Brother Jonathan

by FreeThinker


This story may contain scenes of sexual activity between males. If you find this offensive or if it is illegal for you to read this in your jurisdiction, please do not do so. The author does not condone the violation of any laws.

This story is based on an idea I have contemplated for many years but never had the courage to write. Some elements of this story have appeared in previous stories I have written, as I did not think at the time I would ever write or publish Brother Jonathan. Please forgive any redundance.

The story may seem rather dark, but it deals with several difficult subjects. I can assure you that it will have a good ending. Beyond that, I say nothing more. I am grateful for those readers who understand and appreciate what I am doing here and who have written me. I encourage you, even if you disapprove of what I am writing, to let me know what you think at free7thinker (at) Thank you very much!

Brother Jonathan

by Free Thinker

"I am distressed for thee, my brother Jonathan:

very pleasant hast thou been unto me: thy love

to me was wonderful, passing the love of women."

II Samuel 1:26 KJV

Chapter Nine

The afternoon and evening of

Wednesday, March 17, 1982


Sitting in the passenger seat of Kevin's Cougar, Jonathan was silent while he gazed at the traffic. It was rush hour and their progress back to the Capitol was slow. On the radio, the Manhattan Transfer was singing about The Boy from New York City. Kevin would occasionally glance out of the corner of his eye at his friend, but felt it was best to say nothing. However, as they turned onto Capitol Boulevard, he could wait no longer.

"Jon, I think this is bigger than we realized."

"Yes," Jonathan replied softly.

"I think we need to get the authorities involved."

Jonathan said nothing. Kevin continued.

"Malvena Bransted knows something. She was afraid to talk with Franklin there. Franklin's controlling this and we need to get somebody involved."

Jonathan remained silent as Kevin pulled into his parking space.

"I wonder if the DA or the State Police would help. I wonder just how extensive this is."

He turned to Kevin as his friend turned off the car and withdrew the key.

"My father was the assistant county prosecutor in Pushitaw in 1969. The rector at the Episcopal Church there, Father Hathaway, was investigating the child abuse at the Boys Home and died when their house mysteriously burned down. The police in Pushitaw said it was an accident. My father didn't believe them and was about to call a grand jury when we were out for a drive one evening and the brakes in our car went out. My parents were killed."

Kevin was stunned.

"I didn't realize. I... I knew your father was the ACP; I knew he died in a car wreck. I... didn't know he was involved in this, though. I understand, now, why this is so important to you."

Jonathan turned and looked out the window. Kevin continued.

"To be honest, I've always felt that you had some need to prove yourself to your father. You're such a super-achiever and so... so... such a Boy Scout."

"Yeah, well, I'm human," Jonathan replied bitterly. "Oh, so human. If you only knew..."

After a moment, Kevin suddenly opened his door.

"Come on. It's St. Patrick's Day. I need to clear off my desk. You probably have to as well. Let's get the shit out of the way and then go get some green beer."

As Jonathan stood up beside the car and looked across to his friend, he nodded and smiled.

"You know," he replied as he closed the car door, "that sound's like a good idea."

Kevin was relieved to finally break through his friend's reserve and as they walked across the parking lot, dodging the cars of legislators escaping the Capitol for the city's many watering holes, he began to realize that Jonathan was far deeper than he realized.

The two separated outside Jonathan's office. His secretary was sitting behind her desk with a look of agitation on her face.

"You seem concerned about something, Mrs. Carlisle. Is something the matter?"

His secretary took a breath. "You received two calls. Mr. Cavanaugh and Mr. Stillman would like to see you when return."

"OK. Let them know I'll be happy to see them. What was the other?"

The lady paused, an uncharacteristic confusion in her normal composure causing Jonathan to frown.

"An unidentified caller, a male, fairly young, possibly in his twenties, said to tell you, quote, `I know what you did last night.'"

Jonathan felt his chest constrict. In milliseconds, his mind began to process this information. On the inside, he was nearly panicking. On the outside, he simply smiled in confusion at his secretary.

