Alone Together; A Tuneful Tale Chapter 4: We’re Not Gonna Take It

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Alone Together, A Tuneful Tale Chapter 4
We’re Not Gonna Take It

Rick spoke in a clear slightly voice as he launched into telling them how and why he’d flunked second and third grades. How his failed jock father tried to use him as a surrogate but was too ignorant to realize all he’d succeeded in doing was to age Rick out of sports eligibility for his junior and senior years short circuiting any hopes for college. The he told of the drunken beatings and horrific verbal abuse from his dad while admitting he’d become a bully in elementary school.

Then Rick told how Earl had ended his reign of terror by putting him in the hospital, how his mother royally reamed him out for being a bully, how his dad came to the hospital drunk to chew him out for letting a kid one quarter his size take him out without being hurt, how his mother ordered his dad out and to clear out of the house, his dad's collision with a police cruiser resulting in his hospitalization, and the decision to hold off divorce while his dad went to rehab. Rick admitted he hated his dad at that point and wanted nothing to do with him.

Linda went into panic mode when she heard about the shooting at the middle school. She had two children there! She jumped into her car winding up in the traffic jam of parents, emergency vehicles and news media leeches. She spoke briefly to James apprising him where she was stuck.

"Pull over and stop," James told her. "Go to the TV station's website. They're showing a live feed from inside the school... the shooter is Rick, the boy Earl decked last year and who's Earl's phys-ed partner and lunch companion... I'm willing to bet Earl is the one filming because there is no one at the table where Rick is holding forth and the cameraman is at the table."

"Oh God," Linda gasped as she pulled up the feed to see Rick waving the AR15 as tears rolled down his face.

“Everyone shunned me when I returned to school,” Rick stated. “Everyone, that is, but Earl. Earl commiserated with my sadness and encouraged me to take up parkour. Earl said it was the only thing that got him through being alone in school. It’s what got me through the rest of the school year. We were alone together.”

“Then my dad fell of the wagon,” Rick continued. “Mom threw him out of the house and started divorce proceedings. Because of the crap my dad did, my mom developed a hatred for all things male. She told me she loved me but hated everything about me that was masculine,” Rick sniffled as he kept the rifle aimed above the captives. “Then last spring she began giving me weekly injections of Androcur. Androcur is a chemical that shuts down the production of testosterone. She said she was shutting down my male puberty making sure I wouldn’t grow up to be a man. Then in July she added a second weekly injection, estrogen, so I’d restart puberty, but it would be a girl’s puberty.”

While still afraid, everyone listening to Rick’s tale of woe was horrified about what his mother was doing to him. Those listening to the news broadcasts were equally horrified. Karen was busy at work not even aware what was going on but some of her coworkers did know. They contacted the police and told them the monster mother was at their workplace and could they come arrest her ASAP.

“My male bits have shriveled and shrunk,” Rick sobbed. “I’m starting to develop breasts! Then at the end of September she threw all my underwear and PJs away giving me panties, camisoles and nightgowns to wear. Last week she said we needed to go shopping for training bras. Later I heard her mumbling about castrating me over Thanksgiving!”

The males listening live winced awhile the females shuddered. The police dispatched a car to arrest Karen.

“Friday night my dad picked me up for my weekend with him,” Rick continued as the emotions visibly ripped him apart. “He was drunk. As soon as he saw me he began ranting and raving about how I was becoming more of a sissy every time he saw me and how he was ashamed to be my father. When we got to his trailer he got another beer and continued yelling, finally losing it and beating me. I managed to escape to my room and he kept ranting until he passed out. I’m not ashamed to admit I cried myself to sleep. I knew if I told him what mom was doing to me he’d either kill me or beat me silly. Then he’d go kill her, which if I was still alive, would put me in foster care which I didn’t want. If I told anyone here about what was going on, my mom would be arrested and I’d have to live full time with my dad which would be worse than being in foster care. I really had no choice but to stay with my mom.”

Rick’s tale of woe was making many of the listeners cry. All felt sorry for him. But at this point he was a loose cannon clearly teetering on the edge of insanity that had to be stopped. Police from neighboring municipalities rushed to assist with traffic control as parents rushed to the school to pick-up their kids virtually grid-locking the ten blocks around the school.

“Saturday morning I left my room to sneak to the bathroom. My dad was at the refrigerator opening a beer. He took a big swig then saw me and began screaming at me. I went back to my room but he kicked open the door and grabbed me by the throat. I was slammed into the walls and beaten. He literally threw me through his bedroom door. He followed swearing and cursing saying he was going to beat the sissy out of me. As I backed away I saw his 9mm pistol on the night stand so I grabbed it. He laughed at me saying I was too much of a wuss to shoot him. When he charged me I fired... and fired... and fired....” As rick confessed shooting his father his showed total helplessness.

By this time Rick was trembling. The rifle was shaking in his hands. Everyone was horrified. The police dispatched another car to the trailer park to check on his dad.

“So now I’m a former boy in the middle of a girl’s puberty as well as a murderer,” Rick declared. “I gathered dad’s weapons and took an Uber home intending to kill my mom and then come to school to kill those who tormented Earl and me. Mom wasn’t home and I was exhausted so I took a nap. After the nap I decided not to kill mom but to come here and make you pay. I figured when they find out what she did to me she’d wind up in jail knowing she was responsible for what I’m doing here.”

