WARNING: This story contains graphic descriptions of sexual acts between men and MINOR boys. It is not true! The story is not intended to promote illegal acts against minors. I do not condone child abuse, however the love of boys is a different matter. Despite the prevalent attitudes of western society, men have loved boys throughout recorded history. It is my goal to help readers appreciate that love can exist between men and boys. If the subject of man/boy love offends you, if this material is illegal in your place of residence, or if you are under the legal age for such material, do not read further!
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Any similarity to individuals, living or dead, is entirely accidental. The sexual acts described in the story are the result of my imagination. I have not performed these acts, and I do not encourage others to perform them with minors.
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At today's press conference at the Vatican, newly appointed Pope Geraldo, announced that the Church is unable to continue to fund the Victim's Support Fund, which was set up only last year to provide payments to the victims of pedophile priests. During the last year more than $US 5.7 billion has been paid out as out-of-court settlements to victims in North America alone. It is believed that a further $3.9 billion has been set aside for court-mandated damages where plaintiffs have obtained verdicts in their favor. As allegations against pedophile priests continue to come forth on a daily basis, both of these numbers are expected to increase dramatically. At last count more than 1,000 priests have been identified in law suits claiming pedophilia.
Beginning last year, the Catholic Church engaged a public relations/marketing firm to initiate a nationwide effort to strengthen the support of its followers and identify ways to raise funds to meet its obligations. During 2003-4 the Church raised an additional $980 million for the Victim's Support Fund, far short of the goal of $10 billion. It is this shortfall that necessitated last week's meeting of the Cardinals in Rome and today's Papal announcement. Speaking on behalf of the North American Cardinals, Cardinal Joseph Boyd said that the Catholic Church will investigate other ways of obtaining the funds. One of the ways that is being looked at is the sale of its secular properties in the U.S., including apartment buildings and retail operations. "We have also given some thought to selling what might be termed, Catholic Bonds," Boyd said in an interview with our reporter on assignment in Rome. "These would be available for purchase directly from each Diocese, thereby avoiding the middleman expenses if we sold the bonds through a broker. The interest on the bonds would be paid by using special collection boxes located in every church."
They met in a private room that was far too large for four people. Vice President James Hackman arrived first, but only with a few minutes to spare. He was always running late and he had intended to be there with plenty of time to spare. He placed his coat over the back of the chair closest to the window. Then turning, he opened the curtains as far as they would go. The window opened onto a busy street. He watched the cars passing for a few minutes before he heard someone enter the room. He turned.
"Martin Eckleston, right?" Hackman asked.
He had only spoken to Eckleston on the telephone. However, Eckleston had been on TV talk-shows often enough to be easily recognized. The man was unforgettable. He looked a little reminiscent of a hippy from the 1960s with long, bedraggled hair, a wispy beard and long sideburns, but it was a carefully cultivated front. He billed himself as a predator-hunter and the image he dad cultivated was that of a frontiersman, wild, crafty, dangerous. All he lacked were the boots, the coonskin cap, and a buffalo-hide jacket to complete the picture. Hackman suppressed a smile.
"That's me, Mr. Vice President. And it's a pleasure to meet you, Sir. I've always had the greatest admiration for you and President Denton. Your administration stands for everything that's great about this country."
Not surprisingly, it sounded insincere.
"I'm glad you made it before the rest," Hackman replied.
Eckleston nodded wearily and plodded across the room, casually wiping his forehead with a handkerchief. He was portly, and the stale sweaty odor of obesity followed him. They shook hands, completing the formality of introduction. Although neither of them needed liquor, Hackman guided the other man across to the bar and asked him what he wanted to drink. Old habits were hard to break.
As soon as both drinks were made, he glanced quickly at his watch. There was not a lot of time left. The other members of the tribunal would arrive within a few minutes.
"Martin? You don't min' me callin' you that? I need ta' speak to you `lone," Hackman said with exaggerated sugariness. It still sounded like a reprimand.
"Sorry, I'm late. I stopped to use the can," Eckleston replied vacuously. Bourbon on the rocks was his favorite drink. He took a long drink and licked his lips. "It's been a busy day. I needed something to drink."
"Martin, I been givin' this a lot `a thought," Hackman began. "Wha' we talked `bout on tha' phone, this Act we're gonna pass nex' week, `ll get rid of the pedophiles fer good. But we need tha' right per'sun ta' run tha' show. It's gonna take balls. Someone who don't back off tha' issue. Not `fraid ta' bend some rules." He looked directly at Eckleston. "You come ta mind `cause you don't take no shit! You hate tha' fuckers like I do. So I figure maybe you tha' man to do it."
"That's me," Eckleston acknowledged with a grin.
"Good, `cause likely you gonna be tha' head. `Tween us, gettin' rid `a tha' pedos ain't all tha's needed. I ain't restin' until all them fags go tha' same way. We're goin' ta' run `em outta town. If they `ven look at some kid, they's jailed fer life."
"You and me both, brother," Eckleston smirked merrily. "No more goddamn ass-fuckers."
He held out his hand, high-five, but there was no response forthcoming from the Vice President despite his reputation for hand-shaking and back-slapping. He finished by rubbing his nose.
"As tha' boss, there's some good bucks," Hackman continued. Talking about money always got people's attention. He paused, waiting until he had Eckleston's undivided interest. "Real good money if we get results," he added with emphasis.
There had to be a catch and Eckleston was interested to find out what it was. It was too good to be true. A government-funded plan to eliminate pedophiles once and for all made a lot of sense. It was more than he had ever hoped for. However, there were many people who were equally qualified to manage it.
"Holly wan's me ta clear up somethin' fust." Hackman hesitated. This was by the far the riskiest part. The wrong thing said could destroy the operation. "It's con-fa-den-shal," he said in a low voice that sounded ridiculous in the large empty room.
"I'll do whatever's needed. And I promise not a word will get out, Mr. Vice President. You can trust me implicitly."
At that, Hackman smiled. He had chosen appropriately. "Good. Holly wants ta get rid of a fucker by tha' name `a Lane. Some kinda doctor."
Eckleston thought for a moment. " Lane. Congressman from Indiana or Illinois or somewhere?"
