By Mark Peters
is a fictional story which contains scenes depicting sexual acts between
males of different ages.
all those who are reading this story on Nifty I encourage you to visit
their home page ( www.nifty.org ) and make
~ Chapter Twenty-Seven ~
`I don't get it,' replied Jimmy. `Why would you
even want to keep his photo?'
`It's not a matter of wanting to keep it, Jimmy. That photo was only sent to me this morning. It was taken by the kid who lives next door to me. The bastard was at my apartment and was asking about me.'
`Oh, shit. That can't be good,' Shane remarked.
`You're not kidding, mate.'
`So what are you going to do about it?' Jimmy asked.
`Catch him and put him just where he deserves to be!' I suggested.
`Jail?' asked Shane.
`A fuckin' hole in the ground would be better,' spat Jimmy.
`I wouldn't argue against that if the opportunity arose, Jimmy, but given my job I somehow tend to think that's not actually going to be an option we will get.'
`Well it should be an option, I reckon,' Jimmy pouted. `There's a time and a place for everything, don't they say that? And what about an eye for an eye and all that?'
`Yeah, that might all be true, Jimmy, but not for this. Wouldn't that just make us as bad as them?'
`If it means getting scum like him off the streets, what does it matter? It might even go some way to making others like him think twice before they start fucking with people, don't you think?'
`Maybe, Jimmy. Just maybe,' I sighed, knowing full well that he did have a point . . . and one which was trotted out every time the subject of capital punishment was ever discussed.
Glancing at Adam I could tell by his wry grin that he was thinking exactly what I was. Jimmy did have a point, but being an officer of the law it was my duty to do everything in my power to bring criminals to justice, not hand out justice of my own, regardless of the circumstances, or my own opinions. Given my own involvement in this case, however, I couldn't help but wonder just what my reaction might be if push came to shove and a life and death decision needed to be made. Would I be up to the challenge of doing the right thing, or would my feelings get the better of me?
I guess only time would tell.
As these and other thoughts passed through my mind I looked up ahead and noticed that the wetlands jetty was drawing closer. It was time to do something about slowing this little tub down.
`Okay you pair of land lubbers . . . down with the mainsail,' I ordered, doing my best – though still rather poor – impersonation of Captain Tom.
Shane was first to reply, saying, `Aye, aye, skipper,' before jumping to his feet and moving forward along the narrow edge of the deck, all the while keeping a tight hold on the lifeline which ran around the boat with one hand, while the other held on to the railing around the top of the cabin. Jimmy quickly followed and in no time at all the mainsail was down, leaving just the jib in place. That slowed the boat considerably, but didn't stop it entirely.
At the sound of activity on the deck and the change in pace, Tom stuck his head out from the cabin, asking, `Have you lot got everything under control up here?'
`It's all good, Tom. We're just coming in to the jetty. The boys have the mainsail down already. The jib is next.'
`Splendid. I'll make sailors out of you lot yet!' he said, before retreating back into the small cabin with Beth.
As I barked orders at the two boys, telling them to gather in and secure the mainsail before starting to take down the jib, I glanced across at Adam, who was sitting back in the cockpit, simply watching everything that was happening around him. The grin on his face told me just how much he was enjoying what was going on, although I wasn't sure exactly if it was the fact he was out on the water on a beautiful day, or if it was the fact that he was taking enjoyment out of watching me and the boys in action.
As the jet ski zoomed past us once more, cutting across in front of us and heading toward the jetty, I had to admit that I was certainly enjoying being out on the water with these guys, and couldn't help but hope that there would be many more days like this, at least once the clouds that seemed to be threatening our immediate futures had all passed.
Adam noticed me staring at him and smiled. `This sure is the life!' he laughed, as our boat hit the bow wave from the jet ski, sending a fine spray of water our way.
`Well, it sure as hell beats sitting in an office all day, doesn't it?' I replied.
With the jib coming down we could feel that the boat had slowed considerably, as we approached the jetty. I could see there were a number of old car tyres secured to the side of the wooden structure as padding, and so as we slowed and came closer I spun the wheel hard to port, knowing that this would turn us so that the starboard side would be facing the jetty, with the aim being for us to come to a gentle stop against it.
