Still Another Chance ~ Book Four of Another Chance

Chapter Eighteen: On Trial

by Zarek A Dragon

This chapter is a tribute to those who gave their lives trying to help others during 9/11, and for the heroes in our armed forces, even though they don't consider themselves heroes. I wish I could thank each and every one who has served personally.

 

Sebastian's probation was terminated, making Sebastian a totally free young man. He and Oliver became boyfriends and discussed fostering Peter and his brothers.

Patrick suggested that Jim talk with his gym teacher about riding at the Another Chance Ranch instead of a different ranch. Jim did and convinced the gym teacher to make the switch.

After her husband read a story to her about a mother who didn't accept her son being gay, Cathy Roland came to accept Griff being gay. She apologized and asked if he would come home. He thought he might be dreaming, so Patrick pinched him.

Sebastian and Oliver set up to foster Peter, Mikey and Gabe Collins. And then Labor Day came…

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Monday, 5 September 2016 ~ Labor Day

Jake did a little demonstration with Gold in the corral. Everyone loved the performance. When Jake was done, Jim placed him on Gold's back, and they walked back to George. "Cows are almost ready," George commented, "but they need a few more minutes. Can we talk?"

"Sure," Jake responded. Jim smiled and nodded.

"Jake, have you ever thought about being a dairy farmer?"

"Would I get to milk cows?" Jake was excited.

George smiled, "Normally a machine does the work, but on occasion, I do have to do it by hand."

Jim chuckled as Jake let out, "Coooooool..."

"I have a proposal," George said, looking at Jim. Then he looked at Jake, "If you are still interested in being a dairy farmer when you graduate from high school, I will pay your way to go through college for dairy farming. Then when you graduate, I will sell you half of my business for one dollar. It will be in my will that when I die, you will get whatever percentage of my business that I own. Should I live to retire, which I hope I do, I will sell you the balance of the farm for an additional dollar."

"That's cool," Jim looked concerned, "but won't your sons get upset by that?"

"They said they want nothing to do with the dairy farm and that I should sell it when I retire," George was adamant. "As much fun as Jake has milking the cows, I couldn't think of anyone else I would rather have it."

"What do you think, Jake?" Jim asked. "Do you think you'll want to be a dairy farmer when you get older?"

Jake started dancing... "I'm gonna be a dairy farmer and when Patrick owns this ranch..."

"Now hold on," Jim cut him off, "you probably have about fourteen to sixteen years before you become a dairy farmer, and I hope Patrick has a LOT longer before he owns this ranch."

George was laughing at Jake's excitement.

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When the ranch closed, almost everyone was exhausted. Sebastian made so much money that he wanted to pay extra on his loan. Zac told him, "We are not charging you interest, so just pay us steadily. Take that money and do something special for those three boys you are fostering."

"Thanks, Zac," Sebastian offered, "I am wanting to take them out for supper, but I thought paying you should take priority and wasn't sure what you would think."

Zac smiled, "We have an agreement with you paying us back. Once Oliver moved in and reduced your share of the rent to half, you said you would pay us a hundred a week until your loan is paid off. Unless something comes up, you stick with that plan. When you have extra, spend it on Oliver, those three boys, yourself or just  save it. I won't get upset."

"Thank you," Sebastian smiled.

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Patrick sat at the kitchen table counting his tips. When he was done, he handed Jake several bills, "Here you go, Jake, this is ten percent of what I made in tips."

"Thank you, Patrick," Jake accepted the money and offered him a hug.

Jim smiled at Patrick, then asked his younger son, "How much do you have, Jake?"

Jake counted the bills, "one, two, three… eleven, twelve. I have twelve dollars."

"Are you sure?" Jim asked. "See the one and the zero, those are ten-dollar bills, so instead of twelve dollars, you have a hundred and twenty dollars."

"I feel bad because you didn't get any tips, Dad," Patrick commiserated. "I still have a lot left, can I give you some?"

Jim hugged Patrick, "Thank you for caring. When Papa and I took over the ranch, we had planned for this. We talked about whether I would continue taking people out, and how much I would give up on tips, but we feel this is what is best. Our customers will see that we want the Ranch to continue in the same fashion as when Jackson owned it. And our business is growing. Business today brought in a lot of profit. Sure, I didn't get any tips, but I got to watch Jake milking cows, I got to see you successfully taking riders out on the trails, and I got to meet happy people who said they will be back because they enjoyed it."

