Walt is stuck at home on Halloween answering the door every time a trick-or-treater rings the doorbell.
When Carl arrives Walt thinks he's just another trick or treater. But maybe he isn't.
I opened the door expecting to see some more little kids saying ‘trick or treat!’ What I saw instead was Carl Wolfe, a friend who, like me, is a sophomore at Edison High. He had a great Halloween makeup job. I wondered if he decided to go trick-or-treating, even if he is a little old for that, or if he was on his way to a Halloween party. He had a beat-up Edison sweatshirt with realistic-looking blood all over the front. He made up his face to look like he’d been in a fight, with scratches and more of the dried blood that looked like it ran out of his nose. He made up his left eye so it looked like he’d been slugged real hard. To top it off he had a major case of bed-head.
“Great makeup job, Carl,” I said, grinning. “You look like some sort of zombie. Aren’t you supposed to gasp ‘trick or treat’ now?”
Instead he gasped, “Walt, can I come in?”
“Sure.” I pulled the door open wide and stepped back. He stumbled in, almost falling on the floor. I grabbed his arm to steady him, and closed the door.
“Man, you’re sticking to your script. But now that you’re here you can drop the act.”
“This isn’t an act,” he said in a voice so low I had to move close to him to hear what he said. “I just got beat up by a couple guys. They stole my phone and my wallet and my house key. Can I sit down? Maybe not in the living room, though. This is real blood, and it might rub off on your furniture.”
I led him into the kitchen. Any blood would wipe off the molded plastic chairs at our kitchen table without any problem. He sat down and looked at me.
“Can I get you something?” I asked.
“Thanks. Maybe some water?”
I went to the sink and filled a glass with water, handed him the glass, and sat down across the table from him.
“Who did this to you?”
He took a long drink of water. “Thanks for that.” Now he spoke more clearly. “I got jumped by Kenny Randall and Armando Garcia.”
“Whoa! Where did it happen? When?”
“About three blocks from here, maybe ten minutes ago. Armando said if I told anyone that he’d kill me.”
“Bullshit! That’s bogus. He just tried to scare you.”
“I don’t know, he’s a really bad dude. Not just a school bully, but someone who’s actually dangerous.”
“You know, if they have your house key and your ID they’ll probably go right to your house and rob you guys.”
“Burglarize us. Burglarize is when someone goes into your house and there’s no one there and they steal your stuff. Robbery is when someone threatens you face to face and takes your stuff from you. They robbed me. They might try to burglarize our house. They’ll get away with it 'cuz there’s no one home. My dad’s still at work.”
“Okay, they’re gonna burglarize your house. Tell you what, we gotta take care of this right now. I’m gonna call the cops and when they get here you’re gonna tell them what happened. While I’m doing that you use my cell to call your dad and tell him to stay away from the house.” I handed Carl my cell.
I picked up the house phone and dialed 911. I explained to the dispatch person what happened. She said a police car would be at my house in about five minutes. I gave her Carl’s address and said the guys stole his wallet and house key, so they were probably on their way to burglarize his house. She said to tell the police when they got to my house and they’d take care of it.
Then I called my mom. She’d gone out with the twins trick-or-treating and then to a Halloween party at the Community Center. I told her about what happened to Carl and that I’d called the police.
“Yes, Mom. It’s Carl who got beat up.”
“Alright. They’re going to have the costume judging in a few minutes. Is it okay if I wait until that’s over then come home?”
“Sure. We’ll be fine here.”
“Alright. We’ll be home in about a half hour. If you need me, call. Okay?”
Carl had called his dad on my cell. “My dad’s at the hospital working the late shift. He’s going to schedule someone to fill in for him so he can leave. I told him not to go home, but to come to your house, and he’ll be here in about twenty minutes. I hope that’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay. It’s a good idea that he shouldn’t go to your house in case those two guys are there. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them has a gun. Anyway, I think the cops will have arrested Kenny and Armando by the time he’d get to your house.
“Hey, I just thought of something. Do you have one of those tracking apps on your phone?”
“Let me get my laptop. You can log in and track your phone and see where those asswipes are right now.”
Carl logged in and got a map showing the location of his phone. We zoomed in and got the address along with a bird’s eye view of a house about five blocks away.
“That must be either Kenny’s or Armando’s house,” I said. “I don’t know where either of those guys lives, do you?”
“Will that app let you lock your phone so they can’t use it?”