`How are you doing?' I heard Tom ask as he and Beth both emerged from the cabin this time, while looking around to see how close we were to our destination.
Looking to starboard I could see that the edge of the jetty was approaching fast enough, even allowing for the fact that we were no longer under sail.
`Almost there now,' I answered.
`Jimmy,' Tom called. `Grab the forward line and get ready to jump onto the jetty, just as soon as we touch the tyres. And Shane, you be ready with the aft line. Momentum will probably drag her along the jetty a bit, so be ready to take hold, then once you have her under control wrap the line around the nearest bollard to you and tie her off, nice and secure, just like I showed you yesterday.'
`Aye, aye,' Jimmy answered as he scurried forward and found the line, while Shane came aft along the narrow edge of the deck and also assumed his position, ready to act just as soon as the time was right.
Tom beamed at his two young recruits, like a proud father watching a son stepping up for the first time into a role he had been trained for, or destined for. I was happy for him and Beth, just as I was happy for the boys, all the while hoping that we might be able to arrange it so that they would all be able to build something of a future here together and that this day would be repeated many times over.
When the moment came and Gypsy 2 finally touched the jetty, gently kissing a rubber tyre before skidding along onto the next one, the boys jumped into action, both landing on the jetty with lines in hand, and virtually pulling the boat to a stop, snug up against the tyres.
We all watched proudly as they quickly wrapped the lines around the wooden bollards of the jetty, even if they couldn't quite manage the right knots at first attempt.
`That's near enough lads,' bellowed Tom. `Good job, both of you.'
The grins on Jimmy and Shane's faces said it all as they took in Tom's praise. I guessed that it was probably the first time in quite a while that anyone had treated them in this way, and it certainly showed.
Adam and I helped Beth from the boat, with one of us on either side of her and holding a hand as she climbed over the side and stepped onto the timber jetty, before she then turned around and directed us to hand over the lunch provisions to her two minions. With that done we followed Tom over the side, then the six of us set off toward the land-bound end of the jetty and the picnic areas we could see beyond it, where other families were already settling in to enjoy their day out.
From the table we chose, about half way up the hill, we had an excellent view of the river and the jetty on one side, while the wetlands were on the other side of us, with the city being directly across the river in front of us. Things had changed little since I had last been here, apart from what looked like some additional new barbeque areas being added, all spaced around a large clearing and leading up the gently sloping side of a hill.
* * *
After we had eaten, having enjoyed some sausages that Tom had cooked on the barbeque, along with some salads which Beth had brought with us, all washed down with Coke and while sitting around a large wooden picnic table, the boys decided they would like to go for a walk around and explore the area beyond the picnic area.
If I was any judge I had a feeling that they had other motives, other than bird watching or looking at the scenery, however, I kept these thoughts to myself, offering a knowing smile and quietly suggesting that they might like to check out the views around the next point, where I knew it to be much quieter, and where I knew there to be a couple of secluded and sheltered spots, well away from prying eyes.
No one else seemed any the wiser when I mentioned this idea to them, and as we watched Shane and Jimmy march off, walking side by side almost as if they were joined at the shoulder, yet not being quite so obvious that they were together I couldn't help but smile to myself.
Tom and Beth excused themselves and did the same, only heading down toward the water's edge instead, leaving the pair of us sitting at the picnic table alone.
`What are you grinning at?' I heard Adam ask beside me.
`Oh, nothing much,' I replied.
`What's around that next bend in the river where you sent the boys?'
`Not a bloody thing,' I answered with a wry grin, as I began clearing away some of our lunch items. When Adam smiled back at me I knew that he had cottoned on to just what I was implying.
`You're bad,' Adam scolded.
`Would you like me to show you what's around that bend?' I asked him quietly.
`Maybe later,' he chuckled.
`Yeah . . . about that,' I said.
`On the trip out here today I've been thinking.'
`Would you mind if we headed back to Sydney tonight, instead of staying another night? I have a feeling that shit is about to hit the fan back there, and the last thing I want is for Nick and Brad to get caught up in something like this. I think I need to be there . . . you know, just in case.'
Adam looked at me long and hard and for a moment I thought he was going to say something, but then his face softened and he leaned in closer, while placing one hand over mine.