"So, I guess you don't want any?" Patrick questioned. "Can I take the family to McDonald's? My treat."

Jim couldn't keep from laughing. Patrick made over a thousand dollars if he gave Jake ten percent, but the boys love McDonald's, so that is where he wanted to eat. "So, you gave Jake ten percent of your tips?"

"Well, not really. I rounded up," Patrick explained. "I made eleven hundred ninety-five dollars."

"You know how proud I am of you?" Jim gave Patrick a hug and a kiss. "If you want to treat the family to McD's, I think Papa and I can agree to let you. It's your money, I suggest you save most of it, you can spend it however you want."

"Since you don't want any, I'd like to save the thousand dollars and have fun with the seventy-five I have left."

"That sounds very intelligent to me. Why don't you and Jake go put your money away, keeping out what you want, wash up, then when Papa comes in, we will go to McDonald's," Jim suggested.

Patrick smiled, "C'mon Jake, need help putting your money in your bank?"

"Yes, please," Jake offered and headed for the stairs.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Patrick put a box on the back seat and climbed into Jim's truck when he got out of school, "Dad, I'm going to be a lawyer."

Jim started the truck and headed for the ranch. "If that is what you want," Jim smiled, "Law School isn't cheap and…"

Patrick didn't want to interrupt, so he shook his head until Jim stopped talking. When he did, Patrick explained, "In Civics class, we are going to have a mock trial. Scott is the defendant, and I get to be his lawyer. The Prosecutor is Melissa, but we call her Missy. Tobey was going to be the judge, but some of the students thought he might be biased."

"I can see that," Jim grinned, "So, what is Scott accused of doing?"

"I don't know yet. Everything I need to defend him is supposedly in this box, or I will find out from the classmates chosen as witnesses."

"So, when is Scott's trial? Can I watch?" Jim thought it could be interesting.

"We are going to do it the Friday before Thanksgiving. We are doing it at seven at night, and it is open to the public for a dollar."

"You are going to have an actual trial in one night? Will the audience get to hear a verdict?"

"Yeah, the teacher said one thing will be different, the jury will only have ten minutes to deliberate, and the majority will determine the verdict."

"So, it's almost like a play, but it is a mock trial," Jim surmised.

"And my character's name is Patrick Andrew Bolt, the Defending Attorney. The trial will be like our quiz, but we will be spending class time conducting interviews and investigating. At the start of each class, we have to turn in a report concerning what we learned about court procedures and interviewing witnesses. For tomorrow, I need to read about the crime Scott allegedly did, that's a legal term meaning accused of, or something like that."

Jim chuckled, "It sounds like you are excited about this."

"I can't wait for Scott to pay me if I prove he is innocent,"

"Scott has to pay you?" Jim was surprised. Surely this wasn't the teacher's idea. "What are you charging Scott to defend him?"

"One hundred kisses an hour," Patrick exclaimed. " I calculated it to be about 4050 kisses by the time we have the trial."

Jim had to pull the truck over, he started laughing so hard.

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Patrick read the instruction sheet in the box.

 

Your client has been accused of drunk driving. He allegedly hit a family vehicle killing all passengers then drove off. He was arrested a mile from the crime and his vehicle has a recently smashed right fender. He claims that he is innocent. It is your duty to defend your client. You do NOT need to prove his innocence, it is the prosecutors job to prove he is guilty. You just need to create reasonable doubt.

You will need to interview witnesses, investigate the evidence. As you inspect the evidence, go to Mr. Washington's page on the Cody Jr. High Site. Type in the code from each piece of evidence you inspect to discover what it tells you.

Mr. Washington MAY hand out additional sheets of paper with reports "written" by the police.

Each player has a similar information sheet. They will give testimony based on what their sheet says, and they are NOT allowed to share what is on their sheet without permission from Mr. Washington.

 

Jim checked in on Patrick, "So, what are you learning?"

Patrick had tears running down his face, "I don't know if I can do this."

