The Rainboy’s Family –  Chapter Six: Some People can Change, others can’t

BY RUWEN ROUHS


Intro

“Sure, you are right Dad! Some people can change their ways, others can’t they don’t even try.” Adam told Broder at breakfast. “Remember the Judges, remember Gerry and Jeff.” “You are right, Adam, Gerry changed from a dark minded teen to a responsible, reliable one, even to a lovable one. Now he is even caring for the younger students in school, becoming their guardian angel.” “But Jeff? He still walks his dark ways. His mind is dark like his clothes. He is full of hate for the one not fitting into his view of the world. He hates liberals, Afro-Americans, Latins you name whom. He tries to make their live miserable.” Adam sighted disillusioned.

“This reminds me of the fable of the Wolfe and the Lamb! Have you heard about it? It’s an Aesopian fable!” Broder commented. Should I tell you the fable my mother told be as a small boy. He didn’t even wait for Adam’s nod of approval:

Once upon a time, a baby lamb was thirsty. It scampered down to the creek and poked it’s sweat mouth into the clear water to refresh itself. At the same time a big ole wolf quenched its thirst on the other bank of the creek.

“Why do you dare to muddy my water!” the wolf growled angry. “That’s not possible,” the lamb replied shyly, “because you are standing upstream and the water is flowing downstream.” “Don’t contradict!” the wolf growled, “Remember last year you told everyone I am overbearing and conceited!” “That just can’t be! Last year I wasn’t even born!” the lamb bleated meekly. “Then it was your brother!” the wolf grumbled. “But I don’t have one!” the lamb responded. “Then it was your father or mother or your uncle or just another sheep! One of them just slandered me!” And with a big jump he crossed to the other bank, caught the innocent lamb and devoured it.

“You sure are right Dad and the lesson is clear, the stronger one always comes upon a reason to have his will!”

*.*.*

Events remembered by Adam, have the heading ‘ADAM’, those remembered by Broder, are headed ‘BRODER’:.

BRODER:

About four weeks later the next Jugger tournament came around. Broder and Dec met Gerry the first time after his breakdown in the park. He had changed. Now his appearance didn’t resemble the “Judge McTighe”, they both knew from the video clips at all. No black attire, no worker boots with white bootlaces, Gerry looked like a college boy. “How is your father?” “I have conciliated with him! We are fine! Can you imagine, he even allows me to drive his precious Jeep, the car he bought in high school!” “And your mother? How is she?” “We patched up also. Now she is proud, especially after I joined the anti-aggression group at school. At first, she didn’t believe me, when I told the younger student asked me for help with their problems. But when I got calls, I should come and help to settle disputes, she started to believe me.”

“What’s about your friend Jeff?” Dec asked. Gerry’s face turned indifferent. But then he shrugged his shoulders, “We aren’t friends anymore. He is calling me sissy now.” Then his face turned crimson, “He calls me queer, he calls me gay, he calls me fairy!” “What’s wrong about being gay? Broder asked, clasping Dec’s waist. “You know we are a couple, don’t you?” Gerry turned red, “Wouldn’t have guessed. You don’t look like …” he hesitated, “…you just look like my father!” Then Dec admitted, “Just six years ago I thought like you and now!” he kissed Broder. “However, I get you. Being called gay or queer in school would have probably given me a creep in school too!”

A little later they saw Gerry horsing with Zach and the other boys from the junior high soccer team. They used the spare weapons of the Weird Varans to stage their own game on the grassland beside the Jugger ground. “Gerry is enjoying himself teaching the younger boys and they seem to like his rough gaming!” Border commented on Gerry’s action. “He really took a turn around!”

In the early evening after the game, Dec got a call to report on the police headquarter. Arriving back home shortly before midnight, he gave a short sketch of the police operation. “White supremacists had organized a raid on a gay bar outside of Dartsborough. They came on motorcycles circled the remote bar several times, then threw Molotov-cocktails through the front door and the windows and vanished in the night. Luckily the bar owner had fire extinguishers handy and nobody got hurt.” When Broder asked, “Neither the owner nor one of the visitors did recognize one of the attackers, I am right?” “No! I mean yes!” was Dec’s answer, “There were about 10 to 12 motorbikes involved in the incident. We tried to get a helicopter to take up the chase. But it was too late.” “Didn’t even one the visitors of the bar venture a guess about the attackers?” Broder asked concerned. “Sure, they did, but having a bike and wearing a neo-Nazi outfit isn’t enough to warrant an arrest for a suspect.” “The neo-Nazis communicate by internet. Did you check on Facebook if they agreed to the raid?” “In vain, however they are using their special communication platforms. But we didn’t find any clues to the raid on the site of the Atomwaffen division nor on other sites. However, when I connected to iFunny, there were the clips of the Judges uploaded and later I also found a photo of Jeff and Gerry. Gerry’s face however was crossed out and labeled TRAITOR in capital letters!”

