Westpoint Tales

by Kiwi

J. H. Williamson & Billy T. Carver - 1

Westpoint, 2045AD

Midnight in Westpoint. A cold and dark, wet and windy midnight. Senior Constable Lucas Sheridan looked at the clock and sighed. Time to check-out the main street again.

He turned to the screen and 'fired-up' the computer. This old thing was ancient, but at least it was better than going out in the weather. Thank God for computers and security cameras on cold and wet nights in Westpoint.

Coffee in one hand, controller in the other, he idly scrolled through the images coming in from the pole-mounted cameras along the main street.

"Ho humm, same old same old. But, wait - what was that?"

He back-tracked a couple of cameras and there, standing under the shelter outside P.J's Music Centre, where the local musos hung out, was a kid. Black boots, black clothes and black hair. A smallish, young, teenage boy. He would've weighed about 50 kilos sopping wet, and he was - really wet.

What was he doing, out so late in the rain? He seemed to be studying a map and Lucas could see that he was shivering as he stood there.

"Oh, you poor little bugger. How can we make it better for you?"

He got up from his warm office and went out into the night. In the Police-marked patrol car, he drove around to the main street and silently glided along to the Music Centre.

"Hey kid. How's it going there?"

The boy nearly jumped out of his skin when Lucas called out to him.

"Whoah. You startled me. Are you a copper?"

"Well I'm in trouble if I'm not. Yeah, I'm a copper. What are you doing out on a night like this? Are you looking for someone?"

"I am actually. Jon Williamson. Do you know him?"

"Yeah, of course I know Jon. It's a small town. What would you be looking for him for?"

"I just want to see him. Jon Williamson is my father."

"Jon's your dad? Wow! The years are flying past. You must be James; I remember when you were born. It seems like just yesterday."

"It is a small town. I wasn't born yesterday, it was 14 years ago and, yes, my name is James, but I don't use it much. I'm called JH.

"J. H. Williamson? Fine then, JH. Hop in the car, it's warmer in here. I'll take you to your dad's place. He lives out at Carvers' Beach."

"No. It's okay, I can walk. Where is this Carvers' Beach?"

"Kid, Carver's Beach is about 4K out of town. That's too far to walk in the dark and the rain. Get in the car and I'll take you there in about 5 minutes."

"No, she's right. I'd just get your car all wet. I can walk."

"It's a Police car. It has had a lot worse than a wet kid in it. C'mon, get in or I'll arrest you."

"Arrest me? What for? I'm not doing anything."

"Sure you are. You're standing out there freezing your butt off. I'm just kidding you. Come on, Boy, get in the car while I'm feeling like being nice."

"Okay. I will then, thanks."

The kid smiled, a killer smile - all white teeth and sunshine. ('Yeah, you're Jon's kid all right!')

"Does your dad know you're coming?" Lucas started the car and headed off to Carver's Beach.

"Not unless he's a mind reader. I haven't told him."

"It'll be a surprise then. He's going to be delighted to see you."

"I hope so. I don't know him; I don't think I've ever met my father."

"If you haven't, it's not for the want of trying on his part."

"You think? I didn't think he ever bothered about me."

"You think? What about the court case then? Do you know about that?"

"Court case? What court case? I've never been in trouble with the law and I've never been to court."

"Maybe you've never been in trouble, but you've been in court all right. When you were just a little baby, you spent weeks, months, in and out of law courts. Didn't you know that?"

"I did? No-one told me anything about that. What was I in court for? Was I guilty?"

"Yeah, you were guilty all right. Guilty of being a really cute baby, with no mum, who everybody wanted. After your mother died, of a drug overdose, there was a huge court case to decide who got custody of you.

You were already living with your mother's parents. They won and your father lost as the court decide not to give custody to a couple of young gay-boys. I remember the case well. My brother - or brother-in-law really, Bugs is my wife's brother and he and his partner, John, were the lawyers for your dad. They lost."

"Good job too."

