My Belovèd is mine, and I am his.
Song of Songs 2:16
Standing outside Cam's
Emergency cubicle at the hospital, Kevin pulled his cell phone off his
hit quick dial.
"Dad? It's Kevin." It was midnight in L.A., and 8 a.m. in
London. Kevin could hear the sounds of clinking silverware, and
knew that Alex and John were at breakfast.
"Kevin!" Alex said enthusiastically. But Kevin's voice hadn't
sounded very cheerful. "Is everything all right."
"No." The word caught in the young man's throat, and he coughed
to cover his emotions before he could continue talking. "I have
Alex's heart sank. "What's going on?"
"Cam was kidnapped off the beach earlier tonight. They took him
into an empty house on the beach, and beat him badly and sexually
When Carl and I found him, thanks to the dogs, he was in a coma, but he
regained consciousness on the way to the hospital. He's in
Emergency at Santa
Monica--UCLA Medical Center, and I think they're gonna admit him and
keep him for a
day or so. He was bleeding. I don't know yet whether he
surgery or not."
"No, Kevin!!" Alex gasped. He was shaken, and his cell
phone fell from his
hand on to the
breakfast table. Kevin could hear him trying to pick the phone
up as John
Kelley anxiously queried him to find out what was the matter.
"Cam's in the
hospital," Alex told his partner as he got control of his cell again.
"I'll stay with him," Kevin assured Alex when the phone was back under
"I'll catch a plane home today," Alex told Kevin. He
not sure John can come with me because of work, but I'll be home by
tomorrow morning. I mean late, late evening, your time. If
I can't get the right flights, I'll book a charter."
"Good," Kevin said. "Do you want Carl or me to pick you up?"
"No," Alex said. "The studio will send a car for me. I'll
come right to the hospital."
"Thank you," Kevin said. He'd thought he was all cried out, but
he began weeping again at that point. "We all need to see you
real bad right now, Dad."
"I know. Hang in there for me, will you, son? I'll see
you tonight. I love you, Kev. Tell Cam I love him and I'll
see him soon."
Alex snapped the phone shut and began to tell an upset John Kelley what
he knew, which wasn't much, before abruptly leaving the table and going
to the concierge's desk in the hotel lobby to book a flight home.
He stood there at the counter thinking for a while before deciding that
John should come with him. Priorities,
he told himself. He
was able to get two of the last first class seats on a plane leaving
a.m. London time. He didn't care about the
amenities in first class, but the leg room--that was important on a
least we'll gain some hours flying west, he thought to
himself, looking at his watch.
Then the worrying about Cam started in earnest as he headed back to
finish his breakfast with John.
Kevin mentioned the dogs, Alex
thought to himself as he walked. Why are the dogs in Malibu?
"You're going home with me," Alex told his partner as he sat
down. "This is a family
matter, and you're sure as hell family. After we eat, you call
the cast and crew and shut down filming 'til we get back. I'll
call the studio. They're gonna shit a brick, but that's life."
* * *
Kevin walked down to a waiting room at the end of the hall in Emergency
and sat down to get
himself under control before going back to Cam's cubicle. He felt
totally drained and weak, empty and
dejected. And alone.
the lateness of the hour he tried to be as unobtrusive as possible so
that if security came by to oust street people, he didn't need to
proffer an explanation
about why he was there. He slumped down in his chair, turning
over in his mind the horrendous events of the past few hours.
Kevin was a realist, even at age 18. Despite his youth, he had a
growing awareness of both the heights and the depths of human
nature. He wouldn't have put his views in theological terms, but
he knew that human beings were indeed fallen just as the Church said,
cant toward selfishness and sometimes outright evil unless there was
countervailing grace. That didn't mean the Church was right about
everything, but they sure as hell weren't wrong about that.
When it comes to receiving justice,
there are people who deserve pay back in life for their bad
of others. But Cameron MacKenzie has never treated anyone badly, Kevin
thought to himself. Ever.
He began thinking about
his partner. He's has never,
knowingly hurt anyone, and has the kindest heart of anyone I've ever
known. From the time we were little guys growing
up together, Cam has always gone out of his way to intercede for the
weak and protect those who needed it. How could people not
admire and respect
that quality in Cam? I revere him for it. I love him for
it. Cam's generosity of spirit has always lifted me up and made
me a better person. For
Cam to have
experienced what he experienced tonight is heartbreaking because it's
so unjust and so undeserved.
The bond between Kevin and Cam was firm, founded long before the
night when Kevin had had gone into Cam's
bedroom and confessed to him his love and physical attraction for
him. They had
spilled their seed together for the first time that night, the
beginning of a relationship which had remained fresh as it had
had become over the past several years a mature and totally satisfying
sexual relationship for them was only the outward sign of hearts and
bodies which had truly become one. They might talk trash to each
sometimes and even occasionally disagree vehemently about something or
nothing could shake this relationship. Not until now, Kevin
unless Cam was so damaged by what had happened to him that he pushed
away as a means of protecting himself from feelings
Eyes red from weeping at the hurtful
possibilities lying ahead, Kevin had just
wiped his face with his handkerchief when he spotted a familiar figure
coming down the hall from the Emergency department's trauma unit.
It was Father John Ryan from St. Dunstan's. The
priest spotted him and went over with a concerned look on his
face. Kevin stood up, and the two of them shook hands.
"Kevin? What are you doing here?" The priest could see that
the young man had been crying.
"It's Cam," Kevin said. He paused, reluctant to be too graphic in
what he said. "He was assaulted on the beach tonight by some
homophobes, and beaten up pretty badly. I think the Emergency
doctor may admit him."
Ryan looked stricken, and pulled Kevin into a brief hug.
"What are you doing here?"
Kevin asked the priest when they let go of
"I was anointing a parishioner who was in a bad automobile accident
tonight. He just died."
