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 20
Fireworks Galore


When we went downstairs, the young people were all in the kitchen and Ricky was trying to blow out the candles on his birthday cake.  Every time he thought he had them blown out, they would start blazing away again.  Ricky finally realized that they were going to keep relighting; he pulled the candles out and took them to the sink doused them. 


He looked at Cam and Chad, “Wait until you see what I do to your birthday cakes.”


After everyone had eaten their cake, and Chad and Cam cleaned up, everyone disappeared, since it was apparent that the young boys were getting tired.  Chad took the boys upstairs, and when he had the five postage stamps in bed, he advised Hank and me that our presence was requested in Cam’s room.


When we arrived in the room, Ricky was sitting on the bed in just his briefs.  He hugged us, “Dads, that was the funnest birthday I ever had.  We don’t need to have another party next week.”


Cam interjected, “Yep, we do, so we can have another swim party at the house on the hill.”


We hugged the five boys and went to our room.  We were getting ready to take a shower when we were interrupted by the arrival of Chad, “Mr. Stephens and Mr. Rodgers, you haven’t told me where I’m going to be sleeping.”


I hugged Chad, “You can sleep in Jacob’s bed in the guys' room.  I’ll show you where it is.”


Chad looked at me, “Mister Steve, when do I get to see this mysterious house on the hill?”


Hank answered before I could, “Chad, you may be seeing it sooner than you think.  Chad, where do your parents and brothers live?”


Chad looked a little upset, “Sir, the place where my family lives is not very far from here.  In fact, I rode the same school bus as Ramsey and Tad, if they didn’t drive.  Ramsey would sometimes drop me off after football practice.  That would upset my Dad big time to think that a black boy was dropping me off.  You‘re not going to send me home are you?”


Hank hugged Chad, “Absolutely not, son.  I suggest that you get some sleep.  You have to be as tired as the rest of us,”


We were awakened in the morning by some voices, “Hey, little pigs let us in.”


Hank yelled back, “Not by the hair on our chinny chin chins.”


We heard giggling and Cam responded, “Then we’re going to kick and kick and knock your door down.”


Hank looked at me and smiled, “Okay, you can come in; I can’t afford another new door.”


Cam, Ricky and Andy entered and Cam directed the other two boys to put the trays they were carrying with the coffee, on the night stands.  He looked at Hank, “Daddy, Kevin says that you and him need to go practice the songs for the service today.  You’re to meet the organist at nine o’clock.  Dads, are Randy, Ricky, Tony and Andy going to Uncle Justin's Memory Service?”


Hank was having a difficult time keeping a straight face, “No, we thought that they could stay here and baby-sit Chad and the horses since they didn’t know Justin.  Where are Tony and Randy?”


Ricky answered, “Kevin and Chad, kicked them out of the kitchen and told them to go help Uncle Chase and Uncle Freddie take care of the horses.”


The boys departed and Hank and I started to get ready and were just about dressed when Kevin arrived, “Dads, do you know Chad’s story?”


I nodded my head yes, “Kev, that’s one reason we’re going to have him stay here and take care of the four new guys while we go to the service.  Since we were driving, there is no way that anyone would know that he is here, unless he were to be seen by someone he knows.”


Hank added, “Kevin, that is just one of the problems we need to take care of.  We’re going to take them one at a time.  We need to sit down and have a family meeting and discuss everything that is happening.”


When we informed Chad that he was to take care of the boys, but they were not to leave the property, he had questions, “Mr. Michaels and Mr. Rodgers, why can’t we leave the property?”


Hank looked at him, “Chad, no one has any idea where you are.  If you were to be seen, your Father might find out.  Please, just remain here with the four boys.”


Chad had tears in his eyes, “Sir, am I going to have to remain out of sight forever?”


Hank shook his head, “No, Chad, we need to get through the Memorial Service this morning before we can take care of anything else.”


Chad apologized, “Mr. Rodgers, I’m sorry for acting like a little kid, but I want to be able to lead a normal life.  I’m really worried about what’s happening to my brothers and mother.  That mean person, who was my father, is not a nice person.”


I hugged Chad, “Chad, you’re not acting like a little kid.  It’s just that Hank and I need to take care of one thing at a time.  Please do as Hank asked.  You won’t be here with the boys too long, because I can assure you that Cam will be telling me to put the metal to pedal so he can get home to check on the guys.”