“Yeah, but it’s even better if they turn it on. That way I can take a picture of whoever’s using it.”
“Cool. Can you set it to do that automatically?”
“Lemme see.” Carl found a link to turn on that feature so it would take pictures automatically using the front-facing camera above the screen.
“That oughta do it. I hope,” he said.
“Well, yeah. I’ve never had to use it before, so I don’t know if it really works or not.”
“Oh. It oughta work if they advertise that feature, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, I suppose. Say, I’d like to clean up a bit. Is it okay if I use your bathroom? That way I can get some of the blood off me.”
“Tell you what, first lemme take some pix of you to show your injuries. Then you should probably wait to clean up until after the cops see you.”
“Good idea. Thanks for thinking about that, Walt. I’m glad it’s your doorbell I rang.”
“I’m glad you did too.” I‘d never tell him, but I liked Carl a lot. Like in I’m gay and I like him that way. No way he’d think that way about me, though. He’s totally straight-arrow.
“Let’s go into the dining room. You can stand in front of the wall. It’s plain white, and that’s best for taking some pix showing you and your injuries.”
I took about ten pictures with my cell and showed them to Carl.
“Damn, I look awful. When he sees me my dad’s probably gonna take me to the hospital to get checked out.”
“Good thing he works there. He can make sure you get all the tests you need. Like the one where they shove a tube up your butt to look inside, a proscopy... or whatever it’s called.” I grinned and wiggled my eyebrows.
“It’s a proctoscopy exam, and they don’t do that to kids.”
“Even after you’ve been beat up?”
“No. Only if I’d been raped.”
“Yeah, like quadruple eww!”
The doorbell rang, and then we heard loud knocking on the front door. Carl and I walked to the front door and I looked through the peephole. There were two cops standing on the porch. I opened the door.
“Come in. I’m Walt Harrison and I live here. This is Carl Wolfe, he’s the one who got beat up.”
I led them into the kitchen and we all sat down at the table.
“I’m Sargent Ben Forrester, and this is Officer Richard Sanders. Carl, you called to say that you had been attacked by two guys who beat and robbed you. Is that correct?”
“Yes,” Carl replied, “but Walt actually called. I was still shook up ‘cuz it happened just a few minutes ago.”
“You have a lot of cuts and bruises. How did you get those?”
“I tried to fight them off, but they knocked me down and started kicking me. Then they got my wallet, cellphone, and house key.”
“Carl knows the guys who did it,” I said.
“The guys who did it are Kenny Randall and Armando Garcia,” Carl said. “Armando threatened to kill me if I told anyone. He’s a bad dude.”
“Rich, I know those two perps,” Sargent Forrester told Officer Sanders.
“They in a gang?”
“They’re not in an organized gang. They seem to be a pair of loners that usually do low-level stuff like burglary. Garcia’s father is a high-powered lawyer and he always finds a way to get them off.”
“They go to Edison High,” I said. “We go to school there too. There’s a tracking app on Carl’s phone, and he tracked it to what we think is one of those guys’ houses.”
Carl showed them the app running on my laptop, and refreshed the phone finder screen. The phone hadn’t moved.
“They’re still at the same place,” Carl said.
“Unless Kenny and Armando left to go to your house,” I said. “Officers, because they got Carl’s wallet with his ID and his house key they could be going to his house to burglarize it.”
“Is anyone home?” Sargent Forrester asked Carl.
“No. I called my dad and let him know about getting beat up and those guys taking my ID and house key. He’s a surgeon on staff at Mount Diablo Hospital. When I talked to him just before you got here he told me he’d leave and be here in about twenty minutes.”
“Let me get your address, Carl. We’ll dispatch a car to go to your home immediately.”
Officer Sanders asked me, “Do you have the address where the phone is located?”
“Yeah. Let me show you. The app lists it as 121 Adelaide Street. You can see that’s about five blocks from here. Carl’s phone hasn’t moved since we turned on the tracking app.”
Sargent Forrester finished his radio call to Dispatch. “Carl, a car will be at your house in about three minutes.”
“Do you have other family members who might go home?” Officer Sanders asked him.
“No, it’s just me and my dad.”
“Who’s been dispatched to Carl’s house?” Officer Sanders asked.
“Sargent Tony Chen and Office Brad McMullin.”