"He said nothing else?"

"No sir."

Jonathan paused for a moment and then grinned as he walked into his office.

"Its just another of the kooks and cranks we get all the time. Ignore it. Would you called Cavanaugh, please?"

Mrs. Carlisle nodded, her faces showing slight relief, though concern remained.

Jonathan removed his coat, sat down behind his desk, and began to review the mail and messages he had received, trying to focus his mind on something other than the concerns that had occupied it for the last three days. But, Mrs. Carlisle's news kept forcing its way into his consciousness.

Someone knew. Someone knew.

Was the caller Matt? He seemed like such a nice guy, so concerned and compassionate and tender. Could he really be a blackmailer? Unlikely. It had to be someone else. Franklin must have someone following him. That's it, he thought. This is Franklin's way of warning him. Perhaps his final warning.

His phone buzzed.

"Mr. Cavanaugh and Mr. Stillman are here."

Jonathan stood as the Leader of the Republicans in the House entered, followed by Eddie Stillman. The three warmly shook hands and Jonathan directed them to the two chairs in front of the desk.

"Let's get right to the point," Cavanaugh said leaning forward. "With the defeat of 1218 in Rules the other day, we thought we had a great issue to use against the Democrats in November. But, Brother Eddie here has come up with an even better idea, a brainstorm of an idea. Next week, after all the hubbub over Bransted's suicide dies down, we start a new campaign."

Bransted leaned forward.

"And, you're going to lead it, Brother Jonathan. We are going to cleanse our state of the cancer of homosexuality!"

Jonathan simply looked at Stillman. The uncomfortable feeling he always had around the man suddenly grew as he saw the man's dark eyes look into his, steadily and strangely.

"There are homosexuals everywhere, in our schools and colleges, in our hospitals, in our business, even in politics. We must stand up and remove this cancer from our society before it destroys us and brings down The Almighty's wrath upon us."

Jonathan was trembling on the inside, but maintain his control on the outside.

"And, why are we doing this now?"

"GRID," said Cavanaugh.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Gay Related Immune Disorder. It's a disease that doctors have isolated among gays in New York and San Francisco. It destroys the bodies immune system and then kills the patient. No one survives it."

Jonathan bit his upper lip, his mind-racing, wondering how to respond to this. Slowly, he said, "I have heard of the disease; I just didn't know what it was called. Is there any evidence of this spreading to the general public?"

"We don't know," Cavanaugh replied.

"But, we can't take any chances," Stillman interrupted. "And, we have to protect our children. We can't let these drooling sodomites get hold of our boys and infect them! Infect them with ho-mo-sexuality and with GRID."

Jonathan was afraid to ask, but he had to.

"And, how do you proposed to do this?"

Cavanaugh shifted and signaled to Stillman to let him take it from here.

"We already have a law that criminalizes sodomy. We will now require all law enforcement personnel and prosecutors to enforce it. We need to let the perverts know that we don't want them in our state and if they insist of engaging in sodomy here, we will send them to prison."

"So to prevent sodomy," Jonathan said slowly, trying to keep the sarcasm he thought out of his voice, "you're going to send people to the one place where sodomy occurs most frequently?"

Cavanaugh gave him a cold look.

"This isn't funny. We can use this to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the party. This gay disease is coming at the perfect moment for us. We have a conservative President, the Moral Majority is gaining in power and influence. The whole country is moving toward us. Now, we have something we can really use to attack the liberals and the secular humanists!"

"You know," Stillman added, "that ho-mo-sexuals control Hollywood and television and the universities and the news media. If we can wipe them out, we get to control those things."

"I thought the Jews and the Communists controlled Hollywood and the universities and the news media."

Cavanaugh and Stillman both looked at Jonathan with narrow eyes.

"I don't think, Brother Jonathan," Stillman said slowly, "that you are taking this issue, or us, quite seriously. We mean business."