"What do you mean, good job?"

"Good job that they lost and my grandparents won. I wouldn't have wanted to grow up with a couple of old queers. I hate queers."

"Oh, do you now? I'd keep my mouth shut about that around here, if I was you."

"Why? You're not one of them, are you?"

"No," Lucas laughed. "I'm not one of 'them'. I've got a wife and five kids and umpteen grandchildren. I'm not gay, but your dad is and he's well liked and respected around here. I've got several brothers-in-law who are gay and they're well liked too. My best friend is gay, I'm not but I still love him."

"Oh. Westpoint's full of queers, is it?"

"No it's not full of them, but there's a few gays around. They're just people like everyone else, except for that one thing."

"Pretty bloody big thing! Well, I don't like them."

"Oh - kay. Maybe they don't like you either. Probably they don't."

"Good job too."

At the end of the main street, Lucas turned right, onto Embankment Road, Westpoint's mini-motorway. He drove out, through the suburb of North Beach, heading for the old Shingle Beach.

"Hey!" JH said. "Where are we going? This is not the way to Carver's Beach. I saw the signs when I was walking down to the bridge at the other end of town. Carver's Beach is out there, on the other side of the river."

"It is. Don't worry, JH, we're going there. This is the other way, the short-cut out to Carver's Beach."

"Short-cut? There's no other bridges. I know that too. I could see all the way down the river from the bridge."

"You're right. There are no other bridges, but there is this here."

Around the corner, the road sank down and under the concrete abutment of a large, brightly-lit tunnel under the river. They plunged down, into and through the almost empty tunnel and in seconds were up and out on the south side of the river.

"And, welcome to Carver's Beach."

"Wow! Pretty cool. This place is big for a suburb, and it's more modern too."

"Yeah, it is. This is one of the newest areas of town and it's still growing too. It is not as big as it looks, it's only 3 or 4 streets wide, but it's getting bigger all the time. The suburb will be bigger than the old town soon. And, here we are. You'll find your dad in there."

"In here? You mean he works for Billy's Burgers? Wow, he's a great success story isn't he? What a role model! And he's not my 'dad', he's just my biological father."

"Okay, whatever, your father then. He is a good role model. You could do a lot worse. Jon doesn't just work here, he's the boss. He manages Billy's Burgers and all the rest of this whole complex - the Burger Palace, the hall, the shopping mall, the sports and leisure centre, the heated pools and the entire holiday park.

A policeman's wages are not too bed, but I'd gladly trade what I get for a quarter of what Jon makes."

"He's doing all right then? Does he still live with that Lyons creature?"

"Yes, Jon still lives with Bobby Lyons, when he's home. Bobby travels a lot in his job. He's a world-class musician, you know. Westpoint's rather proud of Bobby Lyons and of Jon Williamson too."

"If you say so. Well, thanks for the ride, Copper." He got out and pulled out his pack from the back-seat. "See you around."

"You probably will. Like I said, it's a small town. JH, give your father a chance, okay? He's a nice guy, they both are. Good people."

"If you say so, we'll see. 'Bye, Mr. Plod."

"I do say so. Goodbye, JH.'

Lucas drove away and left him standing there in the rain.

'You'd be a hard person to like, I think, JH Williamson.'

Carrying his backpack in one hand, JH pushed open the glass door. ('No auto door openers? Primitive!') He walked into the Billy's Burgers.

There was a large spacious dining room to the right, but it was in darkness, the only light in there was from the glass wall which looked out to the sidewalk, the road and the beach beyond. The counter area was brightly lit, the décor much the same as a Billy's Burgers anywhere. Not that he'd had a lot to do with them, but he'd seen a few.

There were no customers in and no staff in sight until a tall blonde-haired woman backed her way out through the swing doors, bucket and mop in her hands.

"Oh. Hello Lovey. What can we do you for?"

"You what?"

"What can we . . oh, what do you want, Lovey? Burgers?"

"No. No burgers. Nothing else either, I don't do junk food."

