by DJ Thomas
by DJ Thomas
Once again, I am working late, which doesn't surprise my staff. Perhaps I better introduce myself. My name is Drew Thomas. I am a single thirty-five-year-old workaholic, who has made it to the top of his profession through sheer determination.
The only way to go from here is down, which accounts for my glum mood.
I'm looking over some reports, when my second-in-command enters, he states with force,
"Drew, you must stop driving yourself so hard!"
"Miles, why are you still here?"
"To chase you out: The night watchman, at my behest, called to tell me, you were still at your desk. Debbie and I worry about your health, we think you need to take some time off: Please, my friend, go on a cruise or just goof off. You drive the office nuts, quite frankly, you pull down everybody. In fact, if you don't lighten up, the staff will strike."
"Fine, Miles! Actually, I thought I might drop out for a month, but should I, I intend to remain in contact with you. In the meantime, get out of my hair, so I can finish clearing my desk. Then, I can start my vacation tomorrow." I retort, in mock anger.
"Okay, call me if you need anything."
With that, he retreats with a laugh.
After leaving a long list of instructions for my assistant, I head out. I take the elevator down to the garage, where I parked my Bronco.
I don't have an assigned parking place, because I rarely drive. Therefore, the only spot left, when I arrived, was next to the dumpsters.
As I approach my truck, I hear a child's cry. Observing no one, I peer inside the contained area, where I see a small pair of sneakers sticking out from behind one of the dumpsters.
Stopping, I hold my breath, and then I think,
'What if the youngster is hurt, sick? Suppose I frighten him, and he runs?'
My rhetorical answer: 'I will make it right!'.
Stepping around the corner, I find a filthy tiny boy, he looks no older than eight. He has dried blood matted in hair, as well as on his shirt.
Carefully, I kneel down to get his attention, and then I calmly asks,
"Hi, my name is Drew, may I offer you some help?"
"Why?" he replies in a small timid voice.
Not receiving the response I expect, I think for a moment, before I answer,
"Because I can: Of more importance, I want to. Now, it's late, are you as hungry as I am?"
He nods weakly, encouraged I continue,
"Let's clean you up, bandage your head, then we can eat, alright?"
Picking him up, I carry him over to my Bronco, which he gazes at suspiciously. Ignoring his reaction, I ask,
"Little Buddy, do you like pizza?"
He shakes his head, yes. Not knowing the pint-sized fellow's preference, while not wanting to push my luck, I order a selection of toppings.
When we arrive at my condo, I suggest,
"Little Guy, do you want to bathe?"
He agrees to in the same manner. So I query,
"Need any help?"
I'm shocked to hear him squeak,
"No, not really, but would you wash my hair, when I'm ready?"
"Sure, just give me a shout. How about you leave your clothes outside the bathroom door, so I can get them washed them. And, while you are in the tub, I will find you something to wear."
Next thing I know, he's in the bathroom undressing, while I wonder,
'What can I find for him to wear?'
Then, it hits me,
He is the twelve year old spoiled (by me) son of Miles and Debbie Edwards.
Since the boy spends weekends with me, some of his clothes are in my spare room closet. Looking, I find an old pair of pajamas.
By the time I complete my tasks, I hear a faint voice saying,
"Sir, I am ready now."
So, I go to wash his hair. I think he might keep faced away from me, but he doesn't, however he leaves his hands in his lap. When I ask him to turn around, he shouts,
"I did my back!"
Causing me to say,
"Okay, let's try finding a solution to your problem. I can't do so, unless you tell me the truth, alright?"
I hope my remark gets through to him. Slowly, he turns, revealing ghastly marks on his back. The sight makes me scream,
"Oh, Mother of God!"
I could not have reacted worse: The little guy runs out of the room faster than I think possible. I find him acting, as if he were a caged animal, not knowing which way to go. Catching up, I wrap him in a huge soft towel, while I hug him tightly, while I rock him. I keep repeating,
"Son, everything will be fine."
Finally, he calms down enough for me to slip on the pajamas.
