New York Stories

Excessive Force

A New York Pandemic Story by Altimexis

Posted August 19, 2020

Part Four – The Emperor Has No Clothes – Freck

My boyfriend completed his inpatient rehab and returned to New York against the backdrop of a country gone amok. Kyle settled in to live with me in my mom’s house, and received continued rehab therapies in the home, five days every week. It was much more expensive to receive it in the home than in an outpatient facility, but Mom insisted in paying for it, so he could avoid traveling to and from the nearest facilities that were equipped to handle pediatric brain injury patients, which were in Brooklyn and Westchester. Unfortunately, he couldn’t stay in the dads’ house in Riverdale or in his mother’s apartment in Hudson Heights, as he was still dependent on a wheelchair for most of his mobility. With its elevator and street-level entrance through the kitchen, Mom’s place was ideally suited to his needs.

Mom hired our friend, Robin Arens, who was a middle school student at the Salk School for Science, to stay with us while Kyle was recovering. It was her boyfriend Larry who arranged it – he was one of Robin’s classmates at Salk and he lived right on the next block over on the Upper West Side. Our brownstones were kitty-corner to each other and we’d put in a gate connecting the two back yards. Larry was tutoring my twin sisters in playing piano, which also gave him more opportunity to spend time with Robin. His father was a famous conductor with the New York Symphony, and his mother was a world-famous soprano, so Larry came from a family of music professionals. However, his first love was medical research, just as mine was architecture. I was passionate for opera and so the opportunity to get to know one of the best-known opera singers in the world was a definite bonus to living with my mom while Kyle underwent rehab.

With all of the bedrooms in my Mom’s house in use, there never was any question that Kyle would sleep with me in my bed at night. Although when living with his dads, we each had our own bedroom, we seldom slept apart. We’d been intimate for more than a year-and-a-half now, since I was about to turn twelve and Ky was about to turn ten. That might seem way too young to be having sex to most people, but at the time we were already juniors at Stuyvesant High School, New York’s top elite public high school. We were both precocious in more ways than one.

Although it would be some time before we could marry legally – not that that had stopped our friends, Seth and Asher – Kyle was the only person I’d ever met who really got me, and he said the same in reverse. We were truly soulmates and we expected to spend our lives together. In terms of ‘for better or for worse’, this was definitely for worse though. It was just as much my life that almost ended when a police baton struck Kyle on the side of the head over a month ago. He was lucky there were ambulances waiting nearby and that the protesters hadn’t blocked FDR Drive. Even so, by the time he got to the hospital, he was within minutes of suffering permanent damage to his brainstem that would have left him a vegetable, or even worse. As it was, he’d suffered damage to his left motor cortex that left him apraxic. With apraxia, everything works fine, but there’s difficulty initiating purposeful movement. He was perfectly capable of performing automatic movements – movements that didn’t require any thought, but simply getting up and walking took all of Kyle’s concentration. At least he was cognitively intact.

The Kyle who returned from rehab in Baltimore was a different boy than the one who’d gone to one of the first Black Lives Matter protests with our friends and me, shortly after George Floyd’s death, but I loved him no less. The doctors said he’d probably have a full recovery, but it could take as long as a year or more. For at least the time being, he could only get around safely in a wheelchair, but we’d bought him a really snazzy, sport model with yellow stripes on a vivid purple frame. For a wheelchair, it was really, really cool. Except when in bed, he needed to wear a padded helmet to protect the area of the brain where his skull had been removed. It would be a few more months yet before he could have surgery to replace the missing upper left half of his skull, which had been frozen in liquid nitrogen.

Every night, when Kyle removed the helmet and got into bed, I was confronted with the reality of his injury. His beautiful auburn wavy hair, which had extended all the way down his back, was gone. For now, he was keeping his hair short, since it would have to be cut off again anyway when the skull flap was replaced. More importantly, he didn’t want to get tangled in his own hair. What was more noticeable was the depression of his head on the entire left side, reflecting the full area of his skull that had been removed. There was no missing that his head was misshapen and even when the skull flap was replaced, his face would always be asymmetric. Not that any of that mattered to me. Although beautiful on the outside, Ky’s true beauty had always been on the inside. Kyle was still a passionate lover and very much a bottom, and although we had to be more careful to avoid bumping the soft side of his head, making love to Kyle was every bit as wonderful as it had always been.

In the meantime, the pandemic continued to worsen as the President shunned the wearing of masks. The governors of Florida and Georgia pushed aggressively for reopening, even in the face of the raging pandemic, and actually tried to prevent the cities from imposing their own restrictions. Texas and Arizona had massive outbreaks and intensive care beds quickly disappeared. Florida set record after record for the number of Covid-19 cases in a single day and California surpassed New York for the largest number of total confirmed coronavirus cases, with Florida not far behind.

It was pathetic. What Reagan once called the shining city on the hill was now the laughingstock of the world. Our president was acting more like a dictator, stripping all pretense of independence from the Department of Justice and using it as his personal council, turning Homeland Security into a paramilitary secret police force and using his office to enrich his own family’s personal finances.

Civil unrest from the Black Lives Matter movement was continuing to spawn protests in most major cities. The protests were mostly peaceful, but watching Fox News, one would think America was on fire, justifying the President’s threat to send in the troops.

The President’s poll numbers were steadily sinking, but his support among his base remained high. What he didn’t get was that his approval ratings among Republicans remained high because people were leaving the Republican party. In other words, the denominator was shrinking too. Faced with dismal numbers overall, he tried pandering to his base, using flagrantly racist language, and when that didn’t work, he tried doing everything possible to discredit the coming election. Obviously, mail-in balloting, which was preferable in the midst of a raging pandemic, was rife with voter fraud, or so he said. That didn’t stop him from voting by mail, however. If the President disputed the election results or even worse, disrupted the election, throwing the nation into chaos, all bets were off. People were actually starting to worry that the worst-case scenario would come true – that he’d refuse to leave office, no matter what the outcome. That would lead to massive street protest, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since 1968… or worse.

The only problem for him was that the virus wasn’t cooperating. The President seemed to lack the comprehension that any five-year-old had about infectious diseases. Opening up the economy, sending kids back to school, resuming professional sports and getting America back to work were all desirable, but not in the midst of a raging pandemic. Other industrialized countries had managed to get things under control. New York for the most part had turned the corner and had brought its case load down, but as a part of the U.S., New York had to deal with a constant influx of people from all over America – people who brought the virus back with them. The Governor imposed a mandatory quarantine on people entering New York from states where the virus was out of control, but compliance was voluntary.

I blamed the President for sending mixed messages and for the lack of a national strategy, but the reality was there were plenty of Americans willing to pretend the pandemic was merely an inconvenience and that the danger was over. Plenty of people were packing flights to Florida, eschewing masks as they swam on crowded beaches and then spent a few days at Disneyworld before returning home, unknowingly bringing Covid-19 with them as a souvenir. Even in New York, kids were crowding into bars that should have never been allowed to reopen and then partying in the street. The city fought back by revoking the liquor licenses of the most egregious offenders. Some bars actually tried to circumvent the rules by selling small bags of snack crackers with the drinks and claiming to be restaurants. Fuckin’ unbelievable.