At breakfast next morning Adam was eager to learn about Dec’s police operation of last night. “It was about some neo-Nazi’s harassing people in a gay bar. You can read about in the newspaper today.” Dec answered, not allowed to spill police information to the public. However, he avoided to mention his findings on iFunny, because he didn’t want to alarm Adam. Instead he decided to ask Adam to keep an eye on Gerry. Surprised Adam asked back, “Was Gerry involved in the raid? I thought he has sworn off the supremacist’s attitudes, hunting gays, Afro-Americans, Jews and other non lily-white citizens.” “Sure he did, but keep tabs on him. As far I know Judge Cal, his former friend, may be involved in asocial actions.” “I will! Tomorrow after classes we have a meet. All Juggers are supposed to come and as I know Gerry he will too, even if he not a team member of the Weird Varans by now.”

*.*.*

ADAM:

The evening before Adam had eagerly waited for call of Aaron, Zach’s friend and the playmaker of the junior high soccer team. He and the other eight-graders loved to watch the Weird Varans practicing, on the one hand as they were fascinated by the game and on the other as it was the opportunity to practice with the weapons of the Juggers and if one of the regular teammates was absent, substitute for the missing team member.

Aaron was the only one of the soccer team living slightly outside the city limits in a settlement of small houses, occupied mostly by Afro-Americans and Latinos. Usually he took the bus for the ride home but today he had used his older brother’s bicycle to ride the Jugger ground as the next day was a Sunday. On his way home he had to cross nearly the whole town which was dangerous because of the evening rush hour.

As the evening broke and moreover, as dark clouds began to obscure the sunlight Adam got nervous that something may have happened to Aaron. Just when he was about to call Aaron parents the phone rang, and he was on the line. “Hi, it’s me Aaron. I am with Gerry.” he announced proudly. “Going back home I got a flat tire. Luckily Gerry came along with his old Jeep and offered me a ride.” “Gerry? I didn’t know he cared for you?” Adam asked surprised, remembering Gerry’s supremacist attitude only a month before. “I didn’t know either, but I think he is liking me.” he snickered, “He even paid for the patches I needed and offered to help me mend the tube.” Taking a deep breath he spilled more news. “Gerry will take me for a ride to the Sky Eye tomorrow and invited me to stay at his house for the weekend!” Then there seemed to be a short scuffle for the receiver and another voice announced, “Hi, that’s me, Gerry. Aaron can’t stop blabbing out the news. I had to stop him. It’s supper-time and my stomach is rumbling. Night Adam! Tell you more at school!” Then Aaron’s voice was back again, “Night Adam, greetings to Zach and Vic and your two fathers.”

On Monday after school Gerry told Adam everything that had happened over the weekend. Seeing the junior student happy like a lark made Adam proud, finally it was his empathy that triggered the change in the former “Judge”. He could hardly interrupt Gerry’s flow of speech.

This is what Adam remembered of Gerry’s report:

“On his way home Gerry had decided to take a turn through the center of his home town Dartsborough along the main street lined by old lime trees. Looking around for an ice cream parlor to quench his fancy for something sweet he drove slowly enjoying the mild air. Waiting for the green at an intersection he saw a young teen pushing his bicycle further down the street. Because of the swagger of the teen and the color of his skin he immediately recognized Aaron. Accelerating his old Jeep at green to the top, he crossed the intersection and then slowed down to waking space. He neglected the honking of the cars protesting against the sudden slowing down of his Jeep Gerry leaned over shouting happily, “Hi Aaron! What’s on? Enjoying the evening?”

Surprised Aaron turned his head and a slight chill run down his spine. He recognized the driver. It was Gerry! He knew of his past. He had witnessed his sudden change from one of the darkly dressed “Judges” to a stylish dressed “teen idol” known for his mediating activities in school. As an Afro-American he still was not fully convinced about Gerry’s changes. “Ah! That’s you Gerry!” Eyeing him uneasy, “Thanks, I am fine.” Then, however he decided to provide more information, “Mishap!” pointing at the front tire of the bike, “I got a flat front tire! Have to push my bicycle home! Can’t patch it up. Someone stole my repair kit!”

Meanwhile Gerry had jumped out of his Jeep, looked up to the sky, “It’s getting dark. I’ll help you!” Looking uneasy up to the big teen, “Really?” Aaron asked not believing his ears. “First I have to walk to the bicycle shop and get a new repair kit and then patch the tire. That’s needs some time. But I have to, if not, my brother will never ever let me borrow his bike again.”

The wheels in Gerry’s head were rattling. Since the first time he had watched Aaron playing soccer with Zach and the other boys from the junior high he had developed a crash for the young teen with a body smooth like a panther. However, he had never dared to approach him, even more ask him for a date, because for one he was unsure about his own sexuality and secondly because being openly gay was still a problem in Dartsborough. Putting away his concerns and overcoming his inborn shyness, he put forward to his own surprise, “No problem. Let’s put the bike in the back, ride to the shop and fix the tire.” When Aaron looked surprised, Gerry added with a grin, “I am free. I wanted to go to the ice cream parlor, but that can wait. I get you to the shop and help patch up the tire.” Looking bashfully to the ground he uttered his actual wants, “Provided you join me later at the ice cream parlor, please!”