“I told her I left dad after he beat me and came home. Do you know what she did? Sunday she took me to Coventry Mall where she had my hair cut in this UNISEX style, had my ears pierced, had me fitted for a training bra, and bought me the start of a girl’s wardrobe. I didn’t fight her because I knew I’d be going to jail when they found my dad. But I don’t want to go to jail. I want to die. The swat team is outside. I see their sneaky cameras peeking in the doors so this is almost over. I suggest everyone lay down on the floor.”

The kids and staff quickly slid to the floor. The naked people in the main aisle did likewise. The only person still seated was Earl panning across the lunchroom. When everyone was down Rick sprayed the upper portion of the doors with bullets. Many of the kids screamed in terror. With surprising speed Rick swapped out magazines and fired again. Several flash bangs went off and the SWAT team rushed into the lunch room from every direction. Rick dropped the AR15 and pulled the two 9mm pistols purposely exposing more of his torso.

“NOOOO!” Devon screamed as she jumped across the table tackling Rick as nearly a dozen red dots appeared on Rick’s torso. “You big dummy! You’re my only friend!” The duo fell back onto the floor, the impact knocking the pistols from Rick’s hands as the SWAT team swarmed towards them.



Rick and Earl were grabbed, separated, subdued and secured with wire tie cuffs as they cried. The students and staff were hurried out of the building, those who had disrobed were rushed outside wrapped in blankets. The Fire Company and Paramedics had set up a triage tent and the local hospital had sent doctors and nurses to staff it along with the EMTs. A dozen Ambulances from the surrounding area waited to rush victims to the hospitals. The streets were so jammed the FBI agents couldn’t reach the school.

As could be expected, the obnoxious news media was all over the latest school shooting doing non-stop broadcasting the rest of the day, almost salivating in their eagerness to learn how many had been killed and wounded so they could once again extol the need for gun control rather than addressing the real issue of mental health. After all, no one blames a pen when bad checks are written, so why blame a gun for shootings. The real issue is the people using the tools. The major networks were on live coverage as they desperately sought out the casualty totals. At first they refused to believe no one had been shot and were quite upset when they realized that indeed no one had been physically injured!

The lunch room had been shot up but all shots except those aimed at the doors had been well above the heads of those inside. Even the shots through the doors had been in the upper third. It was apparent Rick had not wanted to injure anyone but had been trying to set up a suicide by cop scenario for himself while exposing the failure of the school to even attempt to address bullying.

The first thing Karen knew something was going on was when the police arrived to arrest her for suspicion of child abuse. When she learned Rick was shooting up the school she fainted.

The local police in the area of the trailer park had grown acquainted with Frank over the months he’d lived there so knew which trailer to enter. They found his body lying on the floor of the master bedroom. There was also plenty of evidence Rick had been beaten, with blood splatter near the holes in the walls where his body had been slammed, most well above his height. It seemed quite evident that Rick shooting his father Rick had been an unpremeditated act of self defense.

In the school Rick collapsed in a babbling, incoherent, quivering mess. They took him to the hospital under armed guard to the psyche ward where they had to sedate him. Earl was seen as an accomplice. They discovered Rick’s folded confession in Earl’s pocket as they searched him before he was whisked away to an interrogation room at the police station. Two officers entered to begin the interrogation.

“I know my rights and I’m invoking my right to council,” Devon declared firmly. “I also want my mother present. I have nothing to say until then.”

Although the interrogators tried for half an hour, Devon defiantly sat silently glaring from inside her well hardened battle tested Earl shell. Police were sure Earl had actively assisted in the shooting.

Rick’s heartfelt rant raised serious questions about the bullying issues by the FBI, State Police, County District Attorney, State Department of Education and the State Attorney General. Similar questions were raised by the media once they realized no one had been hurt in the bizarre school shooting. They quickly latched on to the unrestricted bullying in the school. They managed to locate and question dozens of students who readily admitted there was rampant bullying and that the staff turned a blind eye towards it. It seemed quite evident to most people that the unrestricted bullying and an equally horrible home life had sent Rick over the edge. Rick’s last shouted words were “THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO KILL ME!” was more than ample evidence the troubled boy did not want to hurt anyone but was setting himself up for a suicide by cop incident. The absolute horror and disgust of what Karen had been doing to Rick was virtually universal. Almost missed in the hubub about Rick were the few brief words Earl had uttered as he tackled Earl out of the line of fire.

Those words were not missed by Linda or James. “NOOO! You big dummy! You’re my only Friend! MY NAME IS DEVON! I’M A GIRL! MY STORY IS ALMOST AS HORRENDOUS AS YOURS!” They knew Earl was a boy, a angry lonely six year old boy. Where had he come up with the name Devon? It was embarrassingly obvious he still believed he was a girl! They thought that his self identification as a girl had been settled almost three years before... but was it? That was when Earl withdrew into himself... he hadn’t smiled or laughed since then... he refused to make friends... he refused to play any sports.

While James stayed with Jeff and Zack, Linda went to the police station where she met the family lawyer so they could both sit in on the interview. An FBI agent joined the two detectives for the interrogation. They peppered Earl with questions urging him to confess with the lawyer telling him to say nothing.