`Rick, we'll do whatever we need to do to keep those boys safe . . . even if that means booking them and their mother into a motel, or sending them away somewhere, or something.'
`I don't know if the Inspector would . . .'
`Don't worry about that. I said we'll do whatever we need to do, okay?'
`Okay,' I agreed. `I don't know what it was that I did to deserve you, but I'm glad I did it.'
`I guess that you were just the right person in the right place at the right time,' he replied, with just a hint of mischief in his eyes.
`Is that what you reckon?' I answered, as I cast my mind back to the first time I laid eyes on him in the nightclub at Caesar's.
It was the first time that I had ventured back into the place after my having been involved in the fracas surrounding the raid some months earlier – the raid which had resulted in the note which was now permanently attached to my personnel record – and so I wasn't trying to be actively involved in much of what was happening, preferring instead to hang back and observe. That was when I first spotted him, and even allowing for the darkness and the flashing lights, and the distraction of loud, head-banging dance music, I could tell he was more than just another good looking guy out on the town. Those who were around him seemed captivated by him, and it wasn't difficult to see why.
I had been standing against the bar at the time, near to where he and his friends, some of whom I knew, were seated away from the dance floor. Every time I had cast a glance in his direction I seemed to have found myself staring directly into his soul. It seems I wasn't the only one who had been checking out the locals, apparently.
A furtive smile, with each of us quickly acknowledging our being complicit in the ritual, was all it took for a connection to be made, and it wasn't long after that when he sidled up beside me and offered to buy me the first of what would be quite a few drinks.
Sometimes I found myself thinking that this was all too good to be true, but every time I seemed to have those doubts he would do something that would cast those doubts aside and reaffirm the faith I had in him . . . and in us.
`Hey, Rick . . . are you still with us?' I heard Adam ask, snapping me back to attention. `You looked like you were on another planet there for a few moments.'
`What? Oh, yeah, I'm good . . . I was just taking a quick trip back to Planet Caesar's,' I replied, offering a smile as I said so.
`Ahhhh . . . and how was it?'
`Perfect, as always,' I chuckled.
For a few moments he studied me, before eventually offering, `You know, I almost didn't go that night. It was only a last minute thing.'
`Well, I'm glad you did go,' I replied.
`So am I, Rick. So am I,' he said, before leaning forward and kissing me, oblivious to whoever might be around, or might see us.
When our lips parted and we sat back grinning at each other we finally received a reaction for our actions, when we heard a noise close by, which proved to come from two boys. Barely teenagers themselves as yet, we had earlier seen them nearby throwing a football around. They had stopped what they were doing and instead started giggling at us.
`Corrrrr . . . I've never seen that before,' one of them squawked.
`Nah, me neither,' his companion seemed to croak, before giving what seemed to be an almost absentminded rub at the front of his shorts.
Adam and I glanced at each other and smiled, but said nothing. Instead, I gave the second boy a wink to which he seemed to blush, before grabbing his friend by the arm and starting to drag him away, saying, `C'mon, let's get the hell out of here.'
`Why?' the first boy protested.
`What? Do you want to watch them?'
`Well . . . I . . . errr . . . just never saw anyone else do it before. We might learn something . . .' he added.
`Oh geez . . . why don't you just tell everyone?' the second boy groaned, before storming off, then giving the football a punt and running after it, as if he were trying to get as far away from us as he possibly could, and as quickly as he could.
His companion looked at him, then looked our way, then looked back at his friend once more.
`You better go,' Adam said to him. `He'll get over it . . . and your secret's safe with us.'
`I . . . I . . .' he stammered.
`It's okay,' I said, trying to reassure him. `Just go to him. You'll both be fine.'
Without another word the boy turned and ran after his friend, giving us just one glance back over his shoulder after he had run a few yards, before putting all his energy into catching up to the other boy.
`It seems they're starting younger and younger these days,' Adam remarked.
`Yeah, times they are a changing, eh?'
* * *
Tom and Beth returned shortly after our visitors had departed and we had finished clearing away the lunch things, having packed everything back into the esky and picnic hamper that it had been brought in, and the rubbish dumped in the garbage bin provided.
Beth looked concerned about something and it wasn't long before we found out what it was.
