Castle Roland

Three Finger Cove - Charles
Book III

by Chowhound

In Progress

Chapter 6

Posted: 29 Sep 16

Three Finger Cove - Charles

Copyright © 2016 by Chowhound
All Rights Reserved

From Previous Chapter:

Jules Diamond's men were on duty when Sheriff Barnes and DA Morris arrived to interview Charles, at ten minutes to noon. It didn't matter to the man at the gate who the two men in the county car were, he would not allow them into the estate grounds without approval of Mr. Thomas. Sheriff Detective Sergeant Brandt Matthias and Sheriff Detective William Roberts were also treated in the same manner. But Bill Jackson, Stewart Russell and Doctor Doug Jennings didn't have to wait for approval as Mr. Ken realized he should have already made those arrangements and did so after the second group appeared. All the principals were present and the noon meeting would soon begin.

Charles sat quietly in his new foster dad's lap while they all waited for the principals to arrive and begin the boy's interview. A few tears leaked out of the lad's eyes but he wasn't outwardly crying. A ringing phone startled the twelve year old. It was the gate guard calling to ask if the two men at the gate should be allowed in.

Less than five minutes later the phone rang again and it was again the gate guard. The men at the gate were also allowed to enter the estate grounds. Three minutes after that the next three men were individually allowed to enter The Cove's grounds.

At two minutes to twelve noon, all of the people who would be in involved in Charles' interview about his kidnapping and his questioning about what he knew about Larry Smokey Masson were now present in Mr. Ken's Study.

"Let's get this meeting on the road," gruffly spoke DA George Morris. The rest of the principals all looked at the man with unease.

Bill Jackson decided to head the DA off at the pass, so he asked his friend Ken Thomas where would be a good place they could all be comfortable, but still have privacy. Mr. Ken thought for a moment and then recommended the MRS area off the Foyer, the rarely used Living Room, and the very comfortable Great Room. He explained that Collin and Robert were the only other people who were staying in the home and they were already asked to find something to do for the next four to five hours.

The large group decided to move down to the Great Room where they all could be more comfortable and where the light was very bright. The Sheriff had his investigators set up a recording device before Charles's interview would begin. It was while Detective Roberts was setting the taping device up that Stewart motioned to Bill to look at the way the group had formed with The DA, the Sheriff and the detectives on one side of the coffee table and they and Mr. Ken, Charles, Doc Jennings and Chief aligned on the other side. The two shared a slight chuckle over their observation.

As soon as Detective Roberts motioned to his partner, Detective Sergeant Matthias, the recorder was ready, Detective Matthias stood and began to speak and inform everyone present that the tape recorder was operational. He then prefaced his next statement with the date and time of the interview and then asked everyone present to clearly speak their name and what was their role in the interview. Charles was the last one to speak his name and acknowledge he was the victim but Chief wasn't going to be ignored so she barked "Woof, woof … woof." That brought a few smiles to the assembled group.

"Okay … let's get this show on the road," announced DA Morris.

"All in due time, George," chimed in Bill Jackson. "Before Stew and I allow any interview of our client to take place, there is the issue of the request that Charles James Lewis be given full immunity from prosecution for anything, and everything, he says here today or for any and all of his involvement for anything he did, or was made to do, while living with his mother and or one Lawrence 'Smokey' Masson.

"The child was a minor when his abductor was his mom's boyfriend and what he may or may not have been made to do or was involved in any illegal activity during that time should be construed as being done under duress and that he had no knowledge or understanding that what he may or may not have done was against the law."

The entire group had turned their attention to Bill Jackson as he made his little speech. They all knew DA George Morris had a quick temper and they all just knew there was going to be a loud verbal discussion before the actual interview took place.

"Now YOU see here … MISTER JACKSON," loudly began DA Morris, as he stood up, "we are here to take Charlie's statement and ask him questions regarding his abduction last night. I don't see how an immunity from prosecution has any bearing on what is discussed here today."