Once dressed, I stand him in front of me. I look into his eyes, while I whisper,
"Little One, eventually we must talk about what happened and about how to proceed. But, for tonight, I only want to find out one thing, the rest can wait for tomorrow.”
Again he nods faintly.
"Are you ready?"
His beautiful blue eyes grow serious, as he shakes his head in agreement.
"What is your name?"
Silence follows, and then suddenly he bursts out laughing, while he squirms all over. All at once, the words stream out of him, like a broken dam.
"I thought you might ask something hard, or weird! My name is
Dylian Price, I'm nine, I ran away from my foster dad last week, after he beat me again for something stupid. I lived off of food taken from dumpsters. I did fine, until earlier today, when I hit my head after losing my balance and falling. That's where all the blood came from. I just woke up, at the time you found me. I don't care where I live, as long as I don't go back to a foster home. If I'm returned, I'll bolt again. And, I won't stop searching. I don't care what happens to me, but..."
By this time, a torrent of tears runs down his face. So, I pick him up. I hold him close to my chest, as I rock him, until he quiets down. Then, I ask,
"Dylian, would it be alright, if I become your fos... temporary Dad?... Wait, Son, what do you mean 'I will not stop searching'?".
"My big brother was sold, and I'm trying to find him."
"Sold? Who was responsible, and why?"
"My foster father. He found Simon with a friend doing stuff together. He threw out the kid, and then he badly beat my brother. He called Si bad names, including slut, and whore, adding he would get to be both soon enough. Later that night, I heard him talk to someone: The man said it was a small price to pay for such a nice piece of boy pussy, and he would pay another ten grand for me. One week later, he told me I needed to start learning the family trade. When I started fighting back, he beat me. That's how I got those marks. I told my social worker, but she said I made it up. The next night, the same thing happened: So after school the next day, I ran away. And, you know the rest."
By now, the poor boy stops crying, instead he stares out into space. In response to what he told me, I reply,
"Dylian, I promise to reunite the two of you. Now, eat your food, while I make a few calls."
Leaving the room, I phone the Edwards residence.
Miles sounds, as if he came back from the dead.
"Hey, Buddy, this is Drew. I need your help right now, not as your boss but you best friend! Please come over, bring Debbie and Donnie. This is an all out emergency of the highest order!"
Before he responds, I hang up.
Let me explain, Debbie is a pediatrician, so she can examine the child, plus advise me on how to proceed. At the same time, their twelve-year-old will be able to keep Dylian company.
Next, I dial my chief of security, Bruce. He is a retired naval Seal with a heart of gold. Also, he is a family man, the father of five youngsters. Therefore, I know I can count on his aid.
Now, I contact my lawyer, Brian. I order him to come over, pronto. I don't care how much he bills me for a late night visit.
Thirty minutes later, Miles and Debbie arrive, towing a very sleepy Donnie.
"Drew, what the hell is going on?" my second-in-command asks, as he rushes in.
"Guys, thanks for coming. Debbie, I need to hire you, but please hold off with any questions for now."
I quickly lead Dr. Edwards, plus her child, into the kitchen, where I introduce them to my boy, concluding,
"Would it be alright, if she examines your injuries?"
Although I'm afraid he might get upset and try to bolt once more, he surprises me with the reply,
At this point my friend shoots me a questioning look, so I explain,
"Debbie, this is Dylian. Donnie, there is pizza in the oven, please don't eat it all!"
With that, I start to leave of the kitchen, as I see my nephew stick his tongue out at me.
All but my nine-year-old laugh.
Heading back to the living room, I find Bruce. After we exchange our greetings, I say,
"Okay, I know this is a little unusual, but trust me, it is important. I need to go over a few things with you, once Brian and Mark get here. Great, here they are! Hi, Guys."
Once they sit, I explain everything. Then, I add,
"I want you to consider Dylian my son. Also, with all he has been through, treat the boy with kid gloves. So, how do we find Simon?"
Mark, one of my lawyers, says,
"Drew, I will call Child Services (CPS) in the morning."
Brian, his law partner (as well as personal), cuts in,
"They have a person on duty twenty four-seven, so do it now!"
