The Ranch

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction and that of love. Any resemblance to actual places, events, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. This story may contain erotic and/or sexually explicit behavior. If it is illegal for you to, or you find this sort of work offensive, don't download or read it!

The people in this story do not use protection because diseases don't exist here. However, in our world they do so please use caution and protection.

Miguel Sanchez's work is fully protected under the United States Copyright Laws 17 USC 101, 102 (a), 302 (a) All Rights Reserved. Placing or posting this story on any website, or distribution of this work in any way (in whole or in part) without the expressed written consent of the author is strictly prohibited.

This is the next adventure of Miguel, Jay and Ronnie and the clan. For those of you not familiar with Miguel, Jay, Ronnie, Steven and Angel you may want to read the story Julio.

You can write me at:

I hope you enjoy this story.
Miguel Sanchez

Miguel Sanchez 2003 - 2004

The Ranch


Chapter 23

The Trial

Jay, Pop, and I left at seven-thirty for the courthouse so we could find a place to park and to get a seat in the courtroom. At nine, Judge Gordon entered the courtroom and the bailiff called it to order and brought the jury in. Judge Gordon said, "This is the case of The State of Texas versus Palmer Williams. The charges are one count of capital forcible kidnapping of a minor under the age of fourteen, one count of capital forcible rape under the age of fourteen and one count of capital forcible sodomy of a minor under the age of fourteen, twenty counts of forcible rape and twenty counts of forcible sodomy. Mr. Prosecutor you may now make your opening statement."

The DA stood and said, "Thank you Your Honor. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, this is a case where a man went about quenching his perverse lust for sex by raping and sodomizing young boys while they were under the effects of Rohypnol. If that name sounds familiar, it is. It's known as the date rape drug. This man, with the help of others, got boys to use as his private sex toys. We will present evidence that proves beyond all doubt that this man did this deed not once, but many, many times. You will see video of what he did too many boys with the last one needing emergency surgery to repair the injuries caused by him. After you have heard the evidence you will come to only one conclusion, guilty on all counts. Thank you."

"Mr. Jones," Judge Gordon says, "Do you wish to make your opening statement?"

"Yes Your Honor, thank you," He says standing. "Ladies and Gentleman, the police and the district attorney's office have gone to great lengths to smear my client's good name. We will prove that all the evidence has been fabricated and when you see it you will have no choice but to find my client not guilty."

The DA called the undercover state trooper that was able to bribe his way into the house. He told the jury how as soon as he entered he saw a naked boy being sodomized by a naked adult. He blocked the door so it wouldn't lock behind him and radioed for the other officers. He then went back inside and identified himself as a state trooper and took the child away from the man and laid him on the couch. The man was cuffed and placed into an open room. When everyone was inside, they did a search of the entire house and he had to pull the defendant off a boy he was in the process of sodomizing. As he was cuffing the defendant, a doctor came in and began treating the child for his injuries. He removed him from the room and placed him with the others.

The DA said, "Thank you trooper. Your witness"

Mr. Jones asked, "Trooper, did you see the start of the events?"

The Trooper said, "No sir"

"How do you know this wasn't consensual?"

The trooper replies, "Sex with a minor under fourteen isn't consensual."

"Was the child able to tell you his age?"

The trooper replies, "No sir. He had been given some kind of drug."

"How do you know this?"

The trooper replied, "He was unconscious. One’s consensual sex partner isn't normally unconscious unless given something."

Mr. Jones says, "I object Your Honor, speculation."

The DA stands and says, "Your Honor, this is an experienced under cover narcotics officer. He can tell when a person is on drugs."

"Objection over ruled," Judge Gordon, says.

Mr. Jones says, "No further questions."

The DA calls Sam Thomas as his next witness. The DA asked him to describe what he saw as he searched the house. He said he searched each room and found a total of six boys unconscious and under the influence of an unknown substance. Each of the boys had been sodomized. One boy had been injured so badly he called a physician who lived about a half mile away to try to help the injured boy. He treated him and turned him over to the paramedics for transport to the hospital. After the boys were checked over then removed, the suspects were all removed. They conducted a better search of the house. They found numerous videotapes showing the defendant and others engaged in sex acts including sodomy. All total there was a total of one hundred and twenty tapes. They also discovered a large amount of cash there totaling one hundred and five thousand dollars. It took over one month too determine how many different times the defendant had relations with different boys and they stopped counting at seventy-five.

