It's Not Easy Being a Tree
Pastor Sparks led Lucas and me down a narrow hall to what appeared to be a
conference room. The wall facing the hallway was made of glass with thin blinds.
The blinds were opened, so anyone walking past could see us. Lucas’s father had us
sit down at a long table, and he scooted a seat beside his son. There was a
briefcase opposite us, so I assumed that was where Detective Davis would sit.
We waited for about five minutes for her to arrive. She entered, smiled at us and
then took a seat. “Welcome,” she said smilingly. She looked at Lucas. “You are
Lucas Sparks?” She appeared to be about fifty. Her hair was cut short, and she
made no attempt to cover the grey hair that was beginning to appear, unlike my
mother. She seemed rather pleasant and friendly, not what I was expecting a
detective to be like. I had been expecting someone like Mr. Calloway- big and
“Yes, Ma’am,” he replied politely. She then looked at me.
“And you are Woodward Fields?” I glanced over at Lucas when he started giggling.
“I’d like to be called Woody,” I requested as I cast Lucas a nasty glance.
“Very well, Woody,” she replied. She then looked over at Pastor Sparks. “Reverend
Sparks has been asked to be present to represent you.” She looked at me. “Do you
object? Your mother waived her rights to be present and agreed to this
“Okay,” I said sadly. Even though I didn’t want to have my mother present, it still
hurt to know that she didn’t want to be. Since Dad hadn’t even bothered to show
up, I was certain they both now resented me.
“For the record,” she stated firmly, “I need you to state clearly if you agree or
“I agree,” I replied.
She opened her briefcase and took out a folder. After thumbing through it for a
minute, she sat back and stared at Lucas and me before speaking. “I jotted down
some of the information your father provide me last night on the phone.” She
glanced over at Pastor Sparks. She leaned forward. “I don’t have to tell you how
serious these charges are. Lives are at stake here. I don’t want any innocent
person to be subjected to false accusations.”
I gulped, and in the silent room it echoed off the walls. Even though her demeanor
was friendly, it was obvious that she took her responsibility very seriously. “I don’t
want you to say anything or accuse anyone of something that you are not sure of
beyond a doubt.” She stared intently at us. “Understood?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” we said in unison.
“Very well,” she replied. “Let’s begin.” She pulled out her phone and called
someone. “You may come in now.” A minute later, the secretary at the front desk
entered carrying what appeared to be a tape recorder and sat down beside Pastor
Detective Davis looked over at her and nodded. The secretary turned on the
recorder. Detective Davis then looked at us and ordered, “Raise your right hands.”
Lucas and I looked at each other and raised our hands. “Do you swear that the
testimony you are about to give will be truthful and it is being given without any
duress or force?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” we again said in unison.
“For the record, Ms. Ortega, a court secretary, is present and will record your
testimony. We looked over at the young secretary. “Also for the record, Mr. Jeffrey
Sparks, father of witness, Lucas Sparks, is present. Mrs. Fields, mother of Woody
Fields, a complainant, has waived her right to be present.”
And the interrogation began. She questioned Lucas first. For the third time I had to
listen to him explain how Mr. Dewberry had been molesting him since he was
twelve. Detective Davis was thorough, and much came out that he hadn’t told his
father or mother earlier. It was particularly difficult to listen to him relate tearfully
how he had first been forcibly penetrated when he was fourteen. He reluctantly
gave the names of other boys that Mr. Dewberry had forced him to have sex with
at summer camp. A few of the boys’ names I recognized from church, although
none I considered friends. His testimony was emotional, and Detective Davis had
to stop several times until he could continue.
His testimony took about forty five minutes. It was almost 10:30 when he finished.
“I think we should take a break now,” Detective Davis declared. “There’s a coffee
shop downstairs if you’d like to get something to drink or eat.” She looked at her
watch. “Let’s meet back here at eleven. I think we can wrap this up by noon.” She
then left the room, followed by Ms. Ortega.
When we rose, Pastor Sparks reached out held Lucas tightly. “Are you all right,
Son?” Lucas nodded and then looked sadly at me. “Let’s go downstairs. I think we
all need a break.”
