The usual disclaimers apply. If for some legal reason you shouldn't read this...don't.
A special acknowledgement to Drew for encouraging me to tell a better story through his edits and suggestions. And a big thanks to Brad for his patient proofreading and editing. Finally, a shout-out to Trab for the final tweaks to get the story 'just right' and to Zeta reader, Rock.
I love to receive feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. My other stories are listed in Nifty's Prolific Authors section, and on www.gayauthors.org.
Chapter 15, THE VARIABLE PRICE OF RECOGNITION
Jeremy finished his workout and returned to the relatively empty Bally's locker room for a quick shower before changing into uniform. He shook his head with wonderment that spring seemed to be moving so fast. It was the first of May and he'd be graduating in a little over five weeks. Wedged in between was his sister's visit to the club for the batchelorette party. At this point, however, nervousness was no longer part of the equation: he was looking forward to showing Naomi what he did on stage.
Off came the sweat-drenched tank top before he sat down on the bench to remove his sneakers and socks. 'Whew,' he thought after a fast sniff of his pits, 'a shower is definitely in order.' He stood and pulled off his briefs and workout shorts in a quick, single motion before opening his locker. Jeremy closed his eyes and gave his cock a gentle yank and scratched his moist scrotum.
"Christ, Sloan. I can't leave you alone for a few moments and you're already busy playing with yourself," Zach said with a chuckle as he joined Jeremy at a nearby locker and twirled the combination of his lock. The two friends made it a point to work out together at least once a week depending on Zach's training appointments.
"Bro, cut me some slack. A man's gotta scratch his balls after they've been all cooped up." Jeremy grinned and continued, "That was a good work out. Thanks for working with me and spotting the weights. I've been kinda sluggish since yesterday."
"I hear your buddies had a good time last Sunday night at the club." Zach toed out of his sneakers and pulled off his damp sleeveless tee.
"It was crazy. And then after the performance, we all went over to a guy's house for some late night chow. How'd you hear about Sunday?" Jeremy asked as he reached for his towel and flip-flops. He slipped on the 'flops' and draped the towel around his neck.
"Will Jacobs told me your friends went a little overboard when you went down the runway for tips during the second act. Lots of gropes, I understand." Zach and Will from the Barecats had become closer friends over the past month. "He said both the audience and cast thought it was hilarious." Zach removed his shorts and kicked them aside. He reached into his protective pouch and loosened his compressed cock. He let out an audible sigh as he pulled down the well-worn jock.
"My best friend, Robert Stein, led off the whole thing by jamming a twenty down the front of my thong, fingering my dick and then made it a point of squeezing my nuts from the outside. The other six friends repeated that whole thing. Then, strangers got into the swing of things and really became friendly," Jeremy replied with a laugh. "I had to get off the runway cuz I was getting hard. Made some good money, though." Jeremy subtly admired Zach's naked physique while they talked. The flat abs, tight pecs, muscled arms and solid thighs were a perfect backdrop for the very healthy flaccid four inches that rested in front of shaved low-hangers. 'Jeez,' he thought, 'I gotta stop perving on my big brother. But he is yummy.'
"Potentially a very dangerous situation. You could poke somebody's eye out with that friggin' thing." Zach secured the towel around his waist and looked in his locker for shampoo.
"Oh, right. Like you're in the teeny weenie category," Jeremy shot back as he closed his locker. "I see that shit-eating smile on Will's face at the club."
"We've become friends...thanks to you guys." Zach led the way as they walked to the showers. "Very good friends. Nuf said."
"I don't know who's doing what to whom but it's working. Being in the unique situation of knowing what each of you are bringing to the table - or bed - I say...go for it. Will's one of the good guys." Jeremy made sure no one was looking before he swatted Zach's terry-covered butt.
"Hey. Ease up on molesting your seniors. The members will think we're queer, or something," Zach quietly replied with a laugh. "Seriously, we're just taking it one step...yada, yada, yada. Let's just say that the word 'versatility' is a good way to close this subject."