"Thank you Detective," The DA said. "No further questions."

"Mr. Jones, your witness," The judge said.

"Thank you Your Honor," Mr. Jones said. "You say you found how many boys in the house?"

Sam replied, "Six"

"Who was this alleged doctor you had to treat the child my client is allegedly to have sodomized?"

Sam replied, "Dr. Marco Cortez."

"Is this doctor licensed in Texas?"

Sam answers, "Yes"

"What is his specialty," Jones asks.

Sam answers, "He's a pediatric neurosurgeon."

"Were you in there when he was treating the child?"

Sam said, "No sir."

"So you don't know what he did to this child?"

Sam looks at him and says, "I don't understand what you mean."

"Oh come on detective," Jones said. "You had the doctor do..."

"Objection," The DA shouted. "Dr. Cortez isn't on trial. His question is irrelevant and inflammatory."

"Sustained," The judge said. "Watch yourself counselor."

"Yes Your Honor," Jones said. "No further questions"

The DA stood and said, "Your Honor, we request a five minute recess."

"Very well," The judge said. "Court will be in recess for five minutes."

The DA came over and said, "Marco, I have no choice to put you on the stand. I forgot you were there and treated that boy."

I looked at him and said, "I didn't do all that much. I put two lines in him for fluid replenishment and packed his rectum some to control the bleeding."

"Well," The DA said, "Just tell everything you did until the ambulance arrived."

I wasn't prepared for this. I looked at him and said, "Alright, I don't have much choice."

After court was called back into session, The DA called me to the stand. Mr. Jones objected saying I wasn't on the witness list but the DA countered saying that it was he who made the big deal about me treating the boy when he cross examined Detective Thomas. The judge thought about it for a moment then said, "You're overruled. You did open the door about Dr. Cortez. If you had any misgivings or you wanted to call him as your witness, all you had to do was say you are planning to call him; call Dr. Cortez to the stand."

"Dr. Cortez," The DA started. "Tell the court in your own words everything you did to treat the boy before and up to the time you turned him over to the paramedics for transport to the hospital."

I closed my eyes for a moment to recall everything I did do. I sat there for what seemed an eternity until the judge asked, "Are you alright doctor? What is wrong?"

I looked at him and said, "I don't have my notes so I'm trying to remember exactly everything I did. I have it in my mind now Your Honor."

He said, "Very well. Proceed."

I took a deep breath and said, "When I arrived, Detective Thomas called my attention to a child he found bleeding profusely from his rectum. I went in and quickly assessed him. I opened my emergency bag and started two large bore intravenous lines with normal saline. I put one in each arm. The volume was pretty low because I was having a difficult time finding a vein that I could use. I finally got them started. When I started the second, I collected blood samples for testing and to type and cross match in case he needed blood. I quickly checked his blood pressure and it was low but wasn't dropping. I then turned up the fluid rate so I could raise his pressure. The next thing I did was look at his rectum to see the bleeding for myself. I took some surgical sponges and packed his rectum to try to control the bleeding the best I could. While I was doing this, I heard the siren of the ambulance. A couple of minutes later the paramedics came in with a stretcher. I identified myself as a doctor then transferred him over to their care."

The DA looked at me then asked, "Are you licensed here in Texas and what is your specialty field?"

I looked at the judge and said, "Yes I am licensed to practice here in Texas and I'm a pediatrician, pediatric general surgeon, pediatric neurosurgeon and a pediatric micro neurosurgeon. I'm a member of the American Medical Association, a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons."

The DA said, "Thank you Doctor Cortez. No further questions, your witness counselor."

Mr. Jones asked, "How did you know what was going on at that house?"

I said, "Detective Thomas called and asked myself, my brother and father to come over, that there were people that might be injured. I told him if there were not to move anyone."

Mr. Jones asked, "Did you know what was going on prior to him calling you?"

"No sir," I answered.

"How did the detective know the child was bleeding from his rectum?"

I looked at him and said, "He was on his stomach with his legs spread and blood rolling down between his legs. I saw that as soon as I waked into the room."

"Why didn't you try to stop the bleeding first?"

I said, "I felt fluid replacement was the most critical. When I established this first line, I'd noticed his blood loss was now minimal. In other words, it was slowing down."

Jones asked sarcastically, "Tell us Dr. Cortez, how, did you pack his rectum with gauze? Did you use some instrument to shove it up him?"

