|THE CASE OF THE GENTLE GYMNAST Copyright © 2005
by Jerry Leckie — A
young police detective, assigned to a gay missing persons
case, finds himself on a voyage of self-discovery when he begins to
question his feelings for his partner.
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THE CASE OF THE GENTLE GYMNAST - PART TWO
From Part One, Chapter
Richard did not seem to mind being stripped in her presence. After a
examination, they dressed him once more. Linda tapped her front teeth,
deep in thought before she spoke. "The bruises aren't serious. The
worst one is on his leg. The needle marks on his arms and his glassy
eyes indicate he's been drugged. And, there's something else I'm not
of. His breasts seem enlarged, and look at his lack of body
hair. I'd say he's been given some sort of hormonal drug. My dad's
an endocrinologist ya know. Maybe he can examine him tomorrow." She
snapped her fingers in front of the boy's face
to get his attention. "Sweetie, how did you get that bruise on your
ankle," she asked slowly.
A pained expression washed over Richard's face. "Chain," he whispered.
"Jesus," Randy exclaimed in disgust.
Linda patted Richard's cheek. "Sweetheart, are you hungry?" He nodded
and smiled. She took his hand and said, "Good. Come with me. I'm sure
Joe and Randy are starving, so we'll have something delicious to eat."
As they passed through the living room, Richard pulled away from her to
stare at the unframed painting in the corner.
"Brandon," he murmured.
placed an arm around Richard's shoulders. "Yes, that's Brandon. Was he
with you?" Richard nodded, still staring at the painting.
to the others. "Shit! We need help."
Picking up the telephone, he
dialed Bart, but his voice mail answered. "Fuck," he exclaimed. He
dialed John. "John--sorry to disturb ya--ya know your missing persons
case? We've got a found
person case for ya that's tied into it." He
filled the detective in on the particulars and broke the connection.
"He'll be over in a little while."
The doorbell rang as they finished their late evening meal. Stella
admitted John with a hug and led him to the dining room. Richard stared
open-mouthed at the detective and ran into his arms. "Mickey," he
"He's been drugged John, but he recognized Brandon from the portrait.
Wherever he came from, Brandon was there too," Randy explained.
John gently disengaged himself from the boy, saying quietly, "Richard,
I'm not Mickey."
"No? You look like him." Tears welled in his eyes again. "But, it's
been a long time."
They sat at the table, side by side, with Richard clutching John's
hand. The detective asked, "Where have you been for all this time?"
"Where did you come from, before you came to the big house," John asked
The boy smiled. "Home."
"Where was your home? What town?"
Richard shook his head. "Springfield, Illinois." Now, he seemed to have
difficulty keeping his eyes open.
John patted the boy's hand and addressed the group. "He'll feel better
with a good night's rest. Maybe the drug will have worn off by then. We
need to find out where the 'big house' is."
Randy said, "Let's put him in the guest room." He stood and took
Richard's hand. "Come with me. I have a nice soft bed waiting for you."
Fear seized the boy and he wailed hysterically, "No! No bed! No chain!"
at John convulsively. "Mickey! Help me!"
Everyone stood, aghast at the outburst, staring at John and the boy.
Joe offered, "He's not going to go to bed by himself. Can you stay with
All eyes were on the detective as he cradled the terrified Richard in
his arms. He smiled at the group and nodded. To the boy, he asked,
"Will you go to bed and get some rest if I stay with you?"
Richard nodded enthusiastically and everyone sighed with relief. John
the youth by the hand and followed Joe to the guest bedroom. "Thanks
for doing this John," he said sincerely.
"It's okay. I don't mind. He needs some comfort," John said with a
Joe closed the door quietly and the man and boy were alone. John placed
his arm around Richard and walked him around the bed. "See, there are
no chains. You're safe and I'm with you."
He undressed Richard, pausing in embarrassment when he discovered the
lack of underwear. Shrugging, he sat the naked youth on the bed and
began to undress himself. He peeled out of his watch cap, heavy jacket,
T-shirt, shoes, socks and sweat pants under the boy's watchful eye. He
stopped stripping when he was down to his boxer shorts.
"Are you ready to go to sleep Richard?" he asked gently.
"Call me Dickie. Like you used to ... please," the boy responded.
