It was a rainy day in 1982. : 3
Written by Barbara Lynn Terry
with permission from Dawn_Smith
Terry was very glad that his dad had not seen him in Nicole's clothes. He knew his dad had an open mind, but he didn't think his dad's mind was so open so as to see his son wearing girls clothes. It was alo good that Patti and Nicole Sanger only lived a few houses away from Terry.
Terry went back in the kitchen to help his mother with the dinner and to talk to her.
"Mom, why are there boys like Duane?"
"Nobody knows, dear. It just seems most of the boys like fighting, teasing others, and playing practical jokes. Ten out of ten of those jokes aren't funny and neither are their pranks. But, boys like Duane think they are."
"Mom, he even said if I wasn't dressed like a girl at school, he was going to beat me up."
"Well, we will deal with him tomorrow. Your father will be at work before you have to leave for school. So, don't worry about Duane. Now let me see. Oh yes, I was going to make mashed potatoes. Get me five nice sized potatoes from the bin, peel and rinse them, please."
Terry got out the potatoes and a peeler, and set about peeling them. His mother made mashed potatoes from real potatoes, not powder from a box. She put in a little milk, butter, and made sure they were not only mashed, but whipped with a wire whisk. When they were done, they were just as fluffy as any powder but tasted 100% better. He also took a peeler and scraped the whole kernel corn off of the cob. He placed the potatoes in a strainer and rinsed them, then placed them in the boiling water. The corn he waited until the potatoes were done. The meatloaf could wait another fifteen minutes before it had to be placed in the oven.
When dinner was ready, Terry and his mother set the food on the table and Terry went ot get his dad. His dad said grace and they all sat down and passed the food around.
"How wa school, Terry?"
"It was okay, dad, as far as school goes." His dad chuckled.
"Do you have any homework?"
"No, dad, we did everything in class, today."
"Okay. So, what do you plan to do with your evening then?"
"I was going to go over to Nicole and Patti's and visit a while, after I help mom with the dishes."
Terry always volunteered for this because he knew if he said he had plans, his dad would remind him it was his duty to help with the chores. Terry never complained, and was only too happy to help. Besides, he and his mother could get the dishes done without taking a lot of time. As she washed and Terry dried, she asked Terry what he was going to do at Nicole and Patti's house.
"I need to talk to them. Duane couldn't have gotten those clothes by himself. Something isn't right about this whole thing. Mom, will you get me a combination lock for my gym locker?"
"Yes, dear. But don't accuse Nicole and Patti of anything, just talk to them."
When the dishes were done, and the kitchen was clean, Terry's mother said he could go and visit his friends. Terry left with a wicked smile on his face.
Don't accuse them, hey, he thought. I just wonder how he got those clothes. Either they will tell me tonight, or Duane will tell us tomorrow.
Terry walked the not even half a block to where the girls lived. He rang the doorbell.
"Hi Terry," said their father. "What brings you here?"
"My feet," they both laughed. "I need to talk to Patti and Nicole."
"I think that is a good idea. Do I have to be at the school tomorrow?"
"No, sir, I think our moms can handle things. Especially my mom. Remember he made me look like a fool in front of the whole school. My mom is not going to let him get away with that."
"All right, go in there and sit down, I will tell them you are here." With that he went down a hall way, and peeked in a couple of rooms. He told them Terry was waiting for them in the living room.
"Terry, what a pleasant surprise," Patti said, with a wide smile. "Nicole will be right here."
"I will wait." Nicole came in and sat down next to Patti. "We need to talk. Now, I know that Duane could not have gotten your clothes by himself, and he doesn't have the brains to play a prank like this himself. So, the question I have is, how or who, gave him your clothes, Nicole?"
"I guess we will find out tomorrow. I know I didn't give him any of my clothes, and Patti was just as shocked as I was when she told me what had happened and where my clothes were. So, if he snuck in here by himself and grabbed some of my clothes, then, we are going to find out. His parents, or at least his mother, is going to have to be there. I don't think his parents know he did this. I have met his mother at the store, and she is very nice. So, we will see tomorrow, what Duane has to say."
"So, what you are saying is, nobody here dared him to do this?"
"No! Terry, you're our friend, and heaven help the poor guy that tries to hurt you. When I went to put the clothes on you were wearing, I was fuming because I couldn't find them. Then when Patti told me you were wearing them and why, I was really fuming then. Terry, we will find out who is behind this and why."
"Thank you, Nicole. Patti, if nobody here gave him those clothes, that means he snuck in here and stole them."
"Yes, you are so right." She went to her dad's den and asked him to join usin the living room. This was a four bedroom ranch style house, and her dad used one of the bedrooms as a den. He joined everybody in the living room. "Daddy, do you think we should call the police. After all, if we didn't give him the clothes Terry was wearing, then he stole them from the house. Isn't that a crime?"