"No," I said glaring at him. "I gently used my finger. It wasn't difficult because his rectum had been stretched open by someone you know."

"Your Honor," Mr. Jones said.

The judge said, "Strike those last two words."

Mr. Jones asked, "Is this child still in the hospital?"

"No he isn't. He did have surgery to repair his injuries and he's been discharged. He's living in a group home."

Jones said, "No further questions."

I stepped down and glared at the DA. I didn't like being blind-sided like that. I wasn't prepared and it showed. I acted more like a medical student than a surgeon. I heard the judge say, "Since it's close to the noon hour, this is a good time to break for lunch. Court will be in recess until one this afternoon. Court's in recess."

We walked out the courtroom and Pop said, "Marco, you did alright. You didn't have time for things and you handled yourself great. You didn't even lose your temper."

"That's great Pop," I said. "Can we go get something to eat now, I'm starving."

We walked out of the courthouse and Pop led us across the street to a fairly nice looking diner. We decided to sit at the bar and a waitress quickly took our order. Pop had a small steak and we wanted a large burger and fries. While we were waiting for our food, I called Ronnie to see if there was anything going on. Gwen said Alex could come out anytime when the trial is over so we can discuss the options of using single house parents or married ones.

Jay looked at me and asked, "Anything going on that we need to know about?"

I took a sip of my drink then said, "Alex can come out anytime when we have the time. I think we should reconsider our house parent candidate policy. I would prefer single parents so there would be no problems with the children of the parents and the residents. I'm afraid the parent's kids would try to boss or maybe worse hurt the residents simply because their parents are staff. If a parent would want a child later, we will work with them."

Pop looked up and said, "I see both sides of the coin; would you consider married without children and then let them start their family?"

I looked at Pop but Jay then said, "Umm, maybe Dad but I see where Marco is coming from. I know I don't want to take any chance where a child can be molested again."

"What makes you think that can happen?" Pop asked.

I looked at him and said, "You know most kids are molested by straight people. I know gays can but much less often and in lower frequency. These kids have been through too much as it is now. I'd love to see Alex move out there and take house three. She could still stay at social services if she wants to and Mike will make a great house parents when he graduates but that won't be for four years."

Jay looked at his father and said, "We set this place up to give boys a safe place to live. I don't want to bring in outside couples that we know nothing about that could jeopardize the kids. They must be our only priority."

"You boys are very persuasive," Pop said looking at us. "If Ronnie and Gwen feel the same way, I'll agree and we can ask Alex if she would consider being our next house parent. I know Mike would make a great parent also that's why he will get a house when he returns even if I have to work it for a year until he graduates."

We saw the time was getting late so we put our discussion on hold until court was over for the day. We didn't think it would be a one-day trial considering the defense hadn't had a chance to start yet. We hurried back across the street and caught Sam and Bill in the hall. We all went in and sat together for the afternoon session.

The next thing we heard was a voice saying, "All rise. This court is again in session."

Judge Gordon came in and quickly seated himself. He then said, "Call your next witness Mr. Prosecutor."

The DA stood and said, "At this time I'd like to play prosecution exhibit number one. This is a video of the defendant drugging and then sodomizing the child he had."

The district attorney put a tape in the machine and had the lights lowered. He turned the machine on and said, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I will be explaining some things to you throughout the tape. Please listen and pay attention. What you're seeing is the defendant, Palmer Williams leading a boy into his room and as you can see, the child is not happy to be there. Over the next few minutes he does manage to calm the child down and is now relaxed. If you notice now, Mr. Palmer is offering the child a glass of something to drink and he has something himself. We have no idea what is it either of them has but please watch closely. As you see, the child is still sitting on the defendant's lap and when he tries to touch him, he pushes the defendant's hand away. Please note the child's eyes now. They appear to be glassy and he is staring straight ahead and not looking anywhere. As you can see now, the defendant is now beginning to touch the child's crotch and is now undoing his pants. The child's physical ability to stop the defendant has been removed. As you see here, the child is now naked and has lost the ability to sit up and it appears the child is now unconscious. The defendant is rolling the child over and has just penetrated him. If you notice, he's bleeding quite badly now."

The DA turns the machine off then pauses for a minute so he could drink some water. He took a deep breath then said, "Ladies and Gentlemen, I will not put you through watching the horrible things the defendant did to the young boy but I can tell you he tore the child's rectum and anus as well as perforating his colon four times and putting a hole in his intestines. The young man had to undergo emergency surgery to repair the damage and he was hospitalized for two weeks. He has fully recovered and is living in a long-term foster care facility. Your Honor, the prosecution rests."

