This story is posted for the exclusive enjoyment of readers of the Nifty Archive. While you are free to make a personal copy, no copy of this manuscript may be published, copied, posted to another web-site, or otherwise disseminated without express permission from the author.
The contents of this story are fictional.
Any resemblance of characters to living or lived persons is strictly coincidental.
Certain characters engage in sexual acts which may or may not be legal
in the state or country in which a reader may reside. Any reader with objections
to graphic descriptions of sexual encounters between males who may not
have reached the legal age of consent, or whose local, regional, state
or national jurisprudence prohibits such descriptions, should not read
Sunday, July 4, 1993
The windshield was a killing ground for insects. We actually had to stop just after the I-505 cutoff to wash away the bug gloop-- the washer liquid wasn't able to clean it off. There was a big locust in the grille, almost cut in half, and Brad gingerly pulled it off. He muttered something in my head about farms and bugs, but I didn't pay much attention. I was in a pretty deep funk.
"I love you Loon,"
I felt better a little.
"I love you, Brad. All my heart."
"We'll get through this, promise."
I was still down, but I felt a little better as we got back into the car. I put my hand back on Brad's knee, and we swung back on the freeway, immediately getting thwacked by a giant glob of gloop that was once an insect, right in the center of the windshield. Brad did a fake scream of horror, cussed the fact that the insect chose his pride and joy as instrument of suicide, and drove on. We even giggled a little about it on the way down the concrete ribbon. I almost felt guilty, laughing a little when we'd just learned that Mom and Dad were . . . but there were no more tears, at least not then.
When we pulled off the freeway a few blocks from home, I got this weird chill in my back. It was as if I'd not been there for a year or two -- familiar, but not quite. Like an old photograph of the house before it was painted and the trees grew up around it. As we drove up the boulevard towards our street, the feeling intensified. It was like I was just watching a video, we were not really in the car. When we pulled into our street, we could see the yellow plastic tape from the corner, and three or four cars and a couple of vans parked on the street in front. Nobody parks on the streets in our neighborhood, unless there's a party or something, so that already looked odd. There was a police car in the drive, blocking entry, and I saw the rear end of a Jag in the back.
Billy was standing by his bike on the other side of the street as we pulled up. He had one of those "blank" faces of a rubbernecker that sees a crash, has absolutely no idea of what happened, but has to watch, all the same.
"Hi," he said as we parked in front of him. "What's wrong?"
I barely restrained an impulse to lash out at him, even to hit him, as I got out of the car. My legs were shaking, and I wanted not to bawl, but there were tears squeezing past my defenses.
"Come on, Loon. Be brave."
"I don' wanna be brave!" I said. "I wanna . . ."
"It won't do any good, Loon."
Billy looked at me through my blur of tears, and I could tell he cared a little, but didn't know how to react. "Is it your Mom?"
"Yeah," I said, closing the car door. Billy made like he was going to come up to me and give me a hug or something, and I backed a step away from him.
"I don't wanna talk," I said, dismissing him. He got a sort of confused look on his face, then a dejected look, like I'd snuffed him.
"It's just . . . hard right now, Billy," I said, trying to not hurt him. "Talk later."
I turned and walked around the front of the car, where Brad was already waiting for me. I saw a couple of guys with cameras out of the corner of my eye, crossing the street towards us.
"Shit!" I said at Brad. "TV!"
They came at us from both sides, and somehow we ended up back to back, and Brad shouted something about "leave us alone, you vultures!" My tears were gone, replaced by anger, radiating from Brad and me both, like from an infrared heater.
And they did. Just like that, they took the cameras down and turned back, and the microphone-bearing guys with shirt and tie just turned back towards the house, saying something into the mikes, I guess.
Brad turned and put his arm over my shoulders, and we walked across the street and up the drive to the door. It was eerie to feel the eyes on us from behind as we walked, and of course I stumbled on a pea-sized pebble and almost lost my balance, but Brad held me even tighter and said "Easy, Loon."
