Sometimes you think everything’s been taken care of.
Sometimes you realize they haven’t been taken care of.
Sometimes you don’t know which is which.
This is a sequel to the story One Adversary.
Jeremy kept thinking about how he’d been able to fight off Leo. Most sixteen-year-old boys wouldn’t have been able to do what he did to a thirty-something man, especially one as strong as Leo. But he’d done it. He’d damaged Leo enough that it was doubtful that he’d be back. Why his mother would have a boyfriend like Leo continued to confuse Jeremy. That continued to make him worry about where his mother was. It had been five months since she and Leo had left without letting Jeremy know where they were going.
Jeremy needed to figure out what to do next. At first he hadn’t slept well that night after Leo had attacked him; he woke up from a dream about Leo coming back to shoot him. Then he had a hard time falling back asleep. But he finally crashed for good at eleven-thirty. He didn’t wake until the alarm sounded next to Mike’s side of the bed, and it woke Jeremy as well. He let out a loud, long yawn.
“Morn’n,” Mike mumbled.
“Morning to you too, boyfriend,” Jeremy replied.
Mike leaned over and kissed Jeremy. Then he laid back and asked, “How’d you sleep?”
“Okay. I slept all the way through until your alarm clock started ringing. That brings up a question. Why do you have an alarm clock that rings instead of a clock radio?”
“I had a clock radio. Thing is, it would wake me up but then I’d fall right back to sleep listening to music. Not a good idea. My mom gave me this alarm clock and I never fall back to sleep anymore.”
“Okay. To each his own, I guess.”
“Jeremy, are you going to go to school today?” Mike asked.
“Yeah. The worst thing would be to just sit around and think about what happened with Leo over and over again. If I’m at school, I’ll be focused on my classes. Besides, it’s Friday and I have two tests today.”
“Makes sense. Let’s get up and shower and get ready to head out.”
Mike’s mom was getting breakfast ready when they came downstairs. “Let me know if you want eggs,” she said.
Jeremy thought for a few seconds. “I’d like a couple of eggs, over easy, if it’s okay.”
“Of course it’s okay. Do you want bacon?”
“No, thank you. Just eggs and a couple slices of toast. I’ll go ahead and make my toast.”
“Jeremy, I’m making a lunch for Mike, a meat loaf sandwich, chips, and an apple. Would you like me to make the same for you?”
Jeremy nodded. “That’d be great. Thank you.”
“One or two sandwiches?”
“Two for me,” Mike said.
“Okay, two for me, too,” Jeremy added.
Mr. Butler, Mike’s dad, came down and joined them at the table. “Jeremy, did you decide to go to school today?”
“Yes. I don’t want to just sit around all day. Being in class is better. Besides, I have two tests today and I’d rather take them now when I’m ready than sometime later.”
“Do you want me to drive you to Las Lomas High? It’s on my way to work.”
“Sure. Thank you. I’d have to walk, or go home and get my bike.” Jeremy thought for a few seconds. “If you don’t mind, maybe it would be better if I walked home and got my bike. That’ll give me a way to get home other than the bus and BART or walking to get home.”
“How about I take you home and you put your bike in the back of the SUV, then I’ll drive you and your bike to school.”
“Thank you, but that’s out of your way. It’ll take you longer to get to work. Besides, I can use the exercise.”
“That’s not a problem. This will give us a chance to chat for a few minutes. You can get your exercise riding your bike home from school.”
Jeremy took a deep breath, then smiled. “Okay, thank you.”
“Will you be ready to leave in about ten minutes?”
“Sure, Mr. Butler. I’ll go upstairs to brush my teeth and check my backpack to make sure I have what I need. I’ll be ready.”
When Jeremy returned, Mike looked at him and grinned. “Well, you going to have a good day at school?”
“I think so.”
“Will you see Lyle?”
“I assume so. We have second, third, and fourth periods together. And lunch.”
“I gave him a copy of my class schedule, and those are the three classes we’re both taking.”
Mike grinned. “And lunch. So what are the three classes?”
“Honors English 3, APUSH, and Creative Writing.”
“Hey, since you mentioned APUSH, we have our study group on Sunday. It’s supposed to be at your house. You said there’s blood all over the rug and there’s the broken window. I’m thinking you probably don’t want to have it there.”
“Good point,” Jeremy said. “I’ll check with Lyle when I see him at school. It’ll be easy to have it at Lyle’s since you guys were going to my house and he lives just down the street. In fact, it’s about five houses closer for you so you won’t have to walk as far.” Jeremy grinned, then continued, “If he can’t have it at his house, I’ll let you know after school and you can talk to Greg and Nikki and ask if we can meet at their house.”
“Good plan,” Mike said.
Mike’s dad came downstairs. “Are you ready, Jeremy?”
“Yes. Thanks again.”
“You’re very welcome.”
