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 43  

Heads Roll


Hank decided that we should drive separate cars, so we wouldn’t be seen arriving together at the school board meeting.  We had dinner at the diner (nothing could be finer, grin) and as we were leaving, Hank warned, “Steve, be prepared to be attacked personally, tonight.”


When we arrived at the administration building, it was almost impossible to find parking spaces.  I picked up my briefcase, with the files that Hank had copied.  As I was walking into the building, I was joined by Tony Romero, “Good evening, Steve.  I met with Hank today and we have your backside covered.  I have already read the first two reports you received.  I understand that you might have some further information.”


When Tony and I walked into the meeting room, it was absolutely jam packed, and they had even opened the partition to an adjoining room.  At precisely seven o’clock, Mrs. Shepherd called the meeting to order.


After the opening formalities, she nodded to a gentleman, “We are indeed honored to have the State Commissioner of Education, Mr. John Cooper with us, this evening.  Mr. Cooper, do you have any comments?”


Mr. Cooper stood, “Mrs. Shepherd, I was personally asked by the Governor to attend this meeting, tonight, because he and the Attorney General have had reports of improprieties going on in this school district.  I cannot understand why I haven’t been advised of the problems before now.”


I stood, “Mr. Cooper, I know for a fact that some reports of what has been happening in this district were hand delivered to your office, and your deputy, Mrs. Leila Blanchard, signed for them.  What is happening in this consolidated district is being orchestrated by some people whom I won’t name, at the present, and they have infiltrated the state government.  I will be distributing folders that will prove that there is a deliberate conspiracy to have the students of the district fail to meet the federal standards, and thus not be accredited and therefore lose access to any federal funds.  It is the group's intent to privatize the schools and charge parents for their children to attend the school which is mandated by state law.”


Mr. Burwell jumped up, “The sexual deviant shouldn’t even be on the board.  He doesn’t even reside in the city, and I’ve heard that he’s shacking up with another man.  He has no right to have a say in what happens in the schools since his sons attend the Wentworth Academy.”


I was hot, “My sexual persuasions have nothing to do with my making good decisions for what is best for the children of this district.”


I turned to Tony, “Mr. Romero, would you please give a copy of these reports to each of the board members, and to Mr. Cooper, since his staff has chosen to keep him in the dark.”


I opened my folder, “Since Mr. Burwell attacked my personal character, I invite everyone to turn to the first tab, so you can find out that Mr. Burwell is not the puritan that he claims to be.  If you will follow along, he has never been married.  He moved here ten years after he lost his second paternity suit, in Arizona.  His two children live in Arizona and he is paying through his nose to have his illegitimate children go to a private school.  What right does he have to come here and try and tell us how we should run this school district?”


“If you will go to tab 8, you’ll see how unqualified Superintendent White is for his position.  I’m better qualified than he is.  He has an associate degree from Graceland Junior College in Alamogordo, New Mexico.  His last position, before coming here, was as a teacher at a private school in New Mexico.  More importantly, he has a police record.  He has been accused of having sex with a young teenage boy and girl.”


Mr. White jumped up, “You pervert, you have no proof of those allegations.”


“Oh, but we have.   If you will look around, the police are standing by to take you for booking.”


Mr. Cooper stood; I suggest that this board meeting be adjourned, because there is not going to be anything constructive happen here tonight.  I would like to be able to digest the information in this folder and discuss it with the Attorney General and the Governor.  In the meantime, I will be purging my staff.”


As we were walking out of the meeting, Tony and I were accosted by a group of media people.  One man asked, “Is there any way we can get a copy of the files that you presented tonight, since you didn’t go through all the attachments?”


Tony handed the reporters his of copy of the files, “Here, you can have mine, but you will have to share the information.  I suggest that you make copies, so each of you can make your own interpretation of the contents.”


As Tony and I were walking to our vehicles, Hank approached us, “Tony, do you have time to join us for some coffee and dessert?”


“Nope, I need to get home and check on my brood.  I feel as if I’m cheating on them when I’m not home at night.  Besides, Colby has to get home since he has school tomorrow.  The boys love him.”


I raised my eye brows, “Are you talking about Colby Granger?”


“Yep, he’s a really neat young man.  He sits and talks to me about this Chad person he’s met.”


Hank and I started to laugh and Tony asked, “What’s so funny?”


I answered, “It was Hank and I who introduced the two guys.  Do you know the background of Chad?”


“Not really.”


I put my arm around Tony, “It’s a long story.  We’ll have to get together for a nude swim party and tell you the details.  Talk to you later.”


When Hank and I arrived at the ranch, the boys were all sound asleep, so we went to our bedroom.  Hank grinned as we were getting into bed, “Stevie, you were magnificent tonight.  The enemy is going to soon realize that they have met their match.  It will be interesting to watch the news in the morning.”


