Curt's life takes a turn that he never expected, and he realizes that it's because he forgot something that didn't seem important at the time. He also discovers that others have forgotten things that are important and that turns out to both help him and hurt him.
Mature or distressing themes. This story deals with abuse.
Chapter 17 — Curtís Deposition
I answered Beth Wolman’s question about being ready to start my deposition.
“Yes, I’m ready.”
“Good. This should be short and simple. First, you will be sworn in, similar to when you’ll testify on the stand. Your testimony during the deposition is admissible in court, so it’s critical that you be honest and answer all questions truthfully, alright?”
“Yes, I understand.” And I did understand.
The swearing in was just like I’d heard a hundred times on TV shows, and was just as easy for me to respond. After I was sworn in Beth read my name and Mr. Williams address that she described as my current address, and asked if this information was correct, and I answered ‘yes’.
She asked, “Is your attorney present and if so please state his name.”
I replied, “Yes, my attorney is Michael Williams and he’s sitting next to me.”
“This deposition will be recorded. Do you understand that?”
“A transcript of the audio recording of this deposition will be provided to you through your attorney. Now what I’m going to do is have my assistant read sections of your police interviews, and I will ask you if the statements are true and correct to your knowledge. Do you understand?”
Her assistant read the police report including the transcript of my statements that Officer Brady recorded when the police came and rescued me from Don. That took almost no time because I didn’t say much before I passed out. Then they read the statements I made when I was interviewed by Office Brady in the hospital and the call I made to him the next morning. Her questions were mostly about the bat and when I traded it to Tom Williams (July 4th), the last time I saw the bat (July 4th), what traded to me for the bat (a Supertramp CD). Then she began asking more questions about the bat and the CD.
“Where did you get the bat?”
“It was a gift that I got last Christmas.”
“Who gave the bat to you?”
“My mom and Don Clarey gave me the bat.”
“What kind of bat is it?”
“It’s made of aluminum and is the kind used by high school baseball teams.”
“Why did you trade the bat for a CD?”
“I have no use for a baseball bat. I don’t play baseball. Tom does play baseball. He got two Supertramp CDs for his birthday and he offered to trade one of them to me for the bat.”
“So he knew you had the bat?”
“Yes. I told him about it when I saw him right after Christmas.”
“How often did you use the bat before you traded it to Tom?”
“Never. I don’t play baseball.”
“No pickup games?”
“Where did you keep the bat when you had it?”
“In my bedroom, on the floor in my closet.”
“Was it always there?”
“From the time I took it to my bedroom on last Christmas day until July 4th when I saw Tom at his birthday party and agreed to exchange it for the Supertramp CD and got the bat and gave it to Tom.”
“When did you actually do the trade of the bat for the Supertramp CD?”
“July 4th, after Tom’s birthday party.”
“Do you still have the Supertramp CD?”
“What’s the title of this CD?”
“The Very Best of Supertramp.”
“You said Tom received two copies of the Supertramp CD. Have you ever seen his other copy?”
“Yes, on his birthday.”
“Have you seen it since?”
“Do you know if he still has his Supertramp CD?”
“No. That’s a question you’d have to ask Tom Williams.” Beth grinned and nodded after I answered. I understood why she was asking these questions about the bat. Don had lied about me hitting him with the bat as the reason he went after me. But the evidence is that I didn’t have the bat, so I couldn’t have hit it with him. I think Beth was happy that I was able to answer her questions so easily.
She switched to a different line of questioning. I could also understand why she asked me these questions.
“Are you gay?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Do you date girls?”
“Have you ever had a sexual relationship with a boy?”
“Have you ever had a sexual relationship with a girl?”
The rest of the questions were about where I was living and why. These were more personal and more embarrassing.
“You are currently living in the home of your attorney, Michael Williams, is that correct?”
“Why aren’t you living at home with your mother?”
“She doesn’t believe that Don Clarey beat me up and broke my arm. I decided that I couldn’t live with her if she believes I’m a liar. So I talked to Mr. Williams and he arranged a temporary placement for me through CPS. Since his home is registered as a foster home that’s where I’m staying.”
“Are you estranged from your mother?”
“I don’t know the meaning of ‘estranged’ so can you explain what it means?”
She gave me a dictionary, and I looked up estranged. It means apart, separated (spouse, etc.); alienated, disaffected.
“I’ll rephrase the question. Are you and your mother estranged or are you still speaking with each other?”
