“Happy birthday Steve!” Neal replies as he hands Steve a card then he lights the candle in the cupcake.


“Ah Neal this is really sweet. Roses are red and violets are blue, we all love you so happy birthday to you! Ah I think I’m going to cry.”


“Blow the candle out I got you something.”


Steve blows the candle out and then he takes the box Neal’s hands him.


“Neal you didn’t have to do that.”


“Go ahead open it!”


Steve sets the box on the desk then he unties the ribbon and he removes the lid and then he reaches inside and he takes out a photo album.


“What’s this?”


“It was my mom’s idea.”


Steve opens the photo album and he sees pictures of him and Neal as kids which cause Steve to laugh.


“Neal is that you?” Steve asks as he points to the picture.


“No that is us! Look how little we were.”


“Oh my god! Where did your mom get all of these pictures?” Steve asks.


“Well she took most of them and you know my mother she collects things. A few months back she got on this organizing kick so she drug out all the old pictures and put them into albums. Out of all of these pictures there is one she really wants you to see.”


Neal turns a few pages until he comes to a page where an old black and white picture now yellowed with age rests and it shows two women, much younger, all smiles with their arms around each other.


“Oh my god Neal that’s….”


Neal puts his arm around Steve’s shoulders. “I know.”


“….My mom and your mom. Oh my god look how beautiful she is. I always forget your mom and my mom were friends.”


“Ruby has a special dinner planned for you so don’t be late.”


“She didn’t have to do that I mean she has so much on her mind what with the baby and all.” Steve replies.


“Well she’s stubborn….”


Steve looks shocked. “Ruby stubborn? No way!!! This has started out to be the best birthday ever.”


“Well I’m glad that you said that because I can remember a birthday when I really screwed up.” Neal replies.


“Neal! You screwing up? I don’t believe it!” Steve smiles.


“Yeah man go figure!! And I almost lost my best friend because of it.”


“Well you didn’t! I have to call your mom and thank her for this gift.” Steve replies.


“She would love to hear from you.”


“So let’s talk about the time we went our separate ways.” Steve replies.


“Let’s do it! It was another birthday long, long ago.”


“Now it wasn’t that long ago Neal. The way you carry on people are going to think I’m ancient or something.”


“What do you mean by the way I carry on?”


“I mean you have a tendency to exaggerate.” Steve replies.


“I have a tendency to exaggerate?” Neal repeats.


“See you agree with me!”


“No I wasn’t agreeing with you about anything except maybe about the part about you being ancient!” Neal replies.


“Ewwww I am not ancient!!! You are almost the same age I am!!” Steve points out.


“Ah! The key word there is almost bucko!!!”


“Then why is it everybody thinks you’re older than me?!” Steve points out.


“Because I have a level of maturity that is undeniable….”


This causes Steve to laugh hysterically. “A level of maturity? Do you call dropping water balloons off the roof of Ruby’s club mature?”


“Yes and you were helping me by filling them!”


Steve laughs. “Oh I did do that didn’t I? That was a lot of fun!”


“Okay well maybe I do exaggerate a little and I only say that because it’s your birthday.” Neal replies.


“And just maybe I might be a little bit ancient and I can say that because it’s my birthday!”


“Happy birthday Steve and we all love you.” Neal replies.


“Thanks Neal and I love you guys too so let’s do this so I can eat Ruby’s dinner.”


“Okay like I said it was another birthday….”










“Okay Steve sugar blow out the candles!!!”


Steve leans over the table and he blows out all the candles in one breath as Neal and Ruby applaud.


“Steve you better sit down man before you keel over! You old man you!!!” Neal says as he pats Steve on the back.


“Funny! Ruby the cake is so beautiful I hate to cut it.”


“Well sugar you gave me the recipe I hope I did your mother justice.” Ruby replies.


“Ruby you have nothing to worry about.” Steve replies.


Steve carefully cuts the cake and he gives himself the biggest piece then he cuts two more for Neal and Ruby.


“Hmmmm Ruby this….this is wonderful!” Steve says around a forkful of cake. “Actually Ruby the whole night was wonderful, the dinner, all of it! I can’t remember when I’ve had a nicer birthday.”


“Well it’s not over yet sit down sugar we have presents for you.” Ruby says excitedly.


“Oh no! Come on guys you didn’t!!” Steve protests as Ruby leaves the room.


Ruby returns a few minutes later carrying a big box that is gaily wrapped with a big ribbon and Neal makes space on the table for it.


“Wow that is really a big box! I wonder what’s in it!”


“There is only one way to find out sugar!”


“Yeah come on Steve open it.” Neal prompts.


Steve takes off the ribbon and the paper and when he removes the lid he gasps loudly as he opens up the tissue paper. “Oh my god!”


Neal takes the leather jacket out of the box and he holds it as Steve tries it on.


“Guys this is way too much and way too expensive.”


“Look Steve it’s a perfect fit!” Neal replies.


“This is the same jacket I have been looking at for weeks.” Steve replies as he rubs the sleeve.


“I know and I told Ruby about it.” Neal replies.


“I went back there on Monday to look at it and it was gone, oh man I was upset!!” Steve says.


“Now sugar you don’t wear this to work, this is a jacket you wear on special occasions.” Ruby replies as she adjusts the collar. “On dates and such when you want to look extra special. Do you really like it?”


“Oh Ruby I love it! Thank you!” Steve replies as he hugs her. “And I promise I won’t wear it to work! It is way too nice for that.”


“Okay Steve I’ve saved the best for last.”


“You mean this isn’t the best? What did you do Neal buy me a car to go with it?” Steve asks as he smiles.


“Oh no but I do have a big surprise for you and the first part is this….”


Neal takes an envelope out of his pocket and he hands it to Steve.


“Money?” Steve asks as he takes it.




“Oh it’s a birthday card?” Steve says as he looks at Neal.


“Well open it and read it!” Neal says excitedly.


Steve takes the card out of the envelope and he reads it.” “Happy Birthday son. I will see you soon. All my love….” Steve stops and he has to look harder to make sure that he is seeing it right. “….Your father, Ray. Neal what is this….a joke?”


Neal looks confused as he shakes his head. “No, not at all. My mom called me and said that Ray was back in town and he stopped by looking for you….”


“Looking….looking for me?” Steve asks.


“Yeah and he dropped off the birthday card and she said that she would pass it on.” Neal replies.


“Oh okay….wait you said this was the first part? What’s the second?” Steve asks.


Neal points to the writing in the card. “Where it says he will see you soon….”




“He will be seeing you! Soon I mean! Very soon as a matter of fact!”


“Neal what do you mean he’s going to be seeing me soon?”


“Surprise!!! He’s coming here to Oceanview to see you!” Neal replies excitedly.


“What!!!! Neal what did you do? What do you mean he’s coming here to Oceanview?” Steve says loudly.


“He’s coming here to see you Steve. He’s been back in the old hometown for weeks asking about you so mom told him where you were….”


“Your mother told him where I was?!” Steve says loudly.


“Yeah and they made plans….”


“Well call and cancel them!!” Steve yells.


“Steve it’s too late he’s on his way here, mom put him on the bus the day before….”


“He’s on a bus on his way….here?” Steve says.


“Yeah Steve what’s wrong….? Neal asks as he puts his hand on Steve’s arm.


Steve pulls his arm back from Neal’s hand like he had been burnt. “What’s wrong? What’s wrong? I can’t believe that you just asked me what’s wrong!!! This whole stupid surprise of yours is what’s wrong!!!”


“Steve honey we didn’t mean to….” Ruby says.


“No Ruby this has nothing to do with you! This is all Neal’s fault!!” Steve says as he yells at Neal.


“Steve I thought you would like it I mean you haven’t seen your father in years….”


“Neal you have done some stupid things in the past but this tops them all!!!! In all the years that you have known me Neal have you ever heard me talk about Ray?!”


“Well I….”


“Have you Neal?!”


“No I guess not.”


“And did you ever think there might have been a reason for that?? Like maybe I didn’t care about him anymore or just maybe I never wanted to see him again!!!! Ever!!!!”


“No but Steve he told my mother that he misses you and that he wants to be in your life….”


Steve laughs. “Oh he did? Well that is certainly a good one I must say! He misses me….!!! Well the answer is no!!!! No!!! I don’t want to see him! I don’t want him in my life and you would have known that if you would have just asked!!!! You big dumb jackass!!!!”


“Steve don’t go man let’s talk about this!”


Neal yells after him as he follows him.


“Thank you Ruby for the great dinner and cake. I love you.”


“Steve honey please don’t be mad at Neal….”


Steve flings open the front door and he takes the stairs two at a time with Neal following him.


“Steve! Stop! Come on man let’s talk about this.”


“No Neal it’s too late.”


“Steve it’s never too late come on talk to me.” Neal says as he catches up to Steve at his car and he stands behind him as Steve fumbles for his keys.


“Yes Neal it is you should have asked me before you went off half-cocked and did something this stupid!!!”


“Steve I’m sorry….”


Neal reaches out and like he usually does he reaches out and he puts his hand on Steve’s shoulder but this time Steve does something that, at least for Neal, was totally out of the realm of belief.


Steve turns around and he shoves Neal out of the way. “You’re sorry? How dare you assume anything about me? How dare you assume that I would want to see him again?” Steve replies as he walks towards him.


“I was wrong Steve and I admit that….”


“Oh my god the great Neal actually admits that he was wrong!? Did hell just freeze over?”


“Look you little Portuguese pip squeak I said I was sorry and that should be the end of it!!! I was wrong but he’s on his way here and there’s not a damn thing either one of us can do about it!!!” Neal yells.


“You know Neal your right there’s not a damn thing we can do about it so I’m going to go home and you can play the good host because I want nothing to do with him!!!!!”


Once again Steve turns his back on Neal and he starts to walk back to his car but even before he gets a few steps ahead Steve wheels around with his hand balled up into a fist and he swings but Neal anticipating ducks and then he grabs Steve around the waist and he runs him backwards into his car.


“Steve stop it!!!”


Steve is able to get one leg up in between them and once again he shoves Neal away using his foot and as Neal staggers back Steve comes at him once again with his hand balled up into a fist but instead of hitting him in the face Steve hits him hard in the stomach, not once but twice. When Neal doubles over Steve connects with a fist to Neal’s jaw which sends him reeling backwards. Neal falls to one knee in the middle of the street holding his stomach trying to catch his breath.


Then he turns and looks at Steve and by now it is a different Steve that he had never known before. This Steve was wild and defiant and angry, Neal, for as long as he has known Steve he has never seen him like this before.


Steve stands there in a fighting stance his hands balled tight into fists. “Stay down Neal if you know what’s good for you….”


But of course Neal being Neal he doesn’t and he pivots on one foot as he turns to go after Steve and Steve holds his ground and when Neal gets closer Steve reaches out and he grabs Neal by his arm and he easily flips him like he was a sack of garbage and when Neal lands on his back Steve jumps on him.


They roll back and forth on the ground with Steve getting in a few more good shots to Neal’s face and just when it looks like that Neal may make contact with Steve’s face Ruby runs down the stairs and she jumps on Neal’s back.


