As far back as he could remember, he had heard them.
As if the attorneys, counsellors, psyches, not to mention Father Calvin himself from Drew's hometown of Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin - were ever likely to understand?
"Isn't he one smart six-year old Frank?" his mom had declared one morning after he had completed a five-hundred piece jig-saw puzzle in just under forty minutes. The voices of course had told him which pieces to pick-up. He could never figure out why no-one else ever seemed to hear them.
The first time the teachers had caught him with his hands inside eight-year old Katie Anderson's little bear-print panties, they put it down to innocent childhood experimentation. Certainly Katie hadn't seemed too concerned about it. Julie Marshall however was a significantly different proposition. It was the distressed cries emanating from the deserted gymnasium that had caught the ear of the head janitor one Tuesday afternoon, some thirty minutes after school was out.
Pushed face-downwards across a rolled-up piece of matting, Drew had been in the process of spanking the ten-year old girl's bare bottom, having tugged her white cotton briefs unceremoniously down below her knees.
"Quite a sight, I have to say," commented the Janitor when debriefed by senior teaching staff. Truth is, for the next few months he didn't once need to open up a solitary Penthouse. The wide-screen image of young Julie Marshall having her sexy and decidedly crimson little butt paddled like that, was seared on his mind - if not other places.
Questioned at length, Drew simply could not understand the problem.
"The voices told me to do it," he had replied quite honestly.
"I wouldn't worry too much Mr and Mrs Collins," the school's consulting psychologist had said. "Many children, girl's especially, have imaginary friends," he clasped his hands together while adjusting his glasses and smiling at both parents glibly. Frank was wondering if he had ever entered a John Ritter look-alike competition.
"It's not the Imaginary friends we're worried about Dr Shand," Dianne glanced across at her husband for support. "It's... how do I say this?," she looked around for some literate inspiration, "It's... what our son was doing to that young girl, that concerns us."
"Look Mrs Collins, every test we have run with your son shows no abnormality whatsoever. Granted, such impulses might be seen as very unusual in a boy so young, but let's not get carried away here. Just let things take their course and I'm sure you'll find this was simply a one-off incident."
That notion however was consigned to the "Oops, we got that wrong" pile not three weeks later, when Drew was discovered in the girls' locker-room during recess, with his hands down young Sarah Beaumont's bra, fondling the life out of her hot, if not somewhat still puffy little nipples.
A deal was struck. No official complaint lodged, so long as they withdrew their son from St. Angelus Junior High immediately.
"But dad, it's the truth," he had said, "They told me to do it!"
He learned to differentiate between the voices. One preferred blondes, another brunettes apparently and the third, most anything under-age in a skirt. He was kept busy let's say!
Only by dint of the fact that none of the girls or their parents had yet pressed charges, was he still free to ply his trade amongst the adolescent community of Prairie du Chien. Patti Morrison was to set a precedent however, but one has admittedly to recognise the hurt and embarrassment that comes with being multiply raped on the front porch - just their first date too!
The detective in charge seemed remarkably short on understanding.
"Why'd you do it son?" he asked for the second time. "How'd you figure you were gonna get away with it?... right outside.the girl's own front door for Christ's sake!" he looked across at Dianne. "Pardon my language ma'am," he muttered before turning his attention back to the seventeen-year old, slumped elbows-first across the interrogation table.
Drew looked up at his inquisitors acutely confused. Why was no-one listening? How difficult was it to understand? - he was acting under instructions.
With the case adjourned pending further medical reports, Drew found himself repeating his explanation to a veritable raft of clinical psychologists. While his parents fretted and made haste to re-locate as far from Prairie du Chien as was practical, Drew found himself sifting through IQ tests, response card sessions and protracted interviews with white-coated, highly qualified fruitcakes, who insisted on asking why he hated females in general and whether or nor he masturbated in darkened cupboards once in a while?
The bottom line was that medical opinion was fully inconclusive. No one believed the voices existed of course, but the general concensus was that Drew at least believed he heard them.
Found "Not guilty by reason of mental incompetence," Drew was sent to a nearby sanitarium for "continued treatment."
