A Collector Series Story
Charles W. Bird
This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely accidental. This story is protected by copyright and may not be reproduced by any means without the express, written permission of the author.
This story is dedicated to Mr. James Richard McClendon, Jr., a longtime resident of Cashmere, Washington and a lifelong friend of the author. Mr. McClendon was murdered in his home in 2012 and the crime remains unsolved.
The elderly man was waiting in the airport waiting area with little patience. John Rufus McKinley was waiting for his Grandson, Captain Richard James McKinley, United States Marine Corps, ret. The telephone call he had received hours earlier infuriated him. The retired Marine Brigadier General was never one to suffer fools and this latest was an insult almost beyond bearing. Richard had called from Atlanta, where he had just been released from the VA Hospital. He said that the TSA inspectors required that he remove his new prosthetic leg and arm and pack them in his luggage before he would be allowed to board the airplane! It was bad enough that his government was sending his beloved Grandson home in pieces, they had to add this final indignity to the boy. He and his wife, Emma, had raised Richard from infancy, their son and his wife were killed by a drunk driver as they were headed to the hospital to have Richard. Their son, Lieutenant James Cardigan McKinley, USMC, was killed instantly, his wife, Mary survived only long enough to deliver Richard.
As he watched the arrival ramp, he spotted Richard being pushed in a wheel chair by a young Navy Petty Officer.
John McKinley spotted his Grandson, Richard, being pushed in his wheel chair by a young Navy Petty Officer. He thought to himself, "Damn, Richie looks good, especially for all he has been through!"
His Grandson, a Marine Captain had been a helicopter pilot in Afghanistan when a shoulder fired rocket slammed into the cockpit. He spent a year in the hospital and another year being fitted with his left leg and arm. At last, he and Emma would have their boy home, this time, for good. He had been able to visit Richie at the VA hospital several times, but Emma could not fly because of her heart, so this was the first time she had seen him since he had departed to the Middle East.
John jumped the line and hugged his Grandson, tears streaming down his old, wrinkled face. Richard hugged his Grandfather just as tightly and shed his own tears, they had always been close and when he got shot down, his Grandfather had flown shuttle back and forth to Germany, where he was being treated.
Richard turned to look at the man pushing his wheelchair, "Gramps, This is Petty Officer Jason Krill, he has helped me all the way from Atlanta. I hope it is OK, I asked him to stay with us. He has no family and no place to go."
John looked at the young man, "Son, you are welcome in our house for as long as you wish, you helped my Grandson and that alone automatically makes you good people!"
The young man replied, "Thank you, Sir, I was the Corpsman on the Captain's 'copter, they told me I had too many holes in me now to continue serving." The old man looked at the two and thought, "Hmmmm, Emma has always thought that maybe Richie might be gay, hell, I don't give a damn, HE IS MY GRANDSON!"
Jason looked at Richard and said, "I'll bet you would be more comfortable if we got you back on your leg and you had your arm to swing around?"…. "Let's go in that Men's Room over there and get you rebuilt!"
John helped the young man unpack Richard's prosthesis' and the two young men headed for the Men's Room. When they returned, John noticed that he had to look close to see that Richard was walking on a prosthetic leg or that his left arm was not his own.
They had left the wheel chair at the airline counter and headed for the baggage terminal. Both men's baggage had already been offloaded and was waiting for them.
John said, "Richie, I brought your truck, I'll go get it and meet you at that door over there." He headed for the parking lot where he had left Richie's brand new Ford F-250 Eddie Bauer Edition Diesel, bright red and freshly washed and waxed!
When he pulled up to the door, Richard said, "Gramps, you had better drive, I don't think I am ready for that yet."
The two young men tossed their bags into the truck bed, Jason hopped into the back seat and Richard sat beside his Grandfather in the front. As they were driving off, John turned and said to Jason, "We have to go over Snoqualmie Pass, too much snow otherwise. It will take us a couple of hours to get to Cashmere, so just lean back and get some rest, BOTH of you."
Both men were exhausted and they were soon both asleep. It had been a difficult and frustrating flight from Atlanta to Seattle and they had to change planes in Salt Lake City.
The attitude of the TSA Officers frustrated them both and Richard was just completely exhausted after the ordeal, Jason was just angry. How could they treat this man so poorly, he had given his country more than he could afford and all they could think of was harassing him!