Patrick handed Jim his instructions. Jim was disturbed by what he read. He started thinking back to when his dad died, and he swallowed hard. He could only imagine what was going through Patrick's mind. Jim pulled him in for a hug, "Bud, I am so sorry that your teacher did this. I know this has to hurt. Can I show this to Papa? Maybe we can talk to your teacher in the morning?"

Patrick nodded his head, but held Jim tight, like he was never going to let go. "I don't want to do this, Dad." Patrick's phone rang, and it showed as Scott, so Patrick answered. "Hey, Scott."

"You're crying," Scott stated. "I was calling to tell you not to look in your box yet."

"Too late," Patrick tried to chuckle.

Scott started crying, "My parents are going to talk with Mr. Washington. I told them that I didn't want to do this and why. They are upset that the teacher is doing this to you."

"My dads plan to talk to him, too."

"I know it's a school night, but my parents said I can spend the night with you, then they would meet us at school tomorrow."

Patrick looked up at Jim. Since he was still holding Patrick, or Patrick was still holding him, he could hear everything that Scott said. Jim looked down at Patrick, smiled and nodded his head. "Dad said that you can."

"Great, I will pack what I need for tomorrow and see you in a few minutes."

Jim and Patrick walked downstairs, Zac saw the looks on their faces and asked what was wrong. Jim handed him the instruction sheet. When Zac read it, he got pissed. He looked at Jim, "We are going to that school tomorrow."

"I know, I already told Patrick we would. Scott should be here soon. He's going to spend the night, then his parents will meet us at school tomorrow to talk with Mr. Washington."

Zac looked at Patrick, "I know this has to hurt, but how are you feeling?"

Patrick gave a partial grin, "It does hurt, but knowing the people who love me have my back, I feel loved. I can't think of a better way to put it."

"I think that is the best way to put it," Zac pulled Patrick from Jim and hugged him tightly.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Jim, Zac, Ed, Dena, Scott and Patrick were there before the doors were unlocked. Jim rang the buzzer, then told whoever called on the comm system why he was there and who was with him. They went to the office and asked to speak with Mr. Washington and requested that Principal Davenport be present.

A teacher stepped in to check his message cube and Mr. Davenport spoke up, "Mr. Washington, these fine people would like to speak with you about your mock trial. Do you have time to discuss it in the conference room?"

"Not really, but I will make the time," Mr. Washington stated, then walked into the conference room.

As they sat down, Patrick noticed Jim biting his lower lip. He could tell that his dad wanted to scream at his instructor. Zac was the first to speak. "Sir, do you know how Patrick lost his parents?"

Mr. Washington looked thoughtful, then he looked directly at Patrick, "I am so sorry. I randomly drew the mock trial from a few choices. Patrick, I should have looked at it better. I will tell everyone to bring their boxes back and we will select a different trial."

Scott asked, "Can I show Patrick my instruction sheet, now?"

"Yes," Mr. Washington confirmed, "I'm not sure if it'll make him feel better, but it can't hurt."

 

You have been accused of drunk driving. You allegedly hit a family vehicle killing all passengers then drove off. You were arrested a mile from the crime and your vehicle has a recently smashed right fender.

You are innocent. You were in an accident earlier when a driver ran a stop sign. You have proof, but the police wouldn't listen. Tell your attorney and give him the proof.

Mr. Washington MAY hand out additional sheets of paper with reports "written" by the police.

Each player has a similar information sheet. They will give testimony based on what their sheet says, and they are NOT allowed to share what is on their sheet without permission from Mr. Washington.

 

Patrick looked a little happier, and asked, "What will we do now?"

"Well, everyone will keep their parts, but I am thinking of maybe a monkey disappeared from the zoo and Scott is accused of stealing it," Mr. Washington suggested.

"I don't know if I can do that either," Patrick joked. "I can imagine Scott stealing the monkey."

"I'll tell the class today to bring their boxes back tomorrow and I'll give them a new instruction sheet. Remember, just because Scott would have been innocent in this case, he may or may not have stolen the monkey."

"Thank you, Mr. Washington," Jim shook his hand, "So, are we good?"

"Sir, you were always good," Mr. Washington chuckled. "I know you were upset, and I am sorry. Thank you for not biting my head off."

"I wanted to," Jim laughed, "but as upset as I was since I had lost my father to a drunk driver too, Zac asked me to wait before I spoke."

