Love on the Road
by: Miguel Sanchez
© 2008 by the author
The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the
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I pulled him under the water and got him rinsed off then quickly washed my body. It was almost 10 and I was really getting tired. I surprised Randy by picking him up and carrying him into the bedroom. I held him in one arm while yanking the covers down with the other. He was giggling as I was blowing raspberries on his chest then I dropped him in the middle of the bed. He scooted over then I quickly checked the house to make sure it was secured. I went back to the room and saw Ozzie had made himself comfortable, wet fur and all. I ejected the cat and slid in beside Randy as I felt him spoon himself against my chest. I wrapped my arms around him and we drifted off to sleep.
The next morning I was rudely awakened by Ozzie licking my face and pulling on the covers. “Alright you hairball,” I moaned as I tried to extricate myself from Randy without waking him.
I emptied my bladder then went to feed Ozzie as I saw my boy walk towards the bathroom with his morning wood leading the way. I put on the coffee then felt a pair of arms wrap themselves around me. “Morning Bill,” I heard him say into my back.
I turned around just as he planted his lips on mine. I returned his kiss then said, “Mmmm, now that’s a very nice greeting.”
I fixed us some scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast then got on the phone with my lawyer. I filled him in and he said he would meet us at the local police precinct so we could find out what happened with Randy’s mother.
We got there just after 9 and there was a detective there who led us back into an interrogation room. At first he tried to separate us until Gerald said he represented the both of us. We told the officer everything we knew to this point and Randy told him about what his black friend said to us the night before. That information seemed to coincide with what they had so there wasn’t anything they could charge either of us with.
Gerald asked what was going to happen to Randy now that his mother is dead. We were told that social services would have to be called when Randy said he had no other family and he wanted to continue staying with me. A young man from Social Services came to interview Randy and they took into account his age as he told the social worker his wishes. The social worker looked at me then asked, “Do you have the means to support and care for him?”
I explained that I was a trucker and my life was spent mostly on the road. “How do you plan on seeing that he gets his education,” the worker asked.
Randy intervened and said, “I was home schooled before. I do my lessons online and submit them back I’m currently carrying all A’s and when my schooling is done I want to work with Bill.”
“You have no desire to go to college?” the worker asked.
“No sir,” Randy replied. “I like the life on the road. I see more than any others would.”
The worker stood and said, “Well I think you should go on to college. I’m going to ask that you be placed with a family.”
“Hold on,” Gerald said. “I’m also this boy’s Guardian at Litum and I’m going to demand an emergency hearing. And by the way, who is going to pay for this college education you feel he should get?”
“That’s his problem but the family will have him see the benefits of a college education,” the worker said.
“That is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard,” Gerald said. “This man earns over $100,000 after expenses a year. Can you say a man right out of college can earn this?”
“I’m not going to debate this with you,” the worker said. “Let’s go son.”
“I don’t think so,” Gerald said. “Here is the notice of hearing. The boy stays with us until that time. I’ll see you in court at 11.”
“I have other cases,” he started saying.
“You’re about to have one less if you’re not there,” Gerald said.
We left the police station and headed for the courthouse. When we arrived Gerald pulled out a stack of papers and said, “Here fill these out.”
I looked at the mountain of bureaucratic bullshit and started giving myself writer’s cramp. It was a good thing I was just re-bonded and I had to have a full police background check done. It took about 45 minutes to fill out the papers then Gerald led us into a big courtroom. We sat there and soon a voice boomed out, “Randy Monroe, Bill Pruitt vs. Dept. of Social Services.”
Gerald led us through the mass of people sitting there up to the rail and to the other side. “Gerald Law representing Mr. Pruitt and the minor Randy Monroe,” Gerald said as we went through the railing.
Just then the social worker came running in saying, “My apologies Your Honor. Dennis Wong for Social Services and I request an indefinite postponement.”
“On what grounds Mr. Wong,” the Judge said.
“We were just given this case,” he started. “We feel the child needs to be stabilized in stable home and not with a trucker.”
“Sounds like you’ve done your homework,” the Judge said. “Motion to postpone is denied. Mr. Law, call your first witness.”
“I call Dennis Wong,” Gerald said.
He was sworn in and Gerald asked, “Why do you feel Randy should be put with a different family?”
“He deserves to lead a normal life,” Mr. Wong said.
“Define what you mean by normal?” Gerald said.
“Well,” Wong said; “A stable home and the chance to go to a normal school.”