In response, Mark rushes out of the room. Bruce, my security chief, then remarks,
"Once we discover where the bastard is, I will put together a team to pay him a visit. I'm sure, they will find Dylian's sibling."
'I wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of that exchange!'
By now, a distressed Mark returns, asking,
"Drew, ... How certain are you, a Simon exists?"
I look at him for awhile, before I answer,
"After seeing my boy's back, I doubt he would make up a big brother. But, why the question?"
"I spoke with two different CPS workers. They spit nails over my query, before they admitted Dylian disappeared. However, both claimed to know nothing of a sibling named Simon. I told them the child is now under the protection of my client. Also, I asked for information on the foster father. They informed me his particulars are privileged. Further, harboring of the minor will lead to an obstruction of justice charge, which they intend to get from the court in the morning."
The information infuriates me. However before I react, a smirking Miles states,
"Drew, I don't like the sound of this, I feel we need to shield ourselves as well as your son. I think we should play hard ball. In all of our government contracts, we stipulate the right to ground any helicopter for maintenance, or whatever reason we feel necessary for safety. The governor, together with his cabinet, is set to make a series of flyovers in a few days, so he can assess last weekend's storm damage. It would be very embarrassing to him, if he couldn't. In addition, think of the damage he would incur, should news be leaked, concerning the sale of children under the shield of CPS."
"Hold on, I have a better idea." I reply, while I grab my phone.
After dialing, I say,
"Put me through to Tom: Yes, this is Drew Thomas!"
Within minutes, I hear Governor Dailey angrily say,
"Drew, God, do you know what time it is? I have a mountain of work to accomplish tomorrow. Your call had better be important."
"Well, Bro, it is. Several actions will occur within the next few hours. First, ALL DJ Enterprise birds shall be grounded for an indefinite period. Second, I intend to hold a news conference, at nine in the morning. I plan to inform our not-so-friendly press your state CHILD PROTECTIVE SERVICES is abating the sale of youngsters, under its auspices, into slavery. And, our governor does nothing to prevent it happening!"
At this point, I take a deep breath, before I add,
"I thought you deserved a bit of a heads up, since we once were family."
"Damn it, Drew, you know full well you still are! Your sister, God rest her soul, loved you right to the end. But, what the hell are you talking about the CPS being complicit in the enslavement of minors? Were I aware of it, and I did nothing to correct this outrageous activity, I would deserve being thrown out of office!"
At this point, I relate Dylian's horrendous story.
"I don't think this is a statewide problem, simply isolated to a single office. Therefore, I will order its rectification as soon as we stop talking. Make sure you keep the little boy safe, until we rescue his big brother."
The next moment, he hangs up.
When I look up, I see Debbie has entered, accompanied by two very tired boys. Approaching them, I kneel in front of Dylian, and then I whisper,
"Little Guy, all these people are here to help reunite you with Simon. In the meantime, you need to get some sleep."
Turning to my nephew, I add,
"Donnie, why don't you take my son to your room and get in bed with him. We will join you shortly."
"Okay, Unk, follow me, Dylian."
With that, they head down the hall.
Looking over at Debbie, I ask
"How bad is his condition?"
"Very: The scars on his back are just part of it. He has scabs on his scrotum from what appears to be cigarette burns, as well as others all over his body. Some of his wounds extend well below the surface layer. I suggest he see a plastic surgeon soon. Now, for the big problem, I am what is called a Mandated Reporter. I must notify the proper authorities immediately of his abuse."
"Well, that's a problem. The state protected the abuser rather than the abused."
"You mean to tell me CPS is responsible for his condition?!"
"Then reporting it, places the boy at greater risk, I have to NOT do so, but I must: Damn it Drew!"
The next thing I know, she storms off to my bedroom, where she and Miles will sleep for the night, leaving me exiled on the couch.
The rest of us sit around drinking coffee, while we discuss our next moves. About one hour later, my cell goes off.
It is Tom, he gives me the name and address of Dylian's former foster father.
I jot the information down, then hand it over to my security officer, saying,
"Bruce, do whatever it takes to get Simon!"
He departs, as do my lawyers, and within minutes, I am dead to the world.