"I am glad you folks came in and we had a civil conversation," Mr. Washington smiled. "It feels good to see parents wanting to discuss possible issues, no matter who was in the wrong."

As they walked to their homeroom, Patrick whispered, "You shouldn't have taken that monkey, but I will try to get you off."

"First, I didn't steal any monkey, and second, when and where will you get me off?" Scott wiggled his eyebrows and grinned.

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Friday, 9 September 2019

All thirty students showed up for the horse riding. Coach Leffell asked Patrick to tell the class what he knew about taking care of horses. Patrick told the class that he would give them a short version, or it would take their entire time.

They rode out to the lake and put as many horses as would fit into the corral. Sebastian was out there all day, cooking cheeseburgers for the class. One of the students saw that Jim had a football, and the boys started a game. Coach Leffell watched them as they played. He walked up to Jim, "Patrick looks pretty good. Does he have any interest in being on the seventh-grade team?"

"He loved when my class came out last year and we played flag football, and he loves playing football with the boys at the Home, but you'd have to ask him," Jim replied. "If he wants to play, I have no problem with letting him. Neither does Zac."

"Then, with your permission, I will ask him."

"Thank you for asking me first," Jim commented.

Once the food was ready, the boys called the game a tie. No one was keeping score, so that was an easy call. Patrick got his food and sat beside Jim. Scott and Tobey joined him. "So, were you having fun out there?"

"It was a lot of fun. Can I go out for football?"

Jim started to laugh, "Coach Leffell asked me if I would let you. I told him that it was your choice, but if you wanted to, I would let you."

"Thanks, Dad," Patrick smiled. "Will it interfere with me working on the ranch?"

"It might a little, but we'll figure something out."

Patrick informed Jim, "Oliver played football from seventh grade until he graduated. He offered to help me learn plays if I got on the team."

"So, you've been thinking about this for a while," Jim commented.

"About a week," Patrick admitted. "This just seemed like the perfect time to ask."

Coach Leffell came over, "Patrick…"

"When are football tryouts?" Patrick asked.

Coach looked at Jim. Jim held his hands up, "I didn't say anything to him, he just asked if he could play."

Coach Leffell smiled, "Tryouts are this Monday during your PE class. If you want to know your chances, I would say if you do like you did when you were just having fun, they are really good."

"Thanks, Coach, but that was just for fun. When I try out, I want to put effort into it."

Coach Leffell asked, "Patrick, have you ever played football on a team?"

"Only what we did in gym class, but I am a quick learner," Patrick replied.

"Practices will be Mondays and Thursdays after school. Games are Saturdays at five. Can you be at school at those times?"

"How long is practice? I'm only asking so that Dad or Papa would know what time to pick me up."

"I'd like to try out, too," Scott claimed.

Coach Leffell looked at Scott and Patrick, "Tryouts will not be easy. I have fifty boys signed up and several won't make it. I hope to see both of you on the team, but if I cut you, it'll be nothing personal."

Scott finished his burger, "We know, and if there are players better than us, we want them on the team. And we agree that if one of us makes it, and the other doesn't, we will root for whichever one of us makes it."

Patrick joked, "And if I am the quarterback, I don’t want Scott as the Center. I might get distracted by his cute butt in those tight pants."

Coach Leffell lost it, "I'll try to remember that. That is too funny. So, are you planning to try for quarterback?"

"I want to play wherever you think I will work best for the team," Patrick admitted.

"In that case, I want to try you in every position," Coach Leffell was smiling. "You too, Scott."

Coach Leffell blew his whistle, "Listen up, we need to clean this area up, leaving it like we found it. Then we will get back on the horses and ride back to the corrals. Those needing to go back to school will get on the bus. Anyone whose parents are here may go home with them, or in Patrick's case, stay here. I hope you all had fun, and we may do this again in April or May."

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12 September 2016

At the start of eighth period, Patrick, Tobey and Scott were in the boys' locker room changing into their gym clothes. Once the period started, Coach Leffell took the boys who signed up for tryouts out to the field. The rest of the boys, how few they were, played dodge ball with Coach Jessup.

