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           John Miller
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"You'll be Sorry!"

  ”You’ll be Sorry!”


  John Anthony Miller

  copyright John Anthony Miller 2012

  “You’ll be Sorry!”

  No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the publisher. Exception is made for short excerpts used in reviews.

  This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to persons living or dead is coincidental.

  Cover Design by Mary C. Findley

  Cover Image credits: Crop duster and soybean field by Ken Hammond, U.S. Department of Agriculture. Public Domain

  Dog and couple images obtained from IMSI’s MasterClips/ MasterPhotos copyrighted Collection, 1895 Francisco Blvd. East, San Rafael, CA 94901-5506, USA.


  Thanks to my friends, including Samantha Fury and Mary C. Findley, for all their help, support, and encouragement in making this book a reality.

  It was like any normal day in the small town of Englewood, Kansas on this early fall morning. The temperature outside was not real cold as Mark stood there with his morning coffee. It was just cold enough so he could see the vapor coming from his coffee cup. Lisa opened the door so Herman could go outside with Mark. He stood there watching Herman run around the back yard.

  Herman. Funny name for a dog. But Lisa loved that dog. He thought back to the first day they had met Herman.

  They sat at the kitchen table. Mark worked on a model airplane and Lisa did some work for the bank. Lisa was in deep thought as she looked in the direction of the back yard through the glass doors. Lightning flashed. She saw a dog sitting on the porch.

  "Oh, jeez."

  "What’s wrong?"

  "I think there is a dog on the porch."

  Mark saw the dark shape. "Yes, we got a stray out there."

  Lisa headed over to the sliding glass door with Mark in tow. They slid the door open and there sat a stray dog.

  "Aw, the poor thing. Can we keep him?"

  "Now, Lisa, we talked about getting a dog later on."

  "I know. How about just for the night? Besides, it's raining."


  "Come on, honey." The dog looked at Lisa, then at Mark, and headed inside the house. They didn’t have any dog food and she figured the dog was hungry.

  "Mark, can you go into town and get him some dog food? I know it’s just for the night, but he looks like he could eat…"

  "Okay." Mark got his jacket and walked out the door. Lisa got a towel and started to dry the dog. The stray had a distinguished look about him and was a good-sized dog, around eighty to a hundred pounds. He had a long snout and black hair, kind of long, with brown spots that went down from his head, over to one side, and down to his back. They knew he was part German Shepherd and something else. But after they decided to keep the dog and took him to the vet even he couldn’t figure it out. It didn’t make a difference to Lisa.

  When Mark arrived back home from the dog food run he saw Lisa rubbing down the dog with a towel. "He doesn’t clean up that bad."

  "No, he doesn’t, but I think he has been hit by a car."

  "Why do you say that?"

  " 'Cause when I was drying his back leg he kind of got tense. He didn’t growl at me, but you could sense he didn’t want you to mess with it. I didn’t see any new injuries with all this hair. Maybe something happened when he was pup. Who knows?"

  Mark got a bowl down from the cabinet and poured the dog some food. The dog headed over to it.

  As they watched the dog eat Lisa looked up at Mark and said, "I want to keep him."

  "Only for one night, though, right?"

  "No, I want to keep him forever."

  Mark knew better to argue with her. She was stubborn! "You got a feeling, don’t you?"

  "Yes, I got a feeling. He is a special dog."

  "Ok, then, do you have an idea what you’re going to name him?"

  "Without any hesitation, Lisa said, "Herman."

  Mark just smiled. "Herman it is."

  Even after all these years he never could figure out where she got the name. She just called him Herman. As Mark stood there drinking his coffee and watching Herman, he thought back to when he had moved to Englewood.

  He had been eight years old. At first Mark didn’t like the move. He'd been happy in Missouri with his friends and family. The move was only 170 miles from Missouri, but to an eight-year-old boy it might as well have been to the moon. His dad had gotten a new job offer in Englewood, so he packed Mark up and moved. Mark's mom had died when he was two, killed by a drunk driver one night. Mark had been strapped in the back seat when the accident happened.

