Author's Note... If you are returning to The Redemption, please make note that this chapter, Chapter 37, is a new work.
*-* Wednesday, Joey's POV *-*
"Ouch!" I hollered, awakened by a hard object striking my jaw. Automatically, I turned away toward the wall when that hard object struck the back of my head.
I scooted down the bed to get away, at the same time, a child's voice was angrily saying to somebody, somewhere to stop it, and then a leg, a knee perhaps kick into my lower regions. When that happened, I jumped on the fighting individual who I recalled was Timmy... he'd come to bed with me the previous night... so that knowledge tempered my reaction from attack to realizing he was having, experiencing a terrible nightmare. The only problem with the changed reaction was that he continued to kick.
"Timmy, wake up, wake up, you're okay, you're safe!" I shouted loudly.
He didn't respond, so with one fluid motion, I pinned him into the soft mattress, held both his hands with one of my arms, and then put my other arm into his throat, all the while yelling, too loud, but under the circumstances – okay. "Timmy, wake up damn it. It's over. Stop. You're safe. I'm here. It's Joey." I repeated it once, then twice then on the third time he stopped fighting, woke up and tried pulling my arm out of his throat.
Assured he was awake, I got off him and pulled him into my arms as he cried, shook, and kept saying over and over again, "They're killing me!"
"Nobody's killing you, little brother. You're here with me, safe and sound. Shush. Are you awake?"
His breathing was raggedy but he muttered intelligently, "Yeah, I'm awake. Ugh, they were killing me, Joey."
Knowing that he was awake and no longer attacking those who had scared the shit out of him, I covered his eyes with the blanket then reached up for the light and turned it on. On the way back down, I leaned in and kissed his forehead, all the while whispering reassurances, "It's not true, bro. You're here in bed with me. We're safe now."
"Joey, I'm scared, okay? I really am. I'm not shitting you."
With that said, I grabbed my new little brother into my arms, laid down, pulled him in and held on firmly until he regained his composure.
When he fully regained his wits he rose up and onto my pillow, looked deep into eyes. I felt he was looking for some magical words that would take his past away, to alleviate his fears, to give him unconditional acceptance, to feel loved without question. I also saw a lot of love in those deep dark pools that form his eyes. Hope... Yes, I saw hope deep inside of his spirit. Not knowing what else to say, not knowing if it was the right thing to say, I said anyway, "It's okay to be scared. Don't tell anybody, but I get scared, too. Sometimes it takes a while to get past it. But you know what works well for me?"
Timmy shook his head no, but said, "I don't really feel afraid now. You're holding me."
With that he nuzzled down into my chest again, threw his arm around my shoulders and hugged me deeply. Then he resumed his place on my pillow and waited.
"It helps when I talk to somebody about it. I don't really understand how it works because I'd never had it before coming here to live, before mom and dad showed me what love and trust is all about. They don't just talk about it. They live it. Timmy, I'm not the only one looking out for you. The word is out. I don't see them fucking with you. Uhm, if they do, then they'll wish they'd never been born. The same goes for Nathan. The same goes for Derrick too. Since Donnie is more or less our family, then the same goes for anyone who fucks with him."
Timmy's eyes welled with unshed tears. He said with quiet resignation, "This is all new to me. I feel what you're talking about, but I don't understand it. I mean it feels okay... I just get afraid... like it will be gone tomorrow, that I'm just having a dream or something."
I leaned over and kissed this newest little brother on his forehead and whispered, "It's real, Timmy. It's all real. Whatcha say we go pee and try to get some sleep?" I finished my statement with a quick kiss on his lips then tickled him just a little which elicited a broad smile.
When we got back to bed, he spooned into my chest and tummy. He was quickly asleep, breathing deep and rhythmically. I reached up, turned the light off and finally slumber found me.
Mom and dad were getting ready for work when I went padding into their room after making sure they were dressed. I sat down on their bed. Mom looked at me, and seeing that I was troubled by all that was happening with Timmy sat down and took me into her arms. She knew exactly what to do, and when. I reveled in her aroma, and relaxed considerably.
When the words came I said, "Mom, I don't want to fight. I'm afraid of what I might do to someone who hurt my brother. I might get my butt kicked but I'd die trying."
"Honey, don't go there. These things have a way of working out. Timmy's not the first kid to get bullied and unfortunately he won't be the last I'm afraid. Listen to me... <I'd tensed up at hearing those words but relaxed when she took my chin in her hand, smiled warmly, and patted my back> Violence is not the way to cure violence. Your dad and I are going to the school district."
Dad spoke up walking to us from the dresser drawer cabinet, "She's right, Joey. Violence will just escalate the problem. Knowing you like I do... you've put the word out to all your friends, am I correct?"
"Yes, sir, the word is out. No violence but if it becomes necessary, if Timmy gets hurt again... then all bets are off. Timmy has friends, despite his feeling like he's not worth it."
"Okay, then you've done all you can do. Now, let us do our jobs as his parents, okay? I assure you we will not go down easily. The safety of our children is our number one priority, trust me."
"Okay." I replied knowing they would do everything within their power to take care of the situation. Because of my makeup and my history, I also knew, beyond any shadow of a doubt that if need be... well, nevermind, I wasn't going to go there.
Nathan and Timmy joined me in the shower with their fleshy swords leading the way. While they were peeing, I got the water temperature just right.
