Good News and Bad News
Nurse Hicks was proved correct when Mary Beth Hoover, RN arrived; she was a walking doll. Even gay guys could recognize beautiful women, perhaps better than straight guys because their eyes are not clouded by lust. But then that would mean straight guys would recognize hot guys better than gay guys and we all know that’s not true. Anyway, Mary Beth was a doll and a damn good nurse Alex and Josh found out shortly after her arrival.
When she arrived she was carrying two large bags. “I’m Mary Beth Hoover, RN and I am your server tonight, but before we start, Mr. Bledsoe, do you think you could make pee pee for me? Would you try?” she asked handing Alex a urinal. Alex was laughing until he saw that.
“I am not pissing in a bottle again, ever!” Josh remembered the urinals on all the nightstands at New Beginnings. Josh scooped him into his arms and carried him to the restroom. He asked again to be left alone.
As Josh left him standing, holding on to the sink, he looked at his butt showing through the back of the hospital gown, just before he closed the door and thought, “His butt is definitely showing the effects of dehydration and lack of nourishment, but is still damn close to a bubble butt. I just want to kiss it!” and felt himself blush.
“I can see why,” Mary Beth said.
“Why the blush, you naughty boy. Two chapters of the Book of Mormon for you tonight.”
“Josh. I need you,” Alex called, sounding near panic, from the bathroom.
Josh rushed in and found Alex sitting on the toilet, tears streaming down his face. “Josh, I can't do anything! I can't stand without hanging on to something. If I'm hanging on, I can't hold the cup to pee in it. I can't do anything!”
“Alex, no-one except you expects you to. You are just back from hell. Stand and hold on to me.” Alex did and Josh held the cup and his cock while Alex peed in the cup.
“Is half a glass of pee pee enough, nursey?” Alex called to Mary Beth.
Mary Beth said, “I should hope so. It’s all they’re getting tonight anyway.”
Josh carried Alex back to the bed and got him settled in.
Mary Beth pushed the call button and when it was answered, said, “This is Mary Beth Hoover, RN. I’m Mr. Bledsoe’s private duty nurse. Would you send someone from the lab to pick up a urine sample or should I send it down by his friend who is with him?”
“Patrica Ellen Haywood, RN, Mary Beth Hoover, RN,” the desk nurse laughed, “if you send it down, it will get done shortly and we can take any needed action sooner. It may be an hour or more before someone comes for it. Have the friend come by the desk and pick up a pass to take it down. Thanks.”
“Thanks, Patricia. How're things tonight?”
“Quiet and I hope it stays that way.”
“Agreed. See you later.” She then said, “Now we can get down to serious business quicker. Josh, there should be a cap for the cup on the toilet -- I assume you put it back where you found it, Alexy Poo.”
“I did, but no more Alexy Poo.”
“All right. Bare Buns. Josh, write Alex’s name, last name first, his date of birth, Room number and Dr. Avery on the lid where it asks for them. Take the sample and go by the desk and Patricia will give you a pass and directions. Take the sample to the lab and hurry back.
Josh did as instructed and was back in fifteen minutes. As he entered Alex’s room, Mary Beth was tucking Alex in bed. He looked completely exhausted. When he thought about it, he was pretty done in himself. “Now you just relax while I see about some food. Afraid it's soup tonight, but very good soup. Be back in a few minutes,” she said as she left.
After Josh washed his hands in the bathroom, he sat by Alex's bed holding his hand. Alex dozed off and started shaking and whimpering, “Please, no. Please no.” Josh didn't know what to do. He was afraid anything he did would make Alex's nightmare worse. He was nearing the panic stage when Mary Beth reappeared.
She quickly sat down the tray she was carrying and very gently started rubbing Alex's arm. “Alex, wake up. Dinner's ready.”
Alex asked, “Gertrude? Is it you? Gertrude?” in his fourteen-year-old voice.
“No, Alex, you are in the hospital in Provo, Utah. Who is Gertrude?”
“You know....” Alex's eyes snapped open and he said, “I was having a nightmare. I was back in that place.”
“Well, you’re not there any more, babe. You're safe.”
Alex looked Josh full in the eyes and that Alex grin spread across his face as he reached up and pulled Josh to himself and kissed him. “Josh, I have dreamed of doing that for years.”