That's the kind of thing this "telephone" we got is good for. We can reassure each other without letting on to others that we are a little nervous, or even a little scared. I was a lot scared. Brad was, too. I could "feel" it inside him. I didn't want to have to look at . . . blood.
"They aren't in the house," Brad said at me. "They wouldn't . . . bring them here."
I felt a little better. I tried not to think out loud about the picture I'd had of Mom and Dad on the kitchen floor,
There was a big cop, maybe six-seven or six-eight, standing at the path from the drive up to the front door. He was burly, too -- like a stevedore in a uniform, sweating liberally in the hot sun. He asked who we were.
Brad just said "we live here." The cop nodded and stepped to one side. It wasn't as if he was in the way or anything, just that it was to show that we could go in the door.
A woman I didn't know opened the door as we started up the walk. I recognized behind her Thurston Throckmorton, Dad's attorney, golf partner and friend. He had his usual serious look, but heavier than normal.
"Bradley, Timothy." The lawyer said by way of hello.
"Hello Mr. Throckmorton," we both said.
"The police . . . told you?"
"Yeah," Brad answered.
"I can't tell you how sorry I am," Throckmorton said. `I loved your parents dearly."
I could feel the truth of what he was saying. He hurt. He was crying inside, just not letting it through. I didn't know how I knew that. I just felt it, strong and sad.
"This is Rebecca Houston," he said, looking down at the woman. She was about five two, slim and elegant, a silk scarf over her shoulder, just the right amount of makeup, smart clothes. I felt nothing from her. Zero.
"Hello," she said in a surprisingly husky voice. "I'm Becky to most folk. Thurston has filled me in."
We shook hands for some reason -- probably the fact that Throckmorton was there. I still had this hollow feeling in me, like this was all a sham, we'd wake up later and it would all have been a dream.
"I'm Brad. This is Loo . . . Tim."
"Mrs. Houston has been appointed by the county to ensure you are properly cared for," said the lawyer, a bit pompously.
I shrank back against Brad.
"What does that mean?" Brad shot back.
"Now, don't worry," said Mrs. Houston. "We're not going to put you into a Home or anything. The county always assigns a case worker to make sure that the kids of crime victims don't suffer because their parents can't be there with them."
"You'll be staying here," picked up the lawyer as she took a breath. "We've engaged a housekeeper to take care of things, at least for a while."
I thought at Brad, "You won't let them take me?"
"No way, Loon,"
I felt better, but leary.
"Mr. Throckmorton, as your lawyer, says he is appointed as conservator and temporary guardian in your parents . . . absence," said Mrs. Houston. "He will give us a copy of the will tomorrow, and since it's a holiday, we'll file it on Tuesday with the Court to ensure that your rights are protected."
I didn't like the sound of all this, but felt out of control.
"Let's talk for a second before we go in, shall we boys?" said Throckmorton. He obviously did not include Mrs. Houston.
"I'll wait inside," said Mrs. Houston, and she turned and disappeared into the house.
"Now, boys, I know this has been a major shock. There are going to be a lot of hurdles to go over in the coming days, and the first are right in front of you. There is a detective inside who will want to take a statement from you, there are questions that will be asked which will seem . . . to show that they suspect you of something."
"Us?" said Brad, a little indignantly.
"All perfectly normal, Bradley." Said the big man, nervously pulling on his earlobe. "Before we go in, I have to ask one question, as your lawyer. Do you know anything at all about the death of your parents?"
"No!" blurted out Brad. "How could we?"
"Just making sure, Bradley. Don't get upset with me." Throckmorton soothed. "Did the police tell you the details?"
"Just that they were found shot, next to the Jeep, up near Lake Berryessa."
"They died instantly. There was no pain." Throckmorton said, his hand tugging at his earlobe again.
"I . . . " Brad's shoulders hunched up. My stomach made like it was going to blow lunch. I had to squeeze my legs together. I had a sudden urge to pee.
Throckmorton made some comforting noises. I wanted to hug Brad, have him hold me, but I was afraid what it might look like.
Brad just turned to me and wrapped me in his arms. "Who cares what it looks like?" he said. "You need this. I need this. The heck with what they think."