He didn't know what the future would hold, but he was going to do everything he could to make sure they did it together. He was pretty sure that the old man had suspected their relationship, but it didn't seem to disturb him. He thought, "We shall see what happens when we get to their home."
They stopped at a little roadside café after they had gotten to eastern side of the mountains. John treated them to some clam chowder that Jason would have gladly committed crimes against God and Country for! He even used his bread to wipe out the last dregs from the bowl.
They finally arrived at the McKinley home, Jason's eyes went huge, it wasn't a home, it was a castle! They could see Richard's Grandmother, Emma, watching from the big bay window, as Richard stepped out of the truck, he looked up and saw his Grandmother frantically waving.
They left the luggage in the mud room and Richard rushed into the house to hug the woman who was both Grandmother and Mother to him.
Richard motioned for Jason to come meet his Grandmother, "Grams, this is Jason Krill." Emma looked at her Grandson and raised her eyebrows, "Is he…" Richard said, "Yes, Grams, he is."
Emma hugged Jason and whispered in his ear, "Jason, I will love you like a son, but if you ever hurt Richie, I will hunt you down and you WILL NOT survive it!"
Jason stared at the woman, his face the color of Richard's truck, "Yo…you mean you don't object, that I can stay here?"
Emma replied, "Jason, Richie is all that his Grandfather and I have in this world, there is NOTHING more important to us than his happiness. If you make him happy, then we are happy. Welcome home, son."
Jason was stunned at the acceptance of these two extraordinary people, he could not contain his emotions and started sobbing, Emma wrapped her arms around him as Jason stammered, "My own parents told me to never show my face to them again and you, who don't even know me, not only accept me but give me your precious Grandson!"
It was many minutes before the young man could regain his composure. When he finally gained control of himself, he took Richard's hand and said to the couple, "Sir, M'am, I swear to you and God above, I love Richie with all my heart and soul, he is my alpha and my omega, where he goes, I go, his needs are mine until either of us leave this Earth.
There were damp eyes all around as they sat to the table with fresh coffee. John finally said, "Guys, let's get your luggage up here."
Looking at Emma, he continued, "We are going to put you in the apartment out in the south wing. It is fully furnished and very private. Our housekeeper, Miss Charlotte will have supper ready at 5 pm; that should give you enough time to unwind and get cleaned up."
He helped them carry their luggage to the apartment and then he said directly to Jason, "We are very glad you are here, I am not as old and grumpy as I look. If Richie says you are his, who am I to argue. Be at peace boys, you will get no trouble from me or Emma." He then hugged them both and returned to the main part of the house.
Jason was bewildered by all that had taken place, he asked Richard, "Richie, this house is enormous, just what does your Grandpa do?"
Richard replied, "Well, let's see, Blue Moon Packing Company, Snoqualmie Railroad, McKinley Timber, and McKinley Farms. That is just here, down in Texas and Louisiana there is McKinley Petroleum and, oh, don't forget McKinley Shipping!"
Jason looked like he had been pole axed, "Richie, I had no idea, you told me he was a farmer!" Richie laughed and replied, "Well, I didn't lie!"
The two men embraced and Jason said, "Love, you had better let me help you get cleaned up. Do we dress for dinner here?" Richie said, "Not formally, just slacks and a polo shirt."
Jason helped Richie out of his prothesis' and into the shower, supporting him as he stood on one leg. The two arrived back in the dining room, freshly laundered and shaved.
Emma thought to herself, "My, what a handsome pair!" There was quiet talk around the table as Miss Charlotte served a scrumptious meal of rare prime rib, baked potatoes, green beans and a whipped cream cake for dessert worth committing crimes against God and Country for!
After a dessert drink that John served, Richie said that they were going to make an early night of it, they were both dead tired. Tomorrow they were going to explore Cashmere and the surrounding countryside, if it wasn't snowing too badly.
The young men made their "Good Nights" and headed for their apartment. They were so fatigued; both were asleep almost before their heads hit the pillows!
Emma and John sat up talking, "John, what are your thoughts about all this?"
John replied, "Emma, dearest, we both suspected that Richie was gay, this young man, Jason, seems to be a fine fellow and he is certainly devoted to Richie. Only time will tell, but they must work it out themselves, any interference from us will only be resented."
Emma agreed and, after they had another of John's special dessert drinks, then they, also, went to bed.
The next day was a bit blustery, but the snow was holding off. Richie decided to show the small town of Cashmere to Jason and maybe on down to Wenatchee.
