Castle Roland

The Apprentice

by Sahypo

In Progress

Chapter 33

Posted: 7 Apr 16

The Apprentice

Copyright © by Sahypo

After the boys had gone to school, Isaac paid a visit to Timmy's middle school and stood at the counter to speak to the counselor about Wesley. He told her that he was William's temporary guardian and Timmy's brother. She remembered Timmy from last year, and that if Timmy wanted to come by at lunch time, he could pick up William's books and lesson sheets, and meet Wesley's teachers. She assured Isaac that Timmy would get to eat. She sent a message to Wesley's teachers to request a meeting.

Timmy's academic counselor and head teacher was a slight balding man in his fifties, who taught the advance placement math and science courses that Timmy was taking. He had taught college for years, and when the magnet program at the local school district was inaugurated, he decided that the free-form individualized lesson plan tailored to each student appealed to him, rather than going through the motions every year with courses that never changed once the syllabus was written. He got a message to send Timmy to a meeting at 11:30, that he was to attend as well and that lunch would be served. The teacher raised his eyebrows, but decided that whatever this was about, at least lunch was free today.

Timmy and the instructor arrived at the counselor's office a few minutes early, and were shown into a conference room that had a stack of books on the table and six folders. The teaching staff from Wesley's classes were here, and one of them ushered Timmy over to a table that had a tray of six inch sammiches of various kinds, and bottled lemonade, tea and water. It had been some time since Timmy had lemonade, so he grabbed a bottle of that, and a ham and cheese on a wheat roll.

Once they sat down, one of the teachers asked

"Timmy, we understand that you are friends of Wesley's family and have been seeing him in the hospital this week?"

"Yes, ma'am. We took Wesley's little brother William in after the...uh incident, and we take him to the hospital to spend time with his mom and Wesley every day."

"We heard all sorts of things, like that there was a shooting....what happened?"

It was obvious to Timmy that the teachers had heard a lot of rumor and gossip, but not much accurate information.

"Um, Wesley's mom was being beaten up by her boyfriend. Wesley tried to stop him, and the man broke his skull, collarbone and right arm in several places and most of his ribs. The cops broke the door down and shot the guy, or he would have killed Wesley and his mom. He almost did. Wesley had emergency brain surgery to stop bleeding in his head, and they put a lot of pins in his arm. He has to have a hole in his skull closed, and his arm needs more surgeries. Right now he is doing okay."

"How is his mother and little brother?"

"She was badly injured as well. She has a broken jaw. William wasn't in the same room, so he wasn't hurt."

"Holy Moly" One of them said.

Timmy chomped down on the sammich and waited for the teachers to speak again.

"Timmy, this is Wesley's course work for each subject in these files. You should keep the schedules that are in here, and you can use the folders to return his homework each Friday. You can pick the folders up on Mondays when you go to the hospital. I'll show you where the teacher's message boxes are, and if you leave the folders for us in those, we'll get the homework and grade it for Wesley". Timmy nodded and looked into the folders.

"Looks pretty straight forward. Is there anything about Wesley I should know?"

"Wesley is a good kid, and an average student at best. He can do very well if he pays attention to details. Things like switching signs, and proper use of punctuation. Nothing big, but he gives up points on tests for stuff like this."

"Okay. I'll try to work on that with him, then." Timmy looked over the other folders. The textbooks were the same ones he would be using if he was in Wesley's cadre.

"Um, I have another question. How do I get to the hospital from here?" Timmy asked.

"You are doing this as an elective assignment for course credit." replied Timmy's mentor.

"For the duration of Wesley's need of your services, the district will drive you there and back in a chauffeured limousine." Timmy cocked his head, rolled his eyes at his teacher.

"R-r-r-r-ight, Mister Leonard!" Timmy drew out in disbelief as the teachers all chuckled.

"Actually, Cathy will drive you in one of the Cavaliers, Timmy. Now all we have to do is figure out when we want to slot this into our day." Mister Leonard said.

"I can find out what times would be best for him and the hospital. He is going to need more surgeries and we will have to work around that." Timmy proposed.

"Based on what you have seen of him, how long do you think it will take him to return to school, Timmy?" one of the seventh grade teachers asked.

"Probably after January next semester, I'm going to bet." Timmy replied.

"Timmy do you have any questions?"

"Not really. The tutoring shouldn't be a problem. I'm taking all this home and going through it before I get started." Timmy said.

"Each one of us have our numbers listed in the folders, Timmy. If you get stuck along the way, call us."

"Yes, ma'am, thank you. I will do that."

"And thank you, Timmy for doing this for Wesley. You will probably save him from being held back a year if he works hard."

"Yes, ma'am. He definitely doesn't want that to happen."

"So, Timmy, you'll see Wesley this afternoon and get back to me with the time he agrees to?"

"Yes Sir, Mister Leonard." Timmy said. Mister Leonard looked at the group and said

"I guess we are done here, ladies....and Timmy" he said with a clearing of the throat that got everyone laughing. Timmy stood up and pulled the pile of books and folders across the table.

"You need any help with all that, Timmy?" Mister Leonard asked.