Smiling, John turned out the light and they climbed into the bed. "Okay
Richard immediately snuggled close to John, resting his head in the
hollow of the man's shoulder and his arm on the detective's muscular
All was quiet for several minutes, then Richard whispered, "I love you
Mickey." And his lips brushed John's cheek softly. The Land of Nod
welcomed the boy with sweet rest, but burdened John with fitful slumber.
He dreamed of strong hands caressing him, loving lips exploring
his body, and soft flesh surrounding his manhood. With his own hands,
he felt the hard plates of muscle in his lover's back. As his partner
moved above him, he thrilled at the rasp of the hairy chest against his
nipples. Passion welled within him and he grabbed his lover's face and
brought it to his for a long, deep kiss.
Presently, his testicles began to boil with that certain feeling that
an orgasm was not far off.
He jerked awake. Richard's soft lips
suckled contentedly at his nipple while the boy's hand stroked his
fierce erection with silken fingers.
"Ahhhhh," he moaned and circled the small form with his arms. Richard
abandoned the teat in favor of John's lips. The boy's tongue plunged
into his mouth, drawing the man into his aura of passion.
John's body trembled,
awakened to feelings that too long had lain dormant in his soul, and he
richly rewarded the boy, returning the affection they both
craved. He hungrily suckled Richard's tongue, seeking all of the
love the boy could supply. He
stroked the young body above him reverently, sending loving messages
with the tips of his fingers.
But, Richard's talented hand on John's quivering penis was bringing his
ardor to a peak. Richard pulled away from the kiss and whispered,
"You're close Mickey. I want you." With that, he disappeared under the
covers, taking the detective's penis into his mouth and the
testicles into his
"Uhhngh!" John grunted at the magic Richard was performing. His head
thrashed from side to side and his fists made shipwreck of the bed
covers. In minuets his prostate spasmed and loosened the floodgates of
his seed into his lover's waiting mouth.
Richard cleaned the softening penis and replaced it within the confines
of John's boxers. Then, he kissed his way up John's body and rested his
head on the man's heaving chest. At length, they both slept peacefully.
At seven o'clock the next morning, Joe knocked softly on the guest room
door and opened it. John and Richard were in the same position in which
they had fallen asleep. Although his eyes were closed, the detective
was awake, slowly stroking the boy's back.
"Good morning," Joe whispered. John's eyes flew open and his face
flushed with embarrassment.
Joe smiled at him and backed out of the door, calling softly to
Randy. When his partner arrived, Joe whispered to him, then went to the
bed and shook Richard
awake. "Hey good buddy, did you sleep well."
The boy roused and blinked, then smiled in recognition. He looked down
at John--on whom he lay--and sat up, mumbling apologies. John smiled in
spite of his red face and patted Richard's shoulder. "It's okay. You
to be held."
Richard grinned shyly. "Thanks. It was great having someone make me
feel safe." He frowned. "You look just like my brother."
Joe spoke up. "We'll talk more about that later. I've got an idea that
you would like a haircut right about now, then some breakfast." He
helped the boy to dress and they departed.
Randy sat on the edge of the bed, barely glancing at John's red face.
"Want to talk about it?" he asked quietly. John flung his arm across
his eyes and began to cry. Randy slowly pulled it away and gathered the
man to his chest, burying the embarrassed face in the soft cotton of
Minutes later, after John had quieted somewhat, Randy murmured, "He had
sex with you." John nodded. "And you enjoyed it." Again, the head
nodded. "And you are embarrassed about it." The head responded once
Randy stroked John's hair, feeling the man's stubbled cheek against his
chest. "Listen to me. First,
Richard needed your affection. He was in bad shape, so you might have
even saved his sanity. Second, you obviously needed to receive the
affection he had to give. I'll
bet that at some point last night, something in your soul went 'clunk'
and fell into place. Am I right?"
Randy heard a weak "Yes" mumbled into his T-shirt. "So John, my best
advice to you is don't be embarrassed. Rather, rejoice in newfound
knowledge about yourself."
John pulled away and looked up at him with pleading eyes. "But, what
about the Department? A gay cop? What about me and Bart? What if he
finds out? What ..."
"John!" Randy interrupted him sternly. "You could sit here and 'what
about' all day and it wouldn't do you a bit of good. You've got your
whole fucking life before you and you should live it as a whole,
complete, energized, happy person. I ought to know; I had my true self
hidden I couldn't find me until Joe planted the kiss of a lifetime on
me one day." He ruffled John's hair and shook him gently. "Now,
get up and stand tall and proud, like the strong, kind, loving man you
John's face burst into a genuine smile. Randy stroked his cheek and
kissed his forehead. "Don't worry about Bart. You can tell him when the
time is right and he'll accept you for who you really are."
