Yes, the chapter title came right out of my Stones collection.
“Ah, Erik, I didn’t expect to see you today,” Erik’s attorney said. “What brings you downtown?”
“I want a change in my living situation,” Erik said. As he allowed the attorney’s secretary to escort him into the office. He sat down in the offered chair and said, “I am now in a relationship and I want my educational, residential, and living situations to change.”
“Let’s see, you’re living across from Central Park. What is it that you do not like about Central Park.”
“Look at me! I’m blind! I can’t appreciate that place and I want to move away from there.”
“I see and where do you want to move?”
“Park Slope in Brooklyn.”
“Brooklyn? You’re much too rich to live in that borough.”
“Look, you fuckin’ bastard, I want to live near the boy I love and I want to be homeschooled with him.”
“I must advise against such a move.”
“Then I want a new attorney.”
“Erik, obviously you are not aware of your inheritance. Geoffrey’s will clearly states that I am to act as your trustee and, in such capacity, I will provide you with a residence and scholastic placement commiserate with your income and social status.”
“The fucking rich kids at that fucking prep school you’ve enrolled me in do everything they can to make me unwelcome. They trip me in the halls and on the stairs, they move desks around so that I cannot find my place in classrooms, and they do everything they can do to physically abuse me in the restrooms. The fucking teachers do nothing about what those students do to me. If I had my way, I’d fucking sue that fucking school for noncompliance with federal disability accommodation laws. I want the fuck out of that school; and, I’ve found a way to be educated and not attend one of your socially acceptable schools. If you don’t allow me to change schools, I swear I’m going to find me a new attorney and sue the fucking pants off you.”
“Now, now, I’m sure we can find a solution to this without resorting to having you move to Brooklyn.”
“But, that’s what I want. Weren’t you listening to me?”
“Erik, you must understand that to get ahead in this country, you have to lay a respectable groundwork in order to progress in society. Living in Brooklyn and being homeschooled will do nothing for you to achieve your place in good society.”
“You fucking bastard, I do not care about being in good society. I want to live close to the boy I love and to attend a homeschool placement with him. Why can’t you understand that?”
“My dear boy, although you have been emancipated, you are still a minor under my judicial control. You will go to the school I have selected, you will live in the residence I have selected, and from this day forward you will not see that boy you claim to be your lover. Do you have any questions?”
“You can’t do this to me.”
“Erik Robertson, you will return to your school, now, and you will not trouble me further. Now, get out of my office!”
Erik stood up, extended his cane, and swiping it across his path to the door knocked to the floor various and sundry vases and objets d’art on tables between. The crash and crinkle of porcelain and pottery falling to the hardwood floor did little to allay his anger. He came to the door and by memory reached out and pulled the door in until it crashed against some statuary standing on a pedestal, knocking it to the floor with a crash. He walked through the door and slammed it behind him.
“Do you need help down to the sidewalk?” a voice asked.
“No, I think I’ve got it memorized,” Erik said as he swung his cane in wide swipes as he walked across the room. He came to a wall and felt for the door handle, but didn’t find it. He moved to his right feeling the wall and when he didn’t find a door handle he moved back to his left. When he reached a point where his cane knocked a lamp onto the floor with a crash, he screamed, “Where the fuck is the door?”
“Let me escort you,” the previous voice said.
“Oh, fuck!” Erik exclaimed. “Why the fuck can’t you arrange your furniture for blind people?”
“Please, sir, let me escort you downstairs.”
“Oh, fuck, go ahead!”
The receptionist escorted Erik out of the office, over to the elevators, and, once arriving on the first floor, out onto the sidewalk.
“I’ll take over, now,” Franklyn said.
“Ah, Franklyn, take me home,” Erik said.
“Your school is still in session,” Franklyn said.
“Take me home, damn it!”
“Yes, sir; please come across the sidewalk to your car.”
Erik got in the backseat, fastened his seatbelt, and, after hearing Franklyn get in, said, “I’m sorry I was so abrupt, but my visit with Mr. Morgan didn’t go well. I want to go home where I can think about what I’m going to do next.”
“He’s your trustee,” Franklyn said. “There isn’t much you can do without jeopardizing your inheritance.”
“Yeah, that’s my problem. Take me home.”
* * *
Erik sat in his study and picked up his phone. He dialed Ben’s number and waited for his boyfriend to pick up the phone.
“Hello?” Ben said.