"Nope, got it!" Timmy replied with a grin, as he snatched a box of copier paper next to the counselor's machine and took the paper out. He placed the books and folders in the box, and put the packages of paper next to the copier.

They went back to Mister Leonard's room and were followed seconds later by Cathy, Leonard's assistant. She was carrying two packages of paper. Timmy and Mister Leonard looked at each other and began to laugh. Cathy stopped in mid-stride and asked

"What, is there mud on my dress or something?" in an East Texas drawl.

Timmy replied "I would have stolen some paper too, if I knew you were out of it." pointing at the box.

"Oh, ok." She said, coming closer. "I'll keep that in mind, next time you're stealin."

"I got you a car, Cathy." Mister Leonard said, handing her a set of keys on a ring with a barcode tag. He had signed the car out of the district motor pool for Timmy's assignment. It took the principal's okay, but with the justification Leonard had written, that was no problem. They had discussed driving Timmy earlier that morning.

"Cadillac or Cavalier?" Cathy joked.

"It will be a surprise...I wouldn't want to spoil it" Mister Leonard replied.

"He promised me a limousine earlier." Timmy added, giving Cathy a wink.

"He's certainly persuasive, isn't he?" Cathy joked. "Okay, so when does this start?"

"I'll find out when his surgeries are scheduled, and we can decide on Monday?" Timmy suggested.

Mister Leonard nodded. "Sounds like a plan, Mister Daniels." Mister Leonard often addressed Timmy in that fashion, and he loved the way his adopted name sounded.

The rest of the day went in the usual fashion, and Timmy lugged the box home on the bus. He put it in Isaac's car and went inside to collect Isaac and William. Isaac was still not feeling up to par, so the visit went fairly short. Timmy dropped the books and folders off with Wesley, and found out when his arm was going to be operated on. When Wesley was given the choice of time of day, he said morning seemed better for concentration. Timmy said he would ask Cathy if they could come between 10 and 11 in the morning, and after letting William spend some time with Claire and Wesley, Isaac took them home.

Sean came in soon after they arrived, and Isaac told the boys they had a full day ahead of them, so make sure they didn't stay up late, even though it was Friday afternoon.

"Let Melanie know you will be gone all day, Sean." Isaac advised. He didn't tell Sean that he had talked to her about both days this weekend already.

"So what are we doing for all day?" Sean asked.

"I can't tell you that, Sean...We would have to kill you and bury your body upside down and stuff if I told you." Isaac replied.

"Would there at least be some kinky stuff before I croaked?" Sean asked, leering at Isaac, making Timmy laugh. William rolled his eyes.

"You wish, you horn doggy!" Isaac answered, shaking his head.

"I don't even want to know what he's talking about!" William protested.

"Good boy!....Bad Sean! Bad Sean!" Isaac teased, as Timmy, William and Sean got into a big wrestling match on the living room floor.

William got pinned in a scissor between Sean's legs as Timmy attacked targets of opportunity on the defenselessly pinned ten year old. Once William had been worked over to exhaustion, Timmy turned the attack on Sean, and William was able to escape and counterattack both Sean and Timmy. In the end, Timmy was fending off both boys.

Dinner was sauerkraut and Polish sausage. The boys stripped to underwear after dinner and decided to watch TV. Isaac packed it in to get some rest. The antibiotics were keeping him from feeling worse, but he knew he would have a hard day tomorrow.

Around eight o'clock, Timmy nudged William. "Hey, I'm going to run a bath for you, little man." William yawned and nodded. Timmy got up and went to the bathroom and began to run water, as William followed Timmy and took his briefs off as he went down the hall. He tossed them into the washer and sat in the tub as Timmy closed the drain.

He looked up at Timmy and asked "Timmy, what's kinky stuff?"

"Sean was just messing around with Isaac, William. Teasing him, you know?" Timmy replied.

"I know...but that means dirty stuff, right?" William persisted.

"You mean sex when you say dirty, right?" Timmy asked.

William nodded. "Kinky does have to do with sex, but sex isn't always dirty or bad, William. Without sex, no one would be here. You understand that, right?"

William nodded. "I know about sperms and eggs and all that stuff."

"Yeah, from Nurse the fourth grade." Timmy said remembering how pitifully basic the lecture was, intentionally so that parents would not be distressed that their children were being taught promiscuity in the public schools. "There's more to it than just the biology you learned in that class."

"Like what?" William wondered.

"Well, like the egg and the sperm don't just wind up inside that circle together like the movie showed. People have to do things for that to happen." Timmy explained. "Did your mom ever talk to you about sex, William?"


"Okay, well, we'll sit down with the sketch pad sometime and show you how it works, okay?"

"Okay. Thanks. would you wash my hair again?" William asked.