The judge says, "Very well. Mr. Jones, you may call your first witness."

Jones stood up and said, "The defense calls Palmer Williams to the stand."

The defendant stood and walked to the witness stand where he was sworn in. His lawyer asked his name and where he resided then said, "Mr. Williams, did you sodomize and injure the child?"

The defendant said, "No sir I didn't. I've been a lawyer for over twenty years and a district court judge for over five. I believe in obeying and upholding the law. During this time I'm sure I've made a number of enemies any of which would want to see me off the bench. I love children and I had absolutely nothing to do with the injuries to that poor child."

Jones said, "Nothing further, your witness."

The DA stood and asked, "You mean to tell us, the person on the tape was not you?

Williams said, "No, that wasn't me."

The DA said, "If I were to tell you that your DNA was found in the house, you would have no idea how it got there?"

Williams answered saying, "No, I wouldn't."

The DA asked, "Suppose I told you your DNA was found on the child. Would you know how it got on him?"

Williams again said, "No."

The DA looked at the judge and said, "Well then, I have no further questions of this witness."

Williams returned to the defense table and Mr. Jones said, "The defense rests."

The DA stood and said, "You Honor the prosecution would like to call a rebuttal witness. This witness will present evidence that Palmer Williams did in fact rape the child. He claimed he did not have anything to do with the injury to him and the evidence will prove otherwise. I call the head of the laboratory of County Hospital."

After the man was sworn in the DA asked him, "Sir did you run DNA tests on a sheet taken from the house raided by the police?"

The technician said, "Yes sir, I did. There were two different DNA patters found. One pattern was from the child. I was able to confirm this by comparing it against a hair removed from the child's head and I ran it again from a blood sample taken from him also. The second pattern was from Palmer Williams. I compared this against a court ordered blood sample I took from him myself."

The DA then asked, "Did you run DNA tests on gauze pads removed from the rectum placed there to control the bleeding by Dr. Marco Cortez?"

The technician replied, "Yes sir. I found two different patterns again. One was the child's and the other was the defendants."

The DA asked, "Is it possible the DNA you say is the defendants could be that of someone else?"

The technician said, "No sir, it's not. Every marker is identical to the defendants. In the sample taken from the gauze pads, we took DNA from dead sperm we found."

The DA looked at the judge and said, "I have no further questions of this witness."

Jones was sunk. The District Attorney let Palmer Williams have enough rope and he hung himself with it. He knew there was no way he could refute the DNA evidence so all he could do was say, "I have no questions of this witness."

Both lawyers made their closing statements then the judge gave the case to the jury. We were out in the hall talking with Sam when my cell phone rang. I found a quiet place and took the call. It was Gwen and I gave her the news that the jury was deliberating William's fate. She also said there was someone who just had to talk to me. I waited a minute and a voice said, "Hi Marco. How are you?"

I said back, "Hi Timmy. How was school today? Are you being a good boy for Gwen and Ronnie?"

Timmy said back, "I sure am Marco. I'm about to do my homework so I can play when I'm done. I don't mean to snitch but Tito yanked my shorts down during recess. No one saw anything but it wasn't nice."

I asked him if he was all right from the depantsing and he said he was. He's a little mad that he did it but otherwise is all right. I told him I would talk with Tito when I got back and that seemed to please him. I hung up then went back to Pop and the others. I rejoined the others when Sam said, "Well this is the last of them. I guess it's finally over."

I looked at him and said, "It's not over by a long shot. There were over two hundred tapes and you mean to say there were only six people on them?"

Sam said, "We arrested everyone we could identify and we're doing everything we can to find out who they are. When we do, we're going to see to it they face trial."

I looked at everyone and said; "I think the DA blew it here with one person. I think Conner's stepfather was your link to finding out who the others were in those tapes. I heard what the DA was going for and there was no way he'd get convictions there. I mean he was not in the same league as the judge but he did need to serve some heavy jail time. Let’s face it, that guy had to know who all those people were because he was running the show."

The others were looking at me like I lost my mind but not Sam. He said, "You may be onto something there Marco, but that's all water under the bridge now. He's dead and we have no other leads as to who any of the others are."