"Oh," Kevin said. "I'm sorry."
"Thank you," the priest said. "Where did this happen to Cam?"
"In Malibu, about two miles from Alex's house. He was out for a
run on the beach. Alone, unfortunately."
"I'm so sorry, Kevin," Father Ryan said. "Do Alex and John and
"I just talked to Dad in London, so he and John know. Dad told me
catch a plane
this morning and be home late tonight or early in the morning.
I'll call Catherine and
a decent hour this morning."
"Good," John Ryan said. "If possible, I'd like to see Cam."
"I was going to ask if you would look in on him."
"Uh, before you do, you should know..." Kevin paused. "You
need to know that he was sexually assaulted, so this is as bad as it
gets..." Tears began to run down Kevin's face again, and that
The priest groaned at the news and shut his eyes for a long moment,
hanging his head. Then he pulled Kevin into a hug again, this
time a long one.
"Where is Cam now?" Ryan asked softly when he released Kevin.
"He's still down the hall in a cubicle. Number 12, I think."
The priest nodded. "I'll be right back," he told Kevin, and
walked over to the front
desk. "Hello again," he said with a smile for the
"I understand that another one of my parishioners is here. Cam
MacKenzie. I'd like to see him."
"Of course, Father," the woman said. "This is a busy night for
you. Just let me get the
doctor." She picked up the phone, punched in a number, and paged
a "Doctor Rios."
The priest stood there patiently for several minutes until a dark
young man in scrubs appeared at the desk.
"Hello, Doctor," Ryan said, shaking hands. "I'm Father
Ryan. I have a parishioner who's in
Cubicle 12, I'm told. Cameron MacKenzie. I'd like to look
in on him, if I may."
"Yes, Father," Dr. Rios said. "We've examined him, and he's going
to be admitted for observation and probably subsequent surgery," he
told the priest, bending a strict interpretation of the federal HIPPA
law regarding confidentiality a little bit.
holding him down here in Emergency for a few minutes until some
sheriff's detectives get here to fill out a report. You can see
or wait until he's transported to his room."
"I'd like to see him now."
"Why don't you come on back with me?" Dr. Rios said.
"I'd like to bring Cam's partner back with us too, if that would be
Father Ryan turned, beckoned to Kevin, and they followed the doctor
down the hall.
When they reached the cubicle, they found Cam lying in bed, eyes
closed, his body covered by a sheet. His face was white under
E.R. staff had obviously given him some pain medication because he was
moaning and squirming around in discomfort as he had been doing during
ambulance ride with Kevin into town. Dr. Rios turned and went
back into the corridor as Fr. Ryan and Kevin stood at Cam's bedside.
The horror of his recent experience was etched into Cam's
visage. Father Ryan had encountered many such faces in military
triage units at the close of his Army chaplaincy during the year after
invasion. He had been good at his job, but he had never grown
immune to the pain and suffering in the faces of the wounded as he had
anointed them and prayed for them for their continuing journey
into a life of
recovery, or into death. He was well acquainted with the
psychological challenges of recovery from trauma, both physical and
mental. His experience as a captain in the chaplain corps had
compassionate to the wounded and tough as hell when he had to be.
The priest laid a hand gently on Cam's
"Hello, Cam," the priest said softly. Cam opened his eyes slowly
and tried to smile, with only partial success.
"Hello, Father," he said slowly, his lips swollen from being punched
during his ordeal.
"I'd like to anoint you for healing, if that's all right," Ryan said.
"Please," Cam said, closing his eyes again.
The priest reached into a pocket of his black suitcoat and drew out a
small purple stole and an oil stock. He put on the stole, kissing
the cross embroidered on the neck of it as he did so, and screwing the
cap off the
oil stock, he dipped his thumb into the cotton soaked with oil blessed
by the diocesan bishop. He cupped Cam's face with both hands, and
using his oil-moistened thumb, traced the sign of the cross on the
young man's forehead.
"I anoint you with oil in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and
of the Holy Spirit," Father Ryan said, "asking the mercy of our Lord
Jesus Christ that all your pain and suffering of body, soul and spirit
being put to flight, the blessing of health may be restored to you."
"Amen," Kevin and Cam said.
After cleansing his thumb on a piece of clean
cotton from his pocket and closing the oil stock, Ryan held Cam's and
Kevin's hands and continued his prayers with them by leading them in
Father and a Hail Mary.
He concluded with a priestly blessing for Cam, placing his hands gently
on the young man's head. When he was finished, he removed the
stole from his neck, kissed it again, and returned it to his pocket.
"Thank you very much, Father," Kevin said. Cam opened his eyes
"I'm glad I was here for you," Father Ryan said. "For both of
you." He studied Cam's face. "I don't know how long you're
going to be here, Cam, but I'll be more than happy
to bring you Holy Communion after Mass tomorrow morning. Either
here or at home."
"I'll appreciate that," Cam whispered.
"Thank you, Father."
"Cam, I talked to Dad a few minutes ago," Kevin said. "He's
catching a plane this morning, and he'll be home late tonight or early
tomorrow to be
"He doesn't need to do that..." Cam said, laboring over his words.
"Well, he thinks he does," Kevin interjected, "and I agree with
him. I guess John can't come--one of them has to stay in
sends his love."
Cam acknowledged that news with a crooked smile.
"I'll call Mom and Ian later this morning, at a decent hour," Kevin
continued. "You're not gonna lack for company."
"They don't need to come down here," Cam objected. "I'm all
"You'll have a hard time keeping the family away," Kevin said.
"You know that."
Dr. Rios poked his head into the cubicle
"The sheriff's detectives are here," he said to Cam. "Are you up
talking to them?"
Cam sighed. "Yeah, let's get it over with," he said.
Rios ducked back out, and a moment later two beefy police detectives in
one African-American and one Hispanic, looked in.
"Are you Cam MacKenzie?" the taller one, the Hispanic, asked.
