A Special Place--Part Forty-eight--Mary Kathryn
On our way to camp, Linda had asked me, "You and Michael ok? I've heard you two were having some problems. Want to talk about it?" I had thought I was glued together well, but suddenly I was in tears and it all came out in a tumble.
As I talked, Linda put her arm around me and hugged me to herself. When I finally came to a stop, she said, "Look, Girl, you don't have to make a decision right now. You two have the summer to work things through, but I'll tell you one thing: if I were you, I'd fight like a tiger to keep that man. He is something special, very special, one in a million."
"I know that," I said quietly.
"Does that mean I'm not?" Bill asked, poking out his lower lip.
"Hell no, Lover Boy! You are special, very special, but you know what I mean, you big lug."
Bill smiled at Linda and leaned over and kissed her. "Yea, I know. The more I get to know him, the more respect I have for him. Yea, he's a very special person. In fact, I have learned to respect and to love people in a lot of new ways since becoming a part of the Fellowship."
"Don't sell yourself short, Bill. Linda and I both know the Fellowship happened because of you. Linda has a very special guy herself. At least I guess she has you."
"Don't think I could escape if I wanted to," Bill laughed. "But, yes, Linda has me. Strange, I had screwed around with a lot of girls--and I mean that literally--but, when I look back, I realize something was missing. In spite of the fact that I had women all over me, I was lonely. Weird, right? Then I met Linda. No fucking around, just a lot of talk--well, she IS Linda..."
Linda slugged Bill on the arm.
"...a lot of love-making without going all the way. I dream about her. I think about our life together and dream of the future. And I'm not lonely. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect us to remain--I started to say virgins, but that sure won't work for me--together without... well, you know.... Anyway, right now I am a very happy man."
Friday afternoon we were at the pool and Linda said, "So the problem is that Michael may decide to be a priest and you can't stomach the idea of being a priest's wife. I can sure understand that. Especially after I see what one is like. That bitch counselor in cabin four, Mrs. Allison, is a priest's wife. She's so uptight I don't think she can fart without extra effort. You know what she told her girls about sex? She said that they should look for a man who wasn't too interested in sex so they wouldn't have to endure it too often! The very idea. I can see why you balk, Mary Kathryn, although I don't think Michael is 'not too interested in sex' or that you'd dislike 'enduring' with Michael, would you?" she laughed.
"I can hardly wait! And I mean that! Now if she were like any one of the three other counselors. I mean when I saw that old woman come in and announce she was our counselor, I thought we were in for a dull week. But, man, was I ever wrong. Bill, did you see Cindy, our counselor, yesterday on the ropes course? She was tops. One of the girls asked her about how old you were before you stopped having sex and she said, 'You're going to have to find someone older than I am because I still rejoice in having sex with my man and have missed him like all get out this week and we have been at it for forty years'. And look at Susan over there. She's young and full of it. Don't think a priest's wife would show up at camp with a string bikini. Half the boys flirt with her and she seems to enjoy it while making sure they know she's not serious, just having fun."
"And old killjoy Mrs. Allison got on some of her girls for wearing indecent shorts--too tight and too short--and told them flirting is not what nice girls do."
"Then there's Ann. She's just as down to earth as you can get. Cusses like a sailor. When her girls asked about having to endure sex, she said she'd never endured, just enjoyed the hell out of it, then told them about spending a week at the beach and getting sand burns having sex on the beach in the middle of the night after she and her husband had been skinny dipping. Well, if Mr. Michael thinks I'm going to be a priest's wife, he's got another think coming."
"You could double that for me," Linda said.
Bill laughed and said, "Glad to know that Linda, although--well.... Both of you know, I have never been much on religion. I mean I grew up being taken to church and Sunday school. In my family you just did that. I didn't understand why, since church played absolutely no part in everyday life. Oh, Dad was active on this committee and that if they were connected to the right people. Once I asked him why we had to go to church and he said, 'It's good for business. When you own an insurance agency in this town, you go to the right church and make sure the right people know you.' Well, as I grew older, I stopped going. Then when Linda dragged me to St. Mary's I was doing the same thing as Dad--except I was out for Linda rather than business. But from the first time I was at St. Mary's I had this very strange feeling. I felt like I had been away a long time and had come home. Sounds strange I know, but that's what I felt. I started having the same thoughts as Michael..."