"Tha's tha' dude. Hick-town boy. Int'lectual type, so he carries on like some Cal'forna faggot. Holly say's he'll screw NICE if he can. She's right. He don't like tha' kin' a' thin'. 'e's got a thin' 'bout civil lib'ties! We don' want `im ta get tha' chance. Tha' fucker's `ad one shit too many fer now."
"What can you tell me about him?"
Hackman hesitated. He had to be very careful how much he revealed, even to Eckleston. There was a chance, albeit remote, that Eckleston was truly well intentioned, but more than likely he was in it for the money. Was his war against pedophilia a war against something that he believed was truly wrong? Or something that got him into the media and brought sponsorships from multinational corporations? It seemed as if Eckleston appeared on television every other day.
"'ndependen', and they's tha' worse fuckin' kind. 'least with 'publicans you know where you stand. He use' ta be a goddamn professor at some college out west. Got `isself `lected to tha' House las `ear `cause `e knew wha' a do fer votes. Smart dam' fucker." Hackman stopped.
"More a' less. 'n he keeps getting' his ass in tha' way."
"Married? Divorced? What did he do before politics? Any dirt?"
"'e single. No woman far as I hear." Hackman smirked knowingly.
"Fag?" Eckleston asked immediately.
"Maybe,...." Hackman smirked knowingly. "Maybe he's worse `n a fag."
Eckleston nodded. There was only one thing worse than a homosexual. Was Hackman trying to tell him that Lane was a pedophile? He watched Hackman's eyes. The man avoided him for a moment.
Hackman lowered his voice. "We wan' `im discredited. Don' care `ow, but gettin' `im tha' way would be easiest."
"'cause," Hackman hesitated to share the knowledge.
After Watergate, if the word got out how the information had been obtained it could spell the end of his political career. There were rules to follow, some written, some not.
"I seen tha' fucker's FBI file," he said simply, hoping it was enough.
"And?" Eckleston prompted hopefully. "He's a suspected pedophile?" he suggested eagerly.
It was a logical choice because Hackman had asked him, Martin Eckleston, to do something. It was common knowledge that his life's mission was to rout out pedophiles, especially those in positions of importance, the ones who had the most to lose. Better still, important men brought the greatest media attention, and media exposure brought funding. The best men to expose were those in political office, because it angered people that they had elected them and brought money from just about everyone. People expected priests and boy-scout leaders to be pedophiles. They weren't tolerated either, but exposing one or two did not make for time on the national news. Judges earned a spot on prime time. So did archbishops. The media loved them, but reporters were especially fond of exposing politicians.
Hackman waited for as long as he could. If he said there was information in the file that Lane was a pedophile, it would be a simple matter to have the FBI investigate. Eckleston was smart enough to figure that out for himself, especially now that catching pedophiles had been given top priority in the President's "Pedophiles are Terrorists Too" speech of a week earlier. However, the last thing the President wanted was an official investigation of Congressman Lane.
"There weren't nuthin' 'bout that I could see," he said moodily.
"Then what?" Eckleston sounded grumpy, discouraged. He had been hoping for an opportunity to use his special skills.
Again Hackman hesitated. He glanced around the room, wondering if it might be bugged. It was unlikely, but it was not impossible. It was unfortunate that he had been unable to request the usual Secret Service inspection prior to his arrival.
"Jus' 'tween you `n me this is?" he said slyly. "What ah've got on Lane is right down your lane, we might say," he added with a smirk.
Eckleston nodded. He could not help smiling. Despite the issue of legality, perhaps the FBI had finally started doing what his organization had been doing for the last three years. His undercover Internet site, `evolyob', was linked from many of the major so-called `boylove' sites. It had an average of 5,000 hits a day, mostly from men who were looking for pictures of boys. The picture on the first page was an invitation to pedophiles. It was a photograph of a boy in a low-cut Speedo. He had a smile and a caption that said `come and get me'. Each visitor's IP address was recorded. Two hits from the same computer was enough to arouse his interest. It was an easy matter to find out where the computer was located. It was more difficult to find out who actually owned the computer and had access to it. Sometimes it ended right there because a surprising number of visitors were from law enforcement agencies. However, there were many other times when his team of geeks tried to hack back onto the infringing computer. They did it very carefully. Five times out of ten, the visitors' computers had bad security. It was surprising the things people kept on their computers. Diaries, logs of chats with net-friends, E-mails, and pictures. The pictures were the best. They were easy to find, and it was remarkably difficult to remove all traces from the hard drive. Pictures were also prima facie evidence of pedophilia.
Eckleston studied Hackman. Waiting. He knew exactly how to use the information if it was true. And if it wasn't? It could still be arranged if the man had a computer. It was a simple matter to gain access on most computers, and once there were photographs hidden on the hard drive it really did not matter whether if they had been placed there voluntarily or not. No one believed a pedophile's claim of innocence.
"We got `is DNA to prove it," Hackman muttered, trying his best to sound quiet and tentative.
This was even more interesting and Eckleston did his best to conceal his curiosity as he tried to remember what he knew of Congressman Lane. The only thing that he had heard was that Lane had pushed hard to have the Healthy Nations Act changed so that genetic information could not be collected and then misused. Unfortunately, the genetic database was a key component of the President's plan and was not about to disappear because of one man's intervention. She was not a woman to be crossed.
"I seen `is tes' result myself," Hackman confided, hoping that was enough.
"And?" Eckleston asked, wondering how the sample of the congressman's DNA had been obtained. He smirked as he realized that was why the Vice President was being very careful.
"He got a pos'tive on tha' da Vinci thing," Hackman finally admitted.
There was no need to elaborate. The two men regarded each other in silence, holding back smiles. Given Lane's extreme position on the Healthy Nations Act, it was inconceivable that he would have allowed his DNA to be tested. Ergo, it had not been given voluntarily. Was it illegal to collect and test someone's DNA without their permission, Eckleston wondered? Without a crime having been committed, it was very likely to be illegal. Not that it mattered to Eckleston. Any method was fair when it came to catching pedophiles. Neither did it matter that Lane had not actually broken the law. Merely having the da Vinci gene meant that it had become a matter of `chicken or egg'.