`So, were you going to show me that picture?' she asked me directly.
I looked at Tom, who gave me an almost indiscernible nod.
`Of course. But I had just wanted to discuss it with Tom first,' I replied, while fishing my phone from my pocket.
Scrolling through the saved photos I soon came to the image of Corcoran that Nick had sent me earlier. Each time I looked at it a chill went down my spine, so I had a pretty fair idea what Beth's reaction was going to be also.
When I handed the phone over to her I wasn't to be disappointed, as one hand went straight to her open mouth, covering it in the classic response as if trying to cover her shock.
`Is that really him?' she whispered.
`I'm afraid so, Beth. It was only taken this morning . . . right outside my apartment, by one of the kids who lives next to me.'
Turning to Adam she asked, `And Tom tells me he approached you outside your apartment as well?'
`Yes, Beth. It seems he's been following our every move and casing out where we both live,' Adam replied. `It's really quite worrying, not just for us, but especially for Nick and Brad.'
`That's why we've been thinking that we should head home early . . . tonight, in fact,' I added. `I can't let anything happen to those boys, so we're going to try and talk their mother into taking them away for a few days, while we put all our efforts into tracking down Corcoran.'
`And how do you propose to do that?' she asked as she handed my phone back to me, her distaste at having viewed the image clearly evident.
`We have another lead . . . and one which has come from a most unexpected source,' I answered.
`Which is?' asked Tom.
`Jimmy and Shane both recognised him.'
`What?' Beth asked, sounding quite shocked.
`Apparently he's also one of Jarvis' clients . . . so if he's in that little black book of Jarvis', then it might just give us a clue as to how to track him down. I've sent Helen the picture, so she's going to get it out to uniformed branch and do whatever she can between now and when I get back there . . . but the more pressing worry for me at the moment are my two young neighbours, so that's why I really need to get back as quickly as I can.'
`Of course,' said Tom, then after quickly looking around he asked, `Where are Jimmy and Shane now? Have they come back yet?'
`No, they're still off somewhere. They'll be back when they're ready, then we can pack up and get going if you like,' I answered. `We may as well make the most of a bit of down time while we can.'
`Well then, if you've decided to go today, did you think about what I said about Stacey?' Beth enquired.
`I have, Beth. And I really would like to see her and the little one . . . I'm just not sure when I'm going to be able to do that . . . I mean, it doesn't look like it will be able to happen on this trip.'
`You could at least talk to her though, couldn't you?' she countered.
`Yes, I guess I could.'
`Good. I'll call her for you, right now,' she answered, before reaching for her shoulder bag, which she had earlier set on the table, and pulling her own phone from it.
`You sure don't waste any time, do you?' I grinned.
`Surely you should know that by now,' Tom scoffed, as Beth quickly started searching through her contacts on her phone.
I couldn't be anything but nervous as I watched Beth holding the phone to her ear as she waited for a pick up at the other end. That was only compounded by her pacing around like someone on an important mission. When she suddenly stopped, I knew it was crunch time.
`Stacey! Hello,' she said. `How are things with you and Chris and little Matty?'
Beth turned her back on us for a few moments and stepped away from us while she spoke with Stacey. As she did this I could feel the sweat breaking out on the palms of my hands and could hear the sound of blood pumping through my brain.
It had been so long since I had spoken with my sister that I just knew I was bound to have trouble finding something to actually say, but when I heard Beth say, `I'll put him on for you,' then hold the phone out toward me a strange calm seemed to pass over me, as I took a deep breath and took the phone from her hand.
`Hello sis. It's sure been a while,' I said, while I started to walk a short distance away from the others. Sitting down on a grassy knoll which looked out over the river I spoke with my sister, with both of us rebuilding the bridges we thought had been burned long ago.
* * *
When I finally returned to where Tom, Beth and Adam were sitting a short time later, it felt as if yet another weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Stacey had been everything that I hadn't expected her to be, even despite Beth having said that she had changed.
It was as if she was now an entirely different person to the one that I had grown up with and had found myself despising at the time I had first left Newcastle. Now, I found myself actually looking forward to the brief roadside meeting I had arranged for later on that afternoon, when Adam and I would be heading south, back to Sydney.
