Even though Josh had gone to bed early, he did not welcome the wake-up call. Nevertheless, he showered, shaved, got dressed and was in Alex's room at six fifteen. As he walked in he heard Mary Beth laugh and ask, "Whassup? You want to know whassup? Lots happening here this morning. One thing that's happening is you're not having breakfast, Mr. Bledsoe." As he reached for the water pitcher, she smacked his hand and said, "And dear, sweet boy, no more water until after your examination. Dr. Avery grabbed a slot for an operating room and remembered I was a registered anesthesiologist nurse, so your examination is scheduled for six forty-five."
"Good. I'll be glad to get that out of the way early."
"I'm sure you will."
The words were barely out of her mouth when a man in green scrubs came in, handed her two packets and left. "It's the special antibacterial soap. You know the drill from last night. I have a clean gown for you, Alex, and scrubs for you, Josh. When you finish, use the fresh towels, then come stand on the mat outside the bathroom door. I'll make sure you are properly dried and help you get dressed."
After they showered, they were dried, dressed and their feet covered in paper booties with Mary Beth's help. While they showered, she had changed the bed and now got Alex in it and had Josh sit on a fresh blanket covering the recliner. A few minutes later, Dr. Avery arrived. "Alex, if I were doing this with you awake, I'd go into detail, as it is I'll only tell you as much as you want to know."
"I know all I want to know," he responded.
"Then that's the way it will be. Josh will be in the room with you and the whole procedure will be over and you back here in half an hour, forty-five minutes. You'll actually not be completely out during the exam. I can't put you out completely because I'll need you to do some things, but you'll just be awake enough to hear and respond to what I say. The rest of your brain will be in happy land. You'll remember nothing, I can assure you. You won't be fully awake until noon or so and I should have the reports back by late afternoon except for the cultures. After that, you can make some informed decisions, ok?"
"Onward and upward, Doc."
"Josh, if you push his bed, there'll not be an underpaid orderly for the media to bribe."
"Then let's get the show on the road."
Before they left, Mary Beth took two bottles from her pocket, filled syringes and, as she injected the first in the IV line, said, "This will relax you." When she started injecting the second into the line she said, "and this one will make you almost as happy as showering with Josh, then you're off to dreamland." Before the last of the drug was in the line, a very relaxed Alex got a goofy grin on his face, one Josh hadn't seen in over seven long years. He was looking at Josh as his eyes slowly closed.
In the examining room, Dr. Avery said unless Josh was into medicine and all that, what was to follow would not be a pretty sight and if he liked, he could sit to one side and not watch, which he chose to do, but Josh finally realized he was watching anyway. After the doctor had done an examination of Alex's cock and balls, including a swab from just inside his cock, Alex was rolled over and the end of the table dropped so he was kneeling. Before the end was dropped, Dr. Avery said, "Alex, I'm going to drop the end of the table. You'll need to kneel for me. Just stay as you are from your hips up and rest your knees on the lower table." Josh was sure Alex was dead to the world, but he supported himself on his knees, his beautiful butt in the air.
Dr. Avery had two nurses spread Alex's cheeks and he examined Alex's ass, then used a device to open Alex's anus and took several swabs inside. Finally he used a scope to look around inside. He then put some stuff inside Alex and when he finished, he said, "Alex, the nurses will help you stand. Please stand." He did and they guided him to his bed and he lay down.
Josh wheeled Alex back to the room where Mary Beth got him tucked in and put a shot in his IV. "That will counteract the anesthesia, but he will be out a while. The gel Dr. Avery put in his rectum was a local anesthetic, otherwise he'd have a real sore butt, not that he won't be sore anyway, just not as sore. Well, Josh Taylor, CEO of Blankenship LLLP," she said after she had covered Alex and turned to me, "you must be a very happy camper this morning."
"I am a very happy camper this morning, but it has nothing to do with Blankenship. In fact, I haven't heard about or given much thought to Blankenship today. What happened?"
"Luca Soares announced Blankenship had signed a multi-million-dollar contract with the Taiwanese government."
"Way to go, Luc!" Josh said in an excited voice. "That confirms Blankenship is in good hands and I can focus on Alex getting well."
"You are going to be one very wealthy man before you are thirty," Dr. Avery said as he walked in.
"And I'll be investing much of it in throwaway kids, but how did the exam go, Doctor?"
"The exam itself went well. I'll be back to talk about the results this afternoon."