"We can raise so much money with this issue," Cavanaugh continued. "And, all we need is someone to lead it, someone attractive and articulate and photogenic. Someone with a reputation for being a fighter. Jonathan, people look at you as the son they wished they had. You're perfect for this."

Stillman leaned forward again. "You're gonna be thirty-one in 1988. Hagman will be re-elected in `84. We can't stop that. But, in `88, the Governor's race will be wide open and with us behind you, you'll be assured the nomination. And, then, in November, with us branding the Democrats as the party that protects homosexuals, you, Jonathan Holbrook, will be the next Governor."

Jonathan leaned back in his chair, rested his elbows on the arms of his chair, and brought his fingers together before his face. He began to think, How could he survive this if he refused? What if he went along with it? He didn't want to be gay. Homosexuality was a sin. Clearly. What harm would it do to force people to stop committing sodomy if the result was that he could be elected Governor? Look at what he could accomplish? He could use this issue to propel him into the Governor's Mansion and then he could do everything he dreamed of, improving education, cleaning up politics, bringing prosperity to his state.

Stillman leaned forward. His eyes, those dreadful eyes, bore into Jonathan's and in the most oily voice he had ever heard, Stillman said, "We can make a lot of your problems go away."

He looked like Satan at that moment. Jonathan shuddered. The man looked just like Satan, offering the temptations of power, handing him the contract to sell his soul.

Jonathan stood.

"Gentlemen, I need time to think about this."

Cavanaugh smiled and stood as well. He held out his hand.

"Take all the time you need, Governor Holbrook."

Jonathan smiled to as he shook hands with his party's leader. Then, reluctantly, he reached forward and took Stillman's clammy hand. Stillman held it a bit too long and a bit too tightly. His eyes bore, once more, into Jonathan's.

"I know you want it," he said softly.

Jonathan's heart froze. Those words. That voice.

Cavanaugh and Stillman were gone. Jonathan stood still.

"I know you want it."

Those words. That voice.

A knock on the door awoke him.

"Sir, I am leaving now."

It was Mrs. Carlisle.

"Is there anything I may do before I go?"

Jonathan was still standing in the middle of the office.

"Um, no. No, thank you, Mrs. Carlisle. Have a good evening."

The woman's eyes showed concern and worry, but she said only, "Thank you," as she left. Kevin Berkeley passed her on the way out. He saw the stricken look on Jonathan's face and rushed forward.

"Jon, what's the matter? What's happened?"

Jonathan sighed and looked downward. His lips pulled inward as he thought. Then he shook his head.

"Its... its... strange. I..."

He shook his head again and then walked over to his chair and sat down. Dusk was descending over the city beyond through his window. He reached up and loosened his tie.

"Nothing. Nothing. Oh, uh, Cavanaugh and Stillman did, though, just offer to make me Governor in `88."

Kevin took a moment to digest this news before replying, "Well, isn't that nice. I suppose there is something they would like in return?"

Jonathan nodded.

"They want me to lead a crusade to run all the homosexuals out of the state."

Kevin laughed and then, seeing the look on his face, stopped.

"Oh, my God. You're serious."

Jonathan nodded.

"They... literally... promised to make you Governor in `88? In return for leading an anti-gay crusade?"

Jonathan nodded again, then added, "It will mean giving up on DHS. On the boys home."

Kevin looked at his friend, searching for answers in his face.

"Jon, you're considering it. You're actually considering it."

Jon buried his face in his hands.

"I don't know what I'm doing."


He looked up angrily.

"Kevin, don't."

Abruptly, he stood.

"I have to think. I have to go. I can't stay here. I have to go home."

He grabbed his coat from behind his chair. Kevin stood.

"Jon, I've always been the one preaching `real politick,' advising that you to compromise for the greater good or for the long term and you've always been the one preaching integrity and principle. But, Jon, you cannot sell your soul to Stillman on this. You cannot give up on those kids at Pushitaw and the other homes. You cannot give up on those who've died. You can't give up on finding your parents' killers."