"George … we both know that Deputy Sheriff Dan Fischer has briefed you that Charles, not Charlie, may have information about the drug dealings on the south side of the county. We all know you normally would not be involved with a victim's interview unless … unless there was something to be gained by you. And because Deputy Sheriff Fischer did brief you about what the lad may know, we are asking that an immunity from prosecution be granted to one Charles James Lewis, for the reasons stated," countered a still seated Bill Jackson.

The ball was now in DA George Morris's court and he had to decide what he wanted to do. He didn't want to lose out on any information the kid may have, but he also didn't want to allow Ken Thomas to have a 'pass' on it either. On top of that, he knew Bill Jackson's reputation and about his methods at getting what he wanted. Deep down he knew the man was correct in asking for the immunity for his client. It was a very hard decision for George Morris to make that morning, but he knew it was more important to stamp out the drug problem than to get back at one Mister Ken Thomas, even though they did hit it off very well during Robert's fathers trial.

Feeling somewhat defeated, DA George Morris sat down, took a deep breath, and said, "Bill … I will offer full immunity for one Charles James Lewis for his information and HIS help at trial for what he may tell us about the drug trade in the south county in addition to what he can tell us about his attempted abduction last night. Let this recording be a record of my offer and I will have the written immunity paperwork sent to your office by late Monday morning. All these people here are witness to this, so I will definitely honor it."

"And, this total immunity … will also cover any and all of his supposed illegal involvement in what he did or was forced to do for his mom and Lawrence Masson?" Bill Jackson wanted clarified.

DA Morris nodded his head but Bill Jackson asked George Morris to speak up so his reply could be picked up by the tape. Bill explained, with a smile, that he wanted to make sure it would not be forgotten when it came time to write the immunity. George Morris smiled back at Bill Jackson and then verbally replied that it would be included.

"On behalf on my client, Charles James Lewis, my colleague, Stewart Russel and my client's county appointed guardian and foster father, Mr. Ken Thomas, I accept your offer of full immunity from prosecution for my client for any crimes he may have committed while living with his mom and or Lawrence Masson," formally stated the lawyer.

All those present, who were just observers for the past few minutes, gave a big sigh of relief upon hearing the two sides had come to an agreement on the immunity issue. Now they all hoped they could get on with the interview.

"Charles," asked Mr. Ken, "are you ready, son?"

"I wish I didn't have to do this … but, yes … I'm ready," lightly spoke Charles.

Mr. Ken hugged the boy close to him and whispered in his ear, "Son … just close your eyes when you give an answer. Use that as a way to 'see', in your mind, what happened to you. It should also make it easier for you to remember and you also won't see their reactions to what you have to say. Can you do that for me?"

Charles looked up to the man's eyes and saw the concern and the 'love' Mr. Ken had for him and he knew from what everyone had told him about trusting the man that he lightly said, "Yes … I can do that. And thank you … for helping me and being here for me." The lad then hugged Mr. Ken for what he was worth.

All the men had watched the interaction between the man and his boy and with it being so quiet in the Great Room they also heard the full exchange the two had. After Mr. Ken and Charles released their hug, the men all gave a slight smile to the pair. Detective Sergeant Matthias then stood and asked if he could begin the interview and after getting a nod from everyone he began.

Detective Mathias first asked Charles to state his name and then where he used to live and a number of other questions designed to positively identify who Charles was. Then, it was time to buckle down and focus on the reason they were all there that afternoon.

"Charles … let us focus first on what Larry Masson did to take you from the carnival. Just tell us what you can and if you remember something, as you tell your story, you can stop and tell us about it, and then go back to your story. Will that work for you, Charles?" asked Detective Sergeant Brandt Matthias.

"Yes, sir … I can do that," announced Charles. "Where do you want me to begin?"

"How about you start at what you were doing before Lawrence 'Smokey' Masson abducted you. If we need more background information we'll ask for that later. Can you do that for us Charles?" asked the Detective.

"Oh, okay, I can do that," said Charles. The twelve year old then closed his eyes and began to tell his story.

"My 'brothers' and their friends and I had been riding the rides …"

"Who are these so called brothers?" demanded George Morris.

Charles opened his eyes and he looked directly at Mr. Ken.

