Posted October 13, 2012

Legacy

A Naptown Tales Sequel by Altimexis

Chapter 41 - Flashbacks - Trevor Austin

Saturday, March 28, 2043
Eight Days after the Assassination

The shrill sound of my phone awoke me from what was a troubled sleep. Kurt and I had been up until about 3:30, attending an impromptu Cabinet meeting at Jeremy’s request. Although Schroeder might still be the President, technically in any case, our threat to make use of the twenty-fifth amendment had tied his hands so effectively that, had Jeremy not stepped into the void, America would have been rudderless.

So what the fuck was my phone doing, ringing not even three hours later? Kurt didn’t even stir. He had lost even more sleep than I had in recent days and the strain was showing on his face.

Grabbing my phone and stepping outside our bedroom, I answered, “This is Trevor Austin,”

“Trevor, hey,” a female voice intruded into my semi-consciousness, “I’m sorry to wake you so soon after you went to bed but, if it’s any consolation, I have yet to get to bed at all.”

“Debbie? Debbie McLaughlin?” I asked as I pulled the voice from my still-foggy memory.

“You were expecting a call from your mistress?” she joked. “Of course it’s me.

“Listen, there have been some developments in the assassination investigation that you really need to be kept abreast of… and I kind of need your help.”

“You need my help at…” looking at the time on my phone, I added, “quarter after six in the fuckin’ AM?”

“Do you think I’d call you if it weren’t important?” she asked incredulously.

“No, of course not,” I replied as I heard the giggle of a female voice nearby. How embarrassing, being caught standing in the nude outside our bedroom door by our teenage daughter. At least she had the decency to say, “Sorry,” as she turned the other way and headed into the bathroom.

“You were saying?” I asked Debbie into the phone.

“There’s been a significant development in the assassination investigation,” she reiterated, “and it involves our mutual friend, Billy Mathews.”

“Billy’s involved?” I asked incredulously.

“In a way he is, although not directly…” she replied. “Listen, we need to meet before some nosy reporter back home catches on to the investigation and spreads it far and wide. How about joining Cathy and me in our quarters for a cup of coffee?” she suggested.

“What about Kurt?” I asked.

Laughing, she said, “Let him sleep. I'm sure someone else will wake him up soon enough.”

“Of that I have no doubt,” I replied with a chuckle of my own, and then added, “See you in fifteen.”

“I’ll see you then,” she confirmed before she closed the connection.

I returned to our bedroom to find that the light was on and Kurt was already up, rummaging around.

“What is it this time?” I asked.

“Jer called,” he answered. “He wants to meet with me right away.”

“So soon?” I asked incredulously.

“It’s something about a potential leak,” my husband responded.

“A leak right now would be an absolute fucking disaster!” I responded.

“Exactly,” Kurt agreed as he pulled on a polo shirt and grabbed a pair of jeans from out of the closet. “And what, dare I ask, has my husband up at such an ungodly hour after getting to bed so late?”

“A call from Deb McLaughlin,” I answered. “Something about a new break in the assassination case. Something having to do with Billy Mathews,” I added as I grabbed a pair of boxer briefs from the dresser and put them on.

“Billy!” Kurt exclaimed. “There’s no way Billy would have had anything to do with David’s death.”

“I agree,” I responded as I grabbed a casual shirt and a pair of chinos from the closet. “But keep in mind that he was the one who arranged David’s trip to Saint Louis in the first place."

“I’d forgotten about that!” Kurt acknowledged. Then getting a more serious look on his face, Kurt asked, “Are you going to be OK, Sweetheart?”

“Sure thing,” I replied with a smile as I pulled on my shoes, but in reality I’d thought of little else since getting Deb’s call. Would I be able to get through this?

“Don’t hesitate to call me if you need me,” my husband admonished me.

“You have enough going on as it is,” I replied. “You’re the President’s Chief of Staff, after all.”

“Yes, but you always come first,” Kurt answered.

“No, the country comes first,” I reminded my love, “but I appreciate the sentiment.”

Giving Kurt a quick peck on the lips, I started to head out the bedroom door, but Kurt grabbed me by the arm and spun me around so I faced him.

“America may come first, but I love you no less than ever,” he reiterated as he squeezed my hand. “I mean it, Trevor. If you need me, call me.”

Rather than say anything, I simply smiled at my husband. Besides, there was no way in hell I would bother Kurt - not unless I ended up in the hospital, which could still happen. After all, it had before.