“What do you mean by a normal school?” Gerald asked. “The boy is home schooled.”
“He needs to be in a proper school,” Wong said. “This way he can interact with his peers.”
“So you don’t believe in home schooling?” Gerald asked.
“No,” Wong replied. “I believe all children should be in a proper school setting.”
“Even when the child is doing above average work” Gerald asked.
“Well, I don’t trust their grading,” he replied.
“Are you aware that Randy is about 10 months shy of being able to legally quit school?” Gerald asked.
“What’s the point?” Wong asked.
“The point is, what would you think, if a straight ‘A’ child you put in a home decided to up and quit school because he didn’t like the school,” Gerald asked.
“That’s his problem for throwing his education away,” Wong replied.
“And you would take no responsibility for taking the child away from a place where he’s happy and put him somewhere where he up and quits school because he’s not happy there?” Gerald asked.
“Well uh,” Wong started. “I’m doing what I feel is best for the child.”
“Even though he’s 15 and has stated he doesn’t want to leave where he currently is?” Gerald asked.
“Yes,” Wong replied.
“Thank you for stating your position so eloquently Mr. Wong,” Gerald said. “I have no further questions for this witness.”
“You may step down sir,” the Judge said. “You may present you next witness counselor.”
“At this time Your Honor I would like the court to receive the application for permanent custody,” Gerald said. “I call Randy Monroe to the stand.”
Randy took the stand and told the Judge how I found him and how I took care of him. He left out some of the nonessential details but told the court of his life with me and how I’d cared for him. He showed the court his school work and a report he’d done for geography that I didn’t even know he’d done.
I took the stand and was questioned by Gerald and the Judge. The Judge looked at me and asked, “Tell me sir, what would happen if Randy became ill while you were on the road?”
“I’d get him medical care sir,” I replied. “I have insurance that lets me use most all hospitals. When I’m home, I have a family doctor Randy could see.”
“Suppose you had a load to deliver,” he asked.
“Randy would be my first priority,” I replied. “I can be in touch with my office immediately and let them know the load might be late and if things were serious enough, I would request another driver pick the trailer up and make the delivery for me.”
The Judge looked at Mr. Wong and asked if he had any questions. He thought he had made his position clear and said he did not. The Judge looked over all my papers then said, “I’ve heard all the testimony here and I’m disturbed by some of the things I’ve heard here today.”
I thought, ‘That’s it, I’m toast. They’re not going to let a 15 year old go roaming around the country with a gay trucker.’
“I find it most distressing that a social worker would not listen to the wants of a middle teen. Mr. Pruitt’s lawyer brought up some good points regarding the young man’s education. I’m also worried about his higher level of high school but he does seem to be functioning at least a year above his current grade level. Mr. Pruitt, I was pleased at the way you answered my question regarding Randy’s health. It really shows me that your priority is to him. Mr. Wong, there is no way in good conscience I will allow you to remove this child from Mr. Pruitt’s care. I’m also going to ask the director to look into your cases and see how those children are. Mr. Pruitt I do have some concerns about Randy living on the road so much of his youth. Therefore it is the ruling of this court that Bill Pruitt shall have full temporary custody of Randy Monroe subject to review by this court in six months. If things are going smoothly, I will award you total full custody and will allow you to consider adopting Randy. The court is adjourned.”
I went over to Gerald and had him look in the whereabouts of Randy’s mother. “I want to know where she’s buried and if there is a marker up. Do this as quickly as you can.”
We walked out of the courtroom and Randy jumped into my arms. “God Bill, it really happened.”
“Yes it did son,” I said as I put him down and we headed for the door. “Now all we have to do is get Kenny where he belongs.”
“You did have to remind me of that,” Randy said sarcastically. So now that you brought it up, what are we going to do?”
“I really don’t know son,” I replied. “I’m your legal guardian now so I can have him arrested if he were to try anything.”
“What if he tries something?” Randy asked sounding worried.
“I don’t think he’ll do that,” I said. “The guys that tried to hurt us are in jail and he doesn’t have the guts to take on a guy. Other wise he would have by now.”
The next few days went by without any major problems. I got a reminder in the mail that Ozzie was due for his shots. He hated riding in the car because he knew that usually meant a trip to the vet. I had Randy put him on his leash then take him for a short walk then I got into the car. I started the engine and backed out and called to Randy. Randy ran over and naturally Ozzie came with his friend.
