Warning! This is a tale about men loving men. If you find this disturbing - click off. If it's unlawful for you to read this - click off. If you under age - good luck if you can get away with it.
This is not a story for getting your rocks off. Just thought I'd let you know, so you won't waste your time if that's what your looking for. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy my writing.
I appreciate feedback and do my best to respond to it all. I may be contacted at: J S.Collection@Verizon.Net
Also, I would like to extend a grateful hand to Greg Bowden for his help and input. Without it, this story would
be really lacking. If you are not familiar with his writing, by all means look it up under his name in the list of
Authors. "Dusty and Me" and "Chip" are my favorites and I highly recommend them. Greg, Thanks.
Chapter 9 Brotherly Harassment
Charley's brothers took it upon themselves to make my life miserable. How they found out his schedule I don't know, but the first day he was off on his own I got a call from Tom, Charley's oldest brother. I hadn't met Tom, but that didn't stop him from lecturing me about turning his little brother against his mother. He didn't say a thing about homosexuality. And then the next day Robert called. He was nasty, telling me he had me pegged the first time he saw me. Faggot was one of the nicer names he called me. On the third day I let the answering machine pick up. About four days later Charley commented about there being an extraordinary amount of recorded hang ups on the his machine.
The following Monday I started getting hate mail. I didn't say a word to Charley about it. I put each note in a folder next to my PC on the back side of the kitchen table where I worked.
On Saturday two weeks later, I went grocery shopping leaving Charley to his own devices while I used his pickup. One look at Charley when I walked in the door with my hands full of grocery bags, and I knew he was really pissed about something. He crutched up to me and shoved his fist, filled with the notes, into my chest.
"What the fuck is this? Why didn't you tell me about them?"
I moved past him and put the bags on the counter. "It is obviously hate mail." I said and shrugged in answer to his second question.
"Why haven't you reported it to the police?"
I shrugged again.
"Do you have any idea who sent them?"
"Yeah, I know who's doing it. I can't prove it though."
"It doesn't matter. He's just doing it to harass me. He'll eventually get bored and stop."
"Jake, this person is breaking the law, the federal law." I shrugged again. He glared in to my blanked face. "You're not going to tell me are you?' I could see the wheels turning in his mind. "It's someone in my family, isn't it?" he asked as he continued to think.
I continued to stare at him, trying to show no response or emotion. He examined each of the envelopes. "They were all mailed here in Kirksville." He took each note out of its envelope and spread them all out on the table. I sat the bags on the counter and started putting their contents away. After a few minutes of studying them he jabbed one with his finger. "I knew it! Even though he's tried to disguise his hand writing by crudely printing these notes, he's given himself away with this R," he muttered to himself. Charley turned and looked at me. "How long has Robert been sending these things?"
I sighed, sat the cans I had in my hands on the counter, rested my butt against it and folded my arms against my chest. "Since soon after your mother got the boot."
"Fuck!" He dug his cell phone out of his pocket and quick dialed. "Pop. Charley. I have an emergency. It's
something you need to handle." He listened a moment and shook his head. "No, it isn't Mom, but she is indirectly
involved." He nodded while he listened and then said, "Great. Thanks, Pop. I'll see you in a few minutes."
Charley studied the notes again. "Do you have any more of these?" He asked me without looking up."
"No. You have them all right there."
"I'm going to fry Robert's ass."
"Calm down, you can't go frying his ass, he's your brother."
"He had the audacity to call you a faggot in front of other people."
"Sal told you?"
"Of course, she told me."
"Well, anyway, Robert apologized."
"Some apology when he turns around and does this." He shook one of the notes at me.
"He apparently feels that I have insulted your mother."
"How could you have insulted my mother. Christ! You've always been polite to her even when she was ragging on you."
"Charley, calm down." I said, wrapping my arms around him. "You're dad will take care of it. That's why you called him."