"After I get out of school, we should get together for another dinner. Charlie really thinks you're a helluva guy." Jeremy stepped into the shower room, hung up the towel and turned on the faucet. Zach did the same thing at the next shower. "And Will Jacobs has become a solid friend." Jeremy looked over to the other side of the shower room and noticed an older guy smiling while he watched Jeremy and Zach soaping down. The guy winked and casually stroked his growing cock. Jeremy shrugged and turned his back on the admirer. "Don't look now but we've got an audience of one behind us."
"Really? Think we should give him a show?" Zach asked with a low snicker.
"Tempting but probably not a good idea. We'd have a great time if you don't consider that incest results when brothers play around."
"Not to mention that you're a married man and we'd get fired," Zach added while he rinsed down his torso.
"If he wants a show he can come down to the club; you can get almost the same results if you throw some imagination into the mix." Jeremy purposely continued to stand facing the shower while he shampooed and took care of his front side. When he turned, the older man was gone. He was becoming used to people recognizing him from the Trib fashion photos. It was flattering and for the most part he handled it well.
The two friends got dressed in their respective uniforms and started their work shifts. Jeremy felt very lucky to have this big brother friendship and hoped that Zach would find a way to fill the void that occurred when Gio fucked up the relationship. He wondered if Will Jacobs might be the guy?
The pace of school and the ritual of being a senior in his final month before graduation were gaining momentum. The next day, Jeremy was sorting out some papers at his locker when he was suddenly knocked to the floor unexpectedly.
"What the fuck," Jeremy said with surprise. Looming over him was Max Boring.
"Oh, sorry, Sloan. I didn't see your faggoty ass in my way." Max and Jeremy were sworn enemies since grade school. However, except for a street skirmish in the sixth grade that ended in a draw, nothing dramatic had occurred between the two. They mostly ignored each other. "Next time, be more careful...cocksucker."
There were a few laughs from another guy who stood behind Max. Jeremy immediately recognized him as Billy Cortez, Max's teammate from football. 'Shit,' Jeremy thought as he got to his feet, 'I've got homophobic retards in pairs. How lucky can I be?'
"Hey, Max. Maybe this fuckin' fairy will want to suck us off," Billy said with a leer.
"Don't flatter yourself, Cortez," Jeremy snapped back. "I doubt if anyone would want to do anything with that little dick of yours." He glared at the two ex-linebackers and got a little nervous - he was facing a combined 550 pounds of gorillas on the loose. 'Man,' he thought, 'this isn't suppose to happen when you're 18 and almost out of high school.'
"Pretty boy might want to take my cock up his butt," Max countered as he stepped forward with a clenched fist.
"Gentlemen, what's going on?" came a voice from behind them. "Sloan...are these two bothering you?" asked Mr. Touhy, a biology teacher.
"Um...no, Sir. We were just having a little discussion," Jeremy replied.
"Yeah. Senior class stuff." Max backed away and loosened his fist.
"Make sure that's all it is. Now, I suggest that you all get on to your next class."
The three students muttered in unison, "Yes, Sir," as Mr. Touhy walked away.
"Sloan, this ain't over. I don't like pansy queers...especially you. I heard about you dancing in that club...all nude and everything before guys...letting them grab your nuts. I think that fucking the shit out of you might be a graduation gift that you'll remember for a long time." Max glared at him with a superior, evil expression.
"Yeah...you'll find out how small my boner is when I'm pluggin' your butt hole." Billy grabbed his crotch and laughed. "We could tag team."
"If you're real good, we might use some KY...just to show how much we really like you." Max joined the laugh and playfully punched Billy on the arm. "And I know you'll like some hot, hard piece of meat up your faggot ass."
"In your dreams. Screw off and leave me alone. We never have liked each other and I certainly have no intention of dignifying you and the shit you're saying. I may be smaller but I'm not afraid to protect myself from retards like you two."