Aaron, staggered by the offer, replied warily, “I would like to, but I don’t even know if I have enough money on me to pay for the repair kit. You may only waste your time.” “No problem Aaron.” Wiping away the younger teen’s concern, “I have enough money for ice cream and to pay for the kit. I got my monthly allowance already. Let us put the bike in the back of my car and then you jump in!” Now Aaron smiled like the cheerful guy he was from nature, “You really would do this for me, Gerry? My guardian angel has dialed you for sure. But I will pay you back next month!” At the bike shop Gerry paid the repair kit and then decided, “Let me drive you home at first. It’s getting dark and you can mend the tire tomorrow. Then I’ll take you out!”

During the drive to his parents’ home in the suburbs, Aaron grilled Gerry with questions about the Jeep. “It’s my father’s favorite car. It’s an original Jeep CJ-7. It’s his first car. He bought it used. It’s more than 30 years old. He values it like a diamond. When I turned from a ….” he hesitated a second, “….turned my life, he allowed me to drive it!” he smiled at Aaron, contemplating if he could ruffle Aaron’s hair. But he decided against, “It’s a great car, kind of slow but it climbs hills like a mountain goat.” Noticing Aaron’s smile, he made use of the opportunity, “Would you like to go to the mountains with me, visit my favorite place up there, the Sky Eye?” When Aaron smiled back, he jumped on the occasion. “Tomorrow?” Gerry doing the thing properly. “It’s a holiday. We start very early and I show you that place, you will like it too!” As Aaron hesitated a moment, Gerry extended his invitation. “I pick you up at you place!” Then his mind began rattling again and he decided to use the unique opportunity for a date with his dream-boy, “Better! You come with me tonight and sleep over at my place. This way we can start at 6 in the morning without disturbing your parents!”

*.*.*

 

The two-story house of Adam’s parent was small. As soon as Gerry stopped his car in the driveway Aaron’s mother was already at the doorsteps looking for her boy. Even before Gerry could park his car properly, she was already at the passenger door, “What happened, Aaron? Did you have an accident? Are you OK? I was so worried!” Aaron tried to calm her down, “Nothing bad Mom, just a flat tire.” Now she began to eye Aaron’s driver. Not knowing where to put him, “You picked up my boy Aaron?” looking him over and over, “Are you friends? He never told me one of a friend with a car!” Pondering the situation further, “You must be in high school already, if you got a driver license already. From where do you know my boy and why did you take him home?” Gerry got nervous, because he wasn’t willing to disclose his affection for the younger teen, but Aaron saved him the answer, “He is in the same high school as Zach’s brother Vic and he is a Jugger. We know each other from the games. He is also acting as referee. That’s why we are friends.”

Invited inside, Aaron showed Gerry around. The eat-in-kitchen took nearly half of the ground floor and left only room for small living room and an office. Pulling him up the steep stairway, Aaron dragged him to his bedroom. Actually, it wasn’t his bed room at all, because he had to share it with his elder brothers. Pointing to a bunk bed, “I have to sleep on the lower bunk and get all the farts!” Chuckling Gerry mocked him, “Farts aren’t fatal, but you have my deepest condolence!” Then his mind started rattling again. Aaron’s mother seemed to be nice. Should he be keen enough to ask her to allow Aaron to sleep over at his place and to hike to the Sky Eye tomorrow? He had to, if he didn’t want to lose the opportunity. Back in the kitchen he tried to make the politest face possible, “Madam, would you mind if I take Aaron for a hike into the mountains tomorrow? He would like to join and furthermore I could show him the qualities of my father’s old Jeep.”

Gerry was still waiting for an answer when Aaron’s father showed up. “Who’s that car? Yours young man? One of my elder school mates had one like this in high school, same color, same model. He and my cousin Marv did a lot of fooling around with that vehicle, like drag races on country roads or dating every girl taking it up with rascals like these two.” The he grinned broadly, “The car never won a race it was just too slow! However, I can’t tell you about the girls!” While Aaron’s mother wagged a finger to her husband, Gerry took the opportunity of the friendly banter, “That car belongs to my father. It’s his one and only! When he allowed me to use it, I had to swear not to wreck it or I will be disowned.”

The using the situation he asked with his best puppy face, “Do you mind Sir, if I take Aaron on a hike into the mountains tomorrow. It’s a holiday and I could show him car’s climbing capabilities. Please! I would like to take Aaron along and he sure would like to come along. Do you mind, Sir?” Then he turned to Aaron’s mother looking seriously, “I promise Madam, I will go slow, drive cautiously and bring him back unharmed!” After Aaron’s father had nodded his approval, he dared to ask, “We have to start at 6 in the morning. I would like to take Aaron along to night. He can use our guest room; my parents don’t mind!” When they didn’t answer immediately, he added, “Here is our phone number. Please call my mother and ask. But I have to tell her before about my plans for tomorrow.”

