Hanson walked toward the sparse visiting room, slowly at first, trying not to show how eager he was to see his visitor. His emotions began to get the better of him, though, and he smiled broadly as he caught sight of Doug Penhall waiting for him at a table. The first good feelings he had had in a long time flowed through him. Doug looked up at Hanson and smiled then gave him a quick hug when Hanson got close enough to him.

"Hey, man how ya doin?" asked Doug, patting Hanson on the back. He looked closely at his friend. He had lost some weight and was a little pale. Doug didn’t like seeing him in the prison uniform he was wearing. The tight shirt and pants showed how small he was getting. There was a number, 978098, on his shirt.

Doug still, whenever he saw Hanson, couldn’t believe this had happened. Hanson’s eyes, though, were what bothered Penhall the most. His eyes were dull from worry and probably, Penhall knew, fear. There with circles around them. Hanson had told him he didn’t sleep good in this place. Penhall could understand why. In fact, right before Hanson went in, Penhall had told him to be careful and as alert as possible at all times. They were both aware and afraid of the possibility of beatings or worse.

After four months in, though, and nothing happening other than some verbal stuff and a few fist fights, Penhall was hoping and praying nothing worse would happen. Maybe, by some miracle, the other prisoners would let Hanson live with a minimum of harassment. Maybe Hanson’s cellmate, Marco, had gotten the others to back off. Marco, according to Tom, seemed to be relatively "okay" with Tom, maybe even "liking" him a little too much. Hanson, though, was always on edge. Lately even more so for some intuitive reason.

"I’ve been okay, Penhall, making it all right. How about you?"

"I’ve been doing okay." Penhall could barely contain a smile. He had some news that he was dying to tell Tom, only didn’t dare for fear of building his hopes up. "So, things still calm, no more problems?"

"Uh. . ., not really." Tom lowered his eyes.

Doug picked up on this right away. "What?" he demanded. "Nobody got to you did they?" Doug was worried about what would happen to Hanson in prison. Aside from the few fist fights, however, Hanson had assured him he had managed to fend off any would-be attackers. The fights hadn’t gone without their punishments, though, as three times now Tom had been put in solitary and lost privileges for defending himself.

Tom looked up from under his thick dark lashes and gave a half-smile and a sigh. "No, not really. I’m just tired, I’ve been working in the laundry washing sheets and stuff. They changed my job."

"Why?" asked Penhall. "I thought you were teaching people to read."

"Don’t know, don’t care" said Hanson. He rested his chin in his hand and looked up at Doug. "So, what’s up with you? How’s your love life? What’s going on at the chapel? I have to live through you, you know."

"Don’t change the subject, Hanson, WHAT’S THE MATTER?"

"Nothing more than usual, Doug."

"Oh, yeah there is. Come on, maybe I can help." Doug was getting concerned. "Is it Marco again? Has he been bugging you?"

Tom lowered his head and eyes and put his head in his hand. "Kind of. But I can handle it. It’s just, I don’t know how to explain it. . ." His voice trailed off. For a minute he fought back tears. Doug could see that and became alarmed. "It’s not a violent thing, though, so don’t worry about it. He just likes me, which is good, cause he treats me good, but it’s weird cause he’s not gonna get what he wants, and I feel kind of bad about that because, in a weird way, we’re friends. See, it’s all screwed up. But like I said don’t worry about it, I can handle it."

"But you do worry about it, don’t you?" asked Penhall.

Tom looked up and laughed a little, "Yeah, I guess you’re right, I do. But I can’t do anything about it and you can’t do anything about it, so let’s stop talking about it. Anyway, so how is everybody?" Hanson tried to smile. "What’s going on at the Chapel? How’s Harry? He’s the one you should be worried about."

Penhall frowned. Hanson seemed more depressed than usual when he visited. He wished he could tell him his news. It might get him through just a little while longer, but he wasn’t supposed to. It could be too dangerous for Hanson. On the other hand, it could be dangerous for him to not have anything to live for. In a few letters and on a couple of visits, Hanson had made remarks about "life being over, not having anything to live for, sleeping and never waking up," etc., scaring Penhall to death. He had wanted him to talk to his prison counselor about these feelings, but was sure Hanson hadn’t done this. Penhall had even called the counselor once about these statements, and the counselor had questioned Hanson about them. But Hanson had convinced him it was nothing, just normal depression for someone in his shoes, that he wasn’t seriously considering taking his own life. Penhall, however, wasn’t so sure since he had seen his friend do a 360 degree turnaround during this last year. He didn’t know anymore what Tom would or would not do, and it scared him.

"Harry’s the same, Hanson, still in the coma. But no one has given up hope. We all go and see and talk to him as often as we can. They say that’s good. Even the doctors haven’t given up yet."

Tom shook his head and smiled. "That’s great. I wish I could be there to help." The smile faded, and he looked away.

"You know, Tom, you mustn’t give up hope" Penhall said softly. There was something he wished he could tell Hanson so bad.

"Sometimes I just feel like my life is over." Hanson said. "Do you realize I can never vote, my job is gone, my reputation is ruined, I can’t go anywhere, have any fun, God, Doug, I can’t have sex for 15 years let alone have a girlfriend or a family. All the normal stuff in life is gone! Everything that makes it worth living. All I’ve got is fear of what will happen in here!" Tom struggled to keep tears back. Once again Penhall became alarmed. "Sometimes I just wish I were dead. Sometimes I feel like I’m dead already. I know this is a bunch of self-pitying bullshit, but it’s true, it’s how I feel." It was like a dam was breaking.

'At least that’s better than keeping it locked up inside,' thought Penhall.

All of a sudden, Tom grew quieter. "I’m sorry, Doug, you come to see me, and this is what you get. If you don’t want to come back anymore, that’s okay. Just go on with your life. I’ve been meaning to tell you that for a while now. Don’t worry about coming to see me."

"Are you kidding?" asked Penhall, incredulous.

"NO, I’m not kidding. If you don’t want to, it’s okay with me. Do you know I have to get strip-searched after every visit anyway, and I hate that. . ."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" said Penhall. He had made his decision. He was going to tell Hanson something he knew he really shouldn’t, but he had to give him something to hold on for. "Look, I’m going to tell you something I shouldn’t, but hold onto your seat and keep your voice down after I tell you. Agreed?"


"I said, 'Agreed?'" demanded Penhall.

"Yeah, yeah, okay," said Hanson morosely.

Penhall lowered his voice to a whisper. As he did this, he did not notice the inmate and his visitor at the table next to him, listening, all of a sudden, attentively to what they were saying.

Penhall grabbed Hanson’s hand and put his hand over it. "You may be getting out of here soon." Hanson’s mouth dropped open. "Now keep it together, don’t let anyone notice, they’ll kill you if they find out." Hanson closed his mouth and nodded his head. "Booker and I have uncovered some evidence, which I won’t go into, and presented it before the judge. The chances are good you will be let go, but not 100% sure. I wasn’t going to tell you in case you weren’t released, but I can’t listen to you go on like that. I want you to stay alive to get out."

"Are you sure?" whispered Tom. He felt like he was going into shock.

"Pretty sure, but not 100%, like I said. Just watch yourself, behave yourself, and keep your back to the wall. Just for a little while longer. We are working on this. We aren’t giving up on you, don’t you give up on us. . . or yourself. Got it?"

"Got it!" Tom smiled broadly. "Penhall, I'll owe you forever if you pull this off."

"I know, man, I know" said Penhall.

Just then a buzzer went off. End of visiting time.

"Great" groaned Tom.

"I’ve got to go," said Penhall, "so hang in there. Now go get strip-searched for maybe the last time, and you’ll find out about the rest."

"When?" whimpered Tom anxiously.

"Maybe a week or so."

"You’re kidding, I could be out in a week or so?"

"Maybe. Remember now, just MAYBE. Nothing’s certain yet. I’ll keep you posted, man, now hang in there."