Bill Jackson saw the fear in the boy's eyes and he loudly exclaimed, "Leave the boy alone, MR. MORRIS. Let him tell his story in his own way, and I'd ask you to take notes of the questions you want answers to later. Charles has gone through a harrowing experience and he doesn't need to be rudely interrupted!"

"I'm sorry for the interruption, Charles, you can continue," announced the lawyer, as he gave DA Morris the 'evil' eye.

Charles began again. "My brothers and I, and their friends, were riding the rides. We came to one that I didn't want to ride, so I told them to go ahead and ride, and that I would wait at the Exit. They got on the ride and, as it started, I could hear them laughing and calling out to me that I should have ridden it. I wish now I had. … As the ride began to go faster, I could hardly figure out where they were. It was then this man came up behind me and stuck something sharp into my back. He said my name and I knew immediately it was Smokey."

With Charles mentioning the name Smokey, DA Morris came forward in his chair and was about to interrupt again. He wanted to ask about the boy's relationship to the man and had opened his mouth to ask when he saw that Bill Jackson had also come forward in his chair and was waiting for him to do just that and distract the boy one more time. George Morris knew he would lose again, so he just sat back and allowed the lad to continue with his story.

"I asked him what he wanted and … and he said he wanted … me. When I heard that, I immediately got scared. He had wanted me to go with him earlier and I knew … I knew if I went with him I probably would not live.

"He told me to start walking towards the lower side of the house, down towards the water where it was darker and had less light so we wouldn't be seen as easily. He told me he wouldn't hurt me … as long as I did what he told me. We kinda walked slowly. I wondered where Chief was and why she wasn't with me but then I remembered … she had gone over to Mr. Chris and his family and hadn't come back to our group.

"We passed a few people who had gone down to the water, I guess, or they were out on the docks, or something, I don't know, but Smokey … he told me not to call out. He told me that if I did I would be dead before I hit the ground. It was then that I began to cry.

"He led me over to the far corner of the property. You know … over by the water drain where it meets up with the brick and stone wall or fence or whatever it is called. There was a slight indentation there and he shoved me down into it and told me to stay quiet. He said we would wait there until the party was over or they found us. Smokey told me he wouldn't hesitate to kill me if he got cornered but that it shouldn't happen as he had a 'plan'.

"He didn't tell me exactly what his plan was, but I figured … I figured it had to do something with the boats on the other side of the wall. As we sat there … I asked him how he got there. I told him we were told they'd all been arrested … and they all had been taken to jail. He told me he had made bail, or something like that, and that he knew he had to come back there and take me with him. … He said he hitchhiked to the Four Corners area and walked the rest of the way. I asked how he got into the carnival because the Police Explorers were still at the gate and they should have recognized him. He laughed when I said that. He told me … they didn't even really look at him, since they were watching the fireworks, and they just invited him in and gave him a wrist band and some tickets.

"The whole time we talked I was … I was thinking of ways that I could make my escape. I waited for him to move away from me … but the dent in the ground was so small he never got more than two feet away from me. I knew he was fast and he'd have hooked or grabbed my foot before I could get out of the hole we were in.

"I don't remember how long we were there, but it wasn't all that long before I could hear the guys calling out my name. I knew they were looking for me and so did Smokey. When he heard them calling my name he pushed me further down on the ground, and … and held the knife to … to my … my throat. He told me not to make any noise or he would kill me right then and there. He said … he told me he had nothing to lose and that one more killing … it wouldn't make any difference to him. It was after he said that I almost pissed my pants."

A few of the men smiled at Charles' last comment.

Charles, eyes still closed, then continued. "I knew I now had to do something … and soon. I knew he was going to eventually kill me. He would either kill me there or … or he would kill me somewhere else after he did what … what he wanted to do to me. He knew I knew … where his most important meeting and drug pickup places are because my mom … she made me do stuff for her when she was strung out on her drugs. I'd been to those hiding places over and over so … well, I knew where they were and Smokey also knew I knew.

