The Man from Swift Current
© 2011 Russ Nielsen
All Rights Reserved




Chapter 68: The Interrogation

I was still daydreaming about Rick, when Mark sat down next to me.  “A penny for your thoughts,” he said, grinning at me.

I looked over at Mark, trying to focus on him.   “What?”   I hadn’t really heard his question.

Mark laughed.  “You were so obviously not here, I was curious what you were thinking about.”

I blushed as I remembered what I was thinking about.   “I was thinking about the last time I saw Rick in his Speedo swimsuit, and what we were doing in the pool that day.”

Mark said, “It must’ve been good, because you’re falling out of your swimsuit.”

I looked down, and sure enough, I was very hard and standing straight up.   My Speedo bikini swimsuit just wasn’t made to hide much; as you can imagine, I was on full display for all to see!

Mark laughed and said, “It looks like you need some relief there, buddy!”

I looked up and laughed with him, “Yes, I really do!”

“I wish I had a girlfriend that would get that worked up just thinking of me!   You gay guys have it made!   It seems like all my gay friends have managed to find a boyfriend, and here I am, still looking,” Mark said.

“Well, if it’s any comfort, Ben is in the same boat as you.   He asked me to help him find a girlfriend once school gets started.  I’ll do the same for you,” I said, smiling at him.

Mark looked puzzled.  “How do you plan to do that?”

“In high school, all the girls were my friends.   They knew I was safe to be around, and that the guys on the hockey team were my friends.   So, I got to play matchmaker, since the girls wanted to go out with my friends.   Ben asked me to set him up with the good looking girls on campus, just like I did in high school,” I explained.

Mark laughed.  “It sounds like you guys had a great set up in high school.   You had the pick of the guys on his hockey team, and he had the pick of all your friends.”

I blushed a little at the memory of having sex with one of his teammates.   I said, “Yes, it did work out that way.”

Mark exclaimed, “Cool!   I’ll take you up on your offer.   Just make sure that she’s not ugly, okay?”

“It’s a deal!   It looks like I won’t be in need of assistance after all, since things are back to normal,” I said, pointing to my dick which had returned to its flaccid state, and was safely contained inside my swimsuit.

Mark looked down and laughed.  “Yep!   You’re okay now.   Are you up for some pizza?”

I replied, “Yes.   That’s sound great!   I think the guys are probably hungry by now as well.”

Mark said, “I’m sure they are.   How many pizzas should we order?”

“I’m not sure, but, there are six of us; so, I’d order at least four, if not more.   I know that Ben can eat a whole pizza by himself,” I said.

“I’ll tell Mom to order six pizzas, one for each of us, to make sure there’s enough for everyone,” Mark said.   He got up and went inside to talk to his Mom.

We ate pizza and had a wonderful evening playing in the swimming pool.   It was a great end to a great weekend.   We called it a night about 10 o’clock, since we needed to head back to Minneapolis in the morning.   I decided to wait until the next day to call Rick.   I wanted to be able to talk to him without interruptions, so I went to bed, and was asleep fairly quickly.

I woke up the next morning with Robbie’s arm across my chest.   I guess I should have expected it, but I was still surprised that he’d climbed into bed with me, again.   I tried to get out of bed without waking Robbie, but failed.

“Where are you going?” Robbie asked in a sleepy voice, as he stretched languidly and yawned.

His voice startled me, since I thought I’d succeeded in not waking him.  “I’ve got to hit the bathroom, sleepy head!   I couldn’t wait for you to wake up,” I replied, as I continued across the bedroom to the bathroom.   It wasn’t long before I heard Robbie’s bare feet padding across the hardwood floor.   He came up beside me, and dropped his boxer shorts and aimed at the toilet.   He put his hand possessively on the small of my back as we crossed streams.

Robbie laughed.  “You’re just like Zach.   He’s always so precise about aiming for the center of the bowl.”

I looked at Robbie with a scowl.  “Didn’t your mother teach you to aim for the cheerios in the center of the bowl?”

Robbie smiled and said, proudly, “Nope!”

“You’d better improve your aim, if you don’t want to be mopping the bathroom floor every day, when you come to live with us!”

Robbie laughed.  “Yes Dad!”

I swatted Robbie on the back of the head, “Don’t get smart with me, Robbie boy!”

That made Robbie laugh even harder.  “You’re such an old man, Glenn!   I’ll have to let my Mom and Dad know that I’ll be more than okay with you making sure I obey their rules.   You’re worse than Zach is when he’s left in charge while they’re out of town.”

