|Return to Pt. 1|
The next morning, Penhall and Booker were led into a cement block room at Fulsom State Penitentiary. They were there to interview Marco, much to Marcos surprise. Marco actually appeared to recognize Penhall, having seen his picture and talked with Hanson about him some.
"Hello, Marco" said Penhall tightly. He was pretty much as Hanson had described him, six two, muscular and well-built, and about 36 years old with dark hair and a mustache. Penhall had been concerned about him being bigger than Hanson.
"Well, let me see," said Marco, "You must be Penhall. And of course, I already know Booker. Just how did your nose get after Hanson decked you?" He smirked thinking of the punch in the cell.
"My nose is fine, smart ass, thanks for asking," replied Booker.
"And to what exactly do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" asked Marco.
"I think you can guess," said Penhall. Marco just looked at him. Penhall continued. "Look, Marco," he said, "you know Hanson was beaten up a couple nights ago. We want to know the story on that."
"Whats the matter?" said Booker, "werent you in on the fun? Dont you have anything to tell us?"
Marco shook his head. "Hell, no, man, I wasnt involved. I dont know anything."
"Bullshit!" said Penhall. "Maybe you werent involved, but I bet you know who was. And why did it happen now? Hansons got four months down, why didnt it happen sooner?"
Marco was silent, just staring at them.
"Look, Marco," said Penhall, "Hanson talked a lot about you. Do you wanna know what he said?" Marcos eyes widened in surprise. Penhall continued. "He said you were the only one who treated him halfway decent in here. He said maybe you werent really such a bad guy underneath that prison uniform. Said you had a tough time growing up - if things had been different, maybe you wouldnt even be here. Actually told me, "were kind of friends." So, Marco, were you really "kind of friends" or did you just want something from him he wouldnt let you have but you were still trying for?"
Marco remained silent for a minute, then spoke up. "Look, Penhall, Im sorry about what happened to Hanson. I really am. Hes not such a bad guy. BUT whats my life in here gonna be like if I rat out who did the deed? I have another five years to go on this burglary rap."
"Nobody saw us come in here, Marco. We had already thought of that. This was arranged so no one is aware you are talking with us. And maybe," said Penhall, "some kind of deal can be arranged, provided you give us good info on what happened to Hanson and why."
"Deal as in transfer? Cause thats what needs to be done," said Marco. "I cant stay here if I rat these guys out. Ill end up dead."
"Its been discussed with Assistant DA Garrett," replied Booker. "For your information, shes an old friend of Hansons, and she said she would do what she could to get the transfer for you, if youll give us the information we want."
Marco sighed, "Look, Id like to help, but thats not good enough. Take two years off the rest of my sentence, though, and its a done deal."
"Well do what we can," replied Penhall. "You have our word."
Marco paused and considered. "All right," he said. "Heres the story: Penhall, maybe you better sit down."
"Why?" said Penhall, surprised.
"Look," said Marco, "From what I heard, AFTER it happened, to make myself clear, it was said a big cop friend of Hansons was overhead in the visiting room telling him he may get out soon." He looked at Penhall. "Sound familiar?"
Penhall sank into a chair, his throat closing up and his ears ringing. 'My God,' he thought, 'I caused it!'
Booker glanced at him, immediately concerned, but instructed Marco to go on.
Marco shrugged. "The story spread from there. The hit was arranged. A guard was involved to clear out the shower room. They nailed him in the shower. I think there were six. End of story. They were havin fun playin with him until it looked like he would be gettin out. Then they had to do it before he could leave. Thats it."
Penhall was still stunned.
Booker glanced his way - he was way too quiet. "So, who are 'they'?" Booker asked.
Marco replied slowly after hesitating a minute, "Flannelly, Wojo, Henderson, Sanders, Schillinger - I dont know who else."
"Who was the guard involved?" asked Booker again.
Marco hesitated, then replied "Baughman."
Penhall, still sitting quietly in the corner in stunned silence, suddenly seemed to come back to life. "You mean to tell me," he said to Marco, his voice rising, "that those sons of bitches wouldnt have done that to Hanson if they hadnt heard me talking in the visiting room?! And just who was it that overheard this conversation?!" Then, suddenly, "I dont believe you, you asshole! Youre just trying to get something out of this for yourself and put the blame onto a cop!" He rose menacingly, coming across the room toward Marco.
"Penhall!" yelled Booker and reached up to grab him before he could get to Marco.
Marco, seated on the other side of the table, drew himself up, wary of the fury in Penhalls eyes. As Booker grabbed Doug, however, Marco relaxed, figuring Booker would not let Penhall attack him.
"Look, man, just remember who came to who for this information," said Marco. "I cant help it if what I said pins the blame on you." Looking at the misery in Penhalls face, though, and thinking of Hanson, he added reluctantly, "Penhall, it would have happened sooner or later anyway. They were gettin bored with playin with him. It was time for the deal to go down. Thats what happens in prison - people get hurt, especially ex-cops - especially little and pretty ex-cops. You didnt cause it, Penhall. Its not your fault, anymore than its mine."
Penhall was silent, staring at Marco. Silence filled the room for a moment.
"All right, Marco, if thats it, were going," stated Booker. "Come on, Penhall - lets move." He walked over to the bars enclosing the room. "Guard!" he called. He and Penhall, still in a guilt-ridden stupor, turned to go.
"Hey!" said Marco "How is Hanson, anyway?"
Penhall hesitated for a minute. "Hes alive," he said. "Thats all." Then they left.
That night, Penhall had trouble sleeping, haunted by nightmares about what happened to Hanson and how much of it he had been responsible for. Booker had tried to convince him it wasnt his fault, but Penhall wasnt swallowing that. He still blamed himself and became more determined than ever to make it right - and that Hanson would recover.
He met Booker early the next morning at the chapel. They made a trip to the police academy they and Hanson had graduated from to get the gun they believed had killed Hanson from a Cadet Mortillaro. They presented this gun, along with other evidence they had found, to Judge Hancock, hoping to gain Hansons release from prison. They were overjoyed when the Judge ordered Hanson released.