Making my way to the one bathroom we shared with our kids, I quickly washed my face and combed what remained of my hair. Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I couldn’t help but wonder where the years had gone. From when I was a teenager to well into my thirties, I’d had a thick mop of reddish brown hair. Now I had a receding hairline and, although Kurt tried to deny it, there was a bald spot on top. My hair was much lighter in color too, being close to half-gray, and nearly all gray around the temples. No doubt about it - I wasn’t a kid anymore.

After quickly brushing my teeth, I left the apartment and headed down the corridor to Debbie and Cathy’s place. As I walked, I couldn’t help but think back to that horrible day more than thirty years ago when my whole world changed.

 

Sunday, December 1, 2012, 3:13 PM
Thirty Years Earlier

“Trevor!” Billy Mathews shouted as we approached. “What brings you here?” We were in one of the locker rooms at Lucas Oil Stadium, visiting for the state high school football championship game. My good friend Jeremy Reynolds was getting a special award at halftime for bringing home five Olympic medals, two of them gold. Billy was a good friend and the quarterback for our alma mater. Our arms went around each other as we embraced tightly.

“Well, other than hugging hot, naked football players, I’m here to watch you and the guys play in the championship game,” I answered with a smirk. Even with his dark skin color, Billy turned beet red all over. As we released each other from our warm embrace, Jeremy and David walked up from behind me, followed by Kurt.

“Hey Billy, how’s it hangin’?” Jeremy asked as he approached.

“Pretty well from what I can see,” David answered with a stifled giggle as he stared at Billy’s privates.

“Very funny,” Billy said with a laugh, and then after a round of hugs, he asked, “So what really brings you back here the week after Thanksgiving?”

Wrapping his arm around Jeremy’s shoulders, David said, “They’re giving my baby an award at halftime.”

“Really?” Billy asked.

“Yup,” David confirmed. “Four-time state swimming champion wins five Olympic medals.”

“Of course, I should have thought of that,” Billy responded.

“And he thought he wasn’t Olympic material,” David chided his husband as he squeezed his shoulders even tighter.

“Leets and Geeks,” Kurt chimed in.

“Leets?” I asked, wondering what in the world Kurt was trying to say.

Ath-letes,” he explained.

Ohhh,” I replied, and then added. “That was pretty bad, Honey.”

“I try,” Kurt said with a smile. Sometimes Kurt had the strangest sense of humor, but I loved him anyway.

“Speaking of which,” Billy began, “Harvard soccer has sure had a banner year. In fact, they’ve done pretty well the last three years.”

“Dave’s an outstanding team captain,” Jeremy replied.

“But we still didn’t make it that far in the playoffs,” David said with a sigh. “Let’s face it, we’re pretty good, but in college we’re up against the nation’s elite soccer players.”

“You are elite soccer players,” Billy countered.

“Maybe in NCAA competition,” David admitted, “but we’re not pro material. We wouldn’t even want to play pro soccer. We’ve got better things to do with our lives… not that pro ball isn’t a worthy ambition,” he quickly added.

“Speaking of which, Lyle Herndon’s sure put Wisconsin on the map the last couple of years, hasn’t he?” Billy commented.

“He has at that,” Kurt agreed.

Just then, Bret Andrews and Larry Peters came up behind Billy, arm in arm, also in the nude. After another round of hugs and explanations as to why we were here, we chatted about our lives in Boston as well as about Billy and Rick’s, and Larry and Bret’s plans to get married in the summer.

“Listen guys,” Billy said, “we really need to get dressed and ready for the game.”

“Oh I don’t know,” my husband said with a smile, “I’d much rather see you guys dressed the way you are now during the game.”

Oooh, naked football,” Jeremy chimed in, “That’d be pretty hot. A bunch of naked guys piling on top of each other… I like the sound of that!”

What a vision that thought created in my mind. I could feel myself getting hard as was everyone else, as Kurt obviously noticed when he said, “Looks like our football players like the sound of that too.”

“Kurt, you devil,” I responded as I hugged my baby tight. “You said that with such a straight face.”

“There’s nothing about me that’s straight,” Kurt joked. “I thought you’d know that by now.”

“Come tonight, I’ll show you just how well I know that,” I replied as I felt myself blushing furiously.

“Any more talk like that and Bret and I will have to do a sixty-nine, right here on the floor,” Larry added, getting a round of ‘Ooohs’ from all of us.