Randy stood and John climbed out of bed with a huge erection tenting
his boxers. "Uh," Randy murmured and pointed, "Is that a gun in your
John chuckled. "No smartass, that's a fire hose that's going to go off
if I don't get to the bathroom quick!"
Everyone was gathered
at the breakfast table when Joe led a remarkable looking Richard into
Joe had barbered his locks into short, cute spikes held up
with gel. He now looked like the incredibly attractive teenager he was.
There was a smile on his face and his dark eyes were clear and
Joe introduced him to the group, saving John for last. The detective
held out his hand. "Hi, I'm John Wilson."
Richard took the proffered hand and said, "Please call me Dickie."
Then, he gathered John into an embrace and whispered, "Thank you for
being Mickey last night."
John whispered back, "It was my pleasure. We both needed that."
Smiling, everyone crowded around the table for the morning repast.
Suddenly, Randy smacked his forehead. "Damn, I forgot to call Bart this
John soothed, "I left a voice mail for him last night." At that moment,
his cell phone chirped. It was Bart. John briefly filled him in and
chuckled as he broke the connection. "He's so excited he almost wet his
pants." He turned to Richard. "Dickie, you're a hero. Your presence is
going to break our missing persons case wide open."
Happy confusion reigned in the condo as Bart arrived. Randy, Joe,
Stella and Linda were making last minute preparations to head off to
their classes while John and Dickie--as he preferred to be
called--cleared the breakfast table and stacked the dishes in the
dishwasher. All four of the permanent residents gave the startled Bart
hugs as they filed out the front door.
In the kitchen, the detective pumped Dickie's hand as John made
The three immediately settled for a conference, and the boy's story
unfolded from his own lips.
Shortly after Dickie's sixteenth birthday, he and his brother Michael,
then eighteen, secretly declared their love for each other. Every
night, they joyously commuted to one bedroom or the other to express
their affection. Unfortunately, their father caught them one evening
and immediately disavowed Michael, evicting him with one
suitcase and the clothes on his back.
Two weeks later, Dickie received a curt e-mail
from his brother stating that he had enlisted in the Army.
A week after that, he was awakened in the middle of the night by two
dark-skined men with long hair and beards. They held him down on the
bed and injected him with something that put him to sleep. He awakened
in the place he had lived until two days ago.
"Dickie, do you believe that your parents arranged this?" Bart asked.
boy nodded, then continued his story.
The place was a beautiful, large well-kept house, old with much dark
stained glass that smelled of incense and beeswax. It appeared
to be the home of a religious order. The house was run efficiently by
two dozen men, all with dark skin, long dark hair and beards who
always wore black robes. They each seemed to have specific duties, but
spent many hours chanting and praying.
The house was surrounded by large well-kept grounds and a high stone
wall. The "brothers" as he was instructed to call them, raised almost
all the food they ate.
On the day of his arrival, Dickey's clothes were taken from him. In
return, he was given a white robe to wear, no underwear or shoes, just
the robe. He was told that, at present, with his love for other men, he
was an abomination to God. But, in due time, his soul would be cleansed
and he would be returned to the glory of the Lord, through study,
prayer and "treatments."
He was led down to the basement of the house where a dozen other boys,
dressed in white robes, were located. For the first few weeks, he
spent all of his time there that did not involve study, prayer or
"So, that's how the brothers
finance their religious order." John said in disgust. "By contracting
to 'cure' boys of homosexuality."
the first few weeks, Dickie was given aversion treatment, strapped
to a chair with electrodes applied to his skin. He was shown
brief video clips of boys engaged in sexual activity while mild
electric bursts were sent through the electrodes. These video clips
were alternated with longer clips of beautiful women,
but without the electric shocks.
When the initial
aversion treatment failed to achieve the desired result, he was given a
series of injections that ultimately resulted in a lowered sex drive
and loss of body hair. This treatment was combined with sessions in
which he viewed long clips of nude women.
"I wonder how much the dear brothers charge to perform 'God's work,'"
The other boys in the
house were about Dickie's age. He could tell that some had been
for a while by their long hair and beards. Even though they were under
an order of
silence, Dickie was able to determine that most of them
had been brought to the house under similar circumstances.
they were given a pill that made them drowsy and shackled by the ankle
to their beds.
