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Ron was sitting in his office, making notes for Visiting Day tomorrow.
He had a small pile of papers for Brian to look over, including information about literary agents and editors for his finished manuscript. They also needed to discuss exactly how they were going to handle the final editing of the 'New Yorker' excerpts.
If the authorities got wind of what was going on, they would immediately put a halt to it, so Ron had to be careful. Most of the material was passing through Amy Carver by way of Justin, without Ron being involved in any way. That was the way Ron liked it. If Amy or the kid was caught smuggling Brian's edited copy out of Stanton, they couldn't connect it to Ron or prove that he had known about it, and so they wouldn't stop Ron's access to Brian.
However, this was legal stuff. There were contracts that needed to be signed before anything else could go ahead. So Ron had to take the chance. In his earlier, more reckless days, he simply would have forged Brian's signature, but Brian wouldn't put up with that kind of thing. He might even balk about publishing the manuscript even more than he already was. And Ron couldn't take the chance that Brian would pass up his greatest opportunity to get a new trial.
Yes, that was what Ron was ultimately hoping for. Julie and John were certain that, given the right judge and a lot of favorable publicity, Brian would get a shot at a new trial. A year ago it had seemed an impossibility, but now....
It could happen. It could actually happen.
Ron looked up to see his wife, Jane, standing in the doorway.
"Did you make those brownies?" asked Ron. "Brian seems sick of the cookies. Julie gave me that brownie recipe and she says it's quite good."
Jane didn't smile. She stared at Ron instead. "Speaking of Julie -- she's here."
"Julie? Here?" Ron raised his eyebrows. "Well, send her up!" It must be something very important for Julie to come to the house.
Ron's wife walked back downstairs and a moment later his colleague, Julie, came bounding into Ron's office. The woman was always full of such enthusiasm, both in the office and out of it. And in the sack, too. She was one of Ron's regular female fucks and also one of his favorites. Julie liked sex and she understood that with Ron there were no strings attached. They both understood that. And that made the sex easy-going and hot.
"Ronnie!" Julie said, breathlessly. "I just came from seeing my source in the Prosecutor's Office."
Ron jumped to his feet. "Something about Brian? Did they track down that bastard that seduced and framed him?"
"No, Ronnie," said Julie. "Sorry. This is about Jim Stockwell. They took him into custody tonight, less than an hour ago. They put the cuffs on him and took him downtown. It hasn't hit the news yet!"
Ron's mouth flapped open. "I knew they were going to indict him, but why arrest him? I thought he was going to cooperate with the authorities?"
"This is beyond just some campaign irregularities and pay-offs in the Prosecutor's Office, Ron," said Julie, gleefully. "This may be about murder."
"Shit!" said Ron. "That partner of his when he was a cop, right? And that murdered hustler!"
"Yes!" said Julie. "Someone who knows something squealed! It's going to be big and it's going to be nasty, Ron."
"Okay," said Ron, sitting back down behind the desk and motioning Julie to sit down next to him. "How is this going to affect our little drug case who is celling with Brian?"
"I'm not certain," said Julie. "But the truth is that once one guy caves and begins singing his stool pigeon's song about Stockwell's dirty deeds, I'm willing to bet that others will follow. Stockwell made a lot of enemies in his varied career."
"That's for certain!" Ron snorted.
Julie nodded. "If we can establish that there were enough irregularities in the way that Stockwell pursued the Justin Taylor case, that he had a political motive behind his targeting of Taylor, and that he particularly wanted the kid to get a harsh sentence in order to look like a big law-and-order guy, then I think we can find a judge willing to look the sentence over. Maybe even vacate the entire thing. Then the kid could be outside and free as a bird 10 minutes later!"
"Julie, you are a fucking treasure!" Ron grinned.
"I know am I," she replied smugly. "I knew you'd be pleased, Ron. And Justin Taylor's mommy should be very, very grateful for all you've done for her widdle baby boy!"
Julie guffawed at her little joke. Ron screwing the kid's hapless mother was a standing joke in the office at the Prisoners' Legal Defense. It wasn't exactly ethical, but it was funny as hell. Everyone knew that Ronnie would stick his dick in anything that moved, especially since he couldn't get near the one person he really wanted to fuck -- his ex-cellmate, Brian Kinney. And Jennifer Taylor was completely in the dark about Ronnie's true motives. But Julie wasn't. No, not at all.