"You bet. Get your hair wet." Timmy replied. William got up from a sitting position and knelt down in the tub with his butt up in the air and bent down to get his head under the spout. Timmy instinctively reached out and put his hand under the spout so William wouldn't lift his head into the sharp edge of the spigot. He managed to get his hair wet without incident and resumed sitting. Timmy poured shampoo on the boy's head and knelt down leaning over the side of the tub and began working the suds into William's hair. William sat with his eyes closed, as Timmy worked. A minute later, Timmy said

"Lean forward, little man." William spread his knees and bent over, until his face was almost in the water, and Timmy began to fan water over the boy's head, rinsing out the shampoo. "Lay back and dunk your head under." William shifted position and Timmy stood up.

"I'll leave you to finish up, little man." Timmy said as William wiped his eyes and grabbed the soap.

Sean and Timmy watched a bit more TV before deciding to turn in, so Sean left and Timmy returned to the bathroom to find William drying off. Timmy brushed his teeth and put on some acne cream, while William finished and stood next to Timmy to brush his own teeth.

Timmy woke first in the morning and slid out of bed. His full bladder was evident as he crossed the hall and dropped his briefs on the bathroom floor and stood in front of the toilet only a small bit awake. His erection was as full and stiff as it could be as he began to urinate. He did not notice the pair of eyes on him through the slightly open door, eyes that watched for close to a full minute in rapt fascination

Oh My God! Is it supposed to get that friggin' big? William wondered. He had never seen an erection other than his own and his brother's, and had seen Timmy only flaccid up until this moment.

Soon, Timmy had finished and turned to the shower, and William's own needs overrode his shock and he entered the bathroom and pushed his boyhood down to hit the bowl.

"Hey, little man, how did you sleep last night?" Timmy asked as he got into the shower.

"Pretty good, but you snore, Timmy." William answered. "It's not that loud, I guess."

"That's funny, I never hear a thing." Timmy teased. William was busy brushing his teeth.

When he finished, he walked down the hall to the kitchen, not bothering to put anything on. Isaac was up making a full breakfast in shorts and a nightshirt and had coffee on, as William stood by the countertop.

"Good Morning, Champ" Isaac said, running fingers through William's rat's nest hair.

"If you and Timmy were related, I would know where you get that from!" he teased the boy. William grinned. Isaac put an egg, sausage links, two pancakes and hash browns on a plate and gave it to William. William put the plate on the table and Isaac called him back for silverware and glasses of orange juice.

"Set those out, then eat your food while its hot, little buddy." Isaac said. He made a plate for Timmy and himself and set them on the table. Just as Sean came in the back door, Timmy came down the hallway in a pair of briefs to sit down for breakfast.

"I see William is dressed for breakfast!" Sean said, giggling.

"Well, we forgot to tell him breakfast dress was formal" Timmy observed. Isaac brought the last plate for Sean and they all sat down to eat.

"So you're totally not going to tell us what's up?" Sean said, working on Isaac some more.

"Totally not, dude!" Isaac replied, trying to sound like a surfer, which cracked Timmy and William up. "Come on, Spanky! You know how this works." he said, winking at Sean.

"I had to try." Sean said as he dug into the breakfast. "What are you looking at, naked dude?" he said to William, who was grinning at him the whole time.

"Be careful, Spanky, I'll steal that sausage when you're not looking." William retorted, drawing hoots of laughter from Isaac and Timmy. Sean made a show of scooting away from William, and Timmy had to get up to get out of the way.

"Hey, no sausage snatching!" Timmy barked. Sean and William giggled as Timmy sat back down to finish his food.

Once they finished it was time for Isaac's household to get dressed, and Sean flopped down in front of the TV to catch some cartoons while he waited.

After everyone was buckled into the Bentley, Isaac headed out to a part of town that had only recently been developed, with some big box stores and restaurants. They drove through new streets lined with concrete tilt-ups and pulled up in front of a business called Laser World.

"Whoa, what's this, Isaac?" Sean said in wonder.

"Ever heard of laser tag?" Isaac asked.

"Yeah" the boys said, almost in unison. Laser tag had just gone commercial recently and Laser World was a brand new business that had just opened.

"Well, come on, girls!" Isaac teased as he let William out of the back seat, and Timmy did the same for Sean on his side of the two door car.

They went inside the building and found themselves in a small lobby walled in with three story high walls, with an unassuming looking door to the right of a service counter. It was staffed by a young woman, probably a high school senior or college freshman, and a slightly older looking male.

"We have four to play, please" Isaac said.

The young woman smiled and asked "And how old is the cute little guy?" Isaac played as if he was offended and joked.

"I thought we all were cute!" which caused a moment of embarrassment for the cashier.

"Of course you all are, sorry! But I don't think the rest of you qualify for the children's rate..." She recovered as Isaac and the older boys giggled.

"He's ten" Isaac replied, as William turned scarlet and grinned at her.

"Are you with us for the first time this morning?"

"Yes, first time playing."

"Great...Thanks for thinking of Laser World! And how long did you guys want to play this morning?" she asked.

"Um, I'm not sure, what is the normal amount of time people do?" Isaac asked.

"If you play 100% max effort, an hour is a pretty good can always decide if you want to do more after an hour, and additional hours are discounted." She replied.

"An hour it is, then." Isaac proclaimed.

"Three adults at ten each and Mister Cute there is five, for thirty five total."