*.*.*

 

Later at Gerry’s home his mother was up to a big surprise. She had expected her son to bring along a junior or another high school student around his age, but the teen hiding anxiously behind him looked like a much younger and furthermore, the lanky teen was black, an Afro-American. She still used the term “black” without thinking, not following the rules of political correctness, because she was used to it since childhood. After a second look however, she hugged Aaron and stated, “So you will be my son’s hiking companion tomorrow! And our name is?” “It’s Aaron Young, Miss.” mastering his shyness, “I really like to go to the Sky Eye with Gerry, if you don’t mind.”

Dinner was already served, and Gerry’s father Dan was waiting for the boys to arrive. Setting eyes on Aaron he closed his eyes in surprise and finally declared, “If I were 20 years younger, I would be convinced my best buddy Marvin had just walked in, his stomach growling and ready to devour all the food my mother had prepared! God in heaven BOY, let me have closer look! You just walk like Marvin; you look exactly like him. You even smile like him when he was self-conscious. For heaven sake BOY, are you the son of Marvin Young, my best buddy in high school?” Then Dan went over to Aaron! “I know this just can’t be! We have lost track from another for more than 10 years!” Taking a deep breath, “You could be his son however! Is your father Marvin Young?”

“Marvin? No! My father is Cyrus Young. However, he had a cousin called Marvin, about two or three years his major.” “What happened to him, to Marv? Where is he?” Aaron face turned sad, “He was killed in the Iranian War! I hardly know him, but my dad venerates him!” A shadow darkened Dan’s face, “Dead? So, we never can meet again.” His eyes moistened and a timid smile crossed his face, “I am happy you and Gerry are friends!”

When Olivia seemed to object, he began to recall submerged memories, “Marv and I were best buddies since preschool. We had sleep overs nearly every weekend! We dated with girls from our school since junior high! After I got my Jeep at sixteen we dated girls all over the county and in special nights we did meet to drag race with our classmates!” “Cyrus told us about the drag races and that you never had a chance against big cars, like the Mustangs.” Gerry mocked his father, “Sure. But that was only at good weather, in rain and snow we outraced the tuned-up cars!” The bantering dispelled the dark clouds and Dan entertained everyone with stories about long gone times.

*.*.*

 

Gerry woke up around five thirty. Something was different in his queen-sized bed. For the first moment he didn’t trust his eyes. Aaron was sleeping curled up like a baby at the foot of the bed. Slipping out of the bed as silent as a mouse he took his clothes to the bath room, took a shower, dressed up and went to the kitchen to prepare breakfast. Attracted by the aroma of the coffee his father turned up with a smile on his face. “I wanted to wake you up but when I looked into your room, I saw Aaron at the foot of your bed. Did you sleep together?” Gerry’s face turned crimson, “I guess so. I didn’t even know that Aaron was in my bed till I woke up.” Then he hesitated, “Believe me Dad, we didn’t do anything improper.” “It’s okay son. Marvin and I always slept together, we mostly spooned.” He gave Gerry a conspiratorial wink, “We liked it! But now it’s time to haul your friend out of bed. Hurry up!” Two minutes later Gerry came bolting down the staircase carrying the grinning Aaron piggyback. “He didn’t want to come down undressed; therefore, I had to force him!” While Olivia observed the childish display reluctantly, Dan just grinned, “Times have changed! Marvin was bigger and he had to carry me piggyback!”

For Gerry the drive up to the Sky Eye passed faster than ever before. He couldn’t believe it. Going up with Jeff disguised as “The Judges” had always been painstaking compared to the ride today. Being a “Judge” had always been an effort, but being in love was like sailing the sky like an eagle, weightless, trouble free. Was it the same for Aaron? Aaron was three years his junior. Did he have the same feelings? He didn’t know. He didn’t want to ask. He just had to hope! Deep inside he was convinced Aaron shared the reciprocal affection. Coming to a stop at the last crossroad before the mountain lake he looked over to Aaron. His friend was looking happy. He was singing along with local radio station and when he felt his big friend looking at him, he turned his beaming face to him, singing along with Troy Sivan:

‘Cause you’re safe like spring time
Short days, long nights, boy
Tell me all the ways to love you
‘Cause you taste like Lucky Strikes
You drag, I light, boy
Tell me all the ways to love you   .

Gerry smiling relieved and happy, crossed the intersection and turned into the small sandy trail leading to Sky Eye.

The next hours, while the sun rays licked off the dew from the grass and reed, they spend exploring the nooks and crannies along the small lake, spied the American bittern hiding in the reeds, the grebes diving for fishes, the mallards straining the water for water fleas and the trout jumping for flies. Around ten, when the dew had tried off, Gerry spread out an old quilt for a second breakfast. Enjoying warm sausages, and potato salad with some Mountain Dew, both got tired. Stowing away to leftovers in the Jeep, they decided for a rest. Spooning like Dan and Marv had, they fell asleep, waking up around noon.

Aaron tested the water temperature, finding it agreeable he shed his clothes and jumped bare-skinned into the water. Following suit Gerry chased him till both were blue with cold, Gerry at least turned blue while Aaron’s skin got grayish. Still shivering with cold they left the Sky Eye, got dressed and arrived in Dartsborough in the early evening.