Fury erupted from Jon's eyes.

"Don't talk to me about my parents! I've lived with this for thirteen years!"

He took a deep breath, instantly regretting his outburst, his loss of control. His face softened.

"Look, Kevin... there's been a lot happen to me over the last few days and... I just need time to think and put everything in perspective. There's a lot you don't know and... I just need some time, tonight."

"Jon, talk to me," Kevin urged. "I'm your friend. I'm the one who got you into this shit. Let me help you."

Jon grasped his friend warmly by the shoulders.

"Thank you, Kevin. I'll be OK. I just need some time alone to think and I'll be just fine. I'll talk with you tomorrow. OK?"



"So, who is this guy, anyway?"

David and Matt were sitting in the drive-through at Taco Bell waiting for enchiritos. Without his eight-track, David was forced to rely on the AM radio in his Beetle, and the only station which he could get clearly was, at that moment, regaling them with The Carpenters.

David shrugged.

"He was a friend from childhood. He's becoming someone with some influence."

Matt looked at David inquisitively.

"He was a friend?"

David smiled.

"Well, we haven't seen each other in more than ten years."

The Beetle moved forward a space.

"Why not?"

"Well, he moved and I moved and... well..."

A pause. The Beetle pulled up to the window, and money was exchanged for the food and Pepsis.

David pulled around to a spot at the side of the building and the two began to eat.

"So, is he gay?"

David looked at the boy in irritation.

"Why the interrogation?"

Matt grinned and shrugged.

"Just curious."

With his mouth full of enchirito, David replied, "I don't think so."

"So, you're not sure?"

David looked as if he were about to slap him.

"For God's sake, eat your shit and quit asking questions."

Matt took a bite and then said, "You did it with each other, didn't ya."

"That does it!"

David grabbed what was left of Matt's enchirito and, with the his own empty container, stuffed it into the sack, stormed out of the Volkswagen and dropped it in a nearby trash can. When he returned to the car and slammed the door, Matt chimed, "Touchy, aren't we?"

David scowled as he turned the key and accidentally popped the clutch, killing the engine.

As they turned off Twelfth St. into a neighborhood of small bungalows and nice townhouses, Matt looked around with interest.

"Hey, I was over here, last night."

"Oh, yeah?" David replied reading the address he had copied from the phone book.

"Yeah. It was that place over there."

David looked at the address on the paper, then at the address painted on the steps in front of the townhouse, and then at Matt. The boy's eyes grew and then fear came over his face.

"Oh, no way. Uh uh."

David was stunned. Jon had picked up Matt? Jon Holbrook had picked up a teenage boy for sex? His Jonny?

He waited a moment and then asked, "What happened?"

Matt took a breath. "I told you. I met him at the park. He seemed really down and depressed. He's a really nice guy. I lied to him and told him I was in college and he believed it. Then, this morning, he almost freaked out. He didn't, but he was like about to. He was real decent and everything. He was worried about me, but I told him I'd be OK and that I could take care of myself."

David nodded and then almost whispered, "That sounds like Jon."

Matt saw the emotion in David's eyes.

"It was really nice. He held me. It was really cool. It was like he really cared, like he really wanted me to feel good and safe and loved. Ya know? I never felt like that before."

David struggled to prevent tears from forming in his eyes, which was not lost on Matt.

"He was your boyfriend, wasn't he?"

David paused and then nodded once.

"He's a politician."

Matt's eyes grew wide.

"Did he know that politician that died the other day?"

"I'm sure he did."

Matt paused.

"We can't ask him for help. They'll just kill him, too."

David looked up at the house in the darkness. There was a dim light on in the front window. Matt's window was down and he could hear music, classical music, coming from within. He bit his lip. He debated driving away. Could he really involve Jon? What if this was related to the old unpleasantness? He bit his lip.

Finally, he took a breath.

