I'm sorry to have taken so long getting this chapter posted. The holidays demand more of my time, and something has to give. It may be even longer as Christmas and the New Year grow nearer, but I will try to get back to a regular schedule after the first of the year.
As always, if you are not at least18, you are breaking the law by reading this. You should be watching the sex and violence on the afternoon soaps, or the dysfunctional families on those courtroom pseudo-dramas - Texas Justice or Judge Joe Brown - or talk shows like Oprah and Jerry Springer. With all the crap the media offers, it's no wonder kids have a hard time figuring out how to be good.
I claim exclusive copyright to this story. I have granted Nifty Archives the license to post it , and you may download or print it, but you may not sell it or derive profit from it.
All the characters in the story are fictitious, and any resemblance to people in your life is unintentional, although we all know some of them. The events are also contrived, as will be obvious in this chapter. As I have said before, this is a fantasy, and everything always turns out well in a fantasy. LOL.
Comments are not only welcome, they are the only way I have of knowing if my efforts are being read by anyone. Without readers, an author is wasting his/her time. You can write to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Independence Day dawned clear and bright with a slight off-shore breeze. The sun didn't hit the beach until a little after ten o'clock because of the shadow cast by the Coast Range, but the air was pleasantly warm. The boys ventured out onto the beach a few yards, but the events of the previous day had spooked them and their celebration was somewhat subdued. The occasional "pop" of distant firecrackers put them a little on edge, and they soon retired to the relative safety of the pool.
I had invited the Parsons, George and his family, Norman and his daughter, Dixie, and Dennis (the grocery store manager). They all arrived between noon and one and joined us on the patio, most dressed in shorts suitable for swimming. David drooled a little watching the boys play in the pool, but Merle put a stop to that with one devastating look. I really couldn't blame him. All the boys were prime examples of teenage masculinity, and any lover of male youth would have a hard time ignoring them.
Even Josh was guardedly energetic, although he stopped and looked around every now and then to make sure Tom and Carl were close by. I had been in prison, and wasn't an advocate of it being a viable course of rehabilitation, but I had also met some people there (not all of them convicts) who needed to be locked up just to protect others. His parents were unrepentant sociopathic homophobes (in my opinion), and needed to be removed from society. They had a lot of company who had an agenda they wanted to foist on the public in the guise of "Christian" principles. Damn all the arrogant assholes who think theirs is the only way to attain morality, I thought.
I wondered if the beach house had been such a good idea after all. With the likelihood that the Lincoln County courts would now be polluted with innuendo and snide reports of homosexual orgies, it was possible that Eric's adoption had been put in jeopardy. I determined to ask about John's thoughts on the matter later, and put it out of my mind as much as possible.
I lit the grill about one-thirty, and started the chickens, which I had halved and marinated overnight in orange and pineapple juices with a little brown sugar, Tabasco Sauce, and Cumin added. I nuked the potatoes in the microwave to get them started, and then put them on the warming shelf. When the skin side of the chicken was nicely browned, I turned it and moved it to the cooler end of the grill to finish cooking, and took a wire brush to the hot end to clean it in preparation for the steaks. I had water simmering in a big pot on one of the side burners for those who wanted lobster, and by two-thirty the boys (and everyone else) were crowding around the grill and tables with tongues hanging out.
I removed the chicken and declared it ready to eat at three. I put the ears of corn I had buttered and wrapped in foil on the space vacated by it. The sizzle of the first steak hitting the hot grill was met with cheers from the boys, and smiles from the rest. I plunged the first two lobsters into the boiling water, and John was standing next to the pot with his plate, waiting for one as soon as it turned bright red.
There was wine and beer for the adults, and soda pop for the youngsters in addition to plenty of sun tea. Carl had made three different salads, and sliced up some nice ripe tomatoes that I had found in Dennis' store.