“We’re still speaking with each other, but I’d say otherwise we’re estranged from each other because she doesn’t believe me when I tell her Don Clarey caused my injuries.”
Finally she had her assistant read the part of the police investigation report about Otto Vanvelick and Tom’s run-in with him the morning before Don beat me up. I confirmed that what they read to me was the way I remembered it.
Finally Beth said, “This concludes the deposition of Curtis Fischer.” She turned off the tape recorder and the stenotypist stopped and pulled out a long trail of what looked more like toilet paper than anything else. She saw me looking at the paper and her machine.
“If you’re curious Curt, this long strip of paper has the text of my transcription of your deposition printed on paper.”
“Thanks. I was curious.”
The stenotypist used one of those notary stamps to emboss the beginning and ending of the paper strip and had Beth sign both places. She picked up her stenotype machine and left, saying goodbye to us.
Beth stretched and yawned. “Alright, let’s go to lunch. Is that okay with everyone?”
“Yeah,” I replied, “I’m starved and I bet Kyle and Mark are the same.”
Mr. Williams added, “I could certainly use some lunch.”
We walked out and I checked my watch. It was five after two, and my deposition had taken an hour. No wonder why I was so hungry.
Beth said she wanted to go to Copper Skillet for lunch and talk. I know that I wanted to find out if Lawrence Wilde is going to make me go to a deposition and if there’s anything that Mr. Williams can do about that.
I’d never been to Copper Skillet before. We ordered our lunches and sat there and ate without talking too much. I guess we were all hungry.
“Okay,” Beth said as we finished eating, “let’s talk about what’s coming up. The trial is scheduled for this coming Tuesday. Today is Thursday. That leaves just two work days, plus the two weekend days if necessary, to prepare for the trial. The prosecution, I am pleased to say, is ready. We completed our depositions today. I’d like to thank Curtis, Kyle, Mrs. Hutchins, and Mark for responding so clearly and concisely to the questions I asked.” She grinned. “You boys might have guessed that some of the questions I asked were staged to emulate what I think you might be asked by the defense when you’re testifying at the trial. You guys must watch a lot of the crime and punishment type programs on TV because you seem to know how to respond. You answered exactly what was asked and didn’t embellish or add information that wasn’t included in the question.
“Now, about depositions. The defense has not sent us deposition notices for anyone. They have provided a witness list, however. Those on the witness list are Virginia Clarey, Otto Vanvelick, Martha Kiffin, and Lee Ransen. Virginia Clarey is Curt’s mother. Otto Vanvelick lives across the street from Curt’s family home and lied on the witness stand at Don’s first bail hearing. Michael, I assume that they want to assert that Curt and your son Tom were hugging and kissing the afternoon that Don attacked Curt, and that Otto Vanvelick will be questioned and will testify that is what he saw.”
Mr. Williams shook his head. “What in the world is Lawrence Wilde thinking by calling Otto Vanvelick as a witness? That just does not make any sense. He was thoroughly discredited during the bail hearing. I think it would be made very clear that Curt was preventing Tom from crossing the street and getting into an altercation with Vanvelick.”
“Remember, Lawrence Wild listed probable witnesses. He doesn’t have to call all of the names on his list.”
Mr. Williams thought for a few seconds. “You know, it is possible that the reason that Lawrence Wilde wants Vanvelick to testify is that he’s planning a ‘gay panic’ defense for Don. That’s a very weak assertion that would be very difficult to prove.”
Beth looked at the witness list again. “Do the other two names mean anything to any of you? They are both listed as ‘student’ under their occupation. Could they be students at Los Arcos High School?”
I shook my head. “I don’t recognize either name. They aren’t in my classes. If they do attend Los Arcos we can look them up on the student roster or in last year’s yearbook.”
“Oh, that’s a good idea. Curt, do you have your yearbooks from the past two years? Can you access the student roster?”
“My yearbooks are at my mom’s house and I’d have to arrange with her to get them. Tom should have his at home. I can access the student roster, but a few students aren’t listed for confidentiality reasons. Anyway, I can look it up now.”
“But you’ll need a computer,” Beth said.
“I have a computer with me.” She got one of those ‘you gotta be kidding!’ expressions as I pulled out my smartphone and set it on the table. Mark laughed, and Kyle looked at Beth, pointed to my smartphone, and mouthed ‘computer’ to her without actually verbalizing it.
“It’ll take a few seconds while I bring up the school website and log on.”