"What are you going to tell Brian about this, Ron?" Julie asked. "I assume that you're going out to Stanton to visit him tomorrow."
"Of course," said Ron. "But I don't want to get Brian's hopes up. Let's take this one step at a time. However, I'm willing to bet that the kid will be out before Thanksgiving. Maybe even sooner."
Yes, thought Ron. And he'd have to get to work on Jennifer. She had been thinking of moving to Chicago and starting over after her divorce became final. If her son got out of prison she would have even more of a reason to leave town and begin a new life. The kid could go back to college. And Ron could use his connections to find Jennifer a job. Chicago was far enough away to get both of them out of his hair. And to get the kid out of Brian's life -- for good.
Soon. So soon. Ron closed his eyes. And then he'd concentrate on getting Baby out. Maybe a year from now it would be a reality. He'd have Brian all to himself. His Baby. His.
Ron licked his lips. He could almost taste it.
Flashback to February 1970
Ron stepped back and turned away.
He felt like shit. He WAS a shit!
He tossed the belt on the floor and kicked it under the bottom bunk.
Teaching Brian a lesson had seemed like a good idea while he was doing it, but once it was over and Ron looked at the boy cowering on the floor in the corner of their cell, all Ron could think about was seeing Brian in Cisco's cell, also cowering on a concrete floor. Also shaking after a beating. Also hiding his face so no one could see him crying.
So what was the big fucking difference between Ron and Cisco? Ron had thought the two men were worlds apart, but not anymore. Maybe it was prison that had done it. Or maybe it was the mindset of jocker culture. But it had definitely happened -- Ron had resorted to violence. He had lashed out at his punk for daring to cross the forbidden line over into Ron's personal life. Brian had written a letter to Ron's wife, Jane, detailing the relationship between Ron and Brian. And that was unforgivable.
Or Ron had thought it was unforgivable. Until he had looked at the belt in his hand. And then at the boy shivering on the cell floor.
"Brian?" said Ron. "Are you all right?"
But the kid didn't answer.
Ron couldn't stay in that small space with Brian any longer. He had to get out. Get some air. Clear his head.
"I'll be back in a little while, Brian. I have work to do," he said abruptly. He didn't wait to hear if there was an answer
Ron walked out, heading for the Law Library.
Brian didn't move from his spot on the floor.
He'd fucked up in a big way and there was no way to take it all back. Ron had beaten him. And he had deserved to be beaten. Brian tried to imagine what Ron's wife had thought when she read Brian's letter. Tried to imagine what Ron and his wife had said to each other during those 48 hours in the trailer. No wonder Ron was furious! No wonder the man had gotten out his belt and used it on his betraying, lying punk.
Brian ached all over. But even more than his body hurt, his heart hurt. He'd fucked up. He would always fuck up. No wonder he always ended up beaten down. On the floor. Kicked by the ones who should love him the most. By the ones who he loved the most.
Brian shut his eyes tightly. He pulled his knees up under his chin and leaned against the wall of the cell. Maybe he could make himself invisible. Maybe he could simply disappear and never be seen again in the Quad. Or anywhere else. He would just dissolve and no longer exist, like sugar dissolved in a cup of hot coffee. Or like ice melted away in the spring and was forgotten.
Brian looked up. There was a husky man standing in the doorway of the cell. Ron must have left it open when he walked out. Ron must have forgotten his own most important rule -- never leave the cell door unlocked. Because you never know who might walk in. Or what they might want.
The man stepped forward. He was a new inmate, a short-term jocker in for assault and battery. He had followed Brian around the Yard and the Gym a few times until Ron warned him away. But Brian knew that the man was watching him. And now he was in their cell.
"Get out of here!" shouted Brian, pressing himself against the wall. But he was backed into a corner. He'd put himself in that corner and there was nowhere else to go. "My old man is coming right back in a minute!"
But the jocker grinned and shook his head. "Your daddy went off the tier. I watched him go down the stairs. I also heard him beating on you. The whole tier heard it. You been a bad boy? Is that why he kicked your ass?"
"That's none of your fucking business!" said Brian, trying to sound tough. "Get out of here!"
"Maybe you'll be looking for a new daddy soon, you think?" the jock laughed. "Maybe you'd like to hook up with me, Baby? You're a pretty one. I can take good care of you. Better than that mealy-mouthed lawyer."