Isaac peeled the bills out of his wallet and paid, and the lady gave each boy a yellow plastic credit card blank on a lanyard.

"Put these around your neck after your vest goes on, at the end of the hour the color changes and you will have to switch cards if you want to play longer." she said. "Any questions? Brian will get you guys outfitted and give you the rules and tips...Have fun guys."

The boys thanked her, and followed the young man through the door. The stepped into a dimly lit room that resembled a saddle room on a horse ranch, but instead of saddles, the rack held vests that were studded with sensors that looked like traffic reflectors. The young man unplugged the power cables on four vests and motioned for the boys to put them on.

"These are laser detectors on the vests. If you are hit by another player's laser, your vest will do.......this." He said, as he aimed a laser pistol at the vest and pulled the trigger. The vest immediately began to flash and strobe like a police car, and emitted three beeps.

"This means you just died. It will take the vest ten seconds to reset itself, and during those ten seconds, your pistol is inoperative. Remember this."

The boys were somewhat disappointed to note that they could not see a beam of light coming from the pistol, but the vest was pretty bright and impressive as it lit up.

The young man continued "You can team up as you like, and as other players are added, you can play with them or against them as you like. There is no smoking, eating or drinking in the arena. If you need assistance of any kind from the staff, take your vest off and hold up a hand. That's the signal that you need help. Any questions before I code your guns and vests?"

Everyone shook their head. The young man handed out the pistols, then picked up a bar code scanner and scanned Timmy's vest and gun. He pointed to a terminal keyboard on the wall and asked Timmy to enter his initials. He repeated this process for the other three boys, and moved to the other door at the far end of the room. "When you enter the arena, you have twenty seconds to find a position of safety before the game begins. Enjoy your game, guys"

With that said, he opened the door and the boys walked out into a three story space filled with levels and ramps, and walls at odd angles. Most of the walls had holes, slits or other sorts of apertures to snipe through. There were no stairs or steps which would be a tripping hazard. The lighting was very low to maximize the effects of the vest strobes and permit the lasers in the pistols to function. There were painted designs on the walls in Day-Glo paint, glowing brightly from the blacklights in the ceiling. It looked like an M. C. Escher print of the castle with the staircases going in each dimension. Timmy, Sean and William quickly bolted into the maze of the first level and got their bearings. Isaac decided to hang close to the entrance and snipe the boys if they tried to move through the levels using the ramps. The ramps exposed the players to view, so climbing or descending was a tactical decision. William scored the first hit of the game, rounding a corner and finding himself right on Sean's tail. Sean's vest lit up, and William disappeared before Sean could turn around and catch him. Isaac was next, watching a ramp as Timmy tried to climb to the second level. Isaac shot him and melted into the ground floor maze to find Sean or William.

William squealed when Sean found and shot him, which made him easy for Isaac to find, although he was cautious not to dart out in front of Sean. The fact that everyone was constantly on the move made for a great game of surprise and ambush. In less than a minute all four boys had been shot and had shot each of the other three.

Fifteen minutes into the game, Isaac and William were surprised when both their vests lit up in quick succession followed by laughter. A little girl about William's age had joined the game and shot both boys from cover. Isaac and William had been intent on shooting each other, and had a partition wall between them. The girl snuck up on the wall edge wise and nailed them. Soon they saw what must have been the girl's parents and brother in the maze, and everyone was scoring hits. With more players, the game went faster and it was harder to move in stealth and keep from being tagged.

The ramps proved to be popular places to shoot from, since the exposure of those on the ramp also meant that the ramps were high ground from which to snipe those in the maze.

The hour flew by, and the speakers announced that yellow cards had 3 minutes left. The boys had played hard and were waiting for the young man at the door when time was called. They filed back into the gear room and took the vests off and hung them on the rack as the man plugged each vest into the battery charger jack. A monitor was displaying a screen that listed each of their initials, the number of shots each one of them took, and the number of hits on the other players vests. They were surprised to find how low the percentage of hits scored versus shots fired actually was. They had all felt they had shot more efficiently than they actually did.

"Well, folks, how was it?" the young man asked.

Everyone said it was a lot of fun and that they all wanted to do it again.

"Keep us in mind, we do special rates for groups, parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, funerals" the man quipped.

After they left and were getting into the car, William asked "What's a Bar-....?"

"Bar Mitzvah?" Isaac offered.

"What you said, yeah" William replied.

"It's a Jewish religious ceremony where a boy becomes a man." Sean answered.

"Don't you also get snipped then, too?" Timmy asked, pantomiming snipping off a foreskin and tossing it over his shoulder, to tease Sean.

"Oh ...My ...GAWD! You mean they were supposed to wait?" Sean spluttered, cupping his crotch, milking this for all it was worth. William cackled in laughter and Sean continued.

"Actually, um, no. That's the Bris Milah...they do that at eight days of age." Sean said.

"So you had this Bris thing?" Timmy asked.

"Pretty sure I did, my foreskin didn't just fall off!" Sean retorted.

When they got home, the boys messed around and played ball in the backyard until lunch, then Isaac got them busy in the garage, organizing and straightening up. They cleaned and checked the mowers and weed-eaters, since they were still mowing yards this time of year.