Everyone left for the church early, except Ellie, Cam and me.  Hank, Kevin and Ramsey were going to be singing, and Tim, Tad, Chase and Freddie were going to be the honorary pallbearers.


Ellie, Cam and I arrived at the church at nine fifty and the parking lot was packed.  I left Ellie and Cam out in front of the church and parked in the back forty.  When I walked in, Cam was waiting for me, “Dad, Uncle Wayne wants us to sit with him.”


When we got to where Wayne was, he explained, “I don’t want to sit by myself.  Why don’t you and Cam go first and Grandma Ellie and I will follow you before the empty casket comes down the aisle.”


I felt a little weird going down the aisle ahead of Wayne and Grandma Ellie, but that was what Wayne wanted.  When Hank saw us, he nodded to let me know that he approved of what was happening.


The service was very well done and when the ushers escorted us out, I realized how many people were there.  Not only people from the Agency, but neighbors and friends from the church, as well.


Hank had arranged for luncheon to follow the service and poor Wayne was bombarded by well wishers.  Cam had a sandwich and a salad and dessert, and he was ready to make his exit.  Chase came to his rescue, “Come on, Cam, we’ll take you home, so you can check on your new brothers.”


After the luncheon, Hank and I stopped by the Wentworth Academy to see if we could enroll the four boys.  That was easy.  Ricky and Andy were going to be in Cam’s class.  I had a problem with that, but the principal assured us that it would be easy to change classroom assignments if problems developed.


I looked at Hank as we were leaving the Academy, “Okay, what problem do we tackle next?”


Hank looked at me and said, I’ll make some calls, while you drive.”


I listened as I was driving.  Hank punched in a number, “Good afternoon Mr. Manning, this is Hank Rodgers.  Is Elaine Graham available? … Oh, I forget that she and her family were going to Disneyland this week.  We picked up another stray this past weekend when we were in New Orleans and brought him home with us. … No sir, his home is near to where my ranch is. … He’s seventeen and it’s a long story as to why we happened to get involved.  Is there any way you can have someone from your office come to the ranch to talk to the young man? … Oh, you’re the only person working.  I was hoping we could get something resolved as soon as possible, since we can’t let the young man’s father know that he is in the area. … We’re on our way to the ranch, now.  That’s where the young man is. … We’d appreciate it very much, sir.  Let me give the directions, sir.”


After Hank had given Mr. Manning the directions to the ranch, he closed the phone and laughed, “Nothing like getting the brass involved.   Mr. Manning is head of the regional Children’s Protection Agency.”


When we arrived at the ranch, “Tad, Kevin, Ramsey and Chad had the four new boys on horses with them and Cam was riding by himself.  When they saw us, Cam came riding to the fence and yelled, “Dads, a Mr. Lucas called and said he’ll be here at seven o’clock tonight to talk about the changes that would need to be made to make it so Grandpa T. could come live with us.”


We went to the fence and Hank looked at Chad, “Chad, a Mr. Manning will be arriving shortly and he will want to talk to you.”


Hank and I went to change clothes so we would be ready to meet with Mr. Manning when he arrived.  We were sitting in the living room when Wayne sat down with us.  “Hank, I’m going to take you up on your offer to move to the house on the hill.  I scattered Justin's ashes on the site when I got home this afternoon, and I know it won’t work for me to live here all the time.  Chase and Freddie will be fine now that they have Jordan to help them.”


Our conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Mr. Manning.  Hank went to meet him at the door and brought him into the room.  “Mr. Manning, I’d like to introduce you to my very good friends, Steve Michaels and Wayne Young.”


Wayne stood and shook Mr. Manning’s hand,  “Howie, thank you for attending the service for Justin today.”


Mr. Manning hugged Wayne, “Believe me, Wayne, I know how hard it is to have a loved-one die.  You and Justin and the small group from church helped me through some rough times after my wife died.  I hope we will be able to help you as well.”


Mr. Manning shook my hand, “The name’s Howie.  I understand that you found another throw away boy.  You need to stop this or you and Hank will be broke.  Could I please talk to the young man?”


Cam appeared on the scene, “Hi sir, I’m Cam Rodgers, Chad will be here in a minute.  He’s washing his hands, since we had to take care of the horses.   You aren’t going to take Chad away, are you?  We need him to be our big brother since all of the others will be leaving for college, soon.”