"Hey, buddy!" Penhall called out as he bounded into Hansons hospital room. "Good news, good news!" He looked at Hanson and smiled widely. "Guess what - the Judge ordered your release! Youre coming home, man, youre OUT! - FREE! - you dont have to go back to prison!" Penhall leaned over and threw his arms around Tom. Hanson looked up, his face lighting up and a real smile, straight white teeth and all - the first one in a long time Penhall could remember seeing - began to spread across his face like sunshine.
"What?!" said Hanson. His voice was filled with caution. This was too good to believed, at least without some explanation.
"You heard me, man! HOME! Youre going HOME! No more prison bars, strip-searches, solitary confinement - none of that shit! Youre going home, Hanson, youre free!" He reached down to hug Hanson and threw his arms around him. Hanson had no idea how good Penhall felt, not only for Hanson but also for himself. The guilt he placed on himself for telling Hanson, which still had not disappeared, was killing him.
"Oh, God!" said Hanson. "You did it, Doug, you really did it?! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!"
At that moment, the door to the hospital room opened, and Booker came striding in. "Hey, Hanson. I take it Penhall told you the news. He was so excited, I thought hed wreck the car on the way over here."
"When can I go home?" Hanson asked, still unbelieving. His head was spinning and his mind was racing. He had never felt so relieved and thankful in his life. He could not have gone back to prison. He knew that.
"Well, I guess now thats up to only one person - the doctor" said Penhall. "No more prison guards to worry about."
Just then Dr. Kastanza entered the room. "Well, Hanson, Ive just been told the news by the officer at the door. Congratulations! Guess we can let the officer go home now, too."
"Doctor, when can I go home?" asked Hanson.
"That depends" said the doctor. "Well discuss it later. Soon, I think, based on the results of the test."
"Great!" said Penhall. "Hanson, congratulations!" Then, glancing down and noticing Hansons arms, "Hey, dont let the guard leave before he takes those cuffs off!" He and Booker went out the door to hunt down the guard. "Well go find him."
"Fine," said the doctor. "I want to examine Tom. You can catch him later."
"OK - see you later Hanson - this afternoon." Penhall and Booker left the room.
Shortly after, the guard arrived in the room and removed the handcuffs from Hansons wrists. Red marks continued to encircle his wrists, even when the handcuffs were removed. Hanson lifted his hands and shook them, relishing the feeling of being able to move them at his own discretion again.
"Now, Tom, I know you dont like this, but roll over and let me look at those stitches. Be careful of that leg."
Hanson groaned and rolled his eyes but did as he was told.
"OK - healing well." said the doctor. He pulled up a chair and looked at Tom as Tom sat back up, slowly. "Im going to sign the release papers for this afternoon. Physically youre okay to go. Im giving you a prescription for pain for the cuts and bruises and the stitches. Take it easy for a while. All the physical damage will heal just fine. Im also giving you the name of a therapist, a Dr. Terry Potter." He paused and looked straight into Toms eyes. "Hes a good therapist whos had a lot of experience dealing with victims of violent rape."
Tom paused and turned his head away. "No, Im really okay, and I certainly dont want to talk about it to anybody. I cant, I just cant. I just want to go home now and start over. Home somewhere," he added as he realized he didnt have an apartment to go home to.
The doctor sighed, "Look, Tom. . . the emotional damage is what will hurt you, and this is a big emotional blow to your psyche. People have trouble dealing with this. Youve been through a lot, to say the least. Being imprisoned, beaten, raped," he watched Tom carefully as he said the word, noting his reaction. Tom closed his eyes and shuddered. "And now, getting out of jail. Thats a lot to handle and work through, and you will need someone, a professional, to help you. This is the kind of thing that can result in severe depression and emotional problems. It will not work to pretend this didnt happen and just go home and "start over." It will come back to haunt you. You need to work through this with someone who is qualified to help you. You may find you need medication to help you get through this also. Hes the best one to deal with that."
Hanson just shook his head. "No."
The doctor sighed, "OK, but Im giving you Dr. Potters number anyway. You may change your mind when you get home. Where are you going to stay?"
"With my mom, I guess, I dont know where else. My apartment is gone."
"Well, Ill leave you alone now to call your mother and make arrangements for her to pick you up this afternoon. Youll be discharged about 2:00 P.M. Ill be back then to make sure youre okay and write the prescriptions. Good luck Hanson." Then he left the room.
Later that evening Hanson arrived at his mothers house. They had all been at the hospital, then had accompanied him to his moms for a celebration party - Penhall, Booker, Judy, Fuller, even Blowfish - everyone in great spirits and ready to celebrate. For the most part, he had been, too. But everyone had noticed that Tom seemed a little vacant, listless, lacking something for someone who had finally gotten his freedom back. The party was much enjoyed, but everyone left still worried about Tom. That night, Tom woke up in a cold sweat, screaming. His mother came running, hugged him, and stayed up with him until dawn. It was his first nightmare.
To Toms dismay, he was also having trouble walking due to more than just the broken leg. It hurt to walk due to the rape, also - a constant reminder - but Dr. Kastanza had assured him it would pass soon. At least he could pass it off to everyone else as being due to the broken leg only.
His mother was kind and considerate, at times getting on Hansons nerves, but wanting to take care of him, and he needed and appreciated her help. Especially as the nightmares continued, and he could hardly sleep at all anymore. Penhall came by everyday after work, trying to get Tom to go out with him for pizza as he felt better, and one time Tom went. But Penhall worried about him. Something wasnt right. He was SO depressed, SO down, and he was drinking quite a bit. He wouldnt talk about what happened at all, although Penhall certainly didnt push him. He was getting worried, though, as there was talk of charges being filed by the state against the inmates and guard who had plotted the attack - if Hanson would testify - but he still refused. Penhall was afraid they were going to get away with it. But it was understandable why Tom didnt want to testify, and if Tom doesnt want to, no one should force him.
