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.
Dexter Tremaine leaned back against the cushions of the seat, exhausted after traveling across half the time zones on the planet without stopping, except for refueling the company plane. The emergency telephone call the afternoon before nearly tore his heart out. Jenkins, his Grandfather's butler/friend/confident for as long as Dexter could remember, told him in a hushed and quavering voice that his Grandfather was dying and for him to come home immediately. Tears began falling from his eyes, Grandpa, the only Father he had ever known, the man he loved more than life itself was dying. Dexter's parents had been killed by an intruder shortly after he had been born, Grandpa had rescued him from the Child Protective Services and raised him, loved him and made him everything that he was or would ever be. Dr. Dexter Alexander Tremaine, President and Principal Stockholder of Tremaine Industries, Inventor, Scientist and Financier was dying and Dexter Robert Tremaine was rushing to see him before he was gone! He had told the Company Pilot to stop ONLY to refuel, London to New York to San Francisco to Honolulu and finally to Hilo!
The plane landed at Hilo, Hawaii Airport and Dex could see his Grandfather's Lincoln parked at the gate to the private plane terminal. Jenkins was standing beside the automobile, waiting for Dex to disembark.
He told the plane crew to secure the plane and send his luggage up to the house.
He ran for the gate, Jenkins was waiting, tears flowing down his old face. Dex knew immediately that he was too late. Jenkins, his Grandfather's butler, friend and confidant for as long as he could remember, known only as Jenkins, reached out to hug Dex, both men crying their anguish.
Jenkins cried, "He's gone Dex, he's gone."
Jenkins had been as a second father to Dexter, he hugged him back and said, "Let's go home, I'll drive this time."
Jenkins replied, "Oh no, sir, I.." Dexter cut him off, "Jenkins, you are in no condition to drive, let me do this for you, just this once!"
He climbed in behind the steering wheel before Jenkins could stop him. Dexter drove the big car out of the airport and got on the Puna Highway. The drive, once a favorite of Dexter's, seemed endless and finally, they arrived at Tremaine House in the little village of Puna. The house had been in the family since the days of the Hawaiian Monarchy, a rambling, huge structure on 14,000 acres, once planted in sugar cane.
Mrs. A'hainu, his Grandfather's cook and housekeeper, met them at the door, her face showing the tears she had hastily wiped from her face, "Oh, Master Dexter, …" She couldn't continue.
Dex hugged her until she regained control, then he asked, "Where is he?"
She could only point to the stairs that led to his Grandfather's bedroom. Dexter slowly mounted the stairs, not really wanting to go there, but knowing he must. He entered the room where his Grandfather was laid out on the bed, his arms crossed on his chest, looking as if he was just sleeping.
Dex knelt beside the bed, putting his hand on his Grandfather's, "Grandpa, I'm sorry, I couldn't get here any faster." He broke down, sobbing for the man who had done so much for him.
Dr. Phillips, the Family Physician, walked in and stood beside Dexter, "Son, he knew you were coming, he is at peace now and has thrown you the reins to carry on."
Dexter stood and replied to the elderly Physician, "I suppose I must, I cannot let those ghouls snatch at what Grandpa has built!" He meant his cousins, the grandchildren of his Grandfather's brother, Dean Tremaine. They had forever harped on how his Grandfather "owed them"!
Dexter straightened, knowing he had much to do and little time to do it. He first made a telephone call to Alexander McLaughlin, his Grandfather's attorney, Alex, Jr. answered the call, "Ah, Alex, I am glad it was you who answered, I would hate for it to be me that had to tell your Dad that Grandpa was gone."
Alex, Sr. had been his Father's closest friend, they had been like brothers and when his Father had been murdered, his Grandfather and Alex, Sr. had become like Fathers in raising him. Alex, Jr. and he had grown up like the brothers their Fathers had been.
Alex said, "Dex, is there anything we can do?
Dexter replied, "Yes, you know that Jerry and Alicia Tremaine will be after Grandpa's money like hounds after a rabbit. Let's plan on reading the will right after the funeral."
Alex asked, "When will that be?"
He replied, "I hope to have the funeral the day after tomorrow."
Alex said, "Dad and I will be standing by for you. We will answer no questions until that time. If you need any assistance before then you KNOW Dad and I are there for you."
The funeral was a gruesome affair, politicians and hangers-on in their droves made it a point to "comfort" Dexter, his cousins, Jerry and Alicia Tremaine were so syrupy sweet, he nearly gagged. His only comfort was that both Jenkins and Mrs. A'hainu were sitting beside him. The cousins had sniffed their noses and sat elsewhere, they were not going to sit with servants.
Both McLaughlins, Alex, Sr. and Alex, Jr. guarded him as they left the graveyard where Grandpa Tremaine was buried, fending off demands by the cousins for information about the will.
Back home, Mrs. A'hainu had to shut the door in their faces, saying, "Mr. Dexter is not receiving guests today!"
The next morning, as he had promised, Dex appeared at the Law Offices of McLaughlin & Son. The cousins were already seated in Alex, Sr.'s office, waiting impatiently for him to arrive.
