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 35  



After everyone had departed, Hank looked at me, “I know you’re upset, but you shouldn’t let what’s happening between you, Wayne and me affect the boys’ lives and the others around us.  I truly appreciate all that you do for the boys.  I honestly don’t know how you can remember who is to be where, when.”


“I apologize for what I said about you not working.  I was completely out of line.  For heaven's sakes, don’t pull away from the Martin boys.  They still need you.  Wayne is new to the parenting business, and Linda is still pretty fragile.  I’ve arranged for her to receive counseling.”


“As far as what happened to Chad, I’m extremely upset, as I’m sure you are.  I’m going to go talk to people at the hospital and make sure that situations such as happened to Chad don’t happen to anyone else.”


We were interrupted by the arrival of Cameron.  He was wearing only his briefs. He crawled onto my lap, “Dad, you gotta promise me that you won’t run away again.  We little guys need you to take care of us.  Ricky and Randy cried all night last night because you weren’t here.  I tried to tell them that Daddy wouldn't let anyone or anything hurt them, but that didn’t help.”


“Daddy tries hard, but we were late for school this morning because he was talking on the phone,  Besides, he doesn’t know how to plan a party, and we have a Valentine’s party coming up soon.”


I hugged Cam, “So, now I’m a glorified party planner in addition to everything else.  Cameron Rodgers, you need to get your butt upstairs and get to sleep.  I promise I’m not going anywhere tonight.  I’ll be here when you wake up in the morning.”


“Dad, that was the wrong answer.  You should have said I won’t be going anywhere, anytime soon, unless I take you guys with me.”


I hugged Cam, “Okay, I’ll agree with what you said, but I can’t remember what you said.”


He kissed both of us and started up the stairs.  He looked back and giggled, “Me and the guys let the air out of all the tires, so you wouldn’t be able to leave, anyway.”


When we finally went to bed, it was still tense.  I think we both had decided that we needed to let the air clear before we did much talking.  We both had said some things that we regretted, but that was water over the damn.”


We were awakened the next morning by Cam, “Dad Steve, Len is on the phone and wants to talk to you.”


I almost didn’t answer the call, but thought better of it.  “This is Steve Michaels.”


“Hi Uncle Steve, it’s Len.  I just wanted to make sure that you remembered that you're taking me to the orthodontist this morning at ten o’clock.  What time will you be picking me up?”


I took a deep breath, “Mr. Martin, I’ll be in the office of the school at 9:30, sharp, and you’d better be there or I’ll leave without you.  I asked the dentist to order rainbow braces for your teeth.”


Len started to laugh, “But I wanted red, white and blue ones.  I’ll be on time.”


Hank looked at me, “Rainbow braces?  That would be interesting.”


“Len’s holding out for red, white and blue ones.”


Hank looked at me, “Are you taking the boys to school, or am I?”


Cam solved the problem, “Come on, Dad Steve, you gotta eat, so you can take us to school.”


I took a quick shower and as Hank and I were eating, Cam mentioned, “Dads, I’ve been thinking.”


Hank looked up from his breakfast, “I think we’re in trouble.  What were you thinking, son? “


“I was thinking we should get some new puppies.”


Hank looked at me, “But we already have two dogs.”


Cam shook his head in disgust, “Daddy, Nugget hardly ever goes outside anymore, and Mark isn’t much fun since he got hit by the car.  It’s really hard for him to run.  We shouldn’t have sold Cleopatra and Julius.”


Hank frowned, “We’ll talk about this later.  You’re going to be late for school.  You guys need to brush your teeth and get your backpacks.”


Grandpa T. asked, “Why did you sell the other two dogs?”


Hank answered, “The dogs are purebred golden retrievers and are registered with the American Kennel Association.  In fact, both Julius Caesar and Cleopatra are show dogs and have won ribbons in major shows.  If we had kept them, there would have been a problem of inbreeding.”


Grandpa T. shook his head, “I guess you can tell I know nothing about farming or animals.”


I dropped the five guys off at school as Wayne was dropping Terry off.  He must have been waiting for me, because he approached the van, “Steve, can we please talk, over lunch, after you take Len to his appointment?”


I looked at him, “We can talk, but who took Chad and Damon to school?  The doctor said that Chad shouldn’t drive for at least forty eight hours.”