"Yes," Cam said. The two officers stepped into the cubicle.
"Hello, Preach," the shorter cop said by way of greeting the priest.
"'Preach?' 'Preach' is a verb, Detective," Father Ryan told the
policeman with a slight smile. "I'm John, or Mr. Ryan, or Father
Ryan, or Sir," he said, "whichever suits you." His demeanor was
calm but his eyes were
"But I can assure you I'm not 'Preach.'"
"Sorry, Father," the taller detective said for both officers, giving
the offending detective an exasperated look.
Kevin struggled not to smile at the exchange.
"And this is Mr. MacKenzie's partner, Kevin Stoltz," Ryan continued.
The detectives nodded. The black officer introduced himself as
Detective Roker and his taller companion, holding a clipboard, as
Ryan looked at Cam. "I'm going to give you some privacy, Cam," he
said. "I'll be back to see you tomorrow morning." He
Kevin. "Please let me know if by some chance they release him
"I will," Kevin said. "I'm going out to sit in the waiting room
now," Kevin told Cam. He knew he couldn't
stand to hear what Cam was going to tell the detectives. Kevin went to Cam and kissed him on the top of
Father Ryan watched the two officers carefully for any reaction to
Kevin's kiss for his partner. The priest was
straight, married and had three kids, but he was known to react
fiercely to any signs of disrespect toward gays by those in
authority. His fear was that if the detectives were prejudiced
against gays, they might not investigate as vigorously as they would
otherwise. Ryan was glad to
see that the kiss didn't
elicit even the blink of an eye from either of the policemen.
"God bless you in your work, gentlemen," Ryan said to the officers as
he and Kevin exited the cubicle.
He and Kevin said good-bye to
waiting room, and the priest turned to walk away. After a few
steps, he turned around and went back to Kevin.
"Be strong for him, Kevin," Ryan said. "He's going to need you to
strong for him."
"I know. I will," Kevin said.
The priest patted his shoulder, and left the building.
Kevin immediately pulled out his phone and quick dialed Carl, who
answered right away.
"Kevin, what the fuck! I've been worried sick, but I didn't want
to call in case you were in the middle of something. How is he?"
"I'm sorry I didn't call before, Carl. He's conscious, and they
gave him something for pain," Kevin
said. "Father Ryan happened to be here at the hospital for an
accident victim, and
just anointed Cam. He said he'll be back tomorrow with
Communion. Cam's still in Emergency right now, and two
detectives are with him taking his statement. The E.R. doc is
going to admit him, I'm pretty sure, and they'll probably be moving him
room in a few minutes. I'm going to stay here at the hospital
tonight. By the way, we're at the Santa Monica--UCLA Medical
"All right," Carl said. He filled Kevin in on what he'd been
doing. "I picked up Casey from Mr. and Mrs. Miller after
you left in the ambulance. They didn't hardly want to give him
up. Sean Miller was furious and started cussing a blue
streak about what had happened to Cam. And Susan Miller started
"Anyway, I took Casey home and fed him and changed him and put him down
couple hours ago. He didn't let out a peep, and he's sleeping
right now. I'm gonna sleep in your room tonight so I'm close to
wakes up. I washed the sand off the dogs, and they're sitting
here looking up at me right now."
"Give them some treats before you crash," Kevin said. "They did a
great job for us tonight. And I really
appreciate everything you've done, Carl. I called Alex, by the
way. It's morning in London, and he's probably catching a plane
for L.A. as we speak. John probably has to stay there, but Alex
will probably be
tonight. Late tonight or early tomorrow morning. Cam
objected when I told him I'd called, but deep down
it's going to mean the world to him to see Alex right now. I'll
call Catherine and Ian in the morning."
"Way to go, Kev," Carl said.
"Fill Maria in on what happened tonight when she comes
to work in the morning, will ya?"
"Yes. Listen, I called Andy after you and Cam left in the
ambulance, and filled him in on what's happened and who we think did
it," Carl said.
"He won't say anything to anybody before I call Catherine and Ian in
morning, will he?" Kevin asked.
"No. But he was one pissed off boy, I can tell you that.
You don't want Andy mad atcha. His exact words were, 'I'm gonna
catch a plane tonight and come down there and kill those
motherfuckers!!!' I think he would probably do it, too! I
had to talk fast to keep him from coming down here for some speedy
vengeance. Seriously. Not that I wouldn't like to have him
here with us right now."
"I know you would. Hang on to Andy, Carl," Kevin said
quietly. "As much as we can hang on to anyone. You've got a
good one there." He cleared his throat. "Are you all right,
Carl?" Kevin knew Carl must be thinking about being brutalized by
his own father because of what had happened to Cam.
"I'm good. Thanks for asking. Do you know when you'll be
"I'm not sure. I'll see ya when I get there. Thanks again
everything, bud. We'll talk in
the morning. Love ya!" Kevin snapped his phone shut and
dropped into a
chair. He stretched out, closing his eyes for a little respite.
* * *
The two detectives spent about an hour eliciting from Cam what he
could remember about his horrible evening with Eric Clymer, Rory
Lomer and Peter Murtha. He
told the policemen immediately that he didn't know the names of the
three men who had waylaid him on the beach and subsequently brutalized
him. But he recognized them from an
altercation at Disneyland not long before and then seeing them on the
running on Malibu Beach. After making
clear that a fourth person, Art Smith, had nothing to do with his
ordeal, he gave them his name as someone who would know the names and
whereabouts of his
Cam struggled with his emotions as he talked to the officers. He
several times to recover his composure as he labored to tell the story
of how he was
on the beach, dragged into the empty house, strung up and beaten
everywhere on his body, awakened with smelling salts when he passed
out, sodomized with huge dildoes, had his penis whipped with strands of
leather, and then finally lowered to the floor and raped by all three
guys before passing out for good, only waking up in the ambulance with
Kevin on the way to the hospital.