  He missed his mom, even though he had really never got to know her. Mark was raised mainly by his aunt Sarah from his mother’s side because Mark's dad was always busy with work. Aunt Sarah played with Mark and taught him right from wrong. She raised him as her own. The day they left for Englewood he gave Aunt Sarah a hug and got in the car to leave. As they pulled away he could not stop the tears from rolling down his face. As Mark watched Aunt Sarah slowly fade into the distance, all Mark's dad could say was, "You'll make new friends, son."

  “Thank you, baby.” Lisa poured him more coffee and watched Herman for a minute, then went back inside the house. Mark thought back to what his dad had said as they had left Missouri when he was eight years old. His dad was surely correct about making new friends in Englewood because he had met Lisa. Not only were they best friends growing up, but they also got married at the age of twenty.

  Lisa was only four months older than Mark. When he made comments about her being his "old lady," Lisa just laughed about it. The day he met Lisa had changed his life forever. Being the new kid in town was rough on Mark. He didn’t have any friends, and the really bad part was he didn’t know the local bullies in town. He was walking home from school one day down by the old creek bed when the Jenkins boys showed up. Sam was thirteen and Bobby was ten.

  They stopped Mark, and Sam shouted, “Hey, what are you doing here?"

  “I’m -- I’m on my way home,” Mark said with a tremble in his voice.

  "Not this way," said Sam Jenkins, and pushed Mark down in the creek bed.

  Mark just sat there for a moment. He wanted to fight the boys but two against one was not a fair fight. Sam was the oldest and outweighed Mark by at least fifty pounds. Bobby was a little smaller than Sam, but still had a size advantage over Mark. Just as Mark stood up and was about to try and walk past the boys, Sam pushed him down again with a scowl.

  "I said you were not getting past us.” Sam began to laugh. Just as Mark stood up again he heard a voice come from behind him.

  “Leave him alone!”

  What now? He turned and noticed a small girl standing there.

  She was about Mark's age, eight or so, standing there pointing her finger at Sam and Bobby Jenkins. Sam just scowled at her and then they both laughed. “What are you going to do about it?”

  What happened next was a shock even to an eight-year-old boy. She said, “You’ll be sorry.”

  Mark was in awe of this little girl staring down two big bullies. The little girl just started skipping around the creek bed, humming to herself and doing a kind of a dance routine, not really looking at the boys.

  She would stop, pick up a rock, hold it for a minute, drop it, then pick up another rock and drop it. Even Mark was wondering what was going on with her. She slowed her dance down. The last rock she picked up, though, she didn’t drop.

  She held it in her hand, looked at the Jenkin
s boys again, and asked, “You going to leave him alone?”

  Sam laughed again. “No.”

  To this day Mark couldn't believe what happened next. The little girl drew back her arm with a sideways motion and flung the rock at Sam. He heard the thump as the rock hit Sam right between the eyes.

  Wow, Mark thought. Sam dropped to the ground. Bobby just stood there in awe. She leaned down and picked up another rock. “It’s one-on-one, now.” Mark jumped at Bobby and knocked him off balance. As Bobby fell back, Mark jumped on him and began hitting Bobby in the face wildly.

  Sam started to get up. The little girl smiled at him and said,“You’ll be sorry!” Sam stood up but didn’t make a move toward the little girl. He leaned over and pulled Mark off Bobby. Mark stopped his attack. The two Jenkins boys stood there trying to figure out what just happened. An eight-year-old boy and a little girl had just got the best of them.

  Sam looked at Mark and the little girl and said, “You will see us again.”

  “You’ll be sorry again,” the little girl answered. The two Jenkins boys took off over the field.

  Mark sat up. “Thanks for the help.”

  “You're welcome,” the little girl smiled.

  "My name is Mark. What’s yours?"


  “I just want to thank you again.”

  “No problem. You’re new around here."

  "Yeah, my dad and I moved here about a week ago. I am learning the town and all."

  “Well, you just met the town bullies."

  "How did you learn to throw rocks like that?"

  Back in high school and college my dad was a baseball pitcher. He wanted a boy but got me instead.

  "Boy or girl, that was a good throw! Can I walk you home?"

