THE CASE OF THE GENTLE GYMNAST Copyright © 2005 by Jerry Leckie — A young police detective, assigned to a gay missing persons case, finds himself on a voyage of self-discovery when he begins to question his feelings for his partner.

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From Part Two, Chapter Ten:  Joe stood and paced the room for a few minutes, then stopped and addressed the group. "I think the district attorney needs some help from the Fourth Estate."

"Huh?" Mickey and Dickie asked at the same time.

Smiling, Joe explained. "My dad is the editor of the Grant County Times, the regional newspaper, and my uncle is the publisher."

His smile acquired the aspect of a wolf scenting prey. "I wonder what the public would think if the paper ran a long series of articles and editorials about a local religious order that took in child novices, then drugged them, gave them electric shock treatments, beat them with sticks and chained them to their beds at night. I can see the color pictures of Dickie's bruises in the side bar. Then, I can see the local TV news reporters breathlessly interviewing Dickie about his experiences there."

He grinned. "Child abuse is a nasty word in the public's mind, particularly when it concerns religious organizations."

A malicious smile spread across Bart's face. He nodded in agreement. Joe said, "Okay, I'll talk to my dad. I'm sure he'll have a nice conversation with the mayor tomorrow morning."

Randy turned to Bart. "If the mayor caves in, then how are you going to get the boys out of there? If you go knock on the compound door, the brothers probably won't even admit that they're there."

Bart grinned. "Oh, we'll get them out. I'll have a court order ... and thirty or so members of the Canyon City PD to back me up."

John said, "Ya know partner, my headache is gone already."

"Mine too," Bart agreed.


The next five days were a blur of activity for the Canyon City elected officials and the police department.

Mal Foxworth, Joe's father, had done his job well. He only had to make mild threats of damaging news articles and editorials to galvanize the city government into action. In return, he promised an avalanche of news stories in support of the city's operation against the compound.

In preparation for the undertaking, Bart had grilled Dickie mercilessly regarding everything the boy had seen and heard there.

Did the brothers have weapons?
Guns? Mace? Pepper Spray? Tazers? Attack dogs?

Dickie never saw any dogs or weapons other than the sticks
the brothers carried.

What kind of security devices were there?
Alarms? Electric fences? Surveillance equipment? Electric locks?
Dickie only saw cameras pointing toward the gates.

What kind of communication equipment did they have?
Telephones? Radios? Computers?
Dickie never saw any. However, the boys were permitted only in
the chapel, refectory, kitchen, basement, infirmary
and treatment rooms.

Meanwhile, the personal lives of the group went on. Except for the time they slept, Bart and John worked side-by-side, easily and comfortably. Their friendship made the killer hours they were putting in at work bearable. Bart was greatly amused one evening when he found "Eat Shit" scrawled on his front door, in lipstick: Elizabeth's revenge. Dickie continued to live at the condo, visited nightly by his loving brother. Ed Tekai made a pest of himself wanting to know when Brandon would be rescued. For that matter, Randy, Joe, Dickie and Mickey made something of pests of themselves also.

As the saying goes, "The squeaky wheel gets the oil." So, Bart and John agreed to swear the group to secrecy then outline the plans for them the night before the raid.

They gathered at the condo for dinner. When the dining room table was cleared, Bart spread out a series of aerial photographs and drawings of the compound and the surrounding area. Someone commented that the markings on the photos looked like a battle plan. "That's exactly what they are. To succeed, this raid has to be planned and timed down to the second."

As he spoke, he pointed to various sections of the maps. "You notice that there are only two ways into the compound: through the main gate and through the tunnel. Half the force will enter through each,
and they will be armed and in riot gear. The command post will be here. Medical emergency teams will be here and here. Child Protective Services will have a post set up to receive the boys." He looked up. "Any questions so far?"

Mickey raised his hand. "The boys won't be returned to their parents, will they?"

Bart shook his head. "Definitely not. A judge working with CPS is prepared to revoke parental rights for every boy under eighteen as he is identified. Furthermore, the judge will issue a restraining order against each set of parents."

There were no more questions. Bart continued. "The command post is the nerve center for the operation. All communications will be from there. The brothers will be arraigned as they are brought out. Then, a forensics team will examine the compound. A legal team will extract and immediately examine all of the brothers' records."

Randy commented, "I'd be interested to find out how they market their services. How do people know about them? Who do they go through to find boys?"

"I'd like to know that myself, and we'll find out tomorrow," Bart said. "Now, the operation will begin at noon, and this is how it will go down ..."