I had retracted the roof and opened the outer wall so the meal was eaten as much in the outdoors as if we had been on the beach. It was a wonderful gathering, and by the time we finished eating and the detritus was cleaned up, it was getting on towards six o'clock. We all went to the front of the building with our dessert - a tart I had thrown together using frozen cookie dough for the crust and a mixture of fresh berries with whipped cream on top for the filling - and continued to chat and sip our drinks. The boys and girls played with a frisbee on the sand just across the seawall except for Josh, who sat close to Tom and Carl. Norman's daughter seemed to be making an unabashed play for Billy, and he was a little embarrassed, but handled this new experience admirably. I also noticed a tentative friendship forming between Bobby and Dennis, with Sam evidently acting as matchmaker. I knew Dennis was single, but had no idea if he was gay. The trio sat on the seawall a little removed from the rest, deep in conversation. Sam was almost eighteen, and would be on his own in a month or so, but Bobby needed a place to go. Perhaps they had found the answer to both problems. I smiled as I mused.
The time flew by, and as a beautiful sunset turned first to dusk and then to dark, the sky was lit by a dazzling display of fireworks. We watched the multicolored starbursts and skyrockets accompanied by thunderous booms and crackles for almost an hour. Everyone was well satisfied with the show, and began to thank me and leave for home soon after the finale.
Monday was a day of rest from the celebration, and travel for John and Billy. They left around two to fight the two lane highway back to the Valley. I didn't envy them. The rest of us went to the City Hall early Tuesday morning to talk with the District Attorney. He looked at Josh's adoption decree, asked a few questions, and told us he would file charges of attempted kidnaping, malicious mischief, child abuse, abandonment, and assault against both of the Billings'. He said, "I don't expect the abuse and abandonment to stand up in court here, but at least we'll have it on the record. Maybe the DA in their County will take up the banner."
Carl asked him, "Why won't those charges stick?"
"It's a question of jurisdiction," said the DA. "The crimes were not committed in Lincoln County, and they will probably be dropped before the trial on the other charges. Frankly, it doesn't matter," he went on. "We have a solid case on kidnap and assault, and that should put them away for a long time - certainly long enough for Josh to grow up into the fine young man he wants to be." He smiled at Josh.
We thanked the DA, and returned to the beach house. Tom and Carl took Josh and his friends back to the estate about noon leaving Eric and I to our quiet existence.
In view of the circumstances, I had Eric move back into his own room, He wasn't happy with the arrangement, but understood the wisdom behind it. Josh's parents were not without resources, and the possibility that they would hire a private detective to watch us was very real. There was a lot of glass in the walls of the beach house, and we realized there was every opportunity for a snoop to spy on us. I didn't even pull the drapes closed at night since I didn't want to give the impression we were trying to hide anything.
Eric and I went to the Billings' arraignment. Of course they pleaded "not guilty" and the question of bail was addressed by their attorney. "The accused are responsible citizens with strong ties to the community, your honor. Defense asks for recognizance bond."
The DA stood and said, "Your honor, the State opposes any bond. These people may well be outstanding members of their community, but that is not our community. Their alleged conduct here and the likelihood of a very long sentence have made them a flight risk. Their resources indicate the ability to leave the State's jurisdiction, and possibly, the country."
The judge thought briefly and said, "The court agrees, but the Constitution demands that bail be set in all but capital offenses. Bond is set at five million dollars each, cash or surety, and in the event that is secured, defendants will surrender their passports." He rapped his gavel, and the Billings' were led back to jail.
I called John to tell him of the proceedings. He said, "Good. I don't think they have that much, and their friends will have to think twice about it."
"What do you mean 'their friends'?"
"George has been digging up a lot of dirt on this outfit. It involves Josh's parents, Andrea Thompson, and several other Neo-Nazi types. They want to send Josh - and all homosexual kids for that matter - to a brainwashing 'school'. I don't know all the particulars, but it's a horrible thing to contemplate." John went on, "Do you remember the 'Movie Night' I threatened Andrea with at the shelter?"