Eventually, Dickey was given duties. At first, he was set to cleaning
the house, then he began toiling outdoors in the vegetable garden and
the barnyard. He had long since become docile, and the brothers began
to keep less than a watchful eye on him.
The day after Brandon Johnson arrived, he went to the ancient
stone tool shed for a different garden implement. While he waited for
eyes to adjust to the dark interior, he noticed that a barrel had been
moved, revealing a small wooden door in the back wall. He
opened it and cool air rushed out. At first, he assumed it was a mine
later he reasoned that it was too small for that purpose, so it must
a tunnel ... leading somewhere ... anywhere away from his dreary
drugged existence. And, an idea began to form in his mind.
It took him days to work up the courage to escape. Then, the day
arrived. He decided to make
the attempt at night, just before bedtime while the boys were filing in
and out of the bathroom. Unfortunately, before he could make his
getaway, a brother gave him the customary pill.
Before it could take effect, he left by the side door of the house and
raced like the wind to the tool shed. Groping in the dark, he found the
tunnel door and climbed through, repositioning the barrel in front of
As he made his way through the pitch blackness, the pill began to take
effect, but the cold kept him awake. He didn't know how long it took
him, but he finally came out of
the tunnel in a filthy dank room in the basement of a building.
starlight shone through the narrow high windows and he found a door to
a maze of hallways that eventually led to some stairs. From there, he
made his way outside where Randy and Joe found him.
The kitchen was silent for a few minutes, then Dickey squeezed John's
hand. The detective didn't know at what point in the story the boy had
"Dickie, how long did you stay at the house?" John asked.
"I don't know for sure. There were no calendars or TV or radio. I could
only tell time by the passing seasons. I know that I was there for two
"Jesus," John muttered, feeling abject pity for the boy.
Bart, who had been deep in thought, raised his head and asked. "What
time of the day did you enter the tunnel?"
"At dusk. They always made us go to bed when it got dark."
Bart pursed his lips, calculating. "It gets dark about five thirty this
time of year, and Randy and Joe found you about ten o'clock. Hm. So, it
took you four and a half hours to go through the tunnel. I assume that
you took it
"Yeah. It was pitch dark down there. I measured every step. I didn't
want to fall into a hole or anything."
Bart was becoming more excited by the minute. "You came out of the
tunnel in the Matson University administration building. So, the
compound where you were held prisoner can't be too far away. Where is
the tool shed in relation to the rest of the compound?"
"It's next to the south wall."
"That means the tunnel runs north from the administration building,
assuming there are no curves in it. So, it should be easy to find out
where these dear 'servants of God' are located."
"Whoa. Slow down. Wait a minute," John protested. "Why would there be a
tunnel leading anywhere from the school's administration building?"
Bart grinned. "That building predates the Civil War. It was Cyrus
Matson's house. And legend has it that he smuggled runaway slaves out
of the state. Remember that Missouri was a slave state."
He chuckled. "Apparently that legend is true."
Dickie was white as a ghost. "You mean I went through a tunnel that's a
hundred and fifty years old? That nobody knows about?" Bart
nodded. "Shit! It could have
fallen in on me at any minute."
Bart and John
decided to access the city's plat maps on the mainframe computer. As
they drove to police headquarters, John filled Dickie in on the
Brandon Johnson case. He concluded with, "So, we must assume that
Johnson's parents hired the 'brothers' the same as your parents."
"But, there's one difference if they did," Bart piped up. "Brandon
Johnson was over eighteen. He was a legal adult."
"Then legally, he was kidnapped!" Understanding washed over John.
"It sure looks like it," Bart agreed. "This could be a criminal case
after all, but the district attorney will have to decide. And
kidnapping is a federal offense, so the FBI would have to be involved."
frowned. "But, we need more evidence. We need to speak to Ed Tekai
again. Maybe Brandon told him some things about his parents."
Everyone processed this information for a few minutes, then Bart said
contritely, "John I want to apologize for not being available for you
last night. I had some stuff to take care of."
"That's okay. It was a profitable evening for me too. I worked some
personal stuff out as well. In fact, I need to talk to you about it.
I'd like to take you to dinner tonight. Okay?" Bart nodded. "Was your
problem with Elizabeth again?" John ventured.