At twelve o'clock the next day, Bart, dressed in a business suit, drove to the compound alone, in an unmarked car. He stopped before the massive gates and peered through. The gates, flanked by twelve-foot, ivy-covered stone walls, were of filigreed wrought iron, framing a spectacular view. In the distance, he could see a winding gravel driveway leading through well kept grounds to the large stone house. The whole scene was beautiful and deceptively peaceful.

A red light began blinking on a nearby surveillance camera and the intercom system hissed to life with a carrier wave. He checked his watch. At that moment, half the force should have been approaching the tunnel exit, ready to deploy. They were to subdue everyone between them and the house, then enter the building and locate the boys. Minimum force was to be used unless the brothers resisted.

Bart pressed a button on the intercom. "Yes?" a bass voice answered. Bart identified himself and stated that he was there on official business. The heavy iron gates silently swung open. In the distance, he could see a man in a black robe waiting on the front porch of the house.

As he drove forward, he glanced up at the security camera. The red light went out. He hoped the utility company had cut the electric service at that moment, as planned. Concurrently, gas and telephone service was to be cut also.

Bart stopped the car at the foot of the steps and got out. The man asked, "What is your business here?"

"Sir, I have a court order to remove a boy named Brandon Johnson from these premises," Bart responded, pulling a folded document from his pocket. The statement was only partially true. The order covered the removal of all persons who were not members of the religious order.

The man said, "This is a cloister, a place of religious seclusion. You may not enter."

Bart's voice rose a decibel or two. "This court order says I can, sir. Now, please step aside."

The man started to respond, but his mouth fell open and his eyes grew wide at the sight of something over Bart's shoulder. A convoy of police cars, two fire trucks and four ambulances raced through the open gates.

Slowly, Bart began to ascend the steps. The man's face turned to anguish as the municipal vehicles fanned out in front of the house and disgorged their uniformed cargo. "No!" The man shouted. "What have you done? This is the house of God!"

Bart had reached the top of the steps. "We have come for all of the boys you have imprisoned here." He motioned to the swarming troops below. "They are the backup for my court order. Now, sir, step aside." Shouts of alarm began to issue from the house.

As Bart started to pass, the man screamed, "No! You shall not have them! They are evil in the sight of God! They must be redeemed or they will burn in Hell!" He raised his stick and struck Bart on the shoulder. A shot rang out. The man dropped his stick and grabbed his arm.

Bart massaged his shoulder for a moment, then picked up the stick and ran through the front door, a dozen policemen following.

John and his troops raced from the tool shed, squinting into the bright noonday sun. Ahead of them, two brothers were scurrying into the back door of the house, driving four boys in front of them with sticks. So much for a surprise raid, he thought. The fucking alarm has been sounded.

A firetruck and two ambulances sped around the side of the building, coming to a screeching stop. John motioned for them to stay put until needed as he and his men ran for the house.

His troops had memorized the rough floor plans that Dickie had drawn. Once inside, groups of patrolmen deployed to different parts as agreed upon, fighting their way through an army of angry brothers, who apparently were not giving up without a fight.

Three sharp pops of gunfire rang in John's ears as he found the stairs to the basement and dashed down them, two patrolmen on his heels. They slowed to allow their eyes to adjust to the dim light streaming through the high windows. Motioning for one policeman to go to the left, John heard shouting to the right and followed the sounds, the remaining cop tagging along.

Entering a large room, he saw perhaps half a dozen brothers--it was difficult to tell how many--frantically trying to shackle the boys to their beds. His heart swelled as he saw the youngsters fighting back, unarmed, against the stick-wielding brothers.

John and his comrade waded into the fray.

He drew his nightstick and clobbered one of the brothers. As he passed by, he picked a ring of keys off the man's inert form and threw them to a boy shackled to his bed. "Unlock everyone, but stay here until it's safe to leave," he shouted to the lad.

To a small frail boy, he said, "Pick up anything you can use and defend yourself." Grinning, the boy picked up the fallen brother's stick and whacked the kneecaps of a robed figure running down the aisle between the beds. As the man bent over in pain, John applied the coup de gràce with his nightstick.

The boy gave him a "thumbs up" as John ran on, swinging his nightstick like a broadsword. Suddenly, his ears rang. The stick of a black robed attacker had caught the side of his helmet, ripping it off. He turned and kicked the man in the nuts, then felled him with a blow to the head.

At the far end of the room, two brothers were fighting with a strapping lad crowned with blond curls: Brandon. He saw the boy grab one of the men by the hair and dash his head against the stone wall.