They bundled up against the cold and set off on Richie's truck. They toured all two dozen streets of Cashmere, stopping a little diner that specialized in Southern Pulled BBQ Pork. Jason, being from upstate New York, had never tasted it, he was WOWED!
They drove on down to Wenatchee and poked around the town for a while, before heading back to Cashmere.
Richie was still a little shaky driving, but was managing to keep them on the road. He decided to take the back road out around the Blue Moon Packing plant. There wouldn't be much going on this time of year, but he could show Jason the general layout.
As they drove around the back of the warehouse, Jason noticed movement in a pile of packing crates. He pointed it out to Richie who said, "There shouldn't be anyone here now"
He stopped the truck and Jason jumped out to investigate. Jason dove in between two large crates and then started waving his hand for Richie to join him.
Richie clambered, somewhat unsteadily, over the trash and found Jason holding two young boys. The older boy was crying, "Don't hit me, don't hurt us, we'll leave"
Richie knelt down as best he could and held his hand out to the boys, "Guys, we won't hurt you, what in the world are you doing here. It is too cold to be playing in the snow!"
The boy sniffled and then replied, "We got nowhere to go, our folks left us here last week and we haven't seen them since. Our money ran out and we haven't eaten in two days."
Jason cried, "My God, boys, do you even have heavy coats?" Both boys shook their heads, "NO" Jason looked at Richie, who nodded his head, "Yes". Jason wrapped his arms around both boys and said "Come on, let's get you warm and dry, then we can figure how to help you."
They led the two boys back to the bright red truck, one boy said, "WOW, Mister, are you a fireman?" Richie laughed and said, "No, just a broken Marine!"
They got the boys into the truck and turned the heater up on high as they headed for home. When they arrived, the older of the two boys said, "We can't go in there, we are just dirty road trash. That is too fine a house for the likes of us."
Richie laughed, "You had better not tell my Grams that!"
They took the two boys to their apartment and dug out clean towels for them. Jason volunteered to oversee the shower and make sure they got clean. Richie went up to the main house to tell his Grandparents about the situation.
Emma screamed, "Those poor boys!" She told Richie to get some of his old clothes out of the attic for the boys. She then turned to John and said, "Those boys are going to stay HERE, make it happen!" All John could say was, "Yes, dear!" He was in complete agreement.
Richie returned with some clothes, they would probably be too big for the boys, but it was better than being wrapped in towels! As the boys were getting dressed, Jason pulled Richie aside, "Those boys have been abused, there are bruises and sores all over both their backs! I am pretty sure the smaller boy has a hernia and neither of them have been eating right in a long time!"
The boys came out of the bathroom and stood shyly by the door, as if figuring out if they should run. Richie walked over to them and said, "Boys, Miss Charlotte, our housekeeper, has hot food in the kitchen just for you guys, let's not keep her waiting, OK?"
Hunger overcame fear and the boys nodded agreement. They took the two boys down to the kitchen as Miss Charlotte was dishing out some chicken soup, fresh bread, milk and huge slices of her whipped cream cake.
The boys' eyes got big and they looked at Jason and Richie, both told them to go feed that growly bear under their belts and the boys set to with gusto.
Richie sat down with the two boys and said, "Guys, will you tell us your names?"
The older boy spoke up, "I'm Billy Mathews and he is my brother Carl. I'm 11 and Carl is 7." Jason thought, "Good God, and they were living in those boxes all by themselves?"
Emma peeked into the room and saw the two little boys eating everything in sight." She motioned for Jason to come talk with her. They went into the sitting room and Jason said, "M'am.." Emma interrupted him, "None of that M'am crap, you call me Emma or at least Grams, just like Richie!"
Jason replied, "Yes, m.. eer Grams, these boys have been hurt, I am pretty sure little Carl has an untreated hernia and both boys have been beaten regularly. Neither has eaten right in a long time!"
Emma asked, "Do we need a doctor?" Richie had come into the room, "No way, Grams, Jason is a better medic than most doctors. Let us care for the boys."
Jason spoke up, "That will be ok for now, but we will need a doctor to do something about Carl's hernia sometime in the future." Emma decided, "OK for now, but by Monday we must notify the Sheriff. By that time, those boys will be at HOME HERE!"
