A Train Trip to Remember
 by: Miguel Sanchez

© 2008 by the author


The author retains all rights. No reproductions are allowed without the author's consent. Comments are appreciated at...


He banged his gavel then we all stood as he left the courtroom. Vikki headed over to her husband and lawyer. Meadows looked at her and I could tell he wasn’t pleased. “What the hell is going on here? Why would someone have 2 files?”


She glared at him. “Now you listen to me, you shut your mouth right now and do what we’re paying your for.”


Chapter 6



Just then Mr. Martin came up. “Do you have a printer?”


Meadow’s spun his head around. “Printer, what for?”


He looked right at me and JC. “Do you see that man with my son? I’ve seen him before and I’ve finally figured out where. I’m going to give you something that’ll blow him right out of the water and into a jail cell.”


Meadows looked cautiously at the two. “I don’t know what’s going on but from what I can see right now, you’ve gotten yourselves behind the 8 ball.”


Mrs. Martin got into Meadows’ face. “You just do what we tell you. You’re getting a huge fee for this.”


“Speaking of money, when am I going to see some of it. You’ve not even paid me my retainer yet. If you expect me to continue, I’m going to have to have my $2,500 retainer fee or I’ll be forced to withdraw from this case.”


Mr. Martin glared at him. “Listen, you’re in this as deep as we are.”


Meadows got worried when he heard that. “Just what the hell are you talking about?”


Mrs. Martin got real close to Meadows. “Listen sweetie, if you want to keep that precious law license, you’ll do exactly as we say. Now, do you have a printer like my husband asked you?”


Meadows closed his briefcase. “Come on, there’s one in my car.”


The 3 of them left the courtroom as Mrs. Martin glared at us. “Ike, something feels rotten here.”


Ike was looking through JC’s medical files. “I’m glad Liam is coming, I can’t make heads or tales out of some of this.”


JC came around the rail and looked into the files. He thumbed through both files then snatched a piece of paper out of one. “God damn them.”


I stepped over the rail and looked at the paper. “Well I’ll be damned, this is the original of the letter they signed giving Moore carte blanche to do what ever he wanted to JC.”


Ike looked at it. “I don’t think they had molestation in mind when they gave this to them.”


JC was fighting back tears. “I wouldn’t be too sure about that Uncle Ike. Nothing they do any more surprises me. If they win, so help me god I’ll run away and no one will ever find me.”


I put my hands on JC’s shoulders. “Now you listen to me right now young man, don’t you talk like that.”


Ike lifted his chin up and looked him right into the eyes. “Jerry’s right son, if push comes to shove, I’ll take custody of you. I am, after all, your blood kin and I’m sure they don’t know that.”


JC smiled, “That’s right. I’m sorry I got angry.”


I wrapped him into a tight hug then kissed him on the cheek. “You damn perv.”


I looked up and the 3 of them were back. Just then I heard another voice. “I’d watch the slanderous comments if I were you.”


I looked up and there stood Liam. Ike went over and shook his hand. “I’m glad you got here Liam. I need you to help me make sense of these files.”


Ike went over and talked with the Bailiff then returned to us. A few seconds later a voice boomed out. “All rise; this court is once again in session.”


Judge Gould came out of his chambers then sat down and banged his gavel. “I’ve been told Dr. Finch is now in the courtroom.”


Ike stood, “Yes he is Your Honor.”


Judge Gould nodded his head. “Mrs. Martin, would you retake the stand? Remember you’re still under oath.”


She walked over and took her seat. “I’m telling the truth Judge.”


I could tell she wasn’t happy. “You may continue Mr. Fletcher.”


Ike approached the witness. “Mrs. Martin, you say that Dr. Finch did not follow your instructions.”


“That’s right. I gave him specific instructions on how JC was to be treated.”


Ike’s demeanor changed as soon as those words left her mouth. “Tell me lady, when did you get your degree in medicine?”




Judge Gould banged his gavel, “Over ruled. Answer the question Mrs. Martin.”