“Stop it!!! Stop it you two!!! You’re going to kill each other!!!”


Somehow she manages to pull Neal off of Steve.


“Ruby damn it go back upstairs!!!” Neal says.


Steve wipes the blood from his lips. “Yeah Ruby this has nothing to do with you!!”


“Yes it does! I love you both and your best friends….”


“Maybe not for too much longer.” Steve replies as he gets to his feet.


“Steve….” Neal says.


“Don’t….I need time Neal. I have to decide what to do.”


“Do? Do about what?”


“Everything Neal everything. Don’t call me….not for awhile. I have to go….”


Neal makes a move to go after him but Ruby stops him. “Let him go Neal, let him go.”








Neal was late. The bus from Hanford had already arrived a good fifteen minutes ago and since Neal had no idea where Steve’s father was in the huge bus terminal building and after so many years he wasn’t sure what he looked like, Neal had him paged.


Five minutes later a distinguished man, with dark short hair and dressed comfortably and carrying a big suitcase came walking towards the counter and when Ray realized that Neal was the one that had paged him he excitedly shook Neal’s hand. Even after all these years Neal should have recognized him. Because here he was looking at how Steve might look like way in the future.


“Mr. Perry, remember me, I’m Neal Schon.”


“Little Neal Schon from the old neighborhood! Yes sir I do remember you! You have certainly grown up!”


Neal smiles. “Yes sir.”


“And you became a boxer?”


Neal looks puzzled then he touches his face. “Oh no sir it was just an accident.”


Ray looks around. “Where’s Steve?”


“He couldn’t be here so I told him I would come and get you. You’ll see him later.” Neal picks up his suitcase. “Is this the only piece of luggage you brought?”


“I like to travel light.”


“For traveling light this thing sure is heavy! The car is right out there.” Neal replies as he nods and he takes Ray by his arm to guide him.








“Not only is your lady friend beautiful Neal but she is also a great cook and your neighbor Ida is a wonderful lady.”


“Ruby loves to cook. Do you want some more coffee?”


“Oh no I think I have had enough.” Ray pauses as Neal pours himself another cup of coffee and Ray looks out at the ocean. “Steve doesn’t want to see me does he?”


Neal looks over at Ray. “Well….”


“Tell me the truth Neal.”


“No Ray he doesn’t want to see you and all of this is my fault. He beat me up….”


“Little Steve did that to you?” Ray asks.


Neal laughs. “He’s not so little anymore.”


“Of course he isn’t. Sometimes I forget you know. I still see him as that little boy, my little one. I don’t blame him for not wanting to see me; I should go back to Boston.”


“Oh no Ray don’t go just yet, Steve is stubborn….”


“Just like his mother.” Ray smiles.


“He’ll come around I mean his curiosity will get the best of him and he’ll want to see you. If you could just stick around for a few days Ray.”


Ray sits there thinking for a few minutes looking at the patio then looking out at the ocean. Then he nods his head. “Okay I’ll stay.”




“Neal do you like to play cards?” Ray asks.


“Cards, yeah sure I mean Steve and I have played a lot of cards on stake-outs. Do you want to play cards?”


“I would love to play cards.” Ray replies.


“I don’t think I have a deck of cards.” Neal replies as he stands up.


“Oh don’t worry Neal I do.” Ray replies as he follows Neal into the house.








“Hey Steve watcha doing?” Neal asks.


“What does it look like I’m doing?” Steve asks as he takes things out of his locker and puts them into a box.


“The Captain said you requested a transfer?” Neal asks.


Steve shrugs. “Sort of, Vice is short-handed….”


“Vice? Steve you don’t like vice.”


Steve stops and he looks back over his shoulder at Neal. “I do now….”


Neal looks down at the floor.


“….Besides it’s only for a month or so.”


“What happens after a month?”


Steve shrugs. “I don’t know yet. Maybe a transfer someplace else.”


“A transfer to someplace else? You mean another city?” Neal asks.


Steve shrugs. “Maybe.”


“And you were going to tell me this when?” Neal asks.


“Oh I don’t know maybe the day before I was to leave.”


Neal looks shocked. “You mean after all we have been thru that is the only amount of consideration I was going to get?”


“Yeah Neal because that is all the consideration you gave to me regarding Ray showing up here!!” Steve replies as he turns to face Neal.


“He just wants to see you Steve.”


“I don’t care! If he wants a son you can be his son. I had a father, that was Marv and Marv is gone. I have to go.” Steve replies as he slams his locker shut then he picks up his box. “See ya around Neal.”


Neal can only watch him go.








“So Steve I heard you and your partner broke up.” Tommy replies.


Steve takes a deep breath. “Like I told you last night and the night before we didn’t break up I’m on loan okay.”


“Well you two morons shut up!!! Every night it’s the same thing! We have a bad guy to catch so can we please do that!” Robert replies.


“It’s been three days now and no bites on old Stevie boy here. Well I mean he’s gotten a lot of bites but so far it hasn’t been the right fish. He is probably long gone by now.”


“I don’t think so. I think he’s been watching and waiting for just the right time. So how do I look? Do I look sexy enough?” Steve asks as he twirls around. “Do you see the wire?”


Robert whistles. “Oh yeah I’ll say. Nice shirt. Nope man don’t see a thing.”


“This old thing, its Neal’s….” Steve says as he hesitates for just a minute then he puts on his jacket. “I better get out there.”


“We’re be watching Steve.” Tommy replies.


“Yeah go get em man.” Robert replies.


Steve goes out of the room thru the adjoining door into the other room and just to make things look right he messes up the bed then he opens the front door to the room and he goes outside to the sidewalk and he starts walking.


This part of town, the East side, was not exactly the best of town at night or sometimes not even in the daylight. This section was mostly industrial with more than its share of run-down motels, a few tired mom and pop liquor stores and of the course the people who frequent the night. The people who tried to make a living under the cover of darkness. So tonight once again Steve was playing the part. Once he left his motel room he would turn left and start walking up and down the street, sometimes pausing in front of one of the liquor stores with its locked bars in front.


There were a few streetlights on this stretch of street and the last bus of the night had made its last run and only a block away was the highway which lead to better sections of the city. So here Steve was….waiting. And doing this gig gave Steve a lot of time to think and tonight like the other nights he was at the bus stop bench, with one foot resting on it, his arms crossed over his knees as he leaned over puffing on a cigar, the light breeze blowing back his hair.


“Hey man got a light?”


“Holy shit man where did he come from?” Robert asks as he watches from the window.


“I don’t know.” Tommy asks as he starts recording the audio.


“Yeah sure.” If Steve was startled by this guy sudden appearance he didn’t let it show. He took his foot off of the bench as he took a lighter out of his pocket and with the guys hands cupped around his he lit his cigarette.




“No problem man.” Steve replies as he starts to walk off.


“Hey man do you know where I can find some action?” The guy asks.


“What kind of action are you looking for?” Steve asks.


The guy looks Steve up and down. “Your kind of action. I scored some primo shit and I thought you and I could share it.”

“I don’t know man I mean it’s still early and all….”


The guy looks around. “In all honesty man I don’t see a line forming anywhere and I have money.”


“You’re sure it’s primo man?” Steve asks.


“Yeah man when I party I only party with the best.”


“Okay man I got a room.”


“Cool.” The guy says as he walks next to Steve.


When they get to the room Steve unlocks the door and they go in.


“It ain’t much man….” Steve replies.


“That’s cool.” The guy replies as he locks the door behind him.


“Do you want a beer man?” Steve asks.


“No man but I’ll take your money! All of it and no funny shit or I’ll cut you.”


Steve turns around with his hands in the air.


“Ah come on man don’t rattle my cage I barely have enough to cover rent in this hole.”


“Come on cutie fork it over….”


Even before the guy could finish his sentence Steve raised his foot and he kicked the knife out of his hand and when it hit the floor both men made a dive for it and Steve came up with it.


And just as the guys run in from the other room Steve takes the knife and he embeds it in the floor right next to the guy’s head.


“My name isn’t cutie it’s Steve!!!”








“Hey Steve.”


Booking the guy in seem to take hours and Steve was ready for a hot shower and bed but he stopped and turned at the sound of Neal’s voice.


“I heard that you got the East side slasher. Congratulations man that’s a big collar for you. It’ll look good in your service jacket.”




“Hey isn’t that my shirt?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah it is I’ll get it dry-cleaned and give it back to you.”


“Oh that’s cool you don’t have to.”


“Look Neal I’m tired I’m going to go home.” Steve replies.


“Alright man hey don’t be a, you know, a stranger.”


“Yeah man later.” Steve replies as he walks off.








It was late but Steve was still wound up from the collar so after his shower he grabbed a cold beer and it took some finding but he managed to find it. He didn’t take much from the house before the bank took it but he did take a few of his parent’s things and a couple of these as well. A photo album. The cover was worn, so much so, that the gold lettering had been worn off by the years of hands that had touched it. This one had to be his favorite album, the one before everything changed. This was the album full of pictures of Ray and Mary, their wedding day, the day he was born. Pictures of the house that Steve grew up in, all of it, laid out here in black and white. These good memories making him smile.


Steve glanced up at the clock and he was surprised to find that it was four o’clock in the morning now he felt like he could sleep so he threw the empty beer bottle in the trash, put the album back in it’s new place and when he bent over to turn the light off, he saw it, the picture on the end table. He has seen it a million times but until now he never, really noticed it, but now with the light making it glow he couldn’t help but notice that it was a picture of himself and Neal after he had graduated from the Police Academy. Steve simply reached out turning the picture faced down, after turning the light off he went to bed.








“Neal honey you didn’t finish your dinner.” Ruby says as she joins Neal on the patio.


“I know. I’m sorry Ruby it’s not your cooking it’s just….”


Ruby sits in Neal’s lap. “Steve isn’t it?”


“Yeah of course it is. Oh Ruby I screwed up big time. I mean Steve and I have had our run-ins but this time I think it might be over.”


“Oh no honey don’t even say that Steve would never leave you.”


“Oh Ruby he’s working vice….”


“I know but you told me that they were short-handed….”


“I know I told you that but what I didn’t tell you is when the month is over Steve is thinking of transferring to another precinct….Ruby how can I fix this? I mean if Steve goes to another precinct it will kill me and it’s all my fault. He hates me Ruby….”


“Oh no honey don’t say that Steve could never hate you. You two are closer than brothers. Steve will realize that you were just trying to do something special for his birthday. You didn’t mean any harm.”


“Then why do I feel like I have done something wrong? He avoids me at the precinct and he won’t take my calls….oh Ruby I think….I think I’ve lost my best friend.”


Neal buries his head on her chest as she holds him closer.








“Ruby?” Steve asks as he opens his apartment door.


“Hello Steve honey may I come in?”


Steve looks around. “Ah….well….yeah sure come on in. I mean this is quite a surprise.” Steve replies as he opens the door for her. “I wasn’t expecting company….I mean I’ve been working nights and all and I haven’t had a chance to….” Steve picks up a few magazines and a shirt off of the floor. “….Have a seat. Do you want coffee or tea?”