"Go away!" Brian cried.
He was trying not to panic. If this guy only wanted a piece of him, then there was nothing he could do about it except give it up.
But what if what the guy said was true? What if Ron really did want to get rid of him? Maybe he no longer wanted a punk he couldn't trust. Then Brian would be up for grabs. And this guy seemed to be the first in line.
The jocker undid his belt and opened up his workpants. He had a fat, uncut prick that poked out of his fly like a disfigured weapon.
"How about you get acquainted with my dick, Baby?" said the jock. "I want to know what I'll be getting. I heard that you got a mouth as smooth and sweet as vanilla pudding. I want to see if what they say is true."
The inmate moved up to Brian and took a handful of the boy's dark hair in his calloused hand, pushing his head back. And then he shoved his hard prick in Brian's tear-stained face.
Flashback to February 1970
Ron had been headed for the Law Library, but he found himself in the Canteen instead.
He had a lot of credit saved up for commissary goods. His wife, Jane, sent him most of the personal products he needed, so Ron only used his Law Library salary draw at the Canteen when he ran out of something. And Brian rarely asked for anything for himself, unlike some punks, who were constantly after their jockers to buy them candy or soda or cigarettes.
There was a display of candy bars by the checkout counter. Kit Kat bars. Brian liked those. At Christmas Ron had let the kid go down and pick out treats from the Canteen, using Ron's credit. Ron remembered that he'd brought back some Kit Kat bars. That had surprised Ron because Brian wasn't usually that interested in food. But he'd gobbled down the chocolate wafers happily.
Ron took a handful of the Kit Kats, a couple of cartons of cigarettes, and a small bottle of baby shampoo up to the counter. These things wouldn't make up for hitting Baby, but at least they would show that Ron was sorry. It wasn't as if they had greeting cards designed especially for inmates that voiced sentiments such as, 'Dear Punk -- I didn't mean to beat you up -- Your Daddy.' Maybe they should have such a thing. Brian would find that idea funny and they could have a good laugh together over it. Then things would be back to normal.
At least Ron hoped they would be back to normal.
Ron went back up to the third tier with his goods
"Hey, Mr. R.," said one of the older guys hanging out in front of the Rec Room. "I'd get my ass back to your cell if I was you. But you didn't hear it from me, okay?"
"What do you mean?" asked Ron. "What's wrong?"
"Just do it," said the man, seriously. Then he ducked back into the Rec Room.
Ron hurried down to the end of the tier where E-320 was located. The door of the cell was wide open. And Ron realized that he had left without locking it.
"Shit," breathed Ron.
There was a man in the cell. Ron could only see his back, but it was obvious what he was doing.
"You just made the biggest fucking mistake of your pathetic life, asshole!" Ron yelled.
"Fuck," said the other inmate, turning around. He had his dick out. Ron wished that he carried a shank so that he could cut it off.
"Yes, 'fuck'!" said Ron darkly. "I'm going to make sure that you are so screwed you're never going to get unscrewed! I'll arrange for someone to mess you up so badly that you'll be even uglier than you are now. And I'll fix it that you spend so much time in the Hole that you'll forget what daylight looks like."
"Shit," mumbled the inmate, stuffing his prick back into his workpants. He never imagined that the fucking lawyer would be back so soon. The lawyer wasn't a big guy, but he had plenty of connections. The rumor was that Rosenblum had once lawyered for the Mob and that the Wise Guys in Philly still owed him favors. The big inmate didn't doubt that the fucking shark could make his short-time seem long and miserable. But he'd been so fucking horny -- and the punk was so fucking pretty! So he took the chance. And he blew it. "Just let me finish, dude! I'll pay you what the kid is worth! I fucking swear!"
"You swear? Fuck you!" Ron shouted. "There's not enough credit or swag in this entire prison to equal what my kid is worth! But if you've done anything to hurt him, I swear that I'll see to it that you never use that pitiful excuse for a dick again as long as you live!" he threatened.
"I didn't hurt him," the inmate insisted, lamely. "He invited me in here."
Ron looked beyond the other man to where Brian was curled up on the floor of the cell, his long, beautiful fingers covering his face.
"That's a lie, you bastard!" said Ron. "And that means another strike against you. First you invade my cell, then you mess with my punk, and now you lie about him. You better ask for a transfer over to the South Wing the minute you walk out of this room -- or else I'll make certain they send you somewhere that's ten times worse!"
