(Fear of homosexuals)

It was a chilly night in February when the plan came into Travis Glick’s head. He thought about it and when he had almost every bit of it worked out, he decided to discuss it with his cousin. Glick’s cousin, Tommy McConnell, was an 18-year man-child who would do anything that his cousin asked of him, as long as you had enough patience to explain it to him. Travis also got together with five other friends who he had known from high school and who could also be easily manipulated. Their names were: Jimmy Logan, a 6’3”, brown-haired guy who had played football in high school and who, when he wasn’t playing football, would sit at home or with his buddies, get drunk, and get in his pickup truck and look for a fight; Eddie Farraday, a 5’7” guy who had a “Napoleon complex”, lifted weights, and liked to shoot guns at defenseless animals; Gus Deavers, a 22-year old who worked as a bartender and who would not check IDs when his underage friends came in; Douglas McGlennis, another relative of Travis’ who knew who to talk to for anything considered “illegal”; and, finally, John Withers, a too frequent resident of juvenile court since the age of seven. It was a Friday night when they all got together at The Cattle Drive bar where Gus worked.

“So, Travis, what’s on your mind?” Eddie asked. “You know that I’m not much for drinkin’.”

“OK, listen, guys, I been thinking about this for a while and I think that we should do it. Have you read in the paper about the Supreme Court deciding about “fag marriages”?”

“Yeah, what about it?” Jimmy asked.

“Well, I think that we all should go up to Washington DC and let them know that we ain’t going to stand for it. Shoot, the way things is going they’re going to make sure good Christians are going to have to marry ’em in church without any say so from the pastor. Hell, for all we know, they could force us to get gay married.”

“I understand what you’re sayin’, but why are you so concerned about it?” Gus asked as he took a big sip of beer.

“Cuz, I don’t like faggots and I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand for the government tellin’ me who I got to marry!”

“I got ya, but what do you have in mind?”

“Doug, do you know someone who can get us some C-4? Or Semtex?”

“I think so, Travis. When do you need it and how much?”

“I know the guy that is head of security at the Court; he’s my brother-in-law. I already called him and asked him if he’d be willing to help us. He said that he would. Now, listen up! Here’s what I was thinking.”

Travis lowered his voice so that the others would have to lean in to hear him. The sound of The Oak Ridge Boys was playing through the barroom speakers. By the time that the bar was ready to close, the six friends were all in agreement.

Travis had only had two beers during the meeting, because he didn’t want the police to stop him for drunk-driving. In fact, he told the others that they were all to do nothing which would draw attention to them. He had also decided that there would be absolutely no discussing of their plans either on the phone or through any wireless media. They were not even to mention the plan with either their girlfriends or members of their families. Travis was mainly concerned about Tommy and John; Tommy, because he sometimes tended to blurt things out, and John, because of his criminal record. He even considered having Tommy stay with him, since he had his own apartment, and having Jimmy stick around with John, but he eventually decided that, since he had emphasized the importance of the plan, they could be trusted.

Travis got home and went to his kitchen and tossed a frozen burrito into the microwave. When it was done, he put it on a plate, grabbed a beer from the refrigerator, and turned on the television. He just happened to catch a news story about the Westboro Church members picketing a soldier’s funeral. Travis was split in how he felt about the picketing; on one hand, he agreed with the church being at “fag” rallies, but, on the other hand, as a patriotic American, he felt that protesting was uncalled for, unless they knew that the soldier was a “fag”. He looked at his watch and saw that it was time for Hannity’s program and changed the channel. Travis was an avid admirer of Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity because, during the times that they had a liberal “wonk” on their shows, they managed to slaughter the opposition. By the end of the program, Travis had finished his dinner and decided to go to bed.

“Travis, come on over here! I wanna show ya something.”

Mike Quincy was a friend of Travis’ who he had met earlier in the year at elementary school. He was nine years old, and so that made him a year older than Travis. When Mike called him, they had been playing “Soldiers” and Mike told him that he had to pee. Travis had a small bathroom in his bedroom that Mike was using, so Travis jumped up from the floor to see what Mike wanted to show him.

“Take yours out and we’ll play “Swords””.

“”Swords? What’s that?” Travis was a bit shy about being in a bathroom with another boy, but he trusted his friend.