Meanwhile, the President pushed ahead with a law-and-order agenda, putting monuments ahead of people, and that culminated in his making good on his threat of sending in federal troops to quell the violence. He couldn’t get away with using the military, so instead he militarized Homeland Security and sent thugs in unmarked vans to ‘protect’ federal property in Portland and Seattle. I had to admit that the protests had gotten out of hand, but that was nothing compared to the violence perpetrated by the federal ‘secret police’ and the reaction of the citizenry to the federal invasion. The President was actually creating civil unrest and then using it as justification for his actions. It was pretty obvious that the whole thing was in response to his sinking poll numbers, but he had plenty of followers who believed in his rhetoric, particularly those that only watched Fox News.

The start of school was only a month away and yet we still didn’t know how school was gonna resume in the fall. We knew only that the city would be using a hybrid model involving part-time in-person instruction, with the rest online. The scientist in me told me we needed to be kept in rigid, small cohorts so that the spread of disease would be limited when it occurred. To that end, students should stay put in the classroom with the teachers rotating from class to class, and the teachers should be separated from the students behind plexiglass where possible. Sadly, meals, exercise and play activities should be done in the classroom and not in the cafeteria, in the gym or on the playground. The degree of in-person versus online instruction should be tailored to the grade level, the needs and abilities of the individual student and the needs of the parents. Unfortunately, the New York City schools did not do flexibility very well.

 

I was downstairs in the kitchen, grabbing a snack while my boyfriend completed his physical therapy session in our room upstairs. Larry was in the midst of giving Debbie her daily piano lesson in the front parlor when suddenly, there was a loud banging on the front door, followed by a shout of, “Open up! Police!” What the fuck?

Checking the video feed from the front doorbell camera on my phone, I saw what appeared to be a police officer at the front door, with an NYPD badge on his shoulder. I heard Debbie caution, “Don’t open the door, Larry. We have a right to verify his identity before letting him in. I’ll go get my mom and be right back.”

Debbie ran up the stairs and I went up the stairs to the main floor, to see what was going on. In the meantime, the officer banged even more loudly on the door and shouted, “Open up! I have an arrest warrant.” Oh Gees, who the fuck for?

“I can’t let you in,” Larry shouted back. I’m just the piano teacher, and I’m a minor. My client went to get her mother.”

“So let me in,” he repeated.

“And I just told you, I can’t,” he repeated. “I don’t live here. This isn’t my house. I’m just the piano teacher and I’m only thirteen. My client went to get her mother.”

“What’s this all about?” Freck’s mother asked as she bounded down the stairs, the twins trailing behind her. She went right to the front door, but first pulled out her phone and called the police to confirm the identity of the officer at the door. Opening it, she asked, “Is there something I can do for you officer?”

“I have an arrest warrant for Kyle Goldstein,” he replied. “Is Mr. Goldstein in?”

“Mr. Goldstein is an eleven-year-old boy,” she responded, “and he’s not going anywhere. Can you tell me what this is all about? What on earth are the charges?”

“And you are?” the officer asked.

“I’m Sophia Lawrence, the mother of twin girls, Debbie and Lisa San Angelo…”

“That’s Lisa and that’s Debbie, Mom,” I interrupted.

“Right, my son can tell them apart, but I haven’t a clue,” she continued.

This is my son, Francis San Angelo, who goes by the nickname, ‘Freck’. His best friend, Kyle Goldstein is staying with us this summer while he recovers from a severe brain injury received during his participation in a peaceful Black Lives Matter Protest at Union Square, unfortunately at the hands of the NYPD. I have guardianship papers if you’d like to see them, and I’m still waiting for an answer to my question about the charges against him.”

“Very well,” the officer responded. “Mr. Goldstein is charged with unlawful assembly, felony assault on a police officer, resisting arrest and fleeing the state to avoid arrest.” WTF? Ky was the one who was attacked.

“He fled the state because there were no adequate pediatric brain injury rehabilitation programs in New York,” she replied. “The closest one was the Kennedy-Krieger institute in Baltimore. That is where he spent the last month.”

“It doesn’t matter,” the officer replied. “I’m not the judge, the jury or the prosecuting attorney. I’m simply a New York City Police officer and I have a warrant to execute.”

“You’re right,” Mom replied. “You’ve been given a job to perform, no matter how ridiculous it may be. But don’t you think it’s a little strange to arrest an eleven-year-old-boy who’s still recovering from a brain injury? Never mind answering that. I’ll take it up with the DA myself.”

“Good luck with that,” the officer responded, but Mom whipped out her phone and pushed a few buttons.

“Hello, Cy?” she began. “It’s Sophia Lawrence… Well yes, you too, Cy… Why thank you. It’s always good to talk to you too.

“Listen, I have an officer here who has an arrest warrant for my son’s best friend, Kyle Goldstein. You might recall that Kyle was injured when a New York police officer hit him with a baton on the head, causing massive hemorrhage and bringing him within a hair’s breadth of his life. He underwent emergency surgery, followed by inpatient rehabilitation at the Kennedy-Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. He just returned to New York, but he’s staying here with me in my brownstone while he undergoes rehabilitation. He’s still in a wheelchair and my house has an elevator and is accessible. I’m delighted to have Kyle here with me for the summer while he continues to recover from his injury.

“Why do you want to arrest him?” she asked. “He’s a young boy who attended a peaceful protest and was savagely beaten by one of New York’s finest. There’s video of the event all over the internet and I’m sure the officer’s bodycam will show the same thing…

“He’s an eleven-year-old boy, Cy,” she continued. “He was spending the day with his friends at a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest at Union Square. He and my son got separated from their friends and they thought they were on the other side of the police line they encountered…”

“Yes, I’ve seen the videos and what I saw was a little boy trying to get through the police line. He was half the size of the police officer who attacked him. There was no way the officer could have felt threatened by him. What I saw was an angry little boy… not a criminal felon…

“No, Cy, Kyle did not push the officer and I doubt very much that the bodycam shows otherwise. I saw what I saw and so did half the planet.”

After a bit of a longer delay, she continued, “I understand that, Cy. I don’t want the President to send in federal DHS police any more than you do, but what the ‘f’ does that have to do with Kyle Goldstein? I understand the Governor reached some sort of a deal with the President, and that’s what the cleanup of ‘Occupy City Hall’ was all about. Frankly, it had become a homeless encampment and we owe our homeless citizens better accommodations than that anyway. The trouble is that your solution is to incarcerate them for minor drug possession… Yes, I know that, but we can do better.

“Now getting back to Kyle, he was just trying to get to his friends, and he certainly didn’t resist arrest. He was in a coma, for Christ sake, and he didn’t flee out of state… he went to Baltimore for his rehab. You shouldn’t be locking him up in Juvenile Detention because of what… retaliation for his parents’ lawsuit?