Just then I spotted Brad Reynolds as he approached us. “Hey, Bro,” he said as he drew close.

“Anyway, we'll see you guys after the game,” Billy quickly interjected.

“You can count on it,” I replied, and we waved to him, Larry and Bret as they left.

“Sorry but I can’t stay long to visit, either,” Brad explained as he started to back away, but his brother was having none of that. David grabbed hold of Brad by the wrist and pulled his very naked, younger brother into a tight hug. We all ended up hugging Brad and wishing him well, and then made our way to find our seats, which were right up front on the fifty-yard line.

Although we lost the coin toss, our team absolutely dominated the first half, scoring our first touchdown within the first minute of play. By halftime the score was twenty-one to three in our favor.  The game was gonna be a blowout. Unfortunately the other team became increasingly belligerent as they fell further behind, resorting to name-calling and at one point, an illegal hit that earned them a penalty. I could only hope their coach would give them a good talking to at halftime about sportsmanship, regardless of how they felt about their opponents. They might be playing against a bunch of faggots, as we heard one of the other team’s players say, but those faggots were giving them a real whipping.

The presentation at halftime was really awesome. The Governor himself made the presentation, awarding Jeremy the state’s highest honor. My heart swelled with pride at what one of my two best friends in the world had accomplished. To think that he was only nineteen! I couldn’t help but shed a few tears. I think we all did.

Just as the teams were preparing to retake the field, a loud crack echoed throughout the stadium. A moment later there was a second loud cracking sound. Then someone shouted, “Sawyer has a gun!” and pretty soon panic took hold as players, coaches and referees ran every which way in search of cover. In mere moments there were only two people left on the field - Billy, and another kid who was pointing a gun at him!

The crowd was silent. We were all mesmerized.

“Listen up!” a voice echoed throughout the large stadium. I guess someone had trained a parabolic microphone on them. “I left two dead faggots by the locker room, but I wanted to save Mathews for everyone to see what happens to faggots.

“Every week growin’ up, we’d go to church on Sunday. Almost every week, the preacher spoke on how we’re all goin’ to Hell.” My eyes opened wide when I realized that the kid had just outed himself. I wondered if he even knew what he had done.

“My father is even worse,” he continued. “He’s always spouting off how fags don’t deserve to breathe the air… how they should all be rounded up and shot. Well guess what, Dad? You’ve taught me well. Your son is the angel of death, bringing justice to all the faggots of the world.”

I wasn’t even aware I’d left my seat until the boy pointed his gun right at my chest and shouted, “Stay the fuck back! Come any closer and you’ll be joining the other faggots in Hell.”

“I just want to talk, man!” I shouted back in return as I held up my hands in front of me.

“What the fuck makes you think I want to talk to you?” The boy with the gun asked.

“Because I’m the one who can make it right?” I answered as I resumed walking toward them.

I MEAN IT!” shouted the boy. “Stay the fuck back or it’ll be the last thing you ever do!”

“But I can help!” I shouted. “I know just what you’re going through. I’ve been there, man!”

“What the fuck do you know about me, white boy?” the boy with the gun asked.

“I may not be black,” I said, “but I know what it’s like to grow up in a religious household. My parents are Evangelical Christians. As far as I was concerned, admitting to being gay was tantamount to admitting I was a rapist or a murderer. I knew my parents would disown me, or worse, if I came out.” By now I was standing directly in front of Billy and the boy holding him hostage and he had his gun pointed right at my heart.

“Every week I sang in the church choir,” I continued,” and every week the preacher told us that people like me were going straight to Hell. I tried not to be gay. I prayed every day and every night to God to make me normal, but the feelings I had only got stronger.

“When I accidentally outed myself at school, I thought my life was over, man. I knew that when my parents heard about it, they’d either kick me out of the house, or worse. I seriously thought about offing myself, but then some friends of mine convinced me I should suck it up and let the chips fall where they may.”

“So what happened?” the boy with the gun asked. I’d gotten him talking!

“What happened is that it turned out my dad already knew,” I answered.

“Ya serious, man? And he didn’t kick you out or beat you up?” the boy asked.

“Yah, I’m serious,” I replied. “I thought I’d covered my tracks well, but I should have known better. My dad runs a company that specializes in Internet security. He found it strange that there were a bunch of attacks on my computer from gay porn sites,” I added with a laugh.

“Man, I’m surprised your old man didn’t kill ya,” the boy exclaimed.