“So have I,” Josh said and gave him a quick kiss in return.
“Well, if you expect to have strength to do it again, you need to eat,” Mary Beth said. “I have beef barley soup and great bread for all three of us. It's the best beef barley soup in the whole world.”
Mary Beth had filled three bowls from her bag—two with thick and the third with much less rich soup—and tore chunks of bread from a round loaf in a basket she sat on Alex's tray table. She raised the head of Alex’s bed until he was sitting up, or as near as you can sit up in bed. Somehow or other, she had managed to get an additional tray table which she pulled together with Alex’s and we sat on Alex's bed with him. She passed the butter and we fell to.
Alex got a smile on his face with the first taste of the bread and soup. “I haven't had food this good for a very long time,” he said.
“Well, eat up. You need it,” Mary Beth said.
After they had eaten, Mary Beth packed the things and took the trash away while Josh moved the tray table, lowered Alex and tucked him in bed. When Mary Beth came back, she was carrying a tray with medical stuff on it. She took and recorded his vital signs, then did the bit with the needles and all to attach an IV to the back of his hand, started it and said, “I figured dinner without this was worth more than the IV for an hour. Very good. Ready for night, night, Alex?” she said, “Now we get you plugged in and you need to go to sleep shortly so Josh can get some rest as well.”
“I need a goodnight kiss,” he grinned.
“Oh very well, but you must know this is not something I make a practice of doing,” she leaned over and kissed him on the cheek. She stood, looked down at him and said, “Oh, well, it hurts my feelings that wasn't the kiss you wanted, but I'm not a sore loser. I'll guard the door for a short minute.” She stepped outside, closed the door and Josh leaned over kissed Alex, who opened his mouth and slid his tongue into Josh's. Josh started getting hard and Alex suddenly grew rigid and cried, “No! No! Please, no!” Mary Beth rushed in, took a look at Alex and said, “I was afraid of that.” She ran out the door and came back with a hypodermic syringe and injected it into the IV line. Seconds later, Alex relaxed and appeared to be sleeping normally.
Josh looked stunned and asked, “What happened?”
“I take it Alex wasn't held just anywhere.”
“No, he was in a so-called clinic to turn him from being gay to straight.”
“Aversion therapy? New Beginnings?”
“Then I guess your goodnight kiss wasn't just a peck on the cheek.”
“Well no, but...?"
“Did you get aroused?”
Josh blushed. “Of course.”
“So did Alex and as soon as that happened, he was back in the clinic.”
“Will it happen again?”
“Likely, almost surely, but maybe he can start working on it soon. Right now, just take it easy because in his weakened condition, it will be hard to fight.”
“Is he ok?”
“He is and will sleep eight to ten hours at least. There's nothing you can do here, so you need to get some rest as well. There is a LPN coming on at midnight and will be replaced at eight by Sister Agnes.”
“No, British. They still call nurses 'Sister,' I guess harking back to when all nurses were nuns. The Aussies do as well, I think. Not sure about Canadians. Anyway, she's a regular RN who has retained her title and accent. She's kinda the motherly type, the young motherly type,” she laughed, “but not the nauseating kind. You'll love her. She'll be here until four when I come in. We're working out a schedule. She and I really need to be here when he is awake. Anyone can watch him sleep, well, anyone who knows what she or he is doing. All they will need to do is check his vitals. I'm thinking I need to come in earlier and let the LPN take over at ten, when he should be asleep, and stay until six, when Sister comes in until two when I'd come in, but we'll work that out. One thing the night nurse really must know is that he is almost sure to have nightmares and needs to be awakened very, very gently. But, again, not your worry. Alex will be in good hands. By the way, anytime Alex needs something or you need help and someone's not here, push the button. We will as well. I know he was in an aversion hellhole—don't call that therapy!—there seems to have been more than that involved. There was a news flash about a raid on a fundamentalist compound in southern Utah. Alex involved in that? Wait! You're Joshua Taylor, CEO of some San Francisco company. You were involved in the raid! Media feeding frenzy coming!"
“Shit! Shit! Piss! Fuck! Damn!” Josh said. “I wanted my name kept out of it.”
“Too late, lover boy.”