Earl looked at the camera in the corner. “I’ll tell you all I know if you post a complete and unedited copy of this interview on the internet. I want your promise, in writing, that it will be posted today. I don’t care if the cops, my lawyer, or my mother posts it, but I’ll say no more until I have that promise in writing.” At that point Earl clammed up.

After much discussion Linda agreed to post it. The promise was put in writing and everyone signed on.

"I had no idea Rick had anything planned until he sat at the table with his gym bag,” Earl began. “We are best friends even though we seldom talk. We shared our loneliness and music videos. We silently commiserated each other since both of us were and are being abused by our parents.”

Linda paled as Earl sent her a death glare.

“You see, I’m angry, frustrated, and barely control my rage,” Earl declared. “I’m six years old and am not bragging when I say I’m a genius, it’s a proven fact. It’s been almost three years since I last smiled or laughed, isn’t that right, Mother?”

Linda guiltily squirmed in her seat.

“You see, I’m a girl who has the misfortune to have a birth defect between my legs,” Earl declared. “At that Thanksgiving three years ago I made the mistake of telling my grandmother that I wanted a doll for Christmas when she asked what I wanted. My Father grabbed me and beat me for embarrassing him. I have not smiled or laughed since then. My parents tried to crush my innate girlishness by forbidding me to do anything remotely girlish. They tried forcing me into being a boy. I have resisted every effort. Unlike Rick, at least my parents were united in trying to force me to be a boy. Rick’s dad was always on his back being physically and verbally abuse trying to force him into become a super jock. To counter act that, his mother was drugging him forcing him into becoming a girl. Each of us were being forced by our parents into being the opposite of our true gender. To the best of my ability, I refused to play with any boy toys or games. It was rough at first but at least my parents finally realized they could not force me. At the same time I was forbidden to play with girls or girly things. That took away my ability to play... and my childhood. I taught myself to read and took up learning. The only physical activity I engage in is running, parkour really. But my life for the last three years has been one of utter hopelessness and despair.”

“I’ve seriously considered suicide just as Rick tried to do today,” Earl declared as his mother gasped in shock. Taking off his shirt he showed them the dozens of fresh slits, scabbed slits, and scars on the inside of his upper arms. “The pain is sublime and it’s so tempting to cut deeper. Cutting is the only way I can feel something beside anger and frustration. I have similar cuts on the insides of my thighs. Tell me, Mother, does it make you proud to know what you’ve driven me to do and contemplate!”

Tears of horror and regret were running down Linda’s cheeks as she went to hug him. The detectives and FBI agent were horrified.

Earl shoved her away. “Don’t you DARE try to hug me! I wanted your hugs for three years but you and dad refused because somehow, in you warped minds, a parent hugging a male child will make him a sissy? REALLY? By not hugging me for three years you’ve tormented me! I hurt so much I simply shut down my emotions, never to smile or laugh again! So it’s only now that the shit has hit the fan that you want to hug me? It’s too late for hugs! Just be glad I have not yet decided to kill myself. But don’t worry, I have it all planned out! I’ll slit my wrists at the bottom of the attic stairs. Then I’ll start waving my arms about so my blood splatters all over the floors, walls an ceilings. I’ll step inside your bedroom and hit the furniture too. Then I’ll head down the stairs and move through the first floor sprinkling blood everywhere until I bleed into unconsciousness!” The look in Earl’s eyes and the expression on his face as he spoke was that of pure hatred, utter hopelessness and eagerness.

“For the record, my REAL name is DEVON,” the girl said as the look of anger yielded to one full of determination and challenge. “I put a lot of research into selecting my name. Devon is a Celtic name meaning ‘defender’, she defends my true feminine gender. Just as Rick made his last stand today, I will begin my last stand. Rick did kill someone today, he killed Earl. Earl is dead and gone. By doing so Rick freed Devon! And SHE's not going away! I utterly refuse to be denied my girlhood! I refuse to allow anyone to insult me by insisting I’m a disgusting boy! I will fight to the death anyone who denies my right to my true existence!”

Devon’s words were from the heart. Her anger and frustration had breached her capacity to hold it in. The disgust and hatred for how she’d been forced to live the last three years hit them all like a knife to the heart.

"Now that I’ve made my stand I’ll tell everything I know about today," Devon declared. “Rick and I never talked about our home life or school life. Because of the abuse we were enduring we became loners. Without knowing the details of our unhappiness, we recognized the signs that made us loners in each other. We were utterly alone with no one to confide in. Neither of us trusted the other enough to risk revealing our secret. But we saw enough to awkwardly share our mutual loneliness. It really helped us to continue living our personal hell without slipping over the edge into madness.”

“I knew something was up when Rick wasn’t in the cafeteria line,” Devon continued. “When he came into the lunchroom with his gym bag without going through the food line I knew something bad had happened over the weekend. His face had the look of hopeless doom upon it, and whatever had caused it needed to be ended.”