"Yes, dear it is. But seeing as he is your age, Terry, I doubt there is much the police are going to do. But I will call them and see what can be done."
He called the police and told them what had happened and who was to blame. He was told a unit would be by to take a report and investigate further. He was told that even though the perpetrator was about ten years old, they could start a file on him, and if he got into too much trouble, could be used against him in a children's court hearnig. He said all right, he will wait for the officers. The officer wanted to know who he thought the culprit was and he said Duane Hartley.
"The Duane Hartley that lives on Cypress Avene?"
"I guess, we live on Adler Street, and Duane doesn't get off of the school bus that my daughters do."
"We know young mister Hartley. I don't think his father is going to like what he's done this time. I am sending a squad right now. I am sure we can pick up Mr. Hartley at school tomorrow. His father won't allow us to take him out of the house."
"Thank you, officer." He hung up. "Apparently the police know about this Duane. I guess he likes getting in trouble."
"Dad," Nicole added, "at school he is a bully picking on others with a few of his friends."
"Well, they said they are sending officers over to take a report, and will pick him up tomorrow at school. I don't know exactly what will happen, but, if the officer is right, apparently Duane doesn't get away with much at home."
"Will his mother be there?"
"Yes, Terry, they can't talk to him about this unless she is there. Besides, she has to know what her son has been up to."
"Well alright, I suppose. If it were me, I would lock him in his room and only let him out to shower and use the restroom. He can eat in his room."
"Are you sure you're only ten years old?"
"Yes, Mrs. Sanger, I am. But I do a lot of reading, and I learn fast."
"Yes, you certainly do, that."
"Anyway, I will see you all at school tomorrow. I have to get home and get ready for bed."
"Bed? Terry, it is only seven o'clock."
"Yes, but I want to take a shower. For some reason I feel dirty."
Patti and Nicole looked at each other, then back at Terry. Nicole's mother spoke first.
"Terry, feeling dirty with what you have been through, is normal. You have been through an ordeal that you shouldn't have been. It will be all right, Terry, you will see. Tomorrow we will get to the bottom of this."
"Thank you, Mrs. Sanger. Good night everyone. See you all tomorrow."
"Good night Terry," Nicole said, giving him a kiss on his cheek and a hug. Patti said the same and did the same. They walked Terry to the door.
Terry went straight home, and right to his room. He got out his pajamas and took off his shoes and socks, and stepped in to his slippers. He went to the bathroom, and turned on the shower. He washed his hair, too, and he was still in the bathroom, twenty minutes later, when his dad came in.
"Terry, why have you been in the shower this long?"
"It won't come off," Terry said in an exasperating tone.
"What won't come off?"
"This dirt. It won't come off."
"You look clean to me. Wit here a moment."
When his dad came back, he had Terry's mother with him.
"He says the dirt won't come off."
"Dear, go downstairs. Let me handle this."
Terry's mother got a soft terry towel and held it up for Terry to walk in to. She wrapped it around his waist, and the took Terry to his room. Terry started getting in to his pajamas, and his mother said for him to sit on the bed.
"Terry, I know all about the dirt that doesn't come off. It is normal you feel this way, because what happened to you was not your fault. You were forced to do something you thought was dirty, and because of that, you feel you are dirty for not being strong enough not to wear the clothes you had on when you came home from school. I want you to know, that whenever you feel like this, you can come to me and talk. Your father is a good man, but he doesn't have the experience to know about what you were going through in the shower. We girls are all to familiar with the "dirt". Promise me, if things gets this bad again, that you will talk to me."
"I promise, mom. Mom? I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it."
"I know sweetie, but if you would have continued to scrub your skin the way you were doing, you would have rubbed yourself raw. That is not good. Now, you have had an exhausting day and you are tired. You get some sleep, and we will take care of this in the morning in the principal's office."
"I love you, mom."
"I love you, too, dear." She gave Terry a kiss on his forehead, and a nice hug. Terry got under the covers, and closed his eyes. His mother took up vigilance in the chair in Terry's room, and watched her son sleep. She thought that with this revelation in the shower, she is going to have to watch him closely.
The chair was not the most comfortable, but Terry was her baby and she was going to protect him as best as she could.
The next morning, Terry's mother awoke, to find Terry already coming out of the shower. "Mom, if you're going to school with me, we have to go."
"Yes, dear, be right with you." She went to change her clothes, and then got her coat and purse and she was ready. "Come on, Terry, today we get to the bottom of this so-called prank."
Terry didn't need to get on the school bus this morning, because his mother drove him to school. She parked on a side street, and they walked in to the school without waiting for the bell. The main doors were always unlocked when the school was open. Terry and his mother went directly to the office. The receptionist looked up, to see them both standing there.
"Good morning, Terry, Mrs. Palmer. What can we do for you today?
"Would you please tell Mr. Sharpe that we would like to see him on a matter of the utmost urgency."
"Yes, right away, Mrs. Palmer."