“I thought he was gonna, but he decided he was gonna try and save my soul. Seems the more he read up on making a gay kid straight, the more he realized he’d lose his only son if he tried. He and my mom didn’t like it, but they accepted it and eventually came to realize that what the preacher taught was wrong. They realized you can’t love God if you turn your back on your own child.

“’Course it didn’t hurt that I ended up marrying the preacher’s son,” I added.

“Why couldn’t I have parents like that?” the boy asked, and then he seemed to stiffen and the hand holding the gun started to shake.

“NO!” he shouted. “My old man would never accept me bein’ gay. He’d beat the crap outta me. He’d tell me what a worthless piece of shit I am. I’d be lucky if he only threw me out of the house. He’d prolly kill me!

“Well guess what, Pop?” the boy spat out as he slowly began to turn the gun back toward Billy. Shit! “You’ve got a gay son! I’m a worthless little faggot. You always said you’d be better off with a dead son than a faggot, and you’re right! You’re gonna get your wish! All faggots must die!”

The gun was now pointed back at Billy’s head and the boy’s hand was shaking. His whole body was shaking as he held Billy. At the last possible second, however, the boy shifted the gun so it was pointed at his own head, and then he pulled the trigger.

What happened next was like something out of a horror movie as his head literally exploded right in front of me and the loudest sound I’d ever heard seemed to erupt inside my head, leaving a ringing sound that persisted long afterwards. Blood and brains flew out in all directions, covering me in a rain of warm, squishy stuff from head to toe. Some of it even got in my eyes and my mouth. I could taste it - it was salty and fatty, and it made me retch.

What was left of the boy still held onto Billy and the two of them fell to the ground together as the boy went into convulsions. I no longer felt in control of myself as I felt my bladder and bowels empty. Everything around me seemed distorted and I could have sworn I saw the boy’s corpse with the gun still in hand, point the gun right at me and pull the trigger.

 

“Trevor, you look like you’ve seen a ghost!” Cathy said as she opened the door for me. I couldn’t even remember the walk from our apartment to hers and Debbie’s.

I opened my mouth as if to answer, but nothing came out.

“Is it another flashback?" she asked as she ushered me inside.

Still unable to talk, I merely nodded my head, then finally I began, “I can’t believe this is still happening after all these years. I am the fucking National Security Advisor to the fucking President of the United States… or at least I was… and at any moment I can find myself paralyzed by these flashbacks. What kind of advisor am I when the President can’t count on me in a crisis?”

“A damn good one, Trevor,” Debbie countered as she approached. “I may have my reservations about invoking the twenty-fifth amendment just yet, but you did a masterful job of putting together a solid case for who was behind David’s assassination, and for Schroeder’s indirect, if not direct, involvement. You’ve been working under unbelievable stress with almost no sleep for the past week, so naturally your defenses were down when I laid yet another bombshell on you. That it involved Billy Mathews virtually guaranteed a flashback.”

“Yeah, what is it with that, anyway?” I asked. “Do you really think Billy had something to do with David’s murder?”

“I’ll get to that in a minute, Trev,” Debbie replied, “but first I think you need to calm down a bit. You’re still white as a sheet and you’re shaking.”

“I a… a… m?” I joked.

“I’m not even going to dignify that one,” Deb responded. “Let’s go have some coffee and relax for a moment before we talk about the latest revelations, OK?”

“Sounds like a plan,” I agreed sheepishly.

As I sat at the kitchen table in Cathy and Debbie’s apartment, sipping coffee with ‘the girls’ as I still thought of them from back in our high school days, I couldn’t help but reflect back on the horrible events in that December of 2012, and the years of therapy that ensued.

 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 9:32 AM
Twenty-nine Years Earlier

“Good morning, Trevor,” Dr. Crowley called out and I looked up from the issue of Popular Science I’d been reading in the waiting room. I had been seeing her for weekly therapy sessions for a little over six months now, and still the flashbacks continued.

“Good morning Dr. Crowley,” I replied as I stepped into her office and sat on the sofa under the window. Dr. Crowley sat down in a chair opposite me, and poured me a cup of coffee from the pot that sat on the coffee table that separated the two of us. It was excellent coffee as I well knew from having a husband who is a coffee connoisseur, and she served it to me just the way I like it - unadulterated black. As I took a sip of the coffee, I added, “I wish I could say it’s getting better, but it’s not.”

