I’m a queen and I admit it. I’m flamboyant and effeminate. I like bright colors and shiny things. I am not a cross dresser, although I do love dresses. Women are so lucky in the clothing department. Men’s clothes are drab and manly. Women’s clothing is meant to be beautiful. Before becoming a chef, I thought about going into fashion design, just to see if I could do something about men’s clothing. Even my very manly Lucas agrees that men’s clothes could be brightened up a bit. And that is the point of today’s entry. Not the men’s clothing, but Lucas.
My very first time seeing him, he was being lead handcuffed through a crowd of reporters. He’d been accused of murdering my brother. The detectives on the case were kind of giving my family a rundown on why the man in custody was responsible for my brother’s murder and even I thought it was thin. It basically was “Dr. McMichaels is a closeted gay man who hates himself and was in the area when your brother was murdered.” And by in the area, we are talking the city of Washington D.C. Which meant Dr. McMichals and about two million other people were nearby.
After the detectives left, my father looked at my mom and said “I don’t think they are even looking for the killer.”
I should explain a little bit. My mother is a housewife, because that’s what my mother wanted to be. I point out my mom is a housewife by choice, because my mom is an educated woman. She holds a degree in anthropology. My father is a primatologist who works for the National Zoo. When your parents study monkeys and humans, sex isn’t taboo in your household. After all, it’s a requirement for most of life on the planet to continue. There were no scary moments when I told my parents I was gay. There was no argument, no questioning. My mom’s response will always stay with me. She blinked at me twice and said, “yeah, we know.” My father’s response was “I know there’s a good man out there for you.” My brother came out about five minutes after me. He was older by two years and had never told our parents for some reason. To which my mom quipped “Two for two. Wonder about our girls.” I have two sisters, neither of whom are lesbians.
If you ask my parents about having two gay sons, they’ll give you long explanations about how homosexuality in humans and primates is very common and has been since the beginning of time. My father will further explain that in at least three species of primates, homosexual behavior is common as is sex for the purpose of pleasure. I think my mom was a little disappointed that neither of my sisters are lesbians. And my parents held “coming out” parties for both me and my brother at different times, so that we couldn’t steal each other’s “big day”.
Perhaps my parents are a little weird. I don’t know. I’ve heard the horror stories of other gay men who were tossed out of the house when they told their parents they were gay or were sent to gay camps to have the gay prayed out of them. Those kinds of things. My parents were definitely not upset about it or even disappointed.
My father was convinced the police had found the scariest looking gay man they could and pinned the murders on him. There had been four by then and the press was screaming it was a serial killer, not a doubt about it. The police were not saying serial killer, they had a different theory for each murder that linked none of them. With my brother’s murder, the police finally decided it was indeed a serial killer and they got a profiler from Quantico to work up a profile. Somehow, Dr. McMichaels fit that profile, because he wasn’t openly gay. But he’d just left the Navy SEALS less than a year before, so there was reasons for him to still be in the closet.
Lucas was held without bail. My father is a nerd, but he’s a nerd with some status and he managed to get us in to see Lucas in jail. He wanted to ask him why. Not because he thought Lucas was the killer, but because he wanted to hear Lucas say he was innocent. My dad was convinced he’d be able to tell if Lucas was my brother’s murderer or not by just asking him. For some reason, I left the jail convinced Lucas was guilty and my father left the jail determined his first idea about Lucas being the killer was correct. The police didn’t want to investigate so they had found the biggest, scariest gay man they could and decided he was the serial killer.
My parents made up posters and offered money to CrimeStoppers to increase the reward for tips to find the serial killer terrorizing the gay community. They even set up a panic button system. If you were with a date and it got sketchy, you could text a phone number that went to a burner phone my parents owned and one of them would show up and rescue you from the date by pretending there was a family emergency. They passed out cards, they put up signs at bars, the whole bit. Our weekends were surprisingly busy rescuing people from sketchy dates. Not all of them gay men, meaning my parents’ services were getting around via word of mouth. They now run a foundation that does what they did. They employ seven drivers and there is a sophisticated computer system involved and people make huge donations to keep it running after they helped catch the real serial killer.