"Stay here for awhile. It'll freak him out to see me. If your there, too, it'll send him over the edge."

Matt nodded in understanding. David opened the door, climbed out and stood for a moment looking up at the townhouse over the roof of the Beetle. A cool breeze tossed his hair across his forehead and sent a chill through his body. He wasn't sure if it was just the cool breeze.

As he ascended the steps, he could recognize the mournful piano of what... Chopin? He wasn't certain. Jon was always smarter about such things than he. Through the open window, he saw him. He wanted to cry.

Jon was seated in a leather chair, his head back, his eyes closed, holding a small glass of sherry.

His shame and embarrassment, his fear, were nearly more than he could bare. He looked back at the Volkswagen. Matt nodded encouragingly. He nodded back and, his finger trembling, pushed the doorbell.




When he returned home, Jon had shed his coat and tie and shoes, and zapped a Stouffer's in the microwave. He had no desire to spend the evening with the St. Patrick's Day revelers. He sat at the counter and watched the news on CNN and then threw away the remains of his dinner. He went into the living room, lit a fire, opened the window to the cool evening air, turned one lamp on low, and set the stereo on the local NPR station. He didn't want to think about which music he wanted to listen to. He poured a glass of sherry, and sat back in his chair.

It was all too much, just too much. He couldn't do it. His sense of shame overwhelmed him. His grandparents had expected so much of him. His father had been such a good and respected man. He had to be something, he had to achieve. He had to live up to his father's reputation and what his father's expectations would have been. Of course, his father had always told him to be himself and not worry about what other people thought. But, his grandparents had wanted Jonathan to live up to what his father had accomplished, to live up to what they said were his father's ideals. He had to be a success.

It didn't matter that not only was his father gone, but his grandparents as well. He had a duty, an obligation to their memory, to his legacy, to achieve, to succeed, to be respected. He had to be Governor.

And, this afternoon, it had been handed to him on a silver platter.

He couldn't do it.

He had to do it.

Stillman said he could make his problems go away.

Who was it that had called and left that vile and cryptic message?

All he had to do was lead a crusade against the homosexuals in his state and he would Governor in 1988.

You know you want it.

He stood up and walked over to the counter between the living room and the kitchen. He poured another glass of sherry and then returned to his chair. He glanced outside the window and saw an old Volkswagen pull up. He dismissed it. Probably customers for the dealers in the townhouse next door.

He collapsed into the chair again as Chopin came on.

He could find out who killed his father. He could make his father proud and be elected Governor. He could do so much good as Governor. But, he would have to lead an anti-gay crusade to do it.

You know you want it.

And, there, before him, was the image of Davy, his sweet Davy, smiling so beautifully, holding him, loving him.

He nearly dropped the sherry when the doorbell rang. He looked out the window, but couldn't see who was on the porch. He set the glass down on the side table as Christoph Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirit's came on. He was not in the mood to see anyone tonight.

He looked through the peephole and turned on the porch light.

His breath stopped.

On his porch, looking nervous and frightened, was the redheaded performer from the Bohemian Scandal Monday night! The man who had reminded him so much of... of Davy. The man whose music was exactly not what Jonathan had needed to hear.

Their eyes had met and locked at the restaurant. Something, everything, had passed between them. He couldn't do this. Not tonight. Not after poor Matt. Not after Bransted. Not after Stillman.

His hand trembled as he grasped the door handle. Slowly he turned it, slowly he pulled the door back.

The redhead looked as frightened as Jonathan felt wary.

"Yes?" Jonathan asked uncertainly.

The redhead stood there, swallowed, frightened. He clasped his hands. He clasped his hands, the same way Davy, his dear Davy, used to clasp his hands when he was nervous or uncomfortable.

"Jon?" the redhead said uncertainly.

Jon paused and then breathed, "Yes?"

The redhead seemed to shudder and, then, softly, he said, "I'm Davy. Davy Hathaway."

No. He hadn't heard correctly. The guy was lying. It wasn't true. It wasn't possible.