Alicia snapped, "The least you could be is on time!"
Dexter smiled sweetly at her and asked, "Oh, are you expecting something from Grandpa's will?"
She looked at him like he was a bug on her dinner plate, she just sniffed and turned away from him.
The attorney asked for their attention and said as he opened the documents before him, "Mr. Tremaine has left the entirety of his estate to his only Grandson, Dexter Robert Tremaine. He specified that no other bequeaths or distributions of property or other valuables will be given and that Dexter Robert Tremaine was to be the sole owner of all properties, belongings, patents, corporate shares and all other valuables belonging to or under contract to Dexter Alexander Tremaine, PhD.
Jerry and Alicia Tremaine jumped up and shouted, "That crazy old coot can't do that!"
Alex, Sr. smiled and said, "Yes, he can and he did just that. The will has already been probated by the courts, it is a done deal!"
Jerry Tremaine screamed, "I'll see you all in court!"
Alexander McLaughlin, Sr., stood and replied, "What court is that? His Honor, Judge Akai of the Superior Court has already made his ruling! Now, this meeting is adjourned, I suggest you leave now."
For the first time in this awful event, Dexter smiled, saying, "Uncle Alex. I don't know what I would do without you guys."
Alex, Sr. replied, "Dex, you are like a son to me, no way would I let those vultures pick you clean! When you are ready, come on down and we will get all the papers signed. You are a very wealthy young man, somewhere in the neighborhood of $800,000,000, after taxes!"
Dexter looked at him, "What? How Much?"
Alex, Jr. spoke up, "Hey, Bro, got a match?"
Dexter sat down, trembling, "I had no idea Grandpa was that well off."
Alex, Sr., said, "He had no intention of you knowing, either. You know how he was, no airs, no pretentions and no pretended humility, he just was what he was!"
Dex took the long way back home, he needed to think and the best place for that was up in the National Park, overlooking the smoking caldera of the volcano. He sat there watching the steam arise from the hot crater, wonder what he should do. He knew that his Grandfather would want him to put that wealth to use. It was getting dark when Dex restarted the car and began his return to Puna.
Dexter drove carefully down the winding road from the National Park, it was getting dark and the road was narrow. As he crossed a small bridge over a creek, he thought he saw a flash of something running across the road.
He jammed on the brakes and got out, fearing he had hit an animal. He looked all around and could see nothing. As he was about to get back in the car, he heard a little cry, like a child sobbing. Seeing nothing in the ditch alongside the road, he crawled down to look under the bridge. There he saw a bundle of what looked like old rags. He was about to get up when the bundle moved. He quickly crawled under the bridge and found a small boy, wrapped in old clothes and rags, crying.
He said, "Son, what is the matter, why are you out here and under this bridge?" He wrapped his arms around the child, who began to scream, "Don't hit me, don't hurt me, I will go away, PLEASE don't hurt me!"
By now, Dex was nearly in tears himself as he picked up the child and carried him to the car. Turning on the dome light, he saw a young boy, maybe 10 years old. His face covered with blood and the rags were soaked in blood. He grabbed at his cell phone, but there was no signal. He placed the boy on the car seat, making sure he was buckled in securely and took off down the mountain as fast as he dared. The nearest hospital was in Hilo so, instead, he rushed home to Tremaine House and carried the boy inside.
Mrs. A'hainu heard him come in the door. She came out of the kitchen and saw what Dex had in his arms. She screamed and called Jenkins, who came out of the kitchen running, she told him to go get wash cloths and towels, then call Dr. Phillips. She had Dex carry the boy into the kitchen and she started washing the blood off his tiny body. Dex was holding the boy while Mrs. A'hainu cleaned him.
He asked the boy where his parents were and the child looked down at the floor and said, "They don't want me." The boy began to sob and she wrapped towels around his small body, hugging him. She handed the boy to Dex and went looking for some of his old clothes in the store room.
Jenkins let the Dr. in the front door and rushed him to the kitchen.
Dexter explained all that they knew about the boy and the old doctor took the child from Dex and set him on the table, saying, "OK son, let me take a look at you."
The child shivered and replied, "You're not gonna hurt me?"
The kindly old physician shook his head, "No son, why would I do that?"
The doctor unwrapped the towels from the child's shivering body and looked up at Dex, fire in his eyes! He said, "Look, look at this child's back and legs!"
Dex looked, they looked like raw meat, he had been beaten!
Dex ran for the telephone, dialing 911, "I have a child here at Tremaine House, the boy has been beaten terribly. Yes, Dexter Tremaine, no that was my Grandfather, he passed away, I am now the owner. Yes, we will wait for an officer, Dr. Phillips is attending the child now."
He then called Alex McLaughlin, Jr., "Alex, Bro, I need help, can you come right now, it's an emergency! Thanks."
Alex, Jr. arrived in minutes, he lived just down the road from Tremaine House.
Dex filled Alex in on all they knew, then he said, "Alex, I know what I want to do and it starts with that boy! I don't care who or what you have to do, that boy stays with me!"
