Chapter 7

"What I found in Dr. Grey's note," handwriting analyst Robert Swinster began, "is pretty rare."

Lieutenant Max Bernstein nodded.

"I know. It might just explain everything."

"Like what?" "Later," Max said.

"I have a million things to do."

"I can take a hint. I'm as good as gone."

Max shook Swinster's hand and patted his back.

"Thanks again, Bob. I really appreciate it."

"No problem, Twitch. I'm glad I could help."

Robert Swinster walked away from Bernstein's desk as Sara hobbled toward it.

"Hi, Max."

He smiled at her.

"Glad you could get here so fast. Have a seat."

Sara examined the man and his desk. All the usual signs were there his red eyes, the ragged edges of his fingernails, the thought lines in his forehead, the fingers twiddling with the pencil, the paper clips he had snapped in half lying all over the desk, the hand constantly rubbing his unshaven face.

For two days Max and his men had investigated the sensational murder of young Bradley Jenkins by the now-infamous Gay Slasher. A distraught Senator Jenkins had gone into hiding and would make no comments to the press about the rumors swirling around his son's death. His Senate spokesman continuously spewed a standard line the murder was clearly a ploy by certain subversive groups to destroy the senator's reputation and personal life.

Max had interviewed Senator Jenkins yesterday, after his son's funeral.

Bernstein had seen during his years in homicide what a tragedy like this could do to even the strongest of men, but he was still taken aback by the senator's appearance. His skin was ashen, his eyes wide and uncomprehending, his shoulder slumped, his whole demeanor defeated.

The senator had answered Max's questions in a flat, distant voice, but it seemed that the man knew very little that would help find the killer.

"Who was that?" Sara asked.

"Robert Swinster," Max replied, "a handwriting analyst. He was rechecking Bruce Grey's note."

"Did he find anything?"

The phone on the desk buzzed. Max put up a finger to signal for her to wait and picked up the receiver.


"Daily News on line five again. ABC-TV on line eight."

"I'm not talking to the press right now," he snapped. He slammed the receiver back into the cradle.

"Damn reporters," he muttered.

"Enough to drive a man crazy."

"Temper, temper."

"Everyone keeps screaming how we're not doing our job. How the hell are we supposed to get anything done with the press breathing down our necks all the time? Bunch of vultures present company excluded, of course. You know something? I think the media hopes the psycho will strike again, the sick bastards."

"Comes with the territory," Sara replied.

"I know," Max said, "but the pressure on this one is unbelievable. At the press conference the other day I felt like fresh meat in front of starving Dobermans. And that's not the half of it. The mayor's demanding answers in that holier-than-thou way of his. Every gay activist is coming out of the woodwork accusing the fascist police department of discriminating against homosexuals. I've had a dozen phony confessions today alone.

Everyone suddenly wants to be the Gay Slasher." He took a deep breath.

"Ah, screw it. So how's Michael?"

"Feeling better. His teammates are visiting him now."

"Good. I needed to talk this over with you right away."

"Bouncing time, eh?" Max nodded and smiled wearily. Several years ago Sara had been instrumental in helping Max find a cop-killer who had randomly gunned down four of Max's fellow officers in one week.

Max had learned from that experience that he liked bouncing ideas off an intelligent listener, and Sara was about as sharp a listener as there was. Very often they said some crazy things to each other, came up with some crazy hypotheses, even called each other crazy, but eventually the irrational statements began to mesh with the more rational facts, often forming solid solutions.

"Is this case harder for you than most?" she asked.


"You know what I mean."

He smiled nervously, checking to make sure that no one was within earshot.

"It'd make an interesting news angle, huh? The fag detective in charge of finding the Gay Slasher?"

She said nothing.

"Sara, you're still the only one who knows aside from Lenny and my mother." He swallowed, his Adam's apple visibly sliding up and down.

"I wish I could say something, but do you know what would happen to me if the force found out?"

"I can imagine."

"I'd lose everything. I'd be lucky if they let me work as a meter maid."

"You don't have to explain yourself to me, Max."

He nodded, his eyes lowered to the floor.

"By the way, Lenny says hello."

"How is he?"

He shrugged.

"He's a nag, but I love him."

"As long as you're happy."

"You sound like my mother. Can we get back to the case now?"

"Okay" Sara said, "what have you got so far?"