Josh gave Mary Beth the highlights of why they had been separated, finding Alex and of the raid. “Now I am worried about the media and security. He does not need to be hounded.”
“He can afford private nurses, surely he could also afford private security.”
“I’m not thinking, girly girl,” Josh said. Took out his cell and found the signal was poor.
“You’ll need to go outside for a decent signal,” she said.
Outside, Josh called Bull and found him in a restaurant. The soft music in the background sounded like money speaking. Instead of answering with some greeting, he asked, “How’s the boy?”
“Mary Beth, his nurse, gave him a shot in his IV line and he was out like a light after a delicious and romantic dinner of soup.”
When Josh finished telling him about it, he said, “Now there’s a nurse for you. Ugly, I bet.”
“A walking doll, but I have a problem and need your help.”
“I have been warned that a few bucks and hospital security looks the other way for the media. Dumb-like, Alex is in the hospital under his own name. Maybe the names have been kept from them, but they may find out.”
“They have copies of the New Beginnings admission forms. It was stolen and sold. Neil caught the guy who did it and he is sitting in Neil’s jail right now, but the damage has been done.”
“I was afraid of that. We send someone making ten dollars an hour to catch someone making that a second and get upset when they yield to temptation.”
“Yeah, but what can I do for you?”
“Can you check out a security agency here and get someone who can be trusted guarding Alex.”
“Consider it done.”
Josh went back upstairs and thanked Mary Beth for reminding him about security and said Bull was taking care of it.
“Now go to the hotel and get some rest. I'll call if you're needed.”
Josh did as he was told, called a taxi and went to the hotel. He was surprised when he realized it was still early, but then the day had started early. He showered and changed clothes—he was running out of clothes. He had his business attire and another set of camouflage Neil got for him, but he put on his last casual clothes. He had no idea how long he would be in Provo, but Dr. Avery had said Alex would probably be in the hospital thirty days. Buying more clothes would be foolish since he had a closet full in San Francisco. Josh was honest with himself, he loved having money to do as he pleased, but it didn't mean he threw it around needlessly. He was sure Bull and Mr. VanWinkle would be ready to get home tomorrow, so he decided he'd have Susan meet him at the airport and take him to pick up clothes. While he was at it, he'd switch planes. He didn't see a need for the large one anytime soon. He left a note at on the bathroom mirror of the suite and a message at the front desk telling Bull and Mr. VanWinkle he'd like to talk to them.
When they came in, Josh had flopped down across the bed and was sound asleep. “Think we should wake him?” Bull asked.
“Well, he did say he wanted to talk to us.”
“And I do,” Josh said, rolling over. “Are you two ready to go home?”
“Yeah, we talked about catching a flight tomorrow. You still need us?”
“Well, I think I’ll need you around for years but, no, not in Provo right now. Besides, Mr. VanWinkle wants the pleasure of handing over an extra five thousand to you.”
“Hell, Josh, I can’t take that. This has been too much—well, not fun, but it let me know I’ve still got it. I haven’t been so alive in years as I was throughout this.”
“Same for me, Josh. I owe you for letting us do this and I still have some things to do. I’m going to help Dick make sure the bastards who pulled all this are guests of the state or feds for years.”
“Promised it to you, Bull, and it’s yours. If you don’t want it, put it in a college fund for Mario.”
“Now that I will accept,” he said. “But what about you?”
“Dr. Avery says Alex will probably be here for thirty days before he can fly to Boulder. Things are going well at Blankenship LLLP under Luc....”
“Sure are,” Mr. VanWinkle, said. “He’s announcing in the morning that Blankenship has signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Brazilian government.”
“Boy’s making us money, Mr. VanWinkle. Anyway, Dr. Avery told me that Alex would have to have a genital and anal examination soon, maybe tomorrow, but he didn’t think he needed to hear that today. He’s sure it will be traumatic for him, but he thinks it’s absolutely essential. Doesn’t matter, I’ll be here until I fly him to Boulder and spend a week or two with him there before going to North Carolina. I need to make arrangements for the horses to be transported from Utah to North Carolina and get the Masons settled, so I may have to fly Susan, Mrs. Mason and the boys out before Alex can leave here, but that will depend on how he does. But what I wanted to talk to you about was when you wanted me to fly you home.”