"No," he said softly.

The redhead pulled his lips inward and slowly, sadly, fearfully nodded.


The energy and the color drained from Jonathan's face. He couldn't breath. He lost his balance. He dropped to his knees as he held the doorknob. His mouth trembled.


The redhead nodded and dropped to his knees, as well.

"Jonny, its me."

Jon's mouth opened. He was on the verge of hyperventilating.

"Davy... Davy... "

"Its me, Jonny."

Tears were flowing down his cheeks. He could barely focus his eyes.

"They said you were dead. The letter... they said you killed yourself..."

"Oh, my God," David whispered. "They told me you never wanted to see me again."

Their eyes met and their arms wrapped around each other. They said nothing as they simply sat on the floor in front of the door and held each other. Every once in a while, one would whisper the other's name, until a car passed by the street. David looked up.

"Perhaps we should close the door."

Jon shook his head.

"Oh, God."

He stood and helped David to his feet as he closed the door.

"Um, can I uh... can I get you anything to drink?"

David looked at the sherry glass on the side table and softly replied, "That will be just fine."

Jon walked back to the bar and nervously poured a tiny glass. As he turned, he gazed at David. He was tall, his red hair was long and perfectly styled, hanging down to the collar of his green Lacoste. His Calvin Klein jeans were skin tight and his Topsiders completed the image of the regulation gay man in Scottsburg in the late seventies and early eighties.

But, it was David's face that caused him to pause, the same beautiful smile, the same scattering of freckles, (though maturity had softened them), the same sensitive green eyes.

"Davy, you're so beautiful."

He handed him the sherry.

"I can't believe you're here, alive, in my living room."

David walked over the companion chair to the one in which Jon had been sitting earlier.

"You didn't recognize me Monday night?"

Jon sat.

"I just thought it was an incredible coincidence. I.. It was too much. I had to leave."

David took a drink and almost choked. Jon smiled.

"You have to sip sherry. Its not like regular wines."

His eyes watering, David grinned.

"Tanq and tonic, usually. Or Moosehead."

After another moment, David said, "So you never wrote and said you never wanted to see me again?"

"Of course, not! How could I do such a thing? I loved you. I... I still do. I've never stopped loving you."

David closed his eyes. It was too much to comprehend at one time. The love he had lost was sitting before him and declaring he still loved him.

"Why did your aunt write that horrible letter to me?" Jonathan whispered. "I was destroyed by it."

"Oh, Jonny. It was horrible. They hated me. My uncle knew from the start that I was gay and he hated me from the very beginning. The kids at school, my cousins, my uncle. It was horrible. And, then, Aunt Betty decided she was going to cure me and took me to the pastor and... well, I don't want to talk about it. But, they spent years trying to make a good, decent, Christian, straight boy."

"Oh, Davy."

Jon paused and then asked, "When you left, why didn't you look for me?"

David lowered his eyes in shame.

"I didn't think you'd ever want to see me again. You were in the news when you won that debate prize, and you got your picture in the paper with President Ford and then you went to SU and then you got elected to the Legislature. I figured the last thing you needed, being all successful and everything, was some sick, fag loser like me hanging around."

"Oh, Davy!"

Jon jumped up from the chair and sat at David feet, taking his hand in his.

"Davy, what did they do to you?"

Of course, Jon's meaning was, "What did they do to hurt you so badly?"

David, seeing the question through the fog of his own self-loathing, interpreted it as, "How could they have turned you into such a loser?"

"Nothing I didn't deserve," he replied.

"Oh, no," Jon disputed vehemently. "That's not true at all. You were the best friend a guy could ever ask for. You were compassionate and honest and... I could trust you with my life. How could you think of yourself as a sick loser?"

David's eyes teared up.