“Give it time, Trevor,” she admonished me. “You suffered a horrible shock no different from what soldiers in combat face, only you weren’t trained to be a soldier. That memory is never going to go away. It will always be with you but with a little help, you’ll learn how to accept it once your mind can rationalize it.”

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was what they called it. PTSD. My case was classic, but that didn’t make it any easier. After the incident at Lucas Oil Stadium, I put on a brave face and pretended everything was normal. Not even the discovery that my lab partner was a terrorist seemed to faze me. It was a miracle I managed to finish at all, much less finish it with straight A’s.

But then the nightmares began and I woke up just about every night, drenched in sweat, convinced I’d just been shot by the lifeless corpse of Billy Mathews’ assailant. I tried to reassure Kurt that nothing was wrong, but he wasn’t buying it. Right from the start he said I needed help. He even offered to go with me to see a therapist, but the last thing I wanted to do was to drag him into it.

As my final semester at MIT wore on, the sleep deprivation started to catch up with me and my grades began to suffer. Through sheer determination I was able to bring them up by the end of my senior year, just barely eking out another round of straight A’s, earning a Bachelor of Science degree with highest distinction.

It was during the summer before starting graduate school that things really started to fall apart. I got a job working as a research assistant in one of the artificial intelligence labs - not that I needed the money, but the experience would be invaluable. The project I worked on dealt with predicting the decision-making processes of the psychopathic mind. In retrospect it was not the best choice for someone in my condition, but I thought it might help me get past my nightmares.

Boy, was I ever wrong! After only a week I progressed from having nightmares every night to having flashbacks during the day. I could no longer distinguish what was real from what wasn’t and, in desperation, I quit the job without any notice. I didn’t tell anyone, however - not even Kurt. I was so embarrassed and saw everything that was happening as a sign of weakness rather than as a symptom of a disease. And still the nightmares and flashbacks continued.

I put on a brave face as I began my graduate coursework, never dreaming that the only one I was fooling was myself. It all came to a head when Kurt caught me cutting classes, something I had never done before. He confronted me and would not stop until I admitted I was close to failing in several classes and seriously thinking of dropping them. Kurt didn’t give me a choice. He used his connections in the Sociology Department at Boston University to get me an appointment with one of the best specialists in PTSD in Boston. And so I found myself sitting in Dr. Crowley’s for what I was sure would be another grueling session.

“OK, Trevor. You know the drill,” she continued. “I want you to think back to that terrible day on the first of December, 2012. Tell me what you were thinking that morning when the alarm clock went off and you got out of bed.” I hated these sessions. Every week she forced me to relive the trauma of the event in increasingly more detail. The theory was that it was only by remembering it, confronting it and learning to deal with it that I could get past it. The more I tried to suppress those painful memories, the more they would resurface as nightmares and in flashbacks.

Kurt told me the treatment seemed to be working, although I didn’t feel any better. I still had nightmares and Dr. Crowley told me I’d always have them occasionally, but they were interfering with my sleep less and less. The flashbacks were also much less frequent. I guess the real proof was in the pudding, however. I was dealing with a full graduate class load and my grades were back to straight A’s.

 

“Trevor? Are you still with us?” Debbie asked, bringing me out of my reverie.

“Sorry, Deb,” I replied. “I was just thinking back to the early days after the shooting.”

“I thought your mind had gone somewhere for a bit,” she responded. “But you know, Trevor, you’ve come a long, long way since those early days.”

I thought about it for a moment and although I did have occasional flashbacks, I had to admit she was right. “So what’s the deal with Billy?” I asked again.

“What we found out about Billy and his role in David’s assassination is important, Trevor,” she began, “but that’s not the primary reason I invited you over. Believe me, you’re the last person I want put through this, but you’re the only one who can help…”

Suddenly my jaw dropped, my heart pounded and I broke out in a cold sweat. My eyes couldn’t believe what they were seeing…

The author gratefully acknowledges the invaluable assistance of David of Hope in editing, Low Flyer in proofreading and Ed in beta reading my stories, as well as Gay Authors, Awesome Dude and Nifty for hosting them.

DISCLAIMER: This is a fictional account of the assassination of the first openly gay president of the United States. Except as noted, all characters are fictitious and the reader is cautioned against attributing anything from the story to real individuals. There are occasional descriptions of consensual sex between underage boys and it is the reader’s responsibility to ensure the legality of reading this material. The author retains full copyright.