ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Fifteen--Michael
I almost did a mess in my pants when I opened the door and saw Red Hawk standing there, "Holy shit, it's Red Hawk!" I shouted.
Red Hawk answered with the belly laugh we had all come to know and appreciate. Then he said, "Don't mess your pants, Michael. I'm Wounded Hawk, Red Hawk's son. Taequo and I heard there was a party here tonight. Sorry we didn't get here for the whole affair." He stepped aside and revealed Taequo standing on the porch.
"Taequo! Both of you get inside!" I turned and shouted, "Taequo's here with Red Hawk's son! What a party!"
Luke and Matt came over, hugged Taequo and Wounded Hawk, then I introduced everyone since none of us knew Wounded Hawk or he us. The old members of the Fellowship were all crowding around the two Indians, excitedly giving them hugs.
"Taequo said I'd get a welcome like I'd never had before, but I thought he was pulling my leg. But... well I'm glad to be here."
"Man, you really made me believe in Halloween ghosts," I said.
"No such things as ghosts," Wounded Hawk said, "but... spirit beings..."
"Like the red hawk which came to Luke's and Matt's commitment ceremony, yea, I know," Mary Kathryn said. "You don't have to convince us of spirit beings. But seeing one in the flesh is a bit disconcerting, to say the least.
Greywolf embraced Taequo and then Wounded Hawk. "I can see you scared the bejeepers out of the boys," he said. "So good to see you two."
"Wounded Hawk showed up yesterday on the side of the road. He stood, his thumb stuck out, and I was about to pass him when I heard Red Hawk's voice say 'Taequo, you better pick up the boy'. I stopped and he ran to the truck and climbed in. I was as taken aback as you were. I knew Red Hawk had a son and I had met Wounded Hawk's daughter, you have too--Spring Fawn. Anyway, I had a delivery in Cleveland and was late getting it done and Wounded Hawk kept saying, 'We're going to miss the party'. I couldn't get anything else out of him and he directed me out here, where he had me park the truck at the entrance of the driveway and we walked. So here we are, late for the party."
"There's food aplenty and there's still talking time," Luke said as he brought heaping plates of food to the two. "Least I can do is feed my lifesaver and my medicine man's son."
"Think there might be a correction there. Think it might be your lifesaver and medicine man, but more about that later," Taequo said.
Wounded Hawk and Taequo sat beside the fireplace, their plates in their laps, eating.
How do you explain two Indians showing up at the front door and causing all the excitement Taequo and Wounded Hawk had? Of course those who had gone through the previous summer with Matt and Luke--well, with me and Mary Kathryn as well--knew Taequo and Red Hawk, so his son made sense, but the others in the room? We'd be there all night telling stories and still some would be confused I suspect. I was glad when Taequo and Wounded Hawk took on that job.
"These are good people, your friends Silver Wolf, Fire Thunderbird, Golden Eagle, Daughter of the Dawn. Good people." As he called us in turn by our Lakota names, he reached out and touched each one. Then he laughed a good belly laugh and said, "Chris, never knew someone who had to be washed in shit to get his shit together, but it worked. You can thank Golden Eagle and Daughter of the Dawn for that--and the love of Dan. Singing Sparrow told me all about it. And I agree, Danny is a boy's name and Dan's a man--finally--so you are to be known as Dan. The rest of you need to tell me who you are and I mean who you are, not just your names."
That started a round of story-telling which went on for a couple hours. When we had pretty much run down, Wounded Hawk said, "Chris, I thought you being dunked in shit was just vision stuff. Didn't know it wasn't a metaphor, but reality."
"Metaphor? You said metaphor?" Chris asked.
"Sure, what do you think I am? A dumb Indian? Kid, I have a Ph.D. in literature and one in psychology."
"Look, I think I find visions easier to believe," Chris laughed.
"Don't knock the visions either," Wounded Hawk said. "Well Taequo came by as I expected him to so I could come. Golden Eagle, Fire Thunderbird and Silver Wolf--you too, Daughter of the Dawn--the task of completing your training has been given to me. Needed to let you know that and thought this was a good time because I wanted to meet all these new people in your medicine circle. I have seen them all in visions, but sometimes Red Hawk fools with my visions. I have to be careful of the old buzzard." Wounded Hawk laughed one of his father's laughs. "I guess that's it. You can all go to bed now."
"Hold it right there, Wounded Hawk. You can't just walk in, eat my food, make announcements and say 'That's it'. Your old man did that, but I think you and I are on a bit more even footing," I said and I wasn't laughing. Maybe Wounded Hawk thought I was a bit rude--a lot rude--and had overstepped my bounds, but he wasn't going to pull this on me.