However, the problem as the courts would see it was that having the gene did not mean that Lane was necessarily guilty of criminal behavior. Accordingly, Lane could not discredited in court. If Lane ever found out that his DNA had been used without his knowledge it was possible that he would bring suit. Having the gene meant that he had a tendency towards pedophilia, and that was all. Still, it did not worry Eckleston unduly. If the information was carefully handled, even that could be enough to ruin Lane's career once the word got out to the mass media. Unsubstantiated rumors of a relationship with a boy might be enough.
"Does he indeed? So he's predisposed to boy-dick, huh? Well, well, well! Imagine that. With luck we might even find he's been getting his boys on the quiet. A lot of them do, you know, just by cruising the malls on a weekend. What is it you want me to do? I can have my people keep an eye on him?" Eckleston asked.
"Cain' wait tha' long. I wan' wha' you done to tha' Judge," Hackman laughed. "Even if it ain't true."
"You want him arrested? We'll need more than some DNA for that. Still, we could do a few things. How about some real bad press? He won't be re-elected."
"No `rests fer God's sake. We don' want him knowin' `bout tha DNA either. Holly wan's him gone. Nuthin' in the press either. Dis'credited, tha's all. Get rid `a `im quiet like. Nuthin' tha' might come back to us!"
"Okay. I've got an idea."
"How about this? We set him up with a boy, the type of kid that pedophiles are attracted to. If Lane's got the gene it's likely that he'll have sex a with kid if the right opportunity presents itself. How about it? We catch him red-handed," Eckleston suggested with a smirk. "Get some incriminating photographs. Maybe a video. That's probably the best way. Then there's no question he's a pedophile. He won't have a choice but to get out of politics for good. You could even run it through the courts to get him really scared. I know a judge or two who'd do whatever we wanted. With that' two strikes law, he'll head for the hills. You won't see his sorry ass again."
"Under tha' right circumstances tha' would work," Hackman mused. "How you plan `n getting' `im with a boy?"
"Something might be arranged I suppose," Eckleston suggested shrewdly. It was a hint that he could do whatever was needed. He nodded slowly, thoughtfully. "You'll want it done quickly, of course."
Hackman nodded briefly. "Real fas'. She wan's him gone, `morrow if not sooner. Tha' NICE Act's gonna come `fore the House fer tha first time next Thurs'ay."
"That's awfully fast," Eckleston remarked. "But I know my people can handle it."
He smiled. What he had in mind was very creative, even for him. He hesitated, considering how much he should tell Hackman. The problem was that it was common knowledge in Washington DC that John Malone was a major political contributor who had close ties to the current Administration. He had been hoping to use Malone's situation to advance his own cause. However, he might not get a better chance to use what he discovered.
"The press haven't heard yet, but,...." Eckleston began. As usual, he played it safe. "It turns out my team recently caught up with someone you might find interesting."
"He's the president of Intratek."
"Malone?" Hackman said asked abruptly. "John Malone?"
"Yeah, that's the dude alright. So far, no one knows. Even the District Attorney's Office hasn't heard about it yet. We were talking about it last night. My people want him charged to the max because he thinks he's so fucking important, but we also know about his situation with you and President Denton, so it's been in limbo for a while. The thing is once the grand jury gets the case there's sure to be an indictment. We got him cold, photographs of him and everything. He's an ass-fucking pedophile if ever there was one. He'll get life, that's certain."
"Holly's gonna be `int-rested, I `spect." Hackman mused aloud and Eckleston returned a smile. "What's he done wrong?"
"The question is probably what hasn't he done. He's been doing his nephew on the side for a year or two. Cute kid too, blond and blue eyed, a real little darling. The kid's as queer as they come, and believe me, I've seen some queer kids over the years. He's eleven or twelve, I think."
"How did you get onto him?"
"I met Malone in one of those chat rooms where pedophiles hang out. I told him I had a boy of my own, Y-Fs they call them, for young friends. Anyway, I offered to send him a photo if he sent me one of his boy. The dumb-ass fell for it. Most of them do, men and boys both. They're so lonely, they jump at the chance of someone to talk to."
"So? How did you get him? He sent pornos or somethin'," Hackman said impatiently.
Eckleston was not about to be rushed. He lived to hunt predators. He took pride in what he did.
"No, it was okay what he sent. He isn't that dumb. Didn't matter because we did a direct connect. That's got to be the dumbest way of communicating ever invented." He smirked. "People think it's private! I run a little program in the background, called `snoop', while the data is going across. The next thing is I've got his IP address. We hacked him that same night, before he turned his computer off. He had a couple of hundred pictures of his nephew. That boy's a cock-hound, if ever there was one. He's perfect bait for Lane. I don't know any pedo who wouldn't want to take him to bed."
Both men turned and noticed that they were no longer alone. The two other members of the tribunal had entered the room together.
"The thing is, see, they're real close, Malone and this kid. It wasn't just a one-time thing. They'd been doing it for a couple of years I'd say. I expect the boy will do just about anything to get his uncle out of trouble."
"Hm," Hackman mused. "This could kill two birds, couldn't it?" he suggested thinking about.
The other man nodded, thinking along the same lines, watching the new arrivals head towards the refreshment table. The last thing the Administration would want to see was one of its most important benefactors arrested on charges of gross sexual imposition of a minor, especially his own nephew.
"Just leave it to me," Eckleston ended hastily. "Lane'll probably even enjoy doing it up this kid's ass. He's cute as a button."
"'s gotta be real discreet," Hackman remarked pointedly. "Nuthin' back to me or Holly, or you fer tha' matter. If it works, me 'n Holly will handle Malone."
The deal was struck without a handshake or formal agreement. Eckleston was no fool. He had realized that he would become head of the Institute if he played his cards right. Now, it was simply a formality and doing what Hackman wanted.
Hackman turned away and quickly made his way to meet the newcomers. Dr. Jarvis Wright was African-American, nearly forty, and head of the Psychology Department of a large hospital in Detroit. Rumor had it that he had been sexually abused by a Catholic priest as a boy. It did not matter that the same priest had helped him continuously over a ten-year period, even pulling strings to get his protégé into Notre Dame.
The other member of the tribunal was Janet Frieland. She was a slightly built woman with graying hair. Hackman knew even less about her. Her only qualification for membership in the august body was that she had lost her only son to the serial killer in Alabama. He had seen her picture in the paper, standing grief-stricken on her front porch when the police came to announce her son's naked body had been discovered in a barn. He was impressed by her determined expression. He hoped that she was out for vengeance. It was likely because her son had been horribly abused before he died.