“How so?” I asked, wondering what exactly he meant.

“Zach has never complained about my aim, and I’ve never had to clean the bathroom before,” Robbie said.   “I guess you’ll have to teach me how to do the job right.”

I laughed and replied, “I guess Ben and I will have to show you how to take care of your own stuff, I suppose.   Things like cooking, doing the laundry, and general housecleaning.”

Robbie’s grinned widened.  “Correct on all counts!   Mom has always done all of those things.   The only chore I have to do is take out the garbage, and half the time Dad does that.”

I pushed Robbie toward the bedroom door, “Robbie, go get yourself cleaned up while I get my shower.”

Robbie frowned and said, “You mean you still won’t let me shower with you?”

I didn’t even condescend to answer him, but put my arm around his waist and guided him out the door and into the hallway; and pointed across the hall to his own room.

Robbie grinned, mischievously.  “You’re so hard hearted!   Kicking me out of your bedroom and making me take a shower all by myself.   I’ll have to tell Zach on you!”

At that moment, Zach’s door opened, and Zach peeked out to see who was in the hallway.   Seeing it was just me and Robbie, he stepped out.   He was totally naked, and had morning wood to boot!

Robbie whistled at the sight of his brother’s erection and asked, “Where’s Todd this morning?”

Zach smiled at his little brother.   “He’s still asleep.   What were you going to tell me?   I heard you saying something to Glenn.”

Robbie laughed.  “Your friend won’t let me take a shower with him, and he’s making me go to my own room to shower by myself!”   Robbie looked at me and grinned from ear to ear.  “I said I’d tell Zach on you!”

Zach punched his brother in the shoulder.  “Way to go, Glenn!   I’m glad you’re keeping the young pup in line, already!”   Zach went to swat Robbie on the behind, but missed; as Robbie scampered out of the way.

Robbie stuck his tongue out at his brother, and chanted, “Missed me, missed me, now you’re going to have to kiss me!”

In response, Zach chased his brother down the hall and into his room.   Pretty soon I heard Robbie yell, “Yuck!   Zach kissed me!   Glenn!  Help!!”

I wandered down the hall and peered through Robbie’s bedroom door.   Zach had Robbie pinned down on top of his bed.   Zach had straddled Robbie and was tickling his brother.

Robbie finally said, “I give!  I give!”   Zach relented and stopped tormenting his little brother.   Zach climbed off the bed, and turned to help his brother up.

Zach laughed and said, “Next time, don’t get so smart with your elders!”

Robbie grinned as he looked over at me.  “At least you’ll admit that you and Glenn are elderly!”

That comment earned him a smack across the back of his head from his brother.  “Watch it, baby brother!”

I could see that the two brothers loved each other very much, as I watched them interact.    I wish my brothers had been as close to me as Zach and Robbie were to each other.   Don’t get me wrong!   My brothers were always looking out for me, but they weren’t as close to me as these two are to each other.   Of course, I had Ben, who has always been my best friend.

Zach smiled at Robbie.  “Get your shower, so we can go down and eat breakfast.”

Robbie saluted his brother with mock seriousness.  “Yes sir!”

Zach gave Robbie a swat on the behind as Robbie turned to go to his bathroom.

Zach turned to me, “You’ll have your hands full, Glenn.   Robbie loves to goof around, but he’s a good kid.”

I laughed and said, “I think between me and Ben, we can handle your brother.   Besides, you’re only a few minutes away in the dorms.  The way I look at it, Robbie will be wishing he was still living at home if he thinks he’s going to get away with anything while he’s living with us.”

Zach chuckled, “I guess you’re right about that.   Robbie doesn’t realize that we’re on to him, and won’t tolerate as much stuff as Mom and Dad do.   But in other ways, I think that he’ll have more freedom than he does here, just due to the fact that we aren’t his parents.”

I smiled, “Yes, I agree.   I’m going to get my shower.   You’d better take care of Todd, while you can.   It’s going to be at least a week before you’ll see each other.”

Zach said, “Thanks for reminding me.   I’m got a special treat in mind for my lover boy.”   Zach winked at me and closed his bedroom door.   I returned to my bedroom to get my shower.   I love the Anderson’s home!   Every bedroom has its own en suite bathroom which makes it very convenient for guests.   I’ll have to remember that when Rick and I decide we need a house instead of a condo.

I made my way down to the kitchen to find Robbie already seated at the kitchen table with his parents.

I said, “Good morning, everyone!”

