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 23

The Makeover


My cell phone started to chime with the song that meant Hank was calling. I pulled over to the side of the road, “Hi Hank, what’s up?”


“Steve, it’s not what's up. It’s what’s down.  Have you heard the latest news bulletins?”


“I heard the news bulletin about shots being fired at the capitol building, if that’s what you’re referring to.”


I heard Hank take a deep breath, “That’s what I was referring to.  I just had a call from the police and the assailant was identified as our wonderful friend Mr. Clarence  Martin.  Where are you now?”


“I’m on my way to the ranch.” 


“Go get Chad and Damon and take them out of school until Mr. Martin is aprehended.  It seems he was able to get away.   There is an all points bulletin out for him. It sounds as if he has totally flipped.  He might decide to go to Chad’s and Damon’s school again, since that is where they were going before.   I’m not so worried about Gaylon and Terry since their school is in a different part of the city.  Why don’t you call Wayne and give him a heads up?”


I called Wayne and told him what was happening and that he was to make sure that the boys were not seen by anyone.  “Turn on the news and keep track of what’s happening.  Tell Chris that I’m going to go get Chad and Damon.”


As I was approaching Cody High, I saw five police cruisers around an automobile.  I turned on the radio and the announcer was saying,  “Here’s the latest on the shooting at the state capitol.  The gunman has been identified as a Mr. Clarence Martin.  He had been relived of his job earlier in the morning.  He was firing shots indiscriminately and unfortunately two innocent bystanders have died and seven other persons were taken away in ambulances.  As he escaped, he was screaming, I’m going to make Rodgers and Michaels pay for what they’ve done to me.”


Talk about a downer.  Now I was concerned for our five boys’ safety.


I was pulling into a visitors parking space at the high when the announcer interrupted again, “Here is the latest on the gunman, Clarence Martin.  It seems his car hit a street light and he was pronounced dead upon his arrival at the Emergency Room of General Hospital.  The name of the other victims have not been released.  Stay tuned.  We will be providing updates as details are released.


I decided to go ahead and take Chad and Damon out of school.  I didn’t want them to be hounded by reporters.  I went to the office, “I’d like to get Chad and Damon Martin released.  Their father was involved with the shooting at Capitol.” 


The principal came to where I was, “Mr. Michaels, we’ve already had calls from reporters asking if the boys were here.  They are trying to locate the rest of the family.”


“That’s what I was afraid of.  The rest of the family is safe.”


Chad and Damon were confused when they arrived in the office.  Chad asked, “Mr. Michaels, what’s wrong?” 


“I’ll explain once we get started.  When I turned on  the ignition, the radio came on and the announcer was saying, “ Here’s the latest on the shooting at the Capitol Building.  As reported earlier, Mr. Clarence Martin was killed when his car ran into a street light.  Reporters have found out that his two oldest sons were at Cody High School when the incident occurred.  The whereabouts of his two youngest sons and his wife are still not known.”


“I was just handed a news bulletin.  A third victim has died from the fatal shooting.”


Damon who was sitting in the back hit the door with his fist, “Damn that man, he wasn’t satisfied with ruining our lives, but he’s ruined the lives of three other families.  Mr. Michaels, what’s going to become of us now?  We’ll never be able to face our friends.  In fact, we probably won’t have any friends when they find out what that asshole has done.”


I wanted to turn around, “Damon, I think you might be surprised as to how your friends will react.”


Our conversation was interrupted by the cell ringing, I handed the phone to Chad, “That’s Mr. Rodgers.”


“This is Chad, sir. … Mr. Michaels has us in his vehicle and yes we just heard what the bastard did. … Let me check.  Mr. Rodgers want to know where we’re going?”


“Tell him that I’m on my way to the Academy to pick up the five youngest boys.”


“We’re on the way to pick up Cam and the other guys. … Okay, I’ll tell him.  See you there.”


Chad closed the phone, “Mr. Rodgers said that you were to take all of us to the house on the hill and to stay there until he got there.”


The five guys were coming out of the building when I pulled up.  When Cam got into the car, he asked, “What happened to you two.  Did you get kicked out of school already?”


Damon giggled, “Cam, we didn’t get expelled.  Your Dads don’t want us to have any fun.  We’re to make sure that five guys  behave yourselves.”


“Yeah, right.  Dad, why are we going this way?  This isn’t the way to ranch.”


Chad turned around, “Your Daddy said we were to go to the house on the hill and go swimming until he got there.”