"You didn't! You wouldn't!" Linda said as she pounded Bill on the arm. It's a wonder the man is not black and blue from that woman.
"Yea, I did. I wonder where priests would come from if you women had your way? Anyway, I talked with Fr. Tom several times and he finally said, 'Bill, you may be thinking about becoming a priest, but I don't think so. I think you are romanticizing. How about spending a couple days following me around? Then we'll talk again if you're still interested.' Well, I did. He ordinarily didn't work Saturdays, but I spent two with him. I didn't really need the second one. I guess I was thinking about Sunday. You know, kinda like playing basketball--you get all dressed up in a uniform and hit the courts to the cheers of the crowd. Man, was I ever wrong."
"Several calls at the hospital, a nursing home and the homeless shelter pretty much took care of any romantic ideas I had, but that wasn't what really did it. Two things convinced me being a priest was not for this joker. The first was a woman screaming about having flowers and candles all over the church for her daughter's wedding. She went on and on after being told the policy on weddings at St. Mary's. I would have told her to fuck off after five minutes, but Fr. Tom kept trying to reason with her. The second was dealing with some super-serious suffering."
"I was pretty sure it was not the job for me after the hospital, nursing home and homeless shelter--and the screaming bitch--then Fr. Tom insisted I accompany him when he was called to the hospital. He told me a young couple were having their first baby and were very excited since they had been trying for a long time. 'But I guess something's wrong because the ob-gyn called me to come.' When we got to the woman's room, her husband was there and they had not seen the baby. The doctor came in seconds after we did and told the parents the baby had severe--very severe--birth defects and didn't make it. He tried to comfort them by telling them how severe the defects were and the child was better off dead. Both parents became hysterical and the doctor just left. I felt so helpless. Fr. Tom was a real comfort to them, but I just stood there. Man, I knew that being a priest was not a game and that I was not cut out for the job. I just don't think I could deal with people who worry about candles and flowers when people sit in a nursing home abandoned by their children, have no place to call home and babies die. All that pain on the one hand and, on the other, the day-in-day-out shit which just doesn't really matter."
"So," I asked, "why hasn't Fr. Tom done the same kind of thing with Michael?"
"Where do you think Fr. Tom got the idea? Michael asked if he could hang around to see what being a priest was like and Fr. Tom agreed. They have spent a great deal of time together over the past weeks--he even called Michael out in the middle of the night several times."
"But he never said anything to me about that!" I was angry and hurt.
"He asked Fr. Tom to say nothing. In fact, Fr. Tom asked him if he minded my knowing before he took me on. Just before he left, he told Father it no longer had to be kept a secret. Michael had said it was something he had to struggle with himself and he didn't want you to be bothered with it. I guess when he left he thought you might find out and it might help you make your decision about your relationship."
"That's just not fair! Michael shouldn't keep secrets from me!" I was really pissed.
"Maybe not, but he thought it would only upset you more and he didn't want that, especially if he decided--as I did--that it was not for him. Don't think that will happen, Mary Kathryn. Fr. Tom said he was better at dealing with people than he and most priests he knew were. 'I guess the kid has been through so much pain in his young life that he really understands suffering people.' Apparently there was no-one to whom he could not relate--well that's not quite true," Bill laughed.
"Seems the woman who pitched a bitch about the flowers and candles decided to have another go at getting her way. Fr. Tom wasn't in and Michael had just arrived. Gertie sent her into Fr. Tom's office to speak to Michael, telling the woman Michael was a new assistant. When Gertie used the intercom to tell Michael she was coming in, Michael had pushed the wrong button so it was left open. Fr. Tom came in shortly after the woman had gone in, and sat in the outer office with Gertie, listening in on Michael."