“After Rick sat down in the lunchroom, he gave me folded papers which I put in my pocket and you took. He told me they’d be needed later. I never read it but I assume it's a confession. Then Rick handed me his cell phone, told me it was on a live streaming feed set up telling me to film what was going to happen. That's what I did. Upon seeing the weapons I wasn't really surprised his frustration boiled over. I'm proud that he intentionally made an effort not to injure anyone. He wanted the world to know what was happening to him and in the school. I gladly filmed what he did to humiliate the bullies. I will say that I would not have shed a tear if he'd gunned them down. I don't know if I could have shown such restraint. I just hope the school is exposed for intentionally harboring bullies."

“I hope Rick’s mother is thrown in jail for a very long time,” Devon continued. “I know how it feels to have the people who should love you force you out of your gender and into the opposite. What Rick did was a final plea for help in ending his hellish life. I saw the red dots appear on his chest. He did the entire thing so they’d kill him. They would have done it if I hadn’t tackled him. I hope the school staff is taken down for allowing child abuse. I hope my parents accept the REAL me. I hope Rick gets the help and love he needs.”

They questioned Earl for another four hours but were unable to get him to change his story. As long as they continued to refer to her a boy and use masculine pronouns she refused to respond to her dead name,. All they learned was that Rick and Earl had been bullied past the breaking point.

Finally the lawyer called an end to the interrogation, bluntly telling them if the were going arrest the child they should do so. Otherwise Earl was to be released. Since they found no evidence linking Earl to Rick’s attack on the school, they released him to his mother’s custody.

“I thought detective and FBI agents were supposed to intelligent,” Devon snarked as they left the room. “I told you earlier Earl was killed at the school and that I’m a girl. My real name is Devon! If you would have questioned Devon instead of Earl, things would have moved a lot faster. Now, because of your own stupidity, you can just dig through the records.

It was early evening by the time they reached home. James and the boys had ordered pizza. Naturally they were curious about the long questioning.

“They tried to say Earl was part of the plot,” Linda explained. “There was no evidence so they released him. However, we’re most likely going to have Children’s Services make a call. James, we’ve made a huge mistake. What we have done to Devon these last three years has been child abuse.”

Linda held up a thumb drive. “This an un-redacted copy of Earl’s interview. We all need to watch it and take it to heart.

The family watched the video. All were surprised by Earl’s declarations that Earl had been the sole victim of the school shooting. They were stunned that Earl had been cutting himself. Devon stripped to her underwear and let the family see the hundreds of tiny self inflicted cuts. Her plan for slashing her wrists and sprinkling her blood all over made them realize they had indeed been abusing Earl... Devon.

“So you’ve named yourself Devon,” James asked as he tried to process the hell Devon lived the past three years.

“Yes,” Devon replied in a harsh voice that was an open challenge. “I’m reclaiming my life. Each of you have choice. Accept me as the girl I truly am or there will be hell to pay.”

Karen was taken to the police station for in depth questing. Search warrants were obtained and her home was thoroughly searched. They found enough Androcur and estrogen to enable her to give him an injection a week to Rick until the end of the school year. Further investigation turned up a false paper trail within the files of the Medical group that employed Karen. Rick’s file, totally fabricated was tucked neatly into the patient files of the staff psychologist. In the Bean home they found printed instructions and all the medications Karen would need to castrate Rick. Rick was given a physical which revealed the physical abuse from his father. The development of feminine sexual characteristcs was plain to see on the unconscious boy. Blood tests revealed the horrible truth of his ordeal. Needless to say she was arrested for child molestation, falsifying medical records, planning Rick’s castration, and several charges of child abuse. She was held without bail.

Devon was thoroughly investigated as were his parents. The acts of child abuse against his parents from nearly 3 years before were examined. There was only one egregious violation of physical abuse and that had been three years before. They plead nolo contendre to all charges, received suspended sentences and agreed to attend parenting classes.

Devon underwent an intensive one week psyche evaluation which confirmed he was transgender, giving him the green light to begin transitioning to his true female self. The transition was not really difficult for the family. Earl had been dour and taciturn, always putting the family on a downer. Devon was once more smiling and laughing.

Deven bubbled over with excitement as they went clothes shopping. James, Jeff and Zach witnessed the bubbly giggling girl emerge from the shell of her deceased twin. The entire family marveled at the personality change and the fact Devon was genuinely excited to be shopping. Quite naturally she gravitated to what was denied for so long. Skirts and dresses were at the top of her list. A stop at a stylist converted her long boyish cut into a cute girlish style with bangs. Pierced ears soon followed.

The real shit hitting the fan happened at school. Mr Reynolds was suspended pending termination. The state attorney general sent a team to pour through the records looking for more examples of child abuse. Not only was the middle school put under a micro scope, so was the high school. Over the next three months, hundreds of students who had suffered abuse over the past twenty five years came forward to share their horror story. Over a dozen of the top educators were arrested and jailed. The superintendent and nearly all those under him were charged with child abuse. Over half of the school board resigned in shame. What really hit them was the felony charges of willful violations of the Child Abuse acts. All teachers, administrators and staff of a school are, by law, mandated reporters of child abuse. They MUST report suspected instances of child abuse for the police and CPS to investigate. They ADAs uncovered years of systematic abuse with hundreds of willful violations.

