What Happened to Baby Cameron?
by: E Walk
(© 2009 by the Author)

The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...

Chapter 14

You Gotta Be Our Grampa, Too



I went back to Elaine and explained, “That was Hank.  He wants me to bring the boys to New Orleans as soon as I can.  It seems that they have arrested the boys’ stepfather and need Tony and Andy to come testify.  Hank has already met the boys’ Grandfather.  He lives in an assisted living facility.”


Elaine smiled, “It’s a good thing I brought these papers giving you temporary custody of Tony and Andy.  You will need them for the boys to board a flight.  Keep me advised of what’s happening.”


I got on the computer to see what flights were available.  I was appalled at the prices and the schedules.  I was tempted to not take Cam, Randy and Ricky but decided that Hank seemed to think that all five boys needed to accompany me.  I made reservations on a flight leaving at 2:30. We had to change planes in Chicago and the seats wouldn’t be together, but I didn’t think the boys would be in any danger on the flights.


I called Hank and told him when we would be arriving.  I had Tad and Kevin help the boys pack some clothes and went to pack a  small suitcase.  I had no idea what to pack since I had no idea what Hank had in mind.


We ate a quick lunch and I parked in the long term parking at the airport since I had no idea how long we would be gone.  After we were through all the security check points, I took the boys to the bathroom so they hopefully wouldn’t need to go while we were in the air.


While we were waiting to board, Ricky looked at me, “Dad, I’m scared about what’s going to happen.  Me and Randy have never been on a plane before.”


Cam interjected, “Don’t worry guys, it’s just like riding in a car, only a lot faster.  Dad isn’t going to let anything bad happen to us.”


When the announcement was made that our plane was ready for loading, the people moved to the departure gate as if they were afraid someone was going to steal their seats.  I waited until the line had diminished before we went to the departure gate. 


When we were met by the young flight attendant, I handed him our boarding passes. He looked at them and asked, “Sir, would you like for me to see if I can get some people to change seats?”


I shook my head no, “We’ll be fine.  I’ll make sure that my boys behave themselves.”


Cam gave me the evil eye.


Andy and Tony had the window and middle seats in row 24 on the left side of the aircraft.  A teenager, I guessed to be about sixteen, was sitting in the aisle seat looking very nervous.  The two Tibideaux boys had obviously flown before because Tony tapped the young man, “Excuse us, sir, but we need to get to our seats.”


Ricky and Randy’s seats were in the same row only on the other side.  The gentleman in the aisle seat looked at me, “Hi, Mr. Michaels.  I guess you don’t remember me.  I’m Ian McBlain.  I was a teammate of your sons in high school.  Now Jake and I are arch-enemies since the University of North Carolina and the Dukies hate each other.”


“Ian, my two sons have never flown before.  Would you make sure that they follow the safety procedures?  Why are you flying on this flight when there were some that fly from Denver to Charlotte?”


“I’m going to Chicago to meet my fiancée and her family.  We’re going to be planning our wedding this summer.”


“Ian, I’ll talk to you later.  I need to get our other son settled.”


Cam and I were in the same row but we had the middle seat on opposite sides of the plane.  There was an older lady on the aisle next to where Cam was seated and a young man was next to the window.


There were two businessmen on either side of me, and they were both busy on their computers and cell phones as we were getting ready to take off.  I looked at Cam and he was having an animated discussion with the older lady.  The young man beside him seemed to be asleep already.  I stood and looked at the other four boys.  Ian was telling the boys that flying was safer than driving in a car.


I looked over and Tony was now on the aisle.  I heard Tony say, “See, Chad, flying isn’t so scary.  Where are you going?”


“I’m going to go live with my grandparents in New Orleans.”


Tony giggled, “That’s funny.  Me and Andy are going to go see our Grampa too.  Did your Daddy and Mother die, too?”


“No, they just told me I needed to leave.”


The conversation was interrupted by an announcement from the cockpit. “Ladies and gentlemen, fasten your seatbelts.  We are on our final approach into Omaha.  We will be there only as long as it takes the passengers to disembark and the new passengers to get onboard.  We ask that those of you who are continuing on to Chicago remain in your seats.”