"Yeah," Bart replied quietly. "We broke up." John's eyes widened and
his mouth dropped open. "We were talking on the phone--she wants to
know about everything I do, ya know--and I told her about the Johnson
case." John could see Bart gripping the steering wheel tighter by the
second. "When I finished, she said she couldn't see why we would be
concerned about finding some faggot." He paused to grind his teeth.
"So, I told her to fuck off,
eat shit and die ... and I hung up on her."
Silence reigned in the car for maybe five seconds, then John started to
giggle. The more he
thought about the look on Elizabeth's face when she heard that, the
it seemed, and he broke into chuckles.
Dickie started to chortle from the back seat, and he and John
eventually melted into helpless cackles, gasping for
breath. The merriment was infectious and spread to Bart. In the
end, he laughed so hard that he had to pull to the side of the
When they were driving again, John turned to Bart. "Partner, the dinner
tonight will be in celebration of your act of courage. It won't be the
'true confession' time that I'd planned." He took a deep breath.
"So, I'll tell ya right now what I was going to say at dinner. Bart,
I'm gay," he said, gazing intently at his friend.
As he was speaking, they had pulled into a space in the police parking
lot. Bart stopped the car and turned off the ignition. He turned to
John and said,
"You're pretty courageous yourself partner. Congratulations. It must
have taken some guts to look within yourself and accept the truth."
They exchanged smiles. John murmured, "Thanks Bart for understanding."
Bart gave him a crooked grin. "What's to understand? You're my partner
and my buddy. Now, come on. We've got work to do."
Within minutes, the three were huddled in front of a computer monitor,
accessing the city maps. They located the brothers' compound a mile
north of the Matson property. Bart copied down the tract number and
printed the map. He then performed a title search.
"Hm," he mused, "it's just as I thought. The compound was built in
1857, by Cyrus Matson, at the same time he built his house. He deeded
the compound over to a Roman Catholic religious order. It was a
monastery until 1905, then it became a nunnery until 1950. It changed
hands several times after that until six years ago when it was bought
by The Order
of DuAfallaousmek. They must be the so-called brothers." He printed the
took Dickie to Bart's office and photographed his injuries for
evidence. He told them each brother carried a stick that they
used when a boy "misbehaved," which seemed to be often according to the
brothers. Otherwise, he never saw any other instruments of
Later in the day, Bart went into conference with his Capitan, the chief
of police and the
district attorney to build a case before they called in the FBI.
Meanwhile, John and Dickie went in search of Ed Tekai. The boy wept
tears of joy that Brandon had been located. John asked him leading
questions about Johnson's parents.
Ed was more than willing to talk about them. "After Brandon and I
became lovers, we talked about living together; but, he said that his
parents would not approve. They had always been very strict with him,
but more so after they caught him and his best friend having sex four
years ago. They hounded him until he started dating girls and went out
for sports. That's why he's a gymnast. He knew that he would never be
able to get away from them if he didn't convince them he was straight.
And he succeeded, sort of. They let him come to school here, but still
kept a tight leash on him."
His face became a mixture of pain and admiration. "But then, he did the
unthinkable: he slipped the leash, or tried to. I guess he thought he
was far enough away from them to be safe, because the week before he
disappeared, he called them and told them he was gay, and wouldn't ever
come back home."
Ed swallowed back a sob, reliving the horrible fears that had plagued
him for the past week. "When he disappeared, I didn't know what to
think. Did he get cold feet and run away? Did he go back home to
Kansas? Did he kill himself?"
John soothed, "Well, now we know that he didn't disappear of his own
free will. And, we know where he is. And, we'll get him back for you."
John's cell phone chirped. Bart asked that he bring Ed and Dickie to
police headquarters to give depositions to the district attorney. After
their testimony, the DA thought they had a case against Johnson's
parents as well as the brothers, and called the local FBI chief.
After they clocked out, Bart drove by the condo to drop off
Dickie. There, they took the opportunity to bring Randy,
Joe, Stella and Linda up-to-date on the case.
Later that evening, while John and Bart were celebrating at a local
bistro, there was a knock at the condo door. Randy opened it to reveal
an nervous-looking young man.
The boy's eyes were bright with barely suppressed anticipation. "Good
evening, my name is Michael Marks. I understand that my brother Richard
Randy pulled him
inside, and led him into the den
where everyone was sprawled studying or watching TV. Michael spotted
his brother and yelled, "Dickie."