What? How dare you try him as an adult. He could end up at Rikers! Eleven-year-old boys are not adults… The public isn’t going to see it that way, Cy. They’ll see a young boy, brutally beaten by an out-of-control police officer. You know, Kyle has no memory of the event. How can you try someone for something they can’t even remember? I don’t care if you need to make an example. You are not going to make an example of my son’s best friend… No, I would not rather you make an example of my son instead. He did nothing more than rush to check on Kyle and ended getting beaten too. Kyle’s dads have more than enough reason to sue the NYPD for an unprovoked attack on their son that may have lasting effects on the boy for the rest of his life.

“Didn’t you hear me say that Kyle’s in a wheelchair?… No, he can only use a walker for very short distances. That’s why he’s staying with my family. If he’s jailed, he needs an accessible cell block with wheelchair-accessible facilities, an accessible shower, an accessible cafeteria and accessible gym. He’ll need daily physical and occupational therapy, daily speech therapy and of course he’s legally entitled to school instruction until the age of sixteen. It doesn’t matter if you try him as an adult either…

“You’ve got to be kidding me, Cy. You’d actually put an eleven-year-old boy in solitary, just because he’s disabled, and you look at that as killing two birds with one stone? I agree, he shouldn’t be in with the general adult prison population. He’s just a boy, but locking him away in solitary confinement sounds a lot like putting the children of asylum-seeking families in cages… No, I don’t think that’s an unfair comparison.”

I couldn’t help but wonder what the fuck was going and was texting Seth Moore furiously on my phone, trying to get more information. In the meantime, Mom continued talking I guess to the Manhattan DA.

“You know, there are some really good people running for your job in next year’s primary. I think one of them might be a better fit with the mission of my foundation, particularly when it comes to their views on criminal justice reform… No, I’m not making a threat. I’m just stating a fact… I don’t care if you have another call that you have to take. Kyle Goldstein isn’t going to be arrested today. I’m not disconnecting the call until you assure me of that…

“What the? The asshole hung up on me!”

At that moment the police officer interrupted and announced. “I just got a call from the Commissioner himself. I’m supposed to wait to make the arrest until Assemblyman Moore gets here.”

“What does Frank Moore have to do with anything?” Mom asked aloud.

“I texted his son,” I informed her. “I just got his response, and Seth thinks this is coming either directly or indirectly from the President, in retribution for his dad’s acquittal. I’m not sure why, but I’m sure we’ll find out when his dad gets here.”

 

The doorbell chimed and so I checked the video feed from the front doorbell on my phone and saw Frank Moore standing there, with Seth and Asher standing next to him. I got up from where I’d been sitting and opened the door to let them in. All three were wearing masks.

“Why don’t we go back to the living room and we’ll talk,” Mom suggested.

“I hate to bring it up,” the police officer interjected, “but there’s still the matter of the arrest warrant for Kyle Goldstein.”

Looking around, seemingly to verify who was in the room, Frank responded, “I’m afraid he’s not here, officer. He’s spending the day assisting my father in programming the observatory at Stony Brook to record a series of observations of a distant galaxy as a black hole passes in front of it. It’s actually the black hole they’re trying to observe, but black holes are otherwise invisible.”

“Your father is with Mr. Goldstein?” the officer asked.

“My father’s the head of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, and the director of the Hayden Planetarium,” Frank explained. “Kyle was supposed to be his intern over the summer, but obviously with Kyle’s injury, that had to be delayed. At least he’s willing to give Kyle another chance in the time they have left.”

“So you’re saying Mr. Goldstein isn’t here?” the officer asked.

“Do you see him here?” Frank replied. “I told you, he’s working with my father in programming the observatory at Stony Brook. Stony Brook’s still in the state, but the last time I checked, it’s not in New York City and not within your jurisdiction.”

“Do you know when he’ll be returning to the City?” the officer asked.

“My father plans to study the black hole over the course of the night,” Frank replied. “I don’t expect him to finish up until early tomorrow morning.”

“Very well, then, I’ll return tomorrow,” the officer said, and then he left rather brusquely.

“Why did you tell him that story about Kyle being in Stony Brook?” I asked the moment the door closed behind the police officer. Frank didn’t answer, but put his finger to his lips, indicating we shouldn’t talk. Going to the parlor window, he verified that the officer had driven away before answering us.

“There wasn’t one word I spoke that wasn’t true. After getting Freck’s texts via my son, I contacted my dad and asked him to engage Kyle in a project that involved the use of equipment outside of the city, but still within the state. He texted back the information I gave the officer. You’ll note that I never said Kyle wasn’t in the house or even the city. I just told him he wasn’t here, which is true. Kyle is not on this floor. I never told the officer that Kyle was in Stony Brook… only that he and my dad were programming the observatory there. That’s something they can do remotely. So, yeah, they’ll be spending the day together, via FaceTime… if their plans don’t change, which they almost certainly will.”

“Sneaky cool,” I responded.

“I think it should be safe to bring Kyle down here now,” Frank added.

“I’ll take care of that,” I replied as I texted my boyfriend. Within a few minutes, Kyle and Larry’s girlfriend, Robin, descended in the elevator, which looked like a gilded cage in the center of the stairway.

“Hey Kyle,” Frank greeted my boyfriend as he exited the elevator. “With the pandemic and then your injury, it’s been a long time since I last saw you.”

“Yeah, it has Frank,” Kyle responded. “I just figured if you want to protest police brutality, the best way to do it is to get beaten up by the police. I coulda done without the haircut though.” It was good that he could still joke about the whole thing.

We all made our way to the living room, and Frank began, “I’m sorry about you getting caught up in this. It’s a matter of politics, pure and simple. I don’t know the details, but the Governor reached some kind of deal with the President to avoid him sending any Federal police to New York. Part of that deal was the sweep the police made through City Hall Park, but he also agreed to more aggressive policing in high-crime neighborhoods, which will probably only make things worse. There was probably also an understanding that there would be a substantial increase in the number of arrests of protesters. Anything to avoid him sending in the Feds.

“They tried to arrest Seth and Asher last week, but the effort was futile because the boys had already been arrested, arraigned, adjudicated and released on the charge of unlawful assembly. Since you can’t be arrested twice on a charge for which you’ve already been tried, the charges were dropped after only one phone call. The whole thing was a stunt. The DA knew that the President was upset by my acquittal, so in one fell swoop he was able to stage a high-profile arrest that appeased the President. It probably saved the arrest of dozens of protesters… I just wish he’d have discussed it with me first. My boys had a right to know what was happening.”

“So why do they want to arrest me?” Kyle asked. “It’s not like I’m related to you, Frank, other than through my friendship with Seth and Asher. I’ve seen the videos and although my verbal tirade may have started it, I didn’t threaten the police officer with physical harm. There’s no way they could say I assaulted a police officer.”

“Yeah, it doesn’t make sense,” I agreed.

“You’re missing the point… all of you,” Frank countered. “It’s a classic case of The Emperor Has No Clothes. The DA has fooled the President into thinking these arrests are making him look like a leader. He’s sold the President an elegant wardrobe, made of thin air, and the President is parading around proudly in his underwear. He’s been stripped bare and his ego is on full display. In arresting Seth and Asher, the DA showed just how hollow the President’s strategy really is. What good does it do to arrest a pair of kids who’ve already been tried? That they’re the children of one of the President’s enemies hasn’t been lost on the public, even as the public’s reaction has been completely lost on the President. He sees what he wants to see.