At about three in the afternoon, Timmy suggested putting the battery in the Grand Prix and starting it to keep things lubed and operable. Isaac thought it over and said

"If you and Sean put the battery in and it starts, we can take it to the park and back I suppose."

"Okay, but it's only got the gas that Peter put in it." Timmy said, remembering the stop at the Shell which seemed so long ago.

"You guys get on that battery and I'll find the keys." Isaac said. "You know how it goes in, Timmy?"

"The cables only reach one way." Timmy replied, which made sense to Isaac. "C'mon, Sean, grab half of this bitch." Timmy said, pulling the heavy battery off the bench and letting his buddy get a grip on the carry strap. They lugged their payload into the street and set it on the ground in front of the big car as Isaac came up with the keys to the car and unlocked the door. Seconds later, the hood sprung and Timmy found the safety catch and pushed the huge heavy hood up.

Sean looked in and whistled. "Jeeminy Christmas, the whole thing is full of engine!"

"It runs like its all engine, too." Timmy said, smiling. William materialized at Timmy's side and looked in over the fender

"And this is yours?" Sean asked, obviously impressed with Timmy's massive inheritance.

"Yup...Jack left me this, a Colt, and a little money. You ready?" Timmy asked. "Lift it up and straight into there." he pointed to the tray that supported the battery and bent down to take his half of the weight.

"What's in this sumbitch, lead?" Sean complained. Isaac and Timmy both said "Duh!" almost simultaneously, and all three of the boys laughed. Isaac smiled and shook his head. After they got the battery in and Timmy attached the cables, Isaac cranked the car, but it didn't start.

"Pump the gas pedal three times, Isaac." Timmy said. They could see the linkage move and hear the pedal flopping against the floor in the car, then Isaac cranked again and the huge engine spluttered and was still.

"Two more" Timmy said, and this time the car started and ran roughly until the fuel pump raised enough gasoline to support a steady idle. Timmy pulled the hood down and gave it a hard shove to close it.

"We need gas like yesterday, so get in." Isaac said as the boys climbed in and found their belts. Sean wound up in the passenger front seat as Isaac took off and made his way out of the neighborhood. They were heading to the Shell station, and Timmy remembered Peter's attempt to fill the car.

"Should we let Sean fill the tank, Isaac?" Timmy asked, grinning. Isaac chuckled and replied.

"Peter will get you for that, you know...payback's coming, little brother." Sean just turned around in the seat and looked at Timmy.

"I know about the gas cap, Timmy. You said I should ask Peter about it sometime."

"Great!" Timmy muttered, defeated. Now Sean was grinning.

They pulled into the Shell, and Isaac and Sean got out. "So how do you do this?" Sean asked, looking around to make sure no one would hear him.

"Uh, pump gas?" Isaac asked.

"Yeah, I never did this before." Sean admitted.

"But your mom...." Isaac began.

"Never had a car in New York. We walked or took the cabs." Sean finished.

"Well, first we get the pump to wake up, like this." Isaac said, sliding his debit card into the slot. He punched in his code and the pump must have liked this, approving the transaction.

"When it takes the card, you choose your grade.....Hey Timmy, what did Jack put in this battleship?" Isaac wondered.

"Umm, the middle stuff or the good stuff." Timmy said from the back seat.

"Screw it!" Isaac said, going for premium. "Take this" Isaac said, pointing to the nozzle.

Sean grabbed for it, and Isaac said "Don't squeeze that trigger!" and Sean gave Isaac the "Do I look as dumb as I really am?" look, which Isaac ignored. "You know where the cap is, right?"

"Yes" Sean said, as he bent down and reached for the license plate "Ow, Damn it! that thing has springs and shit!" Sean bellowed, looking at his pinched fingers, as Isaac giggled. Sean pulled the plate back again, and set the nozzle on the pavement to work on the cap with his other hand.

What a monkey fuck stupid place to put this stupid gas cap! Sean thought to himself, as he plugged the nozzle in and pulled the handle.

Isaac had Sean shut the pump off after they put 20 dollars worth in the car, and Sean stowed the nozzle before tackling the flesh-eating license plate again.

"Timmy, your damned car pinched my fingers!" Sean complained, waving the afflicted digits in Timmy's face. Timmy couldn't discern any sign of injury.

"Good thing it wasn't your dick, then!" Timmy quipped, deadpan.

After a few minutes drive, they passed the tank and the large pavilion at the park. It was getting late in the afternoon, and in November it felt later than it was.

"Hey, Isaac. How about a short driving lesson for the city boy?" Timmy asked. He had driven Scott and Sammy's pickup at the farm, but Sean had never had an opportunity to try this.

Isaac ducked into a deserted parking lot, and stopped the Pontiac.

He put the car in park, and replied, "Okay, why not?" as he got out of the car. "Get out, and take the wheel, Mario" he said, as he got out of the car to let Sean take the drivers seat. Timmy climbed out of the back seat where he had been sitting with William.