I looked at Taequo and saw he was about to burst laughing. Suddenly Wounded Hawk sputtered, then roared laughing. "The old man definitely got a-hold of you. You sound just like I did when I was twice your age, but then I was twice your age before I was sober enough for the old man to begin my training." After another hour or so of talking--I noticed Wounded Hawk was very observant--he left some of the crowd wondering how he knew things about them, but there was no magic here; I said Wounded Hawk was very observant. Finally he said, "Golden Eagle, Silver Wolf, Fire Thunderbird and Daughter of the Dawn, you will be together Thanksgiving, right?"
"We'll be leaving Oberlin Tuesday afternoon before Thanksgiving and have to be back Monday," Matt said.
"I'll be in North Carolina and we'll get in some training then. Now I'm going to sleep."
I knew what to expect and, sure enough, Wounded Hawk curled up by the fire and was asleep in seconds. I looked at my watch and discovered it was 3:30 in the morning. Class was going to come very early for the Oberlin crew.
As we walked to the studio, Matt was on one side of me and Luke on the other, all arm-in-arm. Luke said, "That was one damn big surprise. I thought sure Red Hawk had come back."
"What do you think about me?" I asked. "I opened the door and he was right there in my face. Damn! I mean I really did think I'd shit my pants."
"Well, I guess we have a chunk of Thanksgiving taken care of," Matt said. "I dreamed the other night Red Hawk had come back to continue our training. I guess I just didn't pay enough attention."
When we got to the studio, there were more questions, but finally Luke said, "Guys, we have an early class tomorrow--today--very few hours from now. I need to get some sleep."
Everyone finally settled down and snores resonated around the studio. I couldn't go to sleep immediately. I kept thinking about having my life planned for me and no-one had asked me if it was what I wanted.
ASP--The Oberlin Five--Chapter Fifteen--Matt
Luke and I had set our watch alarms and neither of us wanted to get up when they went off, but we did. When we got to the house, Wounded Hawk was making coffee. "Good morning. Hope you are ready for a new day," he laughed.
"I may be, after a shower and shave," Luke said. We went upstairs, showered, scrubbing off our war paint, and Luke shaved. Then both of us realized we hadn't gotten clothes out to wear. "Do we tiptoe in and hope we don't wake Mom and Dad," I asked, "or do we knock?". As if to settle the issue, Dad came from our room. "We need to get clothes from our room," I said.
"Try to be quiet. Your mom's still asleep."
We got our clothes, dressed in the hall and went down. Kent and Paula were dressed, drinking coffee and talking to Wounded Hawk and Taequo.
"Where's Eugene and Larry?" I asked.
"They showered and shaved and have gone to the studio to get dressed."
"I guess you all had sense enough to get clothes out for today. Luke and I didn't," I said.
Larry and Eugene walked in and got a cup of coffee. Wounded Hawk started serving up eggs and bacon. "Thanks, Wounded Hawk," I said.
"Figured if I fixed it there'd be some for me."
"Help yourself," I said. "How long are you going to be around?"
"Taequo has to move on today. I'll start with him. Got to be in Phoenix later this week. I'm delivering a series of lectures on the psychology of the Indian to a bunch of stuffed-shirt academic types. They think Indians are a different animal. Then next week I'm going to Colorado to lead a symposium on literature of the oral tradition. Find I am freer and make more money being an expert Indian than a professor. Academics get all goose-bumpy when they think they have a real Indian telling them secrets. Truth of the matter is if I told them what you, Luke and Michael have done, they'd toss me out on my ear. They have already decided everything and just want an Indian to say it's ok. So generally I just nod wisely and get a lot of rest until some jerk really gets off base, and then I blast him and he thanks me for it. Guess he thinks it absolves his liberal guilt for the way we have been treated. It's academic game-playing and I have two doctorates so I'm a highly desired player. Mostly meaningless bullshit, but that's academics for you."
We finished breakfast and Luke said, "We have to run". Luke and I hugged the two Indians and Dad. "See you all Thanksgiving," Luke said, and we left with Paula and Kent right behind us. We met Larry and Eugene coming in as we were going out.
"We're grabbing a bite of breakfast and then we'll be on our way." Larry said.
Michael was right behind the two, and we hugged our brother and left.
Luke and I talked about missing saying goodbye to everyone, but all had gone to bed very late and I'm sure enjoyed the extra sleep.