“For his next act, the DA arrests a young boy who’s been brutally beaten by the police. The DA doesn’t care what it would do to the boy, sending him to Rikers for a few days in solitary confinement. He’s counting on the media attention the imprisonment would generate to humiliate the President. The President would be cheering the boy’s arrest, calling him a dangerous subversive who attacked the police, but the public will know the truth. And then he’ll say, ‘Look, the President has no clothes!’ and the President will go back to his bunker, his tail between his legs, much as he did after he touted injecting people with Lysol.”

“So are you saying I should let the police arrest me?” Kyle asked.

“You can’t be serious,” Mom chimed in.

“No fuckin’ way!” I agreed, earning my mom’s glare in the process.

“Hardly,” Frank more responded. “The DA means well, but he plays the game without regard to those who are hurt by it. A lot of prosecutors are like that, but this one’s become particularly jaded, which is why it’s time for someone else to take over. There’s more than one way to humiliate an idiot.

“I’ve taken the liberty of hiring an excellent criminal defense attorney to represent you. I know your fathers’ resources are limited Kyle, so I’ll cover your expenses. I’ll consider it a campaign expense in my run for governor, since I hope to get a lot of positive publicity from it. I’ve scheduled a press conference for this evening at which time you will turn yourself in. Your attorney will speak on your behalf and you’ll quickly understand why I chose her.”

“Can I speak too?” Kyle interrupted.

“I don’t recommend it, Kyle,” Frank answered. “Your silence will have a far greater impact.”

“A lesson my boyfriend could definitely learn,” I added, much to everyone’s laughter, “but could I maybe say a few words?”

“Run it by the attorney first, but your presence could be quite effective.”

 

I’d never been to a press conference before, let alone participated in one. At the recommendation of the attorney, we postponed it until the following morning to give us more time to prepare for it. That also allowed us to schedule it during the President’s favorite show, Fox and Friends, and with it billed as a ‘radical leftist’ turning himself in for his crimes against the police, it was sure to be carried live.

I was surprised at the size of the room, but then this was the era of Covid-19 and social distancing had to be observed. With Broadway shuttered and most events involving crowds cancelled, we had no trouble finding a conference room large enough to allow the press the room to socially distance. With adequate space and the requirement of masks, the conference was well-attended, with reporters from virtually every news organization in attendance and a live video feed to all the networks. To say I was a bit nervous would have been an understatement.

The conference began late as they often do. Nothing seemed to begin on time anymore, particularly during these difficult times. Arrayed at the front of the room were Kyle and I at one table, Kyle’s dads at another, both of our mothers at a third table, our attorney and Frank Moore at a fourth table and the police commissioner and the Manhattan DA together at a fifth table. We were all wearing masks and we were all socially distanced.

The first person to step up to the podium was the police commissioner. “Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. We are here today as part of New York City’s strategy to address the recent spate of crime. Violence can never be tolerated. It is only when people feel safe that the city can thrive.

“We are in the midst of a major upheaval in our society, partly due to the pandemic and partly due to the civic unrest that has arisen from the unfortunate deaths of blacks, allegedly at the hands of the police. I would like to say that these deaths culminated with the death of George Floyd, whose death was especially egregious, but there have been others since, none of them in New York. The right to peaceful protest is sacrosanct, but that does not include the right to perpetrate violence, and that is why we’re here today. Calls to defund the police may sound good, but without the police, crime would be rampant. Even before the pandemic, crime had increased dramatically because of misguided efforts at criminal justice reform.”

It had been all over the news lately that the police commissioner and the Manhattan DA were blaming the increase in crime on what they felt was a misguided approach to criminal justice reform, but their answer was to lock up huge numbers of people for petty crimes. Sure, it got perpetrators off the street, but thousands of kids, mostly young men of color who lacked the money for cash bail, languished on Rikers for months while awaiting a hearing at which they often were released anyway. Youthful offenders charged with misdemeanors were exposed to convicted criminals, literally choking the system, while felons, many of whom could afford to post bail with the misbegotten profits of their crimes, walked free. What’s more, crime was increasing everywhere and not just in New York. There were other forces at work, perhaps related to systemic racism, worsening economics and frustration with a racist in the White House.

“No, we need a strong police presence… a local police presence… if we are all to feel safe,” the commissioner continued. “To that end we are being more aggressive in arresting those who perpetrate violence in the name of peaceful protest. Although well intentioned, peaceful protests facilitate violence and they need to end after dark. Rest assured, the NYPD is doing everything possible to address the legitimate concerns of our minority citizens. I can personally assure you that the death of even one person of color while safely detained in police custody will not be tolerated.” That was a promise that had been made before and had turned out to be about as hollow as the bullets in an AR15.

Next to speak was the Manhattan DA. “Good morning all. As part of our crackdown on violent crime, the Manhattan DA’s office is going back and looking at body camera footage of violence during the recent protests. One of the particularly serious incidents we came across was the assault by Kyle Goldstein on one of New York’s finest. Mr. Goldstein is here today as a responsible citizen to turn himself in. I know a lot of people will take exception with the fact that Mr. Goldstein is just a boy. However, he just finished his senior year at Stuyvesant High School and has been accepted to MIT in the fall. Clearly, someone who is capable as functioning as an adult and who has the intelligence of an adult must be held to the same standards as an adult, being tried as an adult when they break the law.

“Much has been made of the beating Mr. Goldstein received at the hands of the police, but the use of force was clearly justified in the face of Mr. Goldstein’s assault. Remember that assault constitutes the threat of violence and not the actual use of violence, which is battery. Clearly, what happened on May 26 constituted felony assault on a police officer and as a deterrent to those who would flout the law, he must pay the price.”

Now it was our turn as our attorney took to the podium. “Good morning. I’m Nancy Crowley, and I’m representing the Goldstein family today. In addition to speaking on his behalf as his lawyer, I’m also speaking for him, since he’s still somewhat impaired when it comes to his ability to speak. Those of you who knew Kyle before he was viciously beaten by the police would know that Kyle seldom missed an opportunity to speak.” A snort from Kyle indicated his agreement with the sentiment.

“Although Kyle has agreed to turn himself in today, he in no way admits to guilt. We will be aggressively defending him in court and in the media. Make no mistake about it, Kyle may well be a genius, but he is still very much an eleven-year-old boy. Intelligence does not equate to maturity and a boy does not magically become an adult when he is ready to graduate from high school. Indeed, Kyle has decided to put off going to MIT because he’s not yet even in his teens, opting instead to continue his education at the High School for Math, Science and Engineering, where he can begin his college education by taking classes from City College. There are many things Kyle cannot yet do. He can’t vote, drink, buy cigarettes or enlist in the military. He’s not even old enough to babysit your son or daughter, nor to deliver your newspaper.

