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About colinian

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  1. Thank you stlstage! Colin
  2. Report Comment droughtquake, thanks for your comment. If an incoming patient is comatose they immediately take them into the ER and then, if necessary, to the ICU. Getting their insurance information, in this case, is left for someone from admissions once the patient is conscious or has been identified. That's why Ms. Pittman showed up once Greg was in a patient room. Colin
  3. Happy Birthday!

  4. Thanks for liking Bad Boy Gone Good. I could write a lot more about Greg and Jay, and maybe I will do that. It's the first novel I've written that I've seriously thought about having a sequel, or adding a Epilogue. Or writing one or more related short stories that follow the story line and stay with Greg and Jay.
  5. The person at the hospital registration desk saw the flag on Doris's name and Pete's name and he pressed a key that automatically notified hospital security and the police. It's a good system for hospitals that have it.
  6. ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 2:45 PM >>~~~ Jay was smiling as he and Dave walked from the courthouse to the car. Dave turned his head and glanced at Jay. “You look happy.” “This is one of my happiest days ever. Thing is, it’s like my whole life changed when I came to apologize to Greg about sending us to the hospital. It hasn’t even been two weeks and I’ve had so many happy days since then it’s hard for me to believe it all happened.” “You’re a different kid now.” “I am. I like myself a lot more now, too. There’s one thing that I don’t feel good about, though. It’s that Doris is still in the hospital and I haven’t gone back to see her since last week. Hearing that she was still in a coma is so sad. Dad, do you think we could go see her now?” “That’s a good idea, Jay. Let’s do it.” ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 3:10 PM >>~~~ They arrived at Bayside Memorial Hospital a few minutes after three, then registered and took the elevator to the second floor. “Remember, she’s not going to look good,” Dave warned Jay. “I know Dad. But that nurse said talking can be helpful. So I’m going to tell her all the good things that’ve happened to me since I saw her last time we were here.” Jay sat next to Doris’s bed. Her hand was above the covers, so he slipped his hand underneath hers. Then he started talking about all of the positive things that had happened in his life. Dave stood in back of him, with his hands on Jay’s shoulders. It made Jay feel good that his dad was there providing support. “Well, that’s about all I have to tell you, Doris. I’ll come back in a few days and see how you are and talk to you again,” he told her. He started to pull his hand away and gasped when she grasped it in her hand. “Dad!” he whispered, “she just grabbed my hand!” Dave leaned close just as Doris opened her eyes. “Jaydon,” she gasped, “it was Pete.” “She’s talking!” a nurse said. Dave hadn’t noticed that she had walked up to the foot of the bed. “Doris,” Jay said, “did you say that Pete Medrano is the one who hit you?” Her voice was still raspy, but a bit stronger. “Yes. Stay ‘way from him.” Dave turned to the nurse. “Did you hear what she said?” “Yes, I did.” “She just told us who attacked her.” “Yes, I understand that’s what she said.” “May I have your name?” “Loren Stiller. Here’s my card.” “Are you willing to tell the police what you heard?” “Yes, I am. Now, if you and your son will move back I need to check the patient.” Dave leaned down and tapped Jay on his arm. “Let’s give the nurse some room.” Jay patted the top of Doris’s hand. “You need to let go of my hand. The nurse needs to check you. But I’ll be right over there and I won’t leave until we talk again.” Doris understood and released Jay’s hand. He and Dave stepped to the nurse’s station, and Dave took out his cell phone and walked to the exit door to make a call. A doctor rushed to the bed and he and the nurse conversed. He looked down at Doris. “Mrs. Oron-Medrano, can you hear me?” Doris looked at the doctor. “Yes,” she said, but her voice was very hoarse. “Mouth… so dry.” The nurse dipped a foam swab in a cup of water then handed it to the doctor. He wiped the inside of Doris’s mouth with the swab. “More,” she said. Another swab was passed to the doctor and he let Doris suck on it for a few seconds. He smiled. “We’re glad that you’re responding.” In a less gravelly voice she asked, “How long?” “If you’re asking how long you’ve been here, it’s been seven days. You’ve been in a coma.” “I remember voices. One was Jaydon. He was here. Where is he?” “He stepped over to the nurse’s station to give us room to check you. I’ll ask him to come back in a minute. We want to take your blood pressure and check your vital signs. Is that alright?” “Uh huh.” When the doctor finished he motioned for Jay to come to Doris’s bed. He did and sat down. As before, Dave stood in back of him, his hands on his son’s shoulders. Jay took Doris’s hand in hers. “How do you feel, Doris?” “Okay. Gotta bad headache. Who’s he?” Jay assumed she meant Dave. “This is Dave. He’s my dad now. He and his wife were appointed my guardians by the court today. They’re great people. I told you about them, and about their son Greg. We both go to Aston High.” “Good. Stay ’way from Pete.” “I will. We don’t know where he is. He’s disappeared.” Her voice was starting to fade and her eyes fluttered shut. She let go of Jay’s hand and motioned for him to lean down. When he did, she whispered something to him. He nodded, then she closed her eyes. The doctor, who’d been standing nearby, stepped up. “I think it’s best if Mrs. Oron-Medrano sleeps now. Coming out of a coma is very wearing on the patient. Why don’t you go home and you can come back tomorrow.” “Jay,” Dave said, “I think we should do what the doctor suggests.” “Okay. I’m really exhausted anyway.” While they were driving home Dave asked Jay what Doris had whispered to him. “Uh… just be careful.” “That sounds like a good idea. We don’t know where Pete is. You especially need to be careful at school. He could walk on campus and look for you. No one would know, no one would stop him.” “Dad, we have guards on campus. You have to go through security to get inside any of the buildings. Teachers and administrators and all of the other staff will always report anyone they see on campus they don’t recognize and who isn’t wearing a visitor’s badge.” “It’s still important to be on the lookout for yourself.” “I definitely will. Say, who did you call while we were waiting for the doctor to examine Doris?” “The San Bruno Police. I talked to Officer Jake Walters. He said someone would be dispatched to the hospital to interview the nurse, Loren Stiller, and Doris if she’s conscious.” “Good. Did you ask him if they’ve located Pete?” “Yes, I asked him but his answer was no, they haven’t located him yet. They think that he sold his SUV to someone in Palm Springs and the Palm Springs police will send someone to check if it was friends of his that changed the registration. They are also checking to see if he registered a different car in Palm Springs or one of the towns near there.” “I thought when you registered a car it went to Sacramento and then any DMV office could see it.” “Officer Walters told me it takes a few days to get updated on the DMV servers.” “So when was his car registered by the other people?” “Last Friday.” “Jeez, this is already Tuesday. You’d think it would have gotten updated by now.” “I agree, but Officer Walters said as of this afternoon there was no car registration under Pete’s name.” ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 3:25 PM >>~~~ Pete sat in the driver’s side of his Prius, parked just up from the front of the Aston High campus. It gave him a good view of the front of the school through his windshield. This was where the kids all seemed to be coming out, though he wasn’t sure whether there were exits on other sides of the campus. But this was where parents and SamTrans buses picked up kids, so he figured he’d just sit where he was and watch for Jado. He heard someone knocking on the passenger side window. He turned and saw a cop motioning for him to lower the window. When it was open he asked, “Is there a problem, officer?” “Hi. I’m Traffic Officer Jim Campo. This is a five-minute waiting zone,” he said, pointing to a sign that was mostly hidden by a tree. “We keep asking the city to cut back that tree so people can see the sign.” “Oh. Ya know, the curb’s not painted, neither.” Officer Campo shook his head. “Same problem as cutting back the tree.” He looked around. “Anyway, you’re not really blocking anyone because there’s room for at least three more cars behind yours so you can stay here. You’re here to pick up your kid?” “Yeah, that I am. Thing is, he might have gotten a ride from a friend. Ya know how kids are, he prob’ly forgot about calling me. I’ll hang here just ‘til most kids are gone and then I’m gonna take off. If he’s late and misses me then Jado can just take the bus home for all I care.” The officer scowled and made a “humpf” sound, then walked away. “What the fuck’s his problem?” Pete mumbled to himself. He waited another five minutes. The number of kids still coming out of the building had decreased to a handful. Pete growled another expletive, and drove off. Officer Campo had recognized the kid’s name, Jado, from the Monday morning traffic officers’ staff meeting, but didn’t remember the context. He saw Pete drive off after a few minutes. He’d already written down the plate number. He’d check it when he was off duty. That would be when the traffic around Aston High had let up and most of the kids still waiting had been picked up or left on a bus, by bike, or on foot. ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 4:45 PM >>~~~ Greg was home when Dave and Jay got there. He and Beth were sitting at the kitchen table. “So was the guardianship approved?” she asked. “Yes,” Dave replied. “But that wasn’t the most important thing that happened this afternoon. Tell them, Jay.” “We went to see Doris. I told her all the good things that have happened to me and then she opened her eyes! She came out of her coma. She talked to me and I talked to her and she understood me!” He started to tear up. “She told us Pete did it, he attacked her and injured her, and a nurse was standing right there and heard what she said and gave Dad her card. Dad called the police and told them and they were going to send a cop to interview the nurse, and if she’s awake, Doris too. That’s gonna put Pete in jail where he belongs.” He took a deep breath. “I want to go back and see her tomorrow.” “Beth, could you pick up Jay after school tomorrow and take him to the hospital?” Dave asked. “I have a meeting in Brisbane at four o’clock with the landlord about the buildout for our offices.” “Sure, I’ll take Jay to see Doris. Greg, do you want to go to the hospital with us or can you find some other way to get home?” “Jay, how long will you be at the hospital?” “I don’t know, probably about half an hour more or less.” “How about I sit in the car and do some of my homework?” Greg suggested. “That’s fine, as long as it’s okay with you,” Beth said. ~~~<< Tuesday Evening October 20, 2015 at 5:00 PM >>~~~ Officer Jim Campo went off duty at five p.m. and remembered to check on that kid’s name, Jado, and the license number on that guy’s Prius. He phoned Sergeant Kevin Ambers, the head of the traffic detail. “Hey, Sarge, during the Monday morning staff meeting I remember there was an item about a kid, first name Jado. A guy was parked overtime in a waiting zone in front of Aston High and when I went to tell him to move on he told me he was waiting for his kid, gave that same name, Jado. Now, that’s a real unusual first name for a kid so I wrote down his plate number before he pulled out. Is there someone I should be reporting this to?” “Yeah… lemme see… it’s Officer Chris Baxter. I think he’s looking for the kid because he’s in some sort of danger from some guy. The kid’s name is Jaydon Oron. The guy’s name is Peter Medrano. There's an APB out for him.” “You know, that might have been the guy in the Prius. Is Officer Baxter in the office now?” “Lemme check.” There was a delay, then the Sergeant came back on the line. “No, he’s left for the day. I’ve left him a voicemail to call you ASAP because you have some information about the kid and you have the plate number from the guy’s Prius.” ~~~<< Tuesday Evening October 20, 2015 at about 7:30 PM >>~~~ Greg left his bedroom to go to the bathroom. When he passed the guest bedroom he noticed the light was on and Jay was digging into one of his boxes. “Looking for something?” Greg asked from the doorway. Jay looked up and grinned. “Not really. I finished my homework and decided to see if there’s anything interesting or useful that I haven’t unpacked yet. My guess is that the folks are going to want to use this guest bedroom as a guest bedroom one of these days. So, I need to figure out what’s in my leftover boxes and get them out of here so I know which have stuff to keep and which to store in the garage.” “Sounds like a plan. Glad it’s you that’s gotta do the work.” “So, my brother isn’t going to offer to help?” “Your brother hasn’t finished his homework yet, so the answer, unfortunately, must be a no.” “That’s okay. Most of this stuff has to be reorganized into boxes to keep and boxes to store in the garage. I suppose what’s left is going to end up in a donation category or in a dump-it-in-the-trash category. And I’m the only one who I’d trust to pick the category where each item is supposed to go.” “If I didn’t have homework to finish, would you have trusted me to help you pick the categories?” Greg asked, with a grin. “Uhhh… no. Nothing personal, of course. But it’s my stuff and I want to decide what’s to stay and what’s to go.” “Well, it’s time for me to return to the dungeon of excessive homework. Good luck with your sorting.” Greg saluted Jay and returned to his bedroom. ~~~<< Wednesday Morning October 21, 2015 at about 8:15 AM >>~~~ Officer Chris Baxter arrived in the office and started through his messages. Two caught his attention. The first was a message from Traffic Officer Jim Campo, forwarded by Sergeant Kevin Ambers. Officer Baxter read the message about three times. Then he logged onto the DMV system and entered the plate number supposedly for a Prius. It showed a Prius that was originally registered to a Terry Parker in Tracy, and had been transferred to a Peter Medrano on October 16, 2015 in a private sale transaction. The second was a message from Officer Laska Wayne of the Palm Springs Police Department. She reported that a field officer interviewed Darryl and Judith Holmes. He had purchased the Cadillac Escalade from a Peter Medrano on October 16, 2015 in an all-cash sale as a gift for his wife. The purchase was made in Tracy, and he went to the DMV in Palm Springs to register the car. So Peter Medrano was probably back in San Bruno. He could be planning to do something with Jaydon Oron and maybe Doris Oron-Medrano as well. Officer Baxter needed to do three things. First, warn Aston High, where Jaydon Oron was a student, about Peter Medrano and have them increase security. Second, red flag visitors for Doris Oron-Medrano in the ICU at Bayside Memorial Hospital to prevent Peter Medrano from being able to see her. Third, and the most complicated, Jadon Oron needed to be warned about Peter Medrano. They couldn’t talk to Jadon Oron without the permission and presence of a parent or guardian, and they didn’t have the address where Jaydon Oron currently resided. They could request it from Aston High School, but not without a court order. So he started the process to obtain a court order by sending the request to Sergeant Will Greisinger, the department’s court liaison. Next he met with Officer Patricia Daniels and assigned her to go to Aston High School and talk with their head of security. He told her it couldn’t be discussed with the boy; he explained that they needed a parent or guardian to be present and finding out who that might be was in process. Finally he phoned the head of security at Bayside Memorial Hospital. They’d been friends from the time George Sullivan had been a San Bruno police officer. “Hello. You’ve reached George Sullivan.” “George, this is Chris Baxter.” “Hi, Chris. What can I do for you today?” “You have a patient in the ICU, Doris Oron-Medrano. There’s an APB out for the arrest of her husband, Peter Medrano, for spousal abuse and attempted murder. I want to make sure he cannot access the ICU. If he shows up at your visitor registration desk I’d like to have her visitor access record red flagged and show that she’s having a CT-Scan. That way he’ll have to wait, you’ll be notified that he’s there, and you’ll call and let me know so we can pick him up.” “Sure. Just like we did for the Reynosa and Mellincamp cases. Do you think he’s armed?” “We don’t have any reason to think he has a weapon. He’s an ex-con, but his record shows he prefers to use his size to intimidate and his fists to attack his victims. That’s so far, George. As usual I recommend that he be approached with caution.” “We always handle such situations with caution. If he asks how long the test takes the guard will say he doesn’t know, which is the truth. If he asks where the CT-scans are given the guard will say that department isn’t accessible for visitors, which is sort of the truth. If he asks why he can’t have his visitor’s name badge immediately the guard will say we don’t issue a badge for a visitor when the patient isn’t in their room, which is the truth, usually for a test or physical therapy. The guard will tell him to sit in the waiting area and check back in fifteen minutes. If he tries to force his way past security we’ll take him down and hold him for your officer. I’ll put two armed guards on the security checkpoint.” “Perfect. I hope he shows up and we can arrest him and you can go back to admitting visitors without this extra screening.” “We’re always glad to cooperate with the San Bruno Police, Chris. I’ll get this set up. So long for now.” “Okay. Talk to you later, George.” ~~~<< Wednesday Morning October 21, 2015 at about 8:45 AM >>~~~ Officer Patricia Daniels was directed to the admissions office at Aston High School by a girl in the main office who said Mr. Connolly was in charge of campus security. At the admissions office her police uniform let her step to the front of the line, and do so without much complaint from the kids already in line. The woman at the counter was a different story. Officer Daniels showed Ms. Fintch her badge. “I’m here to speak to Mr. Connolly on a police matter,” she said. “You’ve got to get in line like anyone else,” Ms. Fintch told her. “This is police business, and it has priority.” “I don’t care if you’re the Governor of California, I’m here to handle people in the admissions line as they arrive. You’ve got to move to the end of the line and wait your turn.” Now Officer Daniels was mad. She glared at Ms. Fintch and loudly demanded, “I want to talk to Mr. Connolly, who I understand is your supervisor. And I want to talk to him now. Or, I’ll arrest you for interfering with a police investigation and refusing to obey the lawful directions of a police officer. I will then put you in handcuffs and march you out to my police cruiser where you will sit locked in the back seat while I finish my business here. Then I’ll take you to the San Mateo County Women’s Jail where you’ll be put in confinement and held for arraignment in the San Mateo County Criminal Court. Do you understand… now?” The kids in the line whooped and hollered and applauded and laughed. This was definitely the best entertainment any of them had ever seen in the attendance office. The most amused and delighted were the kids who were regulars there, those who were the particular targets of Ms. Fintch. She glared at them, which for once had no effect whatsoever. She turned back to Officer Daniels. “Whoa! Whoa! Can’t you take a joke? Seems no one around here can take a joke anymore.” “A police officer, Ms. Fintch, never jokes. A police matter, Ms. Fintch, is never a joking matter. Do I see Mr. Connolly, now, or do I put you under arrest?” Ms. Fintch picked up her phone and dialed a number. “Mr. Connolly? There’s a police person here to see you. She says you have to see her now. Immediately now.” She turned back to Officer Daniels. “He said he’ll be right out. If you can step aside I’ll take care of the next in line.” “I’ll just wait right here at the head of the line until Mr. Connolly comes out to see me,” Office Daniels brusquely stated, with a glare that made Ms. Fintch wish she’d called in sick. Ralph Connolly arrived and introduced himself to Officer Daniels. “I’m the Assistant Vice Principal in charge of Admissions and Security. Please, let’s go to my office where we can have privacy and you can tell me what this is about.” When they got to his office she explained the problem with Jaydon Oron and Peter Medrano. She said that Peter Medrano had been seen watching the front of the campus on Tuesday afternoon, and that he had told the traffic officer he was waiting for Jado, which the police assumed was the nickname for Jaydon Oron, a student at Aston High. An all-points bulletin had been issued to arrest Peter Medrano for child abuse, spousal abuse, and attempted murder. “He may try to get on campus. You need to prevent him from gaining access to the campus and any of the buildings on the campus. He is considered very dangerous. What security measure do you have to control access to the school?” “We already have secured access from the outside to our buildings and the school grounds,” Mr. Connolly stated. “We have metal screeners at each entrance. We have two guards on campus during school hours. I don’t know what more we can do.” He thought for a moment. “Wouldn’t it be better to put Jaydon Oron in protective custody until this situation is over?” he asked. “We don’t have a way to provide protective custody for him. He’s a juvenile.” She stretched the truth a bit because she didn’t want to say the San Bruno Police Department didn’t know Jadon Oron’s current address. “What about having him stay home?” “There would be no security for him at home during the day. There is at Aston High School. What I’m asking for is heightened vigilance. I suggest you bring in an additional guard until we have Peter Medrano under arrest.” “But adding a guard is a budget matter. I don’t have authority to do that.” “Who on campus does have that authority?” “The principal, Mrs. Artis Lafon.” “Then I suggest you call her right now and let’s talk to her about providing an additional guard. Or maybe two guards if that’s what’s required to increase security.” They met with Mrs. Lafon and she authorized two additional guards, effective immediately. The quick response was possible because the school district used a rent-a-cop service. Officer Daniels noted in her report that the additional guards would be on campus by the start of the noon lunch period. ~~~<< Wednesday Afternoon October 21, 2015 at about 3:30 PM >>~~~ Beth picked up Greg and Jay where they were waiting at the front of Aston High. After the normal questions about the boys’ classes they arrived at Bayside Memorial Hospital. Beth rolled down the driver and passenger windows so Greg would have enough air. “You’re sure you’re going to be okay?” she asked Greg. He grinned. “Sure. No worries. I have a lot of reading to do for history, English, and chemistry. I’ll do my pre-calc problems when I get home.” “Okay. Oh, by the way, on the floor in the back seat there’s a small ice chest with some bottled water.” “Thanks, Mom. Good luck, Jay. I hope Doris is better.” “Thanks. So do I.” They got out of the SUV and walked to the hospital entrance. ~~~<< Wednesday Afternoon October 21, 2015 at about 3:45 PM >>~~~ Pete had also decided to pay a visit to Doris in the hospital. He didn’t know if she would still be in the ICU, but he’d find out. If she’d come out of her coma then he’d see if she remembered what happened to her and that he was the cause. In that case, then he’d figure out something that he could do to make sure she wouldn’t say anything against him. Like shut off her oxygen or put a pillow over her face. He found a parking space that was near a side exit from the hospital and was next to an exit from the lot to San Mateo Avenue. As he started to open the driver’s side door he saw Jado get out of an SUV and walk toward the hospital entrance with a woman he didn’t recognize. He smirked. This meant that he could kill two birds with one stone. He waited in his car and watched the hospital entrance. He wanted to give Jado and the woman lots of time to get to the ICU without seeing him, then he’d check in and go up. He’d figure out what to do once he got to the ICU. Almost five minutes after he’d seen Jado and the woman enter the hospital he got out of his car and looked through the glass front entrance. They didn’t appear to be there. He walked into the hospital entrance and to the security desk. He handed the guard his driver’s license. “Patient name and relationship,” the guard asked. “I’m here to see my wife, Doris Oron-Medrano.” The guard entered his driver’s license number and name, then looked up the name of the patient. A blinking red ‘HRS’ next to Pete’s name meant ‘Hold’ and ‘Report to Security’ and the patient’s name had ‘CT-scan’ next to it, also blinking red. Of course, Pete couldn’t see any of this. The guard clicked on a button on the screen that was labeled ‘Report’. The guard handed Pete his driver’s license. “I’m sorry, Doris Oron-Medrano has been moved from the ICU to have a CT-scan. You’ll have to wait until she’s back in the ICU to see her.” “What!” Pete shouted. “But I just saw….” He realized that he shouldn’t make any comment about Jado and that woman, so he took a deep breath. “How long’s that going to take?” “I don’t know. They don’t tell us those things. The times probably vary according to how busy they are and how complicated the process is.” Pete ground his teeth in frustration. “So what am I supposed to do?” “You can wait over there.” The guard pointed to an area with several arm chairs and a sofa. Pete turned his head to see where the guard had pointed and he saw the seating. There was even a table with magazines, just like one of those fancy homes they show on TV. “You can check back with me from time to time and I’ll tell you if there’s been any change.” Pete walked over to the waiting area. Something about this seemed strange. “I’ll just wait ten minutes and see what’s going on,” he thought as he sat down. He kept looking at the clock over the registration desk. The second hand seemed to stop ever few seconds then restart. “Fuckin’ bastards,” he thought, “Fuck ’em all. Everyone in this hospital and Jado and… and everyone!” He realized that he’d left Doris’s name off his short mental list. “What the fuck does that mean?” he mumbled to himself. Finally ten minutes had passed, and Pete walked up to the guard. “Is Doris Oron-Medrano back in the ICU?” he asked. The guard checked his computer. “Sorry, not yet.” “Fuuuuck!” he mumbled. Now he had a strong feeling that something wasn’t right. His ‘flight’ mechanism had turned on, big time. “Look, I gotta go. I’ll come back later when she’s done with her scan thing.” The guard just shrugged. He figured that the red flags meant this guy was trouble. He was more than glad to have him out of the hospital. In the parking lot he could cause fewer problems when the cops arrived. As Pete walked to his Prius he noticed the SUV that Jado and the woman had come from. He headed in that direction. There was another kid sitting in the passenger seat. He walked up to the door and tried to yank it open. It was locked. The kid looked up, recognized Pete from their trip to Jay’s house, and said, “Oh, shit!” The passenger window was down so Pete reached