Mrs. Martin puffed her chest out. “I know my rights. I can tell him to do what ever I SEE FIT.”


Ike was fuming. “Does that include allowing someone to physically and sexually abuse your son?”


Meadows stood again, “OBJECTION, No foundation, here-say. Where’s his proof?”


Ike handed the original of the letter to Judge Gould. “Right here Your Honor. This is a notarized letter signed by both parents giving Dr. Moore carte blanche to do anything he wanted. Now, if you will look at JC, you’ll see a bruise on the side of his face. This was caused my Dr. Moore yesterday.”


Judge Gould was fit to be tied. “Mr. Meadows, your objection is over ruled. Mrs. Martin, just what do you have to say for yourself.”


She was in it up to her ears and she quickly had to distance herself from Dr. Moore. “I never gave him permission to do that.”


This played right into Ike’s hands. “If it pleases the court, I have proof to the contrary.”


Meadows went to stand but thought better of it. “Go on Mr. Fletcher.”


Liam handed him a video tape. “This video was taken via closed circuit security cameras. Would the Bailiff kindly lower the lights?”


The Bailiff closed the blinds and rolled a TV over and set it in front of the courtroom. Judge Gould came down from his seat and pulled up a chair so he could watch the monitor. “Proceed Mr. Fletcher.”


Ike started the tape and narrated. “This was taken out in the hall. As you can see, Dr. Moore has a firm grip on JC’s arm.”


The tape played and everyone could hear Dr. Moore’s  comments. I looked over at Meadows and he was sinking into his seat trying to find a way out of the courtroom. Ike continued. “As you can see now, JC managed to pull away from the doctor then he was ordered to strip. As soon as he questioned him, you’ll see him getting slapped across the face.”


We watched the rest of the tape and Judge Gould was fuming. “Mrs. Martin, I hold you and your husband directly responsible for the bruising on your son’s face. Mr. Fletcher, do you have any more questions for this witness?”


Ike thought for a moment. “Just 1 more Your Honor. Why did you have Dr. Moore change the chemo therapy?”


She looked at Ike. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


Ike went into the second file and pulled out a page. “This is a telephone order written by Dr. Moore. It says to change the chemo solution to normal saline.”


She puffed her chest out. “I had no idea.”


Judge Gould interrupted her. “I must remind you Mrs. Martin, you are under oath and I will not hesitate to charge you with perjury.”


She remained adamant. “I had no idea what he was doing.”


Ike looked at her. “Mrs. Martin, I can have Dr. Moore brought over from the county jail if necessary.”


The woman thought for a minute. “I hereby invoke my right against self incrimination.”


Judge Gould had heard enough. “A wise idea lady, take your seat. Mr. Meadows, do you have any more credible witnesses?”


Meadows was in a real bind. The only thing he could hope for was to discredit me. “Not at this time Your Honor.”


The Judge looked over to Ike. “You may call your next witness Mr. Fletcher.”


Ike stood then came over to JC and me. “One moment if you please Your Honor. Jerry, I’ve produced more than ample evidence of their unfitness. I’m going to rest our case and make Meadows dig himself out of the hole I’ve dumped him into.”


I looked over to JC. “She sure clammed up when she saw the tape.”


“OK Ike, you’re the lawyer. If you think you’ve got enough to put this to rest then go for it.”


Ike turned around and looked at Meadows then over to the judge. “Your Honor, we rest our case.”


Judge Gould nodded his head. “Very well Mr. Fletcher. “Mr. Meadows call your next witness.”


Mr. Meadows looked like a fish out of water. He didn’t know what to do. “Umm Your Honor, I call that man over there.”


He was pointing to me. Ike stood and shook his head, “Objection, he’s JC’s legal guardian.”


The Judge looked at Meadows. “What’s the reason for this?”


“I’ve just had some evidence come to my attention about this man.”


The judge looked at him cautiously. “Who brought this evidence to your attention?”


“It was sent to me anonymously,” Meadows said softly.


“Anonymously?” The judge asked glaring.