Mr. Manning was laughing, “Cam, for a young person you certainly are articulate.  You sound like a lawyer.  I’m not here to take anyone away.  I would just like to talk to your new big brother.”


When Chad entered the room, Cam went to him, “It’s okay, Chad, Mr. Manning isn’t going to take you away.  He just wants to talk to you.  Dads, I’ll keep the guys from interrupting.”


Hank directed Mr. Manning and Chad to the den.  It wasn’t long before Mr. Manning returned, “Hank, call the county sheriff and tell him to meet us here.  We need to go investigate the Martin house.  If it’s even half as bad as Chad says, we need to get the other boys out of there.”


Hank made a call and before long, there were two sheriff’s cars in front of the house.  Needless to say, that caught the young guys’ attention and they came into the house.  Cam started on Mr. Manning, “Sir, you said you weren’t going to take Chad away?  What’s happening?”


Mr. Manning was trying to decide how to respond.  Hank answered, “Cameron, the officers aren’t here to take Chad away.  They’re here to make sure that nothing happens to Chad, when we go to get his things from his old house.  Chad will be fine. We won’t let anything bad happen to him.”


Chad was riding with Hank and me as he directed us to the farm where his parents lived.  It was a small spread and Chad informed us that his father had another job and that the farm was only a hobby, more or less.  His father never did anything around the farm.  He left the work to him and his brothers.  “That was the primary reason he disliked my playing football.  It took me away from the farm and he had to do some work, plus I wasn’t there to be his whipping boy.”


When we arrived at the Martin house, Mr. Manning approached our car, “Chad, I think it would be best for you to remain out of sight for the time being.  One of us will come and get you when the time is right.”


When the sheriff and his deputy, Mr. Manning, Hank and I approached the house, a man in his briefs opened the door and shouted, “What the hell are you doing on my property.  I‘m busy making sure my dogs are okay.”


Mr. Manning pulled out his credentials, “I assume that you’re Mr. Martin, since you said you are the owner of this property.  I’m with the State Children’s Protection Agency and we have reports of child abuse at this residence.  We’d like to speak with a Mr. Chad Martin.”


Mr. Martin responded immediately, “That ingrate turned queer on me.  I caught him kissing another guy.  I sent him to be reprogrammed, but he somehow escaped.”


Mr. Manning persisted, “Mr. Martin, could we please talk to your other three sons, and your wife?”


Mr. Martin sputtered, “How the fuck did you know I had three other sons, and what the hell do you need to talk to them for?”


I had to restrain Hank because he was getting angry.  Fortunately Mr. Manning must have faced situations like this many times before. “Mr. Martin, either you comply with my request, or the sheriff will be escorting you to the county jail.  We would like to speak to your wife and other three sons, and I mean now!”


Mr. Manning left no doubt, as he charged into the house with the two law officers.  Hank looked at me and whispered, “I guess this is what it takes to be the regional head of the Children’s Protection Agency.”


Mr. Martin seemed confused, but yelled, “Bitch, bring the three curs in here, so we can get rid of the intruders, and we can get back to taking care of my needs.”


A lady who obviously had been beaten appeared in a see through negligee that left nothing to the imagination, and she was followed by three boys who were dressed only in their briefs except for dog  collars around their necks.  They bowed when they saw Mr. Martin and ignored the rest of us.”


Mr. Manning looked at me, “Steve, would you please go get our other person.  He may be the person who can get to the bottom of this mess faster than any of us.”


I went to the car and explained to Chad what was happening.  He clenched his fists, “This is exactly what I was afraid of.  The man has totally lost it.”


When we went into the house and when he saw Damon, Gaylon and Terry he yelled, “Guys, go get some clothes on.  Mother, you need to get some clothes on.  Has the asshole been beating you?”


Damon, who was fifteen, responded, “Chad, the bastard has locked us out of our bedrooms since he heard that you hadn’t been to the reprogramming center and it was closed.  He’s been a raving maniac. He even made us sleep in his bedroom while he did things to Mother.  He said he was going to show us what a real man did.”


Mr. Manning asked, “Damon, did he ever do anything to the three of you?”


Damon took a deep breath, “Yes, sir. Especially with me.  He said he was training Gaylon and Terry.”