'After all,' thought Penhall, 'as Fuller had said, Hanson shouldnt be raped twice.'
One night, knowing Mrs. Hanson was out and Tom was home, Penhall had let himself in the house after repeatedly ringing the doorbell and had found Tom sitting on the floor of his bedroom, pale, sweating, and visibly shaken up. When asked what was wrong, Tom had replied that he had been "sick at his stomach." But Penhall didnt buy it, and it worried him. He wandered if Tom should ever be left alone.
The next day, Hanson, appearing better and walking well, went to Jump St. Chapel for a visit with his friends at Penhalls urging - anything to get him out of that house.
"Hanson!" called Blowfish watching him walk in the door. Booker, Penhall, and Hoffs crowded around. "How ya doin buddy? Great to see ya back!" said Blowfish, slapping Hanson on the back.
"Yeah, Hanson, how are you doing?" asked Booker.
Judy greeted him with a gentle hug and a smile. She looked closely into his eyes. Toms eyes met hers for a minute, and then he lowered them.
Captain Fuller came out of his office and greeted Hanson. "How are you Hanson?"
"OK," replied Hanson. "How are things going around here?"
"Okay," replied Captain Fuller. "Penhall and Booker are on a case at Lincoln High. Other than that, been kind of slow, actually."
Judy remained quiet. Hanson coming back made her think of Ioki, and this made her sadder still. She wished they were all together again, as they had been before Ioki was shot. She was going to see him tonight in the hospital.
They all talked for a while and Booker, Judy, Penhall and even Blowfish made plans to meet Hanson for lunch. Fuller asked to see Tom in his office for a minute before he left, but he was called to the phone. The others went back to work. Suddenly Tom was left sitting at his old desk waiting for the captain. He glanced up and his eyes happened to fall on the holding cell in which a young, small dark haired teenager and a bigger, older blonde boy were being held. They were beginning to argue and were getting loud.
'Jesus, somebody come out and bust it up,' thought Hanson, but he made no attempt to do so himself. No one else seemed to notice as of yet.
The argument began to turn physical with a few pushes and shoves. Hansons eyes focused on the two of them and became glazed over, seeming to go a million miles away. He watched as the bigger boy approached the smaller boy menacingly. Suddenly, the others turned as a terrified sound came from Hansons throat.
"NO! NO! NO!" he was screaming. He got up out of the chair and began to back away from an unseen, unknown attacker. Penhall rushed to his side followed by Hoffs and Booker. Toms eyes were glazed, and it was obvious he did not know he was in the chapel or who anyone was. Penhall reached out to touch him, but Hanson fought him off frantically, panic-stricken.
"Tom!" said Penhall. He reached out to touch Tom.
"NO!" screamed Tom, "NO!" He backed away from Penhall and put out his hands, attempting to keep him away from him. At this point, Penhall was terrified too.
Judy, though, reacted calmly and began to speak to him in a gentle and soothing tone of voice. "Tom, its okay," she said. "Youre in the chapel, do you remember the chapel and Jump Street? Youre safe - its okay."
It took a few minutes of soothing words and gentle voice tones before Toms eyes began to look calmer.
Judy, at that point, reached out to touch his arm. "Tom, she said cautiously "Can I touch you?"
"NO!" screamed Tom. "DONT TOUCH ME!" He pulled his arm away violently, panic leaping back into his eyes.
"Okay, okay," said Judy. "Dont worry - I wont touch you. I wont hurt you. No one here will. Youre safe. Youre here in the chapel. Remember Captain Fuller and Doug Penhall, your best friend? And Booker and Blowfish?"
Booker, Blowfish, and Penhall were watching quietly. Fuller went quickly to the phone again to call an ambulance. There were several more minutes of soothing words, and then Judy asked Tom again if she could touch him. This time he did not pull back, and he let Judy begin to stroke his arm gently. In a minute, Tom shook his head and his eyes appeared calmer. He seemed to "come around." He turned his head toward Judy and blinked his eyes. Judy smiled.
"Hey!" she said softly "Are you okay?"
Tom rubbed his hand across his eyes. "Yeah, I think so," he replied. He shook his head again. "What exactly happened?"
"I dont know for sure," replied Judy, "but I think it was a flashback."
"A flashback - like acid or something?" asked Tom, bewildered.
"No, something must have triggered the trauma from the attack. You seemed to think someone was going to get you," said Judy.
At that moment, the paramedics arrived.
"Tom," said Fuller, "I dont know what just happened, but go to the hospital. Get checked out. Youre not well."
"No, Im tired of hospitals - sick of being locked up," said Tom. "Im going home. Ill be all right." Penhall, who had been standing beside his friend put his arm around his shoulder protectively.
"Tom. . ." started Fuller, then he stopped as he saw the determined look on Hansons face. "Look, Hanson, you really need to be checked out, but if you wont go, I cant force you. Ill have Penhall take you home."
"I think thats best" said Penhall, and they left the chapel.
"You okay?" asked Penhall as he helped Hanson get settled on the couch at his mothers house.
"Im fine" said Hanson. He turned his eyes away from Doug and onto the TV.
"Look, Tom, youre not fine" said Penhall. Hanson continued to stare at the TV. Penhall reached over and grabbed the remote and clicked the TV off with a snap. "Look at me!" he said, suddenly impatient.
Tom turned toward him in surprise. "What?!" he said.
Penhall ran his hand across his face. "I know you dont want to be locked up, but Fullers right. Youve got to find out what happened to you at the chapel. What if it was a flashback like Jude said? What are you gonna do about it? It has to be worked through. And I dont think thats the first one. I think thats what was wrong with you the other night, wasnt it?" He looked at Tom challengingly.
Tom turned his head once again.
"Quit turning away from me!" said Doug. He was getting scared - this wasnt his friend at all to just turn his eyes and avoid things.
"No, Im fine. Im just getting used to being out of jail," said Tom.