"Not much. We got a wino who saw Bradley's body being dumped behind the Black Magic early in the a.m. We also located the car the killer was driving at the time. That's about it."

"Go on."

"It seems the wino, a Mr. Louis Bluwell, was sleeping off a couple of bottles of gin under some garbage bags when he heard the car and saw a man he described as 'a big monster' get out of the car and dump the body amongst the garbage bags. Mr. Bluwell said the car was a beat-up green Chevy. We found a car matching that description abandoned on Riverside Drive around 145th Street. There was a fair amount make that gallons of the victim's blood splashed all over the floor of the trunk. The car had been stolen the previous evening."

"Did the lab find anything else in the car?"

"One set of fingerprints the victim's. A few hairs all belonging to the victim." "Figures," Sara said.

"Anything else?"

"According to Mr. Bluwell, the man in the car was big a mountain-size guy with dark hair. No noticeable features."

"So what do you make of it?"

Bernstein leaned back, placing his hands together, the fingertips of his index fingers resting against his nose. He put his feet on his desk.

"I find it all interesting," he remarked.

"How so?" Sara asked.

"It just doesn't make sense."

"What doesn't?"

"Okay, help me here, Sara. What do we know so far? First, all three victims were homosexuals. Second, all three victims were being treated at the same AIDS clinic. Third, all three died of stab wounds within the past three weeks."


"So take a look at the cases one by one for a second." Max sat up quickly, opened up his pocket pad, and read.

"Victim one:

Mr. Scott Trian. Trian had been found tied spread-eagle to his bed in apartment 8G at 27 Christopher Street. The corpse was found with twenty-seven stab wounds. The murderer sliced off Trian's left ear, both thumbs, and left nipple while he was still alive, we think. He also castrated Trian."

"Unbelievable," Sara whispered.

Max nodded.

"Even more unbelievable is that we've managed to keep the mutilation and torture away from the media."

"Won't last," Sara added.

"Someone will open his mouth."

"True enough, but until then I can use it to cut through all these phony confessors. When pressed for details about the killings, none of the confessing Gay Slashers knew about the mutilation or torture. They only knew what they had read in the papers. But we're getting off the subject. Let's move onto the second victim."


Bernstein wet his index finger and turned a few pages.

"Victim number two: Mr. William Whitherson. Mr. Whitherson's boyfriend, a Stuart Lebrinski, stepped out of their co-op on the Upper West Side to pick up some groceries. When he came back an hour later, Whitherson was dead. Twenty-three stab wounds.

There was no mutilation or signs of torture."

"There was no time," Sara said.

"The boyfriend was only gone an hour."

"Could be," Max allowed.

"But now things get really interesting. Victim number three: Mr. Bradley Jenkins." Pages were once again turned before Max continued.

"A limousine driver dropped Bradley off in front of his apartment building after the charity ball at your father's estate. One neighbor thought he saw Jenkins leave the building a few minutes later with another man the neighbor described as 'very big'."

"Probably the same guy the wino saw."

"Makes sense," Max agreed.

"Anyway, the next thing we know Jenkins winds up dead behind the Black Magic Bar and Grill.

Several patrons of the bar recognized Bradley from his photograph, but all swear that he had not been seen that entire evening."

"So? He was at my father's party until late."

"One other thing the lock on Bradley's apartment door was jimmied." "The big guy probably broke in," Sara said.

"I don't see what part of it doesn't make sense."

Max put down his notebook.

"Put the whole thing together, Sara. First, Bradley Jenkins comes home from the party. Then some big guy jimmies the lock and breaks in.

Fine, okay so far.

You with me?"

"Go on."

"Now from the looks of Jenkins' apartment, the struggle if there was one was painfully short. Then Bradley and the killer leave the apartment and drive off together. Based on the tremendous amount of blood in the trunk, we can speculate that Bradley was murdered while lying in the trunk of the car. No mutilation, but like the other two, approximately two dozen stab wounds cover his face, chest, and groin.

The killer keeps the body in the trunk overnight, wakes up the next morning, and dumps his body behind a gay bar."

"Maybe Bradley knew the guy," Sara said.

"Hold on, skip that. If they knew each other, there would have been no need for the jimmied lock."

Max managed a grin.

"And I was all ready to jump on you for being wrong."

"Sorry to spoil it for you."