"Put your feet flat on the floor, and run the seat forward until you're comfortable" Isaac instructed. Once the seat was adjusted, Isaac said "Don't do anything until I tell you, right?" as he closed the door, standing outside.

"Um, aren't you supposed to be in the car for this?" Sean asked, confused.

"Nope. Not yet. Now listen. You're going to learn how to stop before you learn to go. Put your foot on the brake."

Sean put his foot on the brake and felt the pedal sink slightly under power boost.

"Pull your lever back toward you, and drop in down into the D there. Keep your foot on the brake."

"Okay" Sean said, as he pulled the transmission lever out of Park and eased it through two clicks until it engaged drive. Isaac walked about ten feet ahead of the car and said,

"Let your foot off the brake. Don't touch the gas."

Sean did so, and the car rolled forward at idle, until Isaac was abreast the window again. "Stop the car." Timmy hit the brakes and the car halted with a jolt. Sean and Timmy complained profusely, of course. They weren't going to pass up any opportunity to eat their young.

"Ease into the brakes, Sean. Just enough to do the job is all it takes." Isaac "Let your foot up again."

Again Sean let the car roll, and again, Isaac had him stop, and this time, the stop was much better. After a few more starts and stops, they had reached the end of the parking lot, and Isaac said, "Okay, turning is a lot like braking. Give it what it needs to go where you want it."

Sean steered the car around the turn with a bit of coaching from inside and outside the car, and began the stops and starts again until he had gone a full circuit of the parking lot.

The teenager now had the feel of the brakes and was making smooth stops. He asked Isaac if he could make a figure eight in the parking lot. There were no lamp poles in this lot, so Isaac thought it was fairly safe for Sean to try.

"Go ahead, but remember no gas, right? The car should creep on its own."

"Okay. Here we go, the teenager said, obviously excited and nervous at the same time.


"3-67, go ahead, dispatch."

"Report of suspicious activity at Legion Park, a man chasing a car or a car chasing a man, respondent is not clear as to what is going on."

"3-67, responding to Legion Park."

Officer Lewis Colby had been on the police force six years now, and loved patrol. A farm kid, he loved working outdoors, but the game wardens didn't pay an attractive salary. He had signed up for the Sheriff's Office as soon as he was of age, but the Police Department opening happened while he was waiting, and he took the opportunity. He liked the variety that patrol offered. He made his way up to the park and stopped at the tank and watched Isaac and the boys for a few minutes. He saw Isaac stand in the middle of the parking lot as the green Pontiac made a very slow right hand turn, crossed the lot past Isaac as Isaac said something to the driver and appeared to clap his hands. The car rolled to the opposite corner of the lot, closest to Colby's position at the tank, before it made a wide slow left hand turn and headed back toward Isaac. Isaac took few steps toward the car and held his hand up as the car stopped. Isaac said something to the driver, stepped back and clapped his hands again, like a coach giving a pep talk to a player. Colby watched the Pontiac make another loop, and even though he had figured out what they were doing, he decided to contact the citizens. He turned into the parking lot and stopped close to Isaac.

"Okay, Sean, put your foot on the brake, put her in park." Isaac said. "Turn her off."

"3-67 will be out with the parties on the suspicious vehicle." Colby murmured to dispatch.


"Hey, Folks, Driving lessons?" Colby asked in greeting.

"Yes, Sir. I thought this would be a safe place if no one was around." Isaac replied.

"Yeah, I thought that's what you were doing when I pulled up. We got a call about a man chasing a car, or a car chasing a man." Colby said, shaking his head. "You never know what people think they see."

"I'm sorry if we are causing any trouble, but that is funny." Isaac said.

"How old are these boys?" Colby asked.

"The one driving is 14, and my brother is 12. The little one is ten." Isaac replied, not sure if they were about to get tickets or not.

"I'd say ten is pretty young to be driving." Colby said, deadpan.

"He's only backseat driving today, Sir." Isaac replied.

Colby laughed. "Do you have any ID, Sir?"

"I sure do." Isaac said, as he pulled his wallet and handed Colby his license. Officer Colby punched the driver's license number into his mobile terminal and soon learned that Isaac had no record of offenses of any kind in the system. He then ran the plate on the car and found that it was registered to one Jack Tate, listed as deceased. His next job was to identify the boys, since they were too young to have ID's.

"Hey, would you guys step out and have a chat with me." Colby asked. The boys got out of the car and stood next to Isaac beside the police car. "What's your name son?" Colby asked Sean, as he tied into the state department of education database. Officer Colby was running the boy's names for status on the terminal. He would find out if there were any warrants for juvenile offences or truancy against them. He limited search returns to males 10 to 14 years old in this city.

"Sean Bennett, Your Honor." Isaac and Timmy cracked smiles at that. William was bending over trying to look up into the spotlight on the windshield pillar, which was facing down at the moment. Colby flicked the spotlight on to tease the boy and William giggled.

"It's okay, Sean, I'm just a cop, not the judge." Colby said smiling. Sean visibly relaxed at that as Officer Colby continued "So how do you know Mister Daniels?"

"Um, Isaac and Timmy are my next door neighbors. We're best friends."