Officer Sanders took out his cellphone. He used a stylus to write something on the screen. “Ben, I just checked the address. The house where the phone is located is the Martin Garcia residence.”
“I need to get there,” Sargent Forrester said. “I’ll radio the Sheriff for a CSI to join me. You stay here and finish interviewing the two boys. We’re going to need arrest warrants for Kenny Randall and Armando Garcia and a search warrant for the Garcia house. Give Judge Lentz a call and ask him for the warrants and to fax the arrest warrants to Sargent Chen’s car, and the search warrant to my car.”
“Will do. I’ll call and let you know what Judge Lentz says. After the warrant requests I’ll complete the interviews of Carl Wolfe and Walt Harrison, then start the case writeup while you’re at the Garcia house. I’ll send Sargent Chen a message now and have him let both you and me know what they find at the Wolfe home.”
“Good. I’ll send you a text when I get to the Garcia house.”
Sargent Forrester left, and Officer Sanders stepped outside to make his call to the judge. I figured that he didn’t want what he said to be overheard. After about ten minutes he rang the doorbell and I let him in.
“We got the arrest and search warrants. A forensic specialist from the County CSI department who’s part of our gang mitigation team arrived at the Garcia house and is waiting with Sargent Forrester for the search warrant to be faxed. With the search warrant they can go in and look for the cellphone. Is it still at that address?”
Carl checked the display on my laptop, then did a refresh to make sure I had the latest location. It hadn’t moved.
“It’s still there,” he told Officer Sanders. “If they’re searching for the phone, my tracking app can send a ‘scream’ request to the phone that will just about wake the dead. It works even if the phone is in sleep mode. Let me know if they want me to send that signal.”
“I’ll text Sargent Forrester and let him know that you can make the phone scream.” He grinned. “That’s a very cool feature.”
His phone buzzed, and he checked the screen. “I just got a text from Sargent Chen. Two older teens just entered the Wolfe house and turned on the lights. Carl, you don’t have any older brothers or other family members who have a key to your house, do you?”
“No,” Carl replied. “Are the police who are there going to go in to get them by themselves? We think those guys might have a gun.”
“A backup team from the County Sheriff’s Department has been called in to assist. They should be there just about now. They’ll control the other exits and Sargent Chen and his partner will enter through the front door. Where are other exit doors at your house?”
“There’s a door from the laundry room into the garage, then there’s a door on the side of the garage into the side yard where the trash cans are. There’s a sliding door from the family room and a door from my dad’s bedroom and both go into the back yard. Thing is, the two gates on the fence are on each side of the front of the house. They are locked with combination locks. They’d have to climb over the fence, and it’s seven feet high all around.”
“When the police get those guys, I’ll bet one of them, probably Kenny, will claim to be Carl,” I said. “He’ll have Carl’s school ID card. The pictures aren’t very good, so he might think he can get away with it.”
“I’ll make sure Sargent Chen is aware of that.” Officer Sanders sent a text message.
“So, for us now it’s sit and wait?” I asked.
“What I’d like to do now it complete my interview of the two of you. I need to do that separately. Walt, if you’ll please leave the kitchen I’ll start with Carl.”
About ten minutes later he joined me in the living room, and asked me what happened from the time Carl came to the door until he and Sargent Forrester arrived. That didn’t take much time at all. Then he asked if I had anything else to add.
“I have a question. This doesn’t seem like a major case,” I said, “but there sure are a lot of police in on it. Why is that?”
“The area police departments and the County Sheriff’s Office are working together on a gang sweep this week. These two guys might not be in an organized gang, but they’re very effective at what they do, mostly burglary, shoplifting, assault and battery, and petty theft. What I’ve learned is they’ve been skating under our radar. Armando Garcia’s father, Martin Garcia, is a high-profile lawyer who specializes in representing gang members. It’s been impossible to get enough evidence that holds up for a conviction of the gang members he represents, including his son and Kenny Randall. Randall and Garcia made a big mistake when they attacked Carl and stole his cellphone. We can charge Armando and Kenny with aggravated assault and robbery. By breaking into Carl’s home they've at least committed attempted burglary. We’ll also look for evidence that shows that Martin Garcia knew about the property stolen from Carl.”
I heard the front door being unlocked. “My mom’s home,” I announced as she walked in with my twin brothers.
“Mom, this is Officer Richard Sanders from the Concord Police Department. You know my friend Carl Wolfe.”