“No need Josh. We can take a commercial flight,” Bull said.
“I need to go anyway to pick up some clothes. I’ll check on Alex in the morning and give you a call. I have your cell number, Mr. VanWinkle, and I suspect you’ll not be out crawling through the bushes.”
“Son, we have seen Utah close up. We are not impressed.”
“Understood, understood fully. Been there. I’ll call as soon as I talk to Dr. Avery and give you a departure time.”
“No rush and remember, we can always fly commercial.”
“Thanks. I need to call Susan and then I think I’ll hit the hay even if it is early. Probably won’t see you in the morning as I want to be at the hospital before Dr. Avery makes his rounds, so goodnight.”
“Goodnight, do sleep well. Things are moving in the right direction after all these years,” Mr. VanWinkle said.
The story was all over the news the next morning. CNN announced a three-part series beginning at eight-thirty in the evening. The first hour would deal with religious extremists, with the last half beginning with American extremists and the final fifteen minutes focusing on LDS extremists. The second hour the second night would be on New Beginnings, focusing on child abuse and the final hour third night, of course, dealing with the forced young marriage, but mostly concerned with the clinic.
Bull had located a company and hired two around-the-clock guards for Alex so he at least escaped direct media coverage.
When Josh got to the hospital at seven the next morning, he met Dr. Avery in the hall. “How’s Alex doing?”
“Just going to check on him. Noticed on his chart, Mary Beth had to give him a sedative last night.”
“Afraid that was my fault. Our goodnight kiss was getting pretty passionate when he started pleading and then went rigid. Mary Beth said it was because he started getting aroused and had a flashback. She said it was likely to happen again. She also said he was going to be prone to nightmares for some time.”
“She’s right. She’s very knowledgeable about that phenomenon as it characterizes post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course, there’s an element of that disorder in Alex’s difficulties, but his is a conditioned response to a very specific situation, namely, getting aroused. Basically, he will have to be unconditioned. I hate it when people talk about deprogramming someone. People are not machines. I think in most cases, replacing one conditioned response with another is unwise. Let’s clear out the conditioning, but that’s not my field. I made an appointment for Alex to see a psychiatrist, but since he will only be here a short time, anything he is able to do will be a stop-gap measure. After he sees Alex, the two of us will advise his grandmother so she can start getting him set up for care in Boulder. My job is to handle his physical condition and get him well enough to make the trip to Boulder. Right now I have the unpleasant task of telling him about the genital and anal exams.”
They entered Alex’s room and saw him semi-sitting up in bed watching one of the twenty-four hour news channel’s reporting on New Beginnings. The reporter was escorted by a uniformed sheriff’s deputy who, occasionally, admonished her about stepping outside the bounds set for reporters. “Good,” Josh thought, “Neil and Pete are maintaining tight control.”
“How are you, lover boy?” Josh asked as he leaned over and kissed Alex without thinking. When he looked, he saw a strange woman and thought, “Shit, I’ve blown it again.”
She smiled at him and said, “Mr. Taylor, I presume. I’m Mrs. Alice Goforth, Alex’s LPN.”
Josh extended his hand and said, “We have been warned about showing affection but, well, I guess after waiting most seven years, I forget.”
“No problem for me. I was made well aware of the situation before I was assigned, but the warning is one you should heed.”
“So how are you, lover boy?”
“Much rested, well-fed and happy.”
“Good,” Dr. Avery said. “I do have a couple of questions. First, when did you last have sex and with whom?”
“With Josh, eight years ago, ugh, no, five or six months ago, I think. No, it was immediately before I ended up in New Beginnings, so it was closer to eight months ago. It’s hard to keep up with time in hell. It was with another guy at New Beginnings. We got caught and that’s why both were in the clinic.”
“Was that the only time? Did you have anal sex?”
“No, before, maybe half a dozen-dozen times. Mostly mutual masturbation and very, very occasionally oral. Never anal.”