I looked at Sam and said, "There might be someone else that is higher up. This was quite the operation. I found out that all the boys were supposed to be in the foster care system but no one seemed to know they were missing. Alex was able to quickly get them placed at The Ranch. If I were you, I'd talk with other police agencies and have them keep an eye on boys in their foster care system like those ten we have now. That little house of horrors could resurface again."

"Oh God Marco," Sam said shaking his head. "I sure as hell hope not."

I excused myself so I could use the bathroom and when I got back, I saw everyone heading back inside the courtroom. We quickly got our seats then waited for the judge to come in. We didn't have long to wait. We all stood as he came in and took his seat.

The jury came in and took their seats when the judge asked them, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, have you reached a verdict?"

The foreman said, "Yes Your Honor, we have."

The judge was handed a piece of paper. He looked at it then passed back to the foreman saying, "Very well, you may read your verdict."

The foreman said, "In the case of The State of Texas versus Palmer Williams on the charge of capital forcible kidnapping, we the jury find him guilty and agree special circumstances did exist. On the charge of capital forcible rape, we the jury find him guilty with special circumstances. On the charge of capital forcible sodomy, we the jury find him guilty with special circumstances. On the remaining charges of rape, we the jury find him guilty. On the remaining charges of sodomy, we the jury find him guilty."

The judge said, "Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, having found the defendant guilty, your duty to the court is now finished. We thank you for your time and effort. You are now dismissed. Palmer Williams, you have been found guilty on three capital charges with special circumstances. Special circumstances mean the death penalty may apply. You will be returned to this court in one week's time whereby you shall receive the sentence of this court. Court is adjourned."

We headed out of the courtroom where I saw Sam and Pop talking. I'm not sure what they were talking about but I saw him smile at Sam then say to us, "Come on boys, let's get out of here. We have boys waiting for us."

We walked over to the beast and I decided to let Jay drive. I was totally exhausted, mentally and physically. I decided to sit in the back and take in the sights as my little brother drove me home. I sat back and knew Joey was going to want to know what happened in court. He knew it was a judge who had hurt him but didn't know his name. I wanted to tell him as much as I could but not an over amount.

We pulled onto the drive and Jay slowed because of some bumps and potholes that need to be repaired. We pulled up to the main house and I went over to talk with Joey. I decided to let him know right away and that way I could be with my boys. Pop and I walked in and three boys who were on the computer came running over to hug us. Joey, Jamie, George, and Jake were in Joey and Jamie's room doing their homework when I walked in and I was group hugged again. I said sitting down on the bed, "Thanks for the hugs guys. I need to talk with Joey for a few minutes. Why don't you guys stay here and we'll go into the next room?"

They all nodded then we stepped out when Joey asked, "What happened today?"

"Well," I said wrapping my arm around his shoulder. "The judge was found guilty on all charges. He'll be in jail forever."

"You're sure?" he asked as tears started to fall.

I brought him onto my lap then hugged him saying, "Yes son. He's going to be there until the day he dies."

I held him until he calmed down and we talked for another few minutes until I was sure he was all right. I went over to my house where I had another little bundle of energy in my arms. He said, "Hi Marco, I've been a good boy today. I've done my homework and Jordan checked it and said I did it all right. I went playing with Tommy and Tito but he didn't pull my pants down this time."

I saw Tito sitting in his room looking out at us every minute or so. I carried Timmy inside then set him on the floor. I gave my son a hug and then looked at him. His eyes wouldn't look at me until I said, "Want to tell me why you pulled Timmy's pants down on the playground?"

"I heard he had funny underpants on," he said softly.

"If that was true," I started saying. "Would you like it if you wore funny undies?"

"No," he said.

"What was supposed to be so funny about his underwear?" I asked Tito.

"I don't know," he replied.

"Please don't use that answer on me son, "I said back quickly.

"I'm sorry Timmy," Tito said openly crying now. "I know you have a problem at night and I didn't know if you wore them during the day. I don't blame you for hating me."

Timmy looked at him and said, "I don't hate you but I am glad there wasn’t any one else out there or I might have got mad."

"If you would have punched me, I'd have deserved that," Tito said still looking at the floor.

Timmy stood up and hugged him. He stopped at the door then said, "Tito, I forgive you. We played tonight and everything. You're still my friend."

I looked at my son and said, "I don't understand why you'd do such a thing. Timmy was right. You are lucky there weren't other kids out there that saw what you did because what would have happened if he had his old undies on?"

"I don't know," he answered.