The burly detectives were surprisingly gentle with him, occasionally
him to clarify his story. At one point Detective Roker stepped
out into the hall to ask Dr. Rios if staff had conducted a rape kit on
Cam. They had. Roker told doctor that the lab might find
more than one set of DNA in the semen specimen if the perpetrators
hadn't used condoms, and asked the physician to
add that information to notes accompanying the rape kit. Rios
responded and telephoned the lab immediately.
As they wrapped up their inquiry and prepared to leave, Detective
Suarez had one last question for Cam.
"Your home address is in Malibu. Are you related to Alex
MacKenzie?" he asked.
Cam nodded. "He's my dad."
"I love his movies," Suarez said.
"He'll be home from London tonight, and I know he'll want to talk to
"Good. We'll want to do that."
"Cameron, we're going to do everything we can to catch these guys,"
Detective Roker added, offering his hand to the young man. "We'll
be back in touch with you for any clarifications we need or when we
make some arrests. I'm confident we'll have these guys in custody
soon." He paused, clearing his throat. "We're sorry this
happened to you."
Suarez shook hands with Cam as well, and the two
detectives took their leave, heading to the waiting room to interview
Kevin. He was sound asleep in his chair. Suarez patted his
arm gently to wake him up. Kevin sat up, rubbed his eyes, and
checked his watch. It was 1:30 a.m. by then.
"Sorry to wake you up, but we have just a couple more questions,"
Detective Suarez said.
"Go ahead," Kevin said.
"Your partner mentioned that you and he had had an encounter with the
three alleged perps not to long ago at Disneyland," Suarez said.
"Can you describe that for us?"
"Yes, sir. Cam and I were at the park with our
and a bunch of guys our age from San Francisco and San Rafael--our
grounds before we moved down here to L.A. We were just finishing
up a great day at the park and were heading toward the exit when Cam
my cheek. That upset some
guys walking behind us, who began to harass us about being gay.
threatened to get physical, and when their ringleader started getting
aggressive, one of our crew knocked the guy down on the pavement with a
kick. The aggressor's name was 'Eric,' and he was pissed off
about being knocked down, to say
the least. We saw Eric
and his guys later several times on the beach in Malibu when we were
out running, and they harassed us verbally and gave us the finger every
time. Family members can confirm that. I'm not positive,
but I think these guys
are entering freshmen
at UCLA, just like we are. Anyway, we knew they didn't like Cam
me because we're gay, but we never dreamed they do anything like this
to one of us."
"Cam mentioned that a kid named 'Art Smith' can give us the identity of
the three guys who may have kidnapped Cam on the beach. Is that
Roker asked Kevin.
"Yes, I think so. Smith used to be friends with Eric and the
other two guys, but from what we've seen on campus, he doesn't hang
them anymore. I'd be surprised if he had anything to do with what
went down last night."
The two detectives asked Kevin a few more questions, and then stood up
to take their leave. Kevin rose to shake hands with first Roker
and then Suarez, each of whom handed him a business card. Suarez
held on to Kevin's hand a little longer than customary, and cleared his
"I know what a terrible thing this is for your partner, and for
you. But don't let it get you down. Don't let it break
you. We're going to get the guys who did this, and your partner
will heal with your help. Call one of us if you need anything."
The words were simple, but they moved Kevin. He hadn't expected
to hear them from presumably straight, veteran cops who had obviously
been around the block
a few times. But they'd been said, nevertheless.
"Thank you both so much," Kevin said. "Alex MacKenzie will be
home tomorrow from London, and if you happen to call with an update on
the case and can spare a minute, I'd like to have you stop by the house
and let me introduce you."
"That's nice of you," Roker said. "I know we'll have some
information for you soon, so we'll call."
The detectives nodded and left the waiting room, and Kevin sank back
down in his chair and closed his eyes. Ten minutes later he had
dozed off again, envisioning as he did one of his hands around Eric
Clymer's throat. The other hand, balled into a fist, hit the man
Over and over and over and over he hit him. He hit him until the
features of the young
man's face were pulverized and there was nothing left but mush.
One more hit and the bloody spray from his efforts vaporized into
nothingness, and the face disappeared altogether.
* * *
Kevin woke up an hour and a half later. Looking around, he saw
there were still people coming and going in Emergency, some on gurneys
under there own power. He rubbed his eyes, stood up and stretched
to get the kinks out of his back, and went to the front desk.
"Hi," he said to the receptionist. "Anything going on with Cam
"Yes," the young woman said. "He's been admitted, and they took
him up to
his room about forty-five minutes ago. I would have told you, but
I didn't want to wake you up." She ripped a piece of note paper
off of a pad, wrote
a room number on it and handed it to Kevin. "This is a private
room, so you can go on up and stay with him if you want. When you
hospital, if you would, will you stop by the Financial office and
complete Mr. MacKenzie's insurance information? He gave us his
insurance card out of his wallet, but we need a few more details."
"I will. Thanks for everything you all did
for Cam tonight," Kevin told her. She smiled and nodded, and he
headed for the elevators.
He found Cam's room upstairs without any trouble, and there was his
partner, sleeping, hooked up to several IV's. He walked to the
other side of the bed, and taking a quick glance toward the hallway,
eased himself up on the bed next to Cam. Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness
than to get permission, he thought to himself, turning on his
side to face Cam. Kevin lay there listening to Cam breathe.
He tried to doze off, but he couldn't.
He knew he would have offered himself up in
an instant to take Cam's place down in that beach house last
Kevin lay in the bed with Cam for several hours with no one disturbing
them until a nurse came in. She was nice about it, but made Kevin
get up and sit in a chair.
"You could squeeze one of the patient's IV tubes if you fell asleep,"
"I understand," Kevin said.