inside and felt for and found the lever. He unlocked the door, then pulled it open. Greg was trying to scramble to the driver’s side and get out. Pete reached in and grabbed the collar of his shirt and pulled him across the seat and out of the SUV. What he didn’t notice was Greg had reached between the front seats onto the floor where he grabbed the handle on the top of the small hard plastic cooler chest. As Pete pulled him out Greg brought the cooler chest with him and swung it hard, smashing it in Pete’s face, breaking his nose. Pete was hurt and bleeding, but he still held onto Greg’s shirt collar. He let go and quickly pulled his left arm around Greg’s neck and pulled tight, choking him. He pulled his right fist back to slug the kid, but just at that moment he heard a loud shout from behind him. He never saw what hit him, but the sudden pain in the right side of his back was about the worst he’d ever felt. He let go of Greg’s neck and twisted to his right to see who hit him. It was fucking Jado! And he had a vicious looking switchblade knife in his right hand. The blade was long and bloody and it was moving toward him as Pete turned to face him. Before he could do anything about it the blade was shoved into his groin, seriously damaging his penis. He screamed in pain and as Jay pulled the knife out he reached his hands down to cover his groin. But Jay was like a madman. He shoved the blade between the index finger and thumb Pete’s right hand and through his pants into one of his testicles. Pete screamed again, then collapsed onto the asphalt surface with his hands still trying to protect himself, bleeding from his nose and his groin. Jay held the blade pointing at Pete’s left eye and snarled, “You fucking move one inch and I’ll shove this blade into your fucking eyeball!” That’s when the hospital guards got to Jay and Pete. “Okay, son, let’s step back a ways. Then please drop the knife on the ground,” George Sullivan said, using a soft and calming tone of voice. Jay was taking deep breaths as his adrenaline started to fade. “Okay.” He dropped the blade and would have fallen to the ground himself. But he didn’t, because Greg had grabbed him around his waist from behind and pulled him up so he was still standing. Jay twisted around to see that Greg was crying. “Did that son of a bitch hurt you?” Jay growled. “No. I’m crying because you saved my life. I might be dead now if it wasn’t for you, Jay. I love you, man, I love you!” Greg grabbed Jay in a big hug, ignoring the blood, Pete’s blood, all over their clothes. Greg pulled back from the hug. “What I want to know is where you got that switchblade knife. I thought they were illegal.” “Yeah, I know. Doris got it for me. She said it was for ‘protection’ but I didn’t realize she meant protection from Pete. Anyway, I just put it in one of my desk drawers and forgot about it. In the hospital she whispered to tell me to carry the knife that she got me. She said she was scared that Pete would come after me. That’s why I was rooting around in the boxes in the guest bedroom last night. I was looking for the knife.” “How the hell did you get it past the scanners at Aston High? They should have picked it up when you came to school today.” “Uh-uh. This knife is made mostly of some sort of ceramic. It’s invisible to the metal scanners at school, and it’s sharp as hell.” “Whoa! I gotta say, right now I’m sure glad about that. And glad that Doris gave it to you. And glad that she came out of her coma and reminded you about it and said you should carry it.” They heard sirens as two police cars and an ambulance pulled into the parking lot. That made Jay look up. The police cars and ambulance didn’t surprise him. What surprised him was the group of people standing around watching… watching what? Jay didn’t understand, he didn’t know where they’d come from, he didn’t know why they were standing in the parking lot watching him and Greg holding on to each other. Then he recognized some were from the hospital because they were wearing green hospital uniforms and the others were probably visitors. Jay couldn’t figure out how they knew something was happening in the parking lot. Jay should have guessed. As he and Beth were walking out of the hospital he saw Pete was at their SUV trying to get to Greg, and he took off running and shouting. That was enough to attract the guards who ran outside, followed by some staff members and visitors who came outside to see what was happening. That’s when Jay got to Pete and stabbed him. Beth was standing with two of the guards, talking to them, explaining her view of what had happened. Officers Chris Baxter and Patricia Daniels were talking to George Sullivan who was explaining his view of what happened. Two EMTs were working on Pete, and arguing with another police officer who insisted that Pete had to be handcuffed with his hands behind his back and accompanied by one of the officers, or they wouldn’t allow him to be put in the ambulance to be driven around the back of Bayside Memorial Hospital to the emergency entrance. Jay and Greg had turned to look at the group of people who were watching them. When they saw that Jay was looking at them, one man started applauding. It was picked up by the rest of them, and they started cheering. Jay looked around to see what made them cheer. “They're cheering for you, Jay,” Greg said. “They are cheering because you saved my life. I couldn’t breathe. Pete could have strangled me or broken my neck.” Jay’s comment, accompanied by a smirk, was, “Bullshit.” So Greg stepped behind Jay and grabbing his wrists pulled his arms up. He held them there like Jay was a concurring hero. The applause and cheers started again. “That is so wrong,” Jay said, pulling his arms down. Greg’s comment, accompanied by a grin, was, “Bullshit.” The End
  7. ~~~<< A flashback to Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at about 10:45 PM >>~~~ Peter Medrano went missing on Thursday night October 15, 2015 at about 10:45 PM. The officers who had been at 149 Fleetwood Court, the most recent known address for Peter Medrano, discovered to their frustration and embarrassment that he had left the premises and his black Cadillac Escalade SUV was no longer parked in the driveway in front of the closed garage door at 149 Fleetwood Court. His current whereabouts were unknown. They found an envelope torn open with the pages of the permanent restraining order spread across the dining room table, torn into pieces. The San Bruno police issued an APB, an all-points bulletin, for his arrest. The charges were spousal battery, attempted murder, a felon carrying a concealed weapon, and a number of related charges. ~~~<< Friday Night October 16, 2015 at 11:13 PM >>~~~ The suspect’s 2013 black Cadillac Escalade SUV with California license plate number 2GAT123, registered to Peter Medrano, was stopped at a DUI checkpoint on West Shields Avenue in Fresno, California on Friday night at 11:13 PM. The license plate number was checked and it was logged on the Fresno Police computer system. The driver didn’t show any signs of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs so he was waved through. ~~~<< Saturday Night October 17, 2015 at 11:13 PM >>~~~ Saturday night the APB with the license plate number 2GAT123 was received by the Fresno Real Time Crime Center system and automatically matched to the information collected at the DUI Checkpoint. An electronic follow-up report was sent to the San Bruno Police Department within fifteen minutes of the match. It was received and logged. ~~~<< Monday Afternoon October 19, 2015 at about 4:30 PM >>~~~ When staff arrived Monday morning and reports were processed the license plate match report was forwarded to Officer Chris Baxter. He received and viewed it Monday afternoon at 4:30 PM, almost 90 hours after the APB was issued. Officer Baxter called a meeting with Officers Jake Walters and Patricia Daniels. They had to figure out their next step. “If he was in Fresno Friday night he was probably heading toward Los Angeles,” Jake suggested. “He could be aiming for the border, but the Mexicanos (he correctly pronounced it ‘meh-he-cah-nos’) should catch him if he shows up there. They get our APBs just like our guys. They’ll take that Cadillac away from him and dump him into jail so fast he won’t know what happened.” Chris shook his head. “Assuming that they actually look up the Escalade license plate number. Depending on where he crosses there could be hundreds of cars crossing into Mexico. I don’t think they’d have the time to manually check each plate number.” Jake was more optimistic. “I read that the Mexico Border Police are starting to use license plate scanners now. If so, they would definitely get a hit.” “Or maybe he’s planning on heading east on I-10 and going to Arizona or Texas,” Patricia suggested. “Good luck with that,” Chris said. “I’ve sent the APB to the FBI and Homeland Security. That’s going to pretty much lock up all the borders and flights. Every police agency is going to get it. Pete’s gonna be a target for the Police and the Highway Patrol in every state. And the Border Patrol if he tries to drive into Mexico or Canada.” But Pete wasn’t anywhere near Fresno nor was his Cadillac Escalade SUV. ~~~<< A Flashback to Friday Afternoon October 16, 2015 at 1:00 PM >>~~~ Pete picked up a copy of Auto Trader Magazine and found a guy in Tracy who wanted to buy the same 2013 black Escalade model and trim as Pete’s. He also found a guy in Tracy who had a 2014 Toyota Prius for sale and he needed a quick all-cash sale because he’d lost his job. Pete decided to check out the Prius first. Gas and maintenance would be a hell of a lot cheaper if he had a Prius. His only worry about the Prius, amplified when he saw the kid who was selling it, Terry Parker, was that it might be stolen and have a fake pink slip. “I could have one made for twenty, thirty bucks,” he thought. Without a valid pink slip, the nickname for the automobile registration form in California, he couldn’t get the car registered in his name. It’d be like flushing his money down the crapper. Terry could tell that Pete was reluctant to trust the pink slip. “Hey, man… no problemo about the pink slip. It’s legit. I’ll take you to the DMV and you can register it in your name right there, and then pay me right there. All you’ve gotta promise is to give me a ride home.” “Okay, you got a deal. Thing is, I’ve gotta sell my Escalade first and I gotta go see the guy who says he wants to plunk down the bucks to buy it. What d’ya say if I drive to the guys house, and if he says okay to buy my Escalade, I call you and you drive the Prius over, I show you the money, you drive me to the DMV, I register the Prius, give you the money right there in the DMV office. I’ll drive you home and shag my ass outa this hick town.” “Sounds right-on to me. Here’s my cell number so you can call me. Hey, if your deal doesn’t go through, call me anyways so I don’t wait around all the rest of the fuckin’ day ’cuz you’re a no-show. Okay?” “Yup.” Pete looked at the ad in Auto Trader. “You know how I can get to Altamont Drive?” “Sure.” He gave Pete verbal directions which totally confused him. So Terry drew a map and Pete was able to follow it to the Escalade buyer’s house. The buyer, Darryl Holmes, was eager. He held the pink skip up to the sun to make sure it had the California Bear watermarks that supposedly made it impossible to forge. They completed the deal, Pete signed the Pink Slip over to the guy, and he got a stack of cash. Pete laughed to himself. “If I wasn’t an honest guy this dickwad could’ve ended up with his brains all over his garage floor and I’d have his money and the car,” he thought as he counted the money. They looked like legit hundred dollar bills, nine packs of 50 bills each, $45,000 in real, U-S-of-A cash money. He decided he wouldn’t ask Mister Holmes why he was paying in cash. “Okay, we got a deal. Lemme call my friend who’s gonna pick me up. I have some personal stuff in the car, like some candy, maps, and CDs, and a suitcase in the back. I’ll hafta get all that stuff.” “No problem. Ya know, I’m heading to our place in Palm Springs to meet the wife. She’s gonna shit her panties when she see this car. It’s for her birthday. Then we’ll have two of them, like twins.” “Happy wife, happy life,” Pete said. The buyer laughed, and so did Pete. “Damn,” Pete thought, “everything’s startin’ to be comin’ up fuckin’ roses. I’m on a roll!” Among the stuff Pete got out of the Escalade was an empty grocery bag. He put the cash in that and the other loose stuff on top. “Can’t be too careful,” he thought. The Prius owner arrived about ten minutes later, about half the time it had taken Pete. “That Terry guy sure got here fast, he must know a shortcut. But he oughta know ’cuz he lives here,” he thought. Pete checked his watch. It was exactly two o’clock. Terry drove Pete to the DMV office. Pete was glad that he was handing over the money in a safe location. He was going to pay $22,000 for the Prius, just less than half of what he got for the Escalade. Before taking the money out he went over to the cop who was on duty. “I just bought this guy’s Prius. Here’s my registration to prove what I’m sayin’ isn’t a crock of shit and that we’re sellin’ drugs or something else illegal in here. I got the cash, so we figured I’d pay for the car in the DMV office, it’s secure and no one’s gonna come up and grab my sack of cash. Okay?” The cop looked at Pete and laughed. “This is the weirdest story I’ve ever heard. But what you got looks legit, so go for it. There’s a place over there in the corner that’ll be more private. You have any trouble with anyone, you give me a shout, okay?” Pete grinned. “Okay. Thanks.” Pete and Terry got in the automobile registration line. It moved pretty fast, and when it was Pete’s turn Terry signed the pick slip and handed it to Pete. In turn Pete handed it and his driver’s license to the clerk. She entered the information into her computer terminal, told Pete the registration fee. He asked if he could pay with hundred dollar bills. She said it was fine, but she’d have to use a marker to validate that the bills were okay. Pete said that was okay with him, and he handed her four one hundred dollar bills. She checked them, then handed Pete his change in cash. They walked to the corner where the cop had pointed. Pete handed Terry two-hundred and twenty one-hundred dollar bills, four banded stacks of 50 plus 20 loose bills. Terry counted the money, then handed Pete two sets of keys and fobs, and Pete drove the guy home. “There’s a CD in the glove box. It has videos that’ll show you everything you need to know about this Prius,” Terry said as he got out of the car. “There’s also a manual, but it’s not very detailed.” “Okay, thanks. You know, I’m heading to Tahoe to try my hand at the slots. I’ll limit my gambling to a hundred bucks. I know all those machines are rigged, but what the hell, I’ll have a little fun. The drive there and back will let me learn how to run this thing.” Pete drove off and when he got to the freeway he headed west toward the Bay Area instead of east toward Tahoe. He thought about what he had on his plate. “What I gotta do is find that fuckin’ Jado and make him disappear. That way he can’t say he wasn’t around when Doris had her accident. Not gonna be easy ’cuz I don’ have any idea where to find the little shit. Before I do that I gotta find somewhere to stay. I figure I can’t go back to the house, the cops are pob’ly hangin’ around just hoping I show up. I need a real cheap place that I can rent for a week. Maybe one of them cheap trailer parks. Good thing I packed stuff to wear to the truck auction. Otherwise I’d hafta buy clothes. I gotta be careful and save as much cash as I can.” ~~~<< Tuesday Morning October 20, 2015 at 8:15 AM >>~~~ When Officer Chris Baxter arrived at San Bruno Police Headquarters he went through his email then reviewed reports relating to his cases. One caught his eye. Pete Medrano’s black Cadillac Escalade SUV was sighted by a CHP patrol in Redlands on Saturday at around noon. They were responding to an injury accident and called in the sighting to dispatch. Another patrol car had been dispatched but wasn’t able to locate the Escalade and was reassigned to another traffic incident. He called a meeting of his team and told them what had been reported. “Looks like he could be heading to Mexico,” Officer Patricia Daniels said. “But there’s a timing discrepancy,” Officer Baxter said. “He’s in Fresno at 11:13 PM Friday night. Then he’s in Redlands at noon on Saturday. It’s about four hours from Fresno to Redlands. So where was he for the other eight hours?” “At a motel, sleeping, probably,” Officer Eric Cooper suggested. “Then we should be able to track the license plate number. Motels are required to have vehicle license plate numbers,” Office Daniels suggested. Officer Baxter shook his head. “But the plate numbers are entered by the person registering, and how many motels check what they enter? Almost none.” “Is Pete smart enough to know that?” she asked. Officer Baxter shrugged his shoulders. “I don’t know. Anyway, let’s assume he either stayed in a motel or slept in his car. So he’s rested and he leaves Fresno at about eight o’clock Saturday morning and he gets to Redlands at noon. Let’s say he keeps going south from Redlands. It’s less than four hours to Mexicali and the Mexican border. That means he’d be there around four. Let’s check with Border Patrol and see if a black Cadillac Escalade SUV with California license plate number 2GAT123 was logged at the border, and if our Mexican friends have any record of the vehicle. Eric, can you take care of that?” “Sure thing, Chris,” Office Cooper replied. “Okay, what else do you guys have this morning?” Officer Baxter asked. He didn’t know that Pete had never been in Fresno or Redlands; he’d been in Tracy just east of the Bay Area. The black Cadillac Escalade SUV was now owned by Darryl Holmes, who was on his way to his second home in Palm Springs by way of Fresno and Redlands. Pete was now driving a Toyota Prius formerly owned by Terry Parker who lived in Tracy. All of these transactions were still churning through the DMV computers and weren’t updated on the central server in Sacramento… yet. ~~~<< Tuesday Morning October 20, 2015 at about 10:00 AM >>~~~ Pete was definitely an unhappy camper. The Prius was different enough that he had problems with lots of little things including how to get the key out of the ignition, enabling the alarm, opening the rear access without setting off the alarm, and how to turn off the alarm. Then it started to rain and he couldn’t find the switch to turn on the wipers. He had to exit the freeway and ask a gas station attendant who showed him the control. Fortunately, he was a nice kid and he didn’t make any nasty remarks about Pete’s lack of knowledge about his Prius. He’d wanted to find a cheap place to get a night’s sleep, but the drive west from Tracy led him into expensive suburbs and he kept going until he got to Oakland. Pete didn’t like Oakland; there were too many gangs with members who might recognize him. He didn’t want to drive to San Bruno; the cops would be on the lookout for him. It didn’t occur to him that they wouldn’t know about the Prius, but then Pete usually didn’t think about details like that. He ended up driving over sixty miles south to Morgan Hill. He figured no one would recognize him in that town since he’d never been there before. He found a cheap motel that he could afford. He seemed oblivious that he had over twenty-two thousand dollars in cash on him. When he registered he used the Escalade’s license plate number in case the cops came sniffing around. Of course, the clerk never checked. Pete was taking a vacation of sorts. He didn’t do much more than some of his favorite things: buying junk food and beer, then spending most of his time watching TV, eating, drinking, and sleeping. He’d figured he’d have lots of time to plan what he needed to do next, which was how to find that little shit Jado. For now he needed a break and some relaxation. ~~~<< Tuesday Morning October 20, 2015 at about 10:00 AM >>~~~ Back at the San Bruno Police Department Officer Chris Baxter received a report that Pete’s Cadillac Escalade SUV had been registered to a new owner, Judith Holmes, in Palm Springs, California on Friday, October 16, 2015. He called the Palm Springs Police Department and spoke to Officer Laska Wayne. “This is Officer Chris Baxter with the San Bruno Police Department. We issued an APB for a Peter Medrano who was seen driving a black Cadillac Escalade SUV with California license plate 2GAT123. The vehicle was registered under his name and address here in San Bruno. He is charged with spousal battery, attempted murder, a felon carrying a concealed weapon, and other charges. He should be assumed to be armed and dangerous. “We received a report that the vehicle was registered to a new owner, a Judith Holmes, at the Palm Springs DMV office last Friday. Her address on the registration is 416 Sky Vista Drive, Palm Springs. We want to determine if the new registrant has or does not have some relationship with Peter Medrano. We would appreciate it if you could check this address. Peter Medrano is potentially armed and dangerous, so caution is recommended.” “We can check with some of the neighbors without raising any alarm at the 416 Sky Vista Drive address,” Officer Wayne replied. “That should work. Do you have access to records that show the names of the owners or residents at that address?” “Yes. The property which includes a house is owned in the name of the Trust of Judith Marybeth Holmes and David Richard Holmes who reside at the 416 Sky Vista Drive address.” “Hmm. It could be an alias, but I don’t think so. Peter Medrano might have sold his Escalade and these people purchased it. Still, caution is a good idea since we don’t know who’s actually in that house.” “We will be cautious, Officer Baxter. I’ll get back to you as soon as we have some information,” she replied. “Thank you, Officer Wayne.” “You’re welcome. I’ll talk to you later.” ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 1:15 PM >>~~~ Dave arrived at Aston High School and went to the Admissions office as he had been directed by Jay. He entered and waited in line for the clerk who was processing kids who, for whatever reasons, were just arriving at school. He recognized the name on her badge, Mrs. Fintch. When it was his turn she called out, “Next!” “I’m here to pick up Jaydon Oron. He has a court appearance scheduled for this afternoon. I’m his guardian.” Mrs. Fintch sneered. “So what did he do this time?” Then she chuckled, and stared at Dave waiting for a response. “That is confidential information. You shouldn’t be asking that question.” “Are you trying to tell me how to do my job? Maybe you’d like to come around and handle these kids with their lame excuses for missing school.” “You don’t seem to understand which student information must be kept confidential. I’m Jaydon Oron’s attorney as well as his guardian. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to be served with a lawsuit for violating school district rules and the state laws covering confidentiality of information about minors. Nor would you want me to ask to see your supervisor. As an alternative, someone can fetch Jaydon Oron from his fifth period Study Hall and have him brought here so we can leave and be on time for our court hearing.” “I was just joking.” She shook her head. “Some people,” she mumbled. “Let me look him up. How’s his name spelled?” Dave spelled Jay’s first and last name, slowly, so Mrs. Finch would enter it correctly the first time. “And your name?” “David Cameron. Here’s my driver’s license.” “Okay, you’re on the list and it’s the same name on your driver’s license and the picture looks like you. Will he be returning to school today?” “No. He’ll return tomorrow morning.” “He’ll need a letter explaining why he had to leave school today so he can be readmitted tomorrow.” “He’ll have a letter from the court.” “Alright. I’ll have a student assistant retrieve him. You can sit over there. It will take about ten minutes.” It took seven minutes, and Jay was escorted by a cute girl. They were chatting and smiling as they entered the Admissions office. Dave stood up and Jay saw him and walked over. “Hi, Dad, is there a problem?” “No. I was just informed that your guardianship hearing is this afternoon.” “Wow, that was fast!” “I agree. It’s at two-fifteen, so let’s get going. Do you have your pass to miss the rest of your classes today?” Jay answered as they got in Dave’s car. “I have my pass to leave today and it covers all my classes. When I get to school in the morning I’ll have to go to the Admissions office. I was told that I’ll have to turn in a letter from the court with my pass. Are you sure they’ll have it for me today?” “Actually, I’m not sure, but they are supposed to provide it. This is my first time taking someone out of school for a court hearing. If there’s any problem your mom will talk to the principal and get it straightened out.” Jay grinned and bit his lower lip. Beth could be very intimidating. Then he looked out the passenger side window. Dave saw him reach up and wipe a tear from the corner of his left eye. “Jay, what’s wrong?” He turned to look at Dave, more tears now streaming down his cheeks. “Nothing’s wrong, Dad. It’s when you said the words, ‘your mom.’ This is the first time I can remember ever hearing those words. My mom died when I was born and I called Doris by her name, so I never had a mother. It was just… just wonderful to hear that. Oh god, I’m so lucky and so happy!” He got busy wiping away his tears. “I’ve gotta stop this!” he said. “I can’t walk into court looking like I’ve been crying. They’ll think I don’t want you and Mom to be my guardians.” “Jay, you’ll be fine by the time we get to the courtroom.” “You think?” Jay grinned. “Yeah, I think.” By the time they parked the car, walked to the courthouse and got to the courtroom, Jay was, in fact, fine. “Wouldn’t it be funny if they’d arrested Pete and brought him here for his arraignment and we saw him?” “Yes, it would be funny but it’s not possible,” Dave replied. “We’re in the Civil Courts Building. Arraignments are held in the Criminal Courts Building.” “That’s actually better. I don’t think I ever want to see Pete Medrano again as long as I live.” ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 20, 2015 at about 4:00 PM >>~~~ Pete didn’t think the same about Jado. He wanted to find him and take care of what he saw as his biggest problem. If Jado couldn’t be found by the police and Doris didn’t come out of her coma he was home free and there was no way he could be charged with assault or anything else. His ‘good luck’ euphoria had continued since Friday afternoon. He hummed a nonsense song with the words “coming up roses” as he drove north on the 101 freeway from Morgan Hill to San Bruno. Pete had finally realized that the Prius wouldn’t be recognized by the San Bruno cops. He still wouldn’t be able to go to the house, though. “The fuckin’ cops will be watching it and they’d recognize me even if they didn’t recognize the Prius,” he thought. Selling his Escalade and buying the Prius was the smartest thing he’d ever done. It meant that he had almost $22,000 free and clear, the Prius was invisible to the cops in San Bruno, it was getting about forty-five miles to the gallon compared to the Escalade’s thirteen miles per gallon, and on regular instead of premium. “Gas is costing me at least six times less than the Escalade,” he thought, though his faulty arithmetic had inflated the savings. “So, now all I gotta do is find Jado and find somewhere to stick him and be sure it’s perm’nent,” he thought. “Then I can go to the cops and ask them what the fuck have they been doin’ and where’s Jado and when are they gonna charge him and lock him up for what he did to Doris. Of course, fat chance they’ll ever find him.” Continued...