  She smiled. "Maybe I should walk you home. The Jenkins boys may not be too happy with you right now.”

  Mark looked at her in disbelief. “I can take care of myself.”

  “I know you can, but let’s not take any chances. Besides, the Jenkins boys better not come after you again.”

  “Why is that?”

  “Because I will tell everyone in town that you took them both on and won. That would be embarrassing for them.”

  “You would do that?”

  “Why not? Who would believe a girl can throw rocks like that?"

  Mark laughed. “Yeah, who would believe that?”


  Mark and Lisa had become great friends. In the springtime when the lake was still at its highest, Lisa would take him down to the lake and skip rocks across it. Lisa wouldn’t just pick up any rock. It had to be perfect, the size and shape; how it felt in her hand. Lisa told Mark stories about her dad’s pitching abilities and about the trophies he had gotten in school.

  "My dad would have made the pros, but he wanted to stay home with me instead of traveling the country, missing me growing up.” He still taught her how to throw a baseball, even though Lisa preferred rocks. Mark could remember going to Lisa’s softball games in high school. Lisa was a really good pitcher.

  Herman wound down and sat beside Mark's chair as he drank his coffee on the porch. Mark reached down to pet him on the head and thought back to the fact that he had never heard from the Jenkins boys again. Rumor had it that someone told the truth about that day. Their dad got real mad that his boys got whipped by two eight-year-olds, one being a girl. The Jenkins boys got into trouble later on in life.

  At sixteen Sam robbed a liquor store in the next town over and was sent away to juvenile detention. When Sam got out from juvie he robbed another store, got caught, and was sent to prison. Bobby was just plain mean and was sent to live with his uncle in Texas, his dad maybe hoping that living down there would change him. Their mom took off when Sam was nine and Bobby six. She just couldn’t take the old man slapping her around 'cause of his drinking and couldn’t do anything with the boys. She didn’t want to leave the boys, but Sam and Bobby’s dad gave her no choice. Their dad couldn’t raise the boys by himself.

  Mark got up from his chair and opened the door. "Let’s go, Herman." Herman got up and went through the door over to Lisa, who sat at the kitchen table. She reached down and petted him on the head. Herman did a few circles, and then lay down next to Lisa. Mark was making his way over to the sink to rinse out his coffee cup.

  “Babe, would you mind getting Herman a chewy bone?”

  “Sure.” Mark moved over to the other side of the kitchen to the cabinet where Lisa kept Herman’s treats.

  Herman sat up, and then took off running. Mark heard Herman’s toenails clicking across the wood floor. Mark opened the box and handed a bone to Herman. Herman snatched it, ran over to Lisa, and lay down again, making quick work of the chewy bone.

  “Anything new and exciting happening at the bank?” Mark sat down with Lisa at the kitchen table.

  “No. Oh wait! I forgot. David is coming in to the bank today.”

  “Oh, really? What time is he coming by?”

  Lisa thought. “I know it’s after lunch today."

  Mark remembered back to when he first met David. He was seventeen and doing work around town for people. Even though his dad had made him an offer at the plant he worked at, Mark had said, “Thanks, but I’ll get something.” Jobs in town were hard to come by. So he did what he could for money. Mark was real good with engines and such. Even though auto body wasn’t offered in school he still had away with mechanical things.

  Word had spread through Englewood and neighboring towns of his talents. One day he was in the next town over, about fifteen miles from Englewood. He was working on Miss Johnson's riding lawnmower that day. He had been out to her house before. He would fix it and week or so later she would call him up to fix it again. Miss Johnson was hell on wheels! She would speed around her yard and run over rocks and things. One time she bent the blades, so Mark fixed them for her. This time, though, she bent the shaft on it. Mark was still able to repair it for her. She paid him for the work. Before he left he decided he was going to try and help her out.

  He took a walk around her yard, picking up the rocks and debris so maybe she wouldn’t break her lawnmower again. One rock he picked up, looked at it for a minute, and slipped it into his pocket. He heard a noise and saw a small crop-dusting plane flying overhead. Mark stood there for a moment and watched it. He had always loved airplanes. In his spare time he built models. Only when it didn’t take time away from Lisa, of course.

