following story is a fictional account involving a lesbian couple
and a teenage
boy who has psychopathic tendencies. Although no sexual activity
takes place in
this story, there are references to gay sex and anyone who is
with this should obviously not be reading it. Some themes are
mature and may not be suitable to younger audiences. All characters
are fictional and any resemblance to real people is purely
coincidental. Although the story takes place in actual locations and
the author takes full responsibility for all events described and
these are not
in any way meant to reflect the activities of real individuals or
establishments nor school or corporate policies. The author retains
copyright of this story, and of stories based on these characters.
Please note that
this is the twenty-sixth in a series of short stories known
collectively as Naptown Tales. The series of stories can be found
on my GayAuthors
Page and on the Naptown Tales Page at Awesome Dude, as well as at Nifty.
Please see the Introduction
for important background on the series.
"How many more places
have to look at, Cathy?" I asked my wife as we hopped back into our
car, a '98
Honda Accord that, while pretty old, still ran well and got us where
"Just three more,
she answered. "I sure hope at least one of 'em pans out," she
I did, too. We'd been
for three days, searching listing after listing looking for something
afford. It was the week between Christmas and New Years and classes
next week. We knew we should have started our search much
earlier, but with the Christmas season and all, our lives had
just been too hectic. Now, everything good had already been taken and
really wasn't much left to choose from.
Not that we had
to move or anything. My parents were
more than happy to allow us to stay with them indefinitely, and they
delighted to look after little Larry, as they were doing right now,
really wanted our own place. We needed our own place. We
needed privacy. Living with my parents, we really couldn't have sex
them knowing about it. We were getting beyond horny.
But with our limited
resources, which consisted of our college savings and the limited
parents were willing to kick in, we couldn't afford much in the way of
Plus we'd have to furnish the place and we'd have to pay for
daycare. Fortunately, the University had a great daycare
center, and we'd managed to get Larry enrolled in time to avoid having
waitlisted. The cost was on a sliding scale, but it was based on our parents'
income, which was not
insubstantial. In that sense, we were fucked. We were going to have to
maximum. Still, it was convenient and would fit in with our class
We must have looked at
or sixty apartments over the course of the Christmas break week. We
to find something in close proximity to the campus so as to keep our
costs to a minimum, and of course we wanted to be in a safe
neighborhood. Some apartments
we looked at were in crappy run-down buildings and some were
apartments in people's homes. Those were actually the nicest, but as
they heard we had an infant, they were not at all interested in
renting to us. Frankly, I couldn't blame them. Why would
they want a screaming baby in the house?
When we pulled up to
place we were going to look at, I was pleasantly surprised. It was
right on the
old Central Canal, which should have made it prohibitively expensive,
but the asking
rent was only $600 a month for a two bedroom, 2½ bath place, which was
steal. It was a little closer into the inner city than we would have
the neighborhood seemed nice, and it was an easy drive to campus.
it was still considered part of the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood,
one of the first interracial neighborhoods in the city.
After we rang the
an elderly African American Woman answered the door, her grey hair
shining in the winter
"Hello," I said, "we
about the ad for the apartment." Extending my hand, I said, "I'm
McLaughlin and this is my wife, Cathy Andrews."
"Hello, dear," she
as she warmly shook my hand. "I'm Emma Lee, and welcome to the
"Before we go any
Cathy said, "you probably need to know that we have an infant."
"Honey," Emma replied,
I take out my hearing aids and go to bed, your infant child could
poor lungs out and I wouldn't hear a thing. I absolutely adore
children. In fact,
I don't know what childcare arrangements you may have made, but I can
do it for less, do a better job and do it with a whole lot more love. I
look old, but I still get around pretty well for a 77-year-old gal,
ain't that old any more, as they say."
I raised my eyebrows
surprise. What a delightful less-than-young lady.
"Now let's go take a
the apartment." She had a wonderful smile too.
Emma took us across
porch, literally, next door. "The apartment is actually the entire
of my house. In other words, it's the second half of a duplex," she
as she opened the door. "We share the front porch and we share the
which is accessed from a stairway outside the back."
Leading us inside the
door, she continued, "The first floor's already furnished with a sofa
seat in the living room. It's not much, but it's enough for basic
living room was small, but functional and the furniture was probably
what we would have bought for ourselves. All we would need to buy
would be a TV
and entertainment system.
As if reading our
went on to say, "We do have a hookup for cable and, believe it or not,
fiber-optic line for FiOS if you want it, but if you keep quiet, I'll
hook up to my satellite dish and split the costs with me, and the same
my DSL." Sweet.
Continuing as she led
the kitchen, she pointed out, "We have gas appliances and gas heat.
the hook for all utilities, however. With the price of gas and
these days, I can't afford to include 'em anymore. Had to put in
meters, a separate furnace and all, but the price a gas ain't goin'
Looking around the
it was again pretty small, but functional. The appliances weren't all
but they were sufficient. Further back was a large eating area with a
chairs. There was no formal dining room, but we didn't expect that
one, as we wouldn't be doing any formal entertaining. Out the back was
enclosed screened-in porch, which was a nice touch, and there was a
half-bath back there as well.