“But let’s consider the charges. There is nothing unlawful about assembly for peaceful protest. It is every American’s constitutional right to do so. The decision to close Union Square was tactical and Kyle couldn’t have even been aware of the spreading violence in Lower Manhattan. He was with his best friend, Francis San Angelo, and a group of friends from Staten Island, when one of them received a text from the rest of their group to meet and regroup at Cooper Union. Of course, none of them could have known of a mass of protesters making their way up Bowery from Brooklyn.

“Up until Kyle’s confrontation with the police, his assembly was not unlawful and hence that charge is preposterous. And what about the charge of felony assault against a police officer? We’ve all seen the videos, including the recently introduced bodycam footage. Kyle may be tall for his age, but he’s still only half the size of the officer who beat him. There was no way he represented a threat of any kind. He did not push or shove the officer and other than shouting, he did nothing to provoke or threaten him. How many of you have had your child shout at you? Did you respond by beating them? If you did, you likely were arrested and went to prison for it. Kyle Goldstein merely wanted to regroup with his friends, whom he thought were on the other side of the police line. To call what Kyle did felony assault is as to blame a woman for her rape.

“Resisting arrest? Fleeing out of state to avoid arrest? Come on now. The decision to arrest Kyle Goldstein did not come until yesterday. How can you resist what has not happened? But even if the police officer who beat him had tried to arrest Kyle, Kyle was unconscious. He’d slipped into a coma. The blow to his head was so hard that it fractured his skull. It ruptured an artery and caused massive brain hemorrhage. The blow to his head caused an epidural hematoma, a true medical emergency that quickly leads to death if not promptly treated with surgery. Kyle can’t even remember the events of that entire day. The doctors tell us he probably never will.

“Kyle nearly died that day and he suffered brain damage that could well be permanent. His speech isn’t back to normal, he has difficulty with movement and he’s confined to a wheelchair. It’s my understanding that he’ll be held in solitary confinement at Rikers, due to his disability and his age. I also understand that it is the President who’s driving this crackdown on peaceful protest and crime. His attorney general recently testified that there is no such thing as peaceful resistance to the police. Tell that to the late Congressman Lewis. Read the Constitution, Mr. Attorney General.

“Sending Kyle Goldstein to solitary confinement at Rikers is no different than separating children from their parents at the border and housing them in cages. Just because it’s what the President wants, doesn’t make it right. Kyle has agreed to turn himself in today, but I have advised him against appearing here today. I have respected his wishes, as have his parents, even though we feel this charade is unjust. Spending even one hour in prison would be beyond cruel. Anyone can see that Kyle’s innocent of all charges. Besides which, he’s more than paid the price.”

After our attorney stepped down, I stepped up to the podium, but at my height, I was completely hidden by it. We’d asked to have a stepstool placed within the podium and I bent down to retrieve it, and then stepped up onto it. The reporters in the room, predictably laughed at my antics. That was all planned as a way of showing how young Kyle and I really were.

I began to speak. “Hi, my name’s Francis San Angelo, and I’m the son of the late Frank San Angelo.” I’d decided it was time to make peace with my name, now that my father was gone. Although I liked the name Fran├žois, that was from an episode of immaturity that was better left in the past. I’d never liked the name Francis, but I wasn’t a little boy anymore and it was a name I could grow into as an adult. Perhaps someday, after my dad was long gone, I’d even feel comfortable going by the nickname Frank, but that was for the future.

“Kyle Goldstein is my best friend,” I continued, “and he is staying with my mother and me during his recovery. We have an accessible brownstone with an elevator that’s well-suited to a boy in a wheelchair. I was with Kyle the day he was brutally beaten by the police.

“Kyle and I are both very smart. Kyle can solve complex differential equations in his head and I speak more than two dozen languages. I collect languages the way some kids collect baseball cards. Kyle intends to become an astrophysicist and solve the mysteries of the universe. I intend to become an architect and to design entire cities… sustainable cities. Someday I may save New York from the disaster of sea level rise.

“Although we both recently finished our senior years at Stuyvesant and were accepted to MIT, we’ve both decided to defer graduation, so that we can continue our studies as high school students. You all laughed when I couldn’t see over the podium, but seriously, what professor would take a thirteen-year-old boy, and a small one at that, seriously? What professor would take an eleven-year-old boy seriously? Actually, the professors might, but what undergrad at MIT actually knows their professors? It’s the other students and teaching assistants I’m worried about. Hence, we’ve decided to attend HSMSE next year, which will allow us to take classes at City College.

“So Kyle has a mouth on him, but in no way, shape or form was he a threat to the police officer who responded with excessive force. The President tweets that all lives matter, which is as it should be if all lives were treated equally, but they’re not. Clearly, he doesn’t care at all about the hundred fifty thousand lives lost to Covid-19. He cares more about monuments to dead confederate generals than existing lives, the Constitution or the rule of law. All he cares about are his reelection and enhancing his family’s finances… it’s so transparent. Truly the emperor has no clothes.

“Black lives matter. A young black male shouldn’t have to worry about being stopped by the police or by ordinary citizens as was the case with Ahmaud Arbery, just because he doesn’t look like he belongs in a place where white people go. Young black males shouldn’t have police records before they’re eighteen, or be incarcerated at a rate several times higher than that of white boys for the exact same infractions. Young black fathers and mothers shouldn’t have to worry about their small children being gunned down in acts of senseless violence. I can’t claim to know what it’s like to grow up as a person of color, but I do know what it’s like to lose someone you love. We can’t expect to defund the police until we defund the violence that has overtaken our streets.

“I mentioned at the beginning that I am the son of Frank San Angelo and his sole heir. I’ve chosen to put half his fortune into trusts for my twin sisters. It’s wasn’t right to exclude them from the will. I’m donating a quarter to my mother’s foundation to help the homeless. Reducing homelessness and providing affordable housing in and of itself will help to remove one of the major reasons for crime in New York. I’m using the final quarter of my father’s fortune to establish a foundation whose primary purpose will be to mitigate the effects of climate change on those who can least afford it.

“Of course, one way to provide environmental justice is to provide justice in the first place, and so I’m going to address that. A police crackdown does nothing to eliminate the injustices that lead to crime in the first place. However, even with my father’s fortune, there’s only so much I can do. I have chosen to make my foundation’s first project that of reforming the NYPD. To be honest, the New York Police Department is already one of the best-educated, best-trained, most professional police departments in the world. Let’s give credit where credit is due.

However, as with most police departments, it is ill equipped to deal with mental health matters and drug addiction. Inclusion of trained professionals to address those as medical and socioeconomic problems rather than as crimes would go a long way toward keeping people in their communities rather than in prison. However, until the NYPD succeeds in recruiting numbers of minorities that reflect that of overall population; until members of the NYPD live in the communities they serve, racial justice cannot prevail. Having off-duty police officers who coordinate after-school sports and help kids with their homework will do far more to reduce crime and violence, especially gang violence, than a ton of spending on prisons ever will. We’ve tried incarceration and it only makes a bad situation worse.

“To that end, I’m earmarking two hundred million dollars for the establishment of a commission and the implementation of projects to promote minority recruitment and community policing. I want to make it clear that my foundation will choose at least half the members of the commission and will be responsible for dispersing the funds. The funds will not under any circumstances be used to make up for budget shortfalls, nor to fund activities that would have been funded anyway. They certainly will not to be used in part to replace the billion that was recently cut from the NYPD budget.