“Hey, how’re you doing?” Erik said.
“Oh, hi, say I’m in the middle of my math lesson. Can I call you back during my break?”
“Yeah, sure, talk to you then.”
He heard the dial tone when Ben hung up and pushed the END button on his phone. He stared out into the empty, dim grayness of his near total blindness. He dialed 4-1-1 and waited for the operator to come online.
“Operator, what is your party?”
“I need an attorney.”
“I have fourteen estate planning attorneys listed in area code 212. Do you want them?”
“Yes, but I’m blind. Could you wait a moment until I get my laptop?”
“Yes, sir, I’ll wait three minutes.”
Erik hurried through the apartment and into his bedroom where he went to the desk, but couldn’t find his laptop. He searched across the entire surface of the desk, but the laptop was nowhere to be found.
“Bea! Where’s my laptop?” Erik screamed, but there was only silence. He hurried out into the living room and yelled, “Bea! Where the fuck is my laptop?”
There was only silence. He went to Bea’s room and pounded on the door, but no one came to answer it.
“Bea! Where are you!” Erik screamed, but there was no answer. He went to his phone and listened, but there was only dial tone. He walked over to the recliner beside the window overlooking Central Park and disgustedly flopped down in the chair.
After a few minutes, Erik got up and walked over to the stereo. He thumbed through his vinyls until he came to one that he pulled out of the rack and felt along the top edge until he came to the Braille embossed tape and read with his fingers “Rhapsody in Blue,” “American in Paris,” etc. by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic, et al. He took the record out of the sleeve and placed it on the turntable’s spindle. He returned to his stack of vinyl records and thought for a moment before counting along the records until he came to one that he pulled out. With his fingers he felt along the Braille embossed strip and read “Appalachian Spring,” “American Festival Overture,” “Adagio for Strings, Op. 11,” “Overture Candide,” by Leonard Bernstein and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He removed the record from the sleeve and placed it on top of the other record. He turned on the stereo and heard the first record drop onto the turntable. He went back to the recliner as loud orchestral music filled the apartment.
Somewhere in the middle of “Adagio for Strings” Miss Bea came into the apartment with two bags of groceries. She went over to the stereo and turned down the sound.
“What did you do that for?” Erik asked.
“It was playing too loud,” Miss Bea said. “The super complained. Why aren’t you in school?”
“I’m not going to that school ever again.”
“You have to go to school. How do you expect to make something of yourself unless you go to school?”
“Miss Bea, if you haven’t noticed, I’m blind. I will never make something of myself by going to that fucking prep school. I’m defective, disabled, and worthless. There’s no point in me going to some white, uppity, prep school when I’m never going to get into a top-flight university based on my excellent academic record because that won’t matter because I’m fucking blind.”
“It’s that boy from Brooklyn who’s ruining your mind. That’s what it is.”
“Ben has nothing to do with this other than he is being homeschooled because he’s so far behind in his studies he might not ever amount to anything. Where’s my laptop? What have you done with it?”
“It’s in your bookbag.”
“Where’s my bookbag?”
“It would be where you leave it every afternoon when you come home from school, but did you leave it in the car?”
“How the fuck should I know.”
Ben sat in the recliner steaming with anger he couldn’t suppress. He stood up and walked across the room and bumped into the coffee table, which caused him to fall forward until he caught himself on a book on the table, which caused him to slide forward until his right shin slammed into the coffee table.
“Why did you move the coffee table?” Erik yelled.
“I didn’t move anything,” Bea said. “You walked into it by mistake.”
“I don’t make mistakes!”
“You keep this up and I’m leaving!”
“Leave then! Get the fuck out of my life! Go! Get out!”
Ben worked his way around the coffee table and flopped down on the sofa. He heard a door slam and assumed it was Bea going into her suite.
“Good riddance,” he said to himself; and, then yelled, “Fuck! I hate being blind!”
He stood up and worked his way around the coffee table. Once past the table, he walked toward the recliner and pulled open the draperies covering the slider to the terrace. He’d never been out there, but today seemed to be a good day to go out. He pulled at the door handle, but didn’t move, so he felt along it and found the lock lever. He pulled it up and tried to move the door, but it still didn’t move.
“Why the fuck is the door locked?” Erik screamed.
Meanwhile, in Miss Bea’s room she was sitting on her bed with her cell at her ear. She listened to the ring tones until someone answered, “Bellini, Bannister and Morgan, how may I direct your call?”