Over half of the plane departed, including the two gentlemen who had been seated beside me and had been about as friendly as an ice cube.  All five boys seemed to have found friends.  


When we started to taxi after loading the new passengers, there was no one on either side of me.  The seat beside Cam was also empty.


After we were airborne, I stood.  “Ian, if the boys are bothering you, they can come sit with me.”


Ian looked up at me, “Mr. Michaels, the boys are make the trip go much faster.  Usually, I’m bored to tears.  I can’t believe that you found them in a mall.  You and Mr. Rodgers sure must have an interesting household.”


“Ian, that’s an understatement.”


I went to check on Tony, Andy and the Chad person.  “Hi, guys; is everything okay?”


“Hi, Dad Steve, Chad is scared about going to New Orleans because he doesn’t really know his grandparents and he won’t have any friend when he gets there.  He says that his grandparents are going to get him reprogrammed.  What does that mean?”


I looked at Chad, “Son, how old are you?”


“Sir, I’m seventeen.  I’ll be eighteen in two weeks.”


“Chad, I’ll talk to you later.  I need to check on our other son.”


I went back to the older lady and Cam.  “Ma’am, is our son bothering you.”


“Not in the least.  This is probably one of the most enjoyable flights I’ve taken in a long time.  You must have an interesting household or households as Cameron tells me.  With all these young people around, you’ll never have time to grow old.  You may go broke though in the meantime.”


Cam interrupted as he was prone to do, “Dad, Mrs. Delacroix, lives in in an assisted living facility in New Orleans.  Do you know the name of the place where Tony’s and Andy’s Grampa lives?”


The Captain came on, “Will all the passengers please return to their seats, we’re about to land at O’Hare airport in Chicago.”


The flight attendant came on announced the gates for the continuing flights.  I looked at our flight number and we didn’t have to even change gates.  I was to find out that we would be on the same aircraft but with a different flight number.


I waited for the masses to grab their bags and start to push forward before I stood and started to collect my boys.  Cam stood his ground, “Dad, Mrs. Delacroix needs a wheel chair.”


He had no sooner said that than a porter arrived with a wheel chair.  We followed Mrs. Delacroix out of the aircraft and I was surprised that Chad was sticking so close to us.  He looked at me, “Mr. Michaels, I’m really scared; I have no idea what is going to happen to me when we get to New Orleans.  I probably said too much to the two boys.”


I hugged Chad, “Don’t worry, son, they’re young.  They won’t understand what you were talking about.  But I’m concerned.”


Chad and I took the boys to bathroom, and I bought a snack for the boys.  When we arrived back at the boarding gate it looked as if it was going to be a full flight.  The airline attendant at the desk announced, “We will begin boarding shortly.  Will Mrs. Delacroix, Mr. Chad Martin and the Michaels party please come to the check-in desk?”


I looked at the boys, “I think we’re about to get bumped off the flight.”


We waited until they had taken care of Mrs. Delacroix and she disappeared into the runway.  I took the boys to the desk and Chad was still sticking very close to us.  I handed our boarding passes to the agent and she handed me new ones and instructed that we should proceed to the boarding runway.  I waited to see what would happen when Chad presented his pass, and the same thing happened.


When we arrived at the aircraft, Mrs. Delacroix was seated in the middle of the front row on the right.  I looked at the seat assignments. “Andy you have the aisle seat next to Mrs. Delacroix and Cam you have the window seat.”


I pointed to the seats across the aisle, “Randy, you have the window seat and Tony you have the aisle seat.”


Randy looked at me, “Dad, whose going to be in the middle?”


Chad answered, “I guess you guys are stuck with me.  They told me that I needed to keep you from fighting.” 


Cam leaned forward, “They put him between the two of you so you could keep him under control.”


Ricky had the window seat behind his brother and I had the middle seat. I wondered to myself, ’How did this happen?”


The plane was absolutely full except the seat next to me until a gentleman came and sat down beside me.  “I didn’t think I was going to get home tonight.  I’m McKenzie Dawkins.”


I shook his hand, “I’m Steve Michaels.”


When we were airborne, we heard Tony say, “Chad, I still don’t understand what you meant when you said your grandparents were going to get you deprogrammed.


Chad answered, “Tony, I don’t know what it means either.  I just know that my parents don’t like me very much.  They said they were going to make a real man out of me.”