We were awakened in the morning by Cam, “Dads, Dad’s ugly face is all over the news this morning.  Grandma Ellie and Grandpa T. want to know if you’re going to eat breakfast or sleep all day.”


Hank turned on the television as the announcer was saying, “Here is the latest that we have with regard to what happened at the school board meeting, last night.”


“There have been three resignations from the school board.  The people who have resigned are Mrs. Shepherd, Mr. Burwell and a Mr. Ackerman.  It seems that the reports that Mr. Michaels provided have sent shock waves not only through the school administration, but the state capitol as well.  We have been advised that the Governor will be holding a news conference on the situation.  Stay tuned for the latest happenings in this fast breaking story.”


I turned the television off, “Cowboy, this is all your fault.  I’ll probably be sued before this is all over.”


Cam returned, “Is someone taking us to school or do we need to ride our horses?”


I climbed out of bed, “I’ll take you.  Let me brush my teeth and comb my hair.”

“Dad, you might want to put some clothes on, too.  There are probably going to be some reporters there, from the way the news sounds.  Get with it, or we’ll be late.”


Cam was right.  There were reporters waiting to talk to me, as we pulled in.  I ignored them until I had walked the boys to the door.  The reporters started to ask about my involvement with the five boys.  I reminded them, “My personal life is not at issue, here.  Two of the boys are my sons.  That’s all I’m going to say.  I’m a very boring parent.  Focus on the people who were trying to make schools conform to their standards, and not me, as a normal parent.”


I was so upset by the encounter that I decided to go to cabin.  I needed time to think things out.  I stopped at the a store and bought some fruits and vegetables and took them along, in case Lonzo and his friends decided to come keep me company. 


I was totally unprepared for what happened when I arrived at the cabin.  When I crawled out of the van, Lonzo and his two sons came to meet me.  The two fawns started to nudge me, which I assumed meant they wanted a treat.  I walked to the cabin, sat on the doorstep and opened the bag with the treats.  “Is this what you guys were asking for? Go get you friends.”


The two fawns bounded off and returned with some smaller animals.  When the animals were eating, I started to talk to Lonzo, “Lonzo, I had forgotten what it was like to be here with you creatures.  When I bring the boys the next time, will you and your sons make sure that nothing happens to them?”


Lonzo nodded his head up and down.  My cell phone started to ring causing the animals to scatter for sites unknown.  “This is Steve Michaels.”


“Mr. Michaels, this is the Governor’s office.  He would like to meet with you at one o’clock.”


“Tell the Governor that if he would like to meet with me, to call me himself.  I’m not his slave.”


I closed the phone.  I was walking back to the van when my cell rang again.  “This is Steve Michaels.”


“Mr. Michaels, my assistant informs that you were extremely rude to him.”


I assumed that I was speaking to the Governor, but decide to act naïve, “Sir, I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Who, might I ask, are you?”


“This is Governor Witter speaking.  I would like for you to be in my office at one o’clock this afternoon.”


“Excuse me, sir, I’m a private citizen.  I have no connection with the state government other than to pay my taxes.  You and your people have no right to tell me where to be, at what time.  What I find even more irresponsible, is that you still have not told me the reason you would like me to be in your office, this afternoon.”


I heard the man take a deep breath, “Mr. Michaels, I apologize.  I assumed that my assistant had told you that I would like for you to be here so you can answer questions at the news conference I’ll be holding.  I’ve read the information that you provided the school board and Commissioner Cooper last evening.  The Attorney General has some questions he would like to ask you, as well.  Is there any way you could attend?”


“Governor Witter, I’m about fifty miles from the city, and I’ll need to stop by the ranch and pick up my copy of the information.  I may be a few minutes late.”


“Mr. Michaels, I appreciate your taking the time out of your busy schedule to do this.  See you about one o’clock.”


I decided to call Cowboy.  He answered, “This is Hank.  Where are you?  I just called the ranch and you haven’t been home since you left with the boys, this morning.”


“Cowboy, I’m at the cabin.  I was talking to the animals when my cell phone rang and scared them away.  We’ll need to remember to turn off the ringers on our phones when we visit here.  The reason I called is that I just had a run in with the Governor.”


“If you’re at the cabin, how could you have had a run in with the Governor?”


“I had a phone call from the Governor’s office, informing me that I was to be in the Governor’s office at one o’clock, without telling me the reason why I was to be there.  I told the person that I wasn’t the Governor’s slave and that if the Governor wanted me to be in his office, he needed to call me himself.”


Hank chuckled, “Good for you.”


I continued, “The phone rang again before I could get in the van.  It was the Governor, saying that I had been rude to his assistant.  I reminded the Governor that I was a private citizen, and in no way connected to state government.  Therefore, he didn’t have the right to tell me where to be and when, especially since I had no idea why he wanted me to be there.”


“He apologized.  I’m going to stop by the ranch and pick up my copy of the information that Mr. Smart provided, so I can answer any questions, should the need arise, at the Governor’s news conference.  The Governor told me he had already perused the information, as had the Attorney General.”


