You Ain’t Santa Claus
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 12
Here Comes The Judge



When Dan and I got to the bedroom, both boys were sprawled on their own futons quietly snoring.  I just wanted to hug them, but figured it might not be wise to wake them.


After taking care of the necessities and brushing our teeth, Dan and I crawled into bed.  I felt that all was right with the world until I was awakened by Ryan shaking me. “Daddy, stop snoring.  I can’t sleep.”


I listened and we still heard the snoring sound, “Ryan, I think that is your brother who is snoring.  I guess we need to make sure you each have your own bedroom.  Come with me and we’ll put some cotton balls in our ears so we can get some sleep.”


When I woke up in the morning, the two boys were gone.  I shook Dan to get him awake.  He looked at me, “Kirkie, why are we getting up so early?”


“Because our sons are already gone.”


We put on our sweat clothes and went downstairs to see what was happening.  The two Grandfathers were in control.  Dad Thornton and Nate were fixing French toast and my Dad and Ryan were getting ready to cook bacon in the microwave.


We were joined by the two mothers who were laughing, “Well isn’t this a dainty dish to set before the judge?”


Ryan briefly turned around, “Dads, you need to set the table and pour the juice.  The rest of us are busy.”


After the breakfast dishes were done, there was a lull before we had to do anything.  It became apparent that Ryan and Nate weren’t handling the quiet time very well.  My Dad suggested, “Go get your jeans on while your Dads take a shower.  Your Granddad Thornton and I will take you to the park so you can ride your new bikes.”


The two boys disappeared in a flash.  I looked at Dad, “Thanks, Dad.”


Dad hugged me, “Son, I think we’re all as nervous as the boys are.  The uncertainty of anything is always difficult to handle.  We’ll make sure that nothing happens to the boys.”


Dan and I went and took our showers and got ready for the day.  When we got back downstairs, no one was there.  The mothers must have gone somewhere and the dads were with the two boys.


Dan and I sat and looked at each other and Dan commented, “Kirkie, we must have been very boring before the boys came into our lives.  We probably are still very boring, but the boys make things seem to come alive.”


We were reading the paper when the Dads came in with the two boys.  The boys were really excited, “Dads, we saw a big car wreck.  This car was speeding and the lady who was driving was talking on her cell phone and she didn’t stop at the Stop sign.  She hit another car and the other lady and her little boy had to go to the hospital in an ambulance.  Two tow trucks came and took the cars away.”


Dan’s Dad nodded, “Unfortunately, we did witness the accident and the police questioned us.  That’s why we’re so late.  Where are your Mothers.”


Dan threw up his hands, “How would we know?  They weren’t here when we got downstairs after getting ready for the day.  For all we know, they are driving you both into bankruptcy.”


Ryan looked at us, “What does that mean?”


My Dad hugged Ryan, “That means that they are spending all of our money and that we are going to have to eat bread and water for the rest of our lives.”


Nate looked at the Granddads, “Granddad Richter, you’re fibbing aren’t you?”


The conversation was interrupted by the arrival of the two Grandmothers.  They came in carrying two bags.  Mom Thornton caught the boys attention, “We decided that we need some nutritious food in this house.  We don’t want our grandsons to get used to junk food, do we?”


My Mother suggested, “We’ll make sandwiches before we have to get dressed to go to court.”


They had bought four kinds of lunch meat and two kinds of cheese and some specialty bread.  We made our own sandwiches and were eating them when the phone rang.  Both boys froze.


I went to answer, “This is Dr. Richter, how can I help you?”


“This is Justin, can Nate and Ryan come to our house this afternoon and play?”


“Justin, the boys have an important meeting this afternoon that they need to go to.  Maybe you can get together and play another day before school starts.”


When I returned to the table, Ryan looked at me, “Daddy, my stomach is jumping up and down.  I don’t think I can eat anymore.”


Dan got up and checked Ryan’s forehead.  “Ryan, you don’t seem to have a fever.  You’re probably a little nervous about what’s going to happen today.  Everything will be fine.  We won’t let anything bad happen to you.”


We arrived at the courthouse in plenty of time.  Will and Brandon were already there with Mrs. Belton.  Nate looked at Mrs. Belton, “Grandma Swamp, you won’t let anything bad happen to us, will you?”


Ginger leaned down, “Nate, I’m sure everything will work out fine.”


Bruce Holloway finally arrived and led us to the appropriate court room.  He seemed to know his way around the courthouse and almost everyone said hi to him.  I looked at Dan, “Exactly who is this Bruce Holloway, anyway?”


Dan shrugged his shoulders, “Kirk, I have no idea, but I’m sure we’ll know much more by the end of the day.”


Bruce took charge, “Ginger. Why don’t you sit over here at this table with me?  Ryan and Nate, take your Granddad Thornton and your two Dads and sit at that table.”