  8. ~~~<< Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at about 10:00 PM >>~~~ The doorbell rang and Pete rushed to let the cops in. He figured that he needed to seem stressed and in a hurry to find out what happened to Doris. “Mr. Peter Medrano? I’m Officer Chris Baxter and this is Officer Jake Walters. We’re here to investigate the report that Doris Oron-Medrano is either missing or has been attacked physically.” “Yes, yes. Do you know where my wife Doris is? She was missing when I got home and the house is messed up. I think my stepson might have attacked her. He’s violent and he’s on some sort of drugs. There’s a big piece of the carpet that’s been cut out and our coffee table is gone and her car is in the garage but she isn’t here, anywhere.” He ran out of things to say. “What is your stepson’s name?” “Jado Oron. It’s Jaydon, but he goes by Jado. I think it’s a gang name.” He noticed the cop was looking at the tat on his arm. ‘Fuck!’ he thought, ‘I shoulda worn a long sleeve shirt.’ “I oughta know,” he continued, “when I was his age I hung with the Norteños until I got straightened out by my granddad. Beat the shit out of me and I’ll tell you, I learned my lesson!” “Well, we’d better take a look around. If he’s a violent drug addict and he’s hiding somewhere in the house or garage or the yard we don’t want you to get hurt.” “Jake,” he said to his partner, “you better call in some support.” “I’m on top of it. The backup’s on its way, Chris.” “Good. When they get here let’s have them conduct a search of the property. Make sure they know the suspect might be dangerous.” “Mr. Medrano, why don’t we sit in the dining room and I’ll get some more information from you.” “Okay. I just want to know what happened to my wife. She’s missing!” Pete sat down and Officer Baxter purposely sat across from him. “Well,” he said, pulling a card from his shirt pocket, “let’s get started by pointing out that you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do you can be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you. Do you understand these rights as they have been read to you?” “I know about this Marandize stuff. Why are you saying it to me? I haven’t done anything. I’m the one whose wife is missing.” “I know, but now we have to do this with everyone we will interview, including your stepson. In this stage of our investigation we have to assume everyone is a suspect. As you know, this is standard police procedure. It’ll help you prove that you didn’t have anything to do with her disappearance.” “Okay, I understand what it’s about. I don’t got nothin’ to hide.” “In that case, I assume you’ll want me to record this interview. That way there can’t be any questions about exactly what questions I asked and exactly what answers you gave me.” “Why do you wanta record my answers?” “I want to record both my questions and your answers. It’s sort of like the officers in the field wearing those little cameras to prove what actually happened, not what the police say happened.” “Yeah. I can see that. Can I get a copy of the recording? Uh… for my lawyer.” “Absolutely. Just give us the name of the lawyer and we can send it right to them.” Pete scowled. “Or, we can email it directly to you. An MP3 file. Can I have your email address?” “I don’t have email. I’m not into this technology stuff. How about just mailing it to me on a cassette tape. Here, at my house. You’ve got the address already.” “We don’t have a way to record onto cassette tapes. How about on an audio CD? You have a CD player in your house, don’t you? Or in your car?” “Yeah, that’ll work.” “Okay. It’ll take about a week, but you’ll get a CD in the mail here at 149 Fleetwood Court. Is that okay?” “Yeah, that’s good.” “Thank you, Mr. Medrano. I’ve just turned on the recorder, so let’s get started. First, please tell me about your wife. What’s her full name?” “Doris May Oron dash Medrano.” “Oron? That’s your stepson’s last name. He didn’t change it to Medrano when you married your wife?” “No, he didn’t. Oron is her first husband’s last name. He died a few years ago, and Jado wanted to keep that Oron last name. I guess Jado was pissed ‘cause she decided to marry me. Doris and me just got married in Vegas. Had a wonderful honeymoon. Now she’s missing.” He rubbed his eyes to try to cause tears, but it didn’t work, so he just used his arm to wipe across his eyes. “So she kept her former husband’s last name and just added your last name to it? Man, that sounds sort of bogus,” Officer Baxter said. “If I got married and the wife wanted to keep her former husband’s last name I’d tell her to forget it.” He watched Pete’s reaction to his comment, and waited for him to say something. “Yeah, I argued about it with her. Her reason was that the kid wanted to keep his dad’s last name and Doris decided having both last names to make sure people would know she was the kid’s stepmother and I was her husband. I guess now it won’t make any difference.” “Why’s that?” ‘Oh, shit! I gotta keep my trap shut. What do I say now? I sure as fuck got myself in a corner. I gotta get out of this somehow.’ He thought about it for a few seconds. “That little shit Jado Oron’s gonna go to jail ’cause he beat the shit out of Doris.” “I’m curious, how do you know that Jado uh… ‘beat the shit out of’ Doris?” ‘Shit! Just like Doris said, I’ll never learn,’ Pete thought. “I don’t know. I just assumed’d it. That’s the kind of shit that fuckin’ Jado is likely to do.” “Do you have a picture of Doris?” “Nope. Sorry.” “Gee, nothing from your wedding? Most of those wedding chapels in Vegas hit you up for pictures.” “Nope. We didn’t want to pay those redic’lous prices.” “Nothing from your honeymoon? Snapshots? Selfies?” Pete just shook his head. “Okay, then describe Doris for me. How tall is she?” “I don’t know, maybe five-five, five-six.” “How much does she weigh?” “Damned if I know. She’s sort of medium. Not skinny, not fat.” “What color is her hair?” “She’s a blonde, real blonde, not one of them that’s out of a bottle.” “When was the last time you saw her?” “A week ago.” “You said you were out of town. Where did you go?” “I went to a truck parts auction in Sacramento.” Pete was very sure about the auction because he’d actually planned to go but his boss said he wouldn’t pay for the trip so he had to pass. But he told his boss he was going anyway, on his own time, even though he didn’t go. “Now, let’s talk about Jaydon. I suppose you don’t have a picture of him, either.” “I don’t, but Doris does. It’s in her bedroom. I can get it.” “I’ll go with you.” Pete led Office Baxter to Doris’s room and took the picture of Jado from the top of her dresser. “Here it is. This is a couple of years old. He looks a lot older and meaner now.” Officer Baxter looked around. “You said this was Doris’s room. Does that mean you had separate bedrooms?” “Yup. She says I snore, so I gotta sleep in my own room.” “Can I see your bedroom?” “Okay, that’s it, right across the hall from Doris’s room.” Officer Baxter looked around. When they came to the house for the welfare check Tuesday night and found Doris they did a search of the premises. The lamp they’d found was put back on the nightstand. The marijuana they’d found hidden under the base of the lamp was in the evidence locker at headquarters. “So you sleep here every night?” “Yup. Then I’d visit Doris before going to bed, if ya know what I mean.” Pete wiggled his eyebrows. “Well, I’ve seen your room and Doris’s room. I’d like to see Jaydon’s room now. If you don’t mind.” “Nah, no problem. His room’s at the end of the hall.” Pete led Officer Baxter to Jado’s room. “This is it.” “Why is there a big hole cut into the door?” “Oh. Jado broke into the house and busted the hole in the door so he could get into his room. We’d locked him out ‘cause we didn’t want him stealing anything.” “This hole isn’t what I’d call busted. It’s neatly cut and almost perfectly square. Anyway, what did he take?” “Just his clothes and junk. Ya know, the computer and books and crap like that.” “Where is Jado living now?” “Damned if I know. And I don’t care. Prob’ly with some of his druggie friends.” “You mentioned drugs. Do you use any drugs for recreational purposes, Mr. Medrano?” “Nah. I’m not into that shit. I’ll have a few cold ones after work. Then Doris and I’ll go out to eat our dinner and maybe have a beer or two. Never enough to get drunk, of course.” “So exactly when did you return home from Sacramento?” “Lemme think. I drove back after the auction, so I got in real early Wednesday morning. I hit the sack and slept until around noon.” “Where do you work?” “Truck Service Center in Millbrae.” “Have you returned to work since you got back from Sacramento?” ‘Uh oh!’ Pete thought. ‘I gotta think of a reason I’m not back at work.’ “I got pissed at Fred, he’s my boss, for not payin’ my way to the auction in Sacramento. I figured I’d go back to work when I want to. Prob’ly next week. Monday.” “Say, did you buy anything at the auction?” “Nah. I had to pay my way there and back, and gas is so fuckin’ expensive — uh, pardon my language — I bid on a couple things but didn’t get ‘em.” “I guess the trip was a bust, then?” “Nah. There was a lotta new stuff to make gas mileage better for trucks. Also gave me some time off and time away from the smell of grease.” Officer Patricia Daniels motioned to Office Baxter that she wanted to speak to him. “Mr. Medrano, would you remain here in the dining room? Officer Daniels wants to update me on what they’ve found.” “Sure. Lemme know what you found, okay?” “I will.” The four San Bruno police officers who were at the house at 149 Fleetwood Court met in the garage so Pete couldn’t overhear them as they discussed what they’d found. “It looks like Peter Medrano has been living here since we found Doris Oron-Medrano,” Office Daniels said. “Doris Oron-Medrano was attacked on Tuesday in the early morning. We have the statement from Mr. Robert Porter that he saw Peter Medrano drive away from this house around one a.m. Tuesday morning. We haven’t found anything that would show that Jaydon Oron has been here in several days.” “Peter Medrano hasn’t mentioned that he attacked Jaydon Oron and physically threw him out of the house, a house that Jaydon Oron actually owns. He is a minor and the house is held in a trust in his name,” Officer Jake Walters said. “Another thing he hasn’t mentioned is that he visited Doris Oron-Medrano in Bayside Memorial Hospital,” Officer Eric Cooper reported. “He registered using his driver’s license Thursday morning at 9:03 a.m. In addition, the charge nurse in the ICU remembers talking to him.” “Mr. Porter made three calls to the San Bruno Police Department to report Peter Medrano present in this house,” Officer Baxter added. “There was a Temporary Restraining Order generated by my department,” Officer Daniels said. “It was served on Peter Medrano with a keep-away from Jaydon Oron. I have pictures of the injuries Jaydon Oron received when Peter Medrano attacked him. Today we received a copy of a Permanent Restraining Order that extends the conditions of the Temporary Restraining Order until August 30, 2018, which is the date of Jaydon Oron’s twenty-first birthday.” ~~~<< Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at about 10:30 PM >>~~~ While the police officers were discussing the situation and what their next step should be, Pete sat in the dining room grinding his teeth in anger. “What the fuck are those stupid cops doing?” he mumbled to himself. “It’s taking them fuckin’ forever spending all their time searchin’ for Jado and he’s not even here. But they didn’t know that when they should of.” His irritation was interrupted by the doorbell. “Prob’ly more cops. Maybe they’ll search the friggin’ attic while they’re at it.” He went to the entry hall, turned on the porch light, and opened the front door. A real cute college-age girl stood there smiling. “Are you Peter Medrano?” she asked sweetly. “Sure am, cutie. What can I do for you?” She had a stack of what looked like full-color advertising flyers. “I’m sorry to bother you so late in the evening, but I was down the street and saw your light was on. I have some really fascinating facts about traveling that won’t cost you one thin dime. You interested?” she asked. “Maybe, if you’re gonna be going too.” Pete grinned at her and wiggled his eyebrows. She blushed, and handed him a colorful envelope that had pictures of a beach with palm trees. He stepped back into the entry hall under the light and squinted so he could read what was printed on the envelope. It read, ‘Instructions Inside.’ When he looked up the girl was gone. ‘Where the hell’d she go?’ he wondered. He closed the door and took the envelope into the dining room. He sat down and ripped open the envelope and removed the contents. When he saw what it was he shouted, “Fucking shit asshole bitch process server brings me a perm’nent restraining order. I’ll fuckin’ kill her!” He rushed to the front door, flug it open, ran outside and down the steps, then stood in the middle of Fleetwood Drive, in the dark, looking for the girl. There was no girl and no cars other than the two police cars parked in front of the house. There was nothing else but a dark empty street and an enraged Pete. ~~~<< Friday Afternoon October 16, 2015 at about 3:30 PM >>~~~ “Look, there’s Dad,” Greg said. They jogged to the car and got in. Dave smiled. “Jay, the court approved the permanent restraining order against Peter Modrano. It’s not really permanent. It’s an extension of the temporary restraining order that was issued by the San Bruno Police Department. Because of the nature of your injuries the judge extended it until your twenty-first birthday. By then I’d expect that Pete will be in prison.” “How will Pete find out about it?” “It will be given to him by a process server. Of course, they have to find him first.” “He’s gonna freak.” “He can freak all he wants. If he comes within 300 feet of you or anyplace you would expect to be, like school or home, he’s subject to arrest for violation of the restraining order.” “Do we get a copy?” “Yes. Alan will give us copies when we see him on Monday. The court has also sent copies to the San Bruno Police Department, the office of the San Mateo County District Attorney, and the principal of Aston High School.” “Will he know where Jay lives now?” Greg asked. “No. For security because Jay is a minor, the current address is not listed in the court document. Instead it reads ‘any current residential address.’ You’re still protected because he can’t be within 300 feet of you. It’s basically the same as the temporary restraining order.” “I guess that’s okay,” Jay said. “I wouldn’t want him to find out where I’m living ’cause that’s where you and Mom and Greg are living too. I don’t want any of you to be in danger because of me.” ~~~<< Saturday Afternoon October 17, 2015 at about 2:00 PM >>~~~ After lunch on Saturday Dave sat back and looked at Greg then at Jay. His action was so specific it was noticed by both of them. “If you’ll remember, I promised that you’ll get a safe-sex refresher this weekend,” he said. Just like when he made the announcement earlier, Greg and Jay shared an expression that could only be described as one of horror. “Shall we move this meeting to my office where it will be more private and less embarrassing?” “Yeah,” Greg said, “more private but sure as hell not less embarrassing.” Beth, who was standing at the sink, suppressed a grin. “Greg, don’t swear.” “Sorry, Mom.” The three males got up and went into Dave’s office. As they entered, but before the door had been closed, Beth overheard Jay say, “And now we march into the hall of the inquisitors.” She heard Greg laugh, which was silenced when the door was closed. ~~~<< Monday Afternoon October 19, 2015 at about 4:00 PM >>~~~ Dave picked up Jay after school. “We’re scheduled to meet with Alan Quallier, our attorney, at four o’clock. He has the guardianship papers for you and me to sign. Then he will file them with the court. Then there will be a hearing where you have to approve of us to be your guardians. Doris would’ve had to approve of this change, but she’s in a coma at Bayside Memorial Hospital. Alan contacted the hospital and obtained a document stating that she is unable to provide a verbal or written statement for the court. Because Pete was never listed as your stepfather, he can’t file an objection to the guardianship. “Alan also has copies of the restraining order against Pete for you and me. “Finally, if you have any questions about the emancipation, Alan will be able to answer them.” “I don’t have any interest in the emancipation,” Jay said. “Having you as my guardians is the best thing that could happen.” “Thank you Jay. You’re also one of the best things that could happen to us. Greg needs a brother, and you make the ideal brother for him.” Jay looked worried. “Is there something wrong?” Dave asked as he pulled into the parking garage for his attorney’s building. “Yeah, there is. You know that Greg and I are boyfriends. Does the guardian thing mean that since we’re brothers that we can’t be boyfriends any longer?” “No. You can continue being boyfriends. Legally, the guardianship doesn’t make you and Greg brothers. Now, if we adopted you things become more complicated. We should ask Alan for his opinion about that.” “Why would we need to ask for his opinion? You’re not adopting….” Jay stopped short and stared at Dave. “D…dave?” he stammered. Dave pulled into an open spot and parked. “To answer what I think your question is, Beth and I have discussed adopting you. But only if that’s what you want.” Jay was stunned. “Adopt me? Really?” Dave grinned. “Yes, really.” “But you don’t know me. I could be a murderer or something.” Dave laughed. “I don’t think so. What I’d like you to think about is whether it’s something you’d like.” “Wow. Just… wow!” “Well, we’re here. Let’s go see Alan and start the guardianship process. Then you can ask about being adopted and what that process would entail, and how legally it would affect your relationship with Greg.” “Greg!” Jay exclaimed. “What’s Greg going to think about me being adopted?” Dave grinned. “It was his idea.” “Really? “Yes, really.” Jay laughed. “You’re having to say ‘Yes, really’ a lot, Dad.” Dave smiled. “I assume that you had a chance to read the guardianship material so you’re ready for our meeting today. He’ll have the guardianship papers ready to sign.” “I did read them and I don’t have any questions. So, what’s the next step after I sign these papers?” “They will be sent to the court to have a docket time set for a hearing. You, Beth, and I will be notified and will go to the hearing. Doris will be notified to be there, but because she’s in the ICU I don’t think she’ll be able to be there. “Jay, I need to remind you to be sure you don’t tell anyone about the guardianship until it’s approved by the court. Oh, and there’s one other thing I should tell you. Even though it’s a remote possibility, Doris could fight the guardianship, either in person or through an attorney, and if that happened it could slow the process. In either case I think we could show that she should be removed because of her marriage to Pete and the way he abused you.” “Dad, since you mentioned Pete, I wonder where he’s hiding out. I also wonder what the San Bruno police are doing to find him and arrest him for what he did to Doris.” Continued…
  9. Thanks for your comments, everyone! Every neighborhood needs a "Bob Porter" to keep tabs on what's going on and if there are any suspicious persons or miscreants reports them to the police. Dave decided not to call the San Bruno Police Department because they'd need to talk to the officer in charge, and at 8:45 PM it's unlikely that officer would be on duty.
  10. ~~~<< Thursday Afternoon October 15, 2015 at about 3:40 PM >>~~~ Of course, Jay didn’t know anything about Pete coming to Aston High supposedly to take him to see Doris, but actually to ‘off him,’ as Pete put it. The school didn’t let students know when someone like Pete came and unsuccessfully asked for them. And, unfortunately, there were no records kept of such attempts. Jay and Greg stood at the pick-up area in front of the school waiting for Dave to arrive. “How were your classes today?” Jay asked. “Probably about the same as yours, same-as, same-as. The good thing is there were no tests or quizzes today. What about you?” Jay grinned. “Other than a snap quiz in Algebra 2 and a test in Physics, it was all same-as just like your classes.” “How’d you do on your snap quiz?” “Twenty out of twenty,” Jay replied, with a grin. “I don’t have the results from the Physics test, but I think I did okay. We knew what it would cover so I was able to review the material last night.” “Hey, there’s dad’s car,” Greg said. “Easier if we walk down there than wait for him to beep-and-creep all the way up here.” They got in the car, and as he pulled onto Sneath Lane Dave asked the typical question all parents ask, “How was school today, guys?” “Good,” Jay replied. “I had a snap quiz in Algebra 2 and a test in Physics. Aced both of ‘em.” “No tests for me today,” Greg added. “Just the normal class stuff. Learning something new every day.” “We can only hope,” Jay muttered. “What do you mean by that?” Dave asked. “It seems like they keep covering things that we learned before, in earlier grades and even in middle school.” Dave smiled. “When I took a class on how to give legal seminars I learned a useful rule. It’s this: ‘Tell them what you’re going to cover, then cover the material, then tell them what you covered.’ In other words, it takes three times for material to be absorbed and understood. I think the same is true for kids in high school.” “Oh, there was one other thing,” Greg said. “I turned in the cellphone forms so we can use them at school for emergencies. I got two copies of the rules.” He pulled them out of his backpack and handed one to Jay. “It’s titled ‘Proper Use of Authorized Cellular Phones.’ We’ll read it tonight.” “Do either of you have much homework?” Their responses were similar and typical: “Just like always!” The drive to the trustee’s office took about ten minutes, and by the time they parked and got to the office they were right on time. “I’m going to go wander,” Greg said. “Greg, I’ll phone you when we’re ready to leave. Do you have your cellphone with you, and is it turned on?” “Yes to both. I’m not going very far. I saw a bookstore about a block from here. I’ll probably spend most of my time there.” “Okay. Have fun.” ~~~<< Thursday Afternoon October 15, 2015 at about 4:00 PM >>~~~ The meeting with the trustee took about forty-five minutes. There were a lot of forms to review and sign. Doris and Pete were specifically excluded in the trust documents. Sharon Garver, the trustee, agreed with Dave that Jay should have an allowance for his personal expenses. She was impressed that Dave and his wife were becoming Jay’s guardians, but were leaving his assets in the trust under the management of the trustee. She was even more impressed that they were paying all of Jay’s living expenses instead of having them paid from the trust. That made her wonder if they were considering adopting Jay. After calling him, Dave and Jay waited for Greg at a coffee shop on the corner. Jay ordered a mocha with an extra shot of chocolate, and Dave ordered a black coffee. Greg arrived about ten minutes later and decided he’d have what Jay had ordered. They sat talking about the permanent restraining order. “I phoned Alan to find out if he’d heard anything from the court, and the answer was not yet. He expects it to be approved in the morning.” “The sooner the better,” Jay said. “I agree,” Dave said. “You and I have an appointment on Monday with Alan to sign the guardianship papers. I made it for four o’clock. That time seemed to work out okay for you today.” “Sure, that works for me.” “I guess I’ll come along too, Greg said.” “Actually, if you want you’ll be able to go home from school with your mom. She’s picking up Ryan, Jennifer, and Davis to bring them home, and you and Jay as well, each afternoon next week.” “Okay,” Greg said. “As long as you don’t think I’m abandoning you, Jay.” “No problem. I assume we’ll be home before dinner. Won’t we, Dad?” “Yes. I don’t expect our meeting with Alan will be longer than a half hour.” “Speaking of dinner,” Greg said, “I’m getting hungry.” “If you’re finished with your mochas we can leave.” They got up and threw their empties in the recycling bin and headed outside. “Hey, Jay!” Jay turned and grinned. “Hey, Ian! How you doing?” “Good, good! Hi, Greg.” “Hi, Ian. Hey, this is my dad, Dave Cameron. Dad, this is Ian McCarthy, a friend of ours from school.” “Nice to meet you, Mr. Cameron.” “Likewise, Ian.” “Hey, Jay, how’s your stepmother? Is she going to be okay?” “What do you mean, is she going to be okay?” “Well, there was a guy looking for you at school today. Said your stepmother was dying. He wanted to pull you out of school and take you to the hospital, but old lady Fintch wouldn’t let him.” “What was his name?” “Pete something. It wasn’t your last name, though. He seemed like a real jerk. He mispronounced ‘exception’ as ‘acception’ or something like that. You know how Fintch is, she kept asking him what he was saying. So I said I thought he meant ‘exception’ and he turned and gave me his best frightening look and I did an ‘oooo’ and put my hands palms-out,” which Ian demonstrated to Jay and Greg’s laughter. “He was a big jerk.” “Was his name Pete Medrano?” Jay asked. “Yeah, that sounds about right.” Jay looked at Dave. “We need that restraining order!” “Why were you in the admissions office?” Greg asked. “I was late. Stupid bus broke down. I had a breakdown pass from the bus driver and wanted to get to class. That Pete guy was all teary about needing to take you to the hospital ‘cause your stepmother was dying. Fintch said his name wasn’t on the school records and he’d have to bring in his marriage license to prove that he’s your stepmother’s husband before she’d let you go with him.” “What time was this?” Dave asked. “Maybe quarter to ten, maybe a little later.” “Did he say what hospital?” Jay asked. “No. If you ask me it sounded like he was trying to pull something. He just took off, all pissed off like. So much for being all sad and teary. Jay, was your stepmother really in an accident?” Jay shook his head. “Not as far as I know. I think I would have been notified if there had been an accident. Let’s just say Pete and I aren’t friends. In fact, it’s the opposite.” “I should have looked for you at school and let you know,” Ian said. “No problem. I am glad you saw me here and told me what you saw and heard.” “As you say, no problem. Say, it’s getting late and I gotta get going. See you guys at school tomorrow.” Jay turned to Dave. “I think we’d better check on Doris. Thing is, I don’t want to do it. Pete might answer the phone and if I asked for Doris he’d recognize my voice. Could you call him, Dad?” “You want me to call the house, right?” “Right.” “Do the phones at your house have caller ID?” “No. They’re old style phones.” “Okay, I’ll call when we get home.” ~~~<< Thursday Evening October 15, 2015 at about 5:20 PM >>~~~ The first thing Dave did when they got home is go into his office with Jay and Greg. “Jay, do you know what kind of credit card Doris uses?” “Yeah. It’s a WestBank Visa. I even have the number in my cell ‘cause she let me use it a couple times to buy stuff on Amazon for her. She didn’t know squat about how to use a computer.” “Okay, I have an idea. I’ll say I’m calling from WestBank and there’s been a charge on her Visa from outside the country. That way if she’s there he should let her take the call. If not, we might learn something from his reply.” “I like that. And Pete’s dumb enough to believe it. Here, let me write down the Visa card number and the security number from the back for you.” He handed Dave the information. “Thanks. Go ahead and dial your home number.” “Okay.” Jay dialed, then handed Dave the phone. The phone rang about ten times and Dave ended the call. “No answer.” “Let’s call Mr. Porter. He’s the neighbor across the street from my house. He’s like the neighborhood busybody, but that’s in a good way. He also hates Pete.” Jay had Bob Porter’s number in his cellphone contact list, so he placed the call. “Hello.” “Hi, Mr. Porter. This is Jay… uh, Jaydon. I heard that Doris was hurt in an accident. Do you know anything about that?” “Jaydon! There was some sort of problem at your house. Around one a.m. Tuesday morning Pete drove off in a hell of a hurry, pardon my language, and left the garage door open. Tuesday night the garage door was still open, so I called the police to have them do a welfare check. They arrived and a few minutes later, then so did an ambulance. Then a policeman came to my door. He wanted to know where Pete was and I gave him the address and phone number where he works. I asked him if Doris was okay and he said someone slugged her real hard in the face, and she has a major injury to the back of her skull. They asked if I knew anyone with a key to the house and I gave them your name and said you’d moved out because Pete beat up on you. He wanted to know how to get ahold of you and I said you went to Aston High. Did they ever get in touch with you?” “No, they didn’t. Do you know what hospital Doris is at?” “No, they didn’t tell me that and I didn’t think to ask. I’d guess it’s Bayside Memorial because that’s where they usually take emergency patients.” “Okay. I’m going to try to go there to see her. Has Pete been back to the house?” “I think so. I saw lights in the house Tuesday night so I called the police. I don’t know if they came by to check it out or not.” “Okay, thanks a lot Mr. Porter.” “Thank you, Jaydon. If there’s anything