“No sugar I just want to talk to you.”


“Oh okay sure.” Steve replies.


“It won’t take long.”


Steve puts the magazines back on the coffee table and he drapes the shirt over the arm of the sofa.


“Did Neal send you here?” Steve asks.


Ruby shakes her head. “No honey he didn’t. He has no idea that I’m here. He misses you Steve….”


“He shouldn’t have done what he did.”


“Yes I know and he knows it too Steve but he didn’t mean you any harm.”


“Is he….here?” Steve asks slowly.


“Yes he is and he asks about you everyday. I think he loves you just as much as Neal does….”


“Ah Ruby don’t say that.”


“It’s true Steve.”


Steve shrugs. “I’m still trying to work things out I mean I’m confused.”


“Neal thinks you hate him.”


“That I….oh no no I don’t hate him I could never….I mean I never thought that I would ever see him again.”


“You mean your father?” Ruby asks.


“Yeah I mean I didn’t know if he was alive or dead and then all of a sudden Neal said that he was coming here! Coming here to Oceanview! God I didn’t know what to do I still don’t know what to do!”


“You could try talking to Neal like you’re talking to me right now. In all the years I have known Neal I have never seen him this way.”


“What way?” Steve asks.




Steve takes a deep breath. “Ruby….”


“Neal knows that he made a stupid mistake in not asking you first but when he heard that your father was back in the old hometown all he could think about was your family. He knows how badly you miss your mother and your step-father but in Neal’s way he thought this was a connection. A connection to the only person that is left of your family Steve. Neal was so excited and happy for you, he couldn’t wait for your birthday to tell you. Forgive him Steve.”


“Neal or my father?” Steve asks.


Ruby smiles. “For now Neal.” Ruby takes Steve’s hands. “The rest will come later.” Ruby kisses him on the cheeks. “We love you Steve.”


“I love you guys too Ruby.”


“I must run.” Ruby replies as she opens the front door.




Ruby stops and she turns at the sound of his voice.


“….How does he look?”


“Why don’t you come and see for….yourself?” Ruby replies as she waves then she leaves.








Steve used his key to unlock Neal’s apartment as he carried in his hand a few dry-cleaned shirts, a pair of pants and a jacket on hangers and he purposely picked this time of day because he knew that Neal would be at work. He hung them on the hook on the front of the closet door because he knew that Neal would see it there and he turned to leave….


“Neal is that you?”


He came out of the bedroom wearing khaki’s and a white t-shirt covered by a long, sleeved well worn flannel shirt looking very much like he did when Steve was a kid.


Steve’s hand was on the door knob of the front door and when he heard his voice he froze both of them looking at each other thru a portal of time.


“Steve?” Ray asked as he came a little closer.


“Yeah it’s me.” Steve replied as he looked at the floor.


“Oh my god! Look at you! My little boy has grown up.” Ray says as he reaches out to touch him but Steve shies away from him.


“Don’t….don’t touch me.”


“Sorry. You remind me so much of your mother Steve, you have her hair. You have grown into a very handsome man Steve.”


“Thanks. I….I didn’t know that you were staying here. I thought Neal got you a hotel room or something.”


“No he wanted me to stay here with him until….”


“Until?” Steve asks.


“Until you felt comfortable enough to come by and see me and here you are.”


Steve laughs. “Oh no I didn’t come here to see you I just came by to drop off some dry cleaning for Neal. That’s it! I didn’t even know you were here! It was not my idea to bring you here!!”


“I know Neal told me. I just wanted to see you son.”


“Don’t call me that!!! I’m not your son!!!” Steve replies as he moves into the living room to give himself some space between them.


“Yes Steve you are.”


“No!” Steve says as he points at him. “Marv was my father! Marv was a great man and now he’s gone!! He was the only one, for years, that called me son! You lost that right when you walked out on us!!!”


“I left you and your mother because I loved you….”


Steve laughs again. “Oh that’s rich!! You left us destitute and in poverty because you loved us???!!! Do you have any idea how hard it was for her? How hard she had to work? And when I got older how hard we both had to work?”


“You don’t know why I left!”


“Yes I do!! When I got older she told me everything!!!”


“I don’t do that anymore Steve.”


“Somehow I doubt that!! Look this isn’t going to work. Why don’t you go back to wherever you came from and go back to whatever other family you might have….”


“I don’t have anybody else Steve. You’re the only family and child I have. Steve, I wanted to come here to tell you that I love you and I never stopped loving you or your mother.”


“I don’t….”


“I know these words don’t mean much but I’m sorry.”


“You’re right they don’t mean much at all.” Steve replies.


“I’ll be here for another week or so, I have some business I need to take care and then I’m going back, back to the Azores.”


“The Azores?” Steve asks.


“Yes. I’m going to open up a business there and if you want you will never see me again.”


“I think I might like that. I better go now.”


Steve turns towards the door to leave.


“Steve can’t I have a handshake or a hug? Steve I want to touch you again….”


Before Steve can answer or even stop him Ray takes Steve’s hand then with Steve’s back to him he slowly puts his arm around him from behind and when he sees that Steve is not going to fight him or try to run Ray puts both of his arms around him and he rests his chin on his shoulder, his eyes closed.


“I don’t care how you feel about me son but I love you….”


Steve wipes his eyes before he pulls away. “I have to go….” Steve says as he opens the door and then he hesitates and Ray thinks that he might say something else but all Steve does is raise his eyes to his and they look at one another, ending it as it began, with a look across time and then Steve is gone.








“Hey Sam.” Neal says to the Coroner.




Neal looks back at the house that was 50 feet away from the washed up dead body then he looks back at the dead body. “Doc correct me if I’m wrong here but isn’t he missing an ear?”


“Good Detective! Yes he is. Fido and Mitzy….”


“Fido and Mitzy?”


“Yes Fido and Mitzy. The homeowner’s dogs were let out for their usual morning on the beach run and when they came back Fido had an ear in his mouth. So naturally being curious the homeowner checked and found this.” The coroner says as he nods at the body.


“Naturally. Did you find any I.D. on him?”


“None but then again if he had any it could be at the bottom of the ocean.”


“How long has he been dead?”


“Well taking into account the level of decomposition due to exposure in the ocean and this time of year that water is closed to 65 degrees, I’ll say three days or so, give or take an hour.”


“Okay three days Doc. Sam we both know that I am not a doctor but even I can tell that a person’s neck is not bent like that naturally.”


“Nope it isn’t Detective.”


“So a fall from a great height killed him?” Neal replies as he nods to the Bay Bridge in the distance.


“I would certainly say so.”


“Suicide?” Neal asks.


Sam shrugs. “Hard to tell at this point. When I get him back to the lab I’ll be able to tell if he was dead before he hit the water or after. And per usual your get my report.”


“Alright. I better go and get some info from the homeowner.” Neal replies.


“I think the officer took him into the house. He was quite upset.”


“Well I would be too I mean you don’t expect a dead body with your corn flakes and orange juice.” Neal turns to leave then he stops and he looks back over his shoulder at the Coroner. “Oh Sam where’s the ear?”


Sam looks up at him. “Fido ate it.”




“It’s alright Detective he doesn’t need it…anymore.” Sam replies as he covers him with a sheet.


“Thanks Doc.” Neal says as he walks away.








“Well Doc I must say that was fast.” Neal replies as he comes into the office.


“Well Detective it’s easy when it’s slow and the body almost identifies itself.”


“You were able to get fingerprints?”


“Oh no his fingerprints were too deteriorated….”


“And to think I was just about to call you a genius Doc.” Neal replies.


“Well hold that thought because after you see this you will call me a genius.”


“Alright hit me Doc.”


“Look thru this microscope.” Sam instructs.


Neal sits down on the stool and he looks thru the microscope and after a few minutes Neal replies,


“Okay Sam I give what is it?”


“It is a serial number from a bridge.” Sam says happily.


“A bridge? You mean like a bridge that somebody gets from a dentist?” Neal asks.


“Very good Detective.”


“I don’t see how that could I.D. him. I mean a bridge is a bridge is a bridge, right? I mean they aren’t unique.”


Sam holds up one finger. “That is where you are wrong! Look again at the number.”


Neal looks again.


“Now do you see the letters?” Sam asks.


“Oh yeah and that tells you what exactly?”


“That tells me that the bridge was made quite a number of years back and it was a custom, time consuming job. The clasp gave it away too. Somebody took the time to make a custom fitted bridge. That number and serial number identifies when it was made and where. It was made in Boston Massachusetts, circa 1970 or so.”


“Wow Sam I am impressed….”


“Oh that isn’t the best part. I called The Medical Association of Dentistry and they gave me the name of the dentist and then I called the dentist….he gave me the name of the victim.”


“Well Sam you are a genius!!! What’s the victim’s name?”


Sam looks thru his notes. “Manuel Chavez.”


“Chavez? He’s Mexican?” Neal asks.


“Portuguese actually and so is the dentist. The dentist learned his trade in Portugal and then he went to Boston….Boston has a large Portuguese community. That bridge was a lesson in craftsmanship.”


“You did say Portuguese right?” Neal asks.


“Yeah why?”


“And Boston right?” Neal asks again.


“Yeah. Is there a problem Neal?”


“Huh? Oh no that is I hope not. So was he dead before he hit the water or after?”


“After. Hitting the water is what broke his neck. Water looks nice and soft but in actuality when you hit it, it is like hitting concrete.”


“Could you tell if it was a suicide, an accident, or….”


“Murder?” Sam asks.


“Yeah murder.”


“That is a little harder to determine. He is covered in bruises but that could be from the tides throwing him against the rocks. I can look closer at the bruising and I’ll let you know.”


“Sure Sam and thanks for all your help.”


“Anytime Neal anytime.”








When Neal checked his apartment and he found that Ray wasn’t there he tried the next best place, Ida’s. Neal now knows where Steve got his lady’s man genes from, from Ray. From the first evening that Ray had been introduced to Ida the pair were almost always together and when Neal knocked on Ida’s door he had no doubt that Ray was there.


“Hello Neal!” Ida replies when she opens the door.


“Ida I hate to interrupt dinner but is Ray here?”


“Oh sure. Do you want to come in?” Ida asks.


“If you don’t mind.”


“Neal you know that you are always welcomed. Come in.” Ida says as she opens the door wider and Neal comes in.


“Ray, Neal wants to see you.”


Ray comes into the living room from the kitchen wearing an apron wiping his hands on a dish towel.


“Neal! How are you?”


“Ray can I talk to you for a minute, in private?” Neal asks.


Ray and Ida look at one another not missing the serious tone of Neal’s voice.


“Of course. Ida keep an eye on the spaghetti sauce, don’t let it burn.” Ray says as he hands her the dish towel and apron.


“Let’s go out on the patio.” Neal replies as Ray follows him and once out on the patio Neal shuts the door behind them.


“Neal what’s wrong? Did anything happen to Steve?” Ray asks nervously.