As the second brother raised his stick over the boy, John shouted, "Brandon, look out." The blond head turned as the stick fell, and the brother delivered only a glancing blow, momentarily stunning Brandon. John spun the attacker around and felled him with his nightstick. Unfortunately, he didn't see a third brother approach. As John stepped forward to examine Brandon, he felt a sharp pain to the back of his head and dropped like a rock.

As his vision cleared, Brandon saw John at his feet and fury seethed within him.

Now, John's assailant was advancing on Brandon, stick raised. The boy grabbed it and the man's beard at the same time. "No you don't motherfucker!" he shouted. He kicked the brother's feet out from under him and guided the man's head into the wall with a loud squish. "Your ass is grass and I'm the lawnmower, asshole!" he intoned as he picked up the brother's stick.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw another black robe advancing, the face full of insane rage. The man paused to look down at John's still form and raised his stick to deliver a death blow to the detective's bloody head.

Now armed, Brandon quickly parried the strike with his stick and performed a cartwheel, coming to his feet behind the assailant. "Go see Jesus, shithead!" he yelled as he brought the staff down on the brother's cranium. The man fell sideways onto one of the beds and began to bleed on the clean white linen.

Brandon wasn't even breathing heavily, but his adrenalin was running high, as at a gymnastics match.  Balancing lightly on the balls of his feet, poised to enter another skirmish, he spun around.

The policeman and Brandon's fellow inmates were motionless, staring at him. The only movement in the room came from swirling dust motes dancing in the shafts of sunlight streaming through the high narrow windows.

The fight was over.

Brandon knelt beside John. "He's bleeding," he said to the policeman. The cop ran for help. He tried to examine John while the boys crowded around.  As Brandon felt the detective's neck for a pulse, he looked up to see the group separate, making way for Bart. "He's bad," Brandon said, helplessly.

Bart pressed the button on his walkie-talkie and barked, "EMTs to the basement with a stretcher," then knelt beside his friend. He took John's hand and murmured, "No, no, no."


Bart longed to keep an eye on the paramedics as they worked on John; but, he had to supervise the removal of the incapacitated brothers. The robed masters of the cloister had been relentless in their defense of the house. All twenty-four of them had fought until they were unconscious or wounded too severely to fight. Consequently, they had to be transported to area hospitals under guard.

When the EMTs brought John out of the house, Brandon was with them, holding his hand. He had been steadfast in his support of the detective.

The paramedics reported to Bart that John was in shock and must be transported immediately. As they loaded him into the ambulance, Brandon noted the tears in Bart's eyes. He placed his hand on the detective's shoulder. "He saved my life down there. I'm so sorry he was hurt."

Bart whispered horsely, "The boys told me that you saved his life. I thank you for that Brandon. He's my best friend."

"How do you know my name?"

"It's a long story. Meanwhile, there's someone eagerly waiting to see you." The boy cocked an eyebrow. "Ed Tekai," Bart announced with a smile. Brandon's face split with a wide grin.

Bart's work at the house was done. The brothers had been transported to hospitals; a bus had taken the boys away; and the cleanup teams had arrived. Currently, the forensic guys were swarming the house, and the legal team was waiting in the wings.

Bart slung his arm around Brandon's shoulders. "Drive down to the command post with me."

Child Protective Services had set up four tents at the command post. In the first tent, the boys were identified and entered into the system. In the second, they were given medical examinations and their injuries photographed. In the third, they were given clothing to replace their robes. And, in the fourth, they were given food and a place to relax.

Naturally, being an administrative unit of government, CPS generated reams of paperwork during this long, drawn out process.

Fortunately for the boys, Randy, Joe, Dickie and Ed had volunteered to act as morale boosters, listening to the boys, calming their fears and generally being big brothers, giving them a hug when needed, and acting as positive role models -- something most of the boys had never seen.

When Brandon and Bart entered the first tent, a harried looking Jerry Brent, the CPS representative, was having a heated discussion with Jack Wade, Randy's father. Jack's law firm had signed on to represent the boys, pro bono.

"But why can't some of the boys be returned to their parents?" Jerry pleaded. "Jesus Jack, what am I going to do with thirteen gay teenage boys? I'll be lucky to place one for adoption and two in foster homes."

Jack responded mildly. "To answer your first question, their parents may have thought they were doing the best for their children by signing them away to the brothers, but that proved to be a monumental fuck-up that cost them their parental rights. The court says that you may not give the children back. To answer your second question, GPS will provide them with all of the comforts of home,
until an equitable disposition can be found for them or they reach their eighteenth birthday, whichever comes first."