"Who you goin' to run to, your mommy? Oh, that's right. She's not here anymore, is she?" Max said with a sneer.
Jeremy's mouth flew open and color momentarily drained from his face. He gritted his teeth, clenched his fists and forced himself not to explode. "That was a low blow, you moron. Fuck you," he said in a low, calculated tone of loathing.
"No, fuck you. I mean...really...fuck you. What I said is goin' to happen real soon. So don't loosen yourself up too much. I like a tight piece of ass. Come on, Billy. Let's get to class." He purposefully bumped into Jeremy as the two football players left.
"What did those two Neanderthals want?" asked Robert as he walked up. "They looked pretty stupid as usual...but you don't look very happy."
"Double trouble. Max got pretty threatening...calling me a queer, faggot...stuff like that. Then did a swipe at my mom."
"Oh, buddy. I'm really sorry." Robert took his arm and placed it around Jeremy's shoulder. "What the hell started this?"
"Somehow he heard about the Barecats and dancing for the guys. Now he tells me that he's going to...fuck me. Hateful, homophobic stuff like that. What an idiotic bastard. And Billy's just as bad. I could fight one of them one-on-one...but I'm lunchmeat if they gang up on me."
"See your point. What a friggin' drag for this to happen the last month of high school. After that, we'll be in college and those assholes will be bagging fries."
"If they're lucky," Jeremy said. He found the book he was looking for and closed the locker. "Neither one got picked up by any schools for a football scholarship ride."
"Let me tell everyone about the threats and set up something of a watch around school. One of us can be sure we're around if trouble happens."
"It's crazy to have to do this...but you're right. I can't believe some shit that freshmen usually pull off is happening right now. I'll let Tommy know, too."
"Don't let this get you down. Just five weeks and counting," Robert said as they walked to the next class.
"Ohhh, Babe," purred Jeremy as Charlie massaged his shoulders. The shave sessions had now been expanded to include backrubs, lovemaking and cuddling. Jeremy happily accepted the invitation for sleepovers with his lover on Thursdays.
"You got a little knot right here," Charlie applied a little more pressure and patiently kneaded the tightness. "Tension, no doubt, caused by the confrontation with that asshole you mentioned. What's the name...Max Boring? I remember him...you guys were sophomores my senior year. He was a mean dude on the football field."
"Boring's been like that since we were kids...but I could handle it then. I admit this homophobic and potential gay bashing crap scares me. Billy Cortez is a groupie and will do anything he's told. Christ, this isn't Bum Fuck, Alabama. And it's 2007, for God's sake."
"I don't like the sound of what those guys might be planning." Charlie moved his strong hands down to the small of Jeremy's lower back and leaned down. "And I don't want anything messed around with. Especially down here." He leaned down and tenderly kissed each firm glute before he poked at Jeremy's puckered rosebud with his tongue.
"Ahhh...you know how to turn me on," Jeremy crooned. He wiggled his butt slightly and relaxed his sphincter. He gasped when Charlie replaced the tongue with a wet finger.
"Hon, I'm going to make a few calls and talk with Garin. Those cretins are going to regret they ever thought of messing around with my man." Charlie dug around and zeroed in on Jeremy's prostate.
Jeremy started breathing heavier. "But..."
"No Buts." Charlie grabbed the bottle of AstroGlide from the nightstand and applied lube on his fingers. "Except yours," he added with a snicker. Slowly he inserted two fingers and massaged Jeremy's nut with more intensity. By the time Charlie added a third digit, Jeremy had wiggled around so they were facing each other.
"Then I'm in your hands...and everything else you've got." Jeremy looked into the deepest depths of Charlie's eyes, nodded and slowly raised his legs.