She went into the kitchen in her "GRAMS" mode, like all boys, Grandmothers are special and she soon had them laughing and giggling like normal little boys. Like little puppies, their tummies were satisfied and the two boys were becoming drowsy in the warm kitchen so Richie and Jason took them back to their apartment and settled them in the spare bedroom. They were asleep in seconds, curled up, one against the other.
Emma came in and peeked through the partially open doorway, "Who could ever hurt those little darlings, what are we going to do, boys?" Richie looked at his Grandmother, "What do you mean, Grams? They are going to stay right here with Jason and me. I didn't survive that damned Taliban Rocket for no reason!"
The fire in his eyes made Emma smile, "You answered my question, Daddy!"
After Emma left the room, Richie and Jason sat on the couch, talking. Richie said, "I know what I want to do now and with your help, we can make this dream come true." Jason replied, "A Boy's Home?"
Richie said, "Yes, just like what we talked about, a place where homeless boys are safe, fed and can go to school. They are taken care of, their hurts mended and their souls refreshed!" He added, "Will you help me?" Jason laughed, "Richie, I already told Grams that your wants are mine, also. Let's get to work!"
They sat up far into the night discussing alternative plans and, after a short sleep, they were at it again. John and Emma knocked on their door, wanting to see how the little boys were doing. They saw stacks of notes, pencil drawings and lists all over the table.
Emma smiled and said, "You got it all planned out, huh?" Jason and Richie laughed, "Almost, Grams. It's gonna take money, though." John snorted, "Well, I sure can't take it with me, how fast can we start?"
Just then, two little faces peeked around the door. Jason and Emma scooped them up and cuddled them. Jason asked, "Hungry, AGAIN?" Little Carl giggled and replied, "YUP!"
They let the boys relieve their bladders and then carried them into the kitchen, where Miss Charlotte had pecan pancakes, real maple syrup, fresh butter and little pork piggies ready for hungry boys. She included Richie and Jason in that category!
She told Billy and Carl, "If you eat any more, I will have to fry you both up for bacon!" Both boys giggled and ran for their room.
She looked at Richie, "If you and Jason don't want those little guys, I'll take'm!" Jason spoke up, "Sorry Miss Charlotte, they are already taken!"
The boys were playing with some of Richie's childhood toys and John sat down with Richie and Jason, "Let me see those notes and sketches." He looked them over and said, "What about the Old Cattlemen's Hotel?"
Richie thought for a while and said, "Two things, one – we would need to include all the land around it for playgrounds and expansion, then two – it will have to be brought up to code with fire protection, new elevators and all new laundry and heating. But, still, I think it is a good idea and it is an ideal location! Let's do it!"
John said only, "DONE" and walked off whistling to himself.
Jason and Richie looked at each other and both wondering just exactly, "What happened?"
Before the day was out Ken Grimes, John's attorney, was at the house with a basket full of papers to be signed, He looked at Richie and asked, "Is Jason going to be your partner in this?" Richie replied, "Yes and in all other things, also!"
The man raised his eyebrows and thought to himself, "They got more guts than I do!"
He spread the papers out on the table and they started signing. First, a new corporation was created, New Dawn Foundation. Then a trust fund for the foundation at $40,000,000! Jason nearly fainted, but John just grinned. Next came the agreement to purchase the Cattlemen's Hotel from McKinley Properties for $1.00! A Board of Directors was created, Richard James McKinley, CEO; Jason Oscar Krill, Chairman, Emma Lynn McKinley and John Rufus McKinley, Members of the Board of Directors.
Jason's head was swimming, but there was more. Transfer of all assets of McKinley Petroleum Corporation to the New Dawn Foundation!
The last group of papers was a renovation contract to make all additions, upgrades and renovations to meet the Washington State Bureau of Children's Affairs regulations.
When all papers had been signed, the Lawyer handed Richie and Jason two certificates, the top lines said, "CERTIFICATE OF PERMANENT CUSTODY"! Jason had to sit down, he was flooding the room with his tears, Richie was not far behind.
The boys came running out of their room and started to scream, fearing they were going to be turned out again. Emma gathered them and said, "These are good tears, go hug your DADDIES!"
Billy caught on first and he leapt into Richie's lap hollering, "DADDY, DADDY!" Not to be outdone, Little Carl was in Jason's lap shrieking, "DADDY, DADDY!" at the top of his lungs!
The two little boys had to show their Certificates to everyone, even the poor old dog was not spared.