When we got back from class, the house seemed very quiet. Of course the parents were gone and we soon discovered the Fellowship were all walking on the beach which was unexpected because, in spite of the sunny weather, it was chilly and made more so by a breeze off the lake.
We prepared a late lunch and Eugene went down to the beach to bring in the troops. We all gathered in the dining room for lunch and, as we ate, talked about the weekend and especially Wounded Hawk and Taequo showing up. There were still a lot of questions about them and their place in our lives--by our friends and, in truth, by ourselves.
After lunch the crew offered to help us get the house in order and at first we said we would get it done later, but they insisted. Mary Kathryn had already supervised getting the linen off the beds and had started washing it. We got fresh linen out and the gang had a ball making beds. Didn't seem like play time to me, but they seemed to enjoy it. All the dishes had been washed and were waiting to be put away. Marc and Keith helped me with that task. Larry and Eugene were getting help with vacuuming and other house cleaning. Michael, Dan and Chris got the sleeping bags and pads and stored them in the attic. We had finally finished most of the work about 3:00 and all were in the kitchen having a snack when Douglas said,"This has been a grand weekend. Pity we can't be together all the time."
"Sounds good, but don't know how it would work out," Janet said. "You six are getting along ok, I guess."
"We almost let some things get out of hand, and there are occasional disagreements, but we work at it. There is a strong base in our friendship, but you have to work at things just as you do any worthwhile relationship," Paula said.
"I think we need to plan the next get together," Marc said. "This weekend has been very special for me--I mean even if Keith hadn't recreated my world."
"We'll have to work out the details with the parents--which should be no big deal--but we will be in Concord for Thanksgiving. Why don't you three plan to spend Thanksgiving with us? You don't have family plans do you?" I asked.
"Hardly," Marc replied.
"Yea, hardly," Douglas and Janet added.
"Ok, Thanksgiving it is," I said. "Won't be as big a problem getting everyone there since all except the six of us will already be there. Oh, Kent, what about you?"
"I'd probably be killed if I wasn't home Thanksgiving. I hoped Paula would be as well--home with me I mean."
"I can't leave Mom alone for the holiday," Paula said. "Sorry."
"Look," Marc said. "I will have my own plane by then--not a big jet, but not tiny either. Paula, you and Kent check and see if I could bring your Mom up here for the holiday and take your four housemates back to Concord. That way you and Kent could be with your parents and the crew would get home much earlier than otherwise."
"I'll check," Paula said, "and Kent and I will let you know. Do we have your e-mail address?" Marc took a card from his pocket and gave it to Paula who said, "Thanks".
"Well I hate to be this way, but by the time we get our luggage together it will be time to leave for the airport," Marc said.
The luggage was taken to the mini-bus, and Luke again stashed it on top and we were ready to go. The trip to the airport was uneventful and the plane was on the tarmac when we arrived. Luke tossed the luggage down and we carried it to the plane. We were all reluctant to end the weekend, but finally Captain Kelly said, "We need to fly, Marc". There were hugs all around and promises to get together at Thanksgiving, and then the crew boarded the plane and took off. The six of us stood on the tarmac, watching the plane as long as it was in sight.
"What a weekend this turned out to be," Kent said. "And a new couple has been added to the circle. Paula, I can see why you enjoyed being with Jacob so much, but I'm glad you decided he wasn't the one." He was standing with his arm about Paula's waist as he leaned over and kissed the top of her head.
"Guess we need to get back to the house and pick up my truck so we can take the bus back," Luke said, sort of officially announcing the end of the weekend.
When we got back to the house, I drove Luke's truck and we took the bus back while the others finished the little house cleaning left to do.
It had been a grand weekend, but it was over. Settling down to the old routine was hard, but it had to be. At least I thought we would settle down in to the old routine, but there was a major surprise Friday. We had just gotten home and were relaxing before dinner when the doorbell rang. Luke went to the door and ushered a uniformed man into the living room. "Hey everyone, you're wanted in the living room."
When everyone had gathered in the living room, Luke said, "Housemates, this is Marshall McCoy."
"I know you are very busy with school, but I'm afraid something is being added to your schedule. Luke Hans Larsen?"
"Luke, here's a subpoena requiring you to show up in court in Cleveland next Wednesday, November 8, at 8:00 am." Marshall McCoy then called Larry's, Eugene's, Kent's and my names and gave us subpoenas as well. "I know you want to spend as little time as possible in court and the District Attorney hopes to be finished with you Wednesday, but make arrangements to be ready for court for at least a week. Maybe you can get assignments so you can work while you wait, because you can be sure there will be a lot of waiting. These subpoenas are for the trial of the judge, police chief and mayor of Waterside on bribery charges. There will be others for civil rights violations and for the attempted bombing of your house. What everyone hopes is that the defendants will start rolling over on each other and making deals for lighter sentences. If that happens it could all be over very quickly."