"Thats crazy!" said Penhall. Then, lowering his voice and speaking softly and desperately, he said, "Tom, you cant runaway from it. You have to face the fact that you were beaten AND raped (Penhall winced at the word himself) and work through it if youre going to survive and get your life back together. What about the therapist the doctor recommended, that Terry Potter, have you made an appointment to see him?"
Hanson lowered his eyes and shook his head no. Shame and fear flooded through him all over again. Mention of the attack out loud was all it took to evoke that response from him.
"And what about being angry, Tom? Thats what scares me. I mean, I can understand not testifying, just letting it drop, but all I see from you is. . is. . . depression, defeat. Thats not you! You should be mad as hell at those guys, and I bet you are! But I think you need to show that, too. It would be good for you - healthy! The therapist can help you with that. Tom, please do that - Ill go with you if you want - I want you to get better. I told you that night I would be with you all the way, and I will. You are not alone," Doug pleaded. "There are things to think about. What about getting your job back? Have you thought about that? What are you going to do, if you dont? I mean, everyone will understand if you want to do something else, but what I mean is, life goes on and you need to be a part of it - on the force or not. I will always be there - always be your best friend, whether we work together or not. I just want you to get your life back together in some way, shape, or form, the sooner the better. And you havent even started yet."
Tears welled up in Toms eyes and slid down his cheeks. Penhall put his arms around him and pulled him to his shoulder. He didnt say a word, just let him cry.
Suddenly Tom looked up. "I - I want to see Marco."
"Marco!?" said Penhall. "What for?!"
"I blamed him for not protecting me, and I know it wasnt his fault. He was the closest thing I had to a friend in there, and I dont want to leave him thinking I blame him," said Tom.
"Jeez, I dont know," said Penhall, amazed. "What would you do? Go back to prison to see him? Could you handle that?"
Tom shuddered. "NO - Im NOT going back! I dont know, but I want to work something out."
"What about Dr. Potter? " said Penhall, unwilling to let that go. "You know, maybe he could give you some pills or something to help you feel better." He was thinking about the suicide watch Tom had been on in the hospital. Maybe it needed to continue.
"No," said Hanson.
"Look, Tom," said Penhall, "something has to be done. You cant go on like this. I cant be your partner like this if you do come back to work. Its not safe for me or you. . . OR the public, and I dont think they will let you come back to work anyway without some kind of treatment. Especially after today."
"I just want to forget it happened," said Tom.
"I know, but I dont think its gonna work that way," said Penhall quietly. "And what about the nightmares? How long do you think you can go on without sleeping? This has got to be stopped, man. Look, youre my partner and my best friend, and I wont leave you alone about this. You have got to get some help." He paused then groaned. "God, Tom, I am so sorry. This is all my fault." He ducked his head and tears filled his eyes.
Tom looked at him. "Why!?" he asked.
"Maybe theres something you should know. I just hope you dont hate me for it."
"What?" said Tom fearfully.
"Look, when I saw Marco he first said the way they found out you were gettin out was somebody overheard it in the visiting room. Then they decided to make their move." There was silence from Tom. "Then he said it wasnt my fault, it was coming anyway. But I cant help it. I still blame myself. If there was any way I could take that back, I would, but I cant. And you were so depressed. I just want you to know I was trying to give you something to live for. I was afraid. . . you would. . . do something stupid." Penhall struggled to get hold of himself. "But this guilt is killing me." He laughed shortly. "I cant sleep at night either."
"Doug," said Tom, "Marcos right. Its not your fault. Believe me, it was in the air before you ever visited me that day. I could sense it. Its my fault, because I could sense it but I didnt protect myself like I should have. Dont blame yourself. I dont blame you. I couldnt have made it through all this without you. I know I wouldnt have. Much more and I would have killed myself. Now you and Booker got me out. Penhall, you saved my life, dont you know that?"
Penhall looked up, unconvinced.
"Maybe we can work something out to see Marco, both of us. I think you should talk to him again too. Because hes right - it was going to happen anyway. I know that, its just you dont. Maybe wed both feel better," said Hanson.
Doug looked up at him, thoughtfully, wiping away the tears on his own cheeks. "Look, Tom, Ill make you a deal," he said. "Ill talk to Jackie about maybe working something out for the two of us to see Marco outside the prison. You PROMISE me youll go see Potter and get started in therapy."
Tom pressed his lips together and turned his head as a disgusted sigh escaped from him. "Damn it, Doug! And what makes you think Jackie will agree anyway, or have enough pull to get Marco out for a meeting?"
"Because I think she still cares about you - not still hung up on you or anything, but just. . .cares. I think if she knew it was for your own good, shed pull every string she has."
There was a few minutes of silence, then Hanson reluctantly agreed. "OK, Doug, OK, but DONT tell her the whole story. Please."
"Youve got my word on that" said Penhall. And he rose to leave, seeing Mrs. Hanson coming in. He knew she could take care of Tom for the night. He also knew, from recent conversations with her, how relieved she would be that Tom had agreed to see a therapist. Now if he could only get Jackie to work something out.
It took a couple of weeks, but after that Jackie came through, arranging a short meeting between Tom, Penhall, and Marco in a secure room at the courthouse. She had pulled a lot of strings but was willing to do so for Tom.
Marco was seated, handcuffed at a long wooden table in the room, awaiting their arrival. There was to be a guard in the room at all times. He looked up and greeted Hanson and Penhall when they entered the room. Hanson eyed him sheepishly, apologetically. Marco smiled at him, letting him know it was all right, and tried to put out a hand to greet him, but was held back by the handcuffs.
"Hey, Hanson" he said "so how the hell are ya?"
Hanson hesitated. "Better than the last time I saw you."
Marco eyed him. "Yeah, you look a little better." He nodded his head slowly. "So, what do you two want with me?"
"I hear Jackie got you a deal," said Hanson. "Thats great."