Of course, construction would have to wait for the weather to improve, but everything could be made ready. Jason took Carl to see Dr. Rosenthal at the Clinic, a hernia repair was scheduled for the following Monday. Richie took Billy and got him registered for school and then they took both boys to Wenatchee and tried to buy out the Boy's Section of JC Penny's! When they got home, Emma patiently watched as the boys showed her all their new clothes.
All was not sweetness and light however, there was a certain element in town that was dead set against "two queers" having anything to do with homeless boys. They would rather have the boys die in streets than be "contaminated" by "those queers"!
The preacher at River of Life Evangelical Bible Church thundered Sunday morning against "those HOMO-SEX-UAL-PREDI-TORS" He screamed it on the street corners, in the Post Office and in front of the Sheriff's Office. Most people just laughed at him but Richie and Jason were sufficiently concerned that they started taking the boys to school.
Jason called some Navy buddies of his who lived in San Francisco. They had volunteered to help if Jason would send them plane tickets. The men were there the next day, ten of them came. A couple of them, Old Navy Boatswain's Mates, looked like they had escaped from the San Francisco Zoo – the gorilla cage!
After a couple of run ins with Pastor Jenkins and his bullies, there suddenly was a "CLOSED" sign on the River of Life Church and the harassment ceased. Jason's friends, however, liked Cashmere and they all stayed, got jobs and saw to it Billy and Carl had babysitters!
Winter finally loosened its grip and renovations began at the old Cattlemen's Hotel. The old buildings and storeroom that had been abandoned in the area were cleared.
During the harassment, Richie and Jason had taken to carrying radios on their belts. When construction began, they gave radios to all the foremen on the job.
One afternoon, Richie and Jason were getting ready to go pick up the boys at school when their radios squawked, "New Dawn 1, Construction 3, over…" Richie replied, "Construction 3, New Dawn 1, Go ahead…" "New Dawn 1, Construction 3, Richie, we got a couple of boys here holed up in the old plumbing shop. We can't seem to convince them that it is safe to come out. Over.." "Construction 3, New Dawn 1, we are on our way, New Dawn 1 out"
Richie grabbed his keys and hollered at Bass Gunter, one of the New Dawn Gorillas, as they now called themselves, "Take one of the trucks and go get the boys at school. Bring them to the construction site ASAP!" Jason looked at Richie, "Why?" Richie replied, "What better way to convince scared boys than with other boys?"
They got to the construction site and asked everyone to back off. He and Jason walked slowly, with their hands out showing that they were empty and called out, "Guys, we aren't gonna hurt you. If you will just sit tight for a couple of minutes, our sons will be here and they will explain everything to you, OK?"
A timid voice called out, "OK, but just your sons, OK?" Richie replied, "Sure, just sit tight for a bit."
He motioned everyone to step back and wait for Billy and Carl. As soon as the boys got there, they came running to Richie and Jason. Jason calmly told them what was happening and would they go in and talk with these scared boys?
Billy said, "Sure Dad, Carl n' me can do that" and they started walking towards the old abandoned building. They were in there a long time and Richie and Jason were getting a little concerned, then Carl stuck his head out and said, "Daddy Jason, we need you in here."
Jason walked carefully and slowly, so as to not frighten any boy and entered the old plumbing shop. There, he found six boys, two were their own and four terribly dirty, scared boys ranging from about 6 to 15 years old.
One boy was laying on spread out rags and jackets, his leg obviously broken and he was in terrible pain. Jason knelt down beside the boy and said, "Son, I am a Navy Medic, will you let me help you?" The boy was shaking so badly, he could hardly speak, "y,Y,Yessir, Oh, it hurts so bad, please help me!" At that he began to wail in his awful pain.
Jason used his own belt to fasten the boy's legs together to prevent further damage. He then picked up the boy and looked around, "Boys, make sure there is nothing under my feet so I don't trip, OK?" There was a round of "Yes sirs" He heard Carl say, "See my Daddy can fix anything!" Jason's heart was thumping so hard, he thought it surely would burst from his chest.
By that time, all the "New Dawn Gorillas" were standing by, as each boy emerged from the building, he was picked by gentle hands and cuddled. In moments, there were three young boys sobbing their hearts out on the neck of a grizzled old Navy Veteran.
Jason carried the boy with the broken leg over to their truck and Richie drove them to the Emergency Clinic in town.
The other three boys and their Rescue Boys were taken to Miss Charlotte for some TLC and chicken soup. After they had been filled up with Miss Charlotte's special treats for hurt boys, Billy and Carl took the three to their apartment and began pulling out towels and wash clothes.