“It’s when we both pee at the same time and then we fight each other with our wieners.”

“I don’t know; that sounds weird.” Travis looked towards his bedroom door and saw that it was closed. He decided to take a chance. He walked into the bathroom, unzipped his pants, and stood next to Mike and peed. When they were both done, they took their “weiners” in hand and started to fight. They were really getting into it so they didn’t notice when Travis’ step-father came into the room.

“Travis, it’s time…What are you perverts doing!!! Oh, Jesus, help me! Mike, zip up and go home! Travis! Come with me!”

Both boys closed their zippers and Mike Quincy ran out of the room and down the stairs. Travis’ step-father, a man of the cloth, was boiling with anger! He grabbed Travis by his shoulders and step-marched him down the stairs towards the basement. He yanked the basement door open, pulled the boy down the stairs, and then let him go, but told him to grab hold of one of the cement columns in the basement.

“Son, I’m going to beat the sin out of you! I will NOT have perverts in my house!”

“Yes, sir.”

Having said this, his step-father took off his leather belt which had a big bronze buckle engraved with a crucifix on it and proceeded to start swinging. He started on Travis’ back and then on the back of his thighs. He continued belting him until Travis fell to his knees and passed out. He was revived when his step-father poured a glass of water on his face. The man’s belt was looped back through his pants and, through the fog of pain, Travis heard:

“Get yourself up to your room! You are strictly forbidden to see or talk to that sodomite ever again, you understand me, boy?!?”

“Yes, sir” Travis weakly replied and slowly walked up the stairs. He blushed when he saw his mother sitting at the kitchen table with her head lowered. Travis saw tears dripping from her eyes and thought, “Mom! Aren’t you going to do anything?” But Travis knew that it was useless; his step-father ruled this roost and he had probably told her that she was not suppose to say anything to her son. As always happened, this was the moment that Travis woke up and wiped away a tear. He got out of bed, looked in the mirror, and said quietly, “Ain’t going to be no more perverts here!”

The next day, Doug McGinness came into the grocery store that Travis worked at and called him to the side.

“Travis, I thought that I’d let ya know that my contact might be able to get half a kilo of C-4, do you think that that will be enough? He wants $200 for it.”

“That’s not too bad a deal, Doug. Tell you what, Gus works tomorrow night, so why don’t we all go down to The Drive and discuss it. By that time, I should be able to get some more information on the building and we’ll go from there.”

“You got it, Travis. I’ll let Eddie, Jimmy, and Johnny know about the meeting and you can talk to Tommy and Gus about it.”

“Good deal. See ya later.”

The next night, everyone was at The Drive. They got there before the place got busy, so that they could speak without being overheard. There were only two customers sitting at the bar and they were more interested in the basketball game on the television. Once Gus brought them their beers and sat down in a chair which positioned him to keep an eye on the bar, Travis got started.

“Here’s what I’m thinkin’. We go up to DC the day before the Court meets. We’ll all be able to stay at my brother-in-law’s place because my sister will be working the night shift. We’ll take three cars; I’ll take Tommy; Jimmy and Eddie, you go with Doug; and Gus, you bring Johnny with ya. Each vehicle will be carrying a portion of the C-4 in case the cops stop any of us, the rest will be able to get away. I do suggest, however, that no one does anything to get stopped by the cops. Once we get to Randy’s place, I’ll go over the layout of the building with everyone. Is all that clear?”

The rest of the conspirators silently nodded their heads. Gus got up from the group and drew a beer for one of the men sitting at the bar.

Since Tommy would be traveling with Travis, Travis thought that it would be a good idea to have Tommy stay over at his apartment the night before they left for Washington. Tommy liked his cousin and he was excited to be spending some alone time with him. The main reason for this was that he wanted to ask Travis about some things and he would have felt awkward asking in front of the others. Both men had just finished dinner and were washing the dishes, when Tommy shyly said:

“Travis, exactly what is a homo…homosex-ual?”

“Tommy, it’s when a guy has sex with another guy; it’s against God and Nature.”

“But why do we gotta blow up the Court?”

“Tommy, listen. The Supreme Court is going to decide whether homos can get married. If they say it’s OK, then the next thing you know, they’ll let those perverts marry sheep or molest little kids. We live in a Christian country and if we let them get away with this, God will punish us.”