“No Ray, Steve as far as I know, is okay. He came by didn’t he? I saw the dry cleaning hanging on the door. How did that go?”


“Not well. I always pictured it differently in my mind. I always pictured him throwing his arms around me and both of us hugging but of course by now I should know better. I don’t blame him for being angry and hating me.” Ray takes a deep breath. “In a few days I’ll be leaving and going to the Azores if this is about what I owe you I will be happy….”


Neal holds up his hand to stop him. “Ray you don’t owe me anything but I do have a few questions I want to ask you.”


“You want to ask me a few questions?” Ray asks as he points to himself. “Does this have to do with a police thing?”


“Yeah Ray I’m afraid so….”


Ray laughs. “I don’t know how I could help with anything I mean I am not too familiar with the city of Oceanview or its citizens.”


“Actually Ray this is has to do with a citizen of Boston. You did say that you lived there didn’t you?”


“Yes I did say that.”


“And Boston has a large Portuguese community doesn’t it?” Neal asks.


“Well yes it does and yes I did also tell you that I have lived in that community for years and I know a lot of people.”


“Good maybe you can tell me about this guy.” Neal shows him the picture of Manuel Chavez.


“Oh my god! What happened to him?”


“He’s dead. He washed up practically on the back door step of a fancy beach front property this morning. His name is Manuel Chavez.”


Ray shakes his head. “Oh no Neal I don’t know anything about a man that drowned.”


“I never said that he drowned Ray.”


“You said that he washed up so I just assumed….”


“Where were you on the night of the 5th?” Neal asks.


Ray looks shocked. “I thought I had to be under arrest before I was interrogated!”


“I am not interrogating you Ray I just want to know where you were on the night of the 5th. That was the night that Ruby came over and made us dinner but you were gone. Where were you?”


“I took Ida to dinner and then afterwards we had a lovely walk on the beach. It was late and when I got back to your apartment you were already asleep.”


“Ray I’m going to ask Ida.”


“You can ask Ida I’m telling the truth!”


“You don’t know Manuel Chavez? He’s from Boston and he is also Portuguese.”


“So? Boston is a big place and so is the Portuguese community. I don’t know him.”


“Never seen him before? Ever?” Neal asks.




“Roll up your shirt sleeves.” Neal asks.


Ray laughs. “What? Why?”


“Because I asked you that’s why.”


“I don’t do drugs Neal.”


“I’m not looking for signs of drugs.”


“Then what are you looking for?” Ray asks.




“Arrest me!”


“Ray I can’t you haven’t done anything….”


“Exactly! I haven’t done a thing so I’m not going to roll up my sleeves so you can invade my privacy!!!”


“I’m looking for signs of a fight, bruises, scratches that sort of thing.” Neal replies.


“A fight? I haven’t been in any fights! I’m a lover not a fighter!” Ray exclaims.


Neal smiles. “That really sounds like Steve.”


“Do you really need me to roll up my sleeves Neal?”


“Yes Ray if you don’t mind.”


As Neal watches Ray unbuttons the buttons on the cuffs then he rolls up the sleeves up to the elbows and Neal sees….nothing.


“I thought you had a watch?”


“Oh I do it’s in my suitcase. Happy now?” Ray asks as he smiles.




Ray rolls his sleeves back down. “If you don’t mind Neal there is a lovely lady waiting for me and a delicious spaghetti sauce and they both need my attention. Are we finished?”


Neal smiles because it sounds so much like Steve. “Yeah we’re finished.”


“Good.” Ray replies as he opens the patio door to the living room.


“Ray you never said what you did in Boston.”


“Oh that’s right I never did. I was a printer.”


“A printer?” Neal asks.


“Yes you know. Printing. Books, newspapers, brochures that sort of thing.”


“Sure.” Neal nods. “Thanks Ray.”


“Anytime Neal anytime.”








“Hey Robert I’m looking for Steve.”


“Oh man you just missed him.”


“Just missed him? I thought he was working graveyard?”


“He is I mean he was. He went down to Personnel, something about a transfer….hey Neal where are you going?” Robert yells after him after Neal breaks and runs for the door. “….Or he might have said something about a Leave of Absence or something….!”








When the doors finally opened on the elevator Neal ran out of it and down the hall and around the corner to Personnel and he blew thru the double doors and he slid across the floor right up to the Clerk’s desk.


“Excuse me what are you doing?” The Clerk asks.


“I’m sorry! Ms….Ms. Banks, I’m looking for Detective Perry I was told that he came down here?”


“Do you work here?” Ms. Banks asks.


“Yes of course I work here!” Neal flashes his badge at her. “He’s my partner! Where did he go?”


“He left about ten minutes ago.”


“Oh!! What did he do while he was here?” Neal ask as he gestures wildly.


“Do?” Ms. Banks asks.


“Yes do!!! Did….did he apply for a transfer? A leave? Did….did he resign?!!! What!!!!”


“I can’t tell you that Detective that is confidential information.” Ms. Banks replies as she places her hands across the calendar of her desk.


“Confidential information!!!!” Neal yells then he turns and runs out of the room.








Neal flies into the office of the garage and he runs to the counter and he checks the names in the car sign-out log.


“Can I help you Detective?” Becky the secretary asks.


“Oh yeah Becky what car did Detective Perry sign-out?”


Becky takes the book. “He took the red Chevelle.”


Neal looks shocked. “Not the red Chevelle that has that new engine? The souped up one?”


Becky nods. “That’s it.”


“Of course it would be. Nothing is that easy.” Neal mumbles.


“What?” Becky asks.


“Nothing, nothing. Thanks.”


Neal leaves the garage and he runs out to his car.








When the light changed Steve took off and he was minding his own business when he just happened to look in the rearview mirror and he saw Neal behind him. Steve had no idea where he had come from.

Because just a few minutes before Neal wasn’t there but what perplexed Steve even more was the fact that Neal was behind him with the bubble light on the roof spinning and the siren also wailing. If Steve didn’t know any better he was sure that Neal was trying to get him to pull over. But that was crazy. Why would he try to do that? So Steve decided to stick his hand out of the window and motion for Neal to go around him but Neal who was behind him thought he saw something completely different.


“Hey!!! Hey!!! That little Portuguese pip-squeak just flipped me off!!! Ah!!! No way in hell is he going to get away with that!!!” Neal yells as he hits the gas.


The next thing Steve knew Neal hit him from behind.


“Hey!!!! You stupid putz what in the Holy shades of Hannah are you doing!!!!” Steve yells as he looks in the rearview mirror behind him. “Alright Neal eat my dust!!!!”


The next thing Neal knew the Chevelle suddenly jumped up, like a cat that had been startled, and it became airborne and the tail lights were halfway up the block before Neal knew what had hit him. So Neal did what any good cop would do while in pursuit of a suspect….he cheated.


At the next corner Neal made a sharp right turn and at the next a left and he raced up the street thru two intersections and then at the third light he made another sharp left and right there just about to cross the intersection was Steve in that red Chevelle.


They both saw each other at the same time and at the same time they both screamed and Steve turned the wheel sharply to the left which sent the car into a spin backwards thru the intersection and when it finally stopped rocking Steve looked up to see the Charger stopped right in front of him blocking him from leaving. Neal made an attempt to get out of the car but that was when Steve put the car into reverse and he turned grabbing the seat, as he looked behind him then he hit the gas. The car continued up the street for a good few feet going backwards then when Steve got to a wide enough spot he turned the steering wheel to the right and when the car was facing forward again Steve throw it into gear and he took off.


Neal barely had his toe out of the door when Steve backed the Chevelle up and once again he took off and Neal gave chase. They were headed out of town and they both didn’t realize it until they cross the county line and the road became a narrow two lane highway. Neal was tired of following Steve so when they got to a good, long straight stretch of road Neal hit the gas and he cross the white line and he pulled up right next to Steve.


“Steve!!! You idiot pull over!!! Now!!!”


Steve looks over at Neal and then he sticks his tongue out at him. “Screw you!!!!”


They were too busy looking at each to notice the obvious but they were forced to notice when the big truck blew its horn. The truck was huge, the headlights were huge and the horn was loud and it caused both guys to scream and to grab tight to the steering wheel of their respective car.


Neal was abreast of Steve’s car in the same lane as the truck and he was going too fast to slow down to get back behind Steve’s car so Neal didn’t have any choice but to veer to the left to get out of the truck’s path and Steve even though he wasn’t in the same lane as the approaching truck he was still scared by the horn, so he veered off to the right and when he finally came to a stop the windshield was covered by hay, a slat from the wooden fence and Neal was standing at the driver’s side window.


“Hey man are you alright?” Neal asks.


“Yeah I think so. What’s all over the windshield?”




“Hay?” Steve repeats.


“Yeah. Steve you kinda grew up on your grandfather’s farm didn’t you?”


“Well yeah sorta why?” Steve asks suspiciously.


“Is it true that bulls are color blind?” Neal asks.




Steve hits the button that operates the windshield wipers and when they had cleared away the hay from the windshield Steve sees, with the help from a light on a pole, that the car had ran thru a fence that surrounded a pasture and standing not that far away was a bull surveying the situation.


“That’s why.” Neal replies.


“Oh I don’t know man he raised turkeys not cattle.”


The bull snorts and he shakes his head back and forth.


“What color is this car again Steve?” Neal asks as he tries to open the driver’s door.


“Red. Candy apple red to be exact. Come on Neal open the door.”


“It won’t budge.”


Again the bull snorts and this time he paws the ground.


Steve puts his shoulder into the door. “Ow! Neal come on!!!”


“I’m trying!”


The bull paws the ground again and he shakes his head.


“Oh that can’t be good.” Steve replies as they both struggle with the door.


The bull lets loose with a loud, ground shaking bellow and then he starts to run towards the car.




Steve yells and Neal reaches into the car and he grabs Steve and the bull comes closer, the sound of his hooves makes the ground vibrate. Neal grabs a hold of Steve’s arm and he pulls him thru the window and Steve is half-way out just as the bull lowers his head and he aims the horns at the car and just as the bull makes contact….








“I didn’t mean to wake you.” Steve says to Neal as he comes into the kitchen wearing a bathrobe and drying his hair. Neal is making coffee.


“That’s cool man I mean my bladder was screaming. Since I was up anyway I made coffee. I guess I better go home.” Neal says as he crosses in front of Steve.


“Neal wait don’t go okay.” Steve says as he throws the towel over his shoulder and he takes a deep breath. “I’m sorry.”


“You didn’t do anything wrong if anything it was all my fault! You were right when you said that I’m always doing stupid things and I should have asked you first. I don’t know what I was thinking Steve. I mean if the shoe had been on the other foot and my mother suddenly showed up here, without any warning or anything, well I wouldn’t have liked it either. Can we be friends and partners again?” Neal asks hopefully.


Steve pretends to think about it for a minute then he says, “Yeah I would like that. You know I actually missed you, you big lummox!”


Neal leans in closer. “Well don’t let this get around the station Steve but I missed you too and when I thought I had done something so bad that you didn’t want to be my friend or partner ever again….”


“Yeah Neal?”