One white male, one female, and one black male made for a nicely balanced committee to do the nation's bidding. Hackman made brief introductions and led the way across the room to the table in front of the window.
He handed each of them a copy of the NICE legislation as it currently stood and quickly reviewed its goals. Then, as they began to dine on filet of sole sautéed in white wine, herbed potatoes and steamed asparagus in hollandaise sauce, he asked for questions. He did not have to wait very long.
"It isn't clear in the legislation, but my impression is that you're going to sterilize boys who have the gene? That's what the so-called treatment is, isn't it?" Frieland asked abruptly.
She held her fork awkwardly, shaking slightly. It was clear both from her manner and the tone of her voice that she was not happy with the concept. Perhaps she was the wrong person for the job.
"No one wan's ta' do it, Janet, but when you get down to dealin' wid tha' prob'em, tha's only way," Hackman answered as sincerely as he could.
"I can't believe,...." She sounded angry. "No! It isn't right."
Hackman glimpsed Eckleston's sudden spark of interest. His eyes lifted up, narrowing suspiciously. By that point, Hackman was beginning to think that he had made a grave error with the woman. He hated to admit his mistakes. Most of the time, he was able to cover them up. But she was visibly upset, and he could not think of what he might have said that was inappropriate.
"It's just so,...." Frieland began again, yet her anger had faded. "So extreme, I suppose. It would be different if it was being done to men who, well,... who were criminals already. But little boys who haven't done anything wrong?"
"I und'stand `ow you feel. But t's fer tha' bes' fer all `cerned," he added. "Not jus' tha' victims. You und'stand, Janet. This'll keep `em boys out'a jail as well. It's a win-win all `round."
He tried to remember the name of her son so he could personalize the message. It was a common name; Billy, Joey, Bobby, Stevie, something like that.
"It's just so extreme, Mr. Vice President," she repeated tonelessly.
Her hackles always went up when someone said `win-win'. All too often the people who `walked the walk and talked the talk' were into `win-win'. It was bull-shit. Life wasn't about win-win. There were winners and whiners. You either won or you lost, and when you lost, you whined about it. The fact was that she and Joshua had lost and that disgusting animal in Anniston, Alabama, had won. The police had tried to hide from her what had been done to her son. The monster had him for five days and four long nights. Luckily, at the trial she had not seen the police photographs of the crime scene. It was not a pretty sight. Instead, she had heard about her son's injuries at the trial. It still turned her stomach whenever she remembered the prosecution's evidence, the pathologist speaking in a monotone as he described the boys' ordeal, the nature of what had been done to them before, and then after they had taken their last breaths.
Hackman sighed and attempted to sound as if he was consumed by regret. Political correctness was his forte. Even though he was fairly confident that pedophiles weren't covered by social conscience, castrating young boys was likely to draw a lot of sympathy.
"We figure it this way. We do it fer a coupla generation, tha's all, `n then' there ain't no more kids bein' mur'ded. Yo'se son don't be dyin' `n vain, Janet. This give meanin' ta' `is life, know wha' I mean?"
"Yes," she said weakly.
She dabbed her napkin at her lips. Then, hurriedly she shifted the crisp white linen to her eyes before she started to cry.
Hackman folded his hands. He looked around the table. Jarvis Wright appeared to be listening, but unwilling to express an opinion. Perhaps he had made a mistake with him as well. He had not expected resistance from the tribunal members.
"Tha' an'mal tha' hurt `im, couldn'a done it," he said softly, speaking just to her to build rapport. "If this `ere l'slation was pass'd `e be `live t'day. Tha' sooner we start doin' it tha' better, you see ma poin', Janet?"
"But those poor boys. They can't help being the way they are. It's the gene's fault," she said plaintively. "It isn't their fault being born with a defective gene."
"Tha's true, but we gotta put them pedophiles in a' place where they cain't he hurtin' other boys. Mos' peoples say they belon' `n hell. This way we get `em out'a tha' schools, away from normal kids, wid their own kinds. Better `n jail fer life."
"Hear, hear," Eckleston said supportively. "I agree 100 percent, Mr. Vice President. It's the best thing we can do for the boys. Of course, it's a terrible shame. I don't want to do it either. They can't help being the way they are, but it doesn't change the fact that these boys threaten our country's children. Pedophilia's evil. It doesn't matter whether it's a man or a boy who's doing it. The result is the same." He looked directly at Janet Frieland. "Your son is in Heaven, Janet. But it's still Hell down here. Pedophiles are raping and killing our children every day. We've even caught some who are twelve years old! They're just as dangerous as grown men, probably more so because no one suspects them. We have got to stop them! Is the remedy extreme? Yes! Will it work? Yes! We have to do whatever it takes to stop this plague before they destroy us."
His enthusiasm was infectious. She nodded in agreement, listlessly forking the food from her plate into her thin-lipped mouth. She had not been an attractive woman since her son's death.
"He's right, Janet," Wright added tonelessly. "Something has to be done. These pedophiles are everywhere, just waiting for the chance to hurt our children. We have the opportunity to effect a change. It would be very wrong it we did not take advantage of it."
"Tha's right," Hackman agreed wholeheartedly. "Time we started castratin' them like tha' an'mals they are. Turn `em into girls n`stead `a boy-fuckers."
A moment passed before anyone was able to talk. Finally Wright continued where he had left off. For a while, his expression had been incredulous.
"I agree that we have to do something. Exactly what that is, I'm not sure. Castration might be extreme, but extreme measures are called for sometimes, I believe. Our job will be to make the remedy, unpleasant though it is, tolerable for all concerned."
Eckleston turned to Wright. It was time to exert leadership. He took a deep breath, let it out slowly, folded his hands in front of him, looked around the table, and waited for attention to be focused on him.
"You're right about that, Jarvis. The important thing is how we go about it."
"We got'a sell tha' idea to tha' public," Hackman announced the obvious.
"What we need is a good marketing program," Frieland acknowledged. "Tri-directional, focused to the target audience, but using non-specific motivators with symbolic meanings to convey the message. Some of it needs to be very intense, yet subliminal."
"Huh?" Eckleston said loudly.
"Well, for one thing we need one set of mixed media advertising for the parents, because they'll need convincing that it's in their son's best interest. It's the only way of keeping them out of jail, or something like that."