On the way to the elevators, Lucas grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the
restroom. Once inside, he locked the door, turned to me and opened his arms.
“Hold me, please?”
He looked like he was about to break. I rushed over, took him in my arms and held
him tightly. It felt strange because he was much bigger than me. “I’ve never been
so scared in my life,” he uttered mournfully. He then pulled back and looked
tearfully at me.
“Why did he do it, Woody?” Tears were falling down his cheeks. “Why did he have
to do those horrible things to me.” I couldn’t give him an answer. To say that bad
things happen to good people sounded shallow. Mr. Dewberry was a monster. What
he did was much more horrific than being bad.
He asked sadly, “Why didn’t I have the courage to stop him?” I pulled him into me
and hugged him tightly. “I knew what he was doing was wrong, but I couldn’t tell
I couldn’t understand it, either. Lucas wasn’t small like me. Perhaps when Mr.
Dewberry started messing with him, he was too small and scared. But now, he was
no longer a child. He was almost a man. I had been wondering why he didn’t tell
Mr. Dewberry to stop.
However, Lucas was ashamed of anyone finding out what had been happening.
Over time, Mr. Dewberry had convinced him that telling anyone would lead to
embarrassing consequences. I had almost been prepared to follow the same path.
Ironically, Lucas, who could not save himself from Mr. Dewberry, was the person
responsible for rescuing me.
We jumped when someone pounded on the door. “Are you boys all right?” Pastor
Sparks shouted out. I walked over, cracked the door slightly and assured him we
were okay. He tried to peer in, but I closed the door and locked it.
Lucas was at the sink drying his face with a paper towel. He looked in the mirror
and smiled. I remembered back several weeks ago when we’d been in the
restroom in the church basement.
I smiled at him when he stared at me and said, “I’m such a baby.” He blew his
nose and then stepped over to the urinal. As he unzipped his pants, I walked over
to the sink to wash my hands. I took a quick glance at his cock. Like I had done
earlier in the morning, he took a slight step back so I could get a better look.
I could tell he was nervous, because he was straining hard to piss. His cock
appeared rather small as he pulled on it. “Must be a grower, not a shower,” I
giggled to myself.
He looked over, then stepped back toward the urinal so I could no longer see him.
“I’m pee shy,” he announced embarrassedly. “I can’t go if someone is watching
I laughed and told him I’d be outside. He nodded appreciatively as I walked away.
“Is Lucas all right?” His father asked when I entered the hall.
“He’s really upset,” I informed him, “but he’ll be all right.”
Pastor Sparks smiled warmly. “I’m glad he’s got a good friend like you to help him
“Thank you, Sir,” I replied just as Lucas came out of the restroom. We then took
the elevator to the first floor. After finding the small café, Lucas and I ordered hot
chocolate and a danish. His father had coffee and a bagel.
I was too nervous to eat. I nibbled on my danish, but I was too afraid I’d get sick if
I ate much. After watching how upset Lucas had been during his testimony, I was
afraid I’d never make it through mine. My hands were shaking so bad, I could
hardly take a sip of my chocolate without it spilling on me.
“Relax,” Pastor Sparks said after I’d put my cup down after a second attempt to
drink. “You’re going to do just fine. Perhaps it would help if you got up and walked
“Do I really have to do this? I asked. “Doesn’t she have enough on Mr. Dewberry
without me saying anything.” After seeing the hurt look on Lucas’s face, I
regretted making that statement. He had helped me from the sexual advances of
Mr. Dewberry; now I was ready to abandon him after he’d put so much on the line.
I hung my head shamefully. “I’ll do it,” I muttered softly. I looked up when Lucas
touched my hand.
He smiled gently and said, “You don’t have to if you don’t want.”
“No,” I assured him, “I’ll do it. If you can, then so can I.” His father sat back and
smiled at us.
Detective Davis smiled at me as we sat around the large conference table.
“Ready?” She asked. I took a deep breath and nodded.