I didn't cry. I wanted to, but I guess the well was dry. After a few seconds, Throckmorton 'Harrumphed," and Brad and I separated. I felt a little better.
"Now, here's what you need to do when the detective takes your statement. Tell nothing but the truth. Do not say anything that is speculation or rumor, only what you know to be totally true and factual. Do not volunteer any information that is not asked for, and do not get angry or hurt at anything that is said. I will be with you at all times, but will not interrupt unless there is a problem."
We nodded in aquiescence, and followed him into the house – our house, where I suddenly felt a stranger. Mrs. Houston was there in the hall, waiting, and she followed us into the big family room. There were four people there – a uniformed cop, nice-looking in a severe kind of way, maybe twenty-five, just standing by the back porch doorway looking at us. I couldn't help but check him out. Wide shoulders, small waist, slight bulge in the trousers, big hands, like a basketball player's hands, Hispanic. The second guy was in a sports coat and slacks, heavy, grey hair, maybe forty, with his back to us talking to an older guy in a white coverall thing, name embroidered above the pocket: "Daniel," I read. The three of them stopped what they were doing and looked at us as we came in.
The fourth person was a big black woman in a gray pantsuit sort of thing that looked almost to be a uniform of some sort. Hair swept up in a swirl over the top of her head, and an expression of calm confidence as she wrote something at the kitchen table. She looked up and gave a smile that gave me a lift. I liked her already. Must be the housekeeper. She got out of her chair, and was as tall as me, and probably three times my size. Beetling eyebrows over a round face with bubblegum cheeks – the kind that sort of stick out and make a person look like they are about to blow a giant bubble.
Throckmorton introduced us to Detective Armando Gutierrez, the gray-haired guy in the sports jacket, and Daniel Saw, the technician. A fold in the fabric had masked part of his name. The cop was Officer Munoz.
We had to correct him a little. He called Brad "Bradley" and me "Timothy."
"I'm Brad, at home."
"And I'm Tim." I couldn't resist.
Next was Mrs. Beulah Hanson, the housekeeper.
"Hello Brad, Tim. Call me Boo," she said with a big smile full of the whitest teeth I ever saw in a person over thirty who wasn't a movie star. "You name it, I cook it." I could feel that she was genuine, liked us, and really cared about what happened to us. I didn't get that feeling from Becky Houston.
Boo started reeling off a few recipes as she sat back down, all of which sounded fine, and I was starting to get a little edge of hunger, when I noticed something shimmering over her shoulder.
I looked down at the dishwasher, next to the sink. The image came back, full force, and that same chill, ice cold feeling on the back of my neck. I saw Mom and Dad laying on the floor with their hands behind their backs and silvery tape over their mouths. It was like a slightly blurry photograph. They were looking right at me. There was an expression of . . . hate? . . . in Dad's eyes.
The telephone rang, and Boo went to pick it up. I ignored her.
"What do you see, Loon?"
I said nothing, just thought the picture, felt the cold. I turned to look at Brad.
He looked at me intently, then his face sort of melted into successive masks of . . . shock, hurt, anger. Not hate.
"I see," he had tears in his eyes. "Think it's real?"
"Yeah," I thought at him. "Duct tape from the garage."
"No idea. No one else in the picture."
"Are they . . . dead?"
"They weren't dead," he thought at me as we tuned out the room.
"Dad was angry."
"There was something else," I thought.
"He was looking right at me, and he hated me,"
"Don't be ridiculous. You weren't there."
"No. You don't get it."
"He knew me."
"Of course he knew you, Loon! You're his son!"
"I'm not his son," I mused.
"Don't be ridiculous, Loon"
"Don't you see?" I was getting a little excited.
"See wha . . . " he started. Then the penny dropped. "You're seeing what the . . . killer saw, aren't you?"
"I think so."
"Dad knew whoever did it."
"That's why he has that look of . . . "
" . . . so we'll only ask a few questions now, and take a full statement from you tomorrow." It was the detective speaking. His voice was steel, the edge of it barely disguised in a soothing softness, an almost sing-song way of speaking. He oozed Doubt, but there was no hostility.