"Mrs. Rutan, hadn't been to church in years. She and her family had left when the first black members came to St. Mary's, but decided her daughter had to have a big church wedding there. Of course, she didn't know Michael wasn't an assistant." Bill was laughing big time. "Anyway, she started bitching about the music which was not allowed at weddings. Michael asked why she was bringing up the music, as she had done the flowers and candles, since the church had a policy about what could and could not be done at weddings. The woman raised her voice as she started telling Michael her grandmother had gone to St. Mary's so she should be able to do as she pleased. Michael never raised his voice. He just quietly told her 'If I get married here, the rules apply to me. They apply to everyone.' I guess she thought she could wear him down so she started on the music again. Again, Michael carefully explained the policy on music and she got louder. After listening to her rant and rave for awhile, Michael finally said, again very quietly, 'Mrs. Rutan, the music policy and all the policies concerning weddings were adopted by members of St. Mary's who support the church with their money, time and presence and I am sure all would be unwilling for them to be changed for you. You plan to have the reception in the Common Hall. There you can have anything played you want--you can even have "We're Going to Do Tonight What We Did Last Summer" played if you like, but the wedding is a religious service and will be treated with dignity. If you don't want that, you can go elsewhere.' 'I just might do that,' she said and Michael--in his best Clark Gable voice--said, 'Frankly, Mrs. Rutan, I don't give a damn!' She, of course, stormed out of the office, ignoring Gertie and Fr. Tom as she rushed past. When Fr. Tom told Michael he had heard all, he added, 'Michael, you can always catch more flies with honey than vinegar,' to which Michael replied, 'Why the hell would I want to catch flies?'"
I couldn't help but laugh. I could just hear Michael. He was never one to suffer fools gladly, as Fr. Tom had told him several times before. Damn, I missed him.
"Fr. Tom told Michael that he would make a damn good priest, 'but you'll spend a lot of time in hot water'. I'm not at all sure Michael can just forget being a priest, even if you decide you can't handle it. Sorry. You just have to realize that you're in love with a pretty special guy."
That did it, I started bawling like a baby. I wasn't sure if it was because what Bill said confirmed what I knew, but didn't dare think, or if it was because I really missed the man who was my life and who was messing it up. Linda hugged me and we were all silent until I stopped crying.
When I did, Bill said, "I know you and Michael really have a thing for each other, but you are so young. Actually, you two are like Matt and Luke, a year younger than your classmates. Why?"
Before I could answer, Linda said, "All four skipped a grade--seventh, right? When they were junior highs, seventh grade was seen as a review grade and if teachers thought you didn't need it, you skipped it. All four of those 'dumb farm hicks' skipped seventh."
"Anyway, you and Michael sure are young to be thinking about spending your life together. You can find someone else, even though you think this is forever. I mean, have either of you ever even dated someone else?" Bill asked.
"Yea, junior high kind of dating. Both of us did, I more than Michael but, yea, we dated some. I mean, the thoughts of dating my brother just didn't seem right. Then, even when I realized what I felt for Michael was definitely not what one should feel for a brother, I kept dating, but never fell into the going steady bit. And every date I had must have thought I was a cold fish because I'd begin to feel a little romantic, look at my date and see it wasn't Michael so... well, when Michael kissed me at Christmas, that was it. So I guess we're young but I don't think there is, or could be, anyone else. If we can get over this hump, then we'll be together for the next one."
"Well, this is a big one, I can tell you that," Bill said as the whistle blew, ending the afternoon swim.
A Special Place--Part Forty-eight--Matt
I didn't write the Fellowship after I got back to the dorm. I wanted time to think about what Woody had told me. He had said he would go with me to Chattanooga so I wouldn't get lost. I'd have more time to talk with him on the trip. I wanted to do that before I wrote Luke about Lucas. I wasn't sure what to say and what to leave unsaid, but I did write Luke. I told him about playing tomorrow and about sitting with Woody and watching the sunset. "Luke, it would have been absolutely perfect if only you had been with me. The sunset was beautiful and Woody is such a great and loving person I know you would love him. It was so peaceful. But what I'd really like would be for the two of us to have been there, your arms around me, your lips against mine, me making love to you."