"I think I do," I replied. "The other boys would have to protect him because kids would be calling him names, all because of you. Now I want you to think about that when you go to bed after dinner again tonight. Tomorrow when you get home, you're to come right in here and do your homework. You'll not have free time or television until Monday. Understand son?"

"Yes Daddy," Tito said sadly. "I'm really sorry."

"I know son," I said hugging him. "I love you. Go get your shower so you can go to bed after dinner."

I had to punish Tito two nights in a row. I was hoping this was really a passing phase because I never thought of him as a problem child. Timmy sat next to Tito at dinner and went with him into his room to give him a hug and kiss before I did.

Outside Tito's door, Timmy jumped into my arms and looked at me sadly. I sat down in my chair and explained to him that I didn't like having to punish him but what he did was wrong. I went on telling him that if other kids had seen him in his “goodnites”, they would be picking on him real bad and he didn't deserve that. Timmy said he understood but no one did see and he was glad for that. He was also glad they didn't see Tito do it to because they wouldn't want him picked on.

Over in house two Gwen and Pop were sitting with the boys watching Robin Hood, Men in Tights. They all thought it was very funny especially when they were given their green tights. Gwen and Pop had another news flash given to them by some of the boys. They learned that Joey and Jamie were official boyfriends as were George and Jake. All the boys were giving hugs and kisses of congratulations as Pop and Gwen were getting mauled with love from their charges. After the movie it was bedtime for the boys and time to relax for Pop and Gwen.

The remainder of week went by well for everyone including Tito. There were no more events of bad behavior but I did fill Gwen in on what he'd done to get her input. She didn't think there was anything I really needed to worry about but I should be sure to give him love and attention. I should also be sure to make time for just him and me so we could be father and son.

The following week we were back in the courtroom again but this time to learn Palmer's fate. I wasn't sure if I wanted him to die at a man's hand or when his time should actually come. I'm glad I didn't have to make that decision.

I was watching the door to the judge's chambers so I could be aware of it when he came in. The door opened and we shot to our feet. The court was called to order and the prisoner was led in wearing handcuffs. The judge then said, "This is the sentencing hearing of Palmer Williams. Will the defendant please rise? Palmer Williams, you have been found guilty of capital forcible kidnapping, capital forcible rape, capital forcible sodomy; twenty counts of forcible rape and twenty counts of forcible sodomy with the capital charges carrying the possibility of death. Before passing sentence, is there anything you would like to say Mr. Williams?"

The defendant said, "I have plenty to say Your Honor but I know you have my sentence already thought out so therefore anything I would say is futile."

"Very well then sir," the judge said. "It is the sentence of this court that you serve a term of no less than 20 years and no more than the term of your natural life for each of the rape and sodomy charges to be served consecutively. On the charges of capital charges, it is the sentence of this court that you shall be executed for those crimes and may God have mercy on your soul. Court is adjourned."

We stood as the judge left the courtroom then we did the same. Bill and Sam were late due to having to serve a warrant and asked, "What was the sentence?"

Pop looked at them and just said, "Death."

"Pop," I asked. "Do you have a problem with the death penalty?"

"I lived in Virginia for many years and they have it also. I don't have a problem if it's used correctly like it was in this case."

Sam looked at me then said, "I gave a lot of thought to what you said yesterday about the possibility of someone else out there who knows the others on those tapes. The boys rescued were all orphans and supposed to be in the foster care system."

"Yeah," I said looking at him. "I remember where a director of child protective services was arrested for using her kids for prostitution and other things. Oh shit, is this a copy cat case?"

Sam frowned then said, "I don't know Marco and I'm going to put this out on the state wide teletype. I'm also going to have them quietly do background checks on every person whose job involves placing children."

I looked at Sam then said, "Good idea. If I can think of anything else or come up with an idea, I'll give you a call."

"Thanks Marco," Sam said heading for the elevator. "We'll stay in touch."

"Damn Marco," Jay said giggling. "You remind me of Dad here when I was Tito's age."

Pop's head snapped towards Jay when he heard that. He looked at his son and said, "I was quite a rogue when I was younger, wasn't I?"

"That's the understatement of the decade Dad," Jay said with a smile. "I'm glad you didn't act any other way."

We took the elevator to the ground floor then drove back to The Ranch. I needed some time to myself so I decided to go for a ride on Apollo. I went to the stable and walked him out from his stall and brought him outside so I could saddle him. I looked at him then said, "Don't get any idea about throwing me from your back because I don't have my boots on. We're going to make a detour so I can get them. Got it?"