Heading back to the
room, Emma took us up a narrow set of stairs to the second floor,
were two bedrooms; a front bedroom and a back bedroom, both of which
unfurnished, and had tiny closets - not that we had much to fit in
In between the two bedrooms, directly above the kitchen I surmised,
small bathrooms. One was a tiny master bathroom off the front bedroom
a small, probably original pedestal sink and a tiny shower stall, and
the stairway landing was a small bathroom with another pedestal sink
and a real
claw-foot bathtub. "There's also some space in the corner where you
can put a
changing table for the baby," Emma pointed out.
"This is nice . . . very
nice," Cathy said and I nodded my
head in agreement. "It's hard to believe you'd let us have all this
hundred a month. It's basically a semi-detached house, after all."
"Let's go out back and
talk," Emma said. As we exited the screened porch, she continued,
"There are a
number of reasons I'm not asking that much for it. The neighborhood's
transitional and even though the neighborhood association's very
strong and has
done an excellent job of keeping crime and drugs out, most people
don't want to
live down here, which is a real shame. Downtown's thriving and maybe
the development along the canal will reach all the way up to here, but
this is kind of a no man's land. We're not really gentrified . . .
that it's unsafe or anything, but a lot of properties around here are
run down and until that changes, rents around here are lower than you
"The other reason I'm
asking much is that I have an ulterior motive. This property is a lot
up. The yard needs mowing in the summer, the driveway needs clearing
of snow in
the winter, the path to the canal needs clearing and there's some
weeding to do
in the garden. It's hard to see now, but come spring, there'll be
around here. I do most of the work, but I appreciate some help.
Usually I rent
the place to a couple of college boys or to a married couple."
added, "Usually, that's a man and a woman.
a couple of gay college boys, but having a lesbian couple would be a
me." Turning toward me, she said, "You look like you're pretty strong
girl, Debbie, so if the two of you are willing to do a little hard
labor, I think we could work out a mutually acceptable deal that could
a lot of money on childcare costs and get you in here for a reasonable
Looking at Cathy and
reflecting on the pleasant physical setting with the gentle waters of
babbling nearby, I said, "This could save us a small fortune, Cath. I
thinking maybe one or both of use might need to get jobs, but if we
to pay childcare expenses, we could focus on our studies. And helping
around here wouldn't be much of a chore at all. It'd be no different
helping out around the house at my parents' place as far as I'm
"We'd need references
we could entrust you with our little Larry, Ms. Lee," Cathy stated.
"Honey," she said,
all, it's `Emma', and secondly, I raised five children of my own.
professionals, too. Come inside," she added, "and I'll show you."
Getting out a photo
she did indeed show us pictures of her children growing up and told us
accomplishments. She was proud of them, as she deserved to be. She had
who was a Chiropractor in Columbus, a son who was a Cellist with the
Francisco Symphony Orchestra, a daughter who was a dermatologist at
Center downtown, a daughter who was an attorney in Chicago and a son
who was a
psychologist, who taught at the university we would be attending
her children were quite a legacy, but that still didn't speak to her current
ability to care for an infant
and, unfortunately, we had to raise the issue.
When Cathy did just
Emma got out her phone and called her daughter, the dermatologist,
there. The daughter told us that not only was her mother capable of
of an infant, but that she did so very recently with her own grandson,
great grandson, when his mother was laid up after a skiing accident
that left her
unable to stand or walk for three months. Yes, Emma was more
than capable of taking care of little Larry.
With that endorsement,
found ourselves a new home and a new surrogate grandmother.
With a signed lease,
first three months' rent up front and a little help from both sets of
and some of our old high-school friends, we moved in the next day,
plenty of time to get settled in before classes began on January
were still a lot of things we needed to buy for our new home and,
thanks to a
Nordstrom's Gift Certificate from our good friends, David, Jeremy,
Kurt, as well as gifts of cash from a number of our friends, we had
money to buy some nice things with which to furnish the place. Taking
of all the sales, our place shaped up in no time.
Emma helped us out a
too, as she had a lot of left-over clothes for Larry that she was more
willing to let us have. Not to mention pots and pans and things that
have otherwise had to purchase. She turned out to be a really sweet
moreover a good friend - really a member of our little family.
Before we knew it, it
time for the first day of classes to begin. Originally, Cathy had
study Architecture and I had planned to study Interior Design at the
Rhode Island School of Design in Providence. However, after Cathy and I
and she got pregnant, it forced us to reassess our lives' ambitions
and we both
realized we were following paths that no longer suited our interests.
decided to attend a local university and, at least for the time, major
Engineering. That way, she could branch out into a number of different
The curriculum was much more flexible than Architecture and yet it
number of similar skills.
When we reconciled and
decided to marry after her emergency cesarean section and the delivery
Larry, I decided that I, too, needed a change in career direction, and
would also attend the same local university. Although it is a small,
college, the curriculum is quite broad and affords the opportunity for
number of career choices. We decided that it was the ideal place for
us to find
ourselves. While Cathie would be studying Engineering, I would start
out in the
Education curriculum. That way, I could become a teacher, maybe a
or even a nurse if my interests changed.
A pleasant surprise on
class schedule was that my Psychology professor, Professor Lee, turned
be none other than Emma's son. From the moment I walked into the
was sure that it was him. He had the same warm smile, and when he
what we would be doing during the semester, I knew right away that his
my favorite class. It was evident from the start that he loved
more importantly, he loved teaching psychology. What a rarity,
to find someone who loves to teach and who loves the
subject they teach. His passion was evident, and I could tell
he couldn't wait to get up in the morning to share something new with
and every day of class.