"Yes, but I thought it was a shot in the dark."
"At the time, it was," he said, "but George has found a more sinister implication to it. It seems a large group of so-called 'Christians' get together about twice a month to pray and view videos of the activities at this 'school.' According to one of his operatives who has been to a couple of these 'prayer meetings', there are a hundred or more boys there who are abused horribly. The methods used range from sleep deprivation to humiliation and severe beatings. George has taken his findings to the State Police, but there is something wrong there. They haven't even investigated the first allegation. They keep telling him it isn't their business since it's not happening in Oregon. I don't know how they know that"
"You mean there is someone blocking the investigation?"
"It seems so," John said. "George is scared that they will not stop at anything to protect their identities, and has pulled his man out of the group before he's discovered and injured or worse."
"What can we do?"
"Not much. George turned everything over to the FBI yesterday, and they're carrying the ball now," he said. "The only trouble with that is they're notoriously slow, and George had to pull his man off Andrea. The Feds are following her, but they don't share anything with us so we have no information on her now."
"I don't know if I'm comfortable with staying here at the coast," I said. "I'd feel a lot more secure at the estate. At least there's only one way in and one way out."
"I understand your concerns," he said, "but if you can stick it out for another week, you can go home with Eric as your legally adopted son. If we change horses now, it might be Christmas before we can get another date. Besides, the local police are quietly monitoring your property there, something that's unlikely at the estate."
"OK," I said, "we'll stick it out for now, but if I see anything untoward, we're history here. I'm not going to jeopardize Eric's safety for anything."
"Good. I'll see you next week in any case." John said his goodbyes, and hung up.
John was as good as his word, and arrived at eight o'clock the following Thursday morning. I gave him a cup of coffee, and we sat down to discuss the likely course of the adoption proceeding. "It should go smoothly," he said, "but there's always the possibility that someone will throw a monkey wrench into the works."
"Andrea is always a possibility," I said. "We don't even know where she is."
"Well, we have a good judge," said John. "He's not going to let her or anyone else take over his courtroom with a lot of bluster. The FBI is looking for her too, and will probably be there in case she shows up."
"I thought they were following her."
"They lost her a couple of days ago," he said with disgust.
"Will they arrest her when they find her?" I asked.
"I don't know. I doubt it, but George's report names her as a 'person of interest' in the case, so they will want to interview her when and if they find her."
We were all in the courtroom a little before the ten o'clock time set for the hearing. The judge was already on the bench finishing up a prior case. When our petition was called, John led us to the petitioner's table, and presented himself to the court. "John Bishop for the petitioner, your honor, in the cause of the adoption of a minor, Eric Larson by Robert Llewellyn, presently said minor's foster father. I have presented the necessary papers including a Termination of Parental Rights form signed by the boy's biological father. His mother is deceased."
The judge looked at John and said, "Concise and short. I like that, Mr. Bishop. I wish more lawyers were inclined to brevity."
"Thank you, your honor."
"I have heard a rumor that Mr. Llewellyn is not only homosexual, but has a long record of sexually abusing children including a conviction on a charge of Sodomy. Is this true?"
John never blinked an eye. He said, "My client has never denied his orientation, your honor, but his criminal record is clear."
"My source of this information is unimpeachable," said the judge. "Are you telling me it's untrue?"
"I cannot, within the strictures of my role here, speak to the veracity of your information, sir," said John. "I only know that whatever criminal history my client may have had has been expunged by a pardon from the Governor, who I might add, had a thorough investigation done with regard to Mr. Llewellyn's complete reformation." John took the bull by the horns. "May I ask who your source is?"
"I can't tell you that," said the judge.
"Then, your honor," said John, "the information you refer to cannot be an issue in the context of this action since the Constitution explicitly states that an accused must be confronted by his accuser. Even though this is not a criminal proceeding, the ramifications of defamation beg the appearance of this witness."