Throckmorton was looking alternately at Brad then at me, a puzzled expression on his face.
The telephone rang again. Boo picked it up right away and said "The Weston residence." She listened for a second, wrote on the scratch pad, then spoke quietly into the phone and hung up.
"Did we talk out loud?" I asked Brad.
"Look at Throckmorton."
Brad turned away from me and gazed at Throckmorton. The lawyer flinched a little, as if in surprise, then said "Do you understand your rights?"
"Yes," said Brad. "He thinks we're on drugs or something."
"I could use a toke right now," I said at Brad.
"You do weed?"
"Nah, just think I could use something to calm me down."
Suddenly, I got this strong sense of -- I don't know, maybe peace, love, reassurance from Brad. It was like he'd wrapped me up in his arms and was protecting me, but we were ten feet apart.
"Yeah. How'd you do that?"
"I don't know. Just . . . felt . . . I dunno, I sort of imagined you in my arms, rocking you to sleep like when you were a little kid."
"Did you . . . feel that way about me even then?"
"No, asshole. You were just a baby then. I loved you, but I wasn't hot for your bones. That's sick!"
"Timothy?" the Detective was saying something or other.
"Yeah?" I started. We were now sitting on the chairs and the big old sofa in the family/TV area, me next to Brad on one end of the couch, Throckmorton on the other, Gutierrez across the big drinks and snack table. The cop stayed on his feet near the fireplace. His basket was bigger from this angle. Saw stayed in the kitchen area.
"Did you understand the question?"
"I'm sorry," I said. "I'm just . . . having a hard time . . . concentrating just now."
"Thanks." I thought in a whisper.
"When did you last speak to your Mom or Dad?" said Gutierrez, leaning towards me.
I leaned away from him, towards Brad. "We left a message on the answering machine on Thursday," I said. "But I didn't actually talk to Mom after we left on Tuesday." I started to retell the events of the day, but remembered Throckmorton's admonition not to say more than was needed to answer the question.
The phone rang again. Boo got it on the first ring. Same routine as before.
"What time did you leave the house?" asked Gutierrez, directing his question at Brad, letting me off the hook.
"Let's see," said Brad, stalling. "What time was it, Loon?"
"Quarter to one. You got back at twelve thirty, and we ate and ran."
"Oh, yeah." Brad said aloud to Gutierrez. "It was just a little before one o'clock on Tuesday. I knocked off work early, came home and ate a sandwich, then . . .Tim and I loaded up the car and left to get ahead of traffic."
"Is that correct, Timothy?"
"How long did it take to get up to your parents' cabin?" The detective was looking right into my eyes, unblinking.
"We stopped in Burney, or maybe a little beyond it for gas, but nowhere else," I said. "It was around eight when we got there, I think."
"How can you be sure of the time?"
"We had to go to Harry's Marina to get ice for the fridge," I mumbled. "The grocery store was closed. They close at six. There's usually somebody there until seven-thirty or so, doing the books, and the lights were on when we first got there, but they were out after we got the ice and went by the store again."
"How long does it take to drive from here to the cabin," Gutierrez asked as he turned his eyes slightly to Brad.
"If there's no traffic, like today, anywhere from five to six hours without pushing it. Tuesday it took a little longer."
"Can you verify that you were at the cabin from Wednesday through this morning?"
"You mean prove it?" Brad looked around me at Throckmorton, who gave no outward sign.
"Yes." The detective was scribbling in his notebook.
"We saw people every day, I guess," said Brad. "I don't know if that's proof."
"I have all the receipts from the stores," I piped in. "They have the date and time on them, I think."
"Good thinking, Loon."
"Thanks," I wriggled like a puppy and gave Brad a quick smile.
"Do you have them here?"
"May I see them?"
I pulled the plastic envelope out of the fanny pack and opened it, then made to turn over the yellow sheet of paper with the receipts paperclipped to the back.
The telephone rang again. I began to get a little irritated with it.