McKenzie looked at me and whispered, “Steve, I don’t like the sounds of what I just heard.  Just so you know, I’m the Attorney for the city of New Orleans.”


I looked at the man, “Mr. Dawkins, I think there is another story that you might find even more to your disliking.”


I told him the story about how we found Tony and Andy and he looked at me in total disbelief, “Steve, this is almost unbelievable.  Why are you bringing the boys back here now?”


“McKenzie, I don’t know exactly what’s happening.  My partner called me this morning and told me to get the boys here as soon as possible.  He really didn’t explain everything that was happening.”


Mr. Dawkins shook his head in disbelief, “I hope he is working with the police and my office in this matter.”


“Hank is a lawyer, so I’m sure that he is working with the authorities.  We’ve had a great deal of practice in cases such as this.”


I explained to him how we found Ricky and Randy.  I also explained that Cameron was adopted, but didn’t tell him the full story.”


He started to laugh.  “You sure are going to have your hands full if the two boys somehow would get to live you.  You’ll need to get a bigger house.”


“We already have two houses.  We also have four sons who are in college.”


“Are they adopted, too?”


“No, two of them are my sons and Hank was named the guardian for the other two boys.”


“Ricky, why don’t you go see if Chad will change seats with you for a while so you can talk to the other boys.”


Chad had no problem with the idea.  Tony moved to the middle seat so the two eight years were beside each other and Ricky could talk to Andy and Cam more easily.  I moved to the window seat so Chad would be sitting between McKenzie and me and we could both talk to him.


When Chad was seated, I introduced him to McKenzie.  “Chad, this is The Attorney for the city of New Orleans, Mr. Dawkins.”


“We have some questions we’d like to ask you.”


Chad nodded, “I assumed that might be the case.”


I started, “What did you do to make your parents want you to be deprogrammed?”


Chad swallowed, “Gentlemen, I’m gay.  My father caught me and a friend having oral sex.  He went through the roof.  I’ve been under house arrest ever since.  I tried to run away, but my Dad caught me and threatened to shoot me.  He called my so called grandparents, whom I didn’t know I had, and made arrangements for them to meet me and get me straightened out.  He even had a policeman escort me to the plane in Denver so I couldn’t get away.  I have absolutely no money with me so what can I do?  I don’t even know what clothes they packed for me, if any.”


Chad wasn’t done, “I feel so denigrated that I almost feel like jumping out of the plane right here.  I’m scared, if you’ll pardon the expression, shitless about what‘s going to happen to me.”


I looked at McKenzie and he seemed to be as stunned as me.


I took a deep breath, “Chad, when we get to New Orleans I want you to act as if you’re Ricky and Randy's older brother.  We’re going to be met by Mr. Rodgers who will probably be dressed in jeans and cowboy boots.  I want you to hug him and pretend as if he’s your father.”


Chad questioned, “Won’t he think I’m weird?”


“No, he’ll realize there must be a reason if he sees you with some of the boys.  Make sure that you call him Dad Hank and he’ll catch on real fast, that it’s important.  That will give Mr. Dawkins and me an opportunity to scope-out who might be there to meet you.   I think we’re getting ready to land so why don’t you go change places with Tony so you can make sure that Ricky and Randy are securely buckled in.”


Tony excused himself and sat down between McKenzie and me.  Tony looked at McKenzie and stuck out his hand, “Hi, I’m Tony Tibideaux.  You look familiar.  I think I’ve seen you in the paper and on television before we got sold.”


McKenzie laughed, “Tony, it’s a pleasure to meet you.  I’m McKenzie Dawkins.  I have been on the news several times in New Orleans.  People don’t usually remember me.”


Tony turned to me, “Dad Steve, you’re not going to let anything bad happen to Chad are you?  He’s really scared.”


I hugged Tony, “Son, we’re not going to let anything bad happen to Chad.”


“Dad Steve, are we gonna get to go back to the ranch and live with you?”


“Tony, I honestly don’t know what’s going to happen.  I’m sure that Dad Hank will do everything within his power to do whatever is best for you and Andy.”


The steward announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re preparing to land at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.  Please remain seated until the fasten seatbelt sign is turned off.”