"Point taken, Mr. Bishop," said the judge. "I've read all the depositions relating to the character of the petitioner, including one each from the presiding judges in Lane County, Marion County, Linn County, and one from the Governor. Since I must ignore the detrimental information, I can see no reason not to grant the petition."
The judge turned to Eric and asked, "How long have you been living with this man?"
"Since last Christmas Eve," said Eric. "He saved my life."
"Why do you say that?"
"He took me in when I had nowhere to go," said Eric. "He bought me warm clothes, and fed me, and gave me my own room to sleep in, and made me feel wanted for the first time since my mother died. I would have died that night if he hadn't saved me." He added with a quiet tear, "My friend, Jeremy, wasn't as lucky as me."
"I see you are fourteen years old," said the judge. "Do you want to be adopted by Mr. Llewellyn?"
"Yes sir," said Eric, "more than anything in the world."
"Hrumph," grunted the judge. "You were a friend of Jeremy Shaw?"
"A tragedy," commented the judge, "a monumental, useless tragedy of CSD's incompetence." He studied the papers before him, and said, "I'm not going to compound it by denying this petition. I have some reservations about the relationship, but Mr Larson is obviously well cared for, well schooled, and shows a grasp of his desires that indicates a maturity beyond his years. If our Society was more lenient in it's rush to judgement of homosexuals, we might well solve the problem of homeless youths - at least some of them. The petitioner is granted status as the legal guardian of the minor known as Eric Larson. Is there anything else?"
John stood up and said, "If it please the court, Mr. Larson begs the court to change his surname to Llewellyn."
"So ordered," said the judge, He rapped his gavel, and said, "Next case."
Just as we stood, Andrea walked into the courtroom, and was accosted by a man who was obviously a Federal agent. She started to try to run, but was deterred by the second agent who was following her. She was ranting about faggots who would burn in Hell as she was led out of the courtroom and down the corridor.
John, Eric, and I left the building quickly, and adjourned to a coffee shop to allow our nerves to settle. Eric was ecstatic, as I had expected. He now had a home that could not be taken away and a new name - one I was proud to share with him. He said, "I'll have to start practicing writing my new name," he giggled, "especially all the 'L's. John and I chuckled, but were glad he hadn't realized just how close it was to going the other way.
I asked him, "Do you want to go home tonight?"
"I don't really care any more," he said. "What do you want to do?"
John interjected, "I can take him if you want to stay to finish things up down here."
"It won't take that long," I said. "We should be able to get on the road by ten in the morning." I turned to Eric and asked, "Is that OK with you?"
"Yeah," he said. "As long as I'm with you, everything's OK." He smiled broadly, and hugged me. I hugged him back, and we drove to the beach house. John headed back to the Valley.
The next morning I went through the complex checking that everything that should be off was off, and everything that should be on was on. I found a couple of things in Josh's room that he would probably want, but left them since I intended to have a summer's end cookout on Labor Day in just a few weeks. Eric followed me around like a puppy watching what I did attentively. I had no doubt that he could close up the next time without error. I armed the alarm system, locked the last door, and stopped to tell David we were leaving. Merle was working, and David said he would pass along my instructions regarding the alarm and the other few things they had to watch.
Eric and I arrived at the estate a little after noon, and were met with great festivity. Josh, had been disappointed that they hadn't been there to see Eric get his adoption papers, but understood that it wasn't wise to leave the estate unguarded while there was a possibility that devious people might want to do us harm or damage the property.
Josh hugged Eric and said, "I'm so sorry I wasn't there for you."
Eric giggled and answered, "There wasn't much to see that you haven't seen before. Just a different bunch of people doing the same old things."
"So how have things been back here at the ranch?" I asked Tom.
"Nothing happening that we can see," he said. "There has been more traffic up here than I like, but they haven't been stopping."
"I'll call the forest management office and find out if they are planning a cut to the west of here," I said. "There might be a perfectly innocent explanation for the traffic." The estate was comprized of a large copse of old growth timber situated in the midst of a privately managed tree farm, and there was a good possibility that the mature timber was due for harvest.