Jerry placed his head in his hands and moaned, "Oh God, do you know what that will do to my budget?"

Jack was not sympathetic. "Frankly Jerry, I don't care. However, I've lined up some donations that will help your budget. My concern is that there are thirteen living souls here that for years have been deprived of their birthright to love and happiness."

Bart stepped forward with Brandon in tow. Nodding to the GPS man, he said, "Good afternoon Jerry. Here's a fourteenth boy for you." Jerry looked depressed as Bart shook Jack's hand. "It's really good to see you again sir. And, I want to thank you for acting as an advocate for the boys."

Then, he addressed both men. "There's something else that concerns me, in addition to what you were just discussing. And, that's the safety of the boys. We don't know yet how the parents will respond to the legal restraints placed on them. They may have such a fanatical hatred for homosexuality that they will try to kidnap their children and send them to a different rehabilitation facility."

Jack looked worried and Jerry turned a peculiar shade of green at the thought of the extra security expense.

Bart moved through the tents with Brandon to observe the processing, chatting with the boy along the way. At one point, Bart asked, "Do you think that your parents would try to have you committed again?"

Brandon sighed. "Probably not. With the restraining order, I don't think they would break the law. They will likely write me off."

He chuckled, looking at the unasked question written on Bart's face. "Hindsight has 20-20 vision Mr. Killian. So, I'm seeing some things clearly now. I don't know whether my parents ever really loved me. They brought me into the world and felt obliged to raise me, to mold me into what they wanted me to be instead of letting me be what I was. And, things were relatively peaceful as long as I did exactly what they wanted me to do." He sighed. "It was peaceful, but not a particularly happy time for me, until I met Ed Tekai."

They were now in the third tent. Brandon's brow furrowed, deep in thought while he shucked his white robe and donned the street clothes provided by CPS.

Presently, he mused, "I'm trying to visualize what my life would have been like years from now if I hadn't defied my parents. I would probably have married and had children, maintained the ideal nuclear family ... become a pillar of the community ... and had a successful business career."

He laughed aloud. "Sounds great, doesn't it? And, it would all have been done on autopilot, because the real me wouldn't have been there."

He cocked his head to the side and looked at Bart curiously. "In that scenario, I would have had two choices. One, If I had really tried to live the straight life, I would have wound up an unhappy old man, bitter as sour milk. Or, more likely I would have led a double life, pretending to be the loving husband at home and sucking off guys in mens rooms while away on business trips." He shook his head sadly. "But, in neither case would I have found and nurtured real love or happiness."

Brandon snapped out of his reverie. "But, I don't have to think about that, because my life is not defined by a script that someone else writes; I'm entitled to pursue my own happiness." He grinned, looking over Bart's shoulder. "My future lies with the guy I love, and he's right over there, waiving frantically at me."

Bart smiled and gave the boy a hug. "You're wise way beyond your years, Gentle Gymnast."

Brandon grinned and wrinkled his nose. "Gentle Gymnast?"

Bart gently shoved him in Ed's direction. "It's the name John gave you. I'll tell you the story sometime."

As they walked toward the fourth tent, Brandon said, "Please keep me posted on John's condition. I'd like to visit him in the hospital as soon as it's allowed." Bart nodded and Brandon ran into Ed's arms.


The noise coming from the food tent was deafening. After years of enforced silence, the boys were making up for lost time. But, Ed and Brandon's reunion was a show stopper. As their lips met in a passionate kiss, Brandon picked Ed up, cradling him in his arms, and spun him around and around. The tent became absolutely silent for two minutes, then applause erupted with whistles, catcalls and shouts of encouragement.

At last, they broke the kiss and Brandon eased Ed back to the ground. Smiling, they turned to their audience and the whistles and catcalls grew louder as several boys pointed to the tents in their pants.

The boys crowded around Brandon, plying him with hugs. They introduced him to Randy and Joe and allowed him to give Dickie a quick hug before they dragged him and Ed over to the dining table.

It was obvious to Bart that Brandon was the boys' hero. When the alarm sounded, he was the first to resist the brothers.

Bart suddenly felt very unnecessary and started to leave. But, Jack Wade entered and asked him to stay. Whistling loudly to get the boys' attention, he introduced himself and began to address them.