They exchanged a quick good-bye hug and Penhall left, along with the other visitors, leaving only prisoners in the room.

He did not notice the inmate at the table next to them who had been listening intently and had begun to smile, licking his lips, anticipating a tasty meal.

A guard standing by the door called out "All right everybody now for the fun part. Let’s all come this way, line up, and take your clothes off."

Hanson grimaced, then did as he was told, lining up with the others as they all left the room.

Later that evening in the cafeteria a group of prisoners were eating together. Schillinger, a hulking, big, muscular man, looked around him.

"I’ve got some news. The time has come to skin the pig" he said. "Sanders tells me he heard he and his cop body talking in the visiting room today. Seems Hanson may be let go in a week or so. We can’t put it off any longer. Let’s make plans."

"Great!! I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. Gettin’ kind of tired of teasin’ him," Sanders replied, grinning widely again.

The other two inmates complied, smiling and laughing. It was great to plan revenge.

"Wow, what I wouldn’t like to do to him," said Henderson, another inmate in the group.

"Let’s do it! - when’s it gonna go down?" Flannelly, leader of the Irish gang in the prison asked. "Let’s get going on it and get the word spread."

"I’m in charge" said Schillinger. "I’ve got quite a few ideas of my own, and I hate the little pig bastard. This is the way it will go. I’ll make arrangements with one of the guards to let us alone in the shower room with Hanson during showers tomorrow night. Let everyone know what’s going on. Anyone who wants to can join in. The more the merrier." He smiled.

"So, are we gonna take him out?" asked Henderson.

"Yeah, but we’re gonna have some fun with him first," said Schillinger. "Some real fun. We’re gonna show that pretty little cop a thing or two he’s never seen before. Then we’ll do it, and it won’t be pretty. He’ll wish he’d never been born. He’ll be glad when we kill him."

"I think he already does," laughed Flannelly.

"Well, he ain’t seen nuthin’ yet" said Schillinger. "But watch out for Marco. I’m not so sure about him. I think he kind of likes him. If he tips him off or helps him, he’s gone too."

"Yeah, we don’t want no cop-lover in this place, may just as well get rid of him along with Hanson."

"OK, it’s set. Spread the word and tomorrow at shower time, we’ll be ready." Schillinger grinned.


Later that evening in Hanson and Marco’s cell. . . .

"Hanson," said Marco, "Let’s play checkers. I'm bored out of my mind."

They were in their cell, Hanson on the bottom bunk, Marco on the top. Hanson was just laying there with his arm over his eyes.

"No, I don’t feel like playing," replied Hanson.

"Oh, come on, give you something to do, be good for ya." said Marco.

"Who cares?" replied Hanson.

"I do, I’m bored! Besides, didn’t I help you out in the laundry today when you kept slowing up and messing up? You owe me!"

"So?" said Hanson, "I repeat, who cares?" He was getting more and more depressed, not caring about anything. He had convinced himself what Doug had told him couldn’t possibly come true. Too much of a long shot. The depression was sinking in again.

"Damn, man, you’ve got to do something. You’re turning into an awful roomie, not that you were ever much fun to begin with." He grinned.

"I know" said Hanson "but I don’t care. I’m not here to keep you amused."

"I wish you were, that could be fun," replied Marco.

"Shut up, Marco!" said Hanson.

"You should talk to the shrink about this, you know, you’re getting really depressed. Probably what they call "clinical depression." I know because I’ve been in here long enough and I’ve talked to lots of shrinks in my time. I can probably diagnose you, as they say."

"I ain’t talkin’ to no damn shrink," replied Hanson. "I don’t see the point."

"The point is, maybe they can give you some happy pills or somethin'," said Marco.

Hanson rolled his eyes and groaned.

"No, man, you’re still missing the point. If you don’t want to take ‘em, you can sell ‘em and make money."

"Don’t care about money, nothing good to spend it on," said Hanson, "Not in here."

"Just dope and booze," said Marco. "What more could you want?"

"I’ve been trying to avoid that, but don’t think I haven’t been tempted," said Hanson.

"So just give in and make yourself feel better. Maybe we could have a party."

"That’s what I’m afraid of," said Hanson. "No way."

"Then let’s play checkers," said Marco. "Come on, you owe me. I carried your ass all day in that damn laundry and you know it."

"OK, ok, ok," said Hanson. He swung his legs around as Marco jumped down and went to get a checkerboard set from the rec room.

On the way there, Marco noticed there seemed to be a buzz in the prison that night, kind of an electricity in the air, but no one told him anything. He let it drop.

After the checker game, Hanson lay on his cot, dreading the night to come. The nights were the worst - the noises, the threats from the other inmates all going on until the guards forced them to stop. Sometimes the dreams of what it was like to be free. Free with Penhall, at the chapel, free with Blowfish, eating pizza with everybody, Judy, Fuller, sometimes even being with Jackie before the break up. And Ioki! Worrying about Ioki through it all and sometimes thinking he got the better deal. At least he wasn’t among the living dead in here.

"Please, God, let me get out of here soon," Hanson said a silent prayer.

"Lights Out!" a voice called over a loudspeaker, and a buzzer went off. The door to the cell slammed shut. Marco and Hanson were in for the night. The prison became dark.

"Yo, Hanson! We’re gonna get you, you bastard pig!" called out an angry voice.

"Yeah, hope you sleep good! Don’t think we’ve forgotten about ya!" said another.

"There’s more of us than you this time, asshole!" The words were spat out with incredible venom and anger.

Then, chillingly, "Your time is coming soon now, Hanson!"

Hanson shivered, unnerved again, and said another prayer: "Please let me get out of here alive."

"Night Hanson," said Marco, "See you tomorrow."

"Yeah," said Hanson.

At that time a chant started up in the prison, "Skin the pig! Skin the pig! Skin the pig!"

"Jesus Christ, why don’t they just do it and get it over with?"

"It’d be too easy on you, man." said Marco.

"All right enough! Settle down!" called the guard. "Anyone keeps this up, they go in the hole!" The place quieted.

"Hanson," said Marco quietly, "seriously, man, you’ve got to find a way to live with this."

"With what?"

"With this, man, being in here. You’re here now. Maybe you should figure out how you wound up here and try to get through this and go on. Sometimes I think you’ll take yourself out before they get to you."

"Look, Marco, I didn’t do it, I didn’t kill that guy, I shouldn’t be in here." Hanson’s voice was breaking. "I’m not accepting anything."

"Whatever you say, man, but the fact is you’re here. You need to deal with it if you’re gonna get through it. Believe me I know, I’ve been locked up enough times in my life."

"Why should I get through it in here?"

"Because, man, if you’re innocent, like you say, what if you have a chance to get out?"

Hanson fell silent, thinking about the conversation with Penhall. Maybe Marco was right. "Yeah, well, I’ll think about it, Marco, OK? Now shut up and let me go to sleep."

The next day passed slowly for Hanson - up at 6:00 a.m., breakfast, work in the laundry, lunch, work in the laundry, supper. He endured verbal harassment and leering looks all day. "God, you’d think they’d get over it," he thought.

"Showers!" called out the guard.

Groups of men started heading toward the prison showers, Hanson among them. He stepped warily into the large, institutional style bathroom and started to undress.

'This feels weird tonight,' Hanson thought. 'I’m gonna make this quick.' Hanson glanced around cautiously as he took off first his shoes, socks, and shirt. His dark eyes glanced around warily under the thick lashes as he removed his pants and stepped into the shower and began soaping his body.

"Hey, baby!" a large black man puckered his lips and blew a kiss into the air, leering at Hanson as he did this.

"Wojo, dream on, man, you couldn’t get that lucky!" said Hanson.

"Think again," said Wojo with an evil grin on his face.