“Yes Your Honor,” Meadows replied firmly.


The judge looked over at me. “Very well Mr. Miles, please take the stand.”


I came through the rail and then was sworn in. I hadn’t had a chance to sit down when the questions started. “Please state your name for the record.”


I sat down then glared at him. “My name is Jerry Miles.”


Meadows stood and walked towards me. “Oh yeah, prove it!”


Ike stood, “Objection, Mr. Miles is not on trial here.”


Meadows looked at Ike. “Well maybe he should be.”


Judge Gould banged his gavel, “Sustained. Watch it Mr. Meadows.”


Meadows continued. “Isn’t your real name Billy Couch?”


“OBJECTION,’ Ike shouted.


“Sustained,” Judge Gould said. “That will cost you $200.00.”


Meadows glared at the judge then walked over to his briefcase. “It’s been brought to my attention that this person is none other than one Billy Couch.”


He walked over and handed something to Ike and then up to the judge. The judge was glaring at me. Ike was standing there with his mouth hanging open. “15 minute recess please.”


The judge looked at the paper, “You have 10.”


He banged his gavel then stormed off the bench. “All rise.”


I all but ran out of the witness box. “What the hell is going on?”


Ike handed me the paper and now it was my turn for my mouth to hang open. JC looked at the paper and started to cower away from me. “Wh… who the hell are you?”


I was just staring at the paper. “This isn’t me guys. I’ve never so much as had a parking ticket.”


Tears were falling from my eyes. Ike wrapped his arm around my boy. “JC, I believe Jerry. What does your heart tell you?”


He looked up at me and I had been reduced to a babbling baby. “Son, I’ve never lied to you.”


JC eased over and wrapped his arms around me. He stood on this toes and kissed me on the cheek. “I believe you too now let me see that.”


He looked at it. “This is a good fake.”


Just then the Judge came out of his chambers. “This court is again in session. Mr. Miles please take the stand. Mr. Meadows, you may continue.”


Meadows reached into his briefcase and pulled out something else. Walking over to Ike and then to the Judge, he handed them something else then came over to me. “Mr. Couch.”


“OBJECTION,’ Ike shouted.


“Sustained,” the Judge said. “That will cost you 2 days in jail. One more time, I’ll make my ruling. Do we understand each other?”


“As you wish Your Honor,” Meadows said. “Mr. Miles, please tell us who is in this picture?”


I looked at the photo he handed me and I almost vomited. I looked at JC and his head was looking between both photos. I looked over at the Martin’s and they were giggling. JC looked over at them then bolted up. “THAT’S NOT MY DAD YOU LYING SON OF A BITCH!”


Judge Gould banged his gavel, “Order in the court. Young man, sit down right now.”


Ike pulled on JC’s arm but he pulled it away and ran towards his parents. “I’ll not sit down. You lousy bastard, I thought I recognized your laptop.”


The Judge started banging his gavel. “Order now, Mr. Fletcher if you don’t get him under control I’ll have him removed from the court.”


JC stared at the Judge. “FINE JUDGE, believe those liars but.”


Ike got over to JC and quickly covered his mouth as he leaned down to his ear and whispered something into it. JC looked up at him then smiled. He wrapped his arms around Ike’s neck. “Thanks Uncle Ike.”


Just then the Bailiff came out of the Judge’s chambers and handed the judge a piece of paper. The judge looked at it then said something very quietly into the man’s ear. The Bailiff looked at him as the Judge nodded his head. The Bailiff walked off the bench and headed towards the Martins. He closed the lid on the laptop and brought it over to the Judge. Mr. Martin stood. “Hey, that’s my property. You have no right to touch it.”


The judge banged his gavel and started writing furiously. “Sit down Mr. Martin. Bailiff, please hand this to Mr. Martin. JC, you said this is your Dad’s laptop?”


JC stood and looked over at the man that adopted him. “I wouldn’t call him my Dad. He adopted me but he’s nothing like a Dad should be. Jerry’s been more of a Father and Dad.”