The ADAs finally had an undisputed case of a bullied student who eventually went over the edge ending in a school shooting. An above average student in first grade, the school should have spotted the abuse when Rick failed second grade, then passed it with an ‘A’ average. The same applied to his failur of third grade then earning ‘A’s the second time through. The fact he became a bully at that time warranted investigation but was not done. The abrupt change that happened after Rick was run over by Earl warranted investigation. The utter ostracization by his classmates should have been another trigger as should the daily locker bumps and book dumpings. Yet no one filed an abuse report. The formation of a frustrated tormented and teased eventual school shooter could have been stopped at any point if proper reporting had been done.

The ADAs also investigated Earl. His non-social interaction with classmates should have gone past the school counselor who covered four elementary schools. Earl’s obvious intellect coupled with his dour presentations should have set off alarms.

The biggest issue was Rick. He was hospitalized, clearly a victim of gender sexual assault. They had the boy strapped to his bed on a suicide watch. Several IV’s were installed dripping sedatives and high volume saline solution in an effort to flush the estrogen and Androcur from his body. The child abuse by both parents coupled with the bullying at school and his unsuccessful suicide by cop resulted in a major mental breakdown. For the first week he periodically attempted to curl into a ball on the bed. The suicide restraints strapped him down for his own protection. Numerous specialists attempted to break through the mental barriers he had erected. Basically he was in a catatonic state. As more information about his home and school lives filtered in, it became obvious that Rick was mentally unbalanced. Yet clearly he had not intended to hurt anyone. His motivation was to bring attention to his untenable situation and end his life.

The local DA was extremely reluctant to lodge any charges against Rick. It was clear the boy cracked under intense pressure from his mother, father, and the school. As the details became public, the populace increasingly felt Rick was a victim, not a perpetrator.

At the same time the public outrage at what Karen had been doing to Rick continued ramping up. After a severe beating by the women in the women’s lockup, she was put in solitary confinement awaiting her trial.

The reconstituting school board decided it would be detrimental for the school system for Devon or Rick to return to the school. They set Devon up on a home school curriculum. Rick would have to wait until the disposition of the case for that to happen to him.

After two weeks Devon asked to visit Rick in the hospital. The hospital was growing concerned that Rick was still unresponsive so they approved a visit. The staff psychiatrist, Dr. Harris, would sit in on the visit.

Devon was heartbroken when she saw the empty shell that had been his friend. Devon kept up a one sided conversation as Rick just laid on the bed.

After a half hour of no response, Devon decided to go all out. He opened his notebook and pulled up his latest song. “Rick, I found another song that fits our situation. It’s called ‘We’re not going to take it’ by a group called ‘Twisted Sister’ from 1984. This is a better newer version done by Dee Snyder, the lead singer of the group and also the song’s writer. In 2016, Dee Snider gave magician Criss Angel the rights to use the song as an "anthem" for his HELP (Heal Every Life Possible) charity. Snider appeared in a video of a stripped down acoustic version for the charity, recorded in the desert outside Las Vegas and featuring children in hospital and a young woman shaving her head to symbolize fighting cancer. Please listen to it. There is hope for us. We have hope! Things are already changing for the better and you’re the reason, Rick. You’re a hero! And my best friend! Just listen to the song.” Devon placed earbuds on Rick, then another set on himself, then began playing the song.

{We're not Gonna Take It performed by Dee Snyder }

We've got the right to choose it
There ain't no way we'll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We'll fight the powers that be just
Don't pick our destiny 'cause
You don't know us, you don't belong
we're not gonna take it
we ain't gonna take it
no we're not gonna take it anymore
Oh you're so condescending
Your life is trite and jaded
Boring and confiscated
If that's your best, your best won't do
Oh Oh
We're right
We're free
We'll fight
You'll see
we're not gonna take it
No, we ain't gonna take it
we're not gonna take it anymore
we're not gonna take it
Oh no we're not gonna take it
No, we ain't gonna take it
Oh we're not gonna take it anymore
Oh Oh
We're right
We're free
We'll fight
You'll see
Oh no we're not gonna take it
No, we ain't gonna take it
we're not gonna take it anymore
we not gonna take it
oh no we're not gonna take it anymore
We're not gonna take it
No, we ain't gonna take it
We're not gonna take it
No, we ain't gonna take it
Oh we're not gonna take it
Oh we're not gonna take it anymore

“Come on Rick, you’ve sulked enough, wake up so we can start running parkour! Come on, Dude.” Devon urged as she reset the song to play. Devon began tapping to the beats on Ricks left hand.

After second run through with no response Devon reset it for a third time. The Doctor was impressed with Devon’s devotion to her friend. She decide to allow the third play through before ending the visit.

About a third of the way through Devon let out an excited “squee,” as she pointed to the fingers on Rick’s right hand. “He’s trying to tap his fingers to the beat!”

Dr. Harris was stunned and delighted. After two frustrating weeks of trying to break through Rick’s mental defenses, Devon had made a tiny breach.

When the song ended Devon started playing it again. This time Ricks fingers picked up the rhythm.

As the fourth play through wound down, they noted Ricks lips were moving. Devon popped their earbuds and hit replay again. She began to softly sing along with Dee Snyder while she held Ricks left hand stroking it. Almost immediately Rick began mouthing the words. About half way through Rick was softly singing along. Dr. Harris was delighted and pleased that she had thought ahead to video the meeting.

When the song ended, Rick tried opening his eyes.

