The plan and other short.., p.1
The Plan and other short stories, p.1
and other short stories
by Stephen Brandon
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Copyright 2013 Stephen Brandon
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These stories are works of fiction. All characters, organizations, incidents, and dialogue are from the authors imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual locations, events, or persons living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Table of Contents
The Plan for the children
Not Enough Wars
Camping in the Swamp
The Harappan Seal
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for the children
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Author's Note 2
However, any concerned parents would desire their children grow up with the wisdom they've accumulated. Their plans, if possible, would be to leave their children in a much better position for success.
This story starts that way and then develops its own life into the Saturn series.
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The Plan Table of Contents
The Old House
The Junk Yard
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John looked at the baby and thought back over his own life. The successes and failures he'd had were evident in his memory. His father had been a lawyer in Chicago when he graduated college. His parents had died in an automobile accident just three months later. His grandfather picked him up the night after the funeral on the way home from work. The next thing he knew, he had a new name and they lived in Arizona. He remembered the day he met Alice and the evening he brought her home and introduced her to grandpa. It wasn't until grandpa met Alice's mother that they were told the story about grandpas past as a collector.
His wife looked up from the hospital bed and said, “He's beautiful isn't he. Lets name him Joshua after your grandfather. We can now give him everything we didn't have.”
“Yes we can but, we must shield him from all the mistakes in our past. Can we do that? Should we set aside money so he can go to college and be financially set up when he comes of age or learn how to stand on his own two feet.”
Shockingly Alice replied, “We should set aside money for him and the others we'll have, but first we must teach our children to be more like us. We must teach them so they don't repeat our families mistakes. Just because you finally made enough money for us to be comfortable and not have to worry about how to pay our bills, doesn't mean we should leave any of our children a fortune. I'd still love you if we lived in a shack and both of us had to work just to put food on the table.”
That weekend John evaluated his finances and business with Lee, a friend that was also one of his lawyers.
“I want to leave my heirs enough money so they'd never have to scratch like I did when I was young. Alice thinks that we must teach the children to be like we are now and how to avoid the mistakes we both made when we were young.”
Lee's surprisingly commented, “You can't teach children the wisdom you learned through all the mistakes you've made.”
* ToC *
Grandpa Joshua was a colorful character. He left San Francisco after several of his associates accused him of making their boss disappear. He never talked about his associates that accused him of that, although he told plenty of stories about other people that met unfortunate accidents. After all as a collector, and he got around.
The story that John remembered the best was about a man that borrowed some money from his boss. Joshua went out to collect and did manage to collect the interest. Of course the mans wife cried as Joshua broke the mans little finger and told them that he'd be back next week that weeks interest. After a few visits the man went to the boss and complained about Joshua's attitude. The boss told him that Joshua was just following orders and he'd better remember that. That evening the man was run over by a runaway freight wagon and killed.
That fact was explained to Joshua by the widow on his next visit. Now Joshua has some scruples, but when the situation was explained to the boss, he just said to kill the woman as an example to others.
After thinking about that order, Joshua gave the woman and her daughter some money and a ride out of town. After all, Joshua couldn't in good conscience just kill a woman and innocent little girl. He had a family of his own.
The boss was irate and finally confronted Joshua with the suspicion that he'd let them get away. The boss disappeared that evening on his way home. Two days later his lieutenant and another collector confronted him at home. That evening his house burned down and two bodies were found.
That is why Joshua and his family moved to a small town in Texas. Joshua's son was the first in the family to attend and graduate from college.
* ToC *
The Old House
Nineteen months later Alice announce at breakfast, “We need to set up another nursery.”
John looked at her and said, “No, we need to move. I've been thinking about what you said. It'll be hard on us, but best for the children.”
Six months later she looked at the old house and the overgrown garden between the house and the barn. The barn looked better than the house.
John said, “We'll have a lot of work to do, but I think this place will be the best to raise the children. They'll have room to play and chores to do that will hopefully teach them that hard work has it's own reward.
The old house groaned like it was going to break as it was lifted and move 100 feet south. It only took four months to build the communications center, security room, and the root cellar in the hole they dug under the foundation. Then the house was moved back and repaired. The closet under the stairs was modified with a trap door leading down to the security room. In the master bedroom was a hidden door leading down to the communications center. Outside the back door was a sloped double door leading down to a root cellar. All were connected by hidden doors.