When we pulled into the house, Wayne was arriving with the other two boys.  Cam punched the code so the boys could get in.


Wayne looked at me, “Steve, what’s going to happen now?”


“Wayne, I have no idea what’s going to happen.  Chad and Damon know what happened.  Do the two youngest know?”


“I don’t think so.  I deliberately turned off the radio before I picked them up.”


“Chad and Damon didn’t say anything to Cam and the others about what was happening.  It doesn’t sound good.”


Wayne sighed, “Steve, since you’re here.  I’m going back to the office.  I’ll be back about 5:30.  Let me know if you need me to do anything before then.”


The nine guys were sitting in the kitchen having a glass of juice and some grapes and pretzels.  Cam looked at me when I walked in, “Dad, can we go swimming without clothes?”


“I guess so.”


Kevin arrived, “Dad Hank asked me to come and be the life guard to make sure you guys don’t drown.  Dad, Grandma Ellie will be bringing dinner a little later.  The ranch is a zoo.  There are reporters all over the place.   Chad, Dad Hank said that Chase, Freddie and Jordan were going to take care of the animals at your Dad’s farm since there are reporters there as well.”


Cam picked up on what Kevin was saying, “Kevin, why are there reporters everywhere?”


I got Kevin’s attention and shook my head. “There was an accident and Mr. Martin died.”


“But why are the reporters at the ranch?”


I had to think quick, “I guess they think that Chad and his brothers are still staying there.”


The guys went to the pool area, and Kevin whispered, “Dad, I assumed that the boys knew what was happening.  It’s all over the radio and television.”


I hugged Kevin, “Don’t worry son, it was only a matter of time until they would find out.  Chad and Damon know the story, but the seven youngest don’t know the gory details.”


A naked Cam appeared, “Come on, Kevin, we want to go swimming.”


It wasn’t long before Cynthia arrived with Linda Martin. Linda looked like an entirely different person.  Linda looked at me,  “Are the boys safe?”


“Yep, there are ten of them in the pool having a nude swim party.  Chad and Damon know the story and the others know that Mr. Martin is dead.  Hank, told us to wait here since there are reporters at the ranch and your farm.  Grandma Ellie is going to be bringing dinner.”


Cynthia laughed, “Steve, it sounds as if you and Hank have everything under control.  Since you are going to have your hands full tomorrow, Tell Kevin that I’ll take him and Cyndi to the airport.  Tell him I’ll talk to him tonight.  Steve, this reminds me of when you took over the agency and got rid of the bitch, Janet.  Why don’t you help Linda bring her things in from the car.  I need to go home and start dinner.  Here’s Hank’s card.  We used it pretty hard.”


I hugged Cynthia as she was leaving.  Linda had a puzzled look, “I take it you know Cynthia rather well?”


“Yes, she was my secretary for over 20 years.  Her daughter and Kevin are going to be married in June.”


Linda took her things to her room. 


I went to the pool area and the five youngest guys were coming out of the shower with their clothes on, except for their shoes and socks.  I watched as Cam went to put the towels in the washer. “Dad, can I show the guys the workout area?”


“Yes, but don’t pick up anything too heavy.”


Ellie arrived as I was going into the house, “Steve, could you please bring the things from my car?”


Chad heard her asking and he and Damon unloaded the car and it looked as though Grandma Ellie was planning to feed any army.  She had something in a roaster oven and two containers of something.  Chad looked at Ellie, “Grandma Ellie, how many people will be eating here, so we can set the table?”


Ellie thought for a minute, “I think there will be sixteen.”


When the Martin boys saw their mother, they stood and looked at her as if they weren’t believing what they were seeing,   Terry asked, “Mommy, is that really you?”


Linda grinned, “Yes, Terrence, it’s really me.”


Cam commented, “Mrs. Martin, you are really very pretty.”


Chris and Wayne arrived and I was beginning to get concerned that something had happened to Hank.  He arrived just before six and looked really tired..  Cam noticed, “Daddy, you look very tired.”


Hank picked Cam up and hugged him, “Son, I am very tired.  I need something to eat.”


Ellie told us to sit down.  Kevin and Chris and Chad came in carrying big bowls of home made beef stew.  Damon was carrying two large baskets of warm rolls and Kevin and Chris brought in two large bowls of coleslaw.  Ellie announced, “There’s more where this came from.”