“I couldn’t live with myself…..I know you said that you missed me but can you forgive me Steve?”


“Yeah Neal I forgive you. Besides I couldn’t leave and let some other unsuspecting rookie become your partner now could I?”


They both laugh and like they always ending up doing one of them reaches out and pulls the other into a hug and Neal slaps Steve hard on the shoulder.




“Oh hey man I’m sorry. I guess I yanked you harder out of that car than I thought I did.”


Steve moves his shoulder back and forth. “That’s okay. It’s a good thing that you did because otherwise….the Doc said that nothing was broken just strained.”


“Here Steve have some aspirin and why don’t you go lie down on the fold out bed and I’ll get the heating pad. While you rest I’ll make breakfast.”


“Ah well Neal you don’t have to go to so much fuss….can you make those potatoes that I like?”


“Oh sure.”


“Scrambled eggs?” Steve asks.




“Crisp bacon.” Steve asks.


“Oh yeah.” Neal puts the heating pad in Steve’s arms and he steers him towards the fold out bed in the living room.


“Oh can I have a cup of coffee?” Steve asks as he makes himself comfortable on the fold out bed.




Neal goes into the kitchen and he pours Steve a cup of coffee and then he takes it back out to the living room.


“You just got me didn’t you?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah.” Steve replies before he sips his coffee.


“Okay I deserved that I guess. I better go and start breakfast.” Neal turns around to head back to the kitchen.


“Hey Neal can you hand me the remote?”


Neal stops, backs up, and he grabs the remote off of the coffee table and he hands it to Steve.








“These are the last of the dishes.” Steve says.


“Thank god.” Neal replies as he dries a glass. “When was the last time you cleaned this place?”


“Well you know it isn’t easy when you work the graveyard shift. I would go to work, walking half-naked up and down the worse streets of Oceanview, and then I would come home and I was too upset and too tired to clean.” Steve shrugs. “So I didn’t.”


“Speaking of upset those people were really upset when they saw their fence.” Neal replies.


“You know I had no idea that a side of beef could run that fast.”


Neal laughs. “Steve I know last night we didn’t feel like talking about anything serious but why did you go to Personnel?”


Steve shakes his head a little. “I went there to get the forms for a Leave of Absence.”


“Why?” Neal asks as he dries a dish.


“Well I came by your apartment to drop off the dry cleaning….”


“Yeah I saw that.” Neal replies.


“But I didn’t know that Ray was there and after I saw him I….I started to think about him. It took awhile but I finally realized that you had done a good thing; I guess I had decided to take a leave to spend some time with him. Then had to be a reason why this happened.”


Steve shrugs. “It’s silly.”


“No it isn’t. Steve can I ask you a question?”




“What happened, I mean, back when you were a kid? Why did he leave?”


“It was very simple really like most women, my mom got tired of putting up with his shit.”


“He cheated on her?” Neal asks.


“Oh no not that I know of anyway.” Steve replies as he drains the sink. “Ray was a gambler.”


“A gambler?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah. From what my mom said Ray would gamble on anything. At the beginning, when they met here in California, he wasn’t bad at all. A few card games, nothing big or serious. When they had extra money Ray would bet but Ray loved to play cards.”


“Cards? Really?” Neal asks.


“Oh yeah. Poker is his game. For the longest time Ray was well known as a card shark and after awhile no one would play him anymore, his reputation was well-known.” Steve hits Neal with a dish towel. “So Neal don’t ever play cards with the man.”


“Too late.”


“Neal you didn’t?”


“Yeah I did. That first night he was in town, that Sunday, we played cards.” Neal replies.




“And….he kicked my ass to the tune of fifty bucks.”


Steve laughs. “At first Ray would only play cards on the weekends and then it progressed to where he played cards almost every night until mom put her foot down.”


“Did he behave himself?” Neal asks.


“Hmmm somewhat.”


“So how did he do? I mean financially? Did he win a lot of money?” Neal asks.


“Remember that fancy bicycle I got for Christmas one year?” Steve asks.


“Oh yeah! The one with the fancy handle bars and wheels? All the kids in the neighborhood were jealous and I had to admit I was one of them! He won the money for that playing Poker?”


“Yeah he sure did. For awhile there he seem to be on a winning streak, he bought a new car and a lot of stuff and then all of a sudden it changed. From what mom told me he couldn’t seem to get a winning hand no matter how hard he tried and he tried believe me. That last straw was when my mom came home and the grocery money was gone and he was gone….when he did finally come back home what a yelling match they had!!! I prayed to god to make the fighting stop and little did I know when I woke up the next day….he was gone. For good this time. I remember sitting on the porch and waiting and waiting for him to come home. My mom was devastated but she couldn’t keep coming home to find stuff gone.”


“Steve I’m sorry I didn’t even know any of that stuff about you. No wonder you were so pissed.”


“Well I never said much about it. It was rough until Marv came along and then everything changed. We had a new house, food on the table; the bills were paid when they should have been and after awhile I stopped thinking about Ray. Marv was the be all and end all. They wanted to have other children, give me a brother or sister but they couldn’t and Ray was gone from my memory. And now I suppose it’s time. I remember a few months before my mom passed away she was really concerned about loose ends and her biggest concern was me. She was dying and she was worried about me.”


After they cleaned the kitchen they both headed outside to the patio.


“She wanted me to forgive Ray and she told me that every so often an envelope would come in the mail with a check in it, I didn’t even know that he did that.”


“Steve there’s something else we need to talk about.”


“What?” Steve asks as he looks at Neal.


“Yesterday a body washed up on the beach of The Bayside Enclave….”


“Ewww well I bet that really unsettled the jet set over there! Was it anybody that we know?” Steve asks.


“Not unless you recognize the name Manuel Chavez?”


Steve thinks a minute or two then he shakes his head. “Doesn’t ring a bell….”


“Steve I think your father might have known him.”


“What you’re really saying is you think Ray might have killed him?” Steve asks.


Neal shrugs. “Steve I’m sorry but I don’t know for sure but Chavez is from Boston and the same Portuguese community as your father.”


“Well Boston and that Portuguese community is a big place….”


“I know and I know I’m taking a big chance by bringing this up after what we had just been through and all….”


Steve holds up his hand. “Neal if your gut tells you that something is going on then something is going on. I trust that gut instinct of yours.”


“Steve is Ray capable of hurting or even….” Neal hesitates.


“….Killing someone?” Steve asks.


Neal rubs his face. “Yeah.”


“Neal I haven’t been around the man in years and I don’t know honestly what he’s capable of and what he isn’t capable of anymore. I know when I was a kid he would spank me but only when I needed it. I don’t know how to answer that question.”


Neal nods. “There’s also a lot of talk on the street.”


“About what?”


“That Hartman and Lewis and their boys are coming to town for a meeting.”


“Hartman….Hartman and Lewis?” Steve asks.




“Aren’t they supposed to be like the biggest money laundering and drug running organize there is?”


“Suppose to be yeah.” Neal agrees.


“I thought they stayed mainly to big cities, like L.A. and San Fran so what would they want with a little hick town like Oceanview? I mean there isn’t a lot here in the way of….” Steve stops and his eyes widen with the realization of what Neal was getting to.


Steve slowly gets out of his chair and he walks over to the railing. “Oh my god!”


“Steve keep calm okay.”


“You think Ray has something to do with those goons? Oh come on Neal!!! That is insane!!”


Neal raises his hands. “Steve look I don’t know anything for certain! Not a thing! I checked with the Boston P.D. and Ray is clean. Not even a parking ticket. But Steve I’m certain that Ray knew Manuel Chavez. I know it! Steve, Ray is involved in something.”


“So then what you also could be saying is that maybe I wasn’t his first priority for coming here.” Steve looks at Neal.


“Steve I…I don’t know. But he seemed awful serious about seeing you again….”


“Yeah I got that too. It was like he was going to see me for the last time before he….” Steve stops. “He knows we’re cops why doesn’t he ask for help?”


Neal shrugs. “I don’t know. Maybe somebody back in Boston is caught in the middle and he’s protecting them, or they threaten somebody that he knows or he….”


“….Doesn’t want help and he is involved in something shady and this is his life now. Oh Neal a person could go crazy with all the what-ifs!”


“Whatever is going to happen is going to happen in the new few days.” Neal replies.


“And I just bet that you have an idea right?”


“Right.” Neal replies. “Come on we have to go to the Precinct.”








“Neal do you have any idea what I hate more than your snoring?”


“Let me guess….stakeouts?” Neal replies.


“Bingo!!! Give that man a cigar! Man I hate this car!!!”


“Will you stop squirming around!” Neal says.


“So this was your big idea? To follow him for three days?”


“Yes Steve this was my big idea.” Neal repeats.


“I miss the Charger.” Steve replies.


“Don’t pout you’re get wrinkles. And you know Ray knows my car so we had to get another one.”


“What time is it?” Steve asks.


“Ten minutes later than when you asked me the last time. Ten past noon.”


“Hello I think we finally have movement.” Steve replies.


“Hello Houston I do believe that the pigeon has flown the coop! And wonders never cease he’s with Ida.”


They watch as Ray opens the driver side door for Ida then he goes around to the passenger side.


“You know Steve after meeting Ray again after all these years I can see where you get your womanizing tendencies.” Neal replies as they follow Ida’s car.


Steve turns and looks at Neal so quickly that Steve could easily have whiplash. “Where I get my womanizing tendencies?”


“Yes that is what I said. I mean when I was around Ray he reminded me so much of you I forgot, for just awhile, that it wasn’t you. You know Steve ever since Ray came into town he has been spending a lot of time with Ida, don’t be surprise if she becomes your step-mother.”


Steve thinks about this for a minute. “Ida Louise Perry, well it does sound good. It wouldn’t be a bad thing, Ida is a wonderful lady. So she confirmed Ray’s alibi for the night that Chavez died right?”


Neal nods. “Yeah she did. And nobody saw Ray and Chavez together so….oh look here they are at their favorite restaurant for lunch. You know Steve I think Ray’s life is more boring than yours.”


“Thank you Neal. You know Neal you think you know somebody and then they do things….” Steve looks at the floorboard of the car then he looks back at Neal. “….Well you know.”


“Yeah I know what you mean. I feel that way about you sometimes.”


“You do?” Steve asks.


“Yeah I mean I know you Steve but every so often you do things or say things I have no idea where they come from. I mean there are a lot of things from your past I feel I still don’t know about, like Ray.”


Steve looks over at the restaurant. “I know but there are some things from my past that I am not to proud of but someday….” Steve shrugs. “Wow you know that lasagna looks good.”


“Steve you just ate.” Neal points out.


“Two hours ago, hey I’m going to go around the block to that submarine place. I’m going to get a meatball sub; do you want your usual?”


“Yeah man that sounds good.” Neal replies.


“Back in a sec.”








After the movie was over Neal went around outside the theater looking for Steve.


“Steve?” Neal asks as he kicked the foot of the figure in front of him.


“Go away!!!” The figure says roughly.


“Sorry man.” Neal walks a little farther up the street to the next one. “Steve?”