Alex replied, "Dex, are you sure you want this battle?"
Dex said, "What good is all that money sitting in a bank, I want something nice to happen for that boy, God, I don't even know his name!" Dex ran back into the kitchen and knelt down next to the child, "Son, will you tell me your name?"
The boy again looked down at the floor and mumbled, "Kelly, sir, Kelly Masters" and he began to cry again.
Dex gingerly picked him up, even as the doctor was applying ointment to his wounds, and gently said to the hurt child, "Kelly, nobody is going to hurt you again, I promise you!" He gently cradled the boy in his arms and sat in a chair, waiting for the police to arrive.
There was a knock on the door and Jenkins admitted two police officers, a burly sergeant and a woman. They came into the kitchen, the sergeant said, "Good God, Dex, what have you gotten into this time!"
Dexter looked up and smiled, "Gene, it is good to see you, I just got home day before yesterday."
The sergeant replied, "Yeah, I know, Mamie and I were at the funeral, but I guess we missed you."He continued, "Now, what about this boy?"
Dex related all they had learned about the child.
The woman police officer spoke up, "He must be part of that family we had to run out of the old sugar mill. They were squatting up there, you know how dangerous that place is!"
Dexter looked at her, "Yeah, OK, but who beat him?"
She replied, "I heard that all their kids were beat regularly, been lots of complaints about them."
Alex stepped into the room, "Well, they aren't going to beat this one again, here is the order number, Judge Akai just assigned temporary custody of this child to Mr. Dexter Tremaine!
Dexter gently rocked the small boy, "Did ya' hear that, you are my boy now!" The boy began to sob, Dex rocked him gently until he fell asleep.
Mrs. A'hainu took him saying, I'll put him in the small bed in your room Master Dex. She smiled and sang to the boy as she carried him up the stairs, "Auntie Mary is gonna watch over you!"
The police officers filled out their paperwork and carefully put the Judge's order number in their report before departing.
As the adrenaline wore off, exhaustion set in on Dexter, he still had not fully recovered from his airplane marathon. He started yawning and finally told Jenkins and Mrs. A'hainu that he was going to bed. He headed up the stairs as Mary A'hainu said to Peter Jenkins, Pete, we gotta get that boy on a fist name basis pretty quick!
Jenkins looked at her and said, "Yes, Dear"
Dex quietly undressed and pulled his covers back ready to jump into bed. He looked over at the sleeping boy, he thought to himself, "A little sleeping angel!" He went over and kissed the child's cheek and murmured, "Good night, Son." As he slipped into bed, he failed to see the smile on the little boy's face.
That night, Dex had a vivid dream, he dreamt of a whole house full of boys, boys everywhere, boys playing ball, boys swimming, boys riding horses, and boys laughing. He woke with a start, there was a boy curled up next to him, with his small arms wrapped around his arm!
When Dex tried to unwind himself, the little boy murmured, "Daddy" Dex laid back down, no way was he going to disturb that little angel!
It was past 9 am when they finally awoke. The little boy raced around, "Where is the potty, QUICK!" Dex opened the door to the bathroom and the boy zoomed in to relieve himself. After they both had taken care of their morning needs and gotten dressed, Dex carried the boy downstairs, where Mrs. A'hainu had a hot breakfast waiting for them.
While the boy was eating almost everything in sight, Mrs. A'hainu took Dex aside, "FIRST, it is NOT Mrs. A'hainu, call me Mary or else" as she waved a frying pan in his direction! She continued, "SECOND, you take Kelly into Hilo and go to JC Penny's. He needs shoes, socks, underwear, trousers, shirts, play clothes and anything else he would like!" Dexter chuckled, "Yes M'am!" She retorted, "Don't come home without it!"
Dex went over and sat down, "Well, Kelly, I guess you and I have our marching orders, huh?" He continued, "How about you and me, we take the MG?" The little boy looked at Dex with a "what's that" look.
They started to head for the garage when a voice hollered out, "Wash Your Hands!" Dex thought, "HOO BOY…….." They both washed their hands.
He helped Kelly into a Bright Red MG Roadster, the boy's eyes got big, "eeerr, Mister, can you drive this thing?" Dex laughed, "Yeah, watch me. Uh, Kelly, call me Dexter or Brother or even Brother Dexter. Mister was my Grandpa."
Kelly shook his head and said, "OK". Dex gave the boy a thrill, taking the corners at high speed, squealing the tires and rapping the engine. They got into Hilo and went directly to the Mall.
The boy got very quiet, "I never bought new clothes before, we always went to the salvage shop for my clothes."
Dex cringed and thought to himself, "This boy is going to get everything!" He said, "Come on, let's get some clothes, shall we?" Dexter walked in with Kelly and went directly to the Manager's office. He told the Manager who he was and that he wanted his SON fitted out with all the clothes he would need. Kelly's chest swelled out and his smile nearly split his head in half!
The Manager took one look at Dexter's Black American Express card and went to serve the boy himself! After they had picked out a pair of jeans, the boy was ready to go, thinking that was all he was going to be allowed to buy.