Nathan didn't seem to be his usual happy go-lucky self. He wouldn't share what it was when I inquired, but he perked up considerably when Timmy reminded him that it was his turn to wash the three of us. That was something we took up doing on a regular basis. The touch of washing and being washed was something we looked forward to. Call it bonding. I'll just say that we enjoyed it a lot, and had no plans to stop.
Nathan stopped and spent a considerable amount of time washing my innie belly button all the while cupping my butt cheek and pulling me in closer, allowing my fully erect member to brush his chin. Timmy, anxious for his own turn, pushed Nathan's mouth on that which designates me as male and began bobbing Nathan's hand up and down along the shaft.
What was Nathan's response? He went to town like a mad man. Much to my surprise, because we didn't normally do anything anal, his finger shot through my external ring and then he began wiggling it with fervor. That sent me over the edge into oblivion. I was so far gone that I had sat down on the shower floor, and then when I returned to sanity... well, Nathan's tool was right in front of my face so with a little manipulation my oral cavern was filled to capacity, and soon I was greeted with his offering.
Together, Nathan and I then brought Timmy to a very pleasurable conclusion.
Just as we were rinsing the shampoo out of our hair Derrick entered the shower cubicle, pushed me aside to wet down which earned him a jab in the ribs, which in turn began a bit of a tussle for supremacy. Of course, with him being stronger and taller, he, the victor, was soon crowned.
Nathan and I got out of the shower and began drying off. Timmy wanted to stay behind to talk to Derrick, so Nathan and I dried off, covered up and then we took off for our respective bedrooms, Nathan's melancholy long ago forgotten.
After eating a delicious breakfast, we took off on our bikes and arrived at school a short time later. Brad, looking as good as ever, with his deeply tanned face and arms that were covered all over by those thin, downy, totally blond, almost white, hairs sticking straight up from each forearm, was waiting for us. My cock twitched a time or two.
Jack and Stan looked up as we rode in. As we were locking the bikes to the metal frame Jack said, "Timmy, I don't think you'll have any more troubles with Larry the dickhead. We had a little conversation with him, and well, I think he understands that he's not to fuck with you, or anybody else."
I looked to Stan, "Hey guys, I hope you didn't hurt him too bad, our ..."
"Worry not. We wouldn't do that, would we, Brad?"
Brad smiled, "Nope. He was simply convinced to not fuck with littler kids. I think he understands the seriousness of what he's been doing for a long time. Okay, we've gotta scoot. See ya at lunch time."
With that said, he and Jack took off. Brad held back though. He said to me, "We've got your back, Joey. Don't worry; Timmy's problem has been taken care of."
I replied, "Thanks. I owe ya."
"Nah, don't insult us by thinking you owe us. We don't much like people bullying littler kids, or anybody else, for that matter. Gotta go."
Timmy said, "Thanks, Brad. I'll see ya after school, okay?"
Brad looked to me... was he asking me for permission to 'be' with my little brother?
I thought for a moment before replying. What passed through my mind was thoroughly enjoying Brad's company, in general, and our fling that one day. From that experience and the look on Brad's face, and his demeanor, I knew that Timmy was safe.
With that in my mind I said to Brad, in a big brotherly way, "Don't hurt him."
Nathan took his cue. I only thought I'd said those words in way that conveyed seriousness and concern for my little brother but when Nathan mimicked my expression and words, Brad took a step back with a surprised look on his face. He said, "I'm not going to hurt you, Timmy. We're here to watch out for him when you aren't around, okay? That's all. Joey, we're going to watch out for him whether or not... you know what I mean."
I was fully convinced that his motives were good. As long as Timmy was happy and contented then who was I to order him around, to take away his sources of happiness and fulfillment (or is that full-fill-men)...
Brad put his arm around Timmy's shoulder. They headed for the school building.
Nathan hugged me, in front of the school, and then he too took off for the building. Quickly, I locked our bikes, gathered my book bag then headed toward school. While I was walking, I thought that I would go ahead and follow Timmy to his first class, just to make sure all was on the up and up.
I stayed back a little ways so that Timmy didn't know I was following him. I didn't want him to feel that I was following his every little move because that would mess up what little self-confidence he had of his own.
He made it inside his room then I took off for my own class but arrived just after the second bell rang, signifying that I was late. The teacher had made it clear that she would not accept students late for class, period, no matter what, so when I arrived at the door it was closed and locked. I looked in the window. She caught my eye. Immediately, she pointed her finger to the principal's office to obtain a permission slip.
On my way to the office, I stopped in the bathroom, peed, washed my hands and then headed for the guillotine. I say guillotine because the head office lady was a real bitch who listened to no excuses for tardiness, or for skipping out.
I entered the outer office. Her demeanor wasn't unexpected but she didn't give me a ration of shit, instead, with a look of consternation like I was unpleasantly interrupting her routine, she told me to follow her. She led me into the principal's office where Mr. Stanberry looked up from his desk and motioned me to enter and sit down. After sitting down, he closed the door and sat in a chair next to mine.
"Joey, I followed you this morning just as you followed your brother to his classroom. I heard about the situation with Timmy late last night. I'm sorry that happened to him. I want to assure you that the situation is being handled. Please tell Timmy that those boys will not go unpunished."
"I'll tell him, but it would be better if he heard it directly from you. And you need to tell our parents that the situation is handled. We thought you might take care of it, but I did put the word out to watch after Timmy. My parents know everything that happened. They will be talking to the school district today; perhaps they already are, right now."