'What a gorgeous day,' Jeremy thought as he exited the school. It was only the second week of May but the temperatures were approaching 80 degrees...something unusual for Chicago this early in the season. With most students still in class, foot traffic was nil when he left the building. He had continued his routine of skipping the last study period of the day so he could get to Bally's for a workout. 'Only four more weeks and I'm outta here,' he thought while he stood for a moment with closed eyes to absorb the late afternoon sun.
Suddenly his arms were grabbed and roughly pulled behind him. Jeremy opened his eyes as the snap of handcuffs secured his wrists. "What the..."
"We're baaack," Max Boring said, in a mocking tone. "Your worst dreams have returned, faggot."
"You asshole...what..." was all Jeremy got out before a piece of duct tape was slapped over his mouth. Hands grabbed each of his arms like meaty vises. 'Shit,' he thought as they manhandled him, 'these turds are serious.'
"The next time the tape comes off will be when you're begging for our dicks up your boy cunt," Billy Cortez blurted out. "Now, walk."
Jeremy struggled but the strength of the two football linemen was too much. He tried going limp but they just dragged him north to the tennis courts and sports practice fields. The two large young men flanked Jeremy tightly enough so that only a person closely monitoring the threesome would know something was not right.
It was just after 2:00 p.m. and the last P.E. classes of the day hadn't come out to go through their exercise drills. Jeremy was very concerned that his captors would go unnoticed. He was now walking in a stagger as they crossed over to the grassy area and passed the tennis courts. 'Oh, fuck. They're going to the equipment shed,' he decided. 'Once we're in there, I'm dead meat...literally.' He knew this was where all of the football blocking sleds and other padded equipment were stored. Jeremy now regretted he had sloughed off Garin's offer to provide security monitors after school.
"Good idea to get the key from the coach's office. No one will suspect we're here," Billy said with a laugh. "We can do all kind of things before we send him home. If he can walk."
"Coach will never miss it. No one will be out this way." Max stopped the procession in front of the door. "Hold this faggot while I get the lock."
Jeremy felt the bearish arms of Billy firmly wrap around him while Max inserted the key into the padlock. He tried struggling and kicking to wriggle loose. It was to no avail; Billy just held on tighter. 'These guys are actually going to do this...and probably get away with it,' he thought with looming dread. For the last couple of years, Max had been a private joke among his classmates when it came to guys getting a sexual homerun. According to the rumors, the few girls who did spread their legs for the football player had been absolutely revolted by the experience. His idea of intercourse was a fast 'wham, bam - thank you, M'am' approach. The hefty jock wanted to get off as soon as possible and had little if any regard for the girl. 'Victim is more like it,' Jeremy thought.
Max placed the padlock and key on the ground before he opened the darkened shed. He flipped on an overhead light bulb and motioned for Billy to enter with Jeremy. "Put that mutherfucker on the floor and we'll get this show on the road," Max growled.
Billy did as instructed and Jeremy roughly hit the compacted dirt floor. "Stay there, you fuckin' queer." He put his heel on Jeremy's butt and shoved him effortlessly like one of the blocking sleds. "Why don't we have him blow us, first?"
"Maybe afterwards. We can use his queer mouth to clean our dicks off. You got the towels?"
"Yeah. They're in the corner. I put them here yesterday."
"Good. Now close the door. My dick is aching for his queer ass." Max laughed and pushed Jeremy a little further with his foot. "You want it, don't you, Sloan?"
"Urghh," was all Jeremy could get out from behind the tape over his mouth while he lay on his back. Added to his worry was Max's cock. He was hung like a fireplug and apparently didn't have a clue how to use his dick...other than a ramrod. Jeremy had seen Max horsing around in the showers a couple of times, getting an erection, and grimaced at the thought of having to take that monster. It made Robert's 'can' look like a firecracker by comparison. There was absolutely no chance that Max would even consider a fingering routine and Jeremy knew that he could be seriously hurt down there.