All of a sudden, Hanson could feel the tension in the air. His body tensed. He turned and looked around and felt himself take a sudden, sharp intake of breath as instead terror raced through his body. There were six of them surrounding him, all big and bad. He could feel their delight and anticipation. Hanson looked around desperately for Marco and fought the impulse to scream, realizing at the same time that Marco, even if he were here, couldn’t help him. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see the guard closing the door to the shower room as he backed out of the room. He was obviously going to let whatever was going to happen, happen. This was it.

"No more showers tonight," the guard stated to Marco, who was trying to get into the shower room himself, unaware of what was going on on the other side of the door. "Room closed."

"What?" said Marco, "Hey, man, what’s going on?"

"You heard me," replied the guard. "Now turn around and go the other way unless you want the same thing your roomie is gonna get."

"Shit!" said Marco.

"Decide Marco," said a voice from the other side of the room. "We know you’re on the fence where Hanson’s concerned. You can’t help him, you know that. You better just go on while you can and let them have their fun. Otherwise, you can die too."

Marco glanced toward the shower room and turned and walked away, feeling sick and shaky. He knew the prisoner and the guard were right, there was nothing he could do to help Hanson. He could only save himself.


In the shower room, Hanson turned and threw his back against the wall, panic flowing through him. "Oh, God please help!" he prayed silently, frantically, as the other inmates formed a circle around him.

Wojo struck the first blow. His meaty fist connected with Hanson’s face,
shattering his cheekbone. Hanson flew against the wall and slid into a heap on the wet floor. Another prisoner kicked Hanson in the ribs. Pain and a sudden shortness of breath cut through the small man. Fists and feet flew through the air, striking the stunned officer.

"Oh, God," Hanson prayed under his breath.

Suddenly, the beating stopped. Wojo rolled Hanson onto his stomach and a new fear shot through the cop.

"NO!" Hanson screamed and struggled to get away. He lashed out at
Flannelly who was behind him.

"Bad boy, Pig!" Wojo grabbed the leg and broke it. Hanson wailed and went

Hanson did not try to escape even when he felt the new, more terrifying pain
shoot through his lower body. He just lay there, while all the prisoners took
their turns. Finally, shock and loss of blood took over and Hanson passed out.

A little while later, a guard walked through the shower room, routinely checking each stall the same as after each shower time. He gasped as he looked down, seeing the still form of the young prisoner lying naked on the floor on his stomach, his face turned to the side. There was a pool of blood coming from the lower part of his body and up around his face and mouth as well. His dark hair was matted in it, eyes closed. He looked pale. The guard checked quickly, taking his pulse at the neck. He was relieved to get a faint one, having thought at first Hanson was dead, as he was sure his attackers had thought also. Grabbing his walkie-talking, he radioed for help quickly. "Need a stretcher in Shower Room C - they got Hanson!" he said.

The prison doctor was waiting at the prison hospital, having been notified of an attack

"Okay," said Dr. Evans. "Let’s have a look." Hanson was lifted, unconscious, onto a hospital bed and draped in a hospital gown. "Looks like a broken leg, severe external injuries and possible internal ones as well. Oh-oh, what have we here?" said the doctor. "Rectal bleeding and tearing, probable rape." He sighed, resigned. "Let’s get his leg set before he wakes up, then we can examine for further internal injuries. And notify his counselor, I want him here when he wakes up. This is going to be tough on him." Dr. Evans hated seeing this kind of thing.

Approximately one hour later, Dr. Evans walked out into the hallway of the prison hospital. A young man of about 30 was waiting there for him. Leo Emmons, Hanson’s counselor at the prison, jumped up quickly as he saw the doctor approach.

"How is he?" he asked Dr. Evans.

Dr. Evans’ eyes met Leo’s. "Not good, he replied. "His left leg is broken, but it’s a clean break, it should heal fine. It’s set and done. They did a good job on him, though, lots of cuts and bruises to his head and face. He took a pretty good beating. He’ll be black and blue for a while." He hesitated for a moment, anticipating answering Leo’s unasked question. "The worst is, he was definitely raped - I don’t know how many times or by how many attackers - I’m sure it was more than one. There was a lot of tearing and bleeding. Took ten stitches."

"Oh, God," mumbled Leo. His heart sank and a sick feeling washed over him. He raised his hand to his eyes and ran it over his face. "Is he awake?"

"No, started to come to, but I gave him some pain medication so we could finish the stitches, and he’s still out. He’s going to need a lot of support when he wakes up - hopefully he won’t remember a lot." He looked at Leo, who seemed genuinely concerned. "I think you should be there when he wakes up to talk with him if it’s possible. Also, I’m putting him on a suicide watch until further notice."

"Yeah, I agree with the suicide watch. Hanson wasn’t doing very well emotionally even before this happened. When do you think he might wake up?" asked Leo.

"Oh, give him a half an hour or so - he should be awake then. I’ll let you know. Are you staying here?"

"Yeah," said Leo. "I’ll be here thinking about what to say to him. Just come get me."

"One more thing," said Dr. Evans, "He will probably need to be transferred to a public hospital if those internal injuries are what I think they are. Several blows to the stomach and back - there could be kidney damage. He needs to be tested for that with better equipment than we have here." Dr. Evans turned and walked away.

Leo, after thinking for a moment walked to his office. He had just enough time to make a phone call. After looking up the number, he dialed the Jump Street Chapel.

"Jump St. Chapel," answered a young woman’s voice.

"May I speak to Captain Fuller? This is Leo Emmons calling from Fulsom State Prison."

"Certainly," answered Hoffs. "Captain Fuller, a Leo Emmons for you!"

Fuller frowned and came immediately to the phone. "Yes Leo," he said.

"Bad news Captain Fuller," Leo said coming right to the point, "Hanson was attacked, apparently tonight in the prison shower."

For a quick moment, Fuller closed his eyes and took a sharp breath. "How is he?"

"Not good. He took a pretty severe beating. Broken leg, black and blue and cuts, possible internal injuries." He paused, wondering how he was going to tell him the rest. "He may need to be transferred to a public hospital. They don’t know for sure yet."

"What happened?" Asked Fuller.

"Apparently he was taking a shower and several prisoners went for him. No idea how many yet. He’s unconscious, and I haven’t seen him yet." He paused again. "Captain Fuller . . ." His voice trailed off.

"Yes?" said Fuller. He could sense what was coming. "Just tell me."

Leo took a deep breath. "I’m sorry to tell you he was also raped. There was a lot of bleeding and tearing, and he took 10 stitches. How many times is not known, but according to the doctor more than once."

Fuller closed his eyes again, leaving them shut for a few minutes. He was sickened at the thought.

"Captain Fuller, are you still there?" Leo’s voice came across the line.

"Yes," answered the captain, struggling to regain his composure from the shocking news. "I was just hoping he was past all that, that it wouldn’t happen to him."

"I know."

"Well, can I see him?"

"I can make arrangements if you want to."

"Officer Penhall and I will be there tonight."

"Fine. See you then." Leo hung up.

Fuller held the phone in his hand a few minutes before hanging it up. He was stunned, in spite of knowing this could happen. He sat down in the chair at his desk and put his head in his hands. After a few moments, he walked to the door and stuck his head out.

"Penhall, Hoffs, Booker, come here!" They could all tell from the sound of his voice it wasn’t good. They filed into his office and could sense the tense mood and how upset Fuller was.

"Sit down. I just got a call from Leo Emmons at State Prison." Penhall gasped, knowing who this was. "It was about Hanson. He’s been attacked and is in the prison hospital."

"Oh God, is he all right?" cried Hoffs.

"WHAT?!" said Penhall. "What happened?!!"

Booker was silent, but his face tensed.

"Apparently several prisoners went for him. A broken leg, cuts, bruises, the usual. Possible internal injuries, they aren’t sure yet. He’s still unconscious. This just happened."

"Do they know who did it?" said Booker.

"Haven’t got that far - could have been anybody - just a group," said Fuller. "I am going down there tonight. Just wanted you to know."