Dexter said, "Where ya' going Son, we got lots more to get here!" When they had completed their purchases, Kelly's eyes were swimming! He saw the register read $1650! Dexter said to the Manager, "Please have these clothes delivered to Tremaine House in Puna this afternoon."
The manager never blinked, "Yes sir," Dex was just getting started, "What about lunch, Kelly?"
Kelly squirmed and said, "I'll just have a grilled cheese sandwich at Burger Shop and a glass of water."
Dex just smiled and took Kelly by the hand, leading him into Kim's, a high end restaurant at the edge of the Mall. The boy was looking all around, "I can't go in there!"
Again, Dexter just smiled and told the Greeter, a table for my son and myself, please."
The young man replied, "Yes sir, this way" and he led them to a table overlooking a pool filled with Koi fish. Kelly was fascinated watching the colorful Koi swimming around, so Dex ordered for the two of them. When the waiter brought their lunches, Kelly's eyes nearly popped out of his head, grilled tuna, fresh salad, wild rice with baby carrots and onions! Suddenly, he was hungry and ate every scrap!
Dex asked him if he wanted dessert.
Kelly said, "HUH?"
Dexter ordered a piece of dark chocolate cake with TWO scoops of vanilla ice cream for Kelly and coffee for himself. As they were leaving, Kelly groaned, "Oh, I am so full!"
Dexter asked him, "Too full for the new Star Wars movie?" An excited little boy said, "Where, when, NOW? Let's GO!"
Half way through the movie, the day's excitement caught up to the boy and he curled up in Dex's lap and was soon sound asleep. After the movie, Dex carried him out to the car and they headed back to Puna. He was still asleep when they arrived at Tremaine House, so Dex picked him up and carried him into the house, laying him gently on his bed and pulled a coverlet over him.
Dexter went back downstairs and asked Jenkins and, Mary to come into the kitchen with him to talk.
As they sat down, Jenkins said, "Mr. Dexter, you need to know something. Mary and I are Mr. and Mrs. If you will please stop calling me Jenkins, my name is Peter, we are just Peter and Mary Jenkins."
Dexter hugged them both and said, "My dear friends, why didn't you tell me?"
Peter got a sheepish look on his face, "We weren't sure you would approve."
Dexter said, "Just remember, my name is DEX!" He smiled and continued, "I want to build a home for children like Kelly, boys and girls. I know there are lots of kids right here on this island who are neglected or even homeless. Even more on the other islands! Mary, I want you to be House Mother for the girls and you, Peter, House Dad for the boys. What do you say?"
The two looked like they had been pole-axed. Then Peter smiled and looked at Mary, "Let's do it!" Mary shook her head in agreement so Dex went and called his friend, Alex, Jr., "Hey, Alex, can you come over, yeah I'll talk Mary into feeding ya' You know, MARY, as in Mrs. A'hainu!"
He laughed and continued, "I'll explain when you get here!"
TREMAINE CHILDREN'S REFUGE
Alex arrived within a few minutes, he was curious about Dex's use of Mrs. A'hainu given name and why did he want an after hours meeting. While he and Dex had always been very close, Dex had spent that last several years in London as European Manager for Tremaine Industries. He knew how Dexter had taken in an abused boy, their mutual high school buddy Gene Akahu had told him about the little boy's past at the lunch counter at noon. He was always good for one of Mrs. A'hainu's meals, not being married, a home cooked meal was worth a lot! He had always had a special affection for Dex, maybe there was some hope that they could become close friends again. He showed up promptly at 6:00 pm, hoping he didn't look too needy or starved.
Dex invited him in and asked him if he wanted a drink, he said that he would so Dex fixed them both a Mai Tai and Dex called upstairs for Kelly to come down and met Mr. McLaughlin.
A very small 10 year old boy came shyly into the room and held on to Dex's hand, Dex said, "Kelly, this is Mr. McLaughlin, a very old friend of mine." The little boy said, "Hi" and then hid his face in Dex's lap.
Dex said, "He is still a little shy around strangers, but he will warm up to you after a while."
Just then, Peter Jenkins announced supper and they all trooped into the dining room. Mary had laid out a real feast, broiled mahi-mahi, grilled fresh pineapple slices, wild rice and pecan stuffed shrimp. A lime gelatin salad with papaya slices sat at each place.
Kelly looked at the meal and said, "WOW!"
Alex thought to himself, "The kid knows what he is talking about!"
After the meal was completed, Dex took Kelly in the den and turned the television on to a cartoon station. He said, "Son, I will be in the dining room talking to Mr. McLaughlin." The boy, engrossed in the cartoons, said, "OK"
Dexter returned to the dining room and asked Mary and Peter to join them. He started by saying, "I want to build on the property where the old bagasse house used to be. I want two hotel like buildings put up, housing 150 children in each, two people to a room, one hotel for boys and one hotel for girls. I want a gym, a swimming pool, a baseball field and basketball courts."
Alex asked, "What are you doing here, a children's home?"
Dex replied, "Exactly, what good is all that money if I don't do something good with it?"