"How about the money we were out paying bribes?" Larry asked.
"You'll need to file a civil suit seeking to recover your money. I think Lem Aldridge has already filed one on your behalf. You might want to check on that."
Luke showed Marshall McCoy the door and we all sat around, gloomy, thinking about having to keep up with school work and all our other activities and spend all day in court for no-one knew how long.
"Wednesday is NOVEMBER EIGHT!" I suddenly had a sinking sensation. "Holy shit!!!" I exclaimed.
Everyone was staring at me and Luke said, "Well, Michael, I thought you were back in Concord". All just about flipped when Larry got a stricken look on his face and exclaimed, "Wednesday is November 8th! Double holy shit!"
The rest of the crew was looking at me and Larry like we had completely lost our minds. "Yes, double holy shit, Larry!" I exclaimed.
"Will someone please tell us what is going on and why we have so much divine feces around," Paula asked. I guess all the rest were just struck dumb.
"If Wednesday is November 8th," Larry said, "then tomorrow is November 4th. It is very clear why Matt and I are about ready to explode."
"Maybe it is clear to you two, but the rest of us are in the dark," Luke said.
"November 4th is the day scheduled for Matt to make his audition tape and we both, apparently, had allowed that to slip our minds. How ready are you, Matt?" Larry asked.
"I guess I'm ready. It's just that I have slacked off during all the partying. I'll play both pieces straight through a couple times before I go to bed. We can get to Oberlin early enough for you to make sure everything is set up and working, and I can play the two pieces through a couple or three times before we start recording."
I phoned Professor Larkin to remind her I was making the recording so she wouldn't come for a lesson. "I have it on my calendar, Matt, but thanks for reminding me. I have talked with Professor Moler and we will both be there. We want to make sure your recording shows just how good you are. See you around 10:30."
I played through the two audition pieces a couple times, then ran through "Sheep" again, trying to avoid mistakes but not be mechanical. I wasn't satisfied, but then was I ever? I knew that any further practice that night would just be fretting and would actually work against me.
When I went to bed Luke was already asleep but, as I crawled into bed, he opened his eyes, smiled and said, "Matt, I love you. I love you so much, so very much, even when you forget something as important as an audition tape." Luke wrapped me in his arms and said, "You are ready for tomorrow, aren't you? I mean even having had it slip your mind for a couple days, you are ready, right?"
"I guess I am. Well of course I am, and if I'm not I'll never be."
"Good. Now relax and rest, Dark Angel." Luke's lips touched mine in one of his butterfly kisses. I felt myself relax, melting in the arms of my beloved.
I planned to get up early and let Luke sleep in, so I was surprised when he woke me with a kiss. "How about a bathroom break and then some playing around," he asked, still propped on an elbow, his eyes smiling into mine.
"Sounds like a good way to get ready for an audition," I smiled back. Our bathroom break was a short one, just time for bleeding our lizards and brushing our teeth. When we got back in bed, we made wonderful love--easy, gentle, tender love. Afterwards I lay in Luke's arms, our eyes telling the other of our great and wonderful love, our beings radiating because we had each other.
"Luke, I have to get up, get ready and go," I reminded him.
"Not before a shower, I hope," he said. "Matt, I love the fragrance of our love-making, but I don't think it's socially acceptable," he laughed.
I thought I'd take a quick shower, but Luke had other ideas. After a long, hot shower with my Bright Angel, he said, as we were drying each other, "I bet you're not upset about Kent's second water heater now," and laughed.
When we got downstairs, Eugene was serving Larry breakfast. "I wondered if you two were going to eat this morning," he said as he started making French toast for Luke and me. When it was ready, he joined the three of us for breakfast.
"Larry, how much do you have to do to get set up this morning?" I asked.
"Professor Moler told me the equipment would all be in Warner ready to be set up. That will take little time since it's almost a permanent set up. Of course, it will have to be tested."
"Lar, can I be of help in setting things up? I don't have a lot I have to do today," Eugene asked.
"If you think you can keep from jumping my bones, sure you could be a big help," Larry said as he leaned over and kissed his soulmate.
"It'll be hard..."
"No doubt," Luke laughed, "but the question is can you function that way without hopping Larry's bod?"
We four were having a good laugh when Kent came down the stairs, looking as if he had tumbled out of bed and just kept rolling down the stairs.