"And just exactly what is 'the word', Joseph? Violence?"
I sat bolt upright in my chair and said, "Mr. Stanberry, my brother had his ass kicked last night. No administrator or teacher saw it, or they didn't intervene, I don't know which, because I wasn't actually there. The word is: 'stop now or your ass is ours.' This is what I communicated to our friends."
(I did not sense that he knew that Larry Johnson's ass had already been kicked. I didn't offer that bit of information, obviously).
"Okay, Joseph, now that I know a threat is present, then I have to warn you of this: if Larry Johnson or anyone else involved in the incident is hurt or harmed, then I shall hold you personally responsible. You will be expelled from school. We will recommend that you not be reinstated this year or any other year. Your record will follow you wherever you go."
"That's fine. But if you think I'm going to sit around and let my brother get the shit, sorry, beat out of him, then you are fucking nuts." I said, and then immediately regretted my words. Though I was not the typical street kid, I still had the street kid inside. I started to say but he interrupted me.
"Now you listen to me... if that boy, if Larry Johnson is harmed and nobody else takes responsibility for hurting and harming him, then I have no alternative but to assume you did. We will call in law enforcement and recommend your arrest."
"I call that a threat, Mr. Stanberry. I haven't done a damn thing. <I stood up and walked to the door then turned to face the principal and added, "Do your damn job."
I then walked out of his office, past the secretary's desk and out into the commons area. Fuck those people. I was trying to do the right thing. I went to the back of the school, exited through a little used door, reached in my backpack, retrieved a cigarette and lit it up, and smoked it quickly. I finished up by spraying my mouth with mouth wash and spitting it out then with determination, headed for Timmy's room to escort him to his next class. I had a bad feeling that things were going to go from bad to worse, but I couldn't prove it.
I stepped into an alcove, far away from the classroom, but close enough to intercept him when he exited. The hole was pretty good, meaning that one would have to purposely look to see me. I'd waited about 5 minutes when I heard footsteps walking the hall. They were coming closer and closer. I heard people whispering... then one set of footsteps was going distant while another pair was getting very close. Click. Click. Click.
At the same time, my damn cell phone chirped indicating an incoming text message. Shit. Shit. Shit. With all that had happened at the bike rack, and my determination to keep Timmy safe, I'd forgotten to turn it off. Son of a bitch.
I peeked out from the alcove, saw nobody but the sound of those footsteps were quickly approaching the corners where the halls met. I was still hidden but wouldn't be for long.
I grabbed my book bag then quickly headed to the bathroom about 30 feet away. Quickly, I ducked in, dumped my bag to the floor, then went to the last toilet stall, and then when the door to the bathroom opened I stuck my finger down my throat intending to gag. The problem was that I overreacted. With my exuberance, I actually puked. Not much, but enough.
The click, click, click of the footsteps were coming closer, so, much to my dismay, I stuck my finger down again. Thankfully, I didn't puke but did gag as I had planned to do in the first place.
I heard the tell tale sound of pee hitting the back of a urinal. I relaxed a bit, but not entirely.
The persons' jeans were being zipped up then the click, click, click walking to the wash basin, the sink turned on... and then a voice said, "Your brother is dead meat." Then the voice snickered menacingly.
Fuck that shit. Nobody threatens my brother, period. You don't do that and get away with it.
Click, click, click. Sickening laughter exited the bathroom, quickly.
I yanked my cell phone from my pocket, checked the time: 5 minutes until class change was to occur.
I exited the stall and started walking toward the door. I noticed that my bag was gone. What the fuck?
I tightened up, my breathing became rapid, my vision was becoming tunneled, and anger was welling up from deep within. I headed toward the door with a determination I'd not felt in a long time, but before I got there the door slammed open and a body came flying through it followed by none other than Brad, Stan and Jack.
No sooner than they arrived, a serious case of whoop ass ensued. Brad, Stan and Jack were brutally pummeling a dude that I didn't recognize. But I recognized the voice as he was whining, borderline screaming, and making other basic guttural sounds. I looked at his shoes and saw a metal strip across the ball of them. Recognition.
With one last punch from all three guys, landing the dude in a corner all wadded up in a heap, Brad said, "We need to get out of here now. Meet Larry Johnson. He didn't learn his lesson this morning. He was talking some jive shit about your brother. His threats, when last night is taken into account, were very real... pleased you could meet him in these circumstances. Let's book it."
We split up. I headed to Timmy's classroom, and arrived just as the bell rang.
The halls clogged with students going to their next classes, or wherever.
I snagged Timmy by the collar of his shirt and pulled him aside. "You're okay now, little brother. My friends, your friends, had a talk with the asshole that fucked you up yesterday. Go to your next class, I'll catch up with ya later. Go."
"Okay, see you at lunch. Love you bro."
"I love you, too. Now go. Don't stop for anything."
When he was out of sight, knowing that he was safe, I headed to my next class. Literally, Nathan and I ran into each other in the nut-to-butt throng of people running the hallway. Donnie was with him. I said, "You guys go to your next class. Don't stop for anything or anybody. Larry Johnson's ass has been kicked. I'll talk to ya later, at lunch. Now go."