Marco laughed shortly, "Yeah, but not so great the way it came about for you." He looked Hanson straight in the eye. "Look, Hanson, I hope youre all right - I really do. Im glad to get to see you, 'cause I want you to know something. I tried to tell you this the last time, but it didnt get through. Course, you werent in too good a shape. I am truly sorry that happened to you, and I want you to know they wouldnt let me in. I was turned away at the door. There really was nothing I could do - they would have come after us both. There were too many of em, the guard was involved - there was no way I could have helped you out. But Im sorry for what happened. And I am sorry I did nothing." He paused and shook his head. "If there was anything I could have done, I would have done it."
"Yeah, Marco, thats what I wanted to tell you. Um, I know everything you said is right, and I dont blame you. I was just so. . . messed up at the time. Youre right, they would have killed us both, sometimes I. . ." He stopped, then went on. "But anyway thats what I wanted to let you know. And Marco, one more thing, please, please dont tell anybody, OK? Not all of it, please. Im not gonna press charges. I cant. . . I cant do that. I cant tell anybody what happened - not all of it. Please try and understand that?"
Marco glanced up at Penhall, who had been sitting quietly. "What about my deal if no charges are pressed?"
Penhall said, "I talked to the Assistant DA. Deal still stands, as long as you talk to prison officials about the guard and get him bounced."
"No problem," said Marco. He turned back to Hanson. "So what are you doing, now that youre out and free? Enjoying life?"
Hanson snickered. "Yeah, its been a blast," he said sarcastically, "just a bowl of cherries. No, seriously, I havent figured that out yet. No money, cant go back to work yet, live with my mom. I dont know what Im gonna do." Suddenly he looked up at Marco and said, "Marco, Penhall here blames himself for what happened to me. Do you believe that?! What a load of crap! Think you can convince him otherwise?"
Marco laughed and looked at Penhall. "Stuff like that happens, man. Its like I told you, the time had come. The only reason he didnt get nailed sooner was because they were enjoying themselves too much toying with him, but it was in the air even before you visited him. I could feel it, especially with the guard involved. Penhall, it wasnt your fault. If you feel guilty, stop wasting your time."
"See, Doug," said Tom. "Told you - it was in the air before. And I
knew it. And I wasnt careful enough. So really that makes it MY
fault - not yours and not Marcos. Just mine."
"I know thats not what you meant, Marco, but its what I think!" said Hanson.
"Hanson, we just went over how you had no control - there were too many - I couldnt help - a guard was involved. How can you still blame yourself?" asked Marco, his voice rising slightly.
"Because," said Hanson intensely, "I was the only one who ever could do anything about it, just by being careful and not getting in that situation in the first place, like not taking a shower then." He turned his head way. "Or even not winding up in prison in the first place. I was the only one who could have prevented it, so its my fault it happened."
"Thats bullshit!" said Marco.
"Agreed," said Penhall.
Hanson shook his head. "No," he said, "no."
The guard standing in the corner approached the table. "Times up guys. Gotta go," he said.
They all rose. "Well, Marco," said Hanson, "Goodbye, good luck. Thanks for everything. You did help me get through being locked up." He grinned slightly, "I do have to say I hope I dont see you again soon, though."
"Yeah," said Penhall. "Thanks for all your help with everything."
"Yeah," said Marco. "Both you guys need to stop blaming yourself." He looked at Tom. "Especially you. Go get your life together, man. If you learned anything throughout all this horseshit it should be how much youve got going for you. Start puttin it together again. Youve got that second chance."
"Youre right," agreed Tom.
"Definitely," said Penhall.
Tom reached for Marcos hand, shook it and said, "Take care." They walked out of the room.
In the hallway, Penhall turned to Hanson. "See, even Marco agrees. Get your life together and get back into the swing of things. Ive held up my end of the bargain and its your turn now."
"I know. Ive got an appointment for day after tomorrow at 10:00 a.m." Tom looked at Doug. "You said youd go with me, will you still do that? I really dread this."
"Absolutely. Ill call in sick if I have to," replied Doug.
Tom smiled at Doug for the first time since Doug had told him he could go home. "Thanks," he said, "youre a great friend." He paused then said, "Doug, listen I just want to make sure you know. . .how much I appreciate everything youve done - sticking by me through all this and getting me out."
"I told you before, I wouldnt have done anything differently," said Penhall. "If the situation had been reversed, you would have done the same thing."
"And I told you before, you would have never been in this situation. You wouldnt have blown a case like this. Youre too good a cop. Anyway, I want to give you something to show my appreciation."
Penhall looked at him puzzled. "You dont have to do that."
"No, really," said Tom. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a set of keys to his car. Something sparked on the leather embossed key ring - a nice sized diamond, not too big, not too small, with the name HANSON embossed on it. Penhalls eyes grew large. He had known about this set of keys to Hansons Mustang and had always admired it.
"Youre dads key chain from the department?!" said Penhall. "I cant take those! I know how much that means to you."
"Yeah, but I want you to have it now. And also, Doug, these are the keys to the Mustang - as you know. I also want you to have them, along with the car, if anything ever happens to me. I wish I had something more to give you, but I dont. Those two things are the most valuable things I have."
"And also the most important things to you," said Penhall. "Tom, I cant take these!"
"Yeah, you can. Please. I want you to. For now just the key chain with the keys. Then, if anything would ever happen to me, the car. Ill tell my mom, shell arrange it. Just promise me you will." He looked into Penhalls shocked eyes. "Im not saying anything is gonna happen, Penhall, and Im certainly not planning on it, just if. Please. I want to give you something, and its the only thing I have. I love you, man, youre my brother. I just want to give you something to remember that." He looked up at Penhall and smiled with the playful, cajoling, almost flirty look in his brown eyes he used to use to win Fuller over when he wanted something or was trying to avoid being yelled at. For a moment he looked like the old Tom.
Penhall smiled and closed his hand around the key chain as it was dropped into his palm. "Okay," he said. "And thanks. Now lets go get something to eat."
That night, Tom couldnt sleep. The nightmares were worse than ever. Men in prison uniforms, guard uniforms, everyone chasing him, holding him down, beating him then approaching him, undressing. Tom woke up screaming once, feeling the pain of the rape slicing and burning through him, bringing his mother running into the room, but there was nothing she could do but hold him, and he allowed her to do this.