Mom and Officer Sanders shook hands and he gave her one of his cards. Then she walked over to where Carl sat at the table.
“Oh my, Carl,” she said, “Walt told me you’d been beat up and robbed but I didn’t realize it was this bad. Don’t you want to clean up?”
“Yeah, I do. But Walt wanted me to be here with all of my injuries so the police could see them. He took pictures of me, too.”
“Walt, if you don’t mind I’d like to get copies of the pictures of Carl that you took,” Officer Sanders said. “Carl, do I have your permission to get copies of those pictures from Walt?”
“Sure, no problem,” Carl said. “I want you to have them.”
“What’s your email address?” I asked.
He gave it to me and I emailed him the ten pix I’d taken.
My ten-year-old twin brothers Alan and Darryl had been standing at the kitchen door, staring at Officer Sanders.
“See, I told you!” Darryl whispered to his brother, “He does have a gun.”
“Wow!” Alan said, staring wide-eyed at Officer Sanders.
I decided to divert their attention from the policeman. “Hey, guys, did you get any candy while you were going trick-or-treating?”
“Yeah! Come see, Walt!” Alan grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the living room where they’d dropped their bags.
“You too, Carl!” Darryl said. “Come on. You can have some of my candy.”
So the four of us went in the living room and Carl and I watched Alan and Darryl empty their bags of candy on the floor. Luckily all of it was small wrapped candy bars and little bags of M&M’s and Skittles. It wouldn’t have made my mom happy to have unwrapped candy dumped on the carpet. That could have made a real mess.
While Alan and Darryl sorted through their candy, Carl whispered to me, “Walt, can I use your bathroom to clean up?”
“Sure. Hang on a minute.”
I kneeled down next to Alan and Darryl. “Hey guys, I need to help Carl get cleaned up. You going to be okay here?”
“Sure!” Darryl said.
“And no arguing about the candy?” I asked.
“No! We never argue!” Alan said. Then he and his brother giggled, then they laughed, and ended up rolling on the floor laughing.
“Yeah. I believe you two. Not!” I said as I got up and pointed to the door to the hall. “This way, Carl.”
When we got to the bathroom I opened the cabinet and pulled out a clean towel, washcloth, and bathmat and handed them to Carl.
“I’m going to get you some clean clothes. Be back in a minute.”
Carl and I were about the same size, so I went to my room and picked out a shirt, a T, boxer briefs, jeans, and socks and brought them to the bathroom. The door was closed, so I knocked.
“Walt?” he asked.
“Yeah, can I come in? I have some clean clothes for you.”
I opened the door, walked in, and put the clothes on the counter. Carl was in the shower.
“I put the clothes on the counter.”
He turned off the water and opened the shower door. I couldn’t help it, I stared at him. He was naked. He took the bath towel and started drying his hair. Leaving me an unobstructed view so I could perv him without him knowing. At least that had been my idea that he wouldn’t know until I heard him giggling under the towel.
“Uh, I’ve left the clothes on the counter. I’ll just wait for you in the living room.”
“You can wait here. If you want,” he said as he pulled the towel off his head and started to dry his back I looked away so he wouldn’t catch me staring at him.
“Um….” Not very original, but that’s the only thing I could think of to mumble at that moment. Carl looked good. Really good. Could he be… nah, no way.
I looked up. He was up too. And grinning. Oh. Yeah! He could be… he was!
Further exploration had to be put off for a while. Carl’s bruises, cuts, and scrapes hurt him a lot more after taking a shower, and I helped put on some antibiotic/anesthetic cream we had in the medicine cabinet.
When we finished we knew that both of us were on the same page in the same book. For now we’d have to limit ourselves to looking and talking. Definitely we’d do more later though, and our smiles showed that we were both in agreement.
A police car came by and picked up Officer Sanders. They said they couldn’t tell us anything, other than Carl could pick up his wallet, keys, and cellphone at the Police Department Friday afternoon.
Carl’s dad arrived and told us that their house had been turned into a crime scene, but they promised that he and Carl could get in by midnight.
He checked Carl’s cuts, scrapes, and bruises.
“These are all superficial. Just use an antibiotic cream or spray until the cuts and scrapes have scabs.”
“Walt helped me put on an antibiotic cream after I took a shower. It’s got an anesthetic so they aren’t hurting as much.”
“You might as well sit down and relax,” his dad told him. “We’ll get a call from the police when we can return home.”