In his enthusiasm, he
way of making each of us want to learn more, so I found myself reading
more about psychology outside of class, and checking books on the
of the library. I actually began to wonder if Psychology might be
might want to study as my major, or if I might want to become a
psychologist as a profession, but that would be a major
step. Would I want to become a professional psychologist? Did I have
takes to share people's troubles with them and to help them deal with
was soon to find out what a horrible challenge that could be.
Cathy and I worked
our studies, but College was fun, and the time sailed by. Life at home
great, and Emma made it easy for us, doing just about everything but
breastfeed little Larry, so we were
never kept from our studies. She provided far more child care than the
childcare center at the University ever would have, and for that we
eternally grateful to her; she said it was an absolute pleasure. To
us, she was
a Godsend. Yes, Emma truly was family and family meant love. We vowed
other we'd have to see to it she was well cared for in her old age -
her older age.
In the meantime, as
we kept the driveway and sidewalk cleared of snow, and when spring
helped with the planting, the weeding and other basic gardening tasks.
certainly the least we could do, and Emma made it fun for us. She once
were making the gardens pretty for God and He was sharing His beauty
For Cathy and me, that little bit of work was more than a fair trade
the diaper changes that would have been.
Midterms came and
Cathy and I were maintaining an A average. We were both doing well and
proud of our accomplishments. Even Emma -- when she heard the news -
special dinner ready for us the next day. Yeah, we had another
Larry had a great grandma.
As the semester neared
end, Professor Lee announced our class project, which would count as
one-third of our grade. Working in pairs, we would interview one of
patients. These would be carefully selected patients of his. We were
not to try
to diagnose or treat, but rather we were to draw on all we'd learned
semester, and write an essay based on the interview, placing the
problems in modern society. This was a freshman psychology course,
so it was the broader picture we were to explore - not the individual
I was teamed up with a
student named Jerry McDowell, a freshman from Fort Wayne, and our
patient was a
fourteen-year-old boy named Trey. We weren't given a last name, and
information about Trey we were to obtain from our interview. We met
Professor Lee's office downtown one evening after class.
Trey was actually a
good-looking boy, and he had an innocent purity about his face. He
five feet, eleven inches tall and was thin - he probably weighed no
one-twenty. He was a redhead with a few freckles on his nose, and wore
wire-rim glasses. He looked pretty much like an average teenager in
sporting a stud in his left ear as was so popular these days.
Jerry started the
by asking, "Trey, could you tell us how long you've been seeing
"You mean Doc?" he
"I've been coming to see Doc for two and a half years, now, since I
"Why do you see
Doc?" I asked, wanting to get down to business, but
hoping I wasn't pushing too far, too fast.
Getting a quirky smile
face, this sweet, innocent-looking boy replied, "To keep me from
shit outta little boys, raping 'em silly, and offing 'em."
Oh my God! What
kind of monster was this Trey?
"Why would you want to
do that?" Jerry asked.
"Because it feels
responded. "It's such a rush when you have someone under your control,
know? To hear them beg for their lives, and know that you have the
them. There's nothing like it in the world. It's not just sexual. It's
just . .
. awesome, you know? And when you physically hurt them and they
kind of a release. Then there is the
sex, and it's wild sex, you know?"
"Have you ever done
someone?" I asked.
"Just once, when I was
twelve, but I didn't off the kid, and that's why the trouble began.
Gary didn't off me or the other kids, either, and that's prolly why he
caught in the end. He just threatened us all, just like I threatened
Willie. Willie squealed on me, but I didn't squeal on Gary. I knew
really would have killed me, so I did what Gary told me to do and put
on Trevor Austin. It would'a worked, too, if Sammy hadn't squealed.
"I should'a just offed
kid in the first place. If Willie had just plain disappeared, they'd
searched for him, and eventually they'd have found his body in the
there wouldn't have been anything to tie him to me, and that would
the end of it."
"Wait a minute," I
said as it
dawned on me who this kid was. "You were involved in that church camp
"Hah! Now you can
looking at all the ways my being abused at camp made me the way I am,"
responded with a laugh. "Lady, I was kinda like Gary before I ever
went to the
camp. I was a gay pervert the day I arrived and I wanted nothing more
fuck the younger boys, but I didn't have the balls to do it. Meeting
the best thing that coulda happened to me. When he showed me how to
keep a kid
like me in line by threatening him with his life, I was convinced I
that, too. Gary and me were like kindred spirits, you know? When he
told me he
wanted to trade sexual favors, it was like every fantasy of mine ever
true. Everything he did to me, I wanted to do to the younger boys.
"When I saw Willie
himself in the dark, looking homesick, it was the perfect chance. I
went up to
him. I acted like the big brother he never had. I told him I knew what
like to be away from home for the first time and all that total
bullshit. I got
real buddy-buddy with him and led him to the clearing where Gary kept
"When we got there, I
around real quick and sucker-punched him in the stomach and told him
cried for help, it'd be the last thing he ever did in his life . . .
drown him in the lake. It was just like what Gary did with me.
"Man, the look of
his eyes was great! I made him get undressed, and then I started
He didn't even try to defend himself . . . the little twerp. Finally,
started screwing him, he screamed, so I had to push him down into the
to muffle his screams. His ass was so tight and it felt great when I
"When I was done, I
he could get dressed, and I made it clear again what would happen to
him if he ever told who did this to him. 'Course
there really wasn't any way for me to enforce that . . . well, maybe I
thinking I could have another go at him a few nights later . . . and
my mistake. How dumb I was. I shoulda just drowned him in the lake,
and there. That woulda been the end of it. They'd never have
connection to Gary if I'd just been smart, but I was a stupid-assed
twelve-year-old back then."