Ozzie was sitting on Randy’s lap and everything was fine until we turned into the vet’s parking lot. When I parked the car he was glaring at me. “What’s wrong Bill?” Randy asked.
“Oh nothing son, except I tricked Ozzie,” I replied.
“You have to fight with him to come to the vet?” Randy asked.
Ozzie heard that word and now he was glaring at Randy. He was looking at Randy and his eyes were squinted as if saying, “You were in on this weren’t you? I trusted you and this is how you repay me?”
We opened the doors and Ozzie decided to curl up on Randy’s lap and not budge. Randy finally had to man handle the cat out of the car and carry him into the vet’s office. We went inside and I checked us in. Randy stopped at the desk with me as the girl said, “Hi Ozzie, it’s nice to see you again.”
Ozzie was still indignant and just glared at her. Soon we were led back into the exam room and the tech tried to take his temperature. Ever try to hold a three and a half foot 30 pound cat while it’s got his front paws on your shoulders while someone is trying to stick a thermometer in the other end? I’m here to tell you now, it’s an experience.
After the preliminaries were done, the vet came in and checked him over and gave Ozzie his shots. All this did was put Randy and I deeper on his list. After that was done we went out and paid the bill then headed home. Ozzie went and curled up into the back seat and slept. I carried Ozzie into the house and put him in his bed so he could sleep. This always happened when he got his shots.
The next morning Randy was taking Ozzie out for his morning walk so he could use the facilities and when he came in he said, “Hey Bill, there’s a strange car sitting in the street next door. The driver gave me a weird feeling we walked past.”
“Did he say anything to you?” I said heading for the back door.
“No,” Randy replied. “He just looked at me funny.”
I took Ozzie’s lead from Randy and went out the back door. I went out the gate and saw the car sitting in front of my neighbor’s place. I went up to the car and said, “Can I help you mister?”
“No thanks,” he said. “I’m just waiting for someone.”
“So why are you staring at my boy?” I asked. “Are you some kind of pervert sitting out here staring at boys as they walk past?”
I heard the door start to open and as soon as he stepped out I pushed him against the car and spun him around with his arm behind his back. “Ok man chill out,” he said as Ozzie jumped onto his car and got into his face. “I’m looking for a guy name Kenny. I’m here to repo his rig.”
“So why the hell are you sitting by my house and scaring my son?” I asked.
“Let go of my arm and I’ll tell you,” he said.
I took Ozzie’s leash and let the guy’s arm go. He turned around and looked at me as Ozzie was still sitting on the roof watching him. “Now why are you here?” I asked. “Kenny doesn’t have a clue where I live.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” he said. “I saw him up the street a couple of nights ago. The only thing is I don’t know if he knows exactly where you live.”
“So why didn’t you take his truck then,” I asked. “You had a golden opportunity.”
“I wasn’t prepared for that,” he said. “I just came by to check out your place and I saw his truck further up the street. It would have taken an hour to get a tow truck large enough here. I rolled past the truck and he was up there looking around but I couldn’t tell what he was looking at.”
“Just great,” I said. “Now I have to watch out for this ass wipe.”
“No, not really,” he said. “Look, I want that truck. It’s worth 10 grand in repo fees so I’m not going any where. I sleep mostly during the day now because he doesn’t want that thing to be seen. What’s your phone number?”
I gave him my cell number then asked, “What are you going to do?”
“When I see his rig, the first thing I’m going to do is get the cops here,” he said. “I know there’s a warrant out for him so they’ll arrest him on the spot then I’ll have the truck. I’ll call you and let you know that he’s here so you guys can stay put until everything goes down.”
“Look,” I said. “I’m not turning our lives upside down because of him.”
“I don’t want you too,” he replied. “Just go on as you always do but when he shows up, you need to be inside your house.”
I didn’t like what I was hearing but what could I do? I went back into the house and told Randy what was going on and I could see he was nervous about this latest development but there wasn’t much we could do about it. We went about our normal routine and for several days nothing happened.
The next day, Gerald called and told me where Randy’s mother was buried. We went out to see her and Randy cried his eyes out. “Why did you make me go with him Mom?” He said as I held him. “If you hadn’t you’d still be here. I hate him for what he did to you.”
“I’m going to see to it that there is a proper marker here son,” I said as he cried in my arms.
We returned home and I called a monument company and ordered a head stone. The man said it would take a couple of weeks. I told him what I wanted then sent off the check.