I heard a car door close. "That's probably him now." I let go of Charley and went to the front door and opened it before Chess could knock. He stepped in and gave me a shoulder hug.
"How're you doing, Son?" he asked me.
It gave me a warm feeling. "Great, Chess. You?"
"I'm fine. What's Charley's problem?"
"He's in the kitchen. I'll let him tell you."
I hung back and leaned against the door frame and watched Chess hug his son. I envied the warmth between them.
"So what's wrong, Son?" he asked.
"Pop, look at these. Charley has been hiding them for the last three weeks."
He read each one. "Damn!" he exclaimed and turned to me. "Do you know who is doing this?"
"He gave me the same answer." The disgust was evident in his voice. He pick up one of the notes and handed it to his dad. "Look at this particular one. Note this particular R."
Chess studied it. I watched him blanch as he came to the same conclusion Charley had. "But why? Why would he do this kind of thing?"
"Jake thinks he's doing it to revenge Mom's honor."
Chess turned and looked at me and then back at his son. "I wonder what on earth she could have told him that would push him to do this sort of thing?"
Chess went out on the back porch and made some phone calls. He came back in and sat down at the table with Charley and me. "Jake, is there any coffee in this house? I could sure use a cup."
"There can be in about five minutes," I said, rising from the table and heading to the coffee maker.
Chapter 10 Summit Meeting
Half an hour later Charley's family had assembled. Since Chess was a senior partner in his law firm and Tom worked with him and Robert was a real estate agent, they had no trouble leaving work like this. Chess had us all seated around the kitchen table. I was on one end and Robert on the opposite end, facing me. His mother and Tom sat on either side of him and Charley and his dad sat on each side of me.
Chess laid the folder containing the hate mail in the center of the table in front of Robert. "I want the three of you to examine the contents of that folder," he said.
Robert stared at it like it might explode in his face. Gloria sat with her hands in her lap and stared at her husband. Tom opened the folder picked up one of the notes and gasped as he read it. "Jesus, this is serious stuff." He passed it across the table to his mother. Her eyes got a big incredulous look in them, but she didn't say anything as she passed it to Robert. He glanced at it and laid it down. Tom picked up and read each one, cursing under his breath and passed them on. They all ended up in a pile in front of Robert.
Chess voice was so low, when he started speaking, that we had to strain to hear him. "I don't understand how such vile hatred could come from a member of this family. I just don't understand it."
"Are you suggesting that one of us wrote these things, Pop?" Tom asked, his voice incredulous.
The volume of Chess's voice rose about ten decibels. "Yes, I am suggesting such a thing. Robert," he said, his voice like a crack of lightening, "would you like to explain yourself?"
"What makes you think I wrote those notes?" He whined.
"Robert, there is plain evidence in those notes that clearly point to you. Don't dissemble to me, Son."
I could see the love Chess felt toward his son even when he had done something like this. Robert was like a little boy in a grown man's body. He slowly turned a dark red as he built up his indignation. "He insulted Mom, Pop. He told lies to Charley about her to make him kick Mom out of his house. I just wrote those notes to scare him into leaving. I wouldn't really follow through on any of those threats. You know that, Pop."
"Robert, did you stop to think that if Jake chooses to pursue a legal recourse, you could end up in prison? You'd be a convicted felon."
"Oh God, Jake, I didn't mean any of this." He gave me an imploring look.
"Robert, did you stop to think what this would do to Charley?" I asked. "These notes only angered me, but they've really injured him. I thought I had them safely hidden. I didn't want him to see what you were doing in hopes that you would come to your senses soon and stop. I guess I didn't hide them well enough."
"I'm sorry, Jake, I spilled some coffee and in wiping it up I knocked the folder off the table. I wasn't snooping." Charley said.
"I kind of guessed something like that. It's my fault. I figured the safest place to hide then was in plain sight."
"If you didn't want Charley to find them why didn't you destroy them?" Gloria asked, her voice strident. She'd sat passively through this except for the expression of surprise when she examined the notes. Now she had her claws out.