“For five bucks man I’ll be Steve.” The voice says.


“Ah no man that’s cool.” Neal replies as he goes over to the figure sitting on the ground at the corner propped up by a trash can.


“Steve this better be you or I’m going to put out an APB.”


“Yeah man it’s me.” Steve replied as he adjusted his hat as he looked up at Neal.


“Wow Steve when you blend in you really blend in.” Neal says as he helps Steve to his feet.


“Thanks and look what I got!” Steve exclaims as he holds up five dollars.


“Where did you get that?”


“From a couple leaving the movie.” Steve replied.


“You’re not going to keep that are you?”


“Oh no of course not. Hey man here you go.” Steve replies as he walks over to one of the other homeless guys and he gives it to him. “So how was the movie?” Steve asks as they walk over to Neal’s car and Neal opens the trunk.


“It was interesting to watch it from the projection booth. Ray didn’t budge for two hours and according to our teenage informant Ray bought popcorn, cokes and Goobers before the movie and they went right into the theater. According to the other stakeout guys Ray took Ida straight home after and Ray is in my apartment right now.”


Steve removes his hat and coat and gloves and he puts them in the trunk.


“And just before I came looking for you the Captain got a hold of me and there’s a new wrinkle.”


Steve runs his hands thru his hair. “Oh yeah what’s that?”


“The Feds.”


“The Feds? You aren’t serious?” Steve asks loudly.


“Afraid so.”


Steve slams the trunk down on the car. “Time for a new tactic.”


“What’s the plan?” Neal asks.


Steve gets in on the passenger side followed by Neal who slides in behind the wheel. “Let’s stop by Mel’s Liquor Store.”


Neal looks over at Steve and even in the dark Neal can see that Steve has something on his mind. “Does this have something to do with the new tactic?”


“Maybe, I want to get some cigars.”


“Cigars? Alright you lost me.” Neal replies.


“Don’t you usually pass out cigars when you have a new son?”


“Even if he is grown and a cop?” Neal asks.


Steve nods. “Even if….”










The day was overcast and the wind was chilly as it blew off of the ocean and when Ray turned at the familiar voice that called his name the wind comb it’s fingers thru Ray’s hair and standing not that far away, in both place and time was Steve.


Steve stood there as the wind has it’s way with his longer hair, his fists balled up in the new jacket that he had gotten for his birthday. Both men looked at one another, neither one of them moving, then Steve slowly took a step, then another, then another until the distance between them lessen then disappeared altogether.


Ray looks at him so much wanting to touch him but afraid of Steve’s reaction. “After the other day, I didn’t think I would ever….”


“I know me too.” Steve replies.


Ray raises his hand. “I still can’t get over how much you look like Mary and how much you have grown. Where have all the years gone?” Ray wipes his eyes. “That’s a nice jacket.” Ray says trying to lighten the mood.


“It was a birthday present and I was told to wear it for special occasions and I can’t think of a more special occasion than this.”


Ray was surprised when Steve took a step forward and he put his arms around him and then when Ray put his arms around Steve it was like the years they were separated never happened. It was like a long drought had finally ended. Ray put his hand on the back of Steve’s head, just holding him close, like he had done when he was a little boy then Ray cupped Steve’s face with his hands as he looked at him wiping his tears away with his thumbs.


“Meu pequeno.” Ray says as they smile at each other.


“My little one.” Steve smiles. “The only one that ever called me that was you.”


Ray kisses him on the forehead as he smiles. “I have thought about this moment for years but somehow there seems to be something missing.” Ray replies.


“What’s that?” Steve asks.


“Warmth! Let’s go inside! I’m freezing!!!”


Steve laughs. “Yeah me too.”


Ray puts another log on the fire as Steve brings him a cup of hot apple cinder.


“Thank you son.” Ray stops and he looks at Steve. “I’m sorry….”


“Don’t be. Here have a seat in Neal’s comfy chair.” Steve says as he moves it closer to the fireplace and then Ray sits down and Steve moves the ottoman in front of it and he sits down facing him. “I have done a lot of thinking lately and the word ‘sorry’ has been used way too much these past weeks, so right now I make it illegal to use that word! Okay!”


Ray smiles. “I agree!”


“I also have been doing a lot of thinking lately about what you said about leaving us because you loved us. I understand what that means now and why you did what you did so I want you to understand why I’m going to do what I have to do.”


“I….I don’t understand what you mean.” Ray replies.


“Ray why are you here?”


“Why am I here? I’m here to see you Steve and I have something I want to give to you.” Ray sits the cup on the hearth then he gets out of the chair and he goes into the bedroom and a few minutes later he returns holding an envelope that was yellowed with age and he hands it to Steve.


“Happy belated birthday son!”


“Ray you didn’t have to….” Steve replies as he turns the envelope over in his hands.


“This is from your mother and me. Go ahead and open it.”


Steve carefully opens the envelope and he pulls out some official looking documents. “What are these?”


“The day we found out that your mother was pregnant with you we took our money and some that our parents gave to us and put them into government bonds for you. The whole family Steve was so proud and excited when you were born! You were the first in the family to be born here! So now they have matured and so have you! They are worth a lot of money son so put them in a safe place! I love you Steve.” Ray puts his arms around Steve and he hugs him.


“I don’t know what to say.” Steve replies.


“You don’t have to say anything son. Now let’s sit back down at the fireplace and have a nice, long talk. Tell me everything! Do you have a special lady in your life?”








“I can’t believe you spent all afternoon with Ray and he didn’t tell you a thing!” Neal replies as he throws the dart at the board.


“Well he didn’t. Ray is now caught up with all the details of my life but I still don’t know anything about his.” Steve replies as he throws a dart at the board and it is closer to the center than Neal’s.


“And it doesn’t help that Lucy and Ethel from the F.B.I. is here snooping around.” Neal replies as he throws the last dart. “Damn!”


“Well at least they don’t seem to know anymore than we do.” Steve replies.


“Yeah a fact finding mission my ass!!” Neal replies as he removes the darts from the board and when he walks back to where Steve is standing he hands him four of them.


“You and I both know that they are here for Hartman and Lewis or H&L Industries as they like to be called.” Steve replies as he watches Neal throw the first dart.


Neal misses. “Damn! You know Steve when the F.B.I. shows up they just take over everything!”


“Yes I know.” Steve throws the dart and it hits the center. “Ah you owe me five dollars!!! Don’t look now here comes Lucy and Ethel.” Steve replies as he pulls the darts from the board.


“Hello boys.” One of the F.B.I. agents say as they come over to Steve’s and Neal’s desk.


“And the names are Agent Lucerne and Agent Everett!!!” Agent Lucerne replies as he points to himself and his partner.


Steve walks over and he stands in front of Agent Everett whose arms are crossed over his chest and Steve has to look up since Agent Everett is at least 6’4 and weighs 250 pounds. And Steve mimics his stance.


“Like I said Lucy and Ethel. Why don’t you two crawl back into whatever hole you came out of?”


Agent Everett looks down at Steve. “I believe that your Captain told you two to cooperate now do I have to tell you what the word means small fry?”


Steve stands on his tippy-toes. “Did you just call me small fry?”


“Yes I do believe that I just did. Small fry, pee wee, pip-squeak and little boy!!! And by the way my big toe is probably bigger than your…..!!!”


“Ewwww don’t you say it or I….!!!” Steve replies as he points his finger at him.


“….Or you do what small fry?” Agent Everett asks.


“Or I….or I….bite you on your….knee!!!” Steve replies.


Everett and Lucerne laugh. “Don’t laugh man I’ve seen him do it!!! It’ll hurt like hell!!!!” Neal replies.


“Hey Neal I hate to interrupt playtime but you have a phone call.” One of the other detectives reply as he holds the phone out to him. Neal goes over and he takes it and he immediately glances over at Steve and then he turns his back but Steve caught his glance.


“Hey guys look, you know, you don’t like us and we don’t like you but why don’t we bury the hatchet as they say and let’s go out to the candy machine and I’ll buy you two a candy bar, or two?” Steve replies.


“Big spender aren’t you?” Agent Everett replies.


Steve laughs and he glances over at Neal who is still on the phone. “Funny! Look guys we are both on the same side here, the side of the law that is. We both put our pants on one leg at a time….” Steve says as he holds up one finger. “….and we all stand up to pee.”


“But….some of us have to stand on a box.” Agent Everett replies as he looks down at Steve.


Steve then grabs a chair and he slams it down in front of Agent Everett and he jumps up in it. “That was just rude and highly uncalled for I must say!!!!”


“Alright guys lookit….” Neal replies as he comes back holding a piece of paper. “….Since we’re suppose to cooperate and all of that I just got a tip where H&L are….” Agent Everett snatches the paper out of Neal’s hand and he looks at it.


“Is this legit?” Agent Lucerne asks.


“Of course it’s legit! I got that info straight from our most reliable confident informant!” Neal replies.


Agent Everett looks over at Steve who is leaning on his shoulder. “Oh yeah man most reliable confident informant.”


“What’s the catch?” Agent Everett asks.


“No catch man.” Neal replies as he puts up his hands. “Free and clear! The collar and the glory will be all yours.”


The two agents look at one another then they look back at Steve and Neal. “You’ll do that? For us?” Agent Lucerne asks.


“Oh yeah man, you know, you win some and you lose some.” Neal replies as he shrugs. “You guys better go. You know how those bad, federal criminal types are.”


“Yeah sure and thanks. Come on Lucerne lets go.”


Steve stands on the chair as he watches them grab their coats off of the coat rack and when Agent Everett turns around Steve smiles and he waves at him. “Bye!! Write when you get work!!!” Steve replies.


Then he continues to watch as they go out to the hall and they turn left as they head towards the elevator.


“Are they gone?” Neal asks.


“Seems to be. Where did you send them?” Steve asks as he jumps down out of the chair and Neal hands him his jacket.


“To the Massage Parlor on fifth. The girls there will delay them for us.” Neal replies.


“And where are we going?” Steve asks.


“I’ll tell you when we get to the car. Let’s go out the back way.” Neal replies.







“Why did they have to pick a houseboat in the dead of winter?” Steve asks.


“That is a good question but one I don’t know the answer to.” Neal replies as he looks thru the binoculars at the houseboat.


“How far out do you think they are?” Steve asks.


“Hard to say but it doesn’t matter because we have to go and get them.”


“We….have to swim right?” Steve asks.


“Well we have the element of surprise.” Neal replies.


Steve takes a deep breath. “How many people do you think are on that thing?”


“I see two guards walking around the boat with big guns and from the silhouettes on the inside I’ve counted five.”


“Five?” Steve repeats.


“More or less.” Neal replies as he shrugs.


Steve looks around. “You know I’m surprised that they don’t have guards posted out here.”


“Well they probably didn’t think that anybody would be stupid enough to come out in the dead of winter to find them.”


“Obviously they haven’t met anybody as stupid as us!” Steve replies.


Neal drops the binoculars to the ground. “I know you didn’t mean for it to come out that way. We swim out there and pick them off one by one. Easy breezy.”