Billy rummaged around and found enough clothing for the three. It took several times through the shower before the boys were clean. Billy had laid out fresh underwear and clothing for the boys, after they were all dressed, Emma came in and applied some of her Grams Magic on them, before long they were all asleep on Billy's bed.
She slipped out and told John to get Ken Grimes, their lawyer, busy. Those boys WERE going to stay here!
At the Emergency Clinic, Dr. Ben Rosenthal asked Richie if he was hatching boys this week, Richie grinned and said, "We got a hurt one here, Doc." The Doctor said, "Good Grief, my nurse just went home." Jason said, "Doc, I am a Certificated Navy Medic and Battle Corpsman, can I help?"
Ben Rosenthal looked at Jason and said, Great Scott man, where have you been hiding? Go scrub!"
He administered a pain killer and a sedative to the boy and went to scrub with Jason.
The x-rays showed it was a simple fracture and, with some of the battlefield techniques Jason showed the Doctor, the boy was ready to go home in a short time. As they left, Ben Rosenthal said, "Jason, DO NOT leave town!"
When they got home the boy got his share of Miss Charlotte's Boy Medicine. Before they all conked out, Jason and Richie learned that the boy with the broken leg was Bennie Falcon and the little 6 year old boy was his brother, Timmie. The other two were Alfred Corn and Hector Suarez. They had all run away from a group home up in Middlefork because the man was telling them they were his sex toys!
Jason about blew through the roof and Bass Gunter was making some very unusual growling sounds! John quickly defused the situation by calling the Sheriff's office.
By the time Ken Grimes had worked his lawyer magic, all ten of the New Dawn Gorillas were New Dawn employees and "Certified Child Care Technicians"! New Dawn had its first employees and residents and the building wasn't even ready for occupancy!
John and Emma opened up the guest cottage and the game room to provide for the boys, two Gorillas volunteered to act as mentors and they were put on the payroll immediately!
They were so proud of the name "Gorillas" all ten had shirts made up with "New Dawn Gorilla" embroidered on the front, over the pocket! Kinder and more gentle men could not have been found anywhere, the four new boys thrived with the attention and care.
Bennie finally talked "Doc" Rosenthal into a walking cast and he was off to the races! Richie and Jason got all the new boys into school and the Foundation bought a 20 passenger Ford Van as a school bus.
Several of the Gorillas went and took the exam and were licensed by the state to drive a school bus. They had "New Dawn Home for Boys" painted on the sides.
The bus was parked near the construction site with Bass just sitting inside watching the activity. He heard a light banging on the door, looking out through the rearview mirror, he saw a little boy, not more that 10 years old knocking on the door.
He carefully got out of the van, he didn't want his 6'6" height to scare the child. He said, "Son, can I help you, are you in trouble?" The boy started to cry, "Mister, I haven't eaten in three days, my Daddy dropped me off and left, he never came back. Can you buy me a hamburger?"
The big man dropped to his knees and said very gently, "How about I take you to see Miss Charlotte and get some of her chicken soup and whipped cream cake?" The boy started to cry even harder, "Oh, would you, I would do anything you wanted me to do if I could have a meal like that."
With great difficulty, the giant man controlled his temper, he said, "Hop in, let's go see Miss Charlotte" He brought the boy into the kitchen and Miss Charlotte correctly appraised the situation, she started filling a bowl with her special hurt boy chicken soup and she cut a huge slab of whipped cream cake and told him he could have it AFTER he ate all the soup.
Bass went hunting Richie, his face was beet red in anger. He unloaded on poor Richie. Richie was glad he was NOT the object of Bass' anger! He called Jason on the radio and asked him to come and take a look at the little boy before they called in the Sheriff.
Jason did so and he more upset than even Bass was! He told Richie, "That boy has been raped repeatedly, Ben is going to need to sew him up before further damage or infection sets in!"
Richie called the Sheriff and told him to meet them at Ben Rosenthal's Clinic. A warrant was issued for the father and he was eventually found in Utah!
Richie told his Grandparents about the boy, Albert James. Emma was in tears and John growling like a bear.
Ben scheduled surgery for Albert the next day, he didn't want to wait any longer than absolutely necessary. He asked Jason to scrub with him, he thought the boy would be more acceptable with having men work on him rather than a nurse.