"When can he be released from here? I plan to fly him to Boulder where he will live with his grandmother whom he adores and she him. He can have his horse there and loves the area. I can't stay, but will be spending a lot of time there. Seems Luc has Blankenship well under control, thank God, and I can attend to a project in North Carolina where, I hope, Alex will be joining me soon."
"Unless something unexpected shows, I think he might be able go to Boulder in a couple or three weeks, but I'm not sure about the stress of a flight."
"There will be little stress. He'll leave here, board a plane and I'll fly him to Boulder."
"In that case, I'd say give him a week with good food and some exercise and, barring something unanticipated, he could be flown to Boulder. I will probably recommend he spend overnight in the hospital and go home late afternoon. If there are stairs involved, the Boulder doctor will need to evaluate him in that regard."
"There are stairs, but there is also a first-floor room, I'm sure. How long will he be in bed?"
"Well, he'll sleep in one and probably have an increasingly shorter afternoon nap for a week or two, but he needs to be up and getting as much exercise as he can without becoming overly tired. He also needs to eat well, both in quality and quantity. I'd say he should sign up with a good personal trainer two weeks after he reaches Boulder."
"Sounds better than I thought," Josh responded.
Sister Agnes had replaced Mary Beth, who said she would be back and bring dinner, but needed to get some rest since she had come in early. It was noon before Alex was awake and he was still pretty shaky. Sister Agnes asked Alex what he'd like for lunch. He grinned and said, "Two huge greasy hamburgers with tomato, lettuce, pickle, sharp cheese, mustard and mayonnaise, good fries and an ice-cold coke."
"Not exactly the diet I would recommend, but once in a while… when was the last time you had such?"
"Eight or so years ago."
"Then that's lunch. Josh and I will join in your decadence and I know just the place for huge, totally unhealthy hamburgers," she laughed. "You watch the boy and I'll go pick them up."
Alex asked Josh to continue his story of what had happened to him since they had been separated, and he told him about going back to Boulder and starting college a semester early and sketched the years he was there working on his degree. He was debating whether or not to tell him about his problem with someone going down on him, but before he made a decision, Sister Agnes arrived with four huge hamburgers—delicious hamburgers—so that would have to wait. One hamburger was certainly all Josh could handle, but Alex polished off a second one easily.
After lunch, Alex napped and Josh went to the hotel and also took a nap. Dick called him at one thirty and said the news plane would be leaving at two thirty. Josh took a quick shower and got dressed. He decided he'd not fool with the car, so he called a cab and arrived at the airport where he met Dick. He didn't want to get involved with any media people, so he latched onto the pilot to talk planes until they were ready to take off. When a reporter approached him shortly after takeoff, he told him any comments he had would be made at the news conference and he would appreciate not being bothered before. When the reporter refused to back off, Josh got up, walked over to Dick and said, "When we land, that's the end of the line for that joker."
"You're coming through loud and clear. I did remind all of them that we were all doing this as a courtesy to them, not to us."
"Where's Bull and June?"
"Bull said they wanted to donate some of their hard-earned cash to the starving slots in Vegas. They plan on staying over there for a couple days so they left Oakland and arrived there last night. They'll meet us at New Beginnings."
Everyone was finally assembled in the church at New Beginnings shortly before four. Dick opened the news conference by saying he and Mr. VanWinkle would answer any legal questions, Bull and Mr. VanWinkle would answer questions about finding New Beginnings, the two sheriffs would answer questions about the raid and Bull and Josh would answer questions about the clinic. Personal questions were generally off limits and all reserved the right to say 'no comment'.
"Too many restrictions," a reporter in the back called out.
"Then I guess you want to leave," Bull said. "Come to think of it, I don't see your card." Those who signed the contract had been given large bright orange tags as a pass to the conference. Two deputies walked over to the man who started arguing with them and didn't stop when they carried him out of the room.
As the allotted hour was drawing to a close, a brassy blond called out, "Mr. Taylor, it is my understanding that this entire operation had only one goal and that was to rescue your gay lover who was in the clinic. Can you assure the people of Utah that the resources of this state were not devoted to preserving the perverted and disgusting lifestyle you have chosen?"
The woman looked like a slut. Josh was steaming. Had she not heard what the others had seen and been told about this place? Dick quickly said, "And your name and medium?"
"Suzie Que of the National Investigator representing the people's right to know."
No surprise. It was one of those grocery store tabloids which hadn't printed a true story in years. Dick looked at Josh to see what he wanted to do.