"Just what is so funny this early in the morning?" He asked as he poured a cup of coffee.
"Larry's trying to decide whether or not he can work with Eugene lusting after his body. The vote right now favors no," I answered. "Paula sleeping in?"
"Seems that way," Kent said. "Guess she's not up to the testosterone this morning."
"That is a consideration, since she's the only woman around again," Larry said. "What are you up to today while we slave away over a hot organ?"
"I thought you had a recording session, and now I hear it's sex," Kent responded.
"Don't I wish," Eugene said. "Looks as if all four of us can be involved in Matt recording his audition tape. Guess you and Paula will have the house to yourselves."
"I'm afraid not. I started a project last week for a woman who owns a place a couple miles down the beach. She bought an older house--almost as nice as this one, but not kept as well--and is re-doing the gardens from scratch. As a matter of fact, she has asked that I become her landscape designer and gardener. She is willing to pay through the nose to get what she wants. Seems she came by here a couple times shortly after we started work and since. She liked what she saw and asked if I could do something similar to her place. I told her I could, but it would take a couple years and I would have to have helpers. She has more or less given me a blank check. It's great because I won't have to run here and there working. I can leave my tools there unless we need them here. It is really a break. AND I can use just about everything I do for class projects."
"Speaking of class projects, I have to do a recital for the grade in my performance class," I said. "Certainly wish I could use what I'm taping today for that, but even though we're getting pretty good at making things do two jobs." The recital will have to be more modern music," I observed. "But, hey, I guess we better go."
"I need the truck today. Are you four going to drive both cars?"
"I guess I assumed we were, but that would leave Paula stranded. Know what she's up to today?" Eugene asked.
"She said last night she needed to do some shopping, including grocery shopping for the house and I think some personal shopping as well."
"Then I think we should take the Jeep," Eugene said. "Paula likes to drive the car more than the Jeep."
"No problem," I said. "Let's roll."
When we got to Warner Concert Hall, only the janitor was around. He let us in and unlocked the recording equipment booth for Larry. Since the hall is used for most student recitals as well as many other music programs, it has a more-or-less permanent set-up for recording, which Larry had checked out when Professor Moler first met with him to discuss the audition tape. Larry promptly went to work getting the equipment set up to suit himself. Luke and Eugene were busy carrying out Larry's instructions.
I went directly to the organ and discovered it had not been unlocked for my use. "What a way to start!" I said. Just when I was beginning to get frustrated at being unable to practice before I had to start recording, the janitor came running toward me. I had met him the first time I was in the hall and learned his name was Jake Swanne. He had taken a liking to me because I was part-Lakota. His grandmother had been a Lakota and he was very proud of his Indian blood. "Mr. Swanne..." I started to say when he interrupted.
(Professor Moler had laughed the first time Mr. Swanne had called me Mr. Greywolf, telling me later that Jake called no-one, but no-one, Mister, Doctor or Professor. "He has put us all on a first-name basis--from the president on down, but you are MR. Greywolf." I had replied, "Us Indians have to stick together".)
"Mr. Greywolf, Sir, I forgot to unlock the organ for you." He was still practically running when he reached up to the console and unlocked the organ. He then stood back and watched until I played the first note. "It's ready when you are, Mr. Greywolf," he said after I had played a few notes.
I had practiced on the organ enough to be comfortable with the registration I had selected earlier, and got it all set up and ready to go. I took a deep breath and launched into "Sheep May Safely Graze". I had had a real struggle unlearning the mistakes I had allowed to creep in over the years, and when I had conquered that aspect of the piece, I had worked very hard to give it some life rather than playing it mechanically. It had, once again, become a piece with which I was comfortable--an old friend again. It was a lovely piece. Professor Larkin would call it a "pretty piece", which had just about been done in by being played too much and too poorly.
When I finished, Luke came to the console and said, "Larry would like for you to play that piece again. He thinks he has everything working perfectly, but wants to be sure."
I started the piece again, and suddenly I felt as if I were alone at the console of St. Mary's organ. I was, as Luke called it, "in another universe". The piece simply flowed and I flowed with it. Finishing "Sheep", I paused briefly and started "Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor". It was not something I had overplayed. In fact, I didn't think I had ever played the whole piece until I started working on it for the audition. I knew that if I became a finalist I would have to commit the piece to memory, but I wasn't sure enough at that point to try it without having the music at hand.
I managed to get through the piece without stumbling and I thought I had done a passable job. When I finished it, I turned around and called to Larry, "How's that?".
"Fine. Great," he answered.