A very concerned look passed through (and then stopped) on Nathan's face. Quickly, he looked down to my hands. I knew what he was looking for... I'd been in fights before, and I had always bloodied my knuckles, and that blood had belonged either to me or to the person I'd been fighting, usually the other person's but not always. He looked into my eyes. That all seemed to satisfy his questioning.
As they disappeared around the corner, knowing shit was about to happen, I headed to the back door, stopping only to light up another cigarette. I headed for home via the field that led into the park not too far from home. My plan was to be at home when the shit flew. My brothers were safe. That's all that mattered in the overall scheme of things. I'd take the suspension.
When I arrived at the park, I sat on a picnic table, retrieved the offending cell phone, checked the messages... the last one was from dad which read, "Call me when you get a chance. Love you."
Then I remembered my bike. In my hurry I'd not even bothered to get it. I thought whatever the fuck, I'd get it later.
I lit up another cigarette, drug on it deeply then punched in dad's speed dial number. The call immediately went to voice mail. I left a short message, "Dad, crap is hitting the fan at school, call me. I'm going home."
I felt an overwhelming urge to pee. I knew it wouldn't wait, and if I didn't do something right then and there then my pants would be filled with that yellow liquid stuff, so without so much as a glance I whipped it out and let loose with a major stream. I thought that was the first time I'd been able to catch it before the accident happened. A small victory, trophy material.
When I got home, I went into the kitchen, poured myself a large glass of orange juice and sat down at the dining room table. Nervous as a cat on a hot tin roof, I took the glass out to the patio where I sat in a lounge chair and waited for the inevitable.
Dad returned my call just as I sat down. I gave him the Reader's Digest version of what had happened, and reluctantly – why. He had another incoming call that was marked urgent. He put me on hold for about 20 minutes then came back and said that he was on his way home. He thanked me for calling him about what had happened before someone else had to do it, like administration, for instance.
When dad arrived home, he looked more exasperated than anything else. He initiated a hug... well, actually it was a draw, but who's counting? Not I say the Mohican.
Though he was cool, calm and collected, I was nervous and had quite a bit of anxiety flowing through my veins.
He warmed up a cup of coffee. I filled my orange juice glass. He led us to the deck and invited me to sit. I did.
"Talk to me, son. Tell me what happened."
I explained exactly what happened though I didn't rat out Brad, Stan or Jack... that would NOT be right according to the code I'd lived by all my life. You don't rat out your friends, no matter what, period, paragraph, next page please.
It didn't take too long for me to map out what had happened.
"Okay... let me recap what you just said. I have my reasons. I'll talk to you after a few direct questions, oky dokie?"
I nodded. I knew better than to just nod so I said, "Yes sir."
"The principal was aware of the incident with Timmy last night?"
"Yes sir. Well, he knew about it this morning... no administration or teachers were around last night. I don't know if he knew about it last night..."
"That's fair. Were you in anyway involved in the fight today?"
"No, not directly, I sent the email last night and a few text messages... but those were only requests for people to watch Timmy's back, and Nathan's."
"Were you present when that boy, Larry Johnson, was attacked?"
"Yes sir. I was present."
"Did you try to stop it?"
"No sir. I had no reason to stop it since I didn't start it."
Dad mused that one for a second. I remained quiet.
"You threw no punches. You did not kick him. Correct?"
"Yes sir. I didn't touch him."
"Let me see your hands... I believe you but I want to see for myself."
Without any hesitation, I raised up my hands, turned them from side to side and upside down then right side up, twice.
"Joey, it is going to come up, so I want to ask you now... who were the boys who fought that Larry Johnson boy?"
I perked up, thought about it for a second or two then replied, "Dad, I can't rat them out. It is a code of honor that I can't break. All I have is my word. If it gets out that I am not trustworthy then I have nothing."
"That code of honor, is it applicable when ... say if for instance someone got killed? Say you knew the person that killed another person... would you do the legally responsible thing by giving the authorities the name of the person who killed somebody?"
I leaned over in my chair, thinking very deeply. I'd been put in that position twice before, and no they were not about me.
When I was 12 years old, one of the little kids on the block had gotten seriously beat up by some punk motherfuckers who thought the kid had stolen dope from them, when in fact it was one of the dude's brothers who stole the shit. The boy eventually died in the hospital from his injuries, but it wasn't quick, the boy had remained on life support for over 6 months. The name of the boy that was killed was Bryan. He was just 8 years old. He was a good kid, didn't get in trouble, in fact we gave him a ration of shit for not following in our footsteps. (I felt a tear forming, remembering the sight of him lying lifeless in that fucking casket. Quickly, I wiped it away).
One of the guys I ran around with found out who delivered the lethal blow. The problem was eliminated, permanently.
The cops had been around, snooping, looking for weak links in our 'network'. I knew who had given the hit, but mum was the word. As it was for everyone else. It would not have been right for one of our dudes to spend hard time for something the cops could not or would not do.
*** End of flashback.
"Dad, I am going to be as honest as I possibly can. Let me explain. This is very important."
Dad replied, somewhat surprised, "I hope that you would do the right thing, and I trust that you would do the right thing, but maybe you will need some guidance..."
"Dad, it's like this: If any of my family got hurt, or worse, the person or persons would go down, no questions asked. If I hurt the person or persons who hurt or killed my family then I'd just go down. If I knew someone who took out the person or persons who hurt my family then mum would be the word. I'm not going to rat someone out for doing something cops will not do. Dad, we live in a classy neighborhood here. I feel the cops are trying to do the right thing, except for that asshole Williams... so, dad it just depends. Otherwise, yeah, I would help the cops in any way possible. I'm not a born killer nor do I wish harm on other people... but, excuse my expression... permission to speak freely, please?"