"During the sessions, I get so involved I forget the pain from not having you here, but then.... And, Babe, tonight I'm alone and I miss you so much." I poured out my heart to the one I loved, telling him how I ached because he was not with me. But I couldn't stop on that note so I added, "Luke, Mr. Right Hand sure isn't a replacement for my Yonghon Tongmu and Chili Pepper lets me know it!" I sent the e-mail, went to my room and once again proved I was right in what I wrote.
The weeks, in one sense, were flying by. Both Stinky and Woody complimented me on the improvement in my footwork. I could see it too, but breaking old habits is never easy. Composition opened whole new avenues for me and, while it was hard work, I loved every minute of it--except when I got frustrated by not being able to do what I thought I should be doing. I had to have a project for it and was transcribing and rewriting "Yonghon Tongmu". The liturgical music workshop was turning me into a real church organist and I was also doing a workshop on organs. It dealt with the history of my instrument and organ building. I was doing four sessions a day and Lucas kidded me about it a lot. "Nobody does more than three," he had said, "and most just do two and have fun the rest of the time". I never convinced him I was having fun in the workshops.
One afternoon of the third week, he asked if I wanted to go swimming and, of course, I did. We asked Woody and Stinky--we always did when we went swimming--but both declined. After we had swum until he was blue and were sitting on the bank, he suddenly said, "You're gay, aren't you?"
"As a matter of fact I am, but how did you know?"
"I have pretty good 'gaydar'," he had replied and I asked what that meant.
"Oh, you know... you can pick out a gay guy in a room full of people."
"No, I don't know. I never had that experience."
"You mean you never suspected I was gay?"
"Sure I did, but it wasn't gaydar. It was remarks you have made about my equipment and the way you check me out every time you get a chance."
He laughed and said, "No-one has ever accused me of not noticing a nice cock and you have a very nice one. Got a boyfriend?"
"As if you hadn't figured that out. Yes, Luke and I are lovers."
"Thought as much. How good is he?"
"Look, I don't want to offend you, but our sex life is kinda personal and private. I love him to death and that's enough said."
"Sorry, but I bet you're horny as hell with being here 'most three weeks and him being in Sarasota."
I laughed. "Well, I wasn't castrated before I left and, yes, I am horny as hell. Nothing really unusual about that. Luke says I am always hot to trot and he's right."
"Well, there's no-one here. Like to trot a little?"
"There's two answers to that. In terms of being horny, the answer is a definite 'yes', but in terms of acting on it, the answer is a definite 'no'."
"Why? You're hot, I'm hot. We're both gay and both would love a good hot fuck."
"You're wrong on one count, at least I think you are. I have never fucked anyone and never been fucked. Luke and I have made love, but it's not fucking."
"What's the difference? It's just words. Fucking is fucking."
I was silent for a while, knowing that nothing I said was going to change Lucas' attitude, but I wanted to make it very clear that there was a great difference in my mind. Finally I said, "Lucas, have you ever been in love? I mean in love, not lust?"
"There's a difference? I don't see any. I meet an attractive guy and he likes me and we both like sex. So far as I'm concerned, that's love."
I knew I wasn't making any progress, so I thought a while longer then said, "Lucas, when you are fucking, what are you thinking about?"
"Man, I am totally focused on the feeling. A big dick moving in and out of my ass, the taste of a nice cock in my mouth, my dick in a hot tight ass, a hot mouth on my cock. Man, I think about the only thing there is to think about--how good it feels."
"Another question, how do you like to sixty-nine?"
"I love getting it and giving it at the same time--double pleasure. That's the reason I love three-ways. I can fuck and suck at the same time or be sucked and fucked. One is as good as the other. Why?"