They all echoed my greeting.   Mr. Anderson said, “We’ve contacted the school already this morning, and they’ve accepted Robbie’s application.   We plan to drive down with Robbie’s stuff in a couple of days.   Will that give you and Ben time to rearrange things at your place?”

I was startled by Ben’s answer since I didn’t see him come into the kitchen behind me.  “Yes, that will be ample time for us to make the necessary arrangements.”

Ben sat down next to me.   “Sorry if I startled you, cuz,” he said, looking over at me, as he reached for muffin.

“Not a problem,” I said.   Looking across the table at the Andersons, I said, “I’m glad they have accepted Robbie’s application.   I’m sure that he will do very well there.   He also knows that if he messes up, that it’s all over for him, and he’ll have to come home.”

Robbie looked at me and grinned.  “Yes, I know that I’ve got to obey the rules.   I’m very excited about going there!”

Zach and Todd joined us.   They were holding hands and had that glow that seems to follow those who are madly in love with each other.   They sat down on the opposite side of Robbie from me and Ben.

Todd asked, “Did I hear that you’re going to the Arts High School?”

“Yes, you did!” Robbie exclaimed.   “Can I call and talk to your brother, Adam, about it?”

Todd smiled, “Sure.   Here is his cell number.”   Todd took out his cell phone and passed it to Robbie, so he could punch in Adam’s number into his own cell phone.

“Thanks, Todd.   You’re the best!” Robbie exulted, as he passed Todd’s phone back to him.

Zach said, “I’m happy for you little brother!   Now, I get to tease you more often, because you’ll be less than 10 minutes from me.”

Robbie grinned, “I’ll put up with your teasing, because I’m so excited to be going to a new school.”

We continued discussing Robbie’s situation and gave the Andersons our address, with directions on how to get to our house on Como Street.

Later that morning, we picked up Mark, and we drove back to Minneapolis.   The return trip seemed to go much faster, since we had so many exciting things to talk about.  

As Zach dropped us off at our house, he turned to me and said, “Don’t forget to make me a copy of the pics you took of me and Todd!”

I grinned and replied, “I’ll have it ready for you later today.  Why don’t you and Mark come by for dinner tonight?”

Zach looked over at Mark and asked, “Is that okay with you, Mark?”

Mark replied, “The only thing on my agenda for today is hockey practice.   After that, I plan to make it an early night.   So, as long as we’re back at the dorms at a decent hour, I’m game.”

Zach turned back to me.  “It looks like we’ll see you tonight, then.   Oh, by the way, who’s doing the cooking?”

“I don’t know, yet.   Ben and I will figure something out,” I responded, with a grin.   “You’ll just have to be surprised by whatever it is we decide to cook.”

Zach laughed and waved good-bye, as he pulled away and drove down the street.   Ben and I spent the rest of the day moving our furniture around, or at least Ben helped until he had to go to hockey practice with the guys.   I finished setting up Ben’s bed and his desk.   Our bedroom looked a lot like it did in high school, except we didn’t have a dormer window.   I moved my photo clock of Rick off of my desk, and set it up on my dresser, next to my bed.   Looking at the message Rick had placed there made my heart yearn to hear his voice.   The time indicated on the clock meant I would have to wait until 10 PM tonight to call.

Meanwhile, I organized our bedroom; then, went next door to start cleaning Robbie’s room.   By the time Ben returned from practice, I’d swept and mopped the floor and dusted everything.   I looked around the empty room and thought, “We will need to buy Robbie a bed when his parents bring him down in a couple of days.”

While Ben got cleaned up, I spent some time updating my blog about my trip to Duluth.   Ben came into our room with a towel wrapped around his waist.

“So what are we cooking for the guys tonight?” Ben asked.

“Does spaghetti sound okay?” I asked.

“Yes, as long as it doesn’t have ketchup on it!   I hated that stuff Taka made for us the other day,” Ben said, grimacing.

“I promise I’ll use regular spaghetti sauce!   We need to run to the store to get the ingredients, though.   I checked the cupboards, and there isn’t much food in the house,” I said.

Ben said, “Let’s make a list of what we will need for the rest of the week, and we’ll make a trip to the store.   That way we won’t have to worry about shopping for food until the weekend.”

“I’ll make up a list of our favorite dishes, then, I’ll make a list of the ingredients we’ll need to make them,” I said.