"We're steppin' up tha' pros'cution `a pedophiles," Hackman interjected. "Tha' Bureau buildin' a public data-base of all `em. They won't be getting' jobs. They won't be showin' they's ugly faces. If they so much as look at a kid they get charged."
Frieland shrugged. "That's a good start. It's about time the laws were enforced."
"We's goin' after `em `n a big way. Startin' with weekly checks by tha' local cops. We'll be usin' tha' Anti-Terr-ist laws to get `em too. Tha' Pres'dent's gonna `nounce that in a coupla weeks. Ped-phi-lia is terr'ism `gainst `merica's kids. With two-strikes, most of `em will be doin' life in a year. Git rid of tha young ones, and stop tha rest from breedin' `n won't take long fer they's all gone."
Frieland waited until he had finished before she resumed. It was difficult to believe that the country had elected him as Vice President. The last election had been a victory for women and minorities.
"And we'll need another campaign, probably using sports figures as role models, for the boys themselves. A low-key message, something like `sometimes a person has to make personal sacrifices for the good of everyone.' Social conscience, that's more than likely the best way to reach them. We need a psychologist to look at other ways of influencing them. We have to build acceptance deep down so they see it as voluntary. It's their responsibility to do the socially responsible thing. Something like that. We need to get to the boys early on so they aren't scared to death, but also to tell them that they don't have any other alternative except to,...." She paused to chose her words. ".... well be emasculated I suppose is the best way of putting it. And then we'll need another program, mostly a good will, P-R campaign, for the general public who are worried that the government has gone too far. If we do it properly, they'll be lining up at the door."
"You make it sound like a marketing program is all we need."
"No, I'm not saying that, Mr. Eckleston. One thing is certain, we can't be talking about castration."
"For Heaven's sake! Castration,... It has what you might call negative connotations," she said in disbelief. "Of course, emasculation isn't any better. We need to think of a better term to describe the process."
"Gelding," Eckleston laughed. "Or how about neutering, like a dog."
"At least it's better than telling parents their sons are going to be castrated." Frieland grimaced, making a sour face at Eckleston. He laughed.
"Okay, so we call it neutering instead of castration. Is that better? A neutered boy? Just like a dog after he's been to the vet. It's actually descriptive of the end result," Eckleston acknowledged. "They won't be male that's for sure. We're creating a third gender, neuters for neutralized pedophiles," he finished with a sarcastic tone.
Wright agreed, reluctantly at first. "Actually, I hate to say it but I think it works. People are already used to the concept of neutering their pets to prevent breeding! I don't think we'll have too many problems if we extend the concept to include a human genetic flaw, not when it results in such terrible evil as pedophilia."
"I don't care how we do it, just so long as they're NICE boys when we're done," Eckleston laughed.
"NICE boys?" Frieland asked curiously, wondering if she had misheard.
"Well, that's what they'll be. NICE, from the legislation name and all," Eckleston explained. "NICE boys don't have nuthin' to worry about," he joked. "Get it? Nut-n'. Neuters are boys who don't have nuts. No nuts.?"
"I like the concept, but not the phrase. How about `neuters are nice, not evil'," Frieland suggested. "We could use that in the marketing approach."
"Are you serious?"
"Absolutely! It uncomplicated. It deals with a fundamental contrast so it's sure to be remembered. Nice and evil. It's a good combination, it says a lot without being specific. We'll run a series of commercials using a boy, a young teenager would be best. He'd be sexually mature, but still young enough that the boys we're targeting can still relate to him. Thirteen or fourteen years old at most. Hm,... we need before and after messages. Of course, we won't show him abusing another boy, that wouldn't be appropriate, but we can make the suggestion that he does things that he shouldn't. Always hanging out with younger boys. Show his frustration when he's spurned. No girlfriends. He plays with,.... Lego. He likes little kids toys. Computer games, anything that bring him closer to them."
"I think we're getting ahead of ourselves," Eckleston said dryly. "Talking about marketing at this stage, it's premature."
Hackman sat forward, and gestured for her to continue.
"Hardly. Marketing is never premature. I'm the director of marketing for Critical-mass," Frieland explained haughtily. "It's a mass-media marketing company. We do this sort of thing all the time. It can be very effective."
Hackman smiled. It was an unexpected windfall. He had not done much background checking on her. There had been no time given the President's schedule.
"I'm impressed," he said, nodding with growing interest.
"It's not premature because selling the idea is the most important thing we have to do," Frieland commented pointedly. "First and foremost, we have to sell this to the public. If they don't buy in, there'll be a massive outcry. Once we have acceptance, then we focus on the parents, and simultaneously on the boys themselves. We can have this up and running in a month."
"My research shows people already loathe pedophiles." Eckleston waited for her to contradict him. "I don't think we need to convince them it's evil and something has to be done to stop it. They already know that."
"Yes, they do," she agreed. "However, loathing a man who abuses and hurts a kid is a hell of a lot different to cutting the balls of a harmless little boy. The public wouldn't complain if we castrated sex abusers, particularly violent offenders, but what we're talking about is a very different matter."
"I `gree. We gotta sell this real good. We need it done fast. Tha' Act comes `fore Congress `n a week," Hackman added.
"Tha' too soon?"
"Yes! Way too soon. I'll need a couple of weeks at least, Mr. Hackman. I'd like longer of course. But it's not impossible to do it on a short time frame. As Mr. Eckleston so rightly points out, people are already very negative to pedophiles, so it's a fairly easy sell. All we have to do is raise the hatred level so it's no longer a question of moral conscience but a gut reaction to take action. I think we can do it if we get to work right away."
Wright nodded in agreement. "I agree, Mr. Vice President. It's basic psychology, when you think about it. We're hitting directly at the fundamental struggle between the id and the superego. We provide enough information and motivation for the ego to take control of the situation."
"What d' you s'ggest?" Hackman asked anxiously, ignoring words that he could not understand.
Frieland thought for a moment, remembering her son's happy laugh. His voice had not broken, and sometimes he when he sang in the church choir he sounded more like a girl than a boy. Deep down, she was a very religious person. After folding her hands together, prayer-like she smiled.
"What we need to get this started is for people to realize that we have a crisis of epidemic proportions.... A pedophile around every corner.... No child is safe."
