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 27  

Call Me Scar Face


On Saturday morning, I was awakened by a six year old boy getting in bed with me.  “Dad, have you heard anything about Jacob?”


“Cam, I haven’t heard anything since last night, so I guess no news is good news.  If something bad was happening, Gisele or the doctors would have called me.”


Cam rolled against me, “Dad, I’m worried about Jacob.  What if he can’t play basketball, anymore?”


“Cam, Jacob is a good student.  He’ll be able to get a job other than playing basketball.  I think maybe Jacob is tired of playing basketball.  Playing basketball is hard work, especially when you’re going to college. Let’s get a couple more minutes of sleep before the other monsters wake up.”


Cam snuggled against me and I was almost asleep when someone was touching me, “Daddy, where is Cam?  He’s not in bed.”


I pulled Ricky into the bed and pointed to the other side of me where Cam looked as if he was asleep.  I whispered, “Ricky, Cam is getting his beauty sleep so he doesn’t scare the horses.”


Cam sat up, “Come on Ricky, let’s go report Dad to the sheriff for being so mean to me.”


We were eating breakfast when the phone rang, Cam went to answer, “Cam Rodgers speaking. … Oh hi Jake.  I was worried about you.  Are you still in the hospital? … So you’re going to get out after the doctor sees you. … Okay, here’s Dad.”


“Hi Jake, I gather from what Cam said, you’re going to be getting out, shortly.  Do you have your insurance card with you?”


“Dad, this is covered by Athletic Department’s insurance.  Also the opposing school has come forward and offered to pay.”


“Jake, how badly were you injured?”


“Dad, I’m rather black and blue and hurt in some funny places.  I have a fractured ulna in my right arm, so I’ll be in a cast for at least a month.  I had to have five stitches, so you can call me Scar Face from now on.  The doctors said that because of where the wound was and the size of the opening that it would be almost impossible to not have some kind of scar.   Other than that, the doctors could not find anything else wrong, and believe me, I think they did every test in their repertoire.”


“Dad, there is a problem though.  The officials want me to file criminal charges against the young man who tackled me.  I don’t want to.  He came to see me last night and I can understand his frustration.  He, like me, has been a four year starter.  He filed out of a game last night for the first time in his college career.   Not only that, the opposing team needed to win in order to have a chance to get into the NCAA championships.  Bart was totally frustrated because everything they had worked so hard for was slipping away.”


“Jacob, you sound as if you want us to do something.  What can we do without being there?”


“Dad, not only has his school withdrawn his scholarship, they’re threatening to expel Bart, which would mean that he wouldn’t be able to graduate.  The bad part is, he is a dean’s list student.  I know for a fact that his family is not very well off, and he has struggled all his life to get ahead.  On top of that, the NCAA is involved.”


“Jake, call Dad Rodgers on his cell phone and talk to him.  He’s in New Orleans and he probably can be of more assistance than I can, in this situation, and give you better advice than I could.”


After the dishes were done, I asked Ellie to make a list of supplies we would be needing, so I could take the guys to the store.  She had a list started and the first thing on it was apples and more apples.


We were in the grocery store when my cell phone rang.  I gave the shopping list to Tony and Randy and went outside the store to talk, “This is Steve Michaels.”


“Steve, it’s Hank.  I’m flying to North Carolina to see firsthand what’s happening.  I have a flight out of here at noon.  I’ll call you this evening.”


When I went into the store, the boys were arguing, Randy was saying, “Cam, we don’t need all these kinds of cereals.  We can all eat the same kind.  Why don’t we buy the cheapest kinds?”


Cam walked away. “Because I don’t like the cheapest kinds, that’s why.”


The cart was filled when Cam had everything that he thought we needed, and Tony was making sure that we had everything on Ellie’s list.  As we were walking toward the checkout stand, we passed the bakery.  Cam stopped, “Dad, can we get some doughnuts and rolls for snacks for tonight and for breakfast in the morning?”


I threw up my hands, “I guess so.  I’ll probably have to stay here and work to pay for all the food you guys bought.  It’s a long walk home.  Go ahead and get two dozen.”


Ricky looked at me, “Daddy, do you want us to put some of the things back?  They won’t really keep you here will they?  How much is two dozen?”


“No, I don’t want you to put anything back, and no, they won’t keep me here.  I’ll just leave Cam here to work until the bill is paid.  Two dozen is twenty four.  Since there are six of us, we each get to pick out four.  Ricky we’ll start with you.  The rest of you can be making up your minds what kind you want so we don’t spend all day here.”


Even with that warning, it still took almost twenty minutes for the boxes to be filled.  I grabbed two cartons of ice cream as we were passing the ice cream freezer.”