*.*.*

On the way back, they didn’t talk a lot just listened to music and hang over their dreams. Gerry was still insecure, not about his feelings for Aaron, however about the direction their relation should take in the future. In Aaron head and heart fought each other. His heart said Gerry loves him and I love him also, his head however said Gerry as a “Judge” was racist. Can a racist change and accept all human beings are equal?

Driving down the winding roads from the Sky Eye to Dartsborough, Gerry decided to confess to Aaron, “I like you since the first time I saw you playing soccer with Zach, Lilek and the others in the park. I dreamed becoming your friend, but at the same time I hated myself, because I had fallen for a black skinned boy. The more often I saw you, the more I loved you and the more I hated myself because of this. Then came the night I broke down and Adam helped me, they all helped me to get the turnaround, Adam, Vic, Broder, Dec and Tiger. From that night on my life changed, my self-hate faded and my love for you grew. And now? Tell me what to do, Lord, tell me! Then he remembered a song by Calum Scott:

If it’s me
And if it’s you
And if our love is wrong
Then I don’t ever wanna be right
I don’t ever wanna be right

Aaron stayed silent for the rest of the drive to Gerry’s house. Then, just before leaving the Jeep, he decided to put forward the question that needed answer, “You want us become boyfriends, Gerry? You sure?” When Gerry didn’t respond immediately but continued to stare through the windshield, Aaron decided to leave. Suddenly waking up like out of a deep dream, Gerry put his arm around his shoulder, pulled him close and kissed him, “We have to tell my parents, because I want you to move into the guest room, permanently!” When Aaron got big eyes, Gerry smiled, “I would like it! The room was initially reserved for the brother I never got. Now I got you and it will be yours and more than that! We are boyfriends!”

*.*.*

 

In the morning after the boys had left, Dan had called up Cyrus. In a nearly endless conversation, they revived old times. Cyrus and Marv had really been cousins and despite Cyrus’s physique had been completely different. Aaron had turned out like his cousin. Both fathers decided to meet next Saturday for a great reunion at Dan’s.

As soon as Gerry heard the news, he decided to dare it all, “Dad,” he asked with hoarse voice, “it’s only six days till then.” heaving deeply, “Can Aaron stay here?” Taking all his courage together he could master, “I want him to move into the guest room. Permanently! Remember you built it for my brother. We are best buddies now and b..b……..brothers!” Dan didn’t trust his ears for a moment then asked back, “Do you mean best buddies, brothers or do you mean boyfriends?” Gerry’s heart sank in the pants and his face turned crimson. However, when his father smiled, he knew he had won, “I’m in love with Aaron and he likes me more than anybody else. On Saturday will be the time to announce our friendship to his family and to our friends.”

*.*.*

“Did you get Gerry’s invitation?” Zach entered brother’s room without knocking while Vic and Adam concentrated on the assignment in biology. “What? I haven’t checked the mails yet, you twerp! Decent brother’s knock on the door before they enter!” “I eavesdropped on you outside and it didn’t sound you are doing ‘stuff!” Grinning Adam turned to Zach, “That doesn’t mean we are not making out! You can’t judge from your and Lilek standards. Everyone in the neighborhood hears it when you are making out.” Sticking his tongue out Zach showed them his smartphone:

Big Party at Martins!
On Saturday, at 14 o’clock flat!
All Members of Juggers and Soccer Team are expected to attend!
No excuse accepted!
Aaron and Gerry

“The rumor about the invitation and its possible background made it like a wild fire through the both schools. The Juggers in the high school as well as the soccer player in the junior high were excited. But other students looked at the development with a shake of the head, others didn’t care, still others denounced it, while Judge Cal, known to the other students by the name Jeff Waller, had a special view.

*.*.*

 

BRODER:

Adam could hardly wait for Broder to come home from his job at the pWpS-company (pure Water pure Soil). The news was too exciting to keep to him. Broder had hardly entered the house when Adam let him in into the secret, “Dad!” it bubbled out of him, “Dad! Can’t you believe it? Aaron and Gerry are boyfriends now!” When Broder looked in disbelieve, he ascertained, “Sure! Believe me, Dad! Even Gerry’s parents approved it! Aaron has moved already in with Gerry!” “You are joking, do you?” “No Dad. Gerry was late to our Jugger meeting and when he came, I knew something had happened. He didn’t come alone like usual. Aaron was along. Imagine, both dressed up in a white button-down shirt and dark blue slacks. They looked like brothers, like a black and a white brother. Both looked happy and at the same time self-conscious and determined. A beaming Gerry announced: “Next Friday there will be a big party in our house, you all of you are invited! My father celebrates the reunion with his best friend’s cousin and I and Aaron will announce ” hesitantly looking at Aaron, who finished proudly, “our LOVE!” When everyone looked like dumbfounded, Gerry took Aaron’s hand, “We are boyfriends now!” Pete and True were the first ones to recover. They moved over to the couple and while Pete took Gerry in a bear hug, True, rising to his toes, kissed Aaron on both cheeks and announced, “Welcome in the RainBoy’s Family!”