Mr. Manning turned to the sheriff, “Sheriff Corl, arrest this man for every charge under the sun.  Mr. Rodgers, since you are a lawyer, I think you should have this man in court at the earliest possible date.  He’s a menace to society.  Chad, go get a hatchet or something so we can get the things that belong to you guys and your Mother and get you out of this hell hole.”


The Sheriff and his deputy left with Mr. Martin, and Chad asked, “Sirs, what’s going to become of the animals when we leave.”


Mr. Manning took a deep breath, “Chad, let’s get your brothers and Mother out of here, first.  You can always come back and take care of the animals after we have your brothers and mother in a safe place away from your father‘s control.”


Chad went and got a sledgehammer, and he and I opened the doors to the three rooms that were locked.  Chad’s three brothers and his mother dressed and packed their belongings while Chad packed the few things he had.  Chad had a computer in his room.  Either he or I must have touched it because a picture came onto the screen. It was a picture of two men having sex.


Chad turned to me and frowned, “Mr. Michaels, I’ve never been to a site like that.”


When we returned downstairs, Hank announced, “They’re expecting us at the ranch for dinner.”


Chad asked, “All of us?”


Hank grinned, “Yep, all of you people, even Mr. Manning.   Cam is taking care of the arrangements.”


Terry asked, “Who is Cam?”


Chad giggled, “He’s the boss at Mr. Rodger’s ranch.  What he says pretty much goes.  You’re going to love him and his gazillion brothers and uncles and his horses.”


When we pulled into the ranch, Cam and the boys were waiting.  Cam approached the cars.  He watched as everyone exited the cars, he looked at everyone, “I know who Mr. Manning and Chad are, but who are the rest of these people?”


Chad grabbed Cam, “Look, spoiled brat, I brought my Mother and my three brothers with me.  Is that okay with you?”


Cam looked at the newcomers, “Welcome to our home.  Dads, where is everyone going to sleep? These people can’t all fit in my bed.”


Hank nodded, “Cam, we’ll take care of that, after we’ve had dinner.


Chad had been talking to Tad during dinner, “Mr. Rodgers and Mr. Stevens, we’re going to go take care of the animals at the farm.”


Hank looked up, “Who is we?”


Chad laughed, “We is Damon, Tad, Ramsey and me.  We promise we won’t let anything happen to Tad, or Ramsey would have our heads.  We’ll be back in an hour.”


Mr. Manning spoke, “I’ll need to talk to Damon when he returns.  In the meantime, I’ll talk to Mrs. Martin, Gaylon and Terry.  Mr. Rodgers, I would like you to sit-in on the meetings with me, since you’re a lawyer.”


The other boys were taking the dishes to the kitchen as Gaylon was rinsing them and Cam was putting them in the dishwasher.  Terry came to me and asked, “Mr. Michaels, what’s going to happen to us?  We aren’t going to ever live with our father again, are we?  He treated us like animals after Chad disappeared.”


I put my arm around him, “Terry, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I promise you, that we’ll do everything we can to keep that man away from you.”


Our conversation was interrupted by the doorbell, Kevin went to answer and returned with a Mr. Lucas.  “Dad, Mr. Lucas is here to talk about making the houses handicapped accessible.”


I stood and extended my hand, “I’m Steve Michaels, Mr. Rodgers is busy at the moment.”


The gentleman stuck out his hand. “I’m Rod Lucas.  Hank called me and asked me to look to see how hard it would be to make this house and the house on the hill handicapped accessible.”


“I’ll show you around and we can talk with Hank after you looked at the situation.”


Mr. Lucas nodded, “For starters, we would need to build a ramp from the sidewalk to the front porch.”


He pulled out a tape measure and started to measure the doorways.  “There should be no problem with the doors.  Is there a bathroom on the first floor?”


I showed it to him and he nodded.  “We would need to put railings beside the commode, and I would suggest that you put in a new commode that is higher so the person could maneuver onto it easier.”


I was out of my area of expertise, “Rod, we want to go first class, so do what you need to do to make it so.”


We went to the stairs and Rod measured, “Steve, is the person, in question, able to stand at all?”


“Yes, but for only short distances.”


“Good, that makes this an easier fix.  An elevator at two houses would get rather costly and would require some major remodeling.  Assuming that the person in question isn’t a huge person, I suggest we put a ski lift like arrangement to help the person to get to the second floor.  The person could have a motorized wheelchair on the first floor and a regular wheel chair on the second floor.  Which bedroom will the person be using?”