He eyes dazed and he
slightly as he looked up at the wall. "Yeah, sometimes I like thinking
Willie an' all that water . . ."
I couldn't believe
what I was
hearing. He looked like an angel, but this sweet young teenaged boy
absolute monster. He was one of the so-called victims of the church
scandal from a couple years back. A big deal had been made at the time
fact that Kurt DeWitt, a victim himself, had talked two families, the
and the Kimballs, into footing the bill for psychologic counseling for
kids until they reached the age of eighteen. But this kid was already
two years into the counseling, and he was still a raving psychopath.
"Trey," Jerry began,
been going through counseling for more than two years. Does Doc teach
things? Does he teach you that you need to kill your victims so they
Looking down at the
Trey admitted, "No, he teaches me I need to find other outlets for my
aggressive feelings . . . that I need to channel my negative thoughts
other activities such as sports. He teaches me that sex should be a
of thing, and that it's much more enjoyable by far if both
people want to do it, and are around the same age. He says
there's lots of ways to channel my aggression into positive activities
and music. He says it's up to me to make something of my life. He says
thinking as I did before can only lead to my destruction."
"What do you
think?" Jerry asked.
Pausing for what
an interminable while, Trey got out a pack of cigarettes from his
took out one and lit up.
"Are you allowed to
here?" I asked.
"Doc lets me smoke as
I want during our sessions," he replied. "It helps me relax. But in
what I think, given my choice, I'd love nothing more than to rape
all day long. There's an endless supply of them and nothing would give
pleasure than using them, the consequences be damned. Doing that would
He took a long drag on
cigarette and continued, "'Course doing that would be a ticket
Hell, which is prolly where I'm headed anyway, but I'm not in a hurry
there. I sure as hell don't want to spend the rest of my days on earth
someone else's bitch in the state pen, and I don't wanna become the
youngest person to undergo death by lethal injection. So I guess my
been killed by society's rules, haven't they?"
"Given that there are
rules," I asked, "do you think you
can live with them?"
"Do I gotta choice?"
"Trey," Jerry asked,
with the rules as they are, what would you do right now, right this
there were a little boy placed in front of you. If you had the
opportunity of a
boy alone who seemed to be lost, no parents in sight, what would you
"Oh, what a question!"
responded. "You're asking me if I'd commit a crime if I thought I
away with it. You're also asking me to tell
you, in which case you'll quite probably put it in the report
write. Then if a boy disappears tomorrow, everyone's gonna think I did
regardless if it was me or not.
"Let me just say that
like to think I'm beyond doing such things to little boys," he finally
"But if the
presented itself?" I asked, too.
"Lady, if you were one
away from passing a course, and you really needed that course to
the teacher left the answer key in plain sight for a test and left the
could you guarantee me you wouldn't sneak a peak at it? As Doc is
to me, none of us knows what we'll do 'til we're in a situation. The
sessions I'm in are to try to keep me sane . . . to try to keep me
on my old thinking when presented with an opportunity.
"Yeah, I'm a monster. I
know I am. I don't want to be, but I am.
In three years and two months, I'll be an adult and these counseling
will end. If I don't learn to control my impulses by then, I could
next Jeffery Dahmer. I don't want to be remembered for somethin' like
That's not me."
"Trey, you said you
this before you even got to the camp." Jerry asked. "What do you mean?
most twelve years old boys aren't rapists."
Trey got a smirk on
and said, "Ah, back into shrink mode. There has to be a reason for me
fucked up. Well, my story growin' up's pretty typical. My mother's a
addict. She supports her habit by selling herself and by stealin'.
and then, she cleans up her act and they put me back with her, and
falls off the wagon again and I end up back in the system. I've been
in and out
of foster care all my life, in foster homes and group homes. Believe
me, I know
what it's like to be on the receiving end of someone's prick. That's
good part of the reason why I want to be the one givin' it."
Stumping out his
he continued, "There really isn't anything else to say. I'm totally
inside, but if I can learn to channel all that hatred and pain in
ways, like Doc says, maybe I can still make somethin' of my life."
I put down my pad and
Jerry followed my cue. I looked deep into his eyes for a moment.
began, "you know that you're a very lucky young man. Did you know that
Gary . .
. was . . . is HIV positive?" A slightly startled look came across his
"Did you know . . . that little Cliff . . . is HIV positive?" The
started to frown. "Did you know . . . did you know that Sammy Franklin
. . . is
HIV positive?" I asked. His lower jaw dropped slightly. "Trey, you're a
lucky young man . . . you escaped the trauma that those boys are going
He composed himself
and his face took on a very smug façade. "Yeah, well, so far, so
looking at his watch, he said, "Now if you'll excuse me, I have to
bus. My current foster parents are pretty strict about when they serve
After Trey had
took a deep breath and released it before I said, "Wow! I wasn't
that. What a messed up kid!"
"The scary thing,"
said, "is that I honestly think that if he were presented with a
boy in the scenario I presented him, he'd rape the boy for all he's
dispose of the body in a way it wouldn't be found for perhaps years.
like that will do whatever he thinks he can get away with. Regardless
he said to the contrary, he doesn't want to do the right thing, and he
care about not going to Hell or anything like that. His only question
is as to
whether or not he thinks he can get away with it."