Around nine in the evening a call arrived at Sparrow Lane 15. While Adam and Vic were absorbed in an assignment for literature, Broder took the receiver. A breathless voice asked, “Can you get me Adam! It’s urgent!” “Who is calling?” “It’s I, it’s Aaron. Please Broder! Gerry is missing!” Broder put on the speaker and went to Adam’s room. “Adam! Adam! Gerry seems to be missing!” Aaron’s anxious voice sounded over the receiver, “He wanted to pick me up at 8 at my father’s home. When he didn’t show up, I called his number, but got no answer. Therefore, I pedaled over to his house. He wasn’t there. Neither Dan nor Olivia did know where he was, but his Jeep was in front of the house.” His voice became hoarse and more urgent, “He even left his smartphone behind. That’s very unusual. Then Dan, his father, checked the last messages. There was one at WhatsApp. A message by someone named Judge Cal. It just said: Meet you in front of your house! I am waitingIt’s urgent!” after a deep sigh he added, “The message was timed at 7.45. And now it’s close to 9!”

“Go slow Aaron! Did you say he left without his phone and the Jeep?” Broder asked again. “Yes, sure he did! The car is there. We looked all around the house and there was no trace of Gerry. That’s unusual.” He swallowed in panic. “We are sure he drove away with somebody. Or somebody took him away. Maybe he was abducted! He was kidnapped, I am sure!” With a resiged voice he added, “Neither Olivia nor Dan know someone named Judge Cal.”

Now Adam, Vic and Broder got nervous too. Something seemed to be wrong, very wrong. “We know! His former friend Jeff called himself Judge Cal!” Adam engaged in the conversation, “F…k, that does not sound good! Not at all!” Over thinking the information, Vic asked, “You know of a place Gerry likes to hang around?” “I just know of one, it’s the lake up in the mountains, it the Sky Eye!” Broder dismissed this information. “It’s sure not the place we should look for, it’s already too dark to drive up into the mountains and it would take rather long.” He repeated his question, “Some place closer by?” “No! Definitely No!” was Aaron’s desperate answer. Gerry’s parents, who were listening to the exchange, added, “No, not up there. It must be closer to town. But where?” Looking to Vic and Broder, Adam dared a guess, “It could be the bridge in the park.” Vic nodding his approval, “We should try this place!”

Meanwhile Broder took up his cell phone to place a call to Dec at the police station, “Hi Dec, Gerry is missing! It looks as if he was abducted by Judge Cal, his former buddy Jeff Waller. The nearest place to look for would be the bridge in the park. Can you help us with a patrol car?” About 10 minutes later Broder, Adam and Vic came sprinting to the bridge from the northern end of the park, while Dec and another officer were driving with their patrol car along the trail in the park to the bridge from the south. It was already dark and there was no noise coming from the bridge. When Dec directed the searchlight to the bridge, it was empty. Not knowing what to do, they decided to drive to Gerry’s parents, while Dec informed the police department about the suspected kidnapping.

                                   *.*.*

With siren wailing and blue light flashing Dec cut his way through the dark to the house of Gerry’s parents. Broder followed closely disregarding the allowed speed limit. Outside the door Dan and Aaron were waiting, while Olivia waited inside at the phone for incoming calls. Minutes passed and nothing happened. Then more police cars arrived, packed with recording devices to intercept and follow up incoming calls. Suddenly Aaron’s old cell buzzed, and a message popped up. “Nigger! Want to see your bitch a last time? Hurry up, be at 36°25’12”N / 81°57’10”W at midnight flat. No Police, no Parents, no Friends or Gerry is dead!”

The message was clear however neither Aaron, nor Dan and Olivia, nor the others could believe this message! It was too horrible. “Where is that place?” Dan asked. At the first moment nobody could figure it out, but Dec soon came up with the solution. “The coordinates pointed to a certain place, but what place?” Dec’s partner looked up the coordinates and after some research he knew it. “It’s a place east of town up in the Cherokee National Forest. I know that place. It’s a defunct quarry. We used it for climbing exercises. It’s about an hour drive up there. There is a derelict shelter we used for a base camp. My guess be we will find Gerry there.”

Everyone paused for a moment then Dan decided, “Let’s get there. I’ll take my old jeep, that’s the car best fitted for the trip. You stay back Aaron! That’s a task for a father!” “No! No! No! I go! I have to go!” Aaron protested violently! “Gerry is my boyfriend! I have to free Gerry!” Now the Chief of the police stepped in, “Much too dangerous! We need a helicopter to investigate the site and enough reinforcement to bottle up the place.” “It’s close to a quarter to eleven. It’s not enough time to get a heli and enforcement up there!” Dec objected. “We have to start now!”

The rescue quad started. Dec and his partner Logan in front with the siren and the blue light of the patrol car flashing, followed by Dan with Aaron in the Jeep, then Broder, Adam and Vic in Broder’s old pick up, the rearguard constituted of three more police cars. As soon as the squad reached the small, unused road leading through the wood to the quarry the blue lights were switched of and the sirens felt silent. In low gear and as quiet as possible and dimmed headlights the cars drove through the dark and after about a quarter of a mile the headlights were turned off. Close to the quarry they stopped the cars and walked on by foot.