“I have some good news and some not-so-good news. Some good news is that you are in much better shape than anyone could expect after your ordeal. You are re-hydrating and that is good. You are undernourished and that was to be expected and I don’t think any permanent damage has been done. The very, very good news is that the HIV tests—and we used two—show you are not HIV positive. The ELISA usually gives an accurate test in six to twelve weeks although very rarely it may take six months. The PCR we used usually gives a result in a matter of weeks. It often gives a false positive, but yours was negative. I think you can safely say you are HIV/AIDS negative, but just to make sure, I'd say get tested again in three months and no unprotected sex until that test is negative. Putting the tests aside, since you haven't engaged in anal intercourse, the likelihood of being infected by oral sex is much smaller. You were also negative for Hep A, B and C. All of that is very, very good news.
“Now the not-so-good news. Of the remaining common STDs, you score three out of three: syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia. That's the bad news, the good news is all are curable and your treatment is beginning today. Sister Agnes will administer your antibiotics when she gets here. The cultures won’t be ready for a few days and we’ll know then whether the drugs we have chosen are the most effective ones, but I suspect they will be since they are the latest recommended by the CDC—Center for Disease Control. I could be wrong, but I think you were infected with those relatively recently, not eight months ago. Since you haven't engaged in sex in recent weeks, there has to be some other means of transmission. Was anything ever inserted in you rectum or urethra?”
“Sure,” Alex said in a very quiet voice.
“What and when?”
“Maybe three months ago. When I got aroused while being shown gay porn movies, Dr. Smith took a rod from atop one of the machine and slid it up my penis. He picked up a shiny butt plug and shoved it up my ass. I thought I’d die of pain. Then he connected the rod and the butt plug to the machine and turned on the power.” Tears were running down Alex’s face and Josh’s as well.
“Was that the only time that happened?”
“Oh, no. It happened many times after. Once when I told him I saw shit on the butt plug, he laughed, wiped it on the back of his white coat and shoved it in. That happened more than once as well.”
“I know it is hard to accept, but in terms of potential disease, you escaped lightly. Had anyone been HIV positive, you all would have been infected.”
“Smith and Young were both terrified of HIV.”
“They had a very tight policy on that score,” Josh said. “Each application had a current HIV test report attached and one done at one month, three months and six months, if they were still there, after they entered New Beginnings. Also, a half a million dollar bond was required. No, it was most unlikely anyone HIV positive could have gotten in.”
“Unfortunately, Dek, my sex partner, and I were caught and sent immediately to the clinic. However, Dek had been tested before he was admitted to the compound. That became common practice shortly after I got locked up there. I wonder how that bitch who birthed me managed that? The bond I mean.”
“Lehi paid for yours and one other. In return, you were in bond to him as a virtual slave for fifty years,” Josh told him.
“Some more bad news, Alex, I’m afraid. It is imperative that you have a genital and anal examination. It’s simple and relatively painless, and I know, for you, it will be traumatic, but professionally, ethically, it has to be done.
“I can understand that, Dr. Avery, but I’m not sure I can stand it. Could I be put to sleep?”
“Well, it’s unusual. As I said, it’s relatively painless, but then that's physical. In your case, it would be emotional pain. Additionally, it might well trigger a flashback. Oh! Don’t mind me, I’m just discussing the situation with myself. I can’t really think of a good reason why not. Actually, you’ll not remember anything, but what the anesthesiologist will use will allow you to follow instructions. May mean it can’t get done until tomorrow as we’ll need an operating room and an anesthesiologist and both may be in short supply. I’ll check right away because you will need to void your bowels shortly before and have no food or drink for several hours before. I’ll check and see about scheduling it and be back shortly.”
“Alex, would you like to sit in a chair for a while?” Mrs. Goforth asked. Alex nodded and she and Josh helped him into a recliner.
After he was settled, Josh said, “Mrs. Goforth, if you like, feel free to go. I can handle things until Sister Agnes arrives.”
“If you are sure you can handle things, I’ll check Alex’s vital signs and take my leave. I will be back tonight.”
“If I can’t handle something, I’ll ring for a nurse.”
“Do that. Even though you are paying for private duty nurses, you are still being charged for nursing service. Again, Alex, I’ll be back tonight, but I suspect you will be asleep.”
After she left, Alex said, “Josh, I know this sounds weird, but I am so relieved. I never told you, but I was terrified that I would be found HIV positive.”
“Yeah,” was all Josh could say. He had been terrified as well.
Editors: Jesse and Scott
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