"Miss Que, I guess that is a multi-answer question. First, overall the answer is no. So far there have been over three hundred—that's a three and two zeros—maybe one of your colleagues can help you write as you don't seem to be taking notes. Anyway, there have been over three hundred warrants issued for people involved in running New Beginnings or who participated in criminal acts here. Most of those have been indicted and are locked up awaiting trial. Second, a rather large amount of my own resources was spent rescuing the men at the clinic, but also women and children who were being physically, emotionally and sexually abused here. Third, if the focus was only on rescuing one person and resulted in what did happen here, the money of the people of Utah was well spent. Finally, if I had a lover here, not saying I did or didn't, there was only one. My understanding from the National Reporter is that yours could have populated New Beginnings." Josh knew no such thing of course, but the woman was definitely dressed as a slut and given that, it was a pretty safe bet that the rival tabloids would have accused her of it regardless of the facts—which had little to do with what the tabloids published.
"You sick, queer bastard, I'll sue!"
"Then sue the National Reporter as I have as much control over it as over the National Investigator."
As she stormed out of the room, Dick announced, That's it, folks. Some of you asked about pictures with Bull and June. They have agreed, certainly for all the good-looking women and Bull says at his age, they all look good."
One of the reporters came up to Josh and said, "I'm surprised you read the National Reporter."
"Then how did you know?"
"I didn't, it was just a guess."
"Last week she was on the front page and a story by her arch-rival about Miss Que's thousand-and-one knights, that's with a k. Well, you nailed her as she deserved to be nailed."
The choppers took everyone back to the airport and Dick and Josh said goodbye to the two sheriffs, Mr. VanWinkle and Bull before climbing aboard for the flight back to Vegas. It was after seven before Josh got back to the hotel and he thought Alex would be asleep, but since he had had drugs to make sure he slept, he went ahead and called. He was surprised when Alex answered. "Beautiful Boy, you're still awake."
Alex laughed, "I think so. So how did the news conference go? I want to hear all about it."
"Tomorrow, maybe. Why aren't you asleep?"
"Dr. Avery decided I didn't need to depend on sleeping medicine so since I had a late nap, I'm not sleepy. Come over and tell me about the news conference and kiss me good night?"
"How can I refuse, Beautiful Boy? See you in a few."
Josh changed clothes, since he had worn business attire for the press conference, and drove to the hospital. He told Alex about the press conference and he really got a kick out of Josh's handling of Suzie Que. By eight thirty, Alex was obviously tired and sleepy so Mrs. Goforth, who had relieved Mary Beth early, stood guard and Josh climbed in bed with Alex, held him in his arms and kissed him softly and sang him to sleep.
Back at the hotel, Josh called Gertrude to report on the examination. Dr. Avery had only written orders about the sleeping medicine and had not come by. He did leave word that he had an emergency and would be by between six and seven in the morning, so all Josh really had to report was that he had nothing to report. He and Gertrude talked almost an hour. She was busy trying to find a team to do long-term care for Alex in Boulder. "All want to talk about a two-to-five-year plan it seems and I know he'll never stand for that with you in North Carolina. I'm thinking six months max, but realistically, three months."
"If he needs two to five years, we'll work that out, but I'm with you on a three-month plan. We won't leave here until someone's in place there, otherwise, I think we're here for four or five more days. I hope no more; he's still weak, but looking good."
He called Luc who had only good news. They talked about the contract with the Taiwanese government and Luc said, "I think that's it or we'll be getting spread thin again." Josh agreed.
It did take Josh a while to go to sleep, but it was still only ten thirty when he drifted off and he was awake before the alarm which was set for five thirty. He showered, shaved, dressed and headed for the hospital. Alex was still asleep when he arrived and slept until six thirty.
Mrs. Goforth said he had a good night without nightmares, his first. When he woke and saw Josh, a huge smile covered his face, his eyes sparkling. He extended his arms and Josh and he hugged. They kept their arms around each other, gazing into each other's eyes, smiles covering their faces until Josh said, "Babe, I have to straighten up. I guess I'm getting old." Alex laughed.
Dr. Avery did not come by between six and seven as he had said. In fact, it was almost ten when he finally showed up. "Sorry to take so long, but I had an emergency late yesterday and was exhausted when I finally finished. Then this morning my eldest and my wife got into a real hassle. I'm sure you understand since it was over the church. I tried to mediate. Anyway, not your problem."