“Reforming the police cannot be achieved by defunding it. That is a recipe for overworked officers, inadequate policing and increased crime. Reforming the police will take more money… not less, at least in the short run, and that is something with which I can help. Just to be clear, however, there is no quid quo pro involved. I am giving the money, regardless of whether my boyfriend is arrested or released. After all, what better way to prevent the use of violence against protesters than to reform the police? No eleven-year-old boy should ever again suffer irreversible brain damage at the hands of the police.”

As I sat down, I realized I’d referred to Kyle as my boyfriend at the end, rather than as my best friend, which is what I’d written in my notes. We’d agreed that we should avoid making an issue of our relationship, but I’d slipped up. I expected, now, that it would come up during the questioning, and it did, but fortunately only once.

The Manhattan DA took to the podium after I sat down and led the question and answer part of the press conference. Kyle and I were seated behind a small table with a microphone on it, as were the dads, each of the moms, our attorney, the police commissioner and the DA. Not surprisingly, more than half the questions came to me regarding the commission and my foundation’s grant. At one point, however, the DA was asked point blank what could possibly be gained by trying Kyle Goldstein for crimes he obviously didn’t commit. His response was exactly what I’d hoped to hear. He said, “Absolutely nothing could be gained. We will be dropping all charges.”

 

We weren’t exactly social distancing, but we were all wearing masks and doing our best to minimize intermingling. Private parties were notorious for causing major outbreaks of Covid-19 and we were determined that ours would not be one of them. Mom’s brownstone was large and with two floors of space for entertainment, plus the outside garden, we all felt pretty safe. It was Friday evening and a few days after Kyle’s news conference. Asher White had prepared a feast in celebration of the charges having been dropped against Kyle and our best friends and family were there to enjoy it.

The adults were all on the main floor, and included my mother, Kyle’s dads, his mom, Frank and Julie Moore, and Larry Sanders’ parents. With the French balcony doors all open wide in the living room, it created an open-air atmosphere that was as safe for indoor dining as we could make it. Downstairs were Kyle and me, Asher, Seth, the twins, Larry and Robin, with dining in the garden. I would’ve loved to have invited Robin’s entire family as well as her brother Josh’s boyfriend, Dave. Likewise, for the Staten Island boys, but in the midst of a pandemic, we had to limit the number of people we invited.

Kyle was the most talkative I’d seen him yet, with barely any perceptible difference in his speech from before. Knowing Kyle, he’d be out of the wheelchair much sooner than the doctors were predicting, perhaps even by the end of the year. Wouldn’t that be grand – to be standing and walking in time to celebrate what we hoped would be the inauguration of a new president?

The days since the press conference had been very hectic, giving me a clue of what my life would be like as the chair of a major charitable foundation. I’d hired my dad’s former attorney, who was a decent guy, to make the arrangements for splitting up my dad’s estate and setting up the structure of the foundation. The promise to use two hundred million to fund police reform, however, had accelerated things drastically as we had to move quickly to shelter the money in a foundation of its own. What I hadn’t expected was that we’d get the support of several major donors, swelling the size of the foundation to more than half a billion. That would be enough to take on projects at police departments all over the country. We were off to a great start!

Even so, I was a bit overwhelmed. The announcement at the press conference had been made hastily with only the barest thought. I’d taken the time to seek advice on what would be an appropriate sum to do it right, and to make sure it was done legally. In the time since, I’d held virtual meetings with the mayor, the police commissioner, the head of the police union, and the state attorney general. Next week I was scheduled to hold meetings with the acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, the director of the FBI field office and the acting director of Homeland Security. I’d even gotten a call from the Democrat running against the President in the coming election.

The press had a field day reporting on the story of a thirteen-year-old genius billionaire who was giving millions to the NYPD. Already, I’d been interviewed on CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS and the PBS News Hour. I was scheduled for Meet the Press on Sunday and Fox and Friends on Monday – that interview in particular would likely be interesting. I was scheduled for lengthy interviews by the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. I’d also been approached by news networks from around the world. At least for those, I wouldn’t have to rely on translators to ensure the accuracy of my responses. We were spacing the interviews out as much as possible, so I’d have time to recover from the inevitable gaffs.

“You sure look lost in thought, Freck,” Seth said as he sat down next to me and handed me a plate of food. “I brought you a plate, ’cause it didn’t look like you’d eaten anything yet, and I’d hate for you to miss out on Ashe’s cooking.” Handing me a rolled-up napkin with silverware, Seth sat down at a respectable distance from me and unrolled his own napkin, lowered his mask, grabbed the fork and took a bite of what appeared to be seafood creole. The look of pleasure on his face as he savored it showed me how good it must be, and so I lowered my own mask and took a bite too. It was heavenly. I’d never been to New Orleans, but I couldn’t imagine anything tasting better.

“So, what’s on your mind?” Seth asked. When I didn’t answer right away, he continued, “You know, Asher and I went through craziness when we were written up in the Times,” he related. “Suddenly, we went from barely getting any business to being crazy busy, with customers lining up around the block outside the door. We had to scramble to keep up. The underage workhour restrictions really cut into the time we could spend at the restaurant and we stretched or broke them as much as we thought we could get away with it, but in the end, they probably saved us from flaming out within the first couple of weeks.

“There were a lot of requests for interviews, once word got out that a couple of young teens were running the ‘best Cajun restaurant outside of New Orleans’. The requests for interviews came pouring in, but we didn’t have the time! If it hadn’t been for Gary, Asher’s Dad…”

“I know who Gary is,” I interrupted.

“Yeah, I know,” Seth responded, “but it’s been a while. Ever since Ashe and I got married and Ashe moved in with me, you hardly ever see him anymore. And with the pandemic, unless you stop by the Asian takeout place, the chances of seeing him are limited.”

“Yeah, that’s true for a lot of good people I know,” I related. “Please tell him I say hi, and I miss him. So yeah, you’re right. My life has gone crazy. It’s a good thing we still have a few weeks before Labor Day. The crazy thing is that we still don’t know the start date or our schedule, nor how much will be by classroom instruction and how much online, or even what our options are.”

“It’s the same for Ashe and me at Stuyvesant,” Seth responded. “We’d like to do everything online if they’ll let us, except for maybe the labs. Those are always better done at school in a real lab with real equipment. Otherwise, we’d much rather study independently at our own pace.”

“Agreed,” I chimed in, “however in the science and engineering curriculum, about half the instruction is done in the lab and as you said, that’s much better done in person. Otherwise, I’m not sure how that’ll work.”

“I thought the freshman year in college was pretty much all lectures,” Seth interrupted.

“It is, but we won’t be freshmen,” I explained. “Kyle and I both have enough college credit from the courses we took while at Stuyvesant that we’ll be starting at City College as sophs.”

“Shit!” Seth exclaimed. “You’ll start at MIT as seniors?”

Shaking my head, I replied, “No, we intend to take advantage of our time at HSMSE to take some extra liberal arts classes outside the usual curriculum, to broaden our education at the city’s expense. We’ll then take a semester off for a real-world internship of some kind, but of course all that’s up in the air now.