Dad looked at me skeptically, and then replied, "Yes, just this once." He smiled wanly, reservedly.
"Dad, if anybody fucks with my family then there's hell to pay. It is black and white... either the cops do their job, or their jobs get done for them. I am not looking for trouble, dad, trust me."
Dad then kicked me in the guts, figuratively speaking, "Okay son, I understand your moral position, thank you for telling me. Our morals lead us. They, most times, make our decisions for us..."
"Dad, trust me, my morals are changing. I'm sleeping better now than I ever have. Let me just explain a little bit more... the rules are that nobody hurts or kills my family without either the cops or me exacting justice. I've had enough death in my family, my heart and guts have been ripped out more than one time. So have Nathan's. Timmy's too. Dad, do you know what it's like having someone in your family murdered, taken away from you forever and ever and a million more years after that?"
Dad replied sadly, "No, son, I've never experienced that."
"I have Dad, and it hurts like a son of a bitch. I swear to God as my witness that if anything bad happens to you, mom, Derrick, oh God – Nathan, (tears rapidly filled my eyes) or Timmy... sorry Dad, I... I... I... mmm... <barely above a whisper>... I can't talk right now, okay Dad?"
While I was trying to get myself back together, dad stood up, walked the two short steps then took hold of my arm and lifted me up to face him. I cried, "I hope I never get in that position again, Dad."
All reserves, all distrust, all thinking about efforts to sabotage the love this family had to offer us... evaporated right then and there. I think dad sensed a major milestone, too. As if it was orchestrated, but it wasn't orchestrated at all, our arms went around each other, reaching for one another, needing each other, in that slice of time.
(Later, dad would tell me that he felt the same way I did about his family, and that he'd likely do and think like I have, do and will do in the future).
After 20 minutes or so of just being together, quiet and peaceful, dad interrupted our moment by saying that we had an appointment with the principal in 30 minutes, and that we needed to get ourselves together, and get on the road as soon as possible.
As we were heading toward the school, dad asked, "Okay. Is there anything else I need to know about?"
I replied, "I'm likely to be suspended or expelled. I'll probably be expelled according to what Mr. Stanberry said this morning. I'll just take it either way. It's the right thing to do, Dad. If they wouldn't have done it, then I probably would have anyway. Dad, I need to meet with my friends tonight."
Dad looked to me and then nodded appreciatively.
The rest of the trip was made in silence, other than the road noise, people honking, flipping each other off (not dad, not me either :-))... the usual, nothing out of the ordinary...
The dastardly, wicked witch of the west secretary gave me a sarcastic smirky smile when dad and I walked into the office. She buzzed the principal's office, and we waited for over 15 minutes for him to acknowledge our presence by inviting us into his office.
As soon as we were seated, he said, "Mr. Mauer, I've reviewed the incidents from this morning. As I advised your son, if it was determined that one Larry Johnson was hurt or harmed in any way, young Joseph would be expelled from our school system. He agreed with the edict. We have a zero tolerance for any violence of any kind on school grounds. Our investigation places Joseph at the time and place of the boy's most unfortunate attack. He is currently undergoing surgery. He is expected to live, however, which is a good thing for you, Master Joseph."
"Mr. Stanberry, I appreciate the districts' zero tolerance stance on violence. If I may, have you determined exactly who perpetrated the attack on my youngest son?"
"Mr. Mauer, let me make it very clear that this school is deeply sorry for your son Timmy's most unfortunate assault, yesterday afternoon on school grounds. We immediately launched an investigation, and as of yet have not completed it. It seems that your son, Joseph, has taken it on his own to administer justice. He was told this morning to not fight nor instigate a fight lest he be expelled from school. Eyewitness accounts place him at the scene where the Johnson boy was grievously injured through an unprovoked attack on his person. Law enforcement has been notified, they should be here any time. I believe they went to the hospital first to take a statement from the injured child."
"Yes, I believe law enforcement is the best way to go about this incident. Perhaps they will better get to the bottom of exactly what happened, and who did it. Before I go, I would like to ask my son, in your presence, a few questions. Please indulge me."
Mr. Stanberry looked at dad with a nonplussed expression on his face then he turned to me, then back to Dad. He reached into his desk drawer and retrieved what appeared to be a recording device. I smiled. I couldn't help it. I looked at dad. He had a stern expression on his face, yet his eyes told me that he was totally amused by the whole series of events transpiring before our very eyes.
"Mr. Mauer, Joseph Mauer, do I have your permission to record our conversation? I plan to submit this recording to our school board, if necessary, and to the police, definitely the police."
"That is appropriate. Permission granted." Dad replied professionally.
Mr. Stanberry turned to me, "Permission granted. This is going to be interesting."
Dad cuffed my wrist, and at the same time posed the first question, "Joey, did Mr. Stanberry counsel you about retaliating?" (His eyes were telling me that he was having one hell of a time maintaining his composure after my last comment. I wasn't as reserved as a smile formed on my face – I felt it happen).
Pulling myself back, I answered, "Yes sir."
"Did you have anything to do with that boy being beat up? Did you plan it? Did you cause it to happen?"