The hulking inmate beat it out of the cell. A bunch of jockers from the tier and their punks had gathered outside of Ron's cell to observe the show. They all laughed as they watched the new guy flee back to his own cell like he was really afraid of the lawyer.
Ron went to the door and glared at the loitering men. "Anyone who thinks that was funny can kiss my ass! And don't come crawling to me when you need my services, because I'll fuck you all up big time! Do you hear me, you vultures?"
The men turned away from the lawyer's eyes. Almost every one of them had a case pending or a parole hearing coming up. And without Ron's expertise, things could go badly for them. Very badly.
"And if I catch anyone near my cell, or so much as breathing in Baby's direction, there will be hell to pay! Got it?" Ron added. "And I'm not fucking kidding!"
Ron went back into the cell and locked the door behind him.
"Come on, Baby," he said, holding out his hand to the kid. "It's okay."
Brian took Ron's hand and got to his feet unsteadily. Ron sat the boy down on the edge of the bottom bunk and pulled Brian's baggy tee shirt off over his head. There were a couple of welts on his back and his upper arms where the belt had hit him, but nothing too serious. Ron had been striking out more in anger and frustration than actually trying to inflict any damage on the kid, so his blows had been mainly hit or miss. But the real damage wasn't on Brian's body. It was in his head.
"I'm sorry," whispered Ron, wiping Brian's swollen mouth with the tee shirt. "For what happened in here."
"You left the door unlocked," said Brian, softly. "And he walked right in. There was nothing I could do!"
"I know, Baby," said Ron. Fighting back was not an option for a punk against a jocker, even a strange jocker. Brian might have gotten his ribs broken or his pretty face bashed in. The kid had learned that lesson the hard way in the low-riders' tip. "It wasn't your fault. I should have locked the door. But I was so fucking angry that I wasn't thinking when I walked out of here."
"I know," said Brian. "You were angry at me."
"No," admitted Ron. "Angry at myself. For what I'd done to you. I had no right to hit you. No right to hurt you, Baby."
"Yes, you did," said the boy. "I sent that letter. I did it. I wanted to make your wife mad so that she'd divorce you."
"It's all right," Ron replied. "She's not going to divorce me. I explained to her the way things are in here. And she'll just have to accept it." Ron paused. "And accept you."
"You mean... you aren't going to get rid of me?" said Brian, incredulously. "You still want me around?" He almost couldn't believe it.
"Of course I want you around." Ron pulled back the blanket from the bunk. "Lie down here and I'll take care of you."
Brian lay down on his stomach while Ron got a towel and wet it at the sink. He wiped the traces of blood off the kid's back. The marks would be gone in a few days and all of this would be forgotten. But Ron could still see the round scars on his back from where Cisco and his goons had burned Brian's tender skin with their cigarettes. Those were taking longer to fade, if they ever did completely.
Ron leaned over and kissed the marks, gently. The kid sighed.
"Baby, you know that... that I...I...." But Ron stopped.
He couldn't say it. Even though he was feeling it, he couldn't say the words out loud. It was one thing to be in prison and fuck a punk or even have strong feelings for a punk. Yes, even to love the kid. But saying that out loud -- that was crossing the line. That was no longer being a man. That was something only a real faggot would say. And Ron was no faggot. He was just a regular guy who happened to have Baby. Who happened to want Baby. And love Baby. But that didn't mean anything outside of this cell.
Ron took off his clothes and got into the bunk next to the kid.
"I'll make it up to you, Baby," he promised, stroking Brian's smooth skin. "I brought you that candy that you like. Okay? And I won't hit you anymore. I swear."
Baby clung to his jock desperately. "I don't care if you hit me, just don't get rid of me! Please! Don't put me out in the Yard! Don't abandon me!"
"I won't," whispered Ron.
He reached for the small container of Vaseline that he kept in a niche in the cell wall. He slicked himself up and then eased himself slowly into the boy. Even after all that had happened to Brian in the South Wing, and as many times as they'd fucked, the kid was still as tight as a vice. And his ass felt like nothing else in the world.
Brian gasped with both pain and pleasure. He was safe now. Safe. Finally.
"You'll always belong to me, Baby," Ron breathed against Brian's ear. "Always. Don't worry. I'll never abandon you. And I'll never let you go. Never."
Posted June 22, 2005.