"That's the difference. When I am making love to Luke I focus on one thing: making him happy and giving him pleasure."
"And you don't get pleasure? You're lying."
"I didn't say I didn't get pleasure. I do. God, do I ever, but my focus is on expressing my love for Luke. I want him to feel pleasure because I love him. And I receive two times what I give and I love it and thank God for it, but Luke comes first, always--well, nearly always. The one time he didn't will never, ever be repeated. Is there lust in our love-making? Damn right; it's often filled with lust, but it is always an expression of our love for each other. And I will never call that fucking."
"All I got to say is that fucking is fucking and you don't know what you're missing and you don't know what you missed now."
"Lucas, Luke and I are in love and we intend to be together until we die. And being faithful is a part of our commitment."
"Your cock disagreed with you big time for a while there," he laughed. "It sure wanted some hot fucking."
I didn't answer and Lucas dropped the subject. He had been right, of course. When he suggested fucking, Chili Pepper made his presence felt big time. And I'll admit when I got back to my room I whacked off, producing a huge amount of ball juice. I definitely wasn't about to have intercourse with Lucas--I mean Luke and I had resisted temptation and we were much in love with each other--but as I whacked off, I thought about how good it would feel to have someone else doing the job while I relaxed and enjoyed it. "Why do you have to be so hot and horny?" I asked myself.
A Special Place--Part Forty-eight--Anthony
Millie came home after two days in the hospital and was able to get around with a walker--which, of course, she hated and fussed about. Jason reminded her that she either use the walker or she sit and, while she grumbled, you could see she knew that.
They had discussed the civil suit against the lawyer and when the lawyer's lawyer came by with an offer, they declined. He offered to settle for $5,000 each. Millie exploded. "We filed suit for a million each and that's what we expect! He should have known better!"
The lawyer said it was a mistake. His client hadn't intended to slander anyone, but had only gone on the facts he knew.
"Facts? Facts? Eugene and Jason had never met until the day before Eugene made his statement. And he had access to the tapes which will be used against McBride. A complete idiot could see that Eugene hadn't invited McBride's sexual assault, but was physically hurt and emotionally scarred by what McBride did. Your client must think we're complete dumb asses if he thinks we couldn't see through his scheme and couldn't see the real facts."
"But the kid you took in..."
"He's my son, legally and every other way," Millie thundered.
"But your son is gay."
"You don't know that and, besides, that's none of your or anyone else's damn business. And whether he is or is not has absolutely nothing to do with what McBride did to him. McBride has already been convicted of sexually abusing him and that settles that. But, all of that aside, this case is about making and selling child pornography. So you can tell your client he can shove his offer up his ass and go to hell. And if you come back with another pitiful offer, I'll toss aside this walker and personally kick your ass out the door!"
"It's clear to me, Mrs. Willingham, that you and your sons are just out for the money and are being unreasonable." I guess some people just don't know when to shut up.
"Get out of my house, you slime bag," Millie shouted. "If you're not on your way out in two seconds, I may just kick your ass now." With those words, Millie raised herself up on the walker and pushed it to one side. She laughed as the lawyer ran for the door. As soon as he was out she said, "I bet his shirt tail doesn't hit his back until he's in Lexington! The very idea insulting us with that offer."
The next day a courier brought a letter offering to settle for $100,000 each. Millie and Jason discussed it over dinner--Eugene was in Lexington for the trial--and decided they would accept $150,000 if, and only if, Eugene decided to do so. Millie called Eugene and asked him if he could come home after the trial the following day to talk about a settlement. Millie's lawyer made the counter-offer.
When he came, Eugene just wanted to get court things over with and was perfectly happy with the settlement. Mr. Fox set up two funds for Eugene--one which paid his aunt $1000 a month for caring for his sister and the other for Larry. Larry's was set up to pay him about $1500 a month. The interest was to be added to the principal and at the end of five years, the balance, if any, was to be paid out.