I made a command decision and showed him the room that Kevin and Chad had slept in.  The doors were fine and he had some changes in the bathroom so that there would be a seat in the shower with a handheld shower nozzle.  We walked into the bedroom and Kevin was packing an overnight bag.


Kevin looked at us, “Dad, I’m going to spend the night at the house on the hill, and Chad and his brothers can sleep in here.  Mrs. Martin can sleep in Tim and Tad’s room.  They’re going to sleep in the bunk house with Chase and Freddie.”


“Good, you can take Mr. Lucas to the house on the hill and he can look to see what needs to be done to make the house handicapped accessible.  Rod, why don’t you follow Kevin?   You can call us when you get the cost estimates assembled.  I can almost guarantee that we are going to be making the renovations as soon as possible.”


Rod looked confused, “This person must be very important to you.”


I chuckled, “Rod, put it like this, the gentleman involved is the Grandfather of two of the young men downstairs.  He wants to be able to visit them.”


Rod shook his head, “You people sure do have an interesting household.”


As we were going down the stairs, Rod commented, “I’ll have the cost figures for you by Thursday.”


As we were entering the living room, Ellie giggled, “Well, as I live and breath, I believe it must be Roddy Lucas.”


Rod grinned, “So, this is where you disappeared to?  Do these people realize that you’re on the FBI’s ten most wanted people list?  Now I’m absolutely sure these people are running a nut house.”


Rod went and hugged Ellie, “Ellie, you’re really looking great.”


“Thanks, Rod, it’s being around all the young people that does it.”


Hank and Mr. Manning were coming out of the den with Terry.  When Hank saw Rod, “Rod, I trust that Steve was able to explain what we want done.”


“Yes, Steve can tell you what my proposals were.  Kevin and I are on our way to the house on the hill to see what needs to be done there.  I’ll have the cost proposals for you by Thursday.”


Hank shook his head no, “Rod, just plan on doing the remodeling and  modifications as soon as possible.  I trust you to not try to rob us.”


Mr. Lucas departed with Kevin. 


As Mr. Manning was leaving, he looked at Hank, “Hank, please take care of the necessary paperwork to keep Mr. Martin away from Mrs. Martin and the four boys.  Under no circumstances should they go to the farm again.”


Chad heard what Mr. Manning said, “But, sir, we can’t just let the animals starve.”


Hank spoke in a stern voice, “Chad, you heard what Mr. Manning said.  We’ll get Chase, Freddie and Jordan to go the farm and you guys can help them around here.  You can go with them in the morning to show them what needs to be done, but either Mr. Michaels or I will go with you to make sure that nothing happens.  I can’t fathom Mr. Martin being able to post bail before noon tomorrow.  I’ll have the sheriff’s office advise us of what’s happening when and if Mr. Martin is released.”


I looked at the boys, “It’s time for you young people to get your little backsides up those stairs and get ready for bed.   Chad, Kevin is going to spend the night at the house on the hill, so you and your brothers are going to sleep in Kevin and Jacob’s room.  Put your Mother‘s things in Tim and Tad’s room.”


Tim came into the room with Denise, “Dads, don’t forget we need to be at the airport by noon tomorrow.  Mrs. Martin, Tad’s and my things are packed and are sitting in the hallway except for what we're going to be wearing tomorrow and we put them in the Dads' room.    We’re going to the house on the hill to meet with Chris and Michelle.  Tad is at the Farway’s house.   See you in the morning.”


The Martin boys took their belongings to Kevin and Jacob’s room, and Chad returned to get his Mother’s things.  “Mr. Michaels and Mr. Rodgers, the guys want to know if they can watch television in your room after their showers.”


Hank looked at the clock, “Tell the six youngest they need to be in bed by nine and we’ll come and tuck them in.”


All of a sudden, I remembered, “Chad, tell Tony and Andy they need to call their Grandpa.”


Chad saluted, “Will do, boss.”


That was only the start of the night.


To be continued... 


Editor's Notes:  That was quite a full chapter. There were lots of things happening.  I certainly hope everything goes smoothly.  There does seem to be a lot left to take care of, but things are moving right along.  At least they got the younger boys and their and Chad's mother out of that awful man's clutches.


I am sure ready for the next chapter! 


Darryl AKA The Radio rancher



Posted: 01/08/10