"Even while I was laying on the ground, I could still hear, you know, my 'brothers' … calling out my name and then … all of a sudden they stopped. … Smokey then smiled at me and said they probably gave up looking because it was so dark, where we were, and they had no idea where to look. I didn't know what I was going to do. … I was … I was laying on the ground, with him right next to me … I had no options. Then … then I figured that since Smokey had some plans, you know, for me and he would do whatever he had to get me on, I supposed, a boat. I thought that he wouldn't kill me unless he was put into a corner. It was then I decided that I'd might have to try to jump into the water in order to get away from him.

"I guess it was ten or maybe fifteen minutes later that Smokey said, I think to himself, 'Damn, they started looking again'. Then, I guess it was maybe five minutes, or so, after that he … he made me stand up and … and he again put the knife at my throat and then he yelled out to the deputies to stay where they were or he'd cut my throat. I asked him to 'Please don't' but he laughed at me. I guessed the deputies had stopped because the policemen began to talk to Smokey to find out what he wanted. But, all he told then was … was for them to let him and me leave.

"After a few minutes, the police … they had someone new start talking to Smokey. The voice was new. Smokey continued to hold the knife to my throat and was yelling back to the police. I… I then began looking, hoping for him to be distracted, so … so I could grab his arm and … and maybe stab him with the knife instead of him eventually killing me. I knew … I knew I would be … dead by the morning if … if I was allowed to go with him.

"The cop and Smokey continued to yell back and forth to one another. I saw Smokey … he was kinda of distracted by the way he was answering the policeman. It was then I began building up … I was building up enough nerve, you know, to try to grab his arm when … when we were both startled by Chief when she jumped at him. When … when Chief jumped at Smokey … his hand, the one with the knife was pulled away from me some and … and I grabbed the arm and ... and I used that motion to continue to push his hand and the knife away from me. As I did that, the knife … the knife hit Chief. I was the one who … who hurt Chief. … I really didn't mean to do it. I'm really sorry I really didn't mean for Chief to get hurt." It was then Charles broke down and cried. Mr. Ken immediately grabbed the boy and hugged him tight.

Doug Jennings, a child psychologist who first treated Collin and now Robert, and was there as an observer, asked that they take a few minutes break to allow the boy to compose himself. He told them all they all needed to get up and walk around some to get their blood moving and to refresh the oxygen to their heads. All the men got up to use the rest room while Mr. Ken and Charles continued to hug one another. After about five minutes, Charles did calm down enough that 'dad' Ken convinced the pre-teen to get up and use the restroom and wash his face.

While Charles composed and refreshed himself, Mr. Ken went upstairs to the Butler's pantry to retrieve the cold drinks and momma's sweet cakes he had prepared earlier that morning. He rolled the serving cart to the elevator and took the refreshments down to the Great Room. The gathering of men saw what the owner of The Cove had brought and they all walked over and grabbed a cold drink and a sweet cake. Charles spied the fancy cakes and cold drinks when he exited the men's restroom and headed directly to the serving cart.

"Thanks 'dad', I … I mean Mr. Ken. Momma Maria made these didn't she?" asked Charles, of his new foster father.

"Yes, she did. … You going to be okay, Charles … 'son'?" smiled Mr. Ken, as he spoke to the boy.

"Yeah, I'll be Okay, I … I hope you do believe me that I really didn't mean to hurt Chief," replied Charles, with a big question mark on his face.

It was then that Chief slowly walked over to the pre-teen and placed her head under the lad's hand so he would scratch behind her ears. The boy knelt down and hugged the dog and began to cry. "Chief … I hope you believe me that I didn't mean to hurt you. But you were so brave to jump at Smokey like you did. You saved my life, girl. You really did! I owe you big time girl!" With that said, Charles began to cry some more and Chief licked his tears away.

The group gave the boy and his dog a few more minutes before they asked them to join back with them so they could continue the interview.

When everyone had refreshed their drink, Sergeant Matthias remained standing and asked Charles if he was ready to finish his story. The pre-teen said he was and with that the detective sat down and asked the lad to proceed.