When I handed Beth her phone back she looked up and smiled at me, asking, `How did that go?'
`Way better than I had expected,' I replied honestly.
`She and her husband and Matthew want to meet us this afternoon as we pass through Newcastle,' I said, before adding, `She really wants to meet Adam also, so I guess she has changed.'
`I'm so glad,' Beth chuckled. `You won't be sorry, Rick.'
`I know. And thank you,' I replied, while leaning over and giving her a hug right where she sat, before then taking a seat beside Adam.
When I looked at Adam I found him grinning at me, the expression on his face one of wry amusement.
`What's your problem?' I asked him. `I hope you don't mind us making a stop on the way through?'
`No, I don't mind at all. And as for what my problem is, well, when you said you wanted me to meet your family, I just didn't expect that there would be so bloody many of them! Are there any more hidden away that I don't know about?'
`Oh, there's a few more,' Tom jumped in and said. `But you should be safe . . . there's a reason why they are kept hidden you know!'
`Tom, stop that!' Beth scolded. `Adam, don't you take any notice of him.'
`It's okay, Beth. I think I'm starting to get the hang of his sense of humour,' Adam answered.
`Sense of humour?' Beth laughed. `I've been married to the man for more than twenty five years and I still don't think he actually has one.'
`Is that so?' Adam ventured to ask.
`Don't you worry about her, Adam. She's laughed plenty at what I've said and done over the years,' Tom decreed.
`Oh yes, dear. That might be so, but you should always remember that there's a difference between laughing at someone, and laughing with someone!' Beth countered.
`Don't go pushing the point, Tom,' I advised. `Surely you know you'll never be able to win an argument with the lady?'
`Yes, Rick . . . I think you might be right there. Maybe it's time I went and cleaned the barbeque down.'
`Yes, dear, I think that would be wise. And if these boys need to get back to Sydney tonight, perhaps it is time we mustered up those other two larrikins so we can all get moving,' suggested Beth.
`I'll try their phone . . . assuming they've remembered to bring it with them,' I replied, before pulling my phone from my pocket and quickly searching through my contacts.
I pressed the button to dial their number, but all I got was the standard message from the carrier saying that it was switched off, or not in a serviced area.
`It doesn't look like they have it with them,' I said to the others. `How about Adam and I head off and try to find them?'
`That'd be good, dear. If they show up we'll call you,' Beth answered.
After dragging Adam to his feet we set off in the direction that the boys had gone.
`Don't go getting any ideas,' I warned Adam. `The last thing I'd want is to get busted making out by these two . . . we'd never hear the end of it!'
`That's okay. We'll keep this search strictly professional,' he replied with a grin. `But I'm not so sure I'll be able to keep up the charade once we get home tonight.'
`Once we get home it'll be every man for himself,' I promised him.
`That's kind of what I'm counting on.'
* * *
We found the boys walking hand in hand along a quiet path through the bushland, on their way back toward the picnic area. They didn't look any the worse for wear, but the sheepish grin on Shane's face, accompanied by the dried grass on his clothes confirmed my earlier suspicions as to what they may have been up to.
`I hope you boys were careful?' I said to them. `The last thing we need is some little old lady fainting at the sight of two horny teenagers going at it like rabbits in the wild and then the police being called.'
`No chance of that, Coop. We're pro's at this caper, remember?' Jimmy boasted.
`Yeah, that's what worries me,' I replied.
`Relax Coop. We were careful. There were plenty of great places that were nice and private . . . but I think you already knew that, didn't you, being a local and all?' Shane added.
Glancing across at Adam I could see him grinning at me.
`Well, Coop. Did you know that there were some great hiding places out here, or not?' Adam teased. `After all, you did suggest which way they should go!'
`Just whose fucking side are you on?' I spat back at him.
`The side of romance, Coop. And true love . . . and happily ever after fairy tales, and all that crap. Now come here and kiss me.'
`Oh, such a romantic!' I sighed, as I let him wrap his arms around me and pull me to him, while planting his lips upon mine. The kiss just seemed to go on and on and on, much to the delight of the wolf-whistling teenagers in our midst, and when we finally parted we both looked around rather sheepishly, wondering if anyone else had witnessed the event. Thankfully the coast was clear.