When Margaret rose to leave the room, Tom said, "Mom, I want you to know Im sorry about everything - the being put in prison and everything. I know that was really hard for you. I never meant to hurt you. I love you, mom. I just want you to know that."
Tom and his mother had never discussed the rape, Margaret waiting for an easier way to bring it up, or for Tom to bring it up himself. She did not want to add to his pain and embarrassment.
"Tom, thats not important. Its over with now, and all I want is for you to get better. You remember that. You were the one it was hard on, not me. I understand the reason you went into Buddys house, and I am proud of you for it." She walked back over to him and caressed his forehead, brushing the hair out of his eyes. "I love you very much, sweetie. Good night." She smiled at Tom, and he smiled back, and she left the room.
Finally, after waking a second time from yet another nightmare drenched in sweat, he gave up and flipped on the TV. The next morning, after Margaret had gone to the grocery store, Tom got out of bed and surveyed himself in the bathroom mirror. He didnt like what he saw. Disheveled, dark hair, large brown eyes with circles under them, too skinny.
'Jesus,' he thought, 'I look like shit. I AM shit - look what I let those guys do to me. Why did I do those things that ever led me to wind up there in the first place? I knew what could happen. Why did I just go ahead and break into his house, and why did I just walk into that shower? Why do I do such dumb things? This will never go away. I will never be normal. Never be like every other guy on the planet. No woman would ever want me - not if they knew what happened.'
Tears filled his eyes. Then anger hit. 'If I could get to them, I would kill them,' he thought. And he knew he would. 'WHY did this have to happen to me? What did I do to deserve this?' He looked in the mirror again. Waves of sadness washed over him. 'I cant stand this pain anymore.'
Suddenly, awash in the feeling of depression that filled the very core of his being, the thought occurred to him. 'If I cant kill them, Ill kill myself. Ill just end it once and for all.'
He opened the mirrored door of the medicine cabinet and took out the razor blades which were sitting in there. Quickly, swiftly, without allowing anymore thoughts to enter his head, Hanson took one out with his right hand and glanced down at his left wrist. He closed his eyes and sliced through the vein on his wrist and felt it split open. He gasped as the pain cut through his wrist and the red blood gushed out. He opened his eyes and saw the blood rapidly flowing from his body.
'Good,' he thought, 'its ending. No more pain.' He still did not change his mind. 'Im sorry, mom, dad. Im sorry, Doug,' he thought. 'But Ive said good-bye, and youre better off without me. How would you deal with me - with some guy whos been where I have? Especially you, Doug, - with a partner and best friend whos been fucked up the ass by six other guys?! People would never look at me, or at you, the same. Would probably even think you were gay for sticking by me. How can you or anybody else respect me when I cant respect myself anymore?'
Tom took the razor blade and made three more slices down his left wrist. He began to feel woozy, and he opened his eyes and saw the blood gushing out and his arm turning red from the flow of the blood. He knew it was only a matter of time, and he felt relief. That was the last thing he remembered before he fell to the floor.
Penhall rang the doorbell and rang it again. Something was wrong. He knew Margaret Hanson had gone to the grocery store. She had called him to let him know that Tom had had a bad night and maybe could use some company and had mentioned that she needed to go out. But Tom surely should have been home. Otherwise, why would she have wanted him to stop by? It was 1:00 in the afternoon. Maybe, after the bad night, Tom was just sleeping, but wouldnt the doorbell awaken him? Maybe not. Not really too suspicious, but something about it bothered Penhall anyway. He hesitated for a moment then pushed the door open.
"Hanson!" he called. No answer. "Hey, Tom!" He began to walk throughout the lower level of the house; kitchen, living room, one bedroom. Still no answer, still no Tom.
"TOM!" Penhalls voice grew louder, and a growing sense of panic, of something not right, began to fill him. He bounded up the stairs and into Toms room, then realizing Tom was not there, into the bathroom. "Oh, Christ!" he breathed.
Toms slender body was lying on the bathroom floor, blood flowing from his wrist. He had fallen with his arm lying under his head and his hair was matted on the side with his blood. He looked very pale on the side of his face which was turned toward Doug. The other side looked very bloody. Doug saw the red covered razor blade lying on the floor not too far from Toms unharmed hand.
"Shit, man, whatd you do?!" he cried. "NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!" He knelt and swiftly grabbed Toms uncut wrist, Penhalls own hands clammy and cold and his heart racing. He could detect a faint pulse. "Thank God!" he breathed to himself, then raced out of the room to call 911.
Penhalls back was beginning to hurt. He had been sitting in a chair, back at Mercy General again, only this time on the psychiatric floor, at Toms bedside almost 12 hours now, leaving only when nature called or when Dr. Kastanza insisted. Dr. Kastanza hadnt seemed all that surprised to see Tom back, or even at the circumstances under which he returned. He had thought it was a terrible shame, etc., etc., etc., taken care of him, and impressed upon Penhall and Margaret Hanson that Tom absolutely MUST see Terry Potter. It should be easier this time, though, to convince Tom of that, as he also had to stay in the hospital for 10 days, due to this being a very nearly successful suicide attempt, and would have to be evaluated by a psychiatrist during that time.
If Penhall had not happened by when he did, said Dr. Kastanza, Tom would have died. If his best friend and his mother did not want this to happen again, they would make sure he got to Terry Potter. And Doug and Margaret intended to do just that. Margaret had decided to make that a condition for taking Tom home to live with her - that he see Terry Potter. Otherwise, she didnt know what he would do. It was the only thing she could think of, and she was not sure it would work, but she would try.
Tom stirred and moaned slightly, gaining Penhalls attention. He watched Tom intently. Doug couldnt help thinking, as he observed the wrappings on Toms wrist, how the red marks from the handcuffs had been replaced by blood, stitches, and bandages. His wrist looked smaller than it had before, even encased in all the wrappings. He wished Tom looked healthy again, the way he had when they had first met at Jump St. Hanson had never been big, but he had lost weight during this whole ordeal.