“How will God punish us?”

“I’m not rightly sure, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the government makes preachers marry these perverts and take away those that refuse to a camp.”

“A camp? Like summer camp?”

“No. These camps would make the preachers start teaching socialism to little kids and if they refuse, then the government will have them killed.”

“So, what’s socialism?”

Travis was used to explaining things to Tommy, but sometimes…. Travis put the drying cloth down on the counter, went to the refrigerator, took out two beers, and told Tommy to have a seat at the table. This gave Travis a little time to think of an answer to Tommy’s question.

“Socialism, as I understand it, is like Communism. It’s when the government takes away your right to carry a gun, when people who are too lazy to get a job, just wait for the government to give ’em food stamps, so that they’ll vote for ’em. It all started when that man, Obummer, stole the election. And you know, don’t cha, that when a foreigner who’s a Muslim steals your country, then you got to stand up and fight!”

“Yeah, I guess so. Can I ask one more question?”

“Sure, then we’ll go watch TV.”

“Well, when my step-daddy aboosed, ah, abuse-ed me, did that make me a pervert?”

Travis got silent. He never did know why his father had gotten Tommy out of his foster home when he was eleven, so he was unsure how to answer him. His father had only said that he had been abused, but not how. Travis was twelve when Tommy came to live with him and his family and Tommy never spoke about what had happened. Travis was surprised that Tommy had brought the subject up after being quiet about it.

“Well, what do you mean? How did he abuse you, if you don’t mind me askin’?”

Tommy’s face turned red, he stammered a little, and then he said:

“The reason I ask is ’cause your daddy said I was never to mention it while he was alive, but…well, it seems to me, with all your talk ’bout homos…”

Travis braced himself for what his cousin was trying to say. Tommy’s step-dad was dead (killed in a drunk-driving accident), so Travis calmed himself down and quietly said to Tommy:

“Now if you don’t want to talk about it, that’s alright. That man is dead and he cain’t hurt ya anymore.”

“I know. I just want to make sure that I’m not a pervert.”

“OK then. Tell me what he done.”

“Well, I think I was eight years old when he married my mom. My mom was working, one day, at the department store and I had just got home from school. Ray was sittin’ on the couch with a beer in his hand and watching TV. I was hungry and asked him if I could have some milk and cookies. Ray slowly got up from the couch, walked into the kitchen and looked in the fridge. He said that we didn’t have any milk, but if I really had to have some, then he would give me some of his milk. He told me to close my eyes and open my mouth. I was afraid, but I did it anyway. My eyes were shut tight, then I heard a zipper noise, then he grabbed my head and put his dingus in my mouth. He told me to suck on it or he would beat the hell outta me, so I sucked. After a couple minutes, his dingus got hard, I could hardly breathe, and some salty stuff went in my mouth. When he was done, he told me to swallow it. I did and he told me that if I ever told anyone, he would kill me and my mama. Does that make me a pervert?”

Travis was shocked when Tommy finished his story and some tears came out of his eyes. He clutched the edge of the table, then got up, walked over to Tommy and hugged him.

“No, that don’t make you a pervert. Only if you liked it.”

Tommy patted Travis on the shoulder and said:

“No, I didn’t like it.”

Travis broke away from Tommy and said:

“Come on, let’s go watch some TV. I think “Mama’s Family” is on; you like that, right?”

Johnny Withers and Eddie Farraday were sitting around Johnny’s apartment drinking beer and smoking some weed. They tended to hang around with each other because they both had spent time in juvie. Eddie hadn’t been in the same joint as Johnny had been because he lived in another state at the time. Johnny had gone to juvie when he was twelve years old for selling weed; Eddie was incarcerated for beating up a kid at school and almost killing him when he was thirteen. They had both spent two years in confinement.

“Hey, Johnny, what…ah, what do you think really got Travis going on about this plan?”

Eddie, who usually was a quiet guy except when he was high, thought about the question and said, “Oh, you know how his daddy is. The old man prob’ly knocked all sorts of shit into his head.”

“Yeah, you may be right, but the reason I ask is because that can’t be the only reason. Do you think something might have happened to him as a kid?”

“Dude, why are you so…ah, concerned about it? Don’t tell me you’re a fag!”