"No sir. All I did was to send an email, and make a few text messages to our friends asking them to keep Timmy's back covered. I did not order any attacks. Mr. Stanberry has said that 'he' doesn't know who did what they did to Timmy."
"Joey, did you skip classes today?"
"Why did you skip classes, today?"
Easily, quickly, honestly, I replied, "I was watching my brother's back. Mr. Stanberry said he does not know who attacked my brother Timmy last night... so the person or persons were, and probably still are, on the loose. He's my brother. It is my responsibility to keep him safe when a school administration does not."
Mr. Stanberry squirmed in his seat.
"Mr. Stanberry, is it true that we are being video recorded in addition to voice recorded? I see that your recording device has a lens?"
"Yes, that's true.
"We didn't know that. Separate permissions are required for both audio and video, you are aware of that, correct?"
"I am. This is an informal meeting, Mr. Mauer. It is not admissible in court." Mr. Stanberry replied, somewhat nervously.
Dad sat straight up in his chair (he was already sitting straight up, he just straightened up just a little bit more), he said, "Isn't it true that all expulsions must go to the school board for review?"
"That's true. We do not submit audio or visual recordings for board review."
"Then why are you recording our conversation?"
"Mr. Mauer, I have already explained that this tape will be submitted to law enforcement..."
Dad interrupted, "... for use in considering a criminal complaint, am I correct?"
"So... let me get this straight. You will be submitting this tape to law enforcement, assuming that my son is guilty of perpetrating violence on another of your students... yet this recorded session cannot be used to exonerate my son at the board level? Is this correct?"
"Mr. Mauer, I am given wide discretionary powers to run this school as safely and as efficiently as possible. I have never had a disciplinary decision reversed yet. They trust my judgment."
"Oh, I do not doubt your judgment, Mr. Stanberry. I would just like all the facts to be made known before the board finalizes a decision to formally expel my son from your school district. With all that aside, does your recording device have the capability to provide high quality video images, at a very short distance?"
"Why yes, it does. We have had some abuse cases, as you might very well expect, where our recording devices were used in a court of law to convict the perpetrators of the abuse."
Dad smiled then retracted it and went back to 'all business'.
Mr. Stanberry made some adjustments then turned on a monitor to the left of his desk. He adjusted the lens some more which detailed a zit that was growing on my nose, and an 11 o'clock shadow on dad's chin. He then panned back using a remote control device.
"Mr. Stanberry, would you please join us?"
Mr. Stanberry squirmed again, and then slowly he arose from the desk chair, pulled in another chair and sat down between dad and me.
Dad said, once everybody was situated, and when the camera adjusted. He asked Mr. Stanberry to pan in on a place on the table. When that was accomplished dad said, "Joey, put your hands on the table, please."
I couldn't help snickering. Mr. Stanberry looked none too happy with my outburst... like I said though, I couldn't help it.
Without being prompted, I manipulated the position of my hands in every conceivable way; all the while making sure everything was done within the vision provided by the camera.
Dad then raised the sleeves of my shirt up past my elbows. He manipulated my arms so that all sides and angles were captured. Next, he moved my head in such a way that all angles were presented.
The next request was for me to raise the hem of my jeans up as far as they would go. Since they were pretty baggy they easily lifted to just above my knees. Dad took the remote control, adjusted the camera to show the entirety of my legs, and then he had me take my socks and shoes off and did the same.
Mr. Stanberry, clearly at a loss for words, asked, "Whatever are you doing, Mr. Mauer? This is so out of the ordinary..."
"Mr. Stanberry, do you see any evidence that my son was in a recent fight? Do you see any abrasions, contusions or cuts or any other injury?"
Quietly Mr. Stanberry replied, "I am not a physician so my conclusion means nothing."
"But, you could come to the conclusion that a child who'd been hit on say the mouth, the forehead, the eyes or any other easily and assumed places would indeed indicate the person had been struck or he or she had been struck, correct?"
"That's just common sense, Mr. Mauer. This is not a court of law. This not one of those CSI shows, either. I have no clue what you are doing or where you are going with this. My decision has been made, and it is final. I see no purpose to continue this meeting. A campus security officer will retrieve your belongings, Joseph. Your father can pick them up later this afternoon, and I must advise you that you are not to be on the premises at any time lest you will be arrested for trespassing. Good day gentlemen. Now if you will excuse me. We should not have accepted your transfer in to this school, Joseph. Your record speaks for itself."
I looked to dad. I had to wait no more than one second for him to reply to that idiot's statement that my past was being repeated. The son of a bitch, what the fuck.
"Mr. Stanberry, you're allegations against my son are irritating me. His background has nothing to do with this and you know it. He's been a model student, is active in outside activities sponsored by your institution, has never been called into your office for any reason, and has worked hard to better himself. He also received an award for his community efforts to bring acceptance and tolerance for those different that him. I'd say that's quite a turnaround wouldn't you agree?"
"Yes, Master Mauer has shown great promise. The important thing is that we sometimes revert to old habits and training, if you will, when we are faced with a serious challenge. So often do our children revert to violence when violence is not necessary, which by way is never. Never is violence a societal solution to anything."
It was dad's turn to smile. He said to Mr. Stanberry, "You're absolutely correct. I agree with you 100% on all counts. Joey has demonstrated great patience, perseverance, and a definite turnaround in his thinking to allow us adults to conduct business in a very grown up way. Tell me, sir, to what lengths would you go to in order to protect your little brothers, sons, daughters, whomever you are close to and love?"