I suddenly realized that Wayne was seated between Gaylon and Terry.  He obviously was becoming attached to the two boys.  Kevin and Chris were on either side of Damon and Chad. Hank and I were in the middle of our five boys.”


Ellie must have been delighted to see the people eating so well.  Kevin and Chad took two empty bowls and returned with two more steaming bowls of stew.  Terry looked at Grandma Ellie, “Everything is so good.  Is it really okay for us to take some more?”


Ellie nodded, “Eat as much as you want.  Just don’t make yourself sick.  There are brownies for a snack later.”


When everyone had their fill, the guys acted like waiters and the food and eating utensils disappeared.  Chris and Kevin knew what to do, so it was just the adults at the table.  Hank looked around, “Mrs. Martin, you and I need to talk.  Steve, you need to take the five young boys to the ranch.  Please don’t let them talk to the reporters, nor should you.  No one knows the whereabouts of the Martins and it is best that it stay that way.”


“Wayne, we’re going to continue to need your help with this.  Why don’t you sit in on my meeting with Mrs. Martin?  Ellie, thanks for taking care of the meal.”


Ellie nodded, “Hank, it was my pleasure.  Linda, I need to tell you that had I met you on the street, I would not have recognized you.”


Linda laughed, “It’s funny what a little make-up can do.  Ellie, I feel like a different person.  I have the feeling that things will turn out for the first time in a long time in spite of what that man did.  I’m  terribly sorry for the victims who lost their lives as a result of what he did.”


The conversations were interrupted by the arrival of Cam, “Dads, we need to go home so we can do our homework.  All of us except Kevin and Chris have homework.  Chris is going to go visit Michelle and Kevin is going to go talk to Cyndi before he goes to the ranch to pack his things.”


I stood, “I’m taking you guys to the ranch.  Your Daddy needs to talk to Mrs. Martin for a few minutes before he comes home.  You guys need to load the things that Grandma Ellie brought.”


Cam shook his head no, “Kevin, Chad and Chris already did that.  The kitchen is ready for inspection.”


Tony and Randy rode back to the ranch with Ellie and the three first graders were in the van with me.  When we arrived at the ranch, there was a television van sitting across the road from the house.  As we were going into the house, a person approached us,  “Are any of you the Martin boys?”


Cam looked at the lady, “Ma’am, I’m Cameron Rodgers and I live here.  These are my brothers, Ricky and Randy Michaels, and those  are Tony and Andy Tibideaux and we all live here.”


The reporter asked,  “Where are the Martin boys and their Mother?”


I held my breath.  Hank would have been proud of his son, “Ma’am I’ve lived here all my life and know several families who have the last name of Martin.  I can tell you that there is no one by the name of Martin here at the ranch.”


“Who’s the lady?”  The reporter was obviously hoping to trick Cam into revealing something.


Cam put his hand on his hips, “Look, lady, it is really none of your business, but that’s Grandma Ellie.  She makes sure that we have lots to eat.”


The reporter was persistent and put the microphone in front of me, “Who are you?”


Cam grabbed the microphone, “If you must know, he’s Randy and Ricky’s Dad, Mr. Michaels.  He and his two other sons live here with Randy and Ricky.  Kev and Jacob only live here when they’re home from college.  Now, if you will excuse us, we have homework to do.”


The reporter asked one last question, “Why are you so late getting home?”


Cam wheeled around, “We had dinner with some people from Mr. Michael’s office, if you must know.”


We left the reporter standing there and went into the house.  I looked at the guys, “You’ve already had a shower.  Why don’t you go do your homework in our bedroom, and then come get your brownies before you brush your teeth.


I had the boys in bed when Hank finally arrived.  I told Hank about our encounter with the reporter.  “Cowboy, you would have been so proud of your young son.  He skirted the issue of where the Martins are very nicely.  What do we need to do next?”


“Steve, your job is to take care of our five boys.  Wayne is going to make sure that nothing happens to Gaylon and Terry.  Tomorrow, we’re going to have a press conference with only Mrs. Martin and me present.  I have no idea what to expect, but I’ll try my hardest from having the four boys suffer because of what their father, and I use the term loosely, did.  Let’s go to bed, I’m physically and emotionally exhausted.


To be continued...


Editor's Notes: it's about time that something happened to that monster, Martin. I honestly don't think that the boys will miss him any. He was definitely not a nice person.


I have the feeling that things will now be a lot better for the boys and their mother. 


I sure hope the next chapter comes along pretty soon.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher   


Posted: 01/29/10