“Mr. Morgan, please,” Miss Bea said.
“May I ask who is calling?”
“Miss Beatrice Johannsen.”
As Miss Bea listened to the music, she realized it was something Erik listened to. She began to think maybe she shouldn’t tell the boy’s lawyer things were going bad and that he hadn’t gone to school. She had a nice position here, even though Erik was troublesome sometimes; but, was he that much of a problem? It was all because of his disability. Come to think of it, everything was because of his inability to handle his blindness.
“Miss Bea, so good of you to call,” Mr. Morgan said.
“I’m sorry to have to call you, sir, but Erik is being most unreasonable today.”
“He’s not in school?”
“No, sir, he’s home and was playing his music so loud the super complained to me when I came home from the grocery. Plus, he told me he doesn’t want me as his housekeeper.”
“I see. Okay, I’ll come over and have a talk with him.”
“It’s that boy from Brooklyn that’s causing this.”
“Yes, I know, but I guess I’ll have to speak with him about that matter, again. I’ll leave right now.”
Miss Bea closed her phone and went out to put the groceries away. As she walked into the living room she didn’t see Erik, but did see that the door to the terrace was open. She knew the door had been bolted shut to prevent Erik inadvertently going out and possibly falling over the railing. She hurried to the door and saw Erik sitting on the railing.
“Oh, my God!” Miss Bea screamed. “Erik! Get off the railing.”
“Go away! Leave me! I don’t care anymore.”
There was a crashing sound from inside the apartment and footsteps approaching. A policeman came out onto the terrace and said, “Don’t do it, boy. Come on, be a good boy and get off the railing.”
“Who the fuck are you to tell me what to do?” Erik said.
“He’s troubled because he’s blind,” Miss Bea said.
Unbeknownst to Erik, a second policeman came out of the apartment and carefully walked up to the boy. With one quick lurch, the policeman reached out and grabbed Erik’s arms. Erik struggled, but the policeman had too good of a hold on him and he felt himself being pulled down onto the concrete floor.
“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” Erik screamed as he felt someone putting handcuffs on his wrists.
“Be gentle with him; he’s blind,” Miss Bea said.
“Are you his mother?”
“No, I’m his housekeeper. The door was bolted shut.”
“Well, somehow he figured how to open it.”
“What are you going to do with him?”
“He’s going down to Bellevue for a little visit.”
“Come on, son, up on your feet,” one of the policemen said.
“Who’s his next of kin?”
“Erik has been emancipated, but his lawyer is his trustee. That’s Benedict Morgan. I think I have one of his cards in the kitchen.”
Miss Bea walked into the apartment followed by one of the policemen. The other escorted Erik inside and told him to sit in the recliner.
“Okay, Harry, I got the lawyer’s number,” one of the policemen said. “Let’s give the boy a nice tour of Manhattan.”
“Come along, you,” the policeman with Erik said.
“My name is Erik.”
“Okay, come along, Erik, and no funny business.”
“Erik, you be good,” Miss Bea said.
“Yeah, see you around.”
* * *
“Hello, how are you today?” the doctor at the desk asked.
“Fine,” Erik said.
“I expect complaints, since you are not living in your residence.”
“I tried to commit suicide; how am I supposed to expect my living situation to be something of my choosing?”
“Interesting. According to your file you live in the Upper East Side in an apartment overlooking Central Park; and, yet, you tried to commit suicide from your terrace with that beautiful view. That is quite a psychological statement.”
“I’m blind; what do you expect me to do?”
“From what I’ve gathered from your attorney, you are quite wealthy, yet you desire to live with or near to a boy who lives in Brooklyn and is in a foster care life situation. How do you explain that?”
“I love him.”
“Yet, you are blind. How do you know he loves you back?”
“Because he said he does.”
“Do you believe him?”
“Why wouldn’t I believe him?”
“Well, he could be saying he loves you to get into a relationship with you such that he would gain access to your wealth.”
“You’re a fuck head to suggest such a thing. I know Ben loves me and there isn’t anything you can say to me that will change my belief that Ben loves me, unconditionally.”
“You are fifteen and this Ben is nearly seventeen. Soon he will be eighteen and eligible to move out into a living situation beyond his foster care. How do you expect to associate with him if you have not yet achieved majority?”
“I’ve been emancipated. That should count for something.”