Beth let out an exasperated sigh and shook her head. “And here I thought I was up on all the new technology and jargon. I just realized that somehow it’s passed me right by and I didn’t see it coming or going.”
“Don’t you have a smartphone, Beth?” Kyle asked her.
“I think I do. Isn’t an iPhone a smartphone?”
“Yeah, it is that. So you’ve got everything you need to go on the internet and keep your calendar and get email and text and use it as an eBook reader and all that sort of stuff.”
“I don’t know anything about any of that. I’ve finally gotten to where I can place calls without screwing them up, and I can add people to my address book, and I can find lost calls and my voicemail messages. Kyle, the rest of what you said is over my head.”
I looked up. “Beth, you need to take an iPhone class. They have them at Los Arcos adult ed. I think they charge twenty bucks or something like that. You’d learn how to take advantage of your iPhone and use it to help you at work and at home.”
She didn’t look convinced. I responded, “Just saying.” And shrugged my shoulders. I looked at my smartphone and the Los Arcos student site was up. I did a search for ‘kiffin’ and nothing came up, so I tried ‘ransen’ and got a hit.
“Bingo! I didn’t find Martha Kiffin, but I did find Lee Ransen. He’s going to be a junior and was on the JV baseball team last semester. I don’t know him, but Tom might.”
“Let me see.”
I pushed my phone over to Beth and she picked it up. “Okay, I see the information about him. I need to talk to Tom. In fact, I should have him come for a short deposition meeting here. Michael, would he be available tomorrow, and is it alright to have him give his deposition tomorrow?”
“I don’t think he’ll object. In fact he will probably think that it’s fun and that it will give him things to talk about when he goes back to school in the fall.”
Beth wrote down some information about Lee Ransen and handed me my smartphone.
“Let me show you a couple of things, okay?” I asked her.
She nodded and I moved so I was sitting next to her.
“See, here’s how I set my calendar. If you use Outlook for email and your calendar you can synch your phone to the server for the District Attorney’s office so you get your email headers and all of your appointments automatically sent to your iPhone. Then there are other cool things that you can do like find out the weather and browse the internet. I think the iPhone has GPS and you can enter an address and you’ll get a map showing where it is and directions for getting there from wherever you are.”
She shook her head and grinned. “Why is it that I find out things like this from a fifteen year old victim instead of our IT staff?”
“Maybe you need to hire some smart young people for your IT staff.”
“Hire we cannot do because of the budget crunch, but I think we can bring on a few interns to help us out.”
She started to open her spiral notebook to write a note to herself.
“Use your iPhone. I’ll bet it’s got a note-taker app. You can use that. Lemme see and I’ll show you how to use it.”
She looked very skeptical but handed me her iPhone. There was a ‘notes’ app so I looked it over and played with it for about thirty seconds.
“Okay, you have a note-taker app. It’s right here on your home page. See, it has ‘Notes’ underneath the icon, and the icon looks like one of those notepads that have the spiral binding at the top edge. All you have to do is touch the Notes icon and it opens.”
I tapped the icon.
“See, it sort of looks like a sticky note on top of everything else on the screen. The first line says ‘title’ so you type whatever you want there. It has to be short, just long enough to remind you about what it’s about. See, I’ve keyed in ‘it interns’. You don’t have to write something long in the title, just enough so it works as a tickler, a reminder for you. The second line says ‘due’ so you type a date and a time. I’ve entered next Friday’s date because of the trial, and 10:00 AM. The next part isn’t just a line, it’s a box where you can enter whatever you want. You can go back and add more, delete stuff, whatever. Even change the due date. Go ahead and type what you were going to write on that pad.
She typed ‘hire it interns to teach about the iphone’.
“That’s perfect, no caps, just something quick. Now that it’s finished you touch the Save button at the bottom.”
She tapped the Save button.
“It looks like the note disappeared, right?”
“Well, as you probably guessed it hasn’t. You can touch the Notes icon and it will give you a list of all of your notes, then you can open any of them. But there’s also has this little miniature yellow sticky note in the top row of the screen. That tells you there are active notes. Lemme see…” I tapped it. “Yeah, I touched it and it opened the Notes app. That’s good in case you’re not on your home screen and you want to write a note to yourself.
“Okay, besides saving the note you can either delete one that you’re finished with, or you can archive it. The archived ones aren’t active, but you can get a list of them.”
The Notes app showed an index with two notes listed, a ‘welcome to the notes app’ item and the one I’d just entered. There was one button, Exit.