I walked him through the gate and I saw Gwen standing on the porch. She shook her head and asked, "Did you just have a conversation with your horse?"

I smiled at her and said, "Yep sure did. Best conversation I've had in a long time."

"Oooo Marco," she said about to come off the porch.

I quickly nudged Apollo in the ribs and he took off heading to house one. I tied the reigns to one of the posts then went inside to change into my boots. I mounted up then rode towards the open area behind house ten. I didn't notice how much open area we still had. I gave Apollo his freedom to run as hard as he wished and he was picking up speed at his own pace. While he was doing this I ran a few ideas through my mind about how some of this open space could be used. The one that I kept going back to was a twenty-room school with technology labs and a gym for all the kids. I figured only about twenty-five percent of the space had been used so I didn't think this would take up too much of the open area. The one thing I did want there was an indoor pool so the boys could swim year round. I noticed I was nearing the fence line so I turned Apollo around and went back towards the main house. I slowed him down to a trot and we hand a nice ride. I loved being out like this then I remembered Tito did too and this was the best way for us to spend quality time together.

I put Apollo into the corral then walked him to cool him down. I brushed his coat thoroughly then let him have the run of the area. When I was done, I brushed the dust off myself and walked into the main house for lunch. Ronnie made chicken and tuna salad sandwiches and his artery hardening yellow potato salad with iced tea. After I stuffed myself silly, we sat by the pool where I tried to work on my tan until my brothers tossed me into the water.

I extricated myself from the water and dried off. I noticed that the busses were about to start dropping the boys off at the gate so I went and changed then walked over to start picking them up. I used my remote and opened the gate just as the middle school bus dropped the first group off. Seven boys mobbed me and I was about to walk them back when the high school bus arrived. I quickly ducked and drove a shoulder into Mike and Tim then stood up with them each draped over my shoulders. I walk about half way to the main house with them swinging and kicking playfully when I decided to set them back onto their feet.

I let the older boys take the others while I waited for the little ones. I sat on the rail and watched the traffic wiz by. I was thinking if the speed limit was lower, Conner's injuries might not have been so bad. My mind was wandering when I saw the bus stop with the remaining boys on board.

I jumped down as they began to exit when Joey came running to me. He'd dropped his books when he flew into my arms saying, "Marco don't let him take us. Please don't."

I was totally confused now. No one was going to take them anywhere and to my knowledge there wasn't anything going on to even try to remove them. I stroked his hair as he laid his head on my shoulder. I calmly said, "No one is taking anyone anywhere. Please calm down and we'll talk."

Jamie picked his books up off the ground as we all headed for the main house. Joey was sniffing and calming down as we walked. I asked the boys if they knew what happened to scare him so bad but they just shook their heads no. I heard Joey say, "Some man tried to grab me but I ran into a bathroom and locked the door."

I was really pissed that someone came into the school and tried to take one of the boys. I saw Ronnie come around the corner and I asked, "Can you take all the boys to house one until I get this problem sorted out?"

Ronnie looked concerned but said, "Sure Marco. Do you need Jay here or can he take the house two boys over there so they can start on their homework?"

"Good idea bro," I said to him. "I don't need him at the moment."

I carried Joey into the main house and got Pop and Gwen to join us in the living room. Joey had stopped crying but he hung close not wanting to let go of his piece of security. I looked at him and said, "Joey, no one is going to take you anywhere. Can you tell us what happened and if you know who it was who scared you?"

I rubbed his back for a few minutes then he said, "I was going to lunch with two kids in my class. We were walking down the hall talking when I saw this man staring at me. I knew he wasn't a teacher here because I happen to know them. There is the principle, the PE teachers, and my teacher. I stopped and stared back then he came walking towards us. I asked the guys if they knew who he was and they didn't. The guy started running at us so we ran the other way then split up. I turned down a long hall and I saw he was after me. He started yelling about you sent him here and some other stuff then I found a boy’s room and went in there. I reached up and locked the door so he couldn't get in then he started saying he was going to get us and bring us back to the home."

When Joey was talking, he slid over to Gwen's lap and laid his head on her chest. I called over to my house and had Ronnie send Jordan to walk Joey to his house. Jordan came in and we gave Joey a kiss and reassured him everything was going to be all right. Joey grabbed Jordan's hand like it was a life rope and if he let it go he'd fall to his death. As soon as we heard the screen door close Gwen said, "I can't believe security is so lax there. I'm calling Alex right now so I can get some questions answered."