“Can you turn down the lights?” Devon asked as she user her hands to shield his eyes.

Dr. Harris tuned down the lights, eagerly watching as Rick opened his eyes.

“Earl, what’s going on?” Rick rasped.

“You’re in the hospital,” Devon replied.

“Then it wasn’t just a nightmare? Did I really shoot up the school?

Dr. Harris stepped up to Rick with a cup of water. “I’m Dr. Harris, your shrink. Take a sip of water.”

Rick obediently did so, then looked at Earl. With a tremor in his voice he asked, “Did I hurt anyone?”

“Only one person died,” Devon answered. “Earl didn’t survive.”

“Huh? But you’re here!,” Rick declared.

“Yes, because you put down a whip ass load of hurt on the school. Rick, your actions in shooting up the school finally freed me and I’m ever so thankful! You asked me several times what made me so weird. It was because I’m transgender, I’m a girl with a birth defect. My family refused to let me be a girl, that’s why I was so quiet and withdrawn and angry. But when you shot up the school, you freed me! When my parents found out what your mom was doing to you they realized they’d been forcing a girl to be a boy. I go by Devon now. We were alone together, but now we can be best friends!”

“Devon, like that girl in the Disturbed song,” Rick said. “Were you planning to kill yourself?”

“Yeah,” Devon said. “I had it all planned out. I intended to slice my wrists at the bottom of the attic steps, then I planned to move through my parents bedroom flinging blood everywhere, the doing the same through the second floor hall, down the steps and around the first floor rooms until I passed out. I knew I could it because I was cutting myself for over six months.”

Dr. Harris was horrified by Devon’s calm demeanor as she casually confessed to cutting and a plan for suicide. “Are you still planning to hurt yourself?”

“Not any more,” Devon smiled. “My parents were forcing me to be a boy. But after Rick shot up the school they realized they were doing to me exactly what Rick’s mom was doing to him. They finally accepted me as my true self so there is no reason to off myself.”

“You’re girl?” Rick frowned. “Man, I’m glad my dad never knew that. He kicked my ass for getting beat up by a five year old. A girl would have been even worse. Devon, you’re still my best friend.”

“Will I be charged with killing my dad?” Rick asked.

“No, the DA ruled it was justifiable homicide,” Dr. Harris answered.

“What about my mom?”

“She’s in jail, being held with no bail until her trial for abusing you,” Dr Harris answered. “With all the evidence the DA has, she’ll be an old woman when she gets out, if she gets out.”

“What about shooting up the school? Will they lock me up for that?”

“That’s still up to the DA,” Dr. Harris answered. “You did the right thing in getting the video of the incident out. The school is being ripped apart by the media, law enforcement and the public. Your desperation opened the lid exposing the school for their bullying and sexual abuse. So far half the administration has resigned. A dozen have been arrested. Nearly half the school board has resigned. More are sure to happen.”

“That’s a lot to happen in a couple of days,” Rick said. “They must be moving fast.”

“They are,” Dr Harris agreed. “Your situation has garnered a lot of sympathy. They could see you didn’t want to kill anyone, they could tell your situation was untenable. The pressure your parents and the school were placing upon you was impossible to bear. To be honest, I don’t see how you hung on as long as you did. It was your father attacking you and your self defense that sent you over the edge of insanity. Yet even then, your moral core would not let you indiscriminately kill.”

“Rick, it’s been more that a couple of days,” Devon stated. “You’ve been unconscious for two weeks.”

Rick’s mouth dropped open. “Two weeks... Really?”

“Yes, two weeks. Now that you’re awake the police and DA will be in to question you,” Dr. Harris explained. “You need to talk to them openly and honestly like you did the day of the shooting and today. Nearly everyone is on your side. Just keep up your faith.”

“Can Devon be here when they question me?” Rick asked. “She’s what enabled me to hang on. The songs she shares and her presence keep me calm and thinking straight.”

“I can’t promise anything but if Devon’s parents agree and the DA and investigators approve, I have no objections.”

Devon went to talk to her parents while Dr. Harris contacted the investigators. Devon begged them to help Rick as he had no family to look out for him and he needed a lawyer. Two hours later Rick, Devon, her parents, and their family lawyer were crowded into a conference room on the psych ward facing the ADA, and FBI agent, two detectives and a representative from CPS.

After introductions were made and Attorney Wilson was recognized as Rick’s legal rep, the video recording was of the session began. The ADA, FBI Agent, the detectives and the CPS rep as well as Attorney Wilson had their own recordings set up so there could be no dispute over what was said by whom.

Rick told his life story of being pushed into sports, the hired personal trainer in second grade, failing school, the fighting between his parents, his own time as a bully, his humiliating defeat by Devon, the further breakdown between his parents, Devon taking him from the crushing loneliness to being alone together. How that weird friendship helped him endure, The injections from his mother, the beatings from his father, finally the self defense killing of his father, then the plan to teach the school a lesson while he committed suicide by cop. The entire horror story came out. No ones eyes were clear as they all had to wipe away their tears.

Devon insisted on visiting Rick every day. It was the highpoint of the day for Rick. Linda and James couldn’t help but see in Rick what Devon saw in him... a lonely intelligent boy who’s life had been torn to pieces by circumstances beyond his control. A boy who wanted to do good but was hindered by his parents. A boy who saw their daughter as a true friend and confidant, and Devon returned the trust and confidant.