“I looked into reinstating our matriculation at MIT, since they’re doing everything online for the fall semester. Not surprisingly, it’s too late to do that for the fall semester and once we start at HSMSE, we’ll be locked in for the full schoolyear, which isn’t a bad thing at all, especially with Kyle’s rehab to consider.”

“Yeah, how’s that gonna work?” Seth asked. “Is Kyle even ready to resume school?”

“He insists that he is,” I replied, “but we’re gonna take it slowly. He’s signed up for only twelve credit-hours in the fall semester – four courses – which should leave him plenty of time for his rehab sessions.”

“Isn’t that still considered a full-time load in college?” Seth asked.

“Twelve credit-hours is the minimum, but fifteen is the norm,” I answered. “Knowing Ky, he’d have taken twenty credits or more if it hadn’t been for the injury.”

“So how many credit-hours are you taking, Freck,” Seth asked.

“Nineteen,” I responded.

“Shit, Freck, that’s a fuckin’ heavy load!” Seth exclaimed. “That’s what six classes?”

“Five courses, two with one-credit labs and one with-a two-credit lab,” I answered.

“Damn, you’re not gonna have the time to breathe, let alone deal with your foundation, Freck,” Seth exclaimed. “And then you’ll be dealing with Kyle? I’m worried that you’ll flame out.”

Laughing, I explained, “I have no intention of going to any of the lectures if they’re available online. I’ll record them and have my computer transcribe them, so then I can quickly scan them for what’s relevant. I hear that college is way different than high school. They don’t care if you go to class, so long as you do the assignments and do well on the exams.

Shakin’ his head, Seth said, “Damn Freck, you and Kyle are gonna leave Ashe and me in the dust.”

“Hardly,” I responded with a laugh. “You and Asher always treated us as your peers. You never treated us like little kids the way everyone else did. Thanks to you, we now have a boatload of friends who treat us with respect. Especially Kyle. He’s incredible. He deserves that, and you and Asher made it happen. Fuck, you guys are responsible for us getting together in the first place. Otherwise, he’d have gone to Bronx Science and we’d have never met. We owe you everything, man.”

“No matter where we end up… No matter how far apart, you and Kyle will always be our very best friends, bar none. We love you…” Seth responded, causing us to both shed some tears.

“So how does it feel to be a bigshot?” Seth asked.

I barked a laugh and answered, “I’ll let you know when I feel like one. The thing is, I grew up as a trophy child, paraded in front of some of the most important people in the world. Whereas my parents always acted with deference to people of power, to me they were always just people, no different than the kids that served the food at Hudson Eats, or the security guards who got to know me, and always looked out for me. And unlike my parents, those were people I could talk to.

“So by observing my parents, I learned early on how to respond around people of power… people of influence… and I learned how to make them feel important without letting them walk all over me. I learned how to cut through all their bullshit and make them thank me for shoveling it right back at them. At least the thing with my foundation is, I’m the one holding the purse strings. You shoulda heard how the mayor was practically tripping all over himself when I let him have it for being more than an hour late for the appointment, as if his time was more valuable than mine. I made him reschedule! It’s not that I didn’t have the time to talk to him right then, but I needed to put him on notice that I wasn’t gonna wait for him under any circumstances.”

“Yeah, the mayor’s notorious for bein’ late,” Seth chimed in.

“The head of the police union’s a real piece of work,” I went on. “He’s the sort who automatically opposes anything you propose, you know? Threatening to strike if there’s any change to the status quo. My dad used to have to deal with people like that all the time, and I handled it the same way. I told him I’d love to have the union on board as a part of the process. I would value their input, but if they get in the way, go ahead and strike. Go ahead and stage a ‘blue flu’. Does he really think the public is gonna support them in the era of Black Lives Matter?”

“Good for you, but how are you gonna stand working with people like that?” Seth asked.

“By hiring other people to do it,” I responded. “Well, I’ll still be the chair of the foundation, but I’ll get a seasoned professional to be the director… someone I can trust, but I’ll verify.” When the smile on my face was met with puzzlement from Seth, I explained, “It’s an expression from the Reagan years, I think. It had to do with nuclear nonproliferation treaties with the Soviet Union. It meant that we’d trust them to stick to the limits set by the treaty, but in return they agreed to let inspectors in, unannounced, to verify compliance, and vice versa. Unfortunately, many charitable foundations have been wrecked by directors who were wasteful or who outright embezzled funds. I’ll hire independent accountants to audit the books on a quarterly basis. It’s something I learned from my father.”

“Hey guys,” Kyle began as he wheeled right up next to me. Whereas Seth and I were keeping six feet apart, since we’d pulled our masks down for eating, Kyle and I were family. We shared the same bed, so social distancing between the two of us wasn’t necessary. Even with his mask on, however, he was adorable. I wanted to rip his mask off and kiss him passionately, but with a plate full of food in my lap, it would’ve been awkward.

Kyle had his own plate of food in his lap, and so he pulled down his mask and began to eat. Fine motor coordination was still difficult for him and so he mostly used a tablespoon to eat. As he liked to quip, stabbing yourself in the face with your fork isn’t fun. It would be a long time before he’d be able to use chopsticks again, if ever. “This is incredible,” Kyle responded after taking his first bite. “I’ve tasted his seafood creole before, but there’s something about this that’s different.”

“Instead of using rice,” Seth explained, “he used fried grits with turkey bacon. It gives the creole a distinctly southern flavor.”

“Damn, you guys have gotta reopen the Ragin’ Cajun,” I exclaimed.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s not a particularly good time to open a new restaurant,” Seth countered. “Besides, the Asian takeout place is doing better than ever. Asher’s parents are among the few who are profiting from the pandemic… legitimately anyway. Gary has his hands full, and with college only a couple years away, there doesn’t seem much point to starting something new.”

“You ever think of buying a food cart?” I asked. “Maybe several food carts? With Asher’s reputation, you’d have no trouble getting backers, and you could probably get a great deal on space for a kitchen. You might even get an option to open a full restaurant, once there’s an effective vaccine. Train a sous chef and hire kitchen staff who are willing to work overnight, preparing food for the carts, which would then roll out in the morning.”

“There’s a lot involved with fielding food carts,” Seth countered. “I listened to a podcast on NPR on that once. There’s a constant battle over legal spots for street carts, and the competition for prime locations for sidewalk carts is brutal. Sidewalk carts are easier to field, but the popular ones need to be resupplied during the day.”

“It’s a good idea, though, right?” I asked.

“It’s an incredible idea,” Seth responded. “Even after the pandemic’s over, the food carts would be popular, and rather than cannibalizing the restaurant business, they’d whet appetites for a real sit-down meal at our restaurant or restaurants.

“It would mean muscling in on the existing business, but I think people would appreciate having an alternative to the Middle Eastern food carts that dominate the city. Maybe I could even buy out one of the existing vendors that’s not doing so well, or maybe I could find a partner among them.