"You really think so?"
asked. "I mean, I know Sammy Franklin quite well. Actually, he's Sam
that the Austins adopted him, but Sam's the same age and has been
through exactly the same life experience as
Trey, and Sam was at the same camp and was subjected to the same abuse
and yet he's wonderfully adjusted. Sam would no more hurt someone than
jump off a cliff."
"Not everyone reacts
way to the same situation, Debbie," Jerry said. "When you came out
lucky boy spiel and the HIV subject, and then the quick `so what'
had when you finished . . . I got the impression Trey couldn't have
He wasn't the slightest bit sorry for the other boys that came out of
situation HIV positive. Kurt DeWitt was at that camp, too, and he got a
Congressional Gold Medal for his bravery not only in saving Sam's
life, but in
all the work he's done since then to help the victims of rape and
many people who've been through rape are willing to face it, let alone
"His fiancé, Trevor,
always saying Kurt's one in a million. You're right . . . everyone's
"Debbie, I don't want
sound sexist because that's far from my intent, but I'm glad that
teamed us together for this. I think as a male, I'd see Trey's
differently than you would as a female. When I saw his actions and his
attitude, I felt the whole thing was an act. I just didn't buy it. It
was as if
he was hedging his words and knew what he had to say to make us think
turning to `the good side'. When you presented the HIV information of
boys, he already knew the others were HIV positive . . . it's a matter
public knowledge . . . yet he gave us a slight façade of shock. I
for it . . . did you?"
I smiled. "Jerry,
right about the male/female thing. I was losing my objectivity
when I put that to him . . . for lack of a better term .
. . I was being motherly. You're right also, I was falling for his act
saw his reaction while I was asking the HIV questions. I'm not
the rest of it though, he's a very bitter young man, and there are a
excuses for him to be that way. Notwithstanding, I really don't feel
wants to change to `the good side'. Murder . . . I can't tell, but I
may be only one step away."
"We're on the same
then. I'm glad we talked this out." Jerry said with a smile.
Recognizing that I
a unique opportunity, I asked Professor Lee if I might interview Sam
supplement the interview with Trey. Professor Lee cautioned that while
would be outside the scope of the original assignment, the added slant
comparing the two individuals was indeed intriguing. He suggested that
complete the original assignment based on the single interview as
offered that I sign up for an independent summer study course for
based on completing a series of focused interviews with each of the
The end result of the course would then, hopefully, be a manuscript
be publishable. Now that opportunity
would be a great way to get into the field!
The paper that came
out of my
single interview with Trey was, frankly, one of the best things I'd
written, and Professor Lee obviously thought so as well, as he was
his comments in marking it up. Not that there weren't helpful and
criticisms as well, but the overall grade was a big fat A+, giving me a
for the course.
In the meantime, I
for an independent study course for the summer, and made arrangements
Professor Lee to meet with Trey on a weekly basis throughout the
summer. I also
contacted Sam Austin and asked if I could sit down with him on a
and interview him about his past. Sam readily agreed.
Because I'd already
interviewed Trey once, I thought I should start out with a general
with Sam before proceeding with the targeted interviews we had
planned, and so
I met with Sam at his house one evening in early June. The contrast
apparent, and I wondered if it was a fair comparison to begin with.
had continued to live in a poor inner city neighborhood since his
camp, Sam came to live in a very affluent neighborhood on the city's
side, not unlike where I grew up. The house, while not a mansion, was
large and on a large, fenced-in piece of property with a pool in the
Inside, the Austins had all the latest conveniences. Their cars were
- an Escalade and a Lexus for the parents and a Jetta for Trevor.
But then there was the
that Sam was HIV-positive. There was no getting away from that. What a
We sat in a very
den for the interview, just off the kitchen, with some tortilla chips
wonderful four-layer dip that Sam claimed he'd made himself.
"I'm always trying new
things, Debbie," he told me. "We had Home Ec in school last semester
learned some basic cooking skills, and I found I really like
cooking. I like it a lot, so I'm trying new recipes whenever I
can. Mom's thrilled because she doesn't
have to cook nearly as much with me doing so much of the cooking now,"
with a laugh. His laugh was so infectious.
Sam really was a cute
Right away I could tell there was a world of difference between Trey
Maybe they had grown up in similar environments, but Sam was not
Trey. Sam was relaxed,
self-confident and intelligent. He was also incredibly handsome, and
feet, ten inches or so in height and weighing perhaps one-forty, he
more normal for some reason. His
blond hair was well kept and his blue eyes were piercing, but in a way
exuded warmth and empathy, rather than the steely cold of Trey's
They both had studs in their left ear, but that was about the only thing
they had in common. It was
weird, but Trey should have looked cute, but by the end of his
looked more scary than anything.
Another big difference
was evident right away was the language. Sam's language was much more
He spoke with only the barest hint of an accent, whereas Trey had a
south Midwestern accent. Sam's vocabulary was extensive - in fact, it
to believe I was talking to a kid that just finished middle school. I
asked him about that and
he got a sad look on his face and admitted he'd been offered the
start high school as a sophomore, but turned it down.
"It turns out it
doesn't make much of a difference what I'm called," he said in lament.
courses next fall will be a mix of AP courses taken from across the
curriculum, based on my test results. I'll be a freshman in name only,
courses will be mostly at the sophomore and junior level. The
only freshman course I'm taking is in math, but I'm taking a
sophomore math course, too."