"That's not the point..."
"Oh but it is the point. Now, my request is: based on the evidence that exonerates my son, I request that you immediately reinstate him to the school system where his education is guaranteed by the US Constitution -at least- until your full and complete investigation is finished. My son has the right to due process, and to be assumed innocent until proven guilty. You have not produced the proof necessary to establish his guilt beyond reasonable doubt."
"Mr. Mauer, the safety of our students here in this building is my responsibility, a responsibility I take dead serious. Your son is a threat to the safety of his fellow students. Period."
Dad, getting red faced yet his demeanor was calm, "And if your statement is true then why was my son Timmy assaulted on school grounds? Although he talks little of himself, he was hurt very badly yesterday afternoon, both physically and mentally. We've tried to provide him a safety net so that he feels okay with being where he is. He is scared again. Do you have a child of your own who feels unsafe?"
When the principal wavered dad said, "I didn't think so. When will your investigation be completed?"
"We should have everything wrapped up by next week. Everybody is involved with giving and taking finals until then."
"Except my son who will not be permitted to take his finals... is that correct? Let me just put it this way... I expect to sit down with you on Friday of this week so that we can discuss this matter and resolve it. I'll give you benefit of the doubt and will keep my sons out of school until we meet again on Friday. If I do not hear back from you then the next course of action is legal. I will contact my attorney this afternoon."
"That is your prerogative, though I do not feel that is necessary. We provide a safe place here in this school; it is my number one priority..."
"Then you obviously haven't done your job. Good day sir."
Dad stood. I stood. We walked to the door when dad stopped and said to Mr. Stanberry, "I expect my boys will safely be escorted to your office because I'm taking my sons out of this school right now, until we reach an agreement on where to go next."
"Your sons Nathaniel and Timothy will be counted as absent without cause. Do we understand each other, Mr. Mauer?"
"Perfectly. What's taking you so long?"
Despite Mr. Stanberry's orders for us to remain in the office while Nathan and Timmy were fetched up, much to his chagrin, Dad and I accompanied him... I mean what was he going to do to stop us? Physical violence, unlawful restraint, what was it going to be?
Though he wasn't happy, Mr. Stanberry said not a word though the look on his face clearly indicated displeasure with our unspoken demands to accompany him.
Once we were outside Dad said for us to go directly home, that he'd meet us there, so we took off after he drove off.
Since we had no book bags or other belongings we made a pact to meet down at the bottom of the hill, just before the intersection, daring one another to be the winner, chiding Timmy about his usual slowness.
The little shit, while me and Nathan were heckling him, all in fun of course, he tore out ninety to nothing, leaving my brother and me standing there wondering where he'd learned how to...
Oh nevermind. We couldn't let him beat us, so we tore out. Nathan, being the bikester extraordinaire, quickly had a lead and was chasing Timmy down the hill. When they were about halfway, with me gaining considerable speed, quickly catching up to them, a puff of air was seen escaping from Timmy's front tire, and then he started the sickening wobbling, and then he lost control, fell off the bike and slid until he came to a stop just before hitting a parked car.
Both Nathan and I slid to a stop, jumped off our bikes and headed to Timmy, who was standing there with a grin on his face. Lightheartedly, he said, "I had ya beat."
"Whoa ho, I was catching ya. I'dda left ya in the dust, and you know it." Nathan chided with a serious look on his face.
"I was gonna beat you both! Whoa, that's some wicked road rash, look." I said pointing to his elbow, forearm, and the holes in his pants over his thigh, calf and the side of his butt.
He grabbed hold of his bike, stood there waiting for us. Nathan dismounted as did I. We walked, leading our bikes the rest of the way home. After putting them in the garage we entered the kitchen. Dad was sitting at the dining room table, talking to someone using the house phone. He looked up. Timmy looked like a mess what with his torn clothes, scrapes here and there, and the road rash on his arm. Nathan and I'd been there done that, more than once, more than twice even.
To Dad I said, "We'll take care of him. He's walking, talking, jabbering, and chiding me and Nathan for being slow pokes."
Nathan, smiling, looked at me, clearly ignoring Timmy (with cause, of course). He said to Dad, "Yeah, we'll fix him up. We've been there, done that."
Reluctantly, Dad nodded and said, "Call me, I want to see it."
We headed to Timmy's room. Without hesitation, Timmy stripped down to his skin. The boy definitely had a case of road rash on his butt and hips, shoulder, arms and hands, and even a bit on the side of his head. Even he was astonished by the 'damage' as he called it. It was not and would not be fatal (grin), but he'd definitely be sore for a few days. After assessing everything we took him into the bathroom, cleaned the gravel and dirt away. Once that was finished, he went into the dining room to show dad, who, by then, was finished with the phone call. He took Timmy back into the bathroom where the light was better, applied plenty of antibiotic cream to the rash, went into his bedroom where he fetched a large t-shirt, helped Timmy into it and then told him to leave the wounds open to the air after putting on light gauze bandages.
Seeing that we were okay Dad left for his office after saying he'd be home at his usual time, because he had some meetings to attend to. He called mom's number but was told that she was unavailable, that she was in surgery. He left a message. After giving and receiving hugs he was out the door.