“I’ll have to discuss it with Ashe,” Seth continued, “but I think maybe he’ll go for it. It would be a business that would be all his own, and if we both stay in the city for college, he could continue to run it, even while in school. It’s a great idea Freck. Thanks!”

“Hey, what good is knowing a super-genius if you can’t take advantage of it?” I quipped, causing my boyfriend to give me a playful shove.

Getting a more serious look on his face, Seth said, “I really hope you guys return to New York after you get your doctorates. It’s likely Asher and I will wind up back here, regardless of where we go to school, and I’d really like to see you all the time.”

“The feeling’s mutual,” Kyle responded, “but Freck will be overseeing projects all over the world and astrophysicists spend much of their time freezing their asses off on mountaintops.”

“Perhaps you can take over as director of the Hayden Planetarium when my grandfather retires,” Seth suggested. “Knowing him, he won’t retire for another fifteen years or so.”

“It’s a thought,” Kyle replied, “but I’m not sure I would want to dedicate my life to going after rich donors so early in my career.”

“I can help you with that,” Seth countered, “and there’s nothing to say you couldn’t be a more hands-on director with your own cadre of research scientists and students.”

“I’d better be walking by then,” Kyle snorted.

“You will be. Of that I’m certain,” I replied as I patted Ky’s bare thigh.

 

Kyle cautiously made his way to the bed from the tiny en-suite bathroom using his walker. Even with the asymmetry of his face, he was beautiful. His muscle definition, most of which had been lost while he was in coma, had returned and he was starting to show a small bush of pubic hairs where there had been little more than a few wisps before his injury. If I didn’t miss my guess, he was a bit longer and thicker too.

“You really look like a teenager,” I said as Kyle got into bed and removed the helmet that protected his brain when he was up and about.

“Roger had his first wet dream when he was about my age or maybe just a little bit older, but definitely before he turned twelve,” Kyle related. “You’d have thought that with a physician father, he’d have had no trouble asking Dad about it, but he was afraid he’d get in trouble because of what he dreamed about and so he kept it to himself. We grew up pretty sheltered in terms of sex stuff and so he didn’t even know how to jack off, so he started having wet dreams like every few days or so. It scared him shitless. He’d had a basic course in sex ed, but in sixth grade, it wasn’t much and so he knew about masturbation and wet dreams, but of course they don’t talk about the wet dreams being erotic or about using masturbation to stop them.

“So one day I barged in on him just as he climaxed. I was only six I think, but even then I’d read extensively and already I was thinking I might be gay. So he was in bed and he was wearing boxers and there was a small dark stain that was wet and glistening. Immediately, I knew what it was and I was curious, so I reached out and touched the wet spot, and then brought my finger to my lips and tasted it. You can imagine how Roger’s eyes grew wide when I did that. So I grinned at him and asked him if she was sexy.

“We ended up having quite a talk, my brother and me. It turned out I knew way more about sex than he did. I even showed him how to jerk off. It was the first and only time he ever let me touch him. We never talked about it again, but I figured he was jerkin’ every day like most healthy teens do, even if he wasn’t a teenager yet. Hell, I’d been doin’ it for a while already by then.”

“I bet you don’t do it much anymore,” I responded.

“I did when I was in Baltimore, ’cause you weren’t there,” Kyle related. Then snuggling up with me, he continued, “It’s so nice to be back.” He very slowly moved his hand down my chest, circled my nipple and continued down my torso, fingered my navel and then started rubbing me. It was funny, but he often had trouble with similar movements, but not now.

Rubbing my hand down his back and lightly fingering his hole, I kissed him deeply. Coming up for air, I said, “You know everyone says we’re way too young to know what love is, but that’s utter bullshit.”

“It’s fuckin’ nonsense,” Kyle agreed. “We’re literally made for each other.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I agreed as I kissed him again.

“You know, I wanna get married in two-and-a-half years, when you turn sixteen,” Kyle added. “We’ll probably be in Boston then, and the laws in Massachusetts are pretty strict regarding sex with a minor. Any sex before the age of fifteen is illegal there, but once you reach the legal age of consent, which is sixteen in Massachusetts, it’ll be considered statutory rape for you to have sex with me. I doubt that anyone would make a deal of it, but it only takes one DA trying to make a name for themselves to turn our lives upside down.”

“You’ll only be fourteen, you know,” I responded. “We’d need a court order to get married with you being that young.”

“Just like Asher and Seth,” Kyle replied, “but what choice do we have? Refraining from having sex for two years, until I reach the age of consent is not and option. Do you really think my Dads or your Mom would object?”

“No, of course not,” I responded. “You’ll be Mrs. Kyle San Angelo.”

“Mrs. my ass,” Kyle responded as he squeezed my balls pretty hard.

“Ouch!” I exclaimed.

“I may like to bottom, but this is an equal partnership,” Kyle stated emphatically. “Don’t you forget that.”

“How could I?” I responded. “We’ll be Drs. Kyle and Frank Gold Angelo.”

Laughing, Kyle exclaimed, “Gold Angelo! I like that!” Then getting a more serious look on his face, he asked, “Do you really think you’re ready to use your father’s nickname? I mean, you referred to yourself as ‘Francis’ at the news conference, but Frank is a whole other ballgame.”

“I think I’m ready to use Francis formally,” I replied. “It is my actual name, after all, and it’s a name I can grow into as an adult. Hell, Francis Lynn doesn’t sound so bad to me either. Actually, it’s kinda cool that my first and middle names are gender-ambiguous. It fits with who I am. And as far as Freck is concerned, well, I’m not so freckle-faced anymore. By the time we go off to MIT, I think I’ll be ready to make the switch. My father may have been an asshole, but like it or not, I am his legacy.

“And right now, the only asshole I’m interested in, is yours,” I added as I pushed my finger deep inside and simultaneously kissed him passionately. He moaned as I sucked and nibbled on his nipples, and then I moved lower. He was as rigid as I’d ever seen him. He gasped as I took him into my mouth while simultaneously continuing my assault from behind.

I’d intended only to get him aroused and ready for my penetration, but then suddenly he went rigid and cried out as I felt him spasm. Then there was the unmistakable taste of something new on my tongue.”

“What the fuck just happened,” Kyle asked.

“That, my boy, was your very first ever ejaculation,” I replied.

“That was so intense,” Kyle responded. “So much more intense. That was… Wow! I thought I knew what sex felt like, but that was like an order of magnitude stronger. It was unbelievable.”

“I can assure you, there’ll be many more of those in the future,” I interjected. “Many, many more orgasms like that.”

“I’m counting on it,” Kyle replied.

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing my stories, as well as Awesome Dude, Codey’s World and Gay Authors for hosting them.

Disclaimer: This story is a fictional account involving gay teenage and pre-teen boys. There are references to gay sex and anyone who is uncomfortable with this should obviously not be reading it. The reader takes all responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. All characters are fictional and any resemblance to real people is unintentional. Although there are references to political figures as inspired by current events, any resemblance to a particular figure, past, present or future, is intended to be coincidental. As always, opinions expressed by characters in the story represent the opinions of the characters and are not necessarily representative of those of the author nor the sites to which the story has been posted. The author retains full copyright.