“You know too bad Ruby isn’t a cop we could use her for a distraction. You know she could do the dance of the seven veils….or something. I was kidding. I don’t really want to see Ruby naked….”


“Stop it now! Wait! You know in a strange sort of way you have a good idea.” Neal replies.


“I do? What good idea did I have? Tell me so we’re both know!”


“About the distraction. We do it this way….” Neal replies.








“Hey Jack got a smoke?” Bill asks as they stand on the side deck of the houseboat.




“Jack what is that?” Bill asks as he points out to the water.


“Well I’ll be dipped that’s the row boat and it’s upside down!” Jack exclaims.


“What’s it doing out there I thought it was tied up at the stern and how did it get upside down?”


“Well obviously it became untied! You better go out and get it.” Jack replies.


“Me? Why me?”


“Because you used it last that’s why. Besides you know how Mr. Lewis feels about his boats. Better hurry before it gets too far out.” Jack replies.




Bill hands Jack his rifle and he takes off his jacket and he drapes it over the railing then he steps out of his shoes and using the ladder he goes down into the water.


“Oh shit this water is cold!”


“Better hurry Bill.”


Bill swims away from the ladder and Jack watches as Bill makes it out to the row boat and then Jack watches as Bill disappears pulled underneath the water by something.




Jack waits and watches but Bill doesn’t resurface. Jack puts down his rifle and he takes off his jacket and shoes and using the ladder he lets himself down into the water and he swims over to the row boat and even before he gets a hand on it he too is pulled beneath the surface. A few seconds later the row boat is turned upright by Steve and Neal and in it are Bill and Jack, tied up by the rope that once held the row boat to the stern of the houseboat and they were gagged by their own socks. Neal and Steve together give the row boat a good, hard shove and it begins to drift away from the houseboat. Then Steve and Neal swam to the houseboat.


Neal got to the ladder first and when he reached the deck he reached down to help Steve up. Once they were on the relative safety of the boat Neal reached for Jack’s jacket and he handed it to Steve who gratefully put it on and Neal put on Bill’s and they each reached for a rifle. With the rifles slung over their shoulders they slowly and quietly made their way to the stern where they pulled the anchor up and then Neal turned and he went upstairs to the helm.


Even though the occupants of the cabin were busy conducting business it didn’t take long for them to notice.


“Do you feel that? We’re moving. You go and check!” Lewis says to one of the armed men in the cabin.


The man leaves the cabin and seeing the anchor that was placed on the deck he walks over to examine it and that is when Steve steps out from around the corner and Steve hits him on the back of the head with the butt of the rifle then Steve walks over to the door of the cabin…..


“Yes these are wonderful worth every cent that we discussed….”


Hartman says but he doesn’t finish because the cabin door is violently kicked open and Steve comes into the room and he levels the rifle at the occupants of the room but then he is distracted by one person in that room.


“Ray?” Steve replies with a shocked tone.


“Steve?” Ray replies with an equally shocked tone.


Ray was sitting at the table that was also occupied by Hartman and Lewis and they were engrossed by what Ray had brought to them concealed in his suitcase and Steve was so shocked to see Ray there that he failed to notice the other armed man in the room and that man was aiming at Steve and he was just about to fire when….


The houseboat’s engines suddenly fired up and there was a turn to the left which sent everyone who was standing in the room into the wall, the three men at the table were thrown from their seats and down onto the floor. The houseboat would speed up and then slow down, make abrupt turns which sent everyone sprawling and one of the turns threw the man with the rifle into Steve. They stopped and they looked at one another then they begin to fight over the rifle.


Steve reasoned that it was a good idea to try and empty the rifle into objects instead of people so the first three went into the elevated floor of the houseboat, two shattered the windows, another sailed out of the open doorway of the cabin and the last one went through the roof where the helm was located and a split second later a sound of a body hitting the floor was heard and the houseboat stopped. Everyone looked up then Steve realized that Neal was up there piloting the boat and that was when he ran.


Steve jumped over two of the people on the floor as he ran out of the cabin with the gunman following after him and Steve had made it to the stairs and that is where the gunman caught up to him grabbing Steve by his leg. Holding onto the metal stair railing Steve kicked at him and still he hung on. Steve gritted his teeth and he gave one good hard kick to his face and that finally caused him to let go and he fell off the stairs and into the water.


“Bon voyage creep!”


As Steve held onto the stair railing the houseboat begin to move again towards the Point, Steve brought his rifle around in front of him then he climbed the rest of the stairs to the helm.


“Neal?” Steve whispered as he made his way across the deck.


“Yeah man it’s me.”


Steve looked and he saw that Neal had a bandana wrapped around his upper arm.


“Thank god I thought I had killed you!”


“Na man it wasn’t me, it was him.” Neal replies as he gestures back over his shoulder with his thumb to the man lying prone on the deck. “You just grazed me.”


“Where did he come from?” Steve asks.


“Good question. Everything secured downstairs?” Neal asks.



Neal looks at him. “No?”


“When that gun went off and that body hit the deck I thought I had killed you so I came up here….”


“Too bad he hadn’t killed you that one make one less person we would have to get rid of!” The voice behind them says.


Neal and Steve look back over their shoulders. “Is that what I think it is?” Steve asks.


“I think so.” Neal replies.


“Turn around gentleman and throw your rifles over the side. Do it now!!!”


Steve and Neal turn around to find Lewis holding a spear gun on them so they did what he wanted. They removed the rifles and they threw them overboard.


“I’ve only seen those things on television.” Steve replies as he nods at the spear gun. “It’s looks bigger and sharper in person.”


“You.” Lewis says as he points the spear gun at Neal. “Take this boat out to the ocean and you can join your father below deck.”


Neal looks at Steve. “Ray’s here!!!”


“Ah….well…I was just getting to that part.” Steve replies.


On the stairs Hartman appeared holding a gun that he pointed at Steve. “Come on let’s go.”


Neal and Steve looked at one another then Steve went towards the stairs and Neal turned back to the steering wheel at spear point.


Steve walked down the stairs with Hartman close behind and when they reached the deck Steve saw that Ray now had his hands tied together in front of him.


“Go ahead and stand next to him.” Hartman instructs Steve. “I just love a father and son reunion.” Hartman says.


“Ray what are you doing here?” Steve asks forgetting for a minute that a criminal had a gun pointed at them.


“It was simply a business transaction.” Ray replies.


“A what?!” Steve exclaims.



Meanwhile at the helm.


“How far out should I go?” Neal asks.


“I’ll let you know when to stop.” Lewis replies.


“I just want to make sure cause we need to drop the anchor you know.” Neal says very loudly over the noise of the engine.




Even though there was noise Steve was still able to hear Neal and he heard enough of it to catch the jest of it.


“Yes and it was a very lucrative business transaction if I do say so myself.” Hartman replies as he smiles. “I can keep the merchandise and the money that I was going to pay to your father here.”


Steve looks at Ray and Ray seeing the shock and disappointment in Steve’s face can only look down at the deck.


“Oh, don’t be disappointed in your father he is a very shrewd businessman, playing both sides against the middle like he was, he drives a hard bargain, you should be proud of him. Is this a family business, like father, like son?” Hartman asks.


Steve looks at Ray. “Not hardly I’m on the side of the angels here.”

“Oh I see so you’re a cop and so is your curly headed friend up there?” Hartman asks.


“Yeah.” Steve replies.


“Well isn’t this interesting! Ray I must say our meeting has been informative and I am glad that I got to meet your son as well but all good things must come to an end. Meetings, relationships and lives….now I want you two to walk off this boat….”



Meanwhile at the helm.


“Alright this is good stop right here.” Lewis says.


Neal begins to slow down.




As Ray and Steve walked out to the edge of the deck Steve could hear and feel the houseboat slow. Steve leans closer to Ray.


“Ajude-me introduzir a escora na aqua, entao salto!” Steve says to Ray in Portuguese.


“What are you waiting for?” Hartman yells at them.


“We’re praying okay!!” Steve yells back at him then Steve crosses himself and Ray does the same.


Steve pretends to take a step forward but instead he takes a step to the side, right next to where the anchor is and with Ray right next to him together they push the anchor over the side and into the water and just before they jump in Steve yells as loud as he can.




Steve then grabs a hold of Ray’s arm and together they jump into the water.



Up in the helm Neal and Lewis heard the splash and Steve yelling and instead of slowing even more Neal gave it more throttle.


“What are you doing? Are you crazy!!!?” Lewis yells at Neal.




On the deck Hartman was shooting at the place in the water where he thought Ray and Steve had jumped in then he felt the boat accelerate then he noticed the rope that was attached to the anchor was being dragged into the ocean at an increasing rate of speed and even before he knew what hit him, the coil of rope that he was standing in, suddenly tighten around his leg, and as he screamed he was dragged violently off the boat and into the water.



“Slow down or I’ll shoot you.” Lewis says as he levels the spear gun at Neal.


Neal gives it even more throttle. “I dare you!!”


Just as Lewis was about to pull the trigger, the anchor, which had already found its way to the bottom of the ocean had wedged itself underneath a big rock, its rope had reached its end of its tethered which was tied to a cleat that was attached to the stern of the houseboat, close to where Steve and Ray had jumped from, was ripped off the back of the boat taking a good chunk of the deck with it.


At the helm they felt the houseboat try to break free, like a big horse at the gate that wanted to bolt and when the cleat finally let go it sounded like a tree being chopped down in the forest. There was a loud ripping and screaming sound of wood being pulled apart and then it started to sink.


Lewis dropped the spear gun and it landed harmlessly on the deck between them and before Neal could grab him to strangle him the houseboat screamed like a wounded bull as it listed to the left. Neal and Lewis were thrown against the railing and they both held on for dear life as the houseboat continued to list and sink into the ocean.


“Hey Lewis what’s the name of this tub?” Neal asks as he hangs off the railing next to Lewis.




“You’re kidding!” Neal yells just as the houseboat took then under.




“NEAL!!! NEAL!!!” Steve yells as he rows the row boat. “Ray shine the flashlight over there!”


Ray shines the flashlight where Steve instructs and the only thing it shows is all matter of parts and pieces and debris floating in the water. But no Neal.




“Steve look over there!!!” Ray says as he shines the flashlight at a big pile of debris and it lights up a solitary figure waving.


Steve rows over to the figure to find that it was indeed Neal wearing a life jacket.


“Did I hear you say that I better not be dead because I owe you five dollars?” Neal asks.


“Well it’s true. Where’s the dude who had the spear gun?” Steve asks.


“Dead but I see we still have twiddle dee and twiddle dumb.” Neal says as he points to Jack and Bill.


“We have room for one more.” Steve replies as he smiles.


“Don’t mind if I do! This water is freezing!”


Neal climbs into the row boat and he grabs the other oar and they row towards the Point.


“Son.” Ray says after a few minutes.


“Yeah Ray?” Steve replies.


“Can you untie me now please?”


“Well Ray you see there’s a little problem with that.” Steve replies as he continues to row.


“What’s that?” Ray asks.


“Salt water makes ropes tighter and my hands are too cold to untie them and I don’t have anything sharp to cut them off.”