Hackman glanced at Eckleston, then Wright. Both men were nodding in agreement.
"Wha' kind `a crisis?" he asked.
"I think I know. It's the kind that comes along every couple of years. Remember in 2001 when all those Catholic priests were exposed? The media called them `pedophile priests'. By the time they were finished, people thought there was a pedophile waiting in every church," Eckleston said with a smirking leer at Wright.
It was as good as saying that Wright should know better than anyone since he had first-hand experience. According to rumor and the lawsuit that had been filed when Wright was twenty-five, he had been repeatedly sodomized by a holy father from the age of nine. There had been no mention made of the years of love and support that followed.
"There was damned near a thousand of them by the next year. And they're still coming out from under the rocks," Eckleston said. "It must be costing the Church a fortune in settling the lawsuits."
"Church attendance dropped more than a few points then, I imagine," Frieland added with a laugh. "However, what we have to do here is on an order of magnitude a hundred times larger."
"Like wha'?" Hackman asked.
She scratched her eyebrow, glancing at Eckleston. He nodded and picked up the idea. There were some things best left to others. If it failed, she could always point out why.
"We start off with a missing boy," he began cautiously, thinking as he talked. "A cute kid. All-American boy. White, of course. Blond too. Young, maybe five or six. The kind of boy that a young pedophile might go after. We feature videos of him at home, playing baseball, watching TV, whatever."
"Anything that gets people to relate to him," Frieland interjected. "We project him as the future of America. Innocent, energetic, curious about the world...."
"But still a normal boy," Wright said, "so that every parent in the country sees him as their own child."
"We recreate the same thing that we saw in that missing-girl case in California a few years back. Only no obvious suspects. Some of his blood-stained clothes will turn up after a day or two. People will immediately think it's a sex crime. Throw in some ugly rumors of one of the local teenagers exposing himself to young boys."
"That would work to get it started," Frieland agreed. "We follow up with an exposure of pedophiles in the neighborhood. Lots of them. Some background stories going back a few years would help. Mostly that would be cut and paste of news footage. " She paused, shaking her head. "There's only one problem."
"Wha's that?" Hackman asked.
"If the word gets out it's not true."
"Sheet!" Hackman growled. "Tha' media would `ave a fuckin' field day!"
Suddenly, Frieland laughed. Everyone looked at her.
"I thing I may have the perfect idea to bring this all together."
The silence dragged on as she contemplated what she was about to say. She nodded, muttering to herself.
"Well? You gonna share it?" Hackman demanded brusquely.
"We don't make it real! We keep it fiction, but we can say it's based on real life stories! I saw some data a few weeks back. 95% of people can't tell fact from fiction when it's presented the same way."
"Okay, so what?" Eckleston demanded.
"We need a prime-time television show that uses a news format. News desks, breaking stories,.... Phone-ins. Even a caption line on the bottom. We recreate the real with something that's largely fiction. It'll be a new form of entertainment. We call it,... The Predator-Hunter? Something like that, but it's already taken. The Hunter and the Hunted? No, not expressive enough. The Pedophile Predator? The Predator?"
"It's a great idea, but in a few weeks?" Eckleston said cynically.
"It's difficult, but not possible. A week for scripting, another week to film. The actors will need to ad-lib sometimes to fill in the gaps. Or maybe this is a better idea. We could do it live, Oprah-style. Bring together the parents of abused kids. Have some actors play the part of the pedophiles. Use that as the start up, while we make a couple of shows."
"I thought TV stations planned their schedules months ahead."
"Then how do you plan to,..."
Frieland cut him off. "We buy time at first. Just like a paid-for info-mercial. I do this all the time. It's expensive, but it's so creative, it'll get the ratings. Remember the `Survivor' show. It was the stupidest damn thing, but people loved it. I'm sure a lot of people thought it was true."
She looked around the table. The three men were uncertain, but she had the expertise to deliver. All that was needed was the funding.
"It'll be expensive as hell, but if we get the ratings they'll soon be paying us," she added. "I know where to start running it too. Court TV. It's expensive but it's perfect. They do pay-time until mid-morning when the courts open for business."
"I'd count one or two million a show, just to make it. Say another five million to buy the time each week to go national. We'll need to hire a host, someone in the public eye like,...."
"How about Miller?" Eckleston joked. "I've been trying to get that fucker for ten years now. Goddamn asshole either runs a real tight ship or keeps a low profile. He's one pedophile who learned his lesson, I suppose."
He was met with a withering glance from Wright and Frieland.
"So that would make it an even seven million a show. Assume we need to run it for half a season, plus some funds to start making some documentaries. The first few weeks are going to be higher than the average. So let's say fifty million total to get started. It should be enough for the first month or two."
"Tha' much?" Hackman asked.
It was not that he hadn't considered the cost ramifications of the NICE act, because he had. However, his estimate was a long way off. A mere five million had been budgeted for promotion, and that was for an entire year. At the rate of fifty million a month, the annual cost for marketing alone could be close to half-a-billion a year."
"There'll need to be research done as well," Wright interjected.
"'search?" Hackman disputed. One of his advisors had said a similar thing. He still did not understand why research was necessary.
"Yes. This also has to be seen as a scientific endeavor," Frieland said flatly. "Science, especially medical science, commands the public's respect."
"We'll need researchers working in several different areas," Wright added.
"And we're going to need start up funds as well as operating funds. The television program will be the most expensive component. However, by the time I'm done, we will get the results we want, trust me."
"Ah'm puttin' Mart'n `n charge of tha' NICE program. `cause it's a tribunal. You all be equal, but ah'm appointin' him tha' senior member," Hackman announced.
It was almost as if he was doing it without reason, whereas it was obvious to everyone that he resented the woman's aggressive manner and greater knowledge. It was well known that he had problems with smart women. And Wright, although he was black, so clearly lacked the character that was needed for leadership.
Frieland regarded him coldly. For a moment she held back while she examined, first Hackman, and then Eckleston.
"Then his first priority should be to develop a budget that includes ample funds for marketing, because without it, there is no NICE program."
"She's right," Wright agreed. "Selling this to the public will be the most difficult thing we do. If the funds aren't there to do it properly we might as well forget the whole thing here and now."
"Developing a budget is something I usually leave to the accountants," Eckleston explained hastily. "I figure my time is better spent on strategy. That's what leadership is all about."