"Give him our best captain," said Hoffs. She looked over at Penhall, who hadn’t said anything else. "Are you all right, Doug?"

"I - I’m shocked. I didn’t think this would happen - I thought he was past that, and Marco could protect him. And why now?" He looked at Booker, who had remained silent. "We were so close."

Booker shrugged - "He’s in prison, man, anything can happen - you know how that goes. Nobody could protect him, Penhall, you know that."

"You’re awfully cold about this."

"Just realistic."

Penhall opened his mouth to say something, but Fuller jumped in, "OK, enough - now everybody go home - I just thought you should know first in case something comes up about this through the grapevine or even in the news."

Hoffs and Booker left the office.

"Penhall, can I speak to you a minute?" asked the captain. Penhall turned and sat back down. Hoffs turned as she walked out and glanced back, wondering in the back of her mind what the captain was telling Penhall that he would not say to her and Booker. A suspicion began to form in her mind.

"Listen, Penhall, that’s not all." He hesitated. "There’s something more I think you, and you alone, should know."

At that, Penhall could feel himself turn cold, and shock flowed through him. He felt like all the blood was draining from his body and his head started to spin. His stomach turned, nauseating him. For a minute, he actually thought he was going to throw up.

"Oh no, not that!" The words came tumbling out in horror. That was all that he could say - he couldn’t actually mouth the unspeakable.

Fuller looked him straight in the eyes. "He was raped Penhall - more than one time according to the doctor. Took ten stitches. Apparently it was pretty bad."

Penhall groaned, closed his eyes and put his head in his hands. Fuller gave him a minute to sit in silence. After a few minutes, he looked up. "God, why did this have to happen?"

Fuller said, "I don’t know, Doug. I told you because I think he may need you to help him when he regains consciousness. You will need to be strong for him. You don’t know what kind of shape he will be in - and I mean especially emotionally. You can watch out for him in a way that no one else can. Are you up to that?"

"What can I do?" asked Penhall. He felt like crying - he was fighting back tears.

"Just be there for him - beyond that I don’t know, talk to the counselor." said Fuller. "Are you up to going with me to see him? I’m leaving now."

"Sure," said Penhall - "I’ll recover on the way up there."

Penhall and Fuller were met in the hall of the hospital by Leo Emmons and Dr. Evans.

"He’s coming around now - not quite awake - still kind of groggy. I’m glad you’re here. He hasn’t said much," said Dr. Evans, "but we will need to make arrangements soon to see about admitting him to the public hospital for further tests."

Penhall, Fuller, Emmons, and Dr. Evans entered the room. Tom was lying on his stomach, covered by a white sheet and wearing a hospital gown.

"Tom," Dr. Evans said, "can you hear me?" Tom stirred and groaned slightly. "Tom, Captain Fuller and Officer Penhall are here to see you. Leo Emmons is here too. You need to wake up now."

Tom lifted his head and shook his it slightly, trying to clear his thinking. Everything was very groggy.

"Doug?" he said.

"Yeah, Tom," answered Doug softly. "I’m here." He reached out to touch his shoulder.

"How are you feeling, Tom? Tell me where the pain is," said Dr. Evans.

"It’s all over. Where am I and what happened?" There was throbbing pain in his head and lower body, though.

Everyone exchanged looks. Didn’t he remember? How could they tell Tom something like that? Or should they?

"You were attacked in the shower, Tom," said Leo Emmons. "Do you remember anything?"

"Faintly," replied Tom.

"You will be able to think straighter when you’re stronger and the pain medication wears off some," said the doctor. "But you will be all right, Hanson. You have a broken leg, but a clean break - it should heal well - and various bruises and cuts." He stopped there. Not yet was he going to approach the rest. "Leo and I, unless there is something we can get you, are going to leave you alone with your visitors. Do you think that will be okay?" He watched Tom closely.

"Yeah, sure," mumbled Tom.

"If you need anything, just ring the buzzer. It’s here beside the bed. The nurse will come," replied the doctor, pointing it out. "I will see you later, Tom - we’ll talk," said Leo. They both left the room.

"Tom, man, are you all right?" said Penhall softly.

"I guess so," replied Tom. "It’s all still sort of fuzzy."

"Do you remember much of anything?" said Fuller. "Who attacked you, do you know?"

"Yeah, I was taking a shower and Wojo started in and said something stupid, and I turned around and. . . Oh, God, there was a bunch of them!" Hanson’s voice got louder - the memory was coming flooding back. "They kicked me and hit me, and then. . .OH GOD!" Panic rose in his voice. "NO, - NO, NO, NO - they couldn’t have! That couldn’t have happened to me!"

"Tom," Fuller mumbled and reached out to touch his arm. Tom rose up on his elbows, but averted his eyes, not able to look at Fuller or Penhall. Shamed rushed through him. "Tom, try to calm down. It will be all right." He saw the look on Tom’s face and his carefully averted eyes, and could tell how mortified he was. "There’s nothing to be ashamed about. It wasn’t your fault. You had no control - there were too many."

Penhall patted his other arm, "Look, man, we’ll get ‘em. You’re gonna be okay, the wounds will all heal. We’ll get you outta here like I said. This time I promise. Booker and me are gonna work and work until it gets done. You’re gonna be okay." He didn’t know what else to say. What could he possibly say to him?

There was silence for several minutes, then Hanson said, "Please, please just don’t tell anybody," he pleaded. I don’t think I can handle anyone else knowing. Do they? Does anybody else know?"

"Not all of it," said Fuller. "Only that you were beaten. The rest will go no further, I promise." Tom nodded.

Fuller got up to leave. "Hanson, I’m going to leave now. I will be in touch. If you want to talk or if there is anything I can do, just call." He reached down and touched Tom’s shoulder.

"Thanks Captain" was all Tom could muster.

Penhall remained in the room after Fuller left. He couldn’t bring himself to leave Tom. Not there - not all alone. There was quiet for a few minutes, then suddenly Hanson put his head down and began to sob. He cried for all that had happened in the past year - everything - the drive-by shooting that left Ioki in a coma, breaking into Bud’s house, the trial, the imprisonment, the strip-searches, the loss of freedom and friends, the fears, indignities and humiliation of being in prison - and mostly for what had finally happened. He remembered the pain of the beating and the horrible, never-before-felt physical pain of the rape - it had been terrible. It was all coming back now. For the first time in his life, Hanson wanted to die.

Doug put his arm around his shoulder and patted his head as best he could in an attempt to comfort him. "It will all be all right, Tom, you’ll be fine. I’ll make sure of that. I’m here for anything - we’ll get through this together."

"Not this, Doug, not this," sobbed Hanson.

"Tom, it wasn’t your fault. You have to remember that," said Doug.

"No, it was my fault - if I had just been more careful. . . anything. . . Now what am I gonna do?" He was still refusing to look at Penhall. "I can’t face anybody ever again. This isn’t supposed to happen - not to a man."

"Tom, look at me, it’s not your fault - it’s not - things happen in here. You’re gonna have to give yourself a break. Like Fuller said, you had no control, there were too many."

At that moment, Dr. Evans walked in. Hanson hastily wiped the tears away, but not before the doctor saw them. "I think that’s enough for tonight, Officer Penhall, he’s been through a lot. He needs to rest."

"No, doctor, not until you tell me exactly what’s wrong with me and what happened." Hanson looked at him.

Dr. Evans gazed back at him steadily. "Do you remember anything, Tom? OK - you have to know. You have a broken leg that will heal well - or it should if cared for properly. You have various bruises and cuts that should be fine. But it will be painful for a while. We are also afraid you have some internal bruising to your kidneys, and we are going to transfer you tomorrow to Mercy General, the public hospital. They are more equipped to handle this type of testing and care if it is needed. This needs some specialized treatment to begin with, then when your kidneys are stable, you will return here. That’s the plan." He paused and looked at Hanson with sympathetic eyes. "Also, Hanson, you were raped," he continued softly. "More than once. There’s a lot of tearing. Took ten stitches. You will be okay physically. It’s emotionally I’m concerned about. Unfortunately, I’ve seen this before. It isn’t an easy thing to recover from. You’ll need to get some therapy. That’s what Leo Emmons is here for." He stopped talking and looked at Penhall.