I can do to help you, just give me a call. And if I see lights at the house again I’ll call the police and tell them I think Pete’s there.” “Good. He oughta be in jail. I’ll let you know about Doris after I’ve seen her. Thanks again.” Jay hung up the phone. “Mr. Porter thinks Doris is hurt bad. The policeman told him that she got slugged in the face and has a major head injury and the police are looking for Pete. He didn’t know what hospital she’s at, but he thinks it’s probably Bayside Memorial. Dad, can you take me to the hospital? I want to find out how she is and see her.” “Sure thing.” “Can I come too?” Greg asked. “I think it’s better if just Jay and I go to the hospital because you probably couldn’t get in to see her. I’ll let your mother know what’s going on. Jay, you’ll need your school ID to prove your name to get in to see her.” “I’ve got it in my wallet. I also have my medical card and it has Doris’s name on it.” After explaining to Beth what had happened, Dave and Jay left for the hospital. ~~~<< Thursday Evening October 15, 2015 at about 6:15 PM >>~~~ They entered the hospital and went through the registration process. The guard directed them to the ICU unit on the second floor. “The ICU means it’s bad, doesn’t it?” Jay asked as they walked to the elevator. “Yes, it does. But it also means she’s getting immediate attention from doctors and nurses.” “What if Pete’s there? That could be trouble.” “Somehow I don’t think he’d want to be anywhere near the hospital knowing that the police are after him.” “How would he know that?” “If he went to work his boss would have told him the police were there looking for him. Remember, you said Mr. Porter said he gave them the address where Pete worked. Anyway, don’t worry about it. If you see Pete we’ll notify security and call the police.” When they got to the second floor Dave picked up the phone for access to the ICU. “What patient are you visiting?” “Doris Oron,” Dave replied. “Doris Oron-Medrano?” “Yes. That’s her married name.” “What’s your relationship?” “Her stepson, Jaydon Oron, is here to see her. I’m David Cameron, Jaydon’s guardian.” “Her stepson’s age?” “Seventeen.” “Alright, you can come in.” The door clicked and swung open, and they walked into the ICU. This was the first time Jay had ever been in an Intensive Care Unit. It was frightening looking, with nothing but a curtain separating the beds from each other. The wall in back of every bed had all kinds of medical monitors with flashing lights; some were beeping continuously. “Where is Doris?” Jay whispered. “You don’t have to whisper in here, Jay. Doris is in bed 217. It looks like it’s ahead on the right. But before we go see her, let’s stop at the nursing station and find out something about her condition.” They walked up to the nursing station. A woman sat at a computer, and after a short wait she looked up. “May I help you?” “Yes. This is Jay Oron. I’m his guardian and his attorney. He’s here to visit his stepmother, Doris Oron-Medrano. Before we see her I’d like to find out her condition and prognosis.” She went through a file and pulled out a folder. “Doris Oron-Medrano is still in a coma. She’s heavily bandaged because of an injury to the back of her skull. As far as her prognosis, you’ll have to speak with the on-call doctor who is on the floor. That’s Doctor Knapp. I’ll let him know you’d like to speak with him. You can visit her, but it’s unlikely that she’ll respond. However, if Jay would like to talk to her, she might recognize his voice, or perhaps not. In any case, it’s something we tell visitors to do. It can assist in recovery from a brain injury.” Jay looked stunned. The environment of the ICU was bleak for the patients and cold for the visitors. He was glad he’d put on a jacket. He felt Dave’s hand on his left shoulder. “Are you ready to walk down and see her?” The idea of seeing Doris in a coma? No, he’d never be ready for that. But only a lie in response would be appropriate. “Okay.” They walked slowly past beds with some patients visible and others closed off from the curious. He wasn’t curious. He tried to think of an appropriate antonym for ‘curious’ that described how he felt as they walked, and walked. It seemed to take forever. And he couldn’t think of an antonym. Dave stopped and again put his hand on Jay’s left shoulder “Here we are, Jay.” He turned to his right and faced the bed. That couldn’t be Doris in the bed. That must be some other person who was hooked up to the numerous tubes from IV bags hanging from three stands at the right side of the bed. There was a bank of medical equipment with colored numbers and moving graphs and blinking lights on the wall above the bed. There was some sort of machine at the left side of the bed with a large tube that ran to a breathing mask over Doris’s face. He stood and stared at the array of medical equipment. He slowly shook his head back and forth, back and forth. “Would you like to step up to where you can say something to her? The nurse said it could help her recover.” He didn’t want to and he wanted to. Dave’s hand was still on his shoulder, and he helped guide Jay where he could see her face through the breathing mask. It was black and blue with red and yellow bruises. A bandage was wrapped around her head totally covering everything starting just above her ears and around her forehead and continuing so only a small patch of her hair could be seen on top. Jay felt like he was about to collapse so he leaned into Dave’s side. Dave put his arm around Jay and held him tight. Seeing Doris like this made him sad. That Pete would do something like this to her made him furious. That combination made the tears flow. Doris hadn’t been a very good mother, but she didn’t deserve anything like this. He realized that Dave had eased him into a chair that he had positioned so, when Jay leaned forward, he could talk to Doris. He found her left hand and took it in his right. “I know you loved my father, Doris, and he loved you. I know you loved me in your own way. And I loved you in my own way too. Only a devil would treat you the way Pete treated you. He tried to kill you. We’re going to make sure he’s found and arrested and sent to prison for the rest of his life.” He wiped the tears from his face with his sleeve, then started to tell her the story of his life starting from the day when Pete beat him and threw him out of his own house, to the current day. He ended his story with something he wasn’t sure she’d approve of. “I don’t know what you’d think about it, Doris, but I’m gay. I have a boyfriend. His name is Greg. He’s wonderful. You’ll like him when you meet him. And I want him to meet you. So it’s important that you get better. I’ll be back to visit you another day, soon.” He squeezed her hand, and he was certain that he felt her squeeze back. Dave had stepped away and was talking to a doctor. Jay stood and walked over to join the two men. “Doctor Knapp, this is Jay Oron. Doris is his stepmother.” “Jay, I saw you talking to your stepmother. Thank you for doing that. We’ve seen patients recover more quickly when their family would sit and talk, telling them about what they’ve been doing, just the way you did.” “I squeezed her hand, and it felt like she squeezed back.” “Well, that could certainly be a positive sign. Will you two be able to come back and visit at another time?” “Yes, I’m sure we’ll be able to do that,” Dave replied. Now I’d better get Jay home so we can have dinner and he can do his homework. He has school tomorrow.” ~~~<< Thursday Evening October 15, 2015 at about 7:30 PM >>~~~ Jay didn’t say anything at the start of their drive home. “Are you okay, Jay?” Dave asked. Jay looked at Dave and nodded. “Uh huh.” Another lie, but anything else would make it sound like he was weak. “I’ve just been thinking about how we can help the police catch Pete. You know, Bob Porter is like a neighborhood watchdog. I’d like to call him and ask if he saw anything around the house the past few days. I don’t think Pete has anywhere to live except the house.” “Okay, we’ll phone him right after dinner.” “I’d love to get back at that S.O.B. for him beating on me and trying to kill Doris.” When they got home Beth and Greg wanted to know about Doris. They were shocked when Jay said that she was in a coma then described the big bandage around her head, the number and color of her bruises, and how she needed a breathing mask. Because it was late Beth decided it should be a pizza and salad night. The pizza was from the freezer, and the salad was made from ingredients in the refrigerator. They sat down and ate their dinner and talked about school. That was fine as far as Jay was concerned. He didn’t want to continue to talk about or even think about Doris and Pete. When he did it made him sad and it made him mad. Madder, even, than he had been when he saw Doris in the hospital. He didn’t like the things he thought about. Like getting a gun and killing Pete. He knew that he would never be able to do that. But he could make sure the police arrested him. A good place to start would be to contact the officers he and Greg met when he reported Pete’s abuse. ~~~<< Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at about 8:30 PM >>~~~ After dinner Dave and Jay went into Dave’s office. Greg begged off because he still had homework to finish. Jay dialed Bob Porter’s number. “Hello.” “Mr. Porter, it’s Jay Oron. I don’t use Jaydon any more, so please call me Jay. Anyway, is it okay if I put this call on the speaker? I want my guardian, Dave Cameron, to listen in.” “Fine with me. And I like Jay better than Jaydon. I think it’s a better fit for you. What can I do for you, Jay?” “Have you seen Pete at the house this week?” “I haven’t actually seen Pete, but I saw lights on in the house. So someone with a key must have been there. I assume it wasn’t you.” “No, it wasn’t me. I haven’t been back to the house since the day you helped me get into my bedroom.” “I didn’t think so. Anyway, I called the police and reported it. My guess is they haven’t done anything about it.” “Mr. Porter, this is Dave Cameron. Do you know when you saw the lights on in the house?” “I do. I wrote it on the calendar I keep in the kitchen. Let me get it.” After a short delay he returned to the phone. “It was Tuesday night. It was around eleven o’clock.” “What time did you call the San Bruno police?” “As soon as I saw the lights.” “Thanks, Mr. Porter,” Dave said. “If you see lights, or Pete or his black SUV, please be sure to call the police. And I’d appreciate it if you’d call me, too.” “I certainly will do both. What’s your phone number?” “I’ll give you my cellphone number.” He read the number and Bob Porter repeated it. “How’s Doris?” “She’s in a coma and has a serious injury to the back of her skull,” Dave replied. “I talked to the doctor at the hospital and he said her condition is listed as serious.” “I hope the police catch up with that guy. They better be careful at the hospital. I think if he tried to kill Doris, he’s the kind of guy who would try a second time.” Dave looked at Jay, who was scowling. “I’ll discuss that with the San Bruno police when I call them.” “Good. Anything else I can do?” “That’s about it for now,” Dave said. “Thank you for the information. It’s going to be very helpful.” “I’ll say goodbye then, Dave, and to you too, Jay.” “Goodbye, Bob.” Dave ended the call. “Now we’re going to call the San Bruno police and ask them why they haven’t done something about Pete Medrano.” Jay looked at the clock on Dave’s desk. It was eight forty-five. “Isn’t it too late to call?” Dave looked at the clock. “You’re right. I’ll call in the morning. You’ll have to go to go to school, but I don’t think it’s necessary for you to be on that call. I’m going to do three things when I call them. First, I want to know what they did after Bob Porter told them someone was in the house Tuesday night. Second, I want protection for Doris at Bayside Memorial Hospital. Third, I want protection for you at Aston High. Can you think about anything else?” “Nope. That seems to be a comprehensive list.” Jay grinned about using a ‘big word’ in his reply. Dave laughed and shook his head. “You are a trip, Jay. I like having you around and I’m glad that Greg likes having you around, too.” ~~~<< Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at about 9:45 PM >>~~~ Pete drove up to the house on Fleetwood Court. Deciding that he no longer needed to hide his car a couple blocks down Fleetwood Drive. He pushed the button to open the garage door, but it didn’t work. No matter how many times he pushed the button the door stubbornly refused to open. “Fuck!” Pete growled. He pulled into the driveway and got out of his SUV and slammed the door as hard as he could. That noise attracted Bob Porter’s curiosity. Mr. Neighborhood Watch, as his neighbors liked to call him, went to the kitchen and looked out the window. He saw Pete’s black SUV and Pete walking up to the garage door and trying to open it from the outside. He immediately called the San Bruno Police. “San Bruno Police. How can I direct your call?” “I was told by Officer Baker to call if I saw Pete Medrano.” “I’ll connect you with Officer Baker.” After a delay of about thirty seconds, Bob guessed it would be unlikely that Officer Baker would be in the office. But he guessed wrong. “Officer Chris Baker. I was told you have information about Peter Medrano?” “Yes. This is Bob Porter. I live across Fleetwood Court from the house where Doris Oron-Medrano lives. You asked me to call if I had any information about Pete Medrano. He just pulled into the driveway of the house at 149 Fleetwood Court and has entered the house.” “Thank you, Mr. Porter. My partner and I will call on Mr. Medrano at that address in a few minutes.” “Be sure to be careful. He can be violent.” “Thank you for that information, Mr. Porter. Since you believe he can be violent, please remain in your home.” “I will. You can be sure about that!” After ending the call, Bob realized that it was likely that Pete would be arrested. Finally. He phoned the number that Dave Cameron had given him. It was picked up by his voicemail. “Dave, this is Bob Porter. Pete came back to the house. I called the police and they said they’d be here in a few minutes. Just wanted to let you know.” ~~~<< Thursday Night October 15, 2015 at 9:55 PM >>~~~ Pete was calling the police too. “San Bruno Police. How can I direct your call?” “I just got home from a trip and discovered someone must have broken in to my house, and my wife isn’t here even though her car is in the garage. I’m concerned. She’d been having problems with my stepson and he can be violent. Can you send a policeman as soon as possible?” “What is your address?” “149 Fleetwood Court in San Bruno. It’s the yellow house on the corner.” “Just one moment, please.” Pete didn’t like to wait for anything, but he didn’t have any choice. He sat at the kitchen table with his cellphone held to his ear and with his right hand drumming the top of the table in frustration. Finally someone came on the line. “We’ve dispatched a patrol car to your location.” “Oh, thank you, thank you.” He ended the call and laughed about the way he had thanked the cops. Now he had to get his story right. His wife Doris was missing. His worthless druggie stepson Jado was missing. A big section of carpet in the living room was missing. The coffee table was missing. The most important thing was he wanted to find out where Doris was. That should do it. Now he had to put on a sad and angry and worried face for the cops. He went into the bathroom to practice his look in the mirror. The problem was he kept laughing at his image. He finally slugged himself in the cheek to get more into the mood. Satisfied, he went into the living room to wait. While he waited he thought, ‘Now I’ve got that little shit Jado. He won’t know what hit him when the cops go looking for him so they can arrest him for attacking Doris.’ His plan two was on the way to getting everything taken care of. Except for Doris. ‘That’ll be taken care of next time I visit her in the hospital.’ About two minutes later Pete saw the flashing lights of a police car in front of the house, and he went to the front door. Continued…
  11. ~~~<< Wednesday Afternoon October 14, 2015 at about 4:00 PM >>~~~ When they got home Beth walked into the kitchen followed by Greg and Jay. The boys each grabbed a banana. “Did you want anything else?” Beth asked. “What time’s dinner going to be?” Greg asked. “About six o’clock.” “This banana is enough for me, then,” Greg said. “Yeah, me too,” Jay added. “Oh, Beth, I have something you have to sign. It’s a change of address form for school. I filled it out except for your signatures.” He handed her the form. “Is this going to be accepted since your last name and our last name aren’t the same?” “I don’t know. How messy is your handwriting?” “Well… it isn’t too legible. They might not notice the difference in last names.” Greg grinned. “Mom, your handwriting is terrible.” “Excuse me?” “Just sign it and I’ll take it in,” Jay said. “I don’t think it’s gonna make any difference. The only thing they want to make sure about is that I’m still in San Bruno and in the Aston High attendance area.” Beth signed the form and handed it to Jay. “Thanks, Beth. That’s perfect.” He showed it to Greg and chuckled. “Yeah, Mom, perfectly illegible.” “Aren’t they going to cross-check your new address with our address for Greg?” she asked. “I don’t think so,” Greg answered for Jay. “I don’t think the Aston High admin computer system is all that sophisticated.” “Well, if there’s any trouble you let me know. I’ll go talk to Artis Lafon and let her take care of it.” As they started upstairs to get started on their homework, Beth heard Jay tell Greg, “Bringing out the heavy artillery, ‘eh?” and they both laughed. About an hour later Greg pushed back from his desk, stretched his shoulders, yawned, and walked across the hall to Jay’s room. “How are you doing, bro?” he asked. “I’m ready to quit. I’ve been reading ahead for my Physics class. Did you take Physics?” “Yeah, last year. You doing okay in your class? Who’s your teacher?” “Reynolds. You know him?” “Nah. Remember, I took Physics at Sehome High in Bellingham last year. Do you like the class?” “Yeah, I do. I decided I’m going to take AP Chem next year. He’s going to be teaching it. I just have to find out what time so I can get in his class. You’re taking AP Chem this year. Who’s your teacher?” “Lazelle. He’s a little weird, but I like him. Ryan’s in my class. We’re going to get together to study for exams, and we’re lab partners. Having someone I know to work with is a big help.” “Davis is in my Physics class, and he said he’s thinking about taking AP Chem next year. I ought to talk to him so we can have the same class with Reynolds.” “That’s a good idea.” Dave knocked on the door jamb. “Excuse me, guys, do you have a minute?” “Sure,” Jay replied, then he grinned. “What can we do for you, sir?” “Wiseass,” Greg whispered to Jay. Dave laughed, both because of Jay’s comment and because he’d overheard what Greg had whispered. “I have several things that I’ve been able to get underway. First, our attorney has applied for a permanent order restraining Pete Medrano from being within 300 feet of you at any time, Jay. We’re waiting for the judge to make a ruling on the application. I know that judge, and both Alan Quallier, our attorney, and I think it will be granted before the temporary order runs out this weekend.” “That’s great. Thanks for doing that, Dave.” “Second, I’ve filed an application for me and Beth to become your personal guardians, if you agree. The main benefit is we will have legal responsibility for you and it removes Doris and Pete from having any legal responsibility and most importantly any legal rights. We won’t be the guardians of your property including the house, the money you inherited from your father, and your trust. All of your assets will be managed by your trustee. “Third, Beth picked up forms that we had to fill out to allow both of you to carry your cellphone while you’re at school and it can be turned on at all times. One limitation is that it can’t have an audible ring. That means you’ll have to set it to vibrate only. You can’t answer it in class, but if the caller is me or Beth then you can ask to teacher if you can step out for a minute to take the call or text. Each of your teachers will be advised that you have permission to take important calls or texts. Just make sure they are important. I’m going to give the forms to you to turn in to the administration office. “Fourth, I contacted the trustee of your account, Jay. I’ve set up a meeting tomorrow at four o’clock. I’ll pick you up after school. Greg, you can come along for the ride if you want. You won’t sit in on the meeting, but you can wander around downtown or do some of your homework while Jay and I are in the meeting.” “I like the wandering around idea,” Greg said. “Well, that’s about it. Any questions, Jay?” “I… I don’t know what to say. Except thank you, Dave. Hmm… when you and Beth become my guardians, can I call you Dad and Mom?” Dave held out his arms and Jay jumped up and they hugged. “You can call me Dad and call Beth Mom starting right now if you want.” Dave noticed a tear sliding down Jay’s cheek. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!” Jay said. “We’ll have to meet with our attorney so you can sign the guardianship papers which he will file with the court. Then there will be a hearing where you have to approve of us as your guardians. Doris will have to approve of this change. We’ll try to get Doris to agree to the guardianship. It’s possible that she will fight the guardianship. That will slow it down, but I think we can show that she should be removed because of her marriage to Pete and the way he abused you. “If you’re wondering about the emancipation, Alan will talk to you about it. It can still be done, but there are some issues you’ll want to consider first.” Dave handed Jay a document titled ‘Emancipation Guide,’ another titled ‘Guardianship Pamphlet,’ and a third titled ‘Becoming a Guardian.’ “Alan gave me this material so you’ll know what becoming emancipated means, and what your rights and our responsibilities will be under a guardianship. You can read them before we go to his office after school on Monday. He’ll have the guardianship papers ready to sign then.” “Wow. Thanks. Things are really moving fast.” Jay smiled. “You and Mom are great.” Then he turned and looked at Greg. “Greg, is it okay with you if I call your folks Dad and Mom?” “Of course it is! There’s no reason it wouldn’t be, bro.” Dave interrupted. “Don’t either of you tell anyone else until we get the guardianship approved by the court.” “Looks like I have some more reading homework to do,” Jay said, holding up the pamphlets Dave had given him. “Personal homework this time.” ~~~<< Wednesday Evening October 14, 2015 at about 7:30 PM >>~~~ Jay knew he’d have to find a way to quit his pot habit. He still felt the need, and more often than he’d expected. Going cold-turkey would be a problem. He’d gotten used smoking a joint every couple weeks or so, and shaking that urge was becoming a lot harder. He’d promised Greg and Greg’s folks that he’d give it up. Greg’s dad had told him he wouldn’t be able to do it alone. Having Greg’s help would be important, but that wouldn’t be enough. Not nearly enough. That evening he and Greg were sitting at the kitchen table with Greg’s laptop. “Okay, let’s do a search. How about using ‘how to quit smoking marijuana’ as a search string?” “Sure,” Jay replied. Greg typed the search string into Google. “Whoa! Look at this. It says it found ‘About 1,020,000 results.’ How are we supposed to find the one best program from all of the ones that are junk?” “I don’t know. Maybe we should just start looking from the top. Those that are first are probably the ones that pay for being at the top.” “I suppose,” Greg said. “Okay, the first one is for a ‘private mountain lodge.’ That’s not what we’re looking for.” “Hey, look at this one,” Jay said, pointing at the screen. “It’s from the University of Notre Dame. ‘Quitting Marijuana — A 30 Day Self Help Guide.’ I’d trust a major university website. Let’s take a look at it.” Greg clicked on the link, then scrolled through the first page. They read the introduction and looked at a long questionnaire with several sections. The first was titled ‘Social Self’ which it described as the way someone relates to others and if they felt comfortable with other people. The next section was about school, the next about family, then financial, legal, and finally personal. There were links to click to select the particular drug. Of course, they’d already found it by searching for marijuana, so that was their selected drug. “Did you finish looking at the questionnaire?” Greg asked. “Yeah. It looks like something we’d print out and fill in. Can you print it?” “There’s no link to print it, but I can use the screen capture and print tool.” “I think it’s too long for that,” Jay said. “How about copying the questionnaire and pasting it into Word?” Greg tried that, but the formatting was messed up. He used a paste option and that solved the formatting problem, but the background was black with white text and he couldn’t find a way to change that. “I don’t think this going to work. It’s too hard to read. I’m not sure what do do.” “Why don’t you go back to the browser and try printing the page as-is from there?” Jay suggested. Greg did that, and it worked, printing each introduction and questionnaire; it didn’t include the long list of links on each page. “This is cool. I’ll print three copies, double-sided, one for you, one for me, and one for our folks.” Jay grinned when he heard Greg refer to ‘our folks.’ Next Greg picked the ‘Marijuana’ link at the left of the page. It had an explanation of marijuana addiction and a chart showing some of the withdrawal symptoms listed by Physiological, Behavioral, and Sleep topics. He printed three sets of pages, then clicked a link to ‘Quitting Marijuana — A 30 Day Self Help Guide.’ That took them back to the page where they’d started. “That’s weird,” Jay said. “Yeah. They need someone to look at the design of the site and the navigation. What they have is real clumsy. Okay, there’s still a bunch of links on the left. I think we can skip all of the links to other stuff like alcohol and Narcotic Analgesics, right?” Greg asked. “Yeah. I’ve never used any other drug and I don’t like alcohol. Except maybe a small glass of Champagne on my birthday and New Year’s Eve.” “You don’t like beer?” Greg asked. “No. Its taste is yucky.” Greg laughed. “Yucky? I love it! The word you said, not beer. I agree with you about how it tastes.” “Okay, okay! Let’s explore some of those other links.” That’s what they did, and Greg printed three sets of the pages for the ‘Myths and Current Research,’ ‘Making the Decision,’ and ‘Managing Cravings’ topics. Then Greg opened the first ‘Day’ page and printed three copies, then opened the second ‘Day’ page and printed three copies, and so on through Day 30. It resulted in a lot of pages for each of them to read. “Most of these Day pages are short, some of them are long,” Greg said. “Most have activities we’re supposed to do. Others are things to think about and commit to, sort of motivational stuff. They’re all written for college students, and we’re close to that age. For example, where it talks about doing things they are mostly relevant for us. Where they don’t fit we can substitute a related activity. “There are also links to pages that are just for college students and their parents, some only for students at Notre Dame. Those don’t apply to us so I didn’t print them.” “None of the Day pages I’ve looked at seem impossible,” Jay said. “There are choices on quite a few of the pages, so we can pick which choice or choices we want to do. I think if you can do them then I can do them too. How about we follow the day schedule together. That way we’ll be supporting each other and making sure we’re both doing each day’s activities.” “Sounds good. Let’s show my folks what we’ve printed. They’ll probably want to look it over and they’ll give us their opinion of this self-help approach.” “Sounds like a plan.” ~~~<< Wednesday Night October 14, 2015 at about 8:30 PM >>~~~ Greg and Jay sat down with Dave and Beth at the kitchen table. “Jay found a drug program they use at Notre Dame University,” Greg said. “We looked it over and think that it makes sense. I printed out the material and stapled it together in the sequence we’d follow. We’d like you to look it over and tell us what you think.” He handed Dave their copy. “Okay,” Dave responded. “One question. Why did you pick a drug program from a university?” “We figured they’re students and we’re students, and they aren’t that much older than we are, especially the freshmen. So, it should be a good fit for us,” Jay said. “We scanned through all of the material and most of it is easy for high school students to follow. There isn’t a lot of psychological jargon or technical terms.” Greg pointed at the set of pages they’d given Dave. “We think you’ll see it’ll work for us when you read what I printed. The link to go to their website’s there too, if you want to look at the original material.” “There are other kinds of drugs in their program, like alcohol and cocaine,” Jay said. “They don’t apply to us because we don’t drink or use hard drugs.” “You’ve never had any alcoholic drinks, Jay?” Beth asked. “My dad used to let me have a small glass of Champagne for my birthday and Christmas dinners. I don’t like beer, and the hard stuff that my dad let me taste was awful.” “He let you taste hard alcoholic drinks?” Beth sounded incredulous. “Yeah, like just a sip, a quarter teaspoon or so. The worst was Scotch. I don’t understand how anyone could drink that. It think that must be where they got to term ‘rotgut.’ It was his way of making me taste how bad it was. It worked. Watching Pete and Doris come home from a night of drinking was an even better lesson. I don’t have any interest in drinking booze.” ~~~<< Thursday Morning October 15, 2015 at about 8:00 AM >>~~~ Pete woke up in his own bedroom. He’d gone to bed after checking out the rest of the house. The door to the backyard wasn’t locked, so he’d locked it. The only other things he’d found out of place were the doors to every room were open, and the lamp on the table next to his bed was laying on top of the bed. He’d planned to sleep at the shop, but when he had started to turn off Carolan Avenue into the driveway he’d seen cop cars with their lights flashing. They were parked in front of the building, and his boss had been out there talking to the cops. ‘What a fuckin’ douche!’ he thought. ‘Some friend he turned out to be, spilling his guts about me to the cops.’ What Pete knew it meant was he couldn’t go back to work until he got Jado arrested for what happened to Doris. He poured some cereal and milk into a bowl and ate that for his breakfast. Not a real meal, but he wasn’t a cook and didn’t even know how to use a microwave oven. He actually began to miss Doris. Trouble was, she was a loose cannon. She’d tell the cops that he was the one who hit her. He had to shut that down. And soon. Way to do that would be to go to the hospital and chat her up. He’d have to figure out which hospital, but it was probably Bayside Memorial, the closest hospital to where they lived. He dumped his bowl and spoon in the sink, then walked out through the front door locking it as he left. He hadn’t moved his car from where he’d parked it down the street on Fleetwood Drive. He’d decided it would be best to have it a ways away so it wouldn’t lead the cops to him. The traffic heading east was heavy with people on their way to work to the north in San Francisco and to the south at the airport and Silicon Valley. It took twenty minutes to get to the hospital, then another five minutes driving around the parking lot trying to find an open spot that wasn’t marked for handicapped. ~~~<< Thursday Morning October 15, 2015 at about 9:00 AM >>~~~ Pete walked in through the main entrance of Bayside Memorial Hospital. They had a security station with a guard sitting at a computer just inside the entrance. There were three people in line ahead of him. Pete took a couple deep breaths to keep from boiling over and blowing his chance to see Doris. “What patient do you want to visit?” the guard asked. “Doris Oron-Medrano.” “Relationship?” Pete didn’t understand at first. “Huh?” he asked, but then he realized what the guard wanted. “Oh. I’m her husband.” The guard put out his hand. “Picture ID please.” Pete handed him his driver’s license. The guard entered his name and returned the license. Then he printed a tag with both his and Doris’s names and a room number and handed it to him. “Put it on where it can be seen, and wear it the entire time you’re in the hospital. Take the elevator at your right. It’s room 217 in Intensive Care.” If Doris was in intensive care she had to be hurt bad, Pete realized. He took the elevator up one floor and got off. He was in a short hallway with closed doors at each end. He couldn’t figure out where he was supposed to go. Then he saw a sign above a phone mounted to the wall. It read, ‘Pick up the handset for access to the ICU.’ He picked it up and it rang twice, then he heard a woman’s voice. “What patient are you visiting?” “Doris Oron-Medrano.” “Your relationship with the patient?” “I’m her husband.” “Alright.” With that the door to his left swung open, and he walked into the ICU. He’d never been in an ICU before. These weren’t rooms like on the regular hospital floors. The beds were side-by-side and separated from each other by a sort of curtain thing on each side. He saw that the curtain could also be pulled across the foot of the bed for privacy. The numbers were located above each bed. He found bed 217 at the far end of the room, and Doris was in the bed. He walked up to the right side of her bed. ‘Jesus, she looks like shit,’ he thought. Her face was all black and blue, her eyes were shut and all puffy, and she had a huge bandage starting from just above her eyebrows that ran all the way around her head. There were tubes running from three plastic bags that were hanging from a stand that looked like a weird sort of metal coat rack. Each bag had clear liquid that was being dripped into Doris’s right arm. ‘Must be some sort of medicine,’ he thought. There was a blood pressure cuff around her other arm. There was another tube running from the wall into her nose, and a tube ran from under the blanket to a bag hooked on the side of the bed that looked like it was filled with urine. A bank of equipment with flashing lights and big colored numbers was mounted on another stand behind the head of her bed. Her mouth was open and it sounded like she was having a hard time breathing. Pete bent down next to her ear. “Doris? Doris, honey?” There was no response. A nurse walked up and startled Pete. “Are you her husband?” she asked. “Yes,” he replied, trying to look and sound grief-stricken. “What’s wrong with her? Is she gonna be okay?” “She’s in a coma.” The nurse put her hand on his shoulder. “You should talk to Doctor Barrington. He can tell you more about her condition.” Pete looked around. “Is he here?” “No. He’s doing his rounds. He should be back here in the ICU in about an hour.” “Has she been able to talk?” “Not since I started my shift at seven this morning.” She looked at Pete. “If you’d like some coffee while you wait, the cafeteria is open on the first floor. Just follow the signs.” “Thanks. That sounds like a good idea. I’m so confused. I don’ know what could’a happen to her.” The nurse walked away and Pete left the ICU. He took the elevator to the first floor and left the hospital. He figured that if Doris survived she probably wouldn’t remember what happened. He sat in his car wondering what to do about Jado. ‘I can go to the school and tell them his stepmother was in a car crash. When he hears that he prob’ly come with me to go to the hospital for sure, then I can off him and borrow Larry’s boat and take his body out into the Bay and dump him,’ he thought. ‘Or, I can go home and call the cops saying that someone trashed the house and stole some stuff, and that I think it’s Jado.’ He tried to come up with a reason Jado would beat up Doris. ‘I don’t have to worry about that part. I don’t know that she got beat up. I’d just call the cops and tell them she’s missing and that the house is trashed and I don’t know where she is. I know, I can say they’d been arguing about Jado moving out.’ He tried to figure which of the two plans was better. The first plan, going after Jado at school, was less risky than calling the cops and blaming him for trashing the house and beating up Doris. With that he started the engine and pulled out of the hospital parking lot and headed for Aston High School. He got lost, even though he stopped at a gas station and asked for directions. Then he stopped at another gas station and the guy gave him better directions. When he arrived there was one open spot in the visitor’s parking lot. ~~~<< Thursday Morning October 15, 2015 at about 9:45 AM >>~~~ Pete entered the Aston High School administration office and stepped up to the counter. The receptionist looked like she was a high school student. He put on what he thought was his sad face. “May I help you?” she asked. “Yes. I need to pick up my stepson. His mother, my wife, was in a bad traffic accident this morning and I need to take him to the hospital before it’s too late.” “You’ll have to go to the attendance office. Go back outside, turn left, and go to the next building on your left. You’ll see the Admissions Office sign out front.” “Okay.” Pete found the admissions office and walked in. There was and old lady behind the counter. She wore a name tag, Ms. Fintch. “Yes?” she asked. Pete told Mrs. Fintch the same sad story he’d told the girl in the administration building. “Okay,” she said, “so what’s the student’s name?” “Jaydon Oron.” “And what’s your name?” “Pete Medrano.” “You got some ID?” Pete pulled out his driver’s license and slid it in front of her. She picked it up and looked at both sides. Then she keyed something into her computer and sat looking at it for what to Pete seemed to be a long time. “Excuse me, my wife might be dying. Jado will want to see her before she goes.” “Yeah, yeah. Got a problem here. Your name isn’t on the contact list for Jaydon Oron.” “Well, Jado’s mom and I just got married in July. She prob’ly didn’t think about adding my name to Jado’s high school records.” “You got some proof you’re her husband?” “I’ve got the marriage license.” She wiggled her fingers in a ‘give it to me’ way. “Lemme see the marriage license.” “I don’t carry it with me. It’s at home.” “You’ll have to go get it and bring it in. Or you can come back at 3:20 when school is over for the day; maybe you’ll see him as he leaves the campus.” She dismissed Pete by looking past him at the boy standing behind him, apparently one of the students. “Next!” “Wait! What am I supposed to do? Can’t you make a acception?” “A what?” she asked. “A acception!” Pete almost shouted. “I think he means an exception,” the kid in back of Pete said, apparently enjoying the exchange between the two adults. Pete turned and glared at the kid who made a snide ‘oooo’ expression with his mouth and laughed. “Okay, an exception, please?” Pete pleaded. “Sorry, we can’t let just anyone walk in here and walk out with one of our students. You read about this sort of thing all the time, kids getting kidnapped or worse. Your name isn’t on that boy’s file, we can’t release him to you. No exceptions. Period.” “What am I s’posed to do? His stepmother is dying! Dying!” he shouted. “Get your marriage license and bring it in. Or wait until 3:20 when school’s over for the day. Until then, I got students lined up back of you who I’m sure are eager to tell me their own interesting tales of woe. Next!” Pete stormed out of the office, got in his car, and beat his fists on the steering wheel. Finally, once his temper was curtailed, he pulled out of the parking lot onto Sneath Lane and headed back to the house. “I don’t know where Doris put the fuckin’ marriage license. That stupid old bitch at the school wouldn’t make ‘an exception’ so my time this morning was totally fuckn’ wasted,” Pete thought. “Okay, it’s gonna have to be plan two,” he decided. Continued…
  12. ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 9:30 PM >>~~~ On the way out Doctor Jenkins held up his hand, palm out. “Do you two have a minute to talk?” he asked. “Sure,” Greg said. “Only thing, we told my folks that we’d be home by ten o’clock.” “This will only take a few minutes. Come on into my office and have a seat.” He didn’t close the door after they’d entered, so that made both boys relax. “Being a doctor, and the doctor who treated Greg while he was in St. Mark’s Hospital, I want to make sure that you’re both going to see your family doctors and get checked out. Greg, did you get that prescription filled and start taking the medication I prescribed?” “I gave the prescription to my Mom. She said she’d get it filled today and she’s going to call Doctor Cardin’s office and make an appointment for me and Jay to see him at the same time.” “Ryan tells me you’re living with Greg’s family now, Jay.” “Yes, I am. Greg rescued me from my stepmother and her boyfriend, who’s a real jerk, by letting me move in to his home. Then when Greg’s folks came home they said I could live with them. I agreed to become drug free. No pot, no other drugs, no alcohol. I’m going to find a drug program for teens that will help me get rid of my urge to smoke pot.” “I’m going to take the same program as Jay,” Greg said. “I’m impressed with the way you two are relating to each other. The last thing I heard from Greg in the hospital was he never wanted to see you again, Jay.” “Yeah, that’s true,” Greg said. “That was before Jay told me about his messed up life. He’s basically a good guy who turned to pot to get away from the stepmother and the jerk she married. He told my folks his story and they said he could live with us. So he’s become my… my brother!” Greg looked at Jay and grinned. Doctor Jenkins smiled. “I’m proud of the two of you. You’re heading in the right direction now.” “Thanks, Doctor Jenkins,” Greg said. “Thanks for believing in us,” Jay added. “Now I think we’d better get going so we can be home before ten.” Doctor Jenkins shook hands with them and they said goodbye to Ryan and Jennifer and began the walk home. “You said I’ve become your brother, Greg. I feel the same way. You’re the brother I never had.” Greg grinned. “It’s like you were my brother all along and we got separated and we just found each other.” “That’s the way I feel to, bro.” Jay grinned. “Bro? That’s cool. Dated, but cool.” They both laughed as they walked across their cul de sac and to their home. ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 10:00 PM >>~~~ Back at the Jenkins’ home Ryan sat down to talk to his dad. “You know, when you told me to try to make friends with Greg I thought it wouldn’t go anywhere because of how he’d acted towards me and Davis before. But I’m glad you did because he’s like a totally different person and Davis and I like him. And Jay is a really nice guy too. Even Jennifer seems to like them, ‘specially after Jay complimented her about her chocolate chip cookies. He said she should open a cookie store.” Jennifer had walked into the family room and heard her name. “Jennifer should what?” she demanded. “Your brother was just saying that you liked Jay because he complimented you about your baking skill and said you should start a chain of cookie stores.” Lyle Jenkins grinned at the way he’d converted a store to a chain. Jennifer blushed. “That’s not it. It was nice of Jado… Jay — it’s hard to remember he’s changed his nickname — to say he likes my chocolate chip cookies. He’s a nice guy, and way different than he’d been most of the time this semester before this week. The last couple days in Library Science he’s changed from being sullen and not participating very much to the nice guy he’d been when he was a freshman and we were in the same English and World Geography classes.” “His dad died when he was a freshman,” Ryan said. “They were really close. I don’t think he likes his stepmother very much, though.” “How about Davis? He seems very careful about making friends with a lot of the kids you two bring home,” their dad asked. “I know. And I was amazed that he took to Greg and Jay the way he did at school today and here playing a video game tonight. You’d have thought the three of them had been friends forever.” “I noticed that too, Dad,” Jennifer said. “I suppose you’ll say it’s happened because you decided to have us try to friend Greg. Jay came along as part of the deal. I’m glad he did. You know, those two seem to be close. Real close.” That surprised Ryan and Lyle. “You mean they’re gay?” Ryan asked. “I would never have guessed that. They don’t seem gay.” “You don’t seem gay either, Ryan,” Jennifer declared. “What I meant is they don’t look at each other all the time the way Davis and I did for the first year or so. It’s more like they’re just best friends, or maybe like they’re brothers.” “Whatever it is, you don’t know if they are gay,” Lyle said. “So don’t make any assumptions, okay?” “Yeah, okay, Dad,” Ryan agreed. “I won’t either,” Jennifer said in agreement. ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 10:30 PM >>~~~ A short distance away the San Bruno Police had arrived at the house where Doris Oron-Medrano lay in a pool of drying blood on the living room floor. The house where Doris and her new husband Pete Medrano lived. The house owned by Jaydon Oron. Bob Porter had been right, there was something wrong at that house. A few minutes after the police arrived and entered the house through the open garage door, an ambulance had arrived. A short time later Bob watched as the ambulance left, its siren blaring. A few minutes later Bob heard his doorbell. He assumed it was the police, and he was correct. “Mr. Porter?” the police officer asked. “Yes. Come on in.” “Did you place to call to have a welfare check on the residence at 149 Fleetwood Court?” “Yes, I did. The garage door remained open after Pete Medrano drove away in a big hurry.” “Do you know where we can locate Pete Medrano?” “Yeah. He works in Millbrae at a truck repair place. Hold on, I’ve got the address here.” Bob found the name and address and wrote it out and handed it to the officer. “What kind of vehicle does he drive?” “A black SUV. I don’t know what kind, or how old or new it is. I’m afraid I don’t pay much attention to cars. How’s Doris? I saw the ambulance leaving.” “It looks like someone slugged her real hard in the face, and as she fell she hit her head on the corner of a coffee table. She has a major injury to the back of her skull. She wasn’t conscious when we arrived and it looked like she’d been lying on the floor since she was attacked.” “Well, I hope she’s okay.” “We’re going to close the garage door, but the house isn’t secure. The door from the house into the backyard isn’t locked. Do you know anyone with a key?” “Yes, Jaydon Oron. Jaydon is seventeen, and Doris is his stepmother. Pete threw Jaydon out of the house the other day, and Jaydon and a friend moved his personal stuff out of the house. I don’t know where they took it, and I don’t know who the other boy was except that his name is Greg. He might have told me his last name, but if he did I don’t remember it.” “Why did Peter Medrano throw Jaydon Oron out of the house?” “I don’t know. Pete is an asshole, pardon my French. He drinks a lot, and so does Doris. He likes to beat on the kid, Jaydon.” “Do you know where I can contact Jaydon Oron?” “He goes to Aston High. He told me that he’s a junior.” “Thank you for your information, sir. We appreciate your making the call for a welfare check. If you have any additional information, or if you see Peter Medrano, please call.” He gave Bob his card, and he read the officer's name. “Thank you for responding so quickly, Officer Baker.” ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 10:45 PM >>~~~ A short distance down Fleetwood Drive, parked at the curb, Pete sat in his SUV. He watched the police cars and ambulance come and go through his rear view and side view mirrors. “Shit. I musta slugged Doris harder than I thought,” he mumbled to himself. “Looks like maybe I hurt her, prob’ly pretty bad if they needed an ambulance. She’d better keep her fuckin’ mouth shut when she wakes up. But I gotta figure out somethin’ before they come lookin’ for me. Maybe I can dump this on that little shit Jaydon. I’ll wait until the cops are gone, then I can call ‘em and say my wife’s missing. Then I’ll blame it on him. First I oughta go to the hospital and make sure she keeps quiet.” He looked in the rear view mirror and saw headlights. He scrunched down so he couldn’t be seen by the passing police car. “Shit, that was too fuckin’ close,” he thought. “But they didn’t care about my car so they prob’ly don’t have the plate number. They might later, so I gotta get goin’ and see if they’re gone for good.” He got out of his car, locked the door, and slowly walked up Fleetwood Drive to where it crossed Fleetwood Court. No cops, no yellow tape. The house was dark. He went up to the front door and used his key to unlock it. Then he entered. He switched on the ceiling light in the living room. The coffee table was missing, and a big piece of the carpet had been cut out. ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 11:00 PM >>~~~ Across Fleetwood Court Bob Porter happened to be getting a glass of water. He looked through the window above the sink at the house across the cul-de-sac and saw lights in the living room come on. “That has to be Pete,” he thought. He grabbed his cellphone and dialed the direct number for the San Bruno Police Department. ~~~<< Wednesday Morning October 14, 2015 at about 7:40 AM >>~~~ The next morning Beth Cameron drove Greg and Jay to Aston High. She wanted to meet with Greg’s counselor to find out why Greg hadn’t be able to meet with her. She parked in the visitor lot and she and Greg left Jay to go to his homeroom class. “We’re going to see your counselor. What’s her name?” “Mrs. Everett. Uh… it’s Linda Everett.” They walked into the Administration building and stepped up to the counter. “May I help you?” the receptionist asked. “Yes. I’d like to see Mrs. Linda Everett.” “Do you have an appointment?” “No. I’m an attorney representing Gregory Cameron. He was supposed to see his counselor, Mrs. Linda Everett within three weeks of starting school at Aston High. It’s now almost three months and he still hasn’t seen Mrs. Linda Everett or a substitute counselor. If Gregory Camron and I cannot see a counselor now, not in the future but now, within fifteen minutes, I will file a lawsuit against Aston High School, Mrs. Linda Everett, and all relevant John Does and Jane Does. Am I making myself clear?” The poor receptionist sat with her eyes open wide. “Um… yes, ma’am. May I have your business card?” Greg’s mom handed her a card with the name of their company, which sounded like a law firm’s name, and had her name, Bethany R. Cameron followed by a bunch of legal abbreviations. It looked very impressive. If the receptionist recognized Beth’s last name was the same as Greg’s, she didn’t say anything. She got up and went down the hall to an office. She returned with a statuesque black woman. As they stood up, Greg whispered, “She’s the principal,” to his mom. “Mrs. Cameron, I’m Artis Lafon, the principal of Aston High School. They shook hands. “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Lafon.” “And you’re Greg Cameron. We hadn’t met before today. It’s nice to finally meet you.” “Thanks. It’s nice to meet you, too,” Greg replied. “Maybe,” he thought. “Let’s go back to my office where we can talk.” She closed the door after they entered, and Greg and Beth sat down. Artis Lafon picked up a folder from her inbox then sat down as well. She opened the folder. “Greg, I have your folder here. I want to apologize for our failure to have you meet with your counselor. There’s no excuse, but there is a reason. We’ve been waiting for your records from Sehome High School in Bellingham. They still haven’t arrived. Where we dropped the ball is by failing to notify you so you could contact the school and put pressure on them from your direction.” “Yes, I wish we’d known,” Beth said. “I could have demanded that they forward the records to you.” “They claim they’d sent them when we’ve asked. Linda Everett has contacted them several times on this matter. Last Thursday she received an email from a…” she looked at the contents of the folder, “…Mr. Barton Akers, and he said he sent them two times. You might not know that these aren’t paper documents, they are electronic documents. So there’s no excuse for not sending them.” “Um… could they have been classified as junk mail by the school’s mail server?” Greg asked. “I don’t know. I’m no expert on email except how to read and send it.” She smiled. “Was the file sent to Mrs. Everett or to some other email address?” “The email address we use is documents at AstonHighSchool dot e-d-u.” “Do you have access to that email account?” “Yes, and the counselors have access as well. Attachments, like your records from Sehome High, are automatically stored on the mail server.” “I suggest that you ask one of the IT people to check the mail server’s spam folder. It might have been marked as spam by mistake.” “Let’s do that right now,” Artis said. She picked up her phone and dialed a number. Greg and Beth overheard her side of the conversation. “Terry, this is Artis. Can you come to my office immediately? Good.” She put down the phone and smiled. “Terry Wade is our IT tech. He takes care of our servers and the computers of the administrative and teaching staffs. He’ll be here in a minute or two.” About ten seconds later there was a knock at her door. “Come in,” Artis called. Terry Wade entered the office and looked at Greg and Beth, then he turned to Artis. “Do you have a computer problem, Artis?” “We don’t know. We requested Greg Cameron’s files from Sehome High School in Bellingham, Washington. They say they sent them to our documents email address. Twice. But Linda Everett says she didn’t receive their email messages or the attachment. Greg suggested that it could have been erroneously marked as spam and not delivered. Would you check that email address and see if it’s in the spam folder?” “Sure. May I sit at your desk?” Artis stood and Terry sat in her chair. He logged on to her PC and Greg assumed he searched the spam mail folder. “Yes, it’s marked as spam. The reason is the attachment is a zip file just over thirty-one megabytes. That’s very large for a zip file and it was blocked automatically. It should have been listed in the weekly spam email notice sent to everyone who has access to the documents email address. You and Linda should have received the notice.” “Now I’m embarrassed. I usually delete those spam notification messages without looking at them, and I guess Linda does the same. I figure that there aren’t any messages to that address that I’d be interested in reading. Most of them seem like ads for stuff like solar panels and health nostrums. Why aren’t those emails being marked as spam? Oh… they are, aren’t they. That’s what the spam email notices are all about, isn’t it.” Terry ignored the question about solar panel and health nostrum emails not being blocked. Of course they were, as Artis now realized. Greg didn’t know what a nostrum was, but because of the context he had a good idea. He was right. “Okay, I unblocked both files, deleted the duplicate, and approved the source. You and any of the counselors and others with access to this email address can view the email and download the zip file to their PC. Do you remember how to open a zip file?” “Yes, I do. I just treat it like a folder and I can view or copy any of the files in that zip file. And so can Linda Everett. Thank you Terry.” “You’re welcome.” He logged off then got up and left the office. Artis sat down, logged back onto her PC, and picked up her phone. Again, they heard her side of the conversation. “Linda, this is Artis. Gregory Cameron and his mother are in my office. Greg suggested that his records from Sehome High School might have been marked as spam. Terry came to my office and that is exactly what he found. He unblocked the message so now you can access it and the zip file that’s attached. Okay, that's a relief. Can you fit in a meeting with Greg this morning? You can, at eight-fifteen? Very good, I’ll let him know and give him a hall pass.” “Well, Linda Everett opened the unblocked email and the attachment containing your records, Greg. As you heard, she can see you at eight-fifteen.” Artis pulled out a hall pass and wrote on it, then handed it to Greg. “Here’s a hall pass. Linda Everett will give you a separate pass to return to your first or second period class, whichever is in session.” “What should I do between now and eight-fifteen? Can I go to the library or should I wait here?” Greg asked. “You can do either, but I’d recommend that you sit in the reception area. It’s already five after eight, and Linda Everett will be calling you into her office in ten minutes. You can read one of your textbooks. Something scintillating like AP U.S. History.” She grinned. “I like her,” Greg thought. Beth stood up and so did Greg and Artis. “It was nice meeting you, Mrs. Lafon,” Beth said. “Thank you for resolving Greg’s counseling session problem.” The shook hands. Greg said, “Thanks a lot. Now I can begin planning my senior year so I can take the classes I need to be eligible to get into Stanford or Cal. And find out about my high school exit exam.” They left the principal’s office. “I’ll see you and Jay after school,” Beth said. “I’ll be in the pickup area in the front of the school.” “Okay, thanks Mom.” He was glad she didn’t want to sit in on the meeting with his counselor. She trusted him, he realized. That made him feel good. Greg took a seat in the reception area. He pulled the AP U.S. History text out of his backpack and turned to the chapter following the one he’d been assigned, which he had read. ‘Might as well get a chapter or two ahead,’ he thought. The meeting with Mrs. Everett was very cordial and detailed. First off, she apologized. “Greg, I’m so sorry for the mixup in getting your records from Sehome High. There’s no excuse for what happened. I’m going to have to start reading the blocked email notices from now on. “I reviewed your records from Sehome High School while you waited. You did very well at Sehome High. You’ve had some problems here, but nothing that will prevent you from excelling at Aston High from now on. “Now, let’s talk about each of your classes.” That’s what they did. They discussed every class: AP U.S. History, Pre-Calculus, English 3, Computer Programming 2, Graphic Design, AP Chemistry, and even Physical Education. “Alright, next let’s talk about your college plans,” she said. “I want to go to either Stanford or U.C. Berkeley and major in Computer Science. That's why I’m taking Computer Programming 2 and Graphic Design this year. The problem I see is that are no more computer classes at Aston High that I can take when I’m a senior. You can see that all the other classes