“Hell, no! They may have tried to get me into that shit in the Hall, but I wasn’t goin’ for it. I didn’t even beat off until I got out of there and, believe me, that was bad enough.”

“Yeah, I know. When I first got in, this guy…I don’t know…was maybe a year older than me and about six inches taller, and when he thought that no one was lookin’, said to me, ‘Boy, you gonna be my bitch! Yeah, I can feel your mouth now.’ “

“So, what’d you do?”

“I didn’t say anything; I just jumped him and beat the hell out of him. Course, I get solitary for it, but I tell you what, that guy ended up as my bitch!”

“Wait, wait, you mean that you…you know.”

“Yeah, well, it only took once for the other kids to get the message. But, I wasn’t a fag. It was a matter of, what’d they call it? Oh, yeah, GURD, gay until release date.”

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Yeah, I heard ’bout that. Well, I guess if you wasn’t the one takin’ it up the butt, that don’t count.”

“You better believe it don’t! So, how’d you avoid that?”

Johnny’s cheeks got red before he said, “Well…I guess you could say that I got blessed. I didn’t hit puberty until two months before I got out. They saw that I was worth hittin’ on since I didn’t have my pubes, plus I told ’em that I had connections on the outside that could get them anything they wanted, so the Main Boy (as they called him) told the others that I was “off limits”.”

“Well, good for you. Speaking of getting things, you got any more beer?”

The day for their departure for Washington DC had finally arrived with no one being arrested. The C-4 had been evenly distributed and safely stored away. Travis gave the other two groups a map and the address to Randy’s place.

“Now, you all remember to drive within the speed limit and don’t do anything to get yourselves noticed. If any of you need to pull over for gas, food, or to use a restroom, flash your lights two times. Everybody got that?”

The others nodded their heads and then headed to their cars. It was a bright sunny morning in July and the summer humidity had not started yet. The three cars pulled away from the curb in front of Travis’ apartment and, looking like a metal caravan, made their way out of the suburbs. It would take them the better part of the day to get to Washington DC from their medium-sized town in West Virginia, but everyone had come prepared. Most of the guys had brought some CDs with them while those who hadn’t, turned on the radio. Travis had brought some CDs, which Tommy had asked if he could bring, but in the beginning, Travis told Tommy that he wanted to listen to the radio. Travis always kept his radio tuned to his favorite country-western station, but early in the morning the station had a preacher on who always gave Travis “inspiration”. Travis thought of it as a good sign that the preacher was talking about God’s judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah, but, if he had really thought about it, he would have realized that this wasn’t so much of a good sign as it was a planned political statement. The preacher, of course, quoted the more frequently used verses from Leviticus with cross references to Revelations. While driving, Travis would nod his head and occasionally come out with an “amen!”, but Tommy, who was getting bored, just looked out side of his window and hoped that the preacher would quit talking so that he could ask Travis to play his Dolly Parton CD.

Tommy was infatuated with the buxom singer and, when he was alone at home listening to her, he would sometimes stare at her picture in the case and play with himself. When he finished, he would sometimes say to the picture “I’m sorry, ma’am” as if the singer was in the room with him. Tommy also liked to play video games even when he lost. He just liked to imagine himself inside the game, playing a role. He especially liked the “Nascar” game, since he was ineligible to get a driver’s license or own a car, it gave him a sense of normalcy. Travis had helped show him how to play video games and Tommy had been grateful to Travis ever since. That was why Tommy was going to Washington DC with Travis; Travis had told Tommy to think of this as a video game that they were going to win. Tommy liked that idea, since every other way that Travis had tried to explain it to him still did not make sense.