Frieland gave a shrug that left no question of her opinion about Eckleston's ability to provide leadership, with or without strategy.
"Ah' can `sure you tha' funds be there," Hackman said to fill the silence, wondering how he could convince the President to find another half-billion in the budget. "Tha' poin's well taken. Ah figur' there's `nough to keep y'all busy."
Wright laughed. "Maybe it's a fluke, but I think we have the right people sitting around the table. If anyone can do it, we can."
Hackman smirked. He had worked his assistants hard to find them. Three people who loathed pedophiles. He had the right people and a racially and sexually balanced committee to boot.
"See, Janet brings the marketing angle. I'm the scientist, well psychologist really, and Eckleston,... well, I expect he's the face man for the media."
Eckleston's eyes narrowed at the insult. He was singularly unattractive. "You want to explain how psychology fits into it, Jarvis?"
Wright rose to the challenge. "Certainly, Martin. We have a plan to emasculate a large number of young boys right?"
"How old will these boys be at the time?"
"I don't know. You tell me the best age. You're supposed to be the doctor."
Wright did not appreciate the tone of voice. Still, he thought for a moment.
"Ideally, you'd want to be able to prevent conception or eliminate the gene using some sort of test while it's still in the womb. Of course, the father would have to be the carrier," he added without following the thought through to its logical conclusion.
"Go on. Get to the point," Eckleston prompted.
"Failing that, we need to do two things. We have to prevent the carriers of the gene from breeding and we need to stop them from being active pedophiles by reducing their sex drive. That basically means removing the testis. The best time would be do it as soon as the baby is born. Then, it would be a lot like circumcision. It's usually done before a baby leaves the hospital so he won't remember what was done. He'll grow up thinking his body was always that way. However, there's no way people would let that happen. Castrating babies isn't on the cards. It would be different if the baby was still in the womb and we could get to it there. I think a lot of parents would abort if they knew the baby would grow up to be a pedophile."
"Probably. So what's the best age to do it?" Eckleston repeated. "Give me a range."
"Between seven and eleven I suppose."
"Why no younger than seven?"
"We could do it younger, but we'll have our hands full as it is. Any older and puberty would be a problem," Wright added.
"Why's that a problem?"
"It's simple. See, I'm assuming we'd want to prevent a boy from reaching sexual maturity. Without testosterone there isn't a lot of interest, and without the physical development of his genitals, there isn't much he can do even if he tries to sexually abuse a child. Then, there's the matter of intellectual and emotional development. Adolescents won't go along willingly. They have enough brains to question what they're being told. Boys from seven to eleven are ideal. They even have a strong sense of social responsibility."
"He's right," Frieland agreed. "I've done some toy marketing for that age group. It's a relatively easy sell job. Peer pressure does most of the work for you. The younger the better in my opinion."
"Yeah, I like that idea. Castrate them early, so they can't do anything to hurt other kids. Sort of `nip it in the bud' so to speak," Eckleston agreed with a cruel sneer.
Frieland shook her head. "Look, I'll say this simply. If castrating young boys is the only way to achieve the goal of getting rid of pedophiles, it isn't going to work."
"Why?" Eckleston demanded.
"Speaking as a parent, there's no way I would have ever allowed my son to be castrated. Gene or no gene, I would not let it happen." She stopped suddenly. The silence echoed. She sighed and shook her head in bitterness. "It's inhuman! There's got to be another way with the same end result but doesn't involve surgery," Frieland said with barely constrained emotion.
"There is," Hackman interrupted. "Ma committee ha' tha' same pro'lem. `n the Pres'dent had tha' same pro'lem. Tha' fac'is AMA would likely move ta' stop it."
"So is there a solution?" Frieland asked sarcastically. She relented. "Because without one we might as well go home."
"Yeah, I hear they's got some other ways. There's some kinda 'jection. Used on an'mals a few `ears back. Eats' `em up in a coupla weeks."
"An injection in the testicles?" Eckleston asked. He was barely able to restrain his enthusiasm. Whatever it took to stop pedophiles was acceptable to him. An injection would be easy to do. It could be done en mass, forcibly if need be.
Hackman gestured an arrogant dismissal of the question as if knowledge of such details was beyond his purview.
"Actually, that might be alright," Frieland said pensively. "Parents are used to their children getting inoculations. This would be just one more shot."
"The important thing is it doesn't invade their sense of sovereignty," Wright added.
"What is that supposed to mean?" Eckleston asked acerbically.
Wright's expression conveyed very little of what he was thinking. Some people believed that he was without emotions.
"Whatever we do, and there should be several options at least," Frieland explained, "it's essential that some of them are non-invasive. The more distant the parents are from the effects of treatment the easier they're going to accept it. Even sticking a needle in Johnny's balls will be too much for a lot of people. I'm not sure I would let that happen to my child, but it's definitely preferable to surgery. We need methods that minimize the parents' involvement. Ideally, the boy's appearance would not be changed, at least the outward appearance of his genitals would be much the same afterwards."
"'s gotta be perm'nent and comprehensive. 'n ver'fiable," Hackman interjected. "Tha's in tha' act."
"Well, we'll have to look into it right away," Wright stated. "I'm probably the best person to do that." He looked at the other members of the committee. "Which leaves us with the interesting question of what we're going to do with boys afterwards, keeping in mind that they may, or may not become pedophiles when they're older."
Eckleston shook his head. "Okay, so what? If they have the gene, what's it called, it doesn't matter what happens to them as far as I'm concerned. They're pedophiles. Once they've had the treatment, the problem goes away because then they can't do anything to hurt a kid."
"It's called the da Vinci gene," Frieland answered huffily. "I think what Jarvis is saying that one can't be sure,... until they actually do something to a child, whether having the gene is going to be a problem. Which could be years afterwards, by the way."
Wright nodded. "Exactly, Janet. And if I remember correctly the number of males who already have the gene is well over a hundred thousand. There's something like 3,000 boys being born every year with it. My point being, what are we going to do with them after they've been neutered."