He then stood up to leave. "We’re transferring you to Mercy General tomorrow at 9:00 a.m. I called your mother, and she will be here then and will stay with you while you get settled there. That’s the soonest she could be here."

"God, no, you didn’t tell her what happened?" cried Hanson.

"No. Just that you were attacked, had some injuries, and needed some treatment at a public hospital. You tell her the rest when you want her to know. I will see you tomorrow. The nurse will bring in a drug to help you sleep." With that he turned and left the room.


The nurse arrived in the room and gave Hanson a shot with a hypodermic
needle. Hanson winced as she pulled up the hospital gown and put the needle in his hip. After she left, Penhall patted him on the arm and hugged him as best he could, pushing the soft, dark hair out of his eyes. He whispered softly, "I am so sorry this happened to you, Tom. You are a brother to me. Hang in there - I'm with you. We will find out who did this and why now, and they will pay. I will see you tomorrow at Mercy General. I’ll be with you all the way, buddy. Whatever it takes to get you out of this hellhole and back on your feet - remember you're not alone."

Hanson said nothing, the medication already taking effect, he was nodding off. With his dark hair falling around his face, he looked very pale. Penhall sat in silence for a while, then went to join Fuller for the long drive home.

Word of the attack had spread quickly throughout the prison that night. Wojo, Flannelly and the others were quick to brag about "banging" the pig. Wojo approached Marco, wanting to be the first to tell him the news.

"Hey, man, guess what we did to your roomie? Something you been wanting to do for a long time."

'Shit,' thought Marco, though he wasn’t surprised. He had been waiting anxiously for word ever since the shower door closed on him. "Yeah, is that so Wojo, and what might that be?"

"Hell, man, take a guess." Wojo grinned from ear to ear. "We all took a turn. And he was one sweet piece of ass. Course, we had some fun with him first, but we made sure he was awake to enjoy it. Later we thought he was dead, but I guess he pulled through after all."

Marco shook his head, turned, and walked back into his cell. He sat down on the cot and looked around, a little stunned. There was nothing to do now but wait for word on Hanson. Suddenly, he jumped off the bed and walked rapidly toward a loitering guard.

"Hey, Woodhouse," he said, calling the guard by name, "I want to see Hanson. He’s in the hospital."

Woodhouse turned to face him. "Yeah, I know, I heard," he replied. "What makes you think you can see him?"

"I want to. Besides, man, he’s my roomie, I know him. I’ll bet he wants to see me."

"Yeah, Marco, well wanting doesn’t make it so." Woodhouse narrowed his gaze and looked Marco up and down. "Why do you want to see him? To finish him off?"

Marco looked a little surprised. It hadn’t occurred to him anyone would think that. "No, Woodhouse, no, I just. . . I’d like to see him, that’s all. Just ask him. Just ask Hanson if he’ll see me."

"I don’t know, Marco, besides, I’m not the one to make that decision, and I don’t know if Hanson is in any shape to see anybody."

"Then ask the doctor and get it cleared through somebody. I’d just like to see him as soon as possible."

Woodhouse looked him over. He was an older man with a caring heart in spite of having worked at the prison for 20 years. He felt somewhat sorry for Hanson, so young and his life ruined and for all the wrong reasons. He did however, also feel angry that Hanson had been involved in the death of a cop, a fellow comrade, and felt that he was getting the punishment he deserved. But not like what had happened tonight. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt if Marco saw him. They seemed kind of close - if that could be believed in this place.

"OK, Marco, tonight may be your lucky night. If the doc says ok, I’ll see what I can do to get you in."

"Great, man, let’s find out."

An hour later, after a somewhat reluctant okay by the doctor, due mainly to the urging of the counselor, Marco was on his way to see Hanson in the hospital. Accompanied by Woodhouse, they entered the infirmary. He stepped up to the bed where Hanson lay, the guard not too far behind. Tom was sleeping, his eyes closed with the long dark lashes lying against his skin and his dark hair falling around his face. In spite of it all, he looks really beautiful, Marco thought, his original feelings about Hanson returning to him. And beautiful was the word, in a classic, almost feminine way - it’s a miracle they didn’t kill him on that basis alone. Being pretty AND an ex-cop.

He leaned over him and shook him a little. "Hanson, he whispered, "Hanson, wake up! It’s me, Marco!" There was no response from Tom. "Hanson, come on, Hanson, - I won’t get this chance again!" There was a stirring from Tom, and he slowly opened his eyes then closed them again. After a few minutes he opened them again and began the process of waking up. Tom recognized Marco slowly.

"Marco?" he said, still drugged.

"Hey, Hanson"

"So you heard, huh? What the hell are you doin’ here?"

"EVERYBODY heard, man, you’re the talk of the place."

Memories came flooding back, and Tom turned his head to the pillow, fear, shame and embarrassment flowing through him. "Oh God, just let me die," he thought.

"Hey, man, I didn’t mean to upset you," said Marco. "Just wanted to see you, that’s all. I just wanted to see how you are - to see if you’re okay."

"No, Marco, I am definitely NOT okay! How could I POSSIBLY be okay?! Man, I can’t believe they let you in here!" replied Hanson. His voice began to tremble. "Upset me?! - Marco, I wish I could die - upset me?!" His voice trembled, hinging on a line between laughing and crying.

"OK, man, calm down, calm down. I didn’t mean to. . . that is I just wanted you to know. . ."

"Know what? - that you left me in that shower knowing what would happen? That you didn’t come to help me?!" Hanson was getting hysterical, his voice rising. "You know, I looked for you - I thought you were coming soon. What happened to you?! You knew what they would do to me - Why didn’t you help me?! You were the one person in this place I thought I could halfway depend on - WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?!"

Marco was taken aback. He didn’t know what to say. Just looked at Hanson, stunned.

Dr. Evans and Leo Emmons looked over, watching what was happening. Dr. Evans came up to the bed, deciding Hanson was upset enough. "All right, I think that’s enough. Guard, take Marco back to his cell."

"No, wait," said Marco, "Wait - Hanson, look, I just wanted to tell you - I’m really sorry for what happened to you. I wanted to see you to make sure you were all right - or as all right as you could be. It wasn’t that I disappeared on you, man, they wouldn’t let me in. Closed the door on me. But to be honest, I couldn’t have helped you anyway, Hanson, they would have killed me and you too. And you know that."

Hanson fell silent, seeming to calm a little. He turned his face to the wall.

"OK, enough for the night. Nurse, give Hanson a shot to help him sleep."

"No" protested Hanson weakly.

"Yes," said Dr. Emmons. "You’re being transferred tomorrow for testing. You need to sleep tonight. Lots of exams to go through tomorrow."

Hanson groaned.

"Guard take Marco back to his cell."

"Hanson, I am sorry. If there was anything I could have done I would have, but there wasn’t. It makes me sick what happened," whispered Marco. After that, Woodhouse came up to him and led him away.

* * *

"Hanson. . .Hanson, wake up. You’re getting a trip out of here today."

The nurse’s voice was firm. Tom, for a moment, felt no pain, not yet awake enough to remember what had happened. As he began to come to more, however, the events of the previous night began to appear in his head. For a moment, he thought it was all a bad dream and wanted to wake up fast to escape from it. In the next few moments, however, he realized it wasn’t and, devastated, gave a little cry out loud "Oh, God, no!"

The nurse turned around, her eyes taking him in quickly, "Are you all right? Look at me!" Hanson turned his head away from her. "I said, 'Look at me'," she said kindly but firmly and turned his head to face her with her hand. "I think you’ll be all right," she said, after looking him over quickly. "Do you feel like eating anything?"