"God, Sam, it sounds
you're a genius," I stated.
"`Off the charts,' is
they say," Sam said, sadly. "I just want to be a normal teenager, but
there are advantages," he said with a smile.
"How so," I asked.
Suddenly, Sam started
speaking in a foreign language I didn't understand at all. It sounded
must have been French, but since I don't speak a word of French, I
have said what he was saying if my life depended on it.
Finally, I just put up
hands and said, "Sorry Sam, but I have no idea what language
you're speaking in, let alone what you're saying."
"I just said that when
told me he'd take me to any country in the world if I could get an A
first year of the associated foreign language, I found out that my
school teaches French, Spanish, German, and Latin in the Eighth Grade.
the first semester of it was already almost over, but I was motivated
enroll in one of those Internet-based crash courses in French. Then I
the French teacher at school and asked her in French if I could try
first semester exam and if I passed, if I could get into the course.
up giving me an oral exam as well as the written exam, I passed both
let me in. Compared to the Internet course, the school's course was easy.
"Anyway, later this
we're going to go to Paris! God, I can't wait! I'm going to get to see
Louvre, the Musée d'Osray, the Pompidou Center, the Eiffel Tower,
Sacré Coeur, Notre
Dame and all the great art museums and sites in the greatest city of
them all .
. . maybe next to New York, that is."
In no way, shape or
Sam anything like Trey. Sam was an extraordinary young man who had
from a bad environment, thanks to the abuse scandal and his HIV
status. But I
needed to find out more, so asked him, "Sam, you've made an amazing
around. You grew up on the street, the son of a crack-addicted mother,
out of foster care, sexually abused at the church camp and then found
HIV-positive. How'd you turn out so . . . amazingly well?" I asked.
"God, Debbie, what an
embarrassing question," he commented before going on. "I think love
had a lot
to do with it. Growing up, I didn't really have any love, and my
languished without me knowing they were even there. When Gary came
along . . .
Gary's the bastard who sexually abused me at the church camp . . . I
his advances toward me for love. That's why I welcomed them at first
thought it was great that someone was actually paying attention to me.
"He asked me to go
with him . . . God, I can't believe I actually thought smoking was
then . . . and the sexual things we did together at first just seemed
up. But when he wanted to . . . putting it bluntly . . . fuck me,
that's when I
knew it was one-sided on his part, and there was no doubt what was
when he threatened to kill me. Then there was the group sex, where he
do things with other campers and recorded it on his camcorder. The
there may be videos of me doing it out in Cyberspace, still
kind of creeps me out.
"But Debbie, with the
I've found real love. I have a real
family with a wonderful brother and his fiancé, who's just as much my
Hell, he pretty much lives here now, and they'll be getting married
next month . . . we're all so excited. My adoptive parents are
absolutely the most wonderful people on
earth. My best friend, Paul, lives just down the street, and I love
him like a
brother. He has Down's Syndrome, but thanks to our studying together,
regular classes now, and even though I'm skipping ahead, we still
together and I'm making sure to tutor him at his level so that he'll
"And then there's also
savior, Jesus Christ. Before I came to the Austins, I wasn't very
all. The Austins, however, insisted I go to church every week. Before,
so sure I believed in God. Now I do. Kurt, Trevor's fiancé, has taught
me a lot
about the Bible and I've learned that there's a lot more room for
different backgrounds and different viewpoints, and even different
orientations. God loves all his children . . . even me."
"I would say God
loves you, Sam, to have given you such an extraordinary gift." I
"What you are
is God's gift to you," Sam said to
me, reciting the words of a poem he had apparently read or seen
"What you make of yourself is your gift to God."
said, and I meant it. `What a contrast to Trey', I thought.
"Kurt keeps reminding
we as Christians believe in Jesus as the Messiah, but that there are
of righteousness and truth. Jesus works for me. Jesus really is my
some day, he'll save me from my HIV . . . I just know he will.
But if I'd been born a Muslim, I'd still strive to
seek truth through the word of the prophet Mohamed, or if born a
would seek enlightenment through the Buddha. It amazes me that Kurt
study all the world's religions.
That's really ace. He's ace."
"You really love your
family," I noted.
"I'm incredibly lucky,
Debbie," he answered. "The street was bereft of love, and I shudder to
what would have happened to me if I'd stayed there.
"Trey is still there
still subjected to the same pressures I used to face. But what he did
kid . . . Willie . . . I never could have done that. I would have
before I'd hurt someone else that
the same pressures in different ways, Sam," I commented.
"I just hope I'm
in a situation like that again," Sam said, "but I'm going to have to
to deal with kids like Trey. I want
to be a teacher, and I want to teach in an inner city school. For me,
best way to give back what has been given to me. It's the best way to
who have so little. I know I'm going to face kids with problems like
the time. I may not be able to make up for what they don't have at
maybe if I can show them just a tiny fraction of the human caring
had, and the passion for learning that could lift them out of the
and despair of life on the streets, it can start them on a path toward
something better. Not many of them can accomplish what I can, but at
can start the journey. Once they see beyond the life they live now,
that may be
enough for them to seek a better life for themselves in the future."
"Sam, that's such a
ambition," I said. "I have no doubt that you'll be one hell of a
"Or I'll die trying,"
with a nervous laugh.