Eckleston shrugged. "It really doesn't matter one iota." He smirked. "That Landers woman got it right when she said that 'the only molesters who can be considered permanently cured are those who have been surgically castrated.' They aren't going to be fucking any boys afterwards that's for sure,.... Sorry, Janet," he added perfunctorily. "I can't see what the problem is. Assuming there is a problem besides figuring out how to castrate 3,000 boys a year in the first place. If the pediatricians won't do it, we're going to have to set up clinics of our own. It probably isn't so hard that we can't train nurses to do it."
Frieland rolled her eyes. "Nurses are going to be the same as doctors, maybe worse because most of them are women and mothers. You might get a few to go along. I think it would be better if we trained people outside the medical field. We need to hire and train our own technicians."
"Good point. I want to go back to something. We can't just do nothing afterwards," Wright continued. "We'll have to limit their access to replacement hormones for one thing. There will have to be special programs to fit them back into society. They will have to learn how to live a normal life."
"They won't be normal," Eckleston replied with a smirk. "They won't have balls, and besides, they'll still be pedophiles because they still have the gene inside them, right? They just won't be able to do anything about it." He laughed. "But I guess on the positive side, they won't be in jail either," he added with a condescending glance at Wright.
"I think he's right, Martin. We cain't deny `em life, lib'ty `n hap'ness," Hackman commented. "If they ain't breakin' tha' laws we cain' punish'em."
"See, that's where psychology comes in. However, you're right when you say they won't be normal. They will learn to hate though because of what's been done to them," Wright said. "The point I'm getting at is how you take someone like that and reorient them so they can contribute to society."
"Turn `em in ta fags," Hackman suggested. "There ain't no other way."
"True. I think that's the only way. But how? They're still kids so they're highly impressionable. It's possible we can use conditioning techniques to achieve that, but how and where do we do it? How about school? Are we going to send them back to school minus their nuts and pretend nothing ever happened? Those kids will be tormented to death, especially if they're gay as well. We're asking for trouble. If they start committing suicide in mass all hell could break lose. This could back fire if we aren't careful."
`Frankly, I don't give a damn about them," Eckleston said categorically. "The world would be better off if they were all dead. This discussion has got to be the biggest waste of time."
"It's obvious that Jarvis and I don't agree with you," Frieland said emphatically.
Hackman frowned, contorting his face in exasperation. "What's it goin' ta take?" he asked tersely.
Everyone looked at him in silence.
"You wan' some kind'a program fer `em after they been castrated. Okay, no pro'lem if tha's wha's needed."
"What sort of program?" Eckleston asked suspiciously, but trying to ingratiate himself since Hackman appeared to endorse the suggestion. "You mean like some kind of shock treatment?"
"The preferred term is aversion therapy, I believe. That is our goal is not to upset the families more than we need to. That is our goal, isn't it?" Frieland said bluntly.
"It has to be otherwise failure is just about guaranteed. The way to make this work is to use social conscience and peer pressure. The boys have to want to be changed. They have to want to stop themselves from becoming pedophiles. If they hate themselves enough, they'll make any sacrifice and welcome any improvement."
"So how do we do that?"
"First off, the boys will require intense exposure to whatever it is that we want them to do. A better word is conditioning, by the way. It's not unlike training a dog with rewards and punishments. Send a dog to obedience school for two weeks and it's a totally different dog when it comes home."
"Like I said, shock treatment," Eckleston interjected.
"Then, the boys will need education. There's going to be a lot of things they'll need to know after they've been,... well, given treatment. Especially if we plan to reorient them. It's not a simple matter. It'll take a lot more than a few weeks of aversion therapy."
"You got a curriculum in mind?" Eckleston queried sarcastically. "Three credits of Fag History 101 followed by No-Balls Biology,..."
"No, but some socio-cultural background on homosexuality might be a good idea to help them adjust. And there needs to be a thorough sex education as well," Wright added. "And that's just the tip of the iceberg."
Eckleston rolled his eyes.
"Ah got no pro'lem wid tha'. We cain' let `em go back ta school. Even wi'out nuts they's still a chance of `em doin' it wi' kids."
Hackman had a tendency of stopping the conversation whenever he opened his mouth. It took several long seconds before anyone spoke.
"That's true, so the main thing we have to do will be to change their sexual orientation away from kids."
"'n we gotta get `em outta tha' schools." Hackman reiterated.
"Home schooling is a natural," Frieland suggested. "And it's becoming very acceptable."
"Tha's good a ways as any."
"Interesting.... And it could be more than just education," Wright mused.
"Meaning?" Eckleston asked abruptly.
He did not appreciate how Frieland and Wright had more to offer than he did, especially when he had devoted his entire adult life to hunting down and exposing pedophiles. If anyone had the right to decide what was to be done, it was him.
"I'm thinking," Wright said. After a moment, he added, "Don't laugh, but this is what I'm thinking. We have adult pedophiles who are a problem,...."
"Tha's n' under sta'men," Hackman joked.
"I noticed that the Act calls for them to be treated too. Only it's voluntary in their case," Frieland said. "At least we shouldn't have any P-R problems with that part of it."
Eckleston gave an exaggerated sigh. "Goddamn boy-fuckers," he said bitterly. "All of them ought to all be castrated and but in jail for life."
"I don't disagree, but the fact is they're going to need an incentive to be sterilized," Wright interjected.
"Tax credits," Eckleston suggested blithely.
"Would you?" Frieland asked. "For a few thousand dollars? No, I don't think so. Go on Jarvis."
"Well, I was thinking what would it take to get them to come forward. And we have a large number of neutered boys who we need to reorient to more appropriate interests, namely being gay. Why don't we just put them together? A boy for every man?"
"You mean facilitate relationships?" Frieland asked quickly. Her expression was one of disbelief, yet she could see the advantages.
"Christ!" Eckleston bellowed. "You're talking about adoption or marriage, or something. You're crazy!"
"No, of course not. It would be more like a sort of a mentorship. Tie it into the home- schooling. What do you think?" Wright suggested.
Frieland smiled. The idea had interesting possibilities. She was still worried about the parents' reactions. "Hm,... so we could,.... Yes, maybe it would work. Kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. It would keep the parents happy and the NICE boys away from normal children."
"That was my thinking," Wright agreed. "I think the parents will go along with it too. The last they're going to want is to deal with little Johnny after they know what he is."
"Better `n nothin'," Hackman agreed.
"Damn straight," Eckleston finally managed to agree. "It'd keep the damned pedos happy as well," he added under his breath.