"Can you spare Eugene?" I asked.
"Depends on what you want him for," Larry laughed.
"Luke's here, so Eugene's safe," I laughed back. Only after I spoke did I see Professor Larkin walking toward me. I didn't know what she'd think, but surely she had been around the house long enough to have figured out the relationships among the six of us. "If you can spare Eugene, I need him as a page turner."
"Be right there, Matt," Eugene called.
"How is it coming, Matt?" Professor Larkin asked.
"Fine, I think, and Larry seems to have the recording bit down."
"I guess you thought you would play your recital here so this session could be serving two purposes--getting a tape and allowing you to get a better feel for the instrument--but your recital will be modern music and the Aeolian-Skinner in Finney Chapel is much better suited to that music."
Professor Moler walked in while we were talking and called to Larry, "Larry, got any tape yet?".
"Got both pieces, Professor."
"Can you let us hear them before Matt starts again?"
"Sure, no problem." Larry started the tape and I was surprised at how well "Sheep" had gone. The longer piece had gone well also, but there was room for improvement.
When the tape of the two pieces had played, Professors Moler and Larkin talked with me about what they had heard. They were pleased with my rendition of both, but agreed that I should, at least for the longer piece, use the music when I needed to. "You have plenty of time to memorize the piece after the tape is ready, so use the music when you need it."
"Eugene will be my page turner," I said, "because I thought I needed to have the music as back up."
"I was going to suggest that I handle that but, if you have Eugene, I'll sit out front and listen," Professor Larkin said.
"Ok, let's record," Professor Moler said as he went down front and took a seat.
"Ready, one, two, three, tape running," Larry called. I played "Sheep", and the two professors asked Larry to play it back.
"Are you satisfied, Matt?" Professor Moler asked.
"No, I'm not, and I don't think I am just being nit-picky."
"Larry, how do you feel about the recording?" Professor Moler called back to Larry.
"It's good, but could be better."
"Then let's go again." Larry called out the signals and I played "Sheep" again.
I knew it was better before I turned and saw the two professors nodding. "Good job," Professor Larkin said.
"Larry?" Professor Moler asked.
"Couldn't be better. That is definitely excellent, grade A, number one."
"Then let's hear it," Luke said.
As I have said, I am never completely satisfied, but the tape was good. Both professors announced it was excellent.
I played the longer "Passacaglia and Fugue in C minor" and both thought it was also good, but I insisted on playing it a second time. When I finished the second time, both agreed the second one was better and, when we listened, we all thought it was good.
"I guess that's it, Larry," I said.
"Ok," Larry replied. "It'll take a few minutes to make the audition tape since I'll have to combine the two pieces into a single tape."
The two professors and I talked about the recital I had to do for my performance class. "I can live with you using those two pieces you have just played, if you absolutely have to, which means you have about fifteen minutes already. But I'd really prefer you do twentieth-century pieces. I could be really mean and tell you it had to be all American composers," she laughed.
"I really don't have a lot of time to get that together," I said.
"Right," Professor Larkin said. "I just checked before I left, and it is scheduled for December seventeenth.
"Wow, I guess I have not been keeping a close look at the calendar."
The three of us talked about my recital and picked out several pieces to be included. We had finally come up with most of the recital program when Larry called to us, "The tape's done and I have made three copies."
"How long will it take you to make a dozen more?" Professor Moler asked.
"I can make a dozen in five or ten minutes," Larry responded.
"Do it and I'll get them off to the committee. How about lunch? I'm treating," Professor Moler said.
We went to one of the favorite eating places near the college and had a good lunch and some great conversation.
Wednesday found the five of us in the Federal Courthouse in Cleveland, sitting, waiting, time dragging. Just before lunch, we were called into the courtroom. The judge informed all those waiting to testify that court was recessed until 1:00. We were told where we might get lunch and we left. During lunch we talked about what we could do in terms of school work and what we could not do.
After lunch we began the waiting game again but, at 1:30, Kent was called into the courtroom. An hour later, Eugene went in, then Larry. When Kent came out he reported all three of those charged with bribery were being tried together. Luke was called at 4:00 and my time came at 4:30.
After I was sworn in, Mr. Greenstreet--the prosecutor--asked if I had been involved in a fight outside the theater in Waterside, giving the date and time. "I was," I replied.
"Will you, in your own words, tell the jury what happened."
I told what had gone on and how we were arrested, even though we had not started the fight, and had to defend ourselves against six fellows, one with a knife.
"After you were arrested, were you jailed?"
"Yes, we were."