It was getting close to summer time and Randy asked, “Bill, do you think we could take a vacation?”
“When do you finish your home schooling?” I asked thinking a get away after all this shit is done wasn’t such an outrageous idea.
“Um, a few more weeks I think,” Randy replied.
“Alright,” I said. “If Kenny is caught and you pass, we’ll go on a vacation. You can research a few places and then make a decision.” That idea kept Randy busy for a few more days.
We were used to seeing a car a little ways past our house as we went through our normal routine. Randy took Ozzie out for his usual morning walk and when he was gone, Kenny’s truck appeared. This was totally unusual for him because the repo guy never saw him there at that hour. I was having a cup of coffee when the repo guy called telling me Kenny’s truck was up the block. “Shit, Randy’s out walking Ozzie,” I said starting to panic.
“I’ve already called the police and they’re on the way,” he said trying to calm me down. “They are sending in some unmarked cars first so they don’t spook him.”
That did make me feel some what better but I had to know Randy was alright. I went out the back door and looked up the street and sure enough, there was Kenny’s truck. I didn’t know which way Randy left to take Ozzie for his walk. If he headed up that way first, he would be coming back by our end of the street after they went around the block. I turned to look behind me and didn’t see him but when I looked up the street I saw him froze as he had seen Kenny’s truck.
I felt my ass suck wind as I quickly started making my way towards my boy. I was trying to be non-conspicuous and look in the cab to see if Kenny was in it but I was still too far away. As I got closer I managed to see that he wasn’t in the cab and this really got me scared.
I saw Randy starting to back up as Ozzie was in pure protect mode. I could hear him growling from where I was so I knew he could see Kenny. I ran past the repo guy’s car and into the street so I could run past Kenny and get to Randy.
When I ran around, I saw Kenny standing there with what looked like a sawed off baseball bat in his hand. I managed to get up to Randy and for the first time, saw this SOB clearly. “Give it up ass wipe,” I said. “There’s no way in hell you’re gonna hurt the boy.”
“Fuck off asshole,” he said. “I don’t want to hurt him. He’s too important to me healthy.”
“Forget it man, the word is out. No one will come any where near you. You’re worse than the plague.”
Randy still had a tight hold on Ozzie’s leash as he continued to pull, howl and hiss at Kenny. I was debating weather or not to try to take him but with the club in his hand, I didn’t want to chance it.
I could see cars heading towards us and I knew help was now here. Two unmarked cars pulled about 20 feet from Kenny’s truck and the officers got out. One of the officers said, “Drop the weapon and back up.”
Just then, Kenny spun to look at the cops as I took Ozzie’s lead. We were about 15 feet from Kenny and when he turned to look at the officer, I released Ozzie. Ozzie bolted towards Kenny just as he turned back to see where the noise was coming from. By the time he clearly saw Ozzie, it was too late. Ozzie hit him in square in the chest knocking him to the ground causing the club to fall from Kenny’s hand.
I ran to get Ozzie off as the officers ran up to subdue Kenny. They quickly got Kenny in handcuffs and brought him to his feet. I could see several deep gashes in Kenny’s chest as I moved back. I set Ozzie on the ground and wrapped my arms around Randy. He leaned back against my chest as I said, “It’s ok son. It’s over now. He won’t be bothering you ever again.”
Just then Kenny spat, “Don’t think this is over you little shit. Your ass is mine. You’re gonna end up just like that bitch mother of yours.”
One of the officers called for an ambulance so Kenny’s wounds could be treated. Just before the ambulance arrived, a big wrecker came and hooked up to Kenny’s truck. The repo man went over to Kenny and said, “Here’s the papers ass wipe. Your truck is being repossessed.”
“Now what the fuck am I supposed to do?” he shouted as the ambulance pulled up.
“Don’t worry,” the repo guy said. “Where you’re going, you won’t need it anyway.”
The ambulance arrived and treated Kenny’s wounds. The paramedic came over and asked, “Ah sir, has your cat had his shots?”
I held Ozzie and showed the man his rabies tag while he wrote down the information. I’m glad I’d taken him to the vet earlier as I sure didn’t want Ozzie getting sick.
Randy and I slowly walked home and I noticed he was still very quiet. “What’s wrong?” I asked as I pulled him onto my lap after sitting down on the sofa.
He wouldn’t look at me so I lifted his chin with my finger. His eyes dropped down for a second then looked at me with the most innocent look I’d seen. “He’s gonna kill me. Dad, he said he was gonna kill me.”