Colby and Corey picked Chad and Damon up and he's going to take them home.  Chad isn’t real happy about being restricted from driving for forty eight hours.  He can’t understand the reason for the long ban.”


“Wayne, I’ll meet you at the Carlos O’Kelly restaurant on State Street at noon.”


I picked up Len and he was indeed waiting for me in the office.  He looked at the clock.  “You’re a minute late, Uncle Steve.”


He talked to me, the entire way to the orthodontist’s office.  He skirted the issue of what happened yesterday, but I could tell he had something he wanted to say.  When we walked into the office, the receptionist looked up at us.  Oh, good morning, Mr. Michaels and Mr. Martin.  Doctor McIntyre will be with you as soon as Len’s flashing neon braces arrive.  Please have a seat.”


Len leaned over and whispered, “You called and told her to say that, didn’t you?”


I started to laugh, “Nope, I’m innocent.  You’ll have to blame someone else.”


Len giggled, “Then it must have been Cam.  He’s the only other person I know who is mean enough to do something like that.”


A male dental assistant opened the door, “Mr. Martin, Doctor McIntyre will see you now.  I hope you had a big breakfast because it’s the last meal you’ll be eating for awhile.”


Len asked, “Uncle Steve aren’t you going to go with me.”


“Len, there is nothing I can do, now.  The doctor will talk to me when he’s ready.”


It was approximately forty five minutes later when the young man opened the door, “Mr. Michaels, Doctor McIntyre would like for you to join Len and him in the consultation room.”


When I entered the room, a gentleman, who was a little older than me, stood, “Mr. Michaels, Len tells me that you’re his physical guru.  I’m Pat McIntyre.  Please be seated.”


The doctor turned on a machine, We took a series of x-rays of young Len’s mouth and teeth.  We did a panoramic x-ray and you can see he has beautiful teeth and a beautiful smile.  He probably has trouble keeping the young ladies away.  Anyway, I would like to correct a small problem with his front teeth.  I can see where they might need to be aligned to keep them from becoming a problem later.”


I heard Len take a deep breath.  Doctor McIntyre continued, “I would like to try and correct the problem with a retainer for a three month period.  If after that period, the retainer isn’t doing the job, then we would have to resort to some other procedure and it would probably require braces.  Since he’s only twelve, there is a very good chance that the retainer will work.”


“Uncle Steve, can we please try this, I don’t really want to wear braces if I don’t have to.  Dad Wayne said it was your decision as to what we should do.”


“Doctor McIntyre, how long will it be before I’ll have to learn how to put Len’s retainer in his mouth.”


Doctor McIntyre went to the door, “Donald Duck, take young Mr. Martin and make an impression of his teeth, so we can order him a retainer.”


The young man came into the room.  “Quack, Quack, the quack doctor said for you to follow me.”


Doctor McIntyre laughed, “Don’t mind him.  That’s our youngest son.  He’s been accepted into dental school, starting in June.   Mr. Michaels, may I ask a question?  I’m a little mystified as to why you’re here with Len instead of one of his parents.”


“Doctor McIntyre, Len doesn’t have a father, and Len requested that I accompany him.”


Doctor McIntyre frowned, “Then who is Dad Wayne, that Len referred to?”


“The Martins are presently living at the same residence as Mr. Wayne Young.  The Martins recently had some unfortunate things occur in their lives.”


Doctor McIntyre raised his left eyebrow.  “Did one of the things occur at the state capitol building?


I nodded yes, but didn’t have a chance to say anything.  The assistant and Len returned, “Dad, will these impressions work?”


“Thanks Don, take Len and schedule him for his fitting next Friday at a time that’s convenient for him.  I’ll explain to Mr. Michaels what I’m going to do.”


After the two guys departed, Doctor McIntyre looked at me, “Steve, it’s obvious Len respects you and feels secure around you.  Why didn’t you take him to live with you.”


“Doctor, we already have five young boys living with us, plus I have two grown sons as does my partner.  We really don’t have room for the four Martin boys and their Mother in our house.”


Our conversation was interrupted by the return of Len and Don.  Len handed me an appointment card, “I made the appointment for the same time next week, is that okay?”