I called Bill Stryker who headed up his company's extensive holdings surrounding the estate, and asked him if they were planning a cut.
"We're cruising section nine in the township just to the west of you," he said, "but we aren't planning a cut until next year. Is there a problem?"
"I don't think so," I said, "but Tom has noticed a lot of traffic up here, and I was just wondering if it was your people."
"We have two survey teams, and four timber cruisers up there, but they all go to work in the same crummy." [A "crummy" is a large crew carrier, usually an older Chevrolet Suburban.] "There's also a fire watch crew camped up there, but they shouldn't be traveling at all. How many vehicles has he seen?"
"Three or four several times a day," I said. "Obviously, they aren't yours."
"Well, thanks for telling me," he said. "I'll have to post some men up there to guard our equipment. By the way, we have posted that area to protect our employees, so there shouldn't be any hunting this year."
"That's good to know," I said. "I'll let you know if we hear any shots."
"Thanks," he said. "If you ever want to sell that place, we're interested, you know."
"I'm aware of it, but you know about the natural resources restrictions on cutting anything here," I told him. "That's not likely to change."
He sighed and said, "I know, but I can dream. That old growth is prime timber, and it makes a logger drool."
I chuckled with him, and we hung up.
I passed the information on to Tom, and we decided to keep a close eye on the boys without being too obvious. We could see no reason to upset them unnecessarily. We did, however, tell them to be aware of their surroundings, and to report anything out of the ordinary to us immediately.
I wasn't too concerned that anyone would try to penetrate the perimeter of the estate. There was an eight foot chain link fence around the whole place, reenforced by the judicious planting of quince bushes, blackberries gone wild, and the occasional rosebush. Tom made frequent checks on the integrity of the barrier, and the gate was very nearly impregnable. Only the most dedicated burglar would try to breach forty feet of dense, thorny foliage. I did institute something new though. I arranged with Tom to inform him of any expected incoming deliveries - UPS, etc. - and told him if a package wasn't on the list or if the driver wasn't the usual one, he should refuse the parcel, and arrange for it to be delivered at a later date. I also had our security provider install additional video cameras with infra-red capability to scan the access road in both directions.
Eric and Josh spent a lot of time on the lake in his boat fishing, and just generally having a good time. The casual observer would never think these boys were in constant danger of an evil presence. I noticed that they were cognizant of every little thing - the sound of a deer running through the woods or an airplane flying overhead.
I had just about decided to have our Labor Day celebration at the estate instead of going to the beach, but John called about a week before and said, "There's news on the Lincoln City front."
I was somewhat alarmed, thinking perhaps there had been a fire at the beach house, but he continued, "Josh's father is dead. He was killed during a jailhouse fight."
"Who did it? Do they know?"
"They think so, but nobody's talking," he said. "There was a fight in another part of the jail, and the guards were all taking care of that disturbance. When they made a cell check about an hour later, they found him with his wrists and throat cut. They're calling it suicide to cover their asses, but hardly anybody believes it."
"What about his wife?" I asked.
"She's under a 24/7 security watch, and singing like a bird," he said. "She's blaming everyone - naming names, and giving out dates and times. She doesn't believe the suicide story, and I guess she really loved the old bastard. The DA has turned the whole case over to the FBI since it appears there's an interstate connection that goes as high as the legislative and executive branches in six states. It's a huge operation with protection in some of the most respected corporate and judicial circles."
"Can they make any of it stick?"
"I imagine they'll give Arlene Billings immunity in exchange for her testimony, maybe even a witness protection deal," he told me. "In any case, Andrea Thompson is now a fugitive. Arlene Billings says she was the local supervisor of operations. They think she headed for Mexico last night, and hope to arrest her at the border. The mere timing of her flight would indicate she knew about the plan to eliminate Billings if she didn't actually order it."