After Eugene signed the settlement agreement--which included the slanderer making a public apology and taking out half-page ads in both Lexington and Concord newspapers apologizing--he said, "That's one worry gone. This trial is really getting me down. Tomorrow I'm supposed to testify and when I finish, Danny, Buddy and Jake will testify. None of the tapes has been shown yet, but as each of us testifies, they will be. I keep thinking I'm man enough to handle it, then I just go to pieces. Last night Larry held me for an hour while I cried, and the tapes haven't been shown yet. Mom, I think you better call our therapist and make late appointments for every night until this is over. I think that's going to be necessary instead of us staying in Lexington, but we can't get home until six or so."
Millie motioned Eugene to herself and hugged him tightly while he cried. Millie may be a tough old bird, but there's a big heart inside. When he stopped crying, Eugene said, "Larry was coming over with me, but Mr. Greentree was working on a special project and told Larry he'd like for him to help. 'If we work late tonight, you can be free to go to court tomorrow. Eugene will need you,' he said."
"Damn!" Millie said. "Anthony, Jason, we are going to be there too!"
When Jason protested that Millie wasn't up to it, she demanded he call her doctor. "At this hour, Mom?" he had asked.
"With what he gets paid for putting old ladies back together, he should expect to go the extra mile. Call him." Jason got the doctor and explained the situation. When he came back, he said the doctor said he couldn't stop her, but that he would advise against it as strongly as possible. When Millie insisted on going anyway, Jason said, "Mom, I have never put my foot down so far as you are concerned, but I am now. You are not going, period."
"Call David and see about an ambulance," was Millie's response.
This time Millie didn't win. David was sympathetic, but said he couldn't do it without the doctor's permission and, further, taking an ambulance from the county when it was not absolutely necessary could mean someone who really needed it wouldn't have it. On that, Millie gave in. If it had just put her in danger, she'd not have stopped, but she wouldn't put anyone else in danger.
The first day in court went slowly and Eugene wasn't called. There were all sorts of legal playings around trying to get the tapes excluded, including the fact--which was admitted--that they had been copied and the faces of everyone, except the four who would testify, obscured. I didn't understand all the ins and outs of the arguments, but the final outcome was that the judge said he would watch the unaltered tapes and determine if there had been any tampering with the copies--beyond obscuring the faces of those who were not to testify. So Eugene had spent a day in court for nothing.
Mr. Greentree told Larry he should stay with Eugene until the ordeal was over. We were all relieved that Eugene would have his soulmate with him all the time. When we got back to Concord, both guys went to the therapist. After Millie had gone to bed, Larry came down and asked me and Jason to come up and we sat and talked to the two for a couple hours. I'm not sure what we did other than listen, but both seemed very relieved.
The second day of the trial, the judge announced that he had watched hours of tapes and that, while the copies were obviously the same as the originals, he was not going to permit them to be shown. "I fear that an appeals judge might rule differently and I don't want to allow any possible grounds for overturning the verdict, regardless of what it might be. Accordingly, only those tapes which show the four witnesses will be allowed, with one exception: I will allow those in which there are adults involved. They might wish to protest, but I will not protect them and hope they do protest." Clearly he knew that none would since the tapes would become evidence for other child sexual abuse cases.
Eugene was the first witness called after the officers involved in collecting the tapes and video equipment had testified. As he was testifying, Jason leaned over and whispered, "Millie sure picked a real man to adopt. I don't think I could go through what my brother is going through. It has to be pure hell."
Eugene first told of his rape by McBride and then identified the tape McBride had made of it. The defense lawyer asked Eugene if he were gay and the prosecution immediately objected and it was sustained. He then asked Eugene if he hadn't liked it. The prosecuting attorney jumped to his feet but, before he could object, Eugene shouted, "Like having water forced into my rectum? Like having a penis tear my rectum until I bled for a week? Like having my father beat me because I tried to tell him his preacher had raped me? Maybe you would have liked it, but I didn't. I still have flashbacks to being raped. I still see a therapist so I can go on living. No, I didn't like it. Maybe you would, I don't know. Maybe McBride would, I don't know, but I think a just sentence would be to do unto him as he has done unto others."