As soon as we arrived at the gate and the door was opened, a porter appeared with a wheel chair for Mrs. Delacroix.  She was the first person off the plane and she was accompanied by Cam.  Chad left with Randy and Ricky, and Mr. Dawkins and I had Tony and Andy with us as we made our way to the baggage claim area where I saw Hank standing talking to two men.  One of them was in a wheel chair.


Tony saw them, “There’s Dad Hank and he has Grampa with him.”


The boys took off and I watched as Chad did what I advised him to do and fortunately Hank responded as I thought he would.


McKenzie punched my shoulder, “I see your friend has done what you said he would do, because he has one of my assistants with him.  Look over there.  There are two gentlemen in some sort of uniforms that are holding signs that are for your young friend, Chad.  I’m going to have some of the cities’ finest detain them so I can question them.  Tell my assistant what I’m doing.”


I went to where Hank was standing and I heard Cam say, “Grampa Tibideaux, if you’re Tony and Andy’s Grampa, then you have to be Ricky, Randy and my Grampa, too, since we don’t have any grandfathers.  Dad, is Grampa going to come live with us, too?”


Hank introduced me to the others and we went to retrieve the suitcases with Chad.  I introduced Chad to Hank and explained that I suggested that Chad do what he did.


Hank grinned, “I rather figured as much.  I’ll get the details later.”


When we had retrieved our three bags and Chad’s small bag we went back to where the boys were talking to Grampa Tibideaux.  They had been joined by Mrs. Delacroix who was saying, “Jack, take good care of these boys.  I’ll see you back at the home.”


Mrs. Delacroix had just departed when Mr. Dawkins returned, “Si, we need to get to the office.  I have the feeling that we’re going to have a very busy evening.  Mr. Michaels, here’s my card.  Call me when you know where you’ll be staying.  Make sure you keep Chad near you as much as possible.  Dad Hank, I’ll talk to you later.”


For the first time that I could remember, Hank was completely at a loss for words, “Steve, who was that man?”


“That’s the city’s attorney, Mr. McKenzie Dawkins.  He’s Mr. Fairfield’s boss.  He was sitting beside me on the flight from Chicago.  Where are we going to be spending the night?  I’m sure the boys are starved.  Are we going to have room for all of us in a vehicle?


“Never fear, my doubting friend, I got the transportation covered, I rented a handicapped van so we could transport Monsieur Tibideaux wherever we go.  It is big enough for all of us including young Chad.  I’ll go retrieve it and meet you out front.  Chad, why don’t you help me take the luggage to the vehicle so people will really think that you’re our son.”


Chad giggled, “I wish I could be.”


I was watching when Hank pulled up to the loading zone.  Chad jumped out of the passenger side, opened the door and lowered the lift, so Mr. Tibideaux could get in.  The lift retracted and the guys and Chad got in the back.  I closed the door and climbed in next to Hank.


Hank asked, “Mr. Tibideaux, where would you suggest we go for dinner?”


Tony answered, “Grampa, can we go to Charlie’s Place?  That’s close to home and they have lots of things for kids to eat, there.”


Mr. Tibideaux answered, “That sounds fine to me.”


Mr. Tibideaux directed us to a small restaurant and he and the guys got out in the loading zone and went into the restaurant.  I rode with Hank as he parked the vehicle.  As we were walking to the restaurant, I explained to Hank what I knew about Chad so far.


He stopped, “Stevie, I don’t know how many more people we can take care of.  What did you do about Lamar and Jordan?”


When Steve and I walked into the restaurant, Chad announced, “I’ll wait here for you.  I’m not really hungry.”


I looked at Chad, “Look kid, if you’re going to be with us, you gotta do what we do.”


“But Mr. Michaels, I already told you I don’t have any money.”


Hank and I both started toward the young man, he jumped up, “Okay, I’m going to go eat with you.”


To be continued...


Editor's Notes:


Well, I certainly am impressed by this chapter.  Chad needs help, and I can't imagine the guys letting anything bad happen to him.  I will not go into my speculations as to what might happen.  I have been known to spoil a few surprises that E Walk had in store, so I won't make any wild guesses.


Let's just hope that we won't have to wait too long to find out.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher   

Posted: 11/20/09