They ran into each other's arms and embraced for several minutes. The
observers smiled silently and watched, misty-eyed, as the brothers
rocked back and forth with tears of joy streaming down their faces. At
length, the boys broke apart and began to babble at each other with
questions and comments. Stella, the consummate hostess, herded everyone
into the dining room for coffee and a late night snack.
Dickie gave his brother an edited version of his experiences for the
past two years, then Randy brought him up-to-date on the Brandon
Johnson case. Mickey was seething with anger at the end of the tale.
Dickie moved to his lap and said, "This is no time to be angry Mickey.
We're back together now." He grinned and rubbed noses with his brother.
"What have you been doing all this time?"
Mickey chuckled. "I've been right here in Canyon City since my basic
training. I'm stationed at the the Army supply depot just outside of
town. And, I only live a mile away from here." They all laughed at the
irony. "This afternoon, a detective named Killian said he located me
Army records and told me you would be at this address."
The boys stopped speaking and stared at each other, becoming oblivious
to anything outside themselves. Their emotions began to boil, and a
powerful combination of love and lust radiated
throughout the room.
Stella diplomatically cleared her throat. "Mickey, your brother has
been staying with us. And you are welcome to stay here tonight. I'm
sure you two have some catching up to do."
At that moment, Bart and John were making a masterful attempt at
inebriation, after demolishing plates of down-home Italian food at a
local eatery. They had progressed to the giggling stage as they relived
Bart's triumphant break with Elizabeth.
Bart was almost breathless with mirth. "I couldn't believe I told her
to fuck off, eat shit and die. It felt so good that I just sat and
stared at the phone. But, fifteen minutes
later, my dad called and
went off on me for speaking to her that way. So, I told him the same
thing. Then I ripped the phone out of the wall."
He sat grinning for a full minute before it melted from his face. "When
I broke up with her, I broke up with him too." He gave John a
stare. "He's my dad, but fuck him. I've spent my life trying to please
the bastard and failed ... in his eyes. Well, I'm tired of trying to
earn his love. I have no more emotional currency to spend, except for
myself. It's time I paid attention to my own happiness."
John reached across the table and took his friend's hand. "I'm so proud
of you I could shout." He giggled. "But, let's have another beer
Dickie and Mickey stood naked in the dim light of the bedside lamp,
staring, each drinking in the sight of the other, processing the
changes the years had wrought.
"God," Dickie whispered, "you're more beautiful than I remembered."
Mickey touched his brother's face and ran his fingers down the boy's
chest. "Speak for yourself little bro. You're the most beautiful sight
I've ever seen."
Dickie swallowed, looking down at Mickey's man-sized erection, then--in
surprise--at his own rampant penis. "Wow! I haven't
had a hard-on in over a year."
Mickey smiled, breathless with desire. "I sorta have that effect on
cute little brothers."
"Let's go to bed Mickey. Make love to me. I can't wait any
longer," he urged, pulling the larger boy onto the bed.
Mickey stroked his brother's body with lust-filled eyes. When his
fingers found Dickie's penis, he gave a quick intake of breath. "Wow!
How did a little guy like you get such a big dick?"
Dickie favored him with a long sweet kiss. "Mm, the same place my
horse-hung brother got his."
They giggled quietly, each stroking the other's erection. Mickey
murmured, "God Dickie, I'm so close."
"Me too," Dickie crooned, turning in the bed. They lay on their sides
and nursed one another to sweet--long overdue--orgasms.
Later, as Mickey held his brother, he said quietly, "Your eighteenth
birthday is next month. I was making plans to come take you from Mom
and Dad then ... at gunpoint, if necessary. But, I'm glad I didn't have
to see them again."
Dickie murmured, "I don't ever want to see them again. I love you, and
I want to spend the rest of my life with you."
Two very drunk detectives poured themselves out of a cab and staggered
into Bart's apartment. In the bedroom, they didn't bother turning on
the light to undress. Consequently, they bumped into each other trying
rearranged the furniture trying to kick off their shoes and
spent a great deal
of time hopping from one
foot to the other trying to shed socks and pants. Failing miserably in
all attempts, they fell on their butts. They gave up disrobing
and clawed their way up onto the bed to lay
side by side.
When the room stopped spinning and his stomach decided to settle in one
place, Bart felt confident enough to speak. He turned on his side and
whispered, "John, you're my best friend."