`You know, you guys are pretty hot,' Jimmy said to us as he dragged Shane down the path ahead of us, just out of our reach. `I reckon you could make a fortune turning tricks,' he teased.
`Do you really think you should be joking about that sort of shit?' Adam said, quietly but firmly rebuking him. The look on Shane's face clearly showed that he agreed with Adam.
`It was just a joke,' Jimmy replied, somewhat defensively.
`I know, Jimmy,' I said, wanting to step in before either of them went any further. `But sometimes we need to just keep in mind that there's a time and place for everything, and given what has gone down in this past week, maybe jokes about that sort of thing aren't entirely appropriate . . . at least not just at the moment.'
Jimmy stood there looking at us with an expression that I found difficult to read; almost as if he were about to erupt. For a moment I thought he was going to say something else, but when Shane slipped his hand into Jimmy's, and he turned to face him, it was almost as if we could see all that tension flow from his body.
These boys were good for each other.
`Once this is all over, Jimmy, I don't ever want to talk about what we've had to do to survive ever again,' Shane said to him. `No jokes. No strolling down memory lane. Nothing. I want us to put it all behind us, forget it ever happened, and move on. Can we do that?'
For what seemed like a long time the two of them looked deep into each other's eyes, before eventually Jimmy nodded.
`Anything you want, babe,' he said. `I'm sorry. You know me . . . I'm always running off at the mouth.'
`Really? We hadn't noticed,' Adam cheekily replied, which earned him a swift smack up the side of the head from me.
`Listen, you guys,' I said to Jimmy and Shane. `Adam and I need to get back to Sydney tonight, so we're going to push off just as soon as we've got back to Tom and Beth's house. Do you think I`ll be able to trust you to behave yourselves for them?'
`Is this because that guy was at your apartment?' Shane asked.
`Yeah, mate. We're doing everything we can to close in on him and I really need to be there . . . especially if he's now hanging around my place and approaching my neighbour's kids.'
`You'll get him, Coop. I just know it,' Jimmy offered.
`I wish I had your confidence, Jimmy.'
`You got Jarvis, didn't you?' Shane said.
`That is a bit different, mate. Jarvis was greedy and dumb compared to this guy. Corcoran is smart, but he's also a snake. It won't be easy to find him, let alone take him in.'
`But you're smart too . . . and I reckon you know how he thinks, so if anyone can get him, it'll be you,' added Jimmy.
`Let's just hope you're right, mate. Let's hope you're right,' I answered, as I put an arm around each of their shoulders and we started off down the path once more.
Adam joined onto the end of our line, hanging an arm over Shane's shoulders and quickly falling into step with us; however, our united march was soon short lived as I felt and heard my phone go off in my pocket and I had to break ranks to answer it.
`G'day Helen,' I said as I took the call, having recognized her number after fishing the phone from my pocket. `Any news?'
`You're not going to fucking believe this,' she spat, immediately putting me on edge.
The other three stopped in their tracks and looked at me with concern, having noted the anxious tone in my voice.
`We had him.'
`What? Who? Corcoran?' I asked, dumbfounded.
`Yeah. He was hauled in and questioned overnight about his involvement with Jarvis' little enterprise, but as they didn't have anything to pin on him he's been released without charge.'
`What do you mean they didn't have anything to pin on him? You've spoken to Casey haven't you? Didn't he confirm that he knew him, and what he was up to?'
`Rick, I went straight around to Cathy's place as soon as you sent me that photo. Casey confirmed everything that Jimmy and Shane said alright, and we've now got a statement from him to that effect as well, but . . .'
`But what?' I growled.
`But Corcoran . . . or Cochran as he seems to be going by now . . . like I said, it was last night when he had been hauled in, then he was released this morning. That all happened before he paid a visit to your unit and your young neighbour managed to take that photo, and before we had a statement from anyone actually linking him to Jarvis' activities.'
`So . . . where is he now? Does anyone know?'
`I've sent officers around to the address where he had been picked up from, but no joy. They've staked the place out . . . and there are officers outside your building as well . . .'
`But no one knows where he's gone to?'
`No mate. He seems to have gone to ground,' Helen replied.
`Fuck it!' I groaned.
|To be continued...|
(c) 2015 Mark