  Mark watched the little plane get lower and lower. He realized it was going to land nearby. Since Miss Johnson was his last job for the day and Lisa was busy with her dad, he got into his car and headed toward where the plane was landing. He drove a few miles and looked over to his left. The little plane had landed and was taxiing over to what looked like a barn. Mark pulled up a safe distance from the plane and waited as the pilot shut off the engine and climbed out of it. Once the pilot was out he noticed the man was in his late forties or early fifties, a tall man, about the same height as Mark, six feet two easy.

  The man walked over to Mark and asked, “May I help you, son?”

  “I’m just out here admiring your plane."

  “You must be bored, son, if you’re admiring that old thing."

  Mark chuckled. “It’s still a plane, though.”

  “Yes, that it is.”

  “My name is Mark." He reached out to shake the man’s hand.

  “Glad to meet you, Mark, I’m David." David had been in the Navy most of his life. He had flown F14’s and F18’s at Mark's age. Mark was impressed by David’s accomplishments. David had retired from the navy and started a small crop-dusting business. "I like to fly, so why not do it for myself?"

  Mark and David stood there talking for minute. “You have any more planes”?

  "I have two more in there." Mark asked if he could see them. “Sure, follow me.” In the barn sat another crop dusting plane and what looked to be an old T6 Texan. The T6 Texan was a World War II training plane

  “Do they fly?”

  “Well, the crop duster flies but the T6 won’t.” Mark asked him why. “Beats me. I got it at some auction years ago but I've never gotten it to fly. All the cables and such work. It has fuel in it. When it starts up it just sounds like it’s not running on all cylinders."

  “Mind if I take a look?"

  David just stood there for a moment. He didn't seem sure of what to say. Mark knew he must be thinking, I've never met this kid before, and he wants to go messing with my airplane. “Okay, kid, let’s see what you can do.”

  Mark was just in awe of this airplane. He asked David to fire the engine up. Smoke billowed out of the exhaust system as the engine began to turn over. Mark stood there just listening to the motor turning over. He yelled at David to turn it off. David did so and the propellers slowly wound down to a stop.

  “Can I take off this panel?”

  “Go ahead.”

  Mark asked David for a stepladder so he could climb up to reach the panel. As Mark removed the panel to get better access to the engine he could see that David was still a little nervous. Mark took off the last bolt and asked David if he could take the panel from him. David took it.

  "Do you have a small flashlight?"

  David walked over to a workbench, rummaged around some, and then returned with a small flashlight.

  “Thanks.” After making sure it worked correctly Mark wiped the back end of the light with his shirt, and then he stuck it in his mouth so he would have both hands free to feel around the engine compartment. He glanced at David, saw Smart kid written on the older man's face, and grinned.

  "Got a piece of wire?"

  David looked worried again but said, “Okay.” He walked back over to the workbench. “How big a piece you need?”

  “Oh about a foot will do it.” David cut the wire and handed it up. Mark reached down into his pocket. He felt the rock he had put there earlier, and then found his small pocketknife. He spliced both ends of the wire and made a connection he knew David wouldn't be able to see.

  Mark stepped down off the ladder. “Try it now.”

  “Okay, it’s your show.”

  David climbed back into the cockpit and flipped on the start switch. The engine began to turn over and the smoke wasn’t as bad as the last time. David gave the engine more fuel and before you knew it the smoke stopped and the motor was running fine. Not a miss to it at all. Mark just stood there listening to the engine.

  David gave it more fuel and had it revved up almost to take-off speed. The only problem with that was, David had lots of papers on his so-called "desk." The paper starting flying around the barn like mad. Mark shouted at David and pointed at all the debris flying around the barn.

  David nodded his head and yelled back, “Yeah, I see it.” Mark heard the engine throttle back. David shut it down. As David climbed out of the cockpit he had a grin on his face. “Boy, I don’t know what you did, but she has never sounded like that before.”

  Mark chuckled, “Ah, it was an easy fix.”

  “What did you do?”

  “Just replaced a broke wire
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