"No," said Hanson.

The nurse was quiet for a moment then said, "Dr. Evans will be in in a few minutes to see you. I believe they’re planning on transferring you to Mercy General this morning for testing."

Hanson said nothing. The nurse left. Hanson, alone in the room, closed his eyes and wished the world away.

At 7:00 a.m. that same morning, a bleary-eyed Penhall was standing at the coffee machine in the chapel trying to wake himself up. He was on his third cup already. He had spent a sleepless night, too upset and keyed up to sleep at all, pictures and feelings going around and around in his head - unpleasant ones. He had finally, at 5:00 a.m. that morning, given up and called Booker and the two of them had decided the next step would be revenge. They would demand to see Marco and then, one way or the other, get some kind of information out of him. He had to know something - had to have heard something at least by now, and he was the only contact they had.

Fuller came walking into the chapel, a grim expression on his face, and Penhall bounded toward him. "Cap’n" he called "I have to talk to you!"

"Penhall, let me get the door unlocked first!" Captain Fuller dug in his pants pocket and found the key. He had a gruff expression on his face, and Penhall guessed he hadn’t gotten much sleep either.

Penhall waited exactly two minutes for Fuller to get his office door open and his coat hung up. Then he started in.

"Captain, Booker and I have to go see Marco - today - we’re gonna find out what happened."

Fuller looked at him. "Penhall, I think we know what happened," he replied.

"No, we’re gonna get ‘em Captain. We’re gonna find out who did it and get ‘em."

"Get ‘em how?" asked Fuller. "What are you going to do? And what has Marco got to do with anything? Was he involved?"

"No, I really don’t think so - not according to what Hanson said before the attack. I just think Marco would have some information he might be willing to give up after he talked to us. We can be very persuasive when we need to be."

Just then there was a knock on the office door. "Enter!" said Fuller and Booker walked in.

"Morning Cap’n!"

"Where the hell have you been Booker?" demanded Penhall.

"Hey, man, calm down, it’s 7:00 in the morning, and for some reason I’ve been awake since 5:00." Booker sounded very cool and calm, even with the events that had taken place last night.

Penhall shot him an angry look.

"Look, guys," Fuller broke in. "Just tell me what this is all about."

"Captain, we want to know who is responsible for beating Hanson" said Penhall. "We think Marco can give us some information on that, and when we’re done with him, we think he will."

"Oh, really, and how are you going to guarantee that and keep your badge? You know, police brutality IS against the law. And what will you do when you find out? And, more to the point, what will Hanson say about that? Don’t you think he ought to have a say in this, considering everything that has happened?" He looked pointedly at Penhall.

Penhall and Booker exchanged looks. "I’m sure he would agree. We’re doing this for him," said Penhall.

"Maybe you ought to talk to him first," said Fuller. "He’s being transferred to Mercy General this morning for testing. He’ll be there at least overnight. Before I make any arrangements for you two to see Marco, I want you to go to Hanson and find out what he says first. Don’t jump the gun on him - he’s had enough problems. If he agrees, I’ll back you with Marco."

"Sounds good to me" said Booker, leaning back in his chair so the front legs of the chair came off the floor.

"Penhall?" questioned Fuller.

"Guess so," mumbled Penhall, impatient at the delay. He was certain Hanson would agree, just wanted to get started.

"OK, so, go on and get to work. There is still a case you two are working on. Jump Street didn’t close down because Hanson got beaten up. Penhall, I need to talk to you for a minute." Booker went ahead and left the room leaving Penhall behind..

"Look, Penhall, you make sure you get Hanson’s okay on this before you talk to Marco." He looked Penhall straight in the eye. "I don’t want him to be raped twice."

"You’ve got my word, Captain," he said.

Penhall headed for the door. He turned and looked at Fuller on his way out. "If you hear any news today. . ." he started.

"I’ll beep you," finished Fuller.

They went out to the chapel, where Hoffs was informing Sal of the new developments. Judy looked upset, and Sal was shaking his head sadly. He still missed his friend. Other officers were coming to work, the news was spreading, and the mood in the chapel was bleak. Thoughts of Hanson in a hospital bed brought back thoughts of Harry in a coma.

'It’ll be okay, Hanson,' Penhall thought to himself. 'We’ll get ‘em, we’ll get you out, but we’ll keep your secret too.'

Judy watched them leave and then entered the Captain’s office. "How is he?" she said "Have you heard anymore?" Intuitively, she felt there was something Captain Fuller was not telling everyone. He was leaving something out. She had a horrible feeling what that was, but hoped she was wrong.

"No, I haven’t heard anything more this morning - it’s too early. I will call Emmons later on." replied Fuller, avoiding her eyes.

"Captain. . ." started Judy, but broke off.

"Yes?" said Fuller.

"Never mind." said Judy, changing her mind about bringing it up. "I just hope Hanson will be okay, that’s all."

"So do I Hoffs, so do I" said Fuller. Judy nodded her head and turned and left his office.

That morning, Margaret Hanson arrived at Mercy General. She was upset but in control, anxious to see her son. When she stepped up to the hospital bed, however, she gasped. Tom was lying on his stomach, still sleeping, his face turned to the side. His right leg was in a cast. His dark hair was hanging over his eyes. She could see the bruises on his face from being beaten and the marks and contusions on his arms. Tears came to her eyes. She sighed and got control of herself quickly.

"Hey, sweetie," she said softly, caressing Hanson’s cheek with her hand. She kissed him softly.

Tom stirred slowly and opened his eyes. "Mom?" Tom murmured. He turned his head toward her trying to focus. He felt numb, as if he didn’t really exist.

"Tom, go back to sleep. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to wake you up. I just wanted to see you, to make sure you’re still alive," Mrs. Hanson said.

Tom closed his eyes again, feeling sick and dizzy. The memories were starting to come back again, and each time he awoke and they returned, he had to fight a wave of nausea and a feeling of unreality - like he didn’t really exist and was just watching things going on. He opened his eyes again and the first thing he saw was his mother’s face. She was looking down at him, trying to smile.

"Mom. . ." Hanson said, fighting a lump in his throat that was threatening to make him cry.

"Shhhh, baby, just rest for now - I’ll be here." She caressed his face and pushed the dark hair out of his eyes.

Tom closed his eyes again. He wanted his mom to take him in her arms and hold him and let him cry, like when he was little. He wished she could make everything all right now, the way she had then. But he knew she couldn’t. Hanson turned his head to the other side and closed his eyes. He was getting uncomfortable lying on his stomach. Margaret sat down in a chair beside her son’s bed holding his hand. A few minutes later, a new doctor came in, and Mrs. Hanson jumped up.

"Doctor!" she said "How is Tom doing? I’m his mother, Margaret Hanson," she added hastily.

"Nice to meet you, Mrs. Hanson. Sorry it had to be under such circumstances. We will know more when I examine him and run a few tests. We’re testing for possible kidney damage."

"Kidney damage - that would be pretty serious."

"It could be," replied the doctor, "but maybe not. Let’s wait and see. In the meantime, Mrs. Hanson, would you mind stepping outside while I examine your son?"

"Certainly doctor," replied Margaret. She left the room.

"How are you doing this morning, Tom?" asked the doctor. My name is Dr. Frederick Kastanza." The doctor was an older, gentler man with gray hair. "I’ll be doing the testing today."

"Not too good," Tom said and fell quiet.

Dr. Kastanza glanced at him. "Tom, I’m going to have to examine the stitches. I’ll have to do a little probing. I’ll be as gentle as I can, but it will hurt." He pulled back the covers and Tom’s hospital gown and began to touch Tom gently. Tom winced and jumped a little as the doctor touched him, examining him inside. A sharp breath and a moan escaped from him. Dr. Kastanza finished up.

"I think it’s going to be fine, Tom," he said. "I want you to lie on your back now."