"Never mind. But you're ignoring the more important question."

"Which is?"

"Why did the killer take Bradley out of the apartment in the first place? Think about it. Trian and Whitherson were both murdered in their apartments, right? The killer got them alone, did his thing, and left the mess. But not with Bradley. He went to the trouble of taking him out of the apartment. That meant the killer had to go to the trouble of stealing a car, one. Two, he had to risk being seen leaving the apartment as well as risk being seen getting rid of the body behind the Black Magic. Why? Why not just kill him like the others and get it over with? And why dump the body behind a gay bar?" Sara thought for a moment.

"I see what you mean. Look, Max, I know the heat is coming down on you, but I can't hold back much longer. I won't say anything about the mutilation of Trian, but I have to let the public know about the connection of the three victims to the AIDS clinic."


"Someone is going to dig it up soon anyway, and now Bradley's father can't be hurt any more than he already has." She gripped her cane.

"More important, Harvey has decided to go public with the clinic's success. He needs to raise funds. There'll be an hour story on the success of his AIDS treatment on News Flash

Max whistled.

"Talk about a major scoop," he said.

"Could be Pulitzer here, Sara. I'd hate to see you miss that."

"Not fair, Max."

"I know. My bias against the press flaring up again. Sorry."

"Forget it." She watched him start to gnaw on his finger not the nail, the finger.

"Max, don't you think the connection to the clinic is important?"

"Crucial," he answered, removing his finger from his mouth and rubbing his face with the same hand.

"My people are checking out everyone involved with the place."

"That's the crux of the whole thing, isn't it?" she asked.

"I mean, everyone assumes that a psychopath is targeting gays, but he could really be after AIDS patients or, more specifically, patients at Harvey's clinic."

"Could be."

"What about Harvey's fear that someone is trying to sabotage the clinic?"

Bernstein stood up and began pacing in a small, tight circle.

"A possibility but a long shot. According to Harvey, nobody outside the clinic not the PDA, you, or anybody else knew how close they were to finding a cure. Sure, there were rumors, but people don't usually try to sabotage a rumor."

"I'm not sure I agree with you there," Sara said.

"We've both seen plenty of people act on a lot less than unsubstantiated rumors before."

"Granted, but look at it this way if someone wanted to destroy Harvey and Bruce's work, why go to the trouble of murdering all these people in such a grisly fashion? Why not just burn down the clinic? Or why not just kill...?" His voice trailed away.

"Just kill?"

Max swallowed.

"I was about to say, "Why not just kill the doctors?" There was a long silence.

"Max, what did the handwriting analyst say?"

"Bruce Grey wrote the note. No chance of it being a forgery."

"Does that mean he definitely committed suicide?" Bernstein paused, his hand still nervously massaging his chin.

"Not necessarily," he began.

"Because of the note in Grey's handwriting, the suicide was barely questioned. It was an open-and shut case."

"And now?"

"There's so many holes, Sara. I checked out Grey's history.

He seemed happy enough, normal enough, no signs of depression or mental illness."

"But if Bruce wrote the note "

"Ah, but haw did he write the note?"

"I don't understand."

"As you know, I took the liberty of having the handwriting analyst check the note again. But this time I had him look for other details."

"Such as?"

"For one thing, Swinster noted that the handwriting was unusually shaky. Words and letters ran into one another. It was definitely written by Grey the shape and design of the letters tell you that but it was not his normal handwriting. He was in a rush or under duress or something like that."

"Isn't that normal in the case of a suicide?"

"Not really. Usually, the handwriting is slow and even and fairly normal. Grey always wrote very neatly even when he scribbled down a prescription. The suicide note was uncharacteristically sloppy. It could have been I said could have been coerced."

Sara sat forward with her eyes opened wide. Her words came fast.

"Then what you're saying is that maybe Bruce was forced to write it,"

she nearly shouted.

"Maybe somebody put a gun to his head and made him do it."

"Calm down, Sara. We don't know anything of the sort yet."

"And if that's the case, Harvey could be in real danger."

Bernstein shook his head.

"Don't start building this into something it's not. There are a million better explanations for all of this. It could be something as simple as Bruce Grey being so cold his hand shook when he wrote the note. Or it could be that he was nervous at the thought of running head first through a window."

"You don't buy any of that."

Max pocketed his keys.