When we arrived at the house, Wayne was there with Terry and his friend Alan.  Terry came up to me, “Alan wanted to come see the horses.  Len and Cody came along to see if David and Louie were here.”


I looked and sure enough there were six guys and two gals playing basketball.  When Danny saw me, he came running up to me, “Uncle Steve, how’s Jacob.  We were watching the game last night and it was pretty scary when that guy tackled him.”


“Danny, Jacob called this morning and said he was going to be released from the hospital this morning.  He has a fractured bone in his arm and had to have five stitches in his head.  He said we would probably be calling him Scar Face from now on.  Your Uncle Hank is going to fly to North Carolina and make sure he’s okay.”


I looked at Gaylen, “Len, did you have any people from the newspaper, television or radio stations try to talk to you like they did Terry?”


“Yes sir, I was called to the office yesterday afternoon, and when I was about to go in, I saw this truck that said it was from KDEN so I didn’t go into the office.  Instead I hid in a closet until it was time to go home.  Since the television people didn’t know me, they kept trying to find me and were asking people if they knew me.  It was a good thing that not many people know who I am because I went home with Cody.  Cody and I spent the afternoon together before we went to the dance.”


I chuckled, “So you’re the dancing fool, are you?”


Len laughed, “Mr. Steve, I must have looked like a fool.  I think I have two left feet.”


Cody interrupted, “Don’t believe Len, Mr. Michaels.  The girls wouldn’t stay away from him once they found out what a good dancer he is.”


Cam and the guys had unloaded the groceries and returned, “Dad, Alan wants to know if we can go riding.”


Wayne answered, “Come on, let’s show these city slickers what real men do.”


We went to the stable, Lionel, Louie, David and Danny had their own horses. Cam, of course, had his horse.  Danny and Lionel had Ricky and Randy on with them and Alan was riding with Terry.  Everyone else had their own horses.  Wayne and I decided not to ride.  I looked at Cam, “No showing off, today, you understand me, Cameron Rodgers.”


Cameron turned to Terry, “What did my Dad say, Terry?  Did he tell me I was to show off.”


Chase and Freddie joined us, “Hi guys, where’s Jordan?”


Chase answered, “He and Lamar went to town to pick up some supplies we need.  They’re going to eat lunch with Jordan’s parents.  We’re taking tomorrow off.”


Ellie came out on the deck, “Chase and Freddie, start the grill, please.  I’m sure our horsemen will be starving by the time they get done riding and taking care of their horses.  Steve, invite the D and D and L and L boys to stay for lunch.  I’ll call their parents and advise them of what’s happening.”


I looked at Wayne, “Wayne, something’s bothering you.  Do you want to talk about it?”


“Steve, it’s the strangest thing.  Last night, I had a dream.  In it, Justin was talking to me.  He was saying, ‘Wayne, I’m in the past.  It’s time to move on.  It’s obvious that you very much want to love the four boys and have them love you.  It would be okay for you to love them and perhaps eventually you and their Mother might fall in love.”


I shrugged my shoulders, “Wayne, would it be so bad to fall in love with a woman?”


“Steve, I've been gay since I was a teenager.  You just can’t switch sides of the fence on a whim.”


I started to laugh, “Wayne, you’re talking to the wrong person.  I was straight until we meet Hank that fateful day over six years ago.  Don’t tell me you can’t switch sides of the fence.  It may not be on a whim, but it can happen.  I know for a fact that Terry already thinks of you as his Dad.  He slipped yesterday, but caught himself.  You need to sit down with the four boys, and probably Linda as well, and explain that it is okay if they want to call you Dad.   Let’s go see what we can do to help Ellie.”


When we entered the kitchen, Ellie handed us a huge platter of hamburgers and hot dogs.  She grinned, “I figured that with thirteen young men and us five older people we would need lots of food.  I figured we would use paper plates and plastic eating utensils to eat, today, since the dishes wouldn’t all fit in the dishwasher.”


Today it was Andy who came to get the apples for the horse’s treats.  He announced, “We’ll be here as soon as the horses have their treats.”


When the young men came into the house, Cam advised them, “Take your shoes off.  Danny, you old men wash your hands in the downstairs bathroom.  The rest of us will go upstairs and mess up Dad’s bathroom.”


When I looked at the food that was prepared, I was sure that there was no way that it could possibly be all eaten.  Cam kept chiding everyone to eat up and they did.  Finally Alan, said, “Cam, this is more food than I usually have to eat in two or three days.  I’m stuffed.  If I eat anymore, I’ll explode.”


That was all Cam needed, “Give Alan another hotdog so he’ll explode.  I haven’t ever seen anyone explode before.  Alan, make sure you explode outside.  We don’t want to have to clean you up.”


