by David McLeod
Arnold and Roger
Roger walked into the coffee shop, dogged by Arnold. Samantha tightened her lips. Roger was eighteen, nearly nineteen. Arnold was perhaps fourteen. If they were having sex, Roger was breaking the law…as well as the firmly established customs of Samantha's coffee house. There was no evidence, though, and whatever else he was, Roger was careful.
Roger sprawled, half-in and half-out of a booth. Arnold placed an order for coffee, and paid for it with a pair of wrinkled bills. The boy walked carefully, tiptoeing, as he carried the mugs to the booth. Nevertheless, he stumbled, and sloshed coffee onto the table.
"You little shit! Now get me some napkins," Roger said, ignoring the dispenser at his elbow.
Roger's hand rested on Arnold's thigh for only a moment before squeezing–hard. Roger's nails dug into the flesh below the denim. Arnold gasped, and the stuffed his hands into his mouth. Roger looked around. No one had heard. At least, no one was looking at them. He squeezed harder. "Keep your mouth shut, you little shit," he hissed. He felt movement under the denim. Fuck, the little bastard's getting hard, he thought.
Someone had heard. Stephen sat motionless in the booth behind Roger and Arnold. He could not resolve the emotions that flickered through his mind. He hated what he thought Roger was doing to Arnold. Still, he thought, Arnold doesn't have to…put up with Roger. Stephen shrugged and looked at his coffee cup. Only a third was left, and the coffee house was starting to fill up as the workday ended. Samantha had never said anything to Stephen, but he knew she'd rather he not monopolize a booth for the price of a single cup of coffee. Stephen picked up the cup, checked to see that the table was clean, and walked to the end of the bar.
"Hey, Stephen?" Lucy said. Steam hissed as she twisted the knobs of the espresso machine. "I made an extra shot–you want it? And a little hot water? We'll turn that into a Café Americano."
"Uh, sure, Lucy," Stephen handed his cup across the bar. "Thanks."
Arnold's whimpers could have been pain or pleasure, or both. Roger didn't know. He saw and heard nothing, and felt only the warmth, the tingle, the flush, the shocking tension as his entire being shrank to a point somewhere on the underside of his glans, and then winked out of existence. Arnold felt Roger's orgasm, and then the dead weight as the older boy collapsed and lay still, quiet. The first time Roger had passed out, Arnold had been afraid–and strangely excited. He had thought Roger had died. He had squirmed out from under the older boy and struggled to turn him onto his back. Before he could, Roger's eyes had snapped open. He slapped Arnold. "Don't ever do that again, you little shit."
Again…again…again. The only word Arnold heard echoed in his mind. He shivered.
Wet cold followed heat. Arnold gasped and then cried out. Roger punched him. "Shut up, you little shit." Roger's father was in the next room: drunk, probably passed out. Still, there was no sense in taking chances. Roger screwed the knob onto the metal pin and looked at his handiwork. The red-hot ice pick had cauterized Arnold's flesh, and the boy's nipple hardly bled. Roger unbuttoned his jeans and slid them down his legs. "Here, boy. This will take your mind off it.
Snow blanketed Jacksonville. The Chinook Wind that usually moderated the severity and duration of winter storms had not blown in weeks. Although the calendar read mid-January, and the days were getting longer, the continuous gray overcast and snow blown furiously by the north wind stole all color from the world. The gloom seeped into the cracks in Arnold's spirit. His father found him with the muzzle of a shotgun in his mouth and most of his skull embedded in the wall.
The wind had stopped blowing; fresh show muffled even the sound of the chains on Larry's tires. He pulled his four-by to the curb. "I'll feed the meter," Paul said as he opened the door. His voice was low, as if he were reluctant to disturb the stillness.
"No," Larry replied. He flipped down the visor so that an Auxiliary Sheriff placard was visible in the windshield. "Deputy Sam said to tell folks–we're on the job." Paul simply nodded.
