We landed in Amsterdam, Alex was there with a car. “We have rooms in The Hague.”
I waited for Alex to tell me what the crisis was all about, he didn’t. “We can talk later. I’m glad you came. It will make everything so much easier.”
“Alex, you have me being very curious. I’m anxious to know what the reason for this impromptu meeting.”
During the drive to our hotel, Alex made small talk. He wanted to know about the alterations. I told him the exterior of the house has been changed significantly and now looks European.
“You should have expected that your architect is European.”
“I like what he did, the boys are excited, and if everything stays on plan, the expansion should be completed by the end of next week. I have asked the boys to pick out the furniture while I am gone.”
Alex smiled. I knew I’d have another boy to take home, that I expected. But that couldn’t have been the crisis.
“Carleton, we have a meeting with the gentleman that headed up the group the last time we met. He’ll let you know the problems we’re facing. I’ll tell you this. You are the key to the resolution.”
Now he had my curiosity raising. If it wasn’t a legal case, I couldn’t think of what crisis I could contribute to the solution.
I checked in to the hotel. Alex said to book for 4 days. “Do we have time for a cup of coffee?”
“Yes, we would get it at the embassy.”
“Okay, let me drop off my luggage, and then we’ll go.”
“No need, the bell boy will take it to your room.” I thought this must be really important for Alex to push to get to the embassy.
We walked to the embassy. Alex was talking in German. He whispered for me to pretend I understood. Alex didn’t know that to be an effective international lawyer. I learned how to speakGerman, French, and Spanish. He asked about the expansion, just making conversation, non-critical conversation as if old friends were chatting.
Entering the embassy, as if we lived there. A man led us to a small room where we were met by the man I met at the secretive meeting several weeks ago.
“Ah, Mister Jeffries, it is nice to see you again. I apologize for the urgent call. Would you like a cup of coffee?”
“I believe that the last time we spoke, it was mentioned that the Russian Mafia was very active in bringing young boys and girls into Europe as sexual slaves. The newspapers have been very influential in bringing this to the population’s attention, which has resulted in significant arrests. It has also resulted in the death of some of the children to keep them from talking. We have saved 20, ranging in ages from 7 to 17. We have saved 25 girls, who have been sent to several homes run by the Church. I need you now more than ever. It’s my understanding that your expansion is about finished. The architect said he needed to install the bathroom plumbing and then to paint. He expects by the time you get home, that will be done, except for the painting. Carleton, I know we’re asking a lot. Can you help us?”
“My plane can only carry a maximum of 10, we’ll have to make two trips. I’m going to make and educated guess, and you already have the passports.”
Alex smiled, “Yes, and they all are your sons.” Then he laughed.
“We should leave tomorrow morning. I’ll notify the crew. I need one day of rest, and then we’ll fly back for the other 10. I have a favor to ask. I don’t want to go before a court asking for 30 boys to be adopted. I trust you will prepare the birth certificates and have the approved court orders.”
They all smiled. The mysterious man finally introduced himself as the ambassador from Germany. I knew they were powerful men. I assumed the others were similar ambassadors or at least part of an ambassador’s office.
The ambassador handed me a briefcase. When I opened it, there were passports, birth certificates, and approved adoption papers.
I returned to the hotel with Alex in the room. I called Maria and told her I was bringing home a guest.
I called Ronnie and told him I wanted to leave first thing in the morning, “Tell Jimmy to overstock the plane. I’m bringing Alex, and he can eat for ten boys.”
Alex laughed, “You are getting good at this.”
“I think I’m full, Alex, we need to develop another place. 30 boys is a lot, I’ll have to increase my staff considerably.”
“We will contribute financially to help you.”
“Money isn’t the problem, but space is. The architect and I looked at expanding the house. He doesn’t recommend it. Space is the problem.”
That night I worried about what this will mean for the boys and Maria. I guess I doubted myself. As I fell into a deep sleep, I had a dream. A young boy came to me in the dream, at first I didn’t recognize him and then I gasped as I did. He looked at me and smiled. He nodded yes and then slowly disappeared. I woke; my eyes were wet with tears. He was reminding me of my oath.
I looked at my watch. It was time to get up, and not too soon as Alex was banging on my door. “I have been knocking for the last 5 minutes. When you sleep, you really sleep.”
“Sorry, I had a visitor. Let me get dressed, and then we can have breakfast. The plane is ready.”
We had breakfast at the hotel. I didn’t eat much. I still was concerned, Alex said not to check out. I couldn’t understand why until he said, “I’ll check you out after your second trip.”
“Riding to the plane, Alex, are the Russians a series problem?”
“Yes, Carleton, we did one raid, and before we got everyone out, they had killed five children. Our police shot them. It seems that’s the only way we can handle the situation, shoot them. But more keep coming, we keep finding them.”
When I got to the plane, the stairs were down. There was no one in sight. Alex and I boarded the plane. Jimmy had everyone in a seat, seat belts on. He was giving them the safety spiel. Alex introduced me. I looked at the boys. They were scared, they were undernourished, and they wore rags. “I’ll be right back, wait for me.”
“Jimmy, do you have enough food?”
“Plenty, I ordered enough for ten, and then a food truck came and unloaded even more.”
“Good, feed them now. They look like they are starving.”
Jimmy had a large box of egg sandwiches. He started to pass them out. The boys looked at them, and then they began to eat them, slowly at first, and then they went at it. “Jimmy give them something to drink and another sandwich.”
Alex came back with clothes, t-shirts, jeans, socks and tennis shoes. The boys smiled, the first I saw. “Carleton, when you are over the ocean, dump the old clothes.” Of course, I couldn’t do that, but I’ll dispose of them when we get home.
“Sir, we are ready.”
“Ok” Jimmy made sure all the boys have their seat belts fastened. I had one boy nestled on my left side and two of the older boys sitting across from me. I watched and chuckled from the looks on their faces as we lifted off.
It was very quiet until we lifted off. The boy across from me introduced himself as Jon. He spelled it for me, “Many people spell it as John.”
“Is it true what Alex said, we’re going to America, and we’re listed as your sons?”
“Yes, it’s true. You’ll be living with me and my ten sons who are living there now. You will have a lot in common.”
“This’s very strange for us. The little ones are afraid. They have had a terrible time.”
“I have two boys who are seven years old, well they were 7 when they came to live with me, now one of them is about to be 8. How old are you?”
“I’m 17. I just had my birthday. Yes, I know what you are thinking. I was 10 when they kidnapped me.”
For seven years, he was a sex slave, what scars he must have.
“Did Alex tell you that you’ll never be made to do that stuff again.”
“Yes, I didn’t like doing it, but if I didn’t, they would beat me, and then they would use me. After a while, you just give in.”
“Do you think you might need help getting over these experiences.”
“I don’t know. I learned to train my mind to be someplace else. I’d pretend to be walking in a forest where it was quiet and very peaceful. I helped the other kids to do the same.”
I was concerned there still might be scars. I need to talk to Alex and see if they should see a professional.
“Mr. Jeffries, should I serve the food? We are over the ocean?”
“You boys hungry?”
When is a boy ever not hungry? They all said yes, in four different languages. “Go ahead and serve them. Do you have enough hot chocolate for them?”
While they were eating, Jimmy dropped the screen and put on cartoons. You could hear them laugh at the cartoon antics.
Before we landed, I called Maria and told her what was happening. She said she’ll handle it. I knew she would.