"Hey, man," he said softly, as Toms eyes began to open. Slowly they focused on Doug and took in his surroundings. Several minutes passed before he began to comprehend what had happened and where he was. He shook his head and looked at Doug, remembering what he had done. He felt very woozy from the lack of blood and stared at the IV in his arm pumping blood back into his body.
"Oh, God," he said.
"Yeah," said Doug. "Youre still here, buddy. Id say God had something to do with it. Its a miracle, but youre still here."
"I dont want to be here, Doug. Thats why I did it."
"Well, you almost DID do it. You almost died, you know that?" Penhall sounded almost angry.
Hanson was silent for a minute then said, "So, what went wrong? How did I wind up here, alive and well?"
"I came to visit and found you in the bathroom bleeding out."
"Well, Im sorry you did, Doug, for you and me both."
Penhall shook his head, "Im sorry you feel so bad, Tom, but I swear I dont understand it. Im glad youre alive. I want you with me. Youre my best friend. I love you - youre my brother. Dont you understand that?"
Tom rolled his eyes and glared. Something snapped inside Doug. His eyes grew angry. "Look, man, what is it with you people?!" His voice was strained with emotion, and tears came into his eyes. "Dont you ever think about anybody else? About us all who are left to deal with things without you?! How could you do this to me again? You knew my mom left me like that, and now you tried to leave me too?!"
Hanson softened, still woozy but comprehending. "Im sorry, Doug. I just. . . I just. . . cant take it."
"You wont try," Doug said shortly. "You wont try to help yourself. You can if you would just try with that doctor. I know you can, because I know you. Youre too strong for this. Just straighten up and stop being so selfish and TRY! If not for yourself, then for me. I dont want to lose somebody close to me again - not like this. And I dont deserve to."
Hanson looked at him, shocked at Penhalls reaction. He was still woozy and trying to focus, but a light began to dawn his eyes. Penhall had the feeling that maybe his own pain would jar Tom into realizing this wasnt all about only Tom. Just then Dr. Kastanza entered the room.
"Well, hello again Tom. You gave us quite a scare. What in the hell was this all about?" He did not sound very sympathetic.
"I just. . .I didnt want the pain anymore. I still dont."
He examined Hansons wrist and the stitches - 20 this time, checked the IV, made notes in the chart, then sat on the bed and looked Tom straight in the eye.
"Well, okay, I can understand that, but Im not really one to mince words. I told you how not to have the pain anymore, but you didnt see Dr. Potter. That was the way out of the pain, Tom, without taking your own life. The way out of the pain is to work through it. There are people who love you, you shouldnt let them down. Im sure you dont want to hurt them." He looked at Penhall then back at Hanson, who was quite a bit more lucid now. "Lucky for you, whether you think so or not right now, youre going to be okay physically. There is a mandatory 10 day hospital stay for all suicide attempts and observation by a psychiatrist. After that, the psychiatrist will give you recommendations. But youre in here for 10 days at least."
Tom groaned, throwing his head back against the pillow and rolling his eyes upward.
Dr. Kastanza rose to leave. "Tom, youre a smart young man. You still have a future. Somewhere inside you you know that. Somebody just has to make you feel it again. Youre moms outside, scared to death. She wants to see you. Im sending her in."
During the next 10 days, the psychiatrist, Dr. Ackerman, evaluated Tom. He diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Major Depression. He prescribed Zoloft for Hanson to take for depression, Buspar for depression, anxiety AND sleep problems and wrote a "suicide contract" which Tom signed, agreeing to call Dr. Ackerman immediately if he felt like harming himself. Doug was also listed as a "support person" whom he could talk to. After talking with his mother and Doug, and his mother "laying down the law", so to speak, Tom agreed to see Terry Potter and made his first appointment. On the 10th day, Dr. Ackerman found that Tom was stabile enough to be released from Mercy General on the condition that he see Terry Potter and remain under constant supervision from his mother and/or Doug. Tom gladly went home.
At 9:30 a.m. the morning after Toms release from Mercy General, Penhall arrived at Hansons mothers home and picked Tom up for his first session with Terry Potter. After filling out some initial paperwork, Tom and Doug were ushered into his office. Terry was a friendly, down-to-earth guy of around 40, a little on the heavy set side.
"Hello, you must be Tom," he said, shaking Hansons hand and looking from Penhall to Hanson.
"How did you know which one of us was me?" said Hanson.
"I have a file on you, and Ive talked to both Dr. Ackerman and Dr. Kastanza, and you fit the description better than you friend," laughed Terry Potter.
"Oh," Tom breathed. The butterflies in his stomach were beginning to settle down a little as he looked around Leos office. The pictures, the soft blue tones, and several bookshelves and candles lit in the room seemed to have a calming effect on him, even as he just glanced around.
"And you must be Officer Penhall," said Terry and shook Dougs hand.
"Thats right," smiled Penhall.
"Well, its great Tom has such a supportive friend, after what Ive been told hes been through."
"I just want to help," said Penhall.
"Well, together Im sure we can work through this - if Tom is willing to," said Dr. Potter. "Thats the most important thing." He looked at Hanson.
Hanson took a deep breath, trying to get his courage up. "Ill try," he said.
"Good!" said the doctor. "Thats all we ask. Now have a seat and lets get started."
Hanson continued to see Terry Potter for several weeks, sometimes with Penhall, then as he began to trust Dr. Potter more, increasingly without. But Dr. Potter kept in touch with Penhall, with Hansons consent, as he was such an integral part of Hansons life. Talking about what he had endured was a difficult thing, and at first Tom had a lot of trouble doing it. But eventually, with help from Penhall and Dr. Potter, and after shedding a river of tears over things that could not be undone, Hanson began to heal. This proved to be a very fortunate thing, as the devastating news came from Fuller that, although to Toms immense relief the state had decided not to prosecute the inmates at Toms request, Tom would not be allowed back on the police force, at least not in the foreseeable future, due to the suicide attempt. Fuller had arrived at Hansons doorstep one day, wanting to tell him in person.