"May I see that first?" said Throckmorton smoothly.
"Of course, Thurston," said the detective, leaning back in his chair and dropping his outstretched hand.
I handed the sheet across the couch to Throckmorton, who looked at each one of the slips, then passed the sheet over to Gutierrez.
"You'll see that the boy is right," said the attorney. "There are at least two receipts for each day from Tuesday through yesterday, including the signed contract from the Parker Rental Corporation."
"That's a crock!" I thought at Brad.
Brad looked at me with a raised eyebrow. "What is?"
"I'm not a boy!"
"Who said you were?"
"You deaf? Throckmorton called me a boy!"
"To him, the cop is a boy."
The detective looked over the receipts, nodded, then wrote something in his little book.
"We'll need to keep these for a while," he said to Brad. "Just routine evidence."
"Sure," Brad shrugged. "I have the credit card slips for the gas, too." He fished his wallet out and pulled the two slips out, handing them first to Throckmorton, who gave him a wink, then passed the slips to Gutierrez.
I looked over at the Hispanic cop. He was a lot older than us, like I said, maybe twenty-five. He looked back at us with a smirk, then at our baskets. The cop was taking more than a little interest in things down there. I wondered if he was gay.
"Don't get any ideas, Loon"
"About him being queer."
"You heard that?"
"Oh. You think he is?"
"Who cares? It's like wondering if somebody is left-handed."
"Do you think he's cute?"
"Yeah, I guess." He looked at me. "You?"
"Looks . . . cold, almost cruel. I don't think I'd like to be alone in the same room with him. Still, he's kinda sexy. Not very smart, I think. Big dick."
"Trying to make me jealous?"
I'm not." He looked me square in the eye.
"Oh." I was having a problem with the responsibilities of being in love. I would have been crushed if Brad looked at another guy and thought about . . . doing something with him, and just wasted if he ever kissed another guy, much less more. Why did I think I could play around with his sensitivity? I opened up to him.
"I know, Loon," he said, almost caressing me with his . . . tendrils? I could almost feel the thoughts of love and affection as they swirled into my . . . center. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the feel of him as he wandered in my mind. I can't really describe it all that well. There aren't the right words. He was just there with me, I could sense him, 'hear' what he was thinking even when he wasn't talking to me directly, and I knew he could 'hear' my thoughts as well.
"So it was you that ripped my Manson T-shirt," he said softly. I had snagged it on the bannister when I was carrying it upstairs from the laundry basket, and ripped a hole right through the face of the singer. I never admitted it.
"When you're ten years old, you're scared to death of your twelve year old brother." I reflected. "I didn't mean to do it."
"I know. It isn't important."
I saw his memory of the time he punched me when he was babysitting me. I was being a brat. He felt awful, but wouldn't tell me he was sorry, and let me cry myself to sleep, because he was pissed off that he had to miss a movie date with his buddies. I saw him and Bud beating off together a couple of years ago. Bud does have a foot-long dick.
"You ever . . . do anything with him?"
"Almost, but we chickened out," he thought. "I told him I was . . . saving it for somebody."
"Yeah. But I didn't tell him who."
"He have a thing for you?"
"He did then. Not any more."
"What about Monday, when he got a hard while you were sitting together at the pool?"
"He was talking about . . . " and he showed me who.
"He likes guys, too?
"I thought he was dicking that girl he was with all the time . . . Susan or whatever."
"He's never . . . with girls. He went to San Francisco once and went to a movie, and a guy let him put his dick up his butt after he sucked him off, but that's the only time he's ever done it. At least that's what he says."
"He actually got it inside the guy?"
"Yeah. He says it took a while, but the guy seemed to love it."
"I saw that guy you wanted to . . . touch . . . in the gym last year." The guy was gorgeous. I was instantly jealous.
"No secrets left," he said. He opened up a little somehow, and I felt his desire to only be with me, just like I only wanted to be with him. It was a huge relief. He's human, of course. Curious about what other guys have, how big their dicks are, that kind of stuff. What it would be like to have sex with them, even. But it isn't a curiosity that he wants to do anything about.