The boys looked around the coffee house. Crowded. More folks than cars, Larry thought, and then caught sight of a dozen pairs of cross-country skis stacked in a corner. They're nuts!
Paul whispered to Samantha. Her hand flew to her mouth and her eyes flew to the corner booth where Roger sat. "Are you going to tell him?" she asked softly.
Paul saw the direction in which she was looking, and knew without seeing who she meant. "Yeah, but not first. Will you tell Lucy?" Samantha nodded.
Paul and Larry moved from table to table. Whispers and hard stares directed toward Roger followed them around the room. Finally, Roger looked up and realized he was the object of everyone's attention. "What's going on?" he demanded. "What the crap are you lookin' at, dickwad?" This was addressed to Patrick.
Before Paul or Larry could speak, Jeremy shouted. "Arnold's dead. He killed himself, and it's your fault."
Roger's face went white, and he bolted out the door and into the darkness and cold.
"Do you want to watch the autopsy?" Doctor Furman's voice broke Tony's concentration. He looked up from a chemistry book.
"Come on, Tony, you're usually sharper than that. Doctor Lockhart has said you might watch, if you want. He's cleared it with the boy's family."
Tony's eyes fought his stomach. His eyes wanted to see this; his stomach rebelled at the thought of Arnold, lying pale and cold on a steel table, sliced open from neck to navel. The eyes won.
Dr. Lockhart switched on the recorder and then pulled the microphone's ceiling-mounted boom toward himself. He glanced at Tony and raised his eyebrows. Tony nodded. After reciting the date and time, the doctor described Arnold. "This is the autopsy of a Caucasian male tagged as Arnold Comber. Age appears to be early teens, and post-puberty. Weight is low for height and build but within healthy limits. Skin is clear except for mild acne on both cheeks. There is normal lividity associated with post-mortem position of the body.
"Both nipples, the navel, the penis, and the scrotum have metal pins inserted as a result of piercing."
The doctor paused, before adding. "Subject is a minor and state law prohibits…Yes, Tony?"
"Sir, the edges show evidence of trauma and past infection. These were done by an amateur." Roger, probably.
The doctor paused. "Tony? Please take his feet, cross the right ankle over the left, and be ready to help me turn him over."
Tony did as he was instructed, and the doctor continued his examination. "Some bruises on the buttocks show even though the lividity. Hmm." Tony gasped as the doctor separated Arnold's buttocks. "The anus is torn."
Deputy Sam had responded to Doctor Lockhart's call. Now, he and Tony sat in the back seat of the sheriff's plane. The evidence case sat between them.
Tony sat quietly for a long time. When he spoke, his voice was low but steady. "Deputy?"
"Call me Sam–"
"No, sir." Tony replied. "Deputy, I think. This is official. Arnold was raped by Roger Butler. Everybody knew it but nobody could…would…" Tony's voice broke. "If we hadn't been afraid of Roger, we'd have done something! This wouldn't have happened!"
"Shit, Tony!" Sam said. Careful; he feels bad enough as it is. "Why do you think that? Did anyone see? Did Arnold or Roger talk about it?"
"See? Jesus Christ, no! Nobody I know was that friendly with them…or that weird. And no, neither of them ever said. But you could tell. Arnold was like Roger's slave." Tony blushed. "And Arnold, uh, liked it. Roger used to yell at him, call him names, and smack him around a little. Arnold got an erection a couple of times. I mean, you could tell…"
Sam pulled a notepad and pen from his pocket and handed them to Tony. "Tony, I want you to write down in your own words everything you can remember: touching, hitting, yelling, verbal abuse, everything. Will you do that? For Arnold?"
"I'll do it," Tony said. "But not for Arnold. Whoever Arnold was, he's not here, any more. That wasn't him on the autopsy table." Tony began to write. "I'll do it for the next kid that Roger tries to…"
Tony's urgent call had brought Paul and Larry to the coffee house. Tony had ordered coffee for them both. "Guys? You gotta promise not to tell anyone, okay?" he asked.