The defense lawyer was shouting, trying to get the judge to stop Eugene, but the judge pretended not to hear. When Eugene was finished, Larry leaned over and said, "Great! Now they have Eugene pissed. If you want to see how strong he is, just get him pissed. Nothing, but nothing is going to hold him back now."
The defense lawyer took the easy way out and said, "No more questions".
The judge said, "I have some. How old were you when the tape was made, Mr. Willingham?"
"You are sure of that?"
"Yes sir. I had just turned twelve shortly before I went to camp."
"Did you know you were being videotaped when this happened?"
"Yes. Rev. McBride said he was taping it to show how I had to have the devil poked out of me."
"And you didn't object?"
"I objected to what he was doing to me, hurting me. I didn't think about a video. I was worried about dying. I worried about bleeding to death from my torn rectum."
"Thank you, Mr. Willingham."
Several other tapes were shown of Eugene beating off, being sucked off by McBride and being molested in other ways. I was surprised he was as cold as ice water during the ordeal. "How can he be so calm?" I whispered to Larry.
"I told you, he's pissed. Anytime Eugene is as calm as he is now, you can be sure he is pissed to the nth degree."
The defense tried to discredit Eugene--maybe he was mistaken about his age, maybe he had lied about the tapes to punish McBride--but he stood on what he said, as solid as a rock. Finally, the defense asked, "Mr. Willingham, Rev. McBride might have made the tapes out of some personal need--perverted as it might be. And, I suppose, it might be argued that he is guilty of molesting you--although I am not granting that. But this trial is not about molestation or child sexual abuse. Do you understand that?"
"I should, since I testified against him in the molestation case in which he was convicted."
"Your Honor, I move that statement be stricken from the record as non-responsive to the question."
"I find it most responsive, but I will order it stricken and the jury should disregard it. Mr. Willingham, please answer yes or no."
"Yes, your honor. And yes to the question."
"Then, Mr. Willingham, a major part of this case hinges on whether or not Rev. McBride knowingly distributed tapes which might be called child pornography. Do you understand that?"
Do you know what constitutes child pornography, Mr. Willingham?"
"Then will you tell this court in your own words what constitutes child pornography."
"Child pornography is any graphic depiction of an underage child engaged in sexual activity. I'm sure of that. I may be mistaken, but I believe it includes showing an underaged male with an erection."
"Yea, you know, with a hard-on." The defense lawyer could be heard as he gasped, but that didn't stop him.
"Mr. Willingham, do you know what hearsay is?"
Larry whispered, "Uh oh, now he's treating Gene like he's stupid. He's really asking for it."
"And what is hearsay, Mr. Willingham, and do you know if it can be admitted in court."
"Hearsay is something you have been told, but not witnessed yourself and it cannot be admitted."
"You're right. Now think carefully. Can you of your own knowledge--remember you're under oath--tell this court that you know Rev. McBride made any effort to distribute the tapes we have seen today in this courtroom."
Larry's face lit up and he was grinning a very wicked grin. "Here's where he nails McBride big fashion," he whispered.
The defense lawyer looked as if he had been hit in the face with a sack of fresh dog shit. "And just how can you do that, Mr. Willingham?"
"The day McBride was arrested and I saw the tapes being brought in, I suspected what he had been doing. I spent all that night searching the internet."
"And you found something?"
"I found a web site in Amsterdam offering child pornography for sale."
"Well, we all know about Amsterdam, but this is Lexington in the USA. That proves nothing, does it?"
"No, it doesn't, but the video clips on that site of me being fucked and sucked off by McBride do--video clips of tapes for sale."
The defense lawyer was clearly rattled and said, "I have no more questions of this witness, Your Honor, and request a recess."
"It's 11:30. We'll recess for lunch and reconvene at 1:00."