When Judge Glenn Winston entered, he looked a little surprised to see so many people.  He was carrying some papers.  He looked around, “Counselor Holloway, I was surprised to receive your petition requests this morning,  I thought you were in Arizona for several months.”


“I was, your honor until I got word that my two nephews had been captured.  I just arrived in town yesterday afternoon.”


Judge Winston nodded to Mrs. Belton, “Ginger, it’s always nice to see you.”


Judge Winston looked a little confused, “Will and Brandon, I’m surprised to see you here.”


Brandon answered, “Your honor, we’re good friends with the two young boys who want to be adopted.”


The judge pointed to the boys, “Why don’t you tell me who you are and then introduce the other people.”


Nate stood, “I’m Nathan Holloway.  I’m eight years old.  This is my brother Ryan Holloway.  He’s six years old.


Nate pointed to me, “That’s one of our Dads, Dr. Kirk Richter.”


The judge interrupted, “So that’s the notorious Dr. Richter who plays Santa and kidnaps little boys from the mall.  He also is going to make sure my son gets an A in his psychology course.  Go on, Nate.”


“The man next to Daddy Santa is our other Dad, Doctor Daniel Thornton.  He works at the hospital.”


Nate turned to Dad Thornton.  “This is Granddad Thornton, he’s our lawyer.”


The judge interrupted again, “Mr. Thornton, I don’t think I’ve ever met you before.  I thought I knew most of the lawyers in town.”


Dad stood, “Your honor, we live in Columbus.  I usually don’t have any reason to come to town except to see our two sons.  I am licensed to practice in this state, however.”


Bruce interrupted the proceedings, “Your honor, I might add that Counselor Thornton is an excellent lawyer.  He has been our family lawyer for years.  He would be representing me today if his soon to be grandsons hadn’t taken precedence.”


Judge Winston nodded, “Ryan, why don’t you tell me who the rest of the people are, so we can get started?”


Ryan went to Mom Thornton, “This is Daddy Doctor’s mother, Grandmother Thornton.  This is Daddy Santa’s mother, Grandmother Richter.  This is Granddad Richter.  He’s a pastor.   Will and Brandon are going to help us plant our Christmas tree so we can feed the animals.”


The judge smiled, “Thank you, Ryan. I have a question for you.  Do you want to be adopted by Dr. Richter?”


“Yes, but why can’t I be adopted by Daddy Doctor, too.”  Ryan threatened, “If you don’t let them adopt me, I’ll stop talking again, and me and Nate will run away again.”


The judge looked totally confused, “What do you mean stop talking again?”


Nate stood, “Your honor, when our last Dad shot our Mother and then killed himself Ryan stopped talking.  It wasn’t until Daddy Santa yanked us out of the abandoned warehouse where we were living that Ryan started to talk again.  If you don’t let us be adopted, we’ll make sure that your son gets an F in Daddy Santa’s class.”


Judge Winston started to laugh, “I think that I have just been threatened and blackmailed by two young gentlemen.  Ryan and Nate, I would like to discuss some things with the adults.  The bailiff will take you to my office and come get you in a couple of minutes.”


The boys looked at Dan and me and we nodded for them to go.


When the bailiff returned, the Judge started, “Counselor Holloway, you very well know that the laws of this state forbid the adoption of a child by a same sex couple.  Mrs. Belton, I am confused as to why you would recommend that the boys live with Dr. Richter and Doctor Thornton.”


The Judge continued, “Mr. Holloway, I can not understand why you would not want to become the boys’ father, but are willing to have them live with a gay couple.”


Dan leaned over and whispered, “This is not going well.”


“Judge Winston, the boys don’t know me.  Their Dad and I were in the accident shortly after Ryan was born.  If the boys were to live with me they would be living with a gay man anyway, so what’s the difference.  For your information, their father was gay as well.” 


“Sir, as you know, I spend a great deal of time out of town.  So that would mean leaving the two boys with a caregiver.  How could I be a good father to them, given my physical status?”


The judge raised his eyebrows, “Mr. Holloway, I have one other question.  Where is the boys’ mother and why is she not involved?”


When Bruce explained the story of how the boys were conceived, the Judge hit his head with his palm, “Why wouldn’t I have guessed that might be the case.”


“Counselor Holloway, have you discussed these name changes with anyone and why did you recommend these changes?”


Bruce nodded, “Your honor, I have not discussed the names with anyone.  I chose those names because the two boys are very wealthy in their own right.  I provided you with copies of the boys’ birth certificates.  If the boys were to change their last name, it could create a hassle for them when they turn twenty-one.  When we named the boys, we deliberately only gave them middle initials.  Those initials just happen to work into the scenario we now find ourselves involved in.”


The judge was shaking his head as if trying to clear the cobwebs, “Bailiff, please go get the boys and bring them back.”


When the boys returned, they looked at us.  Ryan asked, “Dads, what’s happening?”