"At any time, were you advised of your rights?"
"No, we were not."
"Were you allowed to call an attorney?"
"No. We didn't know one and were not offered one."
"But you were released on bond after a lawyer interceded for you."
"How did a lawyer just happen to show up?"
I told how Kent had been released and got a lawyer for us.
"Why was Mr. Glaze released?"
"The officer arresting us told him to leave because he was a local boy."
"He was released because he was local and you were held because you were not?"
"That's what we were told."
"Just what provoked the fight?"
"When we came out of the theater..."
"Kent Glaze, Eugene Willingham, Larry Watley, Luke Larsen and myself."
"There were six guys I did not know spray-painting something on Mr. Willingham's car. When challenged, they attacked us."
"Five to six?"
"And the five were winning the fight?"
"Mr. Willingham is an expert in the marital arts and the rest of us are pretty good as well."
"So you were winning?"
"Yes, until two police officers arrived, told the attackers to go home and arrested us."
"Mr. Aldridge arranged bail and you left. What happened the following day?"
"Mr. Aldridge came to the house and told us we could probably get off with a pay-off. He also asked if we would cooperate with an ongoing investigation and we agreed. We were wired and then went to see the chief of police who asked for money to take us to the judge. When we reached the judge's chambers, he asked for money or threatened us with jail, so we paid off."
"Mr. Greywolf, this is people's exhibit 12, a transcript of the tape made when you were wired. Will you read through it quickly?" I took the transcript and scanned it very rapidly. "Mr. Greywolf, is that an accurate transcript of the conversations during the time you were with the chief of police and the judge?"
"Yes it is."
"No further questions, your honor."
"Mr. Miller," the judge said.
"Thank you, your honor."
"Now, Mr. Greywolf, a couple weeks before the incident in question, were you in the same theater?"
'Mr. Greywolf, when you were in the theater earlier, how would you characterize your behavior?"
"Mr. Greywolf, have you at any time kissed a man in..."
"Objection, your honor! Irrelevant."
"Sustained. Mr. Miller, you will abandon this line of questioning now. I have warned you before."
"Mr. Greywolf, when you came out of the theater and saw the six young men, you said they were spray-painting your friend's car. Correct?"
"What were they painting on the car?"
"Your honor, I will show that four of the five testifying today actually provoked the attack."
"Overruled, but you must show provocation now."
"I repeat my question. What were they spray-painting on the car?"
"Faggot among others."
"Are you or any of your friends faggots, Mr. Greywolf?"
"You honor! Objection!"
"Sustained. Mr. Miller, you better get off that track right now. If you try something like that again, I'll hold you in contempt. I warned you when you were questioning the others."
"Your honor, I am trying to show the young men spray-painting the car were provoked."
"No doubt they were, but that is no defense. Being provoked because of your prejudice is hardly a defense."
"Mr. Greywolf, are you gay?"
"Sustained. I have warned you, Mr. Miller."
"Yes, your honor. Mr. Greywolf, are you aware of laws against sex between men?"
"Objection, your honor!"
"Mr. Miller! Apparently you have no intention of heeding my warnings. You will pay the bailiff $1,000 for contempt of court. And if you try the same tack again, you'll be spending your evenings and nights as a guest of the government."
"Yes, your honor. Mr. Greywolf, do you know what entrapment means?"
"Are you aware of the laws against entrapment?"
"Are you aware of the fact that the three on trial here today are victims of entrapment?"
"No, but I only know of the event involving me and my four friends. There was no entrapment involved there."
"Move that be struck from the record, your honor. Mr. Greywolf is not a lawyer."
"But you asked him if he was aware of the laws of entrapment and he said he was. You then proceeded assuming he knew the laws. His answer stands."
"Are you aware that bribing an official is a crime?"
"Then you admit you are guilty of a crime?"
"Objection! Mr. Greywolf is not on trial here."
"But, your honor, I want to establish that the so-called victims in this case are criminals."
"Mr. Miller, they have neither been charged or convicted. They cannot be criminals until they have been. Are you planning on bringing charges against them?"
"No, your honor."
"Then get on with the trial at hand."
"I have no further questions of this witness."
I was sent back to the waiting room. When I was called in, I had left my cell phone with Luke. and as soon as I walked into the waiting room he said, "Great news, Matt! Margaret gave birth today and Mary Margaret and Elizabeth Kathryn are doing fine. So is Margaret, but Michael wasn't sure David was going to make it," Luke laughed.
The five of us discussed what had gone on in the court room, and at 5:00 we were dismissed and told if we arranged a method where we could be contacted and be back in Cleveland within an hour, we were free to go. We gave the bailiff my cell phone number and left.