Peter asked, "When do you want to start this?" Dex replied, "YESTERDAY!"
Continuing, he said, "I have already called Dillingsworth/Tremaine Construction Company to start drawing up the plans. Guys, I want this to happen, there are NOT going to be any more Kellys if I can do anything about it!"
While they were talking, Mary heard a scratching on the back door of the kitchen. Thinking it was a stray dog, she went to shoo it away. When she opened the door, there stood 4 little grimy ragamuffin boys, "Please, Missus, is our brother Kelly here?"
Mary screamed, "Mister Dexter come QUICK!"
Dex ran into the kitchen with Alex and Peter tailing him, he knelt down and wrapped his arms around the 4 little boys, "Boys, what do you need?"
The oldest boy said, "Please Mister, we just want to tell our brother, Kelly, goodbye. We are running away, we can't take this no more." At that, the boy lifted his shirt, there were welts and bruises and bleeding sores all over his chest and back.
Dex pulled the boys into the kitchen and said, over his shoulder, "Alex, get Kelly!" Dex then said, "Boys come on in, let Miss Mary get some food in you and then we can talk, OK?"
The boy said, "You ain't gonna hurt us is you?"
Just then Kelly came in the room, he screamed, "Jerry, Tommy, Billy, Garth, what are you doing here?"
The 4 boys ran to Kelly, crying, "Kelly, we can't take anymore, I think they killed Gary, so we are running away!"
Dex held Jerry and asked him, "Who is Gary and what happened to him?"
Jerry sniffled and said, "Pa beat him, he is our older brother. We last saw him laying on the floor up at that old sugar mill place up on the hill. Ma and Pa left for town, they had some money and were headed to a bar."
Dex stood up, "Mary, would you care for these boys, Alex, come with me. Peter, please call Gene Ahuna at the Police Station and have him meet us at the old sugar mill!"
Dex and Alex ran out the door and jumped in the plantation jeep. They raced up the old road towards the abandoned sugar mill, fearing what they might find there.
Dex skidded the jeep to a stop and they both jumped out, grabbing flashlights. They searched the mill floor and then went into the old boiling house. Standing still, they both heard a faint groan. Sweeping flashlights around, they spotted a body laying next to an old pan evaporator. They rushed over and found a young teen boy, covered in blood and his leg obviously broken.
Dex handed his cell phone to Alex and told him to get Doc Phillips up here pronto!
Just then, a police car pulled up and Gene Ahuna ran into the building with Grace Mathews on his tail.
Dexter explained to the two police officers what they had discovered, Grace said that she was a certified Paramedic, so she knelt down and examined the young teen.
She asked, "Did anyone call Dr. Phillips?"
Just then, Alex returned, "Yes, he is on his way."
Dex took Alex aside, "You know…" Alex interrupted him, "Yeah, I already called Judge Akai and you have 5 John Doe Temporary Custody Orders!"
Gene overheard Alex's statement, he laughed, "Dex, what are you doing, starting a Boy's Home?"
Dex replied simply, "YEAH!"
Gene Ahuna just shook his head, "Crazy Haoles"
Dr. Phillips drove up, "Good Grief, Dex, I'm getting too old for all this excitement!"
There were some portable battery flood lights in the police car, Grace brought them inside so the Doctor could examine the boy.
He said, "I think it is just a simple fracture, the other wounds are nasty, but not life threatening. Let's take him down to the Clinic and get an x-ray of that leg, then we can decide how to proceed."
Dexter picked up the teen gently, the boy looked at him and said, "Please, don't hurt me!" Dex, tears gathering in his eyes, said, "Son, I wouldn't hurt you, but I AM going to take you home!"
The boy replied, "I don't have a home, I don't have anything anymore."
By now, everyone was fighting back tears, Dex said quietly to the boy, "Son, yes you have a home, and you have brothers there waiting for you."
At that, the boy let out a wail and began to sob uncontrollably. They got the boy onto the back seat of the police car, Dex handed the jeep keys to Alex, telling to meet him at the Clinic.
He sat beside the boy to keep him from falling as Gene drove into Puna to Dr. Phillip's Clinic. After the x-rays were taken, Dr. Phillips decided that it was a simple fracture and he could put it in a cast without dragging the boy all the way in to the hospital in Hilo. The boy was so dirty and filthy that Dex and the Dr had to bathe him before they could cast his leg.
Gene Ahuna got all the information from Gary and radioed in to have the parents found and arrested.
Alex gave him the Custody Order numbers for his report and then he and Dex took the boy home. As Alex drove the jeep up to Tremaine House, Gary's eyes went wide, he turned to Dex and said, "yo yu, You live HERE?"
Dexter smiled and said, "Yes, and so do you." Gary broke down completely, his wails could be heard inside the house.
Kelly came running out, he spotted his Big Brother and went to him, "Don't cry Gary, our new DADDY will help us.
Gary looked at Dexter, "Sir.." Dex stopped him, "Gary, call me Dex, Dexter, Dad or even Brother. Sir was my Grandfather."
Gary tried again, "Mr. Dexter, uuuh, Dexter, are all my brothers here?"