In the space of four hours, my parents’ burner got three Help Me texts. They weren’t dates, but my parents would surveil the place and take a picture of the person with the person who sent the Help Me Text. They had a dozen or more ruses to get these people away from creepy people. The first Help Me text was from a man in a club who had just met a guy, things were going okay, but then he went to the bathroom. When he came back, he started to feel weird. He’d seen a sign for the Panic Button in the bathroom and for some reason, he remembered the number. My father walked to the table and identified himself as a reporter doing a story on the murders and asked if he could get a picture of the two men together. The one that sent the help me text agreed, but the other one refused. My father got the distressed man out to his car easily that way and he got a secret picture of the one that refused. My dad was pretty sure the guy who’d texted him had been drugged. He tried to take him to a hospital, but he didn’t have insurance and didn’t want to go. It took some persuading, but eventually he agreed to go for a blood test.
While my father was still at the hospital with the guy, my mom got a panic button call. She got a picture of the creepy guy and like my father’s call, she was sure her passenger had been drugged. They ended up together at the hospital and were there when a third call came in. I was sent to help the guy out. Another picture, another drugged guy. My brother had been drugged and dosed with LSD. It had been three different bars though. When the three of us compared pictures, it was the same man in each of them. We took the pictures and the information on the people that had used the Panic Button to the police before going home. We wanted to make sure that if our passengers were drugged like we thought, the police could get the evidence of it from the blood work.
Initially, the police were less than impressed with our meddling in their investigation, especially since they had the killer in custody. But the hospital called the police as well. All three men had tested positive for rohypnol, LSD, and MDMA, it was a strange combo, unless you were going to rape someone. The police had no choice but to investigate and the hospital kept all three guys overnight for observation and a flush of their systems. My parents asked around for donations to help pay their medical bills related to it, since technically the guys had done nothing wrong. And they got a few, which was more surprising, and they got some volunteers. Some of the family members of the other murdered men wanted to help my parents with the Panic Button solution, because maybe if it had existed their loved one wouldn’t have died.
The following weekend, I was once again dispatched to a Panic Button text. Same creepy guy, another young man drugged. I took the man to the hospital and immediately went to the police department. This was outrageous. This guy had visited three different bars on one Saturday night just a weekend before and had been with three men that had ended up drugged with a similar cocktail as to what my brother had been drugged with. I told them I wouldn’t be leaving their lobby until they thoroughly investigated this creepy guy. And as I sat there indignant and refusing to budge, another person came in. She was a new volunteer with Panic Button. She was the sister of a murdered man and she’d just had to take a guy to the hospital, she was sure he’d been drugged. She showed the picture to me. It was the same guy I was there about. That was two Saturday nights and five drugged men. My father was correct, the police didn’t care about the murders of gay men.
So, my dad took matters into his own hands. He went to the press with the information he had about the creepy guy. It pushed the case forward. Creepy guy turned out to be a narcotics officer working “undercover” as a dealer in the gay clubs. He was supposed to be selling his products and making arrests. Instead, he was drugging men, kidnapping them once they became pliable, and killing them. Four nights a week, he’d do his actual job. But Saturday nights were reserved for his recreational fun – rape and murder. He was covering up his “personal” use by inflating how much people had “bought” from him before they were arrested.
It took another week though, before Lucas was released and cleared of all charges. We met for coffee so I could apologize to him. And discovered we had a lot in common. After a few coffee breaks together, he asked me out. I was shocked. My parents love him, my mom refers to him as McStud Muffin to her friends. We dated for four years before he asked me to marry him. And when he got involved with the SCTU and we had to move, my parents moved too. Not to Kansas City, but close enough. They moved to Wichita, Kansas to be closer to us and to start a Panic Button Rescue organization there. They exist in nine cities now. Nadine has helped my parents make them bigger and get donors and she herself has made donations as well as opening a chapter in Kansas City under the guidance of my parents. She says she was born to rescues damsels and dukes in distress.
And anyone in need of an escape from a creepy date can call or text Panic Button for a rescue. It’s being turned into an app even.