The Music in the Painting

Chapter Twenty-one

Drew shook like a leaf as Bobby tried very hard to calm him. Both boys’ ears rang from the noise of the gunshots in a closed room.

Mitch was suffering the same thing. All three were recovering from the adrenalin charge that comes with the situation they had found themselves in.

Their hearing was slowly returning to normal and they no longer felt the need to shout. Mac had told them that they would need to separate soon so they could be interviewed.

It was routine to divide witnesses so that the detective was able to verify events as seen from disparate viewpoints.

The ambulance crew had stabilized Art, and Leonard regained consciousness before they were transported to Central Receiving Hospital. They would be treated and kept in the jail ward until they were released to county jail to await trial.

Leonard was a typical coward and was willing to spill everything he knew for a lighter sentence.

Mac had told him it was too late, Dennis had told them everything they needed to keep him behind bars for many decades.

Then he made a tremendous blunder, He told Mac in front of three officers that the tape Mac had seized would outline the activities of this and several other gangs that Leonard had worked with.

"Thank you Leonard, I was going to return that tape because the D.A. said we couldn’t listen to it beyond the admission that you made about listening in. The Feds weren’t interested so that should be a load off your mind."

Mac grinned down at him. "You just gave away any bargaining power you might have had. The look on Leonard’s face as he came to the realization just how totally screwed he really was, did Mac’s heart good.

Mac was not ordinarily a vindictive person but this piece of garbage had tried to kidnap and possibly murder his grandson and his friend and a serving deputy. Neither of them would likely live long in prison. Even lowlife prisoners have some rules; and first off is you don’t hurt kids, and you never mess with someone’s family. It was a line most wouldn’t cross.

Later on during an interview in the hospital Art had asked Mac where that kid learned that move that stripped the gun from his hand.

"I taught him that, I thought it might come in handy some day and it did.

Once the boys had been interviewed Mac scooped them both into a hug. He left Walt, Jack and Pete to tend to the details and took the boys home.

When they arrived a marked Sheriff’s unit was sitting in the turnout. Mac flipped down the Red light and turned it on.

The deputy approached the car and recognized the Captain immediately. "I heard you’ve been busy this afternoon sir; I’ve been assigned to discourage the press from getting too close.

Thank you Dan, I think they’ll keep their distance unless they want to be blocked on every major scene that comes down the pike. If you need me you can reach me on "Charley", tell your watch commander I said thanks as well won’t you?"

"I will sir, have a nice evening."

Mac worked the gate and pulled through closing it behind him. Instead of pulling up in front of the house he took the left fork that led to the garage and backed through the door. He roused the two boys and got them to stretch and clear the cobwebs before they made the trip up the hill to the house. They entered through the service porch and took seats at the kitchen table, Drew stood back up and sat in Bobby’s lap and kissed him like the world would end if they stopped.

"Oh my goodness;" Carol Vermeer exclaimed.

"Mom!" Drew gasped, "I can explain; I was going to tell you, please don’t be mad.

"Calm down honey, do you really think I didn’t know? If you’re happy; then I don’t have any complaints. 

Drew stood and embraced his Mother, "I missed you so much Mom. It’s been very, very weird today. I guess you better sit down so Grampa can explain." 

Carol smiled at her son and then at Bobby, "let’s all wait for Katey to come down and then we can all hear about it at the same time."

"Where is Katey," asked Mac.

"She’s in talking to a lady named Dolly; she was waiting for us when we arrived."

Bobby jumped up and ran to find them in Katey’s office. He hugged his Grandmother and then Dolly. He noticed Davey and Polly behind him and hugged them too.

"Let’s move to the kitchen, there’s more room," Bobby suggested.

Once all had assembled all details were revealed to the stunned women and David as well, everyone spoke at once but Mac calmed them down and answered their questions one by one.

Finally everyone was satisfied and the boys were released to shower and change.

Carol pulled Drew off to the side for a private conversation.

When they reached the bedroom Drew grabbed Bobby and went to pieces for a bit. "I was so scared I thought he would kill you right in front of me and then that man hit you and I just kind of lost my mind for a minute, I grabbed the bat and I really wanted to kill him. I feel so guilty about that but he hit you and I think he would have killed you or hurt you really badly and I couldn’t let him do that. I’ve never wanted to hurt anyone before, but I wanted to kill him."