He halfway hoped that Billy would be the first one to fuck him: Cortez was more modestly endowed. 'If Billy goes first,' Jeremy considered, 'it might be a way to stretch me before Max forces his dick in me.' The thought of that gave the term 'mercy fuck' new meaning.
"Billy, help me stand him up and move him over to the closest blocking sled. Face him to the sled and I'll remove the cuffs from his hands."
"Ain't that kinda dangerous?" Billy asked.
"We're going to tape his wrists to the supports behind the body pads. And if this fairy gives you any trouble, punch the fucker hard in the kidneys. He'll piss purple for a week."
The two guys lifted Jeremy and dragged him to the large sled. Normally, 250 to 300 pound players would lunge at the padding to practice line blocks. Max took out a small key and unlocked the handcuffs. He tossed the cuffs aside and quickly grabbed one wrist while Billy held Jeremy's arm tightly. He found a good area on the sled support and wrapped tape around the left wrist until it was temporarily welded to the cold metal. After inspecting his work with satisfaction, Max did the same thing with the right wrist.
"Urrgh, er, ahhh, urghh..." Jeremy was desperately trying to talk.
"Take the tape off the queer boy's mouth. He probably wants to thank us for what he's going to get," Max said with a snicker.
"Yeah. That way he can suck us off." Billy walked over and ripped off the tape from Jeremy's mouth.
"You guys are crazy," Jeremy yelled. "Undo me before this goes too far." He wanted to roll out a series of invectives but decided it was best to first get one chip on the table before hurling any insults. "Let me go and we'll write this off as a joke that didn't come off very well."
"The joke's on you, fudge packer. Here's the deal...we don't like queers. But, a hole's a hole and I'm horny," Max replied with no emotion.
"Seriously, I gotta get to work. Cut me loose and I won't say anything about this." Jeremy didn't want to plead but he was determined to try anything to neutralize this situation. He decided to try to separate Billy Cortez from Max 'shit-for-brains' Boring. "Billy, whaduya say? We've never had a problem with each other."
"I...didn't know you were queer. But, Max is right - it's all changed and...I'm horny, too."
"And we're serious. Your pants come down after Billy takes off your shoes. Now." Max glared at Jeremy and licked his lips.
"Kick me and you're dead," Billy said as he bent over and slipped off Jeremy's Nikes. After he threw the sneakers aside, Billy reached up and undid the buttons of Jeremy's 501's.
"Fuck, you're going to do this, aren't you? This is very wrong...don't you guys get it? It's rape." Jeremy knew time was not on his side and dreaded the moment about to arrive. He gritted his teeth and shuddered at the thought of being entered by these animals.
"The pants. Off, now. I'm ready to get a real piece of ass." Max pulled the wallet out of Jeremy's jeans. "Well, lookie here. Our classmate has a few dollars that he don't need." He took ten twenty-dollar bills out of the wallet and pocketed the cash. "Kind of a thank you gift. We'll split this later."
"Okay, okay. I get that this is goin' to happen," Jeremy said. His mind was working at warp speed as he determined how to best react. He knew that driving a wedge between his two captors was still the best course while he figured out a way to stall for time. "Um, why don't you let Billy go first? He's better to get me...ready...for you."
"I...I don't know about doing it first," Billy stammered. "I've never done this...to a guy."
"Billy, you guys said a hole is a hole. Forget about me...cuz this is not my thing and I'm not going to enjoy taking either of you up my butt. Point is, Billy...your dick is a nice size for...screwing. And afterwards, Max will thank you for prepping me." Jeremy talked with deliberate, measured tones while he inwardly cringed at the thought of what he had proposed. 'Oh, man,' he thought, 'please let this sink into those morons' heads.' He also knew he was running out of time in his effort to stall this attack.
"The faggot's got a point. You do it first and then I'll follow." Max jerked down Jeremy's jeans and briefs in one swift motion. "Step out of your pants," Max ordered. One at a time, Jeremy lifted his legs out of the jeans. Next, Jeremy's legs were kicked further apart. Finally Max undid his pants, pulled out his cock and slowly stroked himself. "Whip it out and get hard," he told Billy. "You're first at bat."