Charles took a breath, closed his eyes, and began. "Everything then happened … it happened so fast. You know, with Chief jumping at Smokey and me grabbing Smokey's arm and … and then the knife hurting Chief. I heard the policemen running towards us and yelling something like 'Stop … put your hands up'. I saw Smokey look around … the knife was out of his hand, and he said something about it being too dark to take time to find it. That's when Smokey took off around the wall and a minute, or so later, I heard a boat motor start up and speed away.

"As soon as Smokey ran around the fence, I dropped down to check on Chief. I saw she was bleeding so … so I took off my shirt and … and wrapped it around the wound. While I was doing that, the three deputies … they arrived and they asked if I was okay. I also saw they tried to chase after Smokey, but … they were too late. The boat motor had started and then it sped away … fast.

"I heard the one officer call Mr. Ken and told him that Chief was injured and that he would probably need a veterinarian. They then began to ask me some questions about Smokey and if I knew where he was going. But, I ignored them … and I continued to take care of Chief.

"The next thing I know, my 'da'… ahh, Mr. Ken showed up. He checked all over me to see if I was injured and then Chief. Then I heard my 'brothers' coming but the policemen told them to stay back because it was a crime scene. Then … I heard, ahh, Mr. Ken … he asked if Collin could come in to help with Chief and say he'd then take care of me. The policeman, the guy I guess who was in charge, called to Collin and told him that Mr. Ken wanted him to take care of Chief. As soon as Collin got there I saw him tighten my shirt over Chief's wound. Then, Mr. Ken walked me up to the house and take me inside were my 'dad' sat with me in one of the chairs in his office. Then, they got me another shirt.

"I was still scared and I was crying. Then Robert came in and he began crying and my 'dad' told him to sit with us. Then, before I knew it, there were all these men … they kept asking me questions …."

"Yes, yes, we all know what happened after that," interrupted DA Morris. "I'd like to ask the boy a few questions while his ordeal is still fresh in his mind. That is IF it is okay with you Mister Jackson?"

Bill looked at Stew and the two of them looked to Mr. Ken and Charles. They saw the man ask his new foster son something and a few moments later the two lawyers got a nod from the owner of The Cove.

"Yes, Mister Morris, it appears our client is ready to take your questions. But, please remember, Mister DA, that we are in a safe setting and there is no need to badger him. Charles … just answer the man's questions," said Bill Jackson.

"Thank you lawyer Bill," chuckled George Morris, at Bill's pronouncement about the 'safe' setting. "Now, Charles … when I first interrupted your account of what happened … well, I want to apologize for doing so. … So … Charles, ahh, to begin … let me ask you to explain to me who are these 'brothers' you mentioned. I would like to understand who they are, since I know you are an only child."

Charles looked up to Mr. Ken, and getting a nod he began to answer the DA's question.

"Well … I may not say this right but I'll try to explain why we call each other 'brothers'," began Charles only to be interrupted by DA Morris.

"Don't you know why you use the term 'brothers' and to whom you are referring to," quickly asked George Morris.

"George … let the boy answer the question," countered Bill Jackson.

But Ken Thomas was seething over the way the DA was treating his new charge and he slid forward in his seat, on the sofa, and looked at DA Morris and said, "MISTER DA … the boy, Charles, that is, has only been with me since dinner time Wednesday evening. It has been less than two days since he began to live at Three Finger Cove. Also, he is NOT the perpetrator he IS the VICTIM! NOW … stop treating him as the accused and more as a human being who believed he would be killed by the man who tried to abduct him. It really isn't important that Robert and Collin and Eric and Ryan all call each other 'brother' and they, if you MUST know are all only children, as is Charles. And, it is they who have begun to call him as one of their 'brothers'. Now, move on, Mr. Morris!"

The room was 'pin needle' quiet as it looked like the two men were about to butt heads. They all knew about the confrontation that occurred after the first Holiday party and that George Morris still blames Ken Thomas for his censure from Commissioner's Court even though it was he who did it to himself by overstepping his authority.

George Morris smiled at Ken Thomas and nodded his head and said, "Okay, that's all I wanted to know. Thank you Ken."

"Okay, now Charles … can you remember if Lawrence Masson, Smokey as you call him, said anything before he ran around the wall and to the boat that he then stole?" asked DA Morris.