After the nurse left, he used the room's bathroom, and then sat down in
easy chair after pulling it over to the bed. He leaned forward
and rested his head on Cam's bed, and fell asleep.
Waking up about 5 a.m., Kevin kissed a sleeping Cam and left the
hospital just as the sky was lightening in the
east. It was too early to go to the hospital's financial office,
worry about that. A taxi had just dropped someone off and was
sitting at the
entrance to Emergency, motor running. Kevin opened the back door
and climbed in. Traffic was light, and he was home in twenty
minutes. He paid the driver and tipped him, and went in the back
off the alarm. The dogs were glad to see him, and after letting
them out into the front yard and sitting on the deck while they did
their business, he let them back into the house and fed them.
Maria wasn't there yet.
Kevin trudged up the stairs and went into his and Cam's room. It
was neat and orderly, thanks to Maria's efforts the day before.
Carl was sleeping in the bed and Casey in his crib. After bending
down and kissing the little boy, Kevin stripped off his clothes,
his teeth, and stepped into the shower. He set the shower head
for "massage," and let the hot water bombard the sore muscles in his
neck and back as he moved around slowly to let the stream slam every
sore spot on his body. He wished he could let it massage his mind
and spirit as well, and wash away the despondency there.
"Kevin?" He heard Carl's voice over the sound of the rushing
"Just checking," Carl said, standing there in his boxers. He
opened the glass door
and looked at Kevin. "You need anything?" His eyes brushed
over Kevin's package, naturally, but what really caught his attention
were the dark circles under Kevin's eyes.
"No thanks. I'm good."
Carl nodded, closed the shower door and went back to Kevin and Cam's
remaining questions for later.
After he had showered and shaved, Kevin pulled on a clean pair of
boxers and slid into bed on the other side of Carl, and fell asleep
immediately. But it was an intermittent sleep. He awakened
repeatedly, his mind full of recriminations that he had not been on the
beach running with Cam when he had been waylaid, and fears about
any lasting damage which his attackers had done to his partner.
and Casey slumbered on.
* * *
Eric Clymer, Rory
Lomer and Peter Murtha had been sitting on Clymer's front deck the
previous night when the
ambulance and sheriff's police had begun showing up, mars lights
the darkness at the vacant house two doors away. The guys had
heard a dog bark on the beach twenty minutes beforehand, but paid no
attention to it.
They paid no attention because they were all completely stoned from a
combination of beer, weed and crack. They had just fired up
Eric's crack pipe again to bring what for them had been an exhilarating
evening to a close. Eric's parents were out of town for a few
days, leaving the young men free to do drugs at his house with no
Eric was confident that their victim would be too ashamed of being
fucked in the ass and otherwise sexually abused that he wouldn't
assailants to the authorities. He was sure enough about it that
before the police
had arrived, he'd been ready to suggest that the three of them go back
to the scene of their recent activities and fuck up Cam some
more. They'd left him tied up on the floor for that very
"How the hell did they find him so fast?" Murtha asked his companions,
slurring his words.
"I dunno," Eric said. "I feel deprived. I wanted another go
at his pansy ass." He passed the pipe and lighter to Rory, who
fired it up to finish off the pipe's current load. There was a
lot more where that came from.
The three of them sat there on the deck laughing and talking crazy
police comb the yard and presumably the house for clues as to who had
beaten and abused the victim.
They won't find anything, Clymer
thought to himself. Before leaving Cam tied up on the floor and
vacating the place, Eric had been careful to have Rory and Peter remove
all their sex toys and implements of torture from the house, and even
to wipe their
fingerprints off the sliding glass door leading to the deck. It
was the perfect crime, and he knew Cam would be complicit in it by not
telling who had done it. Fucking faggot! The shame of
seeing his name in the paper as a victim, maybe with an accompanying
picture, would be too much for Cam to take.
Rory and Peter were staying at Clymer's house that night, and when they
were all too fucked up on drugs to stay awake, they had gone to bed
good about themselves and what they had done to Cam.
* * *
It was seven a.m. when Kevin finally woke up for good at Alex's.
He lay with
his eyes focussed on the ceiling, instinctively trying to keep his mind
blank. But the horror of Cam's condition again took possession of
his brain, and he unconsciously groaned aloud.
He glanced around. The room was
empty; Carl and Casey were gone.
Kevin lay quietly in bed for a few minutes, centering his thoughts and
preparing himself mentally to make the telephone calls he had to
make. He climbed out of bed, put on a clean T-shirt and some
and went down to the kitchen. Maria was feeding Casey as Carl sat
at the breakfast table and watched.
Maria's eyes filled with tears when she saw Kevin. Putting down
the spoon, she stood and went to Kevin and pulled him into her arms. Her warmth seeped into Kevin's body, and he needed
that. He'd take all of it he could get.
"I'm sorry," she whispered to him. That was all she said.
She stepped back a pace and touched his face. Kevin's eyes
"Is there anything I can do?" Maria asked. "Anything at all?"
"You're here for us, and that's all we need right now," Kevin told
Maria. "It means more than you know."
"Do you want some breakfast?" Maria asked.
"No thanks. I have to call Catherine and Ian. I'll just
take a cup of coffee with me."
She nodded as Kevin went over to the coffee pot and poured a cup,
leaving it black. He turned and leaned against the counter,
looking at Carl.
"How was Cam when you left the hospital," Carl asked.
"Sleeping. He seems fairly alert when he's awake, but
I think he's kind of numbed out. That's a good thing. It's
And after what he's been through, I'm glad he's not feeling much."
Carl studied him, saying nothing.
"Carl, are you going to school?" Kevin asked.
"I'll do whatever you want me to do," Carl said.
"Why don't you go?" Kevin suggested. "There's no sense in all of
us going down the academic tubes."
"Cam wouldn't want that to happen," Carl agreed. "Do you want me
go to the dean's office and fill them in on what's going on."