Gwen got up and went into the office. I figured she'd be in there some time but was back after about five minutes. I looked at her and said, "Quick call girl, what happened?"

She looked mad and said, "She's out of the office and won't be back until about eleven tomorrow. I left a message on her cell phone so maybe she will get back to me tonight. I hope we can get him to sleep tonight without too many problems."

Pop cleared his throat and said, "Unless Alex calls Gwen later there isn't anything we can do tonight. I think we can help them better if we are with our kids now. I'm going over to the house and I'll be there if any of the others needs to talk."

I had to give it to Pop he was always thinking of the kids. I looked at the others and said, "I think he's right. Let,s go so we can be with them."

The elementary kids didn't have much homework so my little ones were out playing. I saw Joey running around with the others but not out of view of Jay until Pop came out and relieved him. They were talking for a few minutes when Ronnie came over and planted a big kiss on his hubby.

I was pleased that studies were over quickly and they all could burn off energy before dinner. We let the boys go and play soccer (football for those of you in the UK) for about an hour. It wasn't that hot but it was humid so after about forty minutes, all the boys wanted to come inside. I had my boys go and take their showers so we could all have a family night.

The staff made barbequed spare ribs for dinner and Ronnie's famous potato salad. I know one thing, boys plus ribs equals one big mess. On them, I mean. I let them take their clean shirts off at the table and I swear they looked like they all had been in a war zone. They had sauce all over their faces, hands and chests. I let them go into the kitchen and wash up at one of the big sinks.

We relaxed and watched television and at nine, it was time for bed. I went and did my usual hug, kiss and tuck for all the boys. Timmy is still sleeping with Kevin, as Ronnie and Jay want to spend time with Eduardo and Ruben. I watched a little more TV then went to bed myself.

It took all we could do to get Joey on the bus. We all said no one was taking him or the others any place. I finally told him that I would have lunch with him today in the cafeteria so he would go. We went back to the main house and I must have drunk a gallon of coffee while waiting until Alex called.

At ten forty-five the phone rang. It was indeed Alex. Gwen was letting out her coffee so I took the call. I filled her in on what happened yesterday then asked her, "Is someone planning on petitioning for our newest boys' removal?"

I heard her take a sip of her coffee then said, "No Marco, not to my knowledge. My boss is in a meeting but I will see what I can find out."

"Aright," I said. "I know they weren't housed in our county so could they be planning something?"

Gwen said, "That's where I have been and my friend didn't say a word to me. She said she's relieved that all ten boys could be placed together. You all are life savers in her eyes."

"That's nice Alex," I replied. "But could her boss be planning something she don't know about."

"Marco," Alex said somewhat annoyed. "Have you been riding that horse of yours in your tight jeans again and your hearing has been affected? My friend is the Director of Child Services. She is the boss."

My heart and stomach changed places in my body when I heard that. I asked one last question. I asked, "Alex, is your boss male or female?"

She said, "A guy. He's a little weird but not bad to work for."

"Oh shit!" I shouted and handed Gwen the phone. "It's got to be him."

I ran out and jumped into the beast and took off for the elementary school. I hated this thing when I was in a hurry because it accelerated slowly. It was almost eleven and thank god the traffic was light. I was flying down the road leading into town and before I got into town, I called Sam and had him meet me at the school. I filled him in on what happened yesterday and my talk with Alex. I told him whom I thought the only person this could be.

I asked Sam where he was and he said he was still about ten minutes away from the school. I told him I would be there in about two if I caught the last two traffic lights green. I didn't get them green but I did get them on yellow. I saw the school so I hung up with Sam. I pulled into the lot but didn't bother looking for a parking place. I stopped in a fire lane, cut the engine off then ran towards the front door.

When I got there and looked inside, I saw a guy fighting with Joey. They were to far away for me to be able to run up unseen so I decided to let him come to me. There were two saving graces about this school. First, there were no windows across the front and the other thing is there are only two exit doors.

I was peeking in to see this creep drag Joey by the arms. When they got to within a couple of feet of the door, I closed it and backed up so I wouldn't get hit when he opened the door. I had just taken a step back when the door swung open and he turned to leave. He stopped short to keep from hitting me when I said grabbing him by the shirt, "Going somewhere asshole?"

To be continued