The sky was cloudy, and the half-moon provided only enough light to feel the way through the dark without tripping too often. A quarter of a mile in front of the entrance to the quarry the group spilt up. A smaller group headed by Dec’s partner Logan decided to climb the plateau above the quarry. From there they wanted to take a small trail leading into the stone pit to get into the back of the hijackers. The other group, headed by Dec, went straight for the entrance of the quarry. Including Dan, Aaron and Broder’s boys this group comprised 12 members, enough to cordon of the approach of the quarry. The policemen were equipped with night vision devices, search lights, armed with sniper rifles and tear gas grenades besides their usual hand guns. The civilians had no special equipment. Aaron in anticipation of his task had changed his white T-shirt to a black one and had taken with him the jackknife Gerry had been hiding in his drawer.

Using the night scopes Dec and his partners where able to locate the derelict shelter, two SUVs and slightly behind the shelter, three people gathered by a heap of wooden beams. From the distance they were able to hear them talking. However, neither Dec nor one of the others could understand the conversation. The three seemed to be smoking. The smell drifting along with the night wind coming down the mountains revealed that they cheered themselves up with weed.

Studying the group carefully, Dec decided that neither Jeff nor Gerry were part of it. Then out of the nothing the rescue squad was alarmed by heavy swearing. The curses and verbal assaults came from the shelter and seemed to be directed to Gerry as they clearly discerned the words “traitor”, “dishonor of our race”, “nigger whore” “That’s the speech of racists, of Nazis and white supremacists!” Dec breathed to Dan, who was beside him. Dan informed Dec, “It is Jeff’s voice. It’s for sure! I know his voice. He often enough was at our home.” After a moment he enquired worried, “What can we do? Attack them? We  outnumber these kidnappers!” “Sure, it looks like that, but we do not know how many of them are in the shed. Is it only Jeff and Gerry or are there more people inside? We have to take one step at a time.”

Aaron, hunkered down besides Dan, decided it was time for action. Soft-footed like a panther he left the group and felt his way through the dark along the periphery of the quarry. Arriving without being discovered on line with the old shelter, he knew the more difficult stretch to it was still ahead. He chooses the straight line to approach the shelter, he used every available cover. He was lucky. The three men at the pile of wood were talking too animated to watch out for danger and probably were too high from the weed as well

Closing in, he could now clearly could understand the accusations Jeff was hurling at Gerry with cracking voice. Aaron was shocked. Jeff denounced his boyfriend as “queer”, “faggot”, “dirty rent boy”, “hustler”, “pimp” and “bitch”. His heart bounded madly, his mouth went dry, he wanted to call out his rage, but he knew he had to be calm, he had to check himself. Thoughtlessness could ruin his intention to free Gerry. He crouched down at the wall of the shelter beneath a small window and started to breathe deeply. Then he rose to his toes to look inside. The room was dark with exception of some squares where the half-moon shining through the dilapidated roof lightened the dusty floor. At first, he couldn’t see Gerry, but after a while he noticed a dark bundle leaning against the wall. It was his boyfriend, hands and feet bound with cable ties. In front of him, Jeff was walking up and down nervously, spilling his wild accusations.

Aaron decided to sneak around the shelter to the entrance on the other side and then to steal into the house as soon as Jeff was diverted by his tirades of hate so much that he didn’t notice him entering. However, then it dawned to him, that he had no means to overwhelm Jeff, no club, no gun, just plain nothing. He had to change his plan, he had to lure Jeff out of the house and down him, with whatever was handy, a big stone or a wooden slat. He proceeded silently along the wall of the shelter at the same time looking out for a feasible object to down Jeff. He found it. It was an arm-long, gnarled, thick branch.

At the entrance Aaron took a fist-sized stone and hurled it through the semi-open door. That did it. Jeff promptly came running out of the entrance and Aaron was able to hit him over the head. However, the hit was not hard enough. Jeff started to scream and fight back. A struggle began and Aaron was losing the fight, while Jeff’s buddies came running.

Dec had watched the scene with the nightscope. Noting the turmoil going on around the shelter and Jeff’s friend approaching he ordered the other police officers to switch on the searchlights and start for the target object. At the same time Dec’s partner Logan with the other officer had arrived at the opposite end of quarry and started rolling up the scene from behind.

Both rescue squads arrived just in time. Jeff and one of his buddies had overwhelmed Aaron, while the other two were about to pull Gerry out of the shelter. The kidnappers gave up, as several warning shots broke the quietness of the night.

*.*.*

ADAM:

On the way home, Gerry told what had happened the evening before. Since ever, at least since grade he and Jeff had been tight friends, they had shared everything, their first PC-games, their first dates and naturally their first sexual experiences after the puberty. Gerry had even adapted to Jeff’s prejudice against liberal ideology and began to despise dissidents against his gentleness. Therefore, the sudden breakup after the incidents at the lake Sky Eye and his following breakdown on the bridge in the park had left Gerry in a sad and troubled condition. Interpreting the unexpected message of Jeff as a means to patch up their former relation, Gerry stepped out of the house and hugged Jeff as they had done time and time before.