here are classes that I’ve already taken at Sehome High. Is there some way I could take some advanced computer classes at Skyline College and get credit for them at Aston High as well? As a junior I would have been able to do that at Sehome High and at Whatcom Community College.” “Greg, we have a cooperative program with Skyline College.” She reached on a shelf next to her desk. “You can review this Skyline College 2015-2016 Course Catalog which has the details about the courses, and here’s the spring semester class schedule. You can see what computer classes are offered. Be sure to check the Course Catalog to confirm that you will have the necessary prerequisites for each class that interests you. The course catalogue and class schedule are for this year. It is likely that the same computer classes will be offered in the fall of 2016, but unfortunately there’s no guarantee. You’ll have to check the 2016-2017 Course Catalog and the fall 2016 class schedule when they come out in late spring. This flyer has information about accessing those documents on the internet, how the Aston High School-Skyline College cooperative program works, and how you can become eligible to participate. I suggest you review all of this with your parents.” “That’s great. I’ll look this over and talk to my folks. Then can I make an appointment to talk to you about how I could fit it in my senior year?” “Of course. And I’ll be more approachable now that we’ve recovered your records that were stuck in our spam email.” “Okay, thanks Mrs. Everett.” When they’d finished she asked Greg if there was anything else he’d like to discuss. “Yes. I’d like to find out why I have to take the high school exit exam again. I already took it at Sehome High. The details of my scores should be with my records. The information I got at when I enrolled here says if I took the exam at my prior high school I wouldn’t have to take it at Aston High.” “Let me check your records.” She studied the exit exam data in Greg’s folder. It took her about five minutes to review everything, then she looked up. “You’re right, Greg. The exit exam you took covers all of the material that’s equivalent to our exit exam. You won’t have to retake the exam.” Greg let out a deep breath. “Thanks. That’s a big deal for me.” “Anything else?” “Nope. I think we’ve covered everything. “You’ve missed your first and second period classes. Here are passes to give to those teachers. It’s best if you can do it today.” “Okay, thanks.” The morning Brunch break was just starting so Greg hurried to the cafeteria to grab something to eat, then he went to his third period English 3 class. ~~~<< Wednesday Afternoon October 14, 2015 at about 3:30 PM >>~~~ After school Beth picked up Greg and Jay. “So how was your meeting with Mrs. Everett, Greg?” “Good. We went over all of my classes and she gave me information about a program that Aston High has with Skyline College. It’ll let me take college classes for college credit when I’m a senior and I’d get high school credit as well. That way I can get the computer science classes I’m interested in taking and that they don’t have at Aston High. I’ve got the information about it to look over, and I’ll let you look at it and we can talk about it. Also, she agreed that I don’t have to take the high school exit exam over again. They’re accepting the results of the exit exam I took at Sehome High. And, the meeting wasn’t over until Brunch so I had to miss both AP U.S. History and Pre-Calculus. Fan-tas-tic!” “Was the rest of your day as good?” “Yes. Except for English, Computer Programming, Graphic Design, PE, and AP Chemistry.” Greg chuckled. “Then you’d better spend a lot more time studying tonight,” Jay said. “Probably have to skip TV and surfing the net.” “You oughta keep your comments to yourself!” Greg growled, but his grin showed he wasn’t serious. Well, maybe he was partly serious. “I think Jay’s idea is a good one,” Beth said. She successfully kept her laughter stifled. “Hey, I was just kidding!” “Yeah, I’ve heard that one before,” she said. Then all three laughed. “By the way, I picked up your prescription today, Greg. And both of you, I have back-to-back appointments for you with Doctor Cardin on Friday at four o’clock. I’ll pick you up from school and take you to his office.” “We’re going to a football game Friday night,” Greg said. “We’re playing Oceana High.” “It’s a home game,” Jay added. “What time?” Beth asked. “Seven thirty,” Greg replied. “It should be over by nine, plus or minus.” “Will you need a ride?” “Nope. Davis’s dad is driving us because he’s going to the game,” Greg said. “He’ll pick us up at seven. Davis’s brother Jason is the Aston High quarterback” “Do you know Davis’s brother?” Beth asked. “No. He’s a senior.” “We haven’t even met him,” Jay added. “But it’s been what, only two days since we really got to known Davis, right?” “Right. Anyway, seniors always seem to be above the rest of us no matter which high school it is.” Greg grinned. “Of course, next year that’ll be us, won’t it?” Beth just shook her head and laughed. “Boys!” she mused. Continued…
  13. ~~~<< Tuesday Afternoon October 13, 2015 at 3:45 AM >>~~~ When they got home from school Tuesday afternoon Jay parked at the curb in front of the house. As they got out of the car they saw the garage door open and Dave came out. “Hey, Jay, park your car in the garage, on the right side. I cleared it for you.” “Okay.” Jay thought that was a nice for Dave to do for him. He pulled in and got out of the car. Greg grinned. “Better lock the car doors, Dad. Don’t know if this is a safe neighborhood or not.” Jay laughed and shook his head. “Thanks, Mr. Cam… uh, sorry, thanks for letting me park inside, Dave.” “You’re welcome. Besides keeping your car out of the elements, it will keep Pete from seeing your car if he happens to drive around here.” “I don’t think that would happen, Dad,” Greg said. “Why would he be driving around here?” “He probably wouldn’t, but you never know so it’s better to be safe. “Jay, I’m going to drive you to the Metro cellphone store and get you a new phone number. You can come along for the ride if you want, Greg.” “Sure, why not,” he replied. When they got back from the cellphone store Greg and Jay went up to their rooms and changed into casual clothes, then went downstairs to get a snack. Greg’s mom was at the kitchen table having a cup of coffee. “Hi, Mom,” Greg said and leaned down to kiss her. “Hi… Beth,” Jay said. Then he shook his head and chuckled. “It’s going to be hard to remember to not call you Mrs. Cameron.” “What did you call Doris?” Greg asked. “Doris. Oh, I see what you mean. Just correct me whenever I slip up and say it more formal.” “More formally,” Beth corrected him. “English is too complicated,” Jay groused. Greg chuckled. “You can say that again!” “English is too complicated.” That got them going back and forth with jokes about the English language and laughing until Beth shook her head and waved her hands back and forth. “Stop, stop, I give!” she said. “How about a snack?” The boys agreed and each decided to have a banana. “So, how was school today?” “Good,” Greg replied. “Great,” Jay said. “I have Study Hall so that gave me time to finish almost all of the homework I didn’t get done last night. So I’m mostly caught up.” “Greg?” Beth asked. “Well, I don’t have a study hall but I’m almost caught up. Most of what I have left is reading, and then some problems to do for Pre-Calc.” “You know, we didn’t tell you about how we missed a lot of excitement at school on Friday,” Jay said. He then described what they’d heard and how many kids had been pulled out of school. “There was this old bat in the office who tried to get private information out of us when we turned in the hospital form to get back in school,” Greg said. “Yeah, her name is Mrs. Fintch,” Jay added. “Somehow that name fits her attitude.” “You didn’t tell her anything, did you?” “Not much,” Jay replied. “She wanted to know why I went to a hospital in San Carlos and I said I felt real sick on my way to school so I decided to drive to where my stepmother works in Palo Alto. I didn’t make it, and ended up in St. Mark’s in San Carlos. Then she wanted to know why I was sick, and I said it was on the form. That shut her up.” Greg added, “Then when I checked in she grilled me about why I was with Jay. I told her that we both got sick on the burritos in the cafeteria, and that my dad is an attorney and he wants to know if any other kids came down with bad stomach problems like what Jay and I had. She said that was privileged information and didn’t ask anything else.” “I’m going to try to remember ‘privileged information’ so I can use it in the future,” Jay said. Beth stared at him. “And when would you need to do that?” “Like if I got injured and was out of school for a day and they want to know how I’d been injured. Anything that’s none of their business.” “We made some new friends at lunch yesterday,” Greg said. “We had lunch with them and some of their friends again today. It’s really bizarre. They both live on Seacliff Drive, in houses positioned like our house and the one next door to us. One guy is Davis Sung. I know him, sort of. The other guy is Ryan Jenkins. His dad is the doctor I had at St. Mark’s Hospital. Anyway, they’ve known each other since they were little kids and they’re best friends.” “That certainly is coincidental, isn’t it?” she responded. “Say, Greg, do you think you could ask Ryan if we could ride with them to and from school?” Jay asked. “That way your mom wouldn’t have to take us.” “Jeez, that’s a great idea. I should have thought of that. He didn’t say if they get a ride home, though. Ryan’s dad, being a doctor, probably doesn’t get off until later.” “If you can work this out,” Beth said, “I’ll be glad to drive all four of you home from school.” “That’s great. I’ll call Ryan after dinner and talk to him about it.” “Greg, you said you know another of the boys, ‘sort of.’ What’s that ‘sort of’ mean?” “Davis Sung tried to be friendly when I first got to Aston High. At lunch today he told me that I’d been walking around with a chip on my shoulder and he just gave up. Same for Ryan, too. Things are a lot better now. Telling you my problems and knowing you understood and decided to come home was a big help. Then having Jay here… it’s like having a brother. We both had problems and now they’re fixed. Being together is great. When you go off on a trip I won’t be alone, and neither will Jay.” “I agree,” Jay added. “I’m certainly glad that this seems to be working out for the two of you. And, talking about working, both of you have homework you need to finish, right?” “Yeah. I’ll get started on mine,” Greg said. “Say, I turned on the pool heater last night. Jay is a swimmer, and I could use the exercise. I know I’ll be finished in about a half hour or so. If it’s okay, can we get in some swimming before dinner?” “I’ll be finished with my homework in fifteen minutes or less,” Jay added. “I don’t see why not. Just check with your father and make sure there isn’t anything else that needs to be checked besides the pool heater.” “Okay, will do.” Greg found his dad in the family room and the three went to what both Greg and his dad called the pool house, a name that still made Jay laugh. There was a printed checklist on the door of the equipment room, and they stepped through the process of flushing the filter and turning on the chlorinator. Everything checked out, and they verified that the pool heater was still on and set to 82F. The water temperature at the surface was 80F. “You’re good to go, guys,” Dave said. “Just be sure your homework is finished before you come out to swim. When you walk out here wear your flip-flops because the path is gravel and hard to walk on in bare feet. Oh, and be sure to bring towels. We haven’t stocked any out here yet. Better yet, change to your swimsuits out here. It’s likely to be cold by the time you’re ready to come in for dinner, so taking your showers and getting dressed out here will not only be convenient, you won’t feel cold when you walk back to the house.” “Do you know what time Mom’s going to have dinner ready?” “I’m not sure. You’d better ask her on your way inside.” “Okay.” They walked back to the house. Greg asked his Mom about dinner and she told them it would be ready at six-thirty. Greg finished his problems for Pre-Calc then read the chapters in his chemistry book that he’d missed, and that let him catch up to the class. He checked the time and decided he could read the next chapter. When he finished that he completed the reading assignment for APUSH and answered the questions at the end of the chapter. Jay had less to do. He decided to read ahead in the Library Science textbook. By the time he thought about looking at the clock it was four o’clock and he’d read ahead three chapters. He went back and answered the questions at the end of each chapter. That was it, and he was ready to go swimming. He found where he’d put his Speedos and picked a red mid-length that had a wide green stripe down his left hip. He thought about putting them on, but decided to wait and do it at the pool where Greg could watch him. Thinking about that made him smile. He walked across the hall to Greg’s room. “Hey, you finished yet?” he asked. Greg yawned. “Yeah. Lemme tell you, reading this APUSH textbook is a good way to go to sleep. It’s so dry.” “Have you ever read a Library Science textbook?” Greg grinned and shook his head. “Now, that’s dry reading! Get your suit and let’s get into the water before it all evaporates.” “Fat chance of that!” Greg grabbed his suit and they headed downstairs. As they walked through the kitchen Greg told his mom they’d come in and be ready for dinner by six-fifteen. “Have fun,” she told them. The air in the pool house was warm and humid. Greg stripped and stood there in the nude watching Jay take his time taking off his clothes. Once he was nude he picked up his Speedo and looked at Greg to make sure he was still watching. He was. Greg grinned, dropped his suit on the coping, and jumped into the water. “Oh, so it’s skinny dipping?” Jay asked. “That’s what I’m doing. Whether you do it too is up to you.” Jay dropped his suit on top of Greg’s and jumped in. “Now what?” Greg asked. “How about some laps. Not a race, just easy laps. Say we start with one round trip and take a breather.” “Sounds like a plan.” They did laps, then Jay showed Greg how to do a backstroke without sinking to the bottom of the pool the way he usually did. They did some more laps, horsed around with some pool toys, then pulled themselves out and sat on the coping. Greg looked at Jay and grinned. “So, you’ve really crossed over to the other side of the street?” Jay wiggled his eyebrows. “Yup.” “Then how about telling me about Paul Meadows and Rick Manenking. Sounds like they’re already on the other side.” “They said they met in eighth grade and hit it off right away. They each knew they were gay, but weren’t out. Rick said his folks caught them messing around. They sat them down and said it was fine if they were gay or were just experimenting, but they wanted them to hold off on anything other than touching. They decided that if they were experimenting then they should redefine ‘touching’ a bit beyond using just their hands. That made them realize they really liked what they did, and that meant they were definitely gay.” Greg laughed. “Smart eighth-graders! So how did Paul’s folks find out?” “He told them one night at dinner. His sister and two brothers were there too. They all responded that it was about time, that they’d figured out that he was gay ‘years ago’ as Paul put it, and they were okay with it. They’d also guessed that Rick was his boyfriend because they always did everything together. “So, they decided to come out at school. In the eighth grade. In middle school, for god’s sake! But what they did was clever. They went to their counselors and told them they were gay and would be coming out at school and they wanted to be sure that they wouldn’t be bullied or harassed at school. “The counselors arranged for them to meet with the vice principal and they told him the same thing. They were told that they’d be supported and if there was any bullying or harassment they were to come to him. They agreed to do that. “They told their friends, but didn’t go around announcing it to the whole school. By the time they were at Aston High lots of kids already knew they were gay, and they haven’t had any problems.” “So you think we should come out to our friends?” “Well, we don’t seem to have a lot of friends, so that should be pretty easy.” “But if you tell someone and they spread the word, couldn’t that cause a problem for us?” Greg asked. “I asked Rick and Paul if that happened to them, and they said it did get spread around but that it didn’t cause any problems. They said I should join the GSA club and I’d see other kids who are gay and out, and kids who are straight and supportive. Maybe even some kids who are gay and closeted because they think, or know, that their families wouldn’t be supportive.” “You said ‘I’ should join the GSA instead of ‘we’ so does that mean you didn’t say anything about me?” “Not a word about you. If you want to be outed to them, that’s your decision and you should do it, not me. So that brings up a question. If you came out to your family, would they be supportive like Rick and Paul’s folks were?” “I’d hope so, but I don’t know. We could talk about it, and see what their reaction is.” “Let’s do that. We can talk about someone we know who came out to their folks and got a very negative reaction. Like loss of their cell and their computer and threats to send them to one of those places that claims to fix gay kids.” “Yeah. That’s a good way to do it. Then if my folks seem supportive we can tell them about Paul and Rick to show how kids at Aston High can come out without those sorts of problems with their folks. “Jay, did you know that in California it’s against the law to send anyone under eighteen to one of those so-called make-you-go-straight camps?” “No, I didn’t know that. That’s a really good law, in my opinion.” “Yeah, that it is.” “Did you like what we did on Sunday when we slept together?” Greg grinned. “Yes, very much.” “But you said you weren’t gay when I asked you.” “And you also said you weren’t gay when I asked you.” “I was scared.” “Me too.” “Kiss me?” Greg scooted so he was pressed against Jay’s left side. He put his arm around Jay’s shoulders and pulled him into an embrace, then leaned in and kissed him. The kiss lasted maybe five seconds, but to Greg and Jay it seemed much longer and at the same time much too short. Greg looked down and grinned. “I see two flagpoles, waving in the breeze.” That made Jay laugh. “Isn’t it the flags that wave in the breeze?” “Not in this case.” Greg reached down and to his right. “Especially in this case.” Then one thing led to another. ~~~<< Tuesday Evening October 13, 2015 at about 6:15 PM >>~~~ When they walked into the house they were laughing as they tried to poke and tickle each other. “Hey,” Beth said, trying to look stern and holding back a grin, “no horseplay in the kitchen!” “Okay, Mom. Sorry.” “So, I take it you had a lot of fun swimming and, as you kids put it, messing around,” Dave commented. Jay blushed. Greg paled, but got an idea. “What do you mean, messing around? We didn’t damage anything or throw any of the furniture in the pool or anything like that. We just played with those foam pool toys.” “I’m sure you didn’t damage anything, but that’s not what I meant. I went out to see what the pool was like for you two. I can summarize by saying that we don’t have any problems if the two of you are gay. And we’re not going to send either or both of you off to one of those gay conversion camps.” Jay turned to look at Greg. He couldn’t help laughing at him. Greg’s mouth hung open, just like he’d read in stories. “What?” Greg growled. “What’s so funny?” “You were standing there with your mouth hanging open.” “No I wasn’t!” “Yes, you were,” Jay, Beth, and Dave said simultaneously. That made them burst out laughing. Greg couldn’t help himself, and even though he blushed he started laughing, too. “So you heard us talking about… being gay?” “Yes,” Dave replied. “The messing around part was even more convincing.” “And… you’re okay with us… being gay and… messing around?” “Yes. You’re almost seventeen years old, Greg. And Jay, you’re already seventeen years old. There is one thing, you are going to be subjected to a safe-sex talk, I’m afraid. They’ve probably covered what I’m going to talk about in your Sex-Ed class. If they haven’t, they should have.” “It was covered last year in PE when I was at Sehome High.” “They covered it last year in PE at Aston High,” Jay said. “We’ll get a refresher this year too.” “You’ll get a refresher this coming weekend,” Dave said, to a look of horror on each boy’s face. “Hey, just a darn minute, Dad,” Greg said, “you were standing there watching us for a long time if you heard us talking about being gay and then saw us ‘messing around’ as you called it. That seems to me that you were being a peeping Tom which…” “A peeping Dave,” Jay interrupted, grinning. “Okay, a peeping whomever. Isn’t there a law against doing that?” “Accurate English, but incorrect legal supposition,” Beth stated. “As owner of this domicile, Mr. David Cameron has full right to inspect the premises at any time he feels so inclined. And, potentially much to your embarrassment, so do I. So that should settle that.” Dave smirked. “You know, Beth, we could install video cameras in the hall upstairs to determine if there’s any cross-cohabitation going on. Then Greg and Jay wouldn’t have to subject themselves to a safe-sex talk until they’re seen on the video.” “I think that’s a good idea even if you have that safe-sex talk with them,” she retorted. “You know, Beth, if the boys had accepted the proposed plea bargain they wouldn’t have subjected themselves to potentially more severe and complex penalties that are undoubtedly much more onerous than the original little talk I proposed.” Dave shook his head. “Perpetrators never seem to learn, do they.” Jay capitulated. “All right, all right! We accept the plea bargain as originally stated.” “Huh?” Greg queried. “Just say, ‘I agree.’ We don’t want things to get more complicated. Besides, it’ll be interesting to see if we learn anything from the talk.” “Okay, I agree.” “Good. Now let’s eat dinner before it either burns or gets cold.” Beth said. ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 7:30 PM >>~~~ After dinner the two boys lay across Greg’s bed. “I’m going to call Ryan Jenkins and talk about us sharing a ride to school with his dad, and after school they can share a ride with my mom.” “Hey, that reminds me. That girl in my Library Science class, her name is Jennifer Jenkins. Ask if she’s related to Ryan.” “Okay.” Greg dialed Ryan’s cell number. “This be Ryan. Who be this?” Greg laughed. “This be Greg Cameron. How you doing?” “Good. Hey, Davis is here. If you guys don’t have anything to do, walk on over.” “Sounds okay. Lemme check with Jay.” Greg asked Jay about going to Ryan’s and he agreed. “Assuming it’s okay with my folks we’ll come on over. Is this a good time?” “Sure. I’ll turn on the backyard lights so you can see your way here.” “Okay. If we get lost I’ll call you.” “Be sure to bring a flashlight.” “Thanks, that’s a good idea. Say, Jay says there’s a girl in his Library Science class named Jennifer Jenkins. Is she related to you?” Ryan laughed. “Jennifer and I are twins. You’ll meet her tonight, Greg.” “Okay, we’ll see you in a few.” “Okay. See ya.” Greg disconnected and put his cell to sleep, then told Jay that Ryan said Jennifer was his twin sister. “We better wear jackets. It’ll be cold outside,” Greg advised. “Gotcha!” They put on jackets, and Greg found his flashlight and checked if it worked. It did. They went downstairs and they went into the family room. “Mom, Dad, Jay and I want to walk over to Ryan Jenkins’ house. He’s the guy we met at school today, and his dad’s the doctor that I saw at St. Mark’s Hospital. They live on Seacliff, that’s the next street over. We can get to their place by walking through the woods that are on the other side of the cul de sac. It’s a short walk, and I have a flashlight and Jay and I both have our cells in case we get lost.” He grinned, and Jay rolled his eyes. “Alright. What time will you be home?” Beth asked. “Let’s see, it’s seven thirty, so about nine thirty or ten. But no later than ten. Oh… Ryan and Davis get a ride to school from Doctor Jenkins. If it’s okay, I’m going to ask if we can go with them. That way you won’t have to drive me and Jay to school, Mom. Then would it be okay if you drive all five of us home after school? I’m pretty sure they take the bus and walk because Doctor Jenkins doesn’t usually come home until a lot later.” “I think that’s a fair compromise. But what’s this ‘five of us’ — you said it would be you two and the two boys from Seacliff Drive.” “Ryan has a twin sister, Jennifer,” Greg said. “She’s in my Library Science class,” Jay added. “Alright. I’d like to talk to Mrs. Jenkins. Do you have their number?” “No. I have Ryan’s cell number, but not the home phone number.” “Then ask her if she’ll call me. If she isn’t home, ask Mr. Jenkins to call me, okay? I want to be sure to talk to one of them.” “Okay,” Greg replied. “We’re going to head over there now.” After they said their goodbyes they left the house. There was a street light at the end of their cul de sac that lit up the entrance to the path into the woods. After a few feet along it became a dark walk, so Greg was glad he had the flashlight. After a couple minutes they saw the lights in the Jenkins’ backyard, found the gate, and entered. Ryan and Davis were sitting on the back deck waiting for them. “Hi, guys,” Davis said. “Hey, Davis, hey Ryan,” they both responded. “Come on in,” Ryan said. They were introduced to Ryan’s parents. Greg already knew Doctor Lyle Jenkins but Jay didn’t. They met Ryan’s mother, Gloria Jenkins, and Greg met Jennifer, Ryan’s twin sister. Greg shook hands with Gloria Jenkins, Ryan’s mom. Then when he shook hands with Doctor Jenkins, he joked, “You look sort of familiar.” “I’m glad to see you again, Greg,” Doctor Jenkins said with a smile. “And this must be Jaydon?” They shook hands. “Please call me Jay. It’s nice to meet you, Doctor Jenkins. Greg told me about how you took good care of him when he was at St. Mark’s.” “Uh, before we do anything else, could I ask a couple questions?” “Sure, Greg. What are the questions?” Doctor Jenkins responded. “The first question is for Ryan. Do you, Jennifer, and Davis take the bus home from school?” “We do almost all the time, unless we can con someone at school into giving us a ride. We ride to school with my dad,” Ryan said. “Okay, since you just answered my second question about getting a ride to school, I have a proposal. My mom’s going to be driving me and Jay to and from school every day. If we could hitch a ride with you in the morning, Doctor Jenkins, then my mom will pick all of us up after school and drive us home.” “I like that proposal,” Ryan said. “Me too,” Ryan, Jennifer, and Davis each agreed. “That sounds like an excellent idea,” Gloria Jenkins said. “There is one problem. My folks travel on business a lot. So we might have to figure out some alternatives when my mom’s not able to drive us home.” “I could probably fill in,” Gloria said, “assuming my twins won’t be embarrassed by having their mom pick them up after school.” Ryan blushed. “I didn’t really say that, Mom.” “Well, my offer stands, Greg,” Gloria stated. “Okay, maybe it would work then. Uh, could you call my mom? She wanted to talk to you about this and just to talk, mom to mom. I wrote down our home number for you.” Greg handed her a piece of note paper with their number and his mom’s name. “I’ll be glad to call her. Thank you, Greg.” “Okay,” Ryan said, “let’s go to the rec room and maybe play some video games. How’s that sound?” “Good grief,” Jennifer groused, “all you think about are your games. Where are your manners?” She turned to Greg and Jay. “Would you like something to nibble on and a Coke or some other soda? We’ve got a lot of different kinds.” “Jennifer is right,” Ryan said. “Sorry for my lapse of manners. We’ve got chips and salsa, grapes, some homemade chocolate chip cookies….” “Real homemade chocolate chip cookies?” Greg asked. “Yes, I made them myself yesterday,” Jennifer replied. “They are boss,” Davis said. “You gotta try them.” “Okay, chocolate chip cookies for me. With a glass of milk, if that’s okay,” Greg said. “Same for me too,” Jay added. “Everyone follow me to the kitchen and we’ll grab our goodies.” Jennifer led the way and a few minutes later they were in the rec room where Ryan and Davis set up the Xbox One console and controllers. “So, how about Deep Six Station?” “I’ve never played that,” Greg said. Jay shook his head. “Me either. I never heard of it.” “Cool,” Jennifer grinned. “We’ll teach you how to play.” A couple hours later Jay flopped onto his back. “That was fun!” “I thought you’d like it,” Ryan told them. “I really like games where there is a story line, and it’s cool the way Deep Six Station changes the story according to what each player does in the game.” “Is it okay if we come back this weekend and play it some more?” Greg asked. Jennifer nodded her head. “Sure! I loved the way you two got into the game, especially since you’d never played before. It’s my favorite game, especially because it’s not girly.” The boys laughed at her ‘girly’ comment. “How about Sunday afternoon?” Ryan suggested. They discussed then agreed that one o’clock worked for all of them. “We’d better get going,” Greg said as he stood up and yawned. “School tomorrow, and we told my mom that we’d be home by ten. Can we help put stuff away?” “Nah. Jennifer and I know where it all goes.” “Those were fantastic chocolate chip cookies,” Jay told Jennifer. “You oughta go into the cookie baking business.” She blushed. “I prefer making them just for my family and friends.” ~~~<< Tuesday Night October 13, 2015 at about 10:00 PM >>~~~ A short distance away Bob Porter was worried. Pete had left in a big hurry and hadn’t closed the garage door. It was wide open, the white Prius that Doris drove was parked inside, and Pete hadn’t returned. There were no lights turned on inside the house. Bob had a premonition that something was wrong. He walked across the street and up the steps to the front door. There was no response when he rang the doorbell. He knew it worked because he could hear it ring each time he pressed the button. He tried knocking with the same result. With no lights on it was too dark to see anything inside through the narrow window next to the door, even when he used his flashlight. He walked back to his house and picked up the phone. He dialed the non-emergency San Bruno Police Department number. “San Bruno Police. How can I direct your call?” “Do you do welfare checks? I’m worried about my neighbor.” “Yes, we do. Let me transfer you to that department.” Office Morris Pender picked up the call. Bob explained his concern. Officer Pender checked his computer for calls to that address. What stood out was an emergency protective order issued against one of the residents, a Peter Medrano. He checked that name and found he had a record. He dialed the extension for dispatch. “Dispatch.” “Do you have a patrol car that can do a welfare check at 149 Fleetwood Court?” “Yes. We have a car within a mile of that location.” He sent Dispatch the link to the report he’d entered so the patrolmen could see what Mr. Porter had stated. Satisfied that the check would be done within a half hour, Officer Pender closed his report then told Bob Porter that a patrol car would stop by that address. Dispatch sent Patrol Car 26 to the address. Patrolman Lawrence Katz read the report to Officer Steve Regeant as they got underway. They didn’t expect anything serious. Someone probably forgot to close their garage door before they went to bed. Monday nights were usually quiet in San Bruno. Continued…