We pretty much goofed off the rest of the morning and afternoon. At about 3:15, Nathan took off, planning to catch Donnie at the intersection, knowing that he was going to be upset since we hadn't been at lunch where we'd met every day.
As expected the dressings on Timmy sores had either fallen off or became soaked through with blood and other body fluids, so I took him into the bathroom, ministered to the rashes by putting on more antibiotic cream and a new set of dressings.
A little while later, Nathan and Donnie entered the house, checked on Timmy, ribbed me a bit then took off for Nathan's bedroom and shut the door behind them.
Knowing that Nathan and Donnie would be tied up for a while (pun intended), Timmy went to his room and got heavily involved in a lively video game. He was kicking ass. I told myself that I'd show him how to ramp up to the next level but left him alone as he was busy with a full-out fire fight with the enemy.
I went to my room, stripped to my gray with white stripes bikini underwear, put on a pair of bright yellow running shorts then headed to the garage, primed the lawnmower and got busy mowing the yard.
The honeysuckle was in full bloom, so I shut the mower down to take a rest, cool off, and enjoy the pleasant smells emanating from the plants which were growing up and over the arbor. After about a 30 minute rest, I got up and finished mowing.
Timmy came out of the house and happily said that he'd successfully beat the game. I told him that if he wanted me to, I'd show him how to switch to the next level up. He was amendable to the suggestion. After putting the mower away I showed him how to use the weed eater. With only minimal help and direction we accomplished the task in short order. We then swept the driveway and sidewalks free of grass clippings, and called it good. I profusely thanked him for his invaluable assistance, to pick him up and make him feel good about himself.
Neither of us really paid any serious attention to the fact that the breeze would occasionally lift the shirt and expose his buns, and other parts south of the border. Quite frankly, on second thought, I wish I would have thought of that method to stay cool since it was very hot and humid that day.
By the time we went into the house, he was happily stoked with the praise and sense of accomplishment.
Because we were both hot, sweaty and covered with dirt and grass clippings. He brushed me off, and when I started brushing him off... that's when we started laughing and carrying on about him being a mooner, and more!
Meanwhile, I stripped down, not wanting to drag the yard stuff through the house. Mom didn't like that, and we didn't like making extra work for her, or for us.
I was seriously boned up. Timmy giggled, grabbed it a couple of times, I called him a pervert, he laughed, I laughed, and then after our 'moment' (moments!) passed we headed into the house, stark naked.
By then all of his bandages had fallen away. He said he was a little sore, on inquiry, however it wasn't all that bad, not really, until he got under the shower spray and liberally applied body soap to those tender areas.
He was jumping around, unable to do anything else because he was stinging so bad. I started cupping water in my hands and splashing it over his sores, being careful to not touch them with my fingers.
That seemed to work out just fine. While he held his arms up, I washed his hair and the rest of his body, including that area south of the border. When I washed his butt he kept pushing as if he wanted my finger inside of his deep, dark cavern. Thinking no harm would come from a bit of finger action, I accommodated his unspoken request.
Once both my index and fuck fingers were fully inserted he quickly pulled off and away, but then he grabbed my dick, which was still hard, and before I could react he had my dick deep inside. He pushed me into the corner then began undulating and squeezing and... everything caused me to lose control of my body, and then it happened, I jettisoned and filled him to capacity.
When I came down I realized that I had my hands around his waist in a grip-lock tight hold, and my hips were still moving in a copulation motion. Meanwhile, he grabbed his member and began frantically doing what was necessary to ascend to that magical planet far past the sun. His breathing began to be ragged, deep, panting and then he caught a breath and held it while splashing the shower door with his seed. He popped so hard that my still erect member was pushed to the wayside.
When he returned to planet Earth, we just stood there letting the water cascade over our bodies until we fully recovered, and deflated.
While we were drying off, I got to thinking about Skeeter, the dude I loved with all my heart and soul, my soul mate. While I didn't think he would mind, not really, I still felt that I'd broken my promise to him. I debated whether or not to tell him about my indiscretion. Doing the right thing, that is to tell him, won out. I mean, we decided to not keep secrets between us, after all.
After blow drying Timmy's hair, and applying the bandages to his scrapes we each took off for our rooms to get dressed. I put on a pair of cargo shorts and a light blue tank top shirt, sat down at the computer and wrote Skeeter a short email:
Hey lover boy,
I wish you were here. I miss you so VERY, VERY much. I love everything about you and will forever and ever!
I'll talk to ya later.
Just as I was about to press the SEND key mom walked into my room. We hugged deeply then she stepped back and announced it was time to begin dinner preparations, and that she wanted me to make the infamous cheese cake I was so well known for in our home.
After sending off the email to Skeeter, I headed into the kitchen to join mom.
*** To be continued
I want to thank Joe Writer Man for allowing me to edit this story.
Of course, I have already fallen under the spell of the guys, and I suspect that things are about to get pretty serious rather quickly.
It is wonderful to have a family that loves you and stands up for you, no matter what!
As the story unfolds, I expect to have more to say, and those of you who have seen my comments in other stories, I am sure you will find that I do have opinions.
Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher
Thank you, Darryl. And, yes, your opinions are valued and welcomed, as always.
I'm glad to see Joey toning down his ways of dealing with challenges, though I do certainly understand his initial thought processes toward those who mess with his family. I do, truly, understand where his heart is.
Joe Writer Man
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