Coach Leffell told the boys to sit on the bleachers. "Alright, listen up. I have heard about football players being bullies. I will tell you right now, if you are caught being a bully, you will not play on our football team. Is that clear?"

"Yes, Coach," the boys yelled out in unison.

"I will allow two excused absences from practice during the season. If you have a third, you and one or both of your parents must see me before you will be allowed to practice or play."

A boy raised his hand, "Coach, what if you are in the hospital for a week?"

"I will take that under advisement and make a determination based on why you were in the hospital," Coach Leffell replied. "Now, who knows what they are averaging in classes?"

All the boys raised their hands. "How many of you have a D or lower in at least one class?" One boy raised his hand. Coach Leffell stated, "To play football, you cannot have lower than a C in any class. Your academics come first and if you can't maintain a C or better in all of your classes, you cannot play football. Those are not my rules but rules I must enforce. How close are you to bringing your D to a C?"

The boy replied, "We are having a test tomorrow. If I get a B or an A on the test, I will have a C."

"And what are your chances of getting an A?" Coach Leffell inquired.

"An A?" the boy looked nervous, "the class is English, and I ain't sure about an A, but think I can maybe get a B."

"Go join the boys in the gym." Everyone watched as the first boy walked back to the gym. "I am serious people, if you cannot maintain at least a C, you cannot play. I will not talk your teachers into raising your grade so you can. I don't care if you are one hundredth of a percent away from a C, YOU. WILL. NOT. PLAY."

"Coach, I have A's in most of my classes. I am getting a B in Science. If the B dropped to a D but the rest of my classes were still A's…"

"You would not be allowed to play. You are at school primarily for academics. I cannot stress that enough. Do I want to win games? I wouldn't be a coach if I didn't, but I would be failing you if I let you get away with failing even one class."

"Coach, when will we know if we made the team?" Patrick asked.

"Before I answer that, let me ask, how many of you have played on a football team in elementary or wherever?" Three boys raised their hands. "How many of you played football with friends for the first time on Friday. You have NEVER played football before then?" Ten boys raised their hands. "Ricky, why did you sign up to try out?"

"My dad thinks I would have fun and I would learn about teamwork."

"Do you think you will enjoy it?" Coach Leffell asked. "Practice is hard work, then you go out against another school who may try to hurt you."

Ricky didn't answer; he ran into the gym screaming. Coach Leffell looked at the boys, "We do everything we can to reduce injuries, but they do still happen. Thanks to improved gear, concussions are greatly reduced from what they were even five years ago. I am not telling you this to scare you, but that you might be informed. IF you get a concussion, you will need a note from your family doctor stating that you are allowed to play. Now, to answer Patrick's question, all this week we will be trying out. Those of you who have never played before, don't worry. Sometimes, you make the greatest players. Now, who has ever played as a quarterback?"

None of the boys raised their hands. "Who would like to be a quarterback?" Four boys besides Patrick raised their hands. "Great, we will start with Patrick today. Now, who would like to be center?"

Scott and three boys raised their hand. When the coach picked Scott, Patrick gave him a funny face and the coach chuckled.

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13 September 2016

Patrick and Scott had Language Arts I for their first class. After the tardy bell rang and attendance was taken, the teacher stated, "Two days ago was the fifteenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. None of you were born yet, but I want to discuss the people who died. Some people say they were heroes, but were all of them?"

One of the girls in class raised her hand, "I don't think all of the people who died were heroes. Some were simply victims."

"I tend to feel the same way, Melissa," Mr. Yates concurred. "So, what makes a hero?"

"My heroes are football players," one boy blurted out.

Melissa asked, "Are football players really heroes?"

"That is an excellent question," Mr. Yates commented. "You have the remainder of the class to write an essay on what you consider to be a hero. I would like your essays to be around five hundred words. If you do not finish, it will be your homework, and if you do finish, you won't have any."

 What does being a hero mean to me?

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I hope you enjoy the story and that it draws you in, wanting more. If you have any suggestions or concerns, don't hesitate to email me. Thoughts and suggestions are always welcomed and may or may not be implemented. Concerns will be considered and addressed as much as possible.

Also, I have created a mailing list. If you would like to be added to it to be informed of new submissions, please contact me at Zarek A Dragon... Please let me know that you read it on The Story Lovers' Website.

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