"I had no idea that he wouldn't follow through with these threats. If he did, I wanted the evidence to back me up when I went to the police. But as I said, I hoped he would come to his senses first."
"So what made you think it was Robert sending these notes?" she asked.
I looked at Robert. "Do you want to tell her why?"
He dropped his head into his hands, shook his head.
"A couple of days before I received the first threat Robert called me. From the things he said to me, there was no doubt that the threats were written by him."
Robert looked up at me. I could quite figure his expression. Relief, fear, confusion, anger. "So why aren't you telling them what I said?" He cried out and buried his face back in his hands.
"Robert, I don't really know you. I don't know why you feel such antagonism toward me. I think that repeating what you said would do no good. Enough hurt has been inflicted already. I won't salt the wound."
Silence settled over the table. Robert had his face covered. Gloria had her head down staring at her folded hands. I had my chin propped on my fists, wondering what was going on in Gloria's mind as I watched Chess, Tom and Charley exchanging glances. It was like watching a silent conversation. Tom was the first to speak up.
"Jake, I totally judged you by hearsay. I was wrong to have said the things I did. You must really love my little brother to put up with the rest of us. Pop seems to be the only one who has acted decently toward you. Please accept my apology."
Before I could respond, he turned to his mother.
"Mom, for the first time in my life I'm ashamed of you. The way you have manipulated Robert and me is disgraceful. I don't understand why you did it. It's obvious that Jake is a kind, honorable man." Gloria glanced up at me and then at Tom before she went back to staring at her hands. Tom turned his head to look at me again. "Jake, I'm proud to have you as my brother."
Charley gripped my arm. Chess was patting and rubbing my back. I leaned over and whispered to Charley to pass the pile of notes to me. I stood and took them over to the stove and turned on a burner and the exhaust fan. Laying each note and envelope on the grid over the flame, I let the fire consume each one.
Charley struggled to stand and get his crutches. He came over to the stove and wrapped his arms around me. Chess and Tom came and embraced the two of us in a group hug. I glanced up and saw Robert standing a couple of feet from us. I nudged Charley. "Robert, is needing some forgiveness." The three men stood back and let Robert and me face each other.
His expression said what he couldn't verbalize. I stepped up to him and wrapped my arms around his shoulders. He melted against me, sobbing. "I am so sorry. I am so sorry."
"It's okay. I never thought you were intent on harm. Do you think we can be friends now?" I asked as I rubbed his back.
He pushed back and looked at me, incredulous. "You would want to be my friend after what I've done?"
"Are you some kind of saint or what?" He crushed me in another hug. "I'd be honored to be your friend."
As he hugged me I whispered to him. "You need to make amends with your family. It's them you really hurt." He nodded against my shoulder and then stood back.
He and Charley studied each other for a few moments. "Charley, I really made a big mistake. Can you forgive me?"
"I'm really pissed off about what you've done, Robby. It'll take me a while to get over it. But, yeah, I forgive you." They embraced.
Robert turned to his Dad. "I really messed up, Pop. I'm sorry." His dad clasped him to his chest and rubbed his back. "I love you, Son, even when you do things like this." And then Robert turned to Tom. Neither said a word as they held each other for a moment.
As if orchestrated all eyes turned to Gloria, who was still sitting at the table.
She looked right at me ignoring her sons and husband. "If you're expecting an apology from me, forget it. Despite your magnanimity I still believe you're going to end up hurting Charley." She stood and picked up her handbag, turned and walked out the door, leaving us all with opened mouths.
His brothers apologized and hugged us both again before leaving. Chess stayed for a bit to make sure we were okay. He apologized for Gloria's behavior, assuring us that she would eventually come around, telling us that it was just probably the trauma of finally losing her baby to someone else.
Charley's family pretty much left us alone after the summit.
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Trying to communicate with a closed mind is like pounding on the door of an empty room. There is no one on the other side.