"Thanks, bud. But I'll do it, or else Alex will call him when he
"'K," Carl said, checking his wristwatch. "I guess I better book,
then." He stood up and looked at Kevin. "Maybe we can run
later. I think we need it."
"Yep," Kevin said. "Laters."
Carl went to Kevin and gave him a hug, and then headed out.
Kevin sipped his coffee in silence, watching Maria take care of Casey
and clean up the kitchen. He steeled himself to do what he had
"I'll be in the den, Maria," he said, pushing away from the counter.
She nodded sadly in response as Kevin went to the den, shutting the
door behind him and sitting down on the big leather couch.
Reaching over , he took the Alex's landline receiver out of its cradle
and punched in Catherine's cell phone number. It rang, and then
he heard Catherine's voice. She sounded happy. That won't last long, Kevin thought
"Kevin..." Catherine said. She stopped talking when she heard the
sorrow in his tone. "What's wrong?" she said after a moment's
"Sit down. I need to talk with you for a minute."
"I'm sitting in my office at home right now."
"Mom, Cam's been hurt..." Kevin throat closed up and he
stopped. The words didn't want to come out.
"Tell me," Catherine said, steeling herself for the bad news.
"He was running alone on the beach alone last night, and some guys beat
up pretty bad." Kevin paused. "For being gay, we
think." He paused again. "They sexually molested him along
with beating him, and he's in the hospital. He may have to have
"Please God, no, Kevin." He knew without hearing a sound that
Catherine had begun to weep silently as she held the phone.
"I stayed at the hospital with him until this morning. He's at
Santa Monica--UCLA Medical Center, by the way."
Catherine regained control of herself. "Does Alex know?"
"Yes, I talked to him last night in London when he was having
breakfast. He's on a plane on the way home now. He should
be here by late tonight or early tomorrow morning if there aren't any
"Good," Catherine said. "I'll catch a commuter flight in San
Francisco later this morning and see you this afternoon. Are you
going to call Ian?"
"He's my next call. Has he gone to the office?"
"I'll call him there."
"Thank you for letting me know, Kevin. Cam's life isn't in
danger, is it?"
"No. Not physically, anyway."
"Then we're going to be all right because he's going to be all
right. He will
heal. In every way. I want you to have faith, Kevin."
"I'm trying, Mom. Speaking of faith, Father Ryan from St.
Dunstan's happened to be at the hospital last night for an accident
victim from his parish, and he anointed Cam. He's bringing him
Holy Communion this morning."
"That makes me feel better," Catherine said. "I love you,
Kevin. Tell Cam I love him, and I'll see you both later today."
"'I love ya, Mom. 'Bye." Kevin pushed the disconnect
button and sat there on the couch in a stupor for a few minutes.
Catherine sat at her desk and had a good cry. Some words
by Aeschylus ran through her mind:
"In our sleep, pain which cannot
falls drop by
drop upon the heart
until, in our own despair,
against our will, comes
through the awful grace of
* * *
Kevin roused himself and punched Ian's office number into the
phone. The receptionist and then Ian's
secretary put him right through as soon as he identified himself.
"Kevin! This is a nice surprise," Ian said.
"I have bad news, Ian. Cam's been hurt."
"What happened?" Ian sounded stunned.
Kevin stumbled through a description of what had occurred since Cam had
been accosted. Ian listened in silence.
"Who did it?" Ian asked.
"We think it was three of the four guys you confronted one morning on
the beach for being assholes. You remember. We passed them
going the opposite
direction when we were out running."
"They're going to wish they were never born, I promise you," Ian said
quietly. "Do Catherine and Alex know?"
"Yes, I just finished talking with Catherine. She says she wants
catch a commuter flight down here later this morning. And Alex is
plane from London right now. I talked to him last night, at 8
"Good. Maybe Catherine and I can fly to L.A. together.
What's Cam's prognosis?" Ian asked.
"Physically? Good, I think. He's not in danger of
dying. Mentally, I don't know yet."
Ian sighed. "All right. Catherine and I will see you in a
few hours. Hang in, Kev. Love you, boy."
"Same here, Ian. See ya soon."
Ian had no sooner hung up with Kevin than Catherine had called
him. While they talked, Catherine consulted the computer on her
desk and read Ian the schedules for commuter flights out of San
Francisco International for L.A. They settled on one due to
depart at 1
p.m. Ian said he'd make their reservations, and they could meet
"Good, Ian. I'll see you there, then."
"Catherine, is Mary available?" Ian asked when the arrangements were
out of the way.
"Yes, she's in the kitchen with Rosa feeding the boys before they head
for school, I think."
"Will you put her on the line? I'm going to fill her in on what's
going on and ask her to pack me a bag. That way I won't have to
come back to San Rafael and then go to the airport. Will you can
bring it with you when you come?"
"Of course. I'll put Mary on the line." Catherine put the
phone on hold, and went to the kitchen. "Mary, Ian's on the line
Mary looked surprised. She hit the flashing button on the kitchen
phone. "Sweetheart? Everything all right?"
"No," Ian said. "Kevin just called me. Cam was beaten up
night pretty badly, and he's in the hospital. Santa Monica--UCLA
Medical Center. Catherine and I need to go down there.
to try to catch a commuter flight out of San Francisco International at
one o'clock. Will you pack me a bag? Make sure I have
another dress shirt and
suit. Catherine said she'll bring my bag with her to the airport."
Mary groaned. "Is
Cam all right?
"He's not in danger of death, but may have to have surgery, according
to Kevin." Ian hesitated. "Hon, he was sexually molested as
well as being beaten up. It's serious enough that Alex is on the
way home from London."
"Oh, Ian!" She was upset and stopped talking for a long
minute. "I'll have your bag ready for Catherine to take," she
said finally. "Give Cam and Kevin and Carl my love, will you?"