John went to the local hardware store and bought plastic lattice to mount all around the pier and beam foundation to keep the animals out. The old guy running the store commented about all the heavy equipment that had been on his property for five months, so John said, “Yes, I had some major work done and the old house leveled. There was some real soft ground under part of it. One thing I didn't think of was having the plumbing redone.”
The old guy commented, “There's a plumbing shop in town, but I wouldn't use him unless you can finish the work. His wife died as he was finishing up a big job out of town, and since then he's never completely finished another big job. He does excellent work on small jobs. Thought I'd just let you know.”
“What about a house painter?”
“He lives five miles down route 3. He only paints in the summer though.”
“Thanks, I'll keep that in mind.”
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Joshua was six when he asked his first really difficult question. “What does daddy do when he's not here?”
Alice simply said, “You'll have to ask him when he gets home.”
It didn't come up again until Mabel's 4th birthday party and he fell out of the tree and broke his arm.
John simply said, “I have a job in the big city that pays for the food on the table and the toys you have.”
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Joshua loved the garden, but hated feeding the chickens and milking the cow. When he was fifteen he discovered that girls weren't the pest he'd always called his little sister.
Alice had to insist he did his chores before he could go out until one of the girls told him about the cow she had to milk every morning.
John came home in the middle of that week. He told Alice that he'd been fired. The board of directors decided that he wasn't progressive enough to continue to lead the company. He lamented the fact that he'd never thought about an employment agreement when he incorporated and went public years ago. As soon as the news hit, the stock dropped 12%. I've now got to figure out what I'm going to do.
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“I need several rolls of chicken wire, couple boxes of staples, and twenty fence post.”
The old guy in the hardware store simply commented, “The kids didn't find all the eggs, uh.”
“Know anyone that wants a dozen chicks?” stated John. “Also I'll be sending Joshua down to pick up some lumber. They're going to build a new chick coop. Then, they'll know where every nest is.”
“Make sure he runs power for a heater. This coming winter is going to be a bad one.”
* ToC *
The Junk Yard
John got a job with the junk yard in the next town. That winter after getting stuck three times going to work he bought a used wrecker. He pulled several of his neighbors out of ditches that winter on his way to and from work.
One morning he pulled the state cop out of a ditch and then the cop tried to pay him.
When John refused the cop informed him that he had to have a license to pull people out of ditches and he'd help him get one so he could start charging.
After thinking about it John started his own wrecker service, aptly called, My Private Wrecker. Then he started getting calls from all over the county. He didn't make much money until the next spring when the state police called him to help with a big wreck.
Alice was shocked when the payment came in. “$150 just to pull two cars into town from that wreck. You never charged anybody anything like that when they called.”
“I didn't even put an amount on the paperwork I turned in.”
“By the way, Joshua has mention to me several times that he'd like to go out with you in the wrecker and learn the business.”
“Tell him that he'll have to maintain a B average before I'll let him work year round. I'll take him to work with me starting next week, if the Tim OKs him being there all day.”
“Also you got a call from someone that claimed to represent the state wrecker association. Something about not being on the approved list to work wrecks for the police and licensed for non-consent tows. He wants you to call him.”
“I'll call him tomorrow from work. Don't cash that check yet.”
After discussing the call and payment received for working that wreck, the owner of the wrecking yard called in his other wrecker driver and told him to transfer 3 cones to Johns truck and get a full set of twelve for his out of the storeroom. Then he had a letter typed up to the state police complaining that he'd only received payment for one of the two wreckers he sent to the big wreck on Hwy 61 the month before.
The he told John that all the tows he'd done for him previously, when he sent him out, were under his license. John needed to send the check and paperwork back with a letter stating that since he was at work at Jim's Wrecking & Towing at the time Susan had dispatched him, payment should be made to the wrecking yard. Also don't forget to list the fact that you were on the clock and have already paid for the work you did at that wreck.
“If you get any more calls like that tell them to call me unless you want to join the association and upgrade your license. Here is one of my tow books. Sorry but you may get fined if they check your paperwork, if you do let me know. I'll have my lawyer handle it,” Jim said.
“Thanks, how much are association fees and cost to upgrade?”
“The fee is $200 a year and you need to attend an annual law and safety class that cost another $200 each year. Those were the classes I sent you and Bob to six months ago.
“Susan, give John a list of the required equipment so he can verify he has everything and it's operational.”
“Boss, my son wants to work with me on my wrecker and maybe here at the yard this summer. Do you have any positions that he can qualify for.”
“Summer hire interviews are next Tuesday. Tell him to be here at 6AM.”
“That time will make him very very happy,” John stated.