“I know Governor Witter personally.  He’s a good guy.  I’m sure he didn’t mean to seem impertinent.  I’ll be interested to see how you make out.  I’ll pick the boys up after school, in case you get tied up.”


When I arrived at the ranch, I made a sandwich to eat while I was changing clothes. I had been wearing jeans and a western shirt, which I didn’t think were appropriate to wear for the Governor’s news conference.


When I arrived at the Governor’s reception office, I was immediately ushered into the Governor’s private office.  He stood and greeted me, “Thanks for coming on such short notice.  I apologize again for seeming so presumptuous this morning, Mr. Michaels.  We need to be going, since the media vultures get very restless if something doesn’t happen on time.”


We were joined by the Attorney General, Mr. Ken Barclay.  After we shook hands, Mr. Barclay commented, “I’d like to speak with you after the news conference, if you have time.”


After the Governor’s opening statement, “The media people went right for the throat.  The first question was from the reporter who had been at the house, on Monday afternoon, “Mr. Governor, how is it that it took a private citizen, like Mr. Michaels, to uncover the problems in the Department of Education?”


The Governor seemed to remain calm, “Mr. Edwards, we’re trying to determine how this all happened, and why it wasn’t detected sooner.  Attorney General Barclay is involved, and will be filing charges against the state employees who were involved.  As for the non-state employees that have been implicated, it will be up to the local authorities as to what legal actions are taken.”


The next question was directed at me, “Mr. Michaels, how is it that you were able to come up with the comprehensive information on such short notice, since you haven’t been active in education prior to last week?  What made you get involved and how much did it cost to collect the information you shared last night?”


I looked at the young man, “I got involved by a fluke.  I happened to be with one of the Martin boys at Cody High, when he was told by one Mr. Beans, that he couldn’t wear a cowboy hat to school even though it had been prescribed by the young man’s dermatologist.  I also witnessed the same Mr. Beans slapping Colby Granger and that was enough to get us involved.  We hired a very efficient private investigator to collect the information.  As to how much it cost, I honestly don’t know.”


A young woman stood, “Mr. Michaels, you mentioned at the school board meeting the night you were sworn in, that you had two sons in college, and two young sons who attended the Wentworth Academy.  Who is this Martin young man that you were with when this entire fiasco surfaced?”


I looked at the Governor, “This is the Governor’s news conference, not mine.”


The Governor laughed, “Mr. Michaels, you brought up the subject.  We all want to know the answer.”


“The Martin boys are the sons of the man who caused so many problems, here at the Capitol, not so very long ago.”


The reporters were all standing, trying to be recognized.  Governor Witter announced, “I didn’t invite Mr. Michaels here to discuss his personal life.  This news conference was called to deal with the undesirable situation that he and his friends uncovered.  But I have a question for Mr. Michaels, which I’m sure some of you might also be wanting to ask.  Mr. Michael, I assume that you are talking about the Mr. Martin who is the man who went on the shooting rampage at the State Capitol.  How is it that you became involved with that man’s sons?”


“We were responsible for having the four boys and their mother removed from Mr. Martin’s control.  We provided the four boys and their mother a place to live.  Since I’m a stay at home Dad, I have become a gofer for our five boys and the four Martin boys, since their Mother is now under medical care.  That is all I will say about the situation.”


As we were walking back to the office, Governor Witter asked, “Steve, who are the mysterious we that you keep referring to?”


“Governor Witter, the other person knows you well enough to refer to you by your first name, Ray.”


Governor Witter frowned, “Now you’ve really got me curious.  What is this other person’s name?”


“Does the name Hank Rodgers ring a bell?”


Governor Witter smacked his head, “Why wouldn’t I have guessed that you and Hank knew each other?”


Mr. Barclay asked, “Mr. Michaels, how is it that you can afford to be a stay at home Dad.”


“I happen to own the Michaels Advertising Agency.  I have some very capable people managing it, so I am pretty much free to do as I choose.”


Governor Witter nodded, “I’ll have to agree that Dusty and Wayne are very capable.  Guys, I have another meeting that I have to attend. Ken, keep me current on this latest fiasco.  Steve, it was a pleasure meeting you.  Say howdy to Hank for me.” 


To be continued...


Editor's Notes: All in all, I would have to say that the meetings went pretty well.  I do wonder what will happen next.  I'm afraid that there is going to be more fallout over all this.  Let's hope that the boys can escape getting hurt from any of this. 


It will be interesting to see what happens the next time they head for the cabin.  Will the animals forgive them for letting those nasty loud cell phones make that awful racket?  


Lonzo seems to be a pretty bright individual.  He and Steve have been pretty close, at least, in the past, and Lonzo remembers him, and still seems to like him, so maybe they can still be friends.


Of course, as always, I am more than ready for more. 


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher  


Posted: 07/23/10