"Do your parents know that you are with Isaac right now?" Colby wondered.

"It's just my mom, and yes, she knows if I'm not home, I'm with these guys."

"Okay, Sean, thank you."

"You might know Sean's mother. Melanie Bennett is the head of nursing at Community General." Isaac said. Colby said

"Not sure we have met, but I'll keep that in mind."

Turning to Timmy, Colby asked

"You're Isaac's brother, correct?"

"Yes, Sir." Timmy replied. "I'm Timmy Daniels." Colby typed into his terminal. Timmy's name was not coming up in the database. He expanded the search parameters.

"Son, I'm not showing a Timmy Daniels in the system anywhere." Colby stated.

"Oh, yeah, I forgot...I used to be Timmy Billings, before my adoption, Sir."

"When did you go to court on your name change, Timmy?"

"Like three weeks ago, I think?" Timmy replied. Isaac nodded.

"Oh, well, no wonder we don't have the new you, then. There you are under Billings."

Colby noted the address listed was the same one the car registration showed for Jack Tate. That left William as the odd man out.

"What's your name, son?" Colby asked.

"William." the boy said, shyly. The big eyes were taking in everything about the police cruiser.

"What's your last name, Mister William?"

"Hussmann. Umm, can I check out your car?" William asked. Colby smiled and said,

"Sure, if you promise not to touch anything." William grinned wide and replied

"I promise!"

"Okay, go around and get in the other side." William raced around the car and hopped in the passenger seat. As promised he put his hands in his lap and studied the police equipment in the car. Nothing negative came up on William either, but there was a notation that William had been placed in protective care.

"William, do your parents know where you are?"

William shook his head. "Haven't talked to mom today."

"Oh, I'm William's temporary guardian while his mother and brother are recovering in the hospital. Detective Walsh asked me to care for him until they are home again." Isaac offered.

"Ron Walsh? You know him?" Officer Colby asked.

"Yes, Sir, he's really been there for us." Isaac replied. Colby wondered what that could mean, but for now he was satisfied that this motley crew wasn't cause for concern. He did need to sort out how the boys had Jack Tate's car, but he was sure that had it been stolen, they would have all tried to run and this encounter did not have that vibe at all. He had decided not to search the boys or ask them about drugs, either. There was nothing in plain sight, no smells, and none of them seemed to be under the influence of any substance.

"So, who owns this car?"

"Actually, I do, Sir." Timmy answered.

"Is the car insured at this time?" Colby inquired. Isaac had put Jack's insurance card in his wallet when they moved the car to Isaac's house, and it was still there. He handed the card to Officer Colby. The card showed that Jack's insurance was still in effect until the registration on the car expired. Colby handed Isaac's license and the insurance card back.

"Thank you, Isaac. When did you get this car, son?" Colby asked.

"Jack Tate left it to me when he died this summer." Timmy offered.

"What was your relationship to Mister Tate, Timmy?"

"I guess you would call him a stepfather. I used to live with him." Timmy replied, giving Colby the impression that stepfather isn't what Timmy considered Jack to be.

"There is paperwork on this?"

"Yes, Sir, I have Jack's will and power of attorney. I executed his estate." Isaac replied.

"Sounds like you have your hands full, Isaac. Settling estates can take years." Colby said.

"Nah...Jack only had the car, some personal property and a few hundred dollars. It all went to Timmy, so it was fairly easy. And I got a brother out of the deal, too." Isaac said, gripping Timmy in a bear hug and lifting him off his feet. Timmy giggled and Colby laughed.

"Yeah, I'd say you did alright in that deal, too." Colby observed. He picked up the microphone and called dispatch.

"Dispatch, 3-67"

"3-67 go ahead"

"3-67 at Legion Park...suspicious vehicle call is a driving lesson, routine citizen contacts."

"3-67, copy."

"3-67, clear."

"William, I sure hope your family gets well fast. I'm afraid I have to leave now."

"Thanks." The boy said with a smile. "And thanks for letting me sit in your car. It's cool."

William opened the door and got out, and closed the door. Colby waited for William to cross in front of the car and stand next to Isaac before putting the cruiser in gear.

"Is it okay for us to use this parking lot to teach driving?" Isaac asked.

"I would say only do it when the lot is empty, Isaac, and make sure you drive when you leave the parking lot. And I never told you any of that, right?" Colby winked at Isaac.

"Told me what, Sir? Thanks" Isaac said.

"You boys have a good afternoon." Colby said, as he drove off.

"Wow, what a cool guy." Isaac said as Officer Colby left the parking lot and headed down the hill past the tank.

"Why did he ask us all those questions?" William wondered.

"He wanted to know who we are, to see if we were wanted anywhere. And he needed to make sure the car wasn't stolen, either. They catch a lot of people who have warrants and locate missing persons on routine traffic stops and contacts like that." Isaac said. "He also wanted to make sure me and Timmy didn't steal you and Sean, too."

"Steal me, that's funny!" William giggled, found the idea funny, but the events did have the boy thinking all this over. There were a lot of thoughts in his head that afternoon, and he didn't say a lot during dinner that night.