I made up the list of meals we both like and shared it with Ben.   Then, I made the shopping list.   I drove us over to Joe’s Market and Deli.   I waited while Ben ran in and picked up one their gyros to tide him over until dinner time.   Ben never ceases to amaze me.   He can pack away so much food, but still manages to remain in such good shape!  From there, I followed Ben’s direction to the Rainbow Food store.   It took us about an hour to get everything on the list, since I wasn’t familiar with the store layout.   We ended up going back for things on aisles we’d already been down.   Next time, it shouldn’t take us so long!

 We made it back to the house, just as Zach and Mark arrived.   They helped us bring in the groceries, and I put them to work putting things away in the cupboards, while I put the water on to boil for the spaghetti.   I gave Zach a CD with his pics on it, while we waited for the spaghetti to cook.   Taka and Frank joined us for dinner.   We had a good time talking about our weekend, and sharing our adventures with Taka and Frank.   About 9 PM, Zach and Mark left for their dorms, and the rest of us decided to call it an early night.  

I got out my cell phone and sent a text message to Rick.   “Hello, r u there?”

The last couple of days had been harrowing ones for Rick.   The MPs’ investigation had all of them on edge.   Each member of Sam’s company was escorted to Sgt. Riehle’s office and interrogated about their relationship to the deceased; and where they were on the night he was murdered.   Stan, Chip and the rest of the guys who played poker that night with Sam, were pretty shook up.   They had been instructed not to talk about the murder with anyone, especially not with people back home; since Sam’s closest relatives hadn’t been notified of his death.

Rick thought back to his interrogation by the MPs.

“Where were you the night Corporal Meyers was murdered?” Sgt. Riehle asked.

“I played poker with him and the rest of the guys until 10 PM.   Then, we turned in for the night,” I replied.

“Why didn’t Corporal Meyers accompany you to the barracks?” he asked.

 “He said he had an appointment with someone, and he wouldn’t be long,” I replied.

“Did he say who he was going to meet, or where they were going to meet?” he asked.

“No, sir.   Corporal Meyers didn’t say who he was meeting.   He did say that he was going to wait for them in the mess hall,” I said.

Sgt. Riehle asked, “Did you see Corporal Meyers using any of these items?” He pointed to a set of dildos, chains, gags and cock rings that were on the table in front of him.

“No, sir.   I haven’t seen any of those items before today,” I responded.

“Are you sure?” he asked, again.   This time he stood over me and looked me in the eyes.

“Yes, sir.   I’m absolutely certain that I’ve never seen those things until today,” I replied.

“Corporal Lernier, we found these items in Corporal Meyers trunk that was under his bed.   Are you absolutely certain you’ve never seen these before?” Sgt. Riehle asked, for a third time.

“Sir, I’ve never seen them before today.   Corporal Meyers didn’t show them to me.  I didn’t know he had them,” I said.

“You don’t believe Corporal Meyers was gay do you?” Sgt. Riehle asked.

“No, I don’t, sir,” I replied looking him in the eye.

“Well, take a look at these photos.   I think you’ll change your mind,” he said.

He handed me several photos.   What I saw made me sick.   I couldn’t believe the cruelty of the men who tortured Sam and left him to die!  I returned the photos to Sgt. Riehle.   I was feeling pretty nauseous.

Sgt. Riehle said, “There’s a bucket under the table if you need to puke.”   His tone of voice was cold and disdainful.   He continued, “I bet you’ve never seen a dead body in that condition before, have you?”

I shook my head and tried to keep from losing my lunch.   When I didn’t say anything more, he continued, “I want you to think back over the things Corporal Meyers said to you that evening.   Is there anything at all that would lead us to who did this?”

I thought for a moment.   “He was pretty close to a couple of guys in the motor pool.   I don’t remember their names.   He often would spend time with them in their barracks.   Other than that, I don’t remember anything out of the ordinary.”

Sgt. Riehle said, “That’s all the questions I have for you at the moment.   If you remember anything else, I want to know about it right away.”

“Yes sir,” I replied.

“You’re dismissed, marine,” Sgt. Riehle said.

Rick got up and swayed a little as he did so.   Sgt. Riehle held his arm to steady him, “Are you going to be alright, son?”   It was the first time he’d shown concern for Rick during the entire interview.   The rest of the time he’d maintained a very cold, stern expression.   It was obvious to him that this marine was not the individual who had killed his fellow marine; but he needed to maintain his objectivity.   Rick reminded him of his son, who had been killed the year before in this conflict.   He wanted to reach out to comfort this boy, but refrained; so as not to give any appearance of bias or prejudice to his investigation.