"But it sounded good."

"Where are you going?"

"To the Days Inn. I want to check out Grey's room."

"Hey, hey, Mikey, boy! How you feeling?" Michael looked up and smiled. Reece and Jerome piled into the room with a half dozen other Knicks.

"You guys are a bunch of the ugliest candy-stripers I've ever seen." "But look what we brought you," Jerome said, holding up a brown paper bag.

"What is it?" Michael asked.

"Hospital food sucks, right?" Jerome continued.

"Bet your ass," Michael replied.

"Two days of it and I'm already going crazy."

"And," Reece added, "everyone knows how you Jews love food from the Orient."

"You mean...?"

"Yup," Reece interrupted, "take-out from Hunan Empire."

"I think I love you guys."

"Don't get mushy on us, old dude."

"I'll try not to break down."

"So how you feeling, Mikey?"


"When you coming back?"

"Probably not till next season."


"Yeah, tell me about it. But guys, guess what?"

There was a pause.

"Reece already told us the good news," Jerome said with a wide smile.

"You're going to be a papa.

Congratulations, man."

They shook hands.


The other players gathered around him to offer their congratulations.

"Hey, old dude, how you gonna teach me anything from a hospital bed?"

Jerome asked.

"Watch old game films," Reece suggested.

"See how Mikey played when he was in his prime."

"They had movie cameras back then?" Jerome joked.

Reece laughed.

"What the hell are you laughing at?" Michael asked him.

"You're only a year younger than me."

"I know. That's why I want you back with the team. I don't want to be the new 'old dude'."

"Swell. How's practice going anyway?"

"We miss you, Mikey," Reece said.

"Nice to hear."

"Yeah," Jerome added, "I miss blocking your shot and putting it in your face."

"Just hand over the food, Jerome, before my doctor seer it."

"Too late."

The tall bodies of the New York Knicks turned toward the door. Harvey stood leaning against the frame of the doorway.

"Hey, Harv," Reece said.

"How's it going, Reece?"

"Not bad."

"Would you and your cohorts mind if I have a few minutes alone with Michael?"

"Of course not."

"Good," Harvey replied.

"In the meantime I'll have one of the nurses bring you hoodlums over to the pediatric wing. There's a few kids in there you fellas might be able to cheer up." "Be our pleasure," Reece said.

"Come on, guys. Let's go."

Michael's teammates bade him good-bye and left. Then Harvey closed the door and moved into the room.

"So what's up?" Michael asked.

"We just got back results of the blood tests," Harvey began.

"You were HBV positive."


"You have hepatitis."

"Isn't that what you were expecting?"

"Yes and no."

"Explain, por favor."

"Frankly speaking, its all a little strange."

"What do you mean?"

Harvey crossed the room.

"You have hepatitis B rather than hepatitis A."

"Is that bad?"

"Ninety percent of all hep B patients recover fully within three to four months. With a little luck and some good training, you could even be back in shape for the end of the season and the play-offs."


"But we'd like to take a few more tests, Michael," Harvey said, "including a T cell study and an HIV test."

Michael sat up, his eyes finding Harvey's and locking onto them.

"An HIV test? Isn't that " "Yes," Harvey, "it's a test which is supposed to indicate if you are carrying the AIDS virus."

"Why would I need one of those?"

"Its merely a precaution," Harvey continued.

"We're sure you don't have AIDS or anything of the sort. You're not homosexual and you're not an intravenous drug user, which means your chances of having it are next to nil."


"So Eric and I discussed it. We also consulted Dr. Sagarel, the gastroenterologist. The thing is no one really understands how you contracted hep B."

"Some bad seafood maybe?"

"You're thinking of hepatitis A," Harvey continued.

"Hepatitis B is transmitted through blood transfusions, saliva, semen, stuff like that. Now I know you're going to want to slap me for asking, but I have to do it anyway. It's important that you tell the truth."


"I know you love Sara, but have you had any extramarital affairs? Any at all. An indiscretion during a Knick road trip, anything?"

"No," Michael answered.


Harvey nodded.

"Normally, we wouldn't think of going through with an HIV test, but when Eric reviewed your records, he came up with the fact that you had a blood transfusion after your boating accident in the Bahamas."

"But that was years ago."

"I know. If it were more recent, I wouldn't worry about it as much.