As the boys sat at the table, Sean picked up on William's quiet mood. William decided to watch TV while Timmy read, so Sean followed the boy and sat next to him on the couch, and put his arm around William.

"Want to talk about it?" he asked gently.

"What?" William asked.

"Something is bothering you, isn't it? I can feel it. You been really quiet since we came from the park. Is everything good?" Sean asked.

"Well, yeah, you guys are really great and I love it here...." William began

"But?" Sean asked.

"Those cops that busted in and saved Mom and Wesley. I want to tell them how I feel and stuff." William said.

"Sort of like unfinished business?" Sean asked.

"Yeah, I guess so."

"I get it, William. It makes a lot of sense." Sean replied.

"It does? Thanks, Sean."

"Feeling better now?"

"Uh- huh."

"Good." Sean gave the boy a squeeze, stood up and found Isaac in the kitchen.

"Hey, Sean....Is William okay?" Isaac asked.

"I think so...The cop in the park must have had some effect on him. He wants to see the cops that saved their lives."

"I'll call Walsh and see what he says."

Isaac went to his room and closed the door and keyed in Walsh's number. Walsh answered on the third ring. "Detective Walsh, Metro PD."

"Isaac Daniels, Detective Walsh."

"Oh, hey, Isaac! How is everything? Is William okay?"

"Yes, Sir, William is doing wonderful, no worries...but I am calling you about him."

"What's up?"

"William is asking if he could meet the officers from the scene...I think he means the ones who saved his family. He's probably looking for closure on things, Sir."

"He said something about thanking the guys who shot the boyfriend when I talked to him that night. His mother said the same thing in the hospital when I told her I was placing William with you."

"Oh, wow...So this has been on his mind." Isaac understood a bit better now.

"Isaac, let me see if I can set up a meeting, and I'll get back to you. If it has to be during the day, is that okay?"

"Yes, that's fine. I don't think there would be any problem pulling him out of school for an hour or so."

"Okay, I'm on this, Isaac."

"Thanks once again, Sir."

"No, Isaac...thank you for taking him in. Good Night."

"G' Night."

Timmy's first trip to the hospital with Cathy was on Monday. He gathered the folders and walked with Cathy out to the district vehicle and waited until she unlocked the car. The got in a buckled up. Once Cathy started the car, Timmy asked her

"Cathy, how do you feel about having to drive me back and forth like this?"

"What do you mean, Timmy?" she replied.

"Well, you're like Mister Leonard's assistant and stuff. You probably have more important things to do instead of this." Timmy said.

"Timmy, I'm a grad student, and Doctor Leonard is my PhD sponsor. Which means that I am pretty much his happy little elf while working on my Doctorate." Leonard had never told Timmy or the other students in the magnet program that he was a PhD, preferring to be Mister Leonard to his young students.

"What kind of Doctor are you going to be, Cathy?" Timmy asked.

"The same kind as Doctor Leonard, a specialist in Special Education and Non Standard Learning."

"I don't like the term "Special Education" Timmy groused.

"That doesn't just mean short bus kids, Timmy. Special Education is for anyone who doesn't benefit from a standard classroom. The low end kids can't keep up, and kids like you would die of boredom and drop out. That's why you are in the magnet program, Timmy, so you get the education that fits your ability."

Cathy looked over at Timmy, who was deep in thought.

"Do you know what a mission is?" Cathy asked.

"Yes, I think when you do something for the greater good type thing?"

"Yup....and driving you to the hospital to serve this student who needs you is a mission, Timmy. He deserves an education too, so I'm happy to do worries."

"I was afraid you would think I was a pain in the ass, Cathy. Thanks."

"That is not my assessment of you at all, Timmy. Just remember, you are going to learn just as much from this assignment as Wesley, and my guess is that it will have more effect on you than it will on him."

The conversation had an effect on Timmy. To serve this student who needs you..._Timmy had never thought of tutoring Sean, William or Wesley as a mission, until Cathy put things that way. _

Wesley was very happy to see Timmy and Cathy this morning. He had talked one of the nurses into clipping and shaving him bald, and Timmy could see good progress in the healing of his scalp as well as bruises retreating and fading. He would still undergo a surgery on his skull to close the hole, and another on his arm to remove the pins, and cast his arm.

Wesley's eyes betrayed the fatigue that he felt. He was unable to get much sleep in the hospital from the noise, and lack of comfortable positions in the bed. He was pretty much forced to lie on his back the whole time because of the traction appliance on his arm and collarbone didn't allow him much flexibility.

There was no way Wesley would be able to write legibly, so Timmy brought him up to speed on the textbooks, and started Wesley on the homework sheets. Wesley dictated answers to Timmy for the math and science, and was allowed to tape writing assignments, orally for his English class. They worked quickly, as Wesley was eager to have something to do after days and nights of immobility and sleeping aids to get through those nights. He still did not remember the actual altercation, and thankfully was not having nightmares.

Timmy put the homework sheets in the folders and pulled ones for tomorrow out and organized them so they wouldn't spend time searching for them. Timmy's time was up, so he said his farewells and Cathy drove them back to campus.

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