It wasn’t as bad as I expected. Detective Davis was a good interrogator. She didn’t
seem surprised at anything I said. She asked me a lot of questions, however. She
wanted to particularly hear about how Mr. Dewberry had shown his cock to me,
and how he had reached out and stroked me.
“Now, Woody,” she asked in a professional tone. “This is extremely important.” She
leaned toward me and stared into my face. “Did Mr. Dewberry at anytime forcibly
make you do anything you didn’t want to do? Did you ever feel you were coerced
into doing something against your will? You also said he blocked the door when you
tried to leave. Did you feel that he might hurt you if you did attempt to do so?”
I thought for a second and then related how he had forced me to my knees and
pressed his cock against my lips just before Lucas started pounding on the door. I
told her how scared I was and that I felt he might hurt me if I didn’t do as he
asked. I also told her that I was afraid he’d hurt me if I did try to leave the room.
She nodded, sat back and wrote something on a form in front of her.
She then questioned me extensively about Brandon’s involvement. She wanted to
know exactly what he’d said to me and the tone he used. I told her how he had
sent pictures to my brother and the reaction he had when he received them.
“He only sent pictures to your brother?” I glanced quickly at Lucas.
“No, Ma’am.” I then explained how he had sent out the picture to other students. I
told her about Ross, Kate and Jeff receiving the picture.
She looked at Lucas. “Did you get it?” He looked quickly at me and nodded.
“May I see?” She asked as she held out her hand. My face reddened as Lucas took
out his phone, brought up the picture and handed it to her. Her expression didn’t
change as she looked at the picture. She then looked at me. “Do you have it on
your phone, as well?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I replied as I took out my phone and handed it to her. She handed
the phones to Ms. Ortega.
“I’m afraid we’ll be keeping these as evidence.” Lucas and I exchanged worried
glances. My heart stopped beating when she looked at Ms. Ortega and said,
“Prepare an affidavit for the seizure of Jon Fields’s phone.”
“Do you have to?” I asked nervously. Jon would kill me if someone took his phone.
I also wasn’t sure if he’d deleted the pictures I’d taken of him that he sent to
She smiled and nodded her head. “From what you have told me, it contains some
She shuffled some papers together and looked at me and Lucas. “I think we are
finished here, unless you have anything else to say.” We looked at one another and
shook our heads.
“What will happen now?” Pastor Sparks asked. Detective Davis looked over at Ms.
Ortega and nodded. The secretary then rose from her seat and left the room,
carrying our cell phones.
Detective Davis sat back and sighed. “It’s going to be a very busy afternoon.” I
looked up at the clock. It was 11:48. “Ms. Ortega is now going to fill out affidavits
for arrest warrants for Mr. Dewberry and Brandon Metzger. We will also prepare
search warrant affidavits for Mr. Dewberry’s cell phone and his school and home
computers. Brandon’s cell phone and home computer will also be seized.” As an
afterthought, she looked at me and added, “And your brother’s cell phone.”
“You’re going to arrest Mr. Dewberry?” I asked excitedly.
“Of course,” she replied sternly. “I will personally take the affidavits to a judge as
soon as Ms. Ortega has them completed. After the judge has signed them, then I
will make a call to police officers who will be waiting outside the school to
immediately take Mr. Dewberry and Mr. Metzger into custody.”
“What?” I exclaimed. “So soon?”
“Yes, Woody,” she replied. “If we don’t act quickly, then important evidence can be
compromised.” She looked at her watch, then rose from her chair. “They should be
in handcuffs in about an hour.” I looked over at Lucas. His expression must have
been as surprised as mine.
“An hour?” I asked.
“An hour,” she stated assuredly. “Time is extremely critical.” We stood and she
shook our hands. “You boys are very brave,” she said smilingly. “Your testimony is
very reliable. I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting a felony conviction
against Mr. Dewberry.”
“What about Brandon?” Since Brandon was sixteen, like me, I wasn’t sure what
they would do to him.