"We've had several cars patrolling on the road for the past two weeks," I said. "I wonder if they have any plans for us."
"Keep your heads down," he said. "You should be pretty safe there as long as you don't have to leave the estate, but I'll have George and a couple of his men come up and take care of that if they don't pull out before morning."
As if on cue, the intercom beeped. I asked John to wait a minute, and answered it. Tom was on the other end. He said, "Those two cars that were parked up the road are moving out. I don't understand it."
"I have John on the phone," I said. "Keep your guard up. A lot is happening that could go either way. I'll give you the skinny as soon as I know anything for sure."
I hung up the intercom, and told John, "Tom says the cars on the road seem to be pulling out."
"Good," he said. "Stay alert in case it's a ruse, but I think it's a case of 'every man for himself' at this point."
"I certainly hope so," I said. "This has been hardest on the boys, and I'll be glad when it's really over."
John agreed, and hung up. I called Tom for an update on the surveillance teams, and he told me they were gone as far as he could determine. I told him to stay alert in case it was a ploy to bring us out from behind our defenses, but added, "John thinks it may all be over. We'll have a meeting in the morning. I'll bring everyone up to date then."
I called David at the beach, and asked him how things were going. He said, "There have been a bunch of men parked out front at different times, but last night the cops came and took them all away in unmarked cars."
"Were there police cars there too?" I asked.
"Four of them, and a couple of County Mounties too," he said. "Do you know what was going on?"
"I know very little that I could say is actual fact," I told him. "The man that assaulted Josh is dead. That's a fact. His wife is telling a sordid story with names and dates. I think the unmarked cars were probably Federal agents since there is an ongoing investigation involving some high political positions in six State governments. Keep a low profile, and try to listen if you get a chance."
I hung up after saying goodbye, and was encouraged by the news he had imparted. Eric was interested, and asked, "What's going on, Dad?"
"I think things are going to get better very quickly," I said. "As soon as I have all the facts, I'll tell you and everyone else about it."
"Did I hear you say Josh's father is dead?" he asked.
"Yes," I said, "but the rest of it is not at all certain, so keep that to yourself. We'll have a meeting tomorrow morning. I hope to have most of the facts by then. I don't want to tell you one thing tonight, and have to tell you something else in the morning."
"OK," he said. "That's fair."
He came and sat on my lap putting his arms around my neck. I held him close, and we sat there just being comfortable for close to an hour.
John called at seven-thirty the next morning. "Boy! Talk about rats deserting a sinking ship," were the first words out of his mouth.
"Good morning to you too," I said.
"Sorry about that," he said. "I'm just full of good news."
"What's the latest?" I asked.
"Where to begin," he said. "The Feds picked up the guys who have had the estate under surveillance as they came down the hill last night. They also arrested four nasty types in front of the beach house the night before. They have made over a hundred arrests in Oregon alone, and most of them are falling all over themselves trying to be the one who gets a deal. This 're-education of queers' operation is more widespread than anyone imagined, and they're turning on each other like a pack of dogs. The name of the group is 'Saving Our Children for Christ," and is run by a corporate CEO in Arizona, who is also a hellfire and brimstone preacher in one of those shirttail Evangelical churches nobody ever heard of.
"They picked up Andrea at an obscure border crossing in Arizona that nobody except the Feds ever heard of - Gadsden, I think it's called - and are charging her with conspiracy to murder. She gave up the Captain of the Watch at the jail as the perp. They've detained fifty-one sheriffs in six states, and that's just the tip of the iceberg. There have been Judges named, as well as several dozen elected officials. Arlene Billings is no longer alone in the 'save my own ass' department.
"They've discovered the actual 'school' in a remote part of the Arizona desert somewhere out toward the Superstition Mountains along with an alkali pit where the bodies of several boys were buried. The preliminary cause of death report on the bodies they can still identify as human remains say most, if not all, died as a result of massive trauma, and there is a public outcry to hang the whole bunch by their nuts." John paused to catch his breath.