Gus drove about three car lengths behind Travis. Even though he had never been in trouble with the law, just having Johnny in the car with him was a good enough reason to be cautious, let alone the C-4 sitting wrapped in a towel on the back seat floor. Johnny wasn’t too bad of a guy to have around, but Gus knew that if the police stopped them for any reason, Johnny would be the one who the cops would take away and if they insisted on checking the car, they would probably find the C-4. Gus glanced over at Johnny, who was sitting quietly smoking a cigarette. Neither one of them were really big on chit-chat, but Gus decided that the long trip would be less boring if he could think of a topic that the both of them liked. Finally, he said, “Johnny! Why don’t you turn on the radio and see if you can find a basketball game.” Johnny shrugged his shoulders, put his cigarette on the lip of the ashtray, and turned on the radio. He slowly and methodically turned the dial but all that he could pick up was a couple of country-western stations out of Charleston, an oldies station, and a fire-and-brimstone preacher. “Nothin’ good on. How ’bout a CD?” “Sure, what’d ya bring?” “I got Johnny Cash, Madonna, Metallica, and Def Leppard.” “Why the hell do you have Madonna? That bitch is a fag singer!” “Maybe so, but the way she dresses gives me a stiffy!” Gus laughed out loud and said, “Just make sure that Travis don’t see it! He hates any group or person that is gay-friendly. Hell! He just about had a fit when he came into The Drive one night and someone played “Candle in the Wind.” Johnny just chuckled, shook his head, and said, “What are you goin’ to do with him?” After that, Johnny lit another cigarette, then offered one to Gus, who took it. Johnny lit it for him so that Gus wouldn’t be distracted from his driving. After a while, Johnny asked Gus, “So why did you decide to get involved in this plan?” Gus thought about it for a moment, then said, “Two reasons. First off, I don’t want to see our country turned into a Sodom and Gomorrah and secondly, you guys are some of my best customers, so I got to keep an eye out on y’all.” Johnny laughed and then put in a Metallica CD, but he kept the volume down to a decent level because he had promised Travis that he would not attract any unwanted attention.

After two hours of driving, Jimmy Logan asked Douglas to pull into the next comfort station so he could use the restroom. Jimmy finally realized that it had probably not been a good idea to bring a litre bottle of cola with him, but he tended to get dry-mouth when traveling. Douglas flashed his lights twice to let the others know that he would be turning off the highway at the next exit, which was about a mile away. Finally, when all three vehicles pulled into the rest area, Jimmy made a quick beeline for the bathroom. When he entered, he didn’t even pay attention to his surroundings or the odor. Jimmy walked up to the urinal, unzipped his fly, released his joint (as he liked to call it), and let loose. Due to his family’s religious background, he closed his eyes and pulled back his head while he urinated. When he was halfway finished, he heard the restroom door open, so he assumed that it was another one of the guys coming to take care of their business. Jimmy had just finished when he heard a gruff voice next to him.

“So, where you headed?”

Jimmy saw a man who looked like he was in his mid-forties with salt-and-pepper hair color and a beard and mustache. The stranger was dressed in a red plaid shirt and jeans with leather chaps. Jimmy told the man that he was with some friends and that they were heading for Washington DC. The man unzipped his pants and took out his penis as if he was going to use the urinal next to Jimmy’s, but then he said,

“So, you’re a good-looking kid, you want to party?”

“What do you mean?”

The stranger nodded down towards his penis and said, “How about you play with me and I’ll play with you.”

The light bulb finally flashed over Jimmy’s head when he realized what the man was asking him to do. Jimmy’s whole body stiffened and he saw red. Jimmy grabbed the man by his shirt collar, pushed him against the wall, and said, “You fucking faggots sicken me!” and, without saying another word, Jimmy swung his fist and smashed the man’s nose. He continued to pummel the man and was finally prevented from killing him, when Eddie and Travis entered the bathroom when they heard Jimmy yell. They grabbed Jimmy by the shoulders and pulled him away from the bleeding man who appeared to be unconscious.

“God damn it, Jimmy! I told you not to do anything to attract attention to us! Get in the god-damn car and let’s go.”

“But, Travis, he asked me to…”

“I don’t want to know, you idiot! Now, GO!!!”

Jimmy glared at Travis for a few seconds, but then stomped over to Doug’s car.

It was 10:00 PM by the time the caravan of plotters arrived at Travis’ brother-in-law’s place. Travis knocked on the door and Randy Boudean let the tired men in. The apartment had two bedrooms; Randy would sleep in his own bedroom, while Travis and Tommy would share the other room. One of the remaining men would sleep on the couch, while the others would have to be satisfied with the floor.

“Are you guys hungry? Amy made a large lasagna for you. Anyone want a beer?” Randy asked his guests. Despite their tiredness, all of the men were happy to help themselves to Amy’s generosity. Some of the men ate at the kitchen table, while the others either set their plates on a coffee table or their laps. When everyone had finished eating, Travis got them all out into the living room in order to go over the plan. Randy handed Travis a map of the city, which he spread out on the empty coffee table.