"Because I am. It all started when we were kids and I used to let this guy from the Bible College have sex with me. I've always been a pervert. I even did it with Pastor Stringfellow! I dropped out of Central State twice because I couldn't make it to class in the mornings. I stayed drunk and stoned all the time. I've been fired from half the restaurants in Scottsburg, and I live at the bars and the bookstores at night. I take a different guy home every night or he takes me home. I'm a drunk and a slut and a loser."

Jon stood and looked down the man who had meant everything to him as a boy. He held out his hand. David took it and he pulled him up. He led him to the couch and the two sat. They embraced and said nothing.

David's eyes were closed and the emotions he felt were too strong to describe, shame, joy, self-loathing, ecstacy.

Jon's emotions were a whirlwind, as well. He, too, felt transcendent joy. But, he felt his own shame as well as pain and compassion for David; to say nothing of anger toward those who had inflicted such pain on such an innocent and loving boy.

"Its not your fault, Davy," he whispered. "Its not your fault. Its not your fault. Its not your fault.

David broke down and cried. Jon held him and cried, as well.

"I'm here, Davy. I'm here. You're not alone anymore. I'm here."

A knock on the back door startled them.

Jon stood up.

"I'll be back. Don't you go anywhere," he admonished a bit more seriously than he intended. David smiled.

"I'm not going anywhere."

When Jon disappeared behind the bar into the kitchen, David stood and wandered over to the window. He had no idea how long he and Jon had been together and he realized Matt had been in the car the entire time. He looked at the Volkswagen through the window. His heart stopped. It was empty.

Jon reached the back door and pulled the curtain back.

He closed his eyes in regret.

Slowly, he opened the door.

"Hey, Jon."

"Matt, look, this isn't a good time..."

The teenager held up his hand.

"Its OK. I'm not here to cause any trouble. I came with David."


At that moment, David rushed around the corner and, seeing Matt in the doorway, sighed with relief.

"Its OK, Jon. He's with me."

Jon looked with confusion between the two, but stepped aside to allow Matt in. David started to turn back when Matt said, "Close the curtains. There's someone out there watching the place."

Jon and David both exchanged glances, then Jon closed his eyes.

"I knew it," he said.

David went to the living room and closed the curtains. Jon and Matt followed when it was safe.

"How do you know?" David asked.

"There was a Ford Granada that pulled up across the street while you were walking up the stairs and the guy just sat there watching you and me. When you didn't come out, I got tired of him looking at me while he was pretending not to. So I got out of the car and walked around the block. He was still sitting there when I got to the other side. So I came up the alley to the backdoor."

"You did the right thing," Jon said as he sat in his chair. David sat in his and Matt waited to sit on the couch until Jon waived him to it.

"OK, so why do you two show up here together?"

Matt looked nervously at David, who held up a finger.

"Jon, I didn't know who else to turn to. Matt here is a runaway. He told you that this morning. I didn't know about you two until he came to my apartment this afternoon. We used to work together at the Bohemian Scandal. You're the only person I know who can help him."

Jon looked steadily at David, suddenly feeling wary.

"Go on."

David swallowed, but Matt interrupted.

"That boy who died at Pushitaw didn't kill himself and that politician they found dead yesterday didn't kill himself either! He was at Pushitaw Saturday to talk to the boys and that one who died, Luke, was the only one who talked to him."

"How... how do you know this?"

Matt paused and then responded, " `cause I ran away from Pushitaw."

Jon's capacity for incredulity had been exceed long before this moment, but even this came as a shock to him.

"Why?" he asked breathlessly.

"Because I'm tired of getting raped and beat up and used like a whore. Its all they do there, the older guys, the stronger guys, the counselors. Its Hell there."

Jon breathed. He looked at David and so much passed between them in that moment that words were unnecessary.

He stood and walked to the phone on the bar.

"Who are you calling?" David asked softly.

"A friend. We are going to help Matt and all the others. And, I going to tell the Devil to go to Hell."

So, there you have Chapter Nine. The story is approaching the climax! Please let me know what you think of it, pro or con, at free7thinker (at) Thank you!