“Okay, now touch the ‘welcome’ note and it will open.”
She tapped it.
“See, now there are buttons for New, Edit, Save, Cancel, Archive, Delete, and Quit. Also see at the top there’s a small magnifying glass? If you touch it you can do a search. Touch the Archive button and see what happens.”
She tapped the Archive button and the ‘welcome’ note was replaced by the index that now showed only the ‘interns’ note I’d entered.
“Now touch the search magnifying glass.”
She did and a search page opened.
“See at the top of the search page there’s a place to enter what you want to search for. Type ‘teach’.”
She typed ‘teach’.
“Now there are buttons at the bottom for searching Notes, Archive, All, Cancel, and Exit. Those buttons let you select where you want to search, or you can touch Cancel and enter a new search, or just exit search.”
She tapped the Notes button. The index opened with one item listed, the note we’d entered. She tapped it and my note opened.
“Now you can do anything you want to this note. I suggest keeping it and see what it does at 10:00 next Friday. I’d guess it will open and sound an alarm. There are probably settings where you can do things like set the alarm sound and other stuff. I think I’ll leave that as an exercise for the student to figure out.” I grinned.
She tapped Exit then looked at me.
I almost choked. “What?”
“I said ‘You’re hired’. Has anyone ever told you that you’re a good teacher? You taught me how to use something I never knew was on my iPhone. And now I really do know how to use this Notes app. You are a good teacher, Curt. Thank you. We’ll be in touch about a paid intern position.”
“Yes, I’m serious. I’ll work out all of the details with my boss, the District Attorney, and I’ll give you a call and you can come in for an interview.”
I kind of squirmed. First, I’m not good about getting compliments. I get embarrassed whenever I’m complimented for something I’ve done, especially if it’s something that was really easy, like showing Beth how to use that little Notes app. Second, this paid intern thing… I wasn’t sure what to think. She smiled, and I figured that she wanted me to say something.
“Uh… thanks. I’m not sure what to say.”
“So, don’t say anything. You’ll find out more about it later, when you come in for your interview which will probably be sometime after the trial.”
“I’ve never been on an interview. What do I wear? What do I say?”
Mr. Williams put his hand on my shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of that when the time comes. I’m as impressed as Beth. You have a personality that I think is perfect for teaching. You’re calm, you don’t talk down to the student, you get them involved without ordering them around. I was impressed that you had Beth doing things on her own by the end of your little training session.”
“But it’s the app, not me. These apps are all so easy to use, right guys?” I looked at Kyle and Mark for support, and they both nodded.
Kyle had to add something. He told me using a stage whisper, you know, a whisper that’s loud enough to be heard in the audience of a play or a movie.
“Curt, it might be really simple and easy to use for you and me and Mark, but remember… these are old people and it takes them a long time to learn anything new.”
I started laughing, and soon Kyle, Mark, and I were practically rolling on the floor. Oh my god, ‘old people’? That was way funny! I looked at Beth and she was laughing and so was Mrs. Hutchins. Mr. Williams was grinning and shaking his head like… I don’t know what like. But it was all very funny.
Beth did a ‘humph’ and shook her finger at Kyle.
“Mr. Campbell, I recommend that you not come to my door trying to apply for a job. Our wiseass positions are already filled.”
Kyle stuck out his bottom lip and looked like he might cry. Instead, he started laughing again, and soon all of us were laughing again, including Mr. Williams.
“I think it’s time to return to my office,” Beth told us. “Why don’t you accompany me and we’ll see if the defense has sprung any more surprises on us.”
Beth and Mr. Williams argued about who was going to pay, and she won. I don’t understand adults. If someone tells me ‘I’ll get the check’ I’d just say ‘thanks!’ I mean, why turn down a free meal? I wonder if I’ll be more like the way Beth and Mr. Williams are when I’m an adult. Probably. It comes with the territory. Whatever that means!
When we got to her office there was nothing new. Especially no deposition notices. So, basically it was too late for the defense unless they wanted to delay the trial start date.
Beth checked her schedule and asked Mr. Williams if he could bring Tom to his deposition the next day at two in the afternoon. He said yes, and we got ready to go. Then he asked her a question that really surprised me.
“Tom asked me to find out when he’ll get his bat back.”
She replied, “As soon as the trial is over.”
“Uh, I didn’t know that Tom’s bat, formerly my bat, had been given to the District Attorney’s office. Is it evidence? Did you look for fingerprints?”