It took nearly a week for the DA, with the consent of the other agencies, held a news conference to announce their findings. Rick was there with two guards and Dr. Harris and the judge from Family court. James, Linda, and Devon were there to support Rick who was extremely nervous tightly clasping Devon’s hand.

The DA announced that the school shooting was a tragedy. And that while Rick admitted to the shooting, the investigators could not hold Rick responsible because of temporary insanity. Those responsible were his father, mother, and the school itself. Not being charged with the crimes did not mean Rick would be freed. He’d be placed in a foster home, required to have weekly one hour sessions with a psychiatrist to monitor his mental stability. Any signs that he might be cracking would mean a return to the psychiatric ward. In addition, there would be annual reviews of the weekly sessions by the DA and CPS who could change the treatment plan as needed. The public was greatly relieved. The only thing now was to find a foster family willing to take in Rick with all his attendant baggage.

Rick broke down in tears of joy and relief, hugging Devon for all he was worth.

Devon promptly turned her little puppy dog eyes on her parents. Linda and James looked at each other and sighed, then nodded.

James raised his hand. “My wife and I are the parents of Devon Daly. As you can see Devon and Rick are best friends, and have been for over a year, even when they were alone together. My wife and I don’t have a clean record. We made some horrible mistakes in our decisions about Devon. However we have seen the errors in our ways and have taken drastic steps to correct what we did wrong. Rick needs a home where he can feel safe and secure, a family that will trust him and not treat him like a loose canon. We know Rick will be on a home study course instead of returning to school. Devon is currently on a home study course so it’s simply a matter of getting Rick a computer. My wife and I think we can provide what Rick needs. If the court agrees, we’d like to petition the court to be appointed as Rick’s guardians and foster parents. Included in that will be the hope that in six months we can formally adopt Rick into our family.

Rick looked up at James and Linda in joyful disbelief. For the first time in years, he saw a chance to have a good life. “I’ll make you proud you took me in!”

The Judge Kerner from Family Court was well aware of the files on the Daly family as well as on Rick and his family. He followed the interaction between Rick and Devon during the announcement and had read the reports Dr Harris had made stressing the importance of Devon being Rick’s emotional rock.
He stood and approached the podium. The DA stepped aside.

“In my capacity as head of the Family Courts, I have followed and studied this debacle,” Judge Kerner stated. “I am aware of the issues Mr and Mrs Daly faced and can say I’m satisfied they have recognized and mended their erroneous ways. I have read much about the importance Rick and Devon place on their friendship and I daresay it’s as if they were already caring siblings. The Daly family is well aware of Rick’s past and I can think of no better placement for Rick than with the Daly family. So I hereby order Rick Bean placed in the custody of the Daly family. They are to insure Rick has his weekly meetings with Dr. Harris. Lastly, I look forward to seeing Rick and the Daly family in court in six months so I can sign the paperwork for his adoption.”

There was delighted applause from all assembled.

A few hours later Rick was riding in the rear seat of the Daly SUV as they headed to his new home. Jeff and Zach eagerly looked forward to greeting their new foster brother. James had picked up Jeff and Zack from school. Jeff packed his things and moved into Zach’s bedroom so Rick could have his own room. Rick was stunned by this show of trust and caring. Over the next few weeks, James and the three boys worked in the attic building walls and closets to formalize Devon’s bedroom in traditional terms as well as adding another bedroom on the opposite side of the central stairwell for Rick. New electric was wired in and a half bath was added. Insulation was installed and the duct work expanded to provide year round comfort.

Karen had her day in court. With all the irrefutable evidence against her there was no doubt she had done what she was accused of doing to Rick. Her defense was temporary insanity. The doctors testamony of what she had done to Rick horrified the jury and the public. Her former employer explained how she’d forged prescriptions and made up medical files. But it was when Rick was called to the stand that things went south. Rick calmly explained in detail what she had done to him. As he spoke he watched Devon, seated in the front row, clearly his rock in the deluge of anger.

Knowing she was losing, Karen decided to amp up her insanity defense. She sprang from her seat and attacked Devon while cursing up a storm. “You shemale freak! You seduced my Rick! I don’t understand how Rick can accept your transition while he fought so diligently against his own transformation!”

Devon jumped onto the seat of her chair, then did a diving forward roll over the top of the screaming woman. Unable to halt her wild charge, Karen plunged head first over the rail into the space Devon vacated. Devon rolled to her feet just as Rick reached her moving her behind him as they faced his mother. The baliffs reached Karen before she could get back to her feet. She was pulled to her feet, handcuffed and shackled, then returned to her seat.

When calm returned the judge cleared the court except for the lawyers and jurors. The judge questioned the jurors if Karen’s actions had prejudiced their view. To a person they said no, it had reinforced their view of the case.

With that the trial resumed. The verdict took fifteen minutes, she was found guilty on all charges. The sentence for each charge was five to ten years, to be served consecutively, on all 8 charges. Which meant at best forty years at worst eighty years. Rick was free from his mother.