  14. ~~~<< Monday Morning October 12, 2015 at 7:30 AM >>~~~ Greg and Jay got to Aston High at seven-thirty Monday morning. The school had two parking lots for students, one for seniors and one for juniors. “I don’t think you should park in the student lot,” Greg said. “If Pete comes looking for you here that’s where he’ll look for your car.” “So… where am I supposed to park?” “The auto shop lot. Nobody ever checks it, and a car with a junior parking sticker would be able to park there all day.” “How do you know that?” “When I started here I signed up for Auto Shop. I was there two days before they found out I’d never taken metal shop, which was a prerequisite, so I had to drop it and sign up for another elective. I found out that anyone can park there, but they check that you have a student parking sticker.” Greg pointed at the junior parking sticker on the windshield. “Jay, my man, you can park there and no one will be the wiser.” “You better be right. I sure don’t want my car to be towed.” Jay drove around the block to the back driveway and backed his car into an empty spot in the auto shop lot. There were three other cars there, two without stickers. “What are those two cars without stickers?” he asked. “They’re students’ cars that’ll be worked on in the shop. See the sticker on the bumper of that one? That identifies it.” They got out and locked the doors and headed to the administration building across campus. Greg asked, “I’m surprised that you didn’t sign up for Auto Shop. What with you working on your car with Pete.” “I wasn’t interested in cars that much. I had my provisional license and I just wanted transportation.” “What electives are you taking? I never heard you say anything about your classes.” “Library Science and Study Hall.” “Library Science? Why that?” “I like books and reading. I wouldn’t mind working in a library.” “Whoa. I never would have figured.” Jay grinned. He had been a different kid before his dad died. “How about you, Greg, what elective did you end up taking instead of auto shop?” “Computer Programming 2.” Jay laughed. “Man, that’s a lot different than auto shop!” “I gotta agree. But I like computers and programming, so it’s all good.” While Greg didn’t have any friends at school, Jay did. A few guys waved or said ‘Hi’ as they hurried to the attendance office. Greg noticed no one said anything to him. ‘Same-as all over again,’ he thought. A huge number of kids were lined up at the attendance office. They joined the line. “What the hell is going on?” Greg asked. Jay tapped the guy ahead of him. The guy turned and smiled. “Yeah?” “What’s going on?” “You weren’t here on Friday?” “No. I was in the hospital most of last week.” “Hey, too bad. You missed the biggest excitement so far this year. Someone wrote a threatening message in the bathroom in the boys’ locker room. Friday morning some kid saw it. He took a photo of it and posted it on Instagram, and by brunch everyone had heard about it. The school went into lockdown, cops were all over the place, and there were tons of wild rumors about a guy with a gun and shit like that. It was all crap, and by the start of third period they decided it was a hoax. But it caused a mass exodus of students. Around 400 were pulled out of school by their parents, and the school had to release them from classes. That includes me. My mom got all panicky and she drove to school and I was yanked outta here. Totally bogus. Anyway, this line is so we can get back into school. How about you two?” “We both got sick,” Greg replied. Jay told the story he and Greg had concocted as the reason for not being at school. “We think it could be the burritos we ate in the cafeteria last Monday. So we have our forms from the hospital and we need to get admitted back into school.” “I know where you should go ‘cause I went there by mistake this morning. Go down to that door at the end of the building.” He pointed to his right. As they started to walk away, Greg turned and asked, “Hey, did you see the message?” “Yeah. It said ‘All you fuckers will get shot today.’ Freaked the guy who saw it first, and probably twenty minutes later everyone had heard about it.” “What time did he find it?” Jay asked. “When he went in to take a dump at the end of first period PE.” Greg laughed. “This is a time I’m glad I was in the hospital instead of at school.” Jay pointed to the clock on the side of the administration building. “Hey, Greg. Check the time. We better get over there and get admitted so we can go to Homeroom on time.” “Okay.” Jay turned to the guy they’d been talking to. “Thanks for the update. Nothing exciting ever happens when I’m in school.” When they got inside the admissions office Jay got in line for Ms. Fintch, who called out “Next” even though he and Greg were the only ones in line. “My name’s Jaydon Oron. I was in the hospital last week and missed classes on Tuesday through Friday. Here’s my form from the hospital,” Jay said. “This says you were at St. Mark’s in San Carlos.” “Yeah. That’s correct.” “What were you doing in San Carlos?” “I felt real sick on my way to school so I decided to drive to where my stepmother works in Palo Alto. I didn’t make it, and ended up in St. Mark’s in San Carlos.” “This doesn’t say why you were sick.” “Yes, it does.” Jay held out his hand inviting her to give him the form from the hospital so he could point it out. “Never mind,” she said. She entered something in her computer, stamped the top of the form, printed a return slip, and handed it to him. “Give this to your Homeroom teacher. You won’t have to show it in any of your other classes.” “Thank you,” Jay responded, and stood by the door to wait for Greg. Greg was next so he stepped up to the counter. “I’m Gregory Cameron. I was riding to school with Jaydon, and we both had the same stomach problem.” “You both got sick and were in the same hospital?” She looked unconvinced. “Yes. We think it could have been the burritos we ate in the cafeteria on Monday. My dad’s an attorney and he asked me to find out if any other kids came down with bad stomach problems like what Jay and I had. Were there?” She stamped his form. “That’s privileged information. Here’s your return slip. Give it to your Homeroom teacher. You won’t have to show it in any of your classes.” Greg stepped outside, and he and Jay walked to the language arts building for their Homeroom. Greg laughed. “Shit, that form from the hospital worked. That old lady was sure suspicious. But she couldn’t ask many questions because of the privacy rules.” “Did you notice how freaked she got when you mentioned that your dad is an attorney? I think if you’d told her that both he and your mom were attorneys she could have had a heart attack.” “Or shit her pants. That would have made a mess.” “And smelled so bad we would probably have barfed up our breakfast.” They laughed as they entered the building, and that caught the curious stares of other kids, some of whom grinned and others turned away or ignored them. ~~~<< Monday Morning October 12, 2015 at about 7:55 AM >>~~~ Homeroom at Aston High School was only ten minutes, but that’s where attendance was taken and put onto the school administration’s computer network. Every classroom had a PC that connected to the network, and teachers in other classes could see whether someone was marked as absent. If they were they’d be told to go to the attendance office to get an admission slip. Therefore, it was important for Greg and Jay to get to their Homeroom so they’d be marked present. They walked in and handed Mr. Harter the return slips and he checked them present. Other than attendance, Homeroom was used for listening to announcements and for kids to try to finish some of their homework or cram for an exam. Greg sat down and Jay sat in the seat to his right. Someone in the seat in back of Greg said, “And so begins another day at Asshole High School.” Greg turned around and Davis Sung was grinning and asked, “How’s it going?” That surprised Greg. Davis had never talked to him before. “Good. How about you?” “Okay. You were MIA last week.” “Got sick and had to go to the hospital. Turned into a big freakin’ deal. Jay got it, too. We think it was from eating those burritos in the cafeteria last Monday.” “You were in the hospital all week?” He seemed incredulous. “Tuesday through Friday. We were really sick.” “Damn, man, that sucks.” “Tell me about it!” “Hey, you missed all the excitement on Friday.” “We heard about it this morning. What kind of douche would write something like that on a bathroom stall wall?” Greg shook his head. “Even worse if it had been real. Like that high school in Colorado.” Jay decided to join the conversation. “Yeah, and a lot of others, too. Some kids are just fucking crazy.” “I heard that they got a lead on who did it. Can you believe this, the idiot left his fingerprint on the wall in that stall. Seems like he got a finger in the ink of one of the characters in what he wrote and didn’t notice it. When it dried it was a good print and the crime scene guys caught it.” “What a sap,” Jay said. “Did you go home?” “Nah. Stuck around until they announced that we could go to our third period classes. So I missed PE, no loss there, and English 3.” “You have PE second period?” Greg asked. “Yeah.” “Man, that’s too early,” Jay commented. “You got that! One good thing, I don’t shower in the morning at home because I have to shower at the end of PE anyway. Gives me another fifteen minutes of sleep.” The bell rang and they grabbed their backpacks and stood up. “See you guys later,” Davis said, then put out his fist for a bump and they did. Jay had Algebra 2 and Greg had Advanced Placement United States History first period — that long name had been shortened to a-push and usually spelled in all caps, APUSH. They said they’d see each other at lunch and left for their classes. ~~~<< Monday Noon October 12, 2015 at 12:00 PM >>~~~ At lunch Greg and Jay carried their trays to an empty table and sat down. “I was surprised that Davis guy was so friendly in Homeroom,” Greg said. “He’d never talked to me before. We have PreCalc second period and he was just as friendly. He offered to help me get caught up.” “Same here. A girl in Library Science sat next to me and started talking, real friendly like.” Greg grinned. “Was she cute?” “Not as cute as you!’ Greg blushed. “So what’s her name?” “Jennifer… um, Jennifer Jenkins.” “I wonder if she’s related to the doctor I had at St. Mark’s Hospital. His name is Jenkins.” “Could be. But St. Mark’s is way down in San Carlos.” “No reason they couldn’t live in San Bruno and have a daughter going to Aston High.” Greg grinned and wiggled his eyebrows. “You might have a girlfriend, Jay!” “I’d rather have a boyfriend.” Greg looked at Jay. “I thought you said….” Jay interrupted, “Maybe I’ve decided to try out the other side of the street. You game?” Greg stared at Jay and bit his bottom lip. After a few seconds he smiled and replied, “Sure.” “Cool,” Jay responded. As they started eating, a tall guy walked up to the table and set his tray down. “Okay if I sit here? My name’s Ryan.” “Sure. I’m Greg and this is Jay.” “Is it okay if a friend of mine sits here too? He’s heading this way.” Jay grinned and shrugged his shoulders. “This table’s not reserved.” Davis Sung walked up, put his tray on the table, and sat down. “Hey,” he said. “Hey, Davis. So I guess you and Ryan are friends, right?” Greg asked. “Yeah. Best friends and next-door neighbors. We’ve known each other since we were little kids.” “Wow, so, that’s a long time.” “Sometimes too long,” Ryan said, then he laughed and unsuccessfully tried to move away from an elbow in the side from Davis. “Greg, you haven’t been here very long,” Davis said. “Where’d you move from, if it’s okay for me to ask?” “Bellingham, Washington. I went to Sehome High.” “That’s tough, having to move in the middle of your junior year in high school.” “Yeah, it is. And I gotta tell you, no offense intended, when I got here it was like totally clique city. No one was friendly.” Davis took a deep breath. “Can I tell you something, and you promise you won’t get pissed at me?” “Sure.” “You walked around here with a scowl on your face and a huge chip on your shoulder looking like you were pissed at everyone and everything.” “I said ‘Hi’ to you the first few days in Chem and you like totally ignored me,” Ryan added. Greg closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He opened them and looked at Ryan then at Davis. “You’re right. I probably did come across as a badass. I got yanked out of school and away from all of my friends and ended up here in the middle of the semester. That really pissed me off. We’re here three weeks and my folks take off on another one of their long fucking business trips. In Bellingham I had lots of friends so their trips weren’t a problem.” Greg chuckled. “Good, actually. I mean, I had our house all to myself and my friends. We didn’t do any parties, but friends came over all the time. “So I get sort of dumped here and except for Jay I haven’t got any friends. Mostly I’ve been all by myself in a big house and that got real lonely real fast. So I guess I did have a bad attitude. I’m sorry for that.” “So what made you switch from the dark side?” Ryan asked. “I saw you in that lineup to get admitted after Friday’s fiasco and you were talking to Brandon all friendly like.” Greg grinned and looked at Jay. “Probably the best thing is that Jay lives with my family now. Long story, and it’s up to him to tell it if he wants. Just having someone there so I wouldn’t have to live like a hermit or something, it’s really made a difference.” Greg didn’t tell them that Jay moved in just two days ago. “I think I’m a lot happier now. Not to mention that Jay’s got a car so instead of a thirty-five minute combination of walking and riding a SamTrans bus to get to school, or about the same riding my bike, it’s only fifteen minutes now.” “Oh, so I’m just your chauffeur now?” Jay joked. “No, you’re way more than that,” Greg replied. “You’re my best friend.” “So, what classes are you guys taking? What do you do for entertainment around San Bruno?” Greg asked. That started a discussion on many topics that lasted through the lunch period. As they left for their next classes, Greg and Jay both thought about the lunch period and how different it had been. ‘Maybe things are changing around here,’ they each thought. ~~~<< Monday Afternoon October 12, 2015 at about 2:35 PM >>~~~ Greg had AP Chemistry seventh period. He and Ryan walked up to the classroom door from different directions at the same time. “Hey, Ryan.” “Hi, Greg. Ready for the quiz today?” “Probably not. I’m four days behind, and even though I went through the material last night I don’t think I’ve absorbed it all.” “I don’t think it’s going to be that hard. Mr. Lazelle said he was going to lecture on something, I forgot what, and we were going to work on an experiment too, so the quiz will have to be on the short side. And short equals easy, right?” Ryan grinned and bumped Greg with his shoulder. Greg grimaced in return. “Yeah, sure.” Then he grinned and shook his head as a ‘no.’ “Let’s sit at that lab table in the middle row by the windows,” Ryan suggested. “Okay.” Greg chuckled. “You know, I usually sat in the back near the door so I could escape as soon as I heard the bell. It sort of became a game. Get everything put away and my book in my backpack so I was ready to split like one second before the bell and make sure Mr. Lazelle didn’t notice me. Then I’d rush to the bus stop so I’d be there before the 3:30 bus pulled away.” “Where do you live?” Ryan asked. “2287 Spyglass Drive. That’s on the west side of town.” “Man, I don’t believe it. I live at 2275 Seacliff Drive. That’s like almost in back of you. We’re practically back-to-back neighbors.” “Sorry, we live on the north side of the street,” Greg said, “so our backyards don’t back against each other. Do you have a gate in your back fence?” “Yeah, but what good would… oh, I see what you mean. We’re near the end of our cul de sac, so I can walk through our gate then through the woods to your street. And for you it’s vice-versa.” “You’ve got it, and our house is at the end of our cul de sac. Say, do you take the bus to school?” “No. My dad’s a doctor at St. Mark’s Hospital, so he usually drives us to school. If he’s….” Ryan stopped because Greg was laughing so hard he had a tough time stopping to catch his breath. Ryan stared at Greg. “What?” Finally, Greg stopped lauging and replied. “If your last name is Jenkins, then your dad was my doctor when I was in St. Mark’s Hospital last week. I can’t believe it! This is just too freakin’ amazing.” “My last name is Jenkins. And my dad is on the staff at St. Mark’s hospital. Welcome to the wonderful world of coincidences.” They heard the bell for the class to begin, and Mr. Lazelle and a lab tech handed out the papers for the quiz. Fortunately for Greg the quiz had questions from the material that he’d read the night before, and he felt he had the right answers for every question. The lab tech collected the answer sheets and Ryan asked Greg how he thought he’d done on the test. “I think I aced it. I read this exact material last night and remembered it. How about you?” “I think I did okay. A couple questions were confusing, and I hope I got those right. The rest were pretty easy.” Mr. Lazelle called the class to order and he started his lecture on organic polymers and described the lab exercise Greg and Ryan, as lab partners, would work on and complete during class. The AP Chemistry class, and the school day, finished when everyone heard the bell. Greg walked from the Physical Sciences building to the Auto Shop where Jay had parked his car. Those two buildings were close, so Greg arrived to find Jay’s car exactly where he’d parked it. Greg put his backpack on the ground next to the right front fender, sat on it and leaned back. After about five minutes Jay arrived, grinning. “You look happy,” Greg said. “I am, that I am. I met a couple of guys in Study Hall who are boyfriends and out here at school and their folks know and think it’s fine. We talked about what it’s like to come out at school, what’s good and what’s bad. I’ll have to tell you about it.” “Who are they?” “Paul Meadows and Rick Manenking.” “They’re in some of my classes. Paul is in APUSH, Rick is in Computer Programming 2 and English 3. Weird they’re both taking Study Hall instead of regular college-track courses. When do you want to tell me what you talked about?” “How about we do that tonight?” “Okay. I’ll try to remember to talk about it. I’m curious. Now let’s get going. I tried to call my folks at home again and I got voicemail. And the same when I called their cell phone numbers.” ~~~<< Monday Afternoon October 12, 2015 at 3:45 PM >>~~~ They got to Greg’s house at three forty-five and parked in front. Greg unlocked the front door and turned off the alarm system. The first thing he did was to check voicemail, and there was a message. He played it and they both listened. “Hi Greg. Our flight has been delayed due to weather. The new arrival time is 4:10 PM. We hope. See you a little while after that. Dad.” “If they get in at ten after four it’ll take them at least forty-five minutes to get their luggage and get a cab. They’ll get home around five thirty, and they’ll want to clean up. They’ll probably be hungry when they get here. I wonder what I should fix for dinner.” “I saw a frozen pot roast in the freezer. There are instructions for defrosting and heating it in the microwave. Why don’t you fix that with some veggies and potatoes? I can make a salad and help with the other stuff,” Jay offered. “Cool. Let’s do that.” It didn’t take long for everything to be ready to go. It would take about twenty minutes to get it ready to serve once Greg’s folks arrived home. “What do you want to do while we wait? Watch TV?” Greg asked. “How about getting a start on our homework?” “I’d rather watch TV, but you’re right. We have a lot of assignments to catch up on, so let’s get going.” At about five forty-five Greg heard his folks arrive. “Greg! We’re home!” his dad called out. Greg led Jay down the stairs to the entry hall where the cab driver had just been paid and left. Greg got a big hug from his mom, then from his dad. After the usual “Hello, how are you, we’ve missed you, it’s so good to be home” greetings, he introduced Jay. “Mom, Dad, this is Jay Oron.” Jay nervously stepped forward and shook hands with Greg’s dad. “It’s nice to meet you, Mr. Cameron.” “Likewise, Jay. I’m looking forward to hearing about that situation with your stepmother and stepfather.” He turned to greet Greg’s mom and was surprised when she wrapped him in a hug. “It’s nice to meet you, Jay,” she said. “It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Cameron.” “All this ‘mister’ and ‘misses’ stuff is too clumsy,” Greg’s dad said. “Our names are Dave and Beth. Please address us that way.” “Uh… okay, thanks, uh, Dave.” Dave grinned. “That’s great. Just keep it up.” Greg rubbed his hands together. “Why don’t you get cleaned up, and Jay and I will finish fixing dinner. We have pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, carrots and peas, a salad, and an apple pie for dessert.” “That sounds fantastic,” Beth said. “Airline food makes TV dinners look gourmet. A nice home-cooked dinner will be a wonderful change.” “We’ll go upstairs and clean up and be down in about a half hour,” Dave said. “Is that okay?” “Sure, Dad. We’ll have everything ready by six thirty.” “Let me help you with your suitcases,” Jay offered. “Thanks, we appreciate that. Why don’t you take Beth’s two roller-bags. One is heavy and the other is light. I can handle mine.” “I can help too,” Greg said. “I’d rather you get that dinner ready. We’ll be okay with Jay’s help.” “Okay, Dad.” The talk during dinner concentrated on school and classes and how Greg and Jay would catch up on the four days they lost. Greg complained about his continuing inability to get a meeting with his counselor, and how he met with the vice principal during morning break and threated that his dad, an attorney, would be there to find out why the counselor wasn’t available to meet with him. Greg also reminded his parents that Doctor Jenkins had told him that he would need to see Doctor Cardin in thirty days to get a thorough physical exam. Beth said Jay should do the same, and that she’d call and make the appointment for both of them on the same day about a half hour after school. Jay told them that he had his own medical insurance, so there wouldn’t be any problem about paying for the exam. Dave and Beth talked about the business expansion to Toronto and Chicago. Jay seemed interested, and asked questions about the business. Dave, in particular, was happy to answer his questions. Greg also learned more about the business than he’d ever known, which made him feel embarrassed for not having shown much interest in the past. After dinner Dave and Beth sat in the family room and talked about their impressions of Jay. What they couldn’t understand was how he could change from a kid who got Greg into trouble to the intelligent, friendly boy they just talked with over dinner. Greg and Jay did all of the cleanup then joined the adults in the family room. “Dad and Mom, I wrote you about Jay and why he’s here, and he’d like to tell you what he told me and the police about his life over the past couple years. Jay?” Jay took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It took about a half hour to tell his story because Dave and Beth both had lots of questions, which Jay answered truthfully. Again, Greg learned more about Jay’s life. When Jay finished he sat trying to hold back tears. Dave turned to Beth and raised his eyebrows in a silent question, and Beth replied with a short nod. “Jay, you’re welcome here for as long as needed. My biggest concern is that you have to become drug free. No pot, no other drugs, no alcohol. Can you agree to that?” “Yes, sir, I can.” “It’s not easy. When you’re a teenager it’s critical that you get off of all drugs, including pot and alcohol which are the two that are the easiest to access. Taking drugs at your age can cause cognitive problems later on. There are eight-step and twelve-step programs that claim they have good success records. We’ll work with you so you can pick a program that will help you get off of pot. We’ll help you in every way that we can. “Greg, your mother and I want you to go on the same program as Jay. You also have to become drug free. No pot, no other drugs, no alcohol. Can you agree to that?” “Yes, Dad and Mom, I can.” Dave smiled. “Now, Jay, the first thing I’ll do tomorrow is contact our attorney to get that permanent restraining order against Pete Medrano. I’ll also have the attorney find out about declaring you an emancipated minor. “I’m worried about you driving to school. There are two reasons. First, Pete might go to Aston High looking for you, and your car is like a sign saying you’re there. Second, your provisional driver’s license doesn’t allow you to have any person under the age of 20, that includes Greg, as a passenger until you’re 18 years old or you become an emancipated minor. So Beth will drive the two of you to school and pick you up after school each day. If there is an after-school event or club meeting you want to attend, just let her know in advance. “When Beth drives the two of you to school tomorrow she’s going to talk to the principal or vice principal about two things. “First, she will demand that she and Greg meet with his counselor tomorrow morning. No excuses. To make room to see Greg the counselor can reschedule a student or two, shorten each session by five or ten minutes, or extend the day by seeing a student after the final bell. “Second, she will obtain permission for each of you to carry, and in an emergency use, your cell phones while you are at school. “Jay, what carrier do you use?” “My smartphone is paid for. I bought it on E-Bay. I use Metro and have a pre-paid plan. There’s about $90 in my Metro account for calls, texts, and data, and for the monthly charge. I add money every month if it looks like it’s getting low.” “Did your stepmother co-sign your Metro account?” “No, my dad did. Doris doesn’t know anything about what company I use.” “Does she know your phone number?” “Yeah.” “That means it would be easy for her to find out who the carrier is. Tomorrow after you guys get home I’ll take you to a Metro store to get a new number for your phone and a new SIM card. So tonight back up everything in your phone’s memory. Metro will transfer everything on your current SIM card to the new one, but it’s best to have a backup. We’ll set it up so calls to the old number won’t be forwarded to the new number. Is having a new number going to be a problem?” “No, not at all. Well, maybe. Greg will have to try to memorize my new number. I’m not sure how long that will take.” Jay grinned, and Dave and Beth laughed. Then Greg whacked Jay with one of the pillows from the sofa where they were sitting. He was grinning too. “Alright,” Dave said, “the next thing is I want to set up a meeting so you and I can talk to the trustee that’s holding your account, if that’s okay with you.” “Sure, that’s okay. More than okay. I’ll give you the name of the woman who manages my account along with her address and phone number.” “Then I think that’s it, for now. We’ll keep you updated on what we do and find out and get resolved. I want you to be a party to everything we’re doing for you.” Jay blinked a few times to keep the tears away. “I don’t know how to thank you. Sorry for the language, but I almost fucked up Greg’s life and mine too. You guys are fantastic.” Beth smiled at the two boys. “You two should go to your rooms now and start on your homework that you haven’t finished.” “Thanks, Mom.” “Thank you, Dave and Beth. You’re… just fantastic.” Again, Jay blinked away tears. When they got upstairs Jay followed Greg into his room and shut the door. He grabbed Greg and hugged him, and held on, and buried his face in Greg’s shoulder and let the tears flow. Greg hugged back, and held Jay until he stopped crying. “Shit, I feel like such a little kid, crying on your shoulder like that.” “Bullshit! This has been an emotional roller coaster for you. Crying is a good relief.” “If you say so. I still think it’s not very… mature.” “You gotta be kidding. Not mature?” “Alright, alright. I just hate to do it. And what people will think if they see me.” “I’ll never think less of you if you cry about something. Neither will my folks. Anyone who does is an asshole. Just ignore them.” “Lemme change the subject,” Jay said. “What do you think Pete is up to right now? I wonder if he got his copy of the emergency protective order. If he did it must have blown the top of his head off.” ~~~<< Tuesday Morning October 13, 2015 at about 1:00 AM >>~~~ That wasn’t quite the effect that the emergency protective order had on Pete. What he did is start shouting at Doris. “It’s your fault that he got this fucking emergency protective order. Did you read this shit? I can’t come within 300 feet of him or anywhere he might be. That’s even if he isn’t there! That includes this house! That means I have to find somewhere else to stay ’cause if I stay here I can get thrown in jail. Where the fuck am I supposed to go? If you’d done a better job of disciplining him and making him toe the line this wouldn’t have happened. That little fairy got to the cops and….” Doris interrupted his rant and repeatedly poked Pete in his chest as she talked. “Bullshit! It’s your fault. You’re the one who beat him up. You’re the one who threw him out of the house. You got anger management problems, boy-o! Now what we’ve gotta do is go find a lawyer and get your fucking emergency protective order rescinded or squashed or whatever the fuck they call it. And you’ve gotta be Mister Nice Guy, all sad about the mistake and how Jado has it in for you. And don’t yell at the lawyer! Got it? Well? Say something!” “What I’d say you wouldn’t like, bitch. I’m not going to any panty-waist lawyer who’ll squeeze every dime we got out of us. I’m going to get that fairy Jado and make him wish he hadn’t been born.” “And just how the hell are you going to do that?” “Aston High School is listed on the stay-away list. I’ll go there tomorrow and haul his ass out of there. Then I’ll give him some of the discipline that he never got from you.” “You’ll end up in jail if you go to that high school. They won’t let you in to find him.” “No problem, I’ll go at lunch. Every kid eats lunch. He’ll be in the cafeteria. I’m gonna go in there and grab him. No one’s gonna be able to stop me going in or going out. Just let ’em try!” “Jesus fucking Christ! You are so fucking stupid it makes my head ache. You think they’re gonna just let you walk into the school and wander around in the cafeteria looking for him? That’s one of the stupidest ideas….” She stopped talking because Pete slugged her in the mouth, hard, and she fell and hit her head on the corner of the coffee table on her way to the floor. She lay there with her eyes open. He didn’t realize that she wasn’t conscious. He stared down at her and growled in response to what she’d been saying, “I’m going to the shop. I can sleep in the back room. Then around noon I’m going to the school and that kid is gonna come with me. You just keep your mouth shut or I’ll give you some of what I’m gonna give him, got it?” There was no response from Doris as Pete stormed out of the house and, tires squealing on the pavement, drove away in his black SUV. Bob Porter watched from his kitchen window. Continued…