Dex replied, "Yep, inside with Miss Mary getting a hot meal, want one?"
Gary cried, "Dexter, we haven't eaten in nearly a week, God yes, I would do anything for a hot meal!"
Dexter, taken aback at that statement, said, "Son, all you have to do is to eat it, there is NO price to be paid!" He turned to Gene Ahuna, "You find those people and jail them before I find'em!"
Dex carried Gary into the kitchen and sat him on a chair with a pillow under him.
Mary set a plate freshly made hot bread, butter and jam in front of him, along with a tall glass of milk. The boy just stared at it for few moments, then with tears in his eyes said, "Miss Mary, you are an angel from heaven!"
Mary replied, "Son, I don't about that, but let me get you the rest of your supper." She brought grilled ham and pineapple slices, green beans and carrots, rice and gravy to the boy. He dug in and used a piece of the fresh bread to wipe his plate clean.
When she put a huge piece of pecan pie with vanilla ice cream in front of him, he lost his composure again. He wailed, "I have never eaten that kind of pie in my life, Oh Miss Mary, you truly are an angel from heaven!"
Just then, Kelly led Gary's 4 other brothers into the kitchen, all bathed and wrapped in clean towels. They had a hug fest with their older Brother, he asked them, "Did you guys get to eat this stuff for supper too?" They all shook their heads yes. Little Jerry said, "I even had seconds of that pie!" Gary looked hopefully at Mary, she said, "Sure, here, more ice cream too?" Gary was sure he had died and gone to heaven.
Dex and Peter went up stairs and opened two more bedrooms. Dex said, I guess I had better make a J C Penny's run again tomorrow!"
The next morning, all the boys were snuggled under the soft covers, Kelly was in his usual place, wrapped around Dex's arm and the 4 younger boys had migrated to their older brother, Gary's bed, all hugging each other.
Gary asked, "That man, Dexter, he didn't ask any of you to do anything for him, anything nasty, sex stuff?"
Tommy spoke up, "No Gary, all he did was help us bathe and then found some old clothes from when he was a little boy and helped us get dressed. He promised to take us into Hilo today and get us some new clothes. Kelly said that he got BRAND NEW CLOTHES from a store called Penny's!"
The little boys all got up and did their necessary morning absolutions before heading down to the kitchen, they already could smell good things being cooked! Gary laid back against the pillows, crying.
Kelly heard him and pulled Dexter into the room, "Daddy, fix Gary, he is crying!"
Dex sat on the side of the bed, holding Kelly in his lap. He put one arm around the sobbing Gary, "Son your old life is done with! We are going to get you and your brothers all fixed up with new clothes and get you all registered to go to school."
Gary said through his tears, "Mister Dex, we haven't been to school in two years!"
Dex thought for bit and then said, "OK, let's drop the Mister. I will look into getting a tutor to help you catch up!"
Gary looked at him, "You would do THAT, we are just trash, no goods…."
Dexter said sternly, "THAT is enough of that kind of talk! You are as good as anybody else and you DESERVE to go to school and learn, you DESERVE good food and a clean place to live and you DESERVE nice clothes. Now no more of this trash and no good talk, OK?"
Gary smiled and said, "Yes Sir." Dex let the "Sir" go and propped up Gary with extra pillows so he could eat his breakfast.
Mary brought a bed tray and a heaping meal up to Gary, hot waffles and REAL maple syrup, sausages, fried potato patties and a large glass of fresh milk. He asked her, "Is this a special meal?"
Mary replied, "Nope, you can have seconds if you want!" He did.
Dex loaded up the Lincoln with the 4 boys and headed for Hilo. They were wild about the "fancy car" and when they arrived at J C Penny's, they were goggle-eyed, "A REAL STORE that sells NEW CLOTHES!", they all exclaimed.
Dex walked in with the four boys and headed for the Manager's office. The manager laughed, "Are you running a Home for Boys?"
Dex merely said, "yes" and the Manager was stunned. He said, "Sir, are you aware that Penny's give a 50% discount places like Boy's Homes?"
Dex replied, "Well, we are just getting started."
The manager told him that he would the discount from here on out! Even with the discount, they boys were shocked when the bill came to $2,250! The manager said that the clothes would be delivered to Tremaine House that afternoon.
He then took the boys to Kim's for lunch, it was almost too much for the boys. They had never even heard of some of the foods, much less ever tasted them!
Billy asked, "What about Gary and Kelly?"
Dex was delighted to hear them be concerned about their brothers, he said, "Miss Mary will have them stuffed like sausages for lunch!
After lunch they all went to a movie, but like little puppies with full tummies, they slept through most of the movie. They returned to Tremaine House, the car was full of sleeping boys. Dex and Peter carried them upstairs and put them all down to finish their a nap!
Dex noticed that Gary was very restless, he sat on the bed and asked him, "You ready to get out of this jail?"
Gary smiled a shy smile and said, "I always thought beds were soft, this one is getting harder by the minute!"
Dex laughed and picked the teen up. He carried him downstairs and put him in the den with the television remote.