“He’s an accomplice in this matter,” she said. “I guess it will be up to the
prosecutor how he wants to charge him.” She looked at her watch. “I must be
going.” She turned to Pastor Sparks. “Can you keep these boys in your charge for
at least the next two hours.” He nodded his head. “And don’t let them make any
phone calls.” She looked at us. “To anyone.” She then hurried from the room.
Pastor Sparks took us to a nice restaurant downtown. The owner was one of
parishioners of the church, so we received special treatment. We were seated at a
table nearest the street window so we could look out.
“I’m proud of you boys,” Pastor Sparks remarked as we were eating a spaghetti
lunch. I’d already eaten a large salad and three bread sticks. After all the emotion
of the past week, I was finally able to eat without feeling I was going to get sick.
“I don‘t feel very proud,” replied Lucas. I looked at him and started laughing. He
had a piece of spaghetti hanging on his chin. He sucked it into his mouth with a big
“Well, you should,” his father responded with a smile after watching his antics. “You
did the right thing by putting a dangerous man behind bars.”
“What will happen now?” Lucas looked anxiously at his father. “If they arrest Mr.
Dewberry, won’t it be all over the news tonight?”
My heart sunk when he said that. I’d only been thinking about the interrogation
with Detective Davis. I hadn’t even had time to think about what the next few
hours could bring. The clock on the wall read 1:20. We’d left just a little after noon.
She said they could have the warrants signed by a judge in an hour.
If everything went according to plan, Mr. Dewberry and Brandon would now have
been arrested…at school. Rumors would be flying, and by school’s end, everyone
would know what happened. I wondered how long it would take people to piece
Sensing what I was feeling, Pastor Sparks reached for my arm. “It’s going to be a
rough couple of days.”
“Thanks,” I remarked sarcastically as I glanced over at a worried Lucas.
“I’ve helped many people through a crisis,” he said. “I’ll be with you all the way on
this.” I nodded appreciatively, but I was still scared. How could I even begin to
walk down the halls of school with everyone knowing that I had been the one
responsible for getting Mr. Dewberry arrested. Brandon was one of the most
popular boys in our school. People would hate me for telling on him.
There were two women seated at a table beside us. I’d noticed them when we sat
down, but I hadn’t paid much attention to them until one of their cell phones
started to ring. Suddenly, I heard her exclaim loudly, “Oh, my God.”
“What’s wrong?” Her friend asked worriedly. The woman on the phone raised her
finger to silence her. A minute later she shut her phone.
“You won’t believe this,” she said excitedly. “That was my daughter on the phone.
She’s in class at the high school. She says the place is on lockdown and police are
I looked worriedly at Lucas when the other woman asked, “What’s happened?”
“I don’t know,” she said as she threw her napkin on the table and stood up. “She
says no one is allowed to leave the room. I better get over there.”
“Oh, Dear,” exclaimed her friend. “I hope it isn’t one of those school shootings.”
They went to the cashier, paid for their meal and hurried from the restaurant.
When I looked back at Lucas, he was visibly upset.
After lunch, we returned to the church. I guess, being a minister, Pastor Sparks felt
it was necessary for us to pray about what had happened to us. We quietly entered
the sanctuary and followed him. We sat beside him on the front pew. It was eerie
to be in the church with no one around but the three of us. I could hear the gentle
wind blowing against the stain glass windows.
“You’re going to need a lot of strength,” Pastor Sparks said in a whisper, “to face
the evils of an unjust world.” He turned to us and gently smiled.
“I don’t want you boys, however, to think that everyone in the world is bad.” He
reached out and held Lucas’s arm. “I’ve taught you that the world is filled with
wonderful, marvelous people.” Lucas nodded his head.
“Unfortunately, I never prepared you for people like the Nathan Dewberry’s of the
world.” I watched as tears filled his eyes. “I was hoping you’d never have to
experience their evil.”
He turned his head toward the front, bowed his head and began to pray. I didn’t
know what to do. It seemed like such a personal moment for him. I sat quietly as
he put his arm around Lucas, pulled him into his chest and held him tightly.