Nowadays we have the technology to screen blood donations so that the chances of a patient's receiving HIV contaminated blood are very remote. Back then the test didn't exist."

"So you're saying "

"I'm not saying anything. Look, Michael, Eric and I have HI Von-the-brain with the clinic and all. You don't have AIDS, I'm nearly positive of it. Under normal circumstances I would have just gone ahead and done the HIV test without telling you."

"So why didn't you? You didn't give me details about the other tests."

"Because the law requires that you sign a form, that's all."

"And Dr. Sagarel agrees with you and Eric about this?"

Harvey's face seemed to cloud over in hurt for a brief moment.

"Yes, Michael. He agreed."

"Harv," Michael began, "I don't mean to question your judgment " Harvey waved his hand.

"Don't worry about it, Michael. It was the right question to ask."

"So now what?"

"I'd like to draw some blood, if it's okay."

Michael shrugged, his eyes still scared. Then he nodded.

"You guys are the doctors." "Good," Harvey said.

"Give me your arm."

"Pick a vein, any vein at all."

Harvey did so, inserting the needle into the protruding blue line.

"Believe me, Michael, this is merely a formality."

"I hope you're right."

He finished taking the blood and withdrew the needle.

"I am," he said. He walked over to the door, opened it, and stepped into the hallway.


As per Harvey's instruction, Janice Matley, his most loyal and trustworthy nurse, was waiting by the door. Harvey had brought Janice over from the clinic because he did not trust anyone with this task.

"Yes, Doctor?"

He handed her the blood sample.

"Give this to Eric or Winston only. Nobody else. If neither one of them is there, just wait."

She nodded and left. Harvey stepped back into Michael's room.

"When will you know the results?" Michael asked.

"In a week," Harvey answered.

"Now stop worrying like an old lady. There's no reason to think you have anything other than hepatitis."

Mr. Philip Adams, assistant manager of the Days Inn, unlocked the door.

"Here it is," he said.

"Room 1118."

"Damn," Lieutenant Bernstein said.

"Something wrong?"

Max took his finger out of his mouth.

"Hangnail. It's driving me nuts."

Philip Adams watched with something near horror while the police lieutenant used his teeth to rid himself of the annoying problem.

"Will there be anything else?"

"Has anybody stayed here since the suicide?"

"Actually, business has been a little slow right now so we've kept it vacant."

"Has the room been cleaned since the incident?"

"Oh, sure."

"Can you find me the maid who cleaned it?"

"She's off today."

"When will she be in?"

"Tomorrow morning."

"I'd like her to call me when she gets in."

"Of course, Lieutenant, but why are you investigating this now? The suicide was more than two weeks ago."

"Just trying to tie up a few loose ends," Bernstein explained.

"Can you also find me the receptionist who was on duty the night of the suicide?"

"Hector checked Dr. Grey in," Adams said.

"The police spoke to him already."

"When does Hector come in?"

"He's here now."

"Then please send him up."

"No problem."

"Has any work been done on the room since the incident?"

Adams coughed into his fist.

"We replaced the broken window he jumped through, of course."

"Nothing else?"

The assistant manager thought a moment.

"No, I don't think so."

"Okay, thanks."

"Here's the key, Lieutenant."

"I'll return it to you on my way out."

"Thank you."

Left alone, Bernstein paced the room in a circular pattern, hoping to get a feel for the surroundings. Then he closed his eyes and tried to step into the good doctor's shoes. He tried to picture Dr. Brace Grey checking into this hotel, taking the elevator up to the eleventh floor, unlocking the door, moving into this room.

Max imagined Grey trying to force open the window and finding that it was nailed shut. So what did Grey do next? He must have decided to take a running start and leap through the glass. Max pictured him backing up, sprinting forward, hurling his body against the glass, shattering it into small shards, slicing himself in the process. Not exactly a neat suicide. Very messy, in fact.

And painful jumping through glass could not have been a lot of laughs.

Something's wrong here, Twitch.

He nodded to himself. Why here? Why a leap? Why jump through glass?