“That sounds fair to me.  Thanks for your help, Doctor McIntyre.”


I shook the doctor’s hand as did Len.  We stopped at the receptionist's desk and I tried to pay, “Mr. Michaels you can take care of everything next week.  It’s more fun to see you people cry when you realize how expensive it is to take care of your teeth.  See you next Friday.”


As we were walking to the car, I asked, “Len, I’m meeting Mr. Young for lunch.  Would you like to join us?”


“I’d like to join you, but I think it’s more important you and Dad Wayne work out your problems.  I don’t know what happened last night at the ranch, but I know he was really upset when he got home.  He hardly talked when he was driving me and Terry to school this morning.”


When I met Wayne, it was apparent that he was as upset as I was.  I decided to let him lead the discussion, because I wasn’t sure what he had on his mind.  He laid it on the table, “Steve, I’ve decided that the best thing for me to do, for the good of all concerned, is to pull up stakes and leave.”


I pounded the table much to my embarrassment, “Damn it, Wayne,  that’s like hiding your head in the sand.  If you’re going to be a father for the Martin boys, then you need to put their welfare above anything else.  All four of the guys are special.  I know that you resent them relying on me, but believe me, I’ve done nothing to promote that idea.  I’m not saying I mind helping to take care of them, because I don‘t mind at all.  After all, if it hadn’t been for me and the boys, none of you would have ever met the Martins.”


“You need to sit down and talk to the boys and gain their total respect.  After what happened with Chad yesterday, that may be a little difficult, but you should try.”


“Hank hurt me very badly when he implied that you were working so all I was good for was taking the boys wherever they needed or wanted to go, because I didn’t have a job.”


Wayne changed gears completely, “I can understand why you are upset with me and Hank.  But Dusty is devastated.  You sent a signal indicating that he hasn’t been doing a good job.  He’s thinking of quitting.  You need to talk to him.  I can’t believe that this is all happening because of an innocuous comment that I made.”


I hardly ate any of my food, I stood, “I’m going to go talk to Dusty, if he’ll talk to me.  If anyone is going to pack their bags and pull up stakes, it will be me.”


I went to the office, and Dustin was sitting at his desk when I knocked.  He looked at me, “Don’t worry Mr. Michaels, we’ll have everything ready for you’re return on Monday.  You'd better start looking for someone to replace me.  You’ve made me the laughing stock of the company by implying that I wasn’t doing a good job.”


I slammed his office door shut,  “Damn it, Dusty, this has nothing to do with your job performance, and I’ll make that clear to everyone.  Hank thinks I'm not good for anything but being a glorified babysitter, because I‘m not working like everyone else.  I’m surprised that he doesn’t have me taking care of your and Mimi’s children as well as everyone else‘s.”


Dusty stood and pushed me into a chair, “Steve, something’s wrong, This is not the Steve Michaels I know.  You need to sit down with the parties involved and stop lashing out.  You’re beginning to affect lives of people  that you didn’t mean to hurt.  Demoting me and Wayne is only going to cause a ripple effect throughout the company and destroy the camaraderie that we worked so hard to build, or have you forgotten?”


“You, Hank, and I guess Wayne, need to work through this problem, because it’s bigger than just you.  Now if you will excuse me, I have an appointment whom I see has just arrived.”


I walked out of the office without saying goodbye to anyone.  I was seething, ‘All of a sudden, everything is my fault.  Screw all these people.  I’ll sell the agency and move.’


To be continued...



Editor's Notes:  My goodness, Steve sure has fallen apart, hasn't he? 


I don't know just what triggered all this fury, but, something needs to happen, or a lot of people are going to get hurt very badly.  I know it takes two or more to have an argument, but it seems to me that Steve is not listening to anyone, or believing anyone who talks to him.  I think he is in serious need of a councilor.  All of the parties involved need to sit down and discuss what is going on, and figure out how to solve this situation.  We all know that Steve loves the kids and Hank.  He would be miserable if he were to pack up and leave.  Cam would see to that, at least. Of course, everyone loves Steve, too, especially Hank.  For sure, something needs to be done.  The only problem that I can see Is that Steve doesn't seem to want to solve the problem.


I hope we get this solved soon. I am very worried.


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 04/30/10