The Judge looked at Mr. Martin. “I understand son. Can you come up here and help me?”


Meadows looked at the photo then stared at me. As JC walked towards the bench, Meadows went over to Mr. Martin. “What the hell did you do?”


JC raised the lid on the laptop and started typing. The Judge looked over to Ike then at Mr. Meadows. “For the record, Billy Couch currently is a resident of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Mr. Meadows, tell me just where did you get your information from?”


Meadows looked at the Judge. “I’m sorry Your Honor, but that’s confidential.”


“Suit yourself,” Judge Gould replied looking over to me. “Mr. Miles, you have grounds for a slander suit against Mr. Meadows.”


JC clapped his hands together as the judge looked over at him. “Sorry sir, but I found what you’re looking for. My old man was never too bright.”


The judge looked at the files JC found. “Bailiff, please take Mr. and Mrs. Martin into custody. Now, Mr. Meadows, unless you want to be joining them, I’d start talking now.”


Mrs. Martin started ranting. “Meadows you better keep your mouth shut.”


Meadows looked at the judge. “Your Honor, I’m not getting disbarred. I had no idea what they were up to. During the first recess I allowed Mr. Martin to use my printer. After that, he handed me an envelope telling me he did some research on Mr. Miles.”


The Judge looked at the Martin’s. “I see. Mr. Martin, if you’re going to use someone’s photo, you should make sure they don’t have a fresh cut on their face. Now, Mr. Fletcher, please tell the court how you became involved in this case.”


Ike stood and cleared his throat. “Well Your Honor, I’m the attorney handling the trust of Mr. JC Martin. My sister set this up for him when her daughter put her infant son up for adoption.”


Mrs. Martin just didn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. “So you think you can get your hands on his money.”


Ike turned around and glared at her. “No lady not at all. I get an annual fee for handling the trust, that’s all. I’m not about to steal from my Great Nephew. You’ve sat in here and lied through your teeth. You claimed to have visited him every weekend but I had an affidavit from the hospital’s social worker who said you never once came there to see him. The only thing you want is to get your hands on his trust. You did everything in your power to see to it his disease would kill him but I interceded on his behalf. Dr. Finch has aggressively treated him and his prognosis is excellent for full remission. Your Honor, Jerry Miles loves JC. He’s been there for him these past few days and he says he’s more than willing to be his legal guardian until JC reaches his majority.”


Judge Gould looked at JC. “Is this what you want?”


JC smiled at me and started nodding his head. “Oh yeah, I want that more than anything.”


Vikki twisted away from the Bailiff. “Oh yeah, you’d like that you little ungrateful brat.”


I was still in the witness box and I saw JC starting to lose it. I got up and stood in front of the steps as he ran into my arms. I looked at her with contempt. “How could you say such a thing?”


She stared at me. “DO you know what it costs to raise a kid? Now add to that the fact he’s sick.”


Judge Gould banged his gavel. “That will be enough from you. I thought I’d heard it all during my time on the bench but you take the cake. You’re bringing money into this? You should have thought about that before you adopted him. Mr. Douglas Martin, you’re being charged with possession of child pornography, child neglect and endangering the welfare of a child. Mrs. Vikki Martin, you’re being charged with child neglect, endangering the welfare of a child and accessory to possession of child pornography after the fact. I’m also going to ask the District Attorney to see if there is sufficient evidence to charge you with attempted murder for intentionally withholding medical care for JC. The child pornography charge prohibits both of you from having any contact with anyone under the age of 18. There is sufficient evidence that the both of you are unfit to be parents so it is the order of this court that your parental rights be terminated. Bailiff, please escort the Martins’ to their new accommodations. Now, the only thing left is what is in the best interest of JC Martin.”


Ike stood after the Martins were led from the courtroom, “Your Honor, if I may?”


JC still had a tight grip around my neck as his sobs began to slow. I set him down so we could see the judge. “Mr. Fletcher, you are his Great Uncle so the court will definitely take your request under advisement.”