“I’ll talk to you tonight,” Jeremy told Mike. “Say hi to your brothers for me, and tell your mom that I said goodbye and thanks for breakfast and for the sandwiches she packed for my lunch. Then say hi to Greg and Nikki. You all take the same school but to Northgate High, I assume.”
“I’ll do all of those. You have a good day at Las Lomas High.”
“I will. Thanks.”
From the minute they got in the car, Mike’s dad started asking Jeremy questions.
“So, how did you sleep last night?”
“Except for waking up once or twice because I’d been dreaming about Leo coming back to shoot me, I slept okay. I didn’t wake up after eleven-thirty until Mike’s alarm woke us up.”
“You sure seem to be able to handle what happened to you. I’m impressed, Jeremy.”
“I was lucky that I was standing at the kitchen counter that’s open to the living and dining room. The knife drawer was right next to me and when he broke in I pulled out my mom’s boning knife. I was able to stab his wrist and hand when he tried to reach over the counter to grab me.”
Mike’s dad shook his head. “Most kids your age wouldn’t have been able to react that fast. Leo must be, what, in his mid-thirties?”
“I guess; I don’t really know. That’s my mom’s age, so I suppose that’s his age too.”
“I’ve been thinking that it might be a good idea for you to see a counselor. That way your dreams about Leo will fade away faster.”
“That’d be pretty expensive, wouldn’t it?” Jeremy asked.
“The school districts have counseling programs for students. It a free service. I suggest that you talk to your guidance counselor and ask about what programs are available through Las Lomas High. Let me know what you find out.”
“That sounds like a good idea. I’ll do that.”
Jeremy saw Lyle walking down Bearwood Lane toward Brighton Way on his way to school.
“Mr. Butler, that’s Lyle. Can you stop? It looks like he’s walking to school.”
“Sure. I remember meeting Lyle last night.”
Jeremy rolled down the passenger-side window. “Hey, Lyle!”
Lyle turned and saw who’d called his name, smiled, and walked up to the car.
“Hi, Jeremy. Hi, Mr. Butler. Where are you going, Jeremy?”
“We’re going to my house and I’m going to get my bike. Then Mr. Butler is going to drive me to school. You planning to walk to school?”
“Yeah. The chain on my bike broke, so I’m walking to BART and I’ll take the bus from the Walnut Creek station.”
“Lyle,” Mike’s dad said, “get in and I’ll drive both of you to school.”
“Then I won’t need my bike,” Jeremy said. “We’ll walk home together after school.”
“Alright. How long will it take you to walk home?” Mike’s dad asked.
“About an hour,” Jeremy replied. “It’s about three and a quarter miles.”
“Unless we stop somewhere along the way to grab something to eat,” Lyle said. “Then it’ll take longer.”
“That’s true,” Jeremy responded. “Say, Lyle, how come you weren’t using your inline skates?”
“I couldn’t find them. They’re in some box in the garage that hasn’t been unpacked yet.”
“Is there a bike shop where I can take my bike on Saturday?”
“There’s a big bike shop on California at Civic. They do repairs. I had my bike fixed there when the frame was bent.”
“Whoa! You bent the frame? You were in an accident?” Lyle asked.
“No to both. I locked my bike in the rack at school, the one at the end of the student parking lot, and some dufus lost control of his car and drove into the rack. Five or six bikes were damaged. His insurance paid for the repairs. How’d your chain get broken?”
“I don’t know. I got on my bike this morning and — big surprise — the chain was broken. It was fine when I got home from school yesterday.”
“I guess the chain’s the weak point on a bike.”
“Okay,” Mike’s dad said, “We’re getting close to Las Lomas High. Where should I drop you off?”
“We’re early, so how about at the corner in front of Kaiser Hospital and across from Pacific Bay Coffee? We can get a latte or cappuccino and something to eat, then walk to school from there.” It’s only one block.”
“Okay, that’s at the next intersection.”
Mike’s dad stopped for the traffic signal and let them out. “Have a good day at school, guys.”
“We will. Thanks a lot for the ride,” Jeremy said, and waved a goodbye.
“Thanks, Mr. Butler,” Lyle added.
Jeremy ordered a dark chocolate latte with an extra shot of espresso and a cinnamon roll.
“That sounds good,” Lyle said. He ordered the same.
They sat at a table inside next to the window. “This is a cool place,” Lyle said.
“A lot of us come here after school. Or we go to Giant George’s Hamburgers next door. Some kids sneak off campus at lunch to get a hamburger here. Some go to Whole Foods and get a sandwich or hot food there and eat at the outside tables in front of the market.”
“You said ‘sneak off campus’ — does that mean we can’t leave campus at lunchtime?”
“That's right. Las Lomas is a closed campus. You need a permission slip to leave campus during the school day. You can’t get one just to go off-campus to have lunch.”
“So the kids that do it anyway, how do they get away with it?”
“There aren’t any gates or fences, so walking off campus at lunch is easy as long as you’re careful and you get back in time for your fifth period class. You also have to make sure that a teacher or administrator doesn’t see you leaving or coming back.”