“Why don’t you use your tongue?” Ray says as he doesn’t miss a beat.


Neal laughs as Steve looks over his shoulder at Ray who is sitting directly behind him.


“Oh man he really is your father!!!” Neal replies as he laughs.


“You know this moonlight boat ride is rather romantic don’t you think?” Steve asks.


Neal makes a noise. “If I was with Ruby then yes I would agree.”


“Well son it would be more romantic with Ida I must say.” Ray says.


“So Steve who would you rather be with?” As if Neal didn’t already know.


“Farrah Fawcett!” Steve exclaims.


Neal shakes his head.


“Farrah Fawcett?” Ray repeats.


“Yeah Ray you see Steve here has a thing for Farrah Fawcett….”


“I don’t blame him I do too!” Ray exclaims.


Steve turns around. “You do?” Steve and Neal exclaim together.


“Of course she’s a foxy babe!!!” Ray exclaims.


Steve and Neal both laugh. “Oh man he really is my father!!!” Steve says.


“Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream….” All three of them sing as they row back to the Point.








“So Steve do you think you’re ready to do our reports on this one?” Neal asks.


“Oh sure I mean it is just nice to know, you know, have it all out in the open.”


“Steve I’ll say that Ray certainly has moxie to go along with that keen business sense of his.” Neal replies.


“Now you know where I get it from.” Steve replies.


Neal doesn’t say anything to this he just shakes his head. “Let’s see it all started when he borrowed a lot of money from those bad guys in Boston and he couldn’t pay it back, so in order to keep his dignity….”


“Not to mention his life he agreed to do them a favor.” Steve says.


“Exactly. Somehow these bad guys from Boston got their hands on a set of plates that makes counterfeit money.”


“And that is where Lucy and Ethel come in.” Steve replies.


“And the bad guys from Boston thought it wouldn’t look strange, since Ray was a printer to have plates in his possession and it would be a good way to pay off his debt by becoming a courier….”


“And take them across the country to California.” Steve replies.


“But naturally Ray broke the rules.”


“They didn’t tell him what he was carrying across the country because they thought it would be safer that way and he swore not to look….” Steve replies.


“But he did….”


“….And that is when things got complicated.” Neal says.


“The guys from Boston had set up a meeting and exchange in L.A. but that is where Ray looked at what he was carrying and he knew exactly how much they were worth and he decided to go into business for himself so he sold two of the plates to the goons in L.A…”


“That is where he got his money from that I found under his mattress.” Neal replies.


“He never trusted banks. Anyway at one of his poker games he ran into somebody who knew somebody in the H&L ranks and Ray negotiated a deal for the other four plates. He knew what he was doing might get him killed so that is why he wanted to see me so bad.”


“So he started back at the old hometown….” Neal replies.


“Ray did think ahead and he did send some of the money back to Boston but it wasn’t near enough and by then it was too late because Chavez was on his way here.” Steve says.


“According to Manuel Chavez’s long career in Murder, Mayhem and Misery he was an excellent tracker and once Manuel got on Ray’s trail it didn’t take him long and he found Ray with Ida.”


“Luckily for Ida, Ray was able to hold Chavez at bay until he got Ida back home by telling Chavez that he was going to go back to the apartment and get the money and plates.” Steve says.


“And he did get them and they met on the Bay Bridge and Ray said that Chavez falling was an accident….”


“They struggled over the suitcase and Chavez fell and Ray broke his watch then that was why he wasn’t wearing it.” Steve says.


“And it finally ended with Ray meeting H&L on the houseboat and of course it was a set-up. They were going to kill Ray and keep the plates.”


“That is why they picked the houseboat, throw the body in the ocean and be on your merry way.” Steve replies.


“The remaining plates are at the bottom of the drink. Which they are looking for as we speak.”


“And Ray to avoid prosecution has agreed to testify against the bad guys in Boston, after they find the plates of course.” Steve replies.


“Oh of course.” Neal says as he takes the report out of the typewriter and after he looks it over he signs it. “Here give me yours.” Neal says to Steve as he holds his hand out.


“I have some more paperwork to catch up on; I’ll turn it in with everything else. Catch up with you later okay man?”


“Yeah sure don’t be late for dinner.” Neal replies as he grabs his jacket.


“I won’t. Later man.” Steve replies.




Steve watches as Neal goes into the Captain’s office and sets the report in the tray on the desk then they wave at each other before Neal goes out the door. Steve waits a few minutes and he looks around to make sure that Neal was really gone then Steve opened up one of his desk drawers and he took out the Leave of Absence form and he begins to fill it out.








“Ray you know I thought for certain that Steve would have been here by now.” Neal says as Ruby and Ida gather around Ray to say goodbye to him at the airport.


“Oh sugar I’m sure he’ll be here I know he wouldn’t miss saying goodbye to you.” Ruby says.


“I agree with Ruby he’ll be here.” Ida replies.


“Well we do have some time but I think we should walk down to the gate where Lucerne and Everett are waiting.” Ray says as he takes Ida by her arm and together they all start up the concourse.



Ten minutes later a Yellow Cab pulls up to the curb, Steve opens the door and he jumps out as he clutches his bag that hangs over his shoulder and he tosses a twenty dollar bill at the driver.


“Keep the change!” Steve yells at the driver then he turns and runs into the building.


Once he clears the Security checkpoint he looks left and right up the concourse and when he sees them he runs in their direction.


“Dad! Dad!” Steve yells as he stops.


The group stops and looks back then Ray turns and he walks back to Steve and Steve walks in Ray’s direction then they start to run and Steve runs right into Ray’s arms.


Ray hugs him tight then he cups Steve’s face in his hands as he smiles at him. “Meu pequeno. I knew you would be here to say goodbye my son.”


“No dad this isn’t goodbye….”


“You called me Dad.” Ray says surprised.


Steve smiles. “Well you are I mean you are my dad, right?”


Ray smiles at him as he holds him by his arms. “Yes son I am your dad. You said this wasn’t goodbye, oh I see we’re doing what you and Neal do, I am hip and young and with it! Later man!!!!” Ray exclaims.


Steve laughs as he shakes his head. “No dad this isn’t goodbye because I’m coming with you!!!”


Ray’s eyes widen. “You are!!! Oh, oh my goodness but what about your job? Whose going to protect Oceanview?!”


Steve laughs again. “Dad, Neal will be here to protect Oceanview. I have some vacation time and I put in for a Leave of Absence!”


Ray leans in closer. “I love Neal but he ain’t no Steve Perry!!!” Then Ray gives Steve a hug.


“Well it’s about time you got here Steve! What took you so long?” Neal asks.


“Traffic what else? Keep an eye on stuff while I’m in Boston okay man?” Steve asks.


“No problemo man.” Neal replies as they shake hands then Steve pulls Neal into a hug. “I’m happy for you Steve. Makes me wish that my dad was still around.”


They pat each other on the back before they separate. “I know Neal. I’ll be back in a month or so.”


“Wow a month! That’s a long time you know.” Neal replies.


“They have phones in Boston you know, I’ll call you every night.”


“Alright. Hey bring back some beans.” Neal says rather sadly.


“You know Neal I love you.” Steve says.


“I know and I love you too.”


“Thanks Neal.”


Neal looks at Steve. “For what?”


Steve looks over at Ray who by now were entertaining Ruby and Ida with a card trick. “For him. It’s the best birthday present I’ve ever gotten.” Steve says as he wipes his eyes.


“Ah you aren’t going to get all mushy on me are you?”


“I just might.” Steve replies as he smiles.


“You better say goodbye to Ruby and Ida.” Neal says.


Steve gives Ida a big hug and Ruby an even bigger, longer, hug even when they were calling their flight.




“Steve, man they just called your flight, you can let go of Ruby now. Steve let go!” Neal replied loudly.


Steve finally let Ruby go. “Sorry.”


“You be a good boy in Boston sugar.” Ruby admonishes.


“See you guys in about a month! Later!” Steve says as he waves goodbye.


“Later!” Ray also says as they walk away.


The three of them watch as Ray puts his arm around Steve and then he kisses him on the top of his head then they turn the corner….out of sight.








“Alright dad see you Friday. I love you too, bye.” Steve says as he hangs up the phone.


“So he’s coming out huh?”


“Oh yeah he wants to be here for the birth of your son.” Steve replies.


“Steve I told you a million times it might be a girl not a boy.”


“And I told you a million times it’s going to be a boy!”


“How can you be so sure?” Neal asks.


“Because I did the old time honored Portuguese ring trick.”


“The old time honored Portuguese ring trick? Which is what exactly?” Neal asks.


“I’ll show you, let me see your wedding ring.” Steve says.


Neal takes off his wedding ring and he hands it to Steve and then Steve ties a string to it.


“Okay now lie down on the floor.”


“Lie down on the floor?” Neal repeats.


“Yes lie down on the floor, you have to be flat.”


Neal gets out of the chair and he lies down on the floor then Steve takes the ring and he holds it over Neal’s stomach.


“So….what’s supposed to happen now?”


“Well if you were pregnant then the ring would move in a circle or a straight line….wow that is weird!”


“What’s weird?” Neal asks.


“Look the ring’s moving!” Steve says as the ring moves in a straight line.


“You’re doing that!”


“No, no I’m not! And look you’re going to have a boy too!” Steve replies.


“Oh stop it! Steve I hate to tell you this but my grandmother and my mother both did that same trick but they called it the Italian ring trick but they used a chain.”


Steve hands Neal his wedding ring. “So did my grandmother but Neal I just know it’s going to be a boy, I can’t tell you how I know this but I do know it! And I have a name all picked out!”


“You have a name all picked out?” Neal asks.




“I’m afraid to ask. What is it?” Neal asks.


“Neal S Schon Jr.!”


“As if I didn’t know what does the ‘S’ stand for?”


“Stephen of course!”


“Of course. Neal Stephen Schon Jr?”


“Sure I mean I think I deserve some credit from this baby you know.” Steve says.


Neal laughs. “How so?”


“Because if I hadn’t saved your ass all those times you won’t be here and ergo….!!” Steve points out.




“….Ergo you wouldn’t have gotten Ruby pregnant so that is my contribution!!!”


Neal thinks on this a minute. “You know Steve as much as I hate to admit this, you are right in a strange twilight zone sort of way. Just so long as that baby doesn’t look like you.”


“Well Neal you will just have to wait and see! Goodnight and see you tomorrow.”


“Wait what does that mean?” Neal asks.


“Nothing.” Steve says.




The next sound heard is the office door slamming shut.







©LAB and SRP & JRNY FANFICTION 2007 to 2008. All rights reserved. Steve Perry and Neal Schon’s likenesses appear only as characters. Any resemblance to any one living or dead is purely a coincidence. This fictional story is for entertainment purposes only and for the complete enjoyment of the author and the readers. I have no permission from Steve Perry or/and the members of Journey to use their likenesses or names and this story is purely fiction and written solely for the love of things and people back in the day. No real rock stars were injured in the writing of these stories and I put them back when I am finish with them.