if we could help.”
“You know my answer already,” Matt said smiling. “But I do appreciate your asking.”
“Sure, Beverly,” Ron said quickly. “We’ll take him. Our license has been approved for a month, so it shouldn’t be a problem. What’s the plan? …… Ok. Why don’t we do this? Matt and I will start downtown via the Summerlin Parkway and 95. Ask the officer where he’d like to meet us. I think we can be downtown in about 20 minutes, or we can meet him partway, like at Meadows Mall if he wants to. You have my cell number. Just call after you talk to him. You can give him my number too, if you’d rather. We’ll be in my silver Mercedes sedan and should be on the road within 5 minutes… Ok. Bye.”
“I’ll tell Jason and Darryl that we’ll be gone for a half-hour or so,” Matt offered. “Get your keys and wallet and we’ll meet in the garage.”
“A plan Babe. Thanks.”
Ron and Matt moved off to their respective tasks, and once those were completed, headed for the garage.
* * *
As the Mercedes entered the west entrance to Meadows Mall, lights flashed from a dark 4-door sedan. Ron turned the wheel toward the light, and the large car slowed before pulling into a vacant parking stall. The policeman had parked his car in a sparsely occupied area of the huge lot, so Ron parked with an empty space between his car and the undercover car. The occupants of both cars opened their doors at the same time. Ron could see a youth wearing handcuffs walking around the front of the vehicle as the officer opened the back door to retrieve the youth’s backpack. Holding the pack in his left hand he extended his right hand toward the approaching men.
“Hi, I’m Officer Chestnut,” he said as he shook Ron’s, then Matt’s hands. “And this is Sterling Beck, gentlemen.”
“Hello,” Ron responded. “I’m Ron Turner and this is my partner Matt Davidson. It’s good too meet you.”
After shaking both the officer’s hand and Sterling’s cuffed hands, Ron asked. “Is there anything we need to sign?”
“No, he hasn’t been charged with anything. I will make a report, but my lieutenant prefers that these kinds of things be kept informal and uncomplicated,” the officer replied. “Here are his possessions and if you’ll take them, I’ll remove the cuffs.”
Matt reached out for the bag, and Perry pulled a key from his pocket and began removing the handcuffs from the wrists of the young man. Once that was accomplished, Perry turned to Ron and Matt.
“Well, he’s all yours. Thanks for taking him in. I hate to see young people go to jail unless there is no alternative.” Turning around he offered his hand to Sterling. “Good luck, son. If you stay out of trouble I’ll know I did the right thing tonight.”
“Thank you sir. I really, really appreciate it. I’ll stay out of trouble for sure. I’m glad I met you, but I’m not anxious to do it again,” Sterling replied as he shook hands and smiled at the officer who had befriended him.
“Sterling, just hop in the back,” Matt offered, “and we’ll be out of here. Thanks Officer, we’ll try our best to help our young friend here.”
Everyone climbed into their car and were soon on their way to their destinations.
* * *
“I have a question,” Sterling said breaking the silence that had ensued upon their entry into the car.
“Shoot,” Ron invited.
“Why are you doing this? Why would you agree to take me in?”
“Well, the simple answer is that we’re just do-gooders at heart,” Ron answered with a grin. “The full answer takes a lot longer. Let’s just say that we take the time and have the resources to help those who could use a little help. We like doing it.”
“Help I could use,” Sterling replied. “I sure didn’t get any where I came from.”
“Where would that be?” Matt asked.
“A little town in Texas. My daddy works in the oil business, and my momma is dead. We were getting along ok until he found out I’m gay. He marched me to the preacher’s house and all I got there was hellfire and damnation. The preacher prayed over me for a half hour, and asked the Lord to change my evil ways. He got my daddy so worked up that he threatened to beat my “gayness” out of me if I so much as looked at another guy. Somehow the kids as school found out and my life became a hell on earth. I know that there were a few other gay kids in our school, but they held back and didn’t speak up as I was getting taunted, ridiculed and picked-on. Not that I blame them though. They just wanted to avoid the same treatment.”
“That’s tough,” Ron replied. “What made you run away?”
