Writing for Joe

Chapter 3

“What can you tell me about the party at Wellston’s last year?” Matt asked Tiffany Something. He couldn’t remember her last name. She sat beside him in their psychology

class. She had been one of the few people at the party who hadn’t been kicked out of school or left the following year.

“What do you want to know?” Tiffany asked hesitantly. She was wearing her hair differently this year. Last year her auburn hair was long and wavy. This year she was wearing it short like many now do.

“I don’t know,” replied Matt, looking at his notes. “We already know that drugs and alcohol were used. Wellston is in jail because of that.”

“You would know. You had a lot to do with that, too,” Jessica said angrily. “One of my best friends had to leave school because of your story.”

“I’m really sorry about that. I wasn’t out to hurt anyone. I just didn’t realize the extent of illegal activity that was involved when I started the story. After I found out that Wellston was actually hurting a lot of people with his drugs and alcohol, I had to go to the police.” He responded with remorse in his voice.

Tiffany shot him an angry look, but he quickly dismissed it. “What can you tell me about the sexual activities that were going on in the house? Who was involved?” he asked. He could tell by Tiffany’s body language that he wasn’t going to get any answers.

He had learned in his psych class that when someone folds their arms tightly that they are closing themselves off.  If Tiffany clutched at her breasts any harder, he was afraid they would burst.

She yelled, “Why the hell do you want to know about that?” She rose from her seat. “Haven’t you done enough damage?

“You’d better drop all this shit,” she warned him. “Wellston may be in jail, but that doesn’t mean he’s ignorant of what’s still going on in this town. You go snooping around again, and you may be sorry.”

The conversation had gotten Matt absolutely nowhere. He knew that by the end of the day, Tiffany would probably have gotten to the rest of the people who were still around and warn them not to talk to him.

* * * * * * * *

“I told you no one would talk to you about this,” Jessica said to Matt with a smug smile. “You’re like a leper right now; no one wants to come within a mile of you.”

“I know,” replied a dejected Matt. “How am I going to get my story if no one will talk? Joe really wants this story.”

“Joe, Joe, Joe,” Jessica mocked him. “It’s always Joe. You’ll never say anything to him, so I don’t know why you’re wasting your time.”

“Shut up,” Matt told her dejectedly. “I just feel something is there between us, some kind of chemistry. You know?”

“You live in a dream world. Tell him or move on.”

“I know,” he sighed. “That still doesn’t answer my question of how I’m going to find information for my story. If no one is willing to talk to me, then I’m at a dead end.”

“I have an idea. Remember I told you about the boy who lives in my apartment building?” she asked.

“Yeah, I remember.”

“Last year when the shit hit the fan, the cops were over there almost daily for a week. I thought at the time he was involved. I didn’t want to believe it because he looks like he’s only about sixteen. All of the people involved were college students, weren’t they?”

“No, not according to my notes,” Matt replied excitedly. “Some witnesses testified that there were at least four high school age students involved. When the cops busted in, they caught them getting fucked by some of our well-respected members of the football team.”

“No, shit!” Jessica responded astonishingly.

Matt added, “The police report or newspaper never said a word about it. It seems like it was hushed up. I’ve always wondered why they covered it up. I guess they had enough on Wellston without having to drag some teens in to it too.”

“Do you think you can get him to talk to me?” Matt looked pleadingly at his friend.

“I don’t know if I can,” she replied. “I don’t see him at all anymore. His mother and sister keep a close chain on him. Anytime he goes out of the house, they’re with him. He goes to school and back and that’s pretty much it, from what I can tell.”

“What time does he leave for school in the morning?”

“Around 7:40. Why?”

“I think I might just drop by some morning and see if I can talk to him.”

“You’d better be careful. If his mother finds out, she’ll grind your ass into ground beef and feed you to the cats,” Jessica warned him.

“What’s his name?”

“Jeremy, I think. That’s what I’ve heard his mother call him a few times.”

“Thanks for the lead, kiddo,” Matt said appreciatively as he plant a small kiss on her cheek.

“Yeah, right. I hope I’m not leading you into Hell.” She sighed.

* * * * * * * *

The newsroom was filled with tension the next day as everyone worked on their assignments. Joe was in an unusually pissy mood. He was yelling at everyone and telling them they weren’t going to make the Thursday deadline. It was only Tuesday, more than enough time.

He paraded around the room throwing a tantrum at anyone who got in his way. Everyone admired him for his calm demeanor, even in the face of false leads and looming deadlines. For some unknown reason, it was a different Joe they were seeing.

Matt seemed to be the main target of his hostility. He couldn’t get anything right. People sat at their desks in amazement. Matt was Joe’s boy. He never criticized him. There had been a lot of animosity over the years for the way Joe always threw up Matt in their faces.

“If you could work as hard as him. If you could write as well as him. If you could conduct interviews as well as him. blah. blah. blah.”

So everyone found his exchange interesting. They were especially shocked when Joe yelled at Matt over a sentence fragment he found in one of his articles.

“What the hell’s wrong with you?” he screamed. “Do I need to send you back to your seventh grade teacher and let her teach you how to write? I’ve got enough to do without babysitting your ass.”

The room was deadly silent. Everyone looked at Matt and saw the hurt look on his face. He sat for a few seconds pondering his next move. Joe had embarrassed him in front of the entire newspaper staff.