Gary asked, "I can watch anything I want?"
Dex replied, "Sure, just no porn, ok?" When he looked around, the teen was busy watching a baseball game.
Dex placed a telephone call to the offices of Dillingsworth/Tremaine Construction Company and asked for the General Manager. The person on the other end of the line said, "Mr. Dillingsworth does NOT take calls."
Dex said, "OK, may I have your name so I can call back?"
She said, "It's none of your business, but it's Mable Reed!" and she slammed the receiver down.
Dex very calmly called Alex, Sr, and said, "Let's take a trip down to the corporate offices of Dillingsworth/Tremaine Construction. It won't take long."
Alex, Sr. said, "Sure" after hanging up he thought, "Oh, Oh trouble!"
He drove over to Tremaine House and picked up Dex, he had changed into a business suit, complete with a London style hat! Right away, Alex knew what the trouble was, he had heard complaints about the construction company before. He thought it was going to be an interesting afternoon! They walked into the reception office and asked for Mable Reed.
The Receptionist went to Miss Reed's office and told her there were two business men to see her, then she decided to make herself scarce in the Ladies Room!
Mable Reed went to Reception and spotted Alex, Sr., "Well, hello Mr. McLaughlin, how are you?"
Alex Sr. replied, "Miss Reed I would like you to meet Mr. Tremaine, the new owner of Dillingsworth/Tremaine Construction Company."
Dexter Tremaine smiled his sweetest smile and said, "Why, Miss Reed, it is so nice to meet you, YOU'RE FIRED!"
He then walked into Mr. Dillingsworth's office and introduced himself saying, "Mr. Dillingsworth, it is so nice to have met you, YOU'RE FIRED!"
He walked back out and saw Miss Reed emptying her desk, he stopped her saying, "Oh, no, we will send you your personal belongings, you will remove nothing from this office! GO!" He escorted her to the front door.
Mr. Dillingsworth came charging out of his office yelling, "Who is that idiot who tried to fire me?"
Dex stood up and said, "I am that idiot, Dexter Robert Tremaine, sole owner of Dillingsworth/Tremaine Construction Company. Please do not ask for references when you are looking for a new job."
He then walked into the Construction Manager's Office, the man stood up and said, "Yes Sir, may I help you?"
Dex said, "Yes, come with me." He walked out of the office and went to The General Manager's Office, Mr. Dillingsworth was cleaning out his desk."
Dexter said, "Oh, no, we will send you your personal items, leave now."
He turned to the Construction Manager and said, "This is your office now. I would like to talk about a large construction job up at Tremaine House."
The Construction Manager, Bob Gilman, had heard they had a new owner and this must be him! He said, "Yes Sir, what would you like us to do?"
Dex came away well pleased, the land clearing would begin immediately and the drafting department would have preliminary drawings the next week for approvals.
Alex Sr. looked at Dex, "What did you need me for, you did quite well all on your own!"
Dex replied, "For moral support!"
On the way back to Alex Sr.'s office, Dex said, "Let's stop at your office, I want to talk to Jr. and then I can bribe him with Mary's dinner to take me home."
As soon as they got to the Law Office, Dex disappeared into Jr.'s private office. He sat down, Jr., looked at him expectantly, so Dex started off, "Alex, I want to adopt ALL the Masters Brothers, I want them to be the Tremaine Brothers. I really don't care how much it costs and, if I have to, I can play dirty, but I really don't want to do that!"
Alex said, "I will tell you true, Bro, it's gonna be hard, the courts don't like single men adopting kids."
Dex said, "Well I can always move Tremaine Industries to Alabama, lock stock and barrel!"
Alex laughed, "You may just have to threaten that before it is over with!"
Dex, chuckled, "That's why we pay YOU the big bucks! How about coming for dinner tonight? AND, giving me a ride home?" As they were driving up the drive to Tremaine House, a small body zipped across the drive in front of the car.
Alex jammed on the brakes and Dex jumped out and started chasing the small figure. He finally caught the boy, he looked about Kelly's age. Dex carried the small boy back to the car, the little boy was crying in fright.
Dex said, "Son, what are you doing out here?" The boy said, 'loo ..lo.looking for Mr. Dex, sir"
Dex replied, I am Dex, what is it you need?"
The boy started bawling, his sides shaking in great heaves, "I was told I would be safe if I could get to Mr. Dex, that's what the boys at the old sugar mill told me. Please sir, help me?"
Dex looked at Alex and shrugged his shoulders. Dex said to the boy, "Let's get you some food and cleaned up, then we can talk, ok?"
The boy, still crying said, "Will you help me, make them not hurt me?" Dex asked, "Whatever do you mean?"
The boy cried out, "My Daddy sold me to that bad man and he was going to hurt me!" Alex tromped the accelerator pedal and raced the car up the drive. He jumped out of the car and was on his cell phone calling the local Police Station.
Dex carried the boy into the house and Peter saw him.
He lifted the boy out of Dex's arms and said, "Come little one, let Uncle Peter take care of you." Dex said, "it's OK, Uncle Pete is a good guy, too"
The little boy said, "Thank you sir" and snuggled into Peter's arms.