The two police officers that answered Nicole father's call last evening, showed up just as they were being shown in to the principal's office.
"Hello, Terry, you didn't need the police, I would have seen you right away." There was a giggle and laughter from Terry and the two officers. "What I can do for you, Mrs. Palmer?"
"I want to make a complaint against..." she looked at Terry who said the name. "Duane Hartley."
"What has he done now?"
"He took my son's clothes out of his gym locker, and left a complete set of girl's clothes in the place of Terry's clothes. The clothes, we found out belonged to Nicole Sanger who lives two houses away from us. These officers are here to take Mr. Hartley to the detention center."
"Terry, did you ever find your clothes?"
"No, sir. I looked all over the locker room, and all the lockers, but my clothes weren't there."
"Alright, I will have Mr. Hartley called to the office. I will also want Nicole Sanger here, too, to vouch that you were indeed wearing her clothes."
"And Patti Sanger, too, Mr. Sharpe, because she can tell you what Duane said on the school bus last night. I will tell you now, so you know what she says just makes what I say true. See, when I was getting on the bus, Duane was making fun of me and calling me names. While we were on the bus, he said that I either dress like a girl from now on, or he was going to beat me up."
"I will be right back." The principal went out in the outer office and said something to the receptionist. Then he came back in to his office. "I just told Janine to have the students you mentioned come to the office. They should be here shortly. I am also calling Duane Hartley's mother and have her come here as well. Officers, please have a seat, while we wait for Mr. Hartley's mother to arrive." The two officers sat down, they asked Terry the same questions as last night, and Terry gave them same answers but worded differently. This way, they knew what Terry said, wasn't rehearsed.
Duane, Nicole, and Patti were shown in to Mr. Sharpe's office. When Duane saw Terry, he had a hateful scowl on his face. This did not go unnoticed by Mr. Sharpe or the two officers.
"So, you tattled, hey faggot."
"Mr. Hartley that will be enough, or I will have these two officers remove you now, without your mother here."
"Yeah, whatever. My dad ain't gonna like this faggot telling on me for playing a harmless prank."
"Harmless, young man? One of the officers asked. "You subjected another student to ridicule, and what was worse you threatened him that if he didn't dress like a girl, you were going to beat him up. What we want know is..."
"I ain't tellin' you nothing. My dad will get even with you, faggot, when he hears you tattled. It was a harmless prank.
"Very well, since you seem to be uncooperative, we have no choice but take you to detention."
Just then, Duane's mother was shown in to Mr. Sharpe's office.
"Hello, Mrs. Hartley,please be seated and find out what your son has been up to. Terry, please tell Duane's mother why we are here and why the police are here."
Terry recounted everything from finding the clothes to the ride on the bus.
"I don't know what to do with him, anymore. He doesn't listen, and he just does what he wants. Duane, where did you get the clothes you made Terry wear yesterday?"
"I don't have to tell you. Dad's gonna bust your mouth when he finds out you let the cops take me away."
"I don't think so, Duane. Your father and I have been talking about putting you in to a boys home. Now, why did you take Terry's clothes and leave him with girls?"
"Mom, it was just a harmless prank. Nobody got hurt."
"Duane, that is not true. Terry got hurt by you making sure he had wear those clothes home. He was hurt when you called him names, and he was hurt when you told him either he dresses like a girl, or you would beat him up. You are very lucky, young man, that Terry wasn't killed because of your so-called 'harmelss' prank. There are people out there who don't care if this was a prank or not, Terry could have been very badly hurt or killed by someone with a narrow mind."
"So, what's one less faggot in the world.?"
"Duane!!!!! That will be quite enough, young man."
"Stick it, mom. Dad will see it my way. He's always telling me to act like a man."
"He doesn't mean going around bullying others. Now tell me where and how you got those clothes."
"I'm not telling you nothing. When dad gets home from work, I will tell him what happened here and you will not like it."
"I'm sorry, Duane, but you leave me little choice. Officers, he is all yours."
The officers took Duane by both arms, with Duane telling them to let him go because he didn't do anything. With Duane yelling, crying, and screaming that he didn't do anything, the other students watched as the bully was being taken out of the school.
"Terry, I am sorry that Duane did this, but, I am going to talk to the judge. Duane has been on a one way ride to a boys home for a long time. I certainly hope he learns his lesson."
"Well, I guess this concludes our meeting. Nicole, do you or your sister know how Duane got a hold of your clothes?"
"No, Mr. Sharpe. When Patti came home and told me where my clothes were, I had to see for myself. When I got to Terry's house, he was still wearing them. He was told to go and change and give them back to me, which he did."
"All right, I think. Thank you all for coming. I am hoping that Duane does tell the judge where and how he got a hold of your clothes."
"So do I, Mr. Sharpe."
"Janine will give you all excuses so you won't be marked tardy or absent."
Everybody left the office, and Terry, Nicole and Patti went to their classrooms.
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