"You know I will. I love you. I'll miss you and the boys,
Mary. See you
when we get home."
"'Bye, dear." Mary hung up the phone and went back into the
nook. Catherine and Rosa were there, sitting with the boys.
Catherine had obviously shared the news. Rosa was weeping, and
the boys were silent and distressed, looking down at the table and not
at each other.
William spoke up. "Can I go to L.A. with you?" he asked
then looked at Mary.
Mary studied her older son's face. He was clearly upset.
She thought about it. "William, I just don't think this is the
time," Mary finally
said. "There's nothing
you can do right now. I promise you that when Cam gets home from
hospital, your dad and I will send you down
there if you still want to go."
"Fair enough, I guess," William said. "I'll want to go, I know
"We all will," Berto Hernandez said. Dan Emrick nodded, looking
"All right," Mary said, gathering her inner resources. "Come on,
guys, get moving, or you're
going to be late for school." She paused. "If you have a
spare minute today, say a prayer for Cam. And for Kevin and Carl."
The boys cleared off the table for Rosa, then grabbed their book bags
trooped out the back door and down the stairs to the garage. It
was a quiet ride to school that day in Ian's big Navigator as William
drove them to school.
Catherine and Ian caught the one o'clock commuter plane in San
just as they had
planned, and got settled into their seats. The plane took off
right on time. It had been a busy few hours for both of
them. Ian had to designate another lawyer in his firm to monitor
jury for a trial that was just starting, and Catherine chose her
and brightest graduate student to teach her classes for a few
days. She also called the dean of arts and sciences and then Fr.
Reilly, the university president, to let them know why she would be
out. The dean was sympathetic, and Fr. Reilly seemed hard-hit by
Ian looked over at Catherine as they sat side by side on the
plane. She never wore a lot of
makeup. But today she had applied a little more to conceal the
fact that she had been weeping. She looked almost normal despite
how wounded she was feeling.
Inevitably they got around to talking about what had happened to Cam,
and Catherine opened up about her fears for her son.
"You know, these days Cam and everybody his age tend to think they're
so cool and in control," Catherine said. "And compared to what I
was at their
age, I guess they really are. They're much more aware at their
age and keyed into what life is all about. I guess it's
because of the instant
communications in society today, even if their knowledge is vicarious
many instances. They think this knowledge helps make them
invincible. In spite of this shared sense of invincibility,
though, Cam has always
a beautiful innocence about him. His innocence has led him to
almost too much, at least until they prove they aren't worthy of that
trust. And by and large people have trusted him back.
"I suppose we all lose at least some of our innocence and trust of
others over time,"
she mused. "Life just leaches them away, sometimes without our
being aware of it. But I'm scared to death that whatever was done
to him last night has damaged that innocence of his beyond
repair. I'm afraid that his hurt will make him self-protective
and maybe even callous. And that would be a tragedy, because the
needs to see some innocence in others from time to time so we
remember what our own was like. In its way, nnocence inspires
hope, and life
without hope is neither energized nor productive."
Ian didn't say anything, but he reached over and took Catherine's hand
and held it for a long time.
They were lost in their own thoughts for a while, and then Ian broke
"Catherine, I've been thinking that Cam may--and I'm only saying
'may'--need some counseling after he's released from the hospital," he
said. "An incident like this is so hurtful."
"I've been thinking the same thing. I may give my colleague,
Amanda Smith, a call. Dr. Smith did such a great job with Carl
after he was abused, as you know, and she may have a recommendation for
someone we can contact in L.A. for help. It's something to think
"I agree," Ian said.
They continued to talk about the potential need for followup after Cam
walked away from the hospital. Both of them knew that his release
from the Santa Monica--UCLA Medical Center would only be the beginning
of the total healing process. The psychological part of that
process could likely be a long one.
After they landed in L.A at 2:15, they collected their luggage, Ian
car, and they went right
to the Santa Monica--UCLA Medical Center to see Cam. Kevin had
his classes and was back there at Cam's bedside, and emotions raw, he
greeted the two
of them with
hugs and kisses. Cam was sleeping on the bed, IV's still
connected to his body.
"How is he doing?" Catherine asked Kevin quietly, going to Cam's
bedside and kissing him gently on the forehead as Kevin and Ian stood
"He's getting some of his strength back, I think," Kevin said. "Father Ryan was here with communion early this
just like he promised, and Cam told me he appreciated that.
Father was here
and gone even before I got here.
The doctors still want to operate on him
to repair his torn rectum. Cam signed the papers giving
permission for that this morning, and they're going to take him up to
early tomorrow morning. They've
put him on a liquid diet and antibiotics," he added.
Catherine looked worried and her eyes watered, and Ian put his arm
around her. Cam heard voices, and woke up from his nap.
"Hey Mom, Ian," he said through still swollen lips. "You didn't
have to come down here."
Wiping her eyes, Catherine bent over him and kissed him on the cheek,
and then Ian kissed him on the forehead.
"Hey, champ," Ian said as he straightened up. "Yes, we did need
to come down here. Where else would we be?"
"Well, thanks," Cam said. "I'm really glad to see you."
As they started to talk, Kevin pulled up the easy chair for Catherine
and straight back chairs for himself and Ian. Catherine began to
question Cam about the surgery scheduled for the next morning. He
told her what he knew, and then moved on to ask about the guys in San
Rafael and how they were doing.
Catherine and Ian filled him in on the latest news.
"William is worried about you," Catherine told him. "He wanted to
get on the plane with us today. So did the other boys."
"Well..." Cam said, and tears began pouring from his eyes. It was
the first time he'd really let go of his emotions.
Carl was eating a really late lunch at the UCLA student union when he
Smith go through the food line and then stand there, looking around for
good table. Carl raised an arm and beckoned Art over.
Looking a little surprised, the young man went over to Carl's table.
"I didn't think you'd want to be around me right now," Art said,
pulling out a chair and sitting down.