  15. ~~~<< Sunday Evening October 11, 2015 at about 5:30 PM >>~~~ Jado woke up and at first he didn’t know where he was. He couldn’t remember. He looked at his clock radio. Crap, it was six thirty-five. How’d it get to be so late? He yawned. He needed a toke. He tried to remember where he put his last dime bag. He blinked, then looked around. ‘Where the fuck I am?’ he wondered. He shook his head, then it all came back. This was Greg’s house. After getting all of his stuff, he’d moved in here. After all that work and the stress he’d decided he needed a nap. He grinned. Before he left his house he’d left his last dime bag in Pete’s bedroom. He didn’t know if the cops could read prints from the outside of a plastic baggie, so to make sure they wouldn’t find his prints he’d rubbed the outside of the bag to smudge any that might be there. Then he put it under the base of the lamp next to Pete’s bed, making sure he didn’t leave any fingerprints on the lamp. Stupid of Pete to have his own bedroom for sleeping and only go to Doris’s room to have sex. If the cops searched his room they’d find the bag. Pete could bitch and moan that the bag wasn’t his. As if the cops would believe him. Not having any weed was going to be a problem. He was used to smoking a joint every few days, usually when things got… complicated, and he got stressed. Today things hadn’t been complicated, but he’d got stressed anyway. He couldn’t ask Greg for a joint. He’d sort of promised him that he’d give it up. Well, probably more than sort of. Greg wouldn’t have one anyway. Where was Greg? Maybe he fell asleep, too. Jado’s stomach growled. They hadn’t stopped for lunch and he was hungry. Screw having a joint. Time to find Greg and head out to get something to eat. It’d be his treat. He could afford it. He had over $875 saved up. Greg busted his balls helping pack and move everything to his folk’s house, and setting up a room for Jado, a room that would be his. Greg deserved a free meal. Maybe that taco place next to Habit. Mexican would be good. Jado got up and walked across the hall to Greg’s room. He was in bed, sound asleep, snoring quietly. He felt bad about waking Greg, but both of them should be hungry. Jado sat on the edge of Greg’s bed and rubbed his shoulder. “Hey, Greg, time to wake up,” he said quietly. Greg continued to sleep. Jado leaned down and blew on Greg’s nose. “Ummm!” Greg mumbled and opened his eyes. He squinted and saw Jado, his face within inches. He leaned up and kissed Jado on his nose. Jado burst out laughing and pulled back. “That’s what you get for blowing on my nose!” “You asshole! You were awake all along!” “Yup!” Greg grinned. “Well, how about this then,” Jado said as he leaned down and kissed Greg on his lips, a soft kiss. Jado pulled back and grinned. “What do I get for that?” Greg reached up, put his arms around Jado’s neck, and pulled him down until their lips met and Greg kissed him. This was a firm, long, and sultry kiss. Jado tried to pull back, but Greg could tell he didn’t try very hard. Jado groaned and pushed his tongue against Greg’s lips. Greg opened his mouth and the kiss continued. When he finally needed to take a breath Jado pulled back and stared at Greg, who continued to lie there and grin. “What the fuck was that?” Jado asked. “Hmm. Seems like we kissed each other. Twice. Did you like it?” Greg’s question surprised Jado. Before his brain could start working he replied, “Yes!” automatically. He sat there looking down at Greg and realized the import of what he’d just said, so he shouted, “No!” “Which is it, Jado, yes or no?” “Shit, I don’t know. This is so fucked up,” he said, then shook his head. “Why is it fucked up?” “I’m not… fuck.” “You’re not what? Not gay? Not horny? Not hot for my sexy body? Not ready to jump my bones? Not in love with me?” They were both laughing by the time Greg finished with his list of questions. “None of the above!” Jado replied. “Do you realize what you just said?” Greg asked. “Of course. I said I’m not any of what you said.” “But what you said is actually a double negative, which is a positive. I asked, ‘You’re not what?’ and then listed off the things you’re not, like not gay, not horny, and so on. You said ‘none of the above.’ So that’s like saying you’re not not gay which means you are gay, you’re not not horny which means you are horny, and so on.” “You’re making my brain ache. So let me be clear. I’m not gay, I’m not hot for your sexy body, I’m not going to jump your bones.” “So you are horny?” Greg asked, not mentioning that Jado had also left out the ‘Not in love with me’ part. “Of course. I’m seventeen years old. I’m always fucking horny!” Jado wiggled his eyebrows. “Yeah, me too,” Greg responded. “So, are we gonna help each other out?” Jado asked. “Are you serious?” “Sure. Why not?” “Wow! I’m not sure I know how to reply to that,” Greg said. “Why not? Are you gay?” Jado asked. “No. I don’t think so.” “Okay, I don’t think I am, either,” Jado said, though he felt conflicted for some reason. “So what do you have in mind?” Greg asked. “If we both get naked and I get in bed with you we can see if anything develops.” Jado started taking his clothes off. Greg watched for a few seconds, took off his boxer briefs under the covers, then pulled them out and threw them at Jado. That made Jado laugh. When Jado got naked he looked at Greg. “Move over, make room for me.” Greg complied, lifting the covers so Jado could get into the bed. They just lay there facing each other about a foot apart for a few minutes. Greg made the first move, reaching out and lightly stroking Jado’s arm. Jado scooted closer and pulled Greg to him. Now they were pressed together. “Is this okay?” Jado asked, softly. “Yes,” Greg replied, his voice husky sounding, “it is very much okay.” ~~~<< Sunday Night October 11, 2015 at about 7:30 PM >>~~~ Jado could see Greg’s clock radio on the nightstand on the other side of the bed. It was almost seven thirty. His stomach rumbled. “You awake?” he asked. “Yeah, awake and hungry,” Greg replied. “I’ve been lying here watching you sleep. Now how ‘bout we get up and get something to eat?” “I think I need a shower first.” Greg lifted the covers and sniffed. “I think we both need a shower first.” He grinned. Jado smiled. “Okay. Together or separate?” “I’d prefer together, but so we can eat before it’s bedtime you go shower and I’ll go downstairs and put some food into the microwave. Do you like meatloaf with mashed potatoes and peas? And garlic bread?” “Sounds wonderful. Should I use your bathroom?” “Why don’t you use yours, then I’ll come up and use mine. I think if we both used mine at the same time we’d be… distracted.” Jado grinned. “Yeah, with that I can agree.” He got out of Greg’s bed and walked to the door, then turned around. “We won’t be able to do this when your folks are here.” “They’ll be taking off for another business trip real soon.” “Good.” With that Jado walked out and Greg got up and, without putting any clothes on, went downstairs and put the frozen meatloaf with mashed potatoes in the microwave, frozen peas in a pan with some water on the stove, and the frozen garlic bread in the toaster oven, then went back upstairs to shower. Jado was showered, dressed, and in the kitchen making a salad when Greg came downstairs, similarly showered and dressed. “I thought we’d like a salad to go with,” he said. “I didn’t know you were a cook,” Greg said. “I had to fix my own meals. Doris and Pete went out to drink and eat almost all the time. She’s not a cook, and he’s a lazy shit. He’d get home before I did and they’d go out somewhere to booze up and then eat dinner if they weren’t too drunk.” “You never offered to cook for them, then?” “Never. If I had offered I knew they would’ve had me fixing dinner for them all the time. Besides, if they ate at home then they’d get drunk at home. Screw that! It’s not something I’d want to be around.” “So what’d you cook? And eat?” “Doris did the grocery shopping and was pretty cheap about buying food for me. She bought those little one-person frozen meals, the ones at Safeway that are always on sale for five dinners for ten dollars. I called them ‘two dollar dinners’ because that’s what they cost. There wasn’t much to eat, they mostly weighed only eight or nine ounces each, but they tasted pretty good. “Mostly what I cooked from scratch was pasta. I’d go to the store and buy myself a couple kinds of pasta and pasta sauce, some hamburger meat, some cooked chicken strips, an onion, and a can of mushrooms. Then a few veggies like zucchini, green beans, cauliflower, and carrots. I’d cook up enough spaghetti or noodles with hamburger or chicken and pasta sauce for one meal for me. I’d have a veggie and a salad. It was pretty good. I made sure there were never any leftovers. If they commented about the smell I said it was one of the two dollar dinners. I kept cookies and chips locked in my room so Pete couldn’t get at them. If I wanted something like ice cream I’d go to The Creamery and eat it there.” “Didn’t they eat your lettuce and veggies themselves?” “Nah. Doris never wanted to cook and Pete couldn’t or wouldn’t. They were safe in the refrigerator. Do you do any cooking? Or do you use frozen stuff like the lasagna?” “Mostly frozen stuff. When my folks are home my mom will buy lots of frozen stuff, meals and veggies. I’d fix a frozen meal and veggie or two most nights. I’d order in pizza a couple times a month.” “You didn’t get tired of that?” “No. It was all mostly good. Once in a while there’d be one of the frozen meals I didn’t like, so I tell my mom and she wouldn’t buy that one anymore.” “Well, I gotta tell you, Greg, this meatloaf and the mashed potatoes and peas are real good. And so’s the garlic bread.” “Thanks, thanks! After slaving over a hot microwave all day it’s nice to be appreciated.” Jado laughed. “Your cooking is definitely appreciated. It’s nice eating a meal at home with someone. Someone I actually like. You know, I’m enjoying being here.” “I’m enjoying it too. Mostly I’ve been coming home to an empty house and eating by myself. It’s really nice having you here, Jado. Oh, and your salad is great. I see you found the blue cheese dressing. It’s my favorite.” Jado sat and thought for a few minutes as he munched on some salad. Then he looked up. “Greg, would you do me a favor?” “Sure. What?” “Start calling me Jay instead of Jado. Jado is who I was. Jay is who I am now.” “You got it. From now on you’re Jay.” Jay smiled. “Let’s talk about tomorrow. My folks get home around two, so we’ll still be in school. I’ll email my dad tonight and explain that you’re here and why without going into all the details.” “Do you think that’s a good idea? Shouldn’t we be here when they get home?” “They’ll be a lot happier when I tell them we’ll be at school and we’ll see them around… how long did it usually take you to drive to school?” “Usually under ten minutes. How about you?” “I usually take the bus. It takes about thirty-five minutes. Sometimes I’d have to ride my bike if I was late and missed the bus.” “Do you realize that I can drive the two of us to school from now on? It'll take a few minutes more than from my… from where I lived, maybe fifteen minutes? From here drive to Skyline and take a right, take that to Sneath, hang a left and in a couple minutes we’re at Aston High. Piece a cake! I’ll bet you never realized that my moving in here would get you about twenty minutes more sleep every morning. Well, just the mornings when you have to go to school.” “See, there’s another great reason I can give my folks for you to live here.” “Yeah, maybe. I just wonder what they think when we tell them I have an emergency protective order to keep Pete away from me, and from you, too.” “My folks are used to restraining orders. They are in the legal services business.” “What’s that mean?” “Honestly, I’m not real sure. They do billing and collections for law firms, take care of making sure documents are filed on time, and have servers for backups of everything a law firm does on paper and online.” “So they really are attorneys?” “Yes and no. My dad and mom have law degrees and are certified or registered or whatever it’s called to do lawyering in California. But they don’t do any legal work themselves anymore. It helps their business knowing what attorneys do and how they have to do it, and it means they know what kind of services they need. They sell those services to law firms and individual attorneys.” “And they do this all over the country? And in Canada too?” “Not all over yet, but they’re expanding. That’s why they travel all the time and I’m left here on my own, and that sucks. Or more correctly, it sucked. It doesn’t any more now that you’re living here.” “Well, their business got you a really nice house to live in. It’s large and the rooms are big. And I really like living here with you. Do you have a pool?” “Yeah. We have an indoor pool outside.” Greg grinned. “You want to see it?” Jay laughed. “Exactly what is an indoor pool outside?” “Follow me and all will be revealed, grasshopper!” Greg could tell from Jay’s bewildered expression the he wasn’t into watching old movies. “Okay. Should I bring my Speedo?” “Nope, you won’t need it.” “Hey Greg, hold up! You asked how long it will take us to go between your house and school. Figure fifteen minutes in the morning depending on traffic, maybe more coming home from school. We’ll have to go to our lockers and pick up some of our books and leave others. Sometimes it’s a bitch getting out of the parking lot. We get out at three twenty so it’s safe to say we’ll be at your house by three forty-five.” “Okay, I’ll let my folks know what time we’ll be home in the email I send my dad.” “Why not text him?” “He graduated from law school. He doesn’t know how to text. Stop grinning! It’s true. He prefers that I phone him. You know, an actual voice call. I think it’s better to send him an email. I prefer email because that way he can’t claim I never told him something.” “He forgets stuff you tell him?” “It’s embarrassing to admit, but yes, sometimes he forgets what I tell him during a phone call. Mom says it’s because he’s distracted because he’s so wrapped up in the business. So whenever I tell him something important during a call I’ll also email it to him.” “God, it’s going to be awful getting old and forgetful, isn’t it.” “Afraid so. Okay, here we are at the pool house.” Jay looked around the back yard. “You have a pool house but no pool? That’s way weird.” “Well, come on in.” Jay got one foot inside the pool house and he saw the pool. “Fuckin’ A!” he exclaimed. “Cool, ‘eh?” “That’s a lap pool, an indoor lap pool, right?” “Yeah. It’s not regulation length, but it’s about three-quarters. It’s not for competition racing, just for exercise and fun.” “No diving though, right?” “Yup, no diving. The pool at school is open on the weekends for swimming and you can go diving there.” Jay bent down and put his hand in the water. “Whoa, that’s cold!” “Yeah. I didn’t turn on the pool heater because I don’t use the pool that often. Now that you’re here maybe we’ll start using it. That is, if you like to swim.” “I love to swim, to be in the water. I thought about going out for the swim team when I was a freshman, but that’s around the time my dad died and I guess I lost interest.” “I’ll turn on the pool heater and you can use the pool any time you want. It should be warmed up to about eighty-two degrees by tomorrow night.” Greg walked to a door and opened it. Jay saw it was the pool equipment room. Greg pressed a couple buttons and returned. The pool cover began moving across the pool. “All set.” “Two questions. First, why do you use a pool cover when this is an indoor pool? Second, why did you pull the pool cover over the pool when we’ll be using the pool tomorrow?” “There’s one answer for both of your questions. The pool cover helps contain the heat and the water will heat up much faster and it won’t cool down as fast. It also saves a lot of gas so our PG&E bill won't be astronomical.” “Okay, that was two answers, keeping the water warm and saving money. They both make sense,” Jay said, chuckling. “Dufus!” Greg responded, and grinned. They returned to the house and sat down in the family room. “So, we’re going to school tomorrow. We’re gonna have our asses reamed for ditching four days,” Jay said. “Nope. If you look in the papers that you got when you were discharged from the hospital there’s a form for the school. You have four days of excused absence because you were sick in the hospital. It doesn’t say anything about smoking a joint or what got you sick. That’s privileged information, and the school can’t ask you that either.” “Doris got the discharge papers, but then she gave them to me. I kept them, but now I don’t know where they’d be.” “Where do you think you’d have put them? When you got home from the hospital.” “Lemme think. There’s a filing drawer in my desk. There’s a medical folder. I probably put the papers in there.” “I packed your desk. The files from your desk went into a file box. It’s white. It’ll be in the spare bedroom.” They found the box and the papers were there, including the form, signed by Doris Oron-Medrano.” “Oron-Medrano? What’s that shit?” Jay grinned. “Don’t swear.” Then he continued, “Doris married my dad and became Doris Oron. Then she married that asshole Pete. She decided to go with the hyphenated last name.” “Don’t swear,” Greg said, then started laughing. “I wasn’t swearing! That’s Pete’s actual name, Asshole Peter Medrano.” The name made Greg laugh. “Let’s go online and see what assignments we’ve missed,” Greg said. “Then we can figure which homework is the most important and talk to those teachers tomorrow.” “Uh… wait a minute,” Greg said. “I just thought of something. There’s a PT form…” Jay started laughing. “…don’t be a dork, it means Physical Therapy, not prick teaser. Anyway, Doctor Jenkins told me he had the PT guy come up with an exercise plan that I’m to give my PE teacher.” “My doctor wasn’t Doctor Jenkins. I had Doctor Lee,” Jay said. “Let’s see if he worked up an exercise plan for you to give your PE teacher. Yeah, here it is. You’re good to go. Or not to go where you’d have to do a lot of heavy-duty exercises or play soccer or other regular PE stuff.” “I think it’s good to go slow. I’ve been feeling more tired than usual.” “Me too. I think it’s that stuff that was on the joints. It only took a couple tokes and I was sick as hell. Did you tell Officer Lowenthal who sold you that shit?” “I want to make a correction. It’s that shit that I put on the joints. Me. I did it. And I did tell Officer Lowenthal who sold me that shit. Doctor Lee told me that you and I could have died but they got a handle on what it was.” “Doctor Jenkins told me that I almost died. He also told me what that shit was made from. I memorized it. It’s a designer drug made from baclofen and l-deprenyl.” “Let’s Google them and see what they are,” Jay said. They walked into Greg’s bedroom and he woke up his laptop. He keyed in ‘baclofen’ and pressed Enter. “It’s a muscle relaxer. This says it’s used to treat muscle spasms from multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Let’s see the side effects. Dizziness. Yeah, that I can believe. Trouble breathing. Headache. Nausea. Confusion. Depression. Constipation. Rash. Swelling. Itching. Now let’s take a look at the other lovely ingredient.” Greg keyed in ‘l-deprenyl’ and pressed Enter. “Okay, it says this is a drug used for the treatment of early-stage Parkinson's disease. Side effects include depression, anxiety, restlessness, confusion, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fluctuating heartbeat, high blood pressure, headaches, and muscle weakness. There are more, but those are the most important.” “Sounds like these two make a really dangerous combination together,” Jay said. “Thing is, what else did they add when they combined them into a designer drug?” Greg laughed. “Wait until you hear this use of l-deprenyl. ‘Deprenyl has a very specific sexuality-enhancing effect, including hypersexuality. It will work or not work, depending on the sexual parameters that one aims to participate in.’ Hypersexuality? Sexuality-enhancing? This sounds like a load of crap to me.” “Yeah. The last thing I wanted after taking a couple tokes of that joint was to have sex. All I wanted to do was hurl,” Jay said. Greg rubbed his temples. “I thought my head was about to explode. That stuff was really bad.” “I want to see the guy who sold it to me go to jail,” Jay said. “That’s why I gave his name to the police.” ~~~<< Sunday Night October 11, 2015 at about 10:30 PM >>~~~ “Jeez, look at the time. I need to email my dad and tell him you’re here and why. Then I want to look at what assignments are sitting there waiting for me. Then I want to go to bed. We’ve got school tomorrow.” “Me too. The checking on assignments and going to sleep parts. What time should we get up?” “Quarter to seven sound okay? That gives us a half hour to shower and get dressed, then grab some breakfast. If fifteen minutes is enough for you to drive us to school that’ll give us a half hour to talk to the admissions office and get the four days we were out covered as an excused absence before homeroom starts at seven fifty-five.” “Sounds like a plan,” Jay agreed. Composing the email took Greg almost a half hour. He wanted to word it so his folks would understand and be ready to accept Jay once they met him and heard the whole story of what he’d gone through. After sending the email, he was surprised to find that he wasn’t as far behind in most of his classes as he’d assumed. Pre-Calc had the most homework he needed to make up, and AP Chemistry had experiments he’d have to complete. The only homework in his other classes were reading assignments. There were two quizzes he’d have to make up. They were in AP U.S. History and Spanish 3 and he’d already done the homework and reading for those classes. Then there was that stupid high school exit exam they wanted him to take. He decided he’d insist on seeing his counselor to get out of taking it a second time. ‘If they give me the run-around again I’ll tell them that my father, who’s an attorney, will come to school with me on Tuesday to find out why I haven’t been able to see a counselor since I started at Aston High. That ought to get their attention,’ he thought. ‘They won’t want some parent threatening to sue them.’ Greg finally got to bed at eleven fifteen. He fell asleep almost as soon as he closed his eyes. Jay had more classwork problems than Greg. He was seriously behind in four classes with homework overdue and quizzes and one major test that needed to be made up. He’d have to work out a schedule with his teachers. He got to bed at eleven thirty and, like Greg, fell asleep right away. ~~~<< Sunday Night October 11, 2015 at about 11:30 PM >>~~~ A few minutes from Greg’s house Doris and Pete were talking about Jaydon. “Forget the son of a bitch,” Pete said. “He’s moved out and we don’t have to worry about him anymore.” “He owns this house and he could have us thrown out if he goes to a lawyer. Why did you have to beat him up and kick him out of a house that’s in his name? Sometimes you can be really stupid,” Doris retorted. “Don’t fucking call me stupid!” Pete hollered. He raised his fist like he was about to hit Doris. “You touch me and I’ll cut your balls and peter off. And don’t think I won’t do it!” “Don’t threaten me, babe, I’m bigger and stronger than you.” “Then I suggest you either start making some sense of our situation or you can forget about your conjugal visits to my bedroom.” “As if! You like my peter too much to lock me out.” “Then come up with some ideas about how we can protect ourselves. If the cops come here because he’s reported how you beat on him then you’re in big trouble.” “I oughta find the little shit and take care of him for good.” “Oh, yeah, great thinking. Off the kid after he’s probably been to the cops. That doesn’t make any sense. You gotta come up with something about how he attacked you and you were defending yourself.” “How’s anyone going to believe that little pansy attacked me?” “If you were sleeping on the couch in the living room and he came at you with a baseball bat that would give you enough reason to defend yourself. Then he moved out because he was afraid you’d go to the cops.” “Okay, where are my injuries that he did with his baseball bat?” “Bang your head into the wall in the garage. Make some bruises that you can show the cops.” “I’m not going to do that.” “Okay, how about we say he threatened you with his baseball bat and you got it away from him and he started hitting you and kicked you in the nuts and you were fighting him off trying to stop him. I could say I saw and heard the whole thing. The cops will believe me even if they wouldn’t believe you.” “I like that. I could even go to the doctor tomorrow and complain about my balls hurting where he kicked me. Then we’ve got a record of it with the doctor.” “Now, that’s a good plan. But I don’t see any reason to wait until tomorrow when you’d have to take time off work. Go to urgent care right now and complain about your balls still hurting.” “How about I give my balls a good workout with you first? Maybe you can nibble on ‘em the way you like to do. Then I’ll have some real injuries to show the doctor.” “Now that’s an even better plan. Come on, big boy, let’s get started.” ‘And if this plan doesn’t work,’ Pete thought, ‘I can still come up with a way to off the little shit.’ Continued…
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