John gathered Bart close to him. "I am," he crooned. Then, they quietly
At the ungodly hour of eight o'clock, the next morning, two grumpy,
over detectives stopped in front of the condo to retrieve Bart's car.
They paused, staring at the front door and said, "Coffee," at the same
Joe broke into silent laughter as a giggling Randy led the two
plainclothes zombies into the kitchen. Mickey and Dickie simply stared.
Bart growled at Joe, "There's a law
at hung over detectives. You can be arrested."
heavily at the table, as did John. Still smirking, Randy placed mugs of
steaming coffee before them. "Had some grownup fun
last night, huh?"
John rested his head in his hands. "Ohhhh shit," he moaned, then took a
sip of the soothing hot liquid.
Mickey introduced himself. "John, no wonder Dickie
you for me. We do look alike."
John tried to smile past his throbbing head. "No kidding. This is
weird, too weird for a hangover."
Mickey turned a serious face to Bart.
"Thank you for finding me and getting me back together with my
smiled at Dickey and kissed his cheek. "This is better than all the
Christmas presents I've ever had."
Before Bart could respond, his cell phone chirped and he stepped into
the hallway to have a long,
heated conversation with someone. Breaking the connection, he sighed
dejectedly. "That was the Capitan. The FBI won't take the case. They
checked the public records where Brandon Johnson's parents live and
found out that they filed commitment papers on him. So, as far as the
Bureau is concerned, his disappearance wasn't kidnapping." He ran his
hands through his hair. "The compound lies within the Canyon
City limits, so it's back in our hands. The mayor, chief of police and
district attorney all agree that something should be done, but they
don't know what."
Dickey sputtered, "You mean I spent two years in that hell hole and
nothing's going to be done about it?"
Bart replied mildly, "Please don't shout. My head hurts. And, I didn't
say nothing was going to be done. But, look at it this way, you were a
minor under your parents control. If they signed a document, giving the
brothers control over you, what you experienced might be legal."
The statement had a chilling effect on the room. Mickey asked, "You
mean that my parents might have signed a contract to have that done to
Bart nodded. "The brothers would have to be complete idiots not to have
something in writing. And there's no legal way we can get a look at the
Randy pondered, "But, wouldn't they have to have some sort of license
to operate a rehabilitation hospital? Especially if Brandon's parents
had him legally committed to them?"
Bart and John's eyes went wide. "I never thought of that," Bart
mused. He passed the question along to his superior with a quick
Fifteen minutes later, his cell phone chirped. He listened for a few
minutes, then broke the connection. "This is turning out to be a fairly
shitty day. I have an upset stomach, a splitting headache, and now the
Capitan tells me that the brothers' charter allows them to take in and
novices for their order. Ten to one that's the way their contract with
the parents reads."
Randy asked, "Then, the district attorney isn't going to do anything?"
"They're talking it over," Bart said skeptically. "But they really
don't want to go pounding on the door of a religious order. They're
afraid of what the public would think."
Joe stood and paced the room for a few minutes, then stopped and
addressed the group. "I think the district attorney needs some help
from the Fourth Estate."
"Huh?" Mickey and Dickie asked at the same time.
Smiling, Joe explained. "My dad is the editor of the Grant County Times, the regional newspaper,
and my uncle is the publisher."
His smile acquired the aspect of a wolf scenting prey. "I wonder what
the public would
think if the paper ran a long series of articles and editorials about a
local religious order that took in child novices, then drugged them,
them electric shock treatments, beat them with sticks and chained them
to their beds at night. I can see the color pictures of Dickie's
bruises in the side bar. Then, I can see the local TV news reporters
breathlessly interviewing Dickie about his experiences there."
He grinned. "Child abuse is a nasty word in the
public's mind, particularly when it concerns religious organizations."
A malicious smile spread across Bart's face. He nodded in agreement.
Joe said, "Okay, I'll talk to my dad.
I'm sure he'll have a nice conversation with the mayor tomorrow
Randy turned to Bart. "If the mayor caves in, then how are you going to
get the boys out of there? If you go knock on the compound door, the
brothers probably won't even admit that they're there."
Bart grinned. "Oh, we'll get them out. I'll have a court order ... and
thirty or so members of the Canyon City PD to back me up."
John said, "Ya know partner, my headache is gone already."
"Mine too," Bart agreed.
To be continued
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