Lyle shrugged. “I think bringing my lunch to school and eating in the cafeteria once in a while will be just fine.”
“Did you bring a lunch today?”
“No. Today’s my cafeteria day. They have Mexican fajitas for lunch. I’ll see whether it’s as good as what we had in Tucson.”
“I brought a lunch. Mrs. Butler made it for me since she was making one for Mike anyway. She said making one more for me was easy. It’s two meatloaf sandwiches, chips, and an apple.”
“Lyle, I never got a chance to ask about you and Greg. Other than hearing that you’re going to a movie on Saturday.”
“I like him. We mostly talked about water polo and some about swimming. You’d probably be bored by all that.”
“How’s he like Northgate High?”
“He complained about Northgate High’s class periods. He said they change every day, and it’s very confusing. He gave me a copy of the bell schedule. It has two parts. Sort of an overview and then a weekly schedule showing how the start and end times for periods are changed day after day.
“On Monday, Thursday, and Friday there’s a 35-minute SSR period. SSR means Silent Sustained Reading. That’s so students can have time to actually read what they’ve been assigned in English or other classes. Greg said the SSR period moves every day to follow a different period, so in two weeks it covers all six periods. There’s also an SS period, that’s Strategic Support, every day after fourth period. It’s to make sure that every student has time to do the assignments that they haven’t finished and can get help if they need it.”
“Damn, that sounds complicated,” Jeremy said. “Mike didn’t tell me about that. I guess he was used to it. This seems like a good way to help students who’ve been having problems like not doing their assignments. At Las Lomas Wednesday’s are late start, and we have assembly and rally schedules sometimes. But nothing as complicated as what Greg told you about Northgate.”
“He says the APUSH teacher at Northgate is better than the one he had at Yorktown, but the textbook is different and he liked the one that Yorktown uses better. He said he sort of accidentally-on-purpose kept the one from Yorktown and he’s using both, and he thinks that should help when he’ll have to take the exams.”
“Hey, I just remembered something,” Jeremy said. “We’re having our APUSH study group meeting on Sunday, and it was supposed to be at my house. There’s blood all over the carpet, and where the window was busted by Leo it is boarded up. Could we meet at your house? If not, Mike can ask Greg and Nikki if we can use their house.”
“I’m sure it will be okay with my folks. That way they can both meet Greg and Nikki, and my mom can meet Mike. They are curious about my new friends and our study group.”
Jeremy grinned. “Maybe they want to make sure we’re really studying.”
“Could be. She always thinks that all my friends want to do is party.”
“I met your mom. I met you. I don’t think she worries about your friends. She knows you; I think she trusts you, too. You seem like a trustworthy guy.”
“You’re right, I’m just kidding. I’m not the partying type. None of my friends at Mountain Lakes High were and none of them here are that type either.”
“That includes me, right?” Jeremy said, then grinned.
“Of course, you’re on my ‘friends’ list, definitely on the non-partying side,” Lyle responded, also with a grin.
“Oh, one thing, please don’t tell anyone about what happened between me and Leo yesterday,” Jeremy requested.
“No worries. I’d never tell anyone about something like that. I didn’t see anything about it on the TV news that my mom had on this morning, so nobody should come up and ask you about it.”
Jeremy pulled out his cell and checked the time. “We should head to school. I need to get to my locker and stow the books I don’t need until this afternoon.”
Except for Pre-Calc Jeremy’s morning classes went by quickly. The Pre-Calc test first period was grueling with nineteen complex problems to solve. He had time to go back and review his solutions, which had to be detailed with each problem, and to make sure that his answers looked like they made sense. The test took the entire fifty-minute period. Jeremy looked at his test paper. He figured doing anything more would just mess up what was probably correct.
He saw Lyle in Honors English 3 second period. “How was Spanish?” he asked.
“Easy. Don’t forget, I lived in the heart of the Spanish-speaking part of the U.S. Of course, most of the vocabulary I know is from the Spanish stations on TV.” Lyle grinned. “Mostly game shows, soap operas, and soccer matches.”
“Just wait. You’ll be wondering why there are so many words in the Spanish language and why there’s so much memorizing and declining and conjugating and tenses and verb forms and… well, y así en.” (and so on.)
“Let’s see… what might that mean? Maybe ¿Voy a fallar la clase?” (Am I going to fail the class?)
“Probably something similar, the first word and something that when it’s translated into English will rhyme with your last word. And it won’t be a question.”
“Then what you’re saying obviously is Estoy con clase. Right?” (I’m classy.)
Jeremy started laughing. “Cute!”
“Alright everyone, including Jeremy, let’s quiet down and get started,” Mr. Hayworth said. “As you all know, and perhaps some have been hoping that I’d forget, the Common Core requirements for Honors English 3 requires that we read, analyze, and write a response for a Shakespeare play. Then we will have a discussion about your responses. Today we’re going to select the play. So, let’s get started. There’s a list of Shakespeare plays in the class syllabus. What I’ll do is project the list on the screen.”