The two nodded, uncertain what they were being asked to promise to, but trusting Tony.
"I watched Arnold's autopsy. Dr. Lockhart found semen in his rectum. Deputy Sam and I took it to the state lab in Cheyenne. They got good DNA from it, but they can't match it with anyone and they can't make Roger give any. The judge said there's not enough evidence for a warrant."
The three boys sat in quiet reflection. We knew, Larry thought. We knew. Deep in our hearts, we knew, Paul thought. Why did I tell them? Tony wondered. What can a couple of kids do that the state prosecutor can't?
"The authorities might not be able to get any DNA from Roger; maybe we can," Paul said. "Larry, let's go talk to your dad."
Three days later, the boys were ready. Lucy had called; Roger was in the coffee house. Paul, Larry, and Tony walked in. Five minutes later, Deputy Sam–in civilian clothes–entered. He sat at the end of the bar where he could see the entire room.
Paul looked at Roger. Sitting there like nothing ever happened. Let's do this. He walked over to the booth where Roger sat. He kept his back to the room, and stood an impolitely close distance from Roger. "Roger, were you born a jackass, or did you have plastic surgery?"
Roger looked up and frowned. "What the fuck?"
"Were your parents brother and sister, or just first cousins?" Paul continued.
"Who the fuck do you think you are? You fucking faggot." Roger's voice echoed across the room; every eye turned toward the booth.
Paul spoke quietly. Only Roger heard him. "You're a real closet case, you know that? Just because you didn't let Arnold fuck you doesn't mean you're not as queer as I am." Paul's voice was steady, but there was a definite note of distain. He curled his lip. "In fact, I'd say that anybody who'd fuck a child is worse than a faggot. He's so immature he can't make friends with anyone his own age. And his dick is probably so small it rattles around even in a child's ass. Is that it, Roger? You have a tiny, baby dick? Huh?"
Paul had watched Roger's eyes closely and moved quickly when Roger leapt to his feet. Roger punched at Paul, who blocked the blow and carefully, deliberately, slammed his fist across Roger's nose. Don't want to kill him…don't want to break anything, Paul thought. The force of the blow stunned Roger. Paul grabbed the older boy and spun him around to face the room.
"Roger, my goodness, you've got a nosebleed," Larry said. Tony reached into a plastic bag and removed a sterile handkerchief. Roger didn't notice that Tony was wearing surgical gloves when he wiped the blood from Roger's face and put the handkerchief back into the bag.
By this time, Deputy Sam had reached the quartet of boys. "None of that, Roger. I saw you throw the first punch. Now settle down!"
Sam's voice became sharp. Paul's stomach quivered. His voice is so sexy…
"Paul? Turn loose of him. Roger, don't you dare throw another punch." Sam took the boy's arm and led him to the front door. "I could arrest you, but I'm not." Not now, anyway. "Get out, and don't come back. You're interdicted, you hear."
"You can't do that," Roger whined.
"Boy, you'd be real surprised what I can do," Sam said softly. "Get out!"
The judge wasn't entirely happy with the methods we had used. The DNA from Roger's blood and snot on the handkerchief was a perfect match for the DNA from the semen in Arnold's rectum. A decent lawyer could have gotten it thrown out in a trial, but it was enough for the judge to issue an arrest warrant and an order for Roger to submit a DNA sample. When Deputy Sam confronted Roger in the interrogation room, he broke down and admitted that he'd raped Arnold. Tony said it was a guilty conscience talking. I was pretty sure Roger didn't have a conscience, and it was Sam's voice that frightened him into confessing.
Lucy believes in karma, and she figured that was why Roger accidentally was mixed in with the regular prison population and gang raped. Patrick and Stephen were still wrapped up on Richard III, and figured it was like the play: a set piece of heavy-handed divine retribution. I didn't believe either, just that sometimes bad things happen to bad people. None of us changed our minds when two days later, in the prison hospital, Roger managed to hang himself with a sheet.