"I don't think he said anything, sir," replied Charles. "But what is it that you are wanting me to say?"

"I'm not asking you to make something up, Charles. I'm just asking if you heard this Smokey guy say anything like where he was going to go or what his plans were when he took you away from Three Finger Cove. That's all, Charles. You were with him for about forty minutes, or more, and I would like to know what he talked to you about during all that time," asked a more contrite DA Morris.

Charles again looked up to Mr. Ken with the question in his eyes. All his foster dad did was to suggest to the lad to close his eyes and think through the whole time he was with Smokey. Mr. Ken told the pre-teen to take his time and listen to what his mind tells him and just speak it out loud and we'll hear it. Charles shook his head that he understood and then closed his eyes.

"Okay …. Smokey sticks something in my back and tells me, 'I didn't think I'd ever find out where you were boy. Even your mom didn't know where they put you. Now, come on kid. We need to get away from here so we can talk some and then', Smokey laughed then and said, 'after that we can have some fun'. He told me to begin walking towards the lower part of the property so we wouldn't be seen but we passed by some people who were walking back from the water, I guess.

"We didn't walk fast and while we were walking, Smokey tells me, 'Boy, your momma sure did me wrong. She's lucky she's in that prison, for a few more years, or I'd be having my fun with her. That's for sure. She sure cost me a lot more than I ever expected. And what I didn't plan on was her using you to do what she was supposed to do for me'. That's when I began to get real scared.

"As we walked past the docks, I began to think of a way to get away but he kept the knife behind me and was using it to push me where he wanted me to go. 'So you know where the drop points are, huh?' Smokey said to me as he made a point of it by pushing me a bit harder. Then, he said, 'You also know where my meeting places are with my suppliers, don't you. Now we can't have that, now, can we?' I knew right then that Smokey would never let me live.

"We had to walk past the back side of the patio and then the indoor pool. I could see the water things that you ride on. I don't know what they are called but I had thought they would be good to make my escape with, but I didn't even know how to start them and I also didn't know where the key was. So, I gave up on that idea.

"Smokey saw me look over at them and he said to me, "Don't even think about it, Charlie. There's no key in them and they have them locked together so they can't be stealed. I've already checked them out. I had to find another way to get away from here. Keep moving towards that dark corner. We'll leave this place as soon as the people out on the lake thin out'. Yeah … that's why I got the idea he was going to take a boat from the other side of that wall.

"It took us about ten minutes to walk from the ride to that low area by the corner of the property. He kept talking but some of the stuff didn't make any sense. It was like he was talking to himself and trying to convince himself to … to do something, or … yeah, yeah," loudly said Charles as he opened his eyes. "He was … he was trying to figure out where he was going to go when we got away from there."

It was after he recounted his story, that Charles opened his eyes wide, smiled real big at the men across the coffee table from him, and blurred out, "I bet I know where he is going!"

DA Morris wasn't the only man there that afternoon that shifted on his seat and got a huge grin on their face after hearing Charles say he thought he knew where his failed abductor might be. They all knew that when Charles James Lewis told them where they could probably find Smokey Masson they knew they would take a big bite out of the drug trade and then put away a big drug dealer, abductor, and possible murderer, if they could connect Smokey with any of the unsolved drug involved murders they still had. And, for the next twenty minutes, Charles did tell them everything he knew about Smokey Masson's activities and possible whereabouts.

Ken Thomas tightly hugged his new foster son for working through DA Morris's question and letting his mind play back the 'video' to allow him to come up with that revelation of where the police would be able to find Lawrence 'Smokey' Masson.

After Charles's revelation, they all took another much needed break but, first, George Morris came over to Charles and offered, "Charles … I want to thank you for being able to work through this interview, and coming up with that 'game' saving tackle. I really appreciate what you did here today, for us, for all of us that is, after having to deal with what has to be the most traumatic experience in your life. I also want to apologize, to you, for the way I acted here today.

"I want you to know that it wasn't anything personal against you. I just want the best for the people of our county and … and, well, I forget sometimes to stand back and try to be more relaxed and not so, well … demanding. I hope you will accept my apology for the way I acted towards you today." George Morris then offered his hand towards the lad. The boy first looked into the DA's eyes before reaching out and then accepted it. Ken Thomas just stood by and smiled at what just happened.