“All right. We are here about, what Randy, three miles?”

“That’s about right.”

“What do you figure is the easiest way to get to the court? What time of day?”

“Well, I figure if you go west on Constitution Avenue, you’ll eventually hit 2nd Street SE. When you get there, turn left and go down to First Street NE. It’s probably best if you park along the street or use a parking lot and then walk down to the Courthouse. If you all get there around 10:00 AM, you can sign up for going on a tour.”

“Alright, now, once we get on the tour, every body try to stay at the back. Randy, do you have the specs for the inside of the building?”

“Yeah, here. I marked with an “X” the best places for you to slip away from the tour.”

“Great. OK, Tommy, you’ll stay with me. Jimmy and Eddie, you’ll slip inside these restrooms, and when they are clear, you go to the last stall in each one, put up the “Out of Order” sign on the doors, and stay quiet. Gus and Doug, you’ll both sneak into the Court Room and plant the C-4; Johnny, you be the lookout. Is everyone clear on what they have to do?”

Jimmy raised his hand up.

“Tell me again, why Eddie and me got to hide out in the bathrooms?”

Travis sighed.

“You guys are going to be the back-ups if any of us get caught. If nothing goes wrong, then me and Tommy will come and give ya the “all clear”. Since Randy will be stationed near the entrance to the building, he’ll be able to distract the other guards when we make our escape.”

“Yeah, but what if we don’t escape?”

“Well, then, you’re on your own. I suggest that you don’t get caught. Once you’re out of the building, calmly make your way back to the cars. When everyone is safe, then we leave.”

Eddie raised his hand.

“Yeah, but if everyone gets out, who’s going to set off the C-4?”

“Randy will. I suggest we all get some sleep now; it’s going to be a long day tomorrow.”

The next morning, Travis was the first person to wake up and he went around and got the others out of sleep. Randy had made a pot of coffee and made toast for everyone. Amy, Randy’s wife, had called him around eight in the morning to let him know that work had been more hectic than expected and she wouldn’t be home until around noon. She worked as a nurse at Walter Reed Hospital and her supervisor had asked her to do some overtime. Randy told her that it was fine with him since it would mean more money to pay off their bills, but he also told her to try to get some rest, if possible. Once everyone had been fed, they got ready for their coming adventure. Some of them thought of what they were about to do as a “mission from God”, while some of the others thought of it as either a chance to be on TV or as something different to do in order to fight boredom.

“Doug, Gus, are you two set up and ready to go?”

Doug and Gus nodded their heads and Gus said, “Let’s do it!”

They all put on their jackets and walked down the stairs to get in their cars.

There was a bit of chill in the morning air, but the sky was a crystal blue. Travis and Tommy were leading the caravan through the unfamiliar streets. Tommy sat in the back seat looking back at the other cars to make sure that they didn’t get stopped by the police or if they fell too far behind. Before they had left the apartment and Randy had left for work, he went over the route again with Travis. In some things, Travis had to be occasionally reminded what he was to do or how to get someplace. Since they were in unfamiliar territory, Travis refused to turn the radio on since he considered it would be a distraction. Tommy was not happy about it, but once Travis explained his reason for it to him, Tommy quit complaining. “Besides, Tommy, we’ll be where we’re goin’ soon enough”, Travis told Tommy as a way of apologizing. Ten minutes later, Travis was pulling into a parking garage. The others pulled in two minutes later. Travis and Tommy got out of their car and waited while the others found parking spaces near Travis’ car.

“All right. Let’s go. You all know what you got to do.” Travis told the group.

They all had found spaces on the second level, so they all quietly walked down a nearby stairwell and stepped out onto the street. Travis noticed a couple clouds floating by which looked like there might be some rain coming later in the day, but he didn’t think that it would cause any problems for their plans.