"Okay, but this queer is going to suck me clean after you're finished." Billy zipped down his jeans and revealed a firm erection. He looked at Max and added, "I'm so horny that I think looking at a couple of dogs doing it would get me going."
"Sloan, stick your butt out and get ready to enjoy it." Max's hardon was completely extended and precum was dripping.
"Billy, for Christ's sake, spit on your dick. It'll be easier to get it in," Jeremy said. He had reached a point where his objective was to lessen the pain and avoid damage...if possible.
A gob of saliva landed on Billy's eager erection and he coated the head before positioning it at Jeremy's back door.
Suddenly, the door burst open and several young men charged in. Max was pushed to the floor and forced to lie on his back. The lineman's massive, inflated dick still protruded out of his fly. Billy was pulled off Jeremy and was thrown down to a similar position. At the same time, a steady flashing and clicking from a digital camera recorded the graphic, incriminating details. The 10 young rescuers were a mix of swim team, football players and other male friends of Jeremy.
"Make one move, Max, and that dick of yours will be seriously damaged," Robert Stein shouted. "Did you get all the pictures you need, Tommy?"
"Yeah. All in disgusting living color," Tommy Turner said. "Jeremy, as embarrassing as this is, we can't release you until Franklin and cops get here in a minute. They need to witness what these shitheads have been up to."
"Mr. Franklin and a few of Chicago's finest are almost here," Sam Agosto said from the open doorway. "I'll go out and flag them over here."
"Max, you stepped in deep doo-doo on this one. What have you got to say for yourself? I'm embarrassed to say that we were teammates." Troy Tuturno looked down at the hulk of a young man on the floor and shook his head.
"He...Sloan's a fuckin' queer. All these faggots like to get it up their ass," Max replied with a sneer.
"You don't like gays?" Troy asked as Mr. Franklin, the high school principal, and the police entered the shed.
"Fuckin' hate them. They'll burn in hell but not until I teach them a lesson...especially this fairy. Let me loose, Troy. I can finish this another day."
"I don't think so, Mr. Boring. This is serious business you've started," came the familiar, authoritarian voice of Mr. Franklin, principal of Lincoln Park High School.
The young men stood aside as the principal and three Chicago policemen walked into the shed.
"Sir, I'd like to free Jeremy and let him...get dressed if you've seen enough," Robert said. "Tommy took several pictures of this place and...what happened."
"I've seen more than enough. Officers, may the young man get dressed?"
"Certainly. We've got the picture," one of the policemen replied. "It will all be in our report."
"This is a sad day for our school," Mr. Franklin said. "Jeremy, how are you doing?"
"Under the circumstances, okay, I guess. I've probably got enough material for some crazy nightmares. But I would like to be released." Jeremy was embarrassed that the adults saw him in his confined state. "Thanks. You guys came just in time."
"You can thank Stein and the rest of your friends. Seems they set up some sort of watch in case something like this happened and a system to take action. Their use of cell phones to relay your plight was extremely helpful," Mr. Franklin said.
"A good friend of yours from work downtown came up with the idea," Robert said to Jeremy. Silently, he mouthed "Charlie."
"Guys, when I asked you to cover my back, I didn't dream that something like this would happen. I would have been shit out of luck if you hadn't arrived. Whoops...sorry, Mr. Franklin," Jeremy said with an embarrassed smile.
"Sloan, I assure you I'm familiar with the phrase," the principal replied with a warm smile. "Come by and see me first thing in the morning. There's a good man I want you to see for what may turn out to be some much needed counseling."
"Will do. Probably would be helpful to sort all this shi...stuff out."
Robert took a Swiss Army knife out of his pocket and cut the tape that bound Jeremy's wrists to the blocking practice sled. He helped Jeremy pull off the tape and found the bunched up jeans with the briefs in the corner. He handed the clothing to Jeremy and smiled as his best friend quickly redressed. Jeremy spotted his shoes and sat down on the floor to get them back on.