“I always interview before the yard opens. Ha Ha. And I don't want to see you until the usual time.”
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I told Joshua that night at supper my boss held summer job interviews at 6AM on Tuesday. If he wanted to apply he needed to be there by 6. I didn't need to be to work until 8AM. Alice simply looked at me and frowned. I knew I'd have some explaining to do that night.
Tuesday morning Alice poked me in the side. I looked at the clock and said, “It's only 4:05. Let me sleep another 2 hours.”
Then she whispered, “I heard his alarm go off a few minutes ago and then a crash. Should I go check on him.”
I whispered back, “Only if you want a mama's boy. I bet he gets the job because most of the other boys will be late.”
When I got to work, only 2 boys were sitting in the outer office. He called his other wrecker driver in and the boys. He assigned Joshua to him and I got the city boy. Then he told us that we were to have them inventory the trucks and clean them from top to bottom. The boys would ride with us for a week and do only maintenance and cleaning. Then we could decide if they knew enough to start training in the yard. They were not to touch the controls outside the yard until he cleared them. Then he told the boys to wait out in the outer office until we came out. We were to supervise every move they made all summer. Then he'd know which one to hire next summer as an operator in the yard since they couldn't legally operate the wrecker solo until they were 21. Then he told the other wrecker operator that his boy was my son. Don't cut him any slack. John and I want him to know how tough life can be, and when you get a chance mention that with a technical school or with college he could make more money. There were six other boys this morning that learned a lesson, they were late, and I fired them before the interviews even started.
By the way John, “Your son showed up with a cup of coffee and a pack of doughnuts at ten till six. I asked him if he thought he could eat breakfast on the job and his reply was he expected to have to wait for the boss to get here. Was he surprised when I started interviewing him at the gate. He's quick. Some of his answers were really interesting. He dumped the coffee and doughnuts in the trashcan outside the office. He'll be real hungry by lunch time.”
That night Alice was surprised when Joshua went through 3 plates of food.
I winked. Later that night I told her what Jim said.
She asked me if I was proud of her baby.
I quietly informed her that her baby was almost a grown man and she should treat him that way.
At breakfast the next morning Joshua asked me if he could ride to work with me.
I said yes.
It got to be a regular routine. After a few weeks he asked, “Is Bob was an ass all the time or just because he's training me?”
I laughed and said, “He's being nice to you because he knows you're my son and he's at work. You want to see what he's really like? We'll stay after work and go down to the cafe for supper tonight.”
That night Bob acted his usual fowl mood. He even tried to pick a fight with the cook. Finally the waitress brought a frying pan out and told him to behave or she'd pop him. He meekly finished his meal and left.
Joshua just sat there with his eyes bugged out.
Later on the way home, Joshua asked me, “How come he isn't in jail.
I told him, ”Bob has never raise a hand against a woman, far as I know he's only beaten up several men in self defense, and saved the lives of more than one family in the county. For all his supposed nasty attitude, he's really a nice guy once you get to know him. And, if you ever tell him what I just said, I'll spank you like you're ten years old again.”
Two weeks later my city boy just didn't show up for work. After two days Jim called his father and informed him that his son was fired for not reporting to work. He could come in Friday and pick up his pay.
That afternoon Bob pulled me aside and told me my boy was to smart to drive a tow truck. Then he asked me if he could get really tough on him?
I told him he had better not be going easy on him because I want him to know not only how to operate a wrecker, but to learn a few of the rules of life. I was proud on him so far, and wanted a son that would hold his own against any odds.
Bob just smiled and headed over to where Jim was chewing out his crusher operator, for something he'd done wrong.
It was almost a week later when Bob finally got a reaction from Joshua. I heard the sound of a solid fist stopped by an open palm. When I walked around the trucks Bob was explaining the facts of life to Joshua about fighting on the job and invited him to meet him after supper down at the river to settle the differences.
Joshua looked at me and all I said was, “Son, you're grown up now. If you want I'll wait and give you a ride home.”
Joshua only got one good punch in, and landed on his back several times.
Finally the sheriff asked Joshua, "Is your honor satisfied?”
Then Joshua sat up and answered, “Yes.”
He reminded Joshua and Bob that brawling was illegal. He was glad that Bob was just teaching Joshua self defense. “Watching all this exercise is making me thirsty, lets go to the cafe and get some coffee.”
All hell broke loose when we got home. Alice was screaming at me until Joshua told her that it was his fight and the sheriff and I watched, then we all went to the cafe and had coffee.
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