Minutes later he recovered from unconsciousness in a fast driving car, his head covered with a dark sack and hands and feet bound. Despite feeling sick and like throwing up, he tried to sit up and tried to shout, when he found out his mouth was duct-taped. Some unknown person sitting beside him pushed him back into the seat and a muffled voice ordered, “Shut up Nigger Lover or do you want another blow on the head. Would you like to risk another shot of M99? You know, this could be your death!” The voice sounded like Jeff’s, but he wasn’t sure.

Gerry didn’t have to decide, because he fell unconscious. When he got real again, he found himself in a dark, cold and drafty room with small windows without panes. His mouth duct-taped, his hands and feet bound, he was helpless leaning against a rough stonewall. The bump on his head was hurting like crazy and a splitting headache nearly made him vomit. His duct-taped mouth prevented to speech or yell for help. Only croaking sounds came from his throat.

He was alone inside the house however he had the feeling; somebody was moving around outside. He listened but then decided the noise was not coming from a man but from debris blowing around by the wind. His watch was still around his arm and the digits seemed to point to midnight, but he could not read the exact time. Looking up to the broken roof he could see clouds moving and up and on a sliver of the moon.

After a small eternity hurried footfalls were coming closer and then he could make out sounds of a man cursing under his breath. Gerry recognized Jeff’s voice immediately. Jeff and his white supremacist friends had abducted him! That was clear now!

Moment later a dark figure pushed through the small door, “Are you awake, traitor?” the well-known voice of Jeff asked. “Now is pay day, traitor! You betrayed me! We have been friends since I can think back! But you betrayed me! You betrayed our honor, the honor of the white race!” Gerry tried to interrupt Jeff’s torrent of words. He tried, but only coarse noises came from his throat. “You are nothing more than a dirty Nigger Whore! Is his dick big enough to bring you pleasure? Did he make your asshole bleed?” Jeff seemed to spit out the words, without taking breath! “But that’s over now!” He seemed to take pleasure in torturing Gerry, “You will look on helplessly when your lover is burning! My friends have already piled up a stake! A big stake with a cross in the centre! And look here!” Jeff took a white robe from a stool in the corner and began to put it on. “You remember the robe? It’s the rope of the KKK, the order of the Ku Klux Klan! You left me and I joined them!” Jeff slipped the white robe over his head and now he looked exactly like a KKK member known from old photos. Staring at Gerry through the small eyeholes in the pointed hood he threatened him, “You will see! Aaron will burn like a torch, a big fat black torch! And I tell you, the image of your burning lover will be imprinted in your mind till the end of your days!” He took a deep breath and stated coldhearted, “That’s my revenge!”

While Jeff was spitting his hate on Gerry, Aaron had arrived at the shelter. He did hear Jeff’s threats but didn’t comprehend their terrible meaning; he just realized the hate in Jeff’s racist, homophobic statements and knew he had to free Gerry!

Gerry, however, didn’t know of Aaron’s arrival, nor did he know about the rescue squat. He listened to Jeff’s hate speech and prayed that Aaron should never arrive at the place. He thought about the best way to talk Jeff out of the intention, he even was willing to offer his own live in exchange to Aaron’s. But his mouth was duct-taped and he only growl like a bear.

In that moment a stone was thrown into the shelter. It didn’t do any damage but alarmed Jeff who sprinted through the door. A yell was heard and then the noises of a fierce fight accentuated by calls for help by Jeff. Then the events came thick and fast. Lights brightened the place outside the shelter, orders were given, “This is the police! Surrender! You are surrounded! Surrender!” Gun shots sounded through the night. And then his father charged into the room and he was free, free after four hours, of agonizing captivity.

Outside they met Broder, Adam and Vic huddled around Aaron. Blood was trickling from his forehead and his chest still was lifting up with exhaustion. “Where is Gerry? Where is he? Is he alive?” “He seems safe and sound! Dan is with him!” Broder held him tight and when he saw Gerry coming out of the shelter, with unsteady gate, Aaron fainted.

*.*.*

Long after midnight they all gathered in the Martin’s home. Olivia was still holding Gerry kneading the deep grooves the cable ties have left in his arms and legs. She was talking animatedly with Aaron’s mother praising her son’s courage. “We couldn’t hold him back and Dan told me he sneaked away to free my son! He proved his love! I am not objecting anymore to Gerry’s choice. They are boyfriends like boyfriends are supposed to be!” “I am glad you are thinking the same way! Cyrus and Aaron’s elder brother are approaching this relationship with skepticism. Aaron is very young!” Amanda hesitated, “And you know, “gay” and “black and white”? Will this work out!” “I don’t care! Dan didn’t care from the beginning! I know only one obligation both our families have to ascertain that their friendship works out.”

*.*.*

AUTHOR’S NOTE:

I would like to express my special thanks to my friends Bart, Brian, Sean and TSL for improving my writing.

Comments, reviews, questions, and complaints are welcomed. Please send them to Ruwen Rouhs.

And I would like to add, thanks for reading.

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