Beth looked at me. “I thought you knew. It is evidence, and the Crime Lab did check it for fingerprints. If it had your prints on it, they were completely covered by Tom’s prints and we assume by the prints of his teammates. There were no discernable prints that could be identified as yours.”
“You have my fingerprints?”
“Yes, they were taken when you were checked into the hospital.”
“I don’t remember that.”
“It was probably while you were still unconscious. They have a full set, both hands.”
“The hospital does this sort of thing?”
“Yes, when requested by the police. I assume your mother gave her written permission.”
“Oh. I suppose she would have given her okay. I would have if I’d been awake and they’d asked me. Will I be asked when my fingerprints were taken? If I am asked, what would I say?”
“Curt, I doubt that question would be asked by the defense. But let’s say they do ask when your fingerprints were taken. Your answer should be the truth, that you don’t know but that you were told by the prosecutor that it was when you were in the hospital.”
“You know, Curt,” Beth added, “the fact that your fingerprints cannot be found on the bat proves that you could not have used it as a weapon against Don. That’s a very important part of the prosecution evidence that will help us convict Donovan Clarey.”
“Good,” was what I said. What I thought was that I wanted that fucker in a jail cell for a long, long time, until I'm big enought to fight him off if he ever comes at me again.
Mr. Williams stood. “Well, if there isn’t any reason otherwise I think it’s time for us to head home. I need to talk to Tom about his deposition tomorrow afternoon. And I assume that these boys are tired and ready to rest. Which probably means playing basketball or watching TV, but that’s the way it is with teens.”
“Alright. Michael I’ll see you and Tom tomorrow afternoon. Kyle, Mark, and Curt, thank you for your responses during your depositions today. I’ll see you on Tuesday morning prior to Donovan Clarey’s trial. Again, the trial will begin at ten so I’d like you to be here by nine. Okay?”
We all said that was fine, and said our goodbyes. We walked to the garage and Mr. Williams drove Kyle, Mark, and Mrs. Hutchins to her house then we headed to his house, what had become my new, hopefully temporary, home.
Tom and Mrs. Williams weren’t home when we got there. There was a note that Mr. Williams handed to me.
Michael and Curt,
We’ve gone to the mall to buy Tom some new
jeans. He’s outgrown most of the ones he has.
We’ll be back around 5:00.
I laughed. Mr. Williams looked at me. “What’s funny about this note?”
“It’s an in joke I’m having with Tom. It’s one of those ‘you’d have to have been there’ kinds of jokes.”
“Well, as long as Tom is in on it then it must be funny.”
I laughed again. “Yeah, Tom is definitely in on it.”
I headed up to my room and fell onto my bed. God, I was tired! I thought about tomorrow. I had nothing on my schedule for Friday so I’d be able to kick back and really rest then, maybe do some recreational reading. I hadn't read a book in like, forever. After today’s events with Don and my panic attack I really needed a way to decompress.
I also thought about Laura’s party Saturday. I decided to call Kyle and Mark and remind them. Mark answered the phone.
“Hey, Mark. I want to make sure you and Kyle are all set for Laura’s party on Saturday.”
“Absolutely! I know I’m looking forward to it. I’m not sure about Kyle, though.”
“What do you mean? Why not?”
“His butt’s way too big for the Speedo that Tom loaned him.”
I heard raucous laughter from Mark, then some yelling that sounded like Kyle, then some noise like the phone was rattling around in a clothes dryer.
Now it was Kyle on the phone. “Don’t listen to that idiot, Curt! I’ll be there wearing Tom’s awesome Speedo and making it even more awesome because it’ll be filled with my awesomeness.”
“That’s something I really want to see. I’ll bring a camera.”
In the background I heard Mark yelling, “What’d he say? Bring a camera?” Then louder, but still in the background, “Curt, make sure you got one with a really wide, wide, wide angle lens.”
Then it was Kyle again. “Ignore him, Curt. He’s just jealous. Some people, like me, have a shopping bag sized package, and another, name not to be mentioned, has one that’ll fit in a Tic-Tac box.”
I started laughing. Kyle started laughing. Mark grabbed the phone away from Kyle and he was laughing.
“Wait! You guys are to be here on Saturday at around two-thirty, okay? Then we’ll walk over to Laura’s from here.”
“Okay, Saturday at two-thirty. Later! Bye.”
I shook my head and grinned. ‘Well,’ I thought, ‘I guess they already know that they need swimsuits.’
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing Forgetting Can Be a Big Mistake
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