Ike came over and put his arms around us. “I just met Mr. Miles on Sunday but he’s totally devoted to JC. He wants to meet with his teachers about his studies because he doesn’t want to see JC fall behind. He’s also devoted to his treatment. He’s in for the long haul.”


JC looked at Judge Gould. “Your Honor, I know I wasn’t totally honest with Jerry when I met him.”


I wiggled out of the group hug and faced the judge. “Your Honor, I know what JC is trying to say. When we first met and he told me what was going on, I was somewhat skeptical. I know teens and their parents don’t always see eye to eye on things. But when he got off the train in Jacksonville when he went home, I saw first hand how his father treated him and I knew what he had told me was true. I’m sure you’re going to ask me what I know about raising kids and the answer is nothing but JC is far from a little kid. Yesterday was his 16th birthday. I know about the medication he needs when he gets sick on his stomach and I’ve had to administer one. The next thing you’ll want to know is can I support him. I’m not rich but I have money. I have a disability pension plus I won a lottery jackpot that pays me $5,000 a week for life. I’m not after JC’s trust. I may not be able to give him everything he wants but he’ll have everything he’ll need.”


Ike stepped back up. “Your Honor, I don’t think in good conscience that it would be right to separate JC and Jerry. It’s my recommendation that the temporary custody order be amended to a permanent custody order.”


The judge sat there in silence for what seemed an eternity. I would shift my gaze from him to Ike then back to the judge. When it seemed I would have to scream to vent my frustration I heard him clear his throat. “This is probably one of the most unusual cases I’ve ever presided over. JC, you’ve been through a lot and having to go through this alone is beyond my comprehension as to your parents actions. This court apologizes to you for that. Mr. Miles, you have a definite bond with JC but you two coming together is quite sudden in this court’s eyes.”


That last statement was like a punch in the nuts. It really knocked the wind from my sails. JC wrapped his arms around my waist and I could see him fighting back tears when he looked at the judge. “But Your Honor, I love Jerry and I know he loves me.”


Ike was going to speak when the judge waved his hand. “I understand that son but there is more than that for me to consider.”


Ike could see JC starting to get upset so he stepped in behind him and wrapped my arms around his chest. “What more is there to consider?” JC asked. “You mean because Jerry’s single? That don’t mean squat to me. I had 2 parents and look what they did to me. They tried to let me die just so they could get their hands on my money. If that’s the case, why don’t you go in and remove every kid from single parent homes. Oh that’s right, they’re black and Hispanic and they get special treatment. They holler discrimination and everybody starts bending over backwards to kiss their ass.”


I quickly slapped my hand over JC’s mouth and leaned down to his ear before he dug himself into a hole Fire Rescue couldn’t get him out of. “That’s just enough young man.”


JC looked up at me with tears rolling down his face. “I, I’m s so sorry J… Jerry. I just can’t take anymore. If I can’t be with you I might as well just go back to the hospital and die. Life just isn’t worth living”


I spun him around lifting his chin up so I could look in the eyes. “Life isn’t worth living?”


He shook his head. “No, without you it’s not. I’ve known you 1 week and spent a total of about 48 hours with you and in that time, you’ve shown me more love and attention than I’ve received from my own damn parents in the last 2 years. So if I have to continue to be alone, I might as well be dead.”


My heart was breaking as I listened to his words but it was hard to argue with the fact he’d been forced to go through his treatments then life at home alone. I looked at the Judge and summoned all my courage. “Your Honor, if you’re planning on removing JC from me, I’ll use everything in my power to get your ruling overturned. Mr. Fletcher is the boy’s great uncle and as such his only known kin, he does have some say in this matter.”


I then saw the old man break out into a smile. “I see this young man truly has an advocate in his corner. As I said before, I can’t dismiss the fact that you 2 have only recently met and JC did trick you into getting you to care for him.”


I was forced to interrupt him. “All he had to do was pick up the phone and call me. I would have gladly cut my trip short to go and get him so, to me, that’s a moot point.”


The judge nodded his head. “That may be true but you’ve only known each other 48 hours.”