“I hated every day. At school I was a target for anybody who wanted to act like a big shot, and at home it was worse. My dad couldn’t stop warning me, threatening me and forcing me to work doing everything that he called ‘woman’s work’. I don’t know what he was trying to prove. I was not allowed to go out, but that didn’t matter because none of my old friends had the guts to remain friends. I was a prisoner in my dad’s house when I wasn’t at school. I stuck it out the whole fall and even this spring for a while. One day after school, some of the older guys, mostly the guys on the football team, caught me and beat the hell out of me. When I dragged myself home, my dad found me and beat me again for being such a wimp. I was unconscious for nearly a day and my father never even called a doctor. I couldn’t go to school, so I just lay in bed, getting up only to go to the bathroom and to fix meals and do my chores. A few days later my dad came home and told me he was going to send me to a ‘camp’ where they would ‘convert me back to righteousness.’ I knew I had to get out of there, so that night I took what money I had and caught the first bus I could get on. I thought it was going to Phoenix, so I was surprised when I found out that my ticket said my destination was Las Vegas. On the way here, when we were in Albuquerque at a stop, I was robbed in the bus station bathroom. They took what little money I had and my watch and a couple of things that had some value. They left me with a few clothes and my books. So here I am with nothing of value and lucky not to be in jail.”
“That’s quite a story Sterling,” Ron said as he shook his head. “I hope you find that the worst is over. If you’re interested, we have a place we’re building for guys just like you. It’s a place where you can be safe and happy while finishing school. There will be plenty of opportunities for you too. Best of all there will be a bunch of guys just like you who are wanting a chance in life.”
“Yeah. It sounds good, sir, but what’s gonna happen when they find out that I’m gay?”
“Well, they’re not going to find out unless you tell ‘em. But one thing you should know. All the ‘brothers’ at Thornton, that’s the name of the place, are gay, or at least bi. I suspect it won’t even be necessary to tell ‘em. By the way, I hope you noticed. Matt and I are partners.”
“You mean like, in love type of partners?” Sterling asked with eyes wide in surprise.
“Exactly,” Matt said smiling. “Very much in love type of partners.”
“Wow!” the youth said in amazement. “I never met any guys who were in love with each other. I thought gay guys just had sex with each other.”
“Some do,” Ron answered. “You know, what a lot of straight people don’t realize, is that many, if not most, gay people are just like them. They want a nice life that they can share with someone they love. Not everyone is the same though. What is right for Matt and me might not be what you want or need. There are as many varieties of gay people, men and women both, as there are straight people. Many gay people want to have children too. Matt and I have talked about it, but so far we’ve been too busy being partners to go much further. Matt will be working at Thornton as a counselor too, so you’ll see him around quite a bit.”
“Are we going there now?” Sterling asked.
“No the buildings are not quite finished yet, ”Ron continued. “The Center will open in two or three weeks. You’ll be among the first to be there.”
“How big is the place and what happens if I hate it?”
Right now there are five homes for six guys each. There will be two guys to a room and a house Mom and Dad that live there with you, plus you’ll have meals and that kind of thing at home, most of the time. There’s a nice gym, a pool, and basketball and tennis courts too. If you don’t like the place, you can leave. If you don’t try to get along with the others, or if you break the rules, you will be asked to leave. We hope to add more houses later if the need is there.”
“How many guys do you have now?”
“We have 4 that we are currently providing for and there are 6 more at the shelter. Two of the younger guys are living with us now until the Center opens. You’ll meet them at our place.”
“I’m gonna stay with you ‘til then?
“Yep,” Ron answered. “If you want, you can work on the construction until it’s completed, and get paid. It might be hard work, but you can earn some money for yourself.”
“I’d really like that.” Sterling answered. “In spite of being banged up a bit, I’m really pretty strong.”
“Good. You can go to work with me in the morning,” Matt said. “I’ll introduce you to Terry, the job superintendent.”
The silver Mercedes, pulled up to the already opening massive iron gates leading to the estate. The car crept forward until there was enough clearance, when Ron pressed the accelerator, the sedan picking up speed as it climbed the winding drive toward the main house. As they rounded a hill the palatial home came into view.
“What’s that?” Sterling asked as he pointed at the well-lighted house.
“Home sweet home, “ replied Matt grinning.
“Holy moley!” the youth exclaimed.
“We’d like to take you through the grand entryway, but instead you get to see the garage entrance,” Ron said smiling. “It’s not as impressive, but it leads right to the kitchen. I presume you could stand a snack.”
“Yeah, that would be so great, sir.”
“The name is Ron, Sterling. And this other guy is Matt. It’s nice to be respectful in public but we’re home now. We’re just two regular guys who happen to be lucky.”
“Yeah ok, Ron. But if you guys are just regular, lucky guys, then I’m the Pope.”
Ron and Matt both laughed as the garage door opened and the silver Mercedes pulled into its spot.
* * * * *
Hope you like the chapter. HUGs, John