There was a lot of moaning and grumbling, but Jeremy felt that there was no reason for it. Everyone in the class knew they had a Shakespeare play assignment; it was in the syllabus. He decided people just liked to complain.
He and Lyle went to APUSH, Advanced Placement United States History, next. Mrs. Lehman reviewed what would be on the second semester midterm exam. It was for this class that they had set up the study group along with Mike, Greg, and Nikki, their friends who went to Northgate High.
In Creative Writing they turned in the short stories they’d written and Mr. Kelly started picking students to go up to the front of the class to read their story. Jeremy and Lyle weren’t picked. “We’ll finish up tomorrow,” Mr. Kelly told the class after they heard the first bell.
“I’m going to get my lunch out of my locker and swap books,” Jeremy told Lyle. “I’ll meet you in the cafeteria in a few.”
When he got to the cafeteria about five minutes later there seemed to be some sort of action going on in the back corner of the cafeteria. He looked around for Lyle, but couldn’t find him. Almost everyone was standing, trying to see what was going on. The school resource officer was there, as well as the vice principal and the cafeteria manager. Jeremy heard his name being called so he turned and saw a friend, Cam Sykes, waving at him. He worked his way through the crowd.
“What’s going on?” Jeremy asked.
“Some middle-aged man got on campus and he grabbed a kid back there. He was shouting something, but I couldn’t hear what he said. A bunch of jocks ran over and tackled him. The man’s on the floor face-down with three big football players sitting on him. The cop cuffed him, then he called for reinforcements. The kid he was messing with looks young, like a freshman. He seems pretty shook up.”
Jeremy immediately thought of Leo. He stared at the melee and saw the young kid, and Cam agreed he was the one who the man had harrassed. Jeremy knew the kid. They’d met in middle school when they were both taking beginning guitar to meet their music class requirement.
“That’s Sean Greyson,” Jeremy said. “He’s a sophomore. He’s kind of small for his age. I’m going over and talk to him and find out why that man attacked him. I’ll try to help him calm down.”
“If you need a hand, just wave and I’ll come,” Cam offered.
Jeremy pushed through the crowd of kids and made his way to Sean.
“Sean, what’s going on?”
“Jeremy! I don’t know. That guy,” he pointed at the man on the floor, “came in and grabbed me from behind and started yelling. He yelled at me and wanted to know where you were. He asked for you by name, Jeremy Sievers.”
“Shit!” Jeremy moved to where he could see the man’s hands. They were bandaged. It was Leo. “I know that asshole. I’ve got to talk to the school cop. First I need to know, are you okay?”
“Yeah. Just a little spooked by what happened. It couldn’t have been more than five seconds after he grabbed me that those football players ran up and grabbed him and slammed him to the floor.”
Jeremy moved to where the school resource officer was standing.
“Excuse me, I know who that guy is on the floor. His name is Leonard Rivers and he’s a real asshole. He’s supposed to be in jail. He attacked me last night and the Walnut Creek police arrested him. Sean told me,” Jeremy pointed across the table at Sean, “that Leo was yelling that he wanted to know where I was.”
“And who are you?” the police resource officer asked.
“I’m Jeremy Sievers. Leo’s my mom’s boyfriend. They went on a trip to Mexico. Leo came back and attacked me wanting me to give him my mom’s bank account information and her credit card. I fought him off with a kitchen knife. The Walnut Creek police sent two officers with him when the ambulance took him to have his cuts sewn up and bandaged at the hospital. He wasn’t supposed to be released. I want to know why he isn’t in jail.”
“I called the Walnut Creek police and a car should be here in a few minutes. I’ll call them back and give them his identification, but first I’d like to make sure. He didn’t have any ID on him.”
“If I can see his face I can confirm that’s who he is. And I can give you my school ID so you can confirm who I am.”
“Okay.” He tapped the shoulder of the jock who was sitting on Leo’s shoulders. “Curt, do me a favor.”
“Sure, Officer Dodd. What do you need?”
“Carefully, lift his head and turn it so we can see it more clearly from this side.”
“You got it,” Curt replied. He scooted back off of Leo’s shoulders onto the middle of his back, leaned forward, grabbed both sides of Leo’s head and twisted it to the left so both Officer Dodd and Jeremy could see clearly. It definitely was Leo.
“Yes, that’s Leo, Leonard Rivers. I’m positive. Here’s my school ID so you can see who I am.”
Leo gurgled, then tried to talk. “I’m gonna kill you, you little shit. Gonna get my gun and blow yer fuk’n head off.”
Curt lifted Leo’s head, turned it face-down, and smashed it into the floor. Leo groaned.
“Oops! Sorry, your head accidentally slipped out of my hands.” He shifted his weight back onto Leo’s shoulders, and Leo groaned again.
Officer Dodd placed a call on his cell. Jeremy assumed it was to the Walnut Creek police. He pulled out his cell and dialed Roger Butler’s cell number.