Here was a first. He just called me Dad. All this time, it had always been Bill. I wrapped my arms around him as he put his head on my shoulder. “Son, no one will every hurt you again. Kenny was talking out his ass and when he gets to jail, I have a feeling they’re going have fun with him.”
Randy looked up when I said that. “Have fun with him; how?”
“Inmates don’t like guys who use children. They really hate it when they use them sexually. Guys in there may have done some really bad things, but they hate those who would prey on or hurt a child. I have a feeling Kenny won’t be sitting down for a long time, if you know what I’m referring to.”
“Are they going to put their dicks in him?”
“I don’t know for sure that they will do that but I imagine they might.”
Randy wrapped his arms around me and continued to stay where he was. I could feel all the tension that built up in him over these many weeks slowly leave his body. We stayed like that for I don’t know how long and then I heard his faint little snore that told me he was sound asleep. I gently carried him to the bedroom and placed him in bed then covered him. He slept for about 2 hours then Randy was really glued to me. We had a light lunch then I took him out for a nice dinner.
Randy was adjusting to life without worry and it was time for us to hit the road so I could earn a living. As we traveled the highways, word had gotten out about Kenny’s truck being repoed and subsequent arrest. A few of the guys that had tried to help Kenny before then saw just what kind of person he was came up and said they were really glad he was now in jail.
One evening when Randy was watching television in the sleeper, I was checking my email. I noticed on my MSN home page a news article about an attempted escape. I clicked on the article and read, “Man charged with murder and child pandering killed in an attempted escape.”
The article went on to say how Kenny had tried to escape dressed as a guard but during the attempt his real identity was discovered. When ordered to halt, he made a movement like he was reaching for a weapon then he was shot and killed by guards in a tower. I showed the article to Randy and he read it and said, “Looks like he finally got what he deserved,” then went back to watching his show.
Randy finished his school work for the year and earned all “A’s.” We stayed on the road longer this time so when I told my office I was taking 6 weeks off, they couldn’t really complain. We returned home and I rented an RV for our vacation. We drove up through Canada for two weeks and then headed out west. Randy had marked several points of interest that he wanted to see and we saw every one. Our last stop was Las Vegas and there was a review he said he was itching to see. When we arrived, it was one of the better known gay attractions with some of the best guys in drag I’d ever seen. We returned home and Randy was ready to get back to work while I needed a break from all the driving.
Summer passed and winter was now upon us again. We pulled back home just before Thanksgiving and there was a letter informing me there was another hearing scheduled for my custody of Randy. The day of the hearing came and as we entered the courtroom, Mr. Wong was there once more.
The Judge called our case and Randy and I answered the judge’s question about how we were doing as a family. Randy told him about the incident with Kenny and how Ozzie had saved him.
After that, Mr. Wong got up and claimed that if Randy had been in a proper home, that would not have happened. I countered by saying that Randy’s family would have been the target and the outcome most certainly could have been different. I then told the Judge that Kenny was no longer a threat to anyone as he had been killed while trying to escape.
Mr. Wong then tried to paint Randy as a solitary youth with deep seated emotional problems in need of strict psychological counseling. Every time we would counter one of Wong’s claims, he would go reaching for something new.
The Judge put a halt to Wong’s dribble and said, “Mr. Pruitt has continued to provide a safe and stable environment for this child. I must admit it isn’t the every day life other teens his age have but he likes his life and is thriving. Mr. Wong, life isn’t “Ozzie and Harriet” or “Leave it to Beaver”, there are many more single parent households now and children are doing just fine in them. With violence on the rise in our public schools, many families are turning to home schooling as an alternative and those children go on to higher education and many are doing just fine. I am amending my previous order making Mr. Pruitt Randy’s temporary legal guardian and making him Randy’s permanent legal guardian. Mr. Pruitt, this order paves the way for you to now adopt Randy, if that is your wish. This court stands adjourned.”
Once more, Randy jumped into my arms and hugged me after the ruling. I looked over to Wong and said, “Man, you have to come out of the dark ages. This is the 21st century.”
He didn’t reply to my comment as he left the courtroom. Randy and I continue to run the roads of the east coast and I’m now teaching him how to back up the rig. He’s told me on more than one occasion that he wants to get his CDL and become my co-driver. Our love has also grown during all this and he has finally learned to trust me and others. I look over at him and smile remembering the time I found love on the road.