"This layered dip is
fantastic, by the way," I said as I finished the last of it.
"And it has absolutely
calories or fat in it," he said with a smirk.
"Really?" I asked.
"If you believe that, I
a bridge to sell you in Brooklyn."
"Very funny," I
"And thanks for the
compliment," he added as we headed to the door.
Talking to Sam had
thoroughly enjoyable experience. Sam was a thoroughly calm, cool,
teenager. He was also brilliant, and going places. It was hard to
a kid with his IQ was going to become a teacher. There are so many
he could have done, and still could do, but he felt a sense of
kids in the inner city that was laudable. I could only hope he didn't
in the end.
It was scarcely a week
that I was back in Professor Lee's office, interviewing Trey in the
six planned formal interviews on pre-defined topics that would span a
issues that he and Sam shared. Professor Lee and I had toyed with the
interviewing the two together so that their thoughts might bounce off
other, but then we concluded that having them together in the same
might just as easily suppress or contaminate each other's thoughts,
the last thing we wanted to see happen.
The first interview
was to be
on the topic of drugs - the role they played in their lives, from
mothers' addictions, to the street culture itself, to the life of
and/or petty crime their mothers engaged in to support their habits
and so on.
We would also talk about whether they were involved with drugs or saw
themselves becoming involved in drugs in the future.
Walking into the
was already smoking a cigarette. This time there was no exchange of
pleasantries. He barely looked up at me and seemed more annoyed to be
"Guess I wasn't scary
enough," he said with a smirk, "'cause you came back."
"And it's nice to see
again, too," I said with my own smirk as I sat down.
"Today, we're going to
about drugs," I continued.
"Great, you got any?"
"Very funny, Trey," I
"What I'd like to know, first of all, is what you think about them.
good or bad, and what do you think about their role in your mother's
"Good enough," Trey
"Basically, I see drugs as a necessary evil. I mean, they really
messed up my
mom's life and all, but if it hadn't been for drugs, how would she
tolerated life, man? She couldn't handle life, and so she found an
she didn't have that escape, what would she have done? She lost
custody of me
because of her drug habit, but without the drugs, how would she have
life's pressures? Well, I'll tell you, 'cause the few times she
her drugs, she took it out on me, and that was a hundred times worse.
not for drugs, she'd 'ave beat me to a pulp, sliced and diced me, and
in the back yard. She'd 'ave prolly joined me by committing suicide,
"Yeah, drugs provide
escape for people who can't handle life."
"That's an interesting
perspective, Trey," I answered. "In that vein, do you think drugs
legalized? You know, take the drugs out of the hands of the drug
put them into the hands of legitimate, legal channels under government
regulation? The costs would be dramatically lower, and it would
of the largest sources of crime."
"Wow, what a sick
idea! Why don't they do that, man? I mean, folks are gonna
use drugs, regardless, so why not let the feds be the man and get
of the cut? It'd lower taxes for everybody, and the price of the goods
a lot less, too, 'cause there'd be no need to spend so much money on
and the like."
"But what about drug
who might overdose and die if they have free access to drugs that were
get before, or about people getting addicted to drugs who might not
tried them before because they were illegal?" I asked.
"Hey, it's `buyer
isn't it?" he asked me back. "Look man, cigarettes are readily
can get smokes on any street corner and yet, with government
number of folks smoking has been falling steadily, year after year.
drugs available, but run all sorts of ads telling people how bad the
for them, you tax the drugs and regulate their sale, especially to
drug use will go down compared to what it is now . . . not up." I had
he had a good point, and yet . . .
smoke, Trey, even though the sale of tobacco to minors is
illegal. Do you use drugs?" I asked.
Instead of answering,
looked down at the floor. Finally, after a long pause, he answered,
"What do you use?" I
"Mostly pot and of
lotta beer, but I've tried pretty much everything. Methamphetamine,
heroin. You name it, I've tried it."
"How can you reconcile
drugs with the fact that your mother's an addict?" I asked. "Aren't
you'll end up becoming a drug addict, too?"
"My mother's a crack
a whore," Trey answered. "That's very different from my occasional
mother uses drugs for escape. I use drugs for recreation with my
friends. I use
'em for fun. That's way different."
"What about the
aspects of drugs?" I asked. "Your mother has had to resort to
petty crime to support her habit. How do you pay for your
Coloring up, he
"Between you and me, and please don't write anything about this, but
had to shoplift some stuff and even steal some car stereos to buy my
yeah, I've had to steal to get them. I guess that makes me like my mom
all, don't it?"
My session with Sam to
discuss drugs was, not surprisingly, much shorter, and much more
with the gazpacho he served. Sam didn't see any benefit to drugs and
mother would have been much better served by programs designed to get
gainful employment. He saw a job paying real money with tangible
being the best way to have helped his biological mother cope with
life. As far
as he was concerned, drugs only dragged her further and further down,
the inevitable day of reckoning, which he felt would be an early
When I asked Sam about
possibility of legalizing drugs, after pondering it a bit, he said
the idea was tempting, people would still need money to buy the drugs
more people buying an increased supply, crime would ultimately go up.
answer to the problem remained an emphasis on a better education for
better jobs and better opportunities, so there would be less of a
people to escape and therefore, less demand overall.
I asked Sam if he used
now or had ever used drugs. He admitted to having tried alcohol and
when he lived on the street, but stated emphatically that he had no
use any mood altering drugs today. His life was his high, as he put
The next topic was to
the topic of the rule of law on the street - in other words, how a kid
in the system of foster care and group homes when the case workers are
overloaded and no one seems to care.