“Hello, Jeremy. I’m surprised you’re calling me in the middle of your school day.”
“It’s lunch time, and Leo walked into the cafeteria. He hassled a kid I know asking for me. Some football players saw Leo and grabbed him, knocked him to the floor, and sat on him. The school resource officer called the police. I confirmed that it’s Leo, and in front of the resource officer Leo said he was going to kill me. What I don’t know is how Leo got out of jail.”
“I’m going to call the Walnut Creek Police Department right now, and then the district attorney, and I’ll find out what’s going on. In the meantime, you stay as far away from Leo as you can.”
“Okay. I’m going to talk to the vice principal. He’s here in the cafeteria.”
“I’ll talk to you later, Jeremy.”
Jeremy looked around. He walked over to where Vice Principal Sorensen was standing with the cafeteria manager by the end of the cafeteria line, near the cash register.
“Hi, Mr. Sorensen. I recognized the guy that’s on the floor over there. His name is Leonard Rivers.”
“First, what’s your name?”
“Jeremy Sievers. Here’s my student ID card.” Jeremy held up his student ID.
“Okay, Jeremy. How do you know that man?”
“He is, or he was, my mom’s boyfriend. He’s a real jerk.” Jeremy went on to relate what Leo had done the night before.
“Officer Dodd said he called the Walnut Creek police. Seems like they should have been here by now. All I want is to see him in jail.”
As if Jeremy had wished it to happen, two Walnut Creek police officers entered the cafeteria, accompanied by the principal.
“Wait here, Jeremy. I’ll have one of the police officers come over to talk to you,” Vice Principal Sorensen said.
After a few minutes one of the policemen came over to talk to Jeremy.
“Hi. I recognize you. You’re Jeremy Sievers. I saw you last night. My name is Officer Ted Deering. I brought you outside your house to meet with your friends.”
“That’s right. I remember you now.”
“So, this is the guy who attacked you?”
“Yeah. Leonard Rivers. Leo. A real asshole. But, unfortunately my mom’s boyfriend. He is the same Leonard Rivers that attacked me yesterday. I thought he was supposed to go to jail after the hospital patched up his cuts.”
“That’s what I thought too. I don’t know what happened. I’ve called it in, and a suspect check is being done with the hospital. We’ll let you know when we have more information.”
“Thanks. I probably won’t be at home. Can I give you my cell number?”
“Sure.” Jeremy told him the number, and Officer Deering entered it in his phone.
“I better eat my lunch. I have a test in AP Chemistry next period.”
There were still kids standing around in the cafeteria looking to see if there was any excitement. Jeremy looked for Sean, and he saw him talking with Cam, who grinned and waved at Jeremy. Finally, Leo was dragged out of the cafeteria to be put in the back of a police car for transport. Hopefully, Jeremy thought, to jail this time.
Jeremy looked around for Lyle but still didn’t see him. So he sat down at a table at the other corner of the cafeteria and ate the two meatloaf sandwiches and chips Mike’s mom had fixed for him. He put the apple in his backpack for later.
The test in his AP Chemistry class was much longer than the one in Pre-Calc, but it was easier because there were no problems to solve. It had both true-false and multiple-choice questions, and some with answers that had to be written out. A total of ninety questions. Jeremy figured that it would take about as long to finish as the Pre-Calc test. He was glad that he’d studied for the test Wednesday night, the night before Leo showed up at his house.
Jeremy was about two-thirds through the questions when a student monitor from the office walked in. Jeremy glanced up, and when he saw who it was he went back to his test paper. A few seconds later he heard his name being called.
“Jeremy Sievers, please come up to my desk,” Mrs. DePaulo called out.
He put his pencil on the desk, turned over his test papers so no one could see his answers, and walked to the teacher’s desk.
“Yes?” he asked.
“You’ve been called to go to the office. This form says you’re to see Vice Principal Sorensen’s secretary, Ms. Litchfield.”
“I can’t go now. I’m about two-thirds through with my test, and I want to finish it. Is that okay with you?”
“Yes. I’ll step outside and call her. You can’t do a make-up if you don’t complete the test today. That might have a negative impact on your grade — though with your grades in this class I doubt that it would. Anyway, I’ll phone Ms. Litchfield and explain the importance of your being able to complete the test.”
“Thank you, Mrs. DePaulo.” Jeremy went back to his desk and continued answering the test questions.
After a few minutes the vice principal’s secretary walked in and talked to Mrs. DePaulo. Jeremy tried to ignore what was going on at the teacher’s desk, but he knew it was about him. He still had ten questions to finish, and he decided that he’d refuse to leave until he was finished with the test, including going back and checking all of his answers.
Sure enough, Mrs. DePaulo came down the aisle to his desk. She whispered to him, “Jeremy, you should talk to Ms. Litchfield. Then you can finish your test. She’ll talk to you in the hall.”
“Okay, I guess.” Jeremy turned over his test papers and walked out of the classroom.