"What happened to the boys who survived?" I asked.
"They are being held incognito until they're debriefed." he said. "I was told they are being held as material witnesses at a secure Federal medical facility. For my money, I'd bet on Leavenworth, Kansas, but that's just speculation."
"Is it over, then?" I asked.
"For all intents and purposes, yes," he said. "There will be more arrests over the next few months, but as far as we're concerned, it's over."
"Thank God," I said simply.
"Amen to that," he said. "If you want me to, I'll come up there this afternoon to answer any questions you or the boys might have."
"I'd appreciate that," I said. "I'm sure there will be a lot of them, and I don't know all the answers."
"Well, I don't know all of them either," he said. "Some of them may never be answered, but I'll do my best."
We said our goodbyes after agreeing that he and Billy would visit around two o'clock.
I asked the rest of my crew to come up to the main house around ten. When they arrived a few minutes later, I laid out the situation as I knew it. Josh was sad that his father had been killed by his own organization, but said he had no regrets that he was dead. He felt mostly relieved that he no longer had to worry about a threat to his own safety at the hands of his biological parents.
Everyone wanted specifics I was not prepared to provide. I told them John would be coming that afternoon, and would answer their questions then.
John and Billy arrived promptly at two, and were greeted with a torrent of questions. He didn't answer any of them until everyone sat down and there was some semblance of order. Josh sat quietly until there was a lull in the hubbub, and then raised his hand and said, "Mr. Bishop?"
John looked at him and said, "Yes, Josh."
"How did my father die?"
"The official report says it was a suicide, but later information indicates that he was killed by a captain of the guard at the jail. He bled to death in a very few minutes."
"And my mother?"
"She is alive and well. She has been telling her story to anyone who would listen, and is the basis for most of the arrests," said John. "When it's all over, the trials have been held, and the guilty people have been convicted and sentenced, she will be given a new identity and moved to a distant part of the country. She will essentially disappear."
Josh nodded with satisfaction, and sat back. His concerns had been answered. The rest of it didn't matter to him.
As the story unfolded, it was clear that the "school" was out of business, and several well respected citizens of the six state area had either absconded or taken their own lives. The FBI was releasing very little information other than the obvious, saying this was an ongoing investigation. They did say that more than three hundred arrests had been made, and the sorting out process had begun. There were also a hundred or more secret indictments waiting to be served.
John answered questions for over an hour, and when he was finished, everyone was satisfied that the bad times were over. I told them all that we would have one last cookout at the beach on Labor Day, and that news was met with cheers by the boys and smiles from the adults.
John took me aside and said, "Arlene Billings has said that Andrea tried to abduct Jeremy last Christmas. The story is a little hazy, but evidently she drugged him. He hit her as hard he could and stumbled away to hide. She couldn't find him in the storm, and he must have fallen asleep."
"She killed her own son?" I asked incredulously.
"I don't think it was intentional, but yes. I think she intended to send him to the 'school' to be brainwashed, but her plan backfired."
"I don't know whether to tell Josh or not," I said. "On the one hand, it would be comforting to know for sure that he didn't suffer, but on the other, it would bring it all up again. We might be back at square one with him."
John thought a moment and then said, "There are advantages and disadvantages to both courses. I would withhold the news unless something happens that indicates he needs to know. Andrea will undoubtedly spend most if not all of the rest of her life in prison, and her liability for the death of her own son is something she's unlikely to include in an allocution. Maybe, in ten years or so, he can be told, but I don't think he needs to deal with it now."
I agreed with him, and we joined the others in the family room, and started to make plans for our last weekend at the beach for the year.
Of course, the mass roundup of all the homophobic sociopaths in the west never happened, but it's a cheerful thought for savoring in a fantasy. Think of the wailing, the wringing of hands, the cries of "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken me?" Think of homophobes being locked up together in a homosexual environment - preaching salvation to each other. LOL
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