Some three years later, and with a severe room shortage looming, Doctor Charles Meredith, director-in-charge of operations, perhaps recognizing that nothing had been achieved, and the fact that his staff had found 'absolutely no abnormality' in the youth since his admission - signed him out.
Over the years, his parents had paid money into an account for him and enough of a balance existed now that he would be able to support himself until he could obtain gainful employment. He had completed his High School diploma whilst in psychiatric care and was ecstatic at the prospect of his new-found freedom.
"You did well Drew," the voice enunciated clearly, as he descended the steps of the ancient white-painted facility. He allowed himself a broad smile. A whole afternoon and evening to himself, before he need call his parents he mused.
Drawing out several hundred dollars, he found the nearest mens' outfitters and upgraded his sartorial presentation before crossing Curzon Boulevarde and checking himself into the Regent, by far the most opulent of the city's twelve hotels.
"No luggage sir?" enquired the girl in reception.
"It'll be here later," he confided to her smiling broadly, whilst slipping the electronic swipe-card into his pocket.
Maryanne Clarke's shift at Wal-Mart had finished at 2 p.m. and she had dropped into the diner for a coffee and sandwich before heading-off home. Just nineteen, she was a pretty girl. Shoulder length dark brown hair that she kept neatly swept back of her cheeks with small mica clasps when she was working the check-out, highlighted a young-looking face that in truth was inclined more towards naivety than worldly experience.
Handed a figure that did everything right, she nevertheless wondered why so large a percentage of the male population in town paid her the close attention it did. She found it quite embarrassing.
Seated in the corner of the diner, Drew had noticed the young girl the moment she walked in, her figure especially.
"Gentllemen, we have a most pleasant task ahead of us it seems." The voice sniggered inside the periphery of Drew's subconscious. He was sure he heard other voices signifying their own assent.
"Could you pass me the sugar please Miss?"
Maryanne glanced up at the speaker and liked what she saw. A rather stylish looking young man, clean cut, well dressed and altogether a step-up from the usual dross hanging around the bar of any small mid-American town you care to name. If any word came to her mind, it would have to be... yummy!
Drew smiled at the girl, "Sorry for being a pest - I must be sitting in a sugar-free zone over there." He pointed to the corner whence he came.
She giggled and was unable to prevent a delicate blush pervading both cheeks.
"Oh, it's Ok," she muttered, pushing the bowl towards him, wondering what else she could possibly say to prolong his stay at her table.
"Thanks," said Drew. "You'd think being a Doctor I'd know better wouldn't you?" he grinned, glancing at the small bowl.
"You're a Doctor?" she asked, "Wow, you don't look that old," She immediately felt embarrassed by the inference of her words. "Ohh, I'm soo sorry," she added, "That was very rude of me."
"Nothing to apologise for," he replied smiling..."I get that all the time. To be honest, I'm actually a third year Intern at the State County Hospital in Milwaukee. Just here for a medical convention."
"Oh really?" she said. "Do you live in Milwaukee?"
Drew grinned. "Say, why don't you come sit at my table over there? it's not doing my back any good standing here like this."
Realizing the humor in his predicament," she burst out laughing. "OK then," she answered picking up her drink and sandwich. "My name's Maryanne by the way." She extended a hand.
"Pleased to meet you Maryanne," he said, grasping her palm firmly, "And I'm Drew." They crossed to the far corner and sat down at the small cubicle facing one another.
"So Maryanne," he continued, "You were asking if I live in Milwaukee?" she nodded.
"Actually, no I don't. I live at home still - in Appleton. It's a nice little place about thirty miles south west of Green Bay."
"I know Green Bay," she replied. "Our family had a holiday home up there when I was a child. Such a cool place to spend a vacation. Freezing though in Winter," she added.
"For God's sake," the voice intoned, resonating through Drew's awareness, "Can you cut the cutesy talk and just get the girl up to your room - we'll take it from there kid!"
She noticed his sudden change of demeanor.
"Something wrong Drew?" she asked. "You OK?"
.... There is more of this story ...