When they arrived at the Courthouse Building there was a line of people standing on the stairs waiting to get into the building, but it seemed to be moving at a good pace. The seven conspirators got in the end of the line, not saying a word to each other. Travis noticed that Eddie was starting to sweat, but he didn’t think that he would break and run; Eddie was not someone who would “chicken out”. The only person that Travis might have had doubts about was Gus. As a bartender, Gus was someone who usually talked to people at his job, but Travis also knew him as someone who knew when to listen. Within fifteen minutes, Travis was at the entrance to the building and a guard told him to wait while the preceding tour group left and the docent came to lead the next group. Soon, a smiling brunet walked up to where Travis was standing and the guard let the next dozen people enter the building. The docent stood next to the wall waiting for her group to form up and, once everyone was together, she said,

“Welcome to the Supreme Court Building! My name is Kesha and I will be your guide. Before we start, please stay together, do not wander off, and, unfortunately, there is a no photos policy in force. If anyone is caught taking pictures, you will have to have a discussion with Homeland Security. If anyone has any questions, please speak up.” No one spoke or raised their hands, but a couple people did grumble about the “No Photos” policy.

“Now, if you will all follow me. The Supreme Court Building was constructed in…”

Jimmy and Eddie slowed their steps enough until they were both at the end of the group. Soon enough they were nearing the doors of the public restrooms. They both looked around, saw that no one was looking at them, and quietly opened the restroom doors. Fortunately for both of them, there was no one in either facility. Almost like a synchronized swim team, they slipped into the bathroom at the same time and made their ways to their ordained positions. They took out the “Out of Order” signs out of their jacket pockets and taped them to the doors. Once they opened the doors, each man tried to get comfortable in the stalls without having their feet showing under the doors. Eddie managed fairly easily; he sat on top of the toilet tank with his feet on the closed toilet lid. Jimmy, because of his height, was finding it more difficult. In either case, it was irrelevant because while they were trying to get comfortable, two officers entered the restrooms. Eddie had just gotten seated when the stall door crashed inwards and Eddie found himself facing two drawn pistols. Jimmy, on the other hand, had just turned around also to sit on the tank, when the door crashed in, he got knocked back and hit his head on the wall. He was not conscious when one of the officers handcuffed him.

In the meantime, the group that the other conspirators were with had just entered the room where the justices heard cases. Gus, Doug, and Johnny casually glanced around, estimating where to plant the explosives. After the docent had told the group everything relevant to the room, she led them back out without noticing that her group was three men short. Johnny stood by the door, keeping an eye out through a slight crack, while Gus and Doug went to plant the explosives. Just as Gus headed up towards the justices’ bench, six armed police officers sprang up from behind the seats. Their sudden appearance stopped the two men in their tracks and, when Johnny looked back to see what the noise was about, the door that he was guarding was quickly and forcefully pushed in and Johnny was knocked down to the floor. The trio were quickly handcuffed and, surrounded by officers, escorted out of the room and the building.

Travis and Tommy were just finishing their tour and not really paying close attention, when suddenly two plainclothes officers who had been in the group, grabbed the two men by their arms and shoved them to the wall. Tommy, who did not understand what was happening, struggled with the officer and yelled to Travis. Before he get free in order to help his cousin, his body was racked with a bolt of electricity and he fell to the ground looking like someone having an epileptic seizure. The docent, who had expected this to happen, quickly ushered the rest of the group away from the scene. Travis, who had wanted to reassure Tommy, had, however, put up no resistance since he knew that it would be useless. Eventually, the two cousins were led out of the building. While being led down the stairs, Travis saw that Randy was also in handcuffs. Travis knew, then, that they had been betrayed but he couldn’t figure out who the traitor had been. All of the conspirators were put in a van (the C-4 had been confiscated) and driven away.

At the police station, the conspirators were put in cells and individually interrogated. While he was waited to be questioned, Travis heard a news report coming from the waiting room television.

“All eight of the conspirators were believed to be angry because of the ruling which is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow by the Justices on the issue of gay marriage. We are unsure, at this moment, of how the plot was discovered. We have only been told that Homeland Security received an anonymous phone call. Meanwhile, in other news,…”

It suddenly became clear to Travis how they had been betrayed because, just before the camera had switched to the studio, Travis saw his sister-in-law in the background holding another woman’s hand, and he remembered that just before he went to bed last night, Randy had told him that he thought that Amy was cheating on him. Randy must have mentioned the reason why all of them were coming to DC to Amy. Randy was right in one respect; his wife was cheating on him, but not with another man. Travis just slumped down on the bench in his cell and, for the first time in years, started to cry.

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