Rick nodded.  “I’ll be okay.”

Sgt. Riehle released his arm and nodded.   “Return to the barracks, Corporal, and I’ll have your commanding officer notified that you’re not feeling well.”

“Yes sir,” Rick said, and left the room.

Sgt. Riehle turned to Corporal Saunders and said, “I want the entire motor pool brought in for interrogation.”

“Yes sir!” Corporal Saunders replied.   He left the room to quickly arrange the interviews.

Rick’s thoughts returned to the present when he heard the door to the barracks open.   He glanced over to see his commanding officer come through the door.

He immediately got to his feet and saluted him.

“At ease, marine,” Lt. Col. Bachman said.   “Sgt. Riehle let me know you weren’t doing well, after his interrogation.   I’m sorry that we have to put you through those interviews; but we need to find those who committed such atrocities, as quickly as possible.”

“I understand, sir,” Rick replied.

“Good.   I’m glad that you seem to be better than you were a little while ago.   I’ve requested that you be transferred to another base with the rest of your detachment for a few weeks, until we’ve settled things down here.   I think that a change of pace will do you all good, given the circumstances.   However, I can’t release you until the MPs have completed their investigation,” he said.   “The sooner the murderers are behind bars, the better!”

Rick nodded his agreement.  “Yes sir!”

“Corporal Lernier, I want you to take an hour to get yourself back together, then, I want you to report to your regular duty station.   I believe you’re assigned to help with the supply trucks this afternoon,” Lt. Col. Bachman said.

“Yes, sir!” Rick said, saluting his commanding officer.

Lt. Col. Bachman returned his salute, and turned smartly, leaving Rick to ponder why Sam had been so brutalized.   Sam was always trying to help people, and looked for ways to include them in his activities.   He had become known as the detachment’s social secretary, because he was always organizing events to keep the marines occupied and happy.   The most surprising thing was the fact that Sam had kept sex toys under his bed.   Rick still couldn’t fathom the idea that Sam was gay.   Sam had, until recently, been one of the most vocal homophobic guys in the barracks.   He had often spoken of his faggot brother, and never had anything positive to say about gays.

Rick’s cell phone buzzed in his pocket.   He quickly retrieved it and read the text message Glenn had sent, “Hello, r u there?”

He dialed Glenn’s number.   “Hello,” Rick said, trying to keep his voice from cracking with emotion.

I replied, “Hello, are you okay?   You don’t sound very good.”

“I’ll be okay.   I’ve just had a rough morning that’s all,” Rick replied, remembering that he wasn’t supposed to say anything about Sam’s death.

“I want you to know I love you, Rick.   I’ve thought about you all day today,” I said.

Rick’s breath caught in his throat as a wave of emotion caught him off guard.   He struggled for a moment to regain his composure.

I said, “Rick, I’m guessing you can’t talk about what’s happened, since you told me you’ll be okay.   I know that you’re strong, and will make it through whatever’s going on.   I love you, and have confidence in you.”

Hearing Glenn’s voice released what little control Rick had, and the tears managed to escape and roll down his cheeks.   He put his hand up to his mouth to stifle the cry of anguish that nearly escaped his lips.

I listened for a moment, then said, “I know you’re crying, Rick.   You need to let the hurt come out and express itself.   Don’t be afraid to show your emotions.   I know you’re trying to be strong, but sometimes part of being strong is knowing when to let the hurt express itself.”

By this time, Rick was sobbing.   He tried wiping the tears from his face as he listened to his partner’s voice.

I said, “I love you.   You’re my sweetheart and my only love.   Let the sadness leave your heart, so you can be the best marine you can be.”

Rick managed to recover a measure of control over his emotions.   He said, “Thank you, Glenn.   I’ve needed to talk to you for a couple of days now, and I’m glad I called you.   Just hearing your voice has helped me immensely.”  

“Always remember that I’m here for you, Rick,” I said, soothingly.

Rick answered, “I know.   You always know the right things to say to me to cheer me up, and help me make it through the tough times.   That’s why I love you so much.   I’m going to change the subject, Glenn.   What did you do this weekend?”

I proceeded to tell him all about the trip to Duluth, and the addition of Robbie to our group of roommates.   When I finished, I asked, “Rick, will you be okay now?”

Rick responded, “Yes, I’ll be okay.   I love you.”

“I love you, more,” I replied.

“Get some sleep, lover boy,” Rick said.

“Good night, sweetheart,” I replied.

Prev To be continued . . .