Ms. Litchfield was in the hall by the door. “Jeremy, I’m sorry to interrupt you while you’re taking a test. But there are some men from the Justice Department here to talk to you. We explained that you are taking an important exam and cannot leave the classroom until it’s finished. They wanted me to tell you that it’s very important that, as soon as you can, you need to go to the administration office. They are using the small conference room and you can talk to them there. What is your sixth period class?”
“Web Design with Mr. Everington.”
“They said the meeting might take a half hour. That means you’ll be late to that class. In fact, you’ll miss about half of it. Will that be a problem? Are you scheduled to take a test in that class?”
“No. We’ll be working on our websites, and mine is finished. I planned to start the next project today. So being late isn’t a problem. I’ll get a permission slip for being late, won’t I?”
“Of course. You know where to go in the administration office?”
“Talk to the receptionist after you enter the office. She will know that you are coming and will direct you to the small conference room.”
“Do you know what these men are going to talk to you about?” She looked concerned, like it might be a problem.
Jeremy nodded. “Yes, I know what it is. I know the man who was restrained in the cafeteria and arrested. He’s probably in trouble with the ATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. I’m not in any trouble. They must want me to talk to them about Leonard Rivers. That’s the name of the man they arrested today.”
“Alright. Go finish your test and when you are ready, go to the administration office. Good luck on your test.” She smiled, turned and left.
Jeremy finished answering the rest of the questions on his test paper, then went back and checked all of them. No changes were needed. He looked at the clock and saw it was one-thirty. Ten minutes left in fifth period. He gave his test papers to Mrs. DePaulo.
“Thanks, Jeremy. Good luck with whatever this is about.”
“It’s not about me, so there isn’t any problem. I’ll just be late for my next class, but that’s not a problem.”
“Alright. See you tomorrow.”
Jeremy gave her a little wave, said, “Okay, see you,” and left to meet with the men from the ATF.
As he walked from the science building he thought about what sort of problem Leo might have with the ATF. They’d been sniffing around the day… wow! Was that just yesterday? He shook his head. So much had happened so fast. It seemed like he got the phone call from Mrs. Markenie a week ago, not yesterday morning.
He stopped. He remembered that Mr. Butler, Mike’s granddad Roger Butler, told him that he should be present if the ATF people wanted to interview him. He pulled his cell out of his backpack and dialed Roger Butler’s number.
“Hi, Mr. Butler. I’m at school and the ATF men are here and they…” Roger Butler interrupted him.
“Jeremy, I’m here at Las Lomas High in the conference room. So if you’ve finished your test, please come here as soon as you can for a meeting with the ATF agents.”
“I’m not in trouble, am I?”
“No, not at all.”
“Okay, I’m on my way now.” He ended the call.
When he arrived at the conference room the door was closed. He knocked, and Mr. Butler opened the door.
“Come on in.”
Jeremy walked in and Roger Butler closed the door.
“Jeremy, this is ATF Compliance Agent Roberto Gonzales, and this is Agent Wil Krietz,” Roger Butler said.
They shook hands with Jeremy. Agent Gonzales was middle-age, Agent Krietz was young, maybe in his late twenties.
Agent Gonzales smiled. “Jeremy, let’s sit down. Now, the first thing I want to tell you is that you are not in any trouble. You are being treated as a bystander in a case we are working on regarding Leonard Rivers. We have some questions about him that you might be able to answer for us. Is that okay?”
“Sure. I don’t know that much about him, except that he’s an asshole, pardon my language.”
Both agents grinned. “I’d say you have him pegged accurately,” Agent Krietz said. We’d like to record this conversation, if that’s acceptable with you and your attorney, Mr. Butler.”
“Jeremy,” Roger Butler said, “I recommend that you agree to have the conversation recorded. Please note that they are using the term ‘conversation’ because this is not an interrogation. They want to find out what you know about Leonard Rivers. It may lead to charges being filed against him.”
“Okay,” Jeremy agreed. “I’ll answer all of your questions. If it’s something that I don’t know, like how old he is, I’ll say that.”
“Thank you,” Agent Krietz said. He turned on a small recorder that he put in the middle of the table.
“First, do you have any identification with you?”
“Yes, my student ID card.” Jeremy pulled out his wallet and handed the card to Agent Krietz.
“We are meeting with Jeremy Alan Sievers…” He continued reading Jeremy’s age, birth date, address, and phone number, his school, his grade, and his student ID number.
“Is this information correct, Jeremy?” he asked.
Jeremy nodded, and said, “Yes.”
“Is the phone number you gave your home phone number or your cellphone number?”
“It’s my home phone number. It’s a land line.”
“Do you have a cellphone?”
“Yes. Do you want the number?”
“Yes, if that’s acceptable with your attorney.”
Roger Butler nodded, so Jeremy gave them his cellphone number. Agent Krietz returned his student ID card.