Tom glanced up at him and accepted the doctor’s help as he turned him onto his back, being very careful with the cast on his leg. He moaned slightly as a sharp pain cut through his body. "Thanks," he mumbled, embarrassed. Inside, shame coursed through him. 'I wish they had just left me there to die,' he thought.

"The pain will get better, Tom, but right now we’ve got to get busy with the tests. I will send your mom back in for a few minutes and then we have to get going." With that, Dr. Kastanza left the room. In the hall, he was met by Mrs. Hanson.

"Doctor," she said, "what happened to Tom exactly? I wasn’t given a lot of details. Will he be all right?"

"We will know more after the tests. He was beaten pretty badly by the other inmates. Apparently he was attacked in the shower at the prison. I am afraid of kidney damage. That’s why he was transferred here for better testing. He doesn’t look good, I know, but most of the bruises will heal. His leg is broken, but it is a clean break and should heal well." He hesitated.

"And. . ." Margaret said.

The doctor paused and looked at her.

"And the damage from the rape?" Margaret had taken a shot in the dark. It was something she had suspected the minute she heard the words "attack" and "in the shower" - it was almost unavoidable. Then seeing Tom lying on his stomach. . .

The doctor looked at her, assuming she already knew for sure. "He will be okay physically, emotionally he will need help. I hope that you can talk him into getting it. He needs your support now. This is very, very damaging for anyone - women - but for a man. . .I personally can’t even imagine what that would be like, but I have seen men come through here having been raped. The ones I have seen have all been from prison. It isn’t an easy thing. We have him on a suicide watch now, and that will remain in effect until further notice...which is when I decide it’s not necessary."

"Oh, no," Margaret Hanson breathed, shocked by the words "suicide precaution." "Of course he will have my support. I will do whatever I can. Doesn’t he seem to want the therapy?"

"I don’t know that it has even been discussed with him at this point - it’s been so recent. Some people are not accepting of it - try to deny the need, therefore, denying the reason for it, for as long as they can and usually wind up in serious trouble - particularly victims of violent rape. Depression is very common, but this can be helped with medication. I will talk to Tom about all of this after the testing when I can get a chance to evaluate his emotional condition better. We have several good therapists we can refer him to. If you’ll excuse me now, Mrs. Hanson, we’re going to start the testing. I am sorry about your son."

He walked back into Hanson’s room followed by a nurse and another doctor. Margaret sat down in the waiting room to wait. A few moments later, Hanson was wheeled down the hall on a hospital bed and taken to another floor of the hospital for the kidney testing.

At approximately 6:00 p.m. that evening, Penhall, Booker, Hoffs, and Fuller arrived at the hospital to see their friend. As they approached the room, they could see a uniformed police officer outside the door. Penhall winced when he saw the officer, then got mad.

"What the hell. . ." he mumbled to Fuller as they approached. "Do they think Hanson is going to escape or something?"

"Penhall, cool off and let me handle this," replied Fuller. He approached the officer, and greeted him pleasantly. It would do no good to alienate this man. "We’re here to see Tom Hanson," said Fuller.

"I’m sorry, sir, I can’t allow that," replied the officer.

"WHAT. . ." Penhall started in. Fuller silenced him swiftly with a look, and an elbow in the side from Judy helped also. She mouthed silently to Penhall to let Fuller handle it.

"Officer, I don’t believe you understand," continued Fuller. "I am Captain Adam Fuller from the Jump St. Program. I’m sure you know Mr. Hanson used to be a cop. He was under my command." He got out his police badge and flashed it at the officer briefly. "These are all officers who work with me at Jump St. and who used to work with him. We just want to visit Hanson while he’s here."

"I’m sorry," replied the officer. "No visitors unless you’re on the list. That’s the rule. The only ones on his visiting list are his mother and his social worker."

"What?!" said Booker "You mean we came all the way over here after hours for nothing?!"

Penhall looked at him furiously. "Then add our names to the list, asshole, and let us in to see Hanson!" replied Penhall in an angry tone, unable to keep quiet any longer.

Judy sighed and rolled her eyes. "Look, officer, we just want to see our friend." Painful feelings were cropping up all through Judy. She was also thinking of Harry, lying on another floor of the hospital in a coma. She wanted to see him as well. Tears began to well up in her eyes. Who would have ever thought things would have turned out like this?

Fuller turned and told Booker and Penhall to shut up, cutting off Penhall before he could say more. "Officer, is there anyone you can call and get clearance for us to get in? If there is, I would suggest you do it now. I am a captain on this police force, and I want to see my former officer."

The officer at the door started to say something then glanced up and saw the angry, troubled look on Penhall’s face and the impatient glare in Fuller’s eyes. He also realized Fuller was a superior officer and could do him serious career damage if displeased enough. He picked up his cell phone, dialed a number, and ten minutes later they were all allowed in. During those ten minutes, Fuller had an extremely difficult time dealing with Penhall. Several times he was afraid he would blow it, just on his behavior, and get them thrown out of the hospital, but he had finally convinced Penhall it was just routine and to go along with it for the time being. There was nothing he could do about it.

"What in the hell do they think he is going to do, escape?" mumbled Penhall again. He was incensed at the indignity of having an officer placed at the door of his friend’s room. Hadn’t he suffered enough? Apparently not - not until he was totally destroyed physically and emotionally.

Penhall, Booker, Fuller, and Hoffs all filed quietly into the room, anxious to see their friend.

"Hey, Hanson," they greeted him softly, with some trepidation.

Hanson turned his head away from the TV he had been blankly staring at and attempted to smile. It didn’t quite come off. "Hi," he did manage to say in a strained voice.

Judy came up and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. ‘How are you doing?" she asked.

Hanson shrugged and didn’t reply. As Judy reached down to touch him, Hanson’s arm went up to greet her but didn’t quite make it all the way before it was tugged back and the clang of metal on metal rang throughout the room. Before anyone could say anything else, there was an explosion from Penhall.

"WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THIS?" he demanded, looking at his friend.

Hanson’s leg was in a cast, his face and arms were bruised, and he looked small and emaciated. That wasn’t what made him so angry, though. Hanson was handcuffed to the bed, and from the looks of the red marks encircling him, it looked as if they had been digging into his wrists when he moved. Or tried to move. Penhall still hated seeing him like this, even though he had seen him cuffed before, just as he hated seeing him in prison clothes. It was so humiliating for Tom. Penhall fought the urge to go to the guard and demand they undo the cuffs right away. Inside, he knew that would never happen, knew how foolish his reaction was. It was just . . . he didn’t even know...the situation made him so furious.

"Goddammit, what do those cocksuckers think you’re gonna do? Wwalk out of here?!" he yelled again, in a voice loud enough for the guard outside the door to hear. "Isn’t the armed guard enough already?!"

"Penhall, calm down," said Fuller.

"Yeah, Penhall, just chill. Give us a chance to just see Hanson," replied Judy. Truthfully, she was glad to see Tom, but wanted to make sure they had time to visit Harry too.

"Yeah, but that’s so, so asinine. . ." began Penhall.

"Penhall!" Captain Fuller finally said sharply, having had enough. "Look, reality is, Hanson is a prisoner, and this is just routine. You’re an officer, you should understand that. Now shut up and talk to Hanson while you can - handcuffed or not. That’s not important now!"

This seemed to jar Penhall and bring him back to reality. Judy approached the bed again and smiled at Hanson softly. Penhall asked if there was any news of the results of the tests. Booker, meanwhile, after greeting Hanson, walked to the side of the bed where the medical chart was and simply began reading, no one really noticing him, all eyes on Hanson.

Hanson smiled weakly, still kind of out of it. He was still on a lot of pain medication. "My kidneys are okay they told me this afternoon," he said. "The leg will heal all right - clean break according to the doctor. Guess I get to return day after tomorrow to the prison hospital."