It did not add up. The man was on the verge of a major medical breakthrough. He had been divorced for seven years already, had a kid he didn't see enough, loved to read, loved to work, was more or less a homebody. According to Harvey Riker and several of Bruce's friends, Grey rarely traveled and had only been out of the country three times his recent trip to Cancun, Mexico (taking a vacation before suicide?) and twice to Bangkok a few years back, where the clinic kept all confidential blood and lab samples and test results. Max had learned that Harvey and Bruce were paranoid about leaks, sabotage, government interference, that kind of thing hence the decision to have a safehouse way out in Bangkok. Might have seemed like unsubstantiated paranoia at the time but now... Bernstein stopped in mid-thought when he saw it.

His gaze fastened on the left side of the wall by the door, his eyes widening. He slowly crossed the room and examined the chain-lock, which hung from the wall and door in two separate pieces. The steel chain was snapped in two. Max bent forward to get a closer look when a knock on the door made him jump.

"Who is it?" he asked.

"Hector Rodriguez," a voice with a Hispanic accent called out.

"Mr. Adams told me you wanted to see me."

Bernstein opened the door.

"Come in."

The slight, dark-skinned man moved into the room. He wore a hotel uniform and a goatee that looked like it had been penciled onto his face.

"Mr. Adams said you have some questions about the suicide?"

"Hector, did anyone notice this before?"

Hector squinted at the chain-lock.

"I don't think so. No one's used this room since the suicide."

"Are broken chain-locks a common occurrence in this place?"

"No, sir, they're not. I'll have it replaced right away."

Bernstein wondered if the lock had been broken when Grey first came into the room. Somehow he doubted it.

"Do you remember Dr. Grey checking in?"

"A little," Hector replied.

"I mean, he jumped out the window a few minutes after he checked in. He couldn't have been in the room for more than five minutes."

"What do you remember about him?"

"He had very blond hair "

"I don't mean looks-wise. I mean, how did he act? How was he behaving?"


"Yes. Did he seem depressed, for example?" "No, not de. I'd say nervous was more like it. He was sweating like a pig."

"I see..." Bernstein's hands flew forward.

"Hold it a second.

Did you just say Dr. Grey had blond hair?"

"Very blond."

Max's eyes squinted in bafflement. He opened his file and looked at a recent photograph of Bruce Grey. The man in the photograph had black hair.

"Is this the man who checked in that night?"

Hector stared at the picture for a good ten seconds.

"I can't say for sure. He looked much different. He didn't have a beard and like I said before, his hair was blond."

Bernstein opened the file. He had tried to avoid the police photos because he was not fond of looking at splattered remains, but now he knew that he would have to look. He thumbed through the papers until he arrived at the first glossy photograph.

There was not enough face left to tell if there had ever been a beard, but even through the thick patches of blood, Max could see that the dead man definitely had blond hair. Like Hector said, very blond.

Max closed both the file and his eyes. Why the sudden appearance change? A new hair-do and quick shave for a leap through a window seemed a tad bizarre, to say the least.

"Tell me what Dr. Grey said to you when he checked in."

Hector looked up, trying to remember.

"Nothing special. He just said he wanted a room. I asked, "How many nights, sir?" and he said, "One."


"That's it?" "I said, Will that be cash or charge? and he said, "Cash." Then I gave him the key and he took off."

"Nothing else?"


"You're sure." He thought a moment.

"That was it."

"He didn't have any special requests for his room?"


"He didn't ask for the room to be on a certain floor?"

Hector shook his head.

"I don't even think he looked at the number on the key until he stepped into the elevator."

Cold fear slid down Bernstein's chest. His finger went back into his mouth, but there was nothing left to chew except skin.

This whole thing was getting messy and complicated, too messy and too complicated. Bruce Grey had not asked for a special room.

He had not asked for a room with a view or a room near an elevator or one of those new no-smoking rooms. He had not asked for a room with a king-sized bed or a queen-sized bed or two separate beds. And most of all Bruce Grey had not asked for a room on a high floor. For all he knew, he could have gotten a room on the ground level.

"Is there anything else, Lieutenant?"

"No, that's it for now."

Hector Rodriguez turned to leave and then stopped.

"I saw your name in the Herald, Lieutenant. I hope you catch that whacko before he slices off somebody else's nuts."

Max's head shot up.

"What did you say?"

"Cutting off a man's balls. Pure loco, huh, Lieutenant?"

"Where did you hear that?"

"The evening edition. Front cover. What kind of a man does something like that? City's full of sickos."

Once again, Max rubbed his face and eyes with his right hand.

The press. The mayor. The gay activists.