The Judge prevented us from answering, “Ryan and Nate, you have made it quite clear that you want to live with Dr. Richter and Doctor Thornton.  What would you like to have your names changed to if I were to make that possible.”


Nate stood, and I think everyone was impressed by his response.  I know I was. “A name doesn’t mean anything really, and it isn’t going to make much difference as long as our Dads love us and we love them.”


The Judge looked at the two boys, “So, it won’t matter if I change your names to Nathan Thornton-Richter Holloway and Ryan Richter-Thornton Holloway?”


Nate was sharp enough to pickup the fact that his initials would stay the same.  He grinned, “That sounds cool to me.  We won’t have to change our initials.”


Ryan complained, “I’ll never be able to write all those names.  I’ll just sign my name Ryan H.”


The Judge pounded his gavel, “Dr. Kirk Richter, Doctor Daniel Thornton, Nathan T. Holloway and Ryan R. Holloway, please approach the bench.”


Ryan took my hand and Dan took Nate’s and we approached the bench.  Judge Winston started, “Ryan and Nate, do you take these two old men to be your fathers?   Do you promise to obey them even though sometimes you might not like what they tell you to do?  If so, say we do and we will.”


The boys practically yelled, “We do and we will.”


The Judge looked at Dan and me, “Doctor Thornton and Dr. Richter, do you take these two mean little boys to be your sons.?  Do you promise to love them even though they might sometimes do things that you don’t appreciate?  If so, say we do and we will.”


Dan and I could hardly keep from laughing, “We do and we will.”


Judge Winston pounded his gavel.  “I now pronounce you fathers and sons.  Fathers, you may now kiss your new sons.”


I picked up Ryan and Dan picked up Nate and neither of them complained as we kissed them.  They returned the action.”


The Judge pounded his gavel, “This court is adjourned.”


Judge Winston took off his robe and came to where we had been seated, “Gentlemen, here are the legal papers that name Dr. Kirk Richter as the Nate’s and Ryan’s new father.  That’s the way it has to be for now.  I have included another set of papers that give both Kirk and Dan the right to act on the boys behalf until they become of age.”


He handed Ryan and Nate a piece of paper, “Guys, here are the papers legally changing your names and your birth certificates.  Please keep them in a safe place.”


Judge Winston looked at us, “Sorry for the theatrics, but I needed to make sure that the records could support the actions that were taken here today.  There are far too many zealots around that would have a field day if I had made both Dan and Kirk the boys’ Dads.”


Both boys went to Judge Winston and hugged him.  Ryan climbed on the table and gave the judge a kiss, “Judge Winston, thank you for making it so I wouldn’t have to stop talking again.  It’s much more fun talking.”


The Judge kissed Ryan and then leaned down and kissed Nate.


Bruce was laughing, “Glenn, why don’t you and Marilyn join us at the boys’ house for dinner.  We’ll eat about six.  Bring your son and his friend.  They can help make sure that Ryan and Nate don’t get into too much trouble.”


Bruce wasn’t done yet, “Everyone go home and change into your oldest clothes and we’ll meet at the Richter/Thornton condo in an hour and I’ll lead you to the boys’ house.”


Judge Winston looked concerned, “Bruce, are you saying that the place where you stay when you are in town belongs to the two boys?”


“Yep, their Dad left it to them in his will.  Right, Counselor Thornton?”


Dad Thornton sheepishly smiled, “Yep, Counselor Holloway.”


As we were walking to our cars, I looked at Dad Thornton, “Dad Thornton, why couldn’t you have warned us what was going to happen?”


He looked at me, “Haven’t you ever heard of lawyer/client privileged communications.  Quite frankly, guys, I had no idea what Bruce had planned for today.  Just grin and bear it.  He is a very warm and caring person.”


I was driving my car and the boys were in the back.  As I started driving home, Nate spoke, “Dads, please stop spending money on me and Ryan.  We have everything we need now that we have two Dads who love us.   Please tell our grandparents we don’t need anything else.”


Dan turned around, “Nate and Ryan, we’ll discuss any major expenditures and decide what we should do together.  We can’t control what your grandparents do.  Please just accept what they do gracefully and thank them.”


Ryan spoke up, “Dads, what kind of house do me and Nate have.  Is it like a tree house?  How are we all going to fit into it?”


I didn’t have any idea how to answer.  “Son, we really don’t have any idea.  Let’s just wait and see.”


To be continued...


Editor's Notes: When I received this chapter, the note that was attached to it said I would be screaming.  Now, let me see, How do I scream in print?    HEY!!! That's not fair! We still don't know anything about the house and we don't know very much about Bruce, other than the fact that he is a very nice person and that he loves the boys too. I do have a feeling that everything will work out all right for everyone concerned. I am ready for the next chapter!!!!


Darryl AKA The Radio Rancher


Posted: 10/16/09