“Fuck you, Joe!” he shouted angrily. “Fuck you! Take this god-damned newspaper and shove it up your ass! I’m through!” He grabbed his notebooks on the computer desk, stuffed them in his book bag and stormed down the aisle to the door.

When he arrived, he turned and yelled, “I hate you!” Tears streamed down his face as he exited, slamming the door behind him. Joe hung his head. He knew he had made a serious mistake.

* * * * * * * *

“What’s the matter, Baby?” Marilyn asked Joe. They were lying naked in bed. She had been trying for the last hour to get him to fuck her, but to no avail. Every time she touched him, he shoved her hand away.

“Too much on my mind,” he told her sharply. He just wanted her to leave him alone. All she wanted was his cock. That was all their relationship meant. Get a good fuck, roll over and go to sleep.

“Want to talk about it?” she asked gently, rubbing his smooth, muscular chest.

“No,” he replied, moving her hand from his chest.

“I can make you forget your problems.” She reached down and began to stroke his soft cock.

“Would you stop, Bitch!” As soon as he said it, he knew he had gone too far. Marilyn slapped his face.

“Fuck you, Joe!” she spat. “I’ve had it with you! This was the last straw! I’ve had it with you.”

She slapped his face again, much harder than the first time. “You ever call me a bitch again, and I’ll cut your balls off!” She was angry. It was the first time Joe had ever disrespected her. Their relationship had cooled off recently, but he had still remained the perfect gentleman. Tonight had changed how she felt about him.

“You need to go be with your boyfriend, Fag!” She was trying to hurt Joe. She knew he could withstand the physical pain; however, she suspected he was weak emotionally, especially when it came to Matt.

She had remained quiet for the past year while Joe had talked excitedly about his white friend. If he showed half as much interest in her, she would have been happy. But she began to sense that Joe’s admiration for Matt went further than just an appreciation of his news reporting.

She had listened to her boyfriend brag and boast about his star reporter. His eyes would light up anytime he mentioned Matt’s name. Jealously may be a green-eyed monster, but a woman scorned is the devil from hell.

“Why don’t you go fuck your white boy up the ass? You sure don’t want to fuck my black pussy anymore!” she raged. Joe sat dejectedly on the side of the bed with his head hung. Marilyn moved around the room gathering her clothes and putting them on.

He just wanted her to leave. Her venomous words were tearing into his heart. He knew she was right, and he didn’t want to face it. He wanted Matt to be sharing his bed, not Marilyn.

He didn’t think that he had used her. At the beginning of their relationship, they had felt a lot of love for each other. They had spent many hours enjoying one another’s company. The sex had been fantastic.

But then Matt entered his life, and the closer he got to him, the further he drifted from Marilyn. His life had somehow spun out of control, and he didn’t know how to get it back.

“I’m sorry, Marilyn. I really am sorry,” he said apologetically. She walked over, stood before him and gave him one more back hand to the side of the face before she left, slamming the door behind her.

“This is the second time today someone’s walked out of my life,” Joe thought sadly.

He lay down, closed his eyes and drifted into a very restless sleep.

* * * * * * * *

The sun was just rising above the horizon when Jeremy came walking slowing down the steps from his apartment building. Matt had been waiting in his car for about a half hour waiting for him to emerge.

Matt noticed his boyish features. He appeared to be about sixteen. He was about 5’9” and he guessed him to weigh about 150. His wavy hair was dark brown with light brown tint. He had a large diamond earring in his ear. He was an extremely good-looking boy, bordering on feminine. He walked with a gentle grace, not the lumbering walk of many teenage boys. Matt was reminded of the agility of a ballet dancer.

After following him for about two blocks, Matt decided it was time to confront the handsome young man. “Excuse me, Jeremy. May I talk to you for a minute?” He spoke quietly so as not to startle the boy too much.

“Who are you?” Jeremy asked, taking a defensive stance. Matt threw up his hands to show Jeremy that he meant him no harm.

 He said, “I’m not going to hurt you. My name is Matt Adams. I’m a student at Central College. I just want to ask you a couple of questions.”

Jeremy looked him over cautiously and stated, “Yeah, I know who you are. I heard your name mentioned a few times last year. I don’t know what you’re here for, but I don’t want to talk to you.”

Matt pleaded, “All I’m asking is for a minute of your time.” Jeremy continued to walk quickly down the street towards his school.

Jeremy turned and responded, “Look, I don’t have anything to say to you.” He turned and continued to walk away.

Knowing he was going to get nowhere with the boy, Matt decided to tell him what he wanted. “Ok, you know who I am. You know I exposed the activity at Wellston’s mansion last year. I want to do a follow-up. I want to know about the sex that was going on. I heard you may have been involved.”

Jeremy suddenly swung around and faced Matt. “Who told you that?” A worried look appeared on his face as he stared at Matt.

“It doesn’t matter. Look, I know that several high school boys were abused at that party by some college guys. I want...” He was suddenly cut off.

“Look. I don’t know where you got your information, but you’re wrong. I don’t know anything. Okay? Just leave me alone.” He turned and hurriedly walked away.

“Hold up!” shouted Matt as he ran to catch up.

“Look, here’s my number.” He took out his notebook and scribbled his name and number on a piece of paper. “I really want to help. You guys were abused and I want to see that it never happens again. If you remember anything, give me a call. Please?” He tore off his number and handed it to the young man.

Jeremy took it, folded the paper and put it in his pocket. “I gotta go to school. Like I told you, I can’t help you.” He turned and headed off down the sidewalk as Matt watched him walk away.