"Just don't let her disappear with your child," Alex said.
"Not likely. He's a college senior and has been pretty much on his own since high school. So how are you feeling?"
"Fine, but weak."
"To be expected from your condition and the fact that you have been inactive. We'll have you up and around and see how that goes. At this point your physical condition will determine when you are ready to head for Boulder. By the way, that's where Aaron, my eldest, is headed for graduate school this fall."
"Then he needs to try to get a place at Vic House there. We have some pull. Maybe we can talk with him."
"I'll mention it to him."
"Well, to the report. As I said, the cultures will take a while, but I suspect there will be no problem there. There has been, as you would expect, trauma to the rectum resulting in tears. All indications, as you said, are that those did not occur at the same time. Most have healed on their own and others are healing. No anal sex until you are completely healed, but I suspect that's not likely to present a problem anytime soon. We've been giving you stool softeners and that will need to continue. Basically, it's a question of time and your body's natural healing process."
By the time Dr. Avery was ready to leave, Sister Agnes had arrived and asked Alex what he would like for lunch. He asked for sandwiches and chips "and a huge dill pickle." She ordered from a specialty sandwich shop to be delivered at noon. "Now, before you shower and all that, get on that magnificent hospital robe of yours. It's time you were up and about. You'll be using a walker and there's no discussing that. Josh can go with you. Try to make it to the nurses' station and back."
The distance was not far, but Alex was weak-kneed when he got back. "I'm weak as a kitten," he complained.
"Sure you are, but you have also been in bed since you got here and got little exercise the months you were in New Beginnings Clinic. It will take time, but I think you'll see improvement daily," Sister said.
"I was walking to church and back before I left New Beginnings."
"Lot of things factor into why you could do that then and are so weak now."
"Yeah, cattle prods and tasers do give you incentive," Josh said.
After Alex's afternoon nap, Josh walked with him again. They were just back when Dr. Avery came by. "Alex, we're doing cultures from the swabs, but I ordered another blood work-up. Someone will draw blood tomorrow. I want to see if the STDs have cleared up. As I said, there has been considerable tearing in the rectum, all of which is healed or healing and should present no further problems. Other than that, you're fine or will be as soon as you get your weight and strength back."
"When do you think I can go to Boulder?" Alex asked.
"That is contingent on a couple of things. I won't have the results from the cultures back for at least twenty-four hours. Assuming nothing shows up there, the next block would be your care there. I talked with Mrs. Bledsoe—Gertrude—just before I came down. She thinks she has found a team that has dealt with abuse of all kinds before, but won't be able to sit down with them until day after tomorrow. Finally, until you are strong enough to walk from your room to the stairwell, down the stairs to the floor below and back, it's a no-go. Off-hand, I'd say a week to ten days.
That evening, Mary Beth finally got to show her talent for making eating in a hospital civilized. Shortly before seven, two men came to the room, one carrying a rather large folding table, the other three folding chairs. "Mr. Taylor, I think these two men would each enjoy a picture of Mr. Lincoln." Josh took two five-dollar bills from his wallet and handed one to each of the men. As he did Mary Beth said, "Remember where you got them, but forget you got them, get me?" The two looked a bit puzzled, until one smiled, nodded and told the other one he'd tell him outside.
When they left, she handed Josh a sign for the door which read, "Private duty nurse; Patient not to be disturbed; Doctor's orders." It was signed, James Avery, MD. When he came back, she was moving the bed and Josh set up the table. He moved the rest of the furniture, a task they became very efficient at over the next few days. That done, Mary Beth said, "Joy Boy ordered country style steak, mashed potatoes—with loads of gravy, of course—fresh green peas and coconut cream pie for dessert." She opened her large bag and took a tablecloth woven with browns, bronzes and oranges and placed it on the table. She then took out napkins, plates, flatware and tumblers. A small vase with a bronze chrysanthemum completed the table setting.
Alex had been sitting in the recliner while the table was prepared and Mary Beth turned to him and said, "Dear boy, you are still wearing a ratty hospital robe, so I did some shopping today. And I have the bill for this, Mr. Taylor," she said as she took a beautiful red and gold decorated silk dressing gown from one of her bags. "If you will assist Mr. Bledsoe in getting it on so he will feel fine enough to dine, I will serve." Even as she spoke, there was a soft knock on the door and Josh took a large bag from the man delivering the food, tipped him and gave the bags to Mary Beth.
Editors: Jesse and Scott.
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