Agent Krietz continued. “Jeremy Sievers is a minor, so he is accompanied by Mr. Roger Butler, who is a registered legal services attorney licensed to practice law with the State Bar of California.” He read Roger Butler’s address and phone number, which Roger Butler confirmed.
“Mr. Butler, if it’s acceptable, I’ll ask Jeremy Sievers some questions now,” Agent Krietz asked.
Jeremy said, “Yes, that’s acceptable.”
Roger Butler said, “Yes, but I retain the right to advise Jeremy to not answer any specific questions that I determine that he shouldn’t answer.”
“Good,” Agent Krietz responded. Then he turned to Jeremy. “I’m going to start asking you questions now. First, how do you know Leonard Rivers?”
“He is, or was, my mom’s boyfriend.”
“When did you first meet Leonard Rivers?”
“I don’t remember exactly when, but it was about a year ago.”
“Did Leonard Rivers ever show you a gun?”
“No, but he threatened to shoot me several times, including last night and today.”
“When is the most recent time that you saw Leonard Rivers?”
“When I went into the cafeteria today to have lunch. He’d hassled a kid and asked him where I was. He scared the kid, who I know from middle school but who Leo wouldn’t have known. There were three big jocks who’d pulled him away from the kid and were sitting on Leo’s back. He was face-down on the floor. The school safety officer was there, and I confirmed that it was Leonard Rivers, who was supposed to be in jail. Right there in the cafeteria he threatened to shoot me in front of witnesses. Two Walnut Creek police officers arrived a few minutes later, and one of them, Walnut Creek Police Officer Ted Deering talked to me and I confirmed that it was Leo. I asked why he wasn’t in jail and he said he’d find out. He was one of the officers who came to my house last night after Leo broke in and attacked me.”
“What happened last night?”
Jeremy detailed what happened, the same way he’d detailed it so many times before. There was one thing he wanted to make very clear, however.
“I called 9‑1‑1 and the Walnut Creek police arrived and arrested Leo. A Walnut Creek police officer told me that as he was being arrested he asked them to get his gun out of the trunk of his car so he could shoot me. They thought that was funny. He was supposed to be taken to the hospital to have his wounds bandaged and then taken to jail. Then he showed up at school today and again said he’s going to kill me. I don’t understand why he wasn’t in jail and how he ended up here at Las Lomas High School.”
“That’s something that the Walnut Creek police will have to determine,” Agent Krietz said. “We are also interested in the answer to that question and will contact the police department. Okay, our next question. Do you know why Leonard Rivers attacked you?”
“When he broke in to my house he said he wanted me to give him access to my mom’s bank account and her credit card. I told him my mom should come home and get it herself.”
“Where was your mother at that time?”
“She and Leo went to Mexico, I’m not sure why. I know they were in Hermosillo because our bank sent a message that there had been an attempt to transfer a lot of money from my mom’s account to a bank in that city. The message from our bank said they don’t transfer funds to banks in Mexico. My mom didn’t take her credit card with her when they left. I assume Leo was paying all the bills.”
“Are Leonard Rivers and your mother married?”
“Not that I know of. He is or was her boyfriend.”
“Why did you say ‘is or was’ her boyfriend?, Agent Krietz asked.”
“They might have broken up. Leo is a jerk… well, more than a jerk, he’s stupid. He kept telling my mom that he wanted to move us to Texas so he could work on oil wells. I didn’t want to move, and neither did my mom because nothing ever came of it. Leo was unemployed. He worked at a car dealer and was fired for smoking in the repair bay. It could have caused a big fire and explosions with all of the cars there being repaired. That shows how stupid he is.”
Jeremy was giving the ATF agent more information than he were asking, but he figured he’d tell everything he knew about Leo.
“When was the last time you saw your mother?” Agent Krietz asked.
“The day before they left. They left before I got up.”
“When did they leave?”
“It was Tuesday, the ninth of September, last year, 2014.”
“When was the last time you spoke with your mother?”
“The eighth of September, the day before they left.” Agent Krietz seemed surprised at that answer. Jeremy started to worry that they might report him to Child Protective Services.
“Did you know or suspect that Leonard Rivers was using illegal drugs?”
“No. I just knew that he drank a lot. He and my mom would go out to dinner then to bars and drink. He could have been taking illegal drugs, but I don’t know. My mom wouldn’t use illegal drugs. She was very anti-drugs, including marijuana.”
“Do you use any illegal drugs or alcohol?”
“No. I don’t drink any kind of alcohol, including beer, and I don’t use any illegal drugs. I don’t even have any prescription drugs, and I don’t think my mom did either. I think taking drugs or drinking is totally stupid.”
Agent Krietz’ next question surprised Jeremy. “Do you own a gun or any other weapons?”
“No, unless you want to count my mom’s boning knife that I used to stop Leo from attacking me.”
“Would you object to a search of your house for illegal drugs?”