We had finished eating and the young guys were starting to take the things to kitchen when the phone rang.  We could hear Cam talking, but couldn’t hear what he was saying.  When he came into the dining room, he pointed to Danny and David, “That was Uncle Dusty.  He says you’re to get your butts home, so you can baby-sit your brothers and sisters.  I’m sure you arranged this so we little guys would have to do the hard work.   Do you realize how hard it is to clean paper plates and paper napkins.  We’ll probably still be slaving away when the sun comes up tomorrow.”


After David and Danny departed, Lionel and Louie decided to do likewise.  Wayne decided that they should be going also.  Alan approached me, “Mr. Michaels, thank you for a fun time.  This is the first time in a long time that I didn’t feel out of place when I’m with people like you.”


Cam heard what Alan said, “Alan, what do you mean people like us.”


“Cam, look at me.  I don’t look like you or anyone else here now that Lionel and Louie have gone home.”


Cam put his hands on his hips, “Alan, what are you talking about?  You don’t look like Lionel and Louie.  Be glad that you don’t look like me.  Look at the other guys.  I don’t look like any of them, either.”


“But Cam, I’m black.”


“So, what does that mean.  I’m white or rather sorta tan.  What difference does the color of a person’s skin make?  It's not how you look that people notice; it’s how you act and treat other people.  One of my brothers loves a man with skin sorta like yours.  I don‘t see people as being black, red, white or any other color.”


As Wayne was leaving with Terry, Alan, Len and Cody, I watched as our five boys said goodbye to them.  Cam put his arm around me, “Dad, why do people worry about the color of people’s skin.”


“Cam, that’s a good question.  Why don’t we go get Tony and Andy a bicycle, so you can go bike riding?”


“Good idea Dad.  Come on guys we need to go to the bathroom before we go shopping.”


We found the bicycles that matched the other three boys' and made arrangements for them to be assembled and delivered after the store closed.  Of course, we had to stop at the Dairy Queen on the way home to get a snack, since the poor starving boys hadn’t eaten all day.


When we arrived at the ranch, the five boys took off.  It soon became apparent that Tony and Andy had never ridden a bicycle before.  The guys were getting them ready for the arrival of their bikes.  It wasn’t long before Tony was able to go solo, but it took a little longer for Andy to feel confident.  The guys were sitting on the front porch waiting for the arrival of the new bikes when they were delivered.  Cam yelled, “Dad, you need to sign for the bikes.”


After dinner, I helped the boys do the cleanup and we went to my bedroom and there was nothing on television that interested them.  Cam looked at me, “Dad, maybe you could read to us, after we take our showers.  I have a library book that I can’t read.  It has some really big words.”


I grinned, “I hope the words aren’t too big for me, as well.”


When the guys returned from the bathroom, I pointed, “Okay you little pricks with the big dicks get up on that bed, so I can read this hard book to you.”


I had just finished reading the book when the phone rang, Cam answered, “This is Cam Rodgers. … Oh, hi Daddy.  Daddy, tell Dad Steve to stop watching us when we’re naked.  He just called us the little pricks with the big dicks. … Okay, I’ll put Dad on.  Make sure you tell him to be nice to us little guys.”


I took the phone, “Hi Hank.  I gather you’re in Chapel Hill?”


“Yes, I just had dinner with Gisele and Jacob.  Jacob looks a little worse for the wear.  Jacob is really upset with what has been happening.  He has the feeling that the referees called a very bad game last night.  I have an appointment with the coaches to review the tapes of the game tomorrow morning at ten.  Needless to say, they aren’t very happy about what has been happening, but I convinced them that what happened was bigger than what happened to Jacob.  I’ve met Bart and he is really a great young man.  I cannot fathom why he was the person who was targeted in the game.  Steve, I’m exhausted, I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  Give the guys a kiss for me.”


As I was trying to go to sleep, I kept thinking, ‘What does Hank know about basketball, that I don’t know?’


To be continued...


 Editor's Notes: If I had to answer that question for myself, I would have to say that anyone who knows anything about basketball knows more than I do. The only thing I know about it is that there are a bunch of guys on a shiny wooden floor, running back and forth bouncing a big ball around, and trying to throw it into one or the other funny rope thingies, at each end of the room. I think there are two bunches of guys trying to keep the others from putting the ball in one of the rope things that they call baskets, but they don't have any bottoms to the baskets, so the ball always falls right through them.


From what Jacob said, I hope they don't do something that will hurt Bart.  If Jacob likes him, then he is probably a nice guy. 


I strongly suspect that Hank will get to the bottom of the situation.


I hope we get the next chapter real soon.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher



Posted: 03/05/10