"And to you Mr. Thomas, Ken, I want to thank you for the manner in which you guided young Charles, here, in giving him the support and coaching and, of course, the 'love' he needed in order to talk with us here today. You do have a special way about you, Ken, which I see gets the kids to respond to you. What I saw here today, I am sure, was indicative of how you helped Collin to work through all of the traumatic events in his young life. I hope you, too, will accept my apology for my acting out here today," also offered DA Morris. Ken Thomas took the man's hand in a strong handshake.

After their second break, the interviewers, minus DA Morris, Sheriff Barnes and Deputy Sheriff Dan Fischer, all sat down to finish up the days meeting. Detective Sergeant Matthias took over the final stage of the days agenda and focused his questions towards what Charles new about Smokey Masson's hiding places, supplier meeting locations, drop points, and possibly the man's contacts. The interview was hardly over.

All the while Charles' interview was going on, Collin and Robert had gone out to get lunch and play Putt-Putt and then drive the Go-Karts to pass the time away.

"Robert," began Collin, while they ate their lunch at the Four Corner's Diner, "did Charles confide in you? You know, tell you stuff that he needed to get off his chest, but hoped that no one would ever find out about?"

Robert looked at his big 'brother' and replied, "Yeah … we kinda told each other about, you know, the shit that happened to us."

"Can I ask if what happened to you equals … what happened to him?" then asked Collin.

Robert looked into Colin's eyes to see if the teen was trying to get his jollies or was he serious about wanting to know so he might be able to help. Figuring Collin was wanting to know so he could possible help, Robert said, "I guess you want to know so you might be able to help Charlie, I mean Charles."

"Yes! You know that I've been there; we've both been there," responded Collin. "Even though Doctor Doug will be able to help Charles … our new 'brother' … you and I know he needs to know he has someone else he can trust to talk to about things whenever he needs to. We've talked some and … and you know it has just scratched the surface. We both have something that we can understand about one another and … and I think we need to bring Charles into our 'little club'. What do you think?"

Robert sat there for a few moments. Then, he replied, "Yeah … he's gonna need us … isn't he?"

"Good. I'm glad you agree," said Collin.

"But … how are we gonna do this?" asked Robert.

"Well, I have to go back home tomorrow. I'll try to find the right time to talk to Charles and tell him some of what happened to me. I'll also offer him my phone number and I'll make sure Mr. Ken gets him a cell phone. And, if our Big Bro won't get him one right away, I'll pay for it myself. I don't think this is over for Charles; not by a long shot," offered Collin.

"What do you mean … 'not by a long shot'?" immediately asked Robert.

Collin looked at this little 'brother' and said, "Because … until that man is caught … and put away for a long time … Charles … he will always be in danger. And, even if they find this guy, Smokey, his friends may try to get their revenge. Charles needs to have a phone so he can call people if he believes he's in danger."

"Damn, I never even considered that," said a shocked Robert. "Will his situation … can this place my friends in danger, too?" Robert wanted to know.

"That, my 'lil bro' is the sixty-four thousand dollar question. We need to talk to my Big Bro but we can't go back home until he calls us or, at the earliest, five," explained Collin.

The two teenagers finished their conversation and their lunch and headed to the Go-Karts. The operator of the small race cars knew both lads from them being with the owner, many, many times. He knew to let the boys have their fun and maybe advance their position in line to make sure the 'big guy' was happy. The teens didn't ask for any special treatment and they never told the man they knew who the owner was and were pleasantly surprised when the man gave them a few 'special' favors.

After each lad won two races each, they headed over to the Putt-Putt to try their luck there. At first they started out as competitors. By the fifth hole they began to fool around with their shots on the hole and by the twelfth hole they forgot about the game and began having fun like good friends do. They never talked about what they had discussed in the Diner. At the end of the game, they decided not to play again but to head over to Dairy Queen for a medium Blizzard. While they enjoyed their cold concoction, Collin's phone rang.

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