"Junk food? We don't do junk food here, this is Billy's Burgers. Didn't you read the signs?"

"I read the signs. Billy's Burgers is still junk food in my book."

"Your book's wrong then. How can we help you? Are you lost?"

"I'm not lost, I think. I'm looking for Jon Williamson, is he here?"

"Jon? Yes, of course he's here. He's upstairs, sleeping and I'm not going to wake him up. Come back in the morning and you can see him then."

"Lady, I'm wet, I'm cold and I'm tired. I don't have anywhere else to go and I want to see my father. Would you please wake him up, ask him if he'll see me?"

"Your father? Jon's your father? Are you sure about that? I didn't know he had any kids."

"Yes, I'm sure. I am JH Williamson and Jon Williamson is my father."

"Oh. Well, in that case, wait here - I'll ring him."

She retreated into the kitchen , and then returned in a few seconds and beckoned to him.

"Come on then, Mr. JH, through here."

He followed her through to the back and stood where she indicated on a big round disc on the floor.

"Push the button with your foot and up you'll go. See you later, Kid."

"Right. Thanks."

He didn't have a clue what she was talking about, but did as he was told. He nudged the big button in the centre of the disc with his booted foot. A solid, circular, fence rose up around him, the disc rose steadily up from the floor and raised him up to the ceiling.

A round hole opened in the ceiling as he approached it and he rose up and through it. The hole closed, the fence sank back down and he was left standing on the second floor of the building.

The door in front of him and a face - his face - appeared and smiled at him.

"James? Yes, of course you are! Hello, Son."

A hand came out, JH took hold of it, they shook hands and grinned identical grins at each other.

"Hello, Father."

They stood, hands still clasped and grinning as they studied each other closely. Jon saw a younger, smaller, version of himself - identical apart from the straight, and wet, black hair. JH saw an older version of himself, and his father had the hair! He had the horrible white-blond, fine and unmanageable hair that had been the bane of his life.

"My Son! It's so great to see you, James. What a surprise, what a good surprise!"

"Yeah, well. It's good to see you too. I've always wondered what you were really like. All I know is what other people have told me - not so good either, most of it. Nobody told me that you look like me."

"I don't look like you," Jon grinned. "You look like me, just like me, apart from the hair. Ugly little bugger, aren't you?"

"I might be ugly but I'm not a bugger - no way," JH replied and he was not grinning. "And as for the hair . . " His hand went up and he pulled the black wig off to reveal his real hair, his white-blond, fine and wispy hair. "This is me. I hate this bloody hair!"

"Oh, wow. So you have got the hair then. Hair like mine and my father's and my grandfather's. You're a Williamson for sure. Sorry about that."

"Sorry?" Jon grinned. "Yeah, so you should be. Thanks father."

"Hey! I couldn't help it you know. My father gave it to me and his father gave it to him. It goes back for generations. There's a statue in town, in the Square, of James Hargreaves Williamson. He was you who-knows-how-many times great grandfather. By the look of it, he had the same hair too. Blame him."

"That's my name! James Hargreaves. So that's where it came from."

"Of course it was. He was a big man in his day. We hoped that you would be too."

"Sure I will. One day."

"I'm sure you will, Son, one day. But, for now we'd better get you sorted. You're cold and wet. Come on in and we'll get you fixed up. By the way, James, you're not ugly at all - you're a fine looking kid."

JH had a, blissful, long and hot shower, and then, dressed in an old bathrobe and some pjamas of his father's - dorky-looking but warm. They had a sandwich, a hot drink and a really long talk until late in the night. Finally, Jon got up and announced that it was bedtime. He made-up the bed in his spare room and they retired for the night.

JH, left alone, lay blissfully on the big bed and relaxed. This might not be so bad after all. His father seemed like an OK guy, and he wasn't that old - late thirties or something. Bobby wasn't there; he was away overseas somewhere, that was good, but he'd be back soon. They'd cross that bridge when they came to it.

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