Jeremy looked at Roger Butler, who responded to the question. “I don’t see a need to have that kind of search. If Leonard Rivers used or had any illegal drugs he would most likely have them at his own residence. If you decide it’s necessary, please obtain a search warrant so we’ll know the extent of the search.”
“Jeremy, do you know where Leonard Rivers’ residence is located?”
“No. I know it was an apartment because he said that a few times. I think it was in Concord because he might have said that once or twice.”
“Did he ever sleep overnight at your house?”
“No, but I didn’t check my mom’s bedroom so I don’t know for sure. Leo could have arrived after I went to bed and left before I woke up. But I think it’s unlikely.”
“Do you know if your mother ever stayed overnight at Leo’s apartment?”
“I’m almost positive that never happened. She was always home in the morning when I got up, unless she was working an early shift — which was unusual.”
“Do you have any questions to ask me, Jeremy?” Agent Krietz asked.
“Yes. Two. First, why are you investigating Leonard Rivers?”
“I can’t provide that information because this is an ongoing investigation.”
“But why would the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have any interest in a jerk like Leo? It just doesn’t make any sense to me,” Jeremy said.
“Sorry, I can’t respond because of the nature of this investigation.”
“Okay. Then number two, why are you talking to me? I mean, I’m just a kid and I don’t know much about Leo except he was a jerk, and he tried to attack and kill me.”
“We’re talking with anyone who had contact with Leonard Rivers. You have to admit, you had a lot of contact with him.”
“I wouldn’t say anything between me and Leo was a lot of contact. I tried to stay away from him. The only face-to-face contact was when he attacked me last night and I defended myself.
“That reminds me of one other thing I want to ask. Do you have any idea why Leo wasn’t put in jail when the hospital had finished bandaging him up? The Walnut Creek police were supposed to keep track of him when he was at John Muir Hospital and then take him to jail.”
“We don’t know what happened that allowed him to be released. That is a Walnut Creek police matter, and they are the ones who will have to investigate what went wrong with their procedures.”
“Okay. That’s what I figured and what Officer Deering told me in the cafeteria.”
Agent Krietz asked Roger Butler if he had any questions or could offer any information about Leonard Rivers.
“I don’t have any questions. I never met or saw Mr. Rivers. When we went to Jeremy’s house yesterday. I was told by the Walnut Creek police officers that Mr. Rivers had already been transported to the hospital by ambulance. Mr. Rivers’ car was being hooked up to a tow truck to be moved somewhere, hopefully to the county impounds lot.”
The ATF agents stood up and so did Jeremy and Roger Butler.
“Thank you for your candid answers, Jeremy. Mr. Butler, we will send you a transcript of this conversation. Expect it in about a week.”
They said their goodbyes and the two ATF agents left.
“I’d better get a late pass from the secretary so I can go to my Web Design class. Thanks for being here for this ‘conversation.’ In my opinion, it was more of an interview. But, it’s just words, right?”
“Ah, just words,” Roger Butler said. “That’s probably the reason most attorneys make money these days. I actually agree with you. A conversation is a back-and-forth discourse. An interview is someone asking questions and someone else providing answers. Whatever it might have been, you did very well. I think they were pleased with the information you provided. You often went beyond the questions being asked, but in this case that proved valuable.”
“What’s a transcript?” Jeremy asked.
“It means that your conversation will be a transcribed, meaning converted to a written, document, with everything that was said that’s on the tape. Some places might be marked as unintelligible. If it was mumbled, for example. But in your case, everything you said was clear and understandable. I don’t think they’ll have any problem transcribing what you said.”
“What if they use a speech-to-text program? We played with that in our Computer Systems class in the eighth grade. It didn’t do a very good job of converting what we said into text.”
“Speech-to-text technology continuously improves. We use it in our law office to transcribe verbal depositions into text. It also depends on the capabilities of the software that you buy. The more expensive packages do a much better job.”
“I guess we’ll see what they send us, won’t we,” Jeremy said.
“Okay. Mr. Butler, how much do I owe you for this session?”
“It’s covered by that retainer you paid me last week.”
“That was only one dollar!”
“That covers it, Jeremy.” Roger Butler grinned.
“That’s wild! Thank you! Well, I’d better get to class. Oh, one question. I assume I shouldn’t talk about this ‘conversation’ I had with the ATF agents unless you’re present, right?”
“That’s right,” Roger Butler agreed. “Now you can get your pass so you can get to your class before it’s over. I’ll go to my meetings at the Walnut Creek police department and the district attorney’s office to find out why Leonard Rivers was released from custody and was able to come here looking for you. That, I think, will turn out to be very interesting.”
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing One Questionable Outcome
If you enjoyed this story,
you can read the other stories in the series on Codey’s World:
|One Warm Coat|
|One Best Friend|
|One Perfect Boyfriend|
|One Complicated New Year|
|One Sexy New Neighbor|
|One Cute New Neighbor|
|One Questionable Outcome|
|One Satisfactory Outcome|
|One Confusing Phone Call|
|One Acceptable Outcome|
|One Life Changed|
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