<*> <*> <*>

Rick and Devon flourished in their new homelife. Rick happily played with his foster brothers and sister. When it came time to adopt Rick he asked they not do so, not because he didn’t love his new family, but because it was just a piece of paper. James and Linda suspected there was another reason.

Camping and fishing trips were a delight. Rick and Devon excelled at their school work, Devon slowed her pace to match Rick’s pace. Judge Kerner happily served penitentiary the presenter when they received their diplomas, still alone together but now with many additional friends. Rick was fourteen, Devon eight.

Both earned full ride academic scholarships to Penn State University that included special housing for their age and safety. The duo earned their Bachelor of Science degrees Magna Cum Laud in three years, and their Doctor of Medicine degrees in four years, again both Magna Cum Laud. Then they completed 4 years of residency. Rick was twenty five, Devon was nineteen.

It had taken two years, but Rick recovered from his misplaced and unwanted HRT. At age eleven Devon began testosterone blocker treatments, HRT at thirteen. Upon graduation and licensing as psychiatrists, Devon had her gender confirmation surgery with Rick serving as her personal doctor.

After recovery, they married. Other than cuddling and light but passionate kissing, the duo had remained chaste until their wedding night. Upon their return the duo joined a well known Gender Clinic where they helped those with gender issues. James and Linda marveled at how, despite their age difference, the duo were clearly in love and highly devoted all through those long years.

As for Karen, she didn’t live to see them marry. The lesbians at the state penitentary didn’t like men, but they knew actions like those of Karen only to the hatred society had for them. Karen’s acts had condemned her. The Daly family were the only ones present when she was laid to rest, finally erasing the lingering demons Rick had because of her actions.

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How many ways

I have no idea how many times I was in tears reading this story, but at least they were happy tears at the end.

Jeri Elaine

Homonyms, synonyms, heterographs, contractions, slang, colloquialisms, clichés, spoonerisms, and plain old misspellings are the bane of writers, but the art and magic of the story is in the telling not in the spelling.

An engaging story

Although the gun control 4th wall break was kind of jarring.

This was good, real good

Tanya the Evil

I'm sorry. When Devon was explaining how much she hated her family, I couldn't help, but hear Tanya's prepubescent voice. It was beautiful. I felt like I was about to be attacked by a high-density mega spell from a tiny blond german magical psycho loli

Alone together

A fantastic story. Sometimes hard to read but too well done to abandon.

Time is the longest distance to your destination.

That hurt inside... a lot... but we made it.

Beoca's picture

This story pulls more at my heartstrings than any of these yet, and Rick is the reason why. Can I sympathize with each and every one of these heroines? Yes. Can I empathize with DJ, or one of Lexi's brothers? Absolutely. But what Rick has been taken through is truly a case of Sisyphus' rock. Whatever he does, whatever compromises he makes to keep the peace, his mother never sees him as anything other than toxically masculine. He tries desperately for his mother's love, to reach that goal, and his reward is being dragged through a living hell. Such a living hell that he tries to kill himself, and successfully if not for Devon's actions.

This is the story where I am empathizing. This wasn't my childhood, thank God for that. And yet, given a different result in the parental lottery, I could have ended up in Rick's situation - and I know it. That chills me to my bones.

As for Devon, things work out and smooth out nicely. The happy ever after conclusion that everyone except Heather and DJ have received in some form or another - it is there. Feels like justice, just as much as it does for Rick.

Yeah good job

Alice-s's picture

I loved the story. I have to ask though. The thanksgiving disaster, the x!as presents, lonely hold at etc. Are common themes in your stories. Memories or fiction?


I was the 3rd of 5. My brother was 6 years older, a technical bastard conceived during leave in 44 before dad shipped off to England & the 17th airborne. My sister was born in 47... drowned in 48. I came along in 51.. Mom used me as her surrogate daughter until a sister born in 54. Then I had MAN UP and went from hugs and pampering to getting my ass wailed upon by the belt while dancing on my tiptoes. My last sister was born in 69.

Boys will be girls... if they're lucky!

Jennifer Sue

Thank you

Wendy Jean's picture

Definitely a good read!

Marvellously told story

Jamie Lee's picture

Of the three chapters, this one was the most intense, written so well that Rick's emotions could be tasted.

It is sad it took a boy reaching his tolerance limit, and wishing to die, to bring to light all the things allowed at school and at his home. But is did cause something to happen which hadn't occurred in three years, Earl showed emotions which he'd kept bottled for three years.

Frank's end was of his own doing, and couldn't have ended differently. Karen went off the rails but did have a choice to get help or do as she did, letting her hate guide the path she took.

The victim in all this was treated like a ping pong ball and batted back and forth between each parent, with each one doing their best to try and hurt the other parent by hurting Rick.

What happen to the staff was way overdo and they should have been fired and arrested for child abuse. The Daly's then should have sought legal action for Rick and Devon against each and every staff member, the school board, and the school district.

Devon and Rick finally becoming who they needed to be shows how much better things would have been had their parents never tried to force both to be who they weren't. And Frank and Karen would still be alive.

To affect a person's emotions as this story has it has to be a well written story, as this story is. Reading how parents treat their children would be unbelievable if it didn't actually happen, or actually experienced.

This story should be on any readers' reading list, it's that good and worth the time to read.

Others have feelings too.