By the time Jeremy turned around to face his friends and the authorities, he saw Max and Billy, fully clothed, standing with their wrists bound by red strips of plastic. He nodded at his buddies and said a quiet prayer. He was thankful they had indeed covered his backside and proved their friendship in spades.
"Mr. Sloan, we need to get a statement from you," said one of the police officers. "We can do it either here or at the station."
"Sir, if we could finish everything right now, I'd appreciate it. Nothing bad happened to me physically and I need to get to work in a half-hour," Jeremy replied, putting on a brave front. "Oh, if you look in one of Max's jean pockets, you'll find $200.00 in twenties. I was going to stop by the bank this afternoon. He took my money."
"You want to pull out the money? We can fish it out it we have to," said another uniformed policeman.
"Th...that's my money," Max replied with a wilting defiance.
"Right. And Sloan here has x-ray vision. Get it out."
Max muttered to himself while he struggled to reach into his pocket and retrieve the money. The task was made difficult with his bound hands.
The policeman took the bills, counted it and said, "I verify the amount of money. Unfortunately it'll be a little while before you can get this back. The money is considered evidence and must be logged in first. You can probably claim this once all the paperwork is completed and the perpetrators are arraigned."
"Yes, Sir. I understand." Jeremy didn't need the money right away and was more interested in having this afternoon end with the departure of the police. "Guys, thanks again to all of you. I could have been seriously hurt if you hadn't gotten here." Suddenly it hit him - what had happened and his close call. He started to cry and fell into Robert's open arms. "Jeez. I feel like such a wuss," Jeremy added with a few sniffles.
"Sloan, on behalf of the school, I'm sorry that this ever happened. When you graduate - with honors, I might add - next month, there will be two fewer people in your class." Mr. Franklin walked over and took Jeremy's hand and squeezed it.
"I'll get these two over to the station while you take Sloan's statement," said another policeman. "Let's see...kidnapping under force, attempted rape and a theft. How's that for openers?"
"Oh, I think that we can add 'hate crime' to this misadventure. The mayor and the department are very clear about their severity on hate crimes...of any type in any category, be it race, gender or sexual orientation," the first policeman added. "But we'll let the prosecutor's office figure out this one. Boys, time to go over to Larrabee Street." The Larrabee Street station was the nearest police station in the North Side neighborhood. "I understand one of you has pictures of the crime scene?"
"Yes, Sir. On my camera," Tommy answered.
"I'll need to take that for evidence. There's a computer tech at the station who can retrieve the data from the camera for evidence. Here's my card. Give me a call in a couple of days. You and Sloan can probably pick up your property by then." The policeman smiled and handed the compact, swim team diver a business card. Before leaving, they gathered the other physical evidence; the roll of tape, hand cuffs, and the cut tape from Jeremy's wrists, and placed them in plastic bags.
Max and Billy held their heads down as two uniformed officers escorted them out of the shed. The third officer stayed behind to take Jeremy's statement.
"Jeremy, are you going to be okay? Or, do you need to take some time off?" Mr. Franklin asked. "I need to get back to the office to start a lot of paperwork. Again, what happened to you was deplorable and you have my deepest apologies."
"Sir, I think I'm fine. This has been a really strange day...I'm just trying to process this. I'll be in your office tomorrow morning to see the counselor."
"With all due respect, you're not fine," Robert said, walking over to Jeremy. "I'll call Bally's and let them know that you're not well. You, my friend, are coming home with me for some of my mom's cooking." Robert then put his arm around his best friend.
"Bobby, you're right. I think I'll head home with you right after I finish with the police." Jeremy shook the hands of the principal, hugged each friend individually and added as an afterthought. "I guess I also need to call Naomi and Charlie."
TO BE CONTINUED