"Whaddaya mean?" Carl asked.
"The sheriff's police contacted me about Clymer, Lomer and Murtha," he
said. "They wanted to know their full names and where they live and as
much about their class schedules as I knew.
They wouldn't tell me what the assholes had done, but I had an idea
might have something to do with you guys. Anyway, I answered all
the cops' questions."
"Well, it'll be in the papers tomorrow, so I may as well tell you,"
Carl said. "We think they are responsible for waylaying Cam on
the beach last night, dragging him into a vacant house near Clymer's
place, and beating him up and sodomizing him. He's in the
now. Our housekeeper called me on my cell a few minutes ago and
told me that reporters are already calling the house for comments on
"Oh, fuck!" Art Smith said, looking pale and upset. "I'm really
sorry, man. Cam isn't going to die or anything, is he?"
"No. But those pricks really fucked him up. He's going to
have to have surgery."
"Well, shit!" Smith picked up his plastic fork to eat some mac and
cheese, but threw
it down and put his hands over his face for a long minute. When
he lowered his hands, he looked Carl in the eye. "I was hoping
that Eric was just making idle threats. That he wouldn't really
with hurting anybody."
Carl said nothing, and then nodded toward the center of the room.
Eric Clymer, Rory Lomer and Peter Murtha were just putting their
down on a
table to save it, and heading toward the food line. They had just
selected their food and gone back to their table when they received
Detectives Roker and Suarez along with three uniformed deputies
approached their table.
"Eric Clymer, Rory Lomer and Peter Murtha?" Detective Suarez asked.
The young men nodded.
"You're under arrest for conspiracy, kidnapping, aggravated assault and
sexual assault," Suarez said. He seemed pleased about this arrest.
"We haven't done anything," Clymer protested. That fucking faggot must have ratted us
out, he thought to himself. He wasn't supposed to do that!
"Stand up and put your hands behind your backs. Now!" Suarez
Faces pale, the three young men stood and were hooked up. The
uniforms patted them down, finding only a pen knife on Lomer which they
"What about our books?" Clymer asked plaintively.
"What about 'em?" Roker asked.
"We can't leave 'em here," Clymer whined. "They're expensive."
"Not our problem," Roker said. "Your classroom days may well be
over anyway." He looked at the uniforms. "Get these
assholes outta here,"
he told them.
And thus began the best perp walk Carl had ever seen as the group
wended their way through tables of gawking students. TV and still
cameras immortalized the scene for the public's later viewing pleasure.
Carl and Art Smith went to the front doors of the student union with a
number of other students to
watch as each arrestee was put in his very own squad car for transport
to the sheriff's office. The three guys obviously weren't being
opportunity to conspire on a story.
Carl wasted no time in pulling out his cell and quick dialing Kevin to
give him the good news. He described the perp walk.
Kevin was jubilant. "You don't know how glad I am to hear
that! The two detectives we talked to when Cam was admitted
seemed pretty committed to finding who did this to him. They sure
came through!" Kevin stopped talking, and Carl heard him giving
the news to whoever was in the room. The voices sounded happy.
"Who's there with you?" Carl asked.
"Mom and Ian just got here."
"Tell 'em 'hi,' and that I'll see 'em later."
"Will do, dude. Will you call Maria and let her know that Ian and
Mom are here, and that Dad should be here sometime late tonight or
early tomorrow morning? Just so things are ready for 'em?
And let her know that the guys who messed Cam up have been arrested."
"Yep," Carl said. "Laters."
Kevin relayed Carl's message of greeting to Ian and Catherine.
Cam, Kevin, Catherine and Ian sat talking animatedly for a few minutes,
feeling good about the arrests, and
then Ian left to find Cam's attending physician. He wanted to
know more about the details of the surgery which would be performed,
credentials of the surgeon. The attending fired up a computer at
the nurses' station and let him read the surgeon's vita right off the screen.
After getting the surgeon's telephone number from the attending, Ian
called him. He introduced himself and explained that he was Cam's
friend and attorney, and although
the surgeon was reluctant to say too much without a signed release of
Cam, he did outline his goals for the surgery and the hoped-for
outcomes for his patient.
Ian seemed pleased when he went back to Cam's room after thirty minutes.
"Cam, from everything I can find out, you're in good hands," Ian
said. "Your attending is a Stanford grad, so you know he's good,"
Ian grinned with northern California regional pride. "And your
graduated from Harvard. He'll do a good job for you."
"Thanks, Ian," Cam said. That was encouraging.
They all sat there talking until 5 p.m., when Catherine and Ian decided
to go to Alex's house to freshen up, get settled, and eat supper.
Kevin wouldn't leave the hospital, although he did walk Catherine and
Ian down to the front door. They were all taken aback when they
a newspaper vendor box in the front hall with the current edition of
the L.A. Times in it.
The top headline was: MOVIE
SON KIDNAPPED AND MOLESTED. The column subheading said, Three
Malibu youths under arrest.
Ian looked at Catherine. "Well, we knew the
Ian walked over to the box, put some quarters in the slot, and removed
paper to take to Alex's.
Kevin didn't buy one. He didn't want Cam to see it, realizing of
course that the TV news would be full of the story anyway, and couldn't
"Kevin, we'll be back after supper," Catherine told him, taking him
into her arms and kissing him. "Please don't get discouraged,
Cam is going to be all right. Count on that. He's a
"I know he is," Kevin said.
"Do you want us to bring you some food when we come back?" Ian asked
"No, thanks. I'll get something in the cafeteria."
"OK. See you in a couple of hours," Ian promised, giving him a
Kevin nodded and trudged back down the hall toward the elevators.
He walked toward his partner's room after reaching the right floor, and
struggled to put on a happy face
for Cam's sake. It wasn't easy. But he was a fighter, too.
© 2010 Don Hanratty