"Im sorry, Tom," he said. "But remember, it is possible at some point, although way in the future, that maybe you can come back. Maybe this isnt entirely final."
Hanson was silent for a minute. "I dont know, coach," he said.
Fuller observed him closely. "Hanson," he said, "are you all right?"
Tom almost laughed. He was so sick of everybody asking him if he was all right. He had discussed it with Terry just the day before.
"Yeah," he said, "Im just. . . surprised, I-I think." He laughed, sort of. "I really dont know. I mean, I really dont know whether I wanted to go back or not, even though I had put in to return. I dont feel as bad as I thought I would. I always knew it was a possibility I couldnt come back. Maybe I didnt really want to after all. It just hasnt hit me yet."
Fuller stood to leave. "One thing I want you to know, Hanson. In spite of everything, you were one of the best officers I ever served with. Things will work out for you, I know they will. Take care and keep in touch." With that he left.
"Damn!" said Penhall when Tom told him the news. "But I want you back, man, I dont trust anybody else to watch my back. Were partners. That cant ever change. I dont trust anyone like I trust you."
"Look, Doug, it changed a long time ago - you just havent accepted it. Someone else can watch your back as good or better than me. Especially now. You know that."
Doug shook his head, "No, theres got to be something you can do. Some appeal or somethin." Penhall was crushed, Tom could see that. Dougs eyes were actually beginning to fill with tears. Doug blinked them back swiftly.
"No, Doug, I dont think so. Im not surprised they dont want me back. What police force would? Im not even sure I want to go back." Tom looked up at him, pleadingly. "Please try and understand. Im not sure of anything yet. Even with the Zoloft and the Buspar and the therapy and the whole bit, Im not ready yet, Doug. Im not sure I can handle it. When Fuller told me no, and it didnt totally tear me up, I realized it. Im not ready now, and maybe I never will be. Maybe its time for a change."
"A change to do what?! I told you before - your father was a cop. Its in your blood. And besides, you cant do anything else! Youre not qualified for anything! I mean, no college, no training, no nothing except police work! And I want you to stay with me." Penhall was angry and blunt due to his feelings about Tom not returning.
"Wow, Doug, thanks for making me feel so good!" Hanson exclaimed. "Look, Im sure I can do something - even if its just working in a factory or something just for the money until I can figure out what to do. There must be some job out there I can do even if I didnt go to college. Maybe its not too late to get some training or learn to do something else." His voice softened. "Doug, I mean a change of jobs, not a change of best friends. Well always be that no matter what. Look at everything weve been through, and were closer than ever. I havent worked at the chapel for several months now. You can partner with someone different but still be best friends with me. Hell, man, were more than just "best friends" - were, were, I dont know." He thought for a moment then said, "brothers in spirit. Dont you get that? Thats as close as anyone can be."
Doug looked at him and smiled, realizing Hanson was right, but still hating to accept the fact he wasnt returning to the chapel or to him as his partner.
"Please, Doug, just try and understand and help me through this part of it too. It isnt easy for me either, but please try and understand."
"Sure," said Penhall softly. "You got it. And I like the brothers in spirit. Youre right about that."
"Ive got an appointment with Leo in a half an hour. Come with me. Lets talk to him," said Hanson.
"OK," said Penhall.
They arrived at Terrys office and discussed the situation, Terry listening, making comments and offering insights. Tom and Doug both felt better.
"Tom," said Terry, "I think youre at a point now where Id like you to consider something else."
"What?" asked Tom warily.
"Theres a group called SAMSA that I think would do you a lot of good to be involved in. Its a group for survivors of sexual abuse."
"You mean and not see you anymore?" asked Tom, alarmed. A feeling of abandonment began to seep in.
Terry laughed. "No," he said. "Actually, I run the group. What SAMSA stands for is Survivors of Adult Male Sexual Abuse. There are more of you out there than you realize. Most of them are just like you, actually. The majority were raped and abused for the first time in prison as adults, just like you, as opposed to having been abused as children in the home. So you get together, talk things over, realize you are not the only one, and help each other to heal. I lead the group. When you first came in, you werent ready for that. I think you are now, though. What do you say?"
Hanson hesitated. "So you mean Id have to tell more people?" The thought still turned his stomach. The imprisonment, the rape, the suicide attempt. He still battled all the shame and the pain.
"Yes, the members of the group. But only what you want them to know as you are ready for them to know." He looked at Tom intently. "Do you trust me, Tom?"
Tom raised his eyes to Terrys. "Yes."
"Then listen to me. There is more to this than just the imprisonment and the rape. Things have been building up for a long time with you - I think since your dad was killed. You will continue to see me outside of group just like we do now. But group will help you immensely. I know it wont be easy, but none of this is. This is the next step toward healing. If you trust me, you need to do this. Ill be there and Penhall will be there for you. Eventually, you may even find out that the members of the group will be there for you. Remember, theyve been through a lot of the same things you have. And a lot of the feelings."
Hanson hesitated then looked over at Penhall.
"I think its a great idea, Tom, I think its what you need to do," Doug said. "If you have a problem, Ill be there. Not in the group, but I'll be there right before and right after."
Hanson took a deep breath. "OK then. When would I start?"
Terry smiled. "Next Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m.," he said.
As Hanson and Penhall left the therapists office, Penhall turned to Hanson and said, "You know, I am really proud of you. Youve been through a lot, and I think Leos right, a lot of it was building up even before all the prison stuff. But, you know, I think youre gonna be all right - even with not coming back on the force."
Hanson turned to him and actually smiled - just a little, but Doug could see it. "Maybe. And maybe in a little while I can figure out what else I can do and get out of my moms house and get my life on track again. Maybe I need to start over. I cant do it without you, Doug. Thanks for being there."
"No problem," replied Doug and smiled.