“I’m tired, I want to go home,” Carl complained. I didn’t blame him a bit. He’d been through a lot.
“We can’t get into the house until midnight, Carl.”
“But I’m tired now!”
“You can spend the night here in our guest bedroom,” Mom offered.
“Is that okay with you, Carl?” his dad asked.
“Sure. Walt and I can walk to school together tomorrow morning.”
“Then if it’s okay with you, I’m going to go back to the hospital. We’re having a busy night, and I should be there.”
“That’s okay, Dad. I’ll see you tomorrow when I get home from school.”
“Okay, son.” He hugged Carl, carefully, then Mr. Wolfe left.
Mom and I showed Carl to our guest bedroom. She left so he could strip down to the T and boxer-briefs. We hugged, and he climbed into bed. He said goodnight and fell asleep immediately.
Mom tried to get Alan and Darryl ready for bed, but they didn’t want to cooperate. I threatened to take all of their candy to school with me and give it away. They became very cooperative.
We didn’t know what happened at Carl’s house, or at the Garcia house, or to Kenny Randall and Armando Garcia, or to Mr. Garcia. Of course we were really curious. We found out the next morning, which was Friday.
I’d just finished getting dressed when I heard a knock on my bedroom door.
“Walt?” Mom called out.
I opened the door. “Morning.”
“I turned on the channel 2 news and I think there’s going to be a report about what happened last night. Carl’s in the family room watching. I thought you’d want to watch too.”
“Yeah, I do!”
We went downstairs and Carl looked up and smiled.
“Morning, Carl. Have they said anything about what happened last night?”
“Not yet. They keep announcing that they’re going to talk about trick-or-treating gone bad for a teenager, so I hope that’s about what Kenny and Armando did to me and we’ll find out if they were caught and arrested. But we’ll have to wait until the stupid commercials are finished.”
When the news came back on the next story was about what happened to Carl. The important parts were very interesting.
“Two eighteen-year-old men, Kenneth Randall and Armando Garcia, were arrested last night that turned out to be trick-or-treating gone bad for a young teen.”
“I’m not a young teen,” Carl objected.
I wanted to hear what the reporter was saying, so I waved my hand at him and said, “Shh!”
“…and Concord Police arrested the pair for assault and battery, robbery, attempted burglary, and resisting arrest. They stole the victim’s wallet, keys, and cellphone. They attempted to burglarize the victim’s home, but the police had been notified and when they entered the premises they were apprehended. The victim’s name is being withheld because of his age.
“The victim’s cellphone was protected by a tracking app, and using the information provided by that app the police were able to locate the phone at the home of Armando Garcia’s father, attorney Martin Garcia. Mr. Garcia was arrested after a search of the premises located the stolen cellphone and property from other recent robberies and burglaries. The police reported that these items were locked in a file cabinet in Mr. Garcia’s home office. He was charged with interfering with a police officer executing a lawful search warrant and for concealing stolen property.
“Now I’d like Robert Wong, our channel 2 technology expert, to tell us a bit about how a tracking application installed on a cellphone works to help locate and recover it if it’s stolen or lost. Robert?”
Mom turned off the TV. “Good. I hope those two guys and that attorney are sent to prison. Now it’s time for you two to have your breakfast so you can leave and get to school on time.”
While we were eating breakfast the twins came downstairs and joined us. Alan looked at Carl then looked at me and smirked.
“You like Carl lots, don’t ya, Walt?”
“Sure, why not?” I responded.
Then he looked at Carl.
“You like Walt lots, don’t ya, Carl?”
“Yes, I do. Where’s this conversation going, Alan?” Carl asked.
Alan giggled, then Darryl giggled.
“It’s cool that you like each other,” Darryl said. “You gonna be boyfriends?”
Carl and I looked at each other and grinned, then I looked at the twins.
“Yup,” I replied.
“Yup for me, too,” Carl added.
“See, I told you!” Alan whispered to Darryl, “They do like each other that way.”
“Cool,” Darryl whispered in reply.
They both laughd.
Carl and I laughed.
Mom tried to suppress a chuckle but didn’t do a very good job of it, and she laughed.
Good grief! Carl and I had just been outed by a pair of ten-year-olds. I looked at Carl and rolled my eyes. He shook his head, then laughed. I laughed too.
You know, it’s lots better to be outed to your family and have everyone laugh about it than any other way.
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