A few minutes later, he said, “Amen,” and they both sat up. Lucas reached over
and took my hand, squeezing it tightly.
His father looked down at our entwined hands. “You boys need to be careful,” he
warned. “It’s obvious you are becoming close. This has brought you together.”
Lucas nodded at his father as he squeezed my hand again.
“Most people today understand that love doesn’t have boundaries,” he said. “That
has been my main message as a minister of the Lord’s word. Jesus, our Christ, told
the world to love each other as I have loved you.”
He sighed deeply. “However, some people pervert the word of God to their own
standards.” He looked down at our entwined hands. “Some people won’t accept
your love.” We both nodded our heads.
“So be careful,” he warned again. “If you need me, I’ll always be here for you.” He
stood and opened up his arms. Lucas and I stood as he pulled us into an embrace.
After a minute, he pulled away.
“When this thing is over,” he said as he looked into our eyes, “I want to sit down
with you and discuss what is beginning to develop in your relationship.” He stopped
and gave us a puzzled look. “I’m assuming that a relationship is forming between
Lucas looked down into my eyes. He squeezed my hand as I smiled and nodded.
“Good then,” his father replied when he saw us staring at each other. “I will talk to
you as I would if a young man and woman came to me wanting advice.” Lucas
released my hand and hugged his father tightly.
“I love you, Dad,” he muttered softly. His father looked at me and motioned for me
to join them. For the second time, we hugged each other tightly.
We broke our embrace when his cell phone started ringing. He looked at who was
calling and walked toward a side door. After he left, we sat down and held hands
“You okay?” I asked as I looked over at Lucas. He looked beautiful as a stain-glass
window as a sun ray cast a glow behind him.
“Are you?” He asked. I nodded my head.
“I think so,” I replied as I took his hand in mine. “Did you really mean it when you
said you wanted a relationship with me?”
His face reddened. “Yeah,” he replied as he smiled gently. “I do.”
“Me, too,” I giggled slightly as I squeezed his hand. I was starting to lean in to kiss
him when his father entered the sanctuary. He looked down at us worriedly.
“Is everything all right?” Lucas asked as his father sat down on the pew.
“I was just on the phone with Detective Davis,” he informed us. “Mr. Dewberry and
Brandon Metzger were arrested just a little while ago. She says that detectives are
questioning them now. She couldn’t tell me much, but it appears that Brandon has
confessed to everything.”
“Good,” I said. At least no one would dispute what I’d told them. One of my biggest
concerns was that everyone would think I’d made the whole story up and they
would try to protect Mr. Dewberry.
He turned toward me. “She says it is probably safe for you to go home now.”
“Do I have to?” I asked nervously. I wasn’t looking forward to facing my parents
and Jon. Mom’s reaction at the police station indicated that I was probably not
going to be welcomed. In fact, I was scared they might not want me to stay after
everything I’d done.
Pastor Sparks smiled and put his arm around my shoulder. “I’m afraid so,” he said.
“If things become to difficult for you, you can always call me and I’ll come get you.”
Lucas grabbed my hand and squeezed it.
“Great,” I thought. His remarks didn’t assure me that my parents would accept me.
If he thought they would, he would have said so. Instead, he told me to call him if
it became difficult. I was more disheartened than ever.
On the way home, my heart was pounding. I was sitting in the back of the SUV,
and Lucas kept turning around and looking at me worriedly. When we pulled into
my driveway, I was afraid to exit the car. At least I didn’t see Dad or Mom’s car in
Sensing my fear, Pastor Lucas got out and came around to the passenger’s side
door and opened it. “You’re going to have to go through a lot of things the next few
days that you won’t want to,” he said as he took my arm and gently pulled me
from the car. “This will perhaps be the worst.”
“Thanks,” I remarked sarcastically as I stepped out.
“Just remember,” he replied as he gave me a hug. “It is times of adversity that
makes us stronger.”
I waved to Lucas as I headed to my house. “I’m a little sapling,” I said softly to
myself as I walked onto the porch. “I’ll never be strong.”
Chapter 22 Return to TMJ