Bobby rocked Drew and cooed in his ear, "It’s okay really, everyone gets mad and you had a really good reason. Thank you for protecting me, it gave me more time to deal with the gun."

"Why did you do that?" Drew screamed angrily, "He could have killed you."

"He wasn’t after me; he was going to shoot you because you had the bat. You had just taken out his back-up and he saw you as a threat. I couldn’t just let him kill you," Bobby said softly.

"Polly warned me about this, she said you would spend yourself to protect me. Do you really love me that much?"

"Absolutely, and I can’t change that. I knew that man would kill you. He would probably have killed us all and Leonard to boot. I had to do what I could to keep you safe, even if it meant I got hurt or even killed. You are that important to me. Do you understand now?"

"Yes, but I’m still mad, I mean how did you know that move with the gun would work?"

"I have practiced that move with my Aikido instructor a hundred times or more. I’ve practiced with Davey and Grampa and complete strangers. That man never expected someone like me to know that move. That’s why I goaded Leonard into punching me. He hits like a girl by the way. Well maybe not like Polly, anyway it was a calculated risk and I had to take the chance.

I think they were going to kill you and Mitch and kidnap me and then kill me later. If I was going to do anything it had to be then.

"Okay, just don’t do it again."

"I can’t promise that, I think you know that. But I’ll try not to put us in that position again."

"Okay, I have two questions, why was that guy in front of the Woolworth’s and why didn’t the gun go off when you hit it like that," Drew asked earnestly.

"I think he was getting ready to pick up the tail from Leonard but I’m not sure. As for the gun, I can show you easier than I can tell you." 

Bobby pulled out his key ring and unlocked the gun cabinet. He removed a Colt 1911a1 and checked to make sure it was clear. He handed it butt first to Drew who mimicked Bobby’s action checking the chamber.

It made Bobby smile. "Now cock the hammer and pull the trigger. Drew did as he instructed and the hammer fell as it was intended." Okay cock it again and when I tell you, pull the trigger. Drew cocked the weapon; Bobby pushed against the end of the pistol driving the muzzle and slide a short distance back and then instructed Drew to pull the trigger. The trigger clicked impotently. Drew gazed in disbelief. Bobby removed his hand and told Drew to pull the trigger again and once again the hammer fell. Bobby then disassembled the slide and barrel from the frame and showed Drew the disconnector mechanism that dictates the gun won’t fire unless it's in the battery position.

"Okay, I get it now, but it was still dangerous."

"It was our best chance for survival."

"But you’re a kid, like me. Well maybe not like me; but you’re still a kid."

"I’ve been around guns and cops and military people all my life. You could probably do an appendectomy but I couldn’t. What kind of kid knows how to assess a head injury, or estimate respiration like you did for me? And you were ready to try and save a man who just tried to kill you."

"Okay, I get it, I hadn’t thought of it that way."

"Can I ask what your Mom had to say?"

"She said she was just waiting for me to talk to her about it. She’s known for quite a while. I never seem to notice the Candy Stripers at the hospital or other girls but I look at other boys all the time. She says I always have. She said she’s very happy we found each other."

The boys spent a half hour holding and kissing each other.

A knock on the door interrupted them. Bobby opened the door to find his Grandmother, he stepped back so she could enter.

"I wanted to let you know that dinner will be ready soon. And Carol and I want to examine you because of the gunfire. We just want to check for ear damage, so why don’t you put on tees and sweat pants and meet us in my office."

The boys changed and made their way to Katey’s office where they were examined. "

I don’t see anything out of place, are either of you having headache or ringing in your ears?  Asked Katey

Both boys indicated negative.

"Do either of you have a metallic taste in your mouth or smell anything odd?" Asked Carol

"Nothing here, I did have some ringing right after the gunfire but it’s gone now. No odd tastes or smells either," said Bobby.

"Same here," said Drew.

"Well I don’t see anything to worry about, do you Carol?"

"I don’t think so Katey, they’re pretty robust examples.

"Well then, let’s all go down; and see what’s on the menu. Polly and Davey have been cooking all afternoon," said Katey.