His dark eyes were sober and filled with worry. There were dark circles under them. On his face and arms were bruises from the beating, and he looked small in the hospital bed, almost as if he could slip right out of the cuffs, though they all knew he couldn’t. When he moved, they cut into his wrists. He had lost about 20 pounds since being incarcerated and, though in good shape and well toned before his arrest, Hanson hadn’t had 20 pounds to spare. He needed to gain more weight.

'How will he ever recover from this in prison?' thought Judy to herself.

A startled sound from Booker made them all turn and look at him. Booker, a funny expression on his face, turned to face them and said "What?" when he realized they were staring at him.

"What’s the matter?" said Fuller.

"Nothing...nothing," replied Booker.

Fuller, Penhall and Judy turned and continued their conversation with Hanson. Booker stood for a minute, the words "victim of beating and multiple RAPE" jumping out in front of him, long after he had stopped looking at the chart. 'Jesus,' was all he could think. . . 'Jesus!' Also, "high level suicide watch - round the clock precautions" were written there. 'Definitely a good idea,' Booker thought to himself.

"Judy," said Fuller with a meaningful look at Penhall, "Why don’t you and I go and visit Harry while we’re here?"

"Yeah, go ahead Jude, Booker and I will be up in a few minutes." said Penhall.

"OK, said Judy. "Hanson, take care." She bent and kissed him again gently on the cheek. "I am so sorry this happened to you. You didn’t deserve it. It wasn’t your fault, you know," she added almost as an afterthought. It seemed a strange thing to say, why she felt compelled to say it she didn’t know. Why would he think it was his fault? 'Because,' she thought to herself, 'if he was raped - I don’t know - maybe he just would think it was.' That seemed to be the mindset of rape victims she had encountered as a cop. Why would it be any different if the victim was male? Angry, hurt, and blaming themselves. Not a good thing, not a healthy thing. "I will keep in touch," she said. "Take care."

Fuller touched Hanson’s shoulder, said good-bye, and the two of them left the room.

"Tom, we want to ask you something. We want to see Marco to see what he knows about this." Penhall got right to the point the minute the door closed. "Fuller said to ask you first - said he would back us to talk to Marco about the whole thing if you agreed - if you could handle it. We’ll find out who, how and why, and we’ll go after ‘em."

"Yeah, man, we’ll get ‘em. And in the meantime, we’ll get you outta here, too," said Booker.

Tom looked up, confused. "You’re gonna break me outta jail?" he said woozily.

"No, man, we’re still working on your case," replied Booker.

"I told you the other day, we’re gonna get you out. We’re close" said Penhall. "Nothing’s changed. We’re still gonna do that."

Hanson was quiet then looked up at Penhall from underneath the dark lashes. "OK," he said. "Talk to Marco if you want, but I don’t think he will help you. And it doesn’t matter, really. I don’t care what happens to them." He paused then said, "It’s not going to court. I know who did it, and I’m not testifying. If you think you can get me outta prison, fine, do something. Otherwise, I don’t care. It doesn’t matter to me - not anymore." He paused a moment and bit his lip. A shudder ran through his body and he trembled visibly, the result of thinking about Marco and returning to prison. Against his will, tears filled his eyes, and he blinked to fight them back. "I don’t want to go back, Doug, I - I don’t think I can," he said his voice ragged. "Just hurry and break this case so I don’t have to go back there."

"You mean," said Booker, "You know who did this and you’re just gonna let ‘em get away with it?!"

Hanson looked at him. "That’s what I said! I’m NOT prosecuting anybody! I just want to let it drop. Just get me outta here if you think you still can! As far as who did it, like I said, I know, but it’s not important cause I’m NOT testifying! So you don’t have to go after Marco for that. And I’m NOT telling you who it was!" He was nearing hysteria.

"OK," said Penhall "That’s alright." He gave Booker a look that said back off. "And we WILL get you out - you can count on that." He reached out and grabbed Hanson’s hand.

"Let’s get out of here, man, and get going then," said Booker. He turned toward the door, "Hanson, we’ll be in touch." With that he left the room and Penhall followed.

"Raped! He was raped!" said Booker the minute the door closed behind him. "Why didn’t you tell me?!"

"No," said Penhall, caught off guard, "no, just beaten up." He was stunned Booker had found out.

"No way man, don’t lie to me, I read it on the chart!" He stopped in his tracks and turned and faced Penhall. Penhall, realizing he was caught, admitted it. "Yeah, okay," he said. "Very good of you to go around reading confidential hospital information. And why do you THINK we didn’t tell you? Hanson doesn’t want anyone to know - not that part. I promised him no one would - nobody who didn’t already - meaning doctors and Fuller - so keep your mouth shut or I’ll come after you, I promise! AND you should understand why he doesn’t want to press charges or testify! But I want to know who was involved and why from Marco. That’s the only reason I ever wanted to talk to him. I want to deal with them myself, even if Hanson doesn’t want to press charges, so back off and don’t hassle him about it!"

Penhall stood with a finger pointing dangerously at Booker’s chest.

Booker decided to let this go, realizing the gravity of the situation and Penhall’s feelings for his partner. "Of course I won’t tell anyone," he replied, sincere for once. "What do you think I am? But how did you expect me to talk to Marco and help you solve this case, without finding out what all really happened? Besides, there are other ways of getting the guys that did this to Hanson without going to court. Like making sure they have a tough time in there themselves." He gave Penhall a knowing look. "I’ll bet it could be arranged."

Penhall eyed him closely. "You hated Hanson," he said. "Why now are you so concerned about seeing his attackers brought to justice?"

Booker looked at him. "Look, Penhall, I don’t think Hanson did this anymore. He’s an innocent guy locked up. Now he’s been hurt. Why do you think I’ve been working this with you, trying to get him out? Now this is just more reason. I’m not gonna be the president of his fan club, though. I still think his methods were wrong."

Penhall looked at Booker and blinked. He actually hadn’t thought that far ahead in terms of Booker working with him yet not finding out about the rape. He guessed the shock and events of the last few days had gotten to him a little. "OK," he said "Just so we understand each other. Let’s go see Harry, then get out of here and get busy."

One floor up in the same hospital building, Fuller and Judy were standing beside a comatose Harry, looking very peaceful in his hospital bed. There were pictures of them all on the wall and a karate poster along with the pictures. One picture in particular seemed especially poignant, that of Hanson and Ioki in happier times, Hanson smiling with his arm around Harry. It had been brought to the hospital at Hanson’s request by Doug. Who would have thought they would both have wound up here, like this, just one floor apart? Fuller and Judy were chatting away about life at Jump Street and life in general in an attempt to rouse Harry. They did not make mention of anything that had happened to Hanson. Penhall and Booker arrived in the room and joined in, chatting about anything and everything they could think of. Still no response from Harry. Finally they turned to leave, bade Harry goodbye and walked out the door.

Booker and Penhall took off in Booker’s car, leaving Fuller and Judy alone together to ride home in Fuller’s car.

On the ride home, Judy said softly, unable to keep silent anymore, "Captain, he was raped wasn’t he?" She raised her head with tears in her eyes and met Fuller’s stare of surprise. Though he did not reply right away, the look on his face gave him away. "I knew - I just knew," continued Judy, in a stunned tone of voice, "and I'll bet Booker read it in his chart. That’s what that little outburst was all about. Oh God, poor Tom!" Tears began to fall down her face. "That has got to be unbearable!"

Fuller stopped the car and pulled over to the side of the road for a minute. "Look, Hoffs, I can see there is no point in denying it," he said, "but Hanson didn’t want anyone to know - no one except Penhall and I who were told right away. I think that’s pretty understandable. It’s important you keep the secret, for his sake. And yes, it would be unbearable. I don’t know how he will deal with it. But he needs our support now more than ever."

"OK, captain, okay," replied Judy, wiping away the tears. Fuller pulled back on the road and took Judy home.

Go to next part...