Dex turned to Alex, "We need to get up to the sugar mill right now, come on!" He ran for the plantation jeep and started it up, disregarding his fancy clothes and the two men headed up the hill to the old abandoned sugar mill.
Dex motioned Alex to stay in the jeep, he walked towards the doors of the old building, holding his hands out in front of him to show they were empty. He stopped at the door and called out, "I am Mr. Dex, would you boys come out and talk with me? I promise it is just to talk."
A voice from inside the building called back, "Who is that in the jeep?" Dex said, "That is Alex McLaughlin, my old childhood friend. He is also my lawyer and he helps me help boys." The voice said, "Do you promise this is just to talk, there are no cops hiding in the bushes?"
Dex replied, "Nope, just me and Alex." He motioned Alex to come forward like he did.
Alex walked slowly, holding both hands out in front of him, empty. A very thin teen boy, about 15 led 6 smaller boys out of the building. They were all filthy and looked like they hadn't had a decent meal in months. Dex looked them over, trying very hard not to cry on their behalf.
He said, "Boys, if you will come with us, I promise you will be fed and have a clean bed to sleep in. You can't stay here, there is no food or anything here. Besides, this old mill is dangerous! We need to tear it down before somebody gets hurt up here."
The leader asked, "Did little Kenny get to you?" Dex replied, "I don't know what his name is yet, but yes, a little boy got to us just a few minutes ago. Boys, whatever is going on, between me and Alex here, we can keep you safe."
The lead boy turned and looked at his following, "I dunno guys, he sounds ok, but…….." A little boy spoke up, "Allie, we gotta take a chance, we's gonna die if we don't get some help and food!"
The boy, Allie, turned back to Dex and Alex, "Do you promise that no harm will come to these little guys?"
Dex said, "What about you, Allie?" He held out his arms to the boy and Allie let out a cry and ran to Dex, "Oh Mr. Dex, I am so hungry and I just can't take care of these little ones anymore."
Dex said, "Allie, let me help you caring for them, let's go to my house, OK?" He continued, "There might be a policeman there, he is Gene Ahuna, he and I are old school mates and he won't hurt you either. He is a good guy, I promise."
That made the boys stop, Dex said, "I promise, if you do not like it at my house, you can leave immediately, I PROMISE!" The boys said, "Well, ok" and they all jumped into the jeep.
Alex drove slowly so as to not frighten the boys. There was no police car in the drive, so everyone came in with Dex. Standing in the kitchen was Gene Ahuna in jeans and a tee shirt.
He put his fingers to his lips to warn Dex not to say anything. Mary took one look at the dirty little waifs, she started cutting chucks of fresh bread and slathering butter on them, she handed each boy a piece and a glass of milk, saying, "That should hold you until I can get dinner cooked."
She looked at Dex and Gene, "You boys go get these kids bathed, there are clean towels in the closet. Now shoooo, I got work to do." She looked at Alex and said, "You go get Dr. Phillips."
Dex and Gene took the boys upstairs and started the shower and the tub running.
Kelly came in and saw all the boys, "Daddy, did you get me some more Brothers?" He giggled and went on, "Kenny is asleep on my bed, Uncle Pete and I got him all cleaned up, Auntie Mary fed him stuff and he got tired."
Allie looked up and asked, "Will she feed us too?" Dex told him, "She sure will, look out, she will stuff you like a sausage!"
Kelly giggled and brought an armload of towels for the boys. They had to bathe the boys three times before the water came clean, Dex took one look at their clothes and tossed them in the trash, they would not stand going through the washing machine! After their bath, the 7 boys, wrapped in clean towels, headed for the kitchen where 'Auntie Mary' had promised them food!
After they left, Dex looked at Gene and asked, "Did Kenny tell you about being sold by his father?" Gene replied, "Yeah and much more, they have already called in the State CID to investigate!"
Dex said, "These new boys tell about the same story, God, I gotta get that Boy's Home built pronto!"
Gene replied, "Dex, I heard about that and I want to be part of it. I am thinking of leaving the Police Department, what would you think of me working with these kids?"
Dex looked surprised, "Gene, I would hire you instantly, you come see me when you make your decision and I will make a place for you!"
The two men went downstairs to the kitchen where Mary was proving that food could disappear like magic! Allie got up and went to Dex, hugging him for all the boy was worth, "Mr. Dex, we know that Mr. Ahuna is a policeman, but he has always treated us boys fair. Can we stay here with you, we will do anything you want us to do if you will only let us live here."
The boy's statement brought tears to Dex's eyes, "Allie, you boys don't have to do anything to be able to stay here except just be boys. You will need to go to school and eat regular and play outdoors in the sunshine, oh, I forgot to mention, you will have to have new clothes too!" He tugged the boy's towel and then tickled his ribs to get a giggle out of him.
Kelly spoke up, "Daddy says that he is going to get a tooter for us!"
Dex laughed, "I think Kelly means a tutor, a school teacher to help you all get caught up."