While they had been upstairs, several people had arrived. Jock had gotten a ride from Dean Rigsby and Walt had brought Mitch up at Grampa’s request. The boys endured multiple pats on the back and accolades for their performance in a tough situation.

After a fantastic dinner of lamb, everyone relaxed in the atrium. Bobby again played the piano and then retrieved his Cello at Jock’s request. He gave a short concert and everyone was impressed.

Dean Rigsby beamed at him," Splendid performance young man."

"Bobby found himself sitting on a couch next to Jock."

"How was your ride over with Dean Rigsby?"

"Harrowing, I actually prefer battle to that experience."

"Mac gestured to Bobby to come with him and led him to his study. He invited Bobby to sit and then grabbed a file off his desk and sat beside him on the leather couch."

"Mac handed Bobby the file and told him; "everything in that file is classified, you cannot discuss it even with Drew. Your Grandma doesn’t even know about this."

"I was going to wait a while but Jock suggested that perhaps you were ready."

Bobby opened the file and began reading. It was the action report that led to his father’s Navy Cross. He read intently for fifteen minutes, rereading several passages to confirm he understood. At length he laid the file on the couch between them.

"I thought that was Portuguese territory."

"It is."


"Do you understand now why you can’t discuss this with anyone?"

"Yes Sir."

A knock at the door sounded urgent, it was Davey and he looked a little flushed.

"You have a visitor Uncle Mac."

Davey led them back to the Atrium and standing in front of the fireplace sipping a drink was Pete Pitches, the Sheriff of Los Angeles County.

"Hi Mac, how have you been?"

"I’m fine Pete, have you been introduced?"

"Except for that young man I have, thank you. I can’t stay long, I’m due to a meeting with Yorty and Parker but this is official business.

"This is my Grandson Robert but he prefers Bobby."

"Well Robert, I hear you and Andrew had a busy afternoon."

Yes Sir" the boys answered in unison.

"Well, you understand I can’t have civilians making arrests and fighting with robbers, right?

"Yes Sir."

The Sheriff reached in his back pocket and took out two square black wallet like cases. He handed one to each boy and instructed the boys to open them.

The boy’s eyes bulged as they examined the special deputy badges.

"The Captain will need to bring you over to records and get you printed and photographed and then I will swear you in with the next academy class.

Our department doesn’t currently have an award that would cover what you boys did today. You both showed strength and courage and you were instrumental in getting some bad men off the street. Understand that these don’t make you full deputies but it’s a way to honor what you’ve done today."

"Thank you sir," both boys again answered.

The Sheriff shook their hands and bade everyone a good evening. And he and his driver left through the front door. Mac walked out with them.

"Well what do you think Mac, will they join us in a few years?"

"That’s hard to say Pete, Bobby wants to be a Marine officer and I don’t know what little Drew wants out of life."

"It’s safe to say Mac; whatever they do, they’ll be damn good at it."

Mac took the foot path down to the gate and called to the Deputy. "What do you want to drink with dinner Dan?

"Oh that’s okay sir, I can eat when I’m relieved."

"That won’t fly and you know it, do I need to send my missus out here to convince you?"

"Err, no Sir, soda or iced tea would be fine sir."

"Very good, my nephew will be out with it in a few minutes, he’ll watch your back while you eat."

"Thank you sir, you’re very kind."

"Happy to do it, and by the way you’re up next."


"Next opening I get you’re going to get it; your commander speaks very highly of you. It won’t be long, Old man Ramsey is getting ready to retire."

"Thank you sir, I won’t let you down."

"I’m reasonably certain of that Dan."

Drew asked his Mother if they were going home soon.

"I don’t think so sweetie, we’ve been invited to spend the night."

"Can Bobby and I go on to bed then, we’re both pretty tired."

"Of course Hon; say good night to everyone and go on up. Don’t worry about school tomorrow I’m keeping you out an extra day."

Drew and Bobby said their good nights and ambled up the stairs.

In their room Bobby asked Drew if he was really tired or just tired of being on display. Both boys agreed it was the latter and relaxed on the bed.

"Bobby? Do you remember what you did with me yesterday afternoon? "

"I sure do, do you want to do it with me?"

"Actually, I’d like you to do it with me again."

"At your service my love."



Thank you all for reading.