"I know that you are happy to be away from the brothers. Now, I would like to introduce you to some of the people who made that happen. Your rescue
would not have been possible if Dickie Marks had not been brave enough to escape from the compound." Applause and whistles were directed to a red faced Dickie. "And, we probably wouldn't have known about Dickie's escape if Randy, my son, and Joe Foxworth hadn't found and cared for him." Applause and thumbs up for the pair. "And, we could not have moved forward with the case without information from Brandon Johnson's partner, Ed Tekai." More thunderous applause. "And, this is detective Bart Killian, who orchestrated and executed the plan that rescued you." Thunderous applause and wild cheers erupted.

Bart stepped forward. "Thank you. But, my plan would not have worked without the support of my fellow officers of the Canyon City Police Department, particularly my partner, John Wilson." His voice broke and Jack hugged him, to the sound of more applause and cheers.

Randy pulled him aside and sat with him at the back of the tent. Pointing to his father, Randy whispered, "Bart, you gotta listen to this. It's amazing what the people of this city have agreed to do for these little guys."

Jack continued to address the boys. "My law firm has volunteered to act as your advocate while the powers that be put your lives in order. I've been speaking to my business clients all day, and they have agreed to contribute money, goods and services for your support."

He consulted a written list. "The management of the Eureka has agreed to provide an entire floor of their hotel in which you will stay until we can find permanent housing for you. Three different clothing stores will give you wardrobes. Two supermarket chains will provide food. Canyon City Transit will provide transportation. Two electronics firms will provide the gadgets to amuse you. And, Matson University will provide counseling and testing facilities to establish benchmarks for your further education."

Jack paused amid an avalanche of questions. He held up his hands in surrender. "Please remember that you are the legal wards of Grant County, Missouri. But, the agencies involved and my law firm will do everything in our power to address your individual needs. We want you to grow up to be happy healthy gay men such as Randy, Joe, Ed and Brandon."

Jack said a few more words, then the evening meal was served. Randy urged Bart to stay for dinner. "Jesus Bart, I know you want to go see John, but you're worn to a frazzle and you haven't had anything to eat since early this morning."

Bart relented and sat with the boys. They were all in their mid-teens, boy-men, who had had their normal development stunted, physically, mentally and emotionally. His heart went out to them.

A cute boy sitting beside him whispered, "I'm sorry John got hurt. You said he was your partner. Is he your lover?"

The question blew Bart away, but he recovered enough to say, "He's my partner on the police force. Personally, he's my best friend, and I love him very much."

The boy smiled. "He saved us down in the basement. When you see him, tell him we love him very much too."

"I will." Bart said with a lump in his throat.

Later that evening, for his safety, Brandon joined the other boys at the hotel. Ed Tekai wasn't about to spend the night apart from him, so it was arranged for him to accompany the boys as a chaperone. Similar arrangements were made to allow Mickey to share a room with Dickie. Actually, the two couples shared a two bedroom suite with a common sitting room and small kitchen.

A clear crisp, cold October night had fallen on the city. After a sumptuous meal in the hotel, the boys were escorted to the floor that had been reserved for them.

Brandon and Ed had been touching physically and in spirit since their reunion at the command post, but they longed for a private reconciliation. Consequently, they bid everyone a good night and retired to their bedroom. There, they slowly undressed, marveling at the sight of every portion of flesh exposed to view.

Ed had difficulty keeping his breath under control until Brandon was naked - a vision of muscle, all man, covered in blond hair so fine that it could barely be seen. In the midst of the picture lay heavy genitals. Ed placed a hand on Brandon's chest. Inside that powerful frame was a gentle, loving passionate soul that adored and understood him. Ed would stand by this man forever.

Brandon had no better control over his breath than Ed. To him, Ed was the perfect man, small of stature and perfectly proportioned, in keeping with his Japanese heritage. Brandon knew that within this sleek, hairless body dwelt a patient, intelligent, intensely passionate soul, qualities that he admired and loved. To Brandon, Ed was his soul mate, one to be cherished, nurtured, protected and loved well.

The blond haired, gentle gymnast carefully lifted Ed and carried him to the bed, where he made gentle passionate love that was reciprocated in every respect.

In the next bedroom, Michael Marks and his younger brother, sated after sweet lovemaking, stood naked before the large window overlooking the nighttime panorama of the city. Mickey wrapped his arms around the boy and nuzzled the back of his neck. Staring out of the window, Dickie whispered, "The lights of the city look like a basket of jewels."

Mickey murmured into his ear, "That's our world out there now, and we'll be happy in it."

In the Intensive Care Unit of St. Vincent's Hospital, Bart sat by John's bed. Holding his friend's hand, he stared at the still form and listened to the rhythmic sounds of the monitors. "Come back to me John," he said quietly.

To be continued

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