We were barely inside the door when Paula came running from the kitchen. "Great news! Michael called. Margaret had the twins today--Mary Margaret and Elizabeth Kathryn--all three are doing fine."
"Yea. Michael finally got us on Matt's cell phone," Eugene said. A hug-fest followed and we all went to the library and called Margaret's hospital room. We turned on the speaker-phone and all talked to the Andrews family. It was good that all had gone so well. We then told them about the trial.
When we hung up, Paula said, "I have supper ready. Let's sit down and eat."
"It's almost 6:30 and I'll be interested in what the news has from the trial." Kent said. "Why don't we eat in the family room?" We all thought that was a good idea--this time. We had pretty strict rules about eating somewhere other than the dining room.
The dinner conversation was, of course, about the birth of the twins and the trial. Seems I got off easy because Miller had tried all his questions on the others and earned a pile of objections. "He wanted to make sure the jury saw us as faggots," Eugene said. "He kept coming back to new ways to ask me if I was gay."
"He tried a bit with me, but didn't get anywhere with it. In fact, he got fined $1,000 because he did keep on," I said. "He just wouldn't quit."
"I will bet he got his message across and probably thought the $1,000 was well spent," Larry observed.
"Let's see what the news has to say," Kent said as he turned on the TV.
"Tonight's lead story concerns the trial of three Waterside officials in federal court. Robert Brown is live from the federal courthouse. Robert, what were the developments in today's trial?"
"Jim, today the trial of the former police chief, mayor and a city judge from Waterside continued. The previous three days have been devoted to pre-trial motions and jury selection, opening arguments and the first witnesses. The jury of seven women and five men were seated early yesterday and opening arguments were concluded just after lunch yesterday. The first witnesses were FBI and OBI agents who gave an account of their investigation. The three are being tried together on bribery charges and the agents indicated they had used several citizens to gather information."
"Today the trial opened with testimony by several people who had been arrested without cause and threatened with jail time by the police chief and judge unless, and I quote one of the witnesses' conversations with the police chief, 'some money appears on my desk to pay for my time'. All of the witnesses told essentially the same story. They were arrested, the chief suggested money would get the charges changed. The victim would then be taken to the judge who hinted that some money to compensate him for his trouble would prevent a jail sentence. The mayor's involvement was unclear until two witnesses said the judge and police chief indicated the money they were offered was inadequate because, and again I quote, 'we have a mayor to support'."
"This afternoon, five young men from Lorain were called as witnesses. They recounted how they had been to a movie in Waterside and when they came out, six young men of Waterside were spray-painting the car of one of them. When challenged, according to the young men--and earlier testimony by an elderly couple who witnessed the incident--a fight ensued, provoked by the spray-painters." The reporter gave an accurate account of what happened, including the fact that we had been wired and recorded the bribery requests.
"The defense lawyer, well-known Cleveland attorney Sandy Miller, made several attempts, it appeared to this reporter, to establish the fact that the five young men from Lorain provoked the attack because they were gay. He kept questioning the last witness, a Matthew Greywolf, to get him to admit he was gay, but the judge finally fined Miller $1,000 for contempt of court for his efforts. The trial resumes tomorrow at 9:00. However, it is rumored plea bargaining started this afternoon and may go on into the night."
"Robert, what is the purpose of trying to prove the young men from Lorain are gay? What has that to do with the case?"
"Jim, I learned today that the owner of the car has had a civil suit filed on his behalf seeking damages because of the car painting. The four who were actually arrested also have civil rights violation charges against the defendants and are seeking damages because of the money lost in the bribes. I suspect Miller believes if he can brand the four as gay, he will have public opinion on his side when those cases come up. And, of course, if he has a jury which is prejudiced against gays, they are less likely to convict the three."
"Did Miller establish the sexual orientation of the young men?"
"He certainly raised questions, but none were allowed to answer as, the prosecuting attorney kept stating, it is irrelevant."
"So the trial continues tomorrow?"
"Yes, and I guess we will learn what the plea bargaining produces."
"Thank you, Robert. In other news..." Luke switched off the TV.
"Well, Matt, you were the only one named in the newscast, but I picked up a newspaper and the story there named all five of us and didn't say we were gay, but certainly left an impression that we are or might be. Kent, I guess you have been branded gay as well as the four of us. I'm just glad Miller got slapped with that fine.
"I just wonder what we'll have dropped on us tomorrow," Eugene said, summing up the feeling of all of us. If we had only known...