I was about to speak again when he waved his hand so I knew I had better hold my tongue when Ike stepped forward holding something in his hand. “Your Honor, I beg you to look at this.”


The judge motioned him forward. He looked at what Ike handed him. “I have to admit that during the goings on I didn’t hear that yesterday was JC’s 16th birthday. I’m more than aware of his wishes so it is the ruling of this court that Mr. Miles’ legal guardianship become permanent.”


JC jumped into my arms and broke into tears. He turned around looking at the judge. “Thank you Your Honor.”


Judge Gould smiled. “Mr. Miles, I know you’re going to have your hands full. I know you have no idea what JC’s treatments are going to do to him physically and mentally. I know first hand that chemotherapy treatments will cause him to become violently ill with bouts of vomiting.”


I nodded my head. “I’m already aware of that. I’ve had to administer his medication to him once already. I’m also not afraid to call Dr. Finch should I have any questions or problems. JC’s health is my only concern.”


Judge Gould smiled nodding his head. “That’s good Mr. Miles, I’m glad to hear it.


The judge made some notations on JC’s file then looked at the Bailiff. “Please escort Mr. and Mrs. Martin back into the courtroom.”


A few minutes later Mr. Martin and Miss Congeniality were standing in front of Judge Gould. “Here they are Your Honor.”


“Your parental rights have formally been removed and JC is no longer your child. He’s in the permanent custody of Mr. Miles. Now, he has property that belongs to him and it WILL be returned to him.”


JC looked up at the judge. “Sir, I have a key to the house.”


Mrs. Martin turned around and looked at the boy. “Nothing in that house belongs to you, you ungrateful brat.”


The judge banged his gavel. “Silence! Things that were given to him ARE his property. JC, can I trust you to take what is yours and only yours?”


JC nodded his head. “Yes sir, I’ve managed to pack almost all of my clothes.”


Mr. Martin tried to be cute. “Your Honor, I’m not taking the fall for those photos on my computer on my own. Where do you think they came from?”


I turned and looked at JC and he was glaring at Mr. Martin. “Nice try you bastard. Judge, I’m not into that garbage and there’s no way it’s on my computer. My computer is password protected even though he’s networked them together. In order for him to get into it, he’s got to know the password and it changes after each time I use it.”


JC was smiling from ear to ear as his father’s plan backfired in his face. The judge looked at JC. “What items are left that you want JC?”


JC looked up at me then pulled my head down. “I love my computer but I don’t want it because they gave it to me. That’s the only thing on any importance to me.”


“What about the files that are on it?”


I could see him thinking. “I forgot about those. Can we get it then?”


I kissed him on top of the head. “Sure can son.”


He stood up straight. “Sir, the only thing I want is my PC. I have a few personal photos and some clothes left but that’s about it.”


“Very well, I’ll write a court order giving Jerry Miles permission to take possession of JC Martin’s personal computer and the photographs he wants. You can take this custody order to his school and get his school records so he can be enrolled in this county.”


The judge signed the order and handed it to Ike. Just then Vikki shot her mouth off again. “Just you go ahead and try to take anything. I’ll use my phone call to call a friend.”


Judge Gould looked at her. “I wouldn’t recommend that. If I have to I’ll contact the Jacksonville Police Department and have the locks changed.”


Mr. Martin looked at his wife. “Look, let the brat get his shit out of there then we’ll be done with him.”


JC was devastated. “Dad, can we get out of here?”


I looked at Ike and then to the judge. “Your Honor, is there any more business? My son has taken all he can from those two.”


The judge nodded his head. “You have the court order and my clerk will notiSfy the Jacksonville Police Department that you will need an officer to escort you when you and your son get his property. Mr. and Mrs. Martin, you’ve tried to destroy a young man’s life because of money but you will pay the price for it. JC, you will be in my thoughts and prayers as you continue to undergo your chemo therapy. Mr. Miles, I know you’ll be good to him. May you both have many years of happiness together. This court is adjourned.”

To be continued...


Posted: 05/23/08