“Unfortunately, as far a sex laws go in this state, if he has sex with you he could face arrest, incarceration for some time, and end up being identified as a sexual predator. Are you willing to possibly subject him to a life with that label?”
“I don’t know. That’s all a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo that doesn’t apply to me.”
“But, it does and you’re going to have to deal with it whether you like it or not.”
“Why can’t I just be blind, play the guitar, and pretend to go to school by doing it on a computer?”
“You play the guitar?”
“Yes, but it’s only an acoustic one.”
“Have you ever considered playing professionally?”
“How can I do that and go to that fucking prep school my trustee says I have to attend?”
“What if I spoke with Mr. Morgan, would you acquiesce to such a conversation?”
“What if he says I have to go to that fucking prep school?”
“I could say that you have the talent to become a professional guitar player, if you had sufficient backup to your performance. Do you think that boy in Brooklyn has some music talent?”
“I haven’t discussed that with him, but I will as soon as I’m able to speak with him. I understand that Mr. Morgan, my trustee, is establishing some form of legal restriction on me speaking with Ben.”
“What if I speak with Mr. Morgan?”
“I’d like to say that I’ll appreciate that, if it’s possible that he’ll acquiesce to me talking to Ben, again.”
“Let’s see what happens, okay?”
“Sure, okay. Oh, when do I get out of this place?”
“When you’re no longer suicidal.”
“Move me to a townhouse in Brooklyn and you can be assured I won’t try to jump.”
“I’ll relay that to Mr. Morgan.”
“Like he’s going to pay attention to what I want.”
“There’s always hope.
“Maybe for you.”
* * *
“Well, I never expected to be meeting one of my clients in this facility,” Mr. Morgan said. “What do you have to say for yourself.”
“Fuck you,” Erik said.
“I have served a restraining order on your so-called boyfriend’s foster parents. He won’t bother you anymore.”
“We didn’t discuss this before, but your stocks have increased in value, this year over last, by nearly seventeen percent; increasing your total asset value by almost fifteen percent.”
“Your bonds are not performing as well as I expected last year, so I have initiated an order to sell half of your East Coast municipals and purchase Midwest and Mountain State industrials. I expect this situation to increase your portfolio by at least twenty-one percent over this year.”
“What do you want other than associating with that boy in Brooklyn?”
“I see. Well, I can’t see any reason for me to be here any longer. Please try to get better. Miss Bea is looking forward to your return.”
Mr. Morgan left the visiting room and Erik waited for someone to come and get him. Of course, he could attempt to get out of the room on his own, but why risk injuring himself on the edge of some chair or table. Plus, in all reality, he had no idea where the door was. So, he waited.
He heard the door open, close, and the latch on the door being fastened. He heard footsteps coming in his direction. To his left he heard the scraping sound of a chair being pulled away from the table. Someone sat down and said, “I understand you think you’re gay. I got a hard-on that needs satisfaction. Turn your chair away from the table. I want you to blow me.”
“Help me!” Erik screamed.
“There isn’t anyone out there right now. They’re having a bit of trouble with one of your fellow patients. Come on, pretty boy, turn around so I can put my cock in your delicious faggot mouth.”
“For God’s sake! Help me!”
“Ain’t nobody coming, pretty boy, get yourself around for me.”
“Help me! Why won’t anyone help me!”
“Ain’t nobody there. It’s just you and me pretty boy.”
Erik heard the other chair scraping back away from the table. He started uncontrollably trembling and slipped forward under the table and onto the floor.
“Why you fucking faggot get up here and suck my cock,” the other man hissed.
Erik drew himself up into a fetal position and started moaning. He thought he heard someone trying to open the door. Then someone screamed, “Robert! What the fuck are you doing in here. My God, you were going to abuse him, weren’t you?”
“Fuck off, Julie. Get out of here; this boy’s mine.”
“You stupid fuck. Somebody get in here! Robert’s trying to rape Erik.”
“What’s going on?”
“Oh, Jesus, Robert put that thing back in your pants.”
“Call Security! We need to get this man out of here.”
“Come on, you, you’ve done it this time.”
“Get away from me!”
“Get him on the floor. Where’s Security?”
“They’ll be here in a few.”
“Oh, my God, the boy, he’s frozen in fear. Get a sedative stat.”
A thank you go out to Sharon, my editor, who I hope enjoyed her time in the Caribbean.