"I hope we can handle this," I thought.
"Are you two alright?" said the Houston woman.
"Yeah," said Brad. "Why?" He snapped away from my mind, like a Wham-o ball that has just reached the farthest point on the elastic band. It left a hollow space in my . . . head.
"You just . . . stopped," she said huskily.
"Did I?" Brad said evily.
"You both did," she said, gesturing slightly at me with her head.
"Oh. Big deal." Brad did his James Dean imitation. I suppressed a laugh, but the smile got through.
Mrs. Houston just looked back and forth between us, then gave up trying to suss out what was going on between us. How could she know? I'm sure she thought we were on drugs.
"Could you tell me if your parents had any threats or disagreements with anybody recently?" droned on the detective.
"Nothing I know about," Brad said.
"Me, too." I chimed in, playing dumb. Brad gave me a funny look.
"They'll see through that in a New York minute," he said.
"The dumb kid that doesn't know anything act," he laughed in my head.
There were a few more questions, but I could tell from the way the detective was getting really bored that he knew that we had no information that would be of any help. His . . . aura, or whatever you call it, was radiating "I-gotta-do-this-but-it's-a-waste-of-time." The cop just stood there, staring at us. That damned permanent smirk on his face. He made me nervous. He didn't seem to have any . . . thoughts or feelings. Just ice.
Saw asked a couple of questions as he moved around. Like how often my Mom washed the kitchen counters, doors and floors, and how often she laundered the dishtowels. Most of the time, he was using a roll of cellophane tape and a tiny paintbrush to do something, mostly on the kitchen counter. Boo sat at the kitchen table, still writing on a pad of paper, apparently paying no attention to us.
Maybe ten minutes later, the detective and his cohorts left, telling Throckmorton that they'd be in touch if there was anything else they needed, and politely saying they were sorry to us. I could tell there was no sincerity there. They were just reciting the lines they learned in training classes.
Saw took some sort of big attaché case with him, and a hand-held vacuum machine. I hadn't seen him use it. The uniformed cop held the back door for them, and gave me another "I know you've been naughty" smirk as he turned to go.
Brad went to the door with them, as always polite. I got up from the sofa, then just went and sat at the kitchen table, not quite sure what to do. I watched them through the glass penels next to hte door as they went down the path to the drive, their voices talking about the weather, the traffic, the fireworks that night, whatever.
Boo by this time had gotten up from the table and was puttering in the cabinets and fridge, probably taking inventory of the food we had in the house. I turned and looked at her briefly, then turned back to watch Brad and Throckmorton. Brad was standing alone by the side of the Jag, looking towads the front of the drive. Neither Throckmorton nor Houston were with him.
"You guys eaten today?" Boo murmured from behind me. I turned to her.
"Could I tempt you with a snack?"
"Whatever." Actually, I was getting hungry. Big-time.
"Let's see what I can . . ."
She was interrupted by the slam of the door as Brad stomped in. There was a rush of anger from him when I "listened."
"Bastards!" he spit out.
"Who?" I asked, a little amazed that he used the word.
"Goddarned reporters are asking the neighbor kids questions in front of cameras, taking shots of the house and us in it," he said, plopping himself in the chair next to me. "I'll bet they have the phone lines tapped and surveillance equipment that can hear what we're saying in here."
"I doubt that, Brad," came Throckmorton's mellifluous voice from behind me. He and Mrs. Houston had come back inside via the front door, so quietly I hadn't noticed. "The courts frown on that kind of invasive reporting. I doubt that CBS would stoop to that level."
Boo ran to get the telephone. Would the thing never shut up?
"Fox would, I think," Brad responded. "Anything to get buttheads to stay tuned to the ads."
"You may be right," the lawyer smiled. "But not today." He sat down at the table after accepting Boo's offer of a glass of iced tea, which she magically produced, along with glasses for me and Brad, as well as Mrs. Houston, who sat on the stool next to Throckmorton.
"Now, boys, we need to talk a little about what's going to happen in the next few days." Throckmorton said soothingly.