When I showed up at
Lee's office for my next session with Trey, however, the professor sat
and said, "There's been an incident."
"What do you mean?" I
"Trey . . ." he
tear up as he continued, "Trey's in jail. Not juvenile hall, but in
least they're keeping him isolated, thank God. If he really did what
alleged to have done, heaven help the kid."
"What do they say he
"Do you remember the
Watson case?" Professor Lee asked me.
"Oh yes I remember
case." I answered. It had happened nearly a year ago, in the fall.
was a nine-year-old boy who was riding home from school one day when
disappeared and was never seen again. Police had scoured the
turned up nothing. His bike was found abandoned in an alley that he
been trying to use as a shortcut, but otherwise, there was no trace of
story received a lot of publicity, and it was still an open case.
Continuing, he said,
body was found yesterday in Broad Ripple Park. Trey was living in a
near there at the time. The body had been sealed up in three layers of
garbage bags and sealed with duct tape before being buried inside an
culvert. It was reasonably well protected in a makeshift tomb until
got into it. They ripped right through the plastic trash bags. You
to know the details, but the police found Trey's fingerprints inside
the trash bags, where he'd not
been as careful. They searched the foster home and apparently they've
other evidence linking Trey to the murder."
"Oh God, no!" I
"If Trey was
responsible, I can only hope that was his first and only
murder," Professor Lee acknowledged.
"He's capable of it," I
"We both know that to
true, Debbie. Trey is a very troubled young man. He's a psychopath . .
perhaps a psychopathic killer."
"How do you deal
with that, Professor Lee?" I asked.
"Professionally, how do you divorce the fact that you're dealing with a
potential serial killer from what you
do in your office when you treat him? I mean, you have a professional
obligation to treat him, don't you, but he could well go out and kill
and yet if you don't treat him, it could be so much worse? I'm not
sense!" I practically screamed as I tried in vein to formulate what I
"I know what you're
say, Debbie." Professor Lee said. "Fortunately, patients like Trey are
far between. Most of my patients are simple neurotics and pretty easy
with. Not that we can cure them any more easily but they just need
talk to and they'll be fine. But occasionally we do get a true
is beyond reproach. No amount of counseling or behavior modification
medication will change their behavior, and we have a real dilemma on
Until they commit a crime, we cannot lock them up. Unless they tell us
going to commit a crime, we cannot do anything about it, but if they
us, we are obligated to warn the potential victims, even as we must
patients' privacy. We're often damned if we do and damned if we don't.
"With someone like
best hope is to get them young enough that we can start behavior
early . . . help them to channel their malevolent behavior into more
acceptable pathways. That's what I have been doing with him for two
now. Unfortunately, I more than likely started this approach a good
eight . . . maybe even ten years too
late, given his history. He needed to start as a toddler. In any case,
what we could, and that's all we could do.
"If he did in fact
that child, society will probably lock him away for a long, long time.
lucky, they'll find a way to lock him up for life. He'll be much
better off in
prison than on the outside. Once released as an adult sexual predator,
life will truly be hell.
"I guess this isn't
much to interest you in a career in Psychology, though, is it Debbie?"
Professor Lee concluded.
"On the contrary," I
find all of this fascinating. In fact, I wouldn't mind finishing those
interviews with Trey, even if I have to conduct them in prison."
"Now that's dedication." Picking up
his telephone, he said, "Let me see if I can make the arrangements. It
probably take a little time to set things up, but at least I can leave
message while I have you here."
As the professor
the phone, his face grew forlorn and he said, "I see . . . I see . . .
. . How?"
He had a blank,
expression on his face as he turned to me and sighed deeply. "Debbie,
extraordinary precautions against such a thing, but in spite of this,
managed to take his own life this morning. It seems he was a very
and resourceful young man. He was on suicide watch and had no
only paper clothing, but he nevertheless managed to braid his pants to
rope with which he hanged himself."
"I wish I could say I
sad," I said, "but I don't," I admitted. "I just wished we all knew,
said, that this was his first and only murder. Now we may never know
and that's the real tragedy here.
"So how do we salvage
summer course, and can we still publish something, and what do I need
to do to
become a practicing psychologist?" I asked my mentor.
"Wow! Even after all
you really think you'd like to do this for a living? I mean, for me
a wonderful, rewarding field, but I would have thought this whole
have turned you off."
Laughing, I said,
a lot more than a psychopathic teenage killer to turn me away from
You and your mother are wonderful people. Cathy and I could do a whole
worse than to end up like you two. I know my better half has a more
mind and Engineering or something along those lines is more her cup of
for me, it's Psychology all the way. . . ."
We actually did manage
publish a paper out of my interviews with Trey and Sam, and the paper
chosen as the paper of the year by the American Psychology
addition, I won the Association's student paper competition and
two awards, took home a hefty scholarship that helped pay much of my
Lee, or Chris as Cathy and I would come to call him, has become a
personal friend, and he and his mother are very much members of our
family. We're no longer paying rent on that duplex either. With a
from our parents, we bought our half from Emma and plan to put down
stay there permanently.
Our little Larry?
Emma's help and understanding, he's the sweetest, most charming baby.
parents couldn't be happier.
gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing and
Alastair in proofreading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome
Dude and Nifty for hosting them.