Eugene got off the witness stand and ran to where we were sitting. When he reached Larry, he embraced his soulmate, hanging on for dear life as he wept great sobs. Larry stroked his hair and said over and over again, "I am proud of you, Babe and I love you to death." Then he said, "God, Gene, you are so brave and to think..."
Eugene stopped crying immediately and looked at Larry and said in a very commanding voice, "Drop it, Lar. Damn it to hell, drop it!"
The prosecuting attorney came up to us and said, "Mr. Willingham, I want you to know that I think this case is over. It's not often I have a defense lawyer present my case against the defendant, but he did because he was fool enough to think he could get you angry and rattle you."
Larry laughed and said, "But he did half of that. He got Eugene angry and if you want to get him rattled, you don't get him angry. When he is angry he is as cold and logical as a computer."
"It was a real stroke of luck that you had done that search of the internet. Why didn't you tell me that?"
"To tell the truth," Eugene answered, "I had been so concerned about the tapes and what they would do to my life that I had completely forgotten about it. Why didn't you remind me, Lar? You were with me."
"Gene, I had forgotten it also until that fool lawyer asked the question about hearsay and I told Jason and Anthony then that McBride was about to get nailed."
"You mean to tell me had the lawyer not asked the question, it would never have been brought up?" the lawyer asked.
"That's right," Eugene said.
"There are days in which I believe Lady Justice is alive and well and this is one of them. Lunch is on me."
"Would love to, but I'm with my brother and our best friends."
"For what you did today, I'd buy your whole family lunch," he laughed.
"Well, if you're buying, you are just about buying for the whole family," Eugene said as he introduced us all.
"I'm Henry Armstrong," he said.
Lunch was interesting to say the least. Danny, Buddy and Jake came in and waved. "Do you know those guys?" Armstrong asked.
"Sure do," Larry said. "We just graduated with them. And, of course, they testified against McBride in his molestation trial. "Let's invite them over."
Armstrong motioned them over and, when they joined us, Larry introduced Jason and myself.
All three nodded and then Danny said, "Good to see you guys. Eugene, you nailed that filthy bastard's ass to the wall this morning. I don't think we will have much to add this afternoon. I mean it's clear he did the tapes and offered them for sale. The only thing our testimony will add will be just a hell of a lot more perversion."
About that time, the defense lawyer came into the resturant and walked over to our table. "Armstrong," he said without acknowledging the rest of us, "I'd like to talk with you before court's back in session. Judge's chambers at 12:30?"
"I'm enjoying my lunch with a great bunch of guys, but I can make it by 12:45."
"I'll be there."
"He wants to cut a deal. What do you say to that?"
"I say burn his ass," Danny said. The other two agreed.
"It would keep these three from having to testify again. It worked on me big time today as it did the first time. How about you guys?"
"Same, I suspect," Buddy said, "but you did it, so can we."
"Don't doubt that, but if it's unnecessary."
"Look," Armstrong said, "we finish the trial and he is sentenced. He serves his time in the state pen for the molestation conviction. If he lasts--prisoners love to get their hands on child abusers--he'll get time off for good behavior and will probably be paroled. He goes to the federal pen and gets out early. That's probably what will happen. He might even have the state time count against the federal time. If I cut him a deal by dropping the charges to one count of manufacturing and distributing child pornography and give him a sentence of twenty-five years to be served after he has served his state time--and without any time off or parole--he'll be what? ninety when he gets out. Otherwise, he may get a life sentence which actually is less time. Weird, but that's the way the system works."
"I say go for it," Eugene said.
"Man, I appreciate not having to testify again and if you are sure you can nail his ass to the wall for good, go for it," Buddy said. Danny nodded.
"Jake?" Armstrong asked.
"Either way's ok by me."
Court wasn't called to order until 1:30 and, when it was, McBride changed his plea and got the sentence Armstrong had outlined, and we all went home with the news for Millie. As soon as dinner was over, Larry and Eugene rushed upstairs to e-mail the Fellowship the news--and, I am sure, to make mad, passionate love. But I knew that Eugene would be haunted by McBride for years to come.