They worked on the boy for 6 hours before Ben was satisfied. Jason brought Albert back home and sat with him the entire first night. The next morning, John sat with Jason and said to him, "Jason, you are going to need to hold back a bit, otherwise you are going to tear your heart out. There has to be some time for Jason in there and for Richie, too!"
He hugged Jason until Jason had calmed down, "Yeah, Gramps, you are right, but it is so hard to see these boys hurting!" John replied, "It's hard, but if YOU burn out, WHO takes care of those boys?" Jason shivered, "OK, I get the message. I'll be a good boy." He smiled and hugged John.
The contractor took note of what was going on and he called in extra men to speed the work up. By June 10th, they were waiting for the State Inspectors. Like a lot of regulator type people, the Inspectors arrived with an "attitude".
Bass might have been huge, but he was NOT stupid. He got all the New Dawn Boys out on the sidewalk and pointed to various areas of the new building saying in a loud voice, "That is gonna be your room, there is where you will have lunch, there is your play room." The boys were so excited, the inspectors got the message and cleared the building for occupancy.
John hired some caterers and made a grand opening gala out of the event. Hamburgers, tacos, ice cream, cotton candy and even popcorn was served to all the visitors who came to see what was going on.
The local High School offered their JROTC Color Guard and Drill Team to celebrate the Grand Opening. Richie accepted immediately. He had been in that very same JROTC unit, he knew that it fostered self reliance and individual excellence in its members. He was anxious to get HIS BOYS interested in joining.
They were all standing, looking at the new marquee over the entrance when Richie felt someone pulling at his jacket. He turned around to find a teen boy, holding a baby in his arms.
He gently said, "Can I help you son?" The boy said, "Do you have a place for us?" Richie replied, "Of course we have a place for you and your baby brother."
The boy responded, "Oh no Sir, Jeff is my son!" Richie held the boy and looked directly into his eyes, "Son, even more so, we have a place for you AND YOUR SON!"
He grabbed his radio and called the nearest Gorilla. It was Bass who responded, Richie quickly appraised Bass of the situation and Bass shook the boy's hand. He said, "Sir, would you bring your son up to the house that we might have our Medic check him over"
The boy was astounded that this mountain of a man would call him SIR and ASK him if he would come to the house. Bass did NOT mean the New Dawn House, he took them to the Family House!
He took them directly to Miss Charlotte who knew exactly how to take care of frightened, hungry boys! He then called Emma, she was needed to apply some of her Grams Magic on the teen dad.
It worked, Miss Charlotte had a supply of baby formula and clean bottles for the baby and her special chicken soup for the baby's dad! Before the supper was over, the teen, Jefferson Wills had told everyone about his son, Jefferson, Jr. He had gotten a girl "in trouble" and they were going to give the baby away! Jeff had grabbed the baby and run, they had been running for two weeks and his money had run out. His baby was hungry and he spotted the celebration for a Boy's Home, and hoped that they would, at least, care for his son.
John walked in at that point, he asked Jeff how old he was, Jeff replied, "Sir, I am 16, but I can work like a man to feed my son!"
John wrapped his arms around the boy and said, "I am sure you can, but YOU are going to go to school and I know a guy who will take care of that boy of yours while you are studying. He pointed at Bass, all 6 and a half feet of him.
He whispered to Jeff, "He looks like a gorilla, but he really is a pussycat!" Bass hollered, "I resemble that!"
Jeff grasped John and said, full of tears, "God Bless you Sir, I would do anything to stay with my son."
John was thinking he needed to take the advice he had just given Jason!
The New Dawn building had spaces for 160 boys, before the first week was out, 90 spaces had been filled!
Miss Charlotte was going near crazy trying to feed all those boys, even with the New Dawn Gorillas' help. Bass went to Richie and Jason saying, "We are working Miss Charlotte into an early grave, let me make a phone call back to San Francisco, surely one of my old buddies is a ship's cook!"
Richie and Jason, both looked relieved and told him to go ahead. Three days later, Bull Johanson and his son, Jerry showed up. They were both old Navy cooks and, after looking with horror on how poor Miss Charlotte was trying to keep up with 90 hungry boys, they rolled up their sleeves and produced a supper for everyone without seeming to work up a sweat!
Both men knew how to turn out good food for whole ships' crews, 90 boys was easy! They talked